Singapore American • December 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
Wedding Celebrations in Singapore By Amy Buchan and Raegen Siegfried
Arts & Culture
American Association CRCE & Business Community News Living in Singapore
2-3 4 5-9 10
Health & Wellness
Food & Dining
Arts & Culture
wedding is one of the most joyous occasions in one’s life in any part of the world. Yet what happens when you are invited to celebrate such a momentous occasion in the region we now call home, Singapore, which is a melting pot of a variety of different cultures? We have heard so many stories from friends who were mortified because they weren’t aware of the traditions surrounding a culturally different wedding. Plain and simple, we’re trying to save you some humiliation and make sure that you are a well-informed, respectable wedding guest. Wedding traditions vary greatly based on ethnicity, region, religion and subcultures; therefore we chose a few representative cultures to share with you. While there are time-honored traditions that may be fulfilled, many modern couples modify traditional customs to suit their personalities. Wedding Gifts When invited to a wedding it is in good taste to bring a gift. At a Chinese wedding, you will most likely not be expected to give a “gift” as such, but rather a red packet which is a lucky red envelope filled with money. The amount of money you give is determined by the
closeness of your relationship with the couple. Although there is no limit on how much you can give in the red packet, if you have the extra money and feel like giving more, we’re sure it would be appreciated as red packet money goes to offset the cost of the wedding banquet. Also in the Chinese culture, the two major lucky numbers for red packet gifts are six and eight, because the word for six sounds like the Chinese word for “never ending” and the word for eight sounds like the Chinese word for “money.” Even if you are not able to give money that ends in a six or eight, monetary gifts should always consist of even amounts of money, as they represent pairs. The numbers zero, one and four are unlucky. Your gift should avoid them at all costs. When attending a Buddhist or Hindu wedding, gifts and money to the couple are common. However, gifts of cash should be given in a handmade gift envelope (Hindu) or a red envelope with gold lettering (Buddhist) and numbers ending in one are considered lucky. You may also gift a statue of the God Ganesha, the lord of beginnings, or Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, fortune and fertility. Never give a gift of leather, as Hindus
believe the skin of a dead animal, particularly a cow, to be sacrilegious. As a general rule of thumb, do not give any gifts in white as the color white in many regional cultures symbolizes death. Wedding Attire Of course it’s important to look dapper when attending a wedding but what will the couple of honor wear to their celebration? Unlike the traditional white gown that we see in many western weddings, the wedding gown for a bride in China is usually bright red, a color that symbolizes luck. (Although modern Chinese brides are adopting the western trend of white wedding gowns.) The bridal attire will likely also include the color gold, which signifies good fortune. A groom may wear a Hanfu or other formal wear. An Indian bride will typically wear a sari wrapped around the waist and then draped over the shoulder. The groom often wears a sherwani or nehru jacket that can be embroidered, quite colorful and even match the bride’s sari. In southern and eastern states the bride usually wears a red sari, but in northern and central states the chosen garment is usually a decorated lehenga or a Continued on page 19
American Association of Singapore Strategic Partners
Singapore American • December 2014
A Message from the President...
ur SAN theme this month is fittingly, “Celebrations.” There are a wide range of articles that we hope you’ll enjoy. Of course, this is a month of celebrations for many, whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, the winter solstice or just getting through another year. There’s a lot for which to be thankful and to which to look forward! At AAS, we’re particularly grateful for a year full of successful events where we hope that you connected with the community in ways that were of interest and value to you. We’re also thankful for a shiny, new AAS office. We tripled our working and conference space in what was the Pilates Studio. Huge thanks to the generous and incredibly helpful American Club GM Martin Rudden, our talented designer Steven Shaw, irascible AAS GM Toni Dudsak and the AAS staff who endured cramped conditions for years and then the challenge of “moving house.” Please stop by and have a look. This month, you can demonstrate your festive cheer by coming to the Toys for Tots event on December 4 with the US Marines. Our Honorary Chairperson, Crystal Wagar, will kick-off the event, which includes Santa, holiday crafts, and food and drink for the entire family. As a special treat, the Singapore American School choir will perform for us. Register online and don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped gift for a child who otherwise might not get one. General Motors will generously sponsor this event; we hope to see you there. You’ll also find the holiday spirit in Joe Foggiato’s article this month about volunteering during the holidays at Willing Hearts soup kitchen. Looking forward to our 82nd George Washington Ball on March 7, 2015 (see next page); this is the last month that you can buy tickets at last year’s price. Proceeds from the GWB will go to Singapore Children's Society, our 2015 charity. I hope you saw the excellent article in SAN last month on Koh Choon Hui, Chairman of SCS—an amazing man and group of people working hard every day to help at-risk kids and families. Stay tuned in 2015 for exciting ways that you can support Children’s Society with your time and talent. The new AAS/SG50 logo is done, thanks to our graphic designer, Joanne Johnson (see below right). I hope you’ll agree that Joanne did a great job of combining the AAS star with the SG50 red dot to give us a truly unique logo that will be used throughout the coming year. Thanks, Joanne! As always we value your opinion and ideas. Contact me or General Manager Toni Dudsak: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit our website and Facebook page or tweet us: @ AmAssocSG, and use this hashtag on Facebook and Twitter: #AmAssocSG Wishing you very Happy Holidays,
EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Maureen Murray, email@example.com Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak, firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGN & L AYOUT Graphic Designer: Joanne Johnson, email@example.com
ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTORS Richard Bangs, Amy Buchan, Angel Corrigan, Kevin F. Cox, Lucia Damacela, Katrijn de Ronde, Jennifer Daniels, Rob Faraone, Joe Foggiato, Rhea Jain, Alexia Loughman, Lauren S. Power, The Sassy Sommelier, Raegen Siegfried, Anna Sorokina, Marisa Vidaurre, Dr. Gail Willow American Association : Anne Morgan and Valerie Tietjen
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: James Andrade American Club President: Scott Weber • AWA President: Annette Foster SACAC Chair: Stu Wilson • SAS Chair: Catherine Poyen US Embassy: Chahrazed Sioud Non-Voting Member: U.S. Military: Rear Admiral Charles F. Williams
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: email@example.com • 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.
Glenn van Zutphen firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @glennvanzutphen
A subscription to the Singapore American is complimentary with an AAS membership. AAS annual family membership is just $70. CRCE membership is $160. To join, visit www.aasingapore.com and have the Singapore American delivered to your home. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material. The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Level 3 Annex Building, Singapore 508968.
Singapore American • December 2014
Toys for Tots
Get into the holiday spirit by supporting Toys for Tots! Please bring an unwrapped, new toy and join the American Association of Singapore for food and drinks. You can meet the US Marines, visit with Santa, listen to the SAS Choir and make some Christmas crafts. 5-7pm The American Club, Colonial Room (Level 3), 10 Claymore Hill AAS & American Club Adult Members: $25 • AAS & American Club Child Members: $10 • AAS & American Club Family: $50 Non-Member Adult: $35 • Non-Member Child: $15 Non-Member Family: $75
Quiz Night with The American Club Join AAS and The American Club, as they join forces for the first-ever AllAmerican Quiz Night at The American Club’s Union Bar. Test yourself against your contemporaries in a wide range of trivia categories. Gather your team and reach for trivia victory! The top three winning teams will receive prizes. 7-9pm The American Club, Union Bar, 10 Claymore Hill AAS & American Club Members: $50 • Team of Four: $190 For more information, visit: www.aasingapore.com
Living in Singapore Talk Are you new to Singapore, or do you simply want to learn more about your tropical home? Join us for an exclusive event, as a panel of experts shares their knowledge on settling in, health insurance, Singapore’s heritage and culture, and health and wellness. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to gain valuable insight and meet new friends. 7-9pm The American Club, Colonial Room (Level 3), 10 Claymore Hill AAS Members and SAS Families Only Registration is free but required, includes food and beverages For more information, visit: www.aasingapore.com For more info and to register for an event: www.aasingapore.com
History Night On October 29, AAS hosted Professor Brian Farrell, Head of the History Department at the National University of Singapore, for a unique perspective on Singapore’s distinguished history. With the anticipation of next year’s 50th Anniversary, Professor Farrell described how Singapore's stunning history created its successful present and will continue to shape its future. We look forward to more engaging evenings with Professor Farrell in 2015!
Art Expo: Jedd Novatt At the Art Plural Gallery on November 7, American sculptor Jedd Novatt spoke exclusively to AAS members and Singapore American School students and staff at his first Southeast Asian Exhibition. Novatt shared his story and passion for modern sculpture, taking questions from students and members alike. See page 26 for more details about this memorable evening.
DUAL Quiz Night
On November 13, AAS joined with DUAL (Distinguished Universities Alumni League) for another battle of brains and wits at Brewerkz Microbrewery. Categories for the quiz questions included Pop Culture, Sports, Science, and more, ensuring that there was something for everyone. Congratulations to quiz champions, The Expendables, and all of our worthy competitors!
Singapore American • December 2014
CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats
CRCE Power Lunch Series By Anne Morgan
he inaugural CRCE Power Lunch got proponent of getting yourself off to a flying start with a terrific talk in front of an employer and by Arnaud Frade, Managing Partner offering to help solve a problem for Hall & Partners. This month's topic was even if this means donating “Brand of Me”—adapting your own personal your services on a voluntary basis. Central to building your brand to an ever-changing marketplace. Arnaud stressed the importance of building brand and strengthening your true relationships “that matter,” the starting reputation is the process point in this process is to be genuine when of accumulating experience telling your story. There is simply no point and acquiring mentors and in painting a false picture. You won’t be able supporters such as individuto live up to your own hype, people will see als who are prepared to give straight through you and your credibility will valuable advice and actively endorse you. If you make be irrevocably damaged. A critical stepping stone in the establish- yourself helpful to an organiment of a strong personal brand is ensuring zation then you will be in an you are digitally visible. The modern employ- excellent position if an opportunity arises. ment landscape is no place for a shrinking You will also be able to ascertain if you violet. Platforms such as LinkedIn provide are a good fit to a team. How you fit is a great opportunity to craft an interesting more important than your skill set. Getting inprofile where functional qualifications can volved and integrating yourself means you are be fleshed out to include deeper insights into a known quantity and therefore less of a risk. Finally, Arnaud counsels that it is imporyou as a person and the unique value that you tant to say thank you to those who help you. bring to the marketplace. The next stage is to define what you do You will need to reach out to people and in and illustrate it. Arnaud advises individuals turn be prepared to help others. You should to focus less on a career strategy and instead not forget to be demonstratively grateful. concentrate on a behavior skill strategy. It’s good to hone one’s objectives and define Arnaud Frade’s Top Tips for what “winning” means to you. Once this is Effective Branding clear in your mind you can concentrate on • Redefine the story your way. “actually doing something” without over• Know what ‘winning’ means to you. thinking and overcomplicating matters. Participation is vital. Arnaud is a great • How are you going to solve a problem?
• Be genuine; tell a story; don’t make it up. • Build true relationships. • Consider LinkedIn and other social platforms but ultimately people hire people. • Have wide interests and seek to help others, you don’t need to wait to be helpful. • Find mentors. • Say thank you. • Focus! Focus! Focus! AAS is certainly very grateful to Arnaud Frade for sharing his expertise so generously. Please join us for future CRCE Power Lunches. Anne Morgan is the Business Development Manager of Career Center for Expats (CRCE) at AAS.
New Happenings at CRCE in 2015!!! Do you have the opportunities to do what you do best and do what you love every day? Or have you been trying to advance in your life and career by working on your weaknesses? Don’t miss the new StrengthsFinder workshop with StrengthsAsia team in January (date will be posted on our website soon). Are you thinking about doing what you love and getting paid for it or thinking about being your own boss? Perhaps thinking about updating your LinkedIn profile? How important is body language in communication? Start the New Year in tandem with the new array of workshops at CRCE.
CRCE December Workshops register at: www.aasingapore.com Don’t Send Your Resume! Why You Should Avoid Sending Your Resume to the Black Hole of HR Depts Speaker: Dan Gedal Wednesday, December 10 10:30am – 12:30pm
Marketing Executive This company is looking for an entrepreneurial, driven, self-proclaimed LinkedIn expert to join its growing global team headquartered in Singapore. As Marketing Executive, you help clients achieve A-star LinkedIn profiles and first class engagement on LinkedIn. (job #2926) Early Childhood Teacher A school is looking for candidates who are knowledgeable of early childhood development as well as being familiar with developmentally appropriate curricula for young children. This is a full time position, with competitive salary and benefits commensurate with education and experience. (job #2924)
Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit www.aasingapore.com/for-employers
Using LinkedIn in 4 Simple Steps Speaker: Chris Reed Friday, December 5 10:30am – 12pm
Spotlight on Jobs
Join the Conversation Friday, December 12 1:30 – 3pm
For more information about CRCE www.aasingapore.com - click on the CRCE link
Operation Support Administrator The Administrator’s job responsibilities include: Generating contractor and client contracts following instruction from consultants; maintaining all necessary candidate records to ensure that the information is accurate and updated. Experience in recruitment/ staffing industry is an added advantage. (job #2922) Treatment Coordinator Expat style dental office is looking for a personable, organized person to fill its open Treatment Coordinator position. Responsibilities include, among others, scheduling/coordinating dental appointments, consultations, referrals and surgeries, responding to patient inquiries, and assisting patients with treatment and financial plans. No previous dental experience necessary. (job #2920) English Instructor A language center is currently looking for full- or part-time instructors who are available a minimum of 2 evenings per week and Saturdays. As an English instructor, your job will be to teach adults and children (6yrs+) mainly in one-to-one classes and some small group classes (max. 4 students). Training will be provided. (job #2923) Finance and Administration Assistant The role’s responsibilities include supporting the client relationship team in delivering both corporate and public leadership development programs. The candidate must be a well-organized and self-motivated individual who is able to build relationships with colleagues and clients. Working in a small team, she/he must be comfortable working unsupervised and meeting strict deadlines. Excellent English (written and spoken) and strong PC skills are also required. (job #2921)
Singapore American • December 2014
Cooperative Communication By Marisa Vidaurre, MA, Counsellor at SACAC Counselling
cooperative style of communication is one that allows us to better coordinate our life activities with the life activities of the people who are important to us. Living and working with others are communication intensive activities. The better we understand what other people feel and want, and the more clearly others understand our goals and feelings, the easier it will be to make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. This style takes into account mutual respect and a certain comfort with conflict. Each person may have different needs and views so the potential for conflict in living and working with others is ever present. By understanding more of what goes on in conversations, we can become better problem solvers and conflict navigators. Learning to listen to others more deeply can increase our confidence that we will be able to engage in a dialogue of genuine give and take, and be able to generate problem solutions that meet more of everyone’s needs. This cooperative style can lead to a more satisfying closeness with significant others because when we communicate better we become involved with exploring two big questions: “What is going on inside of me?” and “What is going on inside of you?” Exercises in listening can help us listen more carefully and reassure our conversation partners that we really do understand what they are going through. Exercises in self-expression can help us ask for what we want more clearly and calmly.
Learning better communication skills requires a lot of effort because cooperation between people is a much more complex and mentally demanding process than coercing, threatening or just taking what you want. Thinking of the wants of two people and how those wants might overlap is a big step beyond simply feeling one’s own wants. It doesn’t happen automatically because our way of communicating with others is woven into our personalities and our personal history. It requires self-observation and an analysis when we look back on conversations that we have had and try to understand what went well and what went badly. Gradually we can learn to bring that observing awareness into our conversations. By “being the change you want to see,” you can begin to change the quality of your conversations without waiting for others to change.
4. Translate your or others’ complaints and criticisms into specific requests. Ask for what you want by using specific, action-oriented, positive language rather than generalizations or “why” statements. 5. Ask questions more open endedly and creatively. Questions that require more than a yes/no answer by using “how,” “what,” “when” evoke detailed responses and more information. 6. Express more appreciation. To build more satisfying relationships express more unsolicited appreciation, affirmation, encouragement and gratitude. 7. Make better communication an important part of your everyday life. In order to have your new communication skills available in a wide variety of situations: practice, practice, practice.
The challenges include:
For more information on this topic or specific support, kindly contact the SACAC Counselling Office at 6733-9249 or via email at admin@ sacac.sg
1. Listen more carefully and responsively. To listen first and acknowledge what you hear, even if you don’t agree with it, before expressing your experience or point of view. Briefly restate what you have heard (especially feelings) before you express your own needs or position. 2. Explain your conversational intent and invite consent. If you clarify for yourself and then identify for others the role you are asking for, it doesn’t leave them guessing what you want to achieve. 3. Express yourself more clearly and completely. Slow down and give the listener more information by using “I” statements and messages.
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014
Singapore American • December 2014
Steven Shaw Spearheads American Association Office Renovation By Maureen Murray
hen I sit down with Steven Shaw at Thyme Café in The American Club, I begin the interview with the most obvious question: “Why did you donate so much of your time to the AAS Office renovation?” He laughs and answers, “Have you ever tried to say ‘no’ to Toni?” Toni Dudsak, the general manager of the American Association of Singapore (AAS) and Steven Shaw, an architect with expertise in office planning and design, are long-time friends and members of AAS. Years ago, they met through their sons and the families have been entwined through Boy Scouts, the Singapore American Newspaper, CRCE and the Singapore American School.
Back in 2011, when the AAS Office needed an uplift, Toni turned to Steven who is an executive principal at Aedas, a leading global architecture and design practice. He is the architect currently driving the proposed redevelopment of The American Club. “The changes Steven made were amazing,” says Toni. “He did everything from making the most of what little space we had to connecting us with vendors. He’s been a great, great support to the American Association.” During the past few years, the American Association staff has grown and the number of major events has increased. Toni knew that she had to find bigger office space and even considered moving from The American Club. “Martin Rudden, the general manager of the Club, stepped in and offered us the former Pilates Studio so that we could stay on the premises and that’s been terrific for us,” says Toni. “So then I turned to Steven again to ask for help with the renovation. He worked on the design, searched for contractors and used his contacts to help us obtain discounts on furniture and carpeting. He gave all
AWA Launches New Interactive Website By Jennifer Daniels, AWA Corresponding Secretary
he American Women’s Association is proud to announce the launch of their new interactive website. Visit AWASingapore.org today to see all that it has to offer. The awasingapore.org embarked on this project to provide members and the organization greater access to information and more flexible ways to interact. Members no longer need to call or visit the office to register for events: they can now register online for various events, and individuals
interested in trying out an AWA event can use the online registration to attend as a guest. This greater flexibility allows members to register from anywhere, at any time, even when they are traveling abroad. If a member wants to see which events she has signed up
for in the future or find contact information for a fellow AWA member, all she needs to do is login. Our volunteer committee chairs can easily find out which members have signed up for their committee or the names of ladies that have registered for an event they are leading. With these lists and other reports, event leaders have all the information they need to smoothly run their activities, simply by logging into the administrative part of the website. In the long term, AWA anticipates these new features will reduce the workload of the volunteer office staff and event chairs. Member feedback on the website has been very positive. Gigi Scott, a tennis player and an AWA member since 2012, commented that it is so easy to register for a tennis tournament. Carolinn Sheely, a Bamboo Telegraph staff member, recently registered for a Pastel Portraits tour online and reported that everything went very smoothly. The AWA is so excited to have this interactive website for our members and possible members! We invite all members of the community to visit the AWA’s website at http://awasingapore.org/Events.aspx and see what the organization has to offer.
of that time pro bono. We couldn’t be more grateful.” Steven has worked on major projects across Asia, Australia and America, including the Lucasfilm offices in Singapore. “When considering the recent renovation of the AAS Office, we wanted to give staff members more privacy but balance that with the openness that AAS is known for,” Steven says. “So we came
up with a variety of workplace and meeting settings. I’m very involved in The American Club’s re-visioning and I want to support the American Assocation in the best way that I can. In this instance, that meant by using my skills.” Maureen Murray is the editor of the Singapore American Newspaper. Photos: AAS Office by Eric Janes; Steven Shaw & Toni Dudsak by Valerie Tietjen
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014
Singapore American • December 2014
The Navy Ball: "Thanking Those Who Support Us" By Lauren S. Power
his year marks the celebration of the United States Navy’s 239th birthday. On October 11, the Navy League commemorated this event with its annual Navy Ball at the W Hotel at Sentosa Cove. Guests were honored to receive remarks by Rear Admiral Charles Williams, Commander, Task Force 73, and a keynote address by US Ambassador to Singapore, Kirk Wagar. The origin of the US Navy dates back to October 13, 1775, when a small contingent of vessels were outfitted and dispatched against the British Army by the Continental
Congress during the American Revolutionary War. Following American Independence, Congress formally established the Department of the Navy on April 30, 1798. In 1972, Chief of Navy Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt recognized October 13 as the official Navy birthday.
More than a ceremony to acknowledge those who serve the United States through active military duty, the Navy birthday pays tribute to the families, staff and organizations that support the US Navy. On this occasion, prisoners of war and those missing in action (POW-MIA) are remembered. The shared patriotism and solidarity of the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Merchant Marines and US Coast Guard are commemorated. All those whose military and maritime careers have created new opportunities for them and their families, both in the United States and abroad, are recognized for their past service. In Singapore, where United States maritime activity has continued to boom, these ties are especially strong. The Navy League, Singapore Council was chartered in 1994, joining the ranks of The Navy League of the United States, which was founded in 1902 and has grown to include some 245 councils around the world. The Navy League helps facilitate an ongoing reciprocal relationship, whereby members of the Singapore community enjoy a unique opportunity to gain insight into the vessels and people serving tours under the US Navy, and in turn those servicemen and women can experience a warm welcome when coming to Singapore. Most recently, when the USS Carl Vinson docked in Singapore in early October, Navy
Leaguers attended a welcome reception for the crew aboard the aircraft carrier. In the days following, members of the Navy
League toured the vessel and participated in the Home Hospitality Program, bringing crewmembers and Navy Leaguers together for activities in the Singapore community. Nearly 100 sailors from the USS Carl Vinson, the USS Dewey, the USS Bunker
Hill, the USS Sterett and USS Gridley were hosted by twenty-five families through the Home Hospitality Program. With a theme of “thanking those who support us” for many of the Navy Balls held around the world, this year’s celebration of the Navy birthday certainly “enhance[d] a greater appreciation of our Navy Heritage, and provide[d] a positive influence toward
pride and professionalism in the naval service,” to quote CNO Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt. The Navy League, Singapore Council and the greater Singapore community is proud to offer its continuing support to crews like those of the USS Carl Vinson, and looks forward to celebrating the 240th Navy birthday in 2015. Lauren S. Power is a freelance writer and research consultant. She came to Singapore to enjoy her passion for social, economic and foreign policy studies. Photos by Erik Lo
London Trip Inspires SAS Student to Pen New Book By Rhea Jain
rica Sehyun Song was sitting by the River Thames in London, England, eating ice cream. Birds soared around her as she stared at the Tower Bridge. As she soaked in the beauty of the area around her, her mind wandered to thoughts of the book she was in the middle of writing. Her book, Thorns in the Shadow, was set in the same place in England, 200 years earlier. It was in this moment that the idea of making the famous Victorian bridge the location of the climax in her book came to her. As the rest of the details fell into place, the scene in the fantasy-adventure novel was formed. The setting in Song’s recently published book may be stunning. But what is even more remarkable is that the author isn’t a writer or researcher with decades of experience behind her. She is a sixteen-year-old junior at Singapore American School, writing purely to fulfill her passion and dream. “I have always dreamed of writing books because I loved the idea of escaping
into another world,” Song said. “So when I was eleven, I started writing books.” Song’s first completed story, “The Pax Valley,” focuses on adventures in the ocean. The protagonist discovers that her life is intertwined with that of a siren. She describes her second book, Thorns in the Shadow, as a “fantasy-adventure novel that revolves around the story of a girl called Lucille Rinehart who is on the road to self-discovery.” According to Song, the main character thinks she is an ordinary girl, but soon discovers that she is part of another realm called the Outerworld. “The story is set in the Victorian era when women were more oppressed than they are now,” Song said. It’s this second book that strongly reflects Song’s interests and has affected her in many ways. Many of the authors whose work Song enjoys reading— including William Shakespeare, Ally Carter and Maria V. Snyder—have influenced her writing style and served as inspiration to her. At age eight, she traveled to Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, where she saw an old portrait of him hanging on a wall. The portrait had a “Mona Lisa effect” on her, and it was in that moment that she decided to write professionally, rather than simply writing small stories, with an aspiration to be the “next Shakespeare.”
Along with these authors and Song’s travels around the world, her fascination with older eras also influenced the story in Thorns in the Shadow; she decided to set the story in the nineteenth century in order to research an era that she had not explored before. “The most challenging part was doing the background research,” Song said. “Although I already had some knowledge about the Victorian era, I did not know about the specific locations back then and the inventions that were not available then.” With Thorns in the Shadow published, Song doesn’t plan to stop writing. In fact, she is already planning a sequel to her second book. “When I am older, whatever job I have, I will always continue to write,” Song said.
Rhea Jain is a tenth grade student at Singapore American School.
Singapore American • December 2014
LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen: "We Care and Serve" By Joe Foggiato
s we enter the holiday season and reflect on the past year, many of us are moved to help those who have been less fortunate or to give something back to the community that we have enjoyed. My recommendation is to consider spending a few hours at Willing Hearts soup kitchen. I started volunteering with Willing Hearts in 2013 and have been hooked ever since. It was an eye-opening experience to see that just like in my home in the US, there are people in Singapore who need assistance with an everyday meal. Volunteering at the soup kitchen is easy. You just show up! And upon arrival, you are assigned a job. It could be cooking in large woks, cutting vegetables, cracking 1,000 eggs, packing meals or transferring the food to vans. Volunteers also are needed to deliver bulk meals to an HDB or individual meals in a door-to-door operation for recipients who may be homebound. When you volunteer, you never know whom you’ll be linked up with—a student, teacher or a company
executive—it really doesn’t matter. Everyone is working toward the same goal. Willing Hearts is a 100 percent volunteer-run, nonprofit organization set up to help provide for those in need in Singapore, regardless of race or creed. It distributes about 3,000 daily meals (seven days a week) to the needy including the elderly, adults and children in Singapore. That totals about 90,000 meals monthly. Willing Hearts has been registered as a society with the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs since February 2005. During this holiday season, I hope you will join me in making a difference and celebrating how blessed we are by volunteering at the soup kitchen. Details can be found on the website: http://www.willinghearts.org.sg.
Joe Foggiato is a Director for the American Association of Singapore. Photo by Charles Liew
Singapore American • December 2014
Holiday Flights with Babies and Toddlers
What Is Advent?
By Katrijn de Ronde
By Angel Corrigan
oliday travel is coming up and as much as we look forward to hugging our loved ones and sharing in treasured family traditions, there is always the travel that must be done before we get to the good part. Flying with babies and toddlers can be summed up in one word: horrible. They cry, they won’t sit still, they’re incredibly messy eaters, they have no respect for personal space. And it’s worse if they’re yours. Flying with babies and toddlers is no walk in the park. You will be bone tired afterwards. Hair will turn grey, eyes will be baggy, you will not watch more than fifteen minutes of the in-flight entertainment and your clothes will forever smell of the food your little ones smeared on you (so dress wisely). Your muscles will ache from walking up and down, up and down, up and down the aisle. However well you prepare, you will not enjoy the flight. So don’t worry about it. In fact, I have broken down the not worrying into five specific categories to not worry about: 1. Sleep Schedules At the end of the flight, the children will have to adjust to a completely new time zone anyway. So what does it matter that they don’t get to sleep until 2am because the cabin lights don’t go off? In fact, there’s a silver lining: the worse the flight goes, the easier the children adjust to the jet lag. (If they do sleep well on the plane, the silver lining is that at least you got a bit of peace and quiet before the horrors of baby jet lag hit.) 2. Other People You will never see the other people on the plane again. And if you do, they will not recognize the suave, well-dressed calm and smiling you as the wild-eyed, bird-nest haired woman in the grey sweats who kept stomping up and down the aisle dragging a toddler. So, don’t worry about what they think of you. 3. Healthy Food Food can be a great way to keep your child entertained, especially if it’s empty calories and fiddly to eat. Cereals and puffs have been designated travel food in our household. Other than that, we always bring a truck load of yogurt to settle their stomachs, and breadsticks and crackers. Yes, we care about vegetables and fruit, but not enough to start a fight on board an airplane. And let’s be honest: it’s not as if we are setting a shining example with our microwaved in-flight meals.
4. Bassinets There is a lot of advice online about bassinets. But because of weight constrictions, bassinets are really only suitable for babies. And you’re not allowed to use one if the seatbelt sign is on. We preferred to carry our babies in a baby carrier during the whole flight. Of course, they didn’t sleep like they would at home, but at least they felt comfortable being close to us in such a strange environment. For the toddlers, some airlines let you make a little bed for them at your feet. But mostly, be prepared to be squashed. Remember, you will never regret time spent cuddling your babies.
h yes, it’s Christmas time again, why does it always come when the stores are so crowded? The lights, decorations, endless parties and preparations designed to get you in “the mood” turns some people into the Grinch. We lament at how commercialized it’s all become. If you come from a Christian tradition, how do you get off the modern holiday merry-go-round and reclaim the holiness of the season for you and your family? May I suggest that you celebrate Advent? Advent has been part of the Christian church calendar since the fourth century. The word Advent is the Anglicized version of the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” Four weeks prior to Christmas Day, Christians begin a season of reflection about the significance of the birth of Christ. There are different traditional tools used to help us contemplate and deepen our faith. Our three children grew up preparing for Christmas Day by using the Advent wreath and an Advent calendar.
5. The Next Flight I’ve had amazing flights with my two (I once got to watch almost two whole movies!) and utterly miserable ones (one look at my face upon arrival and my brother took my toddler for a long, long walk around the airport). Past experience is no guarantee for the future. And remember, at the end of the flight, there will be festive cheer, the comforts of home and lots of people who will be more than willing to take your children off your hands, jiggle them, wiggle them and let you finally have that rest you so deserve. Katrijn de Ronde, a freelance business journalist and medieval historian, writes about parenthood and expat life at her blog singatamtam.blogspot. com. Photos by Wienke-de Ronde family
The Advent wreath's circular shape represents the eternal nature of God, who has no beginning and no end. Traditional wreaths were made from evergreen boughs which symbolize everlasting life. The traditional colors for the Advent candles also have meaning. There are three purple candles, one pink and one larger, central white candle. Purple is the color of royalty and as such represents the royal nature of Christ as the Son of God. In some traditions the purple candles signify penitence. The pink candle is the candle of joy and calls to mind angels
singing and rejoicing at the time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. The larger central white candle represents the Christ child, and is often referred to as the Christ candle. A new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays of Advent. The accompanying readings and hymns remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. The four candles represent Hope, Love, Joy and Peace and the central white candle represents the light of Christ that has come into the world. The Advent calendar, a favorite of children, brings day-by-day reminders of the coming of Christ. Some create a picture as you open each door and some have readings along with a small sweet or gift in them. These are excellent resources for kids as it gives the story of Christmas in smaller, easy to understand bits. Practicing this ancient church tradition can help calm some of the hype and usher the holy back in to Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent this year is November 30, so it’s not too late to do a google search on Advent to find readings and hymn suggestions. Then get an advent wreath or calendar and start a new tradition in your family or just reignite an old one. Angel Corrigan has lived around the world as a military spouse. In 1999, she arrived in Singapore with her family and has worked at the US Embassy and in the fundraising and development field as Managing Director of her own company. Photos by Christine McIntosh and Stardust Kay
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014
Singapore American • December 2014
Home for the Holidays: A One-Way Christmas Ticket to America By Kevin F. Cox
ombining the holidays with repatriation is like going to a fancy poolside cocktail party and getting pushed in the water. It starts out as one thing and then turns into something else. That's what it was for us last Christmas when, just a day before Santa was to load up his sleigh, we loaded up our luggage and left Singapore after nearly five years. They say that expats experience the biggest challenge not when moving abroad, but when returning. They’re not kidding. Okay, it's not like we didn't know that winter in New Jersey was occasionally cold. And we knew there was always a possibility of precipitation. But after five years of warm, balmy jaunts to places like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia over the “winter” holidays, one tends to forget, or at least downplay, the notion that Christmas is a cold season spectacle. The closest we had come to snow was going to Tanglin Mall for the utterly ridiculous onslaught of, well, soap. But so it was that my two pre-teen boys and I found ourselves in the baggage area of JFK Airport in little more than sandals, shorts and warm weather dry-fit shirts. Seems okay, I thought, as we waited in the industrially-heated air for the bags. Then we went outside. Now rather than describing with biting detail the whole-body pin pricks of icy wind piercing our nylon fabric and bare legs, or the burning wetness of dirty slush oozing around our open toes, let me simply state that the winter of 2013-14 went down as the region's coldest, wettest and harshest in recorded history. I was already unhappy about leaving our Lion City home particularly in the middle of winter. But this winter, with multiple stints of week-long subzero temperatures, feet of snow, and graying ice piles along every walkway, was like some kind of sick joke.
Not everyone was unhappy. The boys were oblivious to the cold piercing their thin clothes. Every patch of white drew remarks as we drove to our new home. And by “home” I don’t mean a place were we could immediately live, but rather a nearly-
empty structure devoid of creature comforts. Our things from Singapore were still weeks away. Our excitement over the big reveal to the kids was dashed when, upon pulling in the drive, they leapt from the car and promptly engaged in a snowball
fight, unconcerned with what lay beyond the unfamiliar front door. But for us, one look at the ice on the drive, the snow piled by the curb and the record low temperature, and my wife and I nodded to each other silently: time to head south for Christmas. We headed to Virginia to the family shore house that my wife, who had returned before us, prepared for our arrival. Walking through the door to a Christmas tree, decorations and wafting balsam in the air made my Christmas repatriation palatable. Was it the distraction of holiday that fended off homesickness? Was it the presence of family, change of scenery and the thought of Santa and snow that eased us into a new life far from idyllic Singapore? Or was it simply that major changes to nearly everything in one’s comfort zone is easier for expats than for others? For us it was all of the above, leading to the conclusion that repatriation with distraction is not a bad idea. But the slow progression through repatriation shock is not over yet: people still smirk as I back into parking spots; huff when I turn over my credit card to pay for groceries instead of scanning it myself, and stare at me blankly when I ask for “petrol" or to “top it up.” And—excuse me—where is my helper?! Now, a long year later, we are getting settled. But alas, a new winter approaches and the farmers say this year will be even worse. And there’s not a coconut tree in sight. Kevin F. Cox is a food and travel writer for numerous publications and online sites in the region. After five years in Singapore, he now resides in the United States and is the founder of Foodwalkers, a culinary exploration network found at www.foodwalkers.com. Photo by Kevin F. Cox
Singapore American • December 2014
History of Eurasian Holidays By Rob Faraone
he thumping drums of a Chinese dragon dance or the melodic flutes of an Indian snake-charmer herald the exotic side of Singapore. During Christmas, we may identify with the more traditional ways Eurasians of Singapore celebrate the holidays. Starting in the sixteenth century and continuing well into the nineteenth century, many Europeans made the decision to leave their families and board vessels to faraway Asia. Some Eurasians trace their roots to the Portuguese colony of Malacca but Dutch and British voyagers soon followed. Once in Singapore, the men often married local women, had children and settled down— never to return to Europe. The father usually insisted on sharing his traditional Christmas with his new blended family. Today, most Eurasians in Singapore are Christian and celebrate Christmas in the Catholic Church and at home. At a typical family gathering, the crowd is large and diverse. As with a North American family, the conversation includes local happenings and “football” but the Eurasian Christmas is also infused with Asian elements such as Ang Pau for children or a noisy game of Mahjong.
As food-centric as anyone in Singapore, Eurasians lovingly prepare special dishes for Christmas Eve celebrations such as roast pork loin and pineapple tarts. Local dishes include laksa or fried rice but the table also is graced by Eurasian specialties. Devil Curry ironically lacks Indian curry flavor; it’s often pork based and spicy. Feng is a soupy, spicy Portuguese creation and sugee cake is a richer version of pound cake, made with semolina, almond bits and butter. The Western tradition of enjoying alcohol with gusto on the Christmas holidays has been preserved over the centuries.
Currently, fewer than 17,000 Eurasians live in Singapore but the community remains a proud and vibrant reminder of Singapore’s past. For more information about Eurasians in Singapore, visit: http://www.eurasians.org.sg/ http://www.asianfreerecipes.com/asian-recipes/ malaysia/feng-curried-variety-meats.php http://www.quentins.com.sg/ Rob Faraone has lived in six countries in the region over thirty years, including three stints in Singapore. After a career in moving/relocation industry, he enjoys sharing settling-in tips with new expats in Singapore. Photos by The Eurasian Association, Singapore and Quentin’s Eurasian Restaurant.
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Singapore American • December 2014
The Art of Oshogatsu, the Japanese New Year By Lauren S. Power
or many Japanese, Oshogatsu, or the New Year’s celebration, is the most important holiday in their calendar year. Resplendent with age-old traditions rooted in Shinto and Buddhist religions, this celebration is a time beloved above all as a family holiday. While the Japanese New Year was originally celebrated on the same day as the contemporary Chinese New Year, since 1873 the holiday has been held on January 1. Many businesses, shops and restaurants close from December 29 to January 3 so that Japanese people can return to their hometowns to spend the holiday with their families. Though this may cause some inconvenience to tourists visiting Japan over the holidays, it also presents an opportunity to experience the ideology, food and practices behind Oshogatsu.
It is not uncommon for people to view the beginning of a new year as a time for a fresh start. For Japanese, there are several traditions to emphasize this idea. In late December, companies and organizations hold bonenkai parties, to bid farewell to the previous year and leave troubles behind. As one might expect, these parties usually involve a lot of alcohol and merrymaking, and sometimes groups even take small retreats to onsen, or natural hot springs resorts, to truly usher in a pleasant feeling of forgetfulness. To further drive home this feeling of washing away the previous year, most homes undergo their most thorough cleaning in late December, before Oshogatsu, and traditional ornaments made from pine, bamboo and seasonal fruits are placed at the entrance. While bonenkai is the carefree goodbye to the year past,
Oshogatsu is a more reverent welcome to the new year. Beginning at midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples begin a slow procession of 108 rings of the temple bell, symbolizing the 108 sins and worldly desires in Buddhism. As the bell tolls, people enter the first day of the new year, or hatsumode, cleansed from worries and transgressions. The most popular hatsumode celebrations take place at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Taisha, Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha and Kamakura's Tsuruoka Hachimangu. These locations draw over one million visitors on New Year’s Eve, and those wishing to pray for good fortune often wait in line for over an hour to reach the main offering hall. Many temples hold festive performances of traditional Japanese music, and stalls are set up where seasonal foods and good luck charms can be purchased. After the ringing of the bells, people enjoy toshi-koshi soba, or “year’s crossing” buckwheat noodles, symbolizing strength and longevity. The first sunrise of the year is called hatsu-hinode, and many Japanese people rise early to watch it. Traditionally, New Year’s Day should be a stress-free time to enjoy relaxing with family, and no work should be done. For this reason, a special traditional food was created that could be prepared ahead of time and served on New Year’s Day. This food, called osechi, is known for being vibrantly beautiful, and each delicacy has symbolism tied to the new year. For example, kazunoko, or marinated herring roe, symbolizes fertility, and kurikinton, or candied chestnuts with sweet potato, symbolizes wealth. Osechi is served in layered lacquered boxes called jubako. An equally important, traditional New Year’s dish is ozoni, a hot soup with mochi, or sticky rice, and regional vegetables and seafood, usually served for breakfast. As part of the New Year’s festivities, Emperor Akihito and members of the Japanese royal family offer a ceremonial public greeting from a balcony in their Imperial Palace in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The inner Palace gates are only open to the public on January 2 and on Emperor Akihito’s birthday on December 23, so a chance
to see the royal family truly makes an auspicious start to the new year for many Japanese. While Oshogatsu doesn’t have the fanfare and fireworks of Times Square in New York, there is a profound art to the Japanese New Year’s celebration. The methodical ceremony taken to embrace time’s ephemeral nature and to renew the promise of each new year is something that everyone can aspire to. From onsen parties to osechi feasts to midnight temple markets, Japan has something for all visitors to enjoy a happy New Year. Lauren S. Power is a freelance writer and research consultant. She came to Singapore to enjoy her passion for social, economic and foreign policy studies. Photos by Lauren S. Power
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014
Singapore American • December 2014
Los Años Viejos By Lucía Damacela
favorite Ecuadorian tradition of mine from childhood that hasn’t abated or been engulfed by modern life takes place every December 31 or Nochevieja (Old Night). A farewell to the end of the year, the Quema de los Viejos (Burning of the Old Ones) is not, as its name may suggest, a pyromaniac sacrifice of old people, but the burning of effigies, dolls or dummies that represent the fading year. Politicians are a staple, and their effigies will be burnt thousands of times on that day by detractors and supporters alike. Same will happen with the dummies of celebrated sporting figures, such as Messi or Ronaldo, two renowned football/soccer players, and with a wide array of national and international celebrities, animated characters and superheroes.
The dolls portray both famous and infamous characters, savory and unsavory, heroes and villains. They all encapsulate socially and/ or personally relevant themes that happened during the year. The Viejos can be made to depict events or situations carrying plenty of social and political commentary, usually in a humorous manner. In these circumstances, instead of a lonely dummy, the Años Viejos become a mise-en-scène with several dummies. For example, to commemorate the World Cup, the ensemble could include a group of fans, the Brazilian goalkeeper carrying a bag full of soccer balls to allude to their heavy loss to Germany, with Brazil’s superstar Neymar perhaps uttering some words of regret for not having played in that match. The artists’ intentions are also expressed in the Testamento, or Last Will that the dying Viejo has allegedly left behind. In these witty texts, the Viejo offers tools and snippets of wisdom that the New Year will need to overcome specific problems or situations. Other South American countries practice this tradition as well but it has become larger than life in Ecuador, where the celebration is observed all over the country. Right after Christmas, in town after town, dolls start mushrooming outside houses and buildings or by the side of country roads. There are Viejos citywide competitions and exhibitions as well, with stalls built on designated areas to showcase the elaborated ensembles. These are usually crafted by neighborhood associations and other community organizations. My parents used to take us, the kids, on the afternoon of December 31, to visit these stalls and admire the creations.
Making the dummies can be very simple. The plainer ones consist of a human shape with clothing and stuffed with materials such as paper, sawdust, hay, cardboard, unprocessed cotton or old cloth. A mask of the character they represent is put on them, and they are dressed and accessorized accordingly. Street vendors and shops offer a variety of paper-maché masks of popular characters. In recent years, more than a fun family activity, making the dolls is being outsourced to professional artisans; people can buy ready-made dolls, particularly superheroes and animated characters, or commission dolls made to order. The competition-grade dummies are much larger and usually made of a combination of wood and paper maché, and painted rather than dressed. They are really sculptures that stand on their own, as opposed to the home-made Viejos, which wait for their fate, spineless, dejectedly seated on a chair. Talk about perishable art. Regardless of the effort put on creating them, when midnight approaches, these dolls are burnt to smithereens. When I was growing up, there was still more in store for these Viejos; they were full of surprises, as their stuffing was usually spiced up with firecrackers and bottle rockets. On our street, neighbors paid a courteous visit to the burning carcasses and complimented each other on their creations. Some families were keen on making the loudest, scariest dummy. This was a typical example of a situation in which the expression “appearances can be deceiving” was spot on. Somebody could have made the coolest, most interesting looking dummy, but at the moment that counts, it went out as a wimp, whereas many small ones knew how to throw a mean final punch, filled to the brim with firepower. I clearly remember our family Viejos always being firmly in the first category, as our parents didn´t condone playing with explosives at all.
Needless to say, replicating this experience overseas with my own family has been impossible. We have attempted to continue the tradition by occasionally making a tiny cardboard doll which is burnt in the fireplace, but it doesn’t feel quite the same. Likewise in Ecuador, this practice is now more regulated and firecrackers more restricted. In the large cities, the bigger exhibition dolls are burnt under fire department and police supervision, with people safely away and ambulances in-site, as it should be.
Fire and lights are a vital part of the New Year celebrations across cultures, with fire cast as a purifying force. A blank slate emerges from the cleansing with fire, allowing us to start anew, leaving behind the frustrations and worries from the events of the year. The Quema de los Viejos fulfills that aspiration in a creative, entertaining and powerful way, particularly in my memories.
Lucia Damacela moved to Singapore with her family in 2013. A social psychologist and researcher by training, she started foraying into creative writing and recently contributed a short story to the book, Rojak—Stories from the Singapore Writers Group.
Photos by Diana Arellano and Maria Elena Orellana
Singapore American • December 2014
Ushering in the New Year By Alexia Loughman
s this December 31 ushers in the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s nationhood, there is no shortage of festivities around the island. Take part in one—or all!—of these fabulous events to celebrate this auspicious moment in history. Marina Bay Sands’ Singapore Countdown is in its tenth year, bringing together “people from all walks of life for a night of revelry and reflection on New Year’s Eve.” Festivities for December 31 begin in the afternoon, with the Marina Waterfront Bazaar. From 4pm onward through midnight, vendors will be selling everything from artisan handcrafts to fashion accessories to holiday gadgets on the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade. If shopping isn’t your bag, check out the DrumGaia, where over 400 drummers will be performing on the Marina Bay Sands Events Plaza, beginning at 8pm. Audience members will have the chance to participate in Drum Circles throughout the night. The drummers will also provide the live soundtrack at midnight, when the sky is illuminated with an aweinspiring, eight-minute fireworks display. If you want to celebrate in style, consider Marina Bay Sands’ “Sky High Party 2015: Countdown Under the Stars” on the SkyPark Observation Deck with live entertainment and perfect view of the skyline. Catch the explosion of fireworks up close as you toast to new adventures in the coming year. Tickets start from $168, inclusive of a glass of champagne. Reserve your spot now at www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing. For an all-night celebration, head to Labrador Park where the parties begin at 10pm on New Year’s Eve and keep going until 6:30am on New Year’s Day. Last year’s celebration attracted more than 10,000 people. And let’s not forget Sentosa! You can party from dusk to dawn “with spectacular fireworks, pulsing synths of dance music and great company as you countdown a new beginning at Siloso Beach Party.” You are invited to wander within five distinct party zones, and enjoy a foam pool and a sandy dance floor. The organizers also have a terrific group of DJs lined up. For more information, visit: www.silosobeachparty.com. Singapore offers many exceptional places to view the fireworks and ring in the New Year including Benjamin Sheares Bridge, Esplanade Bridge and Merlion Park. Other terrific options include Marina Barrage, Singapore Flyer, F1 Pit Lane and Gardens by the Bay. Hope you enjoy the festivities! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Alexia Loughman is a recent American transplant to Singapore. A media professional, Alexia is passionate about community and communication. Photo by Marina Bay Sands
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Singapore American • December 2014
may include incorporating a dress cap rather than a veil, as well as a gown or authentic silk adornments from the native country.
skirt-blouse and veil. Changing dresses multiple times throughout a ceremony is not uncommon in Southeast Asian traditions. Brides may make a wardrobe change at some point in the evening to switch between various cultural styles, perhaps from traditional to modern. Some smaller changes
Ceremonies Indian weddings are traditionally a multiday celebration. In many Indian countries, especially those with primarily Hindu cultures, it is bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other not only on their wedding day but even a few days before. The Indian Mehndi ceremony is typically a private ritual held by the bride's family the day before the wedding. At this ceremony, the tradition is followed of applying turmeric paste (also known as henna) in intricate and beautiful designs on the bride's face, feet and hands. In modern times, Chinese couples often take part in destination or glamour wedding photos, posing in multiple gowns and various
backgrounds. You may have seen these photos shoots happening all around Singapore, especially in front of Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The Chinese tea ceremony is one of the most sacred rituals of the nuptials. The groom’s family members sit in chairs while the newlyweds kneel before them and serve tea. It is served in a special order, traditionally starting with the groom’s parents, then proceeding from the oldest family members to the youngest, including the paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles, and siblings. In variations of the traditional tea ceremony, the bride and groom may serve tea to the bride’s family after the groom’s family or the bride may serve tea to her family in a private ceremony beforehand to show thanks and respect.
No matter where you live, all weddings are different and unique in their own right. Each individual couple has their own nuances from their cultural upbringing that they might include. Ultimately, the bride and groom are honored to have you join them on this joyous occasion and that elation is something that transcends all cultures.
After spending the last combined twenty-one years in Phoenix, Arizona, Amy Buchan and Raegen Siegfried are enjoying the experience that is Singapore and the Asia Pacific region. The self-proclaimed desert girl and a refined redneck share what the world has to offer on their blog: www.one-degreenorth.blogspot.com. Photos by Amy Buchan and Raegen Siegfried
Singapore American • December 2014
ARCTIC ADVENTURES AT THE SEAL RIVER LODGE By Richard Bangs
his seems crazy. In the stern of a Mark V Zodiac on the Arctic Sea, I’m slipping into a dry suit, fitting into flippers, and adjusting a snorkel mask. Then Terry, the guide, instructs me to jump overboard and turn on my belly, feet facing him. Once so positioned, he slips a lasso around my ankles, fires up the 60 hp Mercury engine, and pays out the line. “Don’t forget to sing,” Terry yells. “What kind of music?” I garble. “Try your national anthem, as long as you’re not from a whaling nation.” So as I’m being dragged, backwards, through the cold water, I begin with Francis Scott Key
but nothing happens. Then I remember Terry saying that women, with their higher voices, seem to get the best results. I switch to The Four Seasons and boom—suddenly the space in front of my mask is filled with belugas, dancing, squeaking, chirping and grinning at me. They bend and curve like ballerinas. There must be twenty that swim up, turn heads in a greeting, and then dart away like phantoms into the night.
The improbable visionary who concocted this way to commune with the belugas is Mike Reimer. He also designed a way to walk eyelevel with polar bears and his outfit remains the only in the world to offer such. With his lofty intelligence, Reimer came up with the idea of crafting luxury lodges in extreme latitudes to give access to these beasts of the northern wild. As we bead onto a small dirt strip surrounded by blazing fireweed, it’s clear that we’ve arrived at The Seal River Lodge, the cynosure in a collection Mike and his wife, Jeanne, imagined and then built. I pull a handle made from caribou antler on the big wooden door, and step into a warm lounge brightened by windows overlooking Hudson Bay. There is a moose head on the wall, a rack of caribou antlers, skulls of wolf and polar bear on the floor, and a snowy owl, who no longer gives a hoot, hanging by a wire from the ceiling. Into the room strides a tall, lanky man with a north-weathered smile: Mike Reimer, hand thrust in greeting. He exudes a gladness of place and time. He gives a tour of his inn, beaming like a proud father, or grandfather, which he newly is. Out the window I can see a set of boards with the points of long nails thrusting upwards, like an Indian Fakir’s bed. “The unwelcome mats,” Mike explains. “Keeps the polar bears from smashing the windows.” As Mike glides through his creation he shares how he found this outpost: it was an abandoned whale research station and occasional goose blind, which he first spotted on an aerial survey. When he finally reached the structure, the overgrown foliage seemed to lift the building above the ground. All the windows and doors
were knocked out by polar bears, and it stank of Arctic fox urine. But it was propped in a place practically boiling with bears and belugas and, freed from the limits of lower-latitude eyes, Mike knew this was his destiny. After the tour, Mike says it’s time to go for a walk. But, of course, this is no ordinary walk. We all suit up in thick Salus jackets and Wellington boots, and step out onto the springy tundra. The first few steps into this primal kingdom are rewarding. We pass a huge hare, something from Wonderland after Alice has shrunk. It’s an Arctic hare, largest in the world, says Terry, our tuque-topped guide. Then we have a Caddyshack moment as a scurry of little furry animals darts about, popping in and out of gopher-like holes. They are sik-siks, the Innu name for the Arctic ground squirrels that dash at these latitudes. And to the east squadrons of geese crank themselves across the bay. Then, after a couple hundred meters into the tidal flats, in a spot where the line between land and water looks like a charcoal sketch, we make an acquaintance: a large, lustrous white bear, tossing about on a bed of grass, yawning and scratching in a seeming state of torpor. Is this exercise crazy—facing, without glass, steel cage or fence between, a 1500-pound killer with teeth and claws like knives who can run faster than a horse? Despite our tool use, language abilities and capacity for abstract thought, we are bowed down in the true natural order of the world here. Terry, with a twelve-gauge shotgun slung from his belt, explains that after the bears exit the ice in summer they go into a state of “walking hibernation,” slowing down the metabolism, eating little, waiting for the
Hudson Bay to refreeze, so they again can roam the ice platform and hunt seals. It’s this sloweddown state that allows humans to get close, though it certainly speeds the blood. We are so close I can see his white fur rippling like a field
under wind; and I feel the hair bristle on the back of my neck. We cast long shadows here in summer, and as the sun skips along the horizon we make our way back to the lodge. Inside, in front of a south-facing window the size of Iceland, we’re treated to the first of a pageant of gourmet dinners, all the more fantastic as everything has to be flown in by small plane. It’s still light though, well past my bedtime when I make my way to my room. As I shut the door I see a sign on the back where often is found fire escape routes or rates. But this may be the only lodge in the world in which all the rooms have door signs announcing the rules of “Bear Safety,” including my favorite, #6: “Never Run.” “Hurry. The tide waits for no man or woman,” Terry scolds next morning as I worm on my gumboots. Indeed, the Hudson Bay tide is dramatic in front of the lodge. Under
Singapore American • December 2014
the lambent light of morning, we motor south to the shallow mouth of the Seal River, where nutrient-rich waters host the highest concentration of belugas in the world. As Terry turns off the engine the air is filled with the whoosh of surfacing whales, of water spouting blithely from spiracles, jets that catch the sun. White whales pass under our boat like gleaming underwater missiles, evoking lore oft denied, that belugas were secretly trained by the Soviet navy to attack enemy frogmen with harpoons attached to their backs, and to carry out kamikaze strikes against enemy ships. Hard to fathom as Terry slips a hydrophone into the water, and we are serenaded with cheery whistles, bird-like cheeps, rascally raspberries, fun house door hinges and rubber-band boings, not the sounds expected of soldiers in the sea. The next few days are spent alternatively walking with master predators, swimming with toothed whales, eyeing avifauna (arctic terns, bald eagles, gulls, geese, godwits, gyrfalcons,
grebes and such) and stuffing our faces with sumptuous meals. On the last day Mike offers to take us on a boat trip 15 miles further north, to check out a site where he is making a temporary camp for a group of Chinese photographers. Quent Plett, a long-time Churchill Wild guide, is second mate. As we approach the site we see a polar bear sprawled like a snowplow near the water. He lifts his nose to the cool blue sky. Then behind it another big sloped head pokes out of the grass, gets up, shakes like an over-sized dog and tracks up the beach. Then a hundred yards away another appears and melts into the bushes. More and more pop up. I’m in awe, but Quent yells to Mike, “Look, there’s an eider,” and Mike turns the boat for a better look. It’s telling, perhaps, that Mike and Quent have seen so much white fur that a duck gets more attention than a sloth of bears. At one point I count fourteen polar bears in my field of vision. They scatter in different directions, with several splashing into the water and swimming towards Quebec. We motor up alongside a couple of big boys deeply scarred from alpha clashes, like old boxers with wounds that never fully heal. Mike blandishes them with soft words, but they grunt and throw us black stink eyes, as if we’re pointless inconveniences, like black flies. Then they paddle onwards and I find myself resisting some magnetic force that makes me want to jump into the clear, perfect water. This is a sublime moment, inches from
And somehow the chemical mixture of the merged families made a magic potion that put lodges in the most severe landscapes on the planet, against the odds and pleas for sanity. Now, though, former naysayers are looking into building along the upper Hudson Bay and others are looking into offering whale swimming tours similar to what Mike and his family pioneered. But Mike’s not too concerned. He was first, and knows he will always be a step ahead of the madding crowd. the jaws of the largest carnivorous land mammal on earth. This is terror mixed with awe mixed with admiration, yet it is pleasurable because I am reasonably certain that the aluminum hull of the boat we are riding will contain us from
being eaten. The bears turn in and scull off towards the horizon. Over a dinner Mike shares that he was a southern Manitoba farm boy who kept gazing north. His wife’s side of the family has been involved in adventure tourism for over forty years, in the lodging business for a century.
Richard Bangs has published more than 1,000 magazine articles, nineteen books, a score of documentaries and all manner of digital media. He has lectured at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club and many other notable venues. Photos by Didrik Johnck/White Nile Media
Singapore American • December 2014
HEALTH & WELLNESS
When Does My Dentist Go to the Dentist? Signs and Symptoms of Dental Problems By Dr. Gail Willow, D.D.S.
Pain If your teeth, gums or jaw joints are painful, there is a problem. Pain can manifest in many different ways. It can be dull, sharp, constant, intermittent, focused or indiscriminate, and the list goes on. If your mouth has any type of pain which does not go away with proper brushing and flossing, there may be a problem. Something’s Broken Fillings and other dental work have a life expectancy, just like everything else. Sometimes things break. It could be a dental restoration, or it could be the tooth itself. This needs to be evaluated right away, even if it doesn’t hurt. A Crown Loosens or Comes Out This needs to be treated right away. It might be as easy as recementing the crown back on the tooth. However, it may require more treatment. The key is to see the dentist as soon as possible.
ecently I called my dentist’s office for an appointment. The receptionist was unable to schedule me, as my dentist was going to the dentist. I was curious as to how my dentist knew when she needed to see a dentist. During my appointment, I queried her. Here are some of the signs and symptoms my dentist said were indications that a problem might be brewing:
Gum Swelling, Bleeding, Pain or Bad Odor These are all signs of infection in your gums. This is not normal and needs to be evaluated. It may be indicating gum disease that has advanced to the point of infection. It may be an area where food is getting packed between your teeth which you are not able to remove. It may be that something became stuck under your gum, such as a popcorn hull. All of these situations need your dentist’s care. Swelling Any time you have any swelling in your face or jaws that is related to your mouth, it is an emergency situation. It may be indicating an advancing infection. Call your dentist for an emergency appointment.
Trauma If you receive a strong blow to your mouth or jaw joint, you need to be seen by your dentist. If teeth are chipped, broken or completely knocked out (place knocked out tooth in a glass of milk or water, however do not scrub nor rub it!) call for an emergency appointment. My dentist was going to her dentist for a regular checkup and cleaning. She had no pain or any problem. However, by going in a preventative manner, she said her dentist would make sure her gums were in a healthy state, that she had no cavities, that all of her dental restorations and her jaw joints were doing well. She also had an oral cancer check. Any problems could then be addressed before they became bigger or turned into an emergency. My dentist sees her dentist every six months for her regular maintenance visits and so do I!
Dr. Gail Willow was born and raised in the southwestern United States. She attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City Dental School, where she graduated the youngest in her class in 1984. www.DrFlorenceLi.com
Singapore American • December 2014
FOOD & DINING
Celebrating with Wine By the Sassy Sommelier
wash in wine, crowds converse, contemplate, and congratulate. Whether raising a glass to congratulate a colleague on a new job, promotion or retirement; popping a cork to toast a birth, birthday, anniversary; christening a boat or a child; warming a house; celebrating holidays with friends; or sitting in a café celebrating the joie de vivre—wine is a friendly companion and complement to any occasion. When I reflect on significant moments, senses related to memory engage: sound, sight, scent and flavor. It’s all there swirling in a glass of wine, triggering vivid recall of moments past. There is something about the sound of a cork pop: a sparkling sigh relieving great anticipation, a signal that we are in the now that brings a roomful of people into the present. Eyes exchange knowing glances. It’s the sound of “the moment we’ve all been waiting for” and the celebration begins.
I need only see the label of an old favorite and I am transported across the world to Chile. I become enveloped in music, accents and dance,
reveling in the intoxication of Carmenere and the love of family and friends as two marvelous people come together in marriage. The scent of a wine cellar holds a special promise. The first barrel tasting of a particular vintage is almost like a celebration in itself with the aroma of soil and stone, barrels and cork, sweet scents of grape lees and fresh crushed orbs of juiciness. Each cellar has its own fragrance: flowers and fruit, leather and wood, must and mustiness. The scents swirl around one’s glass and circle strangers, now cohorts, in celebration of the flavors released, yet rated but long awaited. And oh, the palette of flavors, they are accompaniments for every occasion. Nero d’Avola, intense tannins integrated with smooth notes of blackberry and cocoa, is the flavor of my brother’s cancer, survived. We celebrated with a trip to Italy where we overlooked volcanoes and sea. We raised glasses of wine in the pregnant lemon orchards of Mama Rosa following an afternoon spent up to our elbows in fresh mozzarella, pasta flour and dolce vita. Cotes de Provence Rose is fresh and bright, with hints of strawberry and just a bit of spice. Could there be a better companion for a new bride and groom? Undertones of pink suggest the honeymoon blush induced by new love, romantic sunsets and endless glasses of grenache, mourvedre and cinsault blends. Six years later, our memories are easily brought forward with just a sip.
Vino Nobile tastes like a sundrenched field of sunflowers and poppies, a smoky café on top of a hill in the shadow of a clock tower and the laughter of friends over a grey hair that’s just emerged. Perhaps it was the result of driving the crazy round-abouts from Siena to Montepulciano. We noticed the irony in the visual display of aging potential as bottomless glasses of well-cellared Brunello toast a birthday and graduation. There is an emotional connection for a wine lover between the grape, the geography and the moment. And a good wine, like a good friend, does not overshadow, but complements the
celebration. As we enter the holiday season and open a bottle, you might catch the scent of a memory in the making. Family, friends and celebration reside in each sip.
A globe trotter for business and pleasure, the Sassy Sommelier has enjoyed traveling through many of the top wine regions of the world. From the tip of South America to New Zealand, from sparkling wine to super Tuscans, it's been one lovely adventure of palette and soul. She shares her experiences, learnings and love for wine with her readers. Photos by the Sassy Sommelier
Singapore American • December 2014
FOOD & DINING
Holiday Entertaining with Chef Paul Ng Compiled by Valerie Tietjen
Chef Paul Ng, Executive Sous Chef at The American Club, shares his elegant and festive holiday recipes with ingredients from FairPrice Finest. “I want to showcase what a fantastic feast you can whip up from your local supermarkets,” he says. Smoked Salmon with Granny Smith Apple & Creamy Feta Dressing (four servings)
Turkey Ballotine with Herb & Cranberry Minced Meat & Turkey Gravy (four servings)
2.5kg Turkey breast 8g Salt 4g Pepper 16g Cajun spice
Creamy Feta Dressing
700g Dark meat, minced 1 Onion, finely chopped 20ml Olive oil 1 Egg yolk 70g Dried cranberries 40g Double cream 6 Asparagus (cut into thirds) 4 Cherry tomatoes 6 pcs Kai Lan flower (optional for garnish) 1 sprig (3g) Fresh thyme, chopped 3g Sugar 20g Spring onion, chopped 30g Breadcrumbs 6g Paprika 6g Salt 3g Pepper
280g Smoked salmon 1 Granny Smith apple 80g Mesclun 20g Shallots 140g Heavy cream /cooking cream 100g Feta cheese 4g Lemon juice 2g Salt Method 1. Place the feta cheese, cream and lemon juice into blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt. 2. Wash and trim the Mesclun into small sprigs. 3. Thinly slice the shallots. 4. Core and thinly slice apple. 5. Arrange the smoked salmon slices in a rectangle about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long, place sprigs of Mesclun in the middle and roll it together to form a rose. Slice the bottom of the salmon to make it flat. 6. Garnish with thinly sliced apple, shallot rings and finish with creamy feta cheese dressing.
Chef Paul Ng has been the Executive Sous Chef of the Food and Beverage Department at The American Club Singapore since 2011. Recognized for his distinctive flair, Chef Paul engages a sophisticated approach in his food. He specializes in French and modern European cuisine accentuated with his personal touches. He believes in executing top quality ingredients with meticulous detail and precision to excite the palates of all his diners. www.amclub.org.sg
Smokey Presentation (Optional) Red Burgundy glass 2 Tea bags (any variety) 10ml Olive oil 80g Uncooked rice
Method 1. Place small portion of smoked salmon on a plate. 2. In a small sauce pot, add tea leaves, uncooked rice and olive oil and cover with aluminium foil and leaving a small gap at the top to release the smoke. Place the pot directly on the stove over medium high heat until the smoke is released. Use the wine glass to capture the smoke and immediately place the wine glass over the smoked salmon and serve.
Method 1. In a medium pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until they turn translucent, for 5 to 8 minutes over low to medium heat. Set aside to cool. 2. In a medium bowl, combine the minced meat, breadcrumbs, dried cranberries, egg yolk, cream, onion, thyme, spring onion, salt and pepper. Mix until mixture becomes clumpy. 3. Butterfly the turkey breast thinly. 4. On a piece of aluminium foil, place the butterflied turkey breast. Place the minced meat in the middle, and roll to the end. Twist both ends of the foil to secure the ballotine. 5. Preheat oven to 180⁰C, place the ballotine on a baking tray and cook for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven to rest for 5 minutes. 6. Remove the aluminium carefully and put the turkey back in oven and reset the oven to temperature of 230⁰C for another 10 minutes. To ensure the core is cooked, use a thermometer and poke into the middle part of the ballotine. The temperature should reach 69⁰C. 7. Season cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, thyme and sugar, bake in oven at 180⁰C for 5 minutes.
8. To plate, place the sliced meat onto center of the plate, garnish with steamed asparagus, Kai Lan flower and cherry tomatoes, finishing with turkey gravy.
500g Turkey bone 150g Carrot, cut in cubes 100g Celery, cut in cubes 150g Onion, cut in cubes 1 liter Water 1 sprig (2g) Fresh thyme Salt, pepper to taste 10g Plain flour Method 1. Roast the turkey bone in the oven at 200⁰C for 20 to 25 minutes until the bone caramelizes to golden brown. 2. In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, sauté the onion,
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014
FOOD & DINING
carrot and celery with the olive oil until they are translucent, 8 to 12 minutes. Add flour to cook for 2 minutes, add in water, thyme and roasted bone, bring to boil and reduce to quarter, about 45 minutes. Strain gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be prepared one day in advance.
Mixed Berries Crepes with Bananas & Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel (four servings) Crepes 1 Egg
38g Cake flour 30g Custard powder 20g Sugar 125g Blueberry 200ml Power Berries Juice, sieved 160g Bananas, sliced 180g Vanilla ice cream, single scoop 8 Strawberries, optional 8 Physalis fruit, optional 300g Blueberries, optional Method 1. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, cook blueberries and sugar until soft, then set aside to cool. 2. Transfer the blueberry mixture, berry juice,
egg, cake flour and custard powder into blender, until smooth. Sieve. 3. Pour some batter into a medium, non-stick pan in a thin layer and cook the crepe to light golden brown. 4. In a small pan, sautĂŠ the sliced bananas with 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce for 15 seconds until the bananas are coated nicely with the caramel sauce. 5. Place the crepes on a plate and add the bananas to the middle and wrap. 6. Serve with vanilla ice cream, decorate with fruit and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Salted Caramel Sauce 100g White sugar 150g Double cream 75g Unsalted butter 4g Kosher salt
Method 1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and bring to
a boil without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber colour. 2. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. 3. Turn off the heat, stir in the unsalted butter and salt. Transfer the caramel sauce to a dish and cool before use. Valerie Tietjen is the advertising manager at the American Association of Singapore. Photos by The American Club
Sharpen the carving knife and dig into a rich array of delectable deli delights by FairPrice Finest. Cooked to perfection, each slice is an experience to be savoured. Order your deli set today at any FairPrice Finest store and make Christmas dinner a mouth-watering memory to reminisce all year long. Visit www.fairprice.com.sg/finest to view the complete catalogue, learn how to prepare simple and delicious festive dishes via video recipes, and be informed of the latest events and exclusive promotions happening at FairPrice Finest.
Singapore American • December 2014
ARTS & CULTURE
Famous Sculptor Gives Advice to Aspiring Artists By Anna Sorokina
e’ve all heard stories of artists struggling to make ends meet. However, for most of us who want to be future doctors, lawyers, and engineers, these scary tales will never come true. Step into the shoes of an artist for a second. When everyone around you keeps saying that it’s impossible to sustain yourself by making art, it is hard to keep going. Internationally recognized sculptor, Jedd Novatt, shared his strategies on how not to get trapped in common misconceptions. Thanks to the American Association, Singapore American School art students had a chance to meet Jedd Novatt at a solo exhibition of his abstract Chaos series. Set up in Art Plural Gallery on 38 Armenian Street, the exhibition was open exclusively for SAS staff and students.
After gaining insight into the vision behind his contemporary art, students had an opportunity to ask Novatt about his work, influences and future goals. Most importantly, they received valuable advice that would help them to become successful and accomplished in today’s competitive art world. Inspired by the uniqueness of Jedd Novatt’s work, SAS students left the exhibition more knowledgeable about several interesting aspects of his career. Hopefully, students will follow Novatt’s expert advice to continue their journey towards becoming confident artists and out-of-thebox thinkers. Anna Sorokina is a senior at Singapore American School. Photos by Eric Janes
Singapore American • December 2014
Any responder should make any further enquiries with the organizer or should verify the information independently if necessary.
MUSEUMS 1 – 28 December Hearts on Fire Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place 10am-7pm www.acm.org.sg
13 December M1 CONTACT 2014 Contemporary Dance Festival International Artist Festival Finale Esplanade Theatre Studio www.sistic.com.sg 21 December Circle of Life – A Night of Musicals Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
1 – 31 December My Mailbox @ SPM Singapore Philatelic Museum 39 Armenian Street 10am-7pm www.spm.org.sg
MEMBER DISCOUNTS AAS Member Discounts AAS members enjoy discounts at a range of local businesses. Present your AAS membership card at time of purchase. Please see a full list of discounts at www.aasingapore.com/member-discounts.
2 hours free handyman service worth over $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700.
31 December New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert 2015 SOTA www.sistic.com.sg
1 December – 25 January Auspicious Designs: Batik for Peranakan Altars Peranakan Museum 23-B Coleman Street 9:30am-7pm www.peranakanmuseum.sg 1 December – 8 February Still Moving: A Triple Bill on the Image Singapore Art Museum 71 Bras Basah Road 10am-7pm www.singaporeartmuseum.sg 1 December – 10 August SINGAPURA: 700 years National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road 10am-6pm www.nationalmuseum.sg
LIFESTYLE 1 – 31 December Carpet Christmas Sale – up to 70% off Hedger’s Carpet Gallery 15 Dempsey Road #01-09 10:30am – 7pm www.hedgerscarpetgallery.com.sg 2 & 3 December Christmas Fair Raffles Town Club, Dunearn Ballroom 10am-6pm (Tuesday), 10am-7:30pm (Wednesday) www.theexpatfairs.com
16 December – 11 February Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ The Arts House at the Old Parliament 1 Old Parliament Lane 10am-11pm monalisaexhibition.com
ENTERTAINMENT 5 – 7 December SSO Babies Proms Victoria Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
13 December All Things Bright & Beautiful – A Choral Concert Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
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.
From 1 December UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2015/2016 open now Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg firstname.lastname@example.org
5 December & 7 January Dulwich College Open Day 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 10-11:30am www.dulwichcollege.edu.sg
11 – 14 December SSO Christmas Concerts Victoria Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
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.
5 December Open House Stamford American International School 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg
5 – 7 December Voices 2014 – The Puppini Sisters Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
Receive a complimentary round trip transportation to and from Changi Airport when you book a package tour with Country Holidays. Call 6334 6120.
16 January A Dangerous Liaison (SSO) Victoria Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg
15 December – 9 January Camp Magic Solstice 2014 201 Ulu Pandan Road & 60 Dunearn Road www.ilovecampmagic.com
MEMBER OFFER AAS Members enjoy an exclusive 10% off a one-year Survival Chic (SC) Membership ($450). SC Members enjoy all year long: • 30% off the table bill at 50+ top restaurants, including alcohol and guests • Complimentary & VIP invites, every day, to the city's most sought-after private events. www.survivalchic.com
Receive a 10% discount on a one-year membership.
SPORTS 3 January MR25 UltraMarathon MacRitchie Reservoir, outside the Amenity Centre 7am www.mr25.org.sg 17 January Run for Light 2015 Gardens by the Bay 5pm www.lightrunners.com
Singapore American â€˘ December 2014