Page 1

Since 1958 Singapore American • December 2015

AM ERICAN AS S O CIATION O F S INGAP O RE December 2015

www.aasingapore.com American Association.....2-3 Member Discounts..............3 CRCE & Business.................4 Community News............5-9 Living in Singapore......11-13 Travel.........................14-17 Art of Giving................18-24 Health & Wellness...........25

Living in Singapore 11-13

Travel 14-17

Food & Dining 26-27

Art of Giving 14-28

Food & Dining.............26-27

Where to Take Your Kids This Holiday Season

Take a Drive on the Highest Road on Earth

Our Staff's Favorite Holiday Recipes

All You Need to Know About Holiday Giving

What's Happening...........27

MCI (P) 185/03/2015

The Greatest Gift: Time By Richard Hartung

T

his issue is all about Giving: Giving Gifts, Giving Parties, Giving from the Heart and more. But what do people really want? According to experts from Toys “R” Us who track trends around the globe, the most popular gifts for children this Christmas will be toys inspired by new hit movies such Jurassic World and Dinotrux, toys that inspire interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), cooking gadgets and play pets that can interact with children. Hamley’s in the UK predicts that the top toys will include Interactive Thunderbirds Tracy Island, Skate and Sing Elsa, i-Que Intelligent Robot and Little Live Pets Clever Keet. Star Wars products are also going to be huge. For adults, The Telegraph predicts that top picks will include Spiralizers, Nutribullets, Fitbit Flexes and Bosch Tassimo coffee machines. While the children and adults who receive presents such as these will surely appreciate them, not too long afterwards they may well ask, “Is that all there is?” Even more than fancy gadgets and toys, the present many people are really looking for during the holidays

is a more long-lasting and precious gift that is all too rare these days: the gift of time. As author Dave Willis put it, “Your family needs more of your presence, not more of your presents. Your time is the most valuable gift you can give to your loved ones.” Giving time to friends is equally meaningful. As Kara Tippetts and Jill Buteyn wrote in Just Show Up, “Showing up for another, extending yourself for another, is always costly. Why do it? One of the most important reasons is community. Another way to say that is ‘friends’.” While anecdotes may sound great, a myriad of research has also shown the importance of people spending time with each other, from toddlers to teens and even grandparents. As just one example, Penn State Professor Susan McHale found that the time teens share with their parents “has important implications for adolescents’ psychological and social adjustment.” The reason that time is so important, evangelist Rick Warren wrote, is that, “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. When you give someone your time, you are giving

them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” So what would really be the best gift of all during the holiday season? For young children, it can be as simple as a promise to read stories together every day and go to a park every week next year. For teens, it can be a commitment to eat dinner together or drive them to their activities every week. For parents, date nights or weekends away matter (if President Obama can make the time, so can we). And for grandparents as well as friends, a phone call once a week or more is a treat. Gifts like these cost virtually nothing, yet mean the world to our families and friends. After those Singing Elsas and Fitbits and Clever Keets fade away, fond memories of those times together will be what truly matter. Photo by Doug Butchy, Dominic Alves Richard Hartung is a consultant on payments strategy with more than 20 years of experience in financial services, primarily in Asia and he is a freelance writer. He volunteers with the Metropolitan YMCA, the Jane Goodall Institute and other organizations.

American Association of Singapore's Annual Strategic Partners


2 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

Singapore American • December 2015

A Message from the President...

T

his month’s theme is “The Art of Giving” and no better one, given the holiday season. Many agree this is the best time of the year. As you read this SAN, there are great tips on giving your time, gifts, parties and more. Giving time: a fitting segue into a somber task of saying goodbye to long-time members of the American community who have generously given their time and are moving back to the US. Former AAS President David Barker (2003-2006) leaves us after 18 years and is headed for Vermont. David, thanks so much for your many years on the AAS Board (2001-2011) and all that you’ve done for AAS and the community! We also bid farewell to Annette and Craig Foster who are going back home after more than eight years here. Annette is the outgoing American Women’s Association President, a member of the AAS Board and someone that you would have seen doing much more, including being a die-hard Singapore Slingers Basketball fan! Thanks for your selfless service, Annette! Tawnya and Tom Hartberger leave our shores after almost 25 years here heading for Houston (so at least they’ll be used to humidity!). Tawnya has been closely involved with AAS over the decades as an ExCo and Board member, Director of Publications and supervolunteer. In fact, for many years, she’s been overseeing the Home Hospitality program. Tawnya, thank you for a job, very well done! Our always popular Turkey Trot took place in November, after this issue of SAN went to print so be sure to pick up the January issue for photos or check our website now. This event always sees hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers having a great time. This year, a huge thanks goes to the Singapore American School for its continued support and participation and to the Navy for opening up the beautiful, newly-renovated Terror Club. Our November Singapore Scenes art show featured the unique style of local artist Ang Cheng Chye and his beautiful cityscapes of old and new Singapore. Everyone had a chance to talk with him and, of course, buy some art at a deep discount! Looking to this month, one of our annual family highlights is the annual Toys for Tots on December 3 with the US Marine detachment from the Embassy and Santa, of course! Please come! See below for details. And I’m excited to remind you that tickets for the 2016 George Washington Ball Fabulous Las Vegas are on sale now. The early-bird discount ends on January 4 so buy them before the holidays and before they sell-out. Last year, we had a waiting list of some 30 people who wish they’d purchased early! Please contact me or General Manager Toni Dudsak: generalmanager@ aasingapore.com with your great ideas and visit our Facebook page or tweet us: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG on Facebook, Twitter). Best,

SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Melinda Murphy, communications@aasingapore.com Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak, generalmanager@aasingapore.com

DESIGN & L AYOUT Graphic Designer: Mandee M. Astuti graphics@aasingapore.com

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, san.ads@aasingapore.com

CONTRIBUTORS Aw Shao Giee, Andrew Aylward, Tom Benner, Valerie Brandt, Elbee Bryan, Faith Chanda, Angel Corrigan, Kevin F. Cox, Nithia Devan, Rob Faraone, Sue Harben, Richard Hartung, Lindy Hiemstra, Koh Xin Tian, Anne Perng, Lauren S. Power, Laura Schwartz, Dr. Bernard Siew American Association: Alexandra Dolibic, Mary Ferrante, Hannah Mattock, Melinda Murphy, Danielle Spinks

A MERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Joseph Foggiato • Secretary: Stephanie Nash Directors: James Arpin, Shawn Galey, Christopher Keen, Mary Beth McCrory 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 Non-Voting Member: US Embassy: Chahrazed Sioud US 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: aas@aasingapore.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.

SUBSCRIPTION A subscription to the Singapore American is complimentary with an AAS or CRCE membership. AAS annual family membership is just $70. CRCE membership is $160. To join, visit www.aasingapore.com and have the Singapore American delivered to your home.

Glenn van Zutphen president@aasingapore.com twitter: @glennvanzutphen

Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material. The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Level 3 Annex Building, Singapore 508968.


3 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

Singapore American • December 2015

AAS

Upcoming Events

Past Event

thursday

Quiz Night

Food Exploration

january

Join AAS and The American Club for the All-American Quiz Night at The American Club’s poolside. 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 get bragging rights – and prizes!

The five-course Italian meal at Il Gattopardo restaurant was a delizioso experience for all! A special thank you to Clessidra for the products that Chef Lino used in the menu. It truly was a perfect opportunity to try some Italian specialties.

14

7-9pm The American Club, Poolside AAS and TAC Members only: $50, Team of six: $280

wednesday

27 january

Meet and Greet This special event was the perfect opportunity to meet new people and stay connected with the community. Wine, food and fun were the three keywords of the evening!

Living in Singapore Talk Want to learn more about your tropical home? Join us for an exclusive event, as a panel of experts shares their insider tips to help you thrive inThe Little Red Dot. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to gain valuable insight and meet new friends. 7-9pm The American Club, Colonial Room (3rd Floor), 10 Claymore Hill Free Event • Exclusive to AAS Members and SAS Families

Singapore Scenes A lovely night was spent with Singaporean artist Ang Cheng Chye who presented some of his favorite masterpieces. He also demonstrated his unique ink on rice paper techniques. Many went home with one of his works, a lifetime souvenir.

For more info and to register for an event: www.aasingapore.com

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE PRESENTS

THE 83RD GEORGE WASHINGTON BALL SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 7PM COCKTAIL HOUR W SINGAPORE-SENTOSA COVE PROCEEDS BENEFIT SINGAPORE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY WWW.AASINGAPORE.COM

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.

Two hours free handy-man service worth more than $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700.

JAL is offering a special promotional discounted air fare to AAS members at about 7-9% off the published market air fare. Please take note that this is applicable only for travelers who book through Country Holidays. www.countryholidays.com.sg/en/

Get a six-month free membership to Expat Living magazine. Redeem: www.expatliving.sg/aas

Receive a 10% discount on a one-year membership.

FIRST DRINK FREE – every day, every visit for AAS members. Valid on house pours until December 31, 2015. Show your membership card at the bar to claim. Moving to a new location December 4. 32 South Buona Vista

Present your American Association membership card and receive $10 off Warehouse Club membership fee. Valid till December 31, 2015.

Present your American Association membership card and receive: 5% Discount for long term leasing on a Harley-Davidson 10% Discount for daily rental on a Harley-Davidson Call 6475 0123 or email to andrew@harleysingapore.com


CAREER RESOURCE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE

Singapore American • December 2015

PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PRACTICE IS THE HARDEST PART OF LEARNING AND TRAINING IS THE ESSENCE OF TRANSFORMATION ANN VOSKAMP

THE ROAD TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP By Sunanda Agarwal

Share with us your experiences as a member of AAS and CRCE thus far? I have enjoyed all the social events and networking opportunities CRCE offers. Attending the CRCE workshops and receiving guidance from the CRCE team gave me the inspiration and the confidence to start my venture. From your previous professional experiences, what have you observed so far that might be different here? In India, I used my degree in Botany to work on a project to rejuvenate the Ganges River, India’s holiest river. But overseas, I have primarily been a trailing spouse and have enjoyed raising my daughters and my family. I have used this opportunity to take many self-development courses such as learning about launching a spa and food hygiene. I am now studying Ayurveda. For me, success is not a destination; it is truly a life-long journey. I lived in the US, India, Hong Kong and Japan before coming to Singapore 14 years ago with my husband and three daughters. Like most expats, we have enjoyed our lives overseas, especially the extensive travel opportunities.  The friendships that we have made through cross-cultural experiences are invaluable. My three daughters graduated from the Singapore American School (SAS) where my husband enjoyed serving on the board. Now, my girls are in the US and we visit them often. Four years ago, I founded my wellness company, Pavitra, a company dedicated to bringing the best of the East and the West to the global healthcare scene. I absolutely love my job! How did you hear about CRCE? I heard about CRCE from friends in Singapore.

As you’ve entered the entrepreneur route, what advice would you give on this journey? If you have an idea and the grit to make it happen, you will get there. The key is being laser focused on the end result. Can you share with us your top five tips for other aspiring entrepreneurs and/or business start-ups? 1. Networking is extremely important. It is the best way to gain advice, information and referrals. 2. Be yourself in whatever you do. Your personality and conviction must come through. 3. Establish a good rapport with your clients and gain their trust before you make a sales pitch. If you do, sales will happen. 4. Be a good listener. I believe in the 70/30 rule: 70% listening and 30% talking. 5. Be timely and follow up on your projects. 6. Don’t be shy. By nature, I am not a very loud person. I had a hard time getting over this, but I had to in order to succeed.

CRCE DECEMBER WORKSHOPS Get Stuff Done Speaker: Carolina Herrera Tuesday, December 1 9am – 12pm Embrace Life Transitions and Bounce Forward Speaker: Thierry Moschetti Friday, December 4 10am – 12pm

CRCE IS NOW OFFERING THE MYERS BRIGGS PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT. THIS IS A FANTASTIC TOOL FOR ANYBODY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE NEXT STEP, HELPING YOU TO BETTER UNDERSTAND YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. LOG ONTO WWW.AASINGAPORE.COM AND SIGN UP NOW!

ONE-ON-ONE COACHING CAREER SOLUTIONS © AAS OFFERING PERSONALIZED CAREER COUNSELING SERVICES. SIGN UP NOW FOR A PRIVATE APPOINTMENT WITH A PROFESSIONAL CAREER ADVISOR. PLEASE CONTACT CRCE.INFO@AASINGAPORE.COM

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS Claims Executive, Japan This organization is looking for a Claims Executive to process claims and support vendors based in Japan. You will be responsible for ensuring full compliance to program requirements and manage day-today vendor claims and ensure timely submission consistently. (job #3189) Swim Coach As a Swim Coach, you will guide caregivers on how to assist their child’s swim progress and guide children on what they need to do with their little (but growing) bodies, to communicate with the water and to be safe in and around it. (job #3188) Class Teacher Preschool to Year 2 The Class Teacher is an experienced practitioner who has the ability to effectively lead and manage a vibrant classroom, implement best practice in educational pedagogy and create a welcoming and caring environment for children and their families. The Class Teacher reports directly to the Assistant Principal in charge of the campus and works collaboratively with the Assistant Teachers and other Class Teachers. (job #3187) Director, Programs and Research A non-profit organization is looking for a highly-qualified and experienced professional to direct and lead operations, strategies and growth of the organization. Specifically, the Director will be expected to create and direct new business opportunities, provide strategic business planning, including exploring and executing grant funding and other revenue opportunities for the organization. (job #3186) Part-time/Full-time Sales Representative Sales Representative’s main tasks and missions: conduct face-to-face meetings to sell organization’s plans; identify customer needs; build and maintain business relationship with clients; perform after-sales service when needed. (job #3185) Trainer or Facilitator Training duties include: facilitate group workshops for soft skills development (e.g. emotional intelligence, leadership and teamwork); facilitate group workshops for admissions and career skills (e.g. written communication, interview skills, career planning) (job #3184). Freelance Travel Writer This organization creates opportunities for brands that are willing to push the boundaries of modern communication. They’re looking to work with an experienced freelance writer to commission a series of family and group travel related stories around SE Asia. Travel PR experience is a bonus. (job #3183)


5 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American • December 2015

All Bets on Vegas By Valerie Brandt

T

he images are timelessly glamorous: gorgeous women with perfect hair in fitted gowns and charismatic men in impeccably tailored dinner jackets, all enjoying sophisticated entertainment and adult beverages. The music is cool, the lights are neon and the atmosphere electric. There is just something irresistibly classy, and undeniably sexy, about those nights out in old-school Vegas. The George Washington Ball committee invites you to see what happens when you show your style at Fabulous Las Vegas. And remember, whatever happens in Vegas... stays with you, as thrilling memories of Singapore. The 83rd Annual George Washington Ball, the premier black-tie charity event of the American Association of Singapore, will raise the curtain on Fabulous Las Vegas Saturday, Februar y 27, 2016 at the W Hotel - Sentosa Cove. Each guest

Fabulous

will receive the highest levels of personal service and outstanding cuisine served in lavish surroundings, joined by other daring and polished guests from all points on the globe. The featured entertainer will be the incomparably stylish Johnny James Band, performing classic Motown, R&B and jazz dance music. This year’s ball, including the proceeds from a dazzling silent auction, again will support the Singapore Children’s Society (SCS) in its mission to protect and nurture children and youth of all races and religions. Since its establishment in 1952, SCS has provided services to vulnerable children, youth and families; and served as a research and advocacy platform to meet the changing needs of children. SCS reached out to nearly 70,000 children last year alone. It was a 2014 recipient of the President of Singapore’s Award for Social Impact. For

more information on the work of the Singapore Children’s Society, please visit www.childrensociety.org.sg. But what to wear? For the gentlemen of Rat Pack, the old Vegas style was simple: fitted tailoring, 18kt gold cufflinks and shined shoes. The classic choice boiled down to: black or white dinner jacket? For the ladies, that Vegas style was confident, bold and smart. They knew what they had and turned heads with shimmering outfits more suggestive than revealing. Fabulous Las Vegas, The 83rd Annual George Washington Ball, Saturday, February 27, 7pm. W Hotel - Sentosa Cove. Tickets are on sale at www.aasingapore.com. Early bird prices through January 4. Buy early as this event always sells out. For inquiries, contact 6738 0371.

Where to Get a Dress www.asos.com This online outlet has everything from petite to plus sizes and delivers to Singapore. Covatella Tired of buying a dress you only wear once? Why not RENT a dress? Check out this shop for great rental options. www.covetella.com www.net-a-porter.com Want a fancy designer gown, but don’t have time to visit the stores? This online fashion giant has many designer options and ships to Singapore. Renee L Want a super fancy dress? This is the place to go. 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Central, Soho 1, #09-17 Robinson’s For more than 150 years, Robinson’s has been one of Singapore’s most renowned stores. It carries a wide-variety of evening gowns. Various locations. Tang’s A destination for many visitors to Singapore, Tang’s has a collection of evening gowns as well. www.upstage.com.sg This website has a wide variety of inexpensive dresses to fit all shapes and sizes.

Ready Then, Ready Now, Ready Always By Lauren S. Power

O

n October 10, the Singapore Chapter of the United States Navy League celebrated the 240th birthday of the United States Navy with its annual Navy Ball at the W Hotel - Sentosa Cove. The Navy Ball pays tribute to the service of the US Navy and all members of the Sea Services.

The US Navy began in conjunction with the American War for Independence under the Continental Congress on October 13, 1775. After the conclusion of the war, the newly formed United States Congress established the Department of the Navy on April 30, 1798. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO),

Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, confirmed October 13 as the official Navy birthday. The US Navy League has maintained its close historical ties to the celebration of the Navy birthday and chapters all over the world unite to commemorate the occasion in style. The Navy birthday is not only an opportunity to recognize the US Navy internally among Sea Service members and their families, but also a chance to enhance a positive and professional US Navy image to friends and allies. In Singapore, guests at the ball included members of the US Navy, US Marines, Singapore Navy, US Navy League, the Australian and New Zealand Navies as well as distinguished representatives from the US Embassy and their guests. Blair Hall, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Singapore, and Rear Admiral Charles Williams, Commander of Task Force 73, were the Guests of Honor and spoke on this year’s Navy Ball theme of “Ready Then, Ready Now, Ready Always” in their addresses to the audience. CDR (Ret.) Ray Corrigan serves as President of the Singapore Chapter of the US Navy League. In this address, he acknowledged

the contribution of our Service men and women, as well as those of members of our Singapore American community who have provided support to the work of the US Navy League. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the US Naval Reserve, which provides direct support to various functions of the US Navy on a regular basis. Just as the US Navy is ever vigilant in its service, the US Naval Reserve is always ready to provide its support. Photos courtesy of The US Navy League. Thank you to all the 2015 sponsors and Navy Ball Committee for making the 240th Navy Ball such a successful evening! To learn more about the Singapore Chapter of the US Navy League and to see more pictures from this year’s Navy Ball, please visit: www.nlus-sgp.org


6 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American • December 2015

Corporate Community Day 2015 By Aw Shao Giee

A

mCham and the United States Embassy hosted their annual Corporate Community Day (CCD) on October 17. For 13 years, employees of AmCham member companies and organizations have volunteered to give back to the community. CCD is an initiative designed to raise awareness of the importance of volunteerism and to instill corporate and societal excellence in the participating companies. The inaugural CCD was held in 2003 with six participating

Citi Citi delivered sponsored gift packs to HCA Hospice Care as a collaborative support for Project Home Cheer. The volunteers also brought cheer and positivity to the terminallyill patients by interacting with them. General Electric General Electric (GE) collaborated with South West CDC for the Adopt-a-Precinct event at Jurong Central. GE volunteers cleaned 18 households, primarily targeting the elderly, acknowledging their contribution to Singapore as its pioneer generation. companies and the US Embassy joining together. Over the last decade, CCD has become the largest, one-day volunteer event in Singapore, impacting numerous beneficiaries from all walks of life. CCD has been so successful because of the leadership and support of AmCham member companies. General Electric, in particular, has participated in CCD for 13 consecutive years and many other companies have similar records. This year’s CCD saw 77 companies and

organizations with more than 2,000 volunteers helping in a variety of activities ranging from tree planting to food distribution, all of which have benefitted more than 8,000 Singaporeans.

AmCham Singapore AmCham organized its CCD event at Jurong Bird Park with the generous support of  Citi. Volunteers from member companies AviationLearn, FTG, Organisation Solutions, Ostergaard & Co., The People at Work and Xerox joined AmCham staff in spending the day with beneficiaries from the Yellow Ribbon Fund with lunch sponsored by YUM! American Association of Singapore AAS worked with the National Parks Board and spearheaded “Putting Down Roots.” Members of the community planted 51 trees in honor of SG50, one for every US state and one for Singapore. Cargill Cargill partnered with the APEX Club of Bukit Timah in a food distribution event which benefitted the elderly living in the Red Hill Estate.

KKR KKR partnered with the Nature Society of Singapore, CITIC Envirotech, Goodpack and Hill+Knowlton for a forest clean-up event at Pulau Ubin. More than 60 volunteers contributed to the cleaning up of Singapore’s last rural area. Stamford American International School Stamford American International School, Cognita, Camp Asia and Real Madrid Foundation Technical Academy partnered together to host beneficiaries from Beyond Social Services to make pizza and learn soccer tips and tricks. Photos courtesy AmCham; Citi; KKR; Ryan Peters, Spectrum Photography


8 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American • December 2015

Going For The Gold in Girl Scouts By Anne Perng

B

ronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest awards a Girl Scout can obtain, but earning one of these awards is not easy. Gold, the highest award only open to eligible high school girls, takes 80 hours of service. Each girl must develop a sustainable project with the Girl Scout mission in mind: Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Only about 5% of eligible girls ever receive this highlyprestigious award.

Hanna Chuang is one of them. A high school senior at the Singapore American School (SAS), Chuang is Singapore’s most recent Gold Award recipient. She co-founded a Rural Education and Development (READ) service club at SAS to help fundraise and increase awareness of the READ Global program in Bhutan. Thanks to this Gold Award project, a READ Bhutan center was opened in Yangthang Village, reaching 12,000 villagers with educational and training resources. By setting up the service club at

school, Hanna’s project will continue to help provide resources to READ Bhutan long after she graduates. Chuang says, “READ Bhutan has become quite significant to me because it’s been an experience that has stood out among the typical school activities. Being a part of something as directly relevant to life outside the classroom is arguably just as important as being satisfied with the impact we leave in our community.” Hanna is not the only one in the Chuang family who is service-oriented; her younger sister, Olivia, recently completed her Silver Award project, the highest accolade that Cadette-level Girl Scouts (sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders) can earn. The project must leave an impact on the community and take 50 or more hours to complete. Olivia got the idea for her project when a teacher asked in music class for help with starting a youth orchestra in the Congo. Together with a team of four other students, she started “Instruments for Peace.” The club’s mission is to collect musical instruments and supplies and raise funds  for their shipment  to the youth symphony  orchestra  in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   Supporting the Chuang sisters is their mom, Amy Chou, a former Girl Scout and Girl Scout leader. She says they her daughters have long been involved with community service, but that they were motivated to pursue these higher achievement awards by the girls who had gone before them. “It was Girl Scouts from early on that introduced them to community service. The biggest benefit of all this is how they changed. Being helpful is something that comes naturally to them now. They don’t even think about it.”

Community service is a cornerstone of Girl Scouting and girls from the youngest five-year-old Daisy Girl Scouts on up are encouraged to give back. We are very proud that in any given year, USAGSO (Singapore) generally has five girls working on their Silver or Gold award and five troops working together to earn a Bronze. While the older girls are the ones who inspire the younger ones, it’s the commitment of all the girls that inspires us, the leaders. For information about spring registration, open from December 1-January 15, log onto the website below. Photos courtesy of Amy Chou


9 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American • December 2015

Driving Donations By Koh Xin Tian

Uncle Sam Wants You...to Vote By Andrew Aylward

C

ollection drives are very popular during the holiday season, but what are the keys to running a successful one? Whether you’re collecting food, clothing or toys for a beneficiary this holiday season, here are some tips from the kids at Singapore American School (SAS) to make your own drive a hit. 1. Give kids a choice of toys. To really delight your beneficiaries, ask donors for a list of suggested toys and the numbers needed to avoid duplication. At our Toy Buffet event, we give children in need tickets that can be punched in return for two donated toys they get to pick out on their own. 2. Provide beneficiaries with books at their reading level. Collect books at appropriate reading levels for your beneficiaries. Ask a teacher or community worker who spends time with them what books would be most beneficial for their learning. 3. Inspire educated donors. Educate your donors on the best nonperishable food items to donate, such as canned food and drinks, bread spreads, rice, cereals, pasta, granola bars, tea bags, milk powder and so on. Consider donating food with easily-opened packaging for beneficiaries who may have difficulty using a can opener. 4. Teach a person to fish. Consider a drive that also involves teaching

skills. Singapore American School students worked with Caring for Cambodia by creating hygiene kits. Teachers brought these kits to Cambodia to inspire local teachers’ science curriculum development. The real gift wasn’t so much the kits as it was the skills that Cambodia’s teachers could now pass on to many students. 5. Shed some calories! Pair your donation drive with a public fitness or cultural activity to attract publicity and inspire future donors. Our second-graders support Food from the Heart by collecting food packages and joining an annual onehour walk-a-thon. 6. Empower an adult. Adults looking to return to the workforce need clothes, especially for the all-important job interview. Collect not only clothes, but briefcases, handbags, belts, scarves, shoes and accessories for them to finish their look! 7. Fulfill a wish. Have beneficiaries write their wishes on gift tags and hang them on an indoor tree. Get folks to “adopt” these wishes and bring presents your beneficiaries actually want. Perhaps the most important tip is working with charitable organizations to find out what they really need most, then figuring out a way to support that need. Photo courtesy of SAS

AAS IS LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY TO RUN OUR HOME HOSPITALITY PROGRAM, A FABULOUS INITIATIVE THAT MATCHES VISITING SERVICE MEMBERS ABOARD US NAVY SHIPS WITH VOLUNTEERS WILLING TO HOST THEM FOR A MEAL OR TOUR OF SINGAPORE. THE PROGRAM IS A GREAT WAY TO SAY THANK YOU TO THOSE PROTECTING OUR WATERS. WE NEED SOMEBODY TO TAKE CHARGE OF THIS.

INTERESTED?? MAIL US @ GENERALMANAGER@AASINGAPORE.COM

A

s 2015 winds down, it is not too early to start thinking about voting in the upcoming 2016 elections, which includes the 2016 Presidential election. Overseas citizens have the right to vote in their state and federal elections, but can face challenges while voting with an absentee ballot. It is best to start the process early to avoid being disappointed later. Absentee Voting Overview The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) partners with the Department of State to provide voting registration instructions to US Citizens living abroad. Registering to vote overseas is easy through the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which is the first step in the absentee voting process. The FPCA is both a voter registration card and an absentee ballot request form. The FPCA can be found at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.fvap.gov. You can complete an FPCA using the easyto-use online assistant, which will guide you through the questions on the form and produce a printable form that you must print, sign and send to your State voter registration office. Unfortunately, the FPCA online site is not an online registration tool and you must submit the card via the mail.

Voting Is Now Easier Than Ever Before Even though the FPCA is not an online registration tool, all US citizens can receive blank ballots electronically! Depending on your state, you may receive a ballot by email, fax or via Internet download. To start, complete the FPCA and return it to your local election office in the United States. Make sure to include your email address on the form so your election officials can reach you if there is a problem. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you should receive your blank ballot 45 days before general elections and 30 days before special, primary and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot. IMPORTANT NOTE: States are not required to send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle, so if you want to vote in US elections from overseas, you should send in a new FPCA in January of each year. All overseas citizens are also encouraged to submit a new FPCA when they move. For more information about voting overseas please visit the State Department’s website at: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/ legal-matters/benefits/voting.html or the Embassy Singapore website at http://singapore.usembassy.gov


11 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore American • December 2015

Singapore Sling Turns 100 By Sue Harben

M

aybe your New Year’s Eve plans include whipping up a Singapore Sling, a potent cocktail known the world over as the national drink of Singapore. While you’re serving up your pastel brew, why not entertain your guests with a bit of its history? They’ll think you’re more clever than ever and it won’t just be the gin talking! Back in 1915, Raffles Singapore was the place to be and the Long Bar was the watering hole. Many a gentleman sat nursing his glass of whiskey or gin while women sipped tea or fruit juices. You see, it wasn’t proper in those days for a woman to consume alcoholic beverages in public. The bartender at Raffle’s Long Bar, Ngiam Tong Boon, saw an opportunity. Why not make a drink that looked like a fruit juice, but that packed a punch? So he put to use all his knowledge from working in Vietnam, Burma and on-board French ships and set out to design a lady-attracting, pink drink using clear liquor. Viola! The Singapore Gin Sling (as it was first called) was born! Suddenly, gallant gentlemen could buy their lady friends a real drink and the cocktail became a major draw for visitors. The British took the recipe back home and the drink became world famous. Photos courtesy of Raffles Hotel Sue Harben is the granddaughter of a US District Attorney for New York City who caused quite as a stir as the first public official to declare prohibition was unenforceable. He was also a big fan of the Singapore Sling.

The Long Bar’s Recipe The original recipe hasn’t changed since it was first created 100 years ago. Luckily, we have it today because a visitor enamored by the drink jotted down the recipe on a bar-chit back in 1936. 30 ml Gin 15 ml Cherry Heering 120 ml Pineapple Juice 15 ml Lime Juice 7.5 ml Cointreau 7.5 ml Dom Benedictine 10 ml Grenadine A dash of Angostura Bitters Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry.


12 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore American • December 2015

Giving Christmas Memories By Lindy Hiemstra

including haze. Avalanche 7:30-7:45pm; Snow 7:45-8pm. Weekends additional times: Avalanche 8:30-8:45pm; Snow 8:45-9pm. Note: Tanglin Mall will NOT have photos with Santa this year!

Towering over the display is a multi-tiered, traditional German, wooden carousel that transforms into a “live” stage, hosting a series of festive afternoon performances. 9am-9pm www.gardensbythebay.com.sg

1 December – 3 January Christmas Wonderland Gardens by the Bay The fairgrounds have expanded past the Supertree Grove and into the Meadows, almost doubling in size this year with a lot more activities on hand. Yes, you can still sample all sorts of great food and pick up some gifts at the Festive Market (through December 27). The Spiegeltent, a century-old traveling tent from the Netherlands, is also a treat for a nice dinner. My favorite is the 78-foot-wide Spalliera and the Cassa Armonica gazebo. There is nothing quite as breath-taking as standing inside this incredible enclosure of lights while it “snows” bubbles at least three times a day. New this year? The tallest slide in Singapore (14 meters), Swinging Chairs, a carousel, an Ice Palace and a skating rink! www.gardensbythebay.com.sg

3 December Toys for Tots The American Club Join the American Association of Singapore for this very special annual event. Bring an unwrapped NEW toy for the US Marines to distribute to children around Singapore and Southast Asia. Then enjoy a meal, crafts, a concert and a visit from Santa Claus himself! For a special treat, the Singapore American School Middle School choir will perform some carols. And yes, Virginia, you can have your photo made with him, too! Giving something to charity while your kids have fun is the absolute most wonderful feeling and a great lesson for your little ones. 5-7pm. To register and for pricing information www.aasingaore.com

1 December – 5 January Christmas Toyland Flower Dome New this year, Gardens by the Bay is transforming the Flower Dome into a Christmas Toyland. Venture into the “North Pole” and explore a magical wonderland where toy soldiers march along roaming reindeer and teddy bears man a sleigh station – all amidst yuletide floral favorites.

A

s Richard Hartung says in his cover story, the things that kids really remember is time spent with loved ones, not the new hot toy that all-too-soon becomes just one of many in the pile. Doing things with their family during the holidays is what kids really want and what will bring a smile to their faces when they think about Christmas in years to come. Give your time to your children. Make some cookies or ornaments with them. Read them a story. Take them to one of the many special Christmas events Singapore has to offer. Here is a list of places to make memories, the absolute best gift of all. 1 – 27 December Festive Land The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Dazzle your senses with a visit to Marina Bay Sands’ ice skating rink which has

been transformed into Festive Land, decked out Christmas decorations complete with live performances. The best part? It’s free for all! Santa Claus himself will be roaming the mall with other mascots including the Gingerbread Man and elves who are all too happy to have a photo taken. Spend $50 at the mall and get a voucher for free pictures at the instant photo booth. Roving Santa and his friends: Monday-Friday, 6-10pm; Saturday and Sunday 12-8pm. String quartet: MondaySunday 12-4pm. Jazz performances: 4-8pm. 1 December – 3 January Bubble Snow & Avalanche Tanglin Mall Every year, kids get their own version of snow in Singapore with an avalanche of foam bubbles just outside of Tanglin Mall. Kids get messy and wet so be sure to bring along towels and a change of clothes. This is subject to weather conditions,

3 – 6 December Swan Lake Esplanade Theatre One of the world’s most beloved ballets, Swan Lake is a story of undying love, a cruel twist of fate and the promise of devotion. A Christmas tradition for many, Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) promises a treat with this classical masterpiece with breath-taking dancing and gorgeous music by Tchaikovsky. December 3-4, 8pm; December 5, 1pm and 8pm; December 6, 1pm and 7pm. www.sistic.com.sg


13 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore American • December 2015

hit the big bash on New Year’s Eve. Both events run from 9:45pm-1am. www.therink.sg

4 – 15 December (except December 9) The Princess & Snow Bear Ice Fantasy Forum Mall Basement 1 Atrium will become an ice skating rink and present this fun show for kids. Show times are 1pm and 3pm weekdays with an extra 5pm show on weekends. After the show, the first 12 children aged 7-12 who register can skate with the cast. Register on-site at 4pm and 5pm for 4:30pm and 5:30pm skating sessions. 4 – 31 December The Rink at JCube Kids are invited to skate with Santa JR and his friends on Fridays at 5:15pm and Saturdays at 10:30am. The Rink is also introducing Bumper Car on Ice available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening in December. Missing snow? Then, you’ll love the avalanche of bubble snow on Christmas Eve. You can also

5 – 20 December Christmas with Sponge Bob Square Pants City Square Mall Join SpongeBob and his star friend Patrick for a new all-live show with loads of sea antics! There will be an outdoor SpongeBob Playland, complete with a Super Bouncer and games. If your kids need a little downtime, they can also catch a free screening of their favorite SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. TuesdayThursday: 2pm & 7pm. Saturday-Sunday: 1pm, 4pm & 7pm 9 – 13 December Dear Santa SOTA – Drama Theatre This one act, audience-participation play is based around a child who writes to Santa for a special Christmas present. After searching for the perfect gift, Santa finds just the right one and delivers it on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, kids may get a chance to visit with Santa. Recommended for kids 2-7. www.sistic.com.sg 11 December Kids Night Out Christmas Party JWT Kids Gym is having a big ol’ holiday, dress up party complete with games and activities, pizza, Santa gift exchange and a G-rated movie screening. This drop-off gym party is the perfect evening of holiday cheer for kids ages 3.5 to 9. www.jwtkids-singapore.com

13 December KidsPhilharmonic 211 Henderson Road, #10-05, Rehearsal Hall KidsPhilharmonic holds an annual student concert of holiday tunes that is free to the public and a great way to introduce children to orchestra music. 4:30-6:30pm. www.kidsphilharmonic.sg 18 – 23 December Christmas Carols Ion, Wisma Atria, VivoCity Christmas-themed songs, dances and skits will be performed at stages in front of ION, Wisma Atria and at the L3 Amphitheatre at VivoCity between 6-10pm nightly. The final night at VivoCity is a mass caroling concert performed by a large choir starting at 6:40pm. www.ccis.sg Photo courtesy of Gardens by the Bay, Lindy Hiemstra and SOTA

Lindy Hiemstra is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience penning articles. Once lost in the business world, she has rediscovered the magic of Christmas through her two young, Santa-loving kids. Their joy is her absolute favorite part of the holidays.

Corporate Partners


Singapore American • December 2015

DINING NEAR THE T By Kevin F. Cox

W

e inched left, our tires somehow finding purchase on the loose scree that defined the shoulder of the road and edge of the abyss. The oncoming diesel-spewing truck was intent on squeezing by at the hairpin turn notched into the precipitous mountain slope. My Indian guide rocked his head sideways, the corners of his mouth pulling downward, “Only sometimes do cars fall over the edge.” We were heading to Khardung La in Ladakh, Northern India’s high mountain region of Jammu and Kashmir that’s often referred to as “Little Tibet.” At 18,380 feet (5,460 meters), Khardung La is the highest spot on the highest roadway in the world. It’s as spectacular a drive as one can take, but definitely the wrong place to discover a fear of heights. Twisting switchbacks wound forever upward on the stunning Ladakhi Range and, at the snowline, the road deteriorated into dirt and icy ruts. After thirty kilometers, we reached the ceiling of the motor world (680 feet or 207 meters higher than Everest Base Camp) where the wind whipped over the summit from both directions, snapping the countless prayer flags crisply in the thin, -5 degree air. Continuing over the summit leads down to the Nubra Valley, with scattered isolated Ladakhi farmhouses and pristine 83-mile-long (134 km) Pangong Lake, so blue you’d think it was artificial. We were there for one thing: food at the highest cafeteria on the planet. We quickly discovered that “cafeteria” was stretching the term a little. They actually had no food, not even bread, since the once-a-month delivery truck had never showed up and no one seemed to know exactly why. But they did have chai masala, served in plastic cups and steaming fiercely in the thin, frigid air. Maybe it was the

quality of the chai or maybe it was the ambience (a faded Quonset hut with a few plastic tables and chairs in an otherwise empty, unadorned room) that made this meager offering one of the most satisfying cups of chai I’ve ever had and certainly the one with the highest view imaginable. The High Passes Ladakh is a remote, hidden part of the subcontinent wedged between China and Pakistan, consisting of high-mountain deserts and plunging river valleys, nestled amidst towering peaks and steep Himalayan glaciers. The Indus Valley houses the majority of Ladakhi people, a mix of rugged Buddhists and Muslims who are soft-spoken, but fiercely independent. They need to be; this region is only accessible to the outside world from May to October. Tourism has hit here with a yak-fleeced mitten instead of the brass knuckles of other Indian destinations. Before 1974, the region was not yet open to visitors, but even today, touring remains an underdeveloped concept. The town of Leh at 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) is the center of Ladakhi urbanization. It’s a bustling enclave of mud-brick buildings and narrow streets leading to a small town center. Farmers sit on the ground to form a makeshift market, their produce in neat piles around them: cabbage, turnips, carrots, dried apricots, chipped yak cheese and raw spices. Behind them, colorful fabrics from Rajasthan hang in the dusty air outside small shops selling brass, wood and pewter artifacts. Tiny bakeries selling little more than fresh, small loaves and hot tea are found down nearly every little alley, providing friendly gathering places for locals in the town.

Sky-high Spirituality Ladakh is a peaceful, religious place, with gompas to worship found in unexpected corners. Countless prayer wheels dot Leh’s narrow, wall-lined lanes festooned with colorful prayer flags. Shanti, the most popular stupa with its whitewashed circular sides adorned with paintings of Buddha, can be spotted from nearly any street. At Shankar Gompa, just a kilometer walk from town, the Buddhist deity Chenresig beckons with a thousand arms and heads. Dawn breaks each day with intoxicating sounds in the clear, crisp air: a constant, lowpitched hum of chanting monks wafting over rocky hills; the baritone commands of a crooked man behind an ox, dragging a hoe through bare soil; a donkey braying in the distance. Gazing at snowcaps all round us, even my traveling partner from Delhi, Jatender, marvels, “It’s like a different country,” he says. Heading out of Leh, there is not a lot of traffic; especially in May, before festivals commence and the few tourists who come here arrive. Driving through the dry, treeless high plains dessert of the Indus Valley (only 17 percent of Ladakh is cultivable) is like traversing an oddly, beautiful moonscape. The road leads to a collection of ancient palaces, gompas and monasteries through which you can wander unattended. After a military roadcheck (political tensions with Pakistan still invade the peacefulness here), we reach Shey Palace, the ancient capital of Ladakh. It houses the cherished Victory Stupa, a remarkably preserved structure topped with pure gold, and housing a 7 meter copper and brass statue of Sakyamuni Buddah studded with gold, silver and precious gems. Deeper in the valley, peaks at which we had gazed in the distance from Khardung La now tower above us, bleeding down to ice, rocks and eventually the dirt of the Indus floor. Countless

whitewashed chorten (small monuments honoring ancestors and deities) dot the slopes leading up to ancient monasteries clinging impossibly to rocky cliffs. Walking into any gompa or monastery here, one immediately realizes that they have been the same way for eons. In Hemis Monastery, I am lost in the 17th century, mesmerized by the soothing drone of chanting monks and with little sense of even the modern world of Leh. Miles away, Thiksey Monastery rises from a hillock like sun-bleached stone cubes, fused together with mud and tumbling down all sides of the slope. Inside, the 39-foot tall (12 meter) Future Buddha painted with liquid gold and vivid colors, oversees the barren, sweeping valley that dominates everything. Mountain meal I had been told that the food of Ladakh is simple and bold, consisting of fresh or preserved produce from the region and little else. Naturally, this required further “research.” Near Stok Palace, we drove up a rugged track between mud walls until forced to abandon our vehicle (high-centered on a rock and with a flat tire) and then walked breathlessly to a local farmhouse. Inside the century-old stone


Singapore American • December 2015

TOP OF THE WORLD

it with melted yak butter. We tore off hunks to dip in our stew and washed it down with salty butter chai and a powerful, homemade fermented elixir that buzzed straight to the head in the thin, mountain altitude. In Ladakh, nothing is contrived for the entertainment of tourists. It’s a remote, spiritual place where the march of modern time has, until very recently, been overlooked. A place beyond the popular tourist trail that most have not yet traveled, with a culture most have not yet seen. And it’s waiting for you to explore before everyone else does. and mud-mortar house was a low-ceilinged communal room, the walls lined with tarnished copper and brass pots on sagging hand-hewn wood shelves. A woman kneeled on the floor beside a low, ornately painted iron woodstove, rolling and folding mok mok (traditional vegetable dumplings) and occasionally giving a stir to a caldron of vegetable stew bubbling with herbaceous puffs of steam in the cold air. She quietly gestured for us to sit and handed out plates with the most common of Ladakhi fare: boiled vegetables, jagged chunks of yak cheese, dumplings and sour barley “bread,” made by boiling dense, flourless dough before dousing

Photos by Kevin F. Cox

Kevin Cox is a food and travel writer for numerous publications and online sites. Kevin believes in a low-tothe-ground approach to discovering local food and is the founder of Foodwalkers, a culinary exploration network.


17 TRAVEL

Singapore American • December 2015

New Year's Superstitions By Melinda Murphy

I

grew up in Texas where you absolutely must eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day if you want good luck for the coming year. My friend from Louisiana said her family added ham for health and collard greens for money. This tradition is so strongly ingrained that I actually travel with a can of black-eyed peas when we’ll be somewhere else for the first of January. Odd? Not really. Superstitions are a part of many New Year’s traditions. Here are my ten favorite. Brazil If you head to Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s Eve, be sure to wear white. Here people offer white flowers as gifts to Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian queen of the sea. The floral gifts are placed on the sea, some in special boats even, hoping the queen will bring them energy and strength. Columbia Love to travel? So do Columbians. To be sure their year will be filled with plenty of travel opportunities, they walk around the block with an empty suitcase. Ecuador Here, people make big, scarecrow-like effigies called los anos viejos (the old years) of people they dislike or of notable people from last year. Streets are lined with the dolls and faces for sale during the weeks leading up to the holiday. In Quito, there is a New Year’s Eve parade at night with massive effigies. At midnight, the dolls are tossed onto giant bonfires all over Ecuador. Also, women and kids dress up as viudas, widows of the dolls. Some dress as Baby New Year. Together, they

use just about everything imaginable to block streets, even highways, until you pay a toll of money or candy. El Salvador People here crack an egg in a glass at midnight and leave it on their windowsill. Fortunes are predicted based on what shape the egg takes by morning. Philippines There are many New Year’s superstitions in the Philippines. One involves opening all the doors, windows and cabinets in the house to let the bad energy out and the good energy in, all while making noise to keep the evil spirits away. Romania New Year’s Eve belongs to the animals. Truly. Farmers try to hear their animals talk and, if they do, they’ll have good luck for the coming year. People also don bear costumes (often made out of real bear fur) and dance to keep evil at bay. Russia Russians write down a wish on a piece of paper, burn it, throw it into a champagne glass and drink it before 12:01. Scotland Immediately after it strikes midnight, the first-footing begins. For good luck in the new year, a dark-haired male needs to be the first person to cross your threshold after it strikes midnight. Sometimes, the first-footer brings gifts such as coal, too. My friend’s dad was dark-haired and spent the wee hours of New Year’s Day first footing house after house! Spain As the clock strikes midnight, people all over Spain eat 12 white grapes, one for every month of the new year. Some try to eat a grape for every stroke of the clock. Turkey Folks in Turkey grab a handful of pomegranate seeds and throw them from their balconies. The more the seeds burst, the more plentiful the year ahead is supposed to be.

My favorite? All the superstitions about underwear. In Turkey, red is the magic color for fertility and passion. Columbia and Venezuela? Yellow lingerie brings happiness and peace. Puerto Ricans don white undies for fertility and health. Argentinians wear

brand-new pink underwear to attract love. Me? I'm considering rainbow underwear to cover all my bases! Photos by Agencia de Noticias ANDES, Bahia Noticias, Jacinta Lluch Valero, Susan Diana Bowling


18 ART OF GIVING

Singapore American • December 2015

Giving Something From the Heart By Nithia Devan

I

t’s December and the search for perfect holiday gifts is beginning to wear you down. It’s no fun trudging through the malls, listening to repetitive seasonal music. It’s very tempting, at this point, to give in to quickfix solutions such as gift cards or vouchers. My suggestion? Exit the mall and take a more personal and thoughtful approach to gift giving with homemade gifts from the kitchen. More and more foodies are getting into the spirit of making edible holiday season gifts. And many people prefer receiving something homemade, beautifully wrapped, with a personal touch. A gift from the kitchen does not have to be elaborate or contain costly ingredients, but it should be out of the ordinary and something recipients are not likely to make themselves or already have in their refrigerator. For the non-cooks among you, please be assured that making edible gifts can be easy and enjoyable. Plus, you can decorate them with pretty ribbons and tags.

There are a few rules: first, be sure you know the taste preferences of the friends on the receiving end of your homemade goodies. Find out if they have allergies to nuts, spices or if they avoid alcohol and so on. Second, make sure you sterilize glass jars if you are going to use them to store jams, chutneys, liqueurs or dry mixes. Third, Singapore’s climate is very humid, especially in late November and December, when the monsoon season begins. So if you are making edible gifts like cookies or chocolate truffles in advance, please remember to store them in your freezer or refrigerator to keep them fresh. Then, there’s the fun of wrapping your gifts. Consider decorating boxes with gift-wrap and ribbons and adding festive touches like a decoration or sprig of holly. You can recycle metal tins or baskets. One great thing about these gifts is that you can involve your family in this project. Children who seem to be inseparable from their iPads and mobiles can learn about the true spirit of gift giving. You can encourage your children to pick their favorite holiday recipes and prepare them for their friends. Companies can do this, too. For example, the staff of the American Association gets together and bakes like crazy to give cookies to many who have supported the organization throughout the year at the annual Appreciation Night. The Internet is filled with recipes for Christmas cookies, gingerbread, chocolate treats and more. Many sites even provide creative ideas for packaging your home made goodies.

So this holiday season, spend less time in the malls and more time in your kitchen creating something special and homemade. Whether you opt for simple ideas such as the ones here or something more elaborate such as fruitinfused vodka, spiced chutneys or a Christmas cake bursting with fruit and nuts, you can be sure that you will be giving your friends and family something of yourself. Mulled Wine Gift Set Traditionally, mulled wine is served warm, but it also works well as a chilled seasonal cocktail in the tropics! Simply, fill a cloth or hessian bag with these wonderful spices and tie to a bottle of red wine! For one gift set 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon of allspice ½ cup brown sugar 1 cinnamon stick 1 star anise 10 cloves 1 bottle of red wine (a deep Cabernet Sauvignon or Italian Chianti would be perfect) Small cloth / hessian bag, string or ribbon. Add a small card advising how to warm the red wine with the spices and to serve it warm or chilled.

Christmas Tea 4 cups loose tea leaves (this works best with strongly flavored black tea like Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Ceylon tea) 4 cinnamon sticks 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon dried orange peel Combine all the ingredients except the cinnamon sticks and add tea mixture to a clean, sterilized jar. Push the cinnamon sticks into the middle of tea mixture in the jar. Seal with an airtight lid and allow to “infuse” for at least two weeks before using. Paste a label on the side of the jar with the brewing instructions: Place one teaspoon of tea mixture per person to a teapot, add boiling water and allow to brew for desired time (according to preferred strength of tea). Pour through a strainer and sweeten to taste. Photos by Anders Ruff Nithia Devan is a freelance marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor. She is a keen supporter of the arts in Singapore, especially theater.  Her other passions are cookery, cinema, travel, art and crafts. Nithia also writes for City Nomads, a guide to what’s happening in Singapore, www.citynomads.com.


Singapore American • December 2015

Cross-Cultural Giving By Elbee Bryan

I

’ve always found gift giving in the business world a bit thorny. It’s hard enough to figure out the perfect gift for your life partner, but a client? Add in the various cultures that those of us living in Singapore have to navigate and you’ve got a big, ol’ complicated maze. Gift giving cross-culturally can be a landmine. Certain numbers are lucky or unlucky. Some objects are taboo. Colors matter. So here are a few tips to set you on your gift-giving way. Forget gift certificates for things like a massage or personal trainer. People can misinterpret your intentions and you could actually end up hurting somebody’s feelings. A bottle of wine? Nope, not a good idea. Some people don’t drink. Some drink who are trying not to drink. Religion and politics are taboo conversation topics so they should be taboo gifts, too. In some countries, gifts are expected, even at business meetings. This includes many of the Pacific Rim countries: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Expensive gifts can spell trouble in countries such as Malaysia, Norway and Brazil as they are seen as a bribe. However in Portugal, an expensive gift is seen as a sign of mutual respect. In places like Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, the graciousness in which the gift is given and received is

actually almost more important than the gift itself. Take time to present the gift with the appropriate fanfare. Whatever you do, don’t give a generic gift to an Italian. They really value a gift chosen specifically for them, appreciating you’ve taken the time to understand what makes them happy. In Korea, the government sets a limit to the value of a gift a civil servant can receive. In China, gift giving is a common custom, even for business meetings. Don’t give a Chinese person clocks, towels, umbrella, knives or scissors as these have bad connotations! Gifts should always be reciprocated. In India, keep in mind both the Hindu and Muslim cultures so no leather or pork products. Also, gifts should not be wrapped in black or white as they are unlucky colors. In Thailand, gifts are typically modest such as flowers or a book of photographs from home. Three is a lucky number; six is unlucky. As a man, be careful giving a gift to a female business associate in Latin America. Sometimes the intentions can be misconstrued. Avoid purple and 13 of anything. Gifts should only be given to people you really know. Giving to an Englishman? Restrain yourself from being too lavish. Your Singaporean friend doesn’t seem to want your gift? Don’t worry! The recipient may graciously refuse it three times before accepting it. Best advice? Google each country and read up on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Photo by Ricardo

Elbee Bryan has long worried about giving corporate gifts, always feeling like she’s missing the mark. She considers Google her best friend during the holiday season.

Choosing Corporate Gifts By Rob Faraone

Types of Gifts Can Vary. Gifts should be chosen according to recipient. Is the gift to be for one person? An entire team? A client’s family? Gifts can be personal or more business related. Some choices such as gift hampers are commonly used whereas many prefer a more lasting gift.

T

is the season of giving - in business, too! For ages, Singapore firms have freely given gifts at Chinese New Year, but some multinationals have stricter rules. Do your research. What’s the Budget? Base your budget on the existing or potential business value. Company’s internal policies differ, so if unsure, it is fair to ask and tailor your budget accordingly. Bulk purchases and personalizing gifts can affect the budget.

What is Most Appropriate to Give? There are no hard and fast rules here. Chances are the budget will drive the selection. My own preference is something unique with a perceived value of at least 50% more than my actual spend; something likely to be kept in the office rather than taken home. How is the Best Way to Give the Gift? Style and creativity count. A surprise delivery at the office can enhance appreciation. If the recipient firm frowns on flash, personally deliver the gift over lunch. Subtlety can also be powerful. How Strongly Should You Plug Your Brand? How important is it to put your logo on the side of the gift? Will the recipient still use your gift if it has your logo emblazoned on the side?

Who Gets Something? Prioritize gifting to decision-makers first and decisioninfluencers second. Gifts to staff “allies” such as a friendly receptionist may help the overall relationship. Decide on a budget by category before making purchases. For example, decision-maker gifts (often $100 or more), influencer gifts ($50 +) and staff allies ($5-10)

Consider a philanthropic gift. Perhaps an unconventional sort of gift with a philanthropic or charity twist is appropriate. Does your company support a charity? Does theirs? For example, AmCham speaker gifts receive a donation to SMU in the name of recipient.

When to Give a Gift? A business victory such as winning a project is cause to celebrate. In the absence of a singular event, New Year (and not Christmas) has universal significance. Staff thank you items can be given any time, including during a sales call.

Photo by Ivan Rob Faraone has lived in six countries in the region over 30 years,  including  three stints in Singapore. After a career in the moving and relocation  industry, he enjoys sharing settling-in tips with new expats in Singapore.

Examples of corporate gifts • Personal items: gym bags, personal electronics • Business items: electronics, briefcase • Retainables: office items tend to stay in the office • Staff giveaways: flash drives, phone or tablet stands • Consumables: hampers, wine, food • Intangibles: meals, trips, event tickets • Alternative gifts: donations, sponsorship at a client's company event


20 ART OF GIVING

Singapore American • December 2015

Giving a Holiday Party By Laura Schwartz

I

n my opinion, the holiday season begins a bit prematurely in Singapore. Orchard was decked out in tinsel weeks before Halloween and supermarkets started playing Michael Buble’s Christmas album even earlier. So there’s been plenty of time to think about and plan a holiday party. But if you’re wondering how to prepare a Christmas dinner in your shoebox-sized oven; or if you’re worried tropical heat and the holiday spirit don’t mix or if you just hate the idea of cleaning up after a party…keep reading. The Tree Like many of us, pine trees are not native to this part of the world and some handle relocation

better than others. Avoid the little ones on ice that supermarkets sometimes carry because, despite their green needles, they’re often already on their way to being totally brown by December 25. IKEA is a reliable source of both artificial and real trees, but be warned they sell out quickly. Tangs or Robinsons also carry artificial (even completely pre-decorated) trees. My favorite option is to support local nurseries (such as Far East Flora, Thomson Nurseries or Bedok Garden & Landscaping, to name a few), that offer several sizes of US-sourced pines. Be forewarned: some of these outlets used to let you order weeks ahead and reserve a tree, but that policy has changed for a few of them, now

requiring you accept delivery within seven days of ordering. Don’t worry: you’ll get used to perusing Christmas trees in the humidity.

(except with an additional stall or two selling handmade holiday-related items). Going to one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find decorations.

The Decorations You have a wide range of options when it comes to balls and baubles to decorate your home. Malls have pop-up exhibitions or shops where you can grab some cheap and cheerful danglies (Tangs has a whole floor). Larger Cold Storage outlets offer Christmas-themed paper plates and napkins, while IKEA carries cute decorations and cheap, yet festive, glassware. You’ll see a bunch of “Christmas Fairs” advertised, but they’re often like any other shopping event

The Food I confess: despite throwing several Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, I have never actually roasted my own turkey. I don’t trust my skills or my finicky oven. Conveniently, both NTUC and Cold Storage begin filling orders for Christmas feasts starting in late November. You can have an entire banquet quite literally delivered to your door, complete with gravy, stuffing, wine and dessert. Several restaurants and specialty stores also feature festive


Singapore American • December 2015

catalogues, such as Da Paolo Gastronomia, Royal Plaza on Scotts, The American Club, Meat the Butcher and Huber’s Butcher. The Clean Up If you’re DINKs like us and a live-in helper would be overkill, fear not. There are cleaning services you can call, but I’ve found most require you to pay for a couple of weeks rather than a one-off service. Thankfully, there’s an app for that. Helpling is like Uber for cleaning services. You hook it up to your credit card and input your address, number of rooms, extra requests and your desired timing. Note: You’ll want to schedule in

advance as it can take a few days for them to find someone for you. Regardless of the premature festivities, holiday parties these days are no longer the dreaded gauntlet they once were. The best part of all these conveniences is that they allow you to return your focus to the heart of the season’s celebrations: enjoying time with friends and family. Photo by James Petts, Pete, USArmy, RDECOM When Laura Schwartz is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions & Career Consultant with freelance writing.


24 GIVING TALENT

Singapore American • December 2015

Giving Their Talent Our newspaper wouldn’t be possible without our wonderfully talented writers, photographers and interns who give their time and talent. We have several people who contribute from time to time, but the people below contribute often and make up the core of our Singapore American Newspaper team. We’d like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you!” for all this incredibly capable and diverse group does.

Faith Anna Chanda has written for SAN since moving to Singapore from New York with her husband and two children in January. Faith has reinvented herself here as a writer, after spending most of her career in Marketing Communications and Event Planning. She looks forward to more travel adventures, exploring her passions for food, culture, nature and design.

Melissa Diagana is a molecular biologist by training. She enjoys studying the broader picture of natural history as much as its reductionist details. She regularly writes about environmental and biomedical topics. With family roots and shoots in the US, France, Serbia, Senegal and Ethiopia, she has found it easy to thrive in this multi-ethnic little red dot over the past eight years.

Laura Coulter is a globe-trotting journalist, event planner, teacher, and fundraiser. She enjoys hosting fabulous events that give back to her community and causes in which she believes. Coulter is the creator and host of the longrunning "Your Clothes Friend Swap," held four times a year. She also volunteers to build homes for Habitat for Humanity.

Rob Faraone has lived in six countries in the region over 30 years, including three stints in Singapore. After a career in the moving/relocation industry, he's now engaged by the International Association of Movers and regularly writes for its global publication. Rob has been a SAN contributor for three years and is active in AmCham and The American Club.

Kevin Cox is a culinary explorer and writer in the US and Asia. For five years, Kevin roamed Singapore’s heartlands, making their food his obsession. Now, he’s back in America, discovering its many tasty neighborhoods. He loves to experience how people live and what they eat, yearning for authenticity in the food and passion by those who make it. Join him at www.foodwalkers.com

Lucía Damacela moved here with her family in 2013. A social psychologist and researcher by training, she is now involved in Singapore's culture and arts scene and is a Friends of the Museums docent. Her written works are included in Rojak: Stories from the Singapore Writers Group, Mulberry Fork Review and Slippery Elm. Tweet her @lucyda or check out www.apuntes-de-aqui-y-alla.blogspot.sg

Nithia Devan is a freelance marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor. She is passionate about supporting Singapore theater and the local arts scene. Nithia also writes for City Nomads (www.citynomads.com). Other passions are cookery, cinema, travel, arts and crafts. She is also an active member of PrimeTime, an international networking organization.

Eric Janes is a photographer from a small Maine lobstering town. He came here by way of Bangkok and New York City, where he spent a decade doing print production for the likes of Fast Company, Saveur and Good Housekeeping. His wife, Pachara, is assigned to the Royal Thai Embassy here. When he isn’t Mr. Mom-ing it with his five-month-old twin boys, he does freelance writing and photography.

Bill Poorman is a part-time writer who, for the last several years, has been a full-time member of the unpaid economy. That is, he’s been a stay-at-home dad, raising two boys. The family moved to Singapore just over a year ago for his wife’s job. Prior, Bill was a radio journalist and media producer. You can reach him at poorman@billpoorman.com.

Lauren S. Power is a Texas native who has lived in the USA, UK, Japan and Singapore. As an independent writer and researcher, Lauren uses her involvement with Southeast Asian institutes and think tanks as inspiration for the social and political themes in her writing. To view Lauren’s work, visit  www.laurenspower.com

Interns Kelly Chung is a fitness enthusiast, avid photographer, foodie and aspiring entrepreneur. Born in Seoul, Kelly has spent most of her life in Singapore. She is a Senior at SAS where she plays touch rugby as a Varsity player and reports for the Eye, SAS’s online newspaper. Laura Schwartz was born in Ireland and grew up in Japan, Singapore and New Jersey, becoming an American citizen at age 18. She holds a BA from Bard College in Japanese Language & Culture. When she’s not traveling or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions & Career Consultant with freelance writing for a variety of publications. www.thecircuition.com.

Jim Tietjen is an avid world traveler and adventurer. He enjoys sports such as cycling, diving, driving, flying, golf, mountain climbing, tennis and trekking. His passions are friends (old and new), culture, food, drink, music, photography and writing. He likes to help people in need and help all to succeed. He especially enjoys planning, running and participating in charity events.

Natalia Wakula continues her 100-year-old family tradition of professional photography, specializing in event and wedding photography. Discreetly shooting moments from a distance, she strives to find balance between the newest trends and classic perfection. When she is not shooting events, you can find her cooking vegan and gluten-free delights. www.nataliawaklua.pl

Benjamin Moseley, a SAS alumnae, is currently a graduate student at University of Washington. When he is not buried underneath a pile of books or writing papers about the recent history of Southeast Asia, he attempts to recreate hawker-style food or schemes to backpack through Southeast Asia. Quinn Tucker is from Los Angeles, but has lived in Singapore the past nine of her 16 years. Currently a sophomore at Singapore American School, Quinn loves graphic design, sports and socializing. She loves working with the American Assocation team on events and advertising.


23 ART OF GIVING

Singapore American • December 2015

A Gentleman's Guide to Gifting By Angel Corrigan

G

ift giving is an art and not all of us are artistic. For you men out there, giving to women can be particularly tricky. However, you can cultivate and develop this talent through careful observation and shrewd note taking. These two, very simple steps will start you on the path to becoming a legendary gift giver. • Observe the things in which she is interested such as fashion, decorating, hobbies or a particular social welfare issue. • Write down the things she mentions, even in a passing conversation.

You now have a cued up list of gifts from which to draw on any occasion. Since you probably have not been doing this, I’m going to take pity on you and give you some suggestions to grease those rusty wheels. Where do you start if you need inspiration? • To get some ideas, visit a few websites such as, Gifts.com, uncommongoodgifts.com or dodoburd.com. These all have gift sections organized according to gender, special interests and occasion. • Check out a local vendor fair, which are often held in clubs or hotel functions rooms. You will find one-of-a-kind items at these fairs that you won’t be able to find in the shops. • Shop for a cause: many groups sells items to help support the work they are doing. If she has a favorite cause, check to see if you can make your gift-giving dollar give twice. Along with the above-mentioned, mindstimulating exercises to improve your gifting mojo, today and today only you will receive this alphabetized, highly-researched list of gifts that real women have specified they would be interested in receiving. • Aromatherapy diffusers • Artwork by a local artist • Crafting /art supplies • Evening out to a play/movie/live music with dinner and drinks. • Food she might be missing from home or a gourmet gift basket with favorite coffee, tea or chocolates • Gift cards to her favorite stores

• Handbags • Hand-made items such as photo albums; a custom mug set with family photos on them; love notes; hand-written vouchers for spending time together doing things such as picnicking, hiking, going to the trampoline park, bike riding at East or West Coast park, surf lessons at Wave House Sentosa, or ice skating; free hugs and kiss cards. This one is good for kids, too. • Jewelry is always a hit especially unique piece or sets, favorite colors or stones or something from Asia such as jade or pearls. • Kindle gift cards • Magazine subscriptions from home are lovely. If the publication doesn’t deliver here, try sg.zinio.com • Mani/Pedi vouchers • Music • Plants & flowers : check with your favorite

florist to see if they can schedule a once-a month or special occasion delivery. • Scented candles • Shoes • Soaps and lotions • Spa vouchers • “Staycation” at a local hotel or resort with champagne and her favorite chocolate • And jewelry!!! Did I mention jewelry already? For most of us, it’s always a hit! What are you waiting for? Get shopping! Photos by Angel Corrigan

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 MD of her own company.

What Do Men Want? By Tom Benner

A

man reaches a certain point in life when he probably doesn’t need much in the way of things. Watch? Check. Poultry shears? Check. A pull-over? Hey, we’re in Singapore. For the man who has - well, a lot of things, if not everything - experiences make the best gift. Experiences can be fun, personal, often low-cost - even priceless, as the folks at MasterCard like to say. Here’s a highly selective guide to gifts that can make great experiences. Quality time. Take him on a drive in the country. Or a hike up Bukit Timah. Or a walk along the Singapore River. A session with a personal trainer. Because some men would like one, but are too lazy to find one. Tickets. Some guys like sporting events. Other guys like theater, or music or something else. Buy a ticket for yourself and go along with him. A spa certificate. Who doesn’t like a massage? A restaurant gift certificate. Because men like to eat and eating for free tastes even better. Bookstore certificates. For the guy who reads. A case of wine. For the man who likes a glass,

shared with friends and family. Or give him anything else consumable, for that matter. Holiday cards. Some people still do the oldfashioned holiday card thing and snail-mail it, but that’s what it is, old-fashioned. There are online custom cards through services such as PaperlessPost.com that allow you to be creative and add a personal touch. Skype. For the expat dad with a globally -scattered family, there’s nothing like Skype time. This will be the first Christmas since I’ve been living in Singapore that I won’t be back in the US. My grown children say it’s okay, as long as we have a Christmas Skype session. Look, I don’t mean to sound like a gift curmudgeon. There are times when a gift from a store is perfect. Last year, my daughter bought me a trendy, new cloth backpack to replace my ancient, torn and frayed LL Bean backpack with my initials stitched onto it. She said it was embarrassing that I still used it, so I guess I needed a new one. Still, too many gifts over the years were brought to the neighborhood Yankee Gift Swap, that strange New England tradition of fobbing off unwanted gifts for even less wanted gifts. Golf, travel ... there are plenty of other ideas related to our hobbies and passions. It all depends on for whom you’re buying. To a lot of harried guys, a life well lived is rich in experiences, not things; experiences that allow us to broaden and deepen our perspectives, to reconnect with family and friends through shared activities and to unwind while creating new memories. And those won’t have to be re-gifted.

Photos by Flattr, Jnzl

Tom Benner is a freelance journalist who covers public policy, culture and business. Before relocating to Singapore, he served as bureau chief in the Massachusetts State House and as a long-time editorial writer for daily newspapers in the US. Recently, Tom has contributed op-eds to The Straits Times and Today. He is currently editing the 14th edition of Living in Singapore.

Does an experiential gift sound great, but none of these hit the target? Then try logging onto Luxly.com.sg a site offering exquisite travel, dining and other fabulous experiences. perfect for those hard-to-shop for men and women. RedboxGifts.com.sg is another a site offering more than 250 experiential gifts in Singapore, everything from kayaking to food tasting to flight simulators.


25 HEALTH & WELLNESS

Singapore American • December 2015

Straight Teeth for Adults By Dr. Bernard Siew

M

any adults with crooked teeth are self-conscious or embarrassed about their smiles. Often, they don’t seek a solution because they think the only options are braces or veneers. Most adults would simply choose to live with the smile that they have. It is a fact that misaligned teeth in adults is as prevalent as in childhood. Many people are surprised to learn that teeth have a natural tendency to drift throughout our lives and can become crowded or crossed-over as we age. Factors influencing the degree of crowding include tooth wear, clenching or grinding, loss of teeth and the health of the supporting bone and gum tissue.

If you want straighter teeth and thought that your only options are conventional braces or a mouth full of veneers, you may be excited to know that there are now practical and more conservative options for the busy adult. Modern dental innovation and technological development means that, even as an adult, teeth straightening has never been easier or less obvious. Invisalign™ and Cfast™ are two such alternatives. Invisalign™ is a system that uses clear, custommade removable aligners to gradually move teeth. Without the wire and brackets, the trays are almost undetectable. Invisalign™ not only moves the teeth, but will also correct the bite if needed. It can take as long as traditional braces to achieve the desired outcome.

Cfast™ (cosmetically focused adult straight teeth) uses a camouflaged form of braces to straighten the teeth, usually within three to six months. It is “cosmetically focused” because the treatment straightens crooked or misaligned front teeth only, without changing the bite. This is a fantastic alternative for people who do not want prolonged conventional orthodontic treatment nor invasive porcelain veneers and crowns. The system that is most suitable for you depends on a number of factors. A thorough consultation with your dentist is recommended so that the result you desire can be achieved. Adequate time must be spent to discuss realistic expectations so that disappointments are avoided. Photos of completed cases and computer-generated graphics of your case before and after treatment will assist in helping you decide the nature of the treatment you prefer. Other factors influencing your choice of treatment include the time it will take to complete, whether you will have a fixed or removable appliance and, of course, the costs involved. There are even choices within each system that cater for the amount of tooth straightening you may require. The most essential assessment before commencing is to ensure that your teeth and supporting gum and bone tissues are in good health. Often straightening will enhance cleanliness so that good looking and healthy teeth can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Photos courtesy of Smilefocus Dr. Bernard Siew BDS (Adelaide) has practiced in Singapore for more than ten years. His areas of focus are cosmetic dentistry, including complete smile makeovers; veneers in porcelain and resin; and whitening. He also manages excessively worn teeth, from bruxism to acid erosion, and works with oral rehabilitation and implant prosthodontics, including crowns, bridges and dentures. For more info visit: www.smilefocus.com.sg


26 FOOD & DINING

Singapore American • December 2015

Our Staff's Holiday Favorites

Easy Christmas Pudding

1½ x 411g jars luxury, fruit-based mincemeat Grated zest of 1 large orange 2 tablespoons brandy ¼ cup self-rising flour 1 tsp mixed spice ¼ cup fresh white breadcrumbs 1 egg, beaten Icing sugar, a few fresh berries and a large fresh rosemary sprig (optional), to decorate

Polish Christmas Soup

Alexandra Dolibic, Events Manager

Hannah Mattock, Business Development Manager

A big tradition in many British homes is Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before the season of Advent begins, celebrated since the days of Queen Victoria. Parents teach children how to make the Christmas pudding and, for good luck, everybody in the house takes a turn stirring, even babies. Traditionally, a shiny sixpence was hidden in the pudding, but a Singapore dollar would be perfect. Sadly, many don’t do this anymore because there are such good pre-made ones on the market. Plus, some recipes take a lot of effort, but this one only takes 15 minutes!

parsnip, celery root, leek) 2 teaspoons butter 1 garlic clove , mashed with a little salt 2 cups beet sour 1/4 cup strained liquid from soaking dried mushrooms Sugar to taste Salt and pepper 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

To prepare: Empty the mincemeat into a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the grated orange zest and brandy. Sift the selfrising flour and spice together and stir into the mincemeat mixture with the breadcrumbs. Stir in the beaten egg. Spoon into a greased 900ml pudding basin, cover with a circle of pleated greaseproof paper, then a circle of foil and tie around the rim of the basin with string to secure. Loop the string over and tie at the other side to make handles. To cook: Put the pudding basin on an upturned saucer in a large, deep pan, and pour in boiling water until it comes halfway up the side of the pudding basin. Cover and steam for 3 hours, topping up the water level occasionally. Alternatively, cover loosely with greaseproof paper and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes.Serve with Brandy butter and light on fire if you’re daring!

In Poland, twelve traditional dishes are served for Christmas Eve dinner, known as Wigilia. These dishes are only made once a year. Twelve symbolizes the twelve Apostles and the twelve months of the year. No meat is served, but rather varieties of fish and vegetables. The meal always start with barszcz (borscht).

Kwas (Beet Sour): 3 1/2 pounds beets, peeled , rinsed and sliced Boiled water cooled to lukewarm 1 slice rye bread with crust Borscht: 1 pound beets, peeled , rinsed and sliced 1/2 pound peeled, rinsed and sliced soup vegetables (carrot,

Preparation: 1. To make the kwas (beet sour): Place beets in a large crock or ceramic bowl. Cover with pre-boiled, lukewarm water. Add the rye bread slice, pushing it under the water. Cover the crock or bowl with cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for three days. Then, strain through cheesecloth, pour into a glass jar and seal it. Store in the fridge. You may eat the strained beets or discard them. 2. To make the soup: Place prepared vegetables in a large stockpot. Add 6 cups cold water and 1 teaspoon butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Strain, pressing on vegetables to extract every last ounce of goodness. 3. Return the strained liquid to the pot and add garlic, beet sour, mushroom soaking liquid, salt and pepper and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Before serving, stir in remaining 1 teaspoon butter and chopped parsley. Ladle into hot bowls and serve with mushroom uszka (mushroom dumplings).


27 FOOD & DINING

Singapore American • December 2015

Melted Snowman Cookies Danielle Spinks, Volunteer

My kids absolutely adore these cookies. Besides the fact that they look good, they also taste good – the perfect Christmas cookie combo! They are now a tradition in our home and my kids gobble them down almost as fast as I can make them. First, bake some basic, sugar cookies. Here’s my favorite recipe.

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla. 2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. 3. Bake 350F (180C) for about 8-10 mins. 4. When the cookies are cool, melt white chocolate wafers or white chocolate chips. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie. Stick a marshmallow into the melted chocolate and then proceed to decorate. Go crazy! Let your creative skills run wild! Decorating them is almost as fun as eating them. Another tip? I put a craft stick into the cookie dough while it’s baking. Then I end up with Melted Snowman Cookie Pops! Yum! Photos by Photos courtesy [cipher], Eric Janes, Keith & Karla Moore, James Petts

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature ¾ cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1 red bell pepper 1 garlic clove , sliced 2 T minced Italian parsley 3 T olive oil 2 T red wine vinegar ½ tsp chili flakes 1 tsp sea salt

Mediterranean Seafood Salad Mary Ferrante, Office Manager

Seafood is a way of life for my Italian family, My parents are both from islands: my mother from Sardinia and my father from Sicily. Traditionally, Italians only eat fish for Christmas Eve and our family always made this recipe as an appetizer. To my knowledge, this is the first time this recipe has been written down. Rather, it was passed from generation to generation over the years.

4-5 whole (or 400 grams sliced) cleaned calamari (squid) 4 large scallops 8 medium prawns (shelled and deveined) 300 gr. Norwegian salmon* 300 gr cooked mussels (with shells)

calendar

of

1. Gently boil calamari in water for 30 minutes. When cooked, leave calamari in saucepan to cool. 2. Heat oven to broil setting (400F or 200C). Place bell pepper in a roasting pan and char, turning bell pepper occasionally to ensure all sides are blackened. Remove from heat, cover with foil for a few minutes (to help loosen the skin). Peel, core and remove seeds. Cut into strips and place in a large bowl. 3. Gently poach prawns and scallops for 3-5 minutes or until prawns turn pink and scallops become opaque. Drain liquid. Cut seafood into pieces. Toss into large bowl with bell pepper. 4. Poach salmon for 10 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Drain liquid. Cut into 1” cubes and toss into large bowl. 5. Drain cooled calamari, cut into slices (if not pre-cut) and add to bowl. 6. Add cooked mussels, minced parsley, garlic, chili flakes, olive oil, vinegar and salt to bowl and mix. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving cold. This recipe is best if prepared one day in advance. *Traditionally, octopus or cuttlefish is used, but it’s hard to find in Singapore.

events

Any responder should make any further enquiries with the organizer or should verify the information independently if necessary.

ENTERTA I N M ENT 1 -2 December Elton John: All the Hits Tour The Star Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 6 December Singapore International Film Festival Various Locations www.sgiff.com 1 – 6 December The Enormous Turnip SOTA Drama Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 12 December Beauty World Victoria Theatre www.artsrepublic.sg 1 – 12 December The Emperor’s New Clothes Drama Centre Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 13 December Cirque du Soleil Totem Under the Big Top www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 13 December Holiday in My Head Drama Centre Black Box www.sistic.com.sg 1 – 24 December Christmas Pop-Up Market Chijmes, The Lawn www.fleawhere.com/flea-market-details/216

1 – 31 December Hedger’s Carpet Year End Sale 15 Dempsey Road #01-09 www.hedgerscarpetgallery.com.sg 3 – 6 December Swan Lake Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 6 December Sleep Walk & Carnival Tampines Retail Park www.trpsleepwalk.com.sg 10 December – 4 January Cinderella – A Fairly True Story Resorts World Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 11 – 12 December ZoukOut Siloso Beach Resort Sentosa www.zoukout.com 31 December New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert SOTA Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg

ED U CAT I ON From 1 December UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2016/2017 open Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg admissions@uwcsea.edu.sg

3 December Canadian International School Open House Lakeside Campus 7 Jurong West Street 41 9am www.cis.edu.sg 4 December Stamford American International School Open House 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg 10 December Canadian International School Open House Tanjong Katong Campus 371 Tanjong Katong Road 9am www.cis.edu.sg

S P ORTS 3 – 9 December 8th Annual ASEAN Para Games Singapore Sports Hub www.aseanparagames2015.com 5 – 6 December Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2015 The Padang www.marathonsingapore.com 31 December Bubble Glow 5K Siloso Beach www.bubbleglow5k.com


Singapore American • December 2015

Singapore American Newspaper  

San December 2015