AM ERICAN AS S O C IATION O F S INGAP ORE
American Association..... 1-5 Member Discounts............. 3 CRCE & Business............... 6 Community News........... 7-9 Look at the Future...... 11-16 Travel........................ 12-13 Living in Singapore..... 17-19 Food & Dining................. 20 Arts & Culture............ 21-22 Health & Wellness........... 23 What’s Happening.......... 23
Arts & Culture 21-22
Look at the Future 11-16
We Grabbed Ten Minutes With the Man in Red
Join Us for a Tour Around Italy
What to Give to a Person Who Has Everything?
From Driverless Cars to Artificial Intelligence
MCI (P) 197/03/2017
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! By Eadren Tan
Photo courtesy of Winter Wonderland
hristmas in the tropics might seem strange at first, especially for those of us who are used to spending this time of year in much colder climes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do to get into the spirit. If you are staying in Singapore, here are some festive things to try during the holidays. Christmas on a Great Street The lights on Orchard Road have been a festive highlight since 1984, when they lasted just 20 days. This year, the Christmas Light-up will run for six weeks, from mid-November through January 1! In addition, from Tanglin Mall all the way to Plaza Singapura, the malls and department stores will be going all out with their decorations, as they compete for the title of Best-Dressed Building – will your favorite be the winner? Stop off at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza to check out the Endless Wonder Christmas Village, with bouncy castles, live music, roving costumed performers and a carousel, it’s sure to be the perfect place to take a break from the shops.
“Snow” at Tanglin Mall As usual, Tanglin Mall will be bathing visitors in its very own version of snow this year. Bring the whole family for some foamy fun and don’t forget to snap a few insta-worthy pics #xmasinthetropics! Christmas Wonderland From the start of December, Gardens by the Bay will be transformed into Singapore’s biggest yuletide fair, with the magnificent luminarie light sculptures from Italy, acrobatic performances by Circus Abyssinia Present Ethiopian Dreams, skating under the stars, festive markets, carnival rides and more. Children and the young-at-heart can also meet Santa himself, and witness his life-sized reindeers and sleigh installation, in the Arctic-themed Santa’s grotto. Snow City Yes, real snow! Nothing says Christmas like sub-zero temperatures, skiing, snowboarding and a three-story high, 60-meter long snow slope to snow tube. If it
starts getting too cold, you can head back outdoors to attempt The Cliff – a vertigo-inducing climbing wall of international competition standards. Christmas at Universal Studios Singapore This year’s highlights include the all-singing, all-dancing Search for a Christmas Star show and Santa’s Snowy Sleigh Ride, which will bring a burst of snowfall to the streets of New York. All our favorite characters will be embracing the Christmas spirit with fun performances and festive outfits. S.E.A. Aquarium’s Merry Fishmas Every year, S.E.A. Aquarium celebrates Merry Fishmas with a variety of activities for visitors. In 2014, there was the Fishmas trail treasure hunt, in 2015 they celebrated the 12 Days of Fishmas, and last year Sea Protectors hunted aquatic-style Pokemon. At time of press, this year’s details had not been released, but keep an eye on the RWS website for updates. Continues on page 17
American Association of Singapore’s Centennial Partners
2 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
Singapore American · December 2017
A message from the President...
he lights are shining brightly on Orchard Road, Gardens by the Bay has a huge artificial ice rink and the snow (well, foam) is flowing abundantly each night outside Tanglin Mall. That can only mean one thing – the festive season has well and truly started in Singapore! We’re having lots of fun getting into the spirit of the holidays at the American Association of Singapore (AAS). We’re honored and proud to support the Toys for Tots program alongside the US Marines, collecting toys that will be distributed as Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in Singapore. We hope that many of you will be able to join us on December 4 at The American Club to share this special event. As always, things continue to be busy at AAS, with many events and opportunities for our members to have some fun and also get involved with some worthy causes. We’ve had volunteering opportunities at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen and a full team of walkers joined the American Chamber of Commerce’s Walk for Rice, raising bowls of rice for families in need in Singapore. At the time of writing, we’re in the midst of preparing for the Community Thanksgiving Picnic, which we’re co-hosting with the American Women’s Association. We’re looking forward to a fun, family afternoon at Kallang Riverside Park. Look out for the photos in January’s Singapore American. We’ve had so much fun theming our events this year in line with the different eras of American history. Looking back over the year, we had our stylish nineteen-twenties and thirties George Washington Ball, our quirky 1940s-inspired Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament, some good old-fashioned fun at our fifties-style Independence Day Celebration and a retro afternoon of peace and love at Welcome Back, with a laidback 1960s and 70s vibe. As the end of the year draws ever closer, there are just a few short weeks for members to fill up their Centennial Passports with stamps. As a reminder, members need to collect four (or more) stamps by attending our major events (including one paid-for event) and/or undertake approved acts of charity. Passports were pre-stamped for our Independence Day extravaganza back in July, which leaves three to collect. Members who have attended events, but forgotten to have their passports stamped can stop by the AAS office, where staff will be happy to add any missed stamps. Completed passports should be dropped into the office where they will be entered into our lucky draw to win some pretty awesome prizes, the star of which is two roundtrip Economy Class tickets to the United States on Emirates. Winners will be notified in January 2018 – good luck! Whichever festivals you are celebrating this year and whether you are in Singapore, heading back to your home country or jetting off to an exotic location, I wish you a safe, fun and peaceful time. I look forward to meeting you at an AAS event in the New Year. Happy holidays!
SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Cath Forte, firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Editor: Sarah Alden, email@example.com
DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen, firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Suga Chen, Sammie Cheston, Jeff Middleton, Melinda Murphy Hiemstra, Priscilla Koh, Kelli Lane, Sally Lean, Arcia Perrenoud, Bill Poorman, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez, Dr. Vidya Schalk, Laura Schwartz, Hal Serudin, Marc Servos, Frances Strong, Eadren Tan, Jim Tietjen For AAS: Katie Baines, Cath Forte
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Stephanie Nash • Vice President: Shawn Galey Treasurer: Michael Borchert • Secretary: Joseph Foggiato Directors: Sammie Cheston, Blair Hall, Bill Poorman, Brian Schwender, Jenn Wood Immediate Past President: Glenn van Zutphen • AmCham Chair: Ann Yom Steel The American Club President: Kristen Graff • AWA President: Rohita Rajkumar SACAC Chair: Greg Rutledge • SAS Chair: Dr. Chip Kimball Non-Voting Members: US Embassy: Tor Petersen US Military: Rear Admiral Donald Gabrielson
PUBLISHER – AMERICAN 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. 15 Scotts Road, #03-02 Thong Teck Building, Singapore 228218 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • F: (+65) 6738 3648 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.aasingapore.com The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.
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. 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.
Stephanie Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG for all social media).
3 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
Singapore American · December 2017
Toys for Tots
Join us for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration. Get festive with classic crafts, carols and refreshments; meet the US Marines and enjoy a visit from Santa Claus himself! Bring an unwrapped new toy for the Marines to distribute to children around Singapore. 5-7pm The American Club, The 2nd Floor 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 Visit www.aasingapore.com for pricing and registration.
New members learned all about AAS, upcoming events and how to make the most of their membership at the Newbie Night on October 24 at the AAS office. The evening was also a great opportunity for new members to make connections over shared experiences both in Singapore and back home.
85th George Washington Ball – Early Bird Tickets on sale through December 15
Get your early bird tickets now for the American Association of Singapore’s 85th George Washington Ball. Expect the unexpected, as AAS brings the magic of Cirque Spectacular to Sentosa for one night only! This fabulous evening will include a decadent four-course meal, live music and a very special lucky draw and silent auction. After dinner, guests can hit the dance floor and groove the night away to classic tunes and today’s hits, courtesy of a fantastic band. Better still, this SPECTACULAR night will benefit Singapore Children’s Society. 7pm W Singapore – Sentosa Cove 21 Ocean Way, Singapore 098374 Early Bird Tickets: $300 AAS Members $3,000 AAS Members Table of 10 $380 Non-Members (Includes one-year AAS membership) $3,800 Non-Members Table of 10
For more info and to register for an event: www.aasingapore.com
American Footprints in Singapore Tour
On October 28, tour participants were treated to an insight in to the impact the US has made on Singapore since the 1820s from a historical, educational, military and business perspective. Huge thanks to Jane Iyer of Jane’s Singapore Tours who led the tour and kept us entertained as we zipped between Balestier Road, Stamford American International School, Paya Lebar Air Force Museum and the American Chamber of Commerce.
World Series Game 4
On October 29, AAS members and friends enjoyed a lively morning of camaraderie and baseball watching as the LA Dodgers beat the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the World Series. The laidback riverside venue, Boomarang Robertson Quay, was the perfect setting for sports fans to cheer on their teams together.
Future in Focus
AAS members got a glimpse of what just might be in store for our world at the Future in Focus talk on November 8 at the Hollandse Club. Topics of the night included education, cybersecurity and superluxury cars, and guests engaged in a great discussion with our speakers of what we may expect in terms of the future landscape for each of these industries. Special thanks to speakers Richard Henry of GEMS World Academy (Singapore), Jeff Middleton of Lantium and Hal Serudin of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, part of the BMW Group.
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.
Get a free Singapore Financial Advice Guide, which contains essential information on ensuring your loved ones and you have adequate insurance coverage, tax information and ways to invest (both on a lump sum and regular basis). The guide also includes a breakdown of fees for international universities, which is a common request from AAM’s clients looking at planning for their children’s future. Contact email@example.com or +65 6653 6652
AAS members enjoy 2 hours free handyman service (valued at over $200) on their moving day when booking a move with Allied Pickfords.
Present AAS membership card to receive 15% off total bill. Valid for dine in on a la carte menu at all Brewerkz and Cafe Iguana restaurants through December 30, 2017. Limit to one (1) redemption per bill, per table. Not valid on concert days, eve of and on public holidays. Not valid with lunch menu, other set menus, discounts, vouchers, promotions or privileges. The management reserves the right to amend the terms & conditions without prior notice.
Book online using promo code SGAME17 and enjoy a 10% saving on regular fares or a 5% saving on promotional fares in Business Class and Economy Class to the United States, Europe and Colombo. www.emirates.com/sg
Only for AAS members. Enjoy 20% off travel insurance all year round, and $100 per couple when you book a holiday package* with Flight Centre. *Package comprises of at least flight and accommodation. Contact your dedicated travel team at 6692 9658 or visit www.flightcentre.com.sg/AAS for more info.
Present your AAS membership card and receive $10 in vouchers when you sign up for a Warehouse Club membership. Valid till December 31, 2017.
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Singapore American · December 2017
100 Acts of Charity A roundup of recent charitable acts in Singapore. Follow our progress at www.facebook.com/100ActsofCharity QaneMate for Elders 13-year-old inventor, Ian Hao Seng, empowering elders at the Society for Physically Disabled (Toa Payoh) with his patented invention, the QaneMate Q.A.N.E (Quality Ambulatory Novel Equipment), to reduce the risk of falls among walking stick-using elders. AAS at Willing Hearts AAS members, ranging in ages from 6 to 93, joined together at Willing Hearts on a Saturday morning. They labelled lunches, cut cauliflower, sifted through spinach and helped distribute meals to the elderly and disabled in Singapore. The American Club EAGLE Fund The American Club held its first annual tennis tournament in aid of its Emergency Access Grant for Club Employees (EAGLE) fund, which is available to staff to assist in emergencies such as accidents, fires, floods and medical emergencies that are not covered by insurance. The tournament raised $15,000 to seed the EAGLE Fund. SAS Mudflats Clean-up Students from Singapore American School’s Advanced Topic Environmental Science (ATES) class spent a Saturday morning cleaning up at the Lim Chu Kang Mangroves, where they worked alongside
other volunteers with International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore (ICCS) to clear 365kg of trash. Helping street cats AAS staff member Cath and her children visited the Cat Museum on Purvis Street, where they made a donation and helped to feed and socialize the orphaned kittens awaiting adoption. Thrift shop donation AAS staff members made a large donation of pre-loved clothing to the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SWCO) for their New2U thrift shop. A Truly Amazing Race AAS member Dana Glore Thompson organized the Amazing WE CARE Race 2017. Participants were given encrypted clues to various locations where they took part in lots of fun sporting and cultural activities. The Purple Parade Boy Scout Troop 07 helped out at the Purple Parade at Suntec City, which supports the inclusion of people with disabilities in Singapore.
Taking Care of the Horseshoe Crabs Scouts from Troop 07 helped the Nature Society Singapore with their research and rescue of horseshoe crabs at the Mandai Mudflats. Walking for Rice Many members of the community joined AmCham’s Walk for Rice at Bedok Reservoir, including AmCham and AAS members, colleagues from the US Embassy, Singapore, and staff from Riverbed Technologies. Helping out at SWAMI Home Garima Lalwani, President of Indian Women's Association and AAS member, volunteered at SWAMI Home. The center provides nursing care and shelter for needy people who are sick and disabled. Creative Hands Club Garima Lalwani, President of Indian Women's Association and AAS member, volunteered with the IWA Creative Hands Club at SINDA's Project Give Booth at Little India this Deepavali.
5 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
Singapore American · December 2017
Ten Minutes with Santa
By Cath Forte
s Christmas approaches, children across the globe eagerly await a visit from Santa. There are plenty of places to catch a glimpse of the man in red in the lead up to the big day, as he makes personal appearances around the island. I caught up with Sam Angove, who has been donning that famous red suit and greeting children at The American Club for 21 years to find out what it takes to be Santa…
What first persuaded you to don the red suit? My wife sadly passed away when my younger son was just 10 days old. My older son, who was three at that time, persuaded me to be Santa that year. I’ve done it every year since for charity at The American Club [and later at the Tanglin Club] in memory of my wife. Is your beard real? Yes! The first year I did it, I wore a fake beard. The children said I couldn’t possibly be Santa, as my beard wasn’t real, so I thought I’d better grow one. I start to grow it on my youngest son’s birthday (September 11), so it’s ready in time for my duties. What’s your favorite question that you’ve been asked by a child? I often get asked where my reindeer are. Of course, I tell the children I wasn’t allowed to bring them into Singapore, due to quarantine regulations, so they are waiting for me at Changi Airport. I usually get away with this, as the kids start telling me about how their dog/cat was quarantined when they arrived in Singapore, too!
Stars & Stripes
Do you think many of the kids really think you’re Santa? Yes! I’ve been doing this for so long now, some of the kids say they know I’m real because they remember me from previous years. Photo courtesy of Erick Lo Photography
What’s your favorite part of being Santa? It’s such a nice time of the year when people celebrate and are so kind and generous towards each other. I love to please the children, it makes me so happy! Sam will be donning his Santa suit at Toys for Tots on December 4 at The American Club; join us for a fun afternoon.
We Couldn’t do it Without Them! It simply would not be possible for us to produce the Singapore American newspaper without the support of our awesome team of volunteer feature writers. From all of us at the paper, we’d like to give a huge thank you to the wonderful people who have contributed to the Singapore American in 2017. Virginia Brumby, Faith Chanda, Stephanie Chen, Sammie Cheston, Angel Corrigan, Laura Coulter, Ed Cox, Kevin Cox, Jenny Francis, Raul Guizzo, Andrew Hallam, Lance Har, Sue Harben, Richard Hartung, Dominic Holden, Abha D. Kaul, Arcia Perrenoud, Bill Poorman, Dr. Vidya Schalk, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Frances Strong, Eadren Tan, Bonnie Taylor, Jim Tietjen, Eric Walter, Grant Ward, Betty Warner.
CAREER RESOURCE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”
Accounts Receivable Executive A prestigious international sports and recreation club is looking for an Accounts Receivable Executive who will be part of the Finance and Accounting Team and report directly to the Finance Manager. The Accounts Receivable Executive will take charge of Income Audit/ Credit Control, Accounts Receivable, Members Customer Services and Management Reporting. (job #3549)
Happy Mondays with Sandra Quelle By Katie Baines
he most common examples of advice we’re given when job hunting in Singapore, particularly for those of us on a Dependant’s Pass, is to be open, be flexible, think about your transferable skills; in other words, to the cynic, compromise ourselves. To the less cynical, there is value in looking beyond the confines of what our resumes tell us of our capabilities – hunting for a carbon copy of the job you left behind before moving here, for instance, could lead to forever banging your head against a brick wall. Conversely, though, frustration could also rear its ugly head in resigning yourself to a job that is unfulfilling. However, all is not lost as there are people here who have made it their business to help people have their career cake and eat it, too. Sandra Quelle, Chief Happiness Officer of The Happy Mondays Co, believes that identifying what we truly want out of a vocation and fine-tuning the way in which we market ourselves can open doors to a rewarding career anywhere in the world, Singapore included. Although she acknowledges that penetrating the job market as an expat in Singapore is a challenge, this may not forever be the case. Speaking of employment trends in the future, she says, “In Singapore right now we have a talent shortage and companies are saying that it’s hard to find the right kind of talent. So the market has to become more employee-centric and, in spite of what companies say, we as individuals, have the power.” And therein lies the opportunity. “From my own experience, it basically boils down to you proving that the hassle of hiring you is lower than what you can contribute to the company. You have to demonstrate that you are the solution they have been waiting for; companies buy solutions, not knowledge.” Originally from a small town in northern Spain, Sandra moved to Singapore in 2014 to boost an already flourishing career in the recruitment sector which she propagated at a headhunting firm in London. In spite of her initial successes
in Singapore, she felt that there was something missing and discovered that getting herself to career happiness was in helping others to do the same. So, The Happy Mondays Co was born. The ethos behind her strategy program for those who come to her in a career rut is overcoming three main challenges most people experience in job hunting. “The first step is helping you to write a job description for your ‘Happy Job’, getting you acquainted with jobs, companies and industries that would lead to you enjoy ‘Happy Mondays’. “The second step is being able to communicate your value; you know you're good, but no one else seems to, so we work on how to make your talents known in a way that will appeal to companies. Our branding process will help you to do just that by identifying your transferable skills and unique selling points and pinpointing examples to prove your expertise. “The final step is to engage with the market and find your Happy Job. To help you close the deal, we don't rely on head-hunters, recruiters or job boards. Instead, we create the best strategy for you to successfully tap into the hidden job market to land you a job you’re happy to get up for on a Monday morning.” Sandra continues to say that one of the main frustrations of expats job hunting in Singapore is sending off countless applications and hearing nothing back, which can be somewhat apportioned to the Ministry of Manpower’s drive to empower local people in the Singaporean job market, but is not something beyond the reach of foreign workers. “The advice I have is to stop, focus on what you want and be strategic about what you are applying for.” Sending out hundreds of generic resumes is one way to be ignored. “Don’t be shy in selling yourself; we are our best ambassadors, so help the company see how your work is either going to help them make money or save money. For example, an
Graphic Designer Internship A prestigious international sports and recreation club is looking for a graphic design intern to work with its Marketing Team. Reporting directly to the Membership & Communications Manager, the intern will assist in the design of all marketing and communication collateral, ensuring that deadlines are met. (job #3548) Elementary School – Grade 1 Chinese Immersion Teacher One of Singapore’s leading international school’s is seeking a Grade 1 Chinese Immersion teacher. Duties include providing a classroom environment that is conducive to learning and conducted fully in Chinese; effectively teaching the curriculum; managing each group of students while providing for a variety of learning styles, ability levels and educational backgrounds, individualizing the content when necessary to meet each student’s learning needs. (job #3542) Admissions & Career Consultant (Part-Time) A small consulting firm is recruiting for a part-time admissions and career consultant. The role will include interviewing clients to find out their academic and professional background, aspirations and preferences, recommending universities/career paths based on each individual's unique profile, coaching candidates on developing their written personal statements for university admissions and coaching candidates on proper interview/communication skills and building career self-esteem. (job #3541)
HR specialist can show how they are going to increase engagement with employees, which can result in promotion and leadership within a company. “Be proactive – if there are no jobs, go and create one. One woman I helped wanted to work for a certain brand and she pitched her idea to the chief marketing officer. Within 24 hours HR contacted her for an interview for a job that didn’t initially exist. If you like a company go and talk to them; the worst that can happen is they say no.” Photo courtesy of Sandra Quelle
Sandra Quelle will be running a workshop series for CRCE members wanting to find their “Happy Monday” from January 2018. Dates coming soon on our events calendar.
LOOKING TO REINVENT YOURSELF? AAS OFFERS PERSONALIZED CAREER COUNSELING SERVICES. SIGN UP NOW FOR A PRIVATE APPOINTMENT WITH A PROFESSIONAL CAREER ADVISOR. PLEASE CONTACT CRCE.INFO@AASINGAPORE.COM
Accounts Assistant A small accounting firm seeks an accounts assistant to provide basic accounting and book keeping services. This will include preparation of tax invoices, management accounts, payroll and GST returns for clients under the guidance of an Accounting Manager, preparing applicable forms and supporting documents for compliance reporting requirements to ACRA, IRAS, CPF and company shareholders. (job #3540) Executive Assistant to Chairman A boutique advisory firm based in Singapore is looking for a part time EA to the Chairman. The job requires flexibility, organizational skills, excellent/native English and good communications skills. The role is varied with responsibilities ranging from expense reconciliation to making travel arrangements to office admin, but also can include liaising with high level clients, strategic partners and publishers. Working hours can be variable and some of the work can be done from home. (job #3539) Orthodontist A city-based dental practice is looking for a dynamic and motivated orthodontist to fill a full-time position. The practice provides a friendly treatment environment, stable patient base, state of the art clinics and treatment facilities, as well as competitive salaries, generous annual leave and medical benefits. Assistance with necessary visas, work permits and licensing in Singapore can be provided. (job #3538)
7 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American · December 2017
Awards! Awards! Awards! By Melinda Murphy Hiemstra
SA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO), the group that oversees all Girl Scout programs outside the US, awarded the local Singapore committee The President’s Award. It’s kind of a big deal as there are Girl Scouts in 97 countries, many with committees in multiple cities. USAGSO gave out only three of these awards total. Wow! There are lots of requirements to win the award, but the big ones involve providing on-target programs for the girls. Annually, USAGSO (Singapore) runs a Songfest, Founder’s Day Celebration (dragon boating last year), Father Daughter Dance, Day Camp and Overnight Camp. We have also introduced several new programs to grow our girls’ leadership skills, including our unique Singapore Scurry (an Amazing Race-type event that takes our older girls all over the Lion City) and Leader in Action events where Cadettes run programs for Brownies. Leaders even did a special overnight training with their daughters to brush up on their outdoor skills so they can share with their troops. All of these programs are not only fun, but also teach the girls they really can do anything in a way they understand, recognizing girls learn differently than boys. We also had a large number of adult awards and Highest Awards, including 33 Bronze Awards, two Silver Awards and two Gold Awards, one earned by Jaclyn C for providing chairs to a home for lepers and a second Gold by Roopal K for her program to teach computer skills to girls in India. For a complete list (which is really long!), check out our website listed below. Roopal’s award, “Closing the Digital Divide,” went on to win the USA Girl Scouts Overseas Young Women of Distinction Award. This is the first year this award has been handed out, given to the top five Gold Awards completed by a Girl Scout living overseas. She was also selected as a delegate to attend G.I.R.L. 2017,
the Girl Scout convention held every three years; this year in Columbus, Ohio. Keep your eyes peeled for her account of that event here in the Singapore American. By the way, the President’s Award will soon be hanging proudly in the American Association of Singapore office. Be sure to look for it during your next visit. The program this year is bigger and better than ever with 327 girls in 31 troops. Sound fun? Registration for Spring semester is open December 1 through January 15, 2018! See website for more details.
"Singapore is one of the best places on the planet to be a Girl Scout. Really." – Melinda Murphy Hiemstra
Photos courtesy of USAGSO (Singapore)
SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE Boy Scouts Troop 07: www.bsatroop07.org Boy Scouts Troop 10: www.facebook.com/BSATroopX Cub Scouts Pack 3010: www.sgpack3010.org Cub Scouts Pack 3017: SGPack3017@gmail.com Girl Scouts: www.singaporeusagirlscouts.org
8 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American · December 2017
How Was School Today? By Sally Lean
he day is done. Your child has finished school. One of the first questions you fire off is "How was school today?" And more often than not the response is "Good," "Yeah, okay," or worse, a dismissive shrug. It leaves you wanting for more. All the time.
Photo courtesy of Singapore American School
As the term draws to a close and you look ahead to a new calendar year, try these questions the next time you see your child after school. 1. Tell me about a moment today when you felt excited about what you were learning. 2. Tell me about something that made you laugh today. 3. Were there times today when you felt that one of your classmates demonstrated that he/she cares for you? How did someone help you? 4. Was there a time when you helped someone today? What did you do to help? 5. Did anyone do anything super nice for you today? 6. When did you feel proud of yourself today? 7. Tell me about a conversation you had with a classmate/friend that you enjoyed. 8. What was challenging about your day? 9. What do you appreciate about your day? 10. What is the coolest place in school (or in your classroom)? 11. Is there anything you’re worried about? 12. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? 13. Can you tell us something you learned today (in Chinese/French/Spanish/other language) and what it means? 14. Think about what you learned and did in school today. Is there anything that you’d like to talk about that I might be able to help you figure out? 15. Tell me a word that you heard today that you liked the sound of. 16. What was something that made you happy today? 17. Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before? 18. What would you like to do more of or learn more about at school? 19. What would you like to do less of or learn less of at school? 20. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to? 21. What’s your favorite part of the day? 22. Is there a question you wish I’d ask you about your day? Adapted from edutopia and Huffington Post.
Five Steps to Studying in the US for Non-Americans By EducationUSA Singapore
ducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 Advising Centers supported by the US Department of State. The EducationUSA Advising Center in Singapore actively promotes US higher education by offering comprehensive, unbiased information about US educational institutions, along with guidance on how best to access US study opportunities. Services are free and open to everyone, including workshops and seminars, one-on-one and group advising sessions, meet-and-greets with US universities, assistance finding financial aid and scholarships, and much more. With over 4,500 accredited colleges and universities in the United States, how do you find the one that is right for you? FIVE STEPS TO US STUDY Research Your Options Begin your search 12-18 months prior to your first year of study. Look for a university that best fits your needs, rather than trying to match yourself to the school. Consider all your requirements – academic, financial, geographical and personal. The schools you apply to must be certified by the Student Exchange Visitor Program; check out the searchable list of certified schools on the Department of Homeland Security's Study in the States website: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/school-search. Finance Your Studies Start your financial planning early and consider what you are willing to spend. Each year international students receive significant amounts of financial assistance for their studies. However, competition is high. Complete Your Application Application packages require a great deal of preparation and planning, so make a calendar of deadlines to track what you need to do and when. Application requirements can vary greatly from one institution to another, so be sure to check the specific requirements for your chosen schools. Typically, undergraduate applications will be due between November and January for students who wish to begin the following September. Application requirements might include: education credentials, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, essay or personal statement. Apply for Your Visa In most cases, a citizen of a foreign country will need to apply for a student visa (type F, J or M) • F Student Visa: For study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at an English language institute • J Exchange Visa: For participation in an exchange program, including high school and university study • M Student Visa: For non-academic or vocational study or training in the United States Before you can apply for an F, J or M student visa, you must first apply and be accepted by a US institution of higher education that is certified by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP). Even when an institution is SEVP-certified and able to issue I-20 and DS-2019 forms for use in visa applications, it may not hold national or regional accreditation. Check with the US
Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation databases, which list accreditation status for all US institutions. Prepare for Your Departure The more that you prepare for your study experience, the more you will enjoy it. You may want to ask for assistance from your local EducationUSA advising center and from the international student adviser at your chosen college or university to help with your planning. Make Travel Arrangements: Confirm with your institution when you are expected to arrive; finalize your health insurance, communication plans, emergency plans and other travelrelated items. Attend a Pre-departure Orientation: EducationUSA Singapore organizes sessions covering cultural differences, motivation, changes from your home environment, academic systems, housing and handy tips for settling into your new community. Gather Necessary Documents for Arrival: Everyone arriving in the United States passes through an inspection by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Visit www.cbp.gov to learn about the requirements. Report to Your School and Join On-Campus Orientations: Go to the special orientation for international students on campus, as well as the regular student orientation; you’ll meet your Designated School Official (DSO), complete your required visa information session and learn more about international student policies and procedures. Find out more and make an appointment to meet with an adviser today: www.educationusa.sate.gov. Photo courtesy of Live Studios Interactive Photography
9 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American · December 2017
News from the Navy League
Navy Ball 2017 and Breakfast Briefing by Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson By Priscilla Koh
n October 14, the Navy League of United States – Singapore Council celebrated the US Navy's 242nd year with a wonderful Sea Power to Protect and Promote themed ball. This year is extra special, as it also marks several other historic milestones for the Navy: the 100th anniversary of the United States entering into World War I and the 75th anniversaries of the Battle of Midway, WAVES and Navy Seabees. "The Navy League of United States – Singapore Council is honored to host this event to celebrate our outstanding service men and women, and to highlight the importance of camaraderie and partnership with the sea services, both in Singapore and around the world." – Ray Corrigan, President of the Navy League of United States – Singapore Council Several distinguished guests joined the celebration, including Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, Commander, US Seventh Fleet; Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander, Task Force 73; and Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d'Affaires, ad interim, US Embassy Singapore. The night was a celebration to honor the 65,000 sailors who are out at sea right now, defending our interests and protecting what we hold dear; as well as those who have served before them. Of course, the evening would not have been possible without the support of generous sponsors, members, community partners, and affiliates. As Ray mentioned in his remarks, "We welcome all
nationalities to join the Singapore Council. We provide members with a chance to explore US Navy ships and subs on tours…to engage with military leaders and dignitaries, meet service men and women, and to celebrate tradition with balls like this one." If you are interested, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, join us in wishing the US Navy a very happy 242nd Birthday! On September 26, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Navy League hosted a breakfast briefing by Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, US Navy, Commander Logistics Western Pacific. During the briefing, Rear Admiral Gabrielson spoke about the US Navy's role in enhancing American security presence and security partnerships in South and Southeast Asia. During the briefing, three Navy League members were recognized for their hard work at the USS John S. McCain USO Crew Support Center: Renee Watkins and Sunita Riar were commended for their effort in coordinating the American community expat volunteers; while Dobromila Anna Bryant was recognized for the hours she had spent volunteering. Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson presented them with a CTF-73 Command coin as a token of appreciation. Photos courtesy of Ray Corrigan and the Navy League
’Tis the Season for Giving American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Singapore’s CSR Initiatives By Kelli Lane
hether you celebrate Christmas or believe in something else entirely, across the globe the month of December and the holiday season bring forth the giving spirit and is a time to consider those who are less fortunate. According to The American Magazine published back in 1889, the true meaning of Christmas is "to give up one's very self – to think only of others – how to bring the greatest happiness to others – that is the true meaning of Christmas" (The American Magazine, vol. 28, 1889). This is a sentiment that all of us can get behind, and giving is an integral part of our mission at AmCham Singapore. We give back to the Singapore community, not just in December, but all year long as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. AmCham proudly highlights member companies each year for their CSR efforts through our AmCham CARES program. AmCham also hosts an annual Corporate Community Day (CCD), a single day each year during which American organizations in Singapore are encouraged to give back to the local community through various acts of charity. Now in its 15th year, CCD truly demonstrates how small acts, when added together, can make a huge difference. AmCham Singapore is proud to highlight a few of our amazing member companies who participated in our Corporate Community Day this year, and to share their diverse ways of giving. FMC Technologies Singapore had a food donation drive, and distributed bundles of food to the elderly at Thye Hua Kwan Senior Activity Centres. Marina Bay Sands organized “Sands for Singapore,” a career workshop for children aged 10 to 12 years, meant to inspire them and to introduce local school students to a career in hospitality. Approximately 17% of the resident population are disabled and/or have special needs, according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development. For that reason, a few of our member companies hosted events for individuals with disabilities. Moody’s Singapore hosted a sports carnival for physically disabled children, to boost their spirits and encourage teamwork. Microsoft Operations Singapore hosted a “Give Week” in cooperation with several non-profits working with people with disabilities, to exchange skills and experiences. Last but not least, AmCham Singapore hosted “Walk for Rice” at Bedok Reservoir, where AmCham members and staff walked to raise bowls of rice for needy families in Singapore.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all of our members, sponsors, partners and staff who participated in the many CSR activities that happened throughout the past year. Your efforts truly make a difference in the place that we all call home. If you would like more information on any of our CSR initiatives or how to get involved, please contact Hazlyn Aidzil at email@example.com. Happy Holidays from all of us at AmCham Singapore! Photo courtesy of AmCham Singapore
11 LOOK AT THE FUTURE
Singapore American · December 2017
Don’t Become an Easy Target
Your Organization’s Initial Step to Cybersecurity By Jeff Middleton
araphrasing Paul McCartney, “when you were young, and your computer was an open book, you used to say live and let data be data… but in this ever-changing world in which we live in, protect or get hacked.” Today, we think of cybersecurity as a corporate problem for which someone else is responsible. But have you thought about how it affects you personally? While you might not be a direct target, you might be a victim of collateral damage. By that, I mean you might have an internet-connected device that was attacked by a virus intended for a completely different target. As cyberattacks evolve, so too must our defenses. Imagine this scenario: you just bought a new computer and it needs to be patched and updated because it came from the factory and hasn’t been connected to the internet yet. While you are
installing the updates, are you exposed to malfeasant code? The answer is that you always are. Imagine another scenario: your phone updates to version 11 and you get great new features. Fun, right? New emojis. One week later, you get notified about version 11.1 and the distributor says it’s all about new features. Really? These guys test and re-test these “alpha” releases. They bumped 11 to 11.1 because of a security flaw. As soon as it was released, it was hacked. In that week between 11 and 11.1, you were a victim. One other consideration is how much data is worth. One single bitcoin is worth almost SG$10,000. Consider this single coin has absolutely no intrinsic value. It is based on the value of data. So, what is the monetary worth of your data? Of course, you can’t put a price on it. But it has emotional value: the pictures of your daughter’s marriage, your son’s birth.
What do we do? We practice data hygiene. Gosh, that sounds ambiguous, and unfortunately, it is. Depending on your device, it could mean doing anything between updating your computer or using a virtual private network on your iPad. We need to update all our devices diligently; when is the last time you checked your daughter’s computer and phone for updates? Unfortunately, cybersecurity is no longer exclusive to the corporate world. It belongs to all of us, and we need to own it preemptively and actively. When we were young, and we had an open computer, we said let data be data. But in this everchanging world in which we live in, we need to be vigilant and maintain all our internet-connected devices. Jeff Middleton is the founder and CEO of Lantium.
Singapore American · December 2017
Italy Always Pleases… by Jim Tietjen
uly is not the best month to visit Italy… it’s peak season, hot and crowded. But you know what? Italy always pleases! The combination of very friendly people, incredible art, deep history, pervasive culture, diverse and scrumptious food, regional wines and spectacular scenery proves there is always something to discover, learn and enjoy in Italy. July took my wife and me to six regions and one republic in north-central Italy: Emilia-Romagna, San Marino, Marche, Umbria, Tuscany, Liguria and Lombardy. Emilia-Romagna stretches from Piacenza in the northwest to Rimini in the southeast. Cities like Parma, Modena, Bologna and Ravenna are notable. Smaller places like Modena, Maranello and Dozza are gems, just waiting for you! The University of Bologna (1088 AD) is the oldest in the world. The city is known for arched colonnades, Renaissance buildings, art, food and vino. Bologna is surrounded by farms. Local tortellini pasta in broth is delectable. Mortadella, a cured pork-based large sausage is served as a luncheon meat. (Caution, do not ask for spaghetti Bolognese because it does not exist here.) Local wine favorites include high-quality Lambrusco (di Sorbara); Albana (Secco), a great white; and a fabulous Cabernet (Bonzarone). Nearby “Motor Valley,” includes Modena, Maranello and Bologna, where you’ll find the Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati factories and museums. You can visit all in one day, but it’ll be a long, fast, but pleasing day. Dozza, southeast of Bologna is known for its fortress, with an amazing wine cellar in the dungeon, and for painted walls which adorn the cobbled corridors of this charming village. Dozza is a must see! San Marino, an independent republic since 301 AD, is a spectacular scenic day trip. This 61 square-kilometer mountainous enclave showcases three 11th century citadels atop its rockbound peaks, which you can easily walk. You’ll take thousands of photos! Marche region faces the Adriatic. Many historic towns like Pesaro, Fano and Ancona dot the coast. White-sand beaches and azure waters attract bathers, divers and fishermen. You can also visit many cozy countryside towns like Urbino, Tavullia and Osimo. The provincial seafood and wine are uniquely pleasing, with a punchy red Conero wine and two tasty whites, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica, you should try. A rustic three-star Tavoleto farmhouse, which yielded a five-star experience, was our base in Marche. Ancient Urbino is breathtakingly panoramic. Little Tavullia, the home of Moto GP phenom Valentino (The Doctor) Rossi is pure fun. Lively Osimo and charming nearby towns can keep you engaged for days. Ancona, a port city and the regional capital features idyllic beaches, cathedrals, restaurants and a fabulous fountain. The highlight in Marche is the coast!
The Dozza Fortress has a fabulous wine cellar in the dungeon.
From one citadel to another, you can walk all three and see San Marino in a day or less.
An idyllic farmhouse B&B in Tavoleto, a five-star expereince!
Cornelia, one of the five villages in Cinque Terre – the swimming was magnificent!
Singapore American · December 2017
Umbria’s capital, Perugia, has winding walls and circuitous streets surrounding the historic, medieval center. The Gothic Priori Palace and Maggiore marble fountain adorn a hilltop which offers far-reaching views of central Italy. After walking the hilly streets of Perugia you will be rewarded with rustic food, including seasonal vegetables, beans, cheese and soups served with Umbrian olive oil. Don’t miss the wine, especially the bold Sagrantino. Tuscany is unparalleled in its beauty and bounty, and wine is the name of the game (but don’t underestimate the food, Pecorino cheese or olive oil)! Montepulciano is known for Vino Nobile, made from the Sangiovese grape. Nearby Montalcino is best known for Brunello, using the same grape in a different style. Chianti, to the north, is more widely known for Chianti Classico and Chianti Superiore – both use Sangiovese blended with local grapes. These are but a few of the wonderful wines produced in Tuscany. Sight-seeing in Tuscany is as varied as the vino. Siena, Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Livorno are all delightfully different. Small towns like Monte Riggioni, Lajatico and Casciana Terme (thermal baths) are charismatic. The ancient medieval towns of Volterra and San Gimignano will bring you back 2,000 years. Lajatico is special. Each July the famous Italian virtuoso Andrea Bocelli, who lives in nearby La Sterza, performs concerts for charity, his family and his local friends. Though the concerts are always sold out, he also performs in the Lajatico town square to small gatherings, which he did on July 31 this year. We were lucky to hear the Maestro sing, very impromptu, with a Haitian choir he invited to join him for his formal charity concerts. Liguria, facing west and south, has a dramatic coastline of sheer cliffs, rocky seaside trails, pristine water and eye-catching vistas. A favored destination is Cinque Terre, which comprises five centuries-old seaside villages on this craggy coastline. Originally linked only by footpaths, then by train, and now by narrow roads, colorful village homes and vineyards cling to steep green hills. Each town embraces harbors, boats, restaurants and rocky but accessible beaches. To accentuate alluring views, seafood and Liguria’s famous pesto sauce please the palate! Lombardy, to the north, is centered around Milano, best known for fashion, finance and flair! Traditional sights include the Gothic Duomo (cathedral) and adjacent Piazza, La Scala Opera House, Sforza Castle, Corso Buenos Aires (and many other) shopping areas and the renowned Quadrilatero fashion district. North of Milano are impressive hills and striking lakes like Garda, Como and Maggiore. An unexpected Milanese pearl is the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, which houses a fantastic 19th century private art and curio collection in a palazzo setting. Rooms are decorated and furnished to match the art. Complete with an English-style interior garden, you can get lost here for hours. This whirlwind trip around north-central Italy is certainly not all-inclusive. There is so much on offer you will always find something great to see, eat, drink and experience. There is always something to discover, learn and enjoy in Italy – it always pleases! Ready to go? Ciao, baby! (Travel tips… most towns have information offices which are extremely helpful. A stop upon arrival will help you plan your day; and, try not to travel in July!)
There are steep, circuitous, but rewarding walkways in Perugia.
Jim worked in north-eastern Italy in the 1970s and visits often. He hopes to live there again. Photos by Jim Tietjen
A classy, tree-topped tower in Lucca.
Piazza del Duomo in Milano, just after a storm.
Sunset in Levanto on the Ligurian Sea.
14 LOOK AT THE FUTURE
Artificial Intelligence 2Day & Beyond By Sammie Cheston
oday’s world is changing rapidly and there is plenty of talk surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI). What is it and where can it be found; and, more importantly, how can it be applied? Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. Basically, computers enabled to write their own programs, then rewrite when errors occur; also known as machine learning. The first programmable digital computer was invented during the 1940s. Not long after, John McCarthy organized the Dartmouth Conference (Dartmouth College, 1956), which aimed to develop concepts and ideas about thinking machines. McCarthy is credited as one of the key founders of AI research.
Google has integrated DeepMind AI across its entire portfolio, including Gmail, Translator, Chrome and YouTube just to name a few. The end goal is to keep consumers tuned in through the use of image recognition, video intelligence, neural machine translation and neural networks, for the sole purpose of collecting detailed data regarding habits and preferences. AI has a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO), as it attempts to understand the context of website content. With search engines becoming increasingly better at recognizing videos, audio and images, SEO strategies must ensure that content, context and keywords are highly relevant.
There are four types of AI:
Where else can AI be found? Artificial Intelligence plays an integral role in our daily lives. In some ways its presence has become so commonplace that we don’t necessarily think of it as AI, for example video games, purchase prediction and product recommendations on frequently used websites, fraud detection, online customer support, news generation, smart home devices; AI is increasingly expanding into new areas. Currently, virtual personal assistants (VPA) such as Google Now, Microsoft Cortana and Siri, are intelligent digital personal assistants. They can assist with basic questions and remind of appointments. Future VPAs are expected to evolve and be comparable to that of a human personal assistant. The first video game was invented in 1958 by physicist William Higinbotham. Although it was a simple tennis game, AI was present. Exponential growth of AI has resulted in gaming characters on platforms such as Xbox and PlayStation, that are now able to both respond and learn players’ behavior. In short, AI dramatically improves consumer engagement while enhancing efficiency and overall organizational performance by raising analytical proficiencies, thereby creating vast opportunities for both consumers and business entities. However, the continued development of Artificial Intelligence raises some very interesting questions, notably how it will impact the human experience and interactions in the future.
Purely Reactive – Perceives its environment/situation directly and acts on what is being seen. Examples include IBM’s Watson “Deep Blue” and Google’s DeepMind “AlphaGo.” Limited Memory – Uses historical data and combines it with preprogrammed representations. Examples include self-driving cars and chatbots, such as Apple’s Siri. Theory of Mind – Ability to comprehend thoughts and emotions of human behavior. Examples include Star Wars droid R2-D2 and I, Robot. Self-awareness – Conscious awareness of self, also consider an extension of the “theory of mind.” Examples include movies, such as The Matrix and Terminator. AI’s presence is often unnoticeable, as it is being used in everyday activities such as Google voice search, ecommerce and customer service. Today there are close to four billion devices with voice search capabilities globally, which demonstrates just how far reaching the technology is. The public appears to be willing participants. The technology is being embraced, with customer service rendered by chatbots, communicating through the use of Natural Language Processing. Live chat popularity is near that of phone and email. While a greater number of people still prefer speaking to a human; getting quick and easy help from a chatbot closely aligns with human-to-human interaction. Now, let’s dive in a little deeper by continuing with the world’s leading search engine, Google, as our guide into the world of AI. DeepMind (Quantum Computer) is Google’s super computer. But what is quantum computing? Traditional computing uses 1s and 0s (known as bits); only one bit can be processed at a time, although the process rate is fast. However, quantum computing uses qubits which allows for simultaneous processing of 1s and 0s, providing a truly super-fast process rate.
Sammie Cheston is the Head of Media Production and Operations at tech-startup Five Cloves. References DeepMind. (2017) SearchCIO. (2017). What is AI (Artificial Intelligence)? Ovum.informa.com. (2017). 2017 Trends to Watch: Artificial Intelligence Albright, D. (2017). 10 Examples of Artificial Intelligence You are Using in Daily Life. Kurzweilai.net. (2017). THE AGE OF INTELLIGENT MACHINES | The Social Impact of Artificial Intelligence
The Future of the Automotive Industry By Hal Serudin
ver turned the key only to be frustrated by a recalcitrant engine not firing up? If you have, best savor it – you may never experience that again. For some, it’s a welcome change that technology is improving. For others, it’s the slow death knell for petrol heads who love driving and the combustion engine. It used to be said that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. But we are now witness to technology creating necessities that bring about major societal change. America has been at the forefront of the automotive industry since the introduction of Henry Ford’s Model T in 1908. His famous comment, an ode to mass manufacturing: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Today, America is still the vanguard of automotive innovation, and on the priority list of many car manufacturers. Around the world, populations have created mega cities, with consumer preferences changing because of legislation. Britain has announced the ban on all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040. Global plug-in, electric vehicle sales continue to strengthen with a 46% rise from January to August in 2017 versus the same period last year. Yet, there are anomalies. Despite the cost of car ownership, in a recent poll 66% of Singapore youths aged 18 to 35 aspire to own a car.
Virtually all car manufacturers are moving towards some form of autonomous functionality. Next year, a ‘platooning’ trial will see convoys of driverless vehicles follow each other to reduce congestion, the aspirational mark in a highly connected traffic network being ‘zero accidents’. Traditional cabin layouts could change with no need to face forward. In future, the kids can be independently picked up with a mere voice command.
The future – just around the corner McKinsey & Company believes 2030 will be a watershed moment where four disruptive technology-driven trends should converge: diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity. But what do manufacturers predict? In the luxury segment, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which makes highly bespoke cars, has presented its view of future luxury with the VISION NEXT 100, codenamed 103EX. Handcrafted with a zero emissions powertrain, artificial intelligence, a digitally connected virtual assistant and chauffeur (autonomous driving), Rolls-Royce sees a future where luxury is still deeply personal.
Hal Serudin is the Communications Manager, Asia Pacific (South) at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Catalysts for change According to PwC’s Strategy& arm, the automotive industry could move to a consolidation like aviation, where dedicated companies specialize in jet engines and components. Driven by the high cost of car development, more industry collaboration is inevitable. The rise of new partial car ownership models means that Silicon Valley and the automotive world continue to merge. While the industry undergoes one of the most radical changes in its history, governments will need to facilitate the infrastructure – from charging stations to legislation and a substantial change in consumer mindset. Will we get used to the idea of a computer driving us, or will we be looking to start that engine again, just one last time?
Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Predictions for the future from the silver screen By Marc Servos
he Future” has been a recurring theme of science fiction movies since the dawn of the industry, making predictions for what life would be like. Much emphasis was placed on the new millennium, with an expectation that we would have dehydrated pizzas that magically expand, flying cars and hover boards by October 21, 2015. Movies such as Back to the Future 2 (1989) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) offer a fun comparison with how the future really turned out. These types of stories often show the future world to be utopian, as seen in cartoons such as The Jetsons. At the other end of the spectrum, we see a desolate, dystopian society, epitomized by The Hunger Games trilogy; or New York City in 2022, populated by 40 million in Soylent Green (1973), reflecting how people have envisioned what lies ahead. During my youth and young adulthood, many people felt (and often expressed nonchalantly) that a global nuclear war destroying civilization was inevitable, especially during the Cold War era. This was reflected in dramas including The Time Machine (H.G. Wells 1895, films 1960, made for TV 1978, 2002), Logan’s Run (1976) and the original Planet of the Apes (1968), all set in the distant future indicating the past holocaust. In other movies, disastrous future scenarios were narrowly avoided, courtesy of heroes such as James Bond. At least the predictions of alien invasions have yet to be proved true, as depicted in War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells 1897, films 1953, 2005). Space travel continues to be a popular genre, with some dramas envisaging a moon base, as seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the mid-1970s TV series Space 1999 and even Airplane 2 (1982). Others predicted a manned space mission to Mars, depicted in the 1980 miniseries The Martian Chronicles, based on Ray Bradbury’s 1950 short story, showing manned missions to the Red Planet beginning in 1999, with settlement during the following years. Of course, we now know that won’t be happening any time soon! However, space stations have been in operation, albeit not as elaborate as portrayed. Private enterprises are now playing a role in space travel in addition to government agencies like NASA, and in a brief scene in the 1984 Space Odyssey sequel 2010, a TV ad shows Pan Am offering to fly passengers into space with the slogan “The sky is no longer the limit.” Pan Am went out of business in 1991, by the way. It’s possible that manned travel to the outer reaches of our solar system may occur by the middle to late 21st century, but only as much as practicality, resources and determination will allow. The 1984 movie, 2010 depicts a joint US-Soviet (I doubt many were predicting the end of the Cold War yet) mission to one of Jupiter’s moons. Interstellar travel by humans would require propulsion systems far advanced from today’s technology, but maybe this will be accomplished by the 23rd century with warp drive, as depicted in the Star Trek franchise. I couldn’t possibly write this article and not make mention of Star Wars, however the events depicted in those movies had already occurred, in a galaxy far, far away. Set in 2032, Demolition Man (1993) made a pretty accurate prediction of the driverless cars of the future; although the flying cars of Marty and Doc’s 2015 (Back to the Future 2, 1989) do not look like they’ll be available any time soon. In other areas of Artificial Intelligence, Westworld (1973), set in the 1980s, shows malfunctioning human-like androids killing guests at an amusement park, while Spielberg’s A.I. (2001) portrays humanoids that are capable of thoughts and emotions in the 22nd century; perhaps these predictions aren’t too far away. This may not be a comprehensive list of dramas, and please accept my apologies if your favorite one isn’t mentioned. As far as seeing which of today’s predictions actually become realities, you’ll have to stay tuned! Marc Servos is a Hoosier in terms of his home state and alma mater. The Fort Wayne native and US Army vet is married to a Singaporean and has been living here for a number of years. He has two children, ages 15 and 7.
17 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American · December 2017
Fairs and Bazaars By Frances Strong
s I cleared away countless pieces of discarded wrapping paper on December 25, I made a silent vow to myself: next year, I’ll start my shopping early. Now December’s here again and I can (all too predictably) confirm – that didn’t happen. Perhaps I need the pressure of a tight deadline to kickstart my festive buying. Of course, there’s still time for me to hit Orchard Road and shop till I drop (or get lost in B4 of Ion…) but do I really want to buy the same old gifts as last year? How many pairs of socks can one Dad need? Does Mum really want another bottle of perfume? Even though it's the thought that counts, it would be nice to put a little more thought in than a trolley dash around the mall. If, like me, you need a little inspiration on where to find those unique gifts, check out this round up of upcoming fairs and bazaars to help you find unique presents for those special people in your life. Christmas Wonderland Festive Market There’s so much going on at Gardens by the Bay during the festive period, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Savvy shoppers can zero in on the specially designed wooden huts of the Festive Market, packed with unique artisanal items from independent designers. There’s sure to be something for even the most difficult to please. December 1-26, various times The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive (S)018953
Christmas Glamour at The Fullerton The Fullerton Hotel provides the perfect backdrop for a little retail therapy. The enormous ballroom will be bursting at the seams with festive loveliness, showcasing a wide range of gift choices from small, local brands. Want to give back while you shop? Be sure to find out some more about the charity Caring for Cambodia during your visit. December 4, 10:30am-8:30pm The Fullerton Hotel Ballroom, 1 Fullerton Square (S)049178 Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Fair Expat vendors with beautiful gifts await at this year’s fair. Grab your friends and enjoy a leisurely shop and a couple of cocktails, too! December 6, 10am-7pm (cocktails from 5:30pm); December 7, 10am-5pm Orchard Parade Hotel Ballroom Level 2, 1 Tanglin Road (S)247905 A Merry Little Christmas Festival at Orchard More than just a fair, this festival promises gift ideas from around the world, kids’ activities and a visit from Santa himself. December 6-10, 11am Visual Arts Centre, Dhoby Ghaut Green, 10 Penang Road (S)238469
activities for kids, so don’t feel you have to leave them at home. December 9, 9:30am-4:30pm Mercure Singapore on Stevens, 28 Stevens (S)257878 Public Garden Christmas 2017 Local, independent brands will be in attendance at this quirky event. Tick off your gift list with ease, and maybe take something nice home for yourself, too! December 9-10, 1-7pm Level 4, Suntec Convention Hall 403, Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Raffles Boulevard (S)039593 Originally from a tiny seaside town in the UK, Frances Strong has called Singapore home since 2011. Six years later, she’s still exploring the Little Red Dot and loves to find new and quirky places to wow her visitors. When she’s not playing taxi driver for her children, she likes to write about travel, motherhood, food, life…and anything in between.
The First Sustainable Christmas Market As its name suggests, this is the first Christmas market to gather sustainable brands together under one roof. Smart shoppers can enjoy guilt-free gifting. Their website also promises exciting
Continued from page 1 The Big Countdown It might not be able to match Times Square, but Singapore does a pretty good job of New Year countdown parties. If you want to start 2018 with lots of new friends, music and mayhem, here’s where you should be: Marina Bay Countdown Join the crowds at Singapore’s biggest countdown party, themed Bay of Hopes and Dreams, with carnival games and activities,
music and, of course, a fabulous fireworks display, set against the iconic backdrop of Marina Bay. Siloso Beach Countdown Get some rest because Singapore’s favorite beach countdown party lasts 12 hours! There’ll be a great line-up of international DJs to keep the high-energy party-goers dancing all night long. Ring in 2018 with friends old and new, exhilarating fun in the foam pool and spectacular fireworks on the stroke of midnight.
Eadren Tan has been a Transitions Coach & Youth Whisperer at Brainzworkz in Singapore since 2009, guiding people at crossroads in their lives, and empowering youths through cognitive and emotion coaching, on top of education. She enjoys discovering and sharing the diversity of our world through connecting with people, traveling, and dining, as well as film and art appreciation.
19 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American · December 2017
The Seasons in Singapore – A Reflection By Bill Poorman
n a land of perpetual summer, how do you feel the passage of time? Certainly, you can note the passage of time. The calendar is good enough for that. But it does not help you feel the year as it passes. There is no first, crisp fall day, with the smell, color and crunch of fallen leaves, and the cool breeze making you put on a light jacket and helping you recover from the sweltering summer. There is no bitterly cold air in the deep winter that takes your breath away, nor the squeak of the snow on your shoes as you race home to hibernate with blankets and a fire. There is no first day in the spring when you sense the first genuinely warm breeze in months and breathe in the smell of thawing earth and budding plants. Even the daylight here in Singapore never changes. No lengthy summer evenings. No long, dark winter nights. Twelve hours of light and night each day. Holidays can help somewhat with feeling the passage of time. But in a land of many cultures, certain holidays will always carry more meaning than others. And the weather is never right. Sports have seasons, too. But the games are at the wrong time of day. And the weather is never right. No, when all of the traditional ways fall down, how – here in Singapore – do you feel the passage of time? For me, I do it by acknowledging two new seasons. I call them the Leaving Season and the Coming Season. Each one happens twice a year – every six months – one right after the other. The Leaving Season usually begins in April and October, although the exact times can vary. Friends and acquaintances that you’ve come to know over the years in Singapore start to whisper that they’ll likely repatriate soon. The whispers eventually turn into plans. The plans turn into fixed dates. The farewell dinners get scheduled. And then, in either June or December, they’re gone. I have, in just three years as an expat, said goodbye to at least ten friends. At least eight more are leaving. Even more are queued up to leave next year. Maybe you see them again, maybe not. But you can never forget how they helped sustain you in a foreign land, far from home and family. That bond is thick. And they are always missed. However, just a few weeks after the Leaving Seasons end, the Coming Seasons begin. They start in July and January. People you’ve never seen before start to show up at your familiar spots. The kids make new friends at school who just moved to Singapore. Established groups and networks help adults find their niches. Since everyone who already lives in Singapore has been through the same experience, meeting new people proves relatively easy. Soon you have a new batch of friends and acquaintances. Connections that are likely to last a lifetime. Though the melancholy of the Leaving Season never quite fades, the Coming Season brings the exciting potential of new beginnings. And in that way, I feel the passage of time in Singapore. These are our seasons.
Bill Poorman is a writer, who isn’t usually this sentimental, but what’s life without a little reflection?
On Gift Giving By Stephanie Suga Chen
id we bring anything?” my husband asked, as we were on our way to our friend Wei’s house for dinner. I sighed, of course, at his use of the word “we.” “Yes,” I answered, brusquely. “I have the whisky that Yuki and Yosh left for us.” Our Japanese friends had just stayed at our place for a few days while we were out of town. They had been the perfect guests, moving to a hotel before we returned, and leaving our home in better condition than we had left it – shampoo replaced, tissues replenished, and an assortment of Japanese snacks and drinks placed neatly on our table, including a bottle of the famed Yamazaki whisky. “Uh, are you sure that’s a good idea?” my husband asked, warily eyeing the dark brown box I held on my lap. This was not the first time my husband had questioned my choice of dinner party gifts, and to be fair, I am a terrible gift giver. I could usually be found, two minutes before we were set to leave for an event, scrounging around our kitchen for something, anything, that I could pass off as a suitable offering. Inevitably, I always got it wrong – bringing a frozen pound cake to an already prepared spread of homemade desserts, or an old bottle of wine that predictably would be opened on the spot, leaving us sheepishly confessing that it had been sitting in the back of the cabinet for who-knows-how-long, and we couldn’t vouch for its drinkability. My husband continued, “It could be seen as rude, like we’re rejecting their gift.” I shrugged him off, saying, “It’s not like we’re ‘re-gifting’ it; we’re all going to drink it together. It’s just going to be the two of them and Wei. Anyway, we’re already late.” When we arrived, I passed the bottle to our host and turned to our visitors, who were already comfortably seated and drinking wine. “Hey, can I ask you guys something? Is it rude that we just did that? Brought the gift that you left us?” I asked, with a darting glance at my husband. Yosh thought for a moment, then answered, “If we were not very close, maybe. But for friends, it is OK.” Yuki nodded along with her husband. “Plus, I like to drink…” Yosh continued, his face already quite flushed. “…a lot,” he added, smiling. “And this is a good whisky,” he said, giving an emphatic thumbs up. Everyone laughed, and Wei started pouring. Back at home later, I said triumphantly to my husband, “See? I told you it would be fine to bring that bottle. Yosh said so himself!” “Well, of course he’s going to say that,” he scoffed. “What was he to say, ‘Yes, it’s very rude that you just re-gifted a present we gave you.’?” He was right, of course, my wise husband. Our friends were so polite that they would not have let us “lose face” by admitting we had committed a cultural faux pas. I could only shake my head and chuckle. Would I ever get this gift-giving thing right?
Stephanie Suga Chen is the author of Travails of a Trailing Spouse, a new novel to be published by Straits Times Press, available at all leading bookstores in January 2018. Connect with her at www.stephaniechen.org.
20 FOOD & DINING
Singapore American · December 2017
Brunches and Bubbles By Katie Baines
hanksgiving gave us the excuse to over-indulge in November, but this was merely an hors d'oeuvre compared to the festive fare on offer this month as we segue into the holiday season. Singapore’s hotels and restaurants are pulling out all the stops for us to eat, drink and be merry from feasting at champagne brunches with a Christmas twist to intimate yuletide fine dining, right through to reveling our way into 2018. Here are a few of my favorites: Edge at the Pan Pacific Christmas comes early at Edge at the Pan Pacific which begins this year’s season of good cheer with its Festive Sunday Champagne Brunch running throughout December between 12 noon and 4pm. Grand Hyatt mezza9, Christmas Day Brunch, 11:30am – 3:00pm The Martini Bar at Mezza9 is the perfect place for a pre-lunch aperitif. Diners will be treated to distinctive Christmas flavors from all over the world from Mezza9’s six live kitchens at its Christmas Day brunch on Christmas Day, including Chinese, Grill, Japanese, sustainable seafood, Thai, Western cuisines, and a selection of desserts and Christmas cakes from the patisserie. The Grand Hyatt continues the festivities to celebrate the New Year where a pre-party dinner at one of its selected
restaurants will gain you entry to its “Back to the 80s – Discotech” so you can groove your way into 2018. The Westin, Level 32 Christmas Day Lunch at Level 32 at The Westin caters for the traditionalist with favorites such as truffle honey-glazed Christmas ham, rolled and roasted turkey, as well as seafood, Singapore chili crab and Canton salt baked spring chicken. If you’re not fit to burst, top off the banquet with desserts such as the Maracaibo chocolate whiskey chestnut Yule log and cream cheese pistachio berries Yule log. Mandarin Oriental, Melt Café Melt Café at the Mandarin Oriental will be offering an array of cuisines at their Christmas Day champagne brunches, from traditional roasts to fresh seafood. Sit back and drink in the atmosphere over a glass of bubbles while your little ones let off some steam in the kids’ room.
changing tasting menu where he’ll personally serve you either at a private event in the restaurant or at a feast in the comfort of your own home. Those with special dietary requirements usually feel a little short changed this time of year, but Stephan has it covered with his vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairyfree menus. Coastes and Sand Bar This New Year’s Eve, Coastes and Sand Bar invite you to party under the stars and feast by the beach to see in 2018. Dance the night away to pop-classics fused with jazz, funk and soul after an indulgent barbeque buffet of grilled seafood, succulent meats and sweet treats. LeVeL33 at MBFC Tower 1 If you’re looking for a spot to watch the spectacle that is the new year fireworks over Marina Bay, then the view at LeVeL33 would be hard to beat. Themed ‘Stars & Sparks’, toast 2018 over a glass of bubbly and watch it all happen from their panoramic terrace. One Fullerton, Rooftop Access This may be the year that you go all out for New Year’s Eve, and if that’s the case then One Fullerton has a package for two that offers access to their rooftop bar to watch the Marina Bay fireworks, a two-night stay, free flow champagne, wine and soft drinks, and breakfast to nurse yourself with the morning after.
Chef ’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl Looking for something more personal? Chef ’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl selects seasonal ingredients through his daily
Photos courtesy of Grand Hyatt Singapore, The Westin Singapore and Mandarin Oriental
Festive Fare the Filipino Way By Arcia Perrenoud
he holidays are just around the corner. Bright festive lights flickering, Christmas songs playing and there’s that unmistakable festive holiday aroma in the air. Growing up in the Philippines, I can still remember our many traditions. Most of all, during this time of the year the amazing display of food that my grandma, aunts and uncles would prepare and cook to make the festivities complete. My fondest memory is Noche Buena. After attending the late evening mass on Christmas Eve, our families got together at my grandparents’ house for the midnight meal, the Noche Buena. A typical Filipino Noche Buena meal consists of a main course of lechon (roast whole pig), adobo (the national dish of the Philippines) pancit (Filipino version of pan fried noodles), lumpia (Filipino egg roll) and last, but not least, my all-time favorite... the empanada. The empanada is well known all over the world. For Filipinos, it's definitely one of the things handed down by the Spaniards. Everyone has their own way of preparing empanadas. Some like their dough flaky. Some chewy. Empanadas can be baked or fried and stuffed with either minced meat, diced potato, diced carrots, and with or without raisins. Some even put in a whole egg. On the right is my family’s baked, flaky version of the empanada. Enjoy!
STUFFING: MAKES 12-14 (DEPENDING ON SIZE)
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1 tbsp coconut oil 1 onion, finely chopped 3 stalks of scallions/green onions 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped ¼ cup cilantro 1lb ground meat (your choice of chicken, beef or pork) 1 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp oyster sauce ¼ cup diced carrot ½ cup diced potato ¼ cup raisins ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp ground pepper
LET’S GET COOKING 1. Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, scallions. Sauté until onion has browned and softened. 2. Add your choice of minced meat. Sauté until meat is no longer pink. 3. Add soy sauce, carrot, potato and cilantro. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft/cooked. 4. Add oyster sauce and raisins; add salt and pepper and mix together well. 5. Cool mixture and set aside.
1½ cups all-purpose flour 2 tbsp sugar ¼ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ½ cup cold butter, cut into cubes 2 tbsp cold water 1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter cubes. Using a fork, break up the butter into the flour mixture until it is fully mixed together. Add the water and egg; mix until soft dough is formed. 3. Take heaped tablespoonfuls of dough and form into balls. On a floured surface and using a rolling pin, flatten the dough balls into desired thickness. 4. Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the dough. Wet the edge of one side of dough with water and then fold over to form a half moon shape. 5. Seal the edge by pressing down with a fork. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling. 6. Place the empanadas on the prepared pan. Generously brush top and sides of empanadas with egg wash (whisk an egg with one tbsp of cold water). Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Arcia Perrenoud was born in the Philippines and moved to Virginia at the age of 12. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, studying fashion buying and merchandising. While living there, she met Dr. Neil Vallestero. They married in 2001 and now have two boys. Because of Neil's job, the family has moved all over the globe, including the UK, South America and most recently Singapore. When she's not updating her flat, doing volunteer work or traveling, you'll find her in the kitchen whipping up dinner and baking for her family and friends.
21 Singapore American · December 2017
Books to Gift By Laura Schwartz
henever I’m stuck on what to get someone for Christmas, be it a new friend or a relative who wants for nothing, I head to a bookstore. Even though there are people who claim they never read physical books, I honestly believe there’s something for everyone, from audio books to e-readers to graphic novels. Here are a few recommendations – old and new, fiction and non-fiction – to give you some ideas. For Friends Back Home Give friends back home a window into your life abroad with Janice Y.K. Lee’s dramatic novel The Expatriates, which explores the emotions, identities and relationships of three very different American women in Hong Kong. For a taste of expat life in the 1920s, there’s Far Eastern Tales by W. Somerset Maugham, a collection of short stories born of Maugham’s experiences in Malaya, Singapore and other outposts of the former British Empire. For the Literary Buff The novels of newly-minted Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro will surely be popular gifts this year, particularly The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. But plumb the works of previous winners of the prize and you’ll unearth a host of gift options for the friend who’s read everything. To name a few: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, Reeds in the Wind by Grazia Deledda and the poetry of Nelly Sachs. For the Sports Fan Sports psychologist Dr. Jim Afremow’s The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive will be an engaging read for both athletes and fans. The book examines how the mental game is just as, if not more important, than raw physical capability. On the fiction side, William Hazelgrove’s The Pitcher and Ross Raisin’s A Natural delve into the hearts of baseball and soccer respectively. For the History Enthusiast Any fan of historical fiction will know of James Clavell’s epic Shōgun, but fewer have read his equallygripping novel King Rat, which follows British and American inmates of Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. For those who lean towards non-fiction and/or American history, it’s hard to find a more epic yet intimate record than Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, a chronicle of the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities. For Young Adults Hot off the press is Julie C. Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, a vibrant East Asian reimagining of The Evil Queen fairy tale. Young adult readers more drawn to narratives grounded in realism will undoubtedly be looking forward to John Green’s latest novel Turtles All the Way Down, which is about “lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara.” For the Romantic Alice Hoffman’s entire oeuvre is not only romantic, it’s gorgeously written. While it’s hard to go wrong with Practical Magic, I’d also recommend The Probable Future, a novel about love always finding a way, whether you’re a teenager or a grandmother, recently divorced or alone for decades. For the readers on your list who want some adventure mixed in, there’s Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, a genre-defying story about World War II nurse Claire Randall, who is transported to turbulent 18th century Scotland and finds romance with the dashing warrior Jamie Fraser. For the Chef Cookbooks are like expensive candles: beautiful, but a bit too expensive to justify buying for oneself. Thus, they make excellent gifts. Love Real Food is a stylish vegetarian cookbook by Katherine Taylor of the blog Cookie + Kate, which I refer to religiously despite being a meat-eater. For friends who don’t mess around in the kitchen, there’s Marcella Hazan’s legendary Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a must-read for anyone looking to seriously up their dinner game. Laura Schwartz was born in Ireland and grew up in Japan, Singapore and New Jersey, finally becoming an American citizen at age 18. She graduated from Bard College in 2010 with a BA in Japanese Language & Culture. When she’s not traveling or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions and Career Consultant with freelance writing.
ARTS & CULTURE
22 ARTS & CULTURE
Singapore American · December 2017
Tales of the Malay World: Manuscripts and early books currently on exhibition at the National Library Singapore By Dr. Vidya Schalk
magnificent illuminated manuscript currently on display at the National Library is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Who was the mysterious author? Was he Persian? Was he from Johore or perhaps from Bukhara? Was he an advisor to the Kings? No one knows for sure, but his work Taj al-Salatin (The Crown of Kings) (Fig. 1), written around 1603 CE, is one of the finest. The manuscript is a literary classic that spells out the duties and responsibilities of a ruler, the role of the court and the laws to restrict a king’s powers. This manuscript is believed to have been composed in Aceh, translated into Javanese and carefully studied in their courts. Oral storytelling has always been a source of happiness, knowledge and even moral courage. Tales of valor, stories of lands far away, adventures of warriors and enduring stories of love, loyalty and bravery were not meant to be enjoyed as a solitary experience, but narrated or read aloud to an audience as a shared experience. The Malay world was no different. Located at the crossroads of cultures where maritime trade brought people from China, India and the Arab lands in contact with Southeast Asians, it also brought the richness of all these cultures and sparked lively adaptations of beloved stories and epics from these places, which the storytellers eventually made their own and compiled into manuscripts. The Tales of the Malay World: Manuscripts and Early Books exhibition at the National Library Singapore showcases a wonderful selection of old Malay manuscripts, including women authors and early printed books from the 18th to early 20th century. Many of these materials are from the Singapore National Library’s Rare Material Collection, displayed along with collections from The British Library, the Royal Asiatic Society and the University of Leiden Library. The oldest item is a manuscript copied around 1710 in Ambon called the Sayir Perang Mengkasar (Poem of the Makassar War) that describes the war over the spice trade between the Dutch East India Company and the state of Makassar, a thriving cosmopolitan entrepot in South Sulawesi. The exhibition is a veritable feast for the eyes. Some have illustrations or decorations (drawings and colors) or are illuminated (with metallic paints like gold, silver) and some just have text. The illuminated manuscripts are a sight to behold and the vibrant colors are stunning. Almost all the manuscripts in the exhibition are in Jawi, the modified Arabic script used to write the Malay language. The literary texts that have survived encompass a range of traditions, including fantastical adventures of kings and heroes and magical stories. In addition, there are court chronicles that trace the genealogy of ruling families written as narrative prose (hikayat), along with narrative romantic poetry (sayir) and religious texts (kitab). The opulent Hikayat Isma Yatin narrates the story of Isma Yatin, a prodigy who goes on to become the king’s trusted adviser and Prime Minister; it features stories of the king and a beautiful princess with descriptions that transport the listener into a world of splendor of palaces and beauty. The rhythm of poetry written in perfect symmetry across two columns is beautifully laid out in the popular Sayir Ken Tambuhan (Fig. 2), a romantic poem describing the love story of Ken Tambuhan and Prince Inu Kertapati, based on the very popular Panji tales from Java. On display with its own special stand is an ornate and regal illuminated letter from Sultan Syarif Kasim, the ruler of Pontianak in western Kalimantan, to Sir Stamford Raffles. In 1811, Raffles was based in Melaka and was preparing for the British invasion of Java; he sent letters to the local sultanates to garner their support. In his reply to Raffles, Sultan Kasim in return requests for the British to support him against their “common” enemy the Sultan of Sambas, ending the royal letter by informing Raffles that he would be sending him two Malay manuscripts as gifts for his collection. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, European officials and scholars needed to have a better understanding of the language and the culture in order to administer the region. This set off a frenzy of manuscript collection in the Malay Archipelago and it was noted, even then, that there was a dearth of written manuscripts, mostly because they were either held in royal courts or owned by the elites or storytellers. There was little need for many of the literary texts to be written down since they were orally performed for an audience. It has been estimated that the number of Malay manuscripts in existence around the world is very low at just 10,000, thus making these collections highly valuable in terms of their cultural value and historic significance. Singapore became an important printing center in the region in the mid-19th century. The National Library Collection of rare books contains one of the most impressive Malay works printed in the Straits Settlements during this time – the Hikayat Abdullah (Stories of Abdullah) by Munshi Abdullah (Fig. 3). Published in 1849 in collaboration with Protestant missionary, Rev. Benjamin Keasberry, this work is an autobiography that records the socio-political landscape of Singapore, Melaka and the Riau-Lingga of the early 19th century. Abdullah was a scholar and translator; he was known as the “father of Malay printing” and was the first non-European to have his works published in Malay. Of the most enduring works in Malay literature are three works that deserve special mention. Sulalat al-Salatin or Genealogy of Kings (also known as Sejarah Melayu or Malay Annals) is considered one of the most important works that describes the rise and fall of the Malaccan Sultanate. This complex work is not just a royal genealogy but also discusses Malay statecraft and the cosmopolitan nature of early Melaka society and includes stories about the founding of Singapore. On display is also the oldest extant copy of Hikayat Hang Tuah dating back to 1758, a very popular story about Hang Tuah, a brilliant military commander, wise counsellor and sophisticated diplomat who travels to many faraway places during the golden period of the Malaccan sultanate. The mousedeer stories or Hikayat Pelandok are delightful tales of a very small animal that succeeds in outwitting much larger animals through his wit and charm. These and many more are on display at the National Library until February 25, 2018. Details about this free exhibition and guided tours are detailed here: www.nlb.gov.sg/exhibitions/index.php/ tales-of-the-malay-world-manuscripts-and-early-books/ Prior to coming to Singapore Dr. Vidya Schalk worked as a Cancer Biologist Research Scientist at Oregon State University. Since coming to Singapore she has taken the opportunity to indulge in her passion for history and travel. She is currently an active volunteer docent at the National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum and STPI.
Fig. 1: Taj al-Salatin, copied by Muhammad bin Umar Syaikh Farid 4 Zulhijah 1239 (31 July 1824), Penang On loan from The British Library
Fig. 2: Sayir Ken Tambuhan Probably 19th century On loan from Leiden University Library, Cod.Or 1965
Fig. 3: Hikayat Abdullah, Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir 1849, Singapore Collection of National Library of Singapore, B03014389F Photos courtesy of National Library Singapore
23 HEALTH & WELLNESS
Singapore American · December 2017
Beauty Trends for 2018
Non-surgical aesthetic procedures to watch out for next year By Dr. Sylvia Ramirez
he range of non-surgical aesthetic procedures continues to expand year-on-year. Not only do they address issues that once required a scalpel, a surgeon and weeks of downtime, but they also promise a more natural result and, as such, are attracting a wider audience. According to a 2017 survey from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), seven out of ten people are considering an aesthetic procedure. Among the top three reasons cited: to feel confident, to appear more attractive and to look as young as they feel. Moreover, with the rise of the “selfie” generation and the proliferation of smartphones, millennials as young as 18 are considering procedures to enhance their features and look like their Instagram heroes. TREATMENTS TIPPED TO BE BIG IN 2018 Fat reduction The body is definitely the new face as non-surgical fat reduction is among the fastest-growing procedures in the aesthetic industry, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). It is fast becoming the treatment of choice for people who can’t get rid of stubborn “pockets of fat,” even with strict dieting and long hours in the gym. Look out for fat reduction procedures that cause fat cells to undergo apoptosis (natural cell death), which reduces the risk of trauma in the tissues. Once the fat cells die, they are naturally metabolized by the body over time. Leading procedures include: • Cryolipolysis (Fat Freezing) – Using suction applicators, this procedure draws in the bulge and freezes the fat cells to the point of natural elimination without affecting the skin. It works best for “pinchable” fat in the belly, thighs, arms and even the chin. • “Contact-less” Monopolar Radiofrequency – Safe heat energy is used to target and melt the fat layer without even touching the body. This procedure is recommended for circumference reduction and treats the whole abdomen in one session. Injectables If data from 2016 is anything to go by (when at least 8 million procedures were performed), the popularity of injectables will continue to increase next year. Top injectables include:
• Botox temporarily blocks the signal from a nerve to a muscle so that the wrinkles formed by muscle contraction relax and soften. Botox works best for frown lines, horizontal forehead lines and smile lines. • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) fillers can be used to improve fine lines, nasolabial folds and eye bags. It can also add volume in the cheeks, fill the lips, as well as augment the chin and increase the height of the nose bridge without surgery. • Calcium-based fillers plump the skin and replenish volume lost over time for a more refreshed look. They can be used to improve lines on the face, add volume to the cheeks, as well as nasolabial folds. Thread lifting Over the last 20 years, facial rejuvenation has seen a gradual shift from surgical treatments to subtler procedures, which can be seen today in the increasing popularity of the non-surgical thread lifting treatment. The procedure involves the insertion of a blunt-tip cannula with a very fine, absorbable thread into the skin providing an immediate lifting effect by pulling the skin together. Energy-based skin tightening For those seeking alternatives to injectables, ultrasound and radiofrequency skin tightening for the face and body are proving popular options. These procedures work by targeting deep layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production over time, which helps tighten sagging skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The leading treatments use radiofrequency and ultrasound energy, which stimulates collagen and elastin to tighten the skin, helping to lift and contour skin. A word of advice With all the innovations in aesthetic procedures, looking like the best version of yourself without surgery has never been so accessible. However, not all procedures are created equal and even good treatments can have disastrous results in the wrong hands. Make sure to do your research before you jump straight in and try the latest non-surgical procedure. It’s always best to identify what you want to achieve. Start with a discussion with a certified and highly experienced doctor and proceed only once you are ready, and when you feel comfortable. Lastly, never feel pressured to rush into any treatment. Dr. Sylvia Ramirez is the Medical and Scientific Director of Cutis Medical Laser Clinics. She has over 20 years’ experience in medicine with the philosophy of providing safety, results and value to every patient. Learn more at www.cutislaserclinics.com. Photo courtesy of Cutis Medical Laser Clinics
Any responder should make any further enquiries with the organizer or should verify the information independently if necessary.
MUSEUMS 1 – 31 December Reviving Myanmar Celadon Ceramics NUS Museum 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279 www.nus.edu.sg/museum 1 December – 31 March 2018 Witness to War: Remembering 1942 National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 www.nationalmuseum.sg 1 December – 1 April 2018 Anime Drawings Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 www.spm.org.sg 16 December – 11 March 2018 Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 www.nationalgallery.sg 17 December – 18 March 2018 Cinerama: Art and the Moving Image Southeast Asia SAM at 8Q 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535 www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
ENTERTAINMENT 1 – 3 December The Addams Family MES Theatre at Mediacorp AAS Promo code: TAFAAS www.sistic.com
6 – 10 December The Nutcracker The Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com 8 – 10 December Santa’s Little Helper SOTA Drama Theatre www.sistic.com 19 & 20 January 007 in Concert Grand Theatre, Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.sistic.com
LIFESTYLE 1 – 31 December Year-end Carpet Sale Blk 15 Dempsey Road #01-09 Singapore 249675 10:30am – 7pm firstname.lastname@example.org 6 & 7 December Expat Traders Asia’s Christmas Fair Orchard Parade Hotel Ballroom Level 2 1 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247905 www.expattraders.asia
EDUCATION 1 December Singapore American School Kindergarten Chinese Immersion Open Day 40 Woodlands Street 41 9 – 11am www.sas.edu.sg
1 December Stamford American International School Open House 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9 – 11am www.sais.edu.sg 6 & 13 December Dulwich College Singapore Open Days 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 9:30 – 11:30am email@example.com
SPORTS 10 December ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. Hong Kong Sports Club OCBC Arena Hall 1 4 – 6pm www.apactix.com 7 January ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. Alab Pilipinas OCBC Arena Hall 1 4 – 6pm www.apactix.com 19 January ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. Mono Vampires (Thailand) OCBC Arena Hall 1 8 – 10pm www.apactix.com 28 January ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. Westports Malaysia Dragons OCBC Arena Hall 1 4 – 6pm www.apactix.com