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AM ERICAN AS S O C IATION O F S INGAP ORE

Since 1958

www.aasingapore.com

February 2017 MCI (P) 116/04/2016

American Association..... 1-4 Member Discounts............. 3 CRCE & Business............... 5 Community News........... 6-8 Living in Singapore............ 9 Festivals..................... 10-23 Food & Dining............ 24-25 Health & Wellness........... 26 Arts & Culture................. 27 What’s Happening.......... 27

Living in Singapore 9

Asia’s Biggest Float Parade, Right Here in Singapore

Food & Dining 24-25

Eating Your Way Through Chile’s National Festival

Heatlh & Wellness 26

What You Need to Know about Your Annual Health Screening

Festivals 10-23

The Lowdown on the World’s Most Vibrant Festivals

Thaipusam: a Time of Devotion and Joy By Eric Walter

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f on February 9, you happen to be between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road you may see what might be (by western standards) an unusual sight. A procession of Singapore’s Tamil community will be marking the climax of Thaipusam, a two-day Hindu festival of thanksgiving, atonement and endurance. As they make their way from one temple to another (a journey of 4.5 kilometers) singing hymns and prayers, many participants will be carrying pots of milk or semicircular steel or wooden frames known as kavadis, a Tamil word meaning ”sacrifice with every footfall.” As a demonstration of their faith and sincerity, many participants literally connect their kavadis to their flesh with elaborate rows of metal hooks. Often decorated with feathers and flowers, kavadis can reach heights of 13 feet (four meters) and weigh up to almost 90 pounds (40 kilos). Some participants may also pierce their tongues with metal skewers known as vel. To the uninitiated, the whole thing might sound

grim, but the festival is actually a joyous occasion meant to honor Lord Murugan, a personification of virtue and youth and a vanquisher of evil. It is considered an honor to carry the kavadi and is believed to bring favor to the family. Celebrated in Singapore, Malaysia, parts of India and other areas with Tamil-speaking populations, Thaipusam is the high point of a month of spiritual preparation for many devotees, which includes prayer, a strict vegetarian diet and abstinence. It is believed that only when the mind is free of earthly wants and the body free of physical pleasures can a person undertake the ordeal without experiencing pain. Kavadi-bearers prepare by praying and fasting for two days prior, then perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the burden. Lasting for two days, the festival celebrates the full moon of the Tamil month which is January or February. This year, it begins on February 8 with a procession, including a chariot carrying a statue of Lord Murugan from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to

Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple on Keong Siak Road. Celebrants welcome onlookers and even those with cameras. Go very early in the morning on February 9 to Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to watch the celebrants preparing for the walk. Really enthralled? Then consider a trip to one of the largest Thaipusam celebrations in the world, just outside of Kuala Lampur at the Batu Caves. More than 1.5 million people make the trip every year and those carrying the kavadi climb more than 250 steps to the caves. To learn more about Thaipusam in Singapore go to www.thaipusam.sg. Eric Walter is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Southeast Asia. He writes about technology, innovation, business, cybercrime and entrepreneurship for Gannett Newspapers, the Rochester Business Journal, Dolan Media and King Content. He appreciates a good bowl of noodles and likes Huskies. Photo by Melinda Murphy

American Association of Singapore’s Centennial Partners


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Singapore American · February 2017

A message from the President...

SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER

Happy Chinese New Year! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (新年快乐)! I hope your Year of the Fire Rooster is your best yet! Did you know there are five different types of roosters according to the Chinese Zodiac? Those of you born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005 are Fire Roosters. We’re off to a great start with our AAS 100th Anniversary. A large group of us gathered on January 14, working with Project Homeworks to kick off our 100 Acts of Charity, cleaning the homes of Singaporean seniors just in time for Chinese New Year. Across this year, our 100 Acts of Charity will offer you the chance to give back to Singapore with AAS, individually or in groups and then post your deeds on our website to show how Americans give back to our host community. Log onto our website to find out more about how you can get involved. AAS 100th Anniversary Events: We have launched a very exciting contest this year with the Grand Prize being two, roundtrip economy tickets on Emirates to any destination in the United States. Check out Page 3 for details and watch the website for updates. If you don’t have tickets yet for the George Washington Centennial Ball on March 4, there may be a few left so buy them soon. Capella Singapore will host biggest bash of the year with a nod to the 1920s and 30s speakeasies of New York and the cheongsams of Singapore. Get ready to party! AAS 100th Anniversary Sponsors Needed: We still need individual and corporate sponsors to help power our anniversary activities. Please support our mission to be “The leading nonprofit organization that enhances, promotes and celebrates American culture among expats from all countries and the Singaporean community – through social events, charitable activities and career support.” Contact General Manager Toni Dudsak at generalmanager@aasingapore.com or Business Development Manager Shu Khanduja for details on the many exciting programs and sponsorship options at businessdev@aasingapore.com or call our office 6738-0371. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG for all social media).

EDITORIAL

Best,

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

DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen, graphics@aasingapore.com

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

CONTRIBUTORS Hazlyn Aidzil, Cara D’Avanzo, Faith Chanda, Angel Corrigan, Kevin F. Cox, Foong Tsin Uin, Gary Francis, Jenny Francis, Sue Harben, Richard Hartung, Lindy Hiemstra, Kimberly Ilgen, Ilana Rosenzweig, Conn Schrader, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Ryan Tan, Jim Tietjen, Eric Walter For AAS: Shu Khanduja, Melinda Murphy, Valerie Tietjen

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Michael Borchert • Secretary: Shawn Galey Directors: James Arpin, Joseph Foggiato, Mary Beth McCrory, Ana Mims and Stephanie Nash Immediate Past President: David Boden • AmCham Chair: Dwight Hutchins American Club President: Scott Weber • AWA President: Tara Eastep SACAC Chair: Gregory Rutledge • SAS Chair: Anita Tan-Langlois Non-Voting Members: US Embassy: Chahrazed Sioud 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. 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • F: (+65) 6738 3648 E: admin@aasingapore.com • www.aasingapore.com The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.

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

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.


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Singapore American · February 2017

AAS Wednesday

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February

Tuesday

14

Upcoming Events

Past Events

When Hollywood Met Singapore

Presented by the American Association of Singapore and The American Club, supported by Geraldene’s Tours Don’t miss our screening of the acclaimed 1979 film, Saint Jack, directed and shot entirely in Singapore by Hollywood legend Peter Bogdanovich. Once banned in the Lion City due to its controversial subject matter, the movie takes you down the streets of 1970s Singapore and follows fictional character Jack Flowers, an American “entrepreneur,” on his many adventures, including his dream to open an up-market brothel, providing R&R to Vietnam soldiers. Before the film, chat over a glass of wine and snacks and hear from Ben Slater, author of Kinda Hot, the book about the making of the movie. *Please note this is an adults-only event (18 years & over) due to the mature content of the film. 6:30-9pm The American Club, 3rd Floor, 10 Claymore Hill, (S)229573 $30 AAS & The American Club Members; limited capacity

Annual General Meeting Save the Date! More details coming soon.

100 Acts of Charity Launch

Members of AAS’ staff, ExCo, George Washington Centennial Ball committee and the community rolled up their sleeves to kick off our year-long charitable initiative. A big thank you to all who helped clean and paint the homes of elderly Singaporeans just in time for Chinese New Year.

From Coast to Quay

March

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

AAS kicked off its year-long centennial celebration with a memorable evening aboard the gorgeous tall ship, Royal Albatross, docked in Sentosa. In a nod to how most Americans first arrived in Singapore back in the 1900s, AAS members and community friends enjoyed a seaside evening under the stars with drinks, canapes and live jazz music by Vannessa & The Music Men, along with a special performance by mentalist Tom DeVoe. Guests also had the opportunity to learn how to get involved with AAS’ new initiative “100 Acts of Charity.” Find out more in next month’s article!

Living in Singapore Talk

Friends of AAS and parents from Singapore American School got the inside scoop on navigating life in Singapore in this popular biannual event, co-hosted by AAS and SAS PTA. Participants learned all about Health & Wellness, Regional Travel and Heritage & Traditions in the little Red Dot while enjoying drinks and canapes at The American Club. A special thanks to our fantastic panel of speakers including Jyoti Angresh, Melinda Murphy and Steven Tucker.

A Passport to Prizes Win two, roundtrip tickets to the United States on Emirates! Each of our member families will be given a special centennial passport, the key to discovering AAS’ amazing events celebrating our 100th anniversary. This passport is your family’s ticket to the year-end Lucky Draw with some swank prizes! Log onto www.aasingapore.com for details or to join AAS for a chance to win!

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.

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% savings on regular fares or a 5% savings on promotional fares in Business Class and Economy Class to the United States, Europe and Colombo. www.emirates.com/sg

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

Survival Chic Discovery Dining Program 30% off the table bill (including alcohol and guests) at 50+ top restaurants around the city. $25,000+ in savings, for less than $1/day. 10% off Survival Chic Membership for AAS members! www.survivalchic.com

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 · February 2017

The Roarin’ Twenties, Singapore Style By Marc Servos

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he American Association of Malaya, as the American Association of Singapore was called at the time, was turning three as the 1920s began. It had been conceived with 30 members on August 25, 1917 as a relief society for American citizens in the US Consulate General, located in Rooms 59 and 61 in The Arcade at Raffles Place. On February 6, 1919, the American Association was represented at the Singapore Centenary celebrations commemorating Stamford Raffles’ founding of modern Singapore. Membership grew to about 80-100 members during the 1920s. During the decade, the American Association held various events including tennis tournaments and baseball games. High-profile members of the community or visitors often gave talks at different venues. Annual meetings took place at Hotel de l’Europe. Fourth of July celebrations were also held annually, taking different forms, with records indicating the 1924 event being held on board the liner USS President Hayes and the 1925 event being a dinner and dance at Sea View Hotel. It must have been a good party because in the 1930s, the George Washington Ball would be held at the same hotel. The Consulate General moved to the Union Building in 1926, close to the present-day Fullerton Hotel, first constructed as a post office. The Union Building was opposite Clifford Pier, the latter being completed in 1931, facing where Marina Bay today dominates the locale. This remained the location of the American Consulate until 1955. The First World War, then known as the Great War or World War, ended in 1918 which meant the 1920s began with most of the world recovering from the devastating four years of war. The Spanish Flu Pandemic was also wreaking havoc in many nations, including Singapore. The Lion City continued to be governed as a British colony and, with the Empire safe (for the time being), post-war trade boomed, beginning a decade known for its prosperity. Singapore benefitted from this prosperity, as did other parts of the globe. The number of automobiles increased ten-fold around this period, sharing the roads with rickshaws, oxen-driven bullock carts and bicycles. Electric-powered trams and, later in the decade, electric trackless trolleybuses and motorized seven-seater “mosquito” buses provided public transportation and were seen on many major streets. In 1923, the Causeway linking Singapore to Johor Bahru for motorized traffic and rail was completed. Aviation was also a bigger presence as Singapore became of a transit stop for long-distance flights. The use of cars sped up suburbanization and many Europeans and wealthy Asians lived further from town in spacious bungalows, while a small and growing number of the English-educated middle class were settling in more modest homes. However, most of Singapore was rural, consisting of mangrove swamps, rubber plantations and forests. Many people in rural Singapore lived in villages, commonly known by the Malay word kampong. Malay fishermen resided in coastal kampongs. This simple, but often content, way of life

continued for several more decades for those in the rural areas. Facilities for daily use were communal. Orchard Road was lined with shophouses. Chinatown continued to be crowded with slums, no running water and poor ventilation. Opium dens, brothels and coolie quarters were abundant while back in the US, Prohibition was in full swing. Whether in rural or urban areas, many people possessed an entrepreneurial spirit which involved frugality and self-reliance. Most businesses were family-owned and were located in their homes. Bricks, baskets and pottery were often made by hand. Roadside hawkers were a common sight, the forerunners of the hawker centers where we now often go to enjoy local food. Medical care improved during the 1920s. New hospitals opened and the government developed public health schemes for anti-malarial work which included proper sewage disposal and maintenance of the water supply. Demand for education increased and more pupils were spending more time in the classroom. Raffles College, now part of the present-day National Singapore University, opened in 1928, adjacent to Botanic Gardens. While European enclaves had previously denied membership to Asians, more of them began opening their doors to all ethnic groups during the 1920s. A growing Asian middle class began to enjoy more time and opportunities for leisure and sports. Singapore also was graced by a 1922 visit from the Prince of Wales, later known as King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle who, in 1936, abdicated the British throne to marry American Mrs. Wallis Simpson. Soon after his visit, in 1923, the British announced plans to construct a naval base in Sembawang as a deterrent to the ambitious Japanese Empire. This base is presently used by the Republic of Singapore and United States Navies. The Kreta Ayer incident occurred on March 12, 1927 when a peaceful protest erupted into violence between communist members of Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) supporters and the Singapore police, resulting in the deaths of six people. As the decade drew to a close, the uproarious times came to an abrupt halt when the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. Known as Black Tuesday, the devastating losses on Wall Street that day led to the Great Depression. Marc Servos is a Hoosier in terms of his home state and alma mater. The Fort Wayne native served in the Army in Germany during the mid-80s and later as an officer in the Indiana Army National Guard. Married to a Singaporean, Sherley, and living here for years, he has two children ages 15 and 6. He juggles family, real estate, English instruction and writing.

Bullock Cart

Chinatown

Collyer Quay

Orchard Road


CAREER RESOURCE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” MICHAEL JOHN BOBAK

In conversation with Kimberly Ilgen Tell us about yourself. My family moved to Singapore six years ago for my husband Mike’s job. We got our daughter Piper settled at Singapore American School (SAS). I was then eager to find an employer to sponsor me on a Dependant Pass, but I wasn’t sure how to accomplish that. So the first few months we lived in Singapore, I didn’t work. Rather, I volunteered a bit at SAS. Prior to our move to Singapore, we lived in Austin, Texas. I worked in the telecom industry for about 20 years as a Channel Sales Manager, Senior Account Executive and Branch Sales Manager. Early research when we arrived in Singapore revealed that Mandarin was a requirement for similar positions here. How did you hear about CRCE? A friend from The American Club told me about CRCE. Over the years, I’ve been asked how I found my job and I always refer sincere job seekers to CRCE as it’s a great place to network. How long did it take to find your job? Within a month of posting my resume, I had interviews and two offers of employment. What is your current role and basic responsibilities? I’ve worked at the International Medical Clinic (IMC) in the Customer Service Coordinator role for five years. My responsibilities include working with new families during their registration and also ensuring all clients are cared for in an efficient, warm and friendly environment. My career in the US was not in health care or customer service, so I’ve enjoyed the challenge of training in a new industry in a new role. IMC provides family, pediatric and travel medicine to the international community in Singapore. We started with one family medical clinic 17 years ago on Orchard Road. Today, we have four clinics in Singapore, including three family clinics and one pediatric clinic. We have expert medical staff who has trained internationally and a large support staff who are nonmedical personnel, all equally committed to providing each patient with the best experience possible. IMC is an amazing place

CRCE WORKSHOPS Lunch and Learn: Career and Job Search Roadblocks Speaker: Suzanna Borst Friday, February 10 12 – 2pm Lunch and Learn: An Expat Entrepreneur’s Journey Speakers: Ayla Kremb and Susanna Hasenoehrl Friday, February 17 12 – 2pm

to work and I’m happy to be part of the team. Our company does hire expat dependents in full-time and part-time positions. From your job search experience, what are your top three insider tips? If you haven’t found work in your chosen field in Singapore, you may consider an opportunity in a different industry. Be prepared by doing some research into the organization with which you will be interviewing. When interviewing outside your chosen field, highlight your skills and strengths that will benefit that company. What are your favorite holiday destinations? The Plantation Bay Resort in Cebu is an amazing family-friendly beach hotel with dinner shows, bicycles, archery, mermaid swimming lessons, water sports, gorgeous pools and so much more. My family took a tour to Oslob, about three hours from Cebu and swam with lots of beautiful whale sharks. What an adventure! Additionally, a few of our favorite places to visit are Phuket, Krabi, Boracay, Langkawi, Hong Kong and Lombok. There are so many fabulous beaches in Southeast Asia and we are doing our best to enjoy as many as we can during our time living here.

Are you an employer with an opening to fill? Did you know employers can list jobs for free on the CRCE job board? Log onto www.aasingapore.com to find out more.

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

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS Marketing Director (Food Chain) As a Marketing Communications Director, you are responsible in building the brand and PR strategy for all the outlets in Singapore, Asia and Australia markets. Reporting to the CEO, and with the support of a lean team, you will plan and implement the necessary brand, communications and partnership strategy. The successful candidate must have excellent intercultural skills, working with global and diversified stakeholders including Europeans and Asians. (job #3422) Finance & Operations Manager Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Finance & Operations Manager will be responsible for managing the finances and will contribute to the development and implementation of organizational strategies, policies and practices. The position is full-time and the Manager will be expected to work at least one Sunday a month on campus. (job #3421) Graphic Designer An organization is in search of an enthusiastic, conscientious, organized individual to join its team as Graphic Designer. This role is a fantastic opportunity for a creative individual to take ownership of the creative vision of the organization’s magazine and annual events. The Graphic Designer is responsible for designing content for both in-house graphics and the monthly publication. The Graphic Designer will be heavily involved in the creative layout of the monthly magazine alongside the editor, as well as designing creative content for events and marketing. (job #3420) Marketing Executive Key responsibilities include: create, implement and oversee communications programs that promote the Company’s objectives in accordance with management direction and strategy; collaborate and work with all departments and regional offices to support and ensure efficient and effective communications programs in all areas. (job #3419) Part-time Medical Advisor A chamber of commerce is seeking candidates for Member Relations Manager. The Member Relations Manager reports to the Head of Business Development & Operations. This candidate will support the chamber’s programs, projects and activities designed to increase and retain members. (job #3418) Office Manager & Bookkeeper An organization is looking for a part-time Office Manager and Bookkeeper, two days per week. The main duties would involve the following: invoicing; payment of bills; employee expense reconciliation; payroll; general administration (opening mail, filing, etc.); HR-related work (applying an renewing works passes, updating annual leave records); coordinating accounting year-end documents. Experience in Quick Books would be preferred. (job #3423)


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Singapore American · February 2017

A Whir of Activity By Ilana Rosenzweig

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e’re approaching the mid-point of our year and the Cub Scouts of Pack 3017 have been busy with activities to earn their ranks, explore Singapore and help their community. The Scouts have been having fun outdoors. A Wolf Den took a kayaking trip at MacRitchie Reservoir. A Tiger Den took a trip to the Singapore Botanic Gardens and discovered how to slow down and observe to truly appreciate all of the life around them. A Wolf Den and a Webelo Den joined up for a joint camp out at Pasir Ris Park. The Scouts learned different ways to start fires without matches and cooking without pots and pans. The mud burger in a potato (yes, it really involves mud) was a favorite. The Scouts have also been exploring their Singapore community. A Tiger Den went to Woodlands West Police Station for a visit and got a tour of the police station, including the holding cell, equipment and vehicles. Some Scouts have been learning how to take care of each other and themselves. A Tiger Den learned how valuable teamwork is through various relay and team-related games. Two Tiger Dens also learned about healthy habits and how sharing a healthy snack often leads to healthier habits for others. We have an amazing group of Den Leader volunteers who make this all possible for our Scouts. The reward is in the Scouts’ faces, but it does not hurt to also send a huge “THANK YOU!” It’s our volunteers that make the program great. A special thank you to James Nesbitt who led his den from Tigers through to their Arrow Light Award and for the past two and a half years led Pack 3017 as Cubmaster. He and his son are bridging to Boy Scouts in February and we wish them lots more fun adventures. Photos by Jess Harrison, Gerry van Holsteyn, Emily Leahy and David Rosenzweig

Youth Leadership Training By Ryan Tan

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ast winter break, four Scouts from Troop 07 worked as staff at the Boy Scout of America’s National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) in Okinawa, Japan. For a person acclimatized to Singapore’s constant heat, Okinawa in December was frigid. NYLT is a youth-led program with adult supervision. That means the youth staff ran and taught the content of the course while the adult staff took care of the administration and safety. I am proud to say that for this NYLT course, a member of Troop 07, Leland “Glenn” Jones, took up the role of Senior Patrol Leader and was, therefore, in charge of the course. Before the participants of the course arrived, the youth staff had much to do. Not only was there the set up for the arrival of the participants, but there was also the preparation for the orientation tour for boys. In addition, we sorted the NYLT t-shirts and fleeces by size and prepared an introductory skit. When the participants finally arrived and registered, they were assigned to one of eight patrols. As a Troop Guide, I was assigned to Burgundy Patrol to guide them between locations and to guide their Patrol Leader for each day in leading the patrol. The most challenging aspect for me was to ensure that all participants in the classroom remained awake and attentive! During mealtimes, the participants prepared and cooked their own meals without staff supervision, while the staff would gather to discuss the course. Each day, the staff would eat with a different patrol, which gave the participants an opportunity to socialize and interact with staff members from around the world. The weeklong camp was over before we knew it. After the special overnight course, “Outpost,” we had the graduation ceremony. Of course, no leadership course is complete without

the “clean up” teaching moment which took up as much time as the prep time. However, when you have friendly patrols inspecting the campgrounds for any stray items, the cleanup goes much faster than estimated. Attending NYLT as a participant last June was the best decision I have made as a Scout thus far. I strongly encourage all Scouts to attend the course. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a staff in the NYLT last December and pass on the skills and knowledge I have obtained from attending the course. I hope to work as a staff member at more NYLT courses in the future. Photos courtesy of Troop 07

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


7 Singapore American · February 2017

COMMUNITY NEWS

Touching the Future By Hazlyn Aidzil

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ore than 20 local business professionals from 32 companies graduated from the 2016 Next Generation of Business Leadership (NextGen) program last year. Organized and hosted by AmCham and supported by Workforce Singapore (WSG), NextGen serves as a springboard for AmCham members’ future leaders. This program represents the first-ever partnership between AmCham and WSG, with the shared vision to promote business leadership development and knowledge transfer. To achieve this goal, the special annual series offers a combination of conversational opportunities with senior executives, seminars targeting key areas for successful career development and peer-to-peer connections to expand participants’ professional networks. NextGen workshops help local participants develop their full potential, with a focus on nurturing leadership skills, harnessing team dynamics and analyzing the strategic forces that will shape markets in the Asia Pacific in the futures. Speaking at the end of the program, a graduate from a global pharmaceuticals company highlighted the opportunities NextGen provides. “This program has given me exposure and insights into the different industries and management roles that would have otherwise taken me 10-20 years to experience. It is truly a program that not only allows me to have a clearer view of what ‘I could be’ in the future, but more importantly, ‘how can I get there.’” NextGen 2017 will kick-off on February 7 with a reception hosted by US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath. Stay tuned for more exciting news on the AmCham NextGen series!

Patriot Partner

Eagle Partners

Photos courtesy of AmCham

The Future of the US Passport By Conn Schrader

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ast year, the Department of State issued a whopping 16.5 million US passports. This is second only to 2007 when legislation required passports for a lot of travel in the Western Hemisphere that had previously been exempt. Since most of the 18.4 million passports issued ten years ago will be expiring, we’re expecting 2017 to set a new record. The Department of Homeland Security is also continuing the implementation of REAL ID rules which require states to have compliant driver’s licenses and state ID cards for use on domestic travel and some misconceptions about upcoming deadlines are spurring some US citizens with no international travel plans to obtain passports or passport cards. The State Department has been planning for a record year of passport applications for quite some time and processing in the United States and overseas hasn’t been delayed even as numbers surged in the last three months of 2016. We continue to see new passports arrive at our embassy from the United States about one week after the application is submitted. However, given the demand we want to encourage everyone to take a look at their passport expiration dates and allow plenty

of time to renew. Since standard delivery times domestically are longer, it is even more important to advise business and family visitors from the United States to check their passports and apply early this year. Later in 2017, expect the launch of a new passport design. There will be some enhanced features that will improve the security of document and it is part of the same effort to improve document integrity led to the discontinuation of supplemental visa pages in 2016 and more recently the requirement to remove eyeglasses for your passport photograph. Also in 2017, we are looking toward the roll-out of Online Passport Renewal for applicants in the United States. This will allow domestic applicants renewing a regular, adult passport to complete the process entirely on-line! While that won’t be available overseas for now, we continue to look at ways to make our process here more convenient and recently created an option for adult passport renewal without an appointment. Please check that out the next time you renew. Happy travels!


8 COMMUNITY NEWS

Compelling Topics, Personalized Learning By Cara D’Avanzo

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reating a nanoparticle simulation, documenting Peranakan culture, investigating urban development planning or filming a documentary: these are a few of the 127 Catalyst projects that will be completed by the high school juniors and seniors at Singapore American School (SAS) this year. The Catalyst course gives each student the opportunity to design, complete and reflect on an independent learning journey. The final product (whether an academic paper, dramatic play, computer program or piece of art) must be presented to an audience of parents, educators and community members. Senior Aime Fukada has found the Catalyst project so rewarding she has signed up for the class not once, not twice, but three times! A self-described foodie, cook and baker, as well as an IASAS swimmer, she credits her father with the idea for her project: a cookbook for student athletes. “During my first Catalyst class, I developed and tested a bunch of healthy recipes that young people would like,” she explains. Mentored by the school nutritionist, Aime settled on 40 recipes and created a draft of about 70 pages. Not ready to leave it at that, Aime signed up for Catalyst again to focus on revision, layout and graphic design, soliciting input from teachers and students. “The most amazing moment for me came when I met with an SAS visiting author who said I should start selling my project right now by contacting lawyers and publishers,” Aime recalls. “Suddenly, it became ‘real’ and I could picture an actual book!” Singapore publisher Epigram Books expressed interest and Aime plans to spend next semester preparing the book for publication, hopefully, with an editor or publisher as a mentor. She expects the final result, a hardback cookbook entitled From the Hapa Kouzina, to be published in late April or May. “I love Catalyst because you learn real-world skills,” Aime says. “Besides learning about nutrition, creative writing and book design, I have learned to network and put myself out there in emails and in person. The hardest thing was persevering through all those non-responses or refusals. In school, the adults focus on you all the time, but in the outside world they see you as just another young person trying to get their attention. It’s good to learn that most people won’t respond to your emails, won’t make themselves available whenever you want and you have to keep going until someone does!” Aime says she would counsel students new to the program to go beyond their comfort zones to network and to set clear goals and strict time-management rules. “The most important thing is to find something you’re passionate about, something that will keep you going,” she says. “Everyone has something they love, but sometimes you don’t realize it could become your project. Once you figure that out, you can make it impactful, fun and rewarding.” Photo by Alicia Ting Chow

Singapore American · February 2017


9 Singapore American · February 2017

Sensory Overload By Sue Harben

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ye candy. That’s the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Chingay. Brightly-colored floats, fire twirlers, dancing dragons, stilt walkers, giant puppets, spectacular light displays, performers draped in the most vibrant and colorful costumes you’ve ever seen all strutting their stuff to fans in the stands. The largest street performance and float parade in Asia is, quite simply, breath-taking. Chingay is held in Singapore at the F1 Pit Building during the first weekend of the Lunar New Year celebrated by Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, too. The massive parade first started to quell unhappy Singaporeans who resented the country’s ban on fireworks (which are usually set off on New Year’s to drive away evil spirits). That first parade in 1973 celebrating the Year of the Ox was such a hit that it has since become an annual tradition. The word chingay is equivalent to the Mandarin zhuang yi (妆艺), which means “the art of costume and masquerade” in the Hokkien dialect. There could be no more fitting name. Each and every costume is a work of art and there are costumes from across the globe. In 1987, The Straits Times featured a pop group from Tokyo and, ever since, performers from around the world have delighted the Singaporean audience. This year, the American Women’s Association is participating for the first time, marching in the section of the parade called WeCare Singapore Unity Contingent along with other official associations registered in Singapore. Be sure to look for their banners! Don’t think you’ll go and just watch. Nope. The audience is an active part of the show. Each and every spectator receives a goody bag which includes props and a bottle of water to help offset the heat. As the show moves along, the audience is asked to use the various props which can include clappers, light sticks and gold pompoms, making the show all the more fun and magical. And yes, at the end of the parade, there are fireworks… just to be safe and keep those evil spirits at bay. The parade takes the community five months to prepare and is such a hit that it’s held not once, but TWICE. This year’s 45th parade will be on February 10 and February 11 and the show promises “spectacular water, fire, snow and lighting effects. Snow? This I’ve got to see! Tickets range from $28.50 to $60. Go to www.chingay.org.sg for more info. Sue Harben first attended Chingay with her small children several years ago and has braved the crowds and the heat ever since. Photos by Melinda Murphy

LIVING IN SINGAPORE


10 COMMUNITY FESTIVALS NEWS

By Faith Chanda

Singapore American · February 2017


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iwali is one of the most important and meaningful holidays in the Indian calendar and also my favorite. Not only is it the Hindu New Year, but it is a harvest celebration and festival of lights all in one joyful package. I tell people who ask about our multicultural family that I’m “Indian by marriage” and I mean it. The best Diwali I ever spent was, of course, in India. We’d brought several of our most adventurous friends and family on a trip around India and arrived en masse at my in-law’s home shortly before Diwali. The house was abuzz with activity all day. Rangoli, traditional designs made with colored powder, decorated the floors, especially at the doorway, to welcome both guests and the Hindu goddess Laxmi, who represents wealth and prosperity. The designs are usually made painstakingly by hand and the detail in some designs is breathtaking. We each gave it a go and concluded that the wise folks who came up with templates to “hack” this task were on the right track! Mixed into the designs is always a set of footprints, which show that Laxmi has been there to bless the house. And with a house bursting at the seams with some of our best friends and extended family, we certainly felt blessed! New clothing is usually worn on Diwali to symbolize a clean slate for the new year. The house was looking shiny and spiffy thanks to a thorough cleaning so as to be a most fitting venue for the goddess Laxmi to enter, bringing good luck for the coming year. As anyone who cooks Indian food at home knows, the whole house smelled all day of the grand spread that would be served at the Diwali party that night. Something about the scent of the fresh vegetables being chopped, mixed with the spices hitting hot pans was simply tantalizing (like the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven on Thanksgiving). Hands down, the most meaningful part of the entire celebration is the lights. Small clay pots called diya filled with oil are placed all over the house (inside and out) and fireworks are set off, all as both a welcome and a warning. Friends, family and good luck are welcomed by the shimmering lights. But bad spirits be warned: the loud noise is meant to scare them off and the light symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, drawn from the story of Lord Rama’s glorious return from exile or Goddess Durga’s victory over a demon. Either way, the result is the same: truth and light win out, every time. As daylight faded into a foggy night, the lights glowed brighter and the party kicked off. It was like a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Friends and family arrived with gifts and there was enough food to feed a proverbial army. The music turned up and the revelry lasted long into the night. The other thing that lasted? The bond we all shared: a group spanning three generations and hailing from five countries – and the sense that, for one brief moment, all was right with the world.

Faith Chanda fell in love with Singapore soon after she moved here in early 2015 with her family. She enjoys the unique opportunities that being a “trailing spouse” offers such as the time to travel, write, do arts and crafts projects with her kids and meet up with friends and family. The majority of her career has been spent in corporate Marketing Communications and Event Planning, spanning multiple industries and roles. Recently, Faith has experienced a bit of a reinvention as a freelance writer and sole proprietor of F. Chanda Communications and Events. Photos by abhinaba, Tracy Heydweiller and harpreet singh

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Singapore American · February 2017

Thai Festivals, Noisy and Quiet By Richard Hartung

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wo delightful festivals in Thailand reflect the contrast of the country itself, with one showing just how raucous the atmosphere can become and the other highlighting the quiet of traditional Thailand. A Raucous New Year – In April Just when it may have seemed that two New Years were enough, with the one on January 1 kicking off the calendar year and the other a month or so later for Chinese New Year, it turns out that there’s yet another new year to celebrate. Songkran marks the new year in Thailand and there are similar holidays in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar as well as in parts of India. While the dates were originally set by Brahmin priests, the timing has been fixed and new year is now celebrated April 13-15 every year. One of the most important festivals during the year, Songkran combines Buddhist beliefs, ancient astrology and the solar calendar, according to the Asia Society. Songkran, which means the shift of the sun from one side of the zodiac to the other, is celebrated when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries. Traditionally, Thais cleaned their house on the first day, prepared food for monks on the second day, visited temples to bathe the Buddha image in water on the third day and paid respects to their elders by pouring water over their hands on the fourth day. While tradition is still important, water is the main focus in many places and Songkran now means getting wet. Water-throwing from any type of container has become the distinguishing feature of this festival. From children with huge water guns spraying anyone they see to water fights on closed-off streets in some neighborhoods, you’ll need to get ready to get drenched if you head to Thailand during Songkran.

Loy Krathong At the other end of the spectrum is Loy Krathong, a quieter festival which takes place on the evening of the full moon in the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. Thais, as well as foreigners who are visiting, prepare the small vessels and then head towards a river once it’s dark to let their boats float away. The vessels carry a candle down the river, honoring Buddha with light. The boat floating away symbolizes letting go of one’s hatred, anger and impurities. As one Singapore resident described his experience this year, “Thai ladies were making the boats that we were each given to light and float on the river, after making a wish. It is a slice of a banana tree, two inches thick and about eight inches in diameter. Inside is a tea candle. The staff helped me light the candle and then I set it off. Very slowly at first, then it caught the current and off it went.” Conclusion While the manner in which the festivals are celebrated have shifted over the years, they’re tremendously wonderful nonetheless and truly reflect the full diversity of experiences in Thailand. Richard Hartung, the Managing Director of Transcarta, is a freelance writer for Today, gtnews, Challenge, OOSSKAnews, The Asian Banker and other media as well as the author of Changing Lanes, Changing Lives. He is also a consultant in retail banking, focusing on payments strategy and efficiency, with more than 20 years of experience in Asia (www.transcarta.com). Photos credit of Rodney Ee and John Shedrick


13 Singapore American · February 2017

A Day of Remembering By Angel Corrigan

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ia de los Muertos, also called Day of the Dead, is a mash up between a 3,000 year old Aztec festival for The Lady of The Dead and the Catholic Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, this festival was primarily celebrated in Southern Mexico, but has now spread to other parts of Mexico as well and is also often celebrated by Mexican communities outside of the country. It’s a time to honor the lives of deceased loved ones. This festival recognizes death as the last stop in our earthly existence. It celebrates the lives of those who have come before and the dead are invited to come join in this celebration. It is believed the departed can once again participate in the things they loved doing while they lived, with those who are left alive behind. During this time, families come together to build ofrendas (tribute altars) to memorialize their departed, cook elaborate meals and visit cemeteries to picnic with them. Tombstones are often decorated with flowers or mementos from the life of the deceased, including photographs. Most celebrations reserve November 1 for children who have died and honor adults on November 2. Toys are often bought for the departed children (los angelitos or “the little angels”) and other items such as tequila and other spirits are given to the adults. Families eat the food that remains, but believe the spirits have removed all of the nutritional value. Some families even leave pillows and blankets out for their loved ones who have made the long journey back from the dead to visit. Writers create poems (often humorous) highlighting special memories of the dead. Community members celebrate as a way to mock death and remember the lives of those who have passed away, holding elaborate carnivals and parades that feature dancing skeletons, grim reapers, skillfully painted sugar skulls and mythical alebrijes, brightly colored creatures that emerged from the mind of Mexican artist Pedro Linares who first dreamed of them when he was sick and unconscious. First made of paper-mache, these mythical creatures are now made of wood and are primarily made in Oaxaca, Mexico. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (calavera) which is incorporated into costumes, candy and more. Sugar skulls can be given as gifts to both the living and the dead. Pan de muerto is a sweet egg bread made in various shapes from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits, often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones. In some towns, fried bugs are also a favorite treat.

Angel Corrigan has lived in Singapore since 1999. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of three. As a military spouse, she has lived and worked around the world. Currently, she volunteers with an anti-sex trafficking NGO and works raising funds locally and internationally. Photos by John Murphy and nmarritz

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Singapore American · February 2017

Gawai Dayak: Sarawak’s Harvest Festival By Valerie Tietjen

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rowing up on the island of Borneo, I was always excited as Gawai Dayak drew near, visiting my indigenous friends to celebrate the festival with their families. Sarawak boasts 27 ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Gawai Dayak comes from Gawai meaning “festival” and Dayak, a collective name for the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan and the interior of Borneo. Every year, the indigenous tribes give thanks to their gods for a successful harvest of rice and pray for another fruitful planting season. Like most celebrations, Gawai Dayak is also a time for family reunions. In the past, those who live in cities traveled back to their longhouses or villages to be with their families. These days, families will gather wherever they call home. It is an occasion to strengthen the understanding and appreciation of traditions, cultures and roots. Gawai Dayak, a month-long harvest festival, is celebrated by the Iban and Bidayuh communities of Sarawak on June 1. The Ibans start celebrating on the evening of May 31 with a ceremony to cast away the spirit of greed and to ward off the spirit of bad luck. An offering ceremony called miring takes place at twilight with ritual music performed before the ceremony begins. The longhouse chief (or the most respected senior figure in the community) conducts a ritual, thanking the gods for the good harvest, asking for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a rooster over the offerings. The rooster is then sacrificed and a little blood added to the offerings. Once the offering ceremony is finished, dinner is served at the ruai, the common area equivalent to a balcony of the longhouse. Just before midnight, a procession takes place along the ruai for seven times called Ngalu Petara which means “welcoming the spirit gods.” At the stroke of midnight, a gong is beaten to call the celebrants to attention. The tuai rumah or longhouse chief, who is usually the festival chief, leads everyone to drink the tuak (rice wine) to ask for longevity and, at the same time, to wish one another a “gayu guru, gerai nyamai,” signifying long life, health and prosperity. The celebration carries on until morning with traditional dances, feasts, games and other fun filled activities. Families hold open houses and all are welcome to drop by bearing good wishes. If you go to a kampung (village), you will most likely get to meet the tuai rumah (longhouse chief). As part of the celebration, you are expected to visit each family. Rest assured, there will be local delicacies such as lemang (glutinous rice stuffed in a bamboo log cooked in an open fire); locally-hunted meat such as wild boar; free-range chicken from the yard; fish from a nearby stream or river and wild ferns and vegetables from the jungle. There will be traditional cakes and cookies, too. Do not fret… there is always free flow of tuak, a traditional Dayak liquor. This home-brewed glutinous drink is made with rice from a recent harvest mixed with homemade yeast. This is

where the spirit of nyibur temuai, the watering of guests, is practiced wholeheartedly. Go slow on the tuak. You may think that you are drinking a sweetened juice, but then you will feel the effect of its 40% alcohol content. Dances are performed on the eve of the festival, with performers wearing traditional costumes like those the contestants of Keling Gawai and Kumang Gawai wear. Look out for wild animal parts such as horns, teeth, claws and feathers which are used to decorate and repair traditional costumes. The Bidayuhs, another indigenous group, celebrate differently. During the wee hours of the June 1, young men and women perform the ngajat, a traditional dance around an offering structure called the bawal. The men climb a structure, the nguguh, and shake it while shouting, “Tara! Tara! Tara!,” toasting the celebration. The women continue to dance, circling the bawal. An offering to call guardian spirits to protect the people will be held at the structure. The village’s highest priests perform a pisien (usually in pairs) to call for the guardian spirit of the paddy to come home. For the Christian folks, the eve of Gawai Dayak is no less spectacular, but the miring ceremony is replaced by church services. Weeks or days prior, beauty pageants will be held throughout the main cities across the state to crown the Kumang Gawai (festival queen) and Keling Gawai (festival king). The lads and ladies don their finest regalia. Boys are clad in loincloths; animal skin coats; neck chains, silver armlets and anklets and headwear decorated with peacock and hornbill feathers, all completed with a shield, sword and spear. Tribal tattoos are also proudly displayed. The ladies wear handwoven cloth with rattan and a brass ring high corset with a woven bead chain over the neck and shoulder. Their beautifully coiffured hair are decorated with an ornamental comb. A silver belt, armlet, anklet and purse complete their look. Years and years ago, it was customary for Dayak women to have the bare breasts as a sign of beauty. Gawai Dayak comes to a close after a month and the closing ceremony is signified with each family within the longhouse symbolically rolling back a miring ceremony mat called a bidai. The first official celebration of Gawai Dayak was held on June 1, 1964 in recognition of the Dayaks’ existence in Sarawak. It was officially approved as a state celebration the following year. This auspicious date has since become a symbol of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak community in Sarawak, the Land of the Hornbill. Photos courtesy of Sarawak Convention Bureau and Sarawak Tourism Board


15 Singapore American · February 2017

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Singapore American · February 2017

Roundup, Texas-style By Melinda Murphy

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haaaakkkkkke. Shaaaakkkkke. That sound, the sound a rattlesnake makes, sends me into complete and utter panic. I grew up in West Texas: rattlesnake country. From the time I could probably crawl, it was drilled into my head to freeze if I heard that sound. And I did hear it, too. My parents built a house on the edge of the arid town of Midland when I was four-years-old and, when it was still far from complete, we went to take a look. I excitedly opened what was to be my closet door and there, coiled inside, was a rattler. I slammed the door and screamed and screamed. Traumatized, I didn’t go into my closet for almost a full year after we moved into the house, convinced it would still be there. Rattlesnakes are part of life in West Texas, a sometimes deadly part. So it’s no surprise the annual Rattlesnake Roundup held in Sweetwater, Texas (about 100 miles from that house with the scary closet) is the largest in the world. Sweetwater’s population balloons from 11,000 to more than 40,000 the second weekend in March, but this event is not just biggest in terms of attendees. Nope. It’s also the biggest rattlesnake roundup because of how many snakes are captured. Last year? They set a new record, bringing in 24,262 pounds (11,000 kilograms) of rattlers.

Holy Moly. And the longest snake was 75.5 inches (1.9 meters) though the all-time record is 81.5 inches (2.1meters). That is one snake I don’t want to meet. Why do they do this? Well, it all started as a way to make the land safer for humans and livestock, too. Some say it’s barbaric, but anybody who has been bitten by a rattler says otherwise. As the saying goes, “You may not die if you get bitten, but you’ll want to.” Economically? The event brings in more than $8 million, quite a large sum for a sleepy West Texas town. When I was a reporter for CBS News, I stupidly mentioned the roundup to my boss. His eyes lit up and I immediately knew I’d opened my big mouth before thinking. Next thing I knew, I was on my way to Sweetwater to witness first hand something I’d done my best to avoid my whole life. Walking into the coliseum, I was overwhelmed by the sound: thousands of rattles all shaking at once. It was so loud, you literally had to scream to be heard so there was no such thing as whispering to my producer Jen that I thought the whole thing was a bit creepy. The other thing that hit me? The smell. Turns out, rattlesnakes smell. I


17 Singapore American · February 2017

can’t even really describe the smell. Woodsy? No. Gamey? Not really. But trust me, they stink. All in the name of good television, they sent me out on the hunt. The best place to find rattlesnakes is under rocks and in holes. Rattlers don’t want to bite you any more than you want to bite them. As long as you stay out of their space, they are happy to leave you alone – or so I was told. So to find them, they had us sticking snake hooks into crannies and crevices. I was a bit relieved that we didn’t find a snake hiding under the tumbleweeds. Whew. But little did I know what they had in store for me. Back at the coliseum, they suited me up in special boots and pants (waders of sorts) and put me into one of several massive pits of vipers. The man from Sweetwater Jaycees, the organization that runs the event, gave me a bit of advice. “Whatever you do, little lady, don’t jump up. If you land on a snake, it’ll roll out from under you and you’ll be flat out on your back on the ground. Then you’re a goner.” It was a miracle I didn’t faint right there. Before the day was done, I’d interviewed Miss Snake Charmer, perused the store (selling everything from snakeskin boots to snakeskin belts and more) and visited the carnival. Swallowing my fears, I’d even held a snake and milked it for its venom (to make anti-venom) and skinned a snake at the skinning area. But I think the biggest act of bravery was when my New York-born, Jewish producer ate rattlesnake for the first time. Her review? “This definitely does not taste like chicken!” Photos courtesy of Sweetwater Jaycees

FESTIVALS


Not-to-Miss Festivals Taken from Living in Singapore, Fourteenth Edition Reference Guide

Full Moon Party

Haeundae Sand Festival

Haad Rin, Thailand – monthly

Busan, South Korea – May

The ultimate all-night beach party that takes place once a month on the crescent-shaped beach. Every kind of music rages while entertainers such as jugglers and fire-eaters do their thing.

There are sandcastles and then there are THESE sandcastles! Besides gawking at the sand creations, you can take a hot sand bath, play beach volleyball and ooh and ahh at the fireworks.

Ati-Atihan

Gion Matsuri

Kalibo, Philippines – January

Kyoto, Japan – July

A colorful festival consisting of tribal dance, music, indigenous weapons and aboriginal-like vibrant costumes, held in honor of baby Jesus.

This month-long celebration’s most impressive part is the Yamaboko Junko, a procession with 33 highly-decorated floats dating back to 869.

Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival

Naadam

Harbin, China – January

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – July

The granddaddy of all ice shows, think Vegas on ice.

At this festival predating Genghis Khan, Mongolians come together every year for the “Manly Games” to duke it out in wrestling, horse racing and archery.

Wakakusa Yamayaki

Rath Yatra

Nara, Japan – January

Puri, India – July

A day of giant rice cracker tossing, interfaith demonstrations and fireworks ends with an entire mountainside being set on fire.

This is one of India’s most sacred festivals with a million people in attendance. They all come to see massive chariots pulling idols through the streets.

Boryeong Mud Festival

Esala Perahera

Boryeong, South Korea – February

Kandy, Sri Lanka – August

The ultimate mud-wrestling contest also includes mud races and a mud boot camp.

Lavishly decorated elephants are the headliners at the largest Buddhist festival in Sri Lanka complete with musicians, dancers, acrobats and singers.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Mount Hagen Cultural Show

Jaisalmer, India – February

Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea – August

Come see camel polo, mustache contests, turban tying and much more at this non-religious colorful desert festival.

This eye-popping cultural show brings together singing groups from all over the country, each wearing spectacular, traditional costumes.

Tet Nguyen Dan

Obon

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – February

Japan – August

A massive event that rivals Chinese New Year, the Tet festival is the Vietnamese traditional celebration to welcome in the New Year and the arrival of spring complete with gongs, drums, fireworks and lots of gorgeous flowers.

This is Japan’s most religious festival steeped in the belief that, once a year, the gates of Heaven and Hell open meaning that spirits can visit the living world. The dates shift from city to city so do your research.

BaliSpirit Festival

Rainforest World Music Festival

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – April

If visiting all the other festivals has worn you out, this is the festival for you. BaliSpirit is all about restoring yourself spiritually and physically.

Kuching, Malaysia – August

This unique festival brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the mythical island of Borneo.

Kanamara Matsuri

Lopburi Monkey Banquet

Kawasaki, Japan – April

Lopburi, Thailand – November

Some might find this fertility festival worshipping the penis a bit shocking, but it’s definitely an experience you won’t forget.

Macaques are revered so much here that they throw a banquet for 3,000 of them, complete with two tons of fresh produce, rice – even ice cream!

Kumbh Mela Festival

Pushkar Camel Fair

Nashik, India – April & May

During the 55-day festival, millions make the annual pilgrimage to bathe in India’s holiest river, The Ganges. The event is so big, it can be seen from outer space.

Pushkar, India – November

If you like camels, you’ll love Pushkar where 300,000 people and 50,000 camels try to take a dip in Pushkar Lake at dawn to be absolved of sins. Performers of every sort pepper the event.

For more info, check out the definitive source on festivals: www.fest300.com


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Singapore American · February 2017

Holi! By Shu Khanduja

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ne of India’s happiest and most popular festivals, Holi (aka an all-out paint war!) is a must-do experience. Known as the Festival of Colors or the Festival of Sharing Love, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival which is now popular with the non-Hindu population, too. It is said to have been around for centuries before Christ and was once a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families. This vibrant festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil, the end of winter and welcoming of spring. The festival date varies every year depending on the Hindu calendar, but it always occurs at the end of Spring. Sometimes, it falls in late February and other times it happens in the beginning of March. Holi is celebrated with music performers and Bollywood classics blaring in the background while people spend the day smearing colored powder on their bodies, throwing colored water at each other, partying with friends and dancing under water sprinklers. I admit, prior to arriving in India, nothing could have prepared me to the extent in which Holi is actually celebrated. The only thing I knew was that the festival involved throwing colored powder on one another and, for that reason alone, I was really excited. I mean, when else do you get the chance to throw colored powder on other people and not have those people yell at you? The day of Holi brought everything I imagined and more. People of all castes, classes, ages, genders and wealth spilling out on the streets and coming together to mark Holi in a frenzy of fun, fanfare and exchanged greetings of “Happy Holi!” Within minutes (and without a game plan), I found myself engulfed in a rainbow of color. The different colors symbolize purity (red), friendliness (pink), vitality (green) and energy (yellow). The result is pretty messy, but incredibly photogenic. Some people get so into it that they carry water guns spiked with

paint or colored water-filled balloons. I was totally unprepared! Bonfires are also all part of the celebration during Holi, as is the consumption of bhang, an intoxicating drink (made from the female cannabis plant) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations. So now, imagine this crazy all-out paint war and picture everyone high out of their minds. I was very young when I went so I got to experience the whole thing quite sober. I was initially a little nervous about the powder getting in my eyes. You do need to be careful, even if you are not allergic to colors, as a hand might appear out of thin air and shove a handful of colored powder right into your face. And no, sunglasses do little to help. At one point, there was so much powder my nostrils and lungs were full of red dust. I wished I had brought a surgical mask instead of a scarf to shield myself. The best part though about Holi is the fact that everyone has a smile on their face, whether they are enjoying the company of their friends or chasing random people around the street. I’ve never seen any event that was this happy on such a big scale. It’s simply amazing. It’s no mean-feat to return yourself to your original shade after this powdered-paint-throwing extravaganza. A good hour of top-to-toe scrubbing is all part and part of the merry-making process definitely an ordeal but, worth the fun! Here’s a tip: to wash off the colors, cake yourself in chickpea flower mixed with yoghurt and then take a shower. Want to give it a try? Singapore has a few color festivals such as The Color Run, but most are more inspired by Holi rather than associated with it. For the real thing, a trip to India is definitely in order.

Photo by Steven Gerner

Sapporo Snow Festival By Laura Schwartz

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f living in Singapore has made you pine for cold weather, but you don’t miss the slushy morning commutes or the heating bills, then book a trip to the winter wonderland that is the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri), which is held every February. Located in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, Sapporo has a long, rich relationship with winter, even hosting the Olympic Games in 1972. With carved snow and ice sculptures of all sizes, real igloos you can explore, professional skiers showing off their jumps, ramen and hot drink vendors to warm you up, this festival is exciting no matter what age you are. One high point for us was the International Snow Sculpture Contest. A tradition since 1974, the competition is an opportunity to watch live as dozens of countries create mindboggling works of art that put my childhood snowmen to shame. Though it wasn’t surprising to see the USA represented, can you believe Thailand, Malaysia and even Singapore have teams? How do these competitors know about snow?


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Singapore American · February 2017

A treat during the day, the festival is even more mesmerizing at night when the enormous snow sculptures are illuminated by music and light shows. Many of the snow monuments are sponsored by companies and major brands: last year featured snow reproductions of tourist sites in Macau and Taiwan, tributes to internationally recognized anime shows Dragonball Z and Attack on Titan and a snow bullet train to celebrate the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen. However, the festival also remains true to its humble roots and features hundreds of smaller, homemade sculptures created by the citizens of Sapporo. The food corners also rely heavily on local products and dishes, including exquisite seafood, hearty stews and sake. The first Sapporo Snow Festival was held in 1950 and featured only six snow statues made by local high school students. Beyond all expectations, the festival attracted about 50,000

people and soon became one of the city’s major annual events. Less than ten years later, more than 2,500 people participated in creating snow sculptures. In 1965 and 1983, the festival grounds expanded, adding two subsidiary sites to the original Odori Park location in order to accommodate events such as an ice rink, a snow rafting zone, snow slides, snow mazes, several food pavilions, a PARK AIR Jumping Platform for skiers and snowboarders to demonstrate their tricks and, of course, even more snow and ice sculptures. In addition to the seemingly endless sights and events of the festival, the city of Sapporo is also worth exploring for itself. Visits to the Sapporo Beer Museum and the top of the JR Tower were a pleasure. Sapporo is also an ideal jumping off point for anyone desperate to hit the ski slopes, as the worldfamous powder of Niseko is less than two hours away. Best of

all, when you’ve had your fill of winter fun, you can skip the part where everything melts and the snow turns brown and you get Seasonal Affective Disorder by returning to Singapore’s tropical heat, which I guarantee you will appreciate in a new way. Born in Ireland, Laura grew up in Tokyo, Singapore and New Jersey, before returning to live in Singapore with her husband in 2012. She has a BA in Japanese Language and Cultural Studies from Bard College. In addition to writing for the Singapore American newspaper, she also writes freelance for a range of other publications (including The Wall Street Journal) about travel, expat life, Singapore culture and so forth. Photos by Laura Schwartz


22 FESTIVALS

Singapore American · February 2017

Party Time! By Lindy Hiemstra

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estivals! The mere word sends a tingle of excitement down my spine. Crowds? High prices? Crazy people? Bring ‘em on, I say! I love witnessing first-hand how people from different cultures like to celebrate. To me, being in the middle of a festival gives such insight to what matters to those people and is the best way to get to know a culture. And being one of the only foreigners at a festival makes me all the happier as I somehow feel as though I’m really immersed in a different world. And the things people celebrate! Everything from a fertility festival honoring a man’s privates in Japan to Thailand’s massive banquet for 3,000 monkeys to a regatta in Australia where all the boats are made out of beer cans are causes for a big party. I myself have been to a ridiculous number of festivals, from Delaware’s World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ in the US to the Pingxi Lantern Festival in Taiwan to Oktoberfest in Germany. I love them all, each and every one. But where did festivals begin? According to Wikipedia, the word “festival” first appeared as an adjective back in the fourteenth century and showed up as a noun in 1589 as festifall. The Spanish and former Spanish colonies often use the word fiesta instead. But just because they didn’t have a word for festival didn’t mean they weren’t around before. The Indian festival of Holi can first be found mentioned in the 4th century! The Bible is full of references to festivals and feasts. Basically? As long as people have been on Earth, they’ve found an excuse to have a good party. Most festivals have to do with religion or agriculture and take place at a specific time of year, though some holidays (and associated festivals) follow a lunar calendar, which means the date changes from year to year. However, there are also festivals that focus on cultural things which are key for carrying forward traditions and a way of passing on vital information to younger generations. The religious festivals generally pay homage to a god or gods and the harvest festivals often overlap. It makes sense, right? If you were living long ago and you had a bountiful harvest, you’d want to say thank you to your gods for providing. There is actually an entire discipline devoted to studying religious festivals called “heortology.” Who knew? And then there are festivals that simply celebrate an organization or group. Think of school fairs. The American Association of Singapore turns 100 in 2017 and it has a ton of festivities planned. Many of these hope to combine the old and the new, reflecting days gone by. This is true of lots of festivals and parties that often change over time, but always hold on to the principles that first shaped them.

In these pages, you’ll find lots of information about some big festivals in Asia and a few other celebrations, too. If you decide to go to one, keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, you are a guest. Don’t laugh. Don’t be rude. Think how you’d feel if somebody showed up at a celebration near and dear to your heart and made fun of it. Truth is, most people are happy to explain their customs to you, if you ask respectfully. Wouldn’t you like to share your culture with them? I get very excited to explain Christmas or Easter to a non-Christian. Let yourself soak up the experience and really enjoy the time there. Somebody bumps into you? So what. Somebody charges you an extra dollar? No biggie. That extra dollar is paying for the experience of a lifetime which, truth be told, is priceless. Lindy Hiemstra is a journalist passionate about traveling and experiencing different cultures.

Carnival, Venice

Carnival, Rio

La Tomatina, Spain

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Oktoberfest, Germany. Photo credit of Leigh Wolf


23 FESTIVALS

Singapore American · February 2017

Nepal’s Tibetan Festival By Jim Tietjen

The Mysterious City Lo Manthang is an ancient city located in north central Nepal, bordering Tibet. Established in 1380, it served as the capital city of the independent Kingdom of Lo. Lo Manthang and its surrounding area, now called Upper Mustang, became a Nepalese dependency in the 18th century when Nepal’s numerous smaller fiefdoms were united under the Rajput King of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah. As a part of Nepal, Lo maintained its hereditary king and a semblance of autonomy until a republican government was constituted in Nepal in 2008 (after the gruesome demise of the Nepalese King Birendra and his family in 2001). The King of Lo Manthang at that time, Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, surrendered his official title, but was afforded a figurehead position as King. Much revered and respected, King Jigme continued as the 25th direct line descendent of rulers dating back to 1380. The city of Lo Manthang and district of Upper Mustang remain culturally and ethnically Tibetan and have about 15,000 inhabitants. Its northern border with China is a mere ten miles from the city. The Kingdom of Lo has been shrouded in mystery and closed to the outside world during most of its 634 years of existence. This is one reason my colleagues and I decided to trek to this curious and not often-visited destination. The Tibetan Festival Another reason to visit Lo Manthang is the Tiji Festival. This three-day festival is one of the last, truly pure Tibetan cultural rituals existing today. It portrays a legendary deity who defeated evil forces that had been sapping the Kingdom of its water and inflicting a deadly drought. Today, Tiji is celebrated at the end of every dry season. During the festival, a large number of local folk flock to Lo Manthang as do a number of tourists (about 300 during our visit). Since Upper Mustang remains a restricted travel area within Nepal, officially only 1,000 tourists are permitted to visit annually. In reality, the number is closer to 3,000. As such, a government permit, which is strictly monitored by the Nepalese Army, requires each tourist to pay a fee of $50 USD per day. Our sojourn in Upper Mustang, to Lo and back, was ten days. The Tiji festival is dynamic: monks clothed in ever-changing colorful robes and masks gather in the courtyard of the King’s palace to re-enact the legend of the Tiji deity. These rituals present panoply of color, music and dance. On day one, idols are crafted and worshipped. Day two is filled with dance and musical performances. On the final day, the evil idols are cast out of the walled city with great fanfare in a cleansing ritual symbolizing the demise of evil and portending the arrival of rain. This ancient festival harkens back to Lo’s past and its rich history, while also signifying a time of renewal when winter has passed, crops have been planted, rain is on the way and hope is in the air. For more information about the festival, log onto www.uppermustangnepal.com/tiji-festival. Jim Tietjen is an avid world traveler and adventurer. He enjoys sports such as cycling, diving, driving, flying, golf, mountain climbing, tennis and trekking. But, his passion is people: family and friends, old and new, as well as art, culture, food, drink, music, photograph, and writing. He likes to help people in need and help all to succeed. Jim is always ready to lend a hand. He especially enjoys planning, running, and participating in charity events.

Photos by Jim Tietjen and David Virshup


24 FOOD & DINING

Singapore American · February 2017

¡Chile’s Festival of Festivals! By Kevin F. Cox

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early every country in the world has a national festival that brings its people together for a common party. On National Day, Singapore has a grand pageant of lights, jets, fireworks and dancers celebrating their history at Marina Bay. In the US, neighborhoods across the nation hold local Independence Day parades of walkers, cyclists and patriotically-festooned wagons crowded with kids and pets pulled by parents. Polished fire trucks and police cars are on display, local dignitaries make appearances and, for a day, everyone puts aside their political differences, looks to the night sky for fireworks and feels pretty good about their country. It’s a beautiful thing. Chile is no exception to such national festival fervor, celebrating Dieciocho; a three-part combination of the county’s freedom from Spanish rule, an ambiguous religious event and the unofficial beginning of Spring. The event commemorates Dieciocho is Fiestas Patrias and is the festival to end all festivals in this long, slender country that I now call home. Whereas national celebrations around the world usually span a full day, Chile takes it a little more seriously: Dieciocho lasts an entire week for many people and every school, with the festivities broadcast endlessly to millions live on television and across the internet.

In Chile, Huasos still use horses to manage cattle.

Dieciocho de Septiembre The wind-up to Dieciocho lasts for weeks, with pre-holiday sales of music, traditional red and white clothing, special pottery plates and cookware and flags, lots and lots of flags. That’s because Dieciocho is so important in Chile that there is a law requiring every commercial building and residence to hang a Chilean flag out front. And not just any old way: it has to be hung correctly. Failure to do so can result in a multa (fine), not to mention furtive glances from disapproving neighbors. Looking down any street, lined red and white with the nation’s symbol, it’s hard not to become patriotic yourself. On the actual big day, dieciocho de Septiembre (September 18th), one could probably throw a brick through the window of any bank in the middle of the day and no one would notice. That’s because everything, I mean everything, is closed for this most important holiday in Chile. So like any new Chilean resident, we joined the mad rush to gas up the car, buy plenty of bread, milk and (ahem) beer, settling in for the big event.


25 FOOD & DINING

Singapore American · February 2017

Festival Food Some local friends invited us to attend a municipal Fiestas Patrias celebration in Santiago. It was a huge, week-long festival, offering tens of thousands a glimpse into all things Chilean, including huasos (local cowboys) in wide brimmed leather hats on horseback; unique shove-the-cow-against-the-wall kind of rodeos; local crafts; dancing; singing and a very impressive showing of police and military might. And naturally there was plenty of food on which I could gorge. Traditional meats such as beef, pork and skewered anticuchos grilling like shish kabob were everywhere. Empanadas, the national treat here, were piled along tables and food stalls, and choclo, a large-kernelled corn, roasted and popped over glowing charcoal at every turn. Wherever I went in this massive party, large cups of mote con huesillo (the national libation of stewed peach and barleycorn with an entire dried peach floating inside) were lined up beside counters of terremotos, a wildly toxic concoction of sweet fermented wine and pineapple ice cream served in a liter glass. But most notably (and to my great delight) there was cordero. Now, as a lifelong eater of everything, few foods excite me more than a golden, full-roasted pig, a whole fish sizzling over dancing flames or a crispy little guinea pig fresh from a mud and brick oven. But the cordero of Fiestas Patrias, well, nothing prepared me for this. The open roasting of whole lambs beside a wood fire, known as cordero al asador, comes from Patagonia to the south, where it is more a way of life than just a meal. It’s such a beloved food here that even the scattering of Chilean vegetarians drool over the thought of it. And so it was that, through the haze of smoke, I spotted the huaso stepping gingerly around a carpet of glowing coals, throwing handfuls of coarse salt. His target: entire torsos of lamb, dozens of them, splayed out on iron rods and mesh screens leaning in toward pyres of burning logs. He paused to slice off a hunk of meat with a frighteningly-large hunting knife and handed it to me silently. Wide-eyed, I tore the meaty gift with my teeth, pink juices dribbling down my chin, as the crispy skin and succulent flavor of fresh-killed lamb exploded with carnivorous gaminess in my mouth. Some guy standing nearby eyed me, jealous, as he waited in the line snaking toward the heavy wood table where other hausos were cutting and plating meat for a paying crowd. “Maybe if you had just asked politely,” I thought with an air of conquest. When I think of the Dieciocho in Santiago, celebrations such as Carnival in Rio or Mardis Gras in New Orleans come to mind, but with a more reserved, Chilean characteristic. Here, it’s all about the rich culture and colorful history of this remarkable country, with so much of that expressed through music, dancing and simple (yet exciting) cooking dating back to when the indigenous Mapuche first harnessed fire. It’s easy to see how standing among crowds of proud Chileans, chewing a slice of pure, unadulterated cordero to the traditional rhythm and beauty of the evocative Cuenca, brings the nation back to its Andean roots. And while one lamb splayed over an untamed flame is a sight to behold, many Fiestas Patrias lambs doing that in unison marks a national event worth celebrating and is, well, just plain sexy. ¡Viva Chile Mierda! Kevin Cox is a culinary explorer and writer for magazines and websites in the US and Asia. For five years, Kevin roamed Singapore’s heartlands, making them his home and their food his obsession. After two years back in the US, he has now headed south to Santiago, Chile where he is exploring South American food from the Andes to the sea. He loves to get low to the ground and experience how people live and what they eat, yearning for authenticity in the food and passion by those who make it.

Every Fiesta Patrias draws in Chileans from everywhere to celebrate their culture.

Anticuchos of pork, beef and lamb.

A huaso salting cordero.

Photos by Kevin F. Cox

Classic Cordero Asado about to be cooked.


26 HEALTH & WELLNESS

Singapore American · February 2017

A Healthy Resolution By Dr. Foong Tsin Uin, MBBS (London, UK), MRCGP (UK), Dip Pract Derm (UK)

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ave you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Perhaps you have two or three already? That’s great, but all the resolutions in the world are rendered useless if your health is compromised. That’s why a health screening is so important. Health screenings are examinations and tests to look for a disease before patients develop any symptoms. It is important because, from a medical perspective, prevention is better than cure. It is also often easier to treat or indeed cure a condition in its early stages. There are lots of different health screening packages available, ranging from a half-hour “quick check up” to a deep-dive comprehensive review of all aspects of your health. There are also health screenings that address specific health concerns, for example, sexual health screenings or family planning screenings. Have a think about what you want and book your screening appropriately. Common conditions identified include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid conditions, bowel cancers, pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, early breast disease, health and lifestyle changes. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable and having regular health screenings can be part of the prevention process. The most effective health screenings are tailored to the individual. A good history (asking questions) eliciting relevant personal and family history as well as lifestyle analysis (smoking, alcohol and physical activity) is crucial. There should always be a physical examination as well as

various laboratory tests using blood, urine and stool samples. Depending on age and other risk factors, an ECG (heart trace), exercise treadmill tests, colonoscopy (and, for women, PAP smears and breast screenings) might also be suggested. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but often the common ones suggested. IMC offers a full range of health screening options from essential screenings to comprehensive screenings. Furthermore, there are health screenings that address certain times of life, ages or demographics. These range from sexual health screenings; family planning screenings for couples; women’s gynecological screenings; school medical evaluations; Employment Pass examinations and helpers medicals exams, to name a few. Protect your future health today and book in for your annual health screening soon. To learn more about IMC or to make an appointment, please call 6733 4440 or visit our website www.imc-healthcare.com. A graduate of the Royal Free Hospital (Uni of London) in 2000, Dr. Foong Tsin Uin became a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (UK) in 2005. Originally from Singapore, Dr. Foong was previously a Partner in a Family Practice in Swiss Cottage. She also worked for ten years in a central London Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre and in Palliative Care. Dr. Foong is based in IMC Katong Clinic.


27 ARTS & CULTURE

Singapore American · February 2017

WOMADelaide By Jenny Francis

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ut a visit to South Australia at the top of your bucket list. A perfect time to come Adelaide is during late summer, when a long weekend of magic is guaranteed at WOMADelaide, voted as Australia’s Best Contemporary Music Festival in 2016. This year, the four-day, world music festival (March 10-13) is celebrating 25 years of wonderful shows. Musicians and other performance artists are invited from all over the world to this popular and highly-respected celebration of music, art, dance and discussion. The event is held in Adelaide’s Botanic Park, a five-minute walk from the CBD and right next to the zoo (I’ve often wondered how whether the animals have become accustomed to the annual noisy neighbors’ party). The venue is decorated with colorful, mystical flags and at night it becomes a fairyland with lanterns suspended in the shade trees of the park. Strolling performers add to the carnival atmosphere. Children, grandparents, hipsters and hippies alike wander between the seven stages, making sure they see their favorites with the aid of a pocket-sized guide available at the gate. At any one time, you can choose between several live shows or a workshop where, perhaps, you might test your skills at playing a dulcimer. Another option is the Taste the World kitchen where you can learn how to cook and chat with one of the performers. When you are in the mood for a passionate, inspirational discussion, head for Planet Talks, which is held in a natural, hilly amphitheatre. Speakers converge on WOMAD with diverse backgrounds: this year’s forum includes Tim Smit, the founder of the Eden Project, iFixit founder Kyle Wiens (USA) and Aboriginal Arrernte elder and ecologist Veronica Dobson. When you need some relaxation, you can join a free yoga sessions, get a massage or chill with a locally-brewed beer or cider. Several inviting beer gardens and cider bars are set up throughout the park and wine is available at the Vine Room. Up for some serious shopping? You’ll be spoiled for choice at the colorful and enticing Global Village with more than 100 stalls offering arts, crafts and music from all over the world.

Fallen in love with a particular piece of music? Buy a signed copy from the official music and merchandise outlet. You won’t go hungry or thirsty either. Bring your own water bottle and meet some locals when you “fill ‘er up” at the free water fountain. Spoil yourself with a six-course feast at Jamface’s restaurant and say “hello” to Poh, both must-try places. All tastes and food preferences will be delighted by the international food stalls set up round a shade-covered, informal dining area. KidZone is a hub of activity and discovery for kids 12 and under. Arts and craft activities, a bouncy castle and a singing and dancing dress-up parade are just some of the activities to entice and delight children over the weekend. A sample of the 2017 line up of performers includes Carabosse from France with a fire installation, Hemmingstein, Oumou Sangaré from Mali, The Waifs and Philip Glass Ensemble.

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Come kick off your shoes and dance barefoot on the grass as you discover new artists at WOMADelaide and make the festival your stepping off point to explore more of South Australia. For more information, visit www.womadelaide.com.au. Jenny Francis is a newly-minted freelance travel writer with extensive knowledge of Asia. Her husband Gary is an Australian-based photographer. His clients include Getty Images, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveller and Pearson Publishing. The couple lived and worked in Asia for many years before returning to Australia. Photo by Gary Francis

events

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

MUSEUMS 1 February – ongoing Glass Rotunda: Story of the Forest and Singapore, Very Old Tree National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 www.nationalmuseum.sg 1 February – 5 March Cities & Kings: Ancient Treasures from Myanmar Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555 www.acm.org.sg 1 February – 26 March Nyonya Needlework: Embroidery and Beadwork in the Peranakan World The Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941 www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg 1 February – 30 June Collecting Magic: Harry Potter stamps Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 www.spm.org.sg 9 March – 4 December Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from The Xiu Hai Lou Collection Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 www.nationalgallery.sg

ENTERTAINMENT

LIFESTYLE

4 February Goodbye Obama, Hello Trump! Kallang Theatre www.sistic.com.sg Promo code: AAS

10 & 11 February Chingay Parade Singapore 2017 F1 Pit Building www.sistic.com.sg

8 – 26 February CHICAGO Sands Theatre MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.sistic.com.sg

18 February Carpet Auction by Hedger’s Carpet Gallery The American Club, 10 Claymore Hill Viewing: 5:30 onwards Auction: 7:30pm hedgerscarpets@singnet.com.sg

10 February JOURNEY Live in Singapore The Star Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 24 February – 14 April Peter Rabbit Tale KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT www.sistic.com.sg 25 February GUNS N’ ROSES: NOT IN THIS LIFETIME TOUR – LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2017 Changi Exhibition Centre www.sistic.com.sg 27 February Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure World Tour – Live in Singapore University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS www.sistic.com.sg 8 – 12 March CALENDAR GIRLS SOTA Studio Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 8 – 25 March Constellations KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT www.sistic.com.sg

EDUCATION From 1 February UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2017/2018 open Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg admissions@uwcsea.edu.sg 9 February Canadian International School Open House Lakeside Campus 7 Jurong West Street 41 9am www.cis.edu.sg 19 February Stamford American International School Open House 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg



Singapore American newspaper February 2017