Page 1


Since 1958

American Association..... 2-9 Member Discounts............. 3 Travel..........................1, 10 CRCE & Business............. 11 Community News....... 12-14 Living in Singapore.......... 16 Education........................ 17 Food & Dining................. 19 Arts & Culture............ 20-21 Lifestyle...................... 22-23

January-February 2018

AAS 2-9

Living in Singapore 16

Arts & Culture 20-21

Lifestyle 22-23

100 Acts of Charity – We Made It!

There’s Always a Reason to Celebrate in Singapore

Get the Lowdown on the Century of Light

How to Make not Break Your New Year’s Resolutions

MCI (P) 197/03/2017

Wanderlusters, Get Excited! Where to go in 2018 By Laura Schwartz

Photo by Katie Baines


his is a fantastic year for long weekends, as almost all days off fall at the beginning or the end of the work week. In an homage to FOMO, here are some strategies for maximizing your free time. Chinese New Year Friday & Saturday, February 16-17 Our only two-day holiday must be considered carefully. Those celebrating will be flying home to see family, which means, ironically, this is not the best time to visit China, nor countries with large Chinese descendent populations, such as Vietnam. Those not celebrating will be flocking in droves to Thai beaches and Cambodian temples, so skip those as well. Instead, make the most of our longest holiday by going further afield. For

winter activities, Japan and Nepal are excellent for skiing and trekking, respectively. If you’re craving sunshine, New Zealand and Australia will be in the middle of summer. As with Christmas in the West, the cost of flights and hotels shoot up during CNY, so plan ahead and book early. Good Friday Friday, March 30 Missing spring? Avoid the crowds and extravagant prices of Japan in cherry blossom season, by viewing the flowers in the Korean cities of Busan, Daegu and Jeju Island, which hosts an annual carnival. This is also the time to hit those temples in Cambodia. And, if you don’t mind heat and humidity, Laos makes for a quiet getaway as it’s low-season for tourists.

Centennial Partners

American Association of Singapore – Since 1917

Labour Day Tuesday, May 1 Fall in New Zealand is a superb time to visit as the summer crowds will have left, the prices of attractions drop and the scenery is beautiful. For history buffs, Vietnam celebrates Reunification Day with processions and decorations on April 30. The more adventurous can fly to Pentecost Island, Vanuatu for the Naghol Land Diving Festival, where local men perform ritual bungee jumps using vines alone. Continues on page 10


Singapore American · January-February 2018

A message from the President...


Welcome Welcome to the first issue of the Singapore American for 2018! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful break over the holidays, whether you were at home or away. A special welcome to all the new members who have joined in recent weeks – I look forward to meeting you at one of our events soon. A wonderful way to complete our centennial year We did it! We set ourselves a goal of documenting 100 acts of charity in Singapore. With massive support from our sister organizations and the wider community, I am proud to share that we ended 2017 having exceeded our goal. Many of you have been part of making this a reality so thank you all for helping to make our centennial year so impactful on the community that we are fortunate to be a part of. As part of our commitment to give back, some proceeds raised from the George Washington Centennial Ball in 2017 will be used to support the 100 Acts of Charity beneficiaries. See the full article on page 8. Not surprisingly, the lead up to the end of 2017 was a wonderfully busy time at the American Association of Singapore (AAS), with fantastic events such as the AWA Thanksgiving Community Picnic that we shared with our friends from the American Women’s Association. With the US Marines, we also celebrated the true meaning of the holiday spirit as we brought the community together to donate toys for less fortunate children in Singapore through our Toys for Tots event. Check out photos from both of these events in the AAS section of this issue and on our website. What’s coming up at AAS? We’re looking forward to making 2018 even better with a fun and differentiated program of events. Our first major event, Cirque Spectacular! The 85th George Washington Ball will be held on February 10 at the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove and we’re super excited to bring some never-before-seen elements to this year’s festivities. There’s still time to join us, so do visit the website if you’d like to buy some tickets. Looking further ahead into 2018, we are forming some new interest groups you might like to get involved with. Whether you want to get together with some friends to support your favorite sports team, you’re keen to join the fun at a bowling alley or you’d like to meet up with other parents of small children for a playdate at one of Singapore’s amazing free playgrounds, take a look at our new range of groups on page 9 to find something that suits you. As we embark on our next 100 years, we want to continue to offer great quality, fun events and activities for our members as well the opportunity to give back. If you would like to see a particular interest group or event on our program, do please let us know – we welcome all suggestions! Again, thank you for a memorable centennial year for the American Association of Singapore.


Best wishes,

Editor-in-Chief: Cath Forte, Publishing Editor: Sarah Alden,

DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen,

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen,

CONTRIBUTORS Sebastien Barnard, Melindah Bush, Laura Coulter, Ed Cox, Laura Schwartz, Frances Strong, Eadren Tan, Jim Tietjen, Dr. Vidya Schalk For AAS: Katie Baines, Cath Forte, Holly Kreutter, Sarah Walston

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Stephanie Nash • Vice President: Shawn Galey Treasurer: Michael Borchert • Secretary: Joseph Foggiato Directors: Sammie Cheston, Blair Hall, Bill Poorman, Brian Schwender, Jenn Wood Immediate Past President: Glenn van Zutphen • AmCham Chair: Ann Yom Steel The American Club President: Kristen Graff • AWA President: Rohita Rajkumar SACAC Chair: Greg Rutledge • SAS Chair: Dr. Chip Kimball Non-Voting Members: US Embassy: Tor Petersen US Military: Rear Admiral Donald Gabrielson

PUBLISHER – AMERICAN ASSOCIATION The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional, not-for-profit organization established to enhance the well-being and living experience of Americans residing in Singapore and to promote relationships, both business and social, between Americans and those from different cultures and nationalities. 15 Scotts Road, #03-02 Thong Teck Building, Singapore 228218 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • • The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.

SUBSCRIPTION A subscription to the Singapore American is complimentary with an AAS or CRCE membership. AAS annual family membership is just $70. CRCE membership is $160. To join, visit and have the Singapore American delivered to your home. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material. The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Level 3 Annex Building, Singapore 508968.

Stephanie Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG for all social media).


Singapore American · January-February 2018

AAS Wednesday



Upcoming Events

Past Events

Living in Singapore Talk

Digital Photography Walk

Looking for some help to demystify life on the Little Red Dot? Come along to this talk, based on our popular Living in Singapore book, covering Health & Wellness, Finances Abroad and Regional Travel, for some practical advice and insider tips on how to navigate your way through life in the Lion City. 7-9pm The American Club, 3rd floor, 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 Free for AAS members, Singapore American School parents and members of The American Club, but registration is required ($10 no-show fee applies) $30 Non-Members







A lovely Saturday morning was spent exploring Everton Road, capturing on camera the spectacular shop houses in all their colorful glory. Once our creativity had been spent we headed back to the AAS office for some lunch while we admired some excellent images that really summed up the quintessence of this little piece of historic Singapore. However, on the day it was unanimous that one image really stood out; congratulations to Dev Rudra for his outstanding photo of the day (below)!

85th George Washington Ball: Cirque Spectacular

Get your tickets now for the 85th George Washington Ball. Expect the unexpected, as AAS brings the magic of Cirque Spectacular to Sentosa for one night only! This fabulous evening will include a decadent four-course meal, live music and some very special prizes in our lucky draw and auctions. After dinner, guests can hit the dance floor and groove the night away to classic tunes and today’s hits, courtesy of Jive Talkin’. Better still, this SPECTACULAR night will benefit Singapore Children’s Society. 7pm Cocktail Reception W Singapore – Sentosa Cove, 21 Ocean Way, Singapore 098374

The American Journey in Singapore Book Launch & Talk

Join us for wine and snacks to celebrate the launch of AAS’ centennial book, The American Journey in Singapore. Hear from author Jim Baker as he tells us about the rich and colorful history of Americans in Singapore over these first 100 years. 7-9pm The American Club, 3rd floor, 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 This event is open to AAS and The American Club Members. $35 Talk only $70 Talk plus signed copy of The American Journey in Singapore Books will also be available for purchase at the event for $40 (regular price $50).

Coffee Connexions What a lovely group! We had a fine time at Privé Orchard on November 28, catching up with some old friends and making new ones, too. The lively conversation topics ranged from the upcoming George Washington Ball to job hunting to numerology and everything in between.

For more info and to register for an event:


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

Get a free Singapore Financial Advice Guide, which contains essential information on ensuring your loved ones and you have adequate insurance coverage, tax information and ways to invest (both on a lump sum and regular basis). The guide also includes a breakdown of fees for international universities, which is a common request from AAM’s clients looking at planning for their children’s future. Contact or +65 6653 6652.

AAS members enjoy two 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 31, 2018. Limit to one redemption per bill, per table. Not valid on concert days, eve of and on public holidays, with lunch menu, other set menus, discounts, vouchers, promotions or privileges. The management reserves the right to amend the terms & conditions without prior notice.

Only for AAS members. Enjoy 20% off travel insurance all year round, and S$100 per couple when you book a holiday package* with Flight Centre

*Package comprises of at least flight and accommodation. Contact your dedicated travel team at 6692 9658 or visit or more info.

Fellowship, Feasting and Fun at the AWA Thanksgiving Community Picnic By Sarah Walston


he American Association of Singapore (AAS) partnered with the American Women’s Association (AWA) for the AWA Thanksgiving Community Picnic on Sunday, November 19, amidst the beautiful waterfront setting of Kallang Riverside Park. It was a wonderful afternoon of feasting and fellowship as AAS and AWA members and friends came together to celebrate this special holiday. Guests enjoyed a delicious spread of turkey and all of the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings prepared by Hoe Brothers Catering, while those bakers among the community with cherished dessert recipes brought an array of scrumptious baked goods to share. Adding to the celebratory feel of the afternoon, The French Cellar was also onsite with samples of wine for a festive wine tasting. While adults mingled and caught up with friends, kids had fun making crafts and playing together on the park lawn. A balloon artist sponsored by the International School of Singapore added to the excitement by creating balloon sculptures for the kids. Another highlight of the afternoon included a Thanksgiving-themed scavenger hunt organized by AAS, that got the kids racing around the park, deciphering clues and participating in activity stations

in order to receive prizes. A special thanks to members of the Singapore American School Service Council for volunteering their help with the kids’ crafts and scavenger hunt. A spirit of community giving was also present that afternoon, as guests contributed canned foods and dry goods for a food drive benefiting Food from the Heart. As a local nonprofit organization, Food from the Heart feeds approximately 25,000 beneficiaries in Singapore through its food distribution program. A big thank you to everyone for their support. Thanksgiving is a day for coming together, for giving thanks and for sharing in the harvest of the season. The picnic was a wonderful way to share in these traditions and to give thanks for this fantastic community we have in our special Singapore home away from home. Photos by Cath Forte, Jim Tietjen and Sarah Walston



Singapore American · January-February 2018

By Cath Forte




THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS Nancy Alberto, Sam Angove, Sarah Bartholomew Wilson, Anna Bryant, Ally Dishong, Dylan Khanduja, Anne Morgan, Arcia Perrenoud, Max Perrenoud, Danielle Spinks, Shelby Spinks, Janice Vallesfino, Catherine Xiang

he 2nd Floor of The American Club was alive with festive color and excitement on Monday, December 4, as the American Association of Singapore (AAS) brought the community together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with Toys for Tots. This beautiful restaurant was transformed into a veritable Santa’s Grotto, with boxes upon boxes of toys that were generously donated by all those in attendance (and many who couldn’t make it, too). Supporting Sponsor, Riverbed Technology brought along a large number of toys that had been donated by staff at their office. In addition, the Canadian International School collected so many toys that the US Marines had to make a special trip to pick them up from the Tanjong Katong campus. The Toys for Tots program began in California in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, US Marine Corps Reserve, oversaw a campaign that collected 5,000 toys for needy children. The Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948, expanding it into a nationwide campaign, and it became an official mission of the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1995. AAS was honored to support the US Marines in collecting toys for needy children in Singapore for the seventh time. Everyone embraced the magic with holiday-themed food, classic crafts and fun tattoos. Children also had fun decorating cookies made by families from the US Embassy with icing donated by Hoe Brothers Catering. AAS President Stephanie Nash welcomed everyone and thanked The American Club for co-hosting the event, as well as Riverbed Technology and American Airlines for their sponsorship. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., US Embassy Singapore, spoke about the history of the Toys for Tots program and thanked everyone for their contributions. The sound of Christmas songs filled the room with festive spirit, as we were entertained by the Singapore American School High School Choir, the SAS Singers, under the direction of Nanette Devens. With the final song, Santa made his arrival, accompanied by two of his trusty elves. The children enjoyed meeting Santa and having their picture taken with him. Lucky children took away a fun goody bag, including toys and treats donated by GEMS World Academy (Singapore), Kids Treasures and Perfetti Van Melle Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. We would like to thank everyone involved: members, volunteers, supporters and sponsors for making this a truly wonderful afternoon and a fitting way to round off our special program of events for our centennial year. We would also like to thank the Star Wars characters who gave up their time to entertain both children and adults in equal measure. Sincere thanks to our logistics partner, Allied Pickfords, for delivering 16 boxes of toys to the US Embassy.

Photos courtesy of Katie Baines and Erick Lo Photography

7 Singapore American · January-February 2018



Singapore American · January-February 2018

100 Acts of Charity


and it has been an honor to share the details via the Singapore American, on our website and Facebook page. We have also raised funds at AAS events, including the George Washington Centennial Ball. Thanks to our generous members who dug deep to support the initiative, we have been able to make donations to the following organizations: Food from the Heart, Project Homeworks, SPCA, QaneMate, Singapore Children’s Society, Walk for Rice and Willing Hearts. It is not lost on us today how generous the community here in Singapore is, both with time and money. A huge thank you to everyone involved – we could never have reached 100 without your input and support!

t the beginning of our centennial year the American Association of Singapore (AAS) embarked on a special program of events to celebrate. In addition to all the fun events, we decided it would be fitting to commemorate our 100th year by making charitable work in Singapore, our host country, a priority. Our goal: to document 100 acts of charity by December 31. We invited our members, sister organizations and others in Singapore to join us in doing charitable work, or to tell us about their own philanthropic activities, so we could highlight as much good work as possible. We are pleased to say that together we surpassed the target. We have been humbled to witness the outpouring of giving to communities in Singapore

Participating Organizations American Association of Singapore members, staff and ExCo American Chamber of Commerce Singapore American Women’s Association Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts Democrats Abroad Duke SG Club Dulwich College

Girls Scouts Hewlett Packard Indian Women’s Association International Community School ISS International School Love, Nils QaneMate Riverbed Technology

Rotary Club of Singapore’s Youth Division Royal Plaza on Scotts Singapore American School Signia The American Club US Embassy

We’ve been inundated with charitable acts this month and unfortunately cannot report them all in this issue. Here is just a small selection, please see our website and Facebook page for the full list. AWA members regularly volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities Singapore, manning the reception desks at National University Hospital and at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Singapore’s Institute for Mental Health. They also support fundraising events such as the annual golf tournament and merchandise sales. AAS members joined with the Indian Women’s Association to help out at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen in celebration of World Kindness Day. AAS member family participated in the Eton House 2.5km Charity walk at Fort Canning Park. This event was organized by the Eton House Community Fund, an independent charity committed to supporting underprivileged children in Singapore. Cub Scouts from Wolf Den 2 (Pack 3017) and their parents completed a beach clean up at Pulau Hantu during their den campout, filling six large garbage bags! At the Girl Scouts’ Father Daughter Dance, girls from Troop 16 collected $100 as well as donations of cat and dog food, which they delivered to the SPCA. The funds raised were matched by AAS, through the 100 Acts of Charity initiative.

Members from across the American community donated generously to the food drive at the AWA Thanksgiving Community Picnic at Kallang Riverside Park, benefiting Food from the Heart. Every month, AWA members spend ten days visiting patients who may not have family in town to support them at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, distributing reading materials and smiles. The Hiemstra family rang the bell for the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle, helping to raise funds to support the underprivileged in the community. Girl Scout troop 62 ran the Cookie Decorating station at the Stamford American International School Christmas Festival. The cookies were donated by The American Club and the proceeds went to the Peacehaven Nursing Home. Cub Scout Pack 3017 Bear Den 1 held a Toys for Tots toy drive. All toys received were donated to the AAS and US Marines Toys for Tots event at The American Club.

US Embassy Singapore asked volunteers to give blood or help as ushers at food and games stalls at World Blood Donor Day 2017.

31 volunteers from HP Inc. celebrated a Magical Christmas with seniors from the St. Andrew’s Senior Care. After carolling, games and a scrumptious buffet, everyone left with a heartening smile on their face. Signia Hearing Aids ran a three-day public event to raise awareness about hearing loss through talks by industry professionals and educational booths. Free hearing tests were also available, organized by Hamilton Sherwind. Junior Girl Scout Troop 82 worked on their Camper Badge at East Coast Park which included learning the principles of Leave No Trace. Taking it a step further, they decided to do an impromptu beach clean up. The Rotary Club of Singapore’s youth division, Interactors, took part in Rise Against Hunger, raising funds for ingredients and combining them into a dried soup mix to be distributed to the needy through the Food Bank.


Singapore American · January-February 2018

New Year, New Activities! 2018 is upon us and we’re really excited to be rolling out a new schedule of interest groups for our members. From foodie walks to kids’ outings, we’ve got something for everyone. Take a look at the following options and, if you see something you like, head on over to our website to sign up.

Patriot Partners Sports Watchers Australian Open Tennis Finals, Boomarang January is a great time of the year for sports fans! Let’s get together at Boomarang Robertson Quay, for the Australian Open Singles finals on Saturday, January 27, 4:30pm (Women’s) and Sunday, January 28, 4:30pm (Men’s). Super Bowl, Brewerkz Join us on February 5 for the Super Bowl. Exact timing and team details will be posted on our website once they are confirmed. Food and beverage at attendees’ own expense.

Family Fun Mini Golf January 21, 4pm No handicap required! Bring the whole family to Champions Golf for a fun round of mini golf, then celebrate the victors with a pizza at Picotin Express. Payment to be made on arrival (Children below 12 $10 nett, Adult or child 12 and up $15 nett, Family (2 kids & 2 adults) $45 nett).

Eagle Partners Coffee en Español January 22, 9:30am

Bowling Night

Tuesday, January 16; Tuesday, February 27; Tuesday, March 27 Join us at Kallang Bowl for a lively night of bowling and conversation. Come along as an individual or with friends; there will be plenty of fun to go around! We’ll reserve a few lanes, and the games will start at 7pm. You’ll just need to cover the cost of your shoes and any drinks or food that you would like.

Kids’ Outings

Do you want to practice your language skills? Maybe Spanish is your first language and you crave conversation in your mother tongue? Whether you’re a native speaker or a keen student, you’re very welcome to catch up over una taza de café.

Taste Buds

March 15, 7pm Join us on a gastronomic journey around Singapore, as we discover and socialize over local cuisine in a chosen neighborhood. We will select a venue and organize the dishes*, all you need to do is show up, enjoy and we’ll go Dutch. Full details will be available on the website. *Not recommended for those with dietary restrictions.

Stars & Stripes

Far East Organization Children’s Garden Saturday, January 27, 10am – 12pm Bring your little ones for a fun-filled morning at this super area at Gardens by the Bay. With interactive play spaces and great water play features, the kids are sure to have the best time. Don’t forget to bring swimwear and towels – they will get wet! Tiong Bahru Playground Sunday, February 25, 10am – 12pm This awesome playground features a massive tilting train structure, with an engine and several carriages, perfect for clambering around and sliding from. The sandy playground floor is great for making sandcastles and the roundabout and mini-maze are fun for the little ones, too.

There’s no fee to join the groups, however some activities will require you to pay a fee for entry. The cost of food and beverages should be covered by the individual/family. Please register on our website so that we know you are coming and can make reservations where appropriate.

Movie Night I, Tonya First week of February* There’s no need to go to the movies on your own! Come along to watch Margot Robbie in action as she portrays Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. The movie tells the story of the attack on Harding’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan, that rocked the figure skating world and made the global news. *Exact date and time will be posted on the website once the schedule has been released.

Would you like to get a bit more involved? We’d love to have some volunteers to coordinate these groups. No experience is necessary and you’ll be supported by AAS staff; all you need is a little time, a lot of imagination and plenty of energy. Email us at if you’d like to get involved or find out more.

Have fun, give back, be involved!


Singapore American · January-February 2018

Continued from page 1 Vesak Day Tuesday, May 29 This important day for Buddhists is celebrated in a variety of ways. Sri Lanka’s cities erect electrically lit floats. Seoul hosts festivals and parades. Borobudur in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is glorious, as thousands of monks gather to chant while circling the temple. This is not a great occasion to visit most cities in India, as temperatures hover at 90°F plus. Keep cool at the annual Koh Samui Regatta in Thailand, which runs from May 26 to June 1. Hari Raya Puasa/Eid al-Fitr Friday, June 15 Marking the end of Ramadan fasting, Hari Raya Puasa brings festivities and closed businesses in Malaysia and Indonesia. While the atmosphere will undoubtedly be jubilant, note that many tourist destinations in Muslim countries may not be open during the holiday. In China, high-energy Dragon Boat Festivals will be happening from Beijing to Nanjing on June 18. National Day Thursday, August 9 This is high season on Vietnam’s coasts, where hotels are up to 50% more expensive, so travel inland to Hoi An, Nha Trang and Hue, or book a junkboat to explore Hanoi’s dramatic Ha Long Bay. Only an hour away by plane, George Town in Penang devotes the

entire month to arts, culture and heritage. Make it a Malaysia tour by swinging down to Kuala Lumpur and then Malacca, where the weather will be dry and pleasant. It’s full-on monsoon season in India and South Korea, however, so give them a miss. Hari Raya Haji/Eid-ul-Adha Wednesday, August 22 A time for feasting with family and spiritual reflection, Hari Raya Haji is less rowdy than Puasa, so less compelling for visitors. Domestic travel, particularly buses and trains, within Malaysia and Indonesia will be packed. Around this time, the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival kicks off in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Among last year’s speakers were Markus Zusak, Padma Lakshmi and even the Queen of Bhutan herself. Deepavali Tuesday, November 6 Brave the crowds and head to India, which is a magical place during the Festival of Lights, especially Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan. Weather-wise, this is also an ideal time for mountain treks in Nepal, strolls through Shanghai or viewing autumn foliage in Japan. For trips easier on the wallet, head to Penang or Taipei, two destinations known for amazing street food, with hiking, shopping and historic sites all in easy reach. Hong Kong also boasts pleasant temperatures at this time of year.

Christmas Day Tuesday, December 25 If you want Christmas spirit but aren’t looking to make a pilgrimage to Europe or the Americas, check out the Philippines. Manila and Cebu will be decked out in lights, and seasonal festivities are not to be missed in the provinces of Pampanga and Cavite. The cooler weather in Bangkok and Chiang Mai means Thailand is another good option. Or treat yourselves to an excursion to the Maldives. While prices are higher at Christmas, diving and snorkeling are incomparable as visibility is excellent during the dry season. Born in Ireland, Laura Jane Schwartz (née O’Gorman) grew up in Tokyo, Singapore and New Jersey before attending Bard College in upper New York, where she majored in Japanese Studies. Her fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared in a range of publications, including: The Shanghai Literary Review, Thoughtful Dog Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She’s as voracious a traveller as she is a reader, and to date has been to over 30 countries.


“Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.” SHIV KHERA

Up Close and Personal with Mary Barrett By Katie Baines Describe your background and what brought you to Singapore. I came here with my husband eight years ago, after four years of living in Sweden, when he was offered a fabulous career opportunity. One of our dreams was to live in Asia and we loved it so much we stayed. I worked for over 24 years in the corporate world, firstly with Barclays and then with BMW. Around 14 years ago when we were living in the UK, I set up my company, Butterflymango, to pursue my passion and my calling to help people reach their potential and achieve their goals. Tell us about what you do now. I work with individuals, teams and organizations to help them achieve their goals and dreams by becoming the ‘best versions of themselves’. I work with entrepreneurs, either to set up a new business or to improve sales results and productivity with existing businesses. I work with teams to improve communication and motivation. I work with organizations to design their vision and strategy. On a one-to-one basis, I coach a huge range of individuals, from CEOs and MDs who desire an independent sounding board to individuals who are overwhelmed and feeling out of balance and want to clear the chaos from their minds. Outside of the corporate world, does your work lend itself to other types of individuals? There are two areas that I’m passionate about, having experienced both personally: being a trailing dependant and being a new mum. As a dependant, I left behind a thriving business, became a mum and had to start again. I’ve met many others who have been in identical situations and there is no real support for them here. The working partner has support from their organization, but the trailing dependant has the most change and has a greater challenge to feel fulfilled. This can result in a loss of confidence, so I think there is a wonderful opportunity to help individuals who are experiencing this.

CRCE WORKSHOPS Teaching English – Beyond Borders Speaker: CA International College Thursday, January 25 10am – 12pm

What is usually the greatest obstacle to overcome for the people you help? In most cases it’s about addressing peoples’ mindsets and beliefs. We need to identify what’s holding them back and also find the powerful resource that they have to drive them forward. As humans we’re more critical of ourselves than ever, spending a lot of energy on self-sabotaging beliefs rather than thinking about what we can do and how we want our lives to be. So I work a lot on people’s self-confidence and self-belief to eliminate their fear of failure, rejection, not being good enough; those limiting beliefs that hold us back. What do your programs offer and what will participants come away with? I am so delighted that AAS have asked me to collaborate in designing this bespoke program. It will provide a safe platform in a peer group with like-minded people; a space to ask ‘what next?’ Stage one will be working on where are you now and assessing what is and what is not working for you in your personal and or professional life. We will then start to discover what you want to do with this next chapter in your life, exploring what is stopping you from a mindset and self-belief perspective, what fears or beliefs are holding you back. We will work on building your positive emotional resources, magnifying, amplifying and intensifying them, recognising your capabilities, your knowledge and experiences and begin putting a plan together to help you achieve your goals and dreams, both personally or professionally.

Land Your Happy Job – Session 1: Defining what you want out of a career Speaker: Sandra Quelle Friday, January 26 10am – 12pm Land Your Happy Job – Session 2: Marketing yourself Speaker: Sandra Quelle Friday, February 2 10am – 12pm Land Your Happy Job – Session 3: Engaging with the job market Speaker: Sandra Quelle Friday, February 9 10am – 12pm Reset Yourself for Success (Four-Part Series) Speaker: Mary Barrett February 20, February 27, March 6, March 13 9.30am – 12.30pm

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS Nurses This medical clinic, launched over 18 years ago, is currently seeking Nurses to assist in providing the international community with the level of medical care and professionalism that they would expect in their home country. (job #3569) Talent Operations Coordinator This tech company is looking for a highly motivated Talent Operations Coordinator. In this role you will be responsible for assisting with a wide variety of Human Resources tasks. This includes providing support in the areas of recruiting, employee orientation, performance reviews, employee engagement activities, learning and career development, people data analysis, compensation and benefits. (job #3570) Innovation & Project Management Consulting This organization is seeking candidates with experience in the area of innovation or activity management, including existing consultants looking to expand their businesses. Experience in the FMCG, pharma, biotech or consumer healthcare sectors required. (job #3568) Custom Weebly Theme/Template Contractor This small, Singapore-based, non-profit organization will be migrating its website from Google Sites to Weebly in 2018. They are seeking a contractor to build a custom theme and page templates, which will comply with their USA parent organization website guidelines. (job #3567) Project Management Consultant (PMC) Experienced PMC needed to take overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of a project. The PMC must have a combination of skills including the ability to collaborate proactively with internal and external project stakeholders, ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts. (job #3566)

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 to find out more.

Photo courtesy of Mary Barret


Meet Margaret Hanson-Muse, US Commercial Service By Public Affairs Section, US Embassy Singapore


was the first African American woman to join the US Foreign Commercial Service but I wouldn’t say that’s how I define myself. I am just Maggie. I like cooking, scuba diving, horseback riding, textiles. I love people. I am a mix of many ethnicities – African American, Hispanic, Chinese, white, American Indian, and a whole bunch of other things. To label myself would be impossible. I am a human. This is one of many things I love about Singapore – I never feel out of place here. Nobody ever stares at me. I come from a family of public service. My father was a diplomat, my daughters are teachers, one of my sisters is a nurse, another one a physiotherapist. My goal is to make a difference in people’s lives, whether it’s my family, my staff, or young people here in the ASEAN region who are doing really cool, entrepreneurial things. I take lots of photos to send back to the US and show people what an attractive place Singapore is to do business. Wherever I go, I immerse myself in local culture. Here in Singapore I love talking to cab drivers and eating in spots like Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice and Tandoori Corner and watching street theater on Balestier Road – places that have retained traces of old Singapore. I love visiting museums and watching films like Royston Tan’s 7 Letters to learn more about Singapore’s many cultures and customs. I am very curious about Singaporean life but have never had the opportunity to visit someone’s home. Occasionally, when I visit my expat friends, I catch a glimpse into a Singaporean home through an open door. I see shoes piled up and hear people talking and laughing, and I am dying to peek inside and see what’s happening.” Photo courtesy of US Embassy Singapore

Update from the Consular Section Customers and guests coming to the Consular Section of the US Embassy are no longer permitted to bring large personal electronic devices to the Embassy. Those items include but are not limited to: laptops, iPads, and other tablet devices, or handheld gaming devices. Additionally, the Embassy Local Guard Force cannot store laptops and large electronic devices for customers. Please make arrangements to leave large devices elsewhere before arriving at the US Embassy to avoid inconveniences. Also, all visiting and resident US citizens in Singapore are encouraged to participate in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Details can be found at:


Singapore American · January-February 2018

What a Fun Fall Semester!

Finding Adventure in Singapore

By Melindah Bush

By Ed Cox


he Scouts of Cub Scout Pack 3010 spent a busy Fall Semester hiking through the jungles of Singapore and practicing their good sportsmanship skills in both a Cake Bake competition and the Raingutter Regatta, a model sailboat race. During our nature hikes, our Scouts learned about the Outdoor Code and the Leave No Trace principles taught by the Boy Scouts of America. They also helped to improve the local park trails by collecting rubbish along the paths and hiking it out of the jungle. In the Cake Bake competition, the Scouts worked alongside their fathers to bake and decorate cakes with an “outdoor camping” theme. The cakes were both delicious and beautiful with tent-themed cakes and cakes shaped like volcanos. For the model sailboat race, the Scouts constructed wooden sailboats and raced them on an inside water track while their fellow Scouts cheered them on. Medals were awarded to the Scouts with the fastest boats and everyone earned badges for their

hard work building their boats. To end the Fall Semester of events, Pack 3010 collected donations of new toys to be donated to Toys for Tots, as part of our Scouts’ community service activities. Toys for Tots is a charity established in 1947 and run by the US Marines to distribute toys to needy children locally. Our Scouts collected approximately 200 new toys this year and had a great time teaching their classmates and friends about this worthy charity. Following the Winter Break, our Scouts are looking forward to preparing for their campout in January. Pack 3010 is a US Cub Scout Pack sponsored by the Stamford American International School (SAIS) for boys of all nationalities in Grades KG2-5. For more information, please contact us at: Photos courtesy of Melindah Bush and David Kowal


ith its skyscrapers and manicured parks, wilderness adventure isn’t a phrase that very many people associate with Singapore. The Scouts of Troop 10 know how to find adventure, but sometimes it requires a short boat ride or a hike down an abandoned rail track. For one campout last fall, we decided to get our own island. We didn’t even have to clear immigration. We just chartered a boat to drop us off on Pulau Hantu for the weekend. Pulau Hantu lies just south of Singapore’s main island and consists of two islands separated by a lagoon. The larger island, appropriately named Pulau Hantu Besar (besar meaning ‘big’ in Malay), has primitive campsites available. You can book them by coordinating with the Singapore Land Authority. Our boats dropped us off at the pier on Friday evening and we set up camp. We had the whole island to ourselves, except for a lone monkey. On Saturday the Scouts explored the

island, completed a map orienteering course, learned how to safely use an axe and went for a swim in our private lagoon. On Sunday we gave the island back to the lonely monkey and headed home. Troop 10 sought out Singapore’s wild places over Thanksgiving weekend as well, going for a five-mile hike along the Green Corridor, which traces the old Singapore-Malaysia train track. You can hike from the wetlands of Kranji to the hills of Henderson along one continuous nature trail. We dropped onto the trail at Hillview MRT and headed north to Kranji. It was a perfect way to work off all of that turkey! Troop 10 meets every Tuesday night at Stamford American International School to plan future adventures. Come check out a meeting. In July, Troop 10 will join the Scouts of the Far East Council for an overseas adventure – a camporee in Mongolia. Photos courtesy of Ed Cox

SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE Boy Scouts Troop 07: Boy Scouts Troop 10: Cub Scouts Pack 3010: Cub Scouts Pack 3017: Girl Scouts:


Singapore American · January-February 2018

Pointing the Way to the Future By Dr. Chip Kimball


chools today need to prepare students for a future that is moving rapidly and is difficult to understand. In most cases, we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist today, or at least not in their current form. A strong academic foundation alone is no longer adequate – and our parents, business leaders, colleges and even our kids know it. Like many leading private schools, SAS continues to identify and focus on the skills that students will need to master for the unknown future that they face. At our school, we call these skills our desired student learning outcomes. These include character, collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, cultural competence and content knowledge, and they serve as the direction and substance for our academic programs. When we consider how to best deliver on the promise of our vision and our relevant learning outcomes, we know that it will best be delivered in a personalized learning environment, catering to where each student is in their learning journey. While personalized learning has been talked about in education circles for decades, never before have we had the tools and expertise to personalize learning like we can today. The more personalized the learning for each student, the more likely we are to tap into their full potential and capability. A personalized curriculum has in place the academic standards that a student must meet, but provides the opportunity to meet those standards in ways that are unique to the needs of our learners. It goes beyond knowledge to a focus on skills that align with our desired student learning outcomes. Personalized learning provides students with the opportunity to pursue interests, passions and ultimately purpose, which in turn inspires students to work harder, become more focused and learn more. Students are challenged to think, advocate for themselves and align their learning with their strengths and interests.

What personalized learning is:

. Personalized learning is student-centered, grounded in each learner’s profile and characterized

by competency-based learning progressions, customized learning pathways and flexible learning environments. Students take greater ownership of their learning, while also developing meaningful relationships with each other, teachers and members of the local and global communities.

. Each student’s progress toward clearly defined learning goals is regularly assessed against clearly defined levels of performance that connect to a curriculum focused on the desired student learning outcomes.

. Students follow a customized path that responds and adapts based on their learner profile, which .

includes their individual learning progress, strengths, needs, interests and goals.

Student needs drive the design of the learning environment. All operational elements – including staffing, space utilization, and schedule – are dynamic and respond and adapt to support students in achieving their learning goals.

What personalized learning is not:

. Individualization. Individualization asks teachers to accommodate learning needs for each

individual learner by customizing instruction for every student. Personalization connects learning with interests, talents, passions and aspirations by asking students to actively participate in the learning process.

. Technology centric; instead technology is used as a tool as appropriate to present content and .

gather evidence of student learning.

Independent study – in fact, the role of the teacher remains absolutely essential for student success and learning is leveraged when learning with others.

. A “free for all” but is instead built on a foundation of a common, guaranteed and viable .

curriculum that ensures core knowledge and skills are addressed.

Personalized learning does not ask students to work in isolation or at the expense of the whole child; instead it requires a strong focus on collaboration and social-emotional learning.

Schools around the world are talking about personalized learning. At SAS, we are creating experiences for students so that we are actually doing it. Find out more at: Photo courtesy of Singapore American School


Singapore American · January-February 2018

Let’s Celebrate!


ingapore is a fantastic place to be when it comes to getting involved in festivities from all sections of the community. There are two key festivals celebrated in January and February this year, Thaipusam and Chinese New Year.

THAIPUSAM – JANUARY 31 Thaipusam is a key Hindu festival that honors Lord Murugan, who represents virtue, youth and power and is known as the destroyer of evil. While it’s not a public holiday in Singapore, many people will be celebrating. During the festival, devotees walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road (expect traffic disruption!), carrying offerings of milk. Some carry paal kudams (milk pots) on this journey, while others take steel and/or wooden structures, known as kavadis. Some are very ornate, adorned with statues or pictures of Lord Murugan; many are decorated with flowers and feathers. Spike kavadis are fixed to the devotee’s body by chains with small hooks or long sharpened rods, which often pierce the cheeks and tongue. Devotees who carry spike kavadis follow a strict physical and mental regime, some fast for long periods. They meditate to a trance-like state to give them strength to carry their loads. Whether you’ve seen it before, or this is your first time, it’s truly a sight to behold. Find out more at

Thaipusam at Serangoon

CHINESE NEW YEAR (LUNAR NEW YEAR) – FEBRUARY 16-17 Unless you’re planning on an extended vacation during the early months of 2018, it’s practically impossible to miss the Chinese New Year festivities. And you wouldn’t want to! With decorations and red packets in abundance, the rooster will fly away and the Year of the Dog will be welcomed in. Put on your best red outfit and take a stroll through Chinatown, indulge in some delicious festive treats (think: pineapple tarts, bak kwa, love letters and coconut cookies) and look out for lion dance performances all over the island. You might receive gifts of oranges from Chinese friends and children will be delighted with the contents of their hong bao envelopes. The annual Chingay Parade, eight days after the holiday itself, is widely considered to be the main public event of the celebration. This street parade has a carnival atmosphere, with floats depicting the signs of the zodiac and the Chinese god of good fortune. Fringe activities include magic shows, dancers and fire eaters. Tickets for the parade sell out quickly, but it is also televised, so you’ll be able to watch it from the air-conditioned comfort of your favorite chair! Find out more about Chingay here:

Chingay Parade by Melinda Murphy

17 Singapore American · January-February 2018


Learning for the Future Providing an academic infrastructure, sporting culture, and fueling creativity By Sebastien Barnard


hoosing the right international school for your child can be a daunting task. Parents need to consider how a school meets the needs of the future. Look for a 21st century learning environment that is holistic in nature, developing students’ academic outcomes, nurturing core human values and building real-life skills. Institutions that demonstrate a commitment to a balanced approach, encompassing, academics, sports and the arts, forming students into creative, critical and reflective thinkers within and beyond the classroom, will prepare your child for success in further education, and life as global citizens. Creating a solid foundation for future learning A crucial component of learning for all children in school, into university and beyond is providing an interdisciplinary integration of subjects to solve real-world problems. At leading international schools the integration into the curriculum of a STEAM, (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) approach is clearly identified and encouraged. This approach is a framework to introduce problem solving and relevance for learning into the STEAM fields. Students are given open-ended tasks that can be solved using cross-curricular skills that they have been learning in regular classes. Students make connections between subjects using this interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary learning approach, grasping and appreciating why they are learning. When choosing a school, look at how a particular institution provides opportunities in all subject areas and how its students explore and find answers to questions about the world around them. Equally important is for a school to have skilled and knowledgeable teachers who can address the needs of all students in a supportive and resource-rich environment. Teachers at premium schools build upon the learning taking place in classrooms, giving students opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge they have learned in different contexts to solve problems that are relevant to them. Commitment to a balanced approach beyond the classroom Sports are a key ingredient of a balanced education approach. Besides the obvious physical and mental benefits, students learn how to become team players and gain important transferable skills like respect, discipline, commitment and communication. Looking for a school with a sporting culture is important. However, it is not so much about the winning or losing (although winning can be the best part), but building the character of students. Sports provide the opportunities for students to develop their personalities through hard work. They can learn to identify things that have worked and not worked, and then make changes to be better. Schools that provide a diverse sports curriculum enable students to experience and gain knowledge in a number of physical and sporting ‘genres’. Physical health and well-being should underpin the sports curriculum so that your child develops a holistic understanding of the benefits of a balanced lifestyle. Through a comprehensive sporting curriculum and sporting culture, students push themselves out of their comfort zones to be better than they have been before. Their hard work and dedication will pay off when they are competing.

Values and practical skills: equipping students for the real world through creativity Schools are in the business of shaping the future. In our fast-changing world, organizations are scouting for people who can bring new perspectives as sharp thinkers. When choosing a school, it is imperative that the school in question nurtures creativity in its students. It is the arts that foster creative thinking, or the ‘soft’ skills that allow for innovation, especially in problem solving. This complements the traditional ‘hard’ skills set. The ability to think creatively and transfer this to all that students do is a vital part of their development. Schools that enable students to be at the core of the creative process give them free license to be creative, to explore, to make mistakes and to have fun. The emphasis of the arts should not just be on results, but on the process as a whole: exploring, devising, revising, reflecting and sharing. By fueling creativity and confidence in themselves, many students, given the opportunity, embrace new ideas and different ways of doing things, exploring boundaries and being risk-takers. Schools that embrace these techniques instill confidence and develop collaborative skills in internationally minded young individuals. These experiences empower future generations to engage with their own learning. Creating brighter futures through education There are many factors to consider when choosing your child’s next school. Price and prestige, approaches to teaching and learning, personality and the people at the school. However, it is critical to also assess the academic, sports and arts facilities and infrastructure. Look for schools that are true innovators and have a clear mission; that are driven to provide quality education. Seek out schools that are not just rehearsing the past, but pioneering the future of learning; schools that are passionate about instilling values and providing practical skills that will equip your child for the real world. And finally look for passionate, pioneering educators that are dedicated to providing quality education and building real life skills, every day, in every classroom. Sebastien is Head of Marketing Communications and Admissions at GEMS World Academy (Singapore). For more information, visit:


Singapore American · January-February 2018

Cocktails, Craft Beers, Cabernet and Chill By Frances Strong


rchard Road is well-known as Singapore’s shoppers’ paradise, with mall after mall, department store after department store crammed into this central location. A rest stop for a little refreshment is essential. After a hectic day maxing out your credit card, why not check out one of the following for a well-earned drink.

Martini Bar, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Scotts Road From the classic (shaken, not stirred!) to the quirky (think: gummy bear or apple truffle-flavored), the martini is always a crowd-pleaser. The recently refurbished Martini Bar provides an elegant setting for anything from a post-shopping tipple to a sophisticated evening with friends. Along with the new look comes a new menu, specially designed to complement the martinis, including Padrón peppers and truffled Camembert de Normandie. Open daily from 5pm, with happy hour prices until 9pm.

Brewerkz, Orchard Parade Hotel, Tanglin Road If a relaxed beer and a burger is more your style, Brewerkz is just the place. From award-winning house beers to seasonal ales, there’s something for even the most discerning connoisseur. The menu covers all bases from the hearty ‘King Brew’ burger to the deliciously light soba noodle salad with salmon. With indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a great place to people watch over a drink with friends. Open daily from 12pm, with regular drinks promotions on offer. La Taperia Wine & Tapas, Shaw Centre, Scotts Road Previously known as Caveau, this snug hideaway at #02-18 Shaw Centre offers a large selection of wines from Spain as well as old- and new-world countries, sold by the bottle and the glass. There’s something for every taste and budget. The Spanish-flavored dining choices range from tapas through to the à la carte menu, including delicious platters to share.

Look out for their brand new menu launching this month. Open from 5pm, Monday through Saturday. All information correct at the time of press. Originally from a tiny seaside town in the UK, Frances Strong has called Singapore home since 2011. Six years later, she’s still exploring the Little Red Dot and loves to find new and quirky places to wow her visitors. When she’s not playing taxi driver for her children, she likes to write about travel, motherhood, food, life…and anything in between. Photos courtesy of Brewerkz, Grand Hyatt Singapore and La Taperia Wines & Tapas

The Century of Light

– two monumental art exhibitions well worth viewing!


he Century of Light is a two-part, special exhibition which debuted at the National Gallery Singapore on November 16, 2017. It will run through March 11, 2018. These two “first-of-a-kind-in-Southeast Asia” exhibitions feature two Southeast Asian 19th century artists who became wellknown in Europe, and the 19th century French revolution in European art ingloriously labeled Impressionism.

Between Worlds portrays the life stories of Raden Saleh from Indonesia and Juan Luna from the Philippines, who became renowned in Europe and revered national heroes at home. From their beginnings as artists in Java and the Philippines, respectively; to their tutelage and subsequent artistic achievements in Europe; and their triumphant returns to Southeast Asia, you will see the evolution of these talented men and their monumental artwork.

Colours of Impressionism exclusively features masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which tell the story of Impressionism as it began and evolved through new colors, techniques and “technologies” that avant garde painters of the day adopted. Manet’s deep black paintings, the green/blue landscapes of Cézanne and Monet, and pastel pinks of Renoir trace Impressionism’s radical reshaping of painting in the late 19th century.

Photos from Century of Light Exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore courtesy of Jim Tietjen

Between Worlds

Two gifted Southeast Asian artists become renown in 19th-Century Europe By Jim Tietjen


ndonesian Raden Saleh and Filipino Juan Luna are the best-known artists, and arguably national heroes, in their respective countries. Though born forty years apart and having distinctly different styles, both mastered conventional, 19th century European painting techniques – so much so that without a signature their work could easily be mistaken for continental painters. Saleh was wellregarded for portraying animal hunts and portraiture; so very well accomplished, he became King Willem III’s personal painter. Luna honed his bona fides depicting historical events which were de rigueur. He enjoyed considerable success in Salon art exhibitions of the day, often besting well-known European contemporaries. Between Worlds initially introduces both artists and their early European mentors; it then proceeds chronologically, beginning with Saleh. On display are paintings conceived in cities the artists lived, and sketches and archival materials which trace their development; it also draws parallels to travels between their “two worlds” of East and West. Aristocratic portraits as well as historical, narrative and allegorical works convey the milieu they encountered and individually interpreted in their double duality. Raden Saleh (1811-1880). Born of an aristocratic family, he was raised by an uncle, the Regent of Semarang. This status enabled him to meet Indonesia’s colonial Dutch rulers. Befriended and tutored by a resident Dutch painter, Saleh quickly burnished his precocious talent. At 18 he moved to Holland, became a ward of the state, studied art and emerged as a prolific painter of landscapes*, seascapes* and aristocratic portraits*. He met an animal trainer in The Hague and began studying and painting lions, tigers and bulls. He moved to Germany in 1839 where his detailed, dramatic hunting scenes* added to his repertoire. In 1845 he went to Paris where his talent and cachet grew. At the 1847 Salon competition he was praised for his Deer Hunt on the Island of Java*. In 1851 he returned to Java where, not recognized as a reputed Orientalist, he continued as a sought-after artist. His Javanese landscapes* are legion. Saleh visited Europe in 1875 with his family and returned to Java in 1879.

Raden Saleh; Arab Horseman Attacked by a Lion 1842, oil on canvas.

Colours of Impressionism By Dr. Vidya Schalk


he world was beginning to change in extraordinary ways in the mid 1800s, which led to the birth of a never-before seen movement in the world of art called Impressionism. This was both an artistic movement and a new way of looking at the world and it began in France. Impressionism was not born overnight, but was a result of an evolution by the coming together of strong and singular personalities, including Monet, Renoir, Bazille, Degas and Pissarro who brought in fresh new ideas, making Impressionism one of the most brilliant periods in the history of painting. The artists took risks, rebelled against the status quo and brought in innovative practices. As you walk through the exhibition you will see how the artists saw the world around them. From an overcrowded, dark, dangerous, unhealthy rat-infested medieval city, Paris began to change dramatically in 1854 during Napoleon III’s regime, under the direction of Baron Haussmann. Wide avenues, new parks and squares, fountains and boulevards that led to modern Paris were constructed during this period and it was this visual that brought about inspiration for the artworks created by Impressionists. When they submitted their works for exhibition to the one and only established state-sponsored official institution of the Académie des Beaux-Arts for their annual juried art show, Salon de Paris, they were outright rejected. It did not meet the required conventions of the time where fine finish and detail, grand themes of subject derived from religious themes, mythical or historical scenes were the norms. Portraits, and most definitely landscapes and still life, did not meet traditional French painting standards of content, subject matter or style. The Salon jury routinely rejected most of the works submitted by Monet, Manet, Renoir and their friends since it did not meet the approved styles. They were faulted for their unfinished appearance and seemingly amateurish quality, lack of clarity of form, loose brushstrokes and restrained use of color. So, in 1863, these disenfranchised artists organized Salon of the Refused, featuring artists and artworks rejected by the Salon jury. While many viewers came to laugh, there were more visitors than to the

official Salon. In 1873 Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Cezanne, Berthe Morisot, Degas and several other artists founded the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers so they could exhibit their works independent of the Salon. At that time there was no other venue where the artists could exhibit their artwork. This was ground-breaking and radical! The movement’s name came after a scathing review of Monet’s painting Impression Sunrise in 1874 by art critic Louis Leroy. He declared that the painting was at the most a sketch, hardly qualified to be a finished work. The work was also criticized to resemble palette-scrapings placed uniformly on a dirty canvas with no form. The term Impressionist was quickly embraced both by the artists and the public. Unified by their spirit of independence and rebellion, these artists exhibited together eight times between 1874 and 1886 and Impressionism soon became synonymous with modern life. In the artworks at the exhibition one can see the artists representing the visible world through direct observation. This new school of painting used luminous colors, subtle contrasts of tone, rapid, broken brushstrokes to capture the ephemeral effects of light. To achieve the desired effect artists moved themselves from the studio to the outdoors and en plein air (in the open air) became the preferred way to capture the subtle gradations of light. Monet’s magnificent painting of The Magpie is absolutely amazing in every way. It was Monet’s largest winter painting. You can almost feel the gentle liquid warmth of the sun as it lights up the freshly fallen snow creating totally realistic shadows that are painted with blues and violets, rather than the conventional blacks. It is astonishing that this incredibly beautiful painting was rejected by the Salon jury in 1869 for being “too common and too coarse.” It is now considered to be one of Monet’s best snowscape paintings and was privately held till Musee d’Orsay acquired it in 1984. It is one of the most popular paintings in their permanent collection. We are so very fortunate to have this painting visit us here in Singapore, it is worth a visit to the exhibition to just see this painting!

Featured in this special exhibition are also works from Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Cézanne, Courbet, Monet, Tissot, Boudin, Corot, etc. including three artworks from one of the very few female Impressionist artists – Berthe Morisot. Women back in those days did not enjoy the same privilege as men and most art schools were off limits to women. It was extremely difficult to be a female painter, since their environment was limited to the domestic sphere. The exhibition also features neo-impressionist artworks of Seurat, Signac, Luce, etc., which reflect the science-based interpretation of lines and colors, and techniques like Divisionism and Pointillism which become dominant. They created optical mixtures with small brushstrokes and complementary unmixed hues, thereby requiring the viewer’s eye and mind to combine the colors optically instead of physically mixing pigments. None of this would have been possible for the Impressionists or the artists following if it were not for technical and technological progress in the manufacture of synthetic paint pigments. Suddenly a whole new world of colors and cheaper paints packaged in metal tubes that could then be taken outdoors along with the pre-prepped canvas and telescoping easels became available, and with this the artists could set up an outdoor studio in minutes and not have to grind paints and pigments and suspend in oils! The exhibition is curated to present a survey of Impressionism through the prism of color, as we move from black to light to greens and blues, ending in pinks and purples. Monet’s famous painting in his Rouen Cathedral series which in 1895 stunned the public and provided enduring inspiration to later artists is also presented in this exhibition along with many other lovely works where the artists have very beautifully captured the rapid pace of life in 19th century France. Prior to coming to Singapore Dr. Vidya Schalk worked as a Cancer Biologist Research Scientist at Oregon State University. Since coming to Singapore, she has taken the opportunity to indulge in her passion for history and travel. She is currently an active volunteer docent at the National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum and STPI.

Juan Luna (1857-1899). Initially interested in art, Luna took nautical studies to please his parents, became a sea pilot and sailed throughout Southeast Asia. In 1877 he traveled to Madrid to study painting, where he was tutored by Spaniard Alejo Vera. Vera took Luna to Rome in 1878, where the Filipino became enthralled with ancient art and culture. Back in Madrid in 1881, Luna won his first of many major awards for Cleopatra*, a dramatic death scene of the Egyptian queen. In 1884 he won the first of three First Class medals for Spoliarium, set in ancient Rome. This is his most famous and largest (4.2 x 7.7 meters) artwork. Luna also made nationalist-allegorical paintings at a time when educated Filipinos, who had been Spanish subjects for 319 years, were vying for reforms. In Espana y Filipinas*, Luna effectively illustrated the patriarchal relationship between Spain and the Philippines. By 1886 Luna was living in Paris. As historical artwork fell out of favor he turned to Realism – a movement depicting the true plight of the poor and working classes. In this genre his most important work was Les Ignores (The Unknowns)*. Luna returned to Spain briefly and then the Philippines in 1894. Subsequently, a revolution began. The very well-respected Luna was appointed to the Philippine diplomatic cabinet where he travelled as an emissary to the United States, France and Austria, until his death in Hong Kong in 1899.

Juan Luna; Espana y Filipinas 1884, oil on canvas.

Note: * These works can be seen in this exhibition. Disclaimer: The author does not officially represent the National Gallery Singapore. Jim is an avid volunteer at the National Gallery Singapore, Gardens by the Bay, the American Club Fine Arts Committee, Singapore American newspaper and the Singapore Space and Technology Association (his “real” volunteer job)! Claude Monet The Magpie 1868, oil on canvas.

Paul Signac The Riverbank 1886, oil on canvas.


Singapore American · January-February 2018

Setting and achieving your New Year’s resolutions By Eadren Tan


ow that 2018 is upon us, our thoughts turn to new beginnings and resolutions. So, what have you got in mind? Whether it is health-related, career-centered or self-help, it signifies change. Change means having to try something new, which can be challenging to start and even more challenging to persevere. So, how can we step into our resolutions without all the trepidation, and what steps can we take to ensure success?

Small steps, big changes

We tend to set resolutions that require us to scale mountains and cross oceans to achieve. For example, you might set a goal to read more books every year, but for as long as you have had this resolution, you haven’t even finished one book. Perhaps you just don’t read consistently so by the time you next pick up your current-read, you have already forgotten the plot and have to start over. Naturally, you will always be stuck on that one book, or end up putting it down permanently without finishing, telling yourself in the process that you are simply not a reader. The key here is to start small. Try setting specific, bite-sized goals that will lead you to your big resolution. If your resolution is to read more books next year, start by setting yourself a daily reading goal. It does not have to be an hour a day; start with five or ten minutes and build on this. Something else that helps is to start with a book of short stories, as the pace is generally quicker in such books, the storylines are less complex and picking it up will be easier, even if you missed one or two days of reading. You will also feel more accomplished with each story that you complete*. When you reach a point where you unconsciously pick up a book to read every day you know it has become a part of your routine; reward yourself and add on new goals using the same principle. You will be surprised at the results!

Celebrate your successes

Change is a journey, so celebrate the little wins instead of just focusing on the trip-ups. You can do this by roping in friends and sharing your small steps with them, so they can support and celebrate with you. It can also help to track your progress with an app, such as Good Reads, which allow you to update what you’ve read and make notes along the way. You can also connect with other readers to get book recommendations or simply to exchange thoughts on your reading – great if you like to share socially.

Schedule time to work on your goals

Creating time in your day for your goals is crucial to success, but you must be realistic about the time you allocate. For example, I find myself falling asleep whenever I read at bedtime. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it won’t help me achieve my goal of reading more books (and I find I often forget what I have read by the next morning). I switched my reading time to the morning and spend a little time reading before I hit the shower. While washing up, I think about what I have read and it helps me remember the story, as well as make meaningful connections. You don’t have to do the same, of course, but you do need to take a look at your schedule and block out time that is realistic. If the time you have set does not work out, switch things up until you find something that suits your schedule. Don’t give up!

Consider working with a coach

Now, what if you are still getting nowhere with all that? Maybe you are too shy to ask your friends to help because what you want to change is too personal or perhaps you really feel you’d benefit from professional guidance.

Working with a coach to achieve your goals might be the answer. A good coach will help check that you have not bitten off more than you can chew, support you through the hiccups and, most of all, guide you if you are having trouble figuring out where to start. Engaging a coach is an investment and success isn’t guaranteed just because you are paying for it – you will need to put in plenty of effort as well. Reputable coaches will set an initial meeting with you to discuss your goals and ascertain whether you are ready to begin, so you can be sure your effort and investment will go a long way. Remember, change takes time, so be patient. Being kind to yourself will also go a long way. Here’s to a year of successful resolutions! *If you think short stories are just for children’s books, here are two publications by the renowned Haruki Murakami to help get you going: Birthday Stories (2006) and Men Without Women (2014). Eadren Tan has been a Transitions Coach & Youth Whisperer at Brainzworkz in Singapore since 2009, guiding people at crossroads in their lives, and empowering youths through cognitive and emotion coaching, on top of education. She enjoys discovering and sharing the diversity of our world through connecting with people, traveling, and dining, as well as film and art appreciation.

23 Singapore American · January-February 2018


A New Year – a New Look! By Laura Coulter


ost people are wearing only 20% of their closet. Given the expensive real estate in Singapore, that unused 80% is very valuable! Start the new year with a clean-out and free your mind up from the visual clutter you face each morning when you open the wardrobe doors. What to toss? Everything you haven’t worn in a year...or two. Given the one season weather of Singapore, if you haven’t worn an item in the last two years, it’s time for it to find a new home. Ask yourself what’s the problem with the item? Does it need to be repaired or taken in/shortened/ lengthened? Is it too tight? Be kind to yourself and realistic about your weight-loss goals. It takes real effort (and time!) to go down three dress sizes and if that’s what it takes, you might want to celebrate with a few new pieces at that time. On the fitness theme...are you working out? People often confuse worn out clothes with workout clothes, showing up in stretched out, see-through leggings. How many t-shirts do you need for the gym? Most people can get by with three gym outfits on a rotation. Do you feel confident and great sweating in your ratty t-shirt from college? Give your workout clothes a once over and toss any that you’d be embarrassed to be seen in. Many people demote their regular clothes to “gym clothes” but if you’ve already decided that the t-shirt is too worn to be used in public, wearing it to the gym doesn’t seem likely. Most of those shirts end up hiding in the drawers. If the item is for a costume, a fancy-dress party, a special event (ball gown) or specific weather activity (scuba gear or skiing fleece) then it can be stored in another closet, away from your daily choices. No one needs to look at an ugly sweater for 364 days of the year that you’re saving to wear to the office party. Pick your five best and favorite items and think about why you like them. Is it the color? The cut?

Do you have other similar items that you could wear that give you the same feeling? Can you mix and match a new look with one of those five as the base? Take an hour or two of your free time to make some new combinations. When you are running late for work, you’ll be glad that you have some fresh ideas to grab out of the closet. Do your clothes fit your current lifestyle? If you’re done with the corporate office work life for a while, your suits will be outdated (and possibly moldy) when it’s time to return. Donate them now, while they are still a current look that someone else can use, and get a new piece when you make that shift back to a stricter dress code. If you’re in a creative office, can you renew your look by mixing some pieces from the corporate office days (like a blazer or dress pants) with a t-shirt and funky necklace. The average Singaporean throws out 35 items a year. Instead of filling our landfills...could you recycle, revamp or renew your clothing? There are many clothing swaps in the city as well as the donation drop boxes at various retailers (H&M, Uniqlo, etc.) that will take your unwanted threads. Start your year with a clean closet and give yourself some extra free time to pursue your other New Year goals, without having to dig deep to get dressed each day. Your Clothes Friend Swap is a quarterly clothing swap; the next swap is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 7-9pm. More details can be found on the Facebook page. Laura Coulter is a globe-trotting journalist, event planner, teacher and fundraiser. She enjoys hosting fabulous events that give back to her community and the causes in which she believes. Laura created and hosts the longrunning Your Clothes Friend Swap. She also volunteers her time to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. As contributor to the Living in Singapore nightlife section, Laura continues to search for the perfect martini.

Singapore American Newspaper January-February 2018  
Singapore American Newspaper January-February 2018