SAN March 2015

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Since 1958 Singapore American • March 2015

AM ERICAN AS S O CIATION O F S INGAP O RE March 2015 American Association.....2-3 Member Discounts..............3 CRCE & Business.............4-5 Community News..........6-10 SG50.............................11-23 Health & Wellness.......24-25 Food & Dining.............25-26 Arts & Culture..............27-29

Business 4-5


What to know about paying your American taxes from Singapore

What's Happening............31

Health & Wellness 24-25

The key to staying young

SG50 11-23

Sports 30

Spider fighting, a sport from Singapore’s days gone by

This month’s theme is SG50, Singapore’s Golden Jubilee MCI (P) 178/01/2015

Expat Life Through an Old Timer's Eyes By Rob Faraone


henever I tell people I first moved here in 1976, the first thing they say to me is, “I bet you’ve seen some changes.” They’re right. I have. Singapore has evolved over the past four decades and expat life right along with it. Expats now live all over this Red Dot and currently there are about 26,000 Americans who call Singapore home. Back in the ‘70s, things were very different. The population of the entire

city-state was just 2.3 million, with fewer than 5% being foreigners of all nationalities. Most of the Americans here were working in the energy field with the majority being from Texas or Louisiana. The Basics Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila were the most sophisticated cities in Asia, which made them the most desirable regional postings. And it was

good to be an American in Singapore then: the exchange rate was about S$2.25 to US$1.00. Five-and-a-half day work weeks were common and trailing spouses, mostly wives, seldom worked. Expat packages were commonplace and covered cars, clubs, taxes and domestic help. School fees were also fully covered though they weren’t nearly as expensive then. Sam Angrove first traveled to Singapore in the ‘60s and settled here in 1980. “The

expat community was smaller and closer knit. We lived and shopped more centrally. With fewer recreational and entertainment outlets, we might go out alone, but would run into a friend or neighbor.” Exotic Singapore Despite the popularity of Bob Hope's 1940 movie, Road to Singapore, and the Singapore Sling, most Americans in the ‘70s had no idea where Asia's Garden Continued on page 21

American Association of Singapore Strategic Partners


A Message from the President...


elcome to a new month and a new AAS Executive committee. My sincere thanks to all who attended our Annual General Meeting on February 25 and not only put your faith in me for a second term as President, but also voted in a slate of fine EXCO members: Steven Tucker, Vice President; Anne LeBoutillier, Secretary; Joe Foggiato, Treasurer; Shawn Galey, Director; Ana Mims, Director; Stephanie Nash, Director; Christopher Keen, Director; Mary Beth McCrory, Director. David Boden continues as our Immediate Past President. We’re committed to making AAS even stronger in 2015 and to giving you value for your membership. We hope that you’ll attend events, participate in our volunteer opportunities and, of course, give us feedback on how we can make your membership more rewarding. The Glamour of the Orient Express rolls into town with the 82nd George Washington Ball (GWB) on March 7. I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the W Singapore-Sentosa Cove for what promises to be an amazing evening of food & drink, ceremony and charity. I promise to keep the speeches to a minimum! The Singapore Children’s Society (SCS), our 2015 charity, will benefit from GWB proceeds. Since being established in 1952, the Society has provided services to vulnerable children, adolescents and families. Last year, the SCS reached more than 72,600 children and won the President of Singapore’s Award for Social Impact. I’m very excited that we will be able to contribute to such a worthwhile charity throughout this Singapore’s Golden Jubilee Year. If you’re looking for something for your own kids, Junior Achievement will be held on March 14 and April 11. It’s the AAS’ second JA program and is complimentary for AAS and American Club kids between 12-14 years old. The program, “It’s My Business,” teaches the four key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. It’s a great opportunity for your teens to look into the business world in an age-appropriate way. For adult sporting fun, get your foursome together for the AAS Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament sponsored by Shell on April 18 at the Palm Resort Golf & Country Club in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Played since 1935, the Texas Scramble format always means plenty of fun, no matter what your level of ability. Finally, I hope you noticed the newly redesigned newspaper. Three cheers to the AAS staff, especially our Graphic Designer, Joanne Johnson. We hope you like what you see and be sure to look at the story that SAN Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Murphy wrote (Page 9) on the history of SAN design. We value your ideas. Contact me or General Manager Toni Dudsak: generalmanager@ Also, please visit our website and Facebook page or tweet us: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG on Facebook, Twitter). Best, Glenn van Zutphen twitter: @glennvanzutphen

Singapore American • March 2015

SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Melinda Murphy, Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak,


Graphic Designer: Joanne Johnson,

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen,

CONTRIBUTORS Suzanne Anderson, James Arpin, Jim Baker, Kevin F. Cox, Nithia Devan, Melissa Diagana, Rob Faraone, John Hallenbeck, Hwang Yee Cheau, Kaitlin M Krozel, Lee Seow Ser, Thomas McNutt, Chris Milliken, Laura O’Gorman Schwartz, Lauren S. Power, Mallory Rigger, Maya Thiagarajan, Toh Siew Luan, Rear Admiral Charlie Williams American Association : Mary Ferrante, Anne Morgan, Melinda Murphy

A MERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Joseph Foggiato, • Secretary: Anne LeBoutillier Directors: Shawn Galey, Christopher Keen, Mary Beth McCrory, Ana Mims and Stephanie Nash Immediate Past President: David Boden • AmCham Chair: James Andrade American Club President: Scott Weber • AWA President: Annette Foster SACAC Chair: Stu Wilson • SAS Chair: Catherine Poyen US Embassy: Chahrazed Sioud Non-Voting Member: US Military: Rear Admiral Charles F. Williams


The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional, not-for-profit organization established to enhance the well-being and living experience of Americans residing in Singapore and to promote relationships, both business and social, between Americans and those from different cultures and nationalities. AAS was established in 1917 by a small group of Americans living in Singapore to provide a safety net of community support for American residents. AAS continues to provide community welfare as well as programs and community events. 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • F: (+65) 6738 3648 E: • 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.


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


Singapore American • March 2015

AAS wednesday

11 march

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Repatriation Workshop Believe it or not, moving back home is actually harder than moving away. Not only do you have to find a place to live and the right school, but most people experience a reverse culture shock. Join AAS, SACAC Counselling and Allied Pickfords for an informative talk aimed to help you to understand the emotional and logistical impacts of moving back. Food and drinks will be served. 7-9pm The American Club, Colonial Room (Level 3), 10 Claymore Hill Free for members • $25 non-members.


18 march

Networking Evening: Panel Discussion “Leveraging Technology & Social Media to Manage & Grow Your Business” Join AAS and Money Matters as we hear from a panel of experts on the latest developments in the digital world. Not only will you learn a lot, but this is a great opportunity to network with business owners. 6:30-9:30pm The American Club, Colonial Room (Level 3), 10 Claymore Hill $35 members • $55 non-members.


15 april

Quiz Night The atmosphere was electric at the inaugural AAS quiz in the iconic American Club’s Union Bar! Sixteen teams fought a closely contested battle, but in the end it was a clear victory for the all-female team, “The Late Show!” “Only for The Beer” came in second and the ever competitive “Mad Expats” rounded out third place. Everyone had a huge amount of fun and AAS extends a big thank you to quiz master Glenn van Zutphen and The American Club. Look out for the next quiz in April!

Mingle, Taste and Shop! Sample Clessidra’s Italian delicacies while sipping a range of Italian wines. At the same time, browse Valerie Brandt’s exceptional yet affordable precious and semiprecious gemstone jewelry, designed with an Asian, European and Indian flare.

Can you recognize this movie without the actors? For the answer and other similar questions from Quiz Night, visit our blog on our website at

7-9pm The American Club, Colonial Room (Level 3), 10 Claymore Hill $35 members • $55 non-members. For more info and to register for an event:

MEMBER DISCOUNTS AAS Member Discounts AAS members enjoy discounts at a range of local businesses. Present your AAS membership card at time of purchase. Please see a full list of discounts at Two hours free handy-man service worth over $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700.

Receive complimentary insurance consultations with an experienced insurance advisor. Visitors can choose to receive free, no-obligation quotes on Home, Medical, Life, Travel, Motor and Business Insurance.

Get a six-month free membership to Expat Living magazine. Redeem:

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

First drink is FREE! Every day, every visit for AAS members! Show your AAS membership card to claim your drink. Valid till April 31, 2015

LIS Talk Living in Singapore talks for those new to Singapore have become popular fixtures in January and September. On January 28, more than 60 AAS members as well as Singapore American School parents and staff gathered at The American Club to hear valuable advice from a wonderful panel of speakers: Ana Mims, Danielle Warner, Jyoti Angresh and the hero of the hour Dr. Steven Tucker who valiantly overcame laryngitis to deliver his talk! Thank you to all of them! Calling all newbies – mark your calendar for the next talk in September.


Singapore American • March 2015

CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats


Programs Manager Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the position of the Programs Manager (PM) is responsible for the development of new programs as well as evaluation of the current Student and Alumni programs; overseeing the research and evaluation initiatives that will track the success and impact of the organizations programs; and managing curriculum reviews to ensure its programs remain effective and relevant to its students. (job #3004)

A Personal View from a CRCE Member By James Arpin

Tell us about yourself...


y wife Lori and I were married in March of 2010. Our roots and families are in Ontario and in Michigan, Connecticut and Florida. Our first expat assignment was with General Motors (GM) in Shanghai starting in March of 2012. I officially became a trailing spouse, allowing me to study Mandarin, teach English, mentor great kids and complete my Florida real estate broker license requirements. I was also active in a Shanghai men’s association for trailing spouses called Guy Tai. In addition to having a great support group, we had more than 100 guys participating in volunteering, sightseeing and monthly lunch gatherings. Lori and I really appreciated the opportunity to learn and experience China. We miss some of our great friends. Why did you decide to move to Singapore? GM moved their international division from Shanghai to Singapore in March of 2014. My wife Lori continued her public relations and communications role with GM for the countries of Africa, Middle East, India, ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Australia. Upon arriving to Singapore, a few of my Guy Tai friends who also were transferred to Singapore from Shanghai got together to form a trailing spouse group for men called Singapore Overbooked Men’s Association (SOMA). We have 18 members and are growing. So far, SOMA has proven to be a great group for volunteering initiatives, job searches, mentoring, playing sports and

world problem-solving. SOMA meets once a week for lunch and also organizes cultural, scientific and sporting events.

Development and Communications Manager The position of Development and Communications Manager (DCM) will lead fundraising efforts to support the organization’s programs as well as manage its communications strategy. The DCM’s duties will include (but not be limited to) cultivating and building a growing base of donors and supporters, planning and executing events to drive revenue for the organization, and increasing the organization’s visibility in the community. (job #3003)

How did you find out about CRCE? We learned about AAS/CRCE from a friend who gave us a copy of the AAS Living in Singapore book. What are your experiences as a CRCE member? CRCE has been instrumental in a successful orientation and integration to Singapore for me and my wife. I have enjoyed the diverse cultural range of the membership with more than 20 countries represented. AAS is not just an “American thing.” It’s open to all nationalities. I have been intrigued by the AAS mantra of “Where business meets family.” The staff, fellow members and professionals have been inspiring and over the top with the generosity of their time and very helpful guidance. CRCE does not only provide tremendous networking opportunities, but it has also provided an endless supply of credible, reliable and knowledgeable resources for evaluating career opportunities as well as improving my overall mind, body and soul. AAS also holds many events throughout the year such as the upcoming 2015 Shell Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament in April, a great opportunity to socialize with other members of the community.

Can you share with us some information about your current volunteer positions and/or ad hoc projects? My friend has introduced me to the Willing Hearts organization for the needy in Singapore. I have done limited volunteering with them and hope to do more. I also am involved in creating the foundation for SOMA, hoping to develop a decent volunteering initiative. Also, I have successfully set up my own consulting business recently. What advice can you share with new expatriates looking for a job in Singapore? Obviously join CRCE! Also, take the opportunity to act on the numerous opportunities presented to you in Singapore.

Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit

A Night of Networking • Save the Date: March 18 Grab some business cards and head to the upcoming AAS & Money Matters Networking Night at The American Club, Colonial Room from 7-9 pm. It’s a great opportunity to network and hear a panel of expert speakers.

CRCE March Workshops register at: Embrace Life Transitions and Bounce Forward Speaker: Thierry Moschetti Wednesday, March 4 10am – 12pm

Create an Effective Resume and Get Noticed

Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Wednesday, March 11 10am – 12:30pm

Spotlight on Jobs

Get a Job in Singapore Speakers: Roger Grant Friday, March 13 10am – 12pm

LinkedIn 101 Speaker: Chris Reed Friday, March 20 10:30am – 12pm

For more information about CRCE: - click on the CRCE link

Business Writer & Editor A leading corporate writing agency is seeking a talented writer and editor to join its new team in Singapore. The ideal candidate will have impeccable English language skills and strong experience in business writing or journalism. The ability to write well about small business issues or knowledge of the IT, telecommunications, finance or government sectors will be particular assets. (job #3002) Editor The Editor ensures that the organization’s editorial policy is followed and that the magazine is produced and distributed to specific deadlines. The successful candidate will be solely responsible for sourcing contributing writers and articles, writing and editing articles, arranging and sub-editing copy, as well as supervising and working closely with the Graphic Designer to meet strict print deadlines. (job #3001) Research Officer The Research Officer’s key responsibilities include: contributing to the research design and development of the informed consent process for genomic testing; preparing submission and gain ethics approval; recruiting research participants and obtain informed consent for participation; conducting in-depth literature reviews of current practice and policies, and performing interviews and focus groups. (job #3000) Junior School Assistant Teacher An international school is seeking an Assistant Teacher who will have a teaching diploma or degree, and will work with the class teacher to differentiate teaching and learning, implement best practice and create a welcoming and caring learning environment for our students. The Assistant Teacher works collaboratively with all teachers of their year level. (job #2999)


Singapore American • March 2015

Navigating the US Tax Jungle: A Survival Guide for Singapore Expats By Kaitlin M. Krozel


s an expat, trying to file your US tax return can feel like navigating through the jungles of Borneo; but instead of tigers and orangutans, the jungle of the US tax code has more than 70,000 pages of confusing laws that are changed and added to every year. The following five rules are a survival guide for US expats living in Singapore. Whether you are new to expat life or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you navigate your way. Survival Rule #1: Know your deadlines On April 15, expats overseas are automatically granted an extension until June 15 to file their US Federal tax return. That’s right: you have an additional two months to file! If you need yet more time, you can file an extension until October 15th by filing Form 4868. If you moved to Singapore in 2014, you may want to consult with a tax professional as different extension procedures may need to be followed. While you may request an extension to FILE your tax return, there is no extension to PAY your taxes. No matter what your filing date is, 2014 US income taxes owed are due by April 15, 2015. Taxes paid after will be subject to interest (currently 3%). After June 15, a late payment penalty will also apply. Survival Bonus: The penalty for filing late is greater than the penalty for paying late, so always file your tax return on time even if you can’t make full payment.

Don’t forget about Singapore taxes! Your 2014 Singapore tax return is also due April 15, 2015. You will receive your 2014 income tax bill by September 2015. Survival Rule #2: Understand the special tax rules for expats As an expat, you may be able to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion which reduces your taxable income. The 2014 exclusion was $99,200; for 2015 it is $100,800. If married and both spouses work, EACH spouse is able to claim the exclusion. In addition, if you are living in a rented house or apartment, you may also be entitled to the Housing Exclusion which further reduces your taxable income by allowing for a deduction of rental expenses. If your foreign-earned income is above both of the exclusions, you can also claim a foreign tax credit for a portion of the taxes owed to Singapore. While the exclusions reduce your taxable income, the foreign tax credit directly reduces your tax owed. Survival Rule #3: Don’t forget the FBAR FinCEN Form 114, more commonly known as the FBAR, is filed separately from your federal tax return. The FBAR is required if you had more $US10,000 in aggregate in all of your non-US financial accounts at any point during 2014. Don’t worry. This form only reports information and does not trigger any taxes.

The 2014 FBAR is due by June 30, 2015 and should be filed online with the Department of Treasury. In addition to the FBAR, you may also need to file the similar Form 8938 “Statement of Foreign Financial Assets” with your tax return if your non-US assets exceed certain IRS thresholds. Survival Rule #4: Caution! Other expat issues The section below is not an all-inclusive list of other expat issues, but highlights some important ones. Ownership in a non-US business: The expat community is full of entrepreneurs, so if you become an owner, director, or partner in a nonUS business, there may be additional reporting requirements. Non-U.S. Rental Property: If you own rental property outside the United States, it is still reportable on Schedule E of your federal tax return. Central Provident Fund (CPF): If you are a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR), you will have a CPF account (a social security/retirement savings plan). Make sure to report both your employee and employer contributions on

your US tax return. Also make sure to report the CPF on your FBAR (and Form 8938 if required to file). Affordable Care Act (ACA): The ACA, also known as Obamacare, became effective in 2014 and requires all US persons to purchase minimum essential health coverage. There is an exemption available if you were living outside the US and Form 8965 will need to be filed with your tax return to claim this exemption. Survival Rule #5: Beware of Scams Look out for fake emails and calls claiming to be from the IRS no matter how official they may look or sound. The IRS will never send you an email or randomly call about a refund or bill out of the blue. These scammers are looking to steal your personal information. Whether you prepare your own taxes or work with a professional, it is now your mission to tackle the jungle of your own US tax return!

Kaitlin M. Krozel is a CPA and former Singapore expat. Her firm, Krozel Capital, specializes in tax preparation for US citizens living abroad.


Singapore American • March 2015

The Journey of the Singapore American School By Jim Baker


n the years following World War II, the relationship between the United States and Singapore went through some fundamental changes. The Cold War and fear of communist subversion drew American involvement into the political affairs of Singapore. The robust American economic expansion after the war brought greater and more diverse American economic interests to Singapore. American exports to Singapore and Malaya grew dramatically, and direct American investment in Singapore increased as well as trade. This interaction in turn brought about an increase in the size of the American community on the island and the establishment of American community institutions. The 1950s were uncertain times in Singapore. Singapore was in political turmoil. A few American companies, such as Esso, had moved their headquarters to Kuala Lumpur because they feared the leftist leaning of the People’s Action Party (PAP). And yet, in spite of the riots, strikes and political turmoil, The American community established and nurtured two of its most important community institutions, the American Club and Singapore American School. It also established this newspaper in 1958.

The American community was fortunate that there were far-sighted community leaders who were willing to take the necessary risks to establish these organizations. Executives and leaders from Muller and Phipps, Kodak, FNCB (now Citibank) the Methodist Mission, Firestone, APL, Carrier, and Stanvac (Standard Oil) made important contributions to establishing the school. They could see beyond the political heat of the moment and were confident that Singapore would grow and prosper. In their daily dealings with local entrepreneurs and immigrant laborers, they became convinced that Singapore would embrace capitalism and not socialism. Bordwell said, “It never occurred to anyone who was in business at that time that Singapore would not get through this.” Singapore was “booming,” according to Morris Draper, who was an economic officer in the US Embassy from 1954-1957. “Americans were pouring into the area, despite the instability, because they could see the future. People [in Washington] couldn’t believe that the future could be as bright as I was painting it.” US Consul General William Maddox concurred. In a speech to the American Association in September 1959, he said that he had just met with Prime Minister Lee and that Lee had asked him to convey to the American community the assurance of his government that private investors would not suffer discrimination at the hands of the

government and profits earned from operations in Singapore could be safely repatriated. The expansion of the American community led to a recognition of its educational needs. One of the drawbacks of a posting to Singapore was the lack of suitable educational services for children. There had been some discussion before the war and in the 1940s about setting up an American-curriculum school, but many believed that there were insufficient American children to make the venture feasible. By 1954, however, the community began to be convinced that there were sufficient children to start an American school. The American Association set up a school committee the following year.

shared these grounds with chickens raised by a Malay family who lived on the property as part of the lease agreement. In three years, the school grew from 105 to 250 students. The American Association went back to the community to raise funds to

bigger school. The house sat on seven acres and was increasingly expensive to maintain, so the bank offered to sell it at a bargain price of $150,000, ten percent of its value. The US Consulate helped obtain a grant from the US Government to help build the school, and the American Association established a facility that has served its community for 55 years. The result was “a magnificent new American school [that was] the pride and joy of those who [were] directly connected with it. It [was] a source of pride as well to the numerous American business firms and to the United States government who provided the monetary

wherewithal.” The growth of the school came from more than just an expanding American community. Since its inception, it has served a larger clientele, and over the years, has averaged 30-40% non-American students, a truly multi-cultural, multi-racial institution. Its contribution to Singapore has also been greater than just as an institution for American education. The presence of the school and its high standards have been important factors in drawing American business and other institutions to the country. Creating the school was a true community effort. The Association gave the school institutional backing and assumed the financial risk. About 40 American companies and missions contributed funds. The contributions ranged from $500 (Methodists) to $1,500 (Goodyear) to $20,000 (Stanvac). Families from Kodak, Firestone, APL Muller and Phipps and FNCB raised funds and attended to the legal and business details. They raised $50,000 and then $50,000 more.

Once the property was located and the classes started, much of the success of the day-today operation of the school was due to the American women. Volunteers manned the office, provided the snacks and were in charge of all extra-curricular activities. The teachers were wives of American businessmen. The only expatriate hired was the headmaster, who was also the only male on staff from 1956-1959. The American School opened on January 3, 1956 with 105 students. Classes were held in a large colonial-style bungalow on the corner of Rochalie Drive and Tanglin Road. The garage was the science lab; the servants’ quarters were used for music and pre-school; and the assemblies were held in the dining room. The grounds were large enough for a softball field and an outdoor basketball court. Students

build separate secondary school buildings as the school began to outgrow its property and facilities. When the American School Board announced in 1960 its plan to build a school that could accommodate 600 students, many in the community questioned their judgement. The opponents felt there would never be sufficient Americans to support a school that large. In the end, the school was viable and so successful that the American Association made it an independent organization in 1964. By 1971, the school was so large that the elementary school was moved to another location. When the King’s Road property was sold for $52,300,000 in 1994, the profit provided the bulk of the funds to lease and build its present facilities for 3,700 children in Woodlands. In 1960, in a combination of community spirit and economic reality, FNCB offered its “number one house” on King’s Road for the

Jim Baker attended SAS from its inception in 1956 and graduated with the Class of ‘66. He taught history and economics and coached the track team at SAS for 35 years, retiring in 2014. The bulk of this text is extracted with permission from The Eagle in the Lion City, published by Landmark Books. Baker is also author of Crossroads: A History of Malaysia and Singapore, published by Marshall Cavendish. Photos courtesy of Singapore American School


Singapore American • March 2015

Boy Scout Troop 10 Singapore By Mallory Riegger

Boy Scouts: Troop 07 •

Boy Scouts: Troop 10 •

Cub Scouts:

Girl Scouts:


Singapore American • March 2015

Four Decades of The American Club's F&B By Melinda Murphy


mericans have it pretty good here in Singapore. If we have a craving for food from home, we can run to Cold Storage or dash off to a restaurant around the corner for a yummy treat. But things weren’t always that way. Chef Gee Sey Tan, Executive Sous Chef, has been whipping up tastes of home for 44 years in the kitchen of The American Club. Back then, there was only one small kitchen filled with 20 chefs, all of whom were Chinese. “When I started, we were one of the only places to get Western food. We didn’t know anything about cooking American food,” said Gee. “We all learned as we went. The menu was much more limited. We served hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks and salads. We also served hawker-style food.” It wasn’t until about 20 years ago that suppliers came into the picture. Before that, the chefs not only cooked, but they had to go to the wet market themselves to get the fresh ingredients they needed. Sometimes they needed lots!

“It was always very busy when the ships came into town. We’d had many sailors hungry for American food all made in that one small kitchen.” When the Claymore Building was completed in 1989, the Presidential Room was launched. But because Chinese food was so popular it broke off into two restaurants, the Presidential Room and the Pacific Room. In 2011, the two restaurants were combined into The 2nd Floor. The two always shared a kitchen. Today, there are four, fully-modern kitchens at The Club with a staff of more than 80 chefs from all nationalities. Used to be, the big sellers were hamburgers and hot dogs. These days, the most popular dish at The Club is Laksa. Chef Kevin Yap, Executive Chef de Cuisine, was brought in eight years ago to focus on high cuisine, the kind of food found in the Michelin star restaurants in Hong Kong. In fact, he’s made trips to those very restaurants to make sure that the food at The American Club is constantly improving and stacks up with the best. “Our biggest secret is that the food is fresh. Quality is very important. Years ago, we had no suppliers, then one supplier. Now, we have as many as eight for some things and they compete for the contracts. We always look for value for money, never compromising on how fresh it is. Inexpensive isn’t always best.” That means the kitchen must constantly work with suppliers, shippers and border control agents ensuring that the food is fresh from the start to the end of its trip to Singapore. Getting

food here doesn’t just happen in a blink of an eye. Let’s talk turkey. It takes two to three months to get the turkeys here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just like in the old days when Chef Gee first started, turkeys come via the frozen section of ships, but the order has gone from 50 turkeys to more than 300 and it keeps growing every year. Luckily, The Club’s new, modern ovens can cook 48 turkeys at once! It does make you think, doesn’t it? Just how many

turkeys will they be roasting when Singapore turns 100 ? Melinda Murphy is currently the editor-in-chief of Singapore American Newspaper. She is also EMMY award-winning television journalist who worked for many years as a correspondent for CBS News. She also makes Thanksgiving dinner for a mass of family and friends every year, but can’t imagine making more than one turkey at a time! Photos courtesy of The American Club


Singapore American • March 2015

SAN's New Cover By Melinda Murphy


urely you’ve noticed our new cover look this month! It looks amazing, right? Even more amazing is that since the Singapore American Newspaper’s (SAN) inception in 1958, the paper has only changed styles a handful of times. So why change now? The answer is twofold really. First, it’s a nod to Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. More over, we’ve changed the look in anticipation our own approaching birthday, the 100th anniversary of the American Association of Singapore (AAS). The paper’s legacy is rich. The first edition rolled off the press in March 1958 with a circulation of 400 and a smaller size than the paper is now. It only took a year before the paper covered its production costs with advertising revenue. Today, the paper has a circulation of more than 5,000. It’s mailed to AAS families and is also available free of charge at more than 70 drop locations across Singapore. Of course, it was all black and white back when it was first published. In 1966, SAN did something daring: it published an entire issue in red and green for Christmas and even the ads were red and green. The December 1970 edition ran a massive half-page color painting of Santa Claus and some children, the first of many special Christmas covers for years to come. The back cover of that same issue had the firstever, full-color photograph: an advertisement for The Goodwood Group. Color was used sparingly in the paper until the 1980s and the first cover with a color photograph was in July 1984. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until 2003 that the paper issued its first, full four-color issue. The original banner featured a patriot eagle. Later, the eagle was placed in front of some stars and stripes. In January of 1982, the style of the eagle changed, but the idea was generally the same. A bit of trivia? The February issue that year ran a smaller version of the revised logo, but apparently it wasn’t a hit because the very next issue went back to the larger size eagle and SAN stayed that way until 2001. 43 years after the paper first went to print, the banner lost the eagle. In 2009 the border was added and

the cover style has remained the same until this very edition. So you can see why, with such a rich history, the staff feels very honored to be a part of this sleek, updated redesign. We hope you like it as much as we do. Melinda Murphy is currently the editor-in-chief of Singapore American Newspaper. She is also EMMY award-winning television journalist who worked for many years as a correspondent for CBS News.


Singapore American • March 2015

AmCham's New Digs By Thomas McNutt


he American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) office is almost doubling in size and every inch of the larger space is undergoing complete renovation. This exciting project is creating a fresh new environment and additional facilities that will allow us to serve our members better. The more spacious Stamford American Auditorium can now accommodate more than 100 participants while the Visa Boardroom offers a refreshed, comfortable environment for groups of 22 to 30 for briefings and roundtables. The brand new, 8-10 person meeting room that will be sponsored by the Manpower Group offers a whole new option for business meetings and seminars. A welcoming pantry and lounge round out the new facilities, giving members a space to network and converse before and after events while enjoying refreshments provided through the generosity of Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelēz and PepsiCo. We will highlight our technology partners in future updates. The new space showcases member companies and their products with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the works as the first arrival. A wall of brilliant logos now under construction will greet people upon arrival. The main lobby will feature an impressive array of products produced by member companies over the years, allowing visitors to learn more about the rich history of American organizations and their contributions to society through their innovations and sustainable business practices. We look forward to expanding our display as companies continue to evolve and create the iconic products of tomorrow.

Member companies worked hand-in-hand with AmCham to give the renovation a thoroughly American look and feel. Their corporate contributions gave us the plans and then the components for the attractive atmosphere and effective use of space that we will enjoy for years to come. Major contributors went above and beyond. A team of Kahler Slater architects based in both Wisconsin and Singapore contributed the AmCham project's inspirational design. Working here since 2007 primarily in the health sector, Kahler Slater is a 105-year-old company that specializes in health care, higher education, corporate, hospitality and recreation facilities. Sleek ceilings and acoustical Soundscape Shapes by Armstrong are worth a tilt of the head. Armstrong is a leader in the design and manufacture of floors and ceilings. Starting as early as 1860, Armstrong has pioneered “green”

practices, products and services, first in North America and subsequently worldwide. The furniture is by Haworth, a global leader in adaptable work spaces. Come see how the company combined science and design principles to develop furnishing solutions that maximize the flexible use of our space as well as participant comfort. Take a special look at our "Net Effect" carpeting by Interface that incorporates recycled fishing nets recovered through community projects in the Philippines. Experience the ocean's fluidity and the spill of seafoam in our Pacific Blue floor design. With a newly upgraded office, AmCham looks forward to hosting our members at our upcoming events!

Corporate Partners

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Singapore American • March 2015

The Next 50 By Lauren S. Power


ingapore’s 50th Anniversary (SG50) will undoubtedly be a truly magnificent party. On the day, we can expect to celebrate in style with fireworks, food, and a grand show all to commemorate Singapore’s success. This milestone occasion also invites introspection and reflection. What happened over the past 50 years to make Singapore the country it is today? How has its identity changed over time? Perhaps even more important than considering the significant changes of the past 50 years is thinking about what we can expect for Singapore in the next 50. Examining the historical trends and speculating on future prospects and challenges has been the focus of several think tanks and institute programs in the past year. While there are many excellent think tanks and institutes either based in Singapore or with branches in Singapore, this article showcases two: the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA). RSIS, a professional graduate school at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, produces advanced research aimed at assisting policymakers in developing comprehensive strategies on issues related to security and stability in the Asia Pacific region. As a lead up to SG50, RSIS organized a workshop entitled “The Merlion and the Ashoka: SingaporeIndia Strategic and Defense Ties” on October 23-24 and is now in the process of compiling a volume on Singapore-India relations. This strategic relationship affects far more than trade in the Straits of Malacca. India has become inextricably tied to the Singaporean cultural identity through ongoing Indian immigration.

Strategists speculate on the degree of economic impact India’s continued rise within the region will have on Singapore in the future. Additionally, RSIS has organized two roundtable discussions. The first was held on the 13th of last month to commemorate Total Defense Day, an occasion to honor Singapore’s comprehensive defense strategy that includes military, civil, economic, social and psychological defense measures. The second discussion will be on June 30 in celebration of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day and the 50th Anniversary of the SAF. With RSIS’s specialization in security studies, the evolving role of Singapore’s military in contributing to Singapore’s prosperity is of particular interest. RSIS, in keeping with its high standard of research, was invited by World Scientific to produce a monograph entitled Fifty Years of Security in Singapore. Singapore non-resident Ambassador to the Vatican and Spain, RSIS Distinguished Fellow, Barry Desker, and Associate Professor Ang Cheng Guan, Head of Graduate Studies, will be editors for the publication, which will be completed in time for SG50. RSIS is also contributing to the Singapore Chronicles SG50 project organized by the Institute of Policy Studies. Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, Head of the Centre of Excellence in National Security (CENS) will be writing on the Communist threat to Singapore, while Dr. Shashi Jayakumar, Deputy Head of CENS, will be writing on Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP). Prime Minister Lee will deliver the closing address at the two-day East Asia Summit (EAS) Symposium on Terrorist Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration on April 16-17. The role of these issues in shaping Singapore’s identity for the future is of great importance. Singaporeans, PRs, and expats can gain an insightful perspective on these issues from leading experts and academics through organizations like RSIS and the SIIA so that they may better prepare for tomorrow. The SIIA is an independent organization with private funding that conducts research, analysis and discussion of regional and international

issues with the aim of contributing to a more cosmopolitan and global Singapore. It has maintained its ranking of top think tank in Asia and the Pacific since 2013, and is Singapore’s oldest think tank. Like RSIS, the research and expertise of SIIA allows it to work closely with both the public and private sectors on matters of policy in an advisory capacity. In preparation for Singapore National Day 2015, the SIIA launched its Future 50 (F50) Program two years prior, with a focus on increasing public debate about Singapore’s future at the national, regional, and global levels. Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education and Chairman of Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) committee, attended the official F50 launch as the Guest-of-Honor. After the keynote address, discussions were divided into four parts: “Singapore as a Hub,” “Managing Economic Growth,” “A Changing Society,” and “Sustainability and Livability.” While discussions have yielded a desire for increased innovation and a more hospitable environment for Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in Singapore, the overall speculation about Singapore as a rising star in Asia has been bright. Apart from academics and policy experts, F50 continues to attract the attention of top business people from the private sector due to the breadth and depth of the debates it inspires. The SIIA has been releasing regular F50 reports and conducting events to celebrate

Singapore’s 50th Anniversary since 2013. A final culminating publication will be released in August 2015, just in time for National Day. Keeping a finger on the pulse of Singapore is valuable for Singaporeans, PRs and expats alike. Luckily, Singapore has a wealth of resources like the SIIA and RSIS to keep you connected. If you think the last 50 years have been a whirlwind of development and change, just get ready for the next 50!

To learn more about RSIS, please visit To learn more about SIIA, please visit

Lauren S. Power is a freelance writer and researcher. She lived in the USA, UK, and Japan before moving to Singapore. Lauren enjoys writing about foreign policy issues, travel, culture, and expat lifestyle. See her blog at Photos by Peng Hui Cheng; Mac Qin; Lauren S. Power

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Singapore American • March 2015

The US Navy in Singapore: Making a Large Impact with a Small Presence By Rear Adm. Charlie Williams


hips, submarines and aviation assets from the United States Navy have for many years made routine port calls in Singapore, either while operating here in the Navy’s Seventh Fleet or while sailing to other parts of the globe. My own first deployment to Asia included a stop in Singapore in 1993, and as recently as last month’s visiting destroyer,

USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), our Sailors have always considered Singapore a wonderful place to rest, relax and experience a bit of Asian culture. But the Navy’s roots in Singapore are deeper than the occasional port call, and involve far more than you might expect. Our presence dates back to the late 1960s, not long after Singapore became an independent

nation, when a small logistics detachment supported visiting ships to the region. That mission continues today and now encompasses logistics support to US ships at sea, coordinating exercises with navies throughout South and Southeast Asia, and operating the Navy’s new littoral combat ships rotationally deployed here to Singapore. Despite all this activity, our presence remains relatively small, with no US base of any kind in Singapore. Just as Singapore’s global reputation vastly exceeds its size as a city-state, the US Navy does quite a lot with a very small footprint here. The US Navy is located in northern Singapore just across the Strait of Johor from Malaysia, at a former British naval base which is now a commercial port known as the PSA Sembawang Wharves. We work alongside other naval services in Sembawang, including the British Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy, each of whom have small detachments that support visiting ships under the Five Powers Defence Arrangements with Singapore and Malaysia. Once known as the Gibraltar of the East, the British base HMS Sembawang was built in 1938 on the eve of WWII to protect British Commonwealth interests in maritime Southeast Asia. After having been occupied by the Japanese during WWII, the base reverted back to the British after the war. Singapore

converted HMS Sembawang into a commercial port in 1968 and the British withdrew the vast majority of their military forces in 1971 as part of their East of Suez policy. From 1974 to 1989, the Royal New Zealand Navy had the largest foreign military presence in Singapore until it also downsized to a small logistics detachment. In the early 1990s, the United States and Singapore began negotiating ways to allow US military access to select governmentowned facilities in Singapore, including PSA Sembawang Wharves. As part of an agreement reached in 1992, the US Navy’s Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific moved its headquarters from the Philippines to Sembawang. Though we’ve been here as residents ever since, this move did not establish a new US base in Singapore and access continues today via subsequent agreements reached in 1998 and most recently in 2005. Many of the places where our Sailors and their families live and work today have not Continues on next page

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Singapore American • March 2015

changed much through the years, and would be instantly recognizable to British, Aussie or Kiwi sailors who served here in the past. The recreation facility on Deptford Road, named the Terror Club after the British ship HMS Terror stationed in Singapore during WWII, was once the Dockyard Officers Club. Many families live in the historic black and white houses built in the 1930s for naval shipyard workers. With names like Wellington, Falkland and Admiralty, even the streets are steeped in history. The relatively small staff in Sembawang provides worldclass logistics support to ships, Sailors and Marines operating throughout the Seventh Fleet, from the international dateline to the waters off of India, and we do so on behalf of Americans living abroad in Singapore and at home in the continental United States. Our staff also conducts official missions with nations in South and Southeast Asia throughout the year, developing relationships and training with their navies to help us

work together as professional mariners at sea. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, is known for saying that the value of a global Navy rests in being able to respond to events, “Where it matters, when it matters.” The Air Asia tragedy is the most recent example of Admiral Greenert’s comment in practice. Answering Indonesia’s request for support, the Seventh Fleet deployed two US Navy ships, the destroyer USS Sampson and the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth, from Singapore to join the multinational search efforts in the Java Sea. Ultimately, one way to reflect the value of the US Navy is in our ability to extend American interests well beyond the reach of the United States. Having a continuous presence in Singapore helps the Navy fulfill this mission, and we are deeply appreciative for the continued hospitality we receive from our strong partner in the Lion City. We are also grateful for the continued and great support from the American community in Singapore, helping a very small part of a global US Navy to have a very large impact.

A former commanding officer of USS Stethem (DDG 63), commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15 and chief of staff for US 7th Fleet, Rear Admiral Charlie Williams serves as Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific in Singapore and is 7th Fleet's Executive Agent for theater security cooperation activities in South and Southeast Asia.

Photos by US Navy

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Singapore at 50: An Educational Powerhouse By Maya Thiagarajan


uitions. Tests. Homework. We’ve all heard stories about how hard Singaporean kids study and how well they do on exams. If we look at the numbers, Singaporean kids are among the best educated in the world. In the most recent 2012 PISA (Program for International Student Assessments), a test administered to 15-year-olds in 65 countries, Singapore came in second for Math with a score of 573, right behind Shanghai. In comparison, the US scored 481 and the UK scored 494. Singapore also ranked third for reading, with a score of 542, while the US lagged behind with a score of 498. Singapore’s educational prowess is well known internationally. Even President Obama has lauded Singapore’s educational system, and “Singapore Math” is used by some high performing school districts in the US and by many American homeschoolers. “Singapore Math,” for the uninitiated, is what Americans call the highly visual, systematic and challenging Math curriculum developed in Singapore and adapted for use in America. In Singapore, locals just call it “Maths.” How and when, you may wonder, did Singapore achieve these high educational

standards? The Singapore that Lee Kwan Yew inherited in 1965 had low literacy rates and a fragmented, underperforming education system. In 1970, the literacy rate was 72.7% and the average pass rate on the O-Level exams was a mere 40%. By the 1980s, however, a rigorous national education plan was in place, emphasizing science and technology, bilingualism, and the development of a national identity. The island soon achieved universal literacy and rapid increases in its exam scores. In Singapore, the grooming and pressure starts early. A key piece of the education system, which was introduced over 50 years ago and still dominates students’ lives today, is the Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE). Students take the PSLE at the end of Grade 6, and their results determine where they attend secondary school. This exam, which is taken by all children who attend local schools, is not for the faint-hearted; its complex math problems are the stuff that many American kids learn only in high school.

While education Minister Heng Swee Keat credits the PSLE with getting Singapore to where it is today in terms of literacy and numeracy, the PSLE is a hot topic on the island. Many Singaporeans criticize the amount of pressure that young students feel as they gear up for the high-stakes exam. More recent changes in Singaporean education involve campaigns such as “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” and “Teach Less, Learn More,” which are designed to move the focus of education from rote learning to a more conceptual and discovery-based form of learning. Additionally, Singapore now offers its students a wide range of pathways that validate the arts, sports and other non-academic tracks; for example, Singapore School of the Arts (SOTA) was opened in 2006 for high school students interested in the Arts. Despite Singapore’s success as an educational powerhouse, expats on the island often opt out of the local system and choose expensive international schools instead, claiming that the local system is too rigid, too stressful, and too exam oriented. Given the constraints of the PSLE and the local system’s emphasis on results, many expats feel as though the system denies young children the time and space they need to play creatively and enjoy their childhoods. To cater to the increasing number of expat children on the island, Singapore has had a huge influx of international schools over the last two decades. There are more than 35 international schools on the island with the newest institutions being Gems World Academy and Dulwich College. Some schools such as the French Lycée or

the Japanese school offer expat kids education in the language and curriculum of their home country. Others offer a more global education using the International Baccalaureate program. Free of the constraints imposed on local Singaporean schools, international schools are often able to provide students with more relaxed and holistic programs. Singapore has evolved tremendously over the past 50 years. It’s hard to imagine what the next 50 will be like. Perhaps as Singapore

moves forward, it will need to balance its achievement-oriented culture with more space for risk-taking, creativity and play to raise children who lead the way in the 21st century.

Maya Thiagarajan teaches high school English at the United World College of South East Asia. She is also the author of a book on parenting and education in Asian contexts, forthcoming from Tuttle Publishers in 2015. Photos by Eric Janes

Singapore American • March 2015

Singapore American • March 2015


SENTOSA By John Hallenbeck


or more than four decades now, Sentosa Island has been the playground for Singapore, right in its very own backyard. Located south of this island nation, it has been a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. But if one were to visit the island now as compared to five years ago, it will be hardly surprising to find that things have changed, quite significantly. The skyline of the island, which used to be dotted with low-rise buildings and wide-open pathways, has since been transformed with the new face of Sentosa; towering roller coasters and mechanical cranes, an upside-down ship hull structure and the signature hotels designed by Michael Graves, all of which is part of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). I have never been to Sentosa Island before my new job brought me to Singapore in 2008. My initial impressions of the island came from travel tales passed on by friends and colleagues. Sentosa was known to be an idyllic island, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city state. In fact, there used to be limited mode of transport to the island, limited to just the ferry and cable car. People came to the island to enjoy its beaches and golf courses, its greenery, and of course, its rich legacy of having been an important of Singapore’s history with its forts and military installations. Over the years, the island also developed attractions which became well-known. The Merlion, Musical Fountain, Fantasy Island, Asian Village and many more witnessed the different stages of development of Singapore’s tourism. But one thing that was missing from the Singapore map was branded theme parks, something which Singaporeans had to travel overseas to enjoy. Singapore needed something extra to kick start its tourism revamp, and they knew where to look for the answer. What sets Singapore apart is probably its government’s foresight and risk-bearing attitude. In 2005, the nation broke its 40-year ban on casinos and called for proposals to build two, Integrated Resorts (IR) in Singapore. More than being a gaming venue, these IRs were to be an aggregation of leisure, business and lifestyle offerings. At that time, different

attractions continued to sprout on Sentosa, including the Sky Tower and the Luge. The Sentosa IR was to complement the existing hotels and attractions on the island, and bolster the island’s reputation as a destination for both family and youths. The proposal by Genting Singapore had it all: from world-class theme parks and attractions to unprecedented entertainment, dining and accommodation options. Despite the stiff competition in its bid, the win did not come as a surprise to many. Having worked at all Universal Studios theme parks in the United States and Japan, a new job opportunity presented itself after the bid was won. I moved to Singapore where I became the Director of Park Operations at Universal Studios Singapore, the first and only in Southeast Asia, overseeing it through from the planning stages through to opening. Adjusting to a new country of residence is never easy, but the year-round summer definitely helped. The site of Resorts World Sentosa broke ground in October 2007 and when I arrived, the site was literally the largest hole on Sentosa, and of course, Singapore. The entire resort was an architectural marvel, with that hole in the ground being transformed into Universal Studios, four hotels, a casino, a grand theater and a convention center within a short 34-month period. To cope with the expected influx of traffic, the resort even built an extra bridge linking the resort to the mainland. RWS began its phased opening in January 2010, and it topped out its development with two more hotels, the world’s largest aquarium, an aquatic park and a destination spa, with its grand opening held two years later in December 2012. Five years later, the US$5B Integrated Resort now takes pride on a 49-hectare waterfront location and is visited by more than 15 million guests every year. RWS proved to be a trailblazer with a unique IR model that was never attempted anywhere else in the world before. It not only grew to be one of the most-visited destinations in the region, it is also one of Singapore’s largest employers. RWS brought in unprecedented offerings and,

to this day, it continues to pull in the crowds to Sentosa. Universal Studios Singapore, with more than 20 rides, shows and attractions. Southeast Asia Aquarium (SEA Aquarium) was the world’s largest in terms of water volume when it opened. Holding two Guinness World Records until early 2014, the aquarium is home to more than 100,000 marine animals from over 800 species. At Adventure Cove Waterpark and Dolphin Island, guests can also experience unique encounters with marine. Beyond the attractions, Sentosa’s offerings have also grown to become multi-faceted. ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa is the largest destination spa in Singapore occupying more than 10,000 square meters. Top-of-the-line accommodation options have also sprung up over the island including RWS’ Beach Villas, Ocean Suites as well as Tree Top Lofts. Food options also multiplied with the introduction of celebrity-chef restaurants including L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon Restaurant. However, the best is yet to come. Moving forward, Sentosa is set to become even more exciting as new attractions continue to be developed. Last year, the island welcomed Trick Eye Museum, an optical illusion gallery

hailing from South Korea, as well as the famed Madame Tussauds. This year, the island will see the introduction of a new intra-island cable car system as well as new attractions such as Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey, the first coaster ride based on the franchise, and the return of Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon, the world’s tallest dueling roller coaster. Across the island, more re-developments are in the works with a new family entertainment center opening soon near the beaches. Nothing stays the same on Sentosa and each day, new challenges bring new fun and excitement for me, and I would love to have everyone enjoy the plethora of leisure offerings that Sentosa has to offer. Trust me, it’s not that far from wherever you are staying. Come visit!

John Hallenbeck is the Senior Vice President of Attractions at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), overseeing operations at the resort’s attractions; Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark, as well as Retail. He joined RWS in 2008 and was part of the pioneering management team that developed Universal Studios Singapore. Photos courtesy of RWS.

WHY NOT JOIN US? Want to make new friends? Hang out with people of all nationalities? Go to all sorts of fun events for families, couples and individuals? Then the AAS is for you! For just $70, you get discounts to our six major events throughout the year and countless other social gatherings. As a member, you also get member discounts at a variety of local businesses. For more information and to register, log onto our website at

Singapore American • March 2015

RWS 2007

RWS today

RWS 2007

RWS today

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Singapore American • March 2015

A Small Red Dot, A Big Melting Pot By Lee Seow Ser


ingapore has stunningly transformed itself from a sleepy, rural fishing village to a thriving British trading post to the cosmopolitan free-trade and bustling port city of today. As the city-state celebrates 50 years of independence this year, the elements of multiculturalism and multiracialism are the social fabric glue that bolsters and breathes life into the unique Singaporean identity. It’s also a tourist draw, attracting scores of visitors from the region and around the world to the Little Red Dot’s shores. Multiculturalism and multiracialism is a multifaceted affair. It has its deft hands everywhere in the Singapore pie ranging from language, cultural festivals, education, food, spaces, signboards, tourist attractions, sports: all tossed in an exotic blend of East meets West, modern Westernized lifestyles versus traditional Asian-based values. A quick glance at the country’s public holidays gives a pretty good understanding of just how diverse the people are. The flavor soaks through like a good marinade, touching residents in different dimensions: in the homes and lifestyles we cherish and relish; the meaningful human relationships formed amongst friends, schoolmates, colleagues, neighbors; the bonds forged from harmonious use of common spaces and a mutual respect of each community's needs and concerns; languages and accents that are ever so familiar. Multiculturalism & Multiracialism On this tropical island located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore’s ethnic communities are formed largely of immigrants who have come to settle. The Malays are the native people of Singapore, originally mostly made up of fishermen and sailors. Malay is Singapore’s national language and the national anthem is also in Malay. The forefathers of the Chinese came mainly from southern provinces in mainland China. The five original Chinese ethnic groups are

The Eurasians, a people with mixed European and Asian heritage, form yet another minority of the population. With so many ethnic groups, it is no wonder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles allocated specific areas in the Town Plan of 1822. These enclaves evolved today into the Chinatown/Telok Ayer precinct, Kampong Glam/Arab Street/Bugis precinct, and Little India/Serangoon precinct. They are now being preserved as cultural and heritage districts. The original European enclave in Raffles’ Town Plan in the Beach Road area (where the grand dame Raffles Hotel was later built) later expanded to include the Claymore/Tanglin/Orchard Road areas. Unifying Food Multiculturalism and multiracialism permeates right down to the fascinating canvas of food manifesting everywhere: our neighborhood coffee shops, school canteens, hawker centers, and food court. All offer affordable eating places where tantalizing local food is consumed daily by ordinary Singaporeans. Most Singaporeans are "foodies" at heart in a nation where eating is a pastime. Ask any Singaporean if they have ever tasted food originating from another ethnic group and the answer would be "Of course, I have!" or more likely in colloquial “Singapore English” (known as “Singlish”) “Of course, lah!” (‘lah’ being a colloquial slang often used at the end of a phrase). A language that everyone understands Being the common language that most people understand, English is the official language used for studies, work and business. It provides a common and effective platform for communication among Singapore’s people and with the world at large. Just as food is a great unifying medium of people, Singlish also sometimes proves to be the one thing needed to break the ice or awkwardness between strangers. Singaporeans have a love-hate relationship with this unique language, yet it binds all creeds and races. In Singaporean schools, children attend main subject classes in English. They also learn their mother tongue languages of Malay, Chinese and Tamil respectively. The constant everyday exposure of our children to people of different ethnicities speaking different mother tongues, yet proficiency in the common English language, effectively “normalizes” our diversity.

the Hokkiens, Teochews, Cantonese, Hakkas, and Hainanese, who originated from Fujian province, Shantou province, Guangdong province, central China and Hainan Island respectively. Like their counterpart immigrant Indians, some of whom were coolies, trader, soldiers or civil servants familiar with the colonial ways of the British Empire, the immigrant Chinese also traversed far seas to eke out a better living for themselves and their families. Eventually, they set up homes in Singapore.

On the annual political calendar of Singapore, the Prime Minister gives an important speech known as National Day Rally. One striking feature of this much-anticipated speech is that it has become a custom for the Prime Minister to deliver it in three different languages live on television: Malay, Chinese and English (the last, but longest segment). The gesture of speaking in another’s language and the effort required to do so is symbolic of the desire to engage the hearts and minds of the multiracial and multilingual communities in Singapore.

Racial Harmony Each year on July 21, children are encouraged to go to school dressed in their own or their friends’ traditional costumes to commemorate Racial Harmony Day. It is a day earmarked to serve as a solemn reminder of the communal riots that erupted on July 21, 1964 in preindependence Singapore, and of what is at stake if no steps are being continually taken to preserve and promote racial harmony. These events or state of affairs are, to a large extent, an outcome of carefully implemented policies necessary to maintain social cohesion, which cannot be taken for granted. Common Space A good example of respect, understanding and friendship in Singapore is in the shared use of “void decks”, a common place on the ground floor of public housing flats built by the Housing and Development Board. In a country where land is scarce and space is limited, it makes sense to have multiple uses for public spaces. Very few countries have common public spaces that are as "well used" by the Chinese

“Unless you know where you come from, unless you know what your ancestors have been through, you have no reference point. What makes us different from say the Thais or the Filipinos or the Sri Lankans? The difference is how we came here, how we developed and that requires a sense of history.” Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore

for funerals as are by the Malays for their weddings. Singaporean author, Hidayah Amin, was motivated to write the book with the catchy title Malay Weddings Don't Cost $50 and Other Facts about Malay Culture after an offending Facebook rant about “low-cost, voiddeck weddings” went viral. Her hope is that her collection of 42, easy-to-read, light-hearted articles about Malay culture and heritage, lifestyle and personas will “serve as a bridge of friendship between people of different communities and cultures.” Communal Ties Communities are now quite diverse. Malay neighbors give kuih muih (cakes) or gifts of money in typically green packets (duit raya)

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to their Chinese friends during Lunar New Year with Chinese friends reciprocating with their red packets and halal goodies during Hari Raya Puasa, a celebration that marks the end of the fasting month. Even my fellow Indian friends sometimes offer to cook me a pot of mean curry that I find it hard to resist! Beautiful lights brighten up the atmosphere in neighborhoods during Deepavali and Hari Raya Puasa, bringing a sense of communal charm. “Open houses” on festive seasons are symbolic of the openmindedness of Singaporeans in embracing diversity. Multiculturalism and multiracialism may seem like rather big, profound words, but simply put, the goal is about showing mutual interest, respect and understanding. The idea is to create a pleasant, harmonious, helpful and safe living environment. It is a way of life with which we Singaporeans have grown up every day.

Unity in Diversity, 50 Years On & More Singaporeans are “One People” not just by the pink identity cards or the red passports they hold proudly in their hands. Being Singaporean is about having a sense of attachment or belonging to a place we affectionately call home, where we are comfortable in our own skins, and where

we can be involved in the larger good of community. In the fanfare of celebrating 50 years of independence, it is imperative that we also celebrate the anecdotal ordinary stories of the extraordinary commune of Singaporeans “as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion,” as is inscribed in the Singapore Pledge. As the late S. Rajaratnam, Singapore’s first Foreign Affairs Minister, once said, “Being Singaporean is not a matter of ancestry, it is a matter of conviction and choice.”

Lee Seow Ser is a Singaporean lawyer and writer. Her family dialects are Teochew and Cantonese. As an advocate of bilingualism, she makes it a point to speak primarily Mandarin at home with her two children. Seow Ser’s works have also been published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, TODAY newspaper and parenting columns.

Singapore, 1910

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Continued from front page: Expat Life Through an Old Timers Eyes

City was. Unfamiliar with the concept of a citystate, I’d get letters addressed to “Singapore, China” or “Singapore, Japan.” Folks at home assumed that any place on the Equator and across the Pacific was “exotic.” Singapore was far less exotic than Indonesia or Malaysia, but now and then we’d get a big surprise. Many cocktail parties included stories about a cobra in the home or garden. Pythons were seen regularly even in the more urban sections of Singapore. Crocodiles could be seen around MacRitchie Reservoir. In the early ‘80s, I found a young gibbon ape in a tree. Suspecting it was a lost pet, I brought her home for a few days and then took her to the Singapore Zoo. We’re not in Kansas anymore Singapore’s rules were stricter back in ‘70s. Most American expats I knew seemed to appreciate the orderliness, compared with Vietnam era disruptions back home. Social engineering campaigns were very well organized. Among the most famous was the "anti-long hair" stance which forced long-haired males to move the back of the queue in public buildings. Posters were hung all over warning men not to have hair longer than their shirt collar. Tourists snatched up "Singapore is a Fine City" t-shirts that illustrated the infractions and penalties: failure to flush a toilet, gum chewing, even urination in elevators were targeted. Other campaigns pursued “Killer Litter,” “Speak, Mandarin /Not Dialect,” and "Stop at Two" (children). The atmosphere changed in the ‘80s with the new prime minister, Goh Chok Tong. The message changed from, “You can do it if the government says so,” to " You can do it unless the government says you can’t.”

Livin' was easy Mid ‘70s Singapore had few condos and high-rises though some existed near HDB developments on the East Coast. There were also some in popular Districts 9, 10, and 11 near Orchard Road, the Singapore American School and The American Club. In fact, a few of those high-rises still exist today with apartments much larger than their modern counterparts. Most expats preferred landed property be it a free standing, semi-detached, or terrace home. The colonial allure of a Black and White home was offset by frequent repairs, squeaky wood floors, and creepie crawlies. Couples and families entertained in their homes more than now. TV offered only a few channels and films

facilities. Hua Yu is one spot still standing. Captivating as local food was, Singapore also had decent Western food even way back then. You could get burgers, BBQ, pizza or even Mexican. Van Lyuk recalls, “One great change was the opening of the first McDonald’s restaurant on the corner of Orchard and Scotts. It brought Singaporeans into the fast food culture and the dating habits of young Singaporeans haven’t been the same since.” were well behind US releases. A well-stocked home bar and full tray of after dinner liqueurs were a happy part of a home meal. My first bungalow was situated on Whitely Road with almost one acre. Rent was around S$1000. That’s about US$444! Imagine! A large Grange Road condo was in the S$3,000 range. In 1977, I purchased a mansion on Nassim Hill Road on behalf of my employer for less than S$400,000. It now rents for S$10$15,000 per month! Air conditioning was available in the ‘70s, but not available everywhere. Gene Van Lyuk, an expat who has lived here for the past 30 years says, “The biggest contribution to the amazing success of Singapore from a kampong, swampy, third-world nation was air-conditioning: just ask Lee Kuan Yew, the George Washington of Singapore if you don’t believe me.” Lee has said publicly that he believes the greatest invention of the 20th century is air conditioning. Expats relied on an amah who was often a slightly older Chinese woman. She worked hard and was reliable, but probably didn’t do things like car washing, which today's maids often do. HDB developments spread to new areas and so did the expat population. By the ‘80s, the oil patch population gave way to a more diverse foreign presence. Expats then had more housing choices and less space in which to live. Retail therapy Believe it or not, Singapore was known for the great shopping deals back in the ‘70s. Expats prided themselves on knowing where to go and they traded shopping secrets with the envious expats living in Jakarta or Kuala Lampur. Prices were often as good as the famous Hong Kong deals, even if the variety and scope of sizes was not quite as great. Drinking and Eating Singapore's fondness for food has always been alive and well. The “Carpark” was just that, located on Orchard Road at the Specialists’ Shopping Centre. At night, cars were evicted and tables and stalls rolled out to accommodate hungry locals and visitors alike. Unfortunately, the Carpark didn’t survive Orchard’s expansions, but Newton Circus did. Before its character-reducing renovation, it was as famous a feature as the Bird Park or the Singapore Zoo. The best seafood restaurants were a relatively long drive to East Coast. Most were housed in older colonial type homes or buildings. In the ‘80s, most were urged to move to newer

Getting Around Cars were not expensive in the ‘70s, but fuel was. I bought a ‘60s, 6-cylinder, vintage green Jaguar with wood interior for less than few thousand dollars as it was due to be scrapped. Among the more limited list of conventional new cars, Holdens and Fords offered good value. Some employers even paid for a driver which meant you’d look for a car with a large back seat. Taxis came in two flavors: regular or cars with air conditioning. Like now, they were pretty easy to flag down almost anytime except during change of shift at 4 pm. Fares were simple with no add-ons or premiums. Most were Japanese, diesel, black and yellow with manual transmission on the column. Traffic moved slowly despite the car population being far less than now. Buses were not heavily utilized by expats and the MRT had not made the scene yet. Trishaws, now a tourist thing , were more commonly used by residents for short jaunts within the town. There were no budget airlines so the cheapest and most accessible international trip was a drive to Malaysia though congested Woodlands. Of course, this wasn’t as easy as it might seem. Signs in Johor Bahru were confusing. A drive to Kuala Lampur could take six to eight hours,

depending on how many overloaded timber trucks slogged along the two-lane road north. Alternatively, you could board an overnight train from the recently closed Tg Pagar station for an all-night, stop-start ride in a Pullmanstyle sleeper with a foldaway brass sink and hideaway berth. In the morning, you’d be greeted with complimentary bananas and tea. Paya Lebar Airport was the international airport. Larry Meaux recalls. "Back in 1978-79 when my employer used to fly me First Class, we saw the Concorde. It was [branded with two logos] with Singapore Airlines on one side of the aircraft and British Airways on the other." Because Singaporeans could not travel to China until the early ‘80s, the oil company for which Meaux worked assigned him all the trips to China until restrictions opened up. continued on page 23

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Singapore American • March 2015

Water: The Key to Singapore's Past and Future By Melissa Diagana


few years ago as I was walking with my son along the Singapore River, I noticed that it had stopped flowing. What in the world? Then I realized that the much-anticipated Marina Barrage had begun doing its job: damming the river to create Singapore’s 15th reservoir. Damming THE river of a country to turn it into a reservoir, this was the latest evidence that Singapore considered its freshwater supply to be a major policy focus for the country. Its strategic vulnerability to water shortages was so obvious right from its birth in 1965 (a major drought had parched Singapore in 1963) that founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew built the Singapore Armed Forces in part to be able to defend Singapore’s water supplies. Solving the country’s water issues was critical to making Singapore the country it is today. World Water Day, coming up on March 22, was first designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Singapore only began celebrating it in 2011, belying the fact that the country had far-ranging efforts in all things water for many years before that. Four National Taps No seasonal snowmelt, non-existent groundwater and a water dependency on Malaysia were among the factors that led to young Singapore designing its first national water plan back in 1972. Today, we depend upon the “Four National Taps”: 1. Local catchment water: Singapore’s rainwater catchment area covers nearly 2/3 of the island. The Marina Reservoir is among the most visible, but there are 16 other reservoirs, large and small. 2. Imported water: The bilateral agreement with Malaysia will expire in 2061, giving us less than 50 years to become totally selfsufficient in freshwater. 3. NEWater: High-grade water produced from used water that undergoes four stages of purification, NEWater accounts for 30% of water demand; by 2060, it should meet up to 55% of projected demand. 4. Desalinated water: By 2060, desalination should account for up to 25% of the water demand. Sustainable Singapore Blueprint The theme for World Water Day 2015 is “water and sustainable development.” Ever ahead of the curve, Singapore developed its first Sustainable Singapore Blueprint in 2009. The 2015 Blueprint outlines the nation’s vision for becoming a vibrant and sustainable city, with the help of “a committed government, forwardlooking industry partners, and active civic

participation.” For example, domestic water consumption per capita has already fallen from 203 liters per day in 2003 to 151 in 2013; the goal is 140 in 2030. Large industrial water users must submit water efficiency management plans starting this year. Global Hydrohub The Public Utilities Board (PUB) manages our water supply and used water. It has been a major player in the concerted effort to turn Singapore into a “global hydrohub” in the vast water technologies field. PUB also oversees international collaborations with water companies and research centers. Since 2008, Singapore has hosted the Singapore International Water Week, a “global platform to share and co-create innovative water solutions.” As numerous speakers stated at last year’s Water Week, it doesn’t matter if a country has the technological capabilities. If there is poor governance or no political buy-in, no sustainable water solutions will be found. In the same breath, they all would go on to praise Singapore as a role model, no doubt explaining much of its success. Water Challenge Singapore is a nation of water shortage, yet due to its long-term water planning, we are rarely aware of this. This year’s Green Corridor Run (March 8) has a new noncompetitive category, the Water Challenge: carry a container of water from start to finish along the 10.5 km course! The goal is to encourage people to “experience what it is like for 44% of the world’s population that have to walk large distances to fetch clean water.” As we strive to educate our children on the difference between “I need” and “I want,”, so should we adults start to reflect on our own water needs versus our water desires. Links World Water Day 2015, worldwaterday, Sustainable Singapore Gallery at Marina Barrage, Public Utilities Board, Green Corridor Run, A molecular biologist by training, Melissa Diagana enjoys studying the broader picture of natural history as much as its reductionist details. She regularly writes about nature and environmental topics. Photo: Ng Cheng Kiat Collection; courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

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Singapore American • March 2015

Continued from front page: Expat Life Through an Old Timers Eyes

You shoulda seen Singapore's pace of physical change is fast enough so that even annual visitors notice it. A lot has happened since the, ‘70s and we oldtimers wax nostalgic about some sights long gone. Orchard Road near the old Ming Court Hotel (now Orchard Parade) was bordered by open canals and crossed by small foot "bridges.” The clean-up of the Singapore River was ordered in 1977. Prior, it smelled and was occupied by squatters and jammed with old bumboats. The famous Merlion was literally seaside. That’s

where visitors could hire a bumboat for a harbor cruise or a short trip to an outer island. The Fullerton Hotel was a Singapore post office. Raffles Hotel was a dingy, dark, old hotel with room rates under S$50. When I first arrived, there were real, functioning kampongs, similar to Pulau Ubin and rural Malaysia. Jurong, now slated to be the next up-market residential enclave, was occupied with old-style warehouses. Construction sites were worked by Sam Sui women, protected by the distinctive black outfit and red folded hat, who hauled construction

materials by hand. Typically, open car parks had dedicated “meter maids” who wore a sun bonnet, long sleeves and white fingerless gloves for sun protection. She issued a parking coupon, placed it on the car and came to collect payment as soon as you returned to drive off. Yup, those were the good ol’ days. As nice and perfect and new as Singapore is now, it was perhaps more fun back then. Not only were we in our thirties but the expats were closer back then. Perhaps it was because there were only a few of us forging a new world

together or maybe it was because there weren’t as many entertainment, sports or travel options. Changing as Singapore has changed has been a fascinating ride. It’ll be just as interesting to see what the next decades offer. Rob Faraone has lived in six countries in the region over 30 years, including three stints in Singapore. After a career in the moving and relocation industry, he enjoys sharing settling-in tips with new expats in Singapore. Photos courtesy of Rob Faraone; Singapore Press Holdings; Urban Development Authority.


Singapore American • March 2015

The Key to Staying Young

Kids and Retainers

By Laura O’Gorman Schwartz

By Dr. Hwang Yee Cheau and Dr. Toh Siew Luan, TP Dental Surgeons


t seems like “Act Your Age” isn’t always good advice. For such a young country, Singapore appears to know exactly how to enjoy maturity. More than a quarter of the population is over the age of 50, which has sparked discussions on the societal and health implications of aging citizens. But a recent survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare found that plenty of Singaporean senior citizens are living life to the fullest. One hundred and fifty Singaporeans over 50 years old were interviewed for “The Inner Age Index,” a survey about their perceptions,

attitudes and behaviors towards aging. The results bring optimism to the national conversation, which is often more focused on the potential negative impacts of a mature population. 70% of those surveyed reported feeling five years younger than their age. Nine out of ten declared that a positive attitude was the key to feeling younger and that laughing was the best anti-aging medicine. Chairman of the Medical Board, Dr. Philip Koh, believes the Inner Age Index could have a positive impact on not only how the government views their elderly citizens, but also on how society as a whole considers them. “You know Singaporeans, we love to complain,” laughed Koh in a telephone interview. “We expected the respondents to be more stressed, but quite a number of people were surprisingly optimistic. It really is all about attitude at the end of the day. It’s

important to figure out how to embrace aging rather fight it.” Gijs Sanders, General Manager of GSK Consumer Healthcare in Singapore, agrees. “Our research shows that attitude plays a major factor when it comes to aging well, on top of the obvious things like a healthy diet and staying physically active. Your age is just a number. What really matters is how old you feel.” As Singapore’s population matures, questions arise about how to enable seniors to age comfortably, especially if their families aren’t able to fully support them. Even though some elderly are housed in the oft-disparaged HDB complexes, Koh remarked that the government does put energy into enabling independence for the elderly, coordinating activities and community groups so they can get “out of their cages.” 64% of the survey’s respondents said that being over 50 means they finally have time to socialize with friends, travel, play sports and exercise. As expats, it’s easy to believe Singapore has always been the manicured city we know today. When you consider that the people surveyed for the Inner Age Index have been witness to the Republic of Singapore’s entire history, it’s evident that their bright perspective is the result of varied and extraordinary experiences. Nevertheless, Sanders reports, “What surprised us was the importance of the simple things in life. Remember, [nine of out ten of the people we surveyed declared that] laughing is the best anti-aging medicine!” When Laura O’Gorman Schwartz is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an admissions and career consultant with freelance writing. You can read her articles, travel anecdotes and series of tips on how to be a better tourist at Photo by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan


s parents, we want the best for our children. This includes ensuring that they have good oral health and bright confident smiles. The main dental problems for children are dental decay, dental injuries and misalignment of teeth. Examples of misaligned teeth are teeth that stick out, “crooked” teeth or overlapping crowded teeth. Misalignment of teeth can result in the lowering of a child’s self confidence, self-esteem and oral health because it makes brushing more difficult. Orthodontic treatment (braces) usually begins after 11 or 12 years of age when most, if not all, permanent teeth have come in and facial development is nearly complete. However, in some cases, orthodontics may be started earlier when there are baby and adult teeth both present in the mouth. This treatment is usually done using “retainers.” There are many types of retainers in orthodontics. The most common retainers are, of course, the retainers that one wears after fixed brace treatment to keep the teeth in the desired position. The other less commonly known retainers are retainers that can actually move the teeth. These are mainly for younger children when they still have their baby teeth. This treatment is known as interceptive orthodontics: treatment when the patient is young and still have their baby teeth. This is done to help the development of the growing jaw and dental arches to allow the adult teeth to erupt in a better environment and position. Example of these are: 1. Functional appliances to help the development of the jaw are used if the patient has a big upper

jaw and a small lower jaw with the front teeth sticking out. This “retainer” can help to encourage and redirect growth of the lower jaw creating a more balanced bite. This is especially important because if the upper teeth are not protected by the lips, children chip their teeth in a fall. 2. If a tooth is in crossbite and causes the lower jaw to bite in a displaced position, the retainer can easily push that tooth into the correct position allowing a more ideal bite. The other adult teeth can then erupt into the correct jaw position. 3. If the lower teeth are digging into the gum of the palate every time the child bites, the child may eventually develop gum problems. Again, a retainer can easily correct this problem. In conclusion, it is always a good practice to consult a dentist or pedodontist who is discerning enough to refer the child to see an orthodontist. If early interceptive treatment is indicated, it may be the only treatment the child needs.

Dr Hwang is a specialist orthodontist. She also teaches at the orthodontic postgraduate unit at National University Hospital Singapore and is a member of World Federation of Orthodontists and American Association of Orthodontists. Dr Toh is a specialist in children's dentistry. She is a visiting consultant at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital and chairperson of Chapter of Paediatric Dentists, College of Dental Surgeons Singapore as well as vice president of the Society for Paediatric Dentistry Singapore. Dr Hwang and Dr. Toh both work at TP Dental Surgeons, Pte. Ltd. Photo by Dan Dawson


Singapore American • March 2015

Children's Allowances

A Recipe for Success

By Suzanne M. Anderson, RSW

By Melinda Murphy

Why? The main goal of parenting is to teach our children to be independent, responsible adults. An important feature of that is handling money. Receiving an allowance provides an opportunity to learn about money management, decision-making, saving, charitable giving and delayed gratification. When? Children’s ability to handle or understand money depends on their age. Some parents give a money test. Questions can include, “If you have $10 and a game costs $2.50, how much change will you get back?” or “How many $0.10 coins are in $1.00?”

How does it all work? One of the biggest controversies about allowance is whether or not it should be something kids receive just for being a member of the family or as compensation for fulfilling responsibilities such as chores. Those who advocate an allowance not being tied to chores don’t want children to grow up believing they should be paid for everything they do. They believe that some things just have to be done because a child is a part of a family. Those who advocate an allowance being chore-based believe it is good preparation for the working world. Many people choose a blend where a base amount is given and additional amounts can be earned through extra chores. A parent list of chores can be put on the refrigerator for bonus allowance earning.

Experts recommend that money be used only to teach money management and not as a method of control through reward and punishment. You may want to consider teaching your children to divide their allowance for spending (which the child totally controls), sharing (which parents can guide), and saving (over which parents have veto). Generally, allowances are provided weekly to help the child to manage and pace their spending. If they fail and spend it too quickly, they will not have to wait long before they get their next installment. Consistency is also key. Be sure to pay it reliably on the same day every week. Be clear for what it can be used. Younger kids may be allowed to buy candy and games. For tweens, allowance may be used for movies or entertainment entrance fees. For teens, allowance may include a clothing budget. If your children run out of money, they can have no more until the next week. No borrowing. No advance. Learning delayed gratification is an incredibly important lesson for children. How Much? Proposed amounts vary from US$0.50 to US$1.00 for each year of age, depending on the parents’ financial situation and the social context in which the family is living. When deciding how much, consider the money spent each week responding to your child’s special requests for snacks or other items. You want to be sure that it is not so much that they can buy everything they want. With older teens in Singapore, one mother suggested that allowances that are too big and may support our kids’ engagement in drugs and alcohol, which are expensive pastimes. Interesting food for thought! For more information on this topic or specific support, kindly contact the SACAC Counselling office at 6733-9249 or via email at Photos by: Louish Pixel; Brendan Riley


ha Cha Cha is one restaurant where you won’t be seeing on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. In business for 25 years now, Cha Cha Cha has flourished while riding the ups and downs of Singapore’s ever-changing restaurant scene. When you ask the owners why they’ve survived, they’ll tell you their secret is that they serve big portions of tasty food and that the restaurant’s location on Lorong Mambong in Holland Village is key. They have a point: there are several restaurants on that street that have been in business for many years. In fact, Tango just across the street is also owned by the same family and has been in business almost equally long. But the real secret to their success may be restauranteur Helen Koh. A small woman at 5’3”, she has a giant understanding of the restaurant business here. She first opened El Felipe’s (now El Patio) on that very same street with a different partner and then she struck out on her own opening Cha Cha Cha – right next door! Tex-Mex was just what people from the States were craving and the place was primarily packed with American expats. Koh, herself married to an American, found her audience and started advertising in the Singapore American Newspaper in 1991. She’s never stopped. Today, the menu is pretty much the same, but the crowd is slightly different. While Americans still frequent their favorite haunt, more and more locals have fallen in love with the place continuing to come back time and again. Koh has opened a half dozen other restaurants as well. Some have succeeded. Some have not. Through it all, Koh remains

positive, letting failure roll off her back saying, “We tried. If you don’t try, you don’t know.” Her daughter, Anne Marie Chan, says her Singaporean mom is an incredibly hardworking businesswoman who has an uncanny sense for knowing what people want. Chan used to work in the restaurant as a teen and remembers nervously awaiting the craziness of packed house. “I’d stand there at five o’clock waiting for the first shift, almost afraid every night because it was always so busy.” Chan has now taken over the restaurant’s online marketing. Koh herself isn’t all that interested in social media. She believes in sticking to what works. Her motto is, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And Cha Cha Cha’s recipe for success is certainly not broke. Melinda Murphy is currently the editor-in-chief of Singapore American Newspaper. She is also EMMY award-winning television journalist who worked for many years as a correspondent for CBS News. Being a native Texan, she’s passionate about Tex-Mex! Photo by Eric Yip:


Singapore American • March 2015

Hawker History: The Spicy Story of Singapore Street Food By Kevin F. Cox


ingapore’s hawker centers are world famous for street food. But where did they come from and why isn’t the street food on the street? The history of modern Singapore reads like a political potboiler: of classic post-colonial growth by maverick characters maneuvering in the face of intense ethnic diversity to forge an unparalleled society and uphold it with strict rules and a bamboo cane. But another chapter in the story is about Singapore’s legendary food and the institution that delivers it to this day: the hawker center. The cornerstone of this nation’s culinary history, the hawker center is the magnum opus of gustatory creation; the ‘Hope diamond’ in a gastronomic sea of costume jewelry. And still the easiest place to eat some of the best food in the world.

ultimately proclaiming hawkers a “disorderly sprawl…in defiance of all order and reason.” Soon after, Singapore gained its independence, and with that freedom came the unresolved hawker dilemma. Growing pains Despite their importance in the new nation’s nutrition, Singapore’s hawkers were looked down upon as unattractive and haphazard. They were scorned as small-scale, povertystricken tradesmen; traditional rather than modern, common rather than cosmopolitan. Like the colonialists before them, the fledgling government was not happy about the situation. But what to do? Efforts were made to control the hawkers. In 1968, a massive registration effort was implemented, documenting each hawker and

to come together. By the time the effort was complete, there were 113 hawker centers across Singapore, housing more than 6,000 food stalls and feeding nearly everyone.

Colonial times Singapore’s early days started out with street food, cooked, sold and served outside. Men and women roamed the island, clanging bells or smacking wood blocks with sticks to announce the arrival of their food. Every day, in every neighborhood, these unknown, tireless cooks combed the streets with baskets, pots and woks strapped to bicycles and pushcarts or balanced on shoulder poles, all steaming with delectable food. They “hawked” the food that fed the population, lining the island’s curbs, thoroughfares and intersections with makeshift eateries laden with fiery cauldrons, steamers and woks. For 12-15 hours a day, they withstood the elements, preparing the food that not only sustained people’s bodies, but held their lives together. But there was a problem with this grass roots system of food delivery. With each hawker working on their own, parking their pushcarts wherever they could and competing for space with others, there was no infrastructure or organization: no fresh water, no sanitation, no trash removal. The waste generated by hawkers was piled on curbs or dumped into nearby rivers and swales. The resulting polluted waterways filled with litter, rotting food and bugs were unhealthy and embarrassing. And there were rats, lots of rats. Hawkers were the first to be blamed for cholera and typhoid outbreaks that periodically plagued the island. This did not sit well with colonial Singapore’s goal to become a modern city. So in the 1950s, a Hawker Inquiry Commission was formed,

moving them from the crowded streets to back alleys, open lots and empty car parks. Licenses were required, but most cooks ignored them, the cost cutting too deeply into their marginal profits. By 1973, illegal hawking was still rampant, so orders were given: solve the hawker problem. In young Singapore, rules needed to be followed, lest feeling the sting of a cane. The government took a tough stance. Unlicensed hawkers were classified as illegals and a Hawker’s Department Special Squad was formed to root out the scofflaws. Raids of stalls and pushcarts followed. Police confiscated hawkers’ equipment, dumped their food and shut them down. Violent conflicts exploded in the streets between cooks and cops, who abused the vendors by day, but ate their food by night. Because they, too, depended on street food to sustain their own families. Something had to change because the proud, blossoming county with lofty goals and global ambitions people still had to eat. And the hawker center was born. The idea was to create homes for the hawkers, subsidized by the government. Between 1971 and 1986, markets were constructed following a uniform model: concrete and tile stalls, each with electricity, clean running water and even refrigeration. The conditions were hygienic, with proper trash disposal, drainage and restrooms for all. These bastions of food service were built around housing estates, transportation hubs and places where people regularly gathered, and provided more than just a place to eat, but an agora for a nation

Hawker centers today Today, there are just over 100 functioning Food Centres, as they are now officially called. Beneath their open-air roofs are noisy, bustling, unadorned cocoons of culinary heaven, where people are usually hurried, hungry and hot (air-conditioning is courtesy only of ceiling fans). More Singaporeans rather eat at hawker centers today than cook at home, with a vast selection of food at prices cheaper than cooking it themselves. With a hygiene grading system of “A” to “D” (with virtually no stall below a “C”), the water is clean and drinkable, the food is fresh and the hawkers are respectful and honest. Indeed, hawker centers continue to be the kitchens of Singapore. Walking around a hawker center is a sensory adventure; a full-body workout, sweetened by culinary eye candy the likes of which you’ve not seen anywhere else. The din of happy eaters combines with the clanging of hot woks, the chopping of razor sharp cleavers and the sizzle

of good food cooking all around you. This dizzying kaleidoscope of smoke, smells and sounds mixes with the tension in your gut over what to order and the humid wash of sweat on your neck and back. But watch a cook working inside the stalls with the longest queues and you’ll witness the magic of a hawker legend. They are intense and focused; oblivious to

impatient looks of customers in a hurry. They take no shortcuts to serve the best of what they have: the best of who they are. Loyal customers will wait patiently at that one special stall among all the others, sometimes for half an hour or more, while the cook next door with the same menu at the same price sits idly by, twiddling his thumbs. If you’re smart you’ll get in line, too.

The story of Singapore’s street food is not over because even with the critical role that hawker centers play in Singapore society, the tide is slowly turning. Government subsidies are phasing out and hawker stall rents are increasing. Hawker legends are retiring or passing on, often with no one to take over the family business, with its long hours, hot kitchens and low profits. Globalization is changing personal tastes and with that come the usual fast-food giants, infiltrating the local culture and replacing it with soulless illusions of progress. This makes the future uncertain for the nation’s street food masters and, in turn, the very fabric of Singapore’s traditional culture. So just how do we preserve the national treasure that is Singapore’s street food? The answer is simple and delicious: get out to a hawker center and eat! Kevin F. Cox is a food and travel writer for numerous publications and online sites. Kevin believes in a low-tothe-ground approach to discovering local food and is the founder of Foodwalkers, a culinary exploration network found at Photos by Kevin F. Cox


Singapore American • March 2015

Singapore Museums Celebrating SG50 By Lucia Damacela


ingapore is bursting with art and cultural events planned to commemorate its 50th anniversary as an independent nation. Museums play a major role in these celebrations, with innovative exhibitions that examine the country’s history, the region’s rich heritage, arts, sciences and technological developments. Although it would be impossible to include all of the country’s more than 50 museums, this article presents selected highlights related to the SG50 celebration, all taking place during the first half of the year. ArtScience Museum ArtScience kickstarts SG50 with Prudential Singapore Eye, an exhibition of contemporary art from 17 Singapore artists, selected by a panel of international curators. The Global Prudential Eye Programme, which this year has focused on Singapore, has showcased artists from Asia since 2008. After concluding its run at ArtScience, on June 28, the exhibition will move to Saatchi Gallery in London, presenting Singapore contemporary art to a wider audience. National Archives A collection of more than 1,000 interviews with full audio recordings are available at the National Archives oral history portal with the goal of adding 100 more each month. You can search text within an interview and “jump” to the Time Markers identified on more than 3,000 records. National Library of Singapore The National Library has put together an exhibition and programme, Geo|Graphic: Celebrating maps and their stories, which provides a window to Singapore’s early history before the arrival of the British in 1819 by exploring maps, and celebrating the sense of adventure and discovery intrinsic to the act of mapping. Highlights include the Singapore’s first topographical and city map, and other early maps of South East Asia and Singapore, from the National Library and the British Library collections. This exhibition is accompanied by installation and video works created by Singaporean contemporary artists. Geo|Graphic will run until July 19. National Museum of Singapore The National Museum exhibits Singapora: 700 years, ongoing until August. Thorough and immersive, Singapora includes current archaeological findings and a historic overview from the 14th Century to 20th Century covering independent Singapore, Colonial times, the Japanese occupation and the post-war turmoil. The museum is currently undergoing a major revamp and set to reopen galleries in September. Singapore Art Museum The Asia Pacific Brewery Foundation Signature Art Prize runs until mid-March and displays the works of the 15 finalists, including the prize winners. Medium at Large, presented until May 26, revisits contemporary concepts, materials, and processes used to make art within the context of Southeast Asia. The Learning Gallery shows Once Upon this Island, an exploration of the lives and stories of Singaporeans, seen through the eyes of contemporary local artists. SAM’s annual art platform for children is coming up in March. Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas explores the crescent moon from the Singapore flag, as a symbol of a rising nation. Of course, there are several museums whose permanent collections also explore Singapore’s heritage. Singapore Philatelic Museum displays a comprehensive collection of Singapore stamps, “miniature pieces of art”

that capture snapshots of history. The Asian Civilisations Museum displays artifacts that illustrate an integrated history of the cultures of Southeast Asia, West Asia, China and South Asia. It’s sister museum, The Peranakan Museum, displays furniture, textiles and other objects that showcase the lives and culture of the Peranakans, the descendants of foreign traders and adventurers arriving as early as the 14th Century from China, India, Arabia and Europe, who settled and married locally. In addition to exhibits, most museums also schedule special programs. Heritage Centers, art schools and art galleries have enticing exhibits and events, too. A final reminder: most museums offer free guided tours at specific times. Joining a guided tour will enhance the museum experience by providing a framework to the exploration. Now celebrating it’s Golden Jubilee, Singapore looks back and recognizes what it has become, in the works of art created by its people. These works might also provide a glimpse of what it may become. This is a fine time to bask in the glow of its accomplishments. Lucia Damacela moved to Singapore with her family in 2013. A social psychologist and researcher by training, she has started foraying into creative writing and recently contributed a short story to the book “Rojak – Stories from the Singapore Writers Group.” Lucia is a museum docent who guides at the Singapore Art Museum, writes about culture and life in Singapore and blogs in Spanish at Photos by Lucia Damacela


Singapore American • March 2015

Art Reflecting Life: Celebrating SG50 in the Arts By Nithia Devan


the exhibition “These Sacred Things” which features many local artists who have worked with the Esplanade in the past.

he arts will join in the year-long birthday bash to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary. Expect a vibrant scene with lots of events to choose from. Here is a taste of things to come… The Esplanade ( “The Studios: fifty” is a celebration of five decades of Singapore English theater. The 50 iconic English-language plays chosen honor

theater practioners who have made Singapore English theater what it is today. There will be five, full-length productions and 16 sets of dramatized readings. The full-length plays in the line-up are Emily Of Emerald Hill by Stella Kon; The Weight Of Silk On Skin by Huzir Sulaiman; Off Centre by Haresh Sharma; Descendants Of The Eunuch Admiral by Kuo Pao Kun and The Lady Of Soul And Her Ultimate ‘S’ Machine by Tan Tarn How. Also for SG50, the Esplanade is commissioning collaboration between the Philharmonic Orchestra

and Singapore dance company Arts Fission for an all-in-one symphonic-dance-theatre production featuring the music of pioneer-generation local composers. There are plans to welcome back many international artists with whom it has forged close relations over the years, such as Lin Hwai-Min’s internationally renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre from Taiwan and British choreographer Akram Khan. Exhibitions of visual art at the Esplanade will feature Singaporean artists who will explore three themes that reflect a nation’s DNA: Things (The Body), Places (The Soul) and People (The Spirit). 2015 begins with

W!ld Rice ( One of the leading local theater companies, W!ld Rice celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2015. To mark both milestones, the company will present imagiNATION, a season of five exciting new productions inspired by the stars of the Singapore flag, which represent democracy, peace, progress, equality and justice. The productions are: Public Enemy, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's powerful and timely classic, which will challenge the easy assumptions associated with DEMOCRACY. Another Country, a Singapore-Malaysia coproduction will bring together the finest writers and performers from both sides of the Causeway to reflect on the history, culture and PEACE shared by two countries that were separated at birth. Hotel, a work commissioned for the Singapore International Festival of Arts, is a stirring epic that observes Singapore's PROGRESS through the prism of one hotel room and its inhabitants over the past five decades. The pantomime, The Emperor's New Clothes, adds a cheeky local twist to Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale about EQUALITY. The season will end in April 2016 with a new production, currently a work in progress, examining the concept of JUSTICE. “WR15 coincides, of course, with SG50,” said Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of W!LD

RICE. “The entire country will be caught up in a year-long celebration of what makes us uniquely Singaporean, and we plan to join in the festivities in our very own W!LD way.” He added, “Audiences can look forward to a surprising, thought-provoking and perhaps more nuanced celebration of who we are, and what it means to live in Singapore today.” Toy Factory ( A new production of a theatre classic is Titoudao by Toy Factory will also make its appearance this year. The production, in English, Mandarin and Hokkien, tells the story of Singapore’s real-


Singapore American • March 2015

50 original works in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The book will include short fiction, poetry, plays and graphic novel extracts.

life street-opera star, Madame Oon Ah Chiam, a kampung girl struggling between being an actress and conforming to societal norms in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Her son the playwright/director/ artistic director of Toy Factory, Goh Boon Teck, wrote the play.

The Singapore International Festival of the Arts Running from June through September, the festival will look to both the past and future of made-in-Singapore performance art under the theme “Post Empire.” (Details not available yet). This is a snapshot of what’s in store. SG50 aims to celebrate the Singapore Spirit and all that makes Singapore the unique city it is. And the arts, irrespective of whether it’s theater, art galleries, film and more, make a great way to learn and understand the history and values of this country.

Spotlight on Singapore Cinema At the refurbished Capitol Building in North Bridge Road, three to four iconic films will be screened in September depicting Singapore in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Other much anticipated films are 1965, the movie about Singapore’s troubled times and 7 Letters is a series of seven films celebrating life in Singapore in form of drama, musicals or dialect love stories, by seven celebrity directors. Singapore Writers Festival ( Local writers, including Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award recipients, will pool their creations for this year’s festival which takes place from October 30 to November 8. The goal is to publish and launch an anthology of

Nithia Devan is a freelance marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor. She is a keen supporter of the arts in Singapore, especially theater. Her other passions are cookery, cinema, travel, art and crafts. Nithia also writes for City Nomads, a guide to what's happening in Singapore, Photos courtesy of The Esplanade;Toy Factory; W!ld Rice.


Singapore American • March 2015

Ambassador's Cup 2015 By Chris Milliken

• Free flow of beer and soft drinks • Lucky Draw (more than $50K in prizes!) • Snacks • Goody Bag loaded with treats • Prizes for teams that place first, second and third; “Beat the Pro” awards; and more • Grand Dinner • Great hotel rates!


ello Golfers! It is my pleasure as the Honorary Chairperson to invite you to the 2015 Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament. This great event will be held on Saturday, April 18 at the Palm Resort Golf & Country Club in Senai Johor, Malaysia. The Ambassador’s Cup has been taking place for many years. In fact, the first annual golf tournament began in 1947 and then was renamed as the Ambassador’s Cup 20 years later. It’s a great tradition older than Singapore itself! Having been to the Ambassador’s Cup myself over the past few years, I must say that this is a very fun day of golf. Whatever your level, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. For this year’s Texas Scramble, we will keep our widely approved of scoring system, taking everyone’s handicap into consideration. How can you pass this up? For only $295 for AAS members ($365 for non-members) you will receive: • Continental Breakfast welcome • 18 holes of Golf at a great golf course • Lunch

and wives, golfers and non-golfers. I suggest bringing the family and booking a room at the Palm Resort for an additional night or two and taking advantage of the facilities. The rooms are large and it’s a quick trip from Singapore. If you are looking for a fun weekend at a great value, please be sure to sign up now!

Tips: Be sure to leave with plenty of travel time in the morning if you are not staying the night before. Consider sharing a transport van to and from the resort.

And that’s not all. Once again, shuttle vans will be provided between the hotel and the recently opened Premium Outlets in Johor. Non-golfing partners had a great time shopping last year! So this event is a fantastic outing for the whole family: guys and gals, husbands

If you are new to Singapore, ask around and I’m sure that you will hear that this event is lots of fun. It’s also a great opportunity to become a member of the American Association of Singapore (AAS). Participating is a fantastic way to meet other people, too. So be sure to tell your friends and sign up today! Fore!!!

A Sports Day of Days Gone By By Lindy Hiemstra


have a new favorite pastime: talking to taxi drivers about spider fighting. Truth is, I’d never heard of spider fighting until one day I was in the back of a taxi driving by the construction site on Orchard Boulevard where the old, yellow Eton House used to be. The taxi driver mentioned that this used to be his favorite spot to catch spiders for fighting. “You used to fight spiders?” I asked. Boy, did he. He went on and on about the good ol’ days of spider fighting. “We used to find two leaves stuck together. Inside, there were the kinds of spiders you wanted. You only caught the males and you had to be fast because these are jumping spiders, Eventually, you could tame them and they’d be your friend. If you got a good spider, you were lucky. And we’d have to catch house flies for them to eat.” So I asked the next taxi driver about it – and the next – and the next. All of them had fought spiders as a child. Each said they used to keep their spiders in a large matchbox with some leaves. To fight them, they’d put them on top of the matchbox. The spiders would charge each other, raising up, arching their abdomens, grappling, even pushing, one another. It wasn’t a blood sport. There was no fight to the death. Eventually, one would just run away, losing the match. It was more about which spider was less scared of the other one. The one who won was called “King Spider” until another spider came along to claim the title. Most battled the beautiful, iridescent spiders known as Thiana Bhamoensis also called fighting spiders or jumping spiders. The females are more green, the males more blue. And it wasn’t just the kids who got into it: the elderly used to bet on the spider fights! Turns out, spider fighting was practiced all over Asia with a wide variety of spider species. It was a part of the fabric of social life here. It was so popular that Ming Cher wrote a book called Spider Boys and there was even a local television show called Fighting Spiders. Spider fighting has gone the way of marbles and jacks. Kids these days prefer screen time. Just one more change over the past 50 years in Singapore.

Lindy Hiemstra is a freelance writer who has had her work published in a variety of outlets in the US. She is the mother of two small children who are, at this point, much more likely to scream at a spider than try to catch it for fighting. Photo by Azhar Kapten

Singapore American • March 2015




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



From 1 March Ancient Religions Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place Daily 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm From 1 March Chinese Ink Works from Lee Kong Chian Collection of Chinese Art Lee Kong Chian Library, NUS 50 Kent Ridge Crescent Tuesday-Friday 10am-7pm; Weekends 10am-6pm 1 March – 31 May Medium at Large Shapeshifting Material & Methods in Contemporary Art Singapore Art Museum 71 Bras Basah Road Monday-Sunday 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm 1 March – 1 July RETURN TO SENDER – An Exhibition Celebrating Elvis’s 80th Birthday Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street Monday, 1-7pm; Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30am-7pm 1 March – 10 August SINGAPURA: 700 years National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road 10am-6pm 8 March & 12 April Straits Family Sunday Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian Street 1-5pm From 21 May Great Peranakans – Fifty Remarkable Lives Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian Street Daily 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm ENTERTAINMENT ENTE


3 March Lindsey Stirling Shatter Me Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands 4 & 5 March Evocation 2015: Shamiyaana UCC Theatre 5 – 8 March TEAHOUSE – Beijing People’s Art Theatre Esplanade Theatre 12 – 15 March Sleeping Beauty Esplanade Theatre 15 March An Afternoon with The BBC Singers (SSO) Victoria Concert Hall 17 March The Best of Rufus Wainwright Esplanade Theatre

20 March Words and Music: A Love Story Told in Jazz UCC Hall


21 March AMIS International Honor Band & Orchestra Music Festival Singapore American School

8 March Green Corridor Run Tanjong Pagar Rail Station 9am

21 March Concerts for Children: Adventures in the Magical Kingdom (SSO) Victoria Concert Hall

22 March Runninghour 2015: Run So Others Can Marina Bay 7am

21 March – 12 April Disney’s Beauty & The Beast Grand Theatre MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

28 March Twilight Ultra Challenge 2015 East Coast Park, Area F Casuarina Grove Event Site 7pm

22 March Concerts for Children Adventures in the Magical Kingdom (SSO) Victoria Concert Hall 24 March O for the Wings of a Dove The Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge Esplanade Concert Hall 31 March Ngee Ann City Presents Pink Martini USA Esplanade Theatre 21 April The Script Singapore Indoor Stadium 22 & 23 May Young Children’s Concert The Little Adventurer of SCO : Fascinating Sound Waves SCO Concert Hall LIFESTYLE


26 – 29 March SAVOUR 2015 – Come Celebrate The Delicious F1 Pit Building EDUCATION E


From 1 March UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2015/2016 open now Dover or East Campus 4 March Open House Canadian International School Tanjong Katong Campus 371 Tanjong Katong Road 9am 20 March Open House Stamford American International School 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am

29 March FairPrice Walks With U 2015 Singapore Sports Hub 4pm

Brunch with the Bunny A round-up of a few of our favorite Easter brunches in Singapore Sunday, April 5 Grand Hyatt 11:30am-3pm $98++ per adult $58++ per child (5-12 years old) Includes many activities for children and a child minder from 12-4pm For reservations: 67381234 or Hotel Fort Canning, The Grand Marquee, Level 2 12-4pm $68++ per adult $34++ per child (4-12 years old) Children below 4 years old dine for free For reservations: 6559 6760 or Marina Mandarin, AquaMarine 12-3pm; also offers Easter brunch on Friday and Saturday the same weekend $88++ per adult $44++ per child (5-12 years old) For reservations: 6845 1111 or aquamarine.marina@ Regent Singapore, Basilico 12-3pm $248++ per adult (free flow champagne and wine) $208++ per adult (free flow Prosecco and wine) $168++ per adult (buffet only) $84++ per child (5-12 years old) For reservations: 6725 3232 or The American Club, Colonial Room Only members may book the brunch and bring guests 10am-12noon (first seating) 12:45-2:45pm (second seating) $49.95 Adult Member $64.95 Adult Guest $26.95 Child Member (under 12) $32.95 Child Guest (under 12) Child (under 5): dines for free with paying adult For reservations, 6737 3411 or The White Rabbit 10am-3pm $108++ per adult $58++ per child (6-12 years old) Additional $88++ per person for free flow of Torresella Prosecco Brut-Spumante and House Red/White For reservations text 9721 0536 or email or online via Chope For more Easter brunches in Singapore, please log onto our website at

Singapore American • March 2015

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