Singapore American Newspaper March 2018

Page 1


Since 1958

March 2018

American Association..... 1-5 Member Discounts............. 3 CRCE & Business............... 6 Community News......... 8-11 Travel........................ 12-14




Health & Wellness...... 15-16 Education........................ 16 Sports & Fitness.......... 17-22

Community News 8-11

Travel 12-14

Education 16

Sports & Fitness 17-22

What’s Happening.......... 23

Don't Miss the Deadline, Make Your Vote Count

Christmas in Cambodia: the Wonders of Angkor

Educational Robotics in Early Childhood

Combining Fun and Fitness in the Lion City MCI (P) 197/03/2017

Cirque Spectacular: The 85th George Washington Ball By Cath Forte


he George Washington Ball (GWB) returned to the elegant W Singapore – Sentosa Cove on Saturday, February 10. The playful theme, Cirque Spectacular, was evident from the incredible outfits of the guests through to the creative styling of the ballroom. Decadence was in abundance, as guests were treated to fine wine, craft beer and themed cocktails, courtesy of PengWine, The Vintage Club, Brewerkz and House of Rum, along with a delicious four-course meal. Face painters added a little extra glitz and glamor, while Chan Wai from Art of Awakening wowed guests with his live art. Before the formal ceremonies got underway, we had a special cirque-inspired performance from two incredible gymnasts, Edlyn Ho Zen Yee and Tong Kah Mun, SEA Games 2017 medalists from Singapore Gymnastics National Training Centre, which set the tone for the night. The US Navy Color Guard opened the formal ceremonies, followed by a breathtaking performance of the Singapore and US national anthems, sung by Rohini Prabhakar, an 11th

grade student from Singapore American School. Master of Ceremonies, Glenn van Zutphen, then introduced our speakers to the stage. American Association of Singapore (AAS) President Stephanie Nash welcomed guests and thanked all those who had worked so hard to make the event possible. She also introduced members of Singapore Children’s Society, the charity chosen to benefit from the evening. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., US Embassy Singapore, gave the evening a personal perspective as she eloquently described the American community in Singapore and the key role played by AAS in bringing this community together, both in times of joy and times of need. Jive Talkin’ and DJ Rico took the evening’s entertainment to another level, keeping the dance floor packed with happy vibes and pumping party tunes. Lucky winners took home an array of prizes from the lucky draw and silent auctions, including wonderful trips, jewelry, fine art and home décor pieces, digging deep to support a very worthy

Centennial Partners

American Association of Singapore – Since 1917

cause. We are incredibly grateful to our very generous prize donors, corporate sponsors and AAS partners for their support. This year’s program featured not only a lucky draw and silent auction, but also a very special live auction, expertly facilitated by auctioneer Shaun McEwan. With a golf club membership, sports tickets, a wine dinner and a jaw-dropping diamond necklace among the prizes, the room was abuzz with excitement as bidders went head-to-head. Events of this magnitude can only be successful with a huge amount of work behind the scenes and this year’s GWB was no exception. Valerie Brandt’s tireless work as the chair of the GWB committee, along with Blair Hall, AAS Executive Committee representative, and the dedicated committee members, brought Cirque Spectacular alive with magic and sparkle. And, AAS Events Manager Sarah Walston’s attention to even the tiniest of details ensured a spectacular evening for everyone. Photo courtesy of Mobile Art Studio and Suppliers


Singapore American · March 2018

A message from the President... Oh, what a night! We’re still flying high after our phenomenal evening at Cirque Spectacular, the 85th George Washington Ball! We had the most wonderful evening and were so glad to share it with our members, sister organizations, sponsors and friends. You can read all about it in our cover story and check out the photos from the night on our website and on pages 4 and 5 of this issue. We’ve had a fantastic start to our new activity groups, including some fun meet ups during January and February. Our Sports Watchers got together to cheer on the men’s and women’s finalists in the Australian Open Tennis, as well as a great morning at Brewerkz watching the Eagles beat the Patriots in a nail-biting Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Family Fun group had some friendly competition at mini golf and the inaugural Bowling Night was hotly contested at Kallang Bowl. Our Spanish speakers had a fun time getting to know each other better at Coffee en Español, and our first movie group enjoyed watching I, Tonya. Further events are scheduled for the coming months, including our first Taste Buds meet up for all the foodies out there. Take a look at the full schedule of upcoming meet ups on page 7. If you have an idea for a new group we’d love to hear from you, drop us an email: We’ve been enjoying welcoming new members to our community at Newbie Night and our Living in Singapore Talk. Whether you’re new to Singapore or just new to the American Association of Singapore (AAS), all members are welcome. Even those who have lived in Singapore for a while found they learned a few new things from our specialist speakers. If you missed the talk, but would like to find out more, the Living in Singapore Reference Guide, now in its 14th Edition, is available to purchase from our website or at our office. There's a lot more fun on the calendar for the coming months, with our next major event, the Spring Fling, scheduled for April 14. We’re looking forward to an afternoon of fun and friendship for the whole community, Kentucky Derby-style. Put the date in your diary and we’ll look forward to seeing you there! At this time of year, we’re usually busy preparing for the Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament. Golf fans will have to wait a little longer, though, as this year the tournament will be held in October. More details will follow in later issues of the Singapore American – we will let you know as soon as the date is set! Our next Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 13, at which we will be announcing some constitutional changes. Please join us for some light refreshments at The American Club, as we provide the lowdown on what happened at AAS during 2017 and share our plans for the coming year. I look forward to meeting you at an AAS event soon. Best wishes,

SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Cath Forte, Publishing Editor: Sarah Alden,

DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen,

ADVERTISING Advertising Consultant: Valerie Tietjen,

CONTRIBUTORS Sumedh Bhattacharya, Dr. Wayne Burnett, Faith Chanda, Annette Lang, Francine Martindale, Dr. Méli Noël, Bill Poorman, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Kinjal Shah, Frances Strong, Eadren Tan For AAS: Cath Forte

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @AmAssocSG, #AmAssocSG


Singapore American · March 2018

AAS Tuesday




13 March

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Coffee Connexions

Living in Singapore Talk

Join us for morning coffee at Privé Orchard where you’ll have the opportunity to make new connexions and catch up with old ones, too. There’s no fee to join, but attendees are required to purchase at least one drink/coffee (minimum). 9:30 – 11am Privé Orchard, Wheelock Place (outside), 501 Orchard Road, (S)238880 Free of charge, but registration required. This event is open to AAS members. Interested guests are welcome to attend one Coffee Connexions event as a non-member.

Annual General Meeting

Calling all AAS members! Come join us as we combine business and fun. Owing to the popular demand of AAS Quiz Nights, we will be having a special flash fun round of trivia questions prior to official business, so put your game hat on and come ready to play! There will be chocolates, lucky draw prizes, food and wine to be enjoyed. We look forward to seeing you there. If you can't attend, but would still like to vote, please see the website for details on how to complete a proxy form. 7 – 8:30pm The American Club, 3rd floor, 10 Claymore Hill, (S)229573 An AAS members-only event (free of charge; $10 no-show fee applies)


20 March


22 March


28 March

Helping Hands at Willing Hearts

Do you have some free time to lend a hand to the less fortunate in the community? Join volunteers and staff from AAS at Willing Hearts to prepare, pack and distribute meals to those in need in Singapore. Register to show your support for this charitable act. 8:30-11:30am Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen, 11 Jalan Ubi Blk 6 #01-51 Kembangan-Chai Chee Community Hub, (S)409074 Registration is required.

Attendees got the inside scoop on navigating life in Singapore at this popular biannual event, presented by AAS and the Singapore American School PTA. Participants learned all about Health & Wellness, Finances Abroad and Regional Travel, while enjoying wine and nibbles at The American Club on January 24. A special thank you to our fantastic panel of speakers including Dr. June Tan Sheren of International Medical Clinic, Jacqui Rankin of AAM Advisory and Cecilia Yee of Flight Centre Asia.

Coffee Connexions

A small but perfectly formed meet up took place at Privé Orchard on February 5. With conversation ranging from the best pre-schools and how to deal with a ‘threenager’ to job opportunities in Singapore, we really enjoyed making new connexions.

Quiz Night

Test Your Brain! There’s nothing better than beer and bragging rights. Featuring some special rounds on American TV shows plus exciting minute to win it challenges. Come match wits against your friends and walk away a champ. Includes a beer or glass of wine per person and a snack per table. 7 – 9pm Brewerkz Riverside Point 30 Merchant Road, #01-05/06 Riverside Point, (S)058282 $35 AAS Members or $180 AAS Member team of six

Unscripted Experiences

An evening of wine and canapés with three inspirational authors who will share their compelling journeys and personal experiences of writing their debut books. Authors: Stephanie Chen, Ritu Hemnani and Annie Joseph. 7 – 9pm Hollandse Club, 22 Camden Park, (S)299814 $20 AAS Members, $35 Non-Members

American Association of Singapore's

Annual General Meeting The 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, March 13. Proposed constitutional changes will be voted on. If you can't attend, but would still like to vote, please see the website for details on how to complete a proxy form.

For more info and to register for an event:


AAS members enjoy discounts at a range of local businesses. Present your AAS membership card at time of purchase. Please see a full list of discounts at

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

AAS members enjoy two hours free handyman service (valued at over $200) on their moving day when booking a move with Allied Pickfords.

Present AAS membership card to receive 15% off total bill. Valid for dine in on a la carte menu at all Brewerkz and Cafe Iguana restaurants through December 31, 2018. Limit to one redemption per bill, per table. Not valid on concert days, eve of and on public holidays, with lunch menu, other set menus, discounts, vouchers, promotions or privileges. The management reserves the right to amend the terms & conditions without prior notice.

Only for AAS members. Enjoy 20% off travel insurance all year round, and S$100 per couple when you book a holiday package* with Flight Centre *Package comprises of at least flight and accommodation. Contact your dedicated travel team at 6692 9658 or visit or more info.

the 85th George Washington Ball








Photos courtesy of Erick Lo Photography and Mobile Art Studio and Suppliers

THANKS TO COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS! 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok Aarti Bartake American Dragons Singapore Art of Awakening ARTitude Galería Big Blue Bulgari Caliwines Casey Salon cloud9 Covetella

Cutis Medical Laser Clinics

Imaj Private Villas


Deer Industries



Delta Air Lines

Laguna National Golf & Country Club

Steve Golden Photography



Telunas Resorts


Lightfoot Travel

The American Club

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Mendis Aesthetics & Surgery

The Ploh Group

Flight Centre Travel Group

Mocca Boutique & Home Décor

The Vintage Club

Flower Diamond Boutique

Moët Hennessy Diageo

To Be Calm

Hedger’s Carpet Gallery


Valerie Brandt

HomeAway Asia

Praveen Lingamneni

W Singapore – Sentosa Cove

House of Rum

Shang Antique

WTA Singapore


COMMITTEE Paulina Böhm, Dana Cheong, Ally Dishong, Alexandra Fancher, Garima Lalwani, Chris Milliken, Michelle Scurfield, Dana Thompson, Kristina Thompson



“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”

Nurses Our medical clinic, launched over 18 years ago, is currently seeking nurses to assist us in providing the international community with the level of medical care and professionalism that they would expect in their home country. (job #3569)


Art Educator Our art studio is committed to nurturing creativity in children and we intend to bring out the best of their individual ability by closely guiding them. We are currently looking for an Art Educator to join our team. We provide excellent training, support and motivation to help you succeed. (job #3593)

A Conversation with Eadren Tan Transitions and Organizational Coach Tell us about yourself As a Transitions and Organizational Coach, I work with people in what is commonly referred to as a ‘transition stage’ of life. This includes, but is not limited to, people who are in-between jobs, relocating or simply feeling 'stuck' in their current phase of life. My role is to support them on this journey by guiding them through deep dives leading to self-realisation and newfound awareness of their mental, physical and emotional states.

What do you love most about your job? I love seeing how what I do lifts people to new heights in so many unexpected ways, and how the ripple effect spreads rapidly into the personal, social and occupational aspects of their lives. I enjoy seeing the impact on individuals, as well as those around them, as they find more fulfilled and authentic ways of being; allowing them to fully enjoy what life has to offer.

Whom do you typically help and what do they need help with? I typically help professionals, managers, executives and business people. Some feel like they are 'stuck', others have no idea what they're doing wrong in their lives or just need some guidance on how to move on more meaningfully, either in their professional or personal setting. I also work with young people, both those who are getting ready to join the professional world and those in a role who are looking for ways to progress.

Tell me about your coaching sessions Coaching sessions typically last around

90 minutes and consist of a two-way dialogue. Through discussion and deep thought, we delve to unravel and reveal hidden answers. Transformational journeys often take a few months to work through and a release of emotions is often part of the process.

What will participants take away from your sessions? During the first few sessions, we work together to define and understand the issues. From there, we look at the possible routes that can be taken to get to where they want to be. In between sessions, clients work on the actions and practices we’ve identified as necessary in order to embark on their transformational journey. All this leads to a fresh way of being that is more enriching and satisfying, which results in a better quality of life.

PERSONAL DEVELOPEMENT Come experience a complimentary one-toone coaching session and take the first step towards a positive shift in your life.

Coaching for Success with Eadren Tan Tuesday, March 6 · 11am – 12pm · 2 – 3pm Tuesday, March 20 · 2 – 3pm · 3:15 – 4:15pm FREE taster sessions for CRCE members

If you could suggest three things that people might do to help adjust to life in Singapore, what would they be? 1) Be open-minded, receptive and non-judgmental of whatever might come your way, whether it’s fashion, food, language, cultural/behavioral differences, etc. 2) Take the road less travelled – go to the heartlands (where most Singaporeans live). Volunteer in local grassroots movements and charities that reach out to the less fortunate to understand this is not Utopia. 3) Watch local TV serial dramas and documentaries! It is the fastest way to integrate and understand what goes on inside the minds of the locals. This tip is pretty useful everywhere!

NEW! Hot-desking at AAS Looking for somewhere to work? AAS is opening its doors to offer CRCE members use of its new co-working space.

For more info:


Senior Accountant Our international operation, specializing in engineering and construction, camp construction and life support, aviation, logistics and procurement, and international development, is currently looking for a Senior Accountant. Applicants with an accountancy qualification, ACCA or equivalent preferred. Minimum five years of finance/accounting experience, with at least two years in a leadership position. (job #3594) Operations Auditor (part-time) Our international operation, specializing in engineering and construction, camp construction and life support, aviation, logistics and procurement, and international development, is currently looking for a parttime Operations Auditor. Degree required, preferably in accounting, finance, business administration or related field, plus a minimum of three years' work experience related to audit, accounting, finance and operations. (job #3595) Events Manager Our organization is seeking a bright, dynamic, independent professional Events Manager to join our Business Services Team with immediate start. She/he will report to the Executive Director, and will be working alongside the Business Services Manager and Senior Events Manager. The successful candidate will be an excellent team player with at least three years of experience in planning and executing events in the business and social arena. (job #3596) Advertising Manager A non-profit organization is seeking a motivated and dynamic Advertising Manager to join our friendly team. The successful candidate will be a strong and persuasive communicator, with excellent presentation and negotiation skills. The role is ideal for someone with a keen attention to detail and a desire to build and maintain lasting relationships with customers. (job #3597) Swim Coaches Our swim school is hiring! We’re currently looking for energetic, motivated people with a passion for teaching. Experience and swim related qualifications would be preferred but in house training and Austswim will be provided for the right candidates. Full-time and part-time coach positions available. (job #3598)



Activity Groups

19 17

Singapore American · March 2018

We’ve had a great time getting started with our new activities and interest groups with our first bowling nights, coffee en Español meet ups, a fun family afternoon at mini golf, trips to playgrounds and more. We have more fun planned for March. Take a look at the following options and, if you see something you like, head on over to our website to sign up.

Patriot Partners

Eagle Partners

Taste Buds

Family Fun Bowling @SuperBowl

Westlake @5 Farrer Road

Saturday, March 10, 4 – 6pm

March 15, 7pm

Will the kids beat the adults? Join the fun at SuperBowl to find out! Bring the family for a relaxed afternoon of friendly competition. Register on our website and the group coordinator will contact you with exact details of where to meet.

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

Stars & Stripes

Comedy Night at the Merry Lion Wednesday, March 14 Cost $25 Doors open 6pm, performance begins 8pm

Kids’ Outings

Need a good laugh? Join us for a comedy night as UK comedian, Shazia Mirza, entertains us as part of Women’s March at the Merry Lion. This intimate, quirky venue operates a free-seating policy, so book your tickets online at and drop an email to to let us know you’ll be joining. Tickets and drinks are at attendees own cost.

Marine Cove @East Coast Park

The evening is not suitable for children.

Bowling Night (Adults) Tuesday, March 27, 7pm

Cost $15

Sunday, March 18, 10am – 12pm Join us for a morning of fun at East Coast Park. There’s a fantastic playground, with plenty of space to run around, plus lots of things to climb on and slide down for little kids (and big ones, too!). Your little ones will be sure to burn off plenty of energy while they make some new friends. Exact meeting location will be confirmed to registered attendees by email.

Coffee en Español Wednesday, March 21, 9:30am

Join us at Kallang Bowl for a lively night of bowling and conversation. Come along as an individual or with friends; there will be plenty of fun to go around! We’ll reserve the lanes, and the games will start at 7pm. You’ll also need to cover the cost of your shoes and any drinks or food (cash only for food/drinks).

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

Movie Night

Sports Watchers

What’s your favorite movie genre? We’re planning to cover them all with our monthly trip to the flicks. We meet early evening at the Shaw Lido, a convenient location for Orchard MRT and many bus routes. If you’d like to join us for the March movie, please email to register your interest and we’ll be in touch with details of the chosen movie and date once the schedules have been released.

Men's NCAA Basketball Finals, Boomarang Tuesday, April 3 (time TBC) Come on out to watch the Men's NCAA Basketball Finals! We’re waiting for the teams to be confirmed, but save the date and we’ll cheer our favorites on together. There’s no fee to join, but food and beverage is at attendees' own expense.

There’s no fee to join the groups, however some activities require you to pay a fee for entry. Food and beverages should be covered by the individual/family. Please register on our website so we know you are coming and can make reservations where appropriate. Do you have an idea for a new group we could offer? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us an email:

Have fun, give back, be involved!


Singapore American · March 2018




Voting in 2018 US Elections Consular Section


our vote counts! Did you know that many US elections for house and senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline. Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2018 US elections: 1. Request your ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, US Senate and US House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all US states and territories. You can complete the FPCA online at The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options. 2. Receive and complete your ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. 3. Return your completed ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may also drop off completed voting materials during regular business hours at the US Embassy Singapore. Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic US postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials. 4. New this year – email-to-fax service by FVAP! The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to states that do not accept emailed documents. Researching the candidates and issues: online resources Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Nonpartisan information about candidates, their voting records and their positions on issues is widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts ( FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact US Embassy Singapore’s Voting Assistance Officer at Remember, your vote counts! Be absent but accounted for!


Singapore American · March 2018

Combining Camping and Service

Sports for Cub Scouts

By Sumedh Bhattacharya

By Francine Martindale



he past few months have been busy for Cub Scouts Pack 3017. We’ve had several pack activities and Scouts of all levels have been working on their badges and requirements with their Dens. One fun event was our Indoor Sports Day, back in September, where the Webelos organized sport games for the younger Scouts to try.

couting is full of new experiences and learning opportunities. It is a great chance to acquire leadership skills while bonding with others from diverse backgrounds and understanding differences in traditions and customs. From the beginning of my adventure in scouting with Troop 07 (six years ago), I have enjoyed every moment of service and leadership, and all the life skills that I have picked up. Personally, however, there is one section of scouting that I enjoy the most: camping. Camping combines all the skills and lessons absorbed, allowing scouts to bond and have fun. One of my favorite camps was held last summer in Nepal, alongside the charity Habitat for Humanity. The adult volunteers from Habitat for Humanity selected a site, obtained permissions and coordinated with the troops. After camping in the Nepal mountainside for four nights, the Boy Scouts reported to the site to help build houses. Scouts from all over Asia split into groups and started working. Jobs varied from making bricks to pouring concrete. As an older scout, I had a greater experience with leadership, helping younger scouts and making sure that the allocated jobs were done. At the end of each day, we got to enjoy the beautiful sunset, which accompanied the incredibly satisfying work that we did earlier. After a few days of service, the scouts had to say goodbye to Nepal, but everyone had gained new experiences and skills, but most importantly memories of the great camp-out. We all came back stronger, better scouts.

Since then, the Scouts have met up for walks, hikes and Wheel Day, which involved each Scout bringing his favorite ‘wheels’ to use at Pasir Ris Park. Some brought scooters, while others had bikes or skateboards. “For kids this age, it’s important to get them outside and active. With Scouts, they have this unique opportunity to get out into the real world, experiencing sports both as teams and individually,” said Den Leader, Neetu Mirchandani. “Sporting activities have always been a big part of the Scouting experience, and give Scouts a chance to enjoy recreational sports without the pressure that may come from competitive sports teams.”

Several traditional outdoor activities were undertaken recently at the big Scouts Campout, where Dens engaged in friendly tug-of-war matches and kick ball in the sports field, as well as geocaching around the camp. Sarimbun always offers lots of chances for the Cubs to get up close to nature and this campout didn’t disappoint, with a few animal sightings, including a large spider eating a gecko! In the coming months, we look forward to dragon boating and raft-building, as well as our annual community service activity. For more information about Cub Scouts Pack 3017, please email: Photos courtesy of Francine Martindale

While camping has always been my favorite part of scouting, the entirety of scouting has been a wonderful journey for me, filled with obstacles that I have had to overcome, and now assisting younger scouts to help overcome their obstacles. Joining scouts was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Photos courtesy of Ed Cox

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


Singapore American · March 2018

Movement that Matters By Kinjal Shah


ump. Skip. Run. Play. Get on your feet. Some of the best education-related Instagram accounts are ripe with teachers showcasing down time between lessons. Kids breaking out into a song and dance; short, quick brain breaks; a move and freeze game – all contribute towards movement. Movement that matters. The underlying belief is: if you move well, you think well. Feel well. And live well. Every major health organization from World Health Organization to the Center for Disease Control, and even United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that students get at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Whoa! Really? Sixty minutes of play? If you find that unbelievable, get this: schools in Finland offer students a 15-minute break after every 45 minutes of classroom time, encouraging students to play outdoors. A recent article in The Washington Post talks about how sitting for longer than 20 minutes causes changes in the physiology of the brain and body, robbing the brain of muchneeded oxygen and glucose, or brain fuel. The brain essentially just falls asleep. In most parts of the world, kids today spend their free time using technology, leading to challenges within the classroom because children are not moving their bodies enough. Usually, movement is not top priority in children’s lives and education. There is increasing pressure to cram more instructional time into one school day in an attempt to increase learning and boost scores. But, if holistic education is the goal, movement must be an integral part of the offering. How many kids can sit for hours at a desk laboring over lessons and homework? Longer time on task doesn’t make for better results. To the contrary, it only leads to faster and greater burnout. If you give children time for unstructured, outdoor play, you hit the reset button. This down time helps to break the day into shorter sessions, allowing kids to take the pressure off and thrive in an environment where the mind-body connection can flourish. “Physical activity is cognitive candy,” says developmental molecular biologist Dr. John Medina. Exercise boosts brain power. This presents a huge opportunity for students who don’t get enough exercise. According to Singapore American School third grade teacher Gary Gray, “Allowing exercise and movement throughout the school day makes students less fidgety and more

focused on learning and building friendships. Students find a more positive outlook on learning and enhanced attention to detail, and generate a buzz for all subject areas. “As a teacher, I find that flexible seating, song and dance, and frequent energizers improve student on-task behavior. Our morning meeting involves an active greeting, sharing, and activities that normally involve kinesthetic learning,” he added. Regularly scheduled movement breaks throughout the day and movement used within and between lessons result in better-behaved, more engaged students who can more easily focus on and retain what they are supposed to be learning. Educational activities occurring simultaneously with physical movement influence academic achievement. Photo courtesy of Scott A. Woodward

Exploring One of Southeast Asia’s Treasures – the Ancient Ruins of Angkor By Bill Poorman


hristmas Day 2017 began with a water blessing from a Buddhist Monk. Yep, it was going to be an unusual one, even by our recent standards.

Since moving to Singapore three-and-a-half years ago, every Christmas has been atypical. We use a plastic palm for our Christmas tree. Our warming fire has been a crackling yule log video on YouTube. One year, we missed Christmas Day altogether when we flew the day before, crossed the international date line while in the air, and didn’t arrive in Singapore until the 26th. But we had never started with a Buddhist blessing. Of course, we planned it this way. Since we were staying in Singapore anyway and no one could visit, we decided to check off one of the leading sites to see in Southeast Asia: the ancient ruins in the northwest Cambodian city of Siem Reap. The area around Siem Reap used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire. Called Angkor, the city flourished in the couple of centuries before and after 1,000 CE. One group of researchers has concluded that Angkor was the biggest pre-industrial city in world history, with a population approaching one million and covering an area about the size of Los Angeles. During this heyday, the Khmer Empire built the spectacular set of stone temples, building complexes and reservoirs that we still see today. After the empire fell, many parts of Angkor were overrun by forest. A French naturalist is credited with rediscovering the ruins in 1860, but that claim is controversial. It’s not clear whether the ruins were ever actually “lost”, as the locals likely knew about them all along. But either way, since the 19th century, Angkor has been internationally famous. In 1992, the entire area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and that agency manages and protects the region today. We planned a four-day trip to Siem Reap – a half day for travel and getting settled in, two full days of temple exploration, then a final half day of touring. We were satisfied at the end of that quick trip that we had seen the major tourist sites and gotten a sense of the area. It helps that the flight from Singapore is only two hours long, so that travel time really isn’t an issue. It also

helped that we used a guide and driver. That sped up our touring quite a bit, since the car was always waiting for us when we finished with a location. We saw other tourists riding bikes or riding in tuk-tuks. This might feel more “authentic”, but I think you would also need to add more time to see the sites if you go that route. We checked into our hotel late in the afternoon on the first day. Siem Reap is a bustling, entertaining Southeast Asian city, with many tourists everywhere. We were encouraged that evening to walk over to Pub Street, a popular strip of bars and restaurants. I can’t report on what it’s like, unfortunately. We decided, as a family of middle-agers and teenagers, that we were both too old and too young for that scene. But it often gets positive reviews online. Day two started with dawn at Angkor Wat, the most famous temple complex in the region. Thousands of people come out to see the sun rise over the stone ruins. Touring Angkor Wat was fascinating and only took half a day. For the second half of the day, we drove south of Siem Reap for a boat tour of the giant freshwater lake Tonle Sap and the fishing villages there. I always like the opportunity to get on a boat, but the best part of this excursion was seeing how Cambodians in the area live. Day three was Christmas, starting with that water blessing. From there, we took a tour of the Cambodian countryside. We met a family and did some handicrafts while drinking from a coconut. We greatly enjoyed an oxcart ride, which my one son described as a ride in a two-ox open cart, instead of the one-horse open sleigh from Jingle Bells. We took a short boat ride across the Western Baray, one of the enormous ancient reservoirs built by the Khmer, and then toured a small Cambodian village. We spent the second half of Christmas Day touring more ruins. This time we were in the Angkor Thom complex, which we enjoyed much more than Angkor Wat. A highlight of the entire trip was the Bayon, a temple covered with carved stone faces. We also enjoyed the Death Gate, a stone archway with faces similar to Bayon that’s far out in the woods. We hiked from there to the nearby Victory Gate. We also visited

many other, smaller ruins sites – more than I can list here. Ruins are simply everywhere you look. Our final half day was great fun, as well. We toured a bit by bike, which our sons enjoyed immensely, including the well-known ruins at Ta Promh. These are famous for the ways that tree roots have infiltrated the stone and “flow” down the sides of the temple. (It is also famous for being used as a filming location for the movie Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie.) Eventually we ended up at another highlight of the trip – the ruins at Ta Keo. In order to protect many of the sites, platforms and stairs have been laid over the stones. But here, we could climb on the original stone stairs to the top. Even after all of this, we had plenty of time to get to our afternoon flight. We greatly enjoyed our trip to Siem Reap, and I have several recommendations if you plan to go. First, bring US dollars to pay for activities and tips. Cambodians infinitely prefer it to their local currency. You’ll need plenty of small bills. Also, and this is important, bring plenty of strong bug spray. Whenever I travel in Southeast Asia, it always makes me appreciate Singapore’s effort at mosquito control, but the bugs in Cambodia seemed even more voracious than usual. Also, make sure to only travel to Cambodia during the dry season. The country gets a proper monsoon, and you will be outside all day. Finally, as I hinted at above, I would recommend getting a guide. You don’t need one, but for a short trip, I feel it made a big difference. We used a travel agency, Country Holidays, to book this trip and they found us a great guide. Good luck on your adventures, whether they happen on Christmas or on the holiday of your choice! Bill Poorman is a writer living in Singapore, who somehow did not get one single bug bite while in Cambodia and is eternally thankful to his unfortunate family, who seemed to catch every bite meant for him, as well as plenty of their own. Pictures courtesy of Bill Poorman


Singapore American · March 2018

Cheap Tricks: A Case Study By Laura Schwartz


et’s say you’ve been invited to a wedding in Newburyport, Massachusetts. You’re past the congratulatory Skype call and now have to book flights and accommodation. Thankfully, you have a strategy and sit down at your computer with confidence. Being the savvy traveler you are, you know your web browsers track cookies and that booking websites might nudge up the price if you take your time. To get around this, you open a new window in incognito mode. In Google Chrome and Safari, this is enabled by hitting Control (Command for Mac users) + Shift + N. In Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, you hit Control (or Command) + Shift + P. The wedding is Saturday, June 16, so you decide to depart Singapore on Tuesday, June 12 or Wednesday, June 13 and to return on Tuesday, June 19 or Wednesday, June 20, because you know Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days of the week to fly. Google tells you the airport nearest to your destination is Boston Logan International, but you note that Manchester-Boston Regional, as well as airports in New York and New Jersey are also feasible. Time to search. You open six tabs in your incognito browser window: Kayak, Skyscanner, Kiwi, Expedia, Google Flights and Momondo. If you were flying to a country within Southeast Asia, you would also check the websites of the regional budget airlines since these are often not indexed by the search engines. After inputting your dates and destination, you compare the results. Kiwi and Google Flights both indicate that in this case, departing Singapore on Monday, June 11 is less expensive than Tuesday or Wednesday, and so you adjust your search parameters. In descending order, in SGD, the fare for a single traveler in Economy comes out to be: $1,410 on Kayak, $1,315 on Expedia, $1,238 on Kiwi, $1,220 on Momondo, $1,139 on Google Flights, and $1,018 on Skyscanner. You realize that the cheapest flight has two layovers and the total travel time to Boston is 42 hours. This doesn’t bother you, so you snap up the Skyscanner deal. Or you’re a human being and you fine-tune your filters to search for journeys with one layover and a travel time of 27 hours max. All the search engines now quote around $1,430, with two exceptions. Kiwi’s estimating $1,550, so you close that tab, and your heart skips happily that Google Flights’ quote remains at $1,139. You’re itching to snap up those tickets. But you take a deep breath and examine the details. The layover is a measly two hours but since both legs of the journey are operated by the same carrier and since you’ll be in London Gatwick, a small airport, that should be enough time to make your connection, despite traveling during the busy summer season.

And there’s one more angle to consider. Your hotel in Newburyport will cost about $150 per night, $1,200 for your entire stay, which means the total price of your trip would tally up to $2,339. You check whether Kayak, Expedia or Momondo have package deals that can beat that. Momondo’s best offer is $2,656 and Expedia’s is $2,378, but lo and behold, Kayak quotes you a package at $2,013. You again wisely counsel yourself to be patient and check the fine print. Sure enough, some tweaks have been made to your parameters. You would be leaving on Sunday June 10 and your hotel is in Boston, a 45-minute drive outside of Newburyport. You decide that’s a compromise you can live with, carefully reread all the details of your booking before paying, and then muse at the irony. The website that initially seemed like the worst deal wound up being the best. Born in Ireland, Laura Jane Schwartz (née O’Gorman) grew up in Tokyo, Singapore and New Jersey before attending Bard College in upper New York, where she majored in Japanese Studies. Her fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared in a range of publications, including: The Shanghai Literary Review, Thoughtful Dog Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She’s as voracious a traveler as she is a reader, and to date has been to over 30 countries.

Teenage Eating Disorders – What to Look Out For By Dr. Méli Noël


here are three main types of eating disorders. Anorexia, where your child or teenager will refuse to eat adequate amounts of food/calories due to an irrational fear of being or becoming fat. Bulimia, where your child will engage in “binging” (extreme overeating), and then use “purging” methods (self-induced vomiting, laxatives) to avoid gaining weight. Binging, where your child will grossly overeat without using any “purging” methods. When someone suffers from an eating disorder, it can be a mix of all of those. Your teenager could be alternating periods of anorexia, bulimia and binging.

Who is at risk of getting an eating disorder? Doctors are not 100% sure why eating disorders happen. We think it is a combination of genetic and social factors. Eating disorders will usually first appear in teenage years or early adulthood, and girls are more at risk than boys. Teenagers can be easily influenced by unhealthy body images they are exposed to in their day-to-day life (on TV, in magazines, on social media, etc.). An adolescent who has low self-esteem, is in any kind of mental distress, has a fear of becoming overweight (by seeing constant images of rod thin models, or from being teased by peers in school, or other), or has someone in their family suffering from an eating disorder is also more at risk of developing one.

How can I tell if my teenager is suffering from an eating disorder? Being a teenager is tough and comes with many challenges. This is why it is important, as a parent, to try to recognize if your child is suffering from an eating disorder so you can get them the help they need. We have to remember that an eating disorder is not really about food. It’s usually more about keeping control of one’s body, fear of losing control, etc. It often goes handin-hand with other mental health problems like anxiety, depression and drug abuse. The signs to look for are: anxiety/depression, low self-esteem, being overly selfcritical, dieting even when not overweight, extremely rapid weight loss that they might try to hide with shapeless clothes, excessive exercising, being terrified of becoming fat, strange eating habits (avoiding meals, eating in secret, hiding food in room, high calorie food disappearing from the cupboards, etc.). If your child has constant mood swings or spends an unusual amount of time in the bathroom after meals, this should also raise a red flag.

What are the consequences of suffering from an eating disorder? Eating disorders can affect every aspect of your teenager’s life, including mental health, physical health, school, relationships, etc. The physical effects of eating disorders depend on the type, but as teenagers will usually have more than one type, they can suffer from many of those consequences.


- Loss of menstruation (periods stopping) - Fragile bones - Irregular heartbeat - Slow pulse, slow breathing, lower body temperature - Damage to kidneys, liver, brain, heart


- Damage to the esophagus from vomiting - Damage to teeth from vomiting - Abnormal levels of potassium in blood (can also cause irregular heartbeat)


- High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes

What should I do if I think that my child has an eating disorder? If you suspect that your child or teenager is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t keep silent. Your child needs you to advocate and speak up for them. It can be a long road to recovery and your child will need your support all the way. Talk to your family doctor; we are well equipped to start the discussion with you and your teenager. As a doctor, I would usually order blood tests and an ECG (heart test) to make sure that your child’s organs are not suffering. Following this, I would talk about psychotherapy (counseling), which can be extremely helpful; sometimes medications can also be prescribed to help. In Singapore, we have some excellent Eating Disorder programs where psychiatrists, dieticians, counselors, etc., will work together to give your child their best chance at recovery. Dr. Méli Noël is a Canadian-trained doctor based at IMC Jelita. Please call 6465 4440 to make an appointment or visit


Singapore American · March 2018

Add a Little Happiness into Your Life! By Eadren Tan


id you know that March 20 is the United Nations (UN) International Day of Happiness? Since 2013, this special day has been celebrated around the world in various ways. Here are some fun facts about this day of joy, as well as some tips for how you can increase the happiness in your life!

activities for better emotional health and well-being. You can opt for the free daily basics, or upgrade to Happify Plus for a fee, depending on your subscription.

International Day of Happiness website

Coaching for Happiness

When Jayme Illien founded the International Day of Happiness (also referred to as Happiness Day), a website was also created for people to pledge their resolution to create more happiness to share with the world. The mission of is to promote happiness as a fundamental human right and goal through preserving the values and principles of the UN happiness resolutions. As Anne Frank said, “Whoever is happy, will make others happy too.” So, how will you be happy and spread more happiness?

Happy MTV In 2014, Pharrell Williams and the UN Foundation created the world’s first 24hour music video, with globally crowdsourced music videos to the song Happy. The following year, the partnership created dancing videos to the song (you can still view it here: Check them out online and get inspired to create a fun happiness video of your own with friends and family.

Happify Featured in The New York Times, Forbes and The New Yorker, this app (also available on desktop) is where you can find science-based happiness games and

As many as 86% of their users claim to have experienced a significant increase in happiness in as little as two months! Fundamentally, happiness needs to come from within, but sometimes you might feel unable to dive down deep into yourself to find it. At other times, you know that you should be happy, because you are told by the people around you, but that is just not how you feel. Approaching a coach for a chat might be what you need; someone who doesn’t judge or tell you how to feel, but will help show you a different path to attain the happiness you seek. Coaches are also able to direct you to other professionals should you need more than just that discovery dialogue. Everyone deserves to be happy and Happiness Day is a great reminder of this. So, let yourself go, even if it is just for one day, do it whole-heartedly and see where it takes you. Who knows, you might just stay happy! Eadren Tan has been a Transitions Coach & Youth Whisperer at Brainzworkz in Singapore since 2009, guiding people at crossroads in their lives, and empowering youths through cognitive and emotion coaching, on top of education. She enjoys discovering and sharing the diversity of our world through connecting with people, traveling, and dining, as well as film and art appreciation.

Coding Without Screens By Dr. Wayne Burnett


uch has been said about the importance of young people learning how to program, or code, computers. But is it appropriate for young children, especially given the concern about screen time?

Coding (or programing) computers and other digital devices to carry out commands is viewed as another form of literacy by many people. Some see it as opening the door to careers that are expanding at a fast rate. Others see it as ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to understand what goes on inside the devices we rely on every day. As the Internet of Things becomes ubiquitous, average people will need some basic understanding of coding to protect their safety, security and privacy. Another very important part of learning to code is learning to use computational thinking¹. One way to think of computational thinking is to look at four steps that could be used to solve a problem. For many problems, it helps to simplify it by breaking it down into smaller parts. Then look for similarities, or patterns, among problems. One of the challenges is to focus on the important information and ignore the irrelevant details. Finally, identify the step-by-step solution to the problem. If you think about it, this is not only useful for solving math problems, but most challenges we face in life. Renowned American Professor Jeannette Wing suggests that computational thinking is something everyone should learn and be able to apply throughout their lives². This sounds very complex. Can four- and five-year-old students learn coding and computational thinking? Yes, they can. They are up to the challenge and they can do this without spending a lot of time facing a computer. In our view, the ideal way is to use educational robotics. There are several types of educational robots that do not need a computer to be programed. Instead, they use buttons or visual codes on building blocks (and cameras) to allow young children to program them. The students can literally hold the program in their hands.

The best thing about educational robots is they provide immediate feedback to students. Ask a student to program a robot to follow a path. If the robot turns left when it should have turned right, it is immediately obvious and the student can re-trace her or his steps to correct it. We might think of this as trouble-shooting, but students will think they are playing. Learning through play is an effective strategy, particularly at this age. The Early Childhood and Elementary divisions at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Forest City, will have several types of educational robots specially designed for this age group. They all provide age-appropriate opportunities for young children to program the robots without having to use a desktop, laptop or tablet computer. They will, though, have to use computational thinking skills. Dr. Burnett is the Elementary School Principal at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Forest City ¹ A term first used by Dr. Seymour Papert, author of Mindstorms and co-inventor of the Logo programming language for students ² Wing, Jeannette W. Computational Thinking

Photo courtesy of Primo Toys


Singapore American · March 2018

Cheering on Our (Adopted) Home Team By Faith Anna Chanda


ASIAN GAMES August 18 – September 2, 2018 Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia

There are plenty of exciting competitions coming up in 2018. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to cheer on Singaporean athletes in action!

- Kabaddi looks a bit like a cross between American football and tag. There’s no ball and no padding and it involves a single athlete crossing the mid-court line to tag as many opponents as possible.

hile many of us have favorite sports teams from home that we follow, how much do you know about Singapore’s sports? Maybe it’s time to get behind the athletes right here in our adopted hometown; they may even be your friends, neighbors or co-workers. Singapore has a proud tradition of competing in global competitions, including the Olympics, and even fronted its first athlete, speedskater Cheyenne Goh, for the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in February. Despite failing to qualify for the competition, speedskater Lucas Ng was honored as an Olympic torch bearer, carrying the legendary flame as it made its way through South Korea.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES April 4 – 15, 2018 Gold Coast, Australia This competition will bring together more than 6,600 athletes competing in 23 sports from the 70 countries and territories that make up the Commonwealth of Nations. Similar to the Olympic torch, the Commonwealth Games has a Queen’s Baton Relay which actually traveled through Singapore in October 2017 on its way to Australia. With a new participation model set out by the organizing committee, Singapore will be represented by a total of 59 athletes across 12 sports: athletics, badminton, cycling, diving, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, swimming, table tennis, beach volleyball, weightlifting and para sports. While resident celebrity athlete Joseph Schooling (swimming) won’t be competing in order to concentrate on the Asian Games, there are sure to be a few emerging stars to cheer for.

The Asian Games draws participants from 45 Asian nations to contest 462 events across 63 different sport and disciplines. Many of these are the usual suspects for those of us used to watching Olympics, but some competitions may be a bit surprising, such as bridge, jet ski, paragliding and skateboarding. Others reflect their diverse origins and are unique to the Asian region:

- Kurash is a traditional style of wrestling focused on getting the opponent off their feet using a special type of towel as a tool to disrupt balance. - Pencak Silat is an Indonesian-born style of martial arts. - Sambo is actually an acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya or "self-defense without weapons" and is a relatively new martial art form from Russia. - Sepak Takraw is also known as “kick volleyball” and is like playing volleyball except with the same rules as football (that’s soccer to most of us) – the ball can only touch the head, chest, knees and feet. - Wushu is a modern form of Kung Fu. Like the Olympics, the Asian Games are held every four years and Singapore is one of only seven countries to have competed in every Asian Games since its inception in 1951. While Singapore’s 2018 Asian Games team members haven’t been chosen yet, this is where the serious athletes come to play. Joseph Schooling is likely to be back in the pool, along with siblings Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Jing Wen, all of whom train in America. Other top athletes from Singapore to watch out for include twins Timothy and Mark Lee (diving), Myra Lee (diving), Michelle Sng (high jump), Jasmine Ser (shooting), Amanda Lim (swimming) and Soh Rui Yong (marathon). Roanne Ho seems to be back to her winning ways in the pool, but it remains to be seen whether hurdler Dipna Lim-Prasad and bowler Shayna Ng can triumph over their recent injuries. As the famed Olympic creed states: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” Win or lose, Singapore’s athletes will have made sacrifices for their sport that few of us can imagine and trained more than most of us will in a lifetime. If nothing else, they deserve to be cheered on as they give their best and I, for one, will be a proud resident of Singapore as I raise my voice for my beloved host country. Faith relocated to Singapore in January 2015 with her husband and two young children. She is a freelance writer and marketing consultant as the sole proprietor of F. Chanda Communications & Events. Faith enjoys exploring food, culture, nature and design through her travel adventures and looks forward to many new discoveries throughout Asia. Photos Left: Shooter, Jasmine Ser, courtesy of Singapore National Olympic Council Right: Swimmer, Joseph Schooling, courtesy of Singapore National Olympic Council Bottom: Bowling Women’s Doubles at 2017 SEA Games, courtesy of Randi Ang/Sport Singapore

History of Organized Sports in Singapore By Marc Servos


any high-profile team sports as well as individual ones trace their roots back through centuries, even to ancient times. Organized sports as we know them began largely in the 1800s and Singapore’s sports organizations were no exception. Many clubs that continue today were originally organized by colonials. The Singapore Yacht Club, founded in 1826, held regattas sporadically until it was absorbed into the Singapore Rowing Club (founded in 1879) in 1897. Re-established in 1919, it’s now the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. Organized horse racing began in 1842 with the Singapore Sporting Club and a racecourse in Farrer Park, renamed the Singapore Turf Club in 1924. Subsequent courses were built at Bukit Timah (1933) and Kranji (1999). Others included Singapore Cricket Club (1852), Singapore Rifle Association (1862) and Singapore Polo Club (1886). As sports clubs were initially a luxury enjoyed almost exclusively by colonials, the influx of Asian immigrants led them to establish their own clubs. Among these were the Chinese Swimming Club (originally Tanjong Katong Swimming Party) in 1905; the Indian Association, founded in 1923 including cricket, tennis, soccer and hockey; and the Ceylon Sports Club (1928). During the 1920s, Europeans and Asians were starting to become more integrated and club memberships a little more inclusive. During the decades that followed, the British built public sports facilities, such as Mount Emily Swimming Complex (1931), Farrer Park Sports Complex (1956, later destroyed by a fire in 1985) and Yan Kit Swimming Complex (1952). Singapore commenced Grand Prix racing in 1962, until fatalities in 1972 and 1973 and heavier traffic led to its discontinuation. It returned in 2008 and a new deal in 2017 confirmed that the race would continue to be held in Singapore until 2021. The American Association has a long history of sponsoring sports activities, including tennis tournaments and baseball games. Golf tournaments began in 1932 and were held sporadically until the annual Ambassador’s Cup commenced in 1947. Singapore American Community Action Council (SACAC), founded in 1973 initially as a response to the rise of drug use, presently offers American football and cheerleading – a reminder of back home. The Social Affairs Ministry’s Sports Division was created after Singapore’s independence, shortly followed by the founding of the National Fitness Exercise in 1969. 1971 saw the establishment of both the National Sports Promotion Board and National Stadium Corporation, which consolidated in 1973 as the Singapore Sports Council and renamed Sport Singapore in 2014. The original National Stadium was completed in 1973 and was replaced by the current one, completed in 2014. Singapore has participated in every Summer Olympic Games since London 1948. High-jumper Lloyd Valberg was the first Olympian to represent the then-colony. Singapore joined the Olympics as part of Malaysia’s team at the Tokyo Games in 1964. Singapore’s medal winners include weightlifter Tan Howe Liang (Rome 1960) and table tennis players Feng Tianwei and Li Jiawei (Beijing 2008, London 2012). Swimmer Joseph Schooling won the first gold in the 2016 Games in Rio; he is a great-nephew of the first Singapore team athlete Lloyd Valberg. The Singapore Team also participates in the Southeast Asia Games, having done so since these Games debuted in 1959; the ASEAN Para Games; and the Commonwealth Game. Singapore hosted the first summer version of Youth Olympic Games in 2010. Although it is a small island, owing to its cosmopolitan nature, Singapore has a wide range of sports on offer. Through local programs and organization-based initiatives, there are few sports that cannot be found. During his younger years, Marc ran 400m and 800m on his high school track team. In addition, he sailed his family’s boat and raced in the Soap Box Derby at age 13. Today, he tries to get around to cycling once in a while. He likes American football, the Olympic Games, the Indiana Hoosiers Basketball (if and when they have a good chance to make the NCAA Finals!) and the Indy 500.

Fitness That Won’t Cost a Fortune By Frances Strong


’m feeling pretty virtuous after successfully navigating some pretty complicated choreography at this morning’s Zumba class, as I sip my skinny latte and contemplate the blank document open on my laptop. As I wonder how to begin, I notice a group of ladies at the next table, immaculately dressed in coordinating active wear. It’s impossible not to overhear their conversation and I can’t help but smile as they exchange reasons for not being able to focus on their fitness. No one ever said getting fit was easy and I’d be lying if I said I’d never made an excuse to skip a workout myself. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I, like many others, have built up a pretty solid arsenal of excuses over the years as to why I wasn’t able to make it to bootcamp or yoga today, despite claiming to love both activities. I guess it’s easier to make an excuse than to admit that I just couldn’t be bothered to go. Back to the ladies at the next table… Now, I’m not saying that there are no legitimate reasons for skipping a workout, but when I hear someone say that getting fit is simply too expensive, I have to wholeheartedly disagree. While it may be convenient to believe that we can’t get fit unless we have the budget for a fancy gym membership, one-to-one Pilates classes or a personal trainer to kick our butts, it’s simply untrue. Yes, swanky gyms can be expensive, however there’s really no requirement to join one. There are many free or low-cost ways to get fit here in Singapore, you just need to know where to look.

The Great Outdoors OK, I know, it’s a bit hot here and an outdoor workout is a sure-fire way to become a sweaty mess, but Singapore is blessed with beautiful green spaces to walk or run in. The Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park, West Coast Park, Sentosa… choose the closest or explore places further afield – all you need is appropriate footwear and some insect repellent!

Fitness Corners In most HDB complexes and pretty much every park, you’ll find a fitness corner. Some are rather basic with a few balance beams, monkey bars and a chin up bar; others are a veritable treasure trove of fitness apparatus, from resistance equipment to overhead log press stations.

HealthHub Programs Many of us are lucky enough to live in a condo with a pool and gym onsite for residents’ use. Even if you don’t, you can still take advantage of lots of free facilities around the island. In a drive to improve health and wellness on the Little Red Dot, Singapore has invested resources into the HealthHub. There are free workouts available for everyone, including Mall Aerobics, Sunrise in the City early morning classes, Fitness at Work early evening sessions and iRun weekly training sessions for runners. In addition, check out Sundays@The Park for free sessions ranging from Bootcamp to Zumba, yoga to kickboxing and everything in between. Held in more than 80 open spaces from East Coast Park to Yishun; Esplanade Park to Sembawang, these classes leave you with no excuse not to get moving at the weekend. Research the full range of free activities on offer at:

Singapore Sports Hub Opened in June 2014, Singapore Sports Hub is truly a community facility, offering very reasonable rates for gym use and court bookings. You can swim in the Olympic-sized pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre for as little as a dollar, or rent your own lane for an hour from $18. In addition, the outdoor beach volleyball and basketball courts can be booked free of charge. Runners can make use of the 888m sheltered 100Plus track that circles the stadium. If prefer your fitness to be organized by someone else, why not try learning a new sport through the Learn-to-Play program or take a free class with the Experience Sport FIT sessions? Find all the options available here:

Frances Strong has been doing her best to take regular exercise in Singapore over the past six years. From hot, muddy obstacle course races to serene, air-conditioned yoga studios and everything in between, she considers herself an adventurous fitness enthusiast… mostly.


Singapore American · March 2018

An American Dragon in Singapore By Cath Forte


ragon boats on the Singapore River are truly a sight to behold; quintessentially Asian and originating in southern central China, the sport is believed to date back some 2,500 years. A somewhat younger sport in Singapore, what might be lacking in history is certainly made up for with the enthusiasm of local participants. The many Singaporean teams have been joined by a number of other nationality teams, including the American Dragons. The American Dragons Singapore (ADS), train and compete in both dragon boat and outrigger canoe events in the International Business Community league. They offer the opportunity to join one of the few dual sport teams, whether you are looking for a social-casual or competitive-intense outdoor water sport. ADS started in the Fall of 2004, when the American Chamber of Commerce held a meeting to consider starting an American dragon boat team in Singapore. Kevin Bulger volunteered to be the first captain of ADS and quickly began gathering interested members to join the team. He established Saturday afternoon boat rentals and found a sponsor for the team. Their first race was a fundraiser event in January 2005. Since then, ADS has grown into an exciting and competitive dual sport team, racing in both Singapore and around the world. We got the lowdown from team captain Bijil Balachandran, responsible for leading the dragon boat and outrigger canoe teams through fun training sessions, competitive local and international races and, of course, memorable social events throughout the year.

CF: I’ve seen dragon boats on the river and often wondered about trying out, but I’m a little intimidated – do I need to be super fit to join? BB: You don’t need to be super fit to join the team for regular outrigger canoe or dragon boat paddling, but if you want to be a competitive paddler, then you should be involved in some form of physical activity with a high level of fitness.

CF: Does it matter that I’ve never done anything like this before? BB: Not at all, my colleague introduced me to dragon boating five years ago and I’d never had any paddling experience. Much like every sport, it’s about being persistent; just keep practicing and enjoy the experience of being on the water. We encourage everyone to try dragon boat and outrigger canoe at least once whether they’re looking for a socialfun exercise venue or a competitive-intense level team.

You never know, they might get hooked like I did and never turn back!

CF: How often is training? Is there a big time commitment? BB: ADS is one of the few teams in Singapore that have both dragon boat and outrigger canoe training, along with separate land training sessions every week of the year. Your time commitment really depends on your schedule and what you hope to get from joining the team. If it’s for social paddling or competitive paddling, time commitments may be different, but it’s up to each individual. ADS has training opportunities every day of the week, with sessions lasting one-two hours.

CF: Where do you meet? BB: For dragon boat training we meet at 5 Stadium Road (closest MRT: Kallang). We can also be found on Google Maps (search American Dragons Singapore). Our outrigger canoe training meets at the Wave House at Siloso Beach in Sentosa.

CF: How often do you compete? BB: We have approximately 10 races throughout the year across both dragon boat and outrigger canoe, including some key local races, such as the Singapore Dragonboat Festival, Singapore River Regatta and Singapore Ocean Cup. Internationally, we compete in at least three races a year and placed second overall in the Shanghai International Dragonboat Festival in 2017. Our men’s outrigger canoe team also took third place in the Hong Kong Around the Island Race in 2016.

CF: It sounds like you’re a pretty fun group, what kind of people might I meet? BB: Joining ADS, you’ll definitely meet a mixture of people with different backgrounds, experience levels and reasons for joining the team. We have members from 18-65 years old, 25 different nationalities, and “first-time paddlers” to over 10 years of experience. As captain, the variety of people on the team is one of my favorite aspects.

CF: I’m almost sold…how can I get involved? BB: Reach out to us at or via the American Dragons Singapore Facebook page and one of our team members will get back to you with all the necessary details. We have practices in the early weekday mornings, land training sessions in the evenings, plus weekend practices throughout the year. So, whatever your schedule, we have something for everyone.

TRAINING SCHEDULE Dragon Boating Tuesday 6:30am to 8:00am Wednesday 5:30pm to 7:00pm Saturday 3:30pm to 6.00pm

Outrigger Canoe Wednesday 6:15am to 8:00am Friday 6:15am to 8:00am Saturday 6:45am to 9:30am Sunday 7:45am to 10:00am Land Training at the Botanic Gardens Monday 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Photos courtesy of Exposure Photography and Xavier Keutch


Singapore American · March 2018

Keeping Kids Active

Photos courtesy of Clarence Lee

Serious Exercise Made Fun By Annette Lang


nyone who's seen kids on a playground knows that most are naturally physically active and love to move around. But what might not be apparent is that climbing to the top of a slide or swinging from the monkey bars can help lead kids to a lifetime of being active. As children get older, daily activity becomes more challenging, due to factors including: demands of school, insecurities that they aren't good at sports, a lack of active role models and busy working families. And even if kids have the time and the desire to be active, often parents can’t be bothered to move their own bodies. In spite of these barriers, parents can instill a love of activity and help kids fit it into their everyday lives. Doing so can set healthy patterns that will last into adulthood. Teaching kids the importance of being in good physical shape is now more important than ever. We often hear about exercise as a remedy for poor health and child obesity, but it can also stimulate brain growth and boost cognitive performance. It helps kids focus and makes it easier for them to learn and study. Clarence Lee, a highly experienced fitness professional and founder of The Movement Factory, has developed the Mini Spartan Academy program to help kids get on the right track. We chatted with him about his new venture.

AL: What’s so special about the program? CL: The Mini Spartan Academy is a fitness educational program specifically designed for children aged four to 12 years. Our program curriculum is carefully planned to provide an emphasis on a non-competitive and supportive approach, to help develop the children’s gross motor skills, leadership, confidence and self-esteem through structured games, obstacles races, Zumba dancing, kick-boxing and team relay races.

AL: I heard you were inspired to set up this idea by your son after a Spartan race… CL: My son Keisei is six years old and he is already a veteran in the obstacle racing scene with numerous medals under his belt. When Keisei was younger, he was extremely shy. Hoping that I could help him break out of his shell, I started having him tag along with me to all my sporting events. Over the past several years, Keisei has watched me compete in sporting disciplines, such as obstacle races, bodybuilding, dragon boating, various fitness challenges and cross country running. I guess watching me train and compete influenced him into wanting to sign up for his own obstacle race. I have always believed in setting an example for our kids, and what better way to teach and guide our young children than by personally demonstrating the importance of being active. Keisei is definitely a much bolder, more confident and sociable kid these days.

AL: How long is the program and what will kids learn from it? CL: Each session lasts 60 minutes. The curriculum aims to empower children with positive values such as self-esteem, leadership, courage, determination and perseverance through fitness-based activities. The coaches can also help these young children develop their gross motor skills, such as running, jumping, skipping, throwing, catching and hand-eye coordination. The children are also handed worksheets and pencils at the end of each session to help them learn about their body anatomy and the muscle groups that they used.

AL: How different is it from adult workouts? CL: Unlike adult workouts, which can be monotonous, repetitive and somewhat boring in a typical gym environment, our Mini Spartan Academy program’s fitness and educational curriculum incorporates games, structured play, relay races, obstacle races, dance, kickboxing and yoga with loads of variety and fun for the children. I find children learn best when they are truly enjoying themselves and don’t feel like they are being forced to.

AL: You are a gym instructor yourself; do you teach your son to eat clean? CL: I have been a fitness coach and personal trainer for the past 13 years and eating clean and being strict with food comes with the territory. Keisei’s diet is governed by what we eat, he is insanely active with Karate, Aikido and Street Dance lessons so my wife and I try to have him eat wholesome meals and little junk food. We teach him that it’s all about making good choices.

AL: How can kids keep fit at home? CL: I believe one of the best ways for young children to be active is for parents to display their own fitness activities. I can’t imagine a better way than to have a whole family enjoying activities, such as swimming, cycling and playing ballgames together. Young children learn best by example.

AL: Can you share any inspiring moments from the program? CL: One of the activities we are passionate about is to dress up as superheroes during the program. This creates an incredible atmosphere and a lot of liveliness. I remember on one occasion, one child who has autism and was extremely shy and avoided eye contact. I was overwhelmed and remembered seeing joy in his eyes and he approached me smiling from ear-to-ear – all because I was in my Captain America outfit! It’s moments like this that make it truly worthwhile. Annette Lang arrived in Singapore in 2002 with the expectation of staying two years. She fell in love with the culture, food and the easy and safe lifestyle that is essentially Singapore. A freelance writer, sports enthusiast and food marketing consultant, who is a passionate supporter of cooking, teaching and, of course tasting, it was no wonder that she opened a culinary cooking school – Expat Kitchen, now in operation for 10 years.




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

MUSEUMS March 1 – 11 Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 March 1 – 18 Cinerama: Art and the Moving Image Southeast Asia SAM at 8Q 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535 March 1 – 31 Witness to War: Remembering 1942 National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 March 1 – April 15 Anime Drawings Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 March 1 – December 1 All About Dogs Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807

ENTERTAINMENT March 8 Murray Perahia in Recital Esplanade Theatre March 15 – 18 American Ballet Theatre Swan Lake Esplanade Theatre March 29 – April 8 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Esplanade Theatre May 10 – 27 Legally Blonde The Musical Mastercard Theatre at Marina Bay Sands


EDUCATION March 7, 14, 21 & 28 Dulwich College Singapore Open Days 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 9:30 – 11:30am March 9 Early Years Open House Stamford American International School 3 Chuan Lane 9:30am March 16 Elementary & Secondary Open House Stamford American International School 1 Woodleigh Lane 9am


March 8 Spring Indian Bazaar Chinese Swimming Club 21 Amber Road 10:30am

March 4 ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. Chong Son Kung Fu OCBC Arena Hall 1 4 – 6pm

March 27 Expat Traders Asia Spring Market Orchard Parade Hotel, Level 2 1 Tanglin Road 10am – 7pm

March 11 ASEAN Basketball League: Singapore Slingers vs. CLS Knights Surabaya OCBC Arena Hall 1 4 – 6pm

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