Since 1958 Singapore American • May 2015
AM ERICAN AS S O CIATION O F S INGAP O RE May 2015
www.aasingapore.com American Association.....1-5 Member Discounts..............3 CRCE & Business.................6 Community News...........7-11 Living in Singapore.......12-15 Careers.........................15-25 Health & Wellness.............26 Arts & Culture..............27-28
Golf Tournament 4-5
Community News 7-11
Be sure to check out more pix from the tournament
Proposed changes at The American Club
The scoop on The SEA Games
Block 71: Singapore’s Silicon Valley MCI (P) 185/03/2015
The 2015 AAS Ambassador's Cup Golf Tournament brought to you by Shell By Chip Miller
love the Ambassador’s Cup. I love pretty much everything about it and I have since my first Cup appearance 22 years ago. Though I can’t play a lick anymore, it’s still my favorite weekend of the year. And whenever my Singapore American School golfing buddies and I talk golf, the conversation always ends up with stories from the Ambassador’s Cup. The important story from this year’s 2015 AAS Ambassador’s Cup was the victory by Expat Dental. Now, don’t get me wrong. Winning the tourney would be great, but I think I enjoy it even more now than when I first started playing in 1994. It is still fun to arrive Friday afternoon, hit a few balls at the range, take a swim, and then check out the bulletin board in the hotel lobby to see who’s back, who’s on which course and whose handicap has
gone up more than five strokes, all followed by an early Friday night dinner and a good night’s sleep. Honestly, it took a lot of years for me to get that part right. There were many occasions where there was too much fun and not enough sleep. I still blame that on my buddies. Saturday mornings are spent maybe hitting a few balls at the driving range, but more likely just rolling into the clubhouse and saying hey to all of the caddies and clubhouse staff that have been there forever. Then it’s upstairs for lunch and beer with the teammates, catching up with friends, and recognizing just about everyone there. (“I’m not sure who he is, but that guy’s been coming here for at least ten years!”) After a few putts, some snacks and another beer, it’s time to play. While we all hope for the best, the
American Association of Singapore Strategic Partners
Continued on page 5
2 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
Singapore American • May 2015
SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Melinda Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak, email@example.com
DESIGN & L AYOUT
Graphic Designer: Joanne Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, email@example.com
A Message from the President...
t’s been an amazing month of tributes to Lee Kuan Yew and his legacy. I don’t think anyone (Singaporean or otherwise) expected the massive outpouring of emotion and respect that was given to him; this is truly a watershed moment in Singapore’s history. There were many, excellent print articles and broadcast documentaries about him, his amazing advisors and the building of our adopted home. How lucky we all are to witness this moment in history. This also puts into perspective our American Association history and the 98 years of change in Singapore that AAS members across the decades have lived. I hope you liked our special SAN tribute to Lee Kuan Yew. SAN Editor-in-Chief Melinda Murphy and Graphic Designer Joanne Johnson worked hard and fast to get it to the printer, even as the rest of the paper was already being printed. Thanks to a great team effort to note this special occasion. Despite the somber tone of those events, AAS members were also able to have a bit of fun last month. Our annual Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament was as successful as ever (see the pictures on page 1, 4 and 5). Thanks to the golfers and their families who trekked across the border to Palm Resort Golf & Country Club in Johor Bahru, Malaysia for a Saturday (and Sunday, in some cases) of great golf, prizes, food and camaraderie. Special thanks to Shell for being our title sponsor, our committee and to chair Chris Milliken. Our new Executive Committee met on April 11 for our annual strategy meeting. We worked with the AAS staff to look at where we are as an organization and where we hope to go in 2015 and in years to come. We are ever-mindful that you have a lot of choices of organizations to join and “stuff” to do in this town. Our mission is to keep you happy and engaged. You can help by giving us feedback on AAS, attending events and getting your friends or coworkers to join. Contact me or General Manager Toni Dudsak: firstname.lastname@example.org and please visit our Facebook page or tweet us: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG on Facebook, Twitter). Have a great month and make sure to visit our website and watch for emails on upcoming events. Best, Glenn van Zutphen email@example.com twitter: @glennvanzutphen
Anna Bryant, Faith Chanda, Angel Corrigan, Nithia Devan, Rob Faraone, Roger Grant, Justin Harper, Richard Hartung, Lisa Lee, Philip Meehan, Chip Miller, Bill Poorman, Lauren S. Power, Martin Rudden, Christopher Sanda, Laura Schwartz, Eliot Sperling, Dennis Steigerwald, Clarissa Wong American Association : Alka Chandiramani, Mary Ferrante, Anne Morgan, Melinda Murphy
A MERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Joseph Foggiato, • Secretary: Stephanie Nash Directors: James Arpin, Shawn Galey, Christopher Keen, Mary Beth McCrory and Ana Mims 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
PUBLISHER - A MERICAN 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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.aasingapore.com The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.
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 www.aasingapore.com and have the Singapore American delivered to your home. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material. The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Level 3 Annex Building, Singapore 508968.
The Department of the Navy does not endorse any company, sponsor, or their products or services.
3 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
Singapore American • May 2015
Quiz Night at The American Club Are you a master at Trivlal Pursuit? Have your friends nicknamed you "Google?" Or maybe you simply just like hanging out with friends, enjoying a few drinks sitting by the pool? If so, Quiz Night at The American Club is for you. Sign up now! 7-9pm The American Club, Poolside, 10 Claymore Hill $50 for AAS or American Club members • $280 for a team of six
Marine Night Join us and the Navy League for a very special evening at the American Embassy to commemorate US Memorial Day. Mingle with Marines and other AAS members while enjoying finger food and drinks. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind event available only to our AAS members. 6:30-8:30pm US Embassy: Marine House, 27 Napier Road AAS Members $30 • Members only event Price includes wine and snacks Additional drinks available for purchase
Using Social Media to Grow Your Business The American Association of Singapore had a fantastic turnout to hear an expert panel discuss the latest thinking about social media and technology. We all learned some tricks of the trade, how to make the most of cutting-edge technology, met new business owners and networked with some industry and thought leaders. Don’t miss the next one! The AAS owes a big thank you to the panel and to Money Matters for co-hosting.
Can you answer this sample Quiz Night question? What country does this flag represent? Log onto our website for the answer! For more info and to register for an event: www.aasingapore.com
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 www.aasingapore.com/member-discounts.
Newbie Night More than 30 new AAS members had great fun at Newbie Night, meeting new friends and raising glasses as we welcomed our new members. Remember to make the most of your membership and keep an eye on our events calendar. We always love to see as many of you as possible! Our next Newbie Night will be in August.
Two hours free handy-man service worth over $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700.
Check out AAS on LinkedIn!
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: www.expatliving.sg/aas
By Anne Morgan
ince its launch in 2003, the professional social network LinkedIn has established itself as a critical resource for professionals all over the world. Membership stands at a staggering 347 million and new users are signing up at the rate of two per second. LinkedIn has big ambitions and a three billion global membership is in their sight. Here at AAS, we have joined forces with Chris Reed of Black Marketing who has a LinkedIn Power Profile and is in the Top 10 most viewed profiles in Singapore with more than 18,000 followers. He has helped us relaunch our LinkedIn company pages. AAS volunteer Natalia Wakula has created our graphics and we will be adding regular content. Check us out on LinkedIn to get tips to strengthen your own profile. Please follow us! www.linkedin.com/company/american-association-of-singapore
Receive a 10% discount on a one-year membership.
Smokey's Sunset second birthday party! Free beer, free snacks, free cupcakes and bouncy castle for the kids. Saturday, May 23 at 4pm until the beer runs out.
Singapore American â€˘ May 2015
Longest Drive: Allamanda Men: Jared Tang 300 yds Women: Jenny Setnicker 160 yds Cempaka Men: Damien O'Brien 276 yds Women: Asia Yunus Lissart 189 yds Nearest to the Pin Allamanda: Tosh Onishi 1'9" Cempaka: David Oswald 9' Nearest to the Line Allamanda: Albert Hong 1' Cempaka: Praveen Lingamneni 11"
THE 2015 AAS AMBASSADOR'S CUP GOLF TOURNAMENT
Singapore American • May 2015
Continued from page 1
best doesn’t often happen and we are usually left with stories of bad decisions, bad shots, crushed dreams and a few epic failures. And for some reason, these are the stories that have the longest lives! In the late 90s, the tournament was held on one course, usually Allamanda, with 40 teams squeezed in (three groups on the par 5 holes!). These were the “Linda Miller” years and the tourney was usually over when Linda’s foursome registered. She carried a 5 handicap, a 270-yard drive from the red tees, and three partners who could play just enough. In 1997, our very hopeful American School foursome began on the same par 5 as Linda’s group, and we figured this would be to our advantage. We could watch them, thinking watching would help us with our hole-by-hole strategy. Linda’s team played the first five holes eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle, so we quit watching. We drank a lot of beer that day. In 2000, the first year of the two-hole playoff, one of our American School teams made it to the finals. With about 50 friends, a few spouses and all of the other SAS golfers in tow, we marched down the
hill to Cempaka #1. Our opponents started with a 280-yard drive. We followed that by popping up our drive and watching it hook into the middle of a pond. We teed it up again, rolled that drive about 50 yards, took a quadruple bogey eight, and it was basically over. Well, it was over except for our buddies bringing it up daily until the end of the school year. And in 2003, there was the American School foursome that came to their final hole knowing that they had no chance to win. Twelve under par had won the previous year and they were only six under par. Still armed with three mulligans, the group managed to bogey the hole. After turning in their scorecard, they unexpectedly found themselves in a threeway tie for first. They deservedly lost on countback and to this day Brian Hill cannot get a good night’s sleep. So another great day of golf and camaraderie has come and gone, and hopefully everyone has a few new stories, maybe even a positive one in there somewhere, that made this year’s Ambassador’s Cup a special one.
CO-HOST TOURNAMENT SPONSORS
Thank You for your Support Capri By Fraser, Singapore • Clessidra Fraser Place, Kuala Lumpur • Fraser Residence, Kuala Lumpur Lawry’s The Prime Rib Singapore • LS Philosophy • Oral B Ruth’s Chris Steak House • The Big Hotel, Singapore
6 CRCE & BUSINESS
Singapore American • May 2015
CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats
Office Executive A global organization development consulting firm seeks an Office Executive who will ensure the office operations run smoothly, accounts are paid and work invoiced. This requires working with the organization’s consultants, outsourced bookkeeper, vendors and client account departments. Additionally, the Office Executive helps connect with clients. (job #3048)
In Conversation with Anna Bryant CRCE Member: 2005 - 2006 and January 2015 - current Tell us about yourself… Born in Poland, I grew up in Australia and also studied as an AFS Exchange Student in Yamagata, Japan for two years. Here I discovered another world and this experience kick-started the rest of my life. After graduating from Canberra University with a Tourism Degree, I left for Dubai to join Emirates Airlines as Cabin Crew. I met my husband and soon after moved to Hong Kong. Together for 15 years, with two children (Erik, 13 years, Kayla, 11 years), my husband’s colorful career has taken us to Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Singapore, Hamburg, Dubai and now Singapore again. All told, I’ve lived in Singapore more than four years. I have had diverse job opportunities while being a trailing spouse: relocation consultant cross-cultural trainer, tour-guide, tour-guide course trainer, training in Dubai’s local arab schools, training Dubai’s taxi drivers and even inmates at the Dubai ladies prison. I also worked at two snternational schools in the front office and parent relation support roles. What is your current role and basic responsibilities? Membership Marketing and Sales Executive for The American Club. My role is to establish
a network of contacts within corporations, international schools, relocation companies, associations, real estate companies and individuals; to be an ambassador for The Club. How did you hear about CRCE? I was a frequent visitor at The American Club when we lived in Singapore the first time. I joined AAS and CRCE on recommendations from The American Club members and very quickly found employment with Cartus Relocation as a Relocation Field Consultant where I worked from 2005-2009. I was successful with CRCE then, so the first thing I did when I got off the plane at Changi Airport in early January 2015 was to make my way to the American Association. Share with us your experiences as a member of AAS & CRCE Incredibly welcoming, Holly and Valerie blew me away with their kindness and approach. I felt included immediately. I was steered in the right direction and, once signed up, met with Miryame Krogmeier who helped me update and revamp my resume. With Miryame’s professional guidance and all tools in place I felt confident to start interviewing. Within two weeks of joining I had my first interview at The American Club. I landed a
Senior HR Executive The successful candidate will manage the day-to-day human resource operations for the Singapore campus and be responsible for employee life cycle management and logistics including but not limited to: recruitment; on-boarding; appraisals; separation management. (job #3045)
job in just four weeks. From your job search experience, what do you think would be useful to share with others? Don’t waste time. Join CRCE immediately. Before you start applying and interviewing, you can get invaluable help to prepare you for the task ahead. The professionalism and fast turn-around is something you will not experience elsewhere, with many of my needs having been anticipated! Job adverts are from a great range of industries and are sent to you weekly. The whole process is fast, convenient and the customer service is outstanding!
Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit www.aasingapore.com/for-employers
One-on-One Coaching: Career Solutions © AAS is now offering personalized career-counseling services. Sign up now for a private 45-minute appointment with a professional Career Advisor. Please contact email@example.com
CRCE May Workshops register at: www.aasingapore.com Jump Start Your Job Search
Becoming a Singapore PR
Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Friday, May 15 10am-12:30pm
Speaker: Asha Dixit Friday, May 22 10am-12pm
Spotlight on Jobs
Join the Conversation Wednesday, May 27 2-3pm
Don’t Send Your Resume into the Black Hole of HR Departments! Speaker: Dan Gedal Friday, May 29 10am-12pm
For more information about CRCE: www.aasingapore.com - click on the CRCE link
Executive Assistant/Project Manager A dental clinic is in need of a fulltime Executive/Personal Assistant/ Project Manager with a flexible schedule, excellent interpersonal and organizational skills and an ability to multi-task. Responsibilities will include: devising and maintaining office systems, including data management and filing; arranging travel, visas and accommodation; screening phone calls, enquiries and requests, and handling them when appropriate. (job #3044) English Teacher (freelance) This company provides professional interpretation, translation, proofreading and editing services, as well as language courses, corporate training and event technology. There is currently a confirmed teaching project for Basic A1 English for one student. (job #3043) Director of Learning The Director of Learning is able to bring the faculty and department heads together in constructive ways, creating authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the school. At times, issues or problems may be complex so that an openness to share the responsibility to arrive at a successful resolution is expected. This is a role for someone who can think laterally, innovate and improvise. Your role includes supervising teachers, interviewing & recruiting teachers, managing the faculty, overseeing teacher appraisals, liaising with parents, tracking, evaluating and planning programs for students, charting classroom management and financial projections and maintaining a standard of excellence throughout the organization. (job #3042) Marketing Manager A chain of luxury menswear boutiques, focused on delivering the finest quality and authentic Made-In-Italy craftsmanship, is hiring a Marketing Manager whose responsibilities include: create a social media calendar and manage content for all channels; work closely with the store managers on the marketing materials and support their requirements, including in store promotions, signage and marketing collateral. (job #3041)
7 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American • May 2015
2015 APCAC Business Summit By Clarissa Wong
he American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) hosted the 2015 APCAC Business Summit, an annual meeting of American chambers of commerce across the Asia-Pacific region, held on March 11-13. The Summit was attended by more than 450 delegates from 27 members of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers (APCAC). The Summit kicked off with a reception in honor of Singapore’s 50th anniversary, hosted by US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar. Both he and Economic Development Board of Singapore Chairman Dr. Beh Swan Gin highlighted the importance of United States-Singapore bilateral ties and the benefits of continued cooperation.
Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and Ambassador Wagar officially opened the conference on March 12 at Sands Expo & Convention Centre, with keynote addresses focused on American investment in Singapore and the region.
The summit’s theme, “The United States and Asia: New Opportunities in the Pacific Century,” built on previous summits’ themes about Asia’s growth and global influence. Keynote speaker Jim Rogers, global investor and author of Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets, declared that the 21st century is Asia’s century. The first day of the conference concluded with the Pacific Century Reception at Universal Studios Singapore, where participants strolled along New York Street with its impressive city skylines and neon lights. On Friday morning, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marina Bay Sands and Managing Director Global Development of Las Vegas Sands Corporation George Tanasijevich delivered his keynote address, “The Business of Integrated Resorts.” The summit ended with a special session by US Ambassador to Burma Derek J. Mitchell, who provided his insights on the political, economic and cultural changes taking place in Myanmar. AmCham would like to warmly thank everyone who contributed so generously to the summit. Our sponsors and partners, speakers and presenters, delegates, and volunteers ensured that a grand time was had by all.
8 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American • May 2015
The Internship Effect By Dennis Steigerwald
ollege graduates take a gauntlet of theory and laboratory-based courses throughout university and then they’re thrown into the deep end at the beginning of their careers. For those preparing to embark on a new career path, internships can be a practical way to experience and learn in an authentic real world context before diving in. Why consider a high school internship? A good internship experience can provide an opportunity for students to assess their interest and capacity within a specific field as well as strengthen their skill set in order to help build greater competence in professional settings. At Singapore American School (SAS), I help set up, monitor and assess student internship experiences. The students who complete internships consistently demonstrate high levels of engagement as they collaborate with professionals in their field of interest; exhibit a heightened sense of purpose in regards to the knowledge and skills they are learning in school; and end up with improved clarity in what they want to pursue after high school. Success can also be packaged in failure, especially when students decide midway through their internship that they have no desire to pursue the professional field in which they are interning. It is better to realize that you don’t like something before years of expensive schooling. Finally (and potentially the greatest benefit), interns walk away from the experience with a golden egg of professional connections that, if nurtured and developed carefully, can become their golden goose; a budding professional network. Although it is getting harder to predict the future of specific careers, internship experiences can place anyone into the current future. How do you ensure a positive and productive internship experience? First and foremost, a person needs to have a genuine interest in an authentic and challenging experience as well as a true interest in the respective field. In addition, it is essential to work with a mentor that is well-versed and experienced in the field or profession of the internship. Big Picture Learning, an organization that focuses on injecting innovative and real world learning experiences into education, requires authentic mentorship in its Learning Through Internship (LTI) program. They believe that working with a supportive mentor in a relevant field of interest provides pertinent real world experience, authentic adult interactions and invaluable guidance in navigating a field or profession. Beyond desire and
mentoring, there are also “Gold Standards” for internships that have been developed by the National Academy Foundation (NAF) and adopted by many schools. The NAF Standards emphasize establishing learning objectives that are aligned with academic learning (and assessed) and strive to ensure that all parties get something from the experience and affirm the importance of internship opportunities. My favorite NAF standard is number 7:
“All participants are prepared for, and reflect upon, internship experiences.” What are the possibilities? Schools, regional organizations combined with a proactive attitude can open doors for internship opportunities. SAS’s Catalyst Project strives to allow any student the opportunity to explore interests and pursue passions in new and flexible ways. When students enroll in this program, they are provided guidance, resources (including funding) and unprecedented flexibility in their schedule to pursue their interests: an excellent recipe for supporting internships. If your school does not offer this type of program, there are organizations in Singapore which have established structures and networks that provide a pool of internship opportunities. The Singapore Impact HUB is a great example of an organization that has developed an entrepreneurial network with mentor coaching services in order to inspire, connect and support individuals and teams that strive to positively impact the world through social entrepreneurships. Finally, proactively tapping into personal networks such as Twitter or professional networks such as LinkedIn or simply calling a relative or friend can bear surprising fruit. In my opinion, without internships or other real world experiential learning opportunities, our young adults suffer the loss of greater awareness, professional growth and new possibilities. Useful Websites: www.bigpicture.org www.naf.org singapore.impacthub.net
Photo by Singapore American School
Singapore American â€˘ May 2015
10 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American • May 2015
The American Club of Singapore: creating a better club for a brighter future By Martin Rudden
onsidering options to make The American Club better and keep it relevant is not a new discussion. In fact, as “guardians” of The Club, the management and committees have always had a responsibility to make sure that The Club is as good as it can possibly be for both members and staff, now and in the future. The American Club has been a “home from home” for many Americans here in Singapore for 67 years and, during those years, many ideas to improve The Club have been debated. Should The Club expand? Should it sell the land and start from scratch elsewhere? In recent years, however, it’s become very clear that for members there is a strong emotional attachment to the current site and so any redevelopment should stay at 10 Claymore Hill and focus on creating a modern and comfortable Club. The American Club’s current thinking could not come at a more
relevant time. As with any building which has been around for 60 years, the Scotts Road building, in its current form, cannot continue to provide the excellent level of services and facilities that members expect and deserve. So after much discussion, deliberation and debating, the General Committee, supported by the Strategic Planning Committee, has finally reached a point where they believe some action must be taken to future-proof The Club. After being asked to consider the financial implications of one redevelopment option, it received the endorsement of the Finance Committee and Investment Sub Committee assessing the ability to afford both the cost of the project and the operational losses throughout the years of disruption. Over the last few months, The Club’s management team and committee members have also ensured that members are as informed as possible and have
every opportunity to give feedback on ideas, ask questions and voice any concerns they may have. There have been many rumors and myths such as the belief that The Club will close completely for two years (It won’t!), that the entire building will be demolished (It won’t, only the Scotts Road building and pool area.) or that it will become one big construction site (This is also not true. In fact, on entering The Club through the main entrance, it will be very difficult to know that any construction will be happening at all.) It’s been a long journey, but now is the time to embark on what could potentially be the most significant (and definitely the most exciting) phase in the last 30 years of The Club. In early June, eligible members will get to cast their votes at an Extra Ordinary General Meeting on whether to proceed with the redevelopment or
not. Should the redevelopment be approved, then a detailed design phase will follow and there will be many opportunities then for members to share their ideas and feedback on the key redeveloped elements of the Club from a design perspective. If the redevelopment is approved, then the project would begin in mid-2016 and would take three years to complete. During that time most of The Club’s facilities will remain as they are, or will be replaced with temporary facilities (which, in most cases, will be better than what is currently available). A pool alternative will also be provided. It will almost be “business as usual” at The American Club. If you have any questions about the proposed redevelopment please visit www.amclub.org.sg or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
11 COMMUNITY NEWS
Singapore American • May 2015
Table courtesy of The American Club
Cub Scouts By Christopher Sanda
he boys arrived at Camp Sarimbun and quickly found suitable spots to pitch tents. In years past, the parents would have been sweating under the midday sun as they pitched the tents. They could not help but smile this time as the boys eagerly pitched their own tents. The boys had learned many skills; some self-dependence was perhaps the most valuable lesson of all. This is Cub Scouts Cub Scouting is a parent-run organization for boys aged 6-11 years old. Scouts learn skills and values through activities ranging from sports to character building, first aid, and the renowned outdoor skills. Many of the activities complement those taught at school to round out a boy’s experience in Singapore.
Children are often “gently raised” in Singapore and sometimes miss out on opportunities to do things for themselves. It is good to have a platform where the boys can try activities that they might not otherwise do. Cub Scouts has different age-specific ranks. The boys often circle back to the same skills and values as they progress through the ranks. The repetition and advancement of responsibility each year help the boys actually learn the skill rather than just superficially experience it. And often, one or both parents have intense jobs that have heavy time commitments on nights and weekends. Many parents appreciate the extended network that can lend a hand to support the boys. And likewise, the boys appreciate an extra set of uncles who can help guide them through primary school.
There are different versions of Scouts, but the American version has two Cub Scout packs (ages 6-11) and two Boy Scout troops (ages 11-18) in Singapore. For Cub Scouts, the packs generally meet twice per month; once with a group activity and once with a meeting with awards, skits and presentations. The boys also meet in smaller “dens” approximately once per month, usually at a parent’s house. Pack 3017 holds its meetings at the Singapore American School while Pack 3010 holds its at SAIS. Pack 3017 is the larger pack, while 3010 is enjoying its inaugural year. Likewise, Troop 07 is generally associated with SAS while Troop 10 is associated with SAIS. The scouting year runs year round, but new scouts generally join either at the end or beginning of a school year.
Photo by Khalid Ashraf
SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE Boy Scouts: Troop 07 • www.bsatroop07.org Boy Scouts: Troop 10 • www.facebook.com/BSATroopX Cub Scouts Pack 3010: email@example.com Cub Scouts: www.scouts3017.com Girl Scouts: www.singaporeusagirlscouts.org
12 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American • May 2015
Memorial Day By L.S. Power, VP of Public Affairs for the Singapore Council of the US Navy League
his year, we celebrate Memorial Day on Monday, May 25 to honor all those who gave their lives in war for their fellow Americans. During this time of so much conflict around the world, it is humbling to remember the very human aspect of loss and sacrifice. Memorial Day reminds us to recognize and respect the dedication and responsibility of the people serving in the US military, especially those who have died in the line of duty. This American holiday began in the aftermath of the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865 and claimed more than 550,000 lives. Family and friends of the fallen placed flowers on the graves in remembrance of their service in war. This tradition was formalized in 1866 when the town of Waterloo, New York held the first organized commemoration of the war dead through the decoration of graves. Not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is held on November 11 to honor war veterans living or dead, Memorial Day is a tribute to those who have passed away. In 1971, Memorial Day was made an official federal holiday and is observed on the last Monday of May every year. All Americans around the world are invited to pause in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm to offer thoughts and prayers for those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. In accordance with Memorial Day tradition, flags are lowered to half-staff and veterans’ parades are held in honor of the war dead. Family, friends and volunteers adorn the gravesites of war veterans with flowers, just as they have since 1866. As Memorial Day is a federal holiday, the Embassy of the United States in Singapore will be closed on May 25. Often, US Embassies have used the long Memorial Day weekend as a chance to increase the bonds
of international friendship through sports and activities. In 2012, the US Embassy of Singapore and the US Embassy of Kuala Lumpur competed in the Embassy Goodwill Games. Singapore is a hub for US military operations across Southeast Asia and is an especially important port-of-call for the US Navy. To support the American servicemen and women visiting or living in Singapore, the Navy League holds events year round, including: welcome receptions, tours of ships and subs, the Navy Ball, the Marine Ball and the Home Hospitality Program. Memorial Day commemorates an important aspect of the American identity, and the Singapore Chapter of the Navy League is proud to honor those who have died in the service of their nation. This year, the Singapore community of American military veterans and those who support the US servicemen and women invites, you to join us in honoring that sacrifice with a moment of contemplation on Memorial Day. Additionally, the Navy League will host an event in conjunction with the American Association of Singapore (AAS) at the Marine House to mark the day. Please check out aasingapore.com for more details. To find out more about the Singapore Chapter of the Navy League, please contact the Navy League at President@nlus-sgp.org or visit the website at www.nlus-sgp.org/ membership To learn more about Memorial Day, please visit the US Embassy in Singapore’s website at singapore.usembassy.gov/holidays.html
Photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres, Jr.
13 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American • May 2015
Nanny Visa Tips for Americans on Home Leave By Lisa Lee
ave you become so used to your laundry and dishes magically cleaning themselves that the thought of doing those mundane tasks yourself instantly gives you a migraine? Does planning a 24-hour plane ride alone with your toddlers give you prickly heat rash? Could you really use an extra hand with your elderly parents when you visit them? Or maybe your helper is such an important part of your family that you can't bear being away from her for a whole summer. So why not bring your helper with you to the US this summer when you go for home leave? The requirements for a US citizen employed overseas to bring a domestic helper to the US are stringent. US legal residents (i.e. “green card” holders) may NOT bring helpers into the US under any circumstances and the requirements for non-US citizens to do so are different. According to the US State Department, the B-1 “domestic employee” visa applicants must meet certain criteria and must demonstrate that:
original documents). Prepare to spend several hours in line for this task. This fee is non-refundable, whether or not the visa application is successful. Safeguard the nonreplaceable bank receipt, which you will need to schedule your appointment with the US Embassy in Singapore.
• The purpose of their trip is to enter the United States for work as a domestic employee;
4. Apply online for the visa. It is helpful to have the following information handy: your helper’s complete address in her home country; her parents’ full names; her grandparents’ full names; her children’s names, if any; all family members’ places of birth; dates of death of deceased family members; marital status; her graduation dates; and your contacts in the US who will sponsor her should she incur any debts, liabilities or medical expenses while visiting America.
• They plan to remain for a specific, limited period; • Their employer meets certain qualifications; • They have evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and • They have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure their return abroad at the end of the contract. Examples of “domestic employees” include: cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers' helpers, gardeners and paid companions. Your helper must have been working for you for at least six months before her entry to the US (or you must have regularly employed such helpers while living and working abroad). Second, your helper must have been a domestic helper for at least a year. Third, you, the employer, must plan to return to a job abroad at the end of your intended trip (so you cannot permanently return to the US and bring your helper). Finally, remember that it is your employee who will apply for a visa, be interviewed and demonstrate her qualifications for a visa. The decision of the consular officer to issue a visa cannot rely on your circumstances alone. If your employee is eligible to apply for a domestic worker visa, read on. 1. Check that her passport has at least six months validity from the date of return (from the US). For example, if you plan to return to Singapore on August 15, 2015, make sure all passports expire after February 15, 2016. If necessary, renew her passport before submitting a visa application. 2. Take a digital photo of your helper which must meet certain criteria, so it can later be uploaded into the DS160 visa application online. Use the State Department’s online photo tool: www.travel.state.gov/content/visas/ english/general/photos.html
5. Once you have successfully submitted the online visa application and applied for the visa appointment at the embassy, your employee will need the proper documents to bring to the interview, notably an employment contract for her time in the US. a. The signed employment contract must stipulate her pay in the US (at least minimum wage in the state where you will be staying during your visit), the terms of her employment (such as duties, hours, days off, holidays, sick leave, etc.). If you or a family member has legitimate medical needs or a disability or other compelling reasons for bringing your helper, be sure to emphasize your helper’s duties in the employment contract. It would not hurt to include a doctor’s note of explanation. b. Also bring the following documents: the employer’s original US passport (and if married, bring the spouse’s passport;) employer and spousal employment or dependent passes or NRIC’s; helper’s passport and work permit and other supporting documents. c. Although not required, I find it useful to bring the children’s passports as well. 6. Make sure your helper fully understands the terms of her employment contract including all of her rights and obligations. If you are able to bring your helper to the States, it will be a great opportunity for her to briefly experience life in America and give her a better understanding of American culture, which may be quite different from media perceptions. Useful websites: www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/ www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/sg-niv-visaapply.asp www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/sg-niv-typedomesticemployee.asp www.travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/photos.html www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/sg-niv-paymentinfo.asp www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm
Photos by Lisa Lee
3. Print out the deposit slip for payment of the B-1 visa application which is valid for only one week at Standard Chartered bank during regular business hours. Only Standard Chartered customers may pay online; otherwise you will need to make a deposit at a branch. Be sure to bring along your helper’s passport and work permit, as the bank may not make the deposit without these
Lisa Lee lives in Singapore with her husband and their young children. She and their pampered offspring spend summers in Seattle to enjoy Lego, carpentry and soccer camps; repeatedly visit Theo chocolate factory and farmers’ markets; and otherwise savor the glorious Pacific Northwest summers. Lisa practices international estate planning, probate, trusts, elder law and transactional real estate. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and other legal organizations.
14 LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore American • May 2015
A Walk Through Time By Melinda Murphy
o what’s the one job here in Singapore you can’t have anywhere else in the world? Being a Singapore Tour Guide! But being an OFFICIAL guide here isn’t as easy as you might think. For starters, you have to take a course, and not just a two-hour lecture in some conference room. The course given by the Singapore Tourism Board takes either three months if you go full-time or stretches out to six months for part-timers. The classes include everything from lectures, discussions, demonstrations, case studies, field trips and activities. To pass, you have to sit for a written test and final assessment. Then you have to apply for your license. Whew! The course was first developed in 1964 by a local professor and Geraldene Lowe, the grande dame of tour guiding in Singapore. A
native Singaporean of Eurasian decent, Lowe is something of an institution in the city, a walking encyclopedia of things you never knew you wanted to know about The Lion City. Taxi drivers say that most expat tourists want to go to the Zoo or Sentosa, but that’s not Lowe’s thing. Rather, she teaches about Singapore’s heritage and gets you into places that nobody else can such as behind the scenes with a local shopkeeper or inside a temple during a special festival. “I’m a little bit nosey and that’s a good thing,” laughs Lowe. “I ask questions that other people don’t. I think people let me and my tourists in because they can tell I’m genuinely interested and am there to learn and teach, not gawk.” Lowe received a Lifetime Achievement award for outstanding contribution to tourism at the Singapore Experience Awards, recognizing her 50 years of guiding. She has blazed the way for many to follow in her path such as Charlotte Chu, a native Singaporean. “I went on a tour with Geraldene and was ashamed of myself. She knew so much more about my city than I did.” Chu gave up working
with autistic children and has now been giving tours for many years. Her favorites are tours of the Singapore River. Local historical tours primarily cater to expat women, The American Women’s Association (AWA) has one of the biggest offerings, having employed guides such as Lowe and Chu. In 2014, AWA ran 87 tours with 1,700 participants, including both members and non-members of the organization. “Our tours are a good place to send visiting in-laws,” jokes Kathy Stark, the Chair of Local Tours for the AWA. “But truly, we find that expats really want to know about where they live, about things like the culture, the heritage
of Singapore. That’s what our tours offer best.” The HDB tour is most popular and sells out quickly. If you want to schedule a last minute tour, The Original Singapore Walks is the company for you. These tours need no pre-booking so you can just show up and head off. They regularly offer several tours, the most popular being about Changi and the war. Though the majority of their tourists are expats or locals, the company also works with schools. “In 1995, some school were dropping history as a subject,” reflects Savita Kashyat, co-founder and history buff. “We partly started the company to change the perspective on history. I love watching children Continued on page 30
Singapore American • May 2015
The New Liquor Law
By Melinda Murphy
By Angel Corrigan
eople in Singapore are learning to live a little differently since the The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Law kicked into effect last month. No more drinking in the wee hours outside the pubs on Clarke Quay or hanging out after hours sharing a beer with a friend in the park. What is it? This new law makes it illegal to drink in public places between 10:30pm and 7am. Retail shops also have to stop selling alcohol after 10:30pm. If the store’s employees sell alcohol to you after hours, they can be fined up to S$20,000 and face three months in jail. What exactly constitutes a public place? Any place that has free access to the public such as parks, beaches and HDB void decks is considered public. So if you throw a party at your condo’s pool, you can still serve alcohol since that’s not technically a public place. Just be sure to check with your condo’s management as each has the right to impose restrictions on drinking in common areas within premises. Is there any way around it? You can apply for a liquor consumption permit if you’re planning a special get together in a park or your HDB. What happens if you get caught? A first-time offense gets you a fine of S$1,000, while repeat offenders could be fined a maximum of double that and may face jail time of up to three months. Things are even stricter in Geylang and Little India.
These two neighborhoods have been designated as Liquor Control Zones. This means that retailers cannot sell alcohol from 7pm on Saturday to 7am on Monday as well as on public holidays; no alcohol sales from 7pm on the eve of the public holiday to 7am the next day. However, you can still get a drink in a licensed premise. Why the change? This is in direct response to the December 2013 riot in Little India. Additionally, studies show that riots and serious injuries are generally associated with alcohol consumed after 10:30pm.
PUT THAT VINO DOWN!
ALL PUBLIC AREAS
PARKS STREETS, HDBS & MORE
NO LATENIGHT LIQUOR RUNS
FROM APRIL 1' 15
ccording to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, people hold an average of 11 jobs in their lifetime. Sometimes the job changes are drastic from doctor to artist but most of the time job changes involve taking skills that you have already learned in your first profession and applying them to the next. No education is ever wasted and sometimes people make huge breakthroughs in their field through the application of information that they learned in the most unlikely places. A monumental example of this is how Apple founder Steve Jobs thought of computer fonts because he sat in on a calligraphy class at Reed College. You may just be starting to contemplate what you want to choose as a profession or you may be at a crossroads. Do a little research to see what the “hot” jobs” of the future will be in the field in which you are interested. Consider job availability, the work/life balance of that career field and what it pays. If job prospects look good, then either start training in that field or meet with a professional resume writer. You may need to take a few courses to expand your knowledge, but that is not always necessary. If you don’t enjoy sitting behind a desk, you might want to consider a trade: building, maintaining and beautifying the world. The trades are suffering as more and more students are going for four-year university degrees (which don’t necessarily yield high paying jobs). For those looking to make the change from a white collar job to a blue collar job, your business savvy should help make your new endeavor extremely successful. So what are the “hot” jobs of the future? The
Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) website has a section called “Strategic Skills in Demand,” a regularly-updated compilation of occupations that are hot in Singapore. The headings are Manufacturing, Construction, Healthcare, Finance, Information Communication & Digital Media and Tourism & Retail. Foreigners interested in applying should take the selfassessment tool which is a predictor of getting an Employment Pass or S Pass in that field. In the United States, anything in IT is hot. Companies are looking for software and web developers as well as computer and information systems analysts. There is also a shortage of teachers at all levels. In the business world, jobs are abundant in areas such as sales, event planning, HR, data analysts and management. There is also a need for architects and engineers. But perhaps the area with the biggest demand is healthcare. Just about every single area in that field has lots of openings. According to US News & World Report’s annual survey, dentist is the number one in demand job. Useful Links: www.mom.gov.sg/skills-training-and-development/ skills-in-demand/Pages/skills-in-demand.aspx money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/ the-100-best-jobs Angel Corrigan has lived around the world as a military spouse. In 1999, she arrived in Singapore with her family and has worked at the US Embassy and in the fundraising and development field as MD of her own company.
Singapore American • May 2015
Self-Employment Success By Richard Hartung
hether it is to pursue a passion, escape the corporate world or find fulfilment as a trailing spouse, an increasing number of people are looking for self-employment opportunities here. The good news is that Singapore is one of the easiest places to strike out on your own. Business Plan The first step in becoming self-employed, selfevident as it may seem, is to figure out exactly what you want to do. Related to that decision, another step is to figure out whether you want to run a company, work independently fulltime, work part-time or freelance periodically. Once you decide on these basics, it is helpful to develop a solid business plan for what you’ll do. Getting Permission An important step is also making sure you have the right to work in Singapore. While it is possible to work informally, there is increasing pressure to make sure all workers have permission to work and following legal requirements is important. One option is to set up a company and apply for an Employment Pass (EP) and another, for dependents, is to apply for a Letter of Consent from the Ministry of Manpower. While it has admittedly become more difficult to get an Employment Pass, the Letter of Consent has not been affected as much. Setting up a Business Many people who are self-employed decide to set up a company. To help you do that, there is a wealth of information available at sources including: • Enterprise One: www.enterpriseone.gov.sg has links to a multitude of information about starting up a new business • SPRING: www.spring.gov.sg has a specific section on start-ups • Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA): www.acra.gov.sg has details about registering a business and guidelines such as Starting Sole- Proprietorships or Partnerships You can set up a sole proprietorship, a locally incorporated “Private Limited” company, a partnership or another business structure very quickly online. Even though setting up a company is more costly, it can limit your personal liability and, specifically for Americans, income from a sole proprietorship may be subject to social security or other taxes. Finding Work Often times, work will come from contacts in your field of expertise or from networking at the many events available here. A website with search engine optimization, a LinkedIn profile
and other online presence can make the search for customers easier. It is also increasingly easy to find freelance work online and employment can come from companies around the globe. Freelance sites such as www.elance-odesk.com or www.guru.com enable freelancers to bid on jobs in a wide variety of field. Sites for writers, software developers or people with other specialized skills are also readily available. Where to Work One option for the self-employed is to work at home. While the cost is low and the commute is short, it can be harder to focus and somewhat isolated. An increasingly popular option is coworking space such as The Hub or Collective Works, where you can use a desk occasionally or full time. Moving up a level in cost, serviced offices such as Regus and Servcorp enable fast set-up and a variety of support. Solutions Regardless of where you work and what structure you set up, a variety of tools and techniques can make self-employment easier. Along with recruiting contacts to work with you, you can hire full-time or part-time staff through services such as CRCE, online portals such as JobsCentral or recruitment agencies such as Hudson and companies like Cream Counsel which can provide outsourced support. Software such as Quickbooks or Peachtree or outsourcing accounting services can be useful for tracking the money. Private Limited companies will need to hire a company secretary or to complete legal and filing requirements themselves. Government grants can help with funding and information about them is available at places such as SPRING and EnterpriseOne. Other sources for networking and information include: CRCE, the SME Committee at AmCham, networking organizations such as e27, online portals such as LinkedIn and specialized industry associations such as the Singapore Manufacturing Federation. Next Steps Once you figure out what to do and how to structure your business, the next step is to get started. While self-employment has risks, it also offers a tremendous opportunity to take full advantage of living in the dynamic business hub that Singapore has become. Richard Hartung is a consultant on cards and payments strategy with over 20 years of experience in financial services, primarily in Asia. He volunteers with the American Club, Jane Goodall Institute and other organizations.
The Art of the Telephone Interview By Alka Chandiramani
any employers today telephone candidates after receiving their job applications. While the call may be just to fix an appointment, in some cases, a preliminary evaluation is carried out over the phone. In today’s competitive world, the way you respond to a phone call from a potential employer may well decide whether you get an interview from them or not. Therefore, such calls have to be treated with utmost care and attention. Preparation is the key to ensure that each call from a potential employer is fully exploited by you. Phone interviews may come unexpectedly. Yet, you can be prepared for them. Here are some of the things that you can do in anticipation: • Place your resume on a wall in full view near the phone as an ease of reference. If and when you get a phone interview call, this could mean you avoid having to put the other party on hold to search for it. The other reason for doing this is that if you are looking for a job, the resume is a constant reminder to you to keep on with your job search.
• Keep all company research materials within easy reach of the phone. Use a folder with tabbed separators so that you are able to quickly locate the information at your fingertips. • Have a notepad and pen handy for notetaking during the conversation. • Try to prepare answers to questions that you might be asked. Focus on your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Practice until you are comfortable (in front of a mirror if you can or with a close friend). • Keep cue cards handy, if necessary, to help recall important information that can be omitted because of interview jitters!! Sometimes questions asked by the employers may be slightly different from your prepared answers. You should still be able to give short and concise answers. Try not to lose your poise on the telephone. Do try to avoid salary issues. If you are asked how much money you expect, give a broad range or ask what the budgeted salary is for the position (research the going rate in the market for the job beforehand).
Singapore American â€˘ May 2015
Singapore American â€˘ May 2015
Singapore American • May 2015
How to Get a Job in Singapore By Roger Grant Making your work personal is the key. With the global reach of social media platforms, talent in today’s job market is highly visible. One of Oneztà’s clients, a Talent Acquisition Director from a US consumer electronics giant, tells us that they receive on average 500 applications for every job that is advertised. On the other side, job seekers also tell us that they consider themselves lucky if they receive one response for every 20 applications they sent out. Since the war for talent is intense, how do you stand out? How do you make yourself unique? In a job search, it means making your work personal. Making work personal means being crystal clear about who you are (Strengths) and where you want to go (Vision). Change your mindset from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. See yourself as a product and develop a business model around the start-up of YOU. How do you do this? Give yourself space to self-reflect. Fix a time in your calendar; find a place that energizes you, away from work and pressure. Think about: Your Strengths: What skills can you do easily that others find hard? Your Vision: What impact do you want to create in the world? What legacy do you want to have at 65? What are you passionate about? Write everything down. Do this a few times. As you go through the exercise, a pattern will emerge of the roles that best fit you. You do not need to do this alone. Take advantage of your network intelligence. Share your insights with your friends and family and ask for their opinions. More brains working on your dilemma are better than one.
Also use your network intelligence to apply the test of market reality to the suggested jobs. Leverage on your connections to reach out to line managers and key players in the industry. Have informational interviews over coffee or Friday night drinks and gain insights about the industry and role you are looking for. Finding a job in Singapore is more difficult for foreign talents, due to the strict labor laws and work permit restrictions. Making work personal becomes even more important. Be creative and be open to breakout opportunities. These opportunities are sometimes diamond in the rough though the benefits are not outwardly
obvious with things like contract or freelance work. These opportunities have the benefit of being flexible and allowing you to test the waters through building up proof points in the local market. If it goes right, you get a foot through the door, expand your network and allow opportunities for permanent positions. If it goes wrong, you learn something and have a great story to tell over your Friday night drinks. Sometimes, the wrong job pushes you in the direction of the right one. Improve your hiring odds by becoming an expert on the Ministry of Manpower’s employment pass requirements. Making work personal takes courage, commitment and hard work to follow through, but the results are transformational. You become self-empowered. You perform beyond others’ expectations. You set the bar to reach your full potential. These insights were co-created by the participants of the CRCE workshop I facilitated called, “Get a Job in Singapore” held by the American Association of Singapore. Photo of Singapore by Paul!!!
Roger Grant is a Director with Onezta, a Singaporeanbased talent consultancy, overseeing Career Management. Grant enjoys helping individuals to make work personal, through finding impactful work that matters to them. He has lived in Asia for 16 years, and has a keen understanding of the diversity of Asia. Roger regularly speaks at industry events, and has built trusted relationships with C-level executives across Asia in planning their next career move.
Singapore American • May 2015
Looking for a Few Good Men By Bill Poorman
e’re quickly running out of places to sit so we shove more tables together. About 15 of us guys have gathered here in the basement food court at Shaw Centre. It’s the regular weekly lunch of the Singapore Overbooked Men’s Association aka SOMA. The name is quite a mouthful. More on that in a moment. The conversation ranges among the usual expat guy stuff: finding out from where people come, best places to eat, best places to buy electronics, sports. As SOMA cofounder Jim Arpin says, “Guys band together and share ideas on issues that guys have.” But there’s one key difference: we also talk a lot about how to navigate the rules for working in Singapore, even if it’s part-time. You see, we’re here on a Dependent Pass, having followed our wives, who are the primary breadwinners. Welcome to the world of the male trailing spouse in Singapore. SOMA held its first get-together in March of 2014. Like many things in Singapore, SOMA is an import. The group’s initial organizer, Arpin, was living in Shanghai when he joined a men’s group there for male trailing spouses that had gathered more than 100 members. When his wife’s job was relocated to Singapore, he decided to launch a similar group. He knew he’d have company right away. A fellow male trailing spouse from Shanghai, Francisco Marin, had already moved here and became a co-founder. Other Shanghai transferees came soon after. Thanks to those relationships and other networking opportunities – like the ones provided by American Association, CRCE, and the American Club – the group quickly has grown to nearly a score of members. So far SOMA members have bowled together, visited museums, volunteered, attended happy hours, visited Batam and Bintan in Indonesia and even visited Singapore’s water infrastructure out of sheer curiosity. But the core activity remains the group’s weekly lunches, which provide the way for people to stay in contact on a regular basis and plan the other excursions. “We didn’t want people to wait a month to become involved,” says Arpin. Arpin also explains that despite the connections to the American Association of Singapore and other related groups, SOMA has no formal affiliations with those organizations. Arpin says, “It’s not exclusively Americans. It’s not by nationality. In fact, Arpin’s co-founder Marin is a Mexican national. “We wanted to make it as open as possible” says Arpin. SOMA also doesn’t have the usual trappings of a club. There are no fees, no forms to sign and certainly no secret handshake. But what SOMA lacks in formality, it makes up for in camaraderie and that can be critical for male trailing
spouses. Dr. Yvonne McNulty studies expat life through her consultancy, Expat Research, based here in Singapore. “Everyone needs a place where they belong. Everyone needs a soft landing.” Those resources and formal and informal networks are well developed for female trailing spouses, who have long been a part of the expat experience. But the growth in the number of male trailing spouses is relatively new. McNulty says, over the last decade, women have made up between 16 and 24 percent of the global expat workforce and about half of those were the primary breadwinners. Twenty years ago, only between two and five percent of global expat workforce was women. McNulty says the prevalence of male trailing spouses can vary by city and by industry, but “globalization has broken down a lot of barriers” and “women are more willing, able and interested” today to take on expat assignments. And that’s where SOMA comes in: partially filling that social gap for male trailing spouses and giving them an opportunity to find one another. In fact, Arpin says, the group even connected “two guys who lived in the same building and didn’t even know it!” Now, you’ve probably been wondering about that name – Singapore Overbooked Men’s Association. You’re not alone. Many of us have. It’s usually the second or third question after, “Where’s lunch?” Here’s the story: back in Shanghai, Arpin explains, the name for the group there was Guy Tais, a play on the word tai tai, which refers to a wealthy married woman who doesn’t have to work. But Arpin felt he needed a name that reflected the diversity of Singapore. In the early days of organizing the group, Arpin says he used the tongue-in-cheek name of “Jim’s Great Adventures,” but of course that wouldn’t “scale.” While organizing early activities, he said he was “listening to all of the excuses” that the men joining the group had for why they couldn’t make it to a given event: kids schedules, air conditioners to get repaired, etc. He found despite no one having a job, each was thoroughly busy. In fact, they were overbooked, just like the lunchtime gatherings at Shaw. Well, at least until we pull more tables together. Find SOMA online at: www.singaporeoverbookedmensassociation.com
Photo by Francisco Marin Bill Poorman is a first-time expat male trailing spouse having moved to Singapore less than a year ago when his wife transferred here with Caterpillar. And in case you hadn’t guessed, he’s part of that unruly SOMA crowd.
Singapore American • May 2015
FREElancing FREEdom By Faith A. Chanda
nce upon a time, I had a career. I know I did. Before our container arrived in Singapore and chaos reigned in our new apartment, before we made the decision to move across the planet for my husband’s job, before I had my beautiful, brilliant, fabulous children…. I had a career. And now that I’m here in Singapore with the kids both in school for a full day and a hired helper to assist us with cleaning, clutter organizing and child wrangling, I’m left with the trailing spouse’s quintessential quandary : “NOW what?” And then one day, I picked up a copy of the Singapore American Newspaper and found a message that seemed like it was just for me: the opportunity to do some professional writing, network and receive some coaching from a more experienced journalist. The catch? There’s no pay. By coincidence, my husband had just come back from a meeting with our new accountant and pronounced a non-paying gig was exactly what I needed: the less income coming in,
the fewer taxes bleeding out to two different countries! Not to mention that there is no official employment pass for foreign freelancers. And like a prime exhibit of the BaaderMeinhof Phenomenon, once I had free freelance (“FREElance”) gigs on my mind, I started to see opportunities everywhere. On our pre-membership tour of The American Club, I learned I could hone my organizational and management skills by volunteering for any number of interesting committees that serve the members of The Club. When we were invited to a Prince and Princess Royal Ball birthday party, the event planner in me was itching to get back into that saddle again. The best FREElance arrangements will be a win-win for you and whatever organization with which you end up working. But why do it? Why work for free? Your goals can simply be to keep your skills fresh, stay up-to-date with developments in your field, just get your foot in the door or even to find a mentor. Think about what your favorite parts of your old job were or your best professional skills or even just something you’ve been meaning to try to make a living. And then start looking for organizations that might need your skillset or have experts from whom you can you can learn. Having been out of the marketing industry since my almost-seven-year-old was born, I realized a lot has changed while I was busy doing other things. Social media is vastly more important in any marketing mix than it was in 2008, for example. Now, don’t get me
wrong: this mama spends a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook and Pinterest, but that’s a whole different ballgame than effectively using social media in a professional respect to create awareness or shape your messaging. One way that helped me begin to scratch the surface of that challenge (before I moved to Singapore) was to head up the marketing and communications committee of a local charity that was very close to my heart. Of course, a great bonus of social media is that I can still be involved from the other side of the planet! You’ve already done the hard part – moved
across the world. Now it’s time to do something for YOU. And the lucky organization you choose (or that chooses you!). Find your FREEdom… and FREElance! Photo: Left; by Jeshu John Faith Chanda relocated to Singapore with her family in January from the idyllic small town of Cornwall, NY. She has nearly 20 years of experience in Marketing, Promotions and Event Planning in a wide variety of industries. Lately, she has been spending her time navigating the unique culture of Singapore with a mixture of fascination and bewilderment.
Singapore American • May 2015
Singapore's Silicon Valley By Rob Faraone
mployment options abound in a major global hub like Singapore. While things have changed, many still enjoy nice compensation packages and perks and work in a fancy office. However, there is a whole alternative ecosystem in Singapore that, although thriving, may not be as widely-known or appreciated. Tech start-up entrepreneurs are a unique breed who have much in common with their Silicon Valley brethren. They’re often creative and idea-driven, prepared to live modestly and pursue a dream, content (if not obsessed) with potential wealth down the road. The culture embraces simplicity and informality like Google's headquarters. Block 71 is Singapore's Silicon Valley. It’s a converted JTC multi-story warehouse with its own story, illustrative of the way this important sector works. It looks very 70's compared to glitzy Fusionopolis and Biopolis just across the street. Intended to be a temporary (40-month) solution for start-ups and incubators after which the building was to be razed, the support was so great that the concept expanded. Revealing of the tenants’ mentality and of Singapore's switched-on practicality is how plain the building is. Cargo lifts are basic and lobbies are graffiti-laden, giving a decidedly USurban feel. High ceilings and exposed venting invite simple, open offices and minimalist decor. The success of this look is underscored by two new retro buildings, Block 73 which will house only start-ups and Block 79 with its incubators, accelerators and research firms. They are equally basic in appearance and will house approximately 750 tech firms. The environment is deliberately flat and nonhierarchal with a strong American feel. A quick scan of the directory lists names which are unfamiliar now, but may blossom into regional or global prominence someday. They're into gaming, mobile and big data, among other emerging technology and applications. As you might expect, the people
are mostly under 35, roughly half foreign and half Singaporean. There's constant networking while sharing hawker center meals or during an unplanned basketball or football game. Three additional buildings are planned: Block 77 will debut in 2016, while Block 75 and Block 81 are set for 2017. The Block 71 model is now being transplanted with the announcement of Block 71 San Francisco. Singapore hopes that by setting up links in different countries and startup ecosystems, it can bring local startups abroad and improve their chances of becoming a global company. So how does an idea at Block 71 go from idea to IPO? Turns out, it’s a very structured process for such a seemingly informal environment: Founder: The idea is formed and presented in a simple, 10-15 page overview or “deck” that will be updated for each subsequent stage. Angel: Developers raise $25-75,000 from a collection of high net worth individuals and family friends to develop a prototype and gain initial traction. Seed: This incubation stage requires the first institutional venture capital investor ranging from $250-500,000. The investor provides guidance across all aspects from team building, productmarket fit, financial projections and investor presentations to begin converting the idea into a viable business; Series A: This stage requires a seven figure investment that builds on Seed and expands local traction globally. Series B: Another seven or eight figure investment is used to build depth in the team
and technology and secure a significant and fastgrowing revenue base for the final stage. Series C: This is the “nirvana” stage which can be open-ended or culminate in an IPO or acquisition by an institutional investor such as Google, Salesforce.com or Facebook. To help make this happen, Block 71 has a wealth of resources available to the companies there. There are players at Block 71 who help with finances such as Donna Daritan, executive director of BANSEA, an organization of approximately 50 Angel investors and cofunded by Spring Singapore. Her job is to help members find suitable start-ups in which to invest and to encourage cooperation amongst the members. Others at Block 71 serve more as a mentor to growing companies. Dan Abrams is from New York, a Wharton graduate who went on to JP Morgan and a Wall Street career and launched Expara to provide incubation and guidance
much smaller than the venture capital sectors in Silicon Valley or China, conditions here should drive an exponential increase in startups. We expect this trend to accelerate over the next 5-10 years" One such start-up is Mentorica, founded by Joe Duncan, an entrepreneur from New York with Wall Street experience. When his wife Sarah got a corporate transfer to Singapore, he leveraged his venture capital contacts and started Mentorica here while in his late 40s. Mentorica is at the Seed stage and launched its first product “PROretail®”, which Duncan describes as the “Salesforce.com for retail,” a cloud-based subscription model, accessed via mobile or PC, for sales-training, management tools and insight on consumer data. Currently, it's in use by luxury goods seller in Takashimaya, with other near-term implementations pending. At the core is a big data analytics engine for which the company
for early-stage companies in Singapore. Abrams reports, “The start-up and earlystage venture capital sector grew slowly from 2003 to 2006, but began to take off in 2007 after the establishment of National Research Foundation (NRF), which initiated a range of highly successful stimulus programs, including Block 71. Since then, Expara has invested in 40 start-ups and counting." Expara set up an accelerator program in Bangkok last year and has an active presence in Kuala Lumpur. Doug Abrams, the fund’s managing director, explains this expansion. "Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing opportunities in the world for start-up companies and Singapore is a great location for start-ups. Singapore has great infrastructure, good corporate governance, rule of law, strong intellectual property regime and a start-up friendly environment. It is also the center of the venture capital sector in this region. Although
filed a patent in Singapore last year. “The value of Block 71 extends well beyond affordable space. The ecosystem has a well-earned cachet that helps validate us, fundamentally supporting everything we do like source investors, attract talent, pique the interest of salespeople, and gain credibility with end users.” As we reflect over the passing of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, it's quite possible he'd be very pleased to see Singapore's great success in Block 71.
Photos by Rob Faraone and Natalia Wakula 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.
Singapore American • May 2015
The Perfect Resume
By Alka Chandiramani with Sher-li Torrey
Taken from Living in Singapore SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Ministry of Manpower: www.mom.gov.sg Contact Singapore: www.contactsingapore.sg Ministry of Finance: www.mof.gov.sg Ministry of Trade and Industry: www.mti.gov.sg
LETTER OF CONSENT (LOC) FORM FOR DEPENDANT PASS HOLDERS
Monetary Authority of Singapore: www.mas.gov.sg Central Provident Fund (CPF): www.cpf.gov.sg
STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS REFERENCE GUIDE
Business Registration Portal: www.bizfile.gov.sg
Singapore Professional Centre: www.spc.org.sg
s a global city, Singapore’s job recruitment process is largely similar to international practices. Resumes are usually requested as a first step of your job application. An accompanying cover letter (either as a separate attachment or part of an email, if applying electronically) is also recommended. This letter should preferably state your reasons for applying to the firm, a summary of your relevant experience and a personal statement highlighting the reasons you are a good fit for the role. If you had been recommended by an acquaintance, making reference to that individual in your cover letter is also encouraged. Keep your cover letter concise. Including your contact information on both the cover letter and the resume is a good idea as some employers may choose to only read one. Resume formats are fairly basic, with a preference for chronological or functional types. Unless you are applying for an industry that values creativity, the typical online one or two page resume will suffice. Certain roles may require language ability. Often, the employer might seek out a “native speaker” of a particular language. The job may require the employee to converse or write professionally in that language. If you are not a native speaker, but have the relevant language training (supported by educational certificates) and prior experience,
you might want to try applying. Popular languages, besides English, that are preferred in this region include Mandarin Chinese, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Melayu, Thai or Vietnamese. Other popular languages that are sought after by employers are Japanese, Korean and Cantonese Chinese. It is not uncommon for some Singapore employers to request a photograph to be submitted as part of the job application. You might also be asked to give references upon application. If you have been shortlisted for an interview, you will be asked to complete an application form at the first interview. Sometimes, your potential employer may request for details including your family’s particulars. Some companies may also ask for two references. During the interview process, you might be asked questions that you were not expecting; questions that seem personal and impolite. HR interviewers may ask questions about your personal life to determine how long you intend to stay in Singapore. Some questions might assess your ability to fit in with a Singapore working team or to acclimatize to a Singapore working environment. Should you feel uncomfortable about sharing your replies, you may politely decline to comment. Photo by Jenny Cestnik
We’re looking for your best and brightest ideas about how to manage kids’ screen time during the summer holidays.The first ten people who send in their ideas win a free bottle of wine! Email communications @aasingapore.com with the subject: SCREEN TIME
HEADHUNTERS/ EXECUTIVE SEARCH FIRMS www.singaporejobsmarket.com www.contactsingapore.sg
Management Development Institute of Singapore: www.mdis.edu.sg/Membership/InterestGroup
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority: www.acra.gov.sg Spring Singapore: www.spring.gov.sg EnterpriseOne: www.business.gov.sg
American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore: www.amcham.org.sg
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore: www.iesingapore.gov.sg
Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore: www.cancham.org.sg
Economic Development Board of Singapore: www.edb.gov.sg
Career Resource Center for Expatriates: www.aasingapore.com/crce
DP Bureau: www.dpbureau.sg
British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore: www.britcham.org.sg
Practical & Research-Based Ways To Make Websites & Capture Customers: www.kidnapcustomers.com
French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore: www.fccsingapore.com
INVESTING IN SINGAPORE
Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce: english.sccci.org.sg Singapore Business and Professional Women’s Association: www.sbpwa.org.sg The Financial Women’s Association in Singapore: www.fwasg.org Mums@work: www.mumsatwork.net The Athena Network: www.theathenanetwork.com.sg EllesNetwork (French community women’s network group): www.facebook.com/EllesNetwork Primetime, Business and Professional Women’s Association: www.primetime.org.sg National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre: www.nvpc.org.sg
Singapore Stock Exchange: www.sgx.com Housing & Development Board: www.hdb.gov.sg Economic Development Board: www.sedb.com Singapore International Chinese Chamber of Commerce: www.sicc.com.sg International Enterprise Singapore: www.iesingapore.gov.sg Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA): www.ida.gov.sg
Singapore American • May 2015
Minding Your Manners By Laura Schwartz
tiquette can be tough to master at home, let alone abroad. It seems like there’s always something new to learn. For example, I only just found out that if a Singaporean woman introduces herself as Mdm Lim, she is using her maiden name, as opposed to when she uses, Mrs. Hoh, which is her married name. As a tourist in Singapore, you’ll likely be forgiven your faux-pas, but if you’re an expat doing business here, it’s a good idea to adapt to the work environment. As the saying goes, “Think global. Act local.” When you put in the effort to understand local expectations, it not only shows your clients that you respect them, but will also enable you to adjust your marketing strategy or meeting style for a greater chance of success.
Punctuality is a virtue so arrive to meetings on time. Introductions are almost always in order of age. Ethnic Chinese generally use a very light, extended handshake, feeling the traditional Western, bone-crushing grip is offensive. Chinese men and women may shake
hands, but the woman must always extend her hand first. Older Malay men may only shake the hand of another man. Younger Malays sometimes shake hands with foreign women, but it is more appropriate to bow the head which is how two Malay women meet. Indians may shake hands with members of the same sex and will smile and nod when being introduced to somebody of the opposite sex. Hugs are rare in the US in business, but pretty much nonexistent here, even between friends. Don’t back slap or high five either. In general, folks here simply don’t like to be touched. If you’re introducing two people, state the name of the more senior or more important person first. When meeting with a Singaporean counterpart, wait for him or her to introduce you to the rest of the team. Avoid using first names until your Singapore counterpart suggests it. This is especially important when dealing with older people. In fact, most Chinese counterparts will introduce you by your last name. Resist the temptation to give compliments. Giving or receiving compliments is not common in Chinese culture. In fact, if you do give one, your counterpart will probably respond with the words, “Not at all” or “It is nothing” rather than “Thank you.” Conversely, Singaporeans think nothing of asking highly personal questions that Westerners consider inappropriate. Here as in Japan, you should use both hands to pass your business card with your name facing the person. Study the card. Take the time to ask how to pronounce their name properly. Leave the card on the table horizontally facing you
during the meeting. This is a sign of respect. Whatever you do, don’t put it in your back pocket. Never deal out your own cards like a deck of cards. In Chinese culture, it’s important for people to see the exit. Since 70% of Singaporeans are of Chinese decent, it’s best you sit with your back to the door. Generally, you will be told where to sit as there is a strict hierarchy so simply wait to be told where to sit and you’ll be okay. Appropriate dress depends on the industry in which you’re working. Finance jobs, for example, generally demand a full suit and tie whereas many other industries in Singapore are much more casual. Try to gear your style to the
client’s. Everybody likes to feel as if they’ve won, but this is particularly important in the Chinese culture. If you’re selling something, for example, give an initial price with a room for negotiation. Most cultures consider it polite to offer a visiting client or business partner something to drink upon their arrival. In the US and the UK, we expect glasses of water to at least be chilled or better yet have ice. Room temperature water smacks of a half-hearted attempt to provide a nice drink. But in Malaysia, Singapore and a few other Southeast Asian countries, it’s a nice gesture to clarify whether they would prefer
Singapore American • May 2015
warm or cold water. The belief that drinking too much cold water will make you sick is still a fairly common one so if you can handle warm water, it’s probably best to just sip and make do. Once refreshments are handled, it’s time to get down to business by…not talking about business right away. Relationships, rather than strict economics, rule business partnerships in Asia and so the straightforwardness that Americans value so highly can strike the wrong tone. We think we’re being honest and not wasting time, but the chunk of the business meeting you devote to small talk can often be the most productive part of the rendezvous. However, no matter how well that conversation goes, it can still be difficult to determine whether or not you have successfully made your case. In the same way that Singaporeans value relationships, they are also often reluctant to say “no” outright. Part of my job requires me to pitch our consulting services one-on-one to potential clients and I can never tell if I’ve made a sale until the moment they sign up. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have led nowhere, while conversations I wrote off as a wash led to that person buying a package several weeks later. Singaporeans often put more stock in facial expression, tone of voice and posture than in the spoken word. They pay as much attention to what isn’t said as to what is said. Silence is actually quite important in negotiation. By pausing before you answer, you signal that you’ve really stopped to think about what the other person said and how you want to respond. This is a symbol of respect while responding quickly is seen as rude behavior. Speaking loudly
is also a sign of rudeness. Most locals speak softly and sometimes smile to avoid embarrassment and not necessarily because they think what you said is all that funny. If you’ve been getting a lot of smiles in your meetings, it may not be because you’re the stand-up comedian you think you are! Something else rude? Moving something with your shoe or pointing the soles of your shoes towards somebody, so don’t prop your feet up on the table. Things such as pointing and whistling are totally unacceptable. Shrugging and winking are confusing. Never write anything in red ink. If you’ve lived here for more than ten minutes, you know that food is a big deal in Singapore. Business lunches can be super fancy or a quick meal at a hawker center. If you’re hosting, remember that Muslims don’t eat pork and devout Muslims should be taken to a halal restaurant. Hindus don’t eat beef. And there are no three martini lunches in Singapore. In general, drinking during the day is frowned upon, but drinking at night is acceptable and often an important part of bonding with clients. Another thing to be mindful of is how you speak about Singapore. While Singaporeans themselves will be the first to admit they love to complain, that doesn’t give you equal rights to whine. Think about how you would feel back home if an expat complained about life in your city. Even if you agreed with their gripes, you would likely still feel a pang of defensive patriotism. Keep your bellyaching about the restaurant service or the weather to your own circle of friends and out of any professional relationships.
At the end of the meeting, guests should be walked to the elevator. High-ranking guests should be walked to the car. When a Singaporean offers to send you to the airport, they are literally offering to take you themselves. Nevertheless, being polite on local terms doesn’t mean relinquishing all the traits that have made you successful back home. I begin my workshops by stating outright that I’m a loud American, which means I’m going to make participants talk in class, urge them to work in groups and expect them to ask questions. The belligerent interactivity is often novel for adults who were taught in the more restrained Singapore style. When mixed with elements they’re to which they are more accustomed, communication not only becomes easy, it becomes enjoyable. And don’t forget the number one rule of doing business in other countries: if you accidentally offend, simply apologize and take the lesson with you. Useful websites: www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/globaletiquette/singapore.html www.culturalsavvy.com/chinese_culture.htm Photo by Vgervazlev When Laura Schwartz is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions & Career Consultant with freelance writing. You can read her articles, travel anecdotes and series of tips on how to be a better tourist at: www.thecircuition.com
JOIN AAS NOW! Join the AAS community in Singapore and receive member pricing to social events for the entire family. Plus, you’ll get discounts and special offers at businesses in Singapore and the Singapore American Newspaper delivered to your home each month. All that for just $70 a year! If you’re looking for career and personal development, you can also join CRCE. Check out our website for more information. www.aasingapore.com
26 HEALTH & WELLNESS
Singapore American • May 2015
Parenting: Hope or Fear? By Philip Meehan, SACAC Counselling
he moment I first held my son, I was filled with joy and hope for the possibilities ahead. That was quickly followed by a moment of fear: both “what now?” and “I hope I don’t screw this up.” Parenting is a balance between hope and fear; we wish the best for our kids and want them to enjoy safe passage through life, but fear creeps in as we encounter real and perceived danger all around. Fear can be the driving force behind our parenting decisions. We constantly hear about things of which to be fearful: strangers, cars, foods, too much screen-time, too little nature - the list is endless. When we parent from fear, we build walls between our child and the outside world, developing a parenting style where risk avoidance rather than learning is the goal. The fear of physical danger might mean that a young person may never leave his parents’ sight. Another fear focuses on opportunities, such as academics: parents, swept up in a wave of activities and tuition, fearful that without them, their child won’t “succeed.” Finally, there’s a fear of making mistakes, of not being the perfect parent. Of course, he threw a tantrum; I knew better than to let my son play too much Minecraft! How do we parent with hope? To manage risk around physical danger, rather than building walls, we build supports that allow kids to learn to manage risk age-appropriately. Kids learn when they fail or make a mistake, but we are there to help them up and problem solve for the next time. Children who are always caught when they fall at the park, never experiencing pain, is more likely to take greater risks without the necessary skills than a child who learns through small falls and natural consequences. As children show they can navigate their environment safely, they earn trust and further freedoms and we feel hopeful because of their resilience. Similarly, when we fear that a lack of academic tuition or extracurriculars will keep our child from being successful, we also need to lean on hope. Instead of choosing activities that we think will help our children gain a leg-up on peers, we can encourage
children to follow their own interests and explore possibilities, even if it’s a different path than the one we envision. When children find a fit and invest the time, whether their interest is in bugs, bass guitar or basketball, they will be more likely to stick to it when the going gets tough. This “stick-to-it-ness”, or grit, is what parenting out of hope encourages. Finally, when it comes to parenting perfectly, we all have times when we actually do just that. Too often we get bogged down with the negative, admonishing ourselves for mistakes
without celebrating successes. When you find something that works, keep doing it! And when you repeat the same thing over again with negative results, try something different. Rather than aspiring to perfection, it’s hopeful to recognize we’re doing our best with the resources, time and energy we have. For support on this or other topics, Meehan and the team at SACAC Counselling can be reached at www.sacac.sg and 6733- 9249. Photo by Simon Ang
27 ARTS & CULTURE
Singapore American • May 2015
A Career in Theater/ Performing Arts By Nithia Devan
division dedicated to training and nurturing Singapore’s young talents. Under the stewardship of program directors Rodney Oliveiro and Serena Ho, this innovative training program aims to prepare the next generation of theater practitioners for careers in the professional theater industry. The Esplanade offers short courses on basic stage operations and also on knowledge of production and technical theater.
f you want a job in the performing arts, you have probably been told umpteen times that it’s “risky” and make sure you have a “backup plan.” While it’s true that a career in the arts takes a lot of work, the good news is the arts scene in Singapore is more vibrant than ever.
On the stage For aspiring students, there are many options now when it comes to education such as SOTA (The School Of The Arts) and LaSalle College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). LaSalle College of the Arts has become recognized for providing a worldclass standard of training, attracting students from around the Asia-Pacific. Graduates have gone on to find employment overseas or in Singapore’s homegrown theater companies. Dr. Sian Jay, an adjunct lecturer at LaSalle who teaches the performing arts diploma course says, “I’ve lived here for more than 21 years and taught at LaSalle for 15 of those. The theater and arts scene in the 1990s was beginning to take off when I first came. Now there are little companies popping up all over the place offering more and more opportunities.”
For example, the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) offers students various learning platforms such as “The Young Company – Acting,” a two year program for 15-25 year olds. Dan Jenkins, an experienced actor and director, manages this two-year program that also gives the young people a chance to audition for the small roles in SRT’s annual Shakespeare in the
Park production. With “The Young Company – Writing,” ten young writers are mentored through a 16-week program. SRT also has four residency positions, which are offered to young local talents looking to work full-time in the industry within the areas of directing, producing, designing for theater and musical theater. Similarly, W!ld Rice has Young & W!LD, a
Adrian and Tracie Pang, the Artistic Directors at Pangdemonium say, “A major part of Pangdemonium's missions has always been to give opportunities to young performers to showcase their talents in a professional, nurturing environment, so it's wonderful to have had several alumni from SOTA and LaSalle work with us on our shows. There is always going to be more to learn, whether that means further training at perhaps an overseas arts institution (an option that is not available to everyone) or life-long learning through professional work itself.” Continued on page 28
28 ARTS & CULTURE
Singapore American • May 2015
A Career in Theater/ Performing Arts continued from page 27 performing arts experience. The range of specialist and managerial roles include theater manager, assistant stage manager, casting, production, box office, PR and marketing. Useful degree subjects include English and music; training in drama, theater studies or arts management. Involvement in amateur groups or other relevant work experience is an advantage.
Dr. Sian Jay personally feels that for individuals who are good at what they do, there is always work and they soon become in demand. “Don’t forget that graduates can also apply their training in other fields: technical theater graduates may end up working for events companies and designers for window display and the like.” In the classroom The wonderful thing about being a music, dance or theater teacher is that you get to work with passionate, brave young artists daily: this can be just as satisfying and hands-on as a career on the stage, but can offer more stability. This is one area where more development is needed as there is a real shortage in Singapore of good arts educators. Aubrey Mellor, Senior Fellow, Office of the President, at LaSalle College of the Arts personally believes, “Skilled teachers are needed to lift performance quality and, in many cases, this needs to start at an early age. Not all artists are good teachers and few teachers know a lot about the Performing Arts. There is a growing demand for Arts educators, in line with Singapore’s aim to become a more creative nation.” Mellor feels it’s a career that is not promoted enough to students and parents.
“LaSalle runs an Arts Educator MA that is helping teachers to learn about arts and artists to learn about teaching, but there are still skills gaps, even in traditional Asian arts. There is a need for quality voice and singing teachers and for a range of dance and movement teachers, for example, in Mime,” he says. Behind the curtain Backstage work is absolutely essential to the work that happens in front of the curtain. In Singapore, there is a real need for producers, choreographers, writers, stage managers, prop managers, wardrobe technicians, stagehands and design/tech teams that manage set design, costume design and lighting, especially in stage management. Mellor says, “I think it falls back on teachers and career advisors to advise students of careers in this area. They themselves may not know enough about the huge number of backstage jobs, their growth and their career possibilities.” It is a problem that is slowly being addressed. LaSalle runs a long-established technical theater program. On the Business side Performers need an audience, so marketing the arts, selling tickets, managing theater companies and venues are all part of the
On the set There are many opportunities in television and film. Singapore has established media companies such as MediaCorp, which will be moving soon to new premises at Mediapolis@ one-north, created in response to the country’s rapidly expanding media sector. When completed, the 19 hectare development will form a vital piece of Singapore's media ecosystem, where the finest in the media industry can thrive and grow. It will focus on the development of high-quality media content as well as R&D in interactive digital media. Certain technical knowledge can be applied
to stage, television and film such as design, sound or costume design. However, if you’re an actor considering TV and film, you should sign up for specific classes that teach you how to adjust acting in front of a camera rather than a live audience. Good Advice Volunteering with a local theater company, watching performances and getting the right training can all provide invaluable experience. Mellor believes, “There is no teacher like the industry itself. So apart from talent and training, you also need discipline and people skills to ensure that you remain in employment. Good acting looks easy, but there is more to acting than naturalism and being a director’s puppet.” Adrian and Tracie Pang advise “Only do it if it is the ONLY thing you can see yourself doing as your career. You have to absolutely and allconsumingly want to do it and be willing to work your butt off. Always be humble. Always be grateful. Keep a sense of humor.” Good advice for the next generation of theater professionals. A career in the performing arts is a very real option and there’s a place for you. You just need to find it. Photos by William, Kevin Lee, Calvin Cheng, Edric Hsu, Tong Chai Siew.
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, www.citynomads.com.
Singapore American • May 2015
A Blue Moon Occasion By Eliot Sperling
he Singapore American Football League (SAFL) teaches athletes that supporting and giving back to the community is equally, if not more, important than the game itself. Being role models in the Singapore community is and always has been a vital part of the SAFL program. So for the past seven years, longtime coach and influential member of the SAFL Falcons, Coach Jamie Matisin, and SACAC football coordinator Jason Batt, have organized fun outings for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) children who rarely have an
opportunity to go beyond the bounds of their schools and homes. Before meeting the children this year, CPAS’ Mr. Ben Ng and Ms. Foo Kai Ling explained about the different disabilities of each child and proper ways to interact with each depending on the disability. Each Falcons player was assigned one child who became his buddy for the day. After getting to know each other, the group re-gathered and headed for Punggol Point on the “BIG YELLOW BUS!“ as the children excitedly called out. “Sitting on the bus next to my buddy,
Clement, I was able to see that all the kids were engulfed with joy and sheer happiness,” stated sophomore lineman, Joe Brick. After arriving at the park, the children and players were split into two groups, the first riding ponies and the second riding bicycles. The two groups then alternated activities. Senior captain and quarterback Nick Holl said, “For these kids, going to the park with their parents is a special day, but going to the park with their classmates, parents, teachers and a group of football players is a once in a blue moon occasion.” For some children, this was the first time they ever got to do something like this. After a while, the children relaxed and accepted the players as friends, shown by frequent hand holding and smiles directed at the players. Some of the children's mothers and teachers who had tagged along began easing up on their vigilant contact with the children, allowing the players to carry the children, help them pedal their bikes and hold the reins of the ponies for them. “Watching the children's eyes light up as they touched and rode the ponies was very moving. The children allowed me to leave my normal life behind and live in the moment,” said sophomore running back, William Dibiagio. The children and players were given carrots to feed the ponies, which proved to be a crowd favorite for all. Before heading to lunch, the players took the children to the local playground where the children unleashed their last bits of energy,
running about furiously which proved to be tiring, even for the players! Lunch was a valuable learning experience for the players, seeing how much work and effort the children’s parents and teachers must put in just to have some children take a bite or two of food, let alone eat a whole meal. After lunch, the group headed back to the CPAS school and said their final goodbyes with everyone giving one last hug and high five. It was a rewarding day for the Falcon’s players because SAFL football is about more than just playing the game. It’s an avenue for developing youth into men of honor and integrity. We have a responsibility to be active in our community. The SAFL program is open to students in grades two through 12. A spring flag football program starts March 31. For more information about the SAFL and its football programs contact the Sports Director of SAFL and SACAC Football, Jason Batt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the SAFL website (football.sacac.com). And if you'd like to reach out to the CPAS you can find them at email@example.com or here www.cpas.org.sg. Photo by Ben Ng
Eliot Sperling is the senior captain and linebacker for The Singapore American Football League.
Singapore American • May 2015
SEA Games By Justin Harper
ingapore is hosting a major sporting event next month: The 2015 Southeast Asian Games. The biennial competition (Myanmar hosted it in 2013) sees thousands of athletes from 11 countries taking part, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines. Among the 36 sports included in the SEA Games are athletics, archery, softball, tennis, squash, rowing, sailing, cycling, golf, triathlon, bowling and hockey. During the 12-day event, held from June 5-16, half of the sports will be free to watch in a bid to get Singaporeans and residents to cheer on local athletes. The remaining ones range from S$5 to S$20 a ticket. Among those in the S$20 price band are popular sports such as swimming, badminton, football, gymnastics and table tennis. The 402 events will be spread across three main venues: the Singapore Sports Hub (football, table tennis, athletics and aquatics), the Marina Bay area (sailing, rowing, canoeing) and the Singapore Expo (boxing, judo and taekwondo). Other venues are spread across Singapore including Bishan Sports Hall, Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Orchid Country Club and the Sentosa Golf Club. This will be the 28th edition of the games, described as the region's biggest multi-sport event and will include 24 Olympic sports. The remaining ones are exclusive to the Asian games. For the first time, Swedish-invented floorball will be included in the competition.
Floorball is similar to hockey, but played with 50cm sticks and a plastic ball with holes in it. Fans will also be treated to some of the region's best sporting talents, including Thailand's 2013 world champion badminton player Ratchanok Intanon, Malaysia's first diving Olympic medalist Pandelela Rinong and Indonesian track and field starlet Maria Natalia Londa, who won a long jump gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. The opening and closing ceremonies also
promise to be spectacular. A custom-designed aerial system will be featured as part of the Opening Ceremony show with as many as 14 performers and 50 props flying across the stadium at any one time. The floor of the largest dome stadium in the world will also transform into a high-definition screen using multi-media screen projections. The combination is sure to be a visual feast. Despite its small size, Singapore is no stranger to hosting large-scale sporting events having
suddenly understand its importance.” Margie Hall is a different kind of guide more focused on Singapore’s nature, giving walks in places like Pulau Ubin and the Punggol Reserve. Hall, who started guiding about 20 years ago because the schedule fit in with motherhood, said something that all the tour guides echoed. “The whole point of being a tour guide is that you’re learning all the time. You’re earning money by learning.” And each guide must constantly adjust to the ever-changing nature of Singapore - and the tourists. “One young woman asked me why the Japanese came here. I was taken aback at first. I thought everybody would know about WWII,
successfully played host city to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The republic plays host to the SEA Games after a 22-year-long hiatus, having previously hosted them in 1973, 1983 and 1993. Its fourth time hosting the event is especially significant given Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence this year. This could help justify the S$324.5 million budget already invested into the event. The Singapore Sports Hub, the 55,000seat national stadium which opened last year costing S$1.3 billion, will be the centerpiece of the tournament. While the pitch has been criticized for its poor condition, the SEA Games is the perfect opportunity to showcase the state-of-the-art venue. The stadium is the world’s largest dome structure. The official mascot of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games is a lion named Nila, which has a red mane and a heart-shaped face. There is even an album launched for the games featuring 14 locally-produced artists such as Dick Lee, Daphne Khoo and The Sam Willows. For more information and tickets: www. seagames2015.com Photo by Seow Hong Justin Harper is a freelance journalist who has been based in Singapore since 2010. He specializes in sports, lifestyle and business writing and can be contacted via his website: www.justinharpemedia.com
but I realize that the tourists are changing and therefore so must I.” Putting history into current context is key. Every single guide I interviewed also talked about Geraldene Lowe and her influence on what they do - every single one of them! Now in her mid-70s, Lowe is considering retirement. “I still learn from the people I meet. They may ask a question I’ve never thought about even after all these years. I love that part of it and I still love the historical tours. Having lived through so many changes over the years, I can share so much that others don’t know. It’s hard to give that up, especially when I see so many changes happening now so quickly.” Lowe’s legacy here will no doubt be like the very tours she offers. New things may replace the old, but history’s influence will always be felt.
Photos by Victor Yue, Laura Novak, Lisa Edmondson and Courtesy of AWA.
Singapore American • May 2015
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M U SE U M S From 1 May 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 www.nus.edu.sg/museum 1 May – 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 www.spm.org.sg 1 May – 19 July Imaginarium : A Voyage of Big Ideas SAM at 8Q 8 Queen Street www.singaporeartmuseum.sg 1 May – 10 August SINGAPURA: 700 years National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road 10am-6pm www.nationalmuseum.sg 1 May – 31 December Ancient Religions Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place Daily 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm www.acm.org.sg From 23 May Great Peranakans – Fifty Remarkable Lives Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian Street Daily 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm www.peranakanmuseum.sg 31 May – 30 August Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Animal Race Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place Daily 10am-5pm www.acm.org.sg 16 June – 29 August Treasures of Indian Art Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place Daily 10am-7pm; Friday 10am-9pm www.acm.org.sg
ENTERTA I N M ENT 1 – 24 May Shakespeare in the Park – The Tempest Fort Canning Park www.sistic.com.sg
22 & 23 May Young Children’s Concert The Little Adventurer of SCO : Fascinating Sound Waves SCO Concert Hall www.sco.com.sg 22 & 23 May Lea Salonga in Concert Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg 27 – 30 May La Vie en Rose Victoria Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 28 May An Evening with Michael Bolton Grand Theatre MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.sistic.com.sg 28 – 31 May Swan Lake Sands Theatre MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.sistic.com.sg 5 – 21 June Dim Sum Dollies – The History of Singapore Part I Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 6 June Opera in the Park Singapore Botanic Gardens 6pm Free admission www.singaporeopera.com.sg 12 – 14 & 19 – 21 June Ballet Under the Stars Fort Canning Green www.sistic.com.sg 20 June A Night @The Opera with Mats Roolvink SOTA Concert Hall 8pm firstname.lastname@example.org
L I FEST Y LE 15 May Carpet Auction by Hedger’s Carpet Gallery The American Club, Colonial Room Viewing: 5:30-7:30pm Auction: 7:30pm www.amclub.org.sg 15 May May Fair Hollandse Club, Main Hall 22 Camden Park 10am – 5pm www.hollandseclub.org.sg
ED U CAT I ON From 1 May UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2015/2016 open now Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg email@example.com 19 May Open House Canadian International School Lakeside Campus 7 Jurong West Street 41 9am www.cis.edu.sg 22 May Open House Stamford American International School 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg
S U M M ER CA M P S 1 June – 14 August LJE Sports Basketball Summer Camp HomeTeamNS Balestier @ 31 Ah Hood Road 10am – 1pm www.ljesports.com 8 – 19 June & 22 June – 3 July Summer Semester Preschool through Grade 12 Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41 www.sas.edu.sg/summersemester 15 June – 25 July Camp Magic For ages 3-12 Nexus International School 201 Ulu Pandan Road www.ilovecampmagic.com 22 June – 31 July Summer Camp For ages 4-17 Canadian International School Lakeside Campus 7 Jurong West Street 41 www.cis.edu.sg/summercamp 29 June – 24 July Village Day Camp For ages 4-13 UWCSEA East Campus 1 Tampines Street 73 www.villagecamps.com
Singapore American â€˘ May 2015
SAN May 2015