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Since 1958

May 2017

American Association..... 1-4 Member Discounts............. 3 CRCE & Business............ 5-6 Community News......... 7-11 Travel........................ 12-13 Museums................... 14-23 What’s Happening.......... 23

American Association 1-4

Community 7-11

Travel 12-13

Museums 14-23

When was the Very First Issue of the SAN Published?

Singapore American School the Origins of the Eagles

From Manga to Modern Art A Tour of Japan’s Art Museums

Need a Little Culture? Read all About Our Favorite Museums

MCI (P) 197/03/2017

National Museum of Singapore: The Story of Singapore Itself By Eric Walter


here is only one place you can experience the entire span of Singapore’s history, from the pre-colonial period to the ultramodern city-state we all know. That place, of course, is the National Museum of Singapore. As with Singapore itself, the story of this institution is one of tenacity, perseverance and an ability to change to suit the times. Now in its 130th year at the neo-Palladian-style building on Stamford Road it has occupied since 1887, the National Museum can trace its history back further, to 1823, when Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore’s colonial founder, called for a Malay college aimed at educating the children of British officials and local elites, according to Assistant Curator Sharon Lim. The museum was an outgrowth of this effort. Very much a part of the British colonial establishment, much of the museum’s early focus was on scholarly

research into the natural world, ethnography and the archeology of the Malay Peninsula. “That defined the museum for most of its life,” said Lim. Swept up in the winds of decolonization in the post-WWII years, the museum’s name was changed to its current one in 1960. This period also brought with it a change in mission. “The object of the museum became more nation-building,” Lim added. Focus also shifted to telling the story of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Westerners and others that have made Singapore what it is, she said. At times its future, as with that of Singapore as a whole, has been in doubt. During Singapore’s occupation by the Japanese during World War II, for example, it was only through the actions of a Japanese professor, Hidezo Tanakadate, that the museum survived at all. After a chance meeting with E. J. H. Corner, assistant director of the Botanic Gardens, Tanakadate took it

upon himself to act as champion and guardian of the museum, as well as for Corner and two other British scholars trapped there during the occupation. “He didn’t really see the British scientists as enemies. He saw them as scientists. Colleagues in distress,” Lim said. Tanakadate’s actions are especially impressive given that he had no real authority with the Japanese military government to act on behalf of the museum or the scientists, Lim said. Tanakadate and several other Japanese scientists managed to stave off the looting and destruction that ravaged other museums during the war and to preserve the lives of their British peers, through a combination of courage and savvy connections. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore

Continues on page 19.

American Association of Singapore’s Centennial Partners


Singapore American · May 2017

A message from the President...


ive months into our 100th anniversary celebration and the great events keep coming. I hope you’ve been able to take part in them. We recently held a fascinating evening with author Richard Hale on the island’s first American family: the Balestiers. As the daughter of famed American Patriot Paul Revere, Maria Balestier brought a certain flair to the then Straits Settlement, as a new trove of her letters tells us. As I write, our Quiz Night is fast approaching and I’m sure it will be a blast, showing just which teams have been studying up. Many of us are also looking forward to pitching-in on our 100 Acts of Charity to help clean up the Mandai Mudflats. As a community, we believe in giving back and welcomed this chance to help beautify an ecologically-sensitive place that is a haven for biodiversity. Make sure to log your volunteer work on our 100 Acts webpage,; all nationalities are encouraged to show how you’re giving back. The end of April will see us tee-off at our annual Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament, with a 1940s theme in honor of the first Ambassador’s Cup in 1947. Make sure to look on our website and in next month’s paper for photos of all the fun. Looking ahead this month, we’re honored to offer members a walking tour with Blair Hall, former Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Singapore. Back by popular demand, Blair’s legendary VIP tour was a favorite for members last year and we’re thrilled he’s agreed to repeat the tour this month. Also coming this month is a gathering at Café Iguana. In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, your first beer or margarita is included, along with free-flowing chips and salsa! This month’s SAN focuses on museums, in recognition of International Museums Day on May 18. It’s hard to choose a favorite, since we have so many great museums here in Singapore, some of which, including the National Gallery, will be free of charge on the day. The US Memorial Day holiday falls at the end of this month; please join me in honoring those Americans who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. In April we welcomed Sarah Alden as our new General Manager. Australian by birth, Sarah is bringing her unique style and ideas to AAS and I know she’ll build on our strong foundation of programs and community cooperation. Please stop by the AAS office and say hello to Sarah! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter: @AmAssocSG, (hashtag #AmAssocSG for all social media). Best,

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

DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen,

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen,

CONTRIBUTORS Hazlyn Aidzil, Faith Chanda, Ed Cox, Andrew Hallam, Tawnya Hartberger, Dominic Holden, Bill Poorman, Vidya Schalk, Chunnong Saeger, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Kinjal Shah, Frances Strong, Jim Tietjen, Eric Walter, Grant Ward, Betty Warner For AAS: Alka Chandiramani, Cath Forte

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS President: Glenn van Zutphen • Vice President: Steven Tucker Treasurer: Michael Borchert • Secretary: Shawn Galey Directors: James Arpin, Joseph Foggiato, Mary Beth McCrory, Ana Mims and Stephanie Nash Immediate Past President: David Boden • AmCham Chair: Dwight Hutchins The American Club President: Kristen Graff • AWA President: Tara Eastep SACAC Chair: Greg Rutledge • SAS Chair: Anita Tan-Langlois Non-Voting Members: US Embassy: Chahrazed Sioud US Military: Rear Admiral Donald Gabrielson

PUBLISHER – AMERICAN ASSOCIATION The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional, not-for-profit organization established to enhance the well-being and living experience of Americans residing in Singapore and to promote relationships, both business and social, between Americans and those from different cultures and nationalities. 10 Claymore Hill, Singapore 229573 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • F: (+65) 6738 3648 E: • The Singapore American newspaper, a monthly publication with readership of 10,000+, has been published by the American Association of Singapore since 1958, with the purpose of enhancing the expatriate experience in Singapore.

SUBSCRIPTION A subscription to the Singapore American is complimentary with an AAS or CRCE membership. AAS annual family membership is just $70. CRCE membership is $160. To join, visit and have the Singapore American delivered to your home. Reproduction in any manner, in English or any other language, is prohibited without written permission. The Singapore American welcomes all contributions of volunteer time or written material.

Glenn van Zutphen twitter: @glennvanzutphen

The Singapore American is printed by Procomp Printset Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Level 3 Annex Building, Singapore 508968.


Singapore American · May 2017

AAS Wednesday




15 May

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Chit and Chat

Meet us at Café Iguana for an evening of chit and chat. In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, your first margarita or beer is included, along with free flow of chips and salsa. A great opportunity to get together with friends and to meet some new people, too! Further drinks and food may be purchased at own expense. 7-9pm Café Iguana 30 Merchant Road, #01-03 Riverside Point, (S)058282 $20 AAS Members; $40 Non-Members

100 Acts of Charity Special thanks to everyone who has taken time out of their busy schedule to perform their charitable acts. It’s awesome to see the community spirit in action, so please keep submitting your stories to our website at:

Plants for community

An Evening with Frank Lavin

Hosted by The American Club and open to AAS members. Hear from former White House aide and US Ambassador to Singapore Frank Lavin with his new book, Home Front to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II. Discover the trials and tribulations Frank had to go through to become the leader he is today. Cocktail Reception: 6:30-7:30pm Meet the Author Wine Dinner: 7:45-9:30pm The American Club, 10 Claymore Hill, (S)229573

Lydia, Elizabeth, Yushan, Hannah, Kayla, Mia, Maya, Bianca and Gemma, USA Girl Scouts Overseas Singapore Troop 81, worked together to plant and prepare plants that were donated to Singapore citizens during Gardener’s Day Out at Hort Park.

Visit the AAS website for more info on pricing and to register.


20 May

The History of Singapore: VIP Walking Tour

Walking tour from Marina Bay along the Singapore River and Telok Ayer, concluding at Brewerkz. Join Blair Hall, former Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Singapore, on this VIP walking tour, highlighting key places of interest and offering historical insights about Singapore’s development from a small trading settlement to a gleaming financial hub. Afterwards, relax and refuel with a delicious set lunch at Brewerkz Riverside Point (optional and at own expense). Limited space available.

UnLitter Red Dot

The fantastic members of Boy Scout Troop 10 gave up their free time to pick up litter with Habitat for Humanity Singapore in Potong Pasir. The boys worked hard to clean up the HDB estate, improving the environment for everyone.

10am-12:30pm Meeting place: near ArtScience Museum, at Marina Bay $18 Exclusive to AAS Members For more info and to register for an event:

Don’t forget to have your passport stamped at any of our major events!


Beach Clean Up at East Coast Park Ten community-spirited sixand seven-year-old boys of Cub Scout Pack 3017 Den 2 participated in their first beach clean-up, working to pick up trash along the beach at East Coast Park. The boys were surprised by what they found and how hard it was to pick up trash. One boy commented, “It takes a lot of work to love the Earth.”

Collect four or more stamps and you will be entered into a draw to win fantastic prizes, including two, roundtrip Economy tickets to the United States on EMIRATES. Submitted an Act of Charity but don’t see it on the map, on our website? Please try sending it again. Full details can be found at:


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

AAS members enjoy 2 hours free handyman service (valued at over $200) on their moving day when booking a move with Allied Pickfords.

Present AAS membership card to receive 15% off total bill. Valid for dine in on a la carte menu at all Brewerkz and Cafe Iguana restaurants through December 30, 2017. Limit to one (1) redemption per bill, per table. Not valid on

concert days, eve of and on public holidays. Not valid with lunch menu, other set menus, discounts, vouchers, promotions or privileges. The management reserves the right to amend the terms & conditions without prior notice.

Book online using promo code SGAME17 and enjoy a 10% saving on regular fares or a 5% saving on promotional fares in Business Class and Economy Class to the United States, Europe and Colombo.

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

Present your AAS membership card and receive $10 in vouchers when you sign up for a Warehouse Club membership. Valid till December 31, 2017.


Singapore American · May 2017

The 1950s: Post-War Recovery, Prosperity and Rock ‘n’ Roll By Marc Servos


he 1950s is often thought of as synonymous with American prosperity, the adolescence of the jet age, the birth of the space age and the rise in popularity of rock ‘n’ roll music. It began with post-war recovery amidst the potential and worry of an even greater conflict that never got hot globally, the aptly-named Cold War. While televisions were becoming common in many American households, people in war-torn countries in much of Europe and East Asia were still rebuilding their livelihoods. The United States was spared from this devastation and took a leading role in world affairs by helping countries rebuild, while guarding against new potential threats. Whether directly, indirectly (or if even at all) connected to Cold War issues, rising nationalistic sentiments in colonies paved the way towards independence of new nations in Africa and Asia, something that was also seen in Singapore. America’s resilience had been reflected in Singapore with the launching of the Ambassador’s Cup Golf Tournament and the founding of The American Club at the Cathay, both shortly after the war. The 1950s saw the American Association’s role in opening the Singapore American School in 1956 and the commencement of the Singapore American newspaper in 1958. Events such as the annual George Washington Ball and picnics celebrating Independence Day and Thanksgiving were held, giving the American community a feeling of home. In 1955, the United States Consulate General moved from its Union Building location, where it had been since 1926, to Cecil Street. While the expat community fared well, Singapore’s infrastructure continued to suffer after the war with roads full of potholes and buildings in disrepair. Utilities and telephone services had also deteriorated considerably. But it was not long before business areas were to revitalize, including the building of two new skyscrapers towering over neighboring Victorianera buildings in the blossoming Central Business District; the Bank of China and the Asia Insurance Building, both completed in 1954. Orchard Road and other areas in town spruced up, retaining tradition with the shophouses that lined the streets. Unlike households in America, those in Singapore would not enjoy television until 1963. They continued to be entertained at home by radio broadcasts presented by the Malayan Broadcasting Corporation, now known as MediaCorp. Cinemas showed locally- and globally-

produced movies, while traditional outdoor entertainment such as Chinese Teochew opera continued to be popular. The Cold War struggle turned hot in various regions of the globe, most notably in Korea (1950-53) and the escalation in Vietnam that would last into the 1970s. The Arms Race between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective alliances would keep the world nervous for decades, but both superpowers continued diplomatic relations and sought to improve their coexistence by the late 1950s; reflected in 1959 by Vice-President Richard Nixon’s visit to Moscow and his Kitchen Debates with Nikita Khrushchev. The Soviet Premier visited the United States later that year, including meeting President Dwight Eisenhower and visiting former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Cold War issues touched Singapore at a smaller scale. The Malayan Emergency waged nearby, pitting communists against British and Commonwealth forces and an independent Malaysian government after 1957. Aside from Cold War connections, several riots raked the streets in Singapore during the 1950s. Among the causes were those which later led to a policy of promoting racial harmony. The People’s Action Party (PAP) was founded in 1954 by Lee Kuan Yew who would become the first Prime Minister of Singapore’s self-government in 1959, although it remained a British colony for the time being. As the 1950s ended, the space race between the superpowers was well underway with the launch of Sputnik in October 1957, followed by Explorer 1 in January 1958. Despite occasional economic slowdowns, prosperity continued and spread in Western countries. Although people in Singapore were not yet enjoying that level of quality of life, their situation was improving. They were enjoying greater political and economic stability, which would be built upon during the following decade when the Straits colony would become an independent nation. Marc Servos is a Hoosier in terms of his home state and alma mater. The Fort Wayne native and US Army vet is married to a Singaporean and has lived here for a number of years. He has two children ages 15 and 7. Photo courtesy of Paul Townsend

The History of the Singapore American Newspaper By Cath Forte


ingapore, 1958. The American community was thriving and the American Association of Singapore (AAS) had already given rise to the American Women’s Auxiliary and The American Club. Community news was circulated via mimeographed bulletins; however, this was becoming increasingly difficult, owing to the sheer number of activities taking place. A more formal approach was required and in 1958 D. D. Pirnie, a former newspaper man, agreed to set up the Singapore American newspaper. Pirnie was assisted by a willing team; Hazel Lu Cowle (Chief Reporter), Anne Huth (Production Assistant), Lorna Mason (Feature Editor) and W. F. Reinhardt (Advertising Manager), along with numerous reporters. March 1958 saw 400 issues of the very first Singapore American roll off the press, eight pages of 9.5” by 13.5”, which was supported by just 98 column inches of advertising. Although it was a huge success in terms of disseminating news, the paper was a financial failure. Undeterred, the staff redoubled their efforts to find more advertisers to fund the venture. The first front page was headed up, The Singapore American, subtitled, News of the American Community. The cover stories

were not so different from those of today, including a report on the 25th George Washington Ball, held in February at the Seaview Hotel, very much like our April cover this year, which was dedicated to the 84th Ball! By the end of its first year, circulation had risen to around 700. Not only did the paper cover its own costs, but by 1963 it was able to make a donation of $3000 to the Singapore American School, which was used for the purchase of maps and globes. In the early days of production, the paper was put together in the home of the Editor. Staffed by volunteers, many hours were required to complete the monthly process. Without the technological advantages we have today, producing the paper was truly a labor of love. By 1967, the fiftieth anniversary of AAS, the Singapore American had a print run of 1000 copies each month, with 450 to 500 column inches of advertising. Community news formed the heart of the paper, with pages full of weddings, graduations, sports fixtures and fundraisers. The December 1970 issue introduced some color to the newsprint, with full color covers to celebrate the holiday season; from February 1971, red and blue were added to the masthead. During the 1970s, we saw mention of new books that were

available at The American Club library and listings of movies to be shown at The Club. In 1971, the address for all editorial matters changed to an office, care of The American Club. A regular feature during the seventies, Food with Finesse, offered hints and tips on using local ingredients, cooking the perfect pizza and making good use of leftovers to stretch your budget! A snapshot from 1975 saw the departure of a very active couple, Fred and Norma Powers. They made a huge contribution to the community, with involvement in SAS, The American Club, AWA and the Singapore American; Norma worked on the paper from 1963 (co-editor), and as Editor from 1968-75. The 1980s and 1990s saw an increase in travel features, as new air routes opened up. Community features remained at the center of the paper, interspersed with local interest articles. By the mid-2000s color was the norm for the paper and articles become more magazine-like in their layout; the current cover style was introduced in 2015. Looking to the future, I feel honored to be taking over the reins here at AAS and I am in awe of the many talented editors that have gone before me. I hope I can do justice to their rich legacy!


Singapore American · May 2017

Stocks are at a Peak, is it Time for you to Sell? Andrew Hallam

Patriot Partner


S stocks are at an all-time high. We’re facing unpredictable times. You might consider selling, but hear me out first. I started to invest at a market peak. It was 1989 and the S&P 500 had never been higher. It had gained more than 30 percent that year. If I had known that, I might have done something foolish. Forecasters said stocks might jitter when US troops invaded Panama. It was an unpredictable time. They said the same thing when the US shot down two Libyan fighters over the Mediterranean Sea. Nobody told me that the massacre at The Tiananmen Square might hurt my portfolio. I’m glad there was no Internet. Others weren’t so lucky. Many pulled out of the markets when fear and greed tripped them up. Some sold after a strong market run or a prediction of Armageddon. Others sold after a market dip. But when it comes to investing, just cover your eyes and ears. Someone investing $10,000 a year into an S&P 500 index fund from January 1989 to November 30, 2016 would have grown that money to $1.38 million; if the market didn’t freak them out. I invested $3,000 in 1989. I was nineteen. I added money every month. I still do that today. In 1991, stocks hit another all-time high. In 1992, they went even higher. In the 28 years that I’ve been investing, the S&P 500, including dividends, has hit all-time highs during 17 different calendar years. I’m now 46 years old. Since 1970, US stocks have hit all-time highs during 29 calendar years. But don’t worry about market peaks. Even more important, don’t jump out of the market (or fail to get in) if you expect stocks to fall. Speculation can be painful.

Between 1963 and 1993 the stock market was open during 7,802 days. University of Michigan Professor H. Nejat Seyhun found that during that period, 95 percent of the stock market’s gains came from just 90 of those 7,802 days. That was pretty normal. The S&P 500 averaged 9.85 percent per year between January 1995 and December 31, 2014. That would have turned $10,000 into $65,475. Investors who missed the best five stock market days would have averaged just 7.62 percent per year. Instead of seeing their money grow to $65,475, they would have ended up with $43,435. By missing the best 20 days, this money would have grown to just $20,360. Investors unlucky enough to be out of the markets for the best 40 days would have lost money. Their initial $10,000 would have shrunk to $9,143. Could you hire someone to help you predict the best and worst days? Warren Buffett says no. He says market forecasters exist to make fortune tellers look good. A study by CXO Advisory echoes that as well. They collected 6,582 expert stock market forecasts for the US stocks between 2005 and 2012. On average, a golden retriever might have beaten them. Instead of speculating, investors should maintain a diversified portfolio of low cost index funds. It should contain international and US stock market index funds as well as some bonds. The portfolio will rise. It will fall. But over your lifetime, the portfolio should excel if you can keep the money invested and avoid speculation. Andrew Hallam is a Digital Nomad. He’s the author of the bestseller, Millionaire Teacher and The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat.

Eagle Partners


? Leadership with the Brain in Mind! By Alka Chandiramani


ocrates is well known for having used questions as a method of reasoning. Often referring to himself as ‘the midwife of men’s thoughts,’ he helped people ‘give birth’ to new insights, believing that real understanding came from within. Asking powerful questions can be the answer to solving many problems in organizations and the world at large. Questions trigger activation in the neurotransmitters in our brain. The limbic system is constantly making toward or away decisions. Dr. Evian Gordon and Lea Williams from the Brain Resource Center showed with the integrate model that the overarching organizing principle of the brain is to classify the world around us into things that will either hurt or help us stay alive. What’s in a Question? Questions help us open our minds. The effects of powerful questions can change lives, igniting creativity and empowering us to push beyond our own capabilities. Why do we Ask Questions? We are constantly striving to improve; as social beings, we learn from both verbal interactions and through body language. The first question many children ask is, “Why?” Parents all too often respond with, “because I told you so.” However, the mind is like a monkey, always jumping around. Questions help to spark a conversation and trigger deeper meaning to our lives.

Questions and Effects on the Brain From a neuroscience perspective, questions activate the brain’s frontal lobe, which gives us the ability to think and make choices. However, asking the right questions is pertinent to create that eureka moment. In the 1990s, cognitive scientists John Kounios and Mark Beeman started studying the eureka moment, which occurs when we go from being stuck on a problem to having the ability to reinterpret a “stimulus, situation, or event to produce a non-obvious, non-dominant interpretation.” Through extensive research, Kounios and Beeman found that milliseconds before epiphanies, the activity in the brain’s visual area basically shuts down. Kounios calls it a brain blink; the moment right before the solution hits us. When we ask someone a tough question, they often look away or down so they can think of the solution. In that moment, their brain is momentarily reducing visual input. Kounios and Beeman, authors of The Eureka Factor, used puzzles and problems to study brain activity. They found that right before the problem is presented, activity in the visual part of an analytical person’s brain would amp up to take in as much information as possible. Conversely, the visual cortex would shut down for those who don’t solve problems in a methodical way, allowing them to block out the environment, look inward and “find and retrieve subconscious ideas,” says Kounios. The above clearly indicates how powerful questions can activate brain activity and if we approach questions in the context of creating a solution focused outcome, we may be able to truly enlighten an individual to unveil what lies deep within. This article is written with special thanks to Toni Dudsak, American Association of Singapore (AAS), for the inspiration over the years and to the entire team past and present at AAS.

“Everything you do in life is based on your brain’s determination to minimize danger or maximize reward.” YOUR BRAIN AT WORK, DAVID ROCK

CRCE WORKSHOP Turning the Tables on Disruption: Making the Career Switch to Tech Ventures Speaker: Joe Duncan Wednesday, May 3 10:30am – 12pm

Student Career Solutions For students in need of assistance with resume writing, interview skills, etc. We offer one-to-one sessions with a career advisor for a special student rate of $75.

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


SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS Front Desk Officer As Front Desk Officer, you will welcome members and guests and answer their queries, answer phone calls, handle check ins and check outs, as well as provide other administrative support as needed. The ideal candidate will be open to new ideas and will make changes in the job and routines as required. (job #3454) Marketing and Community Specialist Working as part of the Sales and Marketing Team, the successful candidate will report directly to the Sales and Marketing Manager. Duties will include creating marketing materials, managing social media and website, planning and preparing marketing campaigns, and analyzing and implementing new marketing technologies. (job #3453) Administrative Assistant Candidates who can work independently to administratively support a wellestablished team are needed for this community mental health practice in the Orchard area. The Administrative Assistant’s role includes scheduling client appointments, maintaining and ordering office supplies, invoicing and collecting payments and updating the practice website, along with routine office administrative tasks. (job #3452) Administration and Operations Coordinator We are seeking to appoint an Administration and Operations Coordinator with outstanding administrative skills, meticulous attention to detail and with high regard to providing exceptional customer service both to families within the school community and amongst the internal staff. Candidates with experience in previous administration, executive assistant or office management roles, or within service delivery roles in the education sector are invited to apply. (job #3451) Administrative Assistant (Part Time) We are looking for a friendly and efficient administrative assistant with several years of experience in an administrative position. The candidate will be responsible for payroll, invoicing and HR administration, so skills in Excel and Word are required. This is a part time position, 9-10 hours per week in term time only. We are flexible on the hours and days. Ideally it will be in mornings, three days per week. (job #3450) Part Time Special Education Teacher We are looking for an experienced special education teacher to join our early intervention program. This is a part time position, weekdays 8:30am – 12pm. The successful candidate will be responsible for planning, developing, delivering and evaluating appropriate individualized educational services, for special needs students. (job #3449)

AmCham’s International Women’s Day Pathbreakers: Unconventional Women By Hazlyn Aidzil


n March 8, people around the world observed International Women’s Day; a day to commemorate the struggle for women’s rights and celebrate the political, social, economic and cultural achievements of women throughout history. American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme, Pathbreakers: Unconventional Women, and organized an event to speak with female leaders from Shell, 3M and Mercy Relief. Yuko Nakahira (Managing Director, 3M Singapore), Swee Chen Goh (Chairperson, Shell Companies in Singapore, Vice President, City Solutions: New Energies) and Tingjun Zhang (Executive Director, Mercy Relief) spoke to a crowd of over 200 attendees, sharing their experiences, insights and personal stories in taking a non-traditional path to success. Moderated by James Andrade, Partner LIJAN Co. and former AmCham Chairman, the event sparked a stimulating discussion and addressed provocative questions from the floor about challenges faced as a female leader in male-dominated industries.

“I knew that I wanted to give back and this was the perfect opportunity for me to embrace the role I was given...” Tingjun Zhang spoke extensively about the struggles she faced as the first woman in 13 years to become the Executive Director of Singapore’s independent and non-governmental humanitarian agency. The former national athlete shared that she was faced with her toughest challenges during her first year as Executive Director. “There were many days of the week where I could not comprehend what I was doing, or know what success should look like. It was entering a world of the unknown…But understanding the reason for your existence and why you are here is what kept me going. I knew that I wanted to give back and this was the perfect opportunity for me to embrace the role I was given to make that happen for myself and the people around me.” Swee Chen Goh advised women not to be afraid of chartering their own path and never let the gender subject be a reason that stops you from achieving those pursuits. Find out more about AmCham at Photo courtesy of AmCham Singapore


Singapore American · May 2017

SINGAPORE AMERICAN SCHOOL: History in the Making By Kinjal Shah


magine walking into an international school housed in a colonial-style bungalow. A garage for a science lab, servants’ quarters for music and pre-school, bedrooms for classrooms and a dining room for assemblies. Top that with a softball field and an outdoor basketball court you’d need to share with chickens raised by a Malay family that lived on the property.

Welcome to the Singapore American School (SAS) circa 1956 98 students. 57 Americans. 41 from other nationalities. A typical day at SAS started at 8:15am with singing God Save the Queen in assembly. Without air-conditioning, the cooler morning hours were reserved for academic classes. Students went home for lunch and a rest and returned at 3pm for music, PE, art, drama and other enrichment activities. In its most humble beginnings, the idea of the Singapore American School was moved forward when 130 children showed up at The American Club’s Christmas Party in 1952. It took all of three years for the American community to embrace the thought and the initial goal of raising $100,000 was achieved through donations from individuals and almost 40 companies. Singapore American School opened on January 3, 1956, and was set in a large colonial house at 15 Rochalie Drive. It included only elementary and junior-high classes as older students were settled in boarding schools outside of Singapore. In the first few years the school developed enduring traditions. Sole senior Louise Feng received her diploma at The American Club in the first commencement ceremony in July 1958. Students voted on a team name and soon the Eagles were born, playing fast-pitch softball, volleyball and basketball. A cheerleading squad appeared at games and local spectators were amazed. The first plays were performed. The Islander yearbook appeared in 1958 and the first junior-senior prom took place in 1959. The PTA organized a funfair, the forerunner of today’s International Fair, to raise money for a basketball court. Since the beginning, students wore white uniform tops and navy blue bottoms. The next few decades saw the school as a concrete symbol of confidence, regardless of the political climate of the day. The 1960s was a decade of fundamental decisions related to the strategic direction of the school. The new King’s Road campus opened in 1962, resulting in increasing student numbers. The 1970s was the most challenging decade for SAS. Growing pains, fundamental cultural changes within the school community and in Singapore, a changing student body and operating out of two campuses (King’s Road and Ulu Pandan), meant learning a lot of valuable lessons for future challenges. The 1980s and 1990s reverberated with radical changes, overcoming challenges and looking forward to opportunities with great confidence. The new millennium began with a 3,700-strong student body, a feat unimaginable in the previous years. With visionary leadership and a $65 million expansion, SAS became the largest single-campus American school outside the United States; a distinction it still holds. True academic rigor, a culture of care and excellence and

embodiment of the American spirit were characteristic of SAS and remain so, to this day. Today, as you enter the campus of the Singapore American School, it is a far cry from 60 years ago! But the American spirit still endures. The hallways echo with passion, excitement and a drive to learn, the walls shout out the achievements of Eagles across academics, sports and performance and visual arts. A sense of pride and belonging, of knowing that one is an Eagle for life, prevails. It is not unusual to spot students, parents, employees and even visitors around the school’s Heritage Gallery, reminiscing about the past or just staring in awe at the things that were and are now. Like its host country, the school has come a long way in the 60 years of its existence; an expanded focus on inquiry, project-based learning and personalized learning, to prepare every student for the future. Jim Baker’s book, Singapore’s Eagles: Singapore American School 1956-2006, inspired this article. To find out more about SAS visit Photos courtesy of Jim Baker and Singapore American School

Diversity Visa – Another Pathway to the United States By Chunnong Saeger


o you know someone who has an American dream but no US citizen or legal permanent resident relatives, or US job offer to help them realize it? The Diversity Visa (DV) is a Congressionally-mandated annual program to make available up to 55,000 visas for permanent residency each year. Winners are drawn at random from entries that meet strict eligibility requirements and come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. For the DV 2018 program, winners will begin to be notified on May 2, 2017 at Criteria Country of birth and education or work experience are key criteria for DV eligibility. During the DV 2018 season, nationals of 18 countries were ineligible because of already high rates of immigration to the United States. Also, the applicant must have either at least a high school education or its equivalent (completion of 12 years of formal elementary and secondary education) or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires a minimum of two years of training or experience. The best way to check if one is eligible is to read the DV instructions that are put out each year, typically in September or October. Timeframe Each year, DV applications can be made from early October to early November. Specific dates vary slightly from year to year with information at the official DV lottery website. Selected entrants are notified beginning in May with instructions on how to prepare for their immigrant visas interview. Successful, qualified applicants, their spouses and children under 21 will receive visas that enable them to establish permanent residence in the United States. Don’t Become a Victim of DV Scams Last but not least, it is extremely important that one does not become a victim of DV scams. There is NO fee to enter the DV, and the Department of State will NEVER send emails to solicit DV payment prior to DV interviews. All fees are paid only when applicants are at a US embassy or consulate overseas for interview. The best way to protect oneself from becoming a victim of DV scams is to check the official website,, for all information, including instruction, online entry, status and fraud prevention.

Photo courtesy of IIP Photo Archive


Singapore American ¡ May 2017

USA Scouting in Singapore By Tawnya Hartberger


couting started in Singapore in 1910, the same year as it did in the US, brought here by British expatriates. The American community worked within the same infrastructure as the British and Singapore members of the Scouting movement, with some US citizens serving on the board of both organizations; the Chief Commissioner of Singapore Boy Scouts was also a United States Information Service (USIS) employee at the US Embassy. The early troops struggled under the ebb and flow of committed volunteers, with all three organizations (Cub, Boy and Girl Scouts) folding periodically when the leaders moved out of Singapore. There have always been more children interested than volunteers willing to spend the time to run the programs. The first mention of Scouting in American Association records is 1957, when a Brownie company started at Singapore American School (SAS). The next year a Cadet Scout (Cub Scouts) company of 50 boys was formed, but both of these groups collapsed in 1962. They re-formed when leaders could be found and a Guiding group, for older girls, was mentioned in 1965. Early records note that multiple national uniforms, such as Swiss, Australian, USA, etc., could be seen at meetings, as the units were school-based and welcomed all students. Throughout the 60s and 70s the Cubs and Brownie Scouts were given sporadic financial support by the American Association of Singapore (AAS) and its American Women’s Auxiliary (AWA), and all Scouts could earn both Singapore and USA Scout badges, awards and ranks. In 1972 the Singapore Boy Scout Troop 2207 was formed at SAS, sponsored by AAS, but it took until 1977 to get a strong Lone Scout program set up so that the older boys could easily earn their USA Boy Scouts ranks. In 1978 Troop 2207 had 30 boys from 13 countries, and the Webelos program was started for older Cubs to transition into Boy Scouting.

1979 saw the first two Eagle Scout ranks awarded, as well as the first Bronze Palm. Cub Scouts were having annual Pinewood Derbies and Blue & Gold Banquets at the Shangri-La Hotel; Girl Scouts were holding Father/Daughter Dinners as well as focusing on community service. All the groups worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Vietnamese Refugee Camps, as well as orphanages and charities in Singapore. In 1985 AAS was granted the charter to own both Boy Scout Troop 07 and Cub Scout Pack 3017. At the time, there were about 50 Boy Scouts and 110 Cub Scouts, numbers which have remained fairly constant; the maximum registered respectively is 75 Boy Scouts and 250 Cub Scouts. The Boy Scout program has always been heavily outdoor-oriented; the troop has been camping in all neighboring countries, including Nepal, and has sent contingents to a few national and one World Jamboree. In 2013 the program expanded to include a new BSA troop and Cub Scout pack, which was chartered by Stamford American International School (SAIS). All troops were also moved under the direction of the Far East Council, based in Japan, rather than being serviced by Direct Service from the Irving, TX headquarters. The USA Girl Scouts (ages 5 to 18) now registers around 300 girls and is often the largest overseas New York-served location in the world, but we have girls who cannot join due to lack of sufficient leaders. Every year, up to 30 different troops meet in schools or homes around the island, as the girls come from all the different international schools in Singapore. They work with the Girl Guides of Singapore as often as school schedules permit, to perform community service or earn various badges. Older girls have opportunities for international travel through the Destinations program, and many service projects have been

Scout Group, Singapore, circa 1937.

done in nearby countries such as India and Papua New Guinea. Our first Gold Award was earned in 1996 and girls have earned hundreds of Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards since then. Both organizations exist here with permission of the Singapore Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. They are supported in part by community organizations such as AAS, SAS and SAIS, but for the most part are self-sufficient in funding and run well only because of the dedication of a group of volunteers, trying to build better men and women, leaders for the future.

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


Singapore American · May 2017

Bubble Cars in Bangkok: Jesada Technik Museum By Betty Warner


hat makes my partner happy? A lazy Sunday afternoon watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, re-runs of Top Gear (pre-Joey), and reading the latest issue of Curves, an obscure German car magazine that devotes each issue to a single nation’s best driving roads. So, in short: anything that involves cars. What makes me happy? Finding a car museum just beyond the outskirts of my favorite Asian city, Bangkok. Bingo: the perfect birthday present for him, and a weekend away for me. Asia never ceases to amaze me and the Jesada Technik Museum is another gem in the region’s crazy crown. The museum boasts the largest private collection of vintage, rare cars and motorbikes in Asia, and is the personal project of Thai businessman, Jesada Deshsakulrith, who made his fortune manufacturing fire extinguishers. What started with a single purchase of a Messerschmitt KR200 at a Swiss auction in 1997 grew to a diverse collection of more than 500 modes of transport, including a one-wheel motorbike, a Japanese school bus, helicopters and retired US military aircraft. Now that autonomous cars are becoming a reality, it’s nice to remember a time when threewheeled cars were de rigueur. And yes children, last century we had to change gears manually, using a clutch and our foot. Greeting you at the entry of the museum is a line of small, brightly-colored Messerschmitt KR-200 and BMW Isettas, popularly known as Bubble Cars. Produced between 1950 and 1960, these three-wheeled bubbles of pure joy were designed for fuel economy and to avoid high taxes by being licensed as motorcycles. Entry to the car is via the front door; quite literally, the door opens at the front. From the fun to the classy, up next is a beautiful collection of Citroëns, France’s gift to the style conscious motoring enthusiast, the highlight being the Traction. Other models include the 2CV, ID 19 and DS 23. Citroën’s one style misstep was their attempt at going off-road, the boxy Mehari. Towards the end of the hangar-style museum is a row of elegant Mercedes Benz cars, built at a time when the company gave little thought to cost, resulting in some of the most over-engineered and “bullet-proof ” cars ever made.

The Museum offers enough oddities to have the kids covered. There’s the post-World War II Yugoslavian car that, due to steel shortages, made do with leather for its body, and the 1930s monowheel motorbike, a vehicle only for the very brave. Special mention must go to the sevenseat conference bike, proof that the family that can pull together and ride this contraption in one direction probably has more patience than me. It’s a different kind of joy ride. Considering Thailand’s climate, the majority of cars and buses are in good working order, inside and out. Khun Jesada is a great supporter of local charities through car rallies and special events in Bangkok. Though at the Bubble Car’s top speed, I don’t fancy the trip into the nation’s capital in this unforgiving heat. Speaking of heat, if you decide to take a taxi from your base in Bangkok, make sure it has good aircon and looks roadworthy. It’s also prudent to ask the driver to wait for the return trip, as once there, there are no transport options to get back. Better still, take the plunge and book a hotel car, a lesson we learnt the hard way. There is something about walking through this eclectic collection of cars that makes this trip so worthwhile and so much fun. And if Jerry Seinfeld’s observation strikes a chord, this museum is definitely for you: “I have this old ’57 Porsche Speedster, and the way the door closes, I’ll just sit there and listen to the sound of the latch going ‘cluh-CLICK-click’. That door! I live for that door. Whatever the opposite of planned obsolescence is, that’s what I’m into.” – Jerry Seinfeld. Betty Warner is an Australian who has lived in Singapore for eight years. Her partner misses the Audi A4 that he was forced to leave behind in Australia. Photos courtesy of Betty Warner

Before you go Free entry Opening hours: 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday There are no nearby shops, so take water and snacks Travel time from Bangkok: 1 to 1.5 hours each way (depending on traffic and knowledge of the driver) Hotel hire car: approx. USD120 round trip

Uber stylish Citroën.

The De Lorean – a must for any self-respecting car museum.

Post World War II Yugoslavian car built with a leather body.

The monocycle, an interesting contraption.

The 6’ 2” brother of author curled up in a bubble.

1955 three-wheeled Messerschmitt KR200.

BMW Isetta with front opening door.

Also in Nakhon Pathom: Wat Pra Pathom Chedi and Sanam Chandra Palace.

One for all the family, the 7-seat conference bike.


Singapore American · May 2017

Exploring Japan’s Art Museums By Laura Schwartz


here is no shortage of well-funded, internationally-known art museums in Japan, but beyond the National Art Center and Roppongi’s Mori Museum are a plethora of smaller, quieter galleries. Found throughout the country, these collections are often privately owned and focus in-depth on a niche; for example, a particular art style, time period or a single artist. Even an hour at the following museums would be time well spent. Yamatane Museum of Art, Tokyo One of the definitive galleries for nihonga (post-1868 Japanese painting), the Yamatane Museum is a must for anyone interested in the classic Japanese art style. The pictures on display rotate seven or eight times a year and are showcased thematically (e.g. Definitive Nihonga Masterpieces or A World of Flowers). More than mere scrolls, the nihonga presented are often on mammoth screens, gold-leaf paper and silk. The collection even includes rare pieces designated by the government as Important Cultural Properties. My absolute favorite art museum in Japan, I visit every time I’m in town. Nezu Museum, Tokyo Located near fashionable Omotesando, this museum houses businessman and politician, Nezu Kaichirō’s (1860–1940) private collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art. As a single man’s taste informed the gallery, it is varied and eclectic, with previous exhibitions featuring not only traditional Japanese paintings, but porcelain, illustrated handscrolls, ancient Chinese mirrors and Korean Buddhist paintings. However, the extensive Japanese garden is the reason this museum makes my list. A breathtaking oasis in autumn, the grounds contain a teahouse, several shrines and a koi pond; definitely worth a stroll in any season.

Exterior of the Manga Museum in Kyoto.

Kunisada print at Ukiyo-e Museum.

Hakone Open-Air Museum.

Gardens of Nezu Museum.

Interior of the Manga Museum in Kyoto.

Stained Glass Clock at Timepiece Museum.

Inshō Dōmoto Museum of Fine Arts, Kyoto Closed for renovations until spring 2018, this gallery ought to be kept in mind for future visits. A short walk from the famous Kinkaku-ji, the Inshō Dōmoto Museum was built by Dōmoto to house his own artworks, a bit of egoism that the quality and range of pieces (from painted fans to ceramics to enormous ink calligraphy) make easy to forgive. Kyoto International Manga Museum, Kyoto Not your typical art gallery, this space is half-library and half-museum. Its collection of 300,000 items includes Japan’s first manga magazine and first children’s manga magazine, original editions of famous manga like Ghost in the Shell, as well as historical rarities like Meiji period magazines and wartime textbooks. Though volumes can’t be taken off museum grounds, there is ample indoor and outdoor space to get comfy and read for a while. Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, Matsumoto Ukiyo-e is probably the most recognizable Japanese art form and tucked away in tiny Matsumoto is the world’s largest collection of these woodblock prints. Exhibits focus on themes appropriate for the seasons, such as cherry blossoms for spring, and regularly showcase prints by famous ukiyo-e artists, such as Hokusai, the creator of the internationally iconic The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Matsumoto Timepiece Museum, Matsumoto One of the stranger inclusions on this list, the Matsumoto Timepiece Museum showcases over 300 timepieces, from ancient pocket sundials to antique European grandfather clocks. What’s remarkable is that the majority of clocks on display are ticking, more or less at the correct time, so when the hour strikes, a cascade of chimes and cuckoo noises flow through the halls. Outdoor Sculpture Park, Hakone Nestled in a UNESCO Geopark and best visited in pleasant weather, Japan’s first open-air museum is a stimulating way to spend an afternoon. Set against the picturesque Hakone mountains are 120 masterpieces by famous modern and contemporary sculptors. Their work can be found sprawled in the grass, suspended from the tall trees and half-submerged in the creek. Many invite you to climb in or on them. There are also five indoor exhibits, most notably the Picasso Pavilion, home to several hundred of the artist’s pieces. Kyōhei Fujita Glass Museum, Matsushima Matsushima is renowned for its magnificent ocean views, but this ethereal gallery of blown glass is another reason to visit this seaside town. Artist Kyōhei Fujita was best known for his ornate glass boxes with rich, layered surfaces, some of which have been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. As a bonus, when you’re done soaking up the rich colors and gravity-defying shapes, you can pop next door to the luxurious Matsushima Ichinobo hotel’s outdoor onsen and soak in the hot springs. Laura Schwartz was born in Ireland and grew up in Japan, Singapore and New Jersey, finally becoming an American citizen at age 18. She graduated Bard College in 2010 with a BA in Japanese Language & Culture. When she’s not traveling or devouring a new book, she juggles her nine-to-five as an Admissions and Career Consultant with freelance writing. Photos courtesy of Laura Schwartz



Singapore American · May 2017

By Jim Tietjen


he National Gallery (NG) Singapore is the new kid on the art-scene block. Opened in November 2015, it’s about visual art and much, much more. If you haven’t been, you really should visit… you’ll be surprised at what you see and the myriad of things to enjoy with your family and friends, day and into the night. I am a Best Friend of the Gallery (BFG) volunteer, lucky to be in the pioneer batch of the uninitiated. My main role is “Way Finder.” I meet and greet folks as they wander in and around the NG, and help with any queries. Therefore, I am supposed to know everything! Of course, you can find all the details at, but here are my personal highlights. The Art The NG art collection is huge, over 8,000 works. On an average day, around 800-1000 works are on display in about 24 galleries. We have Singapore art, Southeast Asian art, Chinese art, “East-meets-West” art and incredible special exhibitions and collaborative expos. Traditional, contemporary and modern art; paintings, sculptures, performance art, exotic installations, even art in a garden. The Building The NG has been many years in the making. Take the two neo-classical buildings, both national monuments that house the NG. Built in the late twenties and thirties, the government spent $532 million just to renovate and amalgamate these grand dames. The architecture and attention to detail, the old and new, now blend seamlessly as one astounding piece of “art-hitecture”! Tours Included in the reasonable price of admission (if you are a citizen or PR general admission is free) are guided tours. Most galleries have expert, informative tours daily. There is a not-to-be-missed “building highlights” tour. If you’re not the tour type you can choose a self-guided tour via our “Gallery Explorer” app; or if you’d rather, you can simply wander, get lost and enjoy serendipity experiences. Major holidays feature Open Houses with free entry and tours for all. Family Fun For children, try the Keppel Centre for Art Education. But I’ll warn you, the kids will never want to leave! Billed as a “dynamic environment that stimulates children’s creativity and curiosity, and inspires learning in new ways,” the Centre is 5,000 square feet of pure fun for all ages. Parents, you too will enjoy it… you may not want to leave either. From May to October, the NG is running the first edition of the Children’s Biennale, a four-month-long festival, inviting visitors to discover art in a whole new way. With installations, interactive artworks, music performances, film showcases and art-inspired programs designed especially for kids and families. Education is a key element of the NG experience, whether it’s passive, as you browse the buildings and galleries; or active, via tours, events and activities, the opportunities are many. Educators’ programs are also available to help teachers use art to connect and communicate with kids. These programs help develop visual literacy and interpretive skills. Social Scene With six restaurants, including the two-Michelin starred Odette, the NG is not only about art. Don’t miss the spectacular rooftop-views from Aura Sky Lounge and Smoke & Mirrors; one evening atop the NG and you will surely come back for more! Most weekend afternoons there’s live music at the Padang Atrium. The Singapore Courtyard also features weekend music. How about a party? There are several venues available for rental within the NG or at venues like Aura Sky Lounge where the views are spectacular.

The National Gallery on a Budget A secret… shhhh… most galleries require a ticket. However, in much of the non-gallery space the public is free to amble about. Try the Social Table, historic City Hall Chamber, a very high fidelity Architectural Model of the NG, the regal Supreme Court Foyer, the Spartan Holding Cells (for the former Supreme Court accused), Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden and unbelievable views from the rooftop. The Law of the Land exhibit, which highlights Singapore’s Constitutional documents, is complimentary. Even the Keppel Centre is free. Finally, if you love art, interacting with people and have some time on your hands, the NG has a place for you, either as a Best Friend of the Gallery or as a docent volunteer. Currently, there are about 500 volunteers who help make the NG tick. We can always use a few more dedicated, passionate people! Check the Gallery’s website, under “Support.” We hope to see you at the National Gallery Singapore soon… if you happen to see a BFG named Jim ask him a question… he’s supposed to know everything! Disclaimer: The author does not officially represent the National Gallery of Singapore. Jim is an avid volunteer at the National Gallery, Gardens by the Bay, Fine Arts Committee (The American Club), Singapore American writer, and the Singapore Space and Technology Association (his “real” volunteer job)! Photos courtesy of Jim Tietjen

Children posing with an over-sized mock-up of Chua Mia Tee’s painting National Language Class.

15 Singapore American · May 2017

Where Art Meets Science By Frances Strong


ithin the exotically-shaped, white building next to the iconic Marina Bay Sands lies a feast for the senses. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, some say it resembles a lotus flower, others a hand, with a skylight on the tip of each ‘finger’ filtering in natural light to the exhibits below. Opened in 2011, ArtScience Museum has hosted some truly amazing exhibitions across its 21 galleries, including artifacts from the ill-fated Titanic; children’s favorite, Harry Potter; Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal and Singapore Stories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, to name but a few. There really is something to suit every age-group, from inquisitive juniors to the more mature. ArtScience Museum was one of my first visits on moving to Singapore and has been a firm favorite for me since; both for grown up exhibitions, including the Andy Warhol retrospective, and the more child-oriented exhibits on dinosaurs, space and such. The thing that excites me the most about ArtScience Museum is how it turns the traditional idea of the museum on its head, bringing futuristic exhibits into a traditionally retrospective space; a meeting of Art and Science. This is beautifully illustrated in the museum’s Future World. This permanent exhibit is particularly appealing to families, so be prepared for a louder experience than in other areas of the museum. The 1,500-square-meter space is divided into four key areas: Nature, Town, Park and Space, promising an immersive experience in each zone. The use of technology engages both adults and children alike in what their website calls a “dynamic digital universe of interactive art installations.” Nature is an audiovisual installation that features flying crows, chasing each other, leaving flower-shaped patterns in their wake. It represents the Japanese mythological Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow, believed to be the embodiment of the Sun, alluding to the genesis of life from the Sun’s energy. Kids can whiz down a Fruit Field slide, which ‘uses’ their energy to make the fruit blossom and grow. Town moves from rural to urban, including the Sketch Town installation where children are given paper and crayons to draw a building, a car or a plane. Once done, they can scan their picture and see their creation enter the town, becoming a 3D animated object. As if that wasn’t cool enough, they can also interact with their drawing by, for example, touching a car to make it speed up or change direction. Park was possibly my favorite area, with its seven-meter tall virtual waterfall, light ball orchestra and interactive digital aquarium. Obsessed as I am with all things underwater, I think I enjoyed customizing my own jellyfish and stingrays more than my kids, delighted to see them swim past me on the wall after I’d put them through the scanner. Space, with its futuristic feel, is a fitting finale. More than 170,000 LED lights illuminate the area, giving the illusion of stars moving in space. It’s just beautiful and filled me with a sense of calm serenity as I left the exhibit and eased my way back into the real world. Admission to Future World is controlled to avoid overcrowding and ensure a good visitor experience, so it’s a good idea to book for your preferred time online before you go. Prices are lower for Singapore residents and combination tickets/family packages are also available, making ArtScience Museum an affordable day out. Originally from a tiny seaside town in the UK, Frances Strong has called Singapore home since 2011. Six years later, she’s still exploring the Little Red Dot and loves to find new and quirky places to wow her visitors. When she’s not playing taxi driver for her three children, she likes to write about travel, motherhood, food, life…and anything in between. Photos courtesy of teamLab

ArtScience Museum 6 Bayfront Ave, (S)018974 Open daily: 10am to 7pm Including public holidays Last admission at 6pm



Singapore American · May 2017

Remembering Singapore’s World War II History

Revamped displays at the Former Ford Factory museum: an excellent place to start By Bill Poorman


or a history buff like myself, Singapore is a fascinating place to live. The entire island is like a World War II museum, thanks to its strategic importance prior to the war and, sadly, because of the fighting that took place here. The United Kingdom had heavily fortified Singapore in order to counter the rising power of Japan. It was viewed as impregnable. That made it a top target. The Japanese campaign to take Singapore started at the same time as the attack on Pearl Harbor, but here it was December 8, 1941. They landed on the Malay Peninsula and worked their way down. Ultimately, following pitched battles on Singapore itself, the British command made the decision to surrender. The Japanese had set up their headquarters in the Ford Motor Company factory near Bukit Timah. On February 15, 1942, the British commander walked there under a white flag. The factory has been a museum of the Japanese occupation since 2006, but it was closed for a year for revamping, only opening again this past February. There was some controversy with the new design. Originally, it was titled Syonan Gallery (pronounced sho-nahn). The Japanese had renamed Singapore Syonan-to, meaning “Light of the South” during the occupation. After the museum’s new name debuted, there was a public outcry. The signs were soon changed to Former Ford Factory, and the exhibit was re-titled Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies. When you visit the museum, you enter the front part of the original factory complex, which has been preserved. In the main foyer is some history of the factory itself. To your left, you enter into the main exhibit. It’s well done, with a mix of artifacts, displays and videos.

A highlight is the actual room where the surrender took place. Most intriguing to me was a display that had a transcript of the surrender itself. The two sides haggled over the exact moment when the shooting should stop and what would happen to captured personnel and civilians. It helped me to feel the tension, aggression, fear and humiliation of the moment. Beyond that room are more displays covering the occupation, including a powerful oral history video of the massacres that took place of the people whom the Japanese military considered threats. After passing through a history of the end of the war, you come back to the main entrance. There is a second half to the museum that is equally interesting. It covers Singapore’s post-war recovery efforts and the lead up to independence in 1965. On the day I visited, I surveyed the displays before joining an hour-long guided tour, but you could easily spend half a day just on your own reading and taking in all of the information and artifacts. There is no entry fee for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents; it cost me $3 to get in, but the guided tour was free. While there, make sure to pick up a helpful booklet at the front counter called Singapore in World War II: A Heritage Trail. As I mentioned, the entire island can be viewed as a museum, and the guide lists 50 different sites to visit, which is certainly enough to keep even avid history buffs like myself busy for a long time. Bill Poorman is a writer and has lived in Singapore for nearly three years. He’s also a history buff. Did he mention that? Photos courtesy of Bill Poorman


Singapore American · May 2017

Singapore Art Museum and SAM at 8Q By Grant Ward


ocated on the Civic District’s Bras Basah Road, practically on top of the MRT station bearing that street’s name, stands a rather majestic but quaint colonial-era building, which has been the home of Singapore Art Museum (SAM) for a little over twenty years. SAM is one of several other museums in this arts and heritage district, including National Museum of Singapore and the Peranakan Museum. It is Singapore’s only museum dedicated to the research and presentation of contemporary art, with a focus on Southeast Asia within a global context. A short walk away on Queen Street stands the museum’s annex building, known as SAM at 8Q. The historical significance of the SAM building is that it was the first home of St. Joseph’s Institution, one of the original Catholic boys’ schools in Singapore; built during the 1860s and subsequently expanded during the early 20th century. With the exception of the Japanese Occupation period when it was used for military purposes, it operated as a school until 1987. After the school moved to its new campus, this historical landmark was restored and opened as Singapore Art Museum on October 20, 1995, and officially so by the then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on January 20, 1996. SAM at 8Q, occupies what was once the old Catholic High School. After this school relocated (in 1987, the same year as St. Joseph’s Institution), it was used by the nearby Kum Yan Cantonese Methodist Church until 2007. The National Heritage Board then renovated the four-story building and opened it as SAM’s annex on August 15, 2008. SAM at 8Q is now equipped with artwork gallery spaces converted from former classrooms, and a small cinema called the Moving Image Gallery. SAM at 8Q is regularly used for museum exhibitions displaying contemporary installation works, video and photography installation, as well as performance art and sound art. SAM, as a contemporary art museum, regularly presents thematic exhibitions, accompanied by a range of public and educational programmes, including tours, talks and workshops. SAM was also the organiser of the past two editions of the Singapore Biennale (the latest of which closed at the end of February 2017). The next exhibition at SAM at 8Q is the annual contemporary art exhibition for children, titled Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth, which runs from May 6 to August 27. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children, and free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. The Singapore Art Museum’s main building is closed for restoration works currently, but SAM at 8Q will be open daily from May 6, including public holidays, from 10am to 7pm, and Fridays until 9pm. Grant is a history buff who recently relocated to Singapore from the US. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys spending his time writing, eating and exploring his new home. Photos courtesy of Singapore Art Museum, Sullivan+Strumpf and Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango, Lizard Tail, 2016, 2017.

Singapore Art Museum 71 Bras Basah Road, (S)189555

SAM at 8Q 8 Queen Street, (S)188535


Singapore American · May 2017

Every Child is an Artist…Expert By Faith Chanda


ven the most fascinating of cultural institutions has witnessed beleaguered parents, with the best of intentions, dragging protesting children obliviously past its hallowed works of art. What seem to adults to be important masterpieces of historical significance can be perceived by kids as merely one boring painting after another if they have no context to connect with it on their own level. You CAN make museums and the arts interesting to children, but it’s important to keep a few key things in mind:

Photo courtesy of FabCafe Singapore

Know your limits. Take note of your child’s attention span and recognize when he or she is getting close to the end of it. A snack or an exercise break may prolong the inevitable, but don’t push too far. Ensuring that kids have good memories (or at least not negative ones) of these early experiences will go a long way toward nurturing their cultural appreciation as adults. Mind their manners. It’s no fun if you feel obligated to run around policing your child’s every move, terrified you’ll be booted out the door in a blaze of uncouth glory. Make sure the venue is appropriate to the age of your kid(s), try to go when it’s not too crowded and talk ahead of time about rules like using quiet voices and not touching the art. Create context. Having a sense of connection is crucial to how kids experience the arts. Here are some ways you can help your kids relate: • Prepare with books, videos or field trips that help build association with the topic. For example, my eight-year-old is really enjoying the book Secrets of Singapore by Lesley-Anne and Monica Lim, a kid-friendly view of Singapore’s history. When she’s finished, she’ll have her own perspective of the historical background when we visit the National Museum. • Appeal to your kids’ sense of competition. Check out the museum’s website and then create a scavenger hunt, bingo card or another game concept using some of the artwork being exhibited. Give a copy to each kid (tip: put it on a clipboard, it makes them feel very official!) and let them be the guides. Readers can pore over the museum maps to figure out where to find specific pieces, little ones can practice their big-kid manners by asking a friendly docent. • Let the medium be the message. Sometimes what is most interesting to junior artists or aficionados is the style, materials or process. Let kids try to paint a picture of someone before you visit a portrait gallery to see what it really takes. Do a bit of research on the styles of art or artists whose work you may see and then facilitate a few fun projects that relate. For example, concepts like abstract art, cubism, pointillism, surrealism and impressionism all lend themselves to children’s varied abilities. The styles of artists such as Kandinsky, Pollock and Mondrian are particularly accessible to kids of all ages. • Ask the right questions. We often visited an outdoor sculpture park when my kids were little and simply asking them what they imagined the modern art sculptures depicted often resulted in surprisingly insightful responses. Here are some examples designed to get kids thinking: »» What does this look like to you? »» How does this make you feel? »» What was the artist thinking when he or she made this? »» If you could make an art piece like this, what would it look like? Remember not to critique the answers; art is all about interpretation. As Picasso famously asserted “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” If Picasso had kids, he would have also known that cultivating educated arts appreciation as they grow is an art unto itself. Faith Chanda relocated to Singapore in January 2015 with her husband and two young children. She is a freelance writer and marketing consultant as the sole proprietor of F. Chanda Communications & Events. Faith enjoys exploring food, culture, nature and design through her travel adventures and looks forward to many new discoveries throughout Asia.

Many of Singapore’s museums have programs and resources to encourage kids’ interest and participation.


The National Heritage Board has a Family Time Guide to the Museums for Parents/Guardians as well as special activity booklets for the following institutions: • Asian Civilisations Museum • National Museum of Singapore • Malay Heritage Centre • Singapore Philatelic Museum • Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall • The Peranakan Museum The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum hosts workshops and nature walks and even has its own app, App-ollonia, which helps kids complete a four-part scavenger hunt to earn an in-app prize. Imaginarium is an annual event at the Singapore Art Museum designed to “inspire and engage” children and families. This year’s theme is “To the Ends of the Earth” and runs from May 6 to August 27. The National Gallery features a special section for kids and families, the Keppel Centre for Art Education. The ArtScience Museum has recently supplemented their consistently kid-friendly offerings with the launch of a FabCafe branch. Affordably available to the public, the café’s digital fabrication tools, including laser cutters and a 3D printer, also inspire “Maker Workshop” events on site for adults and kids.,

National Museum of Singapore: The Story of Singapore Itself By Eric Walter Continued from page 1. There has been more than one American connection to the museum as well, according to Lim. When the Great Depression led to government funding cuts at the museum, a financial lifeline came in the form of grants from American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The money was used to modernize the galleries and for research into prehistoric Malaya. These days, the museum’s staff strives to find new ways of presenting the history and culture of Singapore and its people to visitors. The museum’s often cutting edge exhibits and programing are intended to connect with a broad range of visitors. For example, one can view beautiful, original, natural history drawings commissioned by William Farquhar, Singapore’s first British resident and commandant,

in the excellent Desire & Danger exhibit; then walk across the hall to see those very drawings take life and move in the fully immersive The Story of the Forest video exhibit. “We are the oldest museum with the youngest soul and constantly seek new and innovative ways to connect with our audiences across different platforms,” Lim said. Eric Walter is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Southeast Asia. He writes about technology, innovation, business, cybercrime and entrepreneurship for Gannett Newspapers, the Rochester Business Journal, Dolan Media and King Content. He appreciates a good bowl of noodles and likes Huskies. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board


Singapore American · May 2017

Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, (S)179807 Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm Last admission 6:30pm Singaporean/PR – free entry Adult $8 Child (3-12 years) $6

Wands and Wizards at Singapore Philatelic Museum By Dominic Holden


riginating from the Greek words philo (love) and ateleia (meaning: exempt from payment, which was marked by a stamp), a philatelist is, quite literally, a person who loves stamps. It might not sound very cool, but I’ve always been fascinated by stamps. There, I’ve said it; outed myself as a closet philatelist. The truth is, you really don’t have to be a stamp enthusiast to have a good time at Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM). While it might at first sound, well, a little boring, a visit to the SPM will quickly prove it’s anything but. Open since 1995, the museum is housed in a century-old building, at the junction of Armenian Street and Coleman Street. It’s home to more than 12,000 stamps and other items connected to the postal service, from both permanent displays and temporary exhibits. As a recent arrival in the Little Red Dot, I found The Singapore Journey: 50 Years Through Stamps a really accessible introduction to my new home’s history. I felt a tingle of emotion when I saw the very first stamp issued August 9, 1966 to mark Singapore’s birth as an independent nation, as I thought about the promise of new beginnings that it represented.

The highlight for my family’s visit was the special exhibition on all things Potter… Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands. A fantastic array of beautiful Harry Potter stamps awaits in exhibition space decked out in Hogwarts style. The collection includes the first licenced Harry Potter stamps, limited edition books and DVDs, prop replicas, movie posters, toys and more. We’re huge J. K. Rowling fans, so we were all reluctant to leave this spellbinding exhibit. We lingered a while, muttering “wingardium leviosa” quietly to ourselves, just in case some of the magic might’ve rubbed off on us. Originally from Wisconsin, Dominic is enjoying a change of pace as a stay-at-home dad. When he’s not supervising homework or ferrying his sons to football, basketball and baseball practice, he likes to lose himself in a good book over an even better cup of coffee. Photo courtesy of Singapore Philatelic Museum


Singapore American · May 2017

Great Museums for Kids By Ed Cox


o, you’ve hit the National Museum and the Science Centre. Both are fantastic, but now you need new ideas for museums the whole family will enjoy. The museums below are kid-friendly, easily accessible, and guaranteed to scratch the find-something-to-do itch.

Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many turtles. As you stand on the wooden bridge that spans a pond inside the museum, hundreds of tiny turtles swim up to check you out. They’re hoping you have food, which you can purchase for a few dollars at the ticket counter to feed them. Afterwards, you can walk around and see the South American Matamata, the African pancake tortoise and more. The museum has over 60 different species of live turtles and tortoises. Most of this museum is outdoors, which makes it a good choice for a sunny afternoon. Peranakan Museum The phones were the hardest thing to explain to my sons. It wasn’t the fusion of cultures that created the distinct Peranakan experience. They’re used to diversity; they live in Singapore. The hard thing for them to understand was the weird devices tied to the wall by cords located in one section of the Peranakan Museum. Kids can pick up the phone to hear recordings of Peranakan ladies talking about life in days gone by. This museum is housed in a three-story building and contains a fascinating collection of artifacts from the Peranakan communities of Singapore, Malacca and Penang. There are activity sheets for kids at the ticket counter and stamping stations in each room to help them engage with the displays throughout the building. Singapore Walks This isn’t a museum per se, but it is a great way to learn about Singapore. Experienced guides will take you on a 2½ hour walking tour of various neighborhoods in Singapore, including Little India, the Colonial District and Fort Canning Hill. Each tour teaches the history of the neighborhood and frequently includes snacks and activities along the way. For example, the tour of Little India featured discussions of garlands, sampling of spices, a chance to get a henna tattoo and try on a sari. Wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella, these tours happen rain or shine. Trick Eye Museum You can pretend you’re skydiving, or that you’re about to be eaten by a huge snake. The Trick Eye Museum features optical illusions that you can step into and take funny pictures. The concept started in Korea and Singapore’s Trick Eye Museum is the first one outside of Korea. This attraction is especially fun for tweens and teens, who can snap pics on their phones to their hearts’ content #cool! Ed Cox is a travel writer and the creator of Expat Life, the card game for people who live overseas. Photos courtesy of Ed Cox

LIVE TURTLE AND TORTOISE MUSEUM 1 Chinese Garden Road, (S)619795 Open daily 9am to 6pm Tel: 6268 5363 PERANAKAN MUSEUM 39 Armenian Street, (S)179941 Open daily from 10am to 7pm (9pm on Fridays) Tel: 6332 7591 SINGAPORE WALKS Tours depart at 9:30am and 2:30pm from various locations, consult the website for specific locations Tel: 6325 1631 TRICK EYE MUSEUM Resorts World Sentosa Open 10am to 9pm daily Tel: 6577 8888 Attractions/TrickEyeMuseum


Singapore American · May 2017

The American Connection By Dr. Vidya Schalk


ucked away along the Singapore river in a beautifully restored 1920s warehouse is a unique workshop and gallery, the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI). Established in 2002 as a non-profit entity, STPI specializes in printmaking, with its own paper mill, along with a contemporary art gallery and an excellent Visiting Artists in Residence Program. If you are wondering who Tyler is and what is the association with STPI, you will be surprised to learn about the American connection with the foremost master printer of the 20th Century, Kenneth Tyler. He is considered by many to be the most accomplished master printer in contemporary American art, working with legendary artists including Andy Warhol, Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella. Born in East Chicago in 1931 (still active at the age of 86), Tyler went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at Indiana University, while working full time in a steel mill thus gaining knowledge that he would put into use to design his own unique print making machines. After serving in the military during the Korean War, he went back to receive his Master’s degree. He was granted the Ford Foundation Fellowship to attend the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles in 1963 to help revive the dying art of lithography in the US post WW2 and to encourage alliances between printers and painters. After Tyler established his own printmaking workshop and fine art publishing house in Los Angeles he subsequently moved to Mount Kisco, NY to set up his dream workshop with “28,000 square feet of high technology for the print world.” Into his workshop he invited the very best artists of that time with a driving philosophy of NO RULES, no restrictions and the artists could do what they wanted to do. This set a platform for unique collaborations with artists. Tyler was able to facilitate creativity and extend possibilities, taking them to new heights of imagination and making their visions possible with technical support. In the process, he invented new ways and custom designed machinery to make the artist’s vision a reality. In 2000, Kenneth Tyler decided to close his studio after 27 years and retire, turning his attention to finding a home for his personal art collection and equipment. In 2002, under the guidance of Tyler and with support from the Government of Singapore under the Renaissance Plan for the Arts, STPI was set up. Specializing in the publishing and dealing of fine art prints, it remains dedicated to collaborating with respected international artists of our times.


Singapore American · May 2017

with a Distinguished Singaporean Institution Visitors can take a tour of the workshops that house one of the foremost print and paper making facilities found anywhere in the world for all the major printmaking techniques, including lithography, intaglio, relief and silkscreen printing. You will also get to see a huge 500-ton hydraulic Platen press (similar machines were used to crush cars in scrap yards) called the Elephant Press, custom-designed by Ken Tyler for use with large prints and three-dimensional relief prints, which were impossible to create prior to that. This machine is so large that it actually had to be installed in situ first before the walls and the roof went up; the building was more or less constructed around this enormous machine! In addition to all the various workshops, there is a beautiful gallery space that showcases the works of the artists in residence. These artists live upstairs in the lovely apartment space for their four-week stay in order to have 24-hour access to the workshop, so they can work whenever inspiration strikes them! The artworks are available for purchase and the public is invited for Open House events and public programs, including guided tours of the facilities. The legacy of Ken Tyler endures in the core philosophy of STPI: “there are no rules.” This truly opens new worlds and new dimensions for many of the visiting artists. It also gives us all an opportunity to appreciate creativity at its best, where the artist can explore new ideas and the most amazing STPI staff go the extra mile to make their visions a reality! Prior to coming to Singapore, Dr. Vidya Schalk worked as a Cancer Biologist Research Scientist at Oregon State University. Since her arrival she has taken the opportunity to indulge in her passion for history and travel. She is currently an active volunteer at the National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore and STPI. Photos courtesy of STPI

STPI 41 Robertson Quay, (S)238236 Open Mondays to Fridays: 10am to 7pm Saturdays: 9am to 6pm Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays




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

MUSEUMS 1 May – 18 June Nyonya Needlework: Embroidery and Beadwork in the Peranakan World The Peranakan Museum 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941 1 May – 18 June Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 1 May – 31 July Singapore Heritage Festival: Moving Memories National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 1 May – 31 August South Asia and the Islamic World: Highlights from the Collection Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555 1 May – 30 December Reviving Myanmar Celadon Ceramics NUS Museum 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279 9 June – 3 September Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957

ENTERTAINMENT 1 – 14 May Poultry Tales Drama Theatre Centre 12 – 13 May A Night at The Musicals with Three Phantoms MES Theatre at MediaCorp AAS Promo Code AAS3P 19 – 22 May Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore Esplanade Theatre 26 – 28 May Geronimo Stilton Live in The Kingdom of Fantasy MES Theatre at MediaCorp AAS Promo Code AASGS

LIFESTYLE 6 May Carpet Auction Hedger’s Carpet Gallery 15 Dempsey Road #01-09, Singapore 249675 Viewing: 5:30 – 7:30pm Auction: 7:45pm 17 – 18 May Expat Traders Asia Summer Market Orchard Parade Hotel Ballroom 2, 1 Tanglin Rd, 247905 Wednesday: 10am – 7pm Thursday: 10am – 5pm

EDUCATION From 1 May UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2017/2018 open Dover or East Campus 13 May Stamford American International School Open House 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am 5 – 16 June Summer Semester – Session One Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41 19 – 30 June Summer Semester – Session Two Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41 3 – 28 July Village Day Camp UWCSEA East Campus, Tampines 24 July – 4 August Summer Semester – Jump Start Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41

Singapore American newspaper May 2017  
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