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AM ERICAN AS S O C IATION O F S INGAP ORE

Since 1958

www.aasingapore.com

November 2017

American Association..... 1-7 Member Discounts............. 3 CRCE & Business............... 8 Community News......... 9-11 Travel........................ 12-13 Giving Back................ 14-19 Living in Singapore..... 20-21 Health & Wellness...... 22-23 What’s Happening.......... 23

Community News 9-11

Living in Singapore 20-21

Health & Wellness 22-23

Giving Back 14-19

Commemorating our Heroes on Veterans Day

Can’t Get Home for Thanksgiving? Different Ways to Celebrate

For the Kids Who Have Everything: Six Ways to Stay Grounded

How to Get Involved in Charitable Work in Singapore

MCI (P) 197/03/2017

Welcome Back Celebration 2017 By Sarah Walston

Photo by Katie Baines

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ith new families arriving in Singapore and others returning from the summer holiday, the American Association of Singapore’s (AAS) annual Welcome Back Celebration was the perfect way to connect over an afternoon of fun, food and friendship. In honor of AAS’ centennial anniversary, each major event in 2017 is themed with a decade and this year’s Welcome Back on Sunday, September 24, celebrated the iconic sixties and seventies. Café Melba at Goodman Arts Centre, with its relaxed café setting and spacious lawn area, provided the ideal landscape for the groovy vibe and outdoor festival feel reminiscent of the era. Tie dye, flower power and peace signs were the symbols of the day, and adults and children alike embraced the psychedelic spirit. The afternoon kicked off with welcome remarks by AAS President Stephanie Nash, who thanked major event sponsor AAM Advisory and gave some exciting insight into upcoming events and

initiatives planned over the coming months. Throughout the afternoon, adults had the chance to mingle and connect over drinks and the “far out” tunes of guitarist and singer Richie Yeo, while children could participate in a variety of activities, from jumping on the bouncy castle, to making “pet rocks” and trying their hands at the classic Wooly Willy magnetic drawing toy. Families could visit meet and greet booths to get to know representatives from AAS’ partners and sister organizations, including AAM Advisory, Allied Pickfords, the American Women’s Association, the American Chamber of Commerce Singapore, Expat Dental, the Navy League, RedMart, Singapore American School, The American Club and the US Embassy. Later in the afternoon, children took part in relay races on the lawn, and friendly competition broke out as teams faced off in variations of classic races. The races became a fun family affair when parents joined in on the final game of Water Balloon Toss.

One highlight of the event included the opportunity for attendees to contribute to a special project, QaneMate, in which two young Singaporean students are raising money to manufacture and distribute their invention of walking aids for the elderly. Some of the walking aids produced will eventually be distributed to elders in Houston, Texas, affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donations from AAS totaled enough to fund the production of 14 canes (see page 14 for more details). The afternoon capped off with a cake cutting and lucky draw sponsored by AAM Advisory, featuring a Kettle BBQ and $100 of vouchers from The Butcher, won by AAS member Sammie Cheston. As the event came to a close, there was a spirit of “peace and love” in the air as new friends were made and new memories shared. Whether new or old to Singapore, AAS welcomes all families and looks forward to bringing the community together through many more fun activities to come.

American Association of Singapore’s Centennial Partners


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Singapore American · November 2017

A message from the President...

SINGAPORE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER

Who can believe it’s November already? I hope you enjoyed getting spooky on Halloween and you’re not suffering from candy overload; I’m sure the AAS office staff is trying desperately to keep their hands off the leftovers! Recent AAS events What a fun time we had at our Welcome Back Celebration at the end of September! It was great to have so many people enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with us at Café Melba, including sister organizations, partners, members and guests. Check out the photos on page 4 and take a look at our website for the full selection. Things to look forward to Looking ahead to the coming weeks, we have plenty in store for you. This year we have a change to our regular Turkey Trot run, and will be cohosting a Thanksgiving Picnic with the American Women’s Association (AWA). We hope that you will come along to enjoy a fun afternoon of great food, friendship and Thanksgiving activities. For members collecting stamps in their Centennial Passports, this event will take the place of the Turkey Trot. In addition, we also have a guided Photography Walk planned, taking in the beautiful shophouses of the Everton Road area; a chance to catch up with fellow members at Coffee Connexions; and we’ll look ahead at our Future in Focus talk with industry expert speakers. This month’s focus The theme of this issue of the Singapore American is Giving Back. At this time of year, we take a moment or two to reflect on all those things we are grateful for and give thanks. We also look for ways in which we can help out in the community to make life better for those around us. This year, we set a target at AAS to record 100 acts of charity in Singapore during our centennial year. A number of the articles featured in this issue highlight the fantastic service work of AAS members and friends, as well as the many charitable acts from our sister organizations – we have some truly amazing people in our community. Lest we forget On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent, marking the formal Armistice of the First World War. First recognized in 1919 by President Wilson, who proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory,” Veterans Day is a time for us to commemorate all those who have served our country; read more about this special day in our article from the Navy League on page 10.

EDITORIAL

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Editor-in-Chief: Cath Forte, communications@aasingapore.com Publishing Editor: Sarah Alden, generalmanager@aasingapore.com

DESIGN & LAYOUT Graphic Designer: Miia Koistinen, graphics@aasingapore.com

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Valerie Tietjen, san.ads@aasingapore.com

CONTRIBUTORS Hazlyn Aidzil, Faith Chanda, Sebastian Dharmawan, Bryanna Entwistle, Richard Hartung, Ho Shee Wai, Ruth Jaensubhakij, Priscilla Koh, Francine Martindale-Sharp, Bill Poorman, Liza Robertson, Laura Schwartz, Marc Servos, Frances Strong, Eadren Tan, Jim Tietjen, John (Wei In) Tsao For AAS: Katie Baines, CRCE Consultant Alka Chandiramani, Cath Forte, Sarah Walston

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

PUBLISHER – AMERICAN ASSOCIATION The American Association of Singapore (AAS) is a professional, not-for-profit organization established to enhance the well-being and living experience of Americans residing in Singapore and to promote relationships, both business and social, between Americans and those from different cultures and nationalities. 15 Scotts Road, #03-02 Thong Teck Building, Singapore 228218 T: (+65) 6738 0371 • admin@aasingapore.com • 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.

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 www.aasingapore.com and have the Singapore American delivered to your home.

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

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.


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Singapore American · November 2017

AAS Saturday

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Upcoming Events

Past Events

Walk for Rice

Living in Singapore Talk

November

Join AAS as we support the American Chamber of Commerce Singapore’s Walk for Rice and Corporate Community Day. For every 100 meters walked, AmCham will donate one bowl of rice to a needy family in Singapore. Be a part of the AAS group and take part in this 3.2km walk along Bedok Reservoir Park. 8:30-11am Bedok Reservoir Park Limited, complimentary space available in the AAS group. Registration is required.

Wednesday

Future in Focus

8

November

Saturday

18

November

Sunday

19

November

What can we expect for our children amidst the changing face of education? Do worries about online security keep you up at night? As 2017 draws to a close, we take a look at the future with expert speakers from GEMS World Academy (Singapore) and Lantium. Join us for a glass of wine and snacks at the Hollandse Club for a lively discussion on what’s in store for our world. 6:30-8:30pm Hollandse Club, 22 Camden Park, (S)299814 $25 AAS Members; $35 Non-Members

Digital Photography Walk

Explore Singapore with your camera on our photography walk around the beautiful shophouses of Everton Road. Guided by experienced photographer, Katie Baines, participants will take shots using basic photographic techniques. You don’t need to be a pro, just a keen amateur with a camera. After the walk, we’ll enjoy a casual lunch together at the AAS office, followed by a friendly critique to decide on each attendee’s best image; there will be a prize for the overall image of the day. Participants need to bring along their own camera with removable data card. Limited space available (max. of 8 participants, minimum age 16). 10am-2pm Exact meeting point will be confirmed upon registration $50 AAS Members; $70 Non-Members

AWA Thanksgiving Community Picnic

In partnership with the American Association of Singapore Hankering for a good old-fashioned American Thanksgiving? Everyone in the community is invited to our fun, casual, family-style picnic including turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings at Kallang Riverside Park. You can bring a dessert to share if you wish and beverages for your family (alcohol is permitted). We will have a crafts station and balloon artist for the kids, as well as a Thanksgivingthemed scavenger hunt and a food drive. Americans, non-Americans, family, friends and children – all are welcome! 4:30-7pm Kallang Riverside Park $45 Adults; $25 Children AAS members and friends can register at www.awasingapore.org. Please select GUEST when registering.

Tuesday

28

November

Speakers Jyoti Angresh, Glenn van Zutphen and Dr. Steven Tucker gave an insider’s glimpse into life in the Lion City at the Living in Singapore Talk, presented by AAS and Singapore American School PTA on September 20 at The American Club. Based on AAS’ popular Living in Singapore book, the talk featured advice and tips on such areas as Health & Wellness, Heritage & Traditions and Lifestyle.

Politics with Steven Okun

On September 26, AAS and The American Club hosted an evening event with Steven Okun, who gave an in-depth analysis on the latest political situation in Washington. During the talk, members and friends had the opportunity to hear insights and pose questions. While Okun served in Bill Clinton’s administration, both Republicans and Democrats alike were pleased with his bipartisan approach.

Housewarming for AAS Members The paint had dried, the dust had settled and the curtains were flung open. Time to let the community in! Members of AAS had a jovial evening enjoying cheese, wine and chat and were given an opportunity to have a look around our new premises. Don’t fret if you think you missed the boat, we’ll be hosting plenty of fun events in the future where we can show you around our new pad, so keep your eyes on the events calendar.

Coffee Connexions

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

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.

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

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. www.emirates.com/sg

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


Welcome

Back

Celebration major sponsor

Photos by Katie Baines


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Singapore American · November 2017

100 Acts of Charity A roundup of recent charitable acts in Singapore, follow our progress at www.facebook.com/100ActsofCharity Willing Hearts Troop 07 Boy Scout Hunter Steigerwald and his mother, Colleen, spent time volunteering at Willing Hearts soup kitchen. They helped cut vegetables and deliver meals to elderly Singaporeans in need throughout the community.

checking-in, cutting watermelons and making sandwiches for the Ultra Craze Marathon, in support of HCA Hospice Center. HWA Walk, Wheel and Jog 2017 Scouts from Troop 07 and their families sold homebaked cookies and ice cream and raised a total of $1,039 for the Handicap Welfare Association, which provides a wide range of programs and services for people with physical disabilities.

Safety First at MINDS Eagle Scout Joshua Mayberry led a group of scouts to build a mock-up traffic light for students at MINDS Woodlands Gardens School, to help the students learn to commute safely on their own in a safe environment. Mobility Aids Services and Training Centre Scouts and parents from Troop 07 spent four hours cleaning, repairing and refurbishing 14 wheelchairs at Mobility Aids Services and Training Centre.

HCA Ultra Craze Marathon Troop 07 volunteers were on shifts around the clock, helping with basic first aid, hydration,

Habitat for Humanity “UnLitter Red Dot” Troop 07 scouts and their families picked up 36.5 kilos of trash from around HDB blocks in Woodlands, as part of Habitat for Humanity’s “UnLitter Red Dot” program. AAS Members Help Sailors from USS John S. McCain AAS members volunteered at the USO tent to support sailors from the USS John S. McCain. They chatted with the sailors and helped to provide a family-style environment to make them feel at home in their temporary location. Embassy CSR Committee at Willing Hearts The CSR Committee at the US Embassy Singapore, along with colleagues from Sembawang and their families, together with INTERPOL, helped out at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen.

Prosthetics for Kids Karen Chan, an employee at The American Club, successfully made an UnLimbited prosthetic arm for a little girl’s 6th birthday surprise. Dulwich College (Singapore) Lends a Hand at Kampung Senang Mobility Aids Services & Training Centre Students from Dulwich College (Singapore) joined a weekly extra curricular activity to learn the skills needed to repair broken wheelchairs. Under the leadership of Mr. Fuller, Head of Design and Technology, they have already reconditioned three wheelchairs and have plans for a further five during this academic year.

Supporting our Sailors Scouts from Troop 07 helped sort Red Cross donations at Sembawang Naval Base in aid of the sailors from the USS John S. McCain. Dexterity Boards for HCA Hospice Care Patients A group of scouts led by Troop 07 Eagle Scout Andrew Greene built four dexterity boards fixed with door knobs, hinges, clothes pegs, light switches and zips. The boards help patients practice daily living skills, which they are having difficulty doing at home.

St Joseph’s Institution International Elementary School (SJIIES) The SJIIES community joined together to wear a touch of gold to raise coins for Children with Cancer in Singapore.

Running for Hope AAS staff member Shu Khanduja and her son Dylan took part in the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project and proceeds from the Yellow Prison Run event, participants and volunteers hope to promote a more accepting society that is willing to give ex-offenders a second chance at making good and supporting their rehabilitation.


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Singapore American · November 2017

2000s

Patriot Partners

Dawn of a New Century By Marc Servos

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hose of us who spent a significant amount of our younger lives in the twentieth century might remember the epic excitement in the lead up to “The Year 2000,” associating it with science fiction. When we finally got to party like it was 1999 for real, spectacular New Year’s celebrations around the world rang in the new millennium. The decade that followed (dubbed “the noughties” by the media) quickly developed its own character, shaped by some tumultuous occurrences, some of which still feel like recent memories. The economy was declining by 2001, largely symbolized by the dot.com crash; however, economic issues became a secondary concern after the world was shocked by the September 11 attacks that year. Following these tragic incidents, the US got involved militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in a lower profile campaign in the Philippines, as part of the “War on Terror.” I settled in Singapore at the end of 2000, having visited the country several times previously. The city-state did not escape the recession early in the decade. In December 2001, three months after 9/11, Singapore authorities arrested 13 members of the Al-Qaida affiliated group Jemaah Islamiyah who were plotting to attack targets, especially those frequented by American expats. In health-related matters, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic of 2003 spread to Singapore, afflicting 238 locally and tragically claiming 33 lives. People took extra caution when going out, and the Ministry of Education unprecedentedly closed its schools to prevent further spreading of the illness. In December 2004, Singapore was spared the devastation of the tsunami that took the lives of 200,000 victims. Aside from these struggles, progress and change were seen in other areas. The local infrastructure developed, improving options for daily travel around the island and increasing entertainment choices. The Esplanade Theatre and VivoCity opened in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Massive development that changed the landscape commenced during the decade’s later years. The construction of Resorts World Sentosa, along with other projects, practically overhauled the “State of Fun.” Singapore’s skyline was transformed with the addition of the iconic Marina Bay Sands, along with the Marina Barrage and the Singapore Flyer. The MRT

expanded with the 2003 opening of the Northeast Line and construction of the Circle Line. Singapore’s leadership transitioned in 2004 with Prime Minister Goh Chuk Tong passing the baton to Lee Hsien Loong. I joined the American Association of Singapore (AAS) in 2001, and enjoyed volunteering at my first Independence Day celebration that July. Later that year, my (Singaporean) wife and I joined many members of the American community at a memorial service for 9/11 at the National Stadium; which was also well supported by Singaporeans and people of other nationalities. Members of Singapore’s leadership, including Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, were in attendance; Prime Minister Goh and US Ambassador, Franklin Lavin, addressed the mourners. AAS Independence Day celebrations were held at the US Navy’s Terror Club throughout the decade. With greater security concerns after 2001, extra measures were in place for a number of years, supported by the help of the Singapore Armed Forces. In 2005, representatives of the American Olympic Committee were in Singapore to promote New York City’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. During their stay some members of the committee also took some time out to enjoy AAS’ Independence Day festivities. During the decade, Americans in Singapore saw a few more milestones, including AAS chartering the American Dragons (dragon boat team) in 2005, and the opening of Stamford American International School in 2009. In 2006, I returned to the United States for a few years. Moving back to the Lion City in 2009, I saw the remarkable changes that had transpired during my short absence. It has been said that change is constant in Singapore, so let’s stay tuned to see how the future unfolds. 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 been living here for a number of years. He has two children, ages 15 and 7. Photos courtesy of Singapore American newspaper archives

Picture on left: Memorial service for 9/11 at the National Stadium, 2011. Picture on right: Visiting Olympian Committee members Nadia Comeneci and Bart Conner present “I love New York” shirts to Fourth Chair John Driscoll, AAS President David Barker, Admiral Kevin Quinn and US Ambassador Frank Lavin at 4th of July Celebration, 2005.

Eagle Partners

Stars & Stripes


CAREER RESOURCE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” MILTON BERLE

Thoughts of Thanksgiving By Alka Chandiramani “Setting aside time to give thanks for one’s blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest, are both practices that long predate the European settlement of North America. The first documented thanksgiving services in territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards and the French in the 16th century. Wisdom practices such as expressing gratitude, sharing, and giving away, are an integral part of indigenous communities since time immemorial.” *

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ince the Career Resource Center for Excellence (CRCE) began in 1998, we have endeavored to incorporate the values of Thanksgiving in all that we do. CRCE, along with the wider American Association of Singapore (AAS) is staffed by expats, all of whom remember the feeling of arriving in a new country, unsure of where we fit in or how we would fill our time. With this always in our minds, we design every element of service to help expatriates of all nationalities assimilate into Singapore, both personally and professionally, just as we did when we first arrived. While the environment and regulations, especially in relation to employment opportunities, might have changed tremendously over the years, our mission has not. At this time of year, we also turn our thoughts to all those who have both helped us on our personal journeys and supported CRCE, and we are thankful for them. It has been said that we rise by lifting others and we at CRCE are grateful that we can pay forward the kindness and support we received to make a difference to others who now call Singapore their “home away from home.”

If you’re struggling to find your way in Singapore, you needn’t feel alone. There are activities that you can get involved with at AAS that will help you to feel more settled. If your career search is not going well, take a moment to see what CRCE can offer you – let us help you take the first steps towards your next career move, whether that be giving back to the community through volunteering opportunities or making use of the advisory services we have available that can provide some clarity on your way forward. In amongst it all, try to take a few moments during this Thanksgiving time to recall some of the aspects of life that you’re truly thankful for, especially the “Singapore flavored moments”. As Melody Beattie so eloquently puts it, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! *Source: Wikipedia

CRCE WORKSHOP Resume Building Workshop – Create an Effective Resume to Help You Get Noticed! Speaker: Suzanna Borst Friday, November 17 10am – 12pm Learn the essential elements for resumes in the Singapore market.

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS Company President A not for profit consultancy firm is looking for an energetic leader with 4 to 6 years of experience who is passionate about creating and scaling social impact in Singapore and the region. The candidate must be a driven, self-motivated individual with an entrepreneurial mindset who is hand-on and excited to be working in a fast-paced growing organisation. Experience in building and growing teams, developing and managing multiple stakeholders, and entrepreneurship experience is highly desirable. (job #3509) Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant Novena-based dental practice is looking for a highly-motivated and experienced Executive/ Personal Assistant to provide support to the Managing Director. This position requires excellence in primary administrative functions, responsibility for executive-level interfaces, contact with customers, partners and staff. Key responsibilities include complex calendar management; coordination, management and preparation of international travel; meeting and event planning/managaement; and ensuring compliance of administrative operational policies and procedures. (job #3510) Secretary to Director of Admissions This large international school is seeking a Secretary to the Director of Admissions. Typical responsibilities include providing administrative and organizational support; organizing and hosting corporate, VIP, relocation agency and other visits/tours; producing media presentation and print materials; working with support staff to streamline and maintain office systems and to manage the workflow of the annual Admissions calendar. (job #3511) Head of Technology Fast-growing e-commerce startup is looking for a Head of Technology. Responsibilities will include managing and controlling the technology aspects of the business related to product development, integration and application support. You will lead projects to onboard new clients and support Sales with a technical understanding of the platform and knowledge of how to integrate clients’ systems. (job #3514)

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 www.aasingapore.com to find out more.

Head of Business Development A fast growing e-Commerce business start-up with over 1,500 employees across Southeast Asia is looking for a new head for its business development department. The role will require you to identify potential business and build new client relationships, working inter-departmentally to ensure relationships are reinforced. Candidates with 7+ years of experience would be preferred. (job #3515) High School Spanish/French Teacher This prestigious international school is looking to recruit a new member of staff as a teacher of French and Spanish. You will be expected to plan and prepare throughout the year for effective instruction within the classroom, provide an environment that is conducive to learning and effectively teach the curriculum. You will have exceptional content knowledge, excellent communication skills and proven ability to work with students, teachers, administrators, parents and internal colleagues. (job #3517)

LOOKING TO REINVENT YOURSELF? AAS OFFERS PERSONALIZED CAREER COUNSELING SERVICES. SIGN UP NOW FOR A PRIVATE APPOINTMENT WITH A PROFESSIONAL CAREER ADVISOR. PLEASE CONTACT CRCE.INFO@AASINGAPORE.COM

Digital Marketing Specialist Specializing in linking digital gold to physical gold, this organization is looking for a specialist in Digital Marketing to engage with Southeast Asia. We want to attract new leads through a variety of marketing channels to connect with tech savvy Singapore and other surrounding countries to generate a community of conscious new users to download their app and create a profile to invest in, save or pay with digital gold. (job #3522)


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Singapore American · November 2017

Cleaning up a Muddy, Sulfur-Smelling Mangrove… By Liza Robertson and John (Wei In) Tsao

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ne Saturday morning. Four hours. 365kg of trash. How many people would be willing to spend their Saturday cleaning up a muddy, sulfur-smelling mangrove? Singapore American School’s Advanced Topic Environmental Science (ATES) students met up at school around 7:30am on a Saturday morning, prepared to get dirty! On arrival, the mangroves on Singapore’s east coast looked fairly clean (teams of clean up volunteers had been there last month). No large pieces of garbage caught our eyes, besides one giant, R56 truck tire which was later removed from the thick mud of the mangroves by a strong team. Upon closer inspection, we found a lot of trash – 365kg to be precise. Hidden behind and under sharp holly bushes, and stuck behind roots and rocks, were tons of tiny pieces of trash! From styrofoam to plastic bag remnants to a ridiculous amount of straws, all left to spoil the beauty of the mangroves. Removing the trash littering the mangroves is vital for a few reasons. First, the trash left in the mangroves destroys the habitat of marine plants and animals by compromising the ecological integrity of the ecosystem. Plastic bags (often mistaken as jellyfish) and plastic bottles (often confused with cuttlefish) are frequently accidentally ingested by whales, turtles and birds. As plastic (and other debris) is not a part of a healthy diet for these marine organisms, hundreds of thousands die each year by ingesting tiny shards and large pieces of floating plastic debris. Our ATES students found that the most commonly trashed items are plastic compounds, with the only exception being foam pieces which are sometimes made up of natural latex. Common plastics can include polyamides (PA) which, for example, make up the various types of nylon used for clothing fibers, as well as polyethylene (PE) which is most frequently used for the production of plastic bags and bottles. Because plastic is a tough material that is resistant to natural forces, plastics such as the ones found during the coastal cleanup can take centuries or even millennia to biodegrade completely. The “plastic problem” has become so prevalent that scientists often refer to these recent years as “the age of plastics”.

ATES students observed how plastics have intruded the mangrove ecosystem. The scale of the problem became clear to everyone volunteering that morning. Plastic and other pieces of trash are literally embedded within the habitats of marine organisms. Are shards of plastic being used by these animals as building components for their shelters? Or is it impossible for mud lobsters to sort plastic pieces from mud? Trash was also found in places where it proves impossible to clear away, such as beneath the leaves of sharp Acanthus bushes (sea holly), or wrapped around the roots of the mangrove trees, where they will eventually blend into the natural ecosystem. The irony, as ATES teacher Ms Martha Began pointed out, is that nature (spiky sea holly) seems to be unknowingly safeguarding this trash from being removed, and in turn is causing more harm to itself. New data shows that microplastics are infiltrating the consumable water and sea salt supplies. Removing bits of trash saves the lives of marine animals and makes Singapore’s mangroves a place where such creatures cannot only survive, but can thrive. Although the International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore (ICCS) exposes a lot of the sad parts about the way human activities impact the marine and coastal environments, it also represents the strength in numbers that we have as volunteers to take action to conserve Singapore’s natural environment. The unity of people coming together to remediate coastal ecosystems encourages people across the country (and even planet) to do the same. Published Singapore data in the Ocean Conservancy’s annual report contributes to creating policy, regulation and approaches to tackle these environmental problems from their “root” causes. So far, in the past 28 years, ICCS volunteers have removed more than 16,000kg of garbage from coastal sites all over the island. Through its educational programs run by leaders at the National University of Singapore and thousands of volunteers, including hundreds from SAS over the years, ICCS is making change happen, one piece of trash at a time. Photos courtesy of Tanvi Dutta Gupta


10 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American · November 2017

Congratulations Amy and Helen 89 years of combined service at the US Embassy Singapore By Public Affairs Section, US Embassy Singapore

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my Ho (R) and Helen Jen (L) are the two longest-serving employees of US Embassy Singapore. Combined, they have more than 88 years of service at the Embassy. They have worked for nine US Presidents, 13 Secretaries of State, 14 Ambassadors, and 14 Public Affairs Section Chiefs. During their tenure, the Embassy has changed locations four times and even their employer changed in 1999 when the US Information Agency merged with the US Department of State. Computers replaced typewriters, and websites and electronic databases replaced the library, but Amy and Helen are still here. When Amy and Helen announced that they will be retiring at the end of October, a collective ‘Noooo!’ spread across the room. Tears quickly followed. The two women have been the heart and soul of the Public Affairs team at US Embassy Singapore for nearly half a century and with their warm smiles, high standards and quality service, they have made work more enjoyable for all of us who have been fortunate enough to call them colleagues. Says Amy: “I was 20 when I got a job with US Embassy Singapore. It was my first job after I finished Raffles Girl School. It was 1972 and I was hired to be a stenographer. Later I became the assistant librarian and got to interact with the public a lot. The Embassy was one of the first airconditioned buildings in Singapore and many people came in to the library just to cool off. There were many serious researchers too, of course. The library had some very good reference books and people came in the evenings and on weekends. In the mid-nineties, the library closed and much of my work migrated to the computer. I am now the webmaster for the Embassy’s website. “Adapting to all the new technology wasn’t always easy. I remember when I first started working on the website, every time I made an update I prayed that it would work. I didn’t always know what my American bosses were asking me to do. Americans speak very fast. I had to ask them to repeat many times, but now I have gotten used to American accents. There are many great things about this job. We got to meet three US Presidents and four Secretaries of State. We have good colleagues and we get to celebrate both Singapore and American holidays. When I travelled to the US for training, I had to wear two watches. One had Singapore time on it, the other US time. My entire career has straddled two worlds.” Helen adds: “I got a job at US Embassy Singapore in 1973 after the company I worked for closed its office in Singapore and my boss recommended I apply here. I started as the assistant secretary to the section chief. Our bosses were very serious back then. They have gotten younger over the years – or maybe we have gotten older. There used to be a barrier between American and local staff. We didn’t interact much and didn’t attend office meetings. Over the years, it’s become more integrated, transparent and interconnected. Now we joke more with our bosses and work with our colleagues from other sections of the Embassy. American diplomats are also more diverse. In July 2005, we had our first

Lest We Forget By Priscilla Koh

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very November 11, the United States observes Veterans Day to honor all the men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces; to remember their immense contributions to the country. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in military service, Veterans Day honors military veterans for their contributions to the country, a day that carries historical and patriotic significance to many Americans. Veterans Day was previously known as Armistice Day, which “marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations” – World War I, known at the time as The Great War. Even though World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles, France, many countries marked the anniversary with Remembrance Day or Armistice Day on the day when the major hostilities ended: on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, November 11, 1918. In the aftermath of World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation on June 1, 1954, making Armistice Day a holiday, and the word “Armistice” was replaced by “Veterans” to commemorate all veterans and not just those who died in World War I. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” – Woodrow Wilson The US Navy League Singapore Council invites you to join us in observing a moment of silence at 11am on November 11, in honor of US veterans. Veterans Day is not only a time to remember the sacrifices and contributions of US Service men and women in war. Perhaps, more importantly, it is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the value of peace and the very great service that veterans gave to protect it.

female section chief; in the same year, our first female Ambassador. We now attend Independence Day parties and for Thanksgiving, section heads serve lunch to all the staff. It’s really nice. “The toughest part of the job is when you have to do many things at the same time. That can be stressful. But food helps. I like feeding people. Every morning, my husband and I go out for breakfast. I get us coffee and he gets us food. He also buys my lunch so I can eat at the office where it’s nice and cool. Usually, I also pick something up for the office. Sometimes it’s youtiao; other times vadai. After lunch, I cut up some fruit. Food is a language everyone understands.” Amy and Helen will be greatly missed by the entire Embassy, especially the Public Affairs team. Selfishly, we wish they would never leave us, but we are happy for them and wish them health and happiness with family, friends and future travels. Photo courtesy of US Embassy Singapore


11 COMMUNITY NEWS

Singapore American · November 2017

Ann Yom Steel Announced as Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore By Hazlyn Aidzil

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he American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore) was pleased to officially introduce and welcome Ms. Ann Yom Steel as Executive Director at the Chamber’s annual Welcome Back reception on September 8. Held at the luxurious ballroom of the JW Marriott, the event was attended by AmCham members, representatives of international organizations and members of the diplomatic community in Singapore. Steel brings with her a wide breadth of public and private sector experience. She joins AmCham Singapore following her most recent post as Head of Strategic Planning for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines where she led the development of the organization’s 10-year global strategy. Prior to her role at IRRI, Steel resided in Singapore and was the Director of External Affairs and Head of Global Partnerships at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Bolstering her public policy credentials, Steel also served as Associate Director of Public Affairs for Ogilvy Public Relations in Sydney, as well as Deputy Director for Office of State, Local and Tribal Coordination at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Prior to joining ICE, Steel worked as a political and legislative advisor to US Senator Chris Dodd and as chief lobbyist and spokesperson for a number of national associations in Washington, DC. Addressing the American business community at the reception, Steel commented that she is honored to have the robust and exciting opportunity to lead one of the preeminent business organizations in the region. She highlighted that AmCham Singapore’s active advocacy initiatives, extensive programming and ever-growing focus on corporate social responsibility continue to set the standard in our dynamic region and she looks forward to continuing these efforts and supporting our members’ successes, both in Singapore and across the region. Steel assumed her role on September 1 and will ensure that the Chamber maintains its instrumental position in representing US businesses and promoting members’ success and leadership in Singapore and the region. Steel earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctor from the Washburn University School of Law. She has also served as a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Ann Yom Steel, Executive Director, AmCham Singapore speaking to the American business community at AmCham’s annual Welcome Back reception. Photo courtesy of AmCham Singapore

Kick-Off for Cub Scouts Pack 3017

Tama Hills Summer Camp

By Francine Martindale-Sharp

By Sebastian Dharmawan

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his year the Cub Scouts Pack 3017 that meets at Singapore American School has grown to over 100 Scouts. We’re excited to have two to three Dens at every age level from six to 11, and from across Singapore. We met as a group for the first time on September 22 for our first big pack meeting, for some getto-know-you activities and introductions. Pizza was enjoyed by everyone! We shared our plans for the coming months and 2018, which include a Halloween party, hiking, biking and the ever-popular camping at Sarimbun Scouts Campsite. Each Scout will also be making cars out of pinewood for the annual Pinewood Derby in May. At home, they are also encouraged to work on achieving badges in areas ranging from fishing to robotics to animal care and forensics. Our Cub Scouts Pack is made up of boys from a variety of schools in Singapore who are interested in being part of the Boy Scouts of America. It’s a chance for the boys to learn useful outdoor orienteering and survival skills,

teamwork and sportsmanship, as well as how to be a good citizen through community service and works. Along the way, it is hoped that they will become more self-reliant and caring, and be able to make good moral and ethical choices when they’re older. Scouting is a good opportunity for parents to spend time with their children, as it is run by parent volunteers. “Cub Scouts has been a good way for my sons, Julian and Sheridan, and I to get to see a different side of Singapore, and to spend quality time with each other,” says Jeff Montgomery, the pack’s Cubmaster. “It’s a unique experience that boys can have outside of school and sports.” If you are interested in having your child join Scouts or in volunteering yourself, please feel free to contact us for more information, at sgpack3017@gmail.com. We’re looking forward to having a fun year! Photos courtesy of Melinda Murphy Hiemstra

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n July Troop 07 Singapore spent a fantastic week in Tama Hills, Japan, a summer camp that offers more than 30 merit badges. Over two hundred scouts from around the Far East region came to Tama Hills to earn merit badges, make friends with unique backgrounds, and to have lots of fun! Our troop shared a campsite with Troop 17 from Yokoda Airbase in Japan and set up camp quickly. We established our basic needs, such as water, how we get food, and so on. The whole experience of camping with two hundred other scouts was amazing. The amount of enthusiasm and scout spirit grew like wildfire. Awesome merit badges were offered, such as rifle shooting, archery, finger printing, cooking, emergency preparation and so much more! Our troop worked together with Troop 17 to accomplish a wonderful monkey bridge using our pioneering skills. It was an amazing experience, working with another troop to accomplish the same goal.

Every day in Camp Tama there was something called the Spirit Patrol Award, which is awarded to the troop that had the most spirit. Our troop and Troop 17 showed the most spirit out of more than 50 troops and bagged the award! Finally, when it came close to the end of this amazing experience, we had a marvelous campfire to sum up all the progress that was achieved in one whole week. Every troop performed a skit or sang a song, and the staff held an absolutely stunning performance. Five whole merit badges were completed, new friendships made, and all five scouts accomplished unique awards. I aspire to go back as a youth staff and I would encourage anyone who has not been there to go, as it is an amazing experience. Photos courtesy of Joseph Keh

SCOUTING IN SINGAPORE Boy Scouts Troop 07: www.bsatroop07.org Boy Scouts Troop 10: www.facebook.com/BSATroopX Cub Scouts Pack 3010: www.sgpack3010.org Cub Scouts Pack 3017: SGPack3017@gmail.com Girl Scouts: www.singaporeusagirlscouts.org


12 TRAVEL

Singapore American · November 2017

Escaping the Hustle and Bustle in Hoi An By Cath Forte

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short hop from Singapore is the Vietnamese city of Da Nang. With nine flights a week and a little over 2.5 hours flying time, it’s a great destination for a beach getaway. Resort hotels line the beachfront, catering to your every whim. Tempted by the white sandy beaches, my BFF and I booked our flights for a week of R&R. However, while searching for the perfect place to stay, we cast the net a little wider and checked out Hoi An, around a 45-minute drive from Da Nang airport. Seduced by the charming old town and plethora of quirky boutique hotels, we ditched our planned week at the beach in favor of some culture…and perhaps a few bespoke additions to our closets, too. Our cute hotel was located beside a rice paddy, about a thirtyminute walk from Hoi An’s Ancient Town, which was helpfully at the end of a long, straightish road (perfect for people with poor internal GPS like me!). Hoi An is also a great spot for cyclists and many hotels offer free bicycle hire to guests. In addition to bikes, our hotel boasted a couple of ex-US Army jeeps, which were used for shuttle runs into town and, in the other direction, to the nearest beach. The Ancient Town of Hoi An was inscribed as a heritage site by

UNESCO in 1999. It’s a compact area, much of which is closed to vehicles, which makes it great for wandering. A small fee is levied for visitors, which goes towards the upkeep of the buildings. In exchange for around US$6, visitors are given a booklet of tickets that afford entry to historic places of interest, such as old houses, museums and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Although the tickets are supposed to be used within a 24-hour period, there seemed to be some flexibility on their use, with some places not checking tickets at all. Hoi An is well known as Vietnam’s tailoring hotspot, and not without good reason. The streets are awash with clothing outlets; from fancy shops staffed by uniformed assistants, with swathes of fabric lining every available wall and surface, to the noisy, vibrant (and often confusing) cloth market, populated with smooth-talking stallholders, all vying for customers. New clothes weren’t a huge factor in our decision to go to Hoi An, however I couldn’t resist having a couple of pieces made. I had been recommended a particular lady in the cloth market, so I made a beeline for her stall. For just shy of US$100, I came away with two dresses, two tops and a skirt, all made to measure. It’s easy

to become overwhelmed, especially if you’re being given the hard sell, so it definitely pays to have a solid recommendation. That being said, high on the excitement of placing my clothing order, I walked straight into the hands of an expert shoe saleslady who convinced me to double my spend by ordering two pairs of sandals. However, it seems I lucked out, as I collected the shoes two days later and they were just fine. While I was busy in the market, my active friend spent the day on a cycling tour. There are plenty of tours to choose from, suitable for all abilities from beginners to experienced cyclists. She had a great time riding with a fun group of people, taking in the local area and getting up close and personal with nature. One of my favorite parts of any holiday is the food and Hoi An did not disappoint. Options ranged from a quick bite at the Central Food Market to fine restaurant dining. Some of the more popular places required reservations, but we were able to book with just a day or two’s notice, so didn’t miss out. A true highlight for us was an evening foodie tour on Vespa bikes. We were collected from our hotel in the early evening and took to the


13 TRAVEL

Singapore American · November 2017

streets at a mercifully leisurely pace. Stopping off at several locations, our cheerful guide, Trung, happily joined us to eat and drink and chat to us about local culture. As well as tasting some amazing dishes, we also got to try our hand at making Hoi An’s famous White Rose dumplings, so named because the expertly shaped shrimp rolls resemble delicate roses…ours might have been a little more freeform, but they were delicious anyhow! Most of the people we met were stopping off in Hoi An for a couple of nights as part of a bigger tour of the country and were surprised to hear that we were staying there for a whole week. While it is absolutely possible to take in the sights and sounds of Hoi An in a few days, we didn’t have time to get bored. When we’d had our fill of culture, we hit the beach, which was just a short bike ride away. If you’re looking for a laidback getaway, you’ll find Hoi An offers a little something for everyone. Photos courtesy of Cath Forte

USEFUL INFORMATION Currency

Local currency is Vietnamese Dong (VND), although US dollars are widely accepted and prices often quoted in both USD (1 USD = VND22,700, approx.).

Getting there

Singapore Airlines and Jetstar fly direct from Changi Airport.

Visa

Not all nationalities require a visa; check with the relevant authority for the most up-to-date information.

Accommodation

There’s a huge range, from homestays to five-star hotels, so there’s something for every budget.

Must try

Food! From traditional Pho (soup) and Banh (sandwiches) to banh bao banh vac (white rose dumplings), there’s something to suit every palate. And if you’re feeling a little sluggish in the morning, be sure to grab a Vietnamese coffee – it will certainly put a spring in your step!


14 GIVING BACK

Singapore American · November 2017

Avoiding Charity Scams By Laura Schwartz

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hese days it seems like figuring out where to donate your money requires as much research as an undergraduate thesis. Which charities use the largest percentage of donations to serve their cause? Which countries are most in need? How do you know that you’re not losing your hard-earned money to a scam? First things first: vetting a non-profit is as simple as a Google search (and if it isn’t that simple, be very suspicious). Resources such as GiveWell.org, TheLifeYouCanSave.org and GivingWhatWeCan.org provide comprehensive breakdowns of the efficacy of a range of charities. Make sure to crossreference all recommendations with at least one other source to paint a fuller picture. For example, CharityNavigator.org only focuses on an organization’s administration costs and finances, but not its effectiveness or overall impact, so this site’s statistics ought to be considered alongside information found elsewhere. When doing your research, here are a few notable red flags and pitfalls to watch out for: • Avoid celebrity or athlete charities as they are, almost without exception, sinkholes. • Really avoid “voluntourism” (and this includes mission trips) unless you’re a medical professional. Giving your time to build a school might feel rewarding, but giving money to a non-profit that will not only build a school, but train staff and maintain the property will be far more beneficial in the long run. If you’re intent on getting your hands dirty, join Habitat for Humanity. • Putting coins into a collection jar in a restaurant or supermarket is nowhere near as effective or trackable as making a donation online. • Be wary of giving directly to orphanages. In general, it will do the children more good if you support verified NGOs that focus on community-based health or social services. There are even instances where donating to orphanages does active harm, as in the case of Haiti, where a reported 80% of orphans are actually children coerced away from their families and exploited for the sake of luring in funds. • It’s easy in the moment to let guilt drive you to give to people asking for donations in the street, but resist doing so. Often these organizations have large marketing budgets to execute such fundraising activities. It’s usually the charities you don’t see on the streets that are the ones giving the most to their causes. Forbes contributor Phil DeMuth’s rule of thumb is: “Trust your money to the people you find, not to the people who find you.” For hard data on the world’s critical areas of need, check out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website. There you’ll find a wealth of information on not only the challenges, but on the opportunities and strategies to resolve these issues.

It is an unfortunate fact of this world that some people view the kindness of others as an opportunity to enrich themselves. At times, it can feel like being generous isn’t worth it. But it is. Despite the apocalyptic news cycle, global poverty, child mortality rates and illiteracy have declined drastically over the past century and projections expect this trend to continue. Donations have played a huge part in that. So, while you should absolutely do your research and be cautious about where your money is going, to quote author Elizabeth Gilbert: “Don’t get so worried about which charity is best that you give nothing.” 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 from Bard College in 2010 with a BA in Japanese Language & Culture. When she’s not traveling or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions and Career Consultant with freelance writing.

Support for Seniors By Katie Baines

“Enter to Learn, Serve as we Learn, Leave to serve more…”

Saint Joseph’s Institution International School (SJII) Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club motto

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he motto of the Saint Joseph’s Institution International School (SJII) Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club encapsulates the attitude of its founder, Seng Ian Hao. 13-year-old Ian Hao and his 11-year-old sister Ing Le are, quite simply, amazing young people. Coming from a family with strong charitable ethics, it is no surprise that Ian Hao and Ing Le began their altruistic journey at an early age. Their story begins with an everyday accident: they witnessed an elderly lady drop her walking cane in a hawker center. Of course, helpful bystanders rushed to the assistance of the lady and she was quickly reunited with her cane. However, Ian Hao and Ing Le were moved to do something to help avoid the situation completely. There followed the prototype, made from Lego, of what would later become the QaneMate. The children quickly set to work turning their Lego dream into a reality. In fact, they were so successful, they took their invention to the 26th Young Inventors Showcase of Houston in 2014… and won first prize. The QaneMate device is a simple, yet effective solution that is attached to the cane with a string, and clips on to a chair or table, ensuring that the walking aid is always within the reach of its owner and eliminating the risk of it falling to the floor. The young inventors tested the design extensively with elderly people in Singapore before they came up with the final model. They took into account feedback from their test group, notably the ease of use for those suffering from arthritis, which was particularly important in the design of the clip. Funding the production of 2,000 canes through contributions from family and friends, along with their own capital investment, Ian Hao and Ing Le have been helping the elderly in the

community by donating their invention to those in need through local service projects. However, they were moved to step up their distribution to a global level when they saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. As they watched the footage online, the children recalled the kindness and warmth of the Houstonian people who had made their 2014 trip such a wonderful experience, and felt compelled to help. They discussed with their parents possible ways that they could help and decided that their invention, which was so well-received in Houston, was the obvious choice. Unsure of where to begin, their search led them to the American Association of Singapore (AAS) and, touched by their generosity, we resolved to help in any way that we could. We began by collecting donations at our Welcome Back Celebration and our generous members and guests contributed more than $420 for the cause. Each QaneMate set (including the clip and cane) costs $30 to produce, so this was enough for 14 sets. The young inventors have been in contact with the Red Cross, through which they hope to distribute the canes directly to elderly people in Houston who have lost everything. AAS is proud to be helping such wonderful young people to achieve their charitable goals and would be glad to forward any further donations from members direct to Ian Hao and Ing Le. Please contact us if you would like to help. Find out more about QaneMate: www.qanemate.com Photo by Cath Forte


Protecting the Most Vulnerable Workers in Singapore Government, labor, industry and non-governmental groups work to ensure safe and fair employment for low-wage foreign workers By Bill Poorman

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ven if you’re new to Singapore, you likely already know that the city state relies heavily on labor from neighboring Asian countries to help the economy and society run. Male migrant workers often build and maintain much of the city’s buildings and infrastructure and work in other important industries. Women migrant workers often work as live-in maids in the homes of higher-paid expats and Singaporeans. Of the 5.6 million people in Singapore, about 230,000 work as maids – or foreign domestic workers (FDW) – while about 690,000 work in the construction, marine and offshore engineering fields. The Ministry of Manpower sets a variety of laws regulating and protecting these workers, some of which are complex. But altogether, as general rules, two things are true about migrant workers in Singapore: One, should these workers lose their jobs – unfairly or not – they have a very short amount of time to find another one before they have to leave the country. And two, these workers have far less wealth and earn far lower pay than other workers here, which means they have fewer resources to advocate for themselves. Both of these facts make them more vulnerable to exploitation than other workers. Most employers are perfectly reasonable, both in the corporate and domestic sectors. But if you follow the news, you eventually learn the ways in which these workers can struggle. Many often pay high fees to agents just to come to Singapore. Sometimes the promise of work disappears once they arrive here. Construction workers can get injured. Others are never paid their wages. FDWs are sometimes abused by their employers. Some have been starved, while others are assaulted. In rare cases, the abuse is so bad, they commit suicide. Thankfully, both government and non-government organizations have stepped into the breach. The Singapore government has regulations for foreign workers and brings criminal cases against abusive employers. The workers’ home countries set some regulations, like minimum pay requirements. In the non-government sector, three groups assist and advocate for lower wage workers. The Migrant Workers’ Centre is a joint project of the main union organization in Singapore, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the main employer’s organization, the Singapore National Employers Federation. Started in 2009, among its variety of services it runs a dorm for workers who are in a dispute with their employer, employs an emergency response team, and finds ways to promote appreciation for foreign workers. Two other civil society organizations that advocate for and assist migrant workers are Transient Workers Count, Too (TWC2), which got its start in 2003, and the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), which was founded a year later. Both offer a variety of services to foreign workers who are facing crises. Among them are providing food, shelter and advice on their rights under the law. They also work to change the law. For example, in 2013, domestic workers were supposed to start receiving a mandatory day off per week, even if later surveys by the same groups showed a significant portion of employers weren’t following the law yet. Much progress has been made in assisting migrant workers in Singapore, but at this point, help is still needed for the most vulnerable. If you’re inspired to take part, all three of these nongovernmental organizations offer opportunities for volunteering across a variety of tasks. All three also accept donations, giving you a number of ways to help ensure that all workers in Singapore have a just and safe workplace. Bill Poorman is a writer who has lived in Singapore for three years. In the interest of full disclosure, Bill volunteers for TWC2 periodically.


16 GIVING BACK

Singapore American · November 2017

Helping our Furry Friends By Eadren Tan

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erhaps you get that calendar from SPCA every year so your donation helps with their expenses, or give all your spare change whenever it’s flag day on the streets for some animal shelter, but that is no longer enough. As much as animal shelters are in desperate need of funds, they are just as short of volunteers and land space. Big or small, bald or fluffy, lean or muscular. No matter how they look, animals have so much unconditional love to give. Whether you are looking to add a furry friend to your home or just want to be surrounded with lots of unconditional love while giving back to our four-legged (or maybe even three-legged) friends, here are some places for you to explore.

Love Kuching Project

Animal Lovers League (ALL)

Cat Museum

61 Pasir Ris Farmway 3, (S)518232 www.animalloversleague.com Established in 2002, this is one of the oldest animal shelters found along Pasir Ris Farmway. The strictly no-kill shelter has over 700 rescued dogs and cats, rehoming as many as they can, while caring for each and every animal that comes their way. Whether it is walking the dogs, fostering or even adopting one of their animals, a little help goes a long way. As ALL says, “Every animal deserves a second chance.”

8 Purvis Street, #02-02, (S)188587 www.thecatmuseum.com.sg

Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD) 22 Pasir Ris Farmway 2, Swift Singapore Block C, Unit 13/14, (S)519325 www.sosd.org.sg Setting themselves the mission “to eliminate cruelty and abandonment of animals, enhancing their welfare, and improve the lives of animals and humans, through rescue, education and advocacy,” SOSD focus on being advocates for strays, and even do shelter tours every second and last Sundays of the month. Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS) 16 Pasir Ris Farmway 2, (S)51932 www.oscas.sg Established in 2006 with the first 60 strays that two women rescued from the thenjungles of Changi, OSCAS has since been a safe haven for strays and dogs going to be culled. Other than volunteering at their shelter, you can assist in transporting animals with your vehicle, help maintain their website or even get your friends to make purchases from their affiliated online reseller, www.htht.sg, as 5% of sales will go to helping OSCAS move their 120 dogs to their new shelter. Note: Seven welfare groups and several independent ones host almost 2,000 dogs and cats in Pasir Ris Farmway, but the free-roaming days of these animals will be gone by the end of this year, as the land is being taken back. The shelters will be moved to a two-story rental facility in Sungei Tengah. Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS) 9 Seletar West Farmway 5 (contact them for exact location) www.causesforanimals.com With over 30 years of combined experience in animal welfare work, CAS aims to strive towards a stray-free society through sustainable rescue modes, education and even assistance for as many pet lovers as possible. Using funds that they raise through established campaigns, CAS provides support programs for low-income, disadvantaged and elderly animal lovers.

Joo Chiat (contact them for exact location) www.lovekuchingproject.org This community-based cat rescue group focuses on rescuing stray cats that are ill or injured, or young kittens that require human intervention for survival. They rehabilitate, re-home and help families with difficult cats, in exchange for a donation. Not only that, they have a Feline Therapy program where cats provide relaxation and emotional comfort; they even assist in physical recovery to seniors in nursing homes and people of all ages with special needs.

Singapore’s Cat Museum is an entirely volunteer-run project that started off with the founder’s savings. The museum also houses Singapore’s only Mama & Munchkins Nursery, set up to save the lives of neo-natal animal babies that no other animal welfare organization takes in. Recently, The Cat Museum has been faced with challenges in keeping their home, and were to leave their premises end of September 2017. However, they are still in operation, possibly till June 2018, so any support you can provide goes a long way. House Rabbits Society Singapore (HRSS) Toa Payoh www.hrss.net Looking for something smaller? House Rabbits Society Singapore has been registered since 2002 to rescue, foster and re-home abandoned rabbits. As a certified educator for the American House Rabbits Society, HRSS hopes to improve the lives of rabbits by educating the public on how to appreciate rabbits and the responsibilities of keeping one, as most tend to buy rabbits on impulse assuming they are low-maintenance starter pets. After visiting these animal welfare organizations, you might just want to bring one or two back home with you; here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge and adopt: 1. Consider carefully if you are ready for a life-time responsibility and if your finances, lifestyle and health allow you to provide all that is necessary for your new pet. 2. If you are unsure of what to expect with your new pet (health issues, amount of exercise or attention, etc.) ask the shelter staff. Most shelters have a matching system in place. You might even want to spend more time with your potential forever pet at the shelter first to understand if it is the one for you. 3. Bring your identification documents (NRIC/FIN/passport) with you. 4. Research the adoption fees and have payment ready, which includes vaccination, microchipping, sterilization, deworming and registration. 5. Be prepared for a home visit to check its suitability for your chosen adoptee, and maybe an interaction session with any existing pets you may have. Eadren Tan has been a Transitions Coach & Youth Whisperer at Brainzworkz in Singapore since 2009, guiding people at crossroads in their lives, and empowering youths through cognitive and emotion coaching, on top of education. She enjoys discovering and sharing the diversity of our world through connecting with people, traveling, and dining, as well as film and art appreciation.


17 GIVING BACK

Singapore American · November 2017

Following your Passion to Make a Difference By Richard Hartung

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f every day you do the same thing,” Sunlove Chairman Wee Lin said in Is Giving Worth It, “you get bored. The whole point is, you have to touch people’s hearts, be effective, and do something different.” And the best way to do that is to volunteer your time, talent or treasure to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

Follow Your Passion While there are plenty of organizations that need volunteers, it’s essential to choose the right one for you. What’s most important when you select a non-profit to support, according to non-profit leaders interviewed for Changing Lanes, Changing Lives, is passion for the specific cause that means the most to you. Former Make-A-Wish CEO Debbie Seah, for instance, said that although helping the elderly was important, she couldn’t imagine doing anything other than helping children. All Saints Home’s former CEO Chan Wah Tiong, on the other hand, said his satisfaction came from seeing the elderly with a happy smile on their face. As University of Sydney University Alumni Council president Peter Shaw puts it, “there is something about giving to others that adds enjoyment to life. Finding the organization or cause which engages your heart and mind, and contributing to it in ways that are meaningful to you and valuable to others, is a great gift.” International volunteering organization GVI similarly suggests that your reason for volunteering should begin with your passions. “Let your love for animals, teaching or healthcare create positive change in the world. Selecting the right organization gives you the chance to vote every day about the kind of community and world you want to live in, to be a part of something bigger than yourself and use your civic responsibility for the greater good.” Choosing the Right Organization It’s clear, then, that following your passion is important, though finding the right organization may seem a bit daunting. After all, there are more than 2,200 registered charities in Singapore. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to find the right one to meet your needs. At a national level, several government-linked organizations can be a tremendous resource. Go to Giving.sg, for instance, and you can choose from more than 450 organizations listed on a site run by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. The Charity Portal lets you search for a charity in any of 64 categories. Or if you’re looking specifically for social service non-profits, the National Council of Social Service website lists more than 470 organizations. A number of more specialized websites can also help narrow down the search. Within the American community, the American Association of Singapore (AAS) offers members regular opportunities to get involved with charitable service through its 100 Acts of Charity initiative, while the American Women’s Association lists two dozen organizations that need volunteers. If your passion is the environment and conservation, you’ll find more than 70 organizations at Singapore Green Landscape. You can also search online for other portals that can link you to the right organization. Follow Your Passion Whether you have 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days to spare, the key to success in volunteering is finding an organization you’re passionate about. There are plenty of resources available to identify the right one. The beneficiaries will gain tremendously from the time and talent you put into the endeavor, and research shows that you’ll enjoy better health, lower stress levels, greater satisfaction and a longer life. As Nike says, Just Do It. Richard Hartung, the Managing Director of Transcarta, is a freelance writer for Today, gtnews, Challenge, OOSSKAnews, The Asian Banker and other media as well as the author of Changing Lanes, Changing Lives. He is also a consultant in retail banking, focusing on payments strategy and efficiency, with more than 20 years of experience in Asia.

Useful Websites Giving.sg www.giving.sg The Charity Portal www.charities.gov.sg National Council of Social Service www.ncss.gov.sg American Association of Singapore www.aasingapore.com American Women’s Association www.awasingapore.org Singapore Green Landscape www.greenfuture.sg/singapore-green-landscape-2017

Join the American Association of Singapore Today! Want to make friends and take part in fun social events? Join the AAS community to meet like-minded people and enrich your Singapore experience. www.aasingapore.com


19 Singapore American · November 2017

Serving the World, One Student at a Time By Bryanna Entwistle and Ruth Jaensubhakij

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ingapore. Cambodia. Uganda. Mongolia. Bhutan. These are just some of the many places that students at Singapore American School (SAS) have served over the past year. They’ve raised funds for schools, collected books for libraries, built houses and even partnered with leaders in the nonprofit sphere to conduct pioneering research. The student population at SAS breathes service, and each individual contributes their own puffs into this cumulative wind. The spirit of service is ingrained within SAS students from the very first day they step through the gates as an Eagle. Opportunities to serve in the early learning center focus on fundraising, with the ever popular “Lemonade Sale” epitomizing the efforts they put into giving to a charity of choice each year. When asked what her favorite day of the year was, four-year-old Kenna M. put her hands on her hips and, without hesitation, shouted “Lemonade Day!” Advocacy efforts are also highlighted within the lower divisions – colored posters made with love by preschool students are plastered across the walls of the school, encouraging students and adults to give our planet a hug by cutting down on paper towel use. In the elementary school, students are empowered through classroom-centric initiatives to think critically about the issues society faces, particularly within the context of Singapore. Fundraising initiatives such as swim-a-thons, walk-a-thons, read-a-thons and jump-a-thons raise thousands of dollars on a yearly basis for organizations such as Caring for Cambodia, Heifer International and the Singapore Leprosy Home. Individual classroom service projects are primary catalysts for action in this division. It’s not uncommon to see twenty students organizing their own material-donation drives or coming up with ingenious ways through which they engage in community service within the school. It is in the middle school that one can see service truly ingrained within the community. The sixth grade curriculum includes a unit dedicated to service, where students spend two months analyzing the impact and leadership tactics of those who are stepping up to change the world. Such learning is encouraged to be applied through engagement in one of the many middle school service clubs. Roots and Shoots is perhaps one of the oldest clubs at SAS, dating back to the 1980s. Led by students, club members lead the recycling program in the middle school in addition to supporting animal rights activism groups, homes for victims of trafficking and campaigns to lower humanity’s carbon footprint. The NYAKA club is yet another student-led initiative that manifested quite recently out of two sisters’ shared passion for helping the orphans affected by AIDS in Uganda. Since the club’s inception in 2016, NYAKA has organized a bubble soccer tournament, a barefoot charity walk and an Amazing Race, with all funds going towards sustaining the education of ten Ugandan students the club has sponsored. However, service involvement doesn’t always come in club format. In 2013, a trio of sixth graders founded Walk for Water – a 28-kilometer walk across Singapore that has raised over S$100,000 for wells in rural Cambodia through the non-profit organization Tabitha. Each year, SAS students and community members are challenged to participate in the event, walking across the country to emulate the distance women and children often have to walk to get access to semi-potable water, and over 600 people have participated thus far. The leaders have formed an Executive Team for organization purposes and have begun to expand the event to other schools as well. In the high school there are nearly 60 clubs, all of which are student-led. Working within the realms of poverty eradication, education for all, global issues, help for the disabled and ill, and SAS-centric. Ranging from advocacyoriented to research-heavy, with a unique way to contribute to society at either a community, regional or global level. An ingrained club within the SAS high school community, Global Issues Network aims to provide a platform for discussion and networking around the key crises our society faces today. Members are given the opportunity to participate in conferences that occur on an annual basis, partnering with other students to brainstorm solutions to difficulties that plague our planet. Overseeing service across the entire SAS community is the Executive Service Council, a team of three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, elected as leaders and catalysts for change within their own community. At SAS, service to the community is a way of life. “Service brings people together like nothing else,” says Ruth Jaensubhakij, a senior who has been a part of the Executive Service Council since her freshman year and is now the president. “At SAS, since all service is completely voluntary, you can tell that people are really passionate about the work that they’re doing. There’s nothing more fulfilling and exciting to me than seeing students make connections with people through serving – whether that be through giving a Christmas gift to one of our cleaning staff, playing soccer with a special needs child, or teaching English to a student in Cambodia. It makes SAS a much kinder, more understanding place. I’ve learnt so much about leadership, about how to work in teams, and about how to meet other people’s needs while also working with them – service has been one of the best parts of my SAS experience,” she continued. But not all clubs work on a global level. Friends of Genesis, led by students that volunteer at the Genesis School for Special Needs here in Singapore, aims to improve the education and lives of children with ADHD, autism, Down syndrome and developmental disabilities. READ Bhutan, Stairway and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) are three other clubs that are led by students motivated to intervene in the Bhutanese education system, the Philippine rehabilitation system and the North Korean justice system, respectively. They’ve organized galas and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, arranged service trips and have even brought in world class experts in their fields. Recently, in response to Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey, and the South Asian floods, they launched a schoolwide campaign called Help for High Water, to raise funds and awareness. Bryanna Entwistle is a junior at Singapore American School. Besides serving on the Executive Service Council, she is the co-president of the club READ Bhutan and co-founder of the Walk for Water. Ruth Jaensubhakij, a senior at Singapore American School, is the President of the Executive Service Council this year. She is also the founder of Friends of Genesis, a high school service club that partners with her brother’s local special needs school. Photos courtesy of SAS Service Council

GIVING BACK


20 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore American · November 2017

Thanksgiving from Afar By Faith Chanda

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eing far away from family and friends can be a challenge, and even more so during customarily family-centered holidays such as Thanksgiving. Many families have special traditions around such events and missing them can make you feel even farther away. If you can’t get home for the holidays, here are some ways to bring the thanks back to your Thanksgiving: Stay in touch – A well-timed video call can help make you feel part of the action even from the other side of the world. Or send cards, flowers or other gifts for gatherings or events you would normally attend if you lived closer. This helps you feel that you’ve contributed something and also reminds your loved ones that you are thinking of them and wishing you could be there in person. Stay out of touch – You’re in a different place now, and if you’re really struggling sometimes being in constant contact with the people you miss the most can make that feeling even stronger. Sometimes, refocusing on the here and now can help you appreciate the positive side of being in a new place, learning new traditions and trying new things. Respect the old traditions – Just because the location is different, doesn’t mean much else has to be. If you’re feeling nostalgic for your traditional Thanksgiving celebration, why not turn it into a “Friendsgiving” and recreate it with a twist? While it won’t be the same faces at the table, and might not even be celebrated on the same day, you can still source turkey and all the fixings and invite friends, co-workers, neighbors and others to share your feast. Disrespect the old traditions – Sometimes doing things the way you did at home can feel hollow and meaningless. If that’s the case, why not change it up? You can still spend time

with family or friends, but skip all the hard work and planning that a big Thanksgiving meal requires and spend your money and time on a weekend getaway instead, or even just a quiet weekend at home doing things that make you feel connected and grateful. Show your true colors – Whether you kick it old school (with a twist) or grab the chance for a change of pace, the one thing that shouldn’t change? The reason for the season: there is always something to be grateful for. So, consider, too, doing something for those who may have a bit less to be grateful for in their lives. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities to be found; giving.sg has literally hundreds of needs listed all over Singapore. Or put your money where your mind is and give to a charity whose work is meaningful to you. Or do something nice for someone you are thankful for and tell them how much they mean to you during this season of Thanksgiving. According to research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (yep, that’s a real thing!), there is a direct correlation between gratitude, self-esteem and life satisfaction. It turns out, the more thankful you are, the better you feel, so be sure to celebrate somehow this year – your happiness depends on it! 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.


21 LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore American · November 2017

A Personal Perspective: Our Relationship with Singapore By Jim Tietjen

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y interest in a very small place began 44 years ago, and took me on an educational and fulfilling journey. Along the way I: met and worked with many great people, especially in Singapore; had many challenges, victories and some defeats; contributed to various Singapore communities; have seen our US-Singapore relationship flourish; encouraged others to join the journey; and embraced the journey with family, friends, colleagues, and the wonderful diversity of people and opportunities Singapore offers us all! My Singapore journey began in 1973 when I read Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. I had joined the Air Force in 1970, during the height of a very unpopular war. Several high school friends had been drafted, went to Vietnam and came home in a box. I wanted to know more about Southeast Asia, and why we were fighting and dying there. Learning more about Southeast Asia, I became fascinated with Singapore and how it had fallen to the Japanese at the beginning of World War II. Since I was about to become a “cold warrior,” I wanted to better understand the provenance and nature of this “hot” conflict as well as the later Communist insurgency in Vietnam. In 1976 I was assigned to a nuclear strike squadron to fly a jet fighter with a tactical nuclear weapon from a European base to a Warsaw Pact target in the event of nuclear war. We were in Europe as a deterrent, and it worked! This was a far cry from Southeast Asia and guerilla warfare. In 1979 I found myself with a non-nuclear deterrent mission in South Korea. It was tense then. It is even tenser now. In 1987, at Pacific Air Force (PACAF) Headquarters, I helped evaluate a proposal to establish a long-term presence in Singapore. I was on the leading edge of what became a significant “place not a base” for US military support. As we worked our way towards agreement with Singapore many interesting things happened. One issue was where US military people would live. Singapore proposed Pulau Ubin. They felt being isolated there would shield Singaporeans from undue western influence and keep our newlyminted relationship low-key. Pulau Ubin was too far from “civilization,” so we settled on former British Colonial housing at Sembawang. US Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and civilian families live and work there today. A more mundane issue was air conditioning. Our Commanding General was told the buildings and living quarters would need air conditioning. He asked why? He was told that Singapore is always hot and humid. He asked – if the Brits and locals don’t need air conditioning why would we? Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and most places were eventually air-conditioned. In 1990, a memorandum of understanding was signed and US military personnel began arriving in Sembawang. In 1992 I arrived at Pacific Command (PACOM). PACOM oversees all US military activities in the Pacific, and beyond. I was assigned to the Singapore desk as a policy wonk, responsible for overseeing all US-Singapore political-military issues. In fact, there were no real issues, only challenging opportunities to enhance cooperation. My first official visit to Singapore came in 1994. This is when I really began to learn about, appreciate and fathom the Lion City and its people. In 1995 we held our first formal military staff talks. Afterward, a senior Singapore Naval officer informally asked for assistance. He revealed that Singapore was going to build a new naval base, and wanted to construct a pier large enough to handle a US Navy aircraft carrier. (Previously, visiting aircraft carriers could only anchor in the Strait of Singapore, due to their size.) I assured him PACOM would be happy to assist. On March 23, 2001 the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier docked at the brand-new Changi Naval Base. It was a proud day for both countries and our maturing relationship. Another challenge was to convince Singapore that nuclear-powered US warships were safe to enter their territorial waters. This was not an easy task. There was understandable concern in Singapore. It took more than a year to successfully conclude the effort. There were many more challenges, which we were able to work through equitably. In 2000 I became the Air Attaché in Singapore. I was now able to see the successful results of many initiatives my PACAF and PACOM colleagues had championed from the 1980s through the 1990s. The acquisition of strategic tanker aircraft (for aerial refueling), Apache helicopters, advanced missiles, advanced F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, among other programs initiated in the 1990s, had come to fruition. Life at the US Embassy then was measured. That changed forever on September 11, 2001, as the Twin Towers fell. Our newly arrived Ambassador (a former Naval officer) and embassy Country Team began working with the Singapore Government to ensure the safety of US citizens and to help Singapore prepare for the possibility of a similar attack. (Singapore authorities were aware a regional Islamic militant group was operating in Singapore.) Our military presence at Sembawang took on added importance. October 2001 was another challenge. The US attacked Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom. US forces needed a logistic “air-bridge” to support this effort. Without hesitation Singapore offered to assist. Likewise, after Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, Singapore was there to assist in

US Air Force monument, “Missing Man Formation,” at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, near Pearl Harbor

Photos courtesy of Jim Tietjen

rebuilding and restoring peace and stability in Iraq. Singapore and their Armed Forces continue to be steadfast, like-minded friends of democracy. In 2004 my Singapore journey took a dramatic turn. I married my wonderful wife Valerie in the military chapel in Sembawang, and I left the US Air Force. Though we considered a move to the USA, we decided to stay in Singapore for “a few years.” We’re still here! Looking forward, our relationship with Singapore is more important and vibrant than ever. Formal agreements are more robust, mutual military engagement has increased, Singapore Armed Forces units still train in the US, and Singapore continues to work closely with the US and other likeminded countries worldwide. Our relationship is not all about military forces. As important are strong government and diplomatic links, business and economic links, and people-to-people ties. Many journeys still emerge, grow, mature and inexorably intertwine our two countries and our people… it’s not too late to start yours… may our journeys continue and flourish! Jim is a 34-year veteran of the Air Force. He served in Europe, the mainland US and Hawaii, and Asia. He’s lived in seven countries, and more than half his life in the Asia Pacific.


22 HEALTH & WELLNESS

Singapore American · November 2017

Ten Tips for Surviving Jet Lag By Frances Strong

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he nemesis of the long distance traveler, jet lag can be downright miserable. Crossing time zones is a sure-fire way to mess with your body’s natural circadian rhythms, leaving you feeling wide awake when everyone else is sleeping tight. While nothing can totally eliminate it, following some of these hints and tips can make for a more pleasant landing…

Start acclimatizing early Take note of the time zone you are traveling into and begin adjusting your routine to bring you closer to local time. If your schedule allows, try getting up a little earlier (or later) and adjusting your bed time to match. There’s no need to make huge leaps, but making small changes ahead of time can help your body to get with the program more efficiently on arrival.

Make good food choices There’s a real temptation to assume that usual dietary rules don’t apply at altitude, and that the holiday indulgence should start here. Just as it isn’t a good idea to drink alcohol, stuffing your face with sugary treats will only end with in-flight sugar crashes. Pack your own healthy snacks to keep temptation at bay and select wholesome choices from the in-flight menu.

Supplement your diet Plan your flight It’s often a good idea to take a flight that arrives during daylight hours. Not only will you be excited to get out and about in your destination, the daylight will help to convince your body that you should be awake right now.

While it’s great to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet, airplane food can be a little lacking in fresh veggies. Taking a quality multivitamin might help your body recover quicker. Some people also recommend taking melatonin supplements, which can induce sleep, however it’s advisable to consult a medical professional before taking any kind of supplement.

Move yourself Choose your airplane carefully Newer planes incorporate the latest technology, which means more than simply having a fantastic entertainment system with the best new movies. Advances such as LED lighting, which has been designed to gradually shift passengers through the natural phases of the day in their destination city, can help to minimize jet lag.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll be aware of the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) on a long haul flight; a slowing in your circulation is also a contributing factor to jet lag. Flight socks will help, but the best way to get your circulation going is to move around. If you’re hydrating well, you’ll need to make regular trips to the bathroom (an aisle seat is always beneficial!); supplement this with a few exercises every half hour or so in your seat, such as rotating your ankles and pointing/flexing your feet.

Work it out Adopt local time Set your watch to your destination time as soon as you board the plane and adjust your mindset accordingly. It might feel odd for a while, but by the time you disembark you will be psychologically prepared for your new time zone.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but drinking alcohol during your flight is not a great idea. The effects of alcohol are intensified at altitude, which means your dehydration, and associated tiredness, are sure to be worse. Similarly, stimulants such as caffeinated beverages and energy drinks are not your friend, as these will affect your sleep and throw your natural patterns out even further. Hydrate regularly with water (mineral, if possible); you could also consider adding an electrolyte tablet every now and then to avoid cramps, too.

You probably won’t be up for tackling a grueling CrossFit workout when you arrive, but getting out in natural light and taking some exercise will help with acclimatization. Jog or take a brisk walk in the sunshine, take a swim at the beach or, if you’re skiing, hit the slopes straight away. The endorphins will help your mood and will give you the energy boost you need to get through the rest of the day.

Strategic naps Taking a well-planned nap can make all the difference to your jet lag. If you miss a night’s sleep by traveling across time zones, a short snooze in the middle of the day could be exactly what you need to make it to bedtime. Just make sure you don’t sleep for too long, or you could end up making things worse.

Originally from a tiny seaside town in the UK, Frances Strong has called Singapore home since 2011. Six years later, she’s still exploring the Little Red Dot and loves to find new and quirky places to wow her visitors. When she’s not playing taxi driver for her children, she likes to write about travel, motherhood, food, life…and anything in between.


23 HEALTH & WELLNESS

Singapore American · November 2017

Staying Grounded By Ho Shee Wai

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eing an expat kid comes with many benefits. One of these is enjoying a lifestyle that is comfortable. With that, some parents may worry about how to help their children to be grounded when they have so much. Here are some quick tips to help you help your child.

Something good comes to those who wait It is concerning when I see moms and dads struggling to come up with rewards to act as external motivators for their children. “Nothing can be a reward because they have everything!” they laugh. It is commendable that we provide for our children so that they are not left wanting. However, having “everything” is problematic as it does not teach our children the process of obtaining or acquiring, nor help them develop the value and life skill of delayed gratification. I know it is not easy to do, but we need to hold out/off some things that we give to our children: for special occasion, for rewards, for them to work towards, for them to learn to wait. Learn the value of money Start when your children are young. Explain how money works – money does not just spit out of the ATM. Build your child’s money skills by giving them a small allowance, let them do some spending. If your child is old enough, offer ways for them to earn money. Help them make the link between their allowances and the value of things they want (e.g., the Xbox will cost X weeks of your allowance or X time of putting away your toys). Appreciate what is more important than money (and things) What is it that you value more than money (and things)? Parents are more effective and clear when they know what they value for themselves and how those values influence what they want for their children. If you value charity and giving, get them involved in charity work. Remind them that it’s more important to be a good, kind person than to have a trendy bag, pair of shoes or pencil case. Expose them to the real world Take them out of their privileged “bubble.” Volunteer at a soup kitchen, use public transport, or interact with people from all walks of life. Experiencing all sorts of different situations, people and environments will help them to learn about life beyond their school or condo gates. Give first before receiving Teach your children that if they want to make room for new things, they must take the time to go through their things and give away what they don’t use. A good rule of thumb is if they haven’t played with it or worn it in a few months, pass it on! Be grateful Teach your children to be appreciative of what they have. Do that by ensuring that they always say “thank you” to the person who has given it to them, and by taking good care of what they have. Get them into the habit of reflecting on their day and giving thanks.

calendar

Ho Shee Wai is the Founder and Registered Psychologist of The Counselling Place (www.thecounsellingplace.com).

of

events

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

MUSEUMS

ENTERTAINMENT

1 November – 4 December Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 www.nationalgallery.sg

3 November Singapore Chinese Orchestra: Eric Watson’s World of Chinese Music Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium www.sistic.com

1 November – 31 December Reviving Myanmar Celadon Ceramics NUS Museum 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279 www.nus.edu.sg/museum 1 November – 31 March 2018 Witness to War: Remembering 1942 National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897 www.nationalmuseum.sg 16 November – 11 March 2018 Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from The Musée d’Orsay National Gallery of Singapore 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 www.nationalgallery.sg 17 November – 18 March 2018 Cinerama: Art and the Moving Image Southeast Asia SAM at 8Q 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535 www.singaporeartmuseum.sg 24 November & 1 December Anime Drawings Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807 www.spm.org.sg

7 November The Joey Alexander Trio Esplanade Concert Hall www.sistic.com 10 – 14 November MOSAIC Music Series www.esplanade.com/mosaic 15 November – 3 December The Addams Family MES Theatre at Mediacorp AAS Promo code: TAFAAS www.sistic.com 19 November Kids’ Philharmonic 5th Anniversary Concert Victoria Concert Hall www.sistic.com 6 – 10 December The Nutcracker The Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com 8 – 10 December Santa’s Little Helper SOTA Drama Theatre www.sistic.com

LIFESTYLE 4 November Hedger’s Carpet Auction The American Club 10 Claymore Hill Viewing: 5:30 – 7:30pm Auction starts at 7:46pm hedgerscarpets@singnet.com.sg

EDUCATION 2, 3 & 30 November Stamford American International School Open House 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9 – 11am www.sais.edu.sg 10 November Kindergarten to Grade 12 Open House Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41 9 – 11am www.sas.edu.sg 15 & 29 November Dulwich College (Singapore) Open Days 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 9:30 – 11:30am admissions@dulwich-singapore.edu.sg 17 November Preschool Open House Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41 9 – 11am www.sas.edu.sg 1 December Kindergarten Chinese Immersion Open Day Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41 9 – 11am www.sas.edu.sg


Singapore American Newspaper November 2017