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Singapore American • October 2014

T h e A m e r i c a n A s s o c i a t i o n o f S i n g a p o r e ’s

www.aasingapore.com

MCI (P) 178/01/2014

October 2014

Since 1958

TRAVEL

welcome back 4-5

Images of Tribal Children Playing Tug-O-War in Bhopal Tribal Museum

travel

Central India: World Heritage Gems and More

17-27

By Abha Dayal Kaul

A

food & dining

31-32

American Association

2-3

Welcome Back

4-5

CRCE & Business

6-7

Community News

8-12

Living in Singapore

14-15

Travel

17-27

Health & Wellness

29-30

Food & Dining

31-32

Sports

33-34

What's Happening

35

Member Discounts

35

study tour to Madhya Pradesh (MP) in February this year was a richly rewarding experience. Our travels took us to three premier UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India’s large “Middle State” and off the proverbial beaten path. Eighteen intrepid, international members of Friends of the Museums, Singapore, joined me on this foray—to see, learn, and enjoy what Central India had to offer. Our journey began in MP’s peaceful lakeside capital, Bhopal, known for its four progressive Begums or women rulers from recent history, and where we relished our stay at the lovely Jehan Numa Palace Hotel, once a royal family residence. From here, we ventured to India’s foremost prehistoric site, Bhimbhetka, our first world-heritage stop. At this sprawling, natural ‘art gallery’ draped over hillsides, we were astonished to see numerous, striking hunter-gathererstyle drawings and paintings in Stone Age rock shelters—dwellings of earliest known inhabitants. There were hunters on elephants chasing wild bull in white; clusters of rhinos, deer, boars and tigers in red; even a yellow flower vase with white lotuses and green

leaves. Featuring horses, riders, women, cats, birds, snakes, centipedes, flowers, and more, this splendid set of petroglyphs, created over different periods, is well preserved in hidden nooks amidst strange rock formations shaped over centuries. We enjoyed walking about the few forested caves open to visitors, amazed that this incredible site was discovered barely six decades ago. Since then, scholars have established that certain ‘cupules’ or cupshaped hollows found at Bhimbetka are the world’s oldest-known prehistoric art! Later that afternoon, we were guided through one of India’s best archaeological collections at Bhopal’s modern State Museum, with its especially fine and rare Hindu temple sculptures excavated throughout the state, spanning a thousand years from 2nd c BCE to 12th c CE. Most have never been seen anywhere else. Across a courtyard, a visit to the brand-new, ultra-modern Tribal Museum was an absolute delight. The subcontinent and MP’s most ancient tribes, the adivasis or “original inhabitants,” are celebrated here via vibrant and creative reproductions of their homes, lives and traditions, in stunning displays of artworks fabricated from everyday

materials such as twigs, leaves, clay and rope. Then we headed to MP’s next world heritage site, India’s most ancient Buddhist stupa and monastery complex that still exist, intact but restored, atop a hill at Sanchi, near Bhopal. Before visiting Sanchi, we stopped at a sprinkling of other historical sites in Vidisha, a bustling and prosperous crossroads 2,000 years ago, now a quiet, rural region filled with remarkable ruins. At Udaygiri’s 5th c Hindu rock temple caves, we marveled at fine but fairly eroded Gupta-period relief carvings, especially the enormous, famed Varaha, boar avatar of Preserver-God Vishnu rescuing Earth-Goddess Prithvi from primordial waters. In a village field, once a vast Vishnu temple, we admired the 2nd c inscribed Heliodorus Pillar, erected with a now-missing Garuda capital in honour of Vasudeva (a name of Vishnu) by a Greek Hindu ambassador from Taxila in the northwest, currently in Pakistan. At Vidisha’s modest, treasure-filled District Museum, we were interviewed by the local newspaper and even featured in the Sunday supplement next morning as a “Cultural Delegation from Singapore” drawn to MP for its incomparable history and food! Continued on page 24

American Association of Singapore Strategic Partners


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Singapore American • October 2014

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

a message from the president... EDITORIAL I still can’t get the smile off my face from our September Welcome Back Celebration. If you were there, I hope you’ll agree that it was the best-ever Welcome Back. Some 200 people gathered at Smokey’s BBQ for pulled pork, brisket and wings. The bouncy castle kept the kids busy while adult beverages tamed the parents! There were a lot of new families, in addition to our long-time AAS friends. It was an honor to have Ambassador and Crystal Wagar, DCM Blair Hall and Valerie Brandt, Rear Admiral Charlie and Mary Beth Williams, Captain Scott Murdock and Midori, as well as a number of Embassy, Navy and AAS members. The AAS is all about bringing the American community together; I hope you’ll agree that our GM Toni Dudsak and her tireless staff did a fantastic job in doing just that. We had a great September full of other events, including our Living in Singapore panel discussion, Quiz Night, Slingers Basketball game and several Career Resource Center (CRCE) workshops, including a new program on Teen Interviewing and Internship Search Skills. In this travel-focused issue of SAN, we’re hoping to give you some tempting destinations for an exotic Christmas holiday or other getaway. From Sapporo to Myanmar, Taiwan and St. Lucia… we’ve got you covered. I’m thrilled to welcome our new SAN Editor, Maureen Murray, a long-time member of the Singapore community. Hopefully you’re signed up for our October 2, Meet the Ambassador’s Wife breakfast with Crystal Wagar. She will recount her journey from Des Moines, Iowa to starting a law firm in Miami, marrying Kirk and eventually landing in Singapore at the Ambassador’s Residence, as well as being a new mom. Hers is a remarkable story for both women and men to hear (see details on the facing page). As part of my Full-Time Life series of interviews with interesting people, check out page 34 and my interview with Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of Asian Tour golf. The son of a Burmese diplomat, he was a successful pro golfer in the 1980s and 90s. Now he talks candidly about the lessons learned on the Asian and PGA Golf Tours, how you can improve your game and his new golf course in Dalat, Vietnam. Also, keep an eye out around The American Club for him and his wife Marlene, as they are members. Finally, we’re starting a push to sign up 500 new AAS members by March 2015. If you haven’t joined, please do (it’s only S$70/year). If you’re a member, please recommend us to a friend, so we can grow our AAS family! As always, we value your opinion and ideas. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact me or General Manager Toni Dudsak: generalmanager@aasingapore.com. Please visit our website and Facebook, often. If you like to tweet, our handle is: @AmAssocSG. Best,

Editor in Chief: Maureen Murray, communications@aasingapore.com Publishing Editor: Toni Dudsak, generalmanager@aasingapore.com

DESIGN & L AYOUT Graphic Designer: Joanne Johnson, graphics@aasingapore.com

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

CONTRIBUTORS Angel Corrigan, Lucia Damacela, Nithia Devan, Kristina Doss, David Fox, Kevin F.Cox, Dr. Daniel Goh, Joy Christine Greedy, Andrew Hallam, Richard Hartung, Melissa Murphy Hiemstra, Derren Joseph, Abha Dayal Kaul, Tom McNutt, Dr. Nenna Ndukwe, Lauren Power, Laura Schwartz, Jim Tietjen, Glenn van Zutphen, Christopher Vogt, Dr. Paul E. Zakowich American Association: Anne Morgan, Valerie Tietjen

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

PUBLISHER - A MERICAN ASSOCIATION

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

Glenn van Zutphen president@aasingapore.com twitter: @glennvanzutphen

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 • October 2014

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

AAS UPCOMING EVENTS

PAST EVENTS

Meet the Ambassador's Wife

2

Join AAS, AWA, AmCham and the American Club in listening to Crystal Wagar as she shares her journey on balancing an international legal business and a public position with recent motherhood. Breakfast included.

thursday october

7:45-9am The American Club, Colonial Room 10 Claymore Hill AAS, AWA, AmCham and American Club Members: $20 • Non-Members: $40 For more information, visit: www.aasingapore.com

Food Exploration: Tastes of China

9

Tantalize your taste buds! That’s right AAS’ Food Exploration is back! Prepare yourself for gastronomic delight with thirteen delectable dishes including Westlake’s famous Signature Braised Pork with Pau. Taste the best of Hokkien, Cantonese and Sichuan. We have no doubt your palette will bring you back for more!

thursday october

7-9pm Join us at Westlake Restaurant Queen's Road, Block 4, #02-139, Singapore 260004 AAS Members: $50 • Non-Members: $70 For more information, visit: www.aasingapore.com

29

wednesday october

Singapore’s 50th! A Historical Perspective Join the AAS and The American Club for an evening of historical perspective from Professor Brian Farrell, Head of the History Department at the National University of Singapore. Enjoy a glass of wine while gaining insight into the history leading up to this momentous anniversary, looking towards the future of Singapore by understanding the past of this distinguished nation. Participate in an evening of historical awareness to comprehend the importance of next year’s celebrations. 7-9pm The AAS, Conference Room 10 Claymore Hill AAS & The American Club Members: $15 • Non-Members: $25 For more information, visit: www.aasingapore.com

Living in Singapore Talk On September 4, more than 60 AAS members and Singapore American School parents and staff gathered at the Club for the presentation, Living in Singapore. Guest speakers— Ana Mims, Jyoti Angresh, Danielle Warner and Dr. Steven Tucker—covered the topics settling in, heritage and culture, insurance, and health and wellness in Singapore. Newcomers reported learning a great deal from the dynamic panel and other guests.

The American Association of Singapore Needs You!

Share your time & talent with the American Community by joining the American Association Executive Committee Work with the team that contributes to programs, publications and events for the expat community in Singapore. The nominating committee is seeking candidates who have experience in marketing, membership, finance, sponsorship or community outreach to sit on the 2015 Executive Committee Board. There are monthly, afternoon/evening meetings and the position is for one year starting March 2015. No prior board experience is necessary and candidates must be US citizens. Please send your resume to: nominations2015@aasingapore.com. Deadline for submission is Nov. 11. All interviews to be completed by Nov. 22.

For more info and to register for an event: www.aasingapore.com

Save thethe Date! Save Date!

the American association Brings You The Glamour of The Orient Express Join Us For The 82nd George Washington Ball March 7, 2015 • 7pm-1am • W Hotel

All Aboard • Tickets Available November 22


Singapore American • October 2014

AAS Welcome Back Celebration at Smokey’s BBQ

Expat Insuran

Socializing in true American Style!

W

hat a wonderful time at Smokey’s BBQ! The community gathered to celebrate being back together in Singapore. It was a day of family fun with superb food including chicken, pulled pork and delicious sides and salads. While children enjoyed the bouncy castle, balloon artist and caricaturist, adults caught up with old friends and made new ones. It was a day of mingling and socializing in true American BBQ style—with great conversation and company. “This was the best AAS Welcome Back party in recent memory,” said Glenn van Zutphen, President of the American Association. “We were honored to have US Ambassador Wagar, DCM Hall, Rear Admiral Williams, Captain Murdock and SAS staff and so many other old and new friends. One of the best things about the day, aside from the amazing food, was getting to know the newcomers to Singapore and seeing so many families and kids.”

BBQ

American Smokehouse & Grill

od

fo Fabulous

Special thanks to our Annual Strategic Partners and Sister Organizations Allied Pickfords • Citi • Expat Dental • Expat Insurance • Japan Airlines • Singapore American School. American Women’s Association • The American Club • The American Chamber of Commerce • The Navy League • SACAC • US Embassy. All were represented on the day. The Lucky Draw prizes were generously donated by Smokey's BBQ, Clessidra, Expat Insurance, Singapore Repertory Theatre and Grafika Photography.

Dr. Shaun Thompson and

Photos by Sue Levens

daughter


Singapore American • October 2014

nce group

Balloon creation

A busy

Vanessa Spier, SAS, with RADM Charles Williams

Japan Airlines

team feeling at

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Bouncing away!

SAS frie

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Welcoming remarks by Ambassador Kirk Wagar

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Singapore American • October 2014

CRCE BUSINESS

CRCE: Career Resource Center for Expats

CRCE

Surviving in a VUCA World By Anne Morgan, CRCE

Spotlight on Jobs Marketing and Communication Manager This organization is looking for a Marketing and Communication Manager whose responsibilities include: Strategy; Public relations &

T

he theme of a recent LinkedIn conference was Talent Matters. Featured prominently on the agenda were various discussions on the changes companies must make to ensure they attract talent and the attributes individuals need to succeed in a globally competitive world. The dawn of the social age has dissolved old hierarchical certainties. The one directional conversation where employers managed the company message has become an equal playing field with employees having a huge influence on how a company or brand is perceived. Companies are rethinking their values and moving from reactive to proactive branding. The employees are central to this as they are integral to the organization’s brand. Developing the theme of this need for companies and individuals to adapt to change, the inspirational Dr. Tanvi Gautam, Founder of Global Tree People, took to the stage to moderate a presentation entitled Adapt to Survive. She began by talking about the VUCA world in which we now live. VUCA is an acronym for Volatile, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The common usage of the term VUCA began in the 1990s and derives from military vocabulary; subsequently it has been used in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organizations and individuals. The VUCA world is one where careers are not linear. Gone are the days when individuals could climb the ladder of success one rung at a time. Instead, Dr. Gautam compared career movement to a series of lattices where people can jump off one career branch and move to another. So how do employers and employees make these nimble moves and thrive in such

communication; Client acquisitions /community management. (job #2875) Client Consultants Candidates are preferably degree holders with at least three to five years of business experience.The organization will provide training on our products and services to successful candidates. Responsibilities include lead generation, on-going account management, introducing new concepts and delivering value-add services to clients. (job #2874)

a challenging environment? The secret of success, Dr. Gautam maintains, is staying current to the world of work through connectivity. It is each individual’s responsibility to demonstrate that they are keeping up with current trends and are active even if they are not formally in the workplace. Employers are looking for skills focused on a human approach coupled with the ability to communicate and collaborate. “I can” is more important than IQ. Learning agility and the ability to unlearn becomes crucial, especially as you become older. You must be able to join countless dots and be adaptable to new realities. In an environment that is ever changing you must also be resilient, take failure in stride and move on, keeping the momentum. Even if you do fail,

“failing forward” is crucial so you can apply what you have learned and move on. Also, the key is to have the ability to be seen as a problem solver and the ability to harness data and make sense of it. Employers are dividing their candidates into “passive or active.” You must give what you are seeking and get into the arena and do! Never has it been so important to be action orientated and be seen to be energetically cultivating self-initiative to carve out your own pathway whether you are in work or not.

Associate Director Recruitment The Associate Director’s responsibilities include complete end-to-end account management in recruitment. This involves all areas of the recruitment cycle from business development to resourcing candidates for open job orders via the internal database, internet job boards, networking and headhunting. (job #2873)

Anne Morgan is the Business Development Manager of Career Center for Expats (CRCE) at AAS.

Executive Assistant A multi-faceted business organization is seeking for an experienced

Did you know that employers can post jobs for FREE? Visit www.aasingapore.com/for-employers

allrounder and executive assistant. The position is suitable for a service oriented and self-driven professional

Launch of one-on-one career coaching session for teens (Ready for College /Looking

with an outgoing personality and

for Work/Internship) – Sunday, October 12. Please check website for more details.

strong team-oriented attitude — who

Launch of CRCE’s Power Lunch. Friday, October 24. For more details please see

can function in a small and growing

events calendar. The Global Landscape of Universities Workshop coming up in October.

CRCE October Workshops register at: www.aasingapore.com

entrepreneurial team/organization. (job #2870) Deputy Director /Associate Director/Director, Graduate Programs As a member of the Sales and Business Development team

Create an Effective Resume Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Wednesday, October 1 10am - 12:30pm

Starting Your Own Business: Your Options Speaker: Asha Dixit Wednesday, October 8 10am -12pm

Jump Start Your Job Search Speaker: Alka Chandiramani Wednesday, October 29 10am - 12:30pm

(graduate programs), the job holder will grow the school’s graduate programs revenues through sales and business development activities and identifies and recruits prospective students by attending promotional fairs and networking events. (job #2869)

for more information about CRCE www.aasingapore.com - click on the CRCE link


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Singapore American • October 2014

CRCE & BUSINESS

Financial Advisory Firms and Products that May Interest Singapore's Americans By Andrew Hallam

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his past summer, The Wall Street Journal said Fidelity was banning US investors overseas from buying its mutual funds. Is it a blessing in disguise? The firm is best known for its actively managed mutual funds—where a fund manager buys and sells stocks on behalf of its investors. No, there’s nothing wrong with Fidelity’s funds. They’re known for their strong performance and low costs. But when expats buy them taxes can whack them. Index funds usually earn higher returns for two reasons. They cost less. And they’re far more tax-efficient—especially for expats. Here’s why. Overseas Americans can’t invest in an IRA if they earn less than a predetermined amount. In 2013, it was $97,600 per year. The IRS Foreign Earned Income Exclusion says US expats don’t have to pay income taxes to Uncle Sam when they earn less than this amount. It protects them from getting taxed twice: once in the US and a second time in their adopted country. Those not paying US income taxes can’t invest in a taxsheltered IRA. So when their investments make money they can attract taxes like mosquitoes to nudist camps. Actively managed

funds are actively traded. Investors in taxable accounts pay taxes on each profitable trade. Stocks within an index fund aren't frequently traded. So they generate far less tax. For example, Fidelity’s Capital Appreciation Fund is actively managed. It earned 25.57 percent during the 12 months ending July 25, 2014. Morningstar estimates its after-tax performance was 21.64 percent. Schwab’s US Large Cap ETF tracks an index of large American stocks. Its 12-month return was 24.77 percent. So Fidelity’s actively managed fund beat it. But the after tax story is the one that counts. Morningstar says investors would have earned 23.77 percent.

July 25, 2013 to July 25, 2014

But what about higher-income expats? In 2013, investors below the age of 50 could invest $5,500 per year in an IRA. Those that are older could invest $6,500. Many people, however, want to invest much more. For the surplus, they usually have to settle for taxable accounts. In such cases, when they buy actively managed funds, Uncle Sam scalps them. In 2009 Mark Kritzman’s 20-year study was reported in the New York Times. He compared after-tax performances for index and actively managed funds. Investors in the highest tax bracket would have to beat an index by 4.3 percent a year before fees and taxes, just to match the benchmark’s performance. Americans that are banned from Fidelity don’t need to worry. Do-it-yourself investors can build portfolios with Schwab’s ETFs. Or investors can choose from firms willing to do it for them. Some offer full financial planning. Others don’t. This isn’t an exhaustive list. But it’s a good place to start looking. Andrew Hallam taught personal finance at the Singapore American School and is the author of the international bestseller, Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School.

Firms That Will Build Index Portfolios For Overseas Americans

Servicing

Maximum Management Costs

Minimum Account Size

Includes Full Service Financial Planning

Will Rebalance Portfoloios of Indexes

Noto Financial Planning

Americans

1%

$150,000

Yes

Yes

info@notofp.com Tel: 1 (808) 638 2475

Creveling & Creveling

Americans

1.2%

$750,000

Yes

Yes

crevelingandcreveling.com Tel: (66) 2661 2716

Americans based in Great Britain

1.25%

$1,000,000

Yes

Yes

masecoprivatewealth.com Tel: (44) 207 043 0455

Index Fund Advisors

Americans

0.9%

$100,000

Yes

Yes

info@ifa.com Tel: 1 (949) 502 0050

RW Investment Srategies

Americans

0.4%

No Minimum

No

Yes

robert@rwinvestmentstrategies.com

Assetbuilder

Americans

0.45%

$50,000

No

Yes

assetbuilder.com/contact us.aspx Tel: 1 (972) 535 4040

American School teachers only

1%

$20,000

No (1)

Yes

lara.yates@raymondjames.com Tel: 1 (703) 406-8440

MASECO

Raymond James Financial

(1) Index investors wanting full financial planning with Raymond James Financial must pay additional fees for the service

Contact Information


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Singapore American • October 2014

COMMUNITY NEWS

Overseas Voter FAQ By Christopher Vogt, Deputy Consular Chief, US Embassy Singapore

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reetings from US Embassy Singapore! The November General Election is fast approaching and while it can be a long, complicated and confusing process, especially when you live abroad, it is important that every US citizen age 18 and older take part and vote. At the American Citizen Services (ACS) section of the US Embassy, we are here to help you exercise your right to vote. Can I vote absentee? You may vote absentee in any election for Federal office if you are a US citizen 18 years or older and are a US citizen residing outside the United States. Some states allow children of US citizens residing overseas who are US citizens but who have never resided in the US to claim one of their parent’s legal state of residence as their own. For more information, go to: FVAP.gov If I do not maintain a legal residence in the US, what is my ‘legal state of residence’? Your “legal state of residence” for voting purposes is the state or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States. This applies to overseas citizens even though you may not have property or other ties in your last state of residence and your intent to return to that state may be uncertain. When completing block 7 of the request form, be sure to enter the entire mailing address of your last residence, including rural route and number. That address determines your proper voting jurisdiction. Do I have to be registered to vote absentee? Registration requirements vary from state to state. Most states and territories require registration to vote absentee. Voter registration and absentee ballot request can be done at the

same time by submitting the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Can I register or vote in-person at the embassy? There are no provisions for in-person voting or onsite registration at US embassies or consulates. We can assist US citizens to complete and mail the FPCA or other election materials, witness election materials (if required) and provide other absentee voting information. How do I register to vote or apply for an absentee ballot? You may register and request an absentee ballot with a single form: The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This application form is accepted by all states and territories. Hard copies of the form can be obtained from the ACS Unit at the US Embassy. An online version of the form is also available at www.fvap.gov. The FPCA must be completed, printed, signed, dated and mailed directly to your local election official.

postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

www.fvap.gov, you can obtain a hardcopy of the form at the US Embassy.

• Contact your local election official to determine How can I confirm that my registration/vote the status of your ballot. Contact information was received? is available at www.fvap.gov. Some states and territories allow you to check • When you receive your regular absentee ballot, your voter registration and ballot status online. complete it and return it regardless of when The online wizard at www.FVAP.gov provides you receive it. Your local election official will links for tracking ballots for your state. ensure that only one of the ballots is counted. When should I receive my ballot? What happens if I do not receive a ballot from my All FWABs must be completed, printed, signed, dated and submitted to your local local election office? States and territories begin mailing ballots at election official. Check out your state's least 45 days before an election. If you have not instructions to determine your state-specific received your ballot 30 days before the election, instructions, witness requirements for voted contact your local election official. ballots, deadlines and mailing addresses. If you have requested an absentee ballot from your state but have not received it, you can Does voter registration affect my tax status? also vote by using the backup Federal Write- Voting for candidates for federal offices does In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You may submit not affect your federal or state tax liability. the FWAB at any time after you submit your Voting for candidates for state or local offices FPCA. could affect your state income tax liability In order to be eligible to use this backup ballot, depending on the laws of your state. If you are concerned how your response may affect your you must: state tax status, consult legal counsel, a US tax • Be absent from your voting residence; advisor or your state tax authorities. • Have applied for a regular ballot early enough so the request is received by the appropriate Do you have any other questions? local election official not later than the state Send any inquiries you have to deadline; or the date that is 30 days before the voteSINGAPORE@state.gov. general election; AND

Where do I send my voter registration/ absentee ballot request? Your request form must be completed, printed, signed, dated and mailed directly to your local election official. Some states allow your request to be faxed or emailed to your local election office. Make sure to provide a current email address, phone and fax number on your • Have not received the requested regular absentee ballot from the state. application. If you have not received your ballot one month When mailing election materials to my state before the election: or territory, do I have to pay postage? • Go to www.fvap.gov and see what online ballot When mailed from the US Embassy, you can delivery tools are available for your state. use a US postage-paid envelope (available at the Embassy) and we will send it back home for you • Use the FWAB assistant available at www.fvap. without the need to pay international postage. gov to complete a backup ballot and submit it to If it’s easier for you to use the Singapore your local election official. If you cannot access


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Singapore American • October 2014

COMMUNITY NEWS

Climbing for Charity: One Student's Journey to the Top of Mount Kilimanjaro By Kristina Doss, Communications and Media Specialist at Singapore American School

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his summer, Dylan Palladino stood on Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, determined to get to the top. He had already been climbing for five full days, and still had seven more hours to go before he reached the summit. The final push wouldn’t be easy. The weather was so cold that ice blew in the 14-year-old’s face and his eyelids felt like they were going to freeze shut. At such a high altitude, it was also hard to breath. While the idea of quitting briefly crossed Palladino’s mind, the urge to reach the summit at 19,341 feet was stronger, especially when he reminded himself who he was climbing for: hungry school children in Cambodia. “I had to show them that if I could meet this obstacle, they could do anything as well,” said Palladino, a student at the Singapore American School. “The impossible is possible.”

While most kids his age spent their summer lounging on beaches or shopping in malls, Palladino hopped on a plane to Tanzania the evening he completed ninth grade at SAS. The goal: to raise money and awareness for Caring for Cambodia’s Food for Thought program. The program ensures that students attending Caring for Cambodia schools have at least two meals per day. The nourishment from these meals help students concentrate in the classroom and stay in school, giving them a better chance at graduating and gaining employment, according to Kay Flanagan, Caring for Cambodia's Singapore Country Manager. “School meal programs are important for so many reasons, but unfortunately they’re the last thing to get funded,” Palladino said. As a result, he set out in January to raise money and awareness for CFC’s Food for Thought program.

Palladino crafted the Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger campaign in a way that anyone could get involved and make a difference. Preschool students at his school sold lemonade, kindergarteners held a read-a-thon, second graders made and sold rainbow-loom bracelets, middle school and high school students collected jars of change, and adults hosted events. Even local businesses got on board thanks to Palladino’s efforts. Meanwhile, Palladino—a full-time student— had to train for the culminating event: the Mount Kilimanjaro climb. With 60 percent of climbers unable to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit due to altitude sickness, Palladino worked hard to ensure he didn’t meet the same fate. He tackled the treadmill, step and elliptical machines at Altitude, an altitude training facility in Singapore. And, he climbed Mount Kinabalu on the island of Borneo.

Palladino’s hard work paid off. Not only did he make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in June, but Palladino also surpassed his fundraising goal of SGD $125,000. “It was like climbing two summits: the fundraising and the actual climb,” Palladino said. According to CFC’s Flanagan, Palladino’s efforts have ensured that 5,000 students will get two nutritious meals per day for an entire year. Palladino, who is the first student to raise enough funds to run the Food for Thought program for a whole year, is also setting an example for his generation and the next. “Perhaps more important than the fundraiser itself, Dylan has inspired others to hold their own personal fundraisers,” Flanagan said. “He has really shown us that anything’s possible!” Palladino’s mom, who also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, agrees. “Standing on the top of Africa with my son was a powerful experience filled with lots of emotion as we reached the summit,” said Denise Palladino. “He’s leaving his mark on this world by testing his limits in seeking adventure and inspiring others to be compassionate. I couldn’t be prouder!” The climb may be behind him, but Dylan Palladino’s service efforts are not. The Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger campaign is still accepting donations through CFC’s website, and Palladino continues to look for ways to help those in need. "There will be another major obstacle that will have to be conquered,” Palladino said.

Photos by Palladino Family


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Singapore American • October 2014

COMMUNITY NEWS

Girl Scouts: Can we send it to the Philippines? By Melinda Murphy Hiemstra

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he hushed words of the shyest girl in USAGSO Daisy Troop 82 spoke volumes. The troop was trying to decide what to do with money they hoped to raise from a bake sale. Suggestions from the ten girls aged six and seven had been things like, “Let’s have a pizza party!” or “What about a disco

party?” or “Let’s go to the beach.” So Lily’s quiet suggestion to donate the money to people affected by Typhoon Haiyan was surprising and welcome. What happened next was nothing short of awe inspiring. The entire troop echoed Lily’s suggestion. Many children of expats have helpers from

the Philippines and that is true for the majority of girls in Troop 82. Carinna's family is actually from the Philippines. Hearing about the devastation had really affected the girls. So much so, that one of the troop activities had been a visit to the Red Cross to learn how they help people during disasters. The girls needed to understand that people would be okay. More so, even though they’re so young, the girls wanted to do something to help. They wanted, almost needed, to make a difference. The bake sale was their answer. USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Singapore does not sell the traditional Girl Scout cookies. The idea behind Girl Scout cookie sales is to learn things like money management and sales techniques. In order for the overseas girls to learn the same lessons, troops abroad have other money-earning activities like bake sales. So troop members and their families baked several batches of cookies, packaging two cookies in each bag. Arion Football Academy agreed to host the bake sale during Saturday morning soccer lessons, an event packed with hungry players and parents. Each girl arrived looking a bit like Red Riding Hood, carrying her

prized goodies in a basket or bag, eager to get started selling. And sell they did! The girls may be young, but they’re aggressive. First, they stood at the table hawking their creations. Serena was a real whiz with the money, making change in the blink of an eye. When not many people were coming to buy, the girls decided to walk around handing out flyers and talk up the sale—but that wasn’t enough either. When one dad explained, “I need to sit here to watch my son play,” Maisie chirped in, “No problem. We’ll bring them to you.” She took his money, ran to the table, got his cookies and ran back. Rebecca decided it was taking too long to run back and forth from the table to the buyers. So she and Yuri carted around a big basket doing their own version of arm-twisting. It worked, too. The girls raised more than $400 which was then donated to WWF. The money was used to buy a boat for an artisanal fisherman in the Philippines. The girls named it Daisy 82. Haley said it best: “It feels good knowing I did something to help other people.” And that is exactly the point of scouting: helping yourself by learning to help others.

Melinda Murphy Hiemstra is secretary of United States of America Girl Scouts Overseas, Singapore and a co-leader of Troop 82. She's also an EMMY awardwinning American television journalist.


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Singapore American • October 2014

COMMUNITY NEWS

Global Entry By Tom McNutt

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n September 9 to 11, AmCham was pleased to welcome over 400 American citizens from Singapore and the region to our office to participate in Global Entry and APEC Business Travel Card interviews. AmCham partnered with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Embassy in Singapore to arrange for this special interview and signature collection event for residents in the region. “We are pleased the US Embassy, US Customs and Border Protection, and AmCham could team up to provide this much-needed service to

Americans in Singapore,” said US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar. “Normally, Americans would have to travel back to the US to have their

Global Entry or APEC Business Traveler Card interviews. Getting it done in Singapore saves people a lot of time. And as a Global Entry and APEC Card member, I can tell you first hand that the expedited clearance benefits save me a lot of time.” Global Entry is a US CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, lowrisk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select US and International airports. Being enrolled in Global Entry is a prerequisite to getting the APEC Business Travel Card, which gives frequent business travelers pre-cleared, facilitated shortterm entry to participating APEC member economies, saving them valuable time at airports around Asia-Pacific. Former AmCham Chairman Steve Okun added, “With my APEC Business Travel Card, I plan my work travel more efficiently. After only a few trips using it, I know I will clear immigration within a few minutes. This allows me to schedule meetings much closer to both arrival and departure. No longer do I watch my foreign counterparts get off the same flight and leave the airport 30 minutes or more faster than I do. I cannot

understand why any US business traveler in the region would not get one.” While interviews and signature collection for the programs are typically only possible either in the United States or at the US Embassy in Singapore on Wednesday mornings, AmCham and the US Embassy experienced an overwhelming number of requests for interviews since the introduction of the US APEC Business Travel Card in June. Together, AmCham and the US Embassy held a one-day APEC Business Travel Card signature collection event shortly thereafter that “sold out” almost immediately. As a result of this extraordinary demand and a request from AmCham and the US Embassy, CBP headquarters sent a dedicated team to Singapore for this recent event to help as many citizens as possible gain entry into the programs. Over three consecutive days, the CBP staff from Washington tirelessly processed applications from 8 am to 6 pm. For many years, AmCham has partnered with the US Embassy in Singapore to make it easier for American citizens to travel in the region. We look forward to continuing this cooperation going forward.

For more information, please contact AmCham’s Head of Government and Public Affairs Tom McNutt at tmcnutt@amcham.org.sg.

Corporate Partner


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Singapore American • October 2014

COMMUNITY NEWS

Managing 'Back to School' Transitions By Dr. Nenna Ndukwe, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Director of SACAC Counselling

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n a blink of an eye the school holidays quickly come to an end and it's time for children to return back to school. This is a regular transition that children and their parents experience. Children are faced with the demands of starting a new school year, increased activity, academic pressures, negotiating and maintaining friendships and building good relationships with teachers. Some are able to manage this transition successfully, while for others, it can be a difficult time. Nonetheless, the level of adjustment depends on the child, but parents can help their children manage the transition by planning ahead and maintaining a positive attitude (Feinberg & Cowan, 2004).

meals, homework, chores and extra-curricular activities. Providing your child with structure and boundaries can help them feel more settled and nurtured. The level of guidance, supervision and encouragement given by parents to each child would depend on their developmental stage.

Top Tips for Parents and Children:

For more information on this topic or specific support contact the SACAC Counselling Office at 6733-9249 or via email at admin@sacac.sg

Get Organized Before school starts, seek information about the new school year ahead. Review the information sent by the school, ask questions and seek opportunities to clarify any concerns. Take note of important dates and schedule reminders in advance. Work together with your child to devise a list of school supplies and start early to purchase these items. Visiting School and Your Child’s Needs Arrange a visit to the school with your child or make it a priority to take part in school open days or return to school events to acquaint your child to their new environment. If your child has specific needs make it a priority to seek out how the school can best address this.

Friendships and Family Support Seek support from and build positive friendships with other parents and children. Remember that children are resilient and while returning to school may have its challenges there are opportunities for your child to learn, grow and be happy.

Photo: Simply CVR

Emotional and Physical Wellbeing Check Happy and healthy children have a better chance of engaging in a learning environment and getting the most out of their studies. Children with health concerns may need specific support which will need to be arranged in advance with the school or other services to ensure your child has adequate support. If your child is anxious about starting school, show them that you can listen and help them to

problem solve their concerns. Try and remain calm and ascertain the source of anxiety. In some instances if may be appropriate to seek professional support for children who are overly anxious when this begins to impact on their daily functioning. Set a Realistic Routine At the start of a new school year it is appropriate to re-establish your own routine as well as that of your child. This would include bed time,


Singapore American • October 2014


Singapore American • October 2014

New CIS Bilingual Program Grows from Strength to Strength By Canadian International School

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he Canadian International School (CIS) in Singapore prides itself on making sure their students are equipped with skills that enable them to thrive and achieve ambitious and worthy goals in an increasingly globalized world. With this in mind, the school launched a new bilingual Chinese-English program in August 2014 for children aged four to six. The reaction to the program has been remarkable—currently there

Constantly switching between the two languages leads to improved cognitive processes such as problem solving, mental flexibility, focused attention and task switching. In the future, we also expect them to score better on standardized tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of math, reading and vocabulary.” The reasons the program has proven so popular are diverse. Many parents are drawn by having two fully

are thirteen bilingual classes across both campuses with plans to open further classes for students up to age seven in January 2015, and up to age nine in August 2015, to meet the growing demand. To strengthen the program and ensure it delivers a world-class, premium education, the school recently appointed Huali Xiong as its new Head of Chinese. Originally from China with a BA in English and Literature from Xiamen University and an MSc in Education

qualified teachers in the classroom at all times (one teacher is a native English speaker, the other a native Chinese speaker). Others like that the program is fully aligned to the IB Primary Years Program, promoting intercultural understanding, inquiry-based learning and key features based on current “best practices” in teaching and learning. Another highly attractive element is that students receive a balanced exposure to both languages and class sizes are capped at 20 students in Junior Kindergarten (1:10 student-teacher ratio), 22 students in Senior Kindergarten (1:11 student-teacher ratio) and 24 in Grades 1 and 2 (1:12 student-teacher ratio). To find out more information about this pioneering bilingual educational opportunity for your child please visit: www.cis.edu.sg/bilingual.

from the State University of New York, Huali brings a wealth of experience to her role. Not only does she have over 30 years of experience teaching English to Chinese people and Chinese to foreigners (OFS, SAS and SAIS are just some of the other leading international schools where she has taught), she is also the author of the bestselling Big Apple Chinese Program, a collection of 26 reference books for teachers of Chinese as a foreign and heritage language. Several leading schools around the world including CIS, structure their entire primary Chinese curriculum around this program. “I am extremely excited about my new role at CIS and the close involvement with the bilingual program,” said Huali. “Chinese is fast emerging as one of the world’s key languages. CIS’s new bilingual program is perfectly placed to help children become fluent communicators in both Chinese and English, giving them a competitive edge in tomorrow’s job market.” “Another benefit for children following our program is that they are likely to become more successful learners,” added Huali. “Because the structures and rules in Chinese and English are significantly different from each other, they are required to think in more complicated ways.


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Singapore American • October 2014

LIVING IN SINGAPORE

Moneychangers in Singapore

Profitable Exchange By Richard Hartung

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alking out of the airport in Kuala Lumpur, I felt lucky that I had gone to the moneychanger in Singapore. The 100 Singapore dollars I exchanged bought me 251 Ringgit. At the airport, it would only have gotten me 248 Ringgit, and for any expenses I paid for with my credit card, the rate would have been 246 Ringgit. It’s easy to say that a difference of three to five Ringgit is small, just one to two percent of what you’re exchanging. For someone going on vacation or a business trip where they’ll need more than $100, though, the extra amount you get from the exchange obviously becomes far larger. For example, change $1,000 and you’re looking at an extra 30-50 Ringgit. And in some currencies that are less widely traded in Singapore, the differences between exchange rates at moneychangers and at banks or the airport can be even larger. As Lonely Planet travel guide also noted, moneychangers do not charge fees, so you will often get a better overall exchange rate with them, and they do amazing multiple-currency transactions in the blink of an eye. It’s easy to find the moneychangers,

too, so exchanging cash to get that better rate is easy. They are located in shopping malls and in small kiosks dotted around town. Some of the more popular moneychangers are located in Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road, The Arcade building at Raffles Place, and Mustafa. It can be worth comparing exchange rates at different moneychangers when there are several near each other, too, since some of them specialize in particular currencies and their rates can be better than others. Although the tiny size or look and feel of many of the moneychangers’ shops might make one question whether they actually operate a legitimate business, this is Singapore and there are clear rules on what they are allowed to do. Moneychangers are regulated by the 1996 Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act, under which Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) requires moneychangers to have separate licenses for their business. When MAS reviews applications, it reportedly looks at the character, financial condition and ownership of the applicant. There is even a complaint department at MAS, so if you find a moneychanger that is conducting business without

a license or if there are other issues, you can call MAS to let them know or send an email to webmaster@mas. gov.sg. Once you exchange however much you need before you travel, you’re ready to head straight out from the airport at your destination with more money in your pocket than you would likely get at exchange desks at the airport and without having to queue up to change your money.

Richard Hartung is a consultant on cards and payments strategy with more than 20 years of experience in financial services, primarily in Asia. He also works as a freelance writer for Today, gnews and other publications.


Singapore American • October 2014


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Singapore American • October 2014

TRAVEL

Take the Tapei Challenge By Lauren Power

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orget the stressful language barriers and logistics of planning a vacation to China, Japan, or South Korea. For a more accessible foray into the heart of Asia, there is no better place to consider than Taiwan. Getting to Taiwan and touring while you are there is easy even for novice travellers. The average flight time from Singapore to Taipei is six to eight hours with one stop, and while there is plenty to keep you occupied in Taiwan’s capital over a long weekend, there are quaint towns and breathtaking vistas to recommend going outside of the city. With a selection of train passes for local and high-speed trains, it is easy to plan day trips from Taipei or longer journeys into the countryside. The train stations are spacious and clean, and most will have at least one taxi stand. While there is no need to negotiate fees, you need to make sure your taxi has a meter installed to avoid arbitrary pricing. Most Taiwanese people speak English in the capital of Taipei, and the younger generations are especially eager to help give directions or recommendations. People of all ages are friendly and happy to share their culture, local foods and smiles with tourists. Some of the best places to find authentic encounters and local cuisine are Taipei’s famous night markets.

The night market culture evolved from the need to take shelter during the heat of the day. Local people prefer to shop and socialize after sundown, from about 5pm to midnight. Raohe Night Market sits in central Taipei, spanning many blocks and offering anything and everything you could imagine. Taiwanese food staples include oyster vermicelli, stinky tofu and fried chicken, but you must try the famous hujiao bing, or pepper pork buns. You can locate these stalls by following the long lines, but these treats are well worth the wait! Also, don’t miss your chance to buy freshly dried mango, Taiwanese teas, and mango and pineapple beers. Other famous Taipei night markets include Shilin, Shida and Ningxia. No trip to Taipei would be complete without a visit to the National Palace Museum. One of the largest art

museums in the world, this vast collection of Chinese art shows imperial collections and palatial treasures from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Originally founded in Beijing in 1925, the National Palace Museum relocated to Taiwan during the conflict between the Nationalist and Communist armies in 1948. Though it can easily consume half a day, it is a great way to spend your time.

Taiwan is famous for pottery and other handicrafts. See artisans at work along Sanshia Old Street, Dihua Street, Yongkang Street, or Bopiliao Ancient Street. Explore the elegant shops along Yingee Pottery Street for great finds, both old and new. See Chinese architecture with a Taiwanese touch when you visit Kaohsuing Marty’s Shrine or Long Shan Temple, and don’t miss the epic complex of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. For a modern thrill, reserve your tickets ahead of time for your trip to the top of Taipei 101, the famous 509-meter high skyscraper. Relax in the sky lounge with a cup of peanut-flavored shaved ice as you take in the view. Before you leave, try the fifteen-course set at the original Din Tai Fung restaurant. Take a day trip by cable car up Mt. Makong to walk among lush tea fields. Choose from any number of quaint family teashops for a warm meal followed by a traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony. The scenery is as unforgettable as the hospitality you’ll find. So take the Taipei challenge and explore some of the best in Asian cuisine, art, culture and scenery! Photos by Lauren Power Lauren Power is a freelance writer and research consultant. She came to Singapore to enjoy her passion for social, economic and foreign policy studies.


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Singapore American • October 2014

TRAVEL

Spectacular Sapporo! By Jim Tietjen

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apporo, located on the northern island of Hokkaido, is the fourth-largest city in Japan. It is well known for the 1972 Winter Olympics and its annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Powder skiing in Hokkaido is possibly the best in the world. Beer drinkers would be familiar with Sapporo beer. Chocolate lovers know Sapporo as the home of Royce Chocolates. However, there is a lot more to Sapporo and the island of Hokkaido. It is a truly spectacular holiday destination with dozens of diverse things to see and do during any season, in a friendly, well-organized environment. Getting to and around Sapporo It’s easy to reach Sapporo from Singapore. There are regular 90-minute flights from Tokyo’s Haneda to Chitose Airport, which is a 30-minute train ride to Sapporo. If you have time, Japan Rail (JR) can whisk you from Tokyo to Sapporo in eleven hours. Having a JR Pass will help you travel comfortably throughout Japan, including many other destinations on Hokkaido. Sapporo is a compact walking city, though taxis, buses, subways and local rail will take you wherever you want to go quickly and efficiently. You can also rent a car. Japan’s extremely efficient tourism offices (the Japanese National Tourist Organization and local affiliates) are conveniently located at airports, bus terminals and train stations. They speak English and will help with all your travel and sightseeing needs. What to do in and around Sapporo Even the most demanding tourist will be satisfied by the myriad of activities in and around Sapporo. Shopping is everywhere, from street-side shops to five-star ateliers. Large, street-level malls like the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade, and vast underground malls like Aurora Town, Pole Town and Esta stretch for miles. The Sapporo Factory is a huge shopping mall with many restaurants and movie theaters. And don’t miss BIC Camera, which has much more than cameras. Eateries abound and the food is diverse and unsurpassed. Options include the freshest seafood, miso ramen, soup curry, katsu-style meats, teppanyaki bars, beer halls, sushi bars and takoyaki shops. Go to the Nijo Fish Market any time of day to enjoy fresh salmon, sea urchin, scallops, clams and crab. Try the fresh fruits and vegetables, but have your credit card topped up. A whole cantaloupe can set you back $40 USD and a watermelon $98 USD. Perhaps a slice of melon, for about $3.50 will do? Never fear, most food is very affordable in Sapporo. Inexpensive coffee shops, pubs and bars are easily found, day or night. If you want something different, try Haskup, a local variety of edible honeysuckle, similar to blueberries. Ice cream fans, why not try squid, corn, beer or wine-flavored treats? Of course, they also have dozens of your favorite frozen flavors. Sapporo is dotted with superb parks. Bisecting the city east to west, Odori Park is a Mecca for locals and tourists alike. There are museums of every flavor, including sake and beer museums. Beer seems to be the second drink of choice in Japan, after sake. Try the Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden, or the Kirin Beer Garden. Indulge in the famous local barbecue lamb specialty called jingisukan (named for Genghis Khan); it goes great with beer. The Botanic Garden and Nakajima Park are gorgeous. Sapporo nightlife is eclectic. Walk through Susukino anytime of the evening and enjoy the lively crowds and dynamic street scene. Friendly touts (it is Japan) will entertain you, as will young men and women in outrageous attire. In February, snow and ice statues fill the city during the Sapporo Snow Festival. In May, the Lilac Festival abounds with flower shows, wine tastings and concerts. In June, the Yosakoi Soran Dance Festival showcases tens of thousands of dancers who impress the two million people who attend this festival annually. The Sapporo Summer Festival takes over the heart of the city in July. People enjoy beer gardens, fairs and the Pacific Music Festival, an international classical music festival founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1990. If that’s not enough, September brings the Sapporo Autumn Fest, which is similar to the Oktoberfest in Munich. Finally, from November through January Sapporo hosts the “White Illumination,” a celebration of Christmas and the “art of light.” Around Sapporo, high quality sightseeing is abundant: From the nearby Okurayama Jump Hill, one of the 1972 Olympics sites, to the port town of Otaru, the original gateway to Hokkaido. An hour and a half train ride to the onsen (spa) town of Noboribetsu and its spectacular geothermal “Hell Valley” landscape is well worth it. Further afield, you can view the laven-

der fields of Furano in June and July, and visit national parks and wilderness animal reserves in the far eastern and northern reaches of Hokkaido. Three hours south you can visit the cosmopolitan, historic port city of Hakodate. Sapporo = Singapore? Sapporo is a lot like Singapore, with the exception of the winter weather. It's is neat, clean, efficient and safe. Transportation is excellent, the food culture is diverse and fantastic, and people are friendly and helpful. Thankfully, Sapporo is generally cheaper than Singapore in most respects. A reasonable hotel costs $100+

USD. An inexpensive meal is $10-20; a really good meal is $3040; but of course, you can splurge anytime! To help plan your trip, try Fodor’s Japan Travel Guide and these websites: http://www.japan-guide.com and www.welcome. city.sapporo.jp/english. Photos by Jim Tietjen Jim Tietjen is an avid sportsman, amateur adventurer and photographer. He enjoys tennis, golf, diving, flying, trekking and all travel, and also has a passion for international relations, watercolor paintings, carpets and wine. Most of all, he likes to help people achieve their goals.


Singapore American • October 2014

The Japanese Princess By Lucía Damacela

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hether traveling or staying put, there are situations where we find people that challenge our stereotypes, our traditions or that simply stir our interest or curiosity. These encounters could happen in the most ‘normal,’ non-descriptive or unexpected locations. That happened to me on a recent family trip to Japan. Our first night in Kyoto, we were exploring the hotel surroundings and arrived at the Takase river area, with its quaint streets full of lanterns and weeping willows inclined towards the water. We passed by a sleek Italian restaurant in a modernized old building, glass walls overlooking the river. Through the windows we saw tables filled with adults of different generations and kids of all ages. As we all love Italian food, we went in. The restaurant was full, and we were asked to wait. Next to us, first in the queue, was an elegantly dressed Japanese woman wearing a tiara. She seemed to be in her late fifties; hair styled in a bob, nails and face perfectly made up. It was obvious that she had taken care of every detail of her appearance. Her Chanel-style pink suit and expensive jewellery were, by themselves, making her stand out among the casually dressed restaurant crowd. But the silver and diamond tiara displayed over her head really set her apart. I immediately thought, If I ever consider wearing a tiara, I’d go with one like this, understated but large enough for everybody to notice it. I sat next to the woman, waiting for our call. She smiled at me and spoke in Japanese. I told her in English that I didn’t speak the language; she replied in Japanese, and then was called to her table. She was dining alone; I was surprised. We were called soon thereafter, and seated a couple of tables away from her. Once installed, my attention was absorbed by the appealing food and by our family’s conversation about the temples we were visiting. When we were leaving, a waiter was bringing her dessert: a piece of chocolate and strawberry cake with a lit candle to go with her ample smile and the champagne already on her table. I left the place moved, and wishing we had been able to communicate. I have retrospectively thought about why I felt that way. It is certainly not unusual for people to dine alone, particularly in Japan. It is not unheard of that people ‘overdress’ when going out; I have been guilty of that. It could also happen to anybody having to spend his or her birthday alone due to any number of circumstances. But the combination of all these elements in this single event made, to my eyes, a powerful narrative about this woman’s life. I instantaneously felt sympathy because I perceived her through the lenses of previous information I had about the country. For example, cuteness and youth are extremely attractive female traits within Japanese culture; I saw the pink attire and the tiara as an aspiration to embody those traits. I saw her dining alone on her birthday as an example of the growing isolation and loneliness experienced by many in Japan, where the number of older people living alone continues to increase. When reflecting on this encounter, I soon realized that my feelings of sympathy towards the woman in the tiara were misguided. She was ostensibly prosperous; perhaps successful in her own right, and she looked great. Not ready to be portrayed as a melancholic character in a Murakami novel, she was poised and cheerful, and seemingly enjoying the occasion. Against the backdrop of the gloomy isolation demographics, she was asserting herself, as if saying, Today is my birthday and I am celebrating it publicly, even if I am alone; and, by the way, I feel like a princess. So, more power to her! Whether her being alone was her choice for the moment, or a more permanent situation, her way of expressing it was uplifting and unforgettable, just like beautiful Kyoto. Photos by Lucía Damacela Lucía Damacela moved to Singapore with her family in 2013. A social psychologist and researcher by training, she started foraying into creative writing and recently contributed a short story to the book, Rojak—Stories from the Singapore Writers Group.

19 TRAVEL


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Singapore American • October 2014

TRAVEL

The Idiosyncrasy of an Avid Cruiser By Joy Christine Greedy

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nlike plane travel, which is designed to get you from A to B in the shortest time possible, cruising is a very hedonistic pursuit. Flying is probably the closest thing to time travel you can get: one moment you’re boarding the plane in Singapore, the next after a good meal, glass of wine and a snooze, you find yourself landing in a new time zone. Cruising is completely the opposite. The days drift lazily by because frankly they don’t really matter, and you find yourself asking your fellow passengers, “What day is it today? Any idea?” Cruising has reinvented the romance of travel: picture yourself stopping off at exotic ports of call and multiple destinations with not a care in the world. Forget the horrors of transfers, unpacking and repacking, or hauling your luggage up narrow walkways before tackling dizzying stairs to your room. Instead, on-board you wake up in a new destination each day, and then say a fond farewell with sunset cocktails, canapés and dancing on deck. You can tour the ports of call at your own pace, or if you feel more comfortable, join the organized tours. Most seasoned cruisers tour independently but I know many travellers who are first on the buses at every new port of call. “All inclusive” simply means not a worry in the world. At dinner, the biggest decision to make is which wine you would prefer. On my first cruise, I was a bit inexperienced and felt I didn’t want to join large tables of people I didn’t know, preferring instead an intimate table for two, but that was a mistake I soon rectified. Having joined larger tables, I found amongst my traveling companions a warm camaraderie and love of cruising. It’s amazing

the variety of people you meet, from all parts of the globe and all walks of life…this is the stuff good novels are based on, not to mention long lasting friendship and further shared cruises together. I prefer smaller ships, much more intimate and more choices in how you enjoy the on-board facilities. Something interesting I noted, that when you first board and attend the compulsory safety drill, I see people that I never see again on the cruise until the day we disembark. I made this remark to my butler; the ship has an interesting culture amongst its guests. Some guests never leave their suites preferring instead to dine on their veranda each evening, and rarely take shore leave. I also discovered there are the early risers, up at six for sunrise and breakfast and walking the decks, long before the sleepyheads amongst us have even hit the shower. The joiners, who get involved in all on-board activities, are always the first to organize a rubber of bridge, or team for trivial pursuit, shuffle board or table tennis. Then there are the serial joggers who pound the upper deck checking their pedometers and the

eager guys who are like schoolboys rounding up a team for pool volleyball. On luxury cruise lines, you will find a glorious creature aptly named, Gentleman Host. The Gentleman Host is always a wonderful dancer and delightful dinner companion, as any ladies traveling alone will soon discover. He’ll organize tables in the cocktail lounge before dinner, dancing afterwards, and is always a willing companion at the nightly entertainment. The Gentleman Host’s table is easily identified as it’s the one with the most laughter and joviality. If you and your traveling companion enjoy different activities, you’ll both be accommodated. Wives who prefer a show are happy to see their husbands go off to the casino, especially if he wins, as the casino is conveniently located next to the jewellery boutique. Many travellers take time to indulge in new wine and food experiences, and make the most of morning and afternoon tea as well as the wine and cheese tastings. Some travellers thoroughly enjoy pampering themselves with treatments at the spa. The crew also quickly becomes your best friends. Ready with smiles and warm greetings, they remember every guest’s name and preferred drink. The butlers and chamber maids are only too happy to take care of any little eccentricities related to your room or in-room dining preferences, taking time to stock your bar fridge with your favorite wine or champagne. If only the real world could be like this! Of course, as in the real world, you will always meet those that nothing will please, but they just prove more of a challenge than most. There

is no travel snobbery on-board, most passengers you meet are there for one reason and that is to sail away, and make the most of every moment of the voyage. So don’t shut yourself off from meeting and enjoying the company of others, it’s one of the true joys of luxury cruising. Bon voyage…

Destination Elite was founded on a simple principle–bring the best of luxury travel and lifestyle to the discerning traveller across the world. The site was created exclusively for those seeking out luxury experiences, hotels, resorts, merchandise and cruises with a difference, hotels, cruises and resorts that are inspirational, hotels, cruises and resorts that redefine what an enlightening experience should be–in short they will provide memories that last far beyond the trip home. DestinationElite provides assured and professional Silversea cruise travel, reservations, services and great savings. Contact admin@DestinationElite.com and also become a Friend of Elite. See http://www.destinationelite.com/subscribe


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The Charm of Inle Lake By Laura Schwartz

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quick flight north from Yangon and a long, winding drive through the mountains of Myanmar lead you to the gorgeous expanse of Inle Lake. The calm, blue waters offer a bracing contrast to the red earth and the dusty green landscape surrounding it. Located in the Nyaung Shwe Township of Shan State, it is the second largest lake in Myanmar. We stayed at the scenic Hupin Hotel, in rustic rooms that stood on stilts in the lake that hosts a flotilla of emerald-green water plants. From our balconies we watched boats return to the hotel through the pagoda-style gateway, a fence made of sticks that separated our cove from the open water. Since we had arrived in the afternoon and had scheduled a full day of touring the lake for the following day, we opted to borrow bicycles from the hotel and explore by land. Cycling along the quiet road in the dappled shadows of trees had the thrill of a childhood adventure. We exchanged waves with the schoolchildren, bound for home in their green longyi. Occasionally we swerved around traffic—a truck carrying twenty people, a ramshackle tractor or two, men on motorcycles, and women encumbered with hefty bundles of sticks. Small paths led from the main road to simple pagodas and to the tightknit communities of local villages.

Before we knew it, the afternoon had flown by and we had to hurry back to catch the sunset. We decided to scale a hill next to the resort for a better view. At the top, we came across the home of a Buddhist monk. Clad in traditional orange robes, he happily pointed us to the western side of his pagoda-style living quarters and asked us about our homelands. Friendly, well-fed dogs romped around the grounds, pestering us to play as we soaked in the sunset over Inle Lake. At night, the secluded Nyaung Shwe Township slept under a brilliant blanket of stars. The next morning, we hired a long, thin boat and its operator, and by 8:30am were whizzing across the vast blue lake in the bright sunshine. Affiliated with the hotel, the boat was well equipped with cushioned chairs, umbrellas, water and blankets for all types of weather. After some time, we arrived at the Ywama inlet for the morning market, and our boatman expertly maneuvered us through a traffic jam so thick you could barely see the water. Our boat rubbed past the brightly painted tourist boats, but on the other side of the inlet I could see the local villagers’ unadorned canoes beached on the reedy shoreline. At the edge of the market, stalls were piled high with souvenir items such as Buddha statues, gemstones, marionettes, and the like, which may or may not have been authentic. The further in we wandered, the more we saw the stalls for locals on their daily errands. Women with thanaka (a creamy paste with cosmetic and sun protection purposes) painted on their cheeks sat cross-legged on elevated mats behind small mountains of tomatoes, eggs, and leafy greens. Wide baskets brimmed with peanuts and beans; tables

overflowed with flip flops and t-shirts, and piles of watermelons. Vendors fried bread-like snacks and served tea. A few tailors sat at their pedal-powered sewing machines under a loose patchwork ceiling of colored tarps. In one corner, barbers laughed with their customers. At the market’s edge, a row of men sat behind woven mats laden with fish big and small, all shimmering in the morning sun. Some were still gasping for air. After escaping the bustling clog of boats, we continued our tour by water. We zipped past villages built entirely on stilts that either stood in the water or on the verdant riverbanks. Floating mats of vegetation, anchored in place with bamboo poles, sported ripe tomato plants. Residents waved from their canoes, the bamboo walkways and simple bridges that arched over the canals. Since nearly all the

homes and public buildings were perched on piles driven into the lakebed, these villages had no town squares. Instead, the Intha gathered in pagoda complexes and monasteries like Nga Phe Kyaung (nicknamed the Jumping Cat Monastery for its cats trained to jump through hoops). Unsurprisingly, these peaceful community centers receive most of their guests by water. Approaching by boat every time, we spent the afternoon paying visits to a silk weaving shop, a metal smith, a silversmith, and a parasol workshop: all exquisite industries for which the people of Inle Lake are known. Intha’s rich and fascinating culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism and by their aqueous environment. They are water people through and through. They’re on boats as often as not; their cuisine is centered on fish. Every storklike house has canoes leashed to the porches, from which the Intha simply reach down to the water’s surface to wash their clothes or themselves. The entire drama of their lives is played out on this lake. But the most notable aspect of the Intha, and of the Burmese people in general, is their genuine affability. A warm smile and a friendly wave greeted us wherever we went on land or water. On our return to the hotel, as our boat coasted through the sunset, we passed a young woman sitting cross-legged at the bow of her boat and she tossed me a flower. I grinned in thanks and she waved goodbye before effortlessly sailing off across the surface of her home. Photos by Laura Shwartz When Laura Schwartz is not traveling around the region or devouring a new book, she juggles her 9-to-5 as an Admissions and Career Consultant with freelance writing. You can read her articles, travel anecdotes and series of tips on how to be a better tourist at: www.thecircuition.com.


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Discovering St Lucia By Derren Joseph

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feel blessed to have lived on and visited many beautiful islands. Some of my favorite islands are in the Caribbean, and if I were doing a top ten list, the island of St Lucia in the eastern Caribbean would definitely be on that list. My most recent visit to St Lucia was related to work but I have been there on holiday many times. The island is gorgeous and there are some amazing properties to choose from. My favorite is probably the Cotton Bay Village. Aside from great luxury accommodations, many things make St Lucia special to me. St Lucia is a volcanic island, which means that there are no white or pink sand beaches like you would find on the other

coral-limestone islands like Barbados or St Martin. Yet brown and darker color beaches are still very picturesque. One of the more popular stretches is Reduit Beach in the northwest, close to Rodney Bay which has more than a mile of golden sand. It is a bit busy at times, especially given the number of nearby hotels, but it is a beach that attracts locals and visitors alike. Other fun beaches are Anse des Pitons and Anse Chastanet. Anse Chastenet, in particular, is one of the best dark-sand beaches I have ever seen. Relatively quiet compared to the other beaches, it has great snorkeling. I also love the St Lucian culture. As you can tell from the place’s name, although it is a former British colony, there is a rich French heritage born from the era when the island was run from Paris. Most locals are bilingual: they speak both English and a French “creole” dialect. Like many of the neighboring islands, St Lucia has interesting festivals throughout the year. My two favorites are probably carnival and the St Lucia Jazz festival, an open air week-long music festival that has attracted names like Wyclef Jean, Rihanna and Luther Vandross. The year we attended, Wyclef Jean was the headline act and, as always, he did not disappoint. Since St Lucia is a volcanic island, the interior is mountainous and for those of us who enjoy hiking and exploring, there is much to see and do. Being bored is simply not an option. We visited the Sulphur Springs within the caldera (landscape formed after a volcano explodes and the land around it collapses) of the dormant Qualibou volcano which is still geothermally active. Living in Singapore, the Caribbean is certainly not the nearest archipelago, but it is worth putting on your bucket list. It is quite close to the United States, so there are lots of American visitors, especially during summer and Christmas holidays. Otherwise it is a practical springboard for those looking to visit neighboring islands by air or ferry.

Photos by Megan McGough Derren Joseph moved to Singapore in October 2013 and is the General Manager of American Expat Tax Services. He has published in Singapore Business Review, the International Business Structuring Association, Compliance Art and the Guardian, among others.


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Continued from front page - Central India: World Heritage Gems and More by breathtakingly beautiful sculptures, and stunning assortments of divine and secular images. Gods and goddesses, animals of all hues, amorous couples, and celestial surasundaris jostled with each other on every stone surface, exuding energy and radiating warmth. Each temple was a complex jewel; Khajuraho’s legendary spiritual and erotic sculptures rank among finest temple art in the world.

Finally, we were at Sanchi, one of India’s most extraordinary archaeological complexes. Forgotten for about 600 years, it was rediscovered in 1818 and subjected to looting and destruction by treasure hunters and amateur archaeologists before being restored to its present condition. Sanchi is renowned for its instantly recognizable, great domed stupa and four exceptionally carved gateways narrating Jataka or past-life stories of the Buddha’s life. Interestingly, the Buddha himself is not depicted as a human figure, only represented symbolically—by his footprints, departing horse, or empty seat under the Bodhi tree. Originally built of brick over the Buddha’s relics by Emperor Ashoka in 3rd c BCE, Sanchi’s main stupa was encased in stone by later patrons. This Great Stupa, the construction of which was supervised by Ashoka’s wife, Devi, a Vidisha merchant’s daughter, is the oldest stone structure in India; it certainly merits a visit, especially for its magnificent gateways. At the site’s Archaeological Museum, we gazed at the broken lion capital from the Chunar sandstone Ashoka Pillar stump by the Great Stupa, and several other fascinating Buddhist images. Staying at the humble government hotel close to the site proved convenient to

go back for a hot lunch and return to linger at Sanchi’s astonishing ruins till sunset. From Sanchi, we drove northeast—often on awful roads with stops at some of probably countless gorgeous relics of a glorious past; ancient temples and other structures dotted fields along the way. Orchha was a charming detour en route to our final destination, Khajuraho. A walled capital of Bundela rajas, its medieval Mughal-influenced palaces, Rajput Hindu temples, and superb royal chhatris or cenotaphs were immensely pleasing. Finally, we arrived in the sacred town of Khajuraho, worldfamous for its outstanding 10th-11th c Hindu temples built by the Chandella Dynasty, said to be descendants of the Moon God, Chandra. Over three days we explored different clusters of Khajuraho’s world heritage temples—once there were 85, of which 25 have miraculously survived. Almost all are constructed of finegrained sandstone in varying shades of beige, gold, honey, and rose, forming a magical impression with their awesome architecture, ornate carvings, and profusion of lifelike sculptures. Despite unrelenting rain we visited lesser-known Hindu temples and appreciated the pretty Jain Temples for their fine structures and some of the site’s famous images of

surasundaris or divine beauties. At night, we attended the closing show of Khajuraho’s acclaimed International Dance Festival and were mesmerized by the delightful and superlative Kuchipudi solo, Odissi duet, and contemporary Kathak group performances by internationally known Indian dancers. The next day, as a change from built heritage, we drove to nearby Panna National Park and lunched at a river lodge. A conservation talk and nature walk was a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of MP’s many wildlife parks. It was the festival of Mahashivratri or “Great Night of Shiva,” so in the evening we watched the annual re-enactment of divine couple Shiva and Parvati’s wedding procession and ceremony. At last, in perfect weather we visited the most significant Western Group of temples, situated in a green, fenced compound. From the oldest Lakshmana Temple dedicated to Vishnu, with its dazzling array of sculptures, including celebrated erotic imagery; on to the grandest and largest Kandariya Mahadev, to Shiva, with the finest statues and soaring shikhara spires; then to Chitragupta, the only temple dedicated to Sun God Surya; and the Vishvanath, also to Shiva—we were blown away by matchless proportions and unique architectural details,

It was a memorable tour in all respects. Everywhere in MP there is history, plenty to see and a lot remains unexcavated and unknown. Traveling with brilliant, fellow enthusiasts magnified this journey’s joy. As much as experiencing great heritage sites, driving through pleasant countryside, past green fields

and bucolic villages and feeling close to the land and its friendly people—all this I will cherish. Photos by Abha Dayal Kaul Abha Dayal Kaul enjoys traveling to heritage sites and discovering hidden gems. When she can, she is happy to write and talk about her travels, and also take others along.


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Social Media when You Travel:

Don't be a Gloater! Tell Us a Story By David Fox

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ou’re burned out at work or bored at home. For relief, you turn to that magical, procrastination wonderland: Facebook. You’re seeking momentary distraction from your daily drudge. Instead, you discover that some evil jerk, who until two minutes ago was your friend (and I mean your real friend, not just a “Facebook friend”) has posted something horribly insensitive. As you lament your daily monotony, they have uploaded a photograph of their beachview balcony in the Maldives. Or news of their day in Ubud: “About to go for my third massage of the day. LOL!” Or most heinous of all, a photograph of their lunch: “OMG!!! The spaghetti carbonara in Florence is TO DIE FOR!!!!” “Fine,” you grumble as you gaze out at your landscape of oversized to-do lists. You didn’t log on to Facebook to read that your friends’ lives are cooler than yours. Fast forward a couple of months: Finally, it’s time for your vacation. You’ve just landed in Phuket, checked into your resort and sprinted to the beach where you are now sipping a rainbow-hued beverage with a pineapple garnish and a paper umbrella. “Life is good,” you say to your companion. “Let’s take pictures of our cocktails. Our Instagram followers will be thrilled!”

The Envy Trap A study last year in Germany reported that society’s collective social media addiction is causing depression in a variety of ways, one of which is that it increases envy. People share their most interesting and unusual moments, not the hours upon hours they spend fulfilling the same mundane tasks we all have to fulfill. This fools us into thinking their lives are more exciting than ours. When we travel, our lives are packed with interesting and unusual moments. We’re excited about those moments. We want to share them but we don’t want to irritate or depress our friends. So should we stop Facebooking, tweeting, pinning and Instagramming when we’re having big adventures? No! When done right, sharing those moments on social media is great. It’s when we fall into self-indulgent gloating that people start hoping we’ll choke on our spaghetti carbonara. When I teach travel writing, I explain to my students there’s an important difference between writing a personal travel diary and writing travel tales for others to read. It’s fine and fun to squeal gratuitously to ourselves in our private pages. When we write for publication, however, we must offer our readers something more substantial than, “Look at me! Look where I am!”

Sharing on social media is similar. If it’s for others to read, we should make it interesting for them. You’ve just visited Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon? Cool! Tell us on Facebook—but don’t just tell us you went there. Give us an anecdote. Teach us what you learned. Describe how it felt to circle the pagoda amid swirls of pilgrims and neighborhood Buddhists, as prayers crackled from loudspeakers and incense sweetened the air. A snapshot of a market vendor? Give us a short blurb to go with the photo. Who is she? What’s her life like? How did you feel as you took her picture? Did you make an effort to connect with her before you poked your smartphone in her direction? And your delicious meal sounds nice and all, but can you offer us a nibble of trivia about the food’s history, how it’s made, or why it’s popular where you are? If you don’t know, ask your waiter. Get inquisitive and you’ll have deeper cultural connections. (And unless your food was something extraordinary, I’d rather see where you ate than what you ate. Seriously, I don’t care what your pad thai looks like.) That potent, fruity beverage you’re slurping as sea foam tickles your toes? Those of us who are bored at home would appreciate the recipe. We might want to mix our own after work.

We collect stories when we travel that transcend our daily grind. Social media help us share those stories. But there’s a fine line between interesting info and self-absorbed dribble. So when you post your travels on social media, remember: Nobody like a gloater. Instead, teach us something. Share a story. Bring us into your experience and help us understand it. Don’t just tell us how cool your life is. Tell us something that will make our lives cooler, too.

Dave Fox is a Singapore-based travel writer and writing coach. You can learn about his workshops at Globejotting. com/classes.


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The Wonders of Margaret River By Anne Morgan

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uperb wines, good coffee, delicious local produce, jaw dropping coastline. All of this is abundant in the Margaret River region. It is also surprisingly accessible: although you need a car, traveling distances between points of interest is short so much can be achieved in a three or four or five day break. The plane ride to Perth is less than five hours, and with the airport being so compact, hiring and picking up a car is a stressfree experience. Once you are mobile, it is merely a matter of taking the Kwinana Freeway/Highway 1 route out of Perth and the city quickly slips away and you are immersed in wonderful countryside. After about three hours easy driving, you reach the town of Margaret River and in or around here is a great place to base yourself. It is worth booking your accommodation well in advance as availability is limited at peak times. Also, do note that Wi-Fi is not widely available. The fastest Wi-Fi we found was at Morries restaurant in town. Margaret River has everything you need including a well-stocked grocery store, tourist information, independent boutiques and lots of good eateries. You also can stock up on ready-made gourmet food and nibbles to enjoy with some of the wine purchased at one of the vineyards nearby. Ah yes, it’s all about the wine!

The Mediterranean climate produces some of the best wines in Australia and the region is peppered with vineyards. All are very welcoming and immensely passionate about wine. The bigger estates such as Leeuwin, Vasse Felix and Voyager have high-end restaurants attached but do book ahead as they are very popular. Don’t miss out on the boutique vineyards. Gralyn Estate was offering 20 percent off all purchases if you produced the Sunday bulletin of the local Catholic church. Many of the wineries have beautiful gardens and you should take some time to wander around them. You also can arrange to be picked up and dropped off so you don’t need to worry about driving. As well as hanging out at cellar doors there is a wonderful variety of other things to do. Here are some favorites: Lake Cave is one of four spectacular caves in the region. It is a subterranean wonderland and the guides bring its remarkable story to life. Cape Leeuwin lighthouse is Australia’s tallest lighthouse; you are rewarded for the climb with the unforgettable sight of two great oceans, the Indian and Southern meeting in a clash of awesome power right below the lighthouse. The beaches are beautiful. Wander over to enjoy the sunset, and swim and surf in summer. Margaret River town is not

on the coast, but it is not far from the beaches of Gracetown, Dunsborough and Yallingup as well as others. Running, hiking, biking. There is no excuse for not working off the excesses of all the good food and wine. There are plenty of off road tracks and you also can join local running groups for the evening or check to see if there are any local races occurring when you are visiting. Dropping in on some great coffee shops. They really take the art of coffee making seriously! Farmers Market at Margaret River on Saturday morning. Good for artisan breads and local produce. Ellensbrook Homestead—a little off the beaten track but if you are interested in learning about how the early pioneers lived then this is a fascinating excursion. Birds and wildlife. The beautiful wildflowers attract an array of birds and one of the highlights of the day was to sit on the deck with binoculars trying to identify them. Kangaroos abound in this region and you never tire of the sight of them.

Photos by Anne Morgan and JimTietjen Anne Morgan is the Business Development Manager at Career Resources Center for Expats (CRCE) at AAS.

Vacations—No Wings Required!

Free Travel Apps

By Angel Corrigan

By Valerie Tietjen Some of us travel weekly for business while many of us plan trips for leisure as time permits. Twenty of our frequent-flyer friends share their favorite smartphone Apps:

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f you have a couple of vacation days coming and are tired of airports, consider travel that doesn’t require flying. There are many places where you can go from Singapore that are just a short drive or ferry ride away; taking yourself into a different environment, leaving the hustle and bustle behind and allowing yourself to relax. Ferry First, let your fingers do the searching. Get on some of the local travel sites and search for the islands of Bintan, Batam, Rawa, Batu Batu, Nikoi, Telunas and Tioman. There is a huge range of accommodations from which to choose. One star to five star resorts: you set the budget. You will find the perfect place for family fun or adult relaxation with a quick Internet search. These resorts frequently offer pick up at your house in Singapore or at the ferry terminal and voila, no jetlag. Drive Just across the causeway there are golf and horse riding resorts, an outlet mall and

Legoland to explore as well. Further up the road Malacca is a well-preserved bit of history and certainly worth a weekend of exploration. Cruise Cruise ships leave from Harbourfront. Go for three days or two weeks stepping off at exotic ports along the way. These vacations come with all the food, fun and childcare you desire. Staycation Singapore has many beautiful hotels and resorts to choose from. If you just don’t have the oomph to get off the island, then take a taxi ride to one of these on-island palaces and get a drink by the pool or a massage in the hotel spa to knock the rough edges off. Photo by Montigo Resorts Nongsa Angel Corrigan has lived around the world as a military spouse. In 1999, she arrived in Singapore with her family and has worked at the US Embassy and in the fundraising and development field as MD of her own company.

Airbnb

Skyscanner

An alternative to hotels worldwide. Rent unique, private accommodations from local hosts in 190 countries.

Find the best flight deals from Singapore or any other city by clicking to agency and airline sites.

Booking.com

TripAdvisor

Booking.com is very popular due to its good hotel deals. Also offers instant confirmation and free cancellation on most rooms up to a week before your arrival date.

Expedia

A popular source of unbiased holiday reviews, photos and travel advice for hotels and vacations with interactive travel forums.

XE Currency converter

The world’s biggest online travel agency helps you find the best travel deals.

A useful tool to calculate live currency and foreign exchange rate.

Navfree

Zuji

Download free GPS navigation onto your Apple or android devices and you can use the voice guided navigation app when you are on the go. Offline maps and street views.

This Asia Pacific online travel portal partners with hotels and airlines to give travellers a good value.


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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Update on Immunization for Tropical Travel By Dr. Paul E. Zakowich

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n Singapore, the hygiene standards are high and there is strict surveillance of infectious diseases. However, when traveling to other destinations within Asia, conditions may be less than optimal. Therefore, following immunizations for travellers is advisable, in addition to the routine childhood vaccines. Ideally, vaccinations should be given four to six weeks before your trip. Influenza Annual influenza vaccination is advisable for all persons six months and older. In particular, the CDC of the USA strongly recommends the following individuals to be vaccinated: pregnant women, children aged six months through four years, health care workers, patients in nursing homes and other long-term facilities, and those who are over fifty or have chronic medical conditions. Typhoid Vaccination is recommended for those working or traveling to underdeveloped regions. Yellow Fever This vaccination is required for travel to certain sub-Saharan African and tropical South American countries. The vaccination is given as a single dose at registered vaccination centers, which will issue a certificate of vaccination. The vaccination and certificate are good for ten years. Hepatitis B Hepatitis B is usually given as part of the

is recommended for those planning to spend a lot of time outdoors in highly endemic areas. Children in particular should be vaccination as they tend to play with animals and often do not report a bite.

childhood vaccinations schedule. However, many older adults were never vaccinated. Vaccination for these adults is recommended if they plan to live in Asia for an extended period. Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is contracted by contaminated food and water. Inadequately cooked cockles and other shellfish are a frequent source of infection. The vaccine is recommended for travel to underdeveloped areas where food hygiene is poor, particularly outside the usual tourist routes. Japanese B Encephalitis Japanese B encephalitis is a mosquito borne disease that occurs primarily in rural Asia (especially near pig farms or rice growing areas). This vaccine is only recommended for select travelers to Asia, such as those spending a month or longer in highly endemic areas during transmission season. Meningococcal In addition to adolescent and college immunization recommendations, tourists are encouraged to receive this vaccination when traveling to areas where epidemics are occurring (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa from December through June). Vaccination is required for travelers to Saudi Arabia during the Haj.

Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Vaccines against dengue fever are being developed, but are not commercially available. Tetanus and Diphtheria Whether traveling or not, everyone should receive a primary series of immunizations against tetanus and diphtheria and a tetanusdiphtheria booster injection every 10 years. Cholera CDC does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travellers, because the available vaccines offer incomplete protection for a relatively short period of time. Rabies Rabies is transmitted by the bite of rabid mammals such as bats, monkeys, raccoons, skunks, dogs or cats. Vaccination against rabies

Other Precautions In addition to vaccinations, preventative health measures should be practiced. These include avoiding raw or inadequately cooked food, and drinking only boiled or bottled beverages. Putting ice into drinks should be avoided, since freezing does not kill bacterial or virus. Care should also be taken to minimize exposure to mosquitoes and other insects that can transmit diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria, yellow fever. Anti-malaria prophylaxis medication may be necessary if traveling to highly endemic areas. Ideally, vaccinations should be given four-to-six weeks before your trip. The above recommendations for immunizations are meant as general guidelines. It is best to consult with your doctor prior to your trip. For more information please visit, www.aiclinic.com.sg.

Dr. Paul E. Zakowich, MD (USA) FACP (USA) is an American-trained specialist, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and in private practice at the American International Clinic. He is the author of two books: Culture Shock! A Traveler's Medical Guide and Culture Shock! Travel Safe.


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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Tips on Dental Care when Traveling By Dr. Daniel Goh

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lanning a trip or a vacation? What do you do if you need emergency dental care while you are away from home and your trusted dentist?

Before Traveling Avoid major dental treatment before traveling. It is prudent to postpone, if possible, major dental work like a crown or a root canal before a trip. If you are already in the middle of such a treatment, ask your dentist for tips on how to keep things stable and perhaps even a referral to a dentist in the area you are traveling to. Enquire about dental care in the area that you intend to travel. If you are planning a trip to a remote island where medical and dental care is inaccessible or even non-existent, you may want

to see your dentist before the trip to make sure your teeth are in tip-top condition before leaving. During Traveling Chipped a tooth or lost a filling? Don't worry, not all is lost! It is important to try and keep the exposed area covered if you are unable to get access to a suitable dental clinic. Most drug stores or pharmacies stock materials that can act as temporary fillings. If all else fails, sugar-free gum can also act as an option. Dislodged a crown? Try to make an appointment to see a reliable dentist in the area you are traveling to. If you cannot get access to a proper dental clinic, see if you can fit the crown back onto the tooth in its proper orientation. Should you be able to do this, clean the crown out as best as you can and apply a temporary dental cement paste that you can easily purchase from most drug stores. If you are unsure of the orientation or if it feels very unstable, it would be best to leave the crown out and avoid biting on that side of your mouth. Make an appointment to see your dentist once you return home or travel to an area where you can get better dental care. Gum swelling? If your experience pain with gum swelling that persists, you may be having a more serious dental emergency situation. It is a good idea to get a referral from the hotel front desk or concierge to see a reliable dentist as soon as possible. Good oral hygiene habits, brushing and flossing are essentials to making sure your dental emergencies are kept

to a minimum during your trip. If you are already receiving specialized gum treatment, be sure to bring along the special toothbrushes or inter-dental brushes your dentist would have prescribed for you. Most hotels and accommodation facilities usually only provide very basic toothbrushes which may be too hard for you. The last thing you want is to unravel all the good work your dentist has done for you with the wrong type of toothbrush. Post Travel If you have started some major dental work like root canal therapy and crowns, be sure to go back and see your dentist for the appropriate follow-up visits to finish your treatment. For people who have encountered dental emergency during their trip, do make an appointment as soon as possible to replace that lost filling, treat that gum infection and swelling, or recement that dislodged crown. If you and your family have just moved to a new country and will be based there for a period of time, get a referral to a reliable dental clinic to carry on your routine checks and treatment. Most countries would have a Dental Board, a Ministry of Health, and a local Dental Association to help you find a dentist near you. Remember that prevention is always better than cure! Be sure to ask for your dental treatment records and x-rays if possible when you are leaving that country as this would enable your dentist back home to have a seamless record and timeline of what was done for you and when the treatment was performed. Have a good trip!

Dr. Daniel Goh is a general practice dentist at TP Dental Surgeons Pte Ltd; www.tpdental.com.sg. He is a member of the Aesthetic Dentistry Society, Singapore, the College of General Dental Practitioners and the Singapore Dental Association.


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Singapore American • October 2014

FOOD & DINING

The Joys of Foodie Travel By Nithia Devan

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ravellers preoccupied with food have been called many things—foodies, gourmands, culinary travellers, and oenophiles (for the wine lovers). The World Food Travel Association defines “food travel” as “the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near.” For me, no matter where I travel, food is a critical factor. Yes, I am a foodie traveller. So, this means that when I’m on a trip, I am willing to spend extra time seeking out local specialties and unique ingredients. I want to eat (and drink) what’s local as it’s the quick way to learn about the country you are visiting. More importantly, I want to eat at humble street stalls or local, family-run restaurants. Street food—food prepared in a mobile kitchen or at roadside stalls—only costs a few dollars. It’s often a delicious and affordable way to get to know how locals eat. Just try a bowl of pho in Hanoi or laksa in Penang. If you venture outside of tourist areas and sample

a few popular local establishments, you’ll find that there more affordable. Michelin starred gourmet restaurants are not for me. Instead, give me a small gem of place, tucked away in a cul-de-sac, where there is no menu and you eat whatever the chef has decided to cook that day. My quest for new culinary experiences when I travel is closely linked to my love of cooking. If I try a new foreign dish that I like, I immediately start planning how to make it for friends and family back home. So, eating in restaurants is one aspect of a great holiday but so is visiting food fairs and festivals and farmer’s markets. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Truffle Fair in Alba, Italy, in the fall, as well as the Salon del Gusto in Turin. The sights and sounds from such fairs will be something I will always remember. Visits to wineries are a must, as are visits to artisanal producers. In the past, I have signed up for cookery classes. One of the best experiences I have had was taking a tour through a local market in Florence with a chef and then returning to her premises to cook a meal with produce we had purchased. It’s heartening to see that more travel agencies are offering specialized food tours and it’s easy enough to organize a do-it-yourself food tour that follows a gourmet trail. The internet is full of truly mouth-watering foodie bucket lists, from cheese tastings in Bordeaux, classes in how to cook lobster and oysters in Nova Scotia or pilgrimages to Copenhagen for a revolutionary food experience at Rene Redzepi’s Noma.

zip lock bags (to prevent spills), bubble wrap (to protect bottles and jars), strong tape (to bundle everything together) and a penknife. Of course, you will need to pack these items in your suitcase and check it in. But it’s worth it. Imagine being able to recreate a wonderful holiday memory when you get home simply by taking a few mouthfuls from a precious consignment you managed to successfully transport back.

There are also great rustic learning experiences on offer for those who want to delve deeper into how food is produced. For example, drop in at Corleggy Farmhouse, on the River Erne in County Cavan to Ireland, learn how local cheesemakers turn raw milk from local herds of goats, cows and sheep into award-winning cheeses. You could even bring back the cheese as a souvenir! Which brings me to my next point: the essential kit for foodie travellers. I find that a chiller bag is essential; especially if you want to transport the above-mentioned cheeses! Also,

Simply put, food is the great common denominator among all countries, cultures, and races. Nothing breaks cultural barriers like shared smiles over a great meal, just as nothing connects people like cooking together.

Nithia Devan is a freelance marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor.


32

Singapore American • October 2014

FOOD & DRINK

Varanasi—Dining on the Path to Nirvana By Kevin F. Cox

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y friend Jatender said, “One mustn’t make Varanasi their first food walk in India; you have to work up to it,” He wasn’t kidding. A principal city of the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with over 3.6 million people, Varanasi—also called Benares—is chaotic and crowded, with a high disparity of those who have and have not. But there’s something special about this former home to Lord Shiva (considered by Hindus to be the oldest city in the world). There’s an energy—electricity in the air—that sets its inhabitants on a common rhythm. And what drives that rhythm? Ganga. Holy Waters The River Ganges is the lifeblood of all things in this holiest city in India. Along her muddy shores can be seen the entire spectrum of human existence, from birth to death and everything in between. Most Hindus dream of standing in her tide at least once in their lives. To bathe in her waters, pay homage to their ancestors and gods, and offer flowers and bowls of burning ghee to her current. The Ganges in Varanasi is the most coveted posthumous path to Nirvana—the fast pass to Moksha. But I have come to Old Varanasi not for salvation but more earthly desires: to eat. Gorging in the Galis Dining along the Ganges is not for the feint of heart—or constitution. Down narrow, congested galis (narrow alleys) are hundreds of eateries—little more than holes in the wall, benches or makeshift thelas (pushcarts). Along every gali, cauldrons of oil bubble and iron griddles sizzle with colorful chaat, a loose definition of snacks. Most of the cuisine in Old Varanasi is vegetarian. Vegetables are fried, boiled, grilled or shredded alongside fried dough, panni purri, flat breads and desserts. And my plan is to devour every Benarasi dish available. We start deep within a maze of tiny dirt-street walkways, with chai tea and katchori—fried flattened dough stuffed with potato, dal and spices— served in leaf bowls, along with spicy chickpea ghugni and potato curry. Along Vishwanath Gali, we are pushed by masses of hungry pilgrims, stopping to try anything that looks tasty or strange. The choices are endless at makeshift storefronts with men sitting cross-legged on elevated tables cooking food amidst clots of people clamoring for food. The shops are so narrow that no one can enter past the cooks so we stand and eat in the dirt alley as pilgrims—and the occasional scared cow—surge past us. We bark orders with the crowd at vendors for servings of potato tiki, spicy fried tomatoes, sautéed spinach leaves and numerous variations of kachori. Tiny, unnamed joints sell aloo-palak pakoras with hot and sweet chutneys. Elsewhere, we invade a table cramped with a group of women from Southern India and share a vast selection of panipuri—small crisp balls, hollow and filled with a scoop of greenish

mint water from a bucket or stuffed with mashed vegetables and doused in yogurt and sour tamarind. Nearby we drink thandai, and approve when the hawker adds bhang—a leaf much like marijuana that grows everywhere—to give it a pleasant, intoxicating kick. We continue late into the night, gorging on paapri-chaat garnished with coriander, ghee and yoghurt. We eat pakora fritters; potato and pea samosas; and countless other chaat doused with tamarind chutneys and air-warmed yoghurts. We chew fragrant Benarasi paan—a folded leaf with aromatics and areca-nut—and learn to spit while chewing. Sweet Endings An old man sells us kulfi falood— an eggless ice cream—topped with cellophane noodles of rose syrup and saffron, slippery and blazing yellow, and wash it down with chai. Masala-flavored kanji, thick like chowder, complements endless sweets: crispy jelebis, dayglow orange and dripping with syrup; honey-soaked barfi made from milk solids; rabri like dense cheesecake; coconut and pistachio chumchum; and chickpea laddus, like sweet balls of dough. The feasting goes on and by the wee morning hours I’m full beyond comfort and concerned with digestive repercussions from such unfiltered eating. But thankfully they never appear. Like everything about India, the food of Varanasi challenges all your senses and makes you taste and smell and feel things you’ve never before encountered. Some of it you love; others—not so much. But whatever you feel, the same word sums up foodwalking in Varanasi: Incredible.

Photos by Kevin F. Cox Kevin F. Cox is a food and travel writer for numerous publications and online sites in the region. After five years in Singapore, he now resides in the United States and is the founder of Foodwalkers, a culinary exploration network found at http://foodwalkers.com.

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33

Singapore American • October 2014

SPORTS

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Charity Golf By Jim Tietjen

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hanksgiving is coming, and so is the Stamford American AmCham Thanksgiving Charity Golf Tournament 2014. Held the day before Thanksgiving at Raffles Country Club, this will be AmCham’s 14th annual charity golf tournament. Put Wednesday, November 26, on your schedule and sign up for fun in the sun, a genuine Thanksgiving feast, camaraderie and fantastic lucky-draw prizes. The day begins with check-in at the scenic Raffles Country Club and a sumptuous breakfast for champions. You’ll be given a goodie bag filled with golf gear: a pair of Crocs, a Nike golf shirt and much more! Then it’s off to your respective tee boxes on the newly-turfed Lake Course. While you are chasing the little white ball around the links, snacks and beverages will be available. For a charity donation, you’ll have a chance to “buy the pro’s drive” on a par-three and a long-drive hole. As usual, there will be skill prizes for nearest to the pin and line. If you are really lucky and score a hole in one, you may win two Delta round-trip business class tickets to New York, a SunCat 23 solarpowered yacht, or a Breitling watch! For the best team and runners up (net scores), there will be special prizes. So practice up if you would like to compete! The golf format will be the Singapore Scramble format. You will use your team’s best ball for each shot, which gives each foursome four chances per hole to get it right! How easy is that? Once the game is over, it’s time for the indoor fun to begin. Prior to lunch, you will

have an opportunity to network and enjoy a drink. As the sun passes its zenith, we’ll feast on turkey, ham, stuffing, yams and cranberry sauce. Drinks will flow freely, as will golf stories and other tall tales. Beware, though, you had better listen up! Our gregarious emcee will be handing out fabulous lucky draw prizes fast and furious. You must be present to win! There are too many prizes to list, but here are a few: two chances for round-trip air tickets to the United States; seven exotic hotel stays across Southeast Asia; six different luxury hotel stays in Singapore; electronic gear; and vouchers galore for food, golf, dinners, spa treatments and even leadership and language training courses! All proceeds will go to the Yellow Ribbon Fund (http://www.yellowribbon.org.sg). For the past two years, this tournament has sold out months ahead of time, so please sign up now to avoid disappointment. It’s for a very good cause and you will have lots of fun. If you cannot play golf but would still like to donate to our adopted charity, please contact us. Your generosity will be acknowledged during our lunch. If you are not golfers, you are most welcome to join us for our Thanksgiving feast anyway, at a reasonable price. We’d love to have nongolfers join! You can donate, too, if you like! Registration is ongoing. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, please contact Courtney at cyoung@amcham.org.sg or Zach at zlio@amcham.org.sg. See you on the links!

Photos by Jim Tietjen Jim Tietjen is an avid sportsman, amateur adventurer and photographer. He enjoys tennis, golf, diving, flying, trekking and all travel, and also has a passion for international relations, watercolor paintings, carpets and wine. Most of all, he likes to help people achieve their goals.


34

Singapore American • October 2014

SPORTS

An Asian Golf Legend Breaks New Ground Asian Tour Head Kyi Hla Han Gives his Secrets to Success By Glenn van Zutphen

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yi Hla Han knows something about golf in Asia. The Burmese-born, former professional golfer had a very successful career for 24 years and is now the Asian Tour Executive Chairman. Having turned professional at the age of 19 in 1980 and then played on the Asian Tour from its debut season in 1995 until 2004, he has seen Asian golf develop. His father was a Burmese diplomat who moved the family to Bethesda, Maryland, Manila and Jakarta. His father and brothers played golf and Kyi Hla (say: CHEE-lah) started playing at around six years-old. More recently, Kyi Hla is given credit for overseeing the Asian Tour’s rapid growth. One of the most notable things about him is that he’s usually smiling and laughing. During a recent conversation at the American Club, he spoke about his time as a professional player, how casual golfers can play better and an exciting new golf course project that he’s designing in Dalat, Vietnam and how he hopes it will change the face of professional golf in Asia. He and wife Marlene have lived in Singapore for a decade, taking citizenship here, four years ago. SAN: Did you always want to be a professional golfer? KHH: As a kid, I always thought about being a professional. In those days golf wasn’t that big, but my dad was a fan of Jack Nicklaus. By nine or ten I was playing and winning a lot of junior tournaments in Manila. By sixteen we were back in (then) Rangoon and I was a Burmese National team player for the South East Asia Amateurs. In those days, the government liked that I was representing the country so I got a passport to play outside the country. I decided to go pro while playing at the 1980 World Cup of Golf in Bogotá Columbia, while representing Burma. It was my final year in university and I was mesmerized by the likes of Johnny Miller and Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle. I turned pro on the spot! SAN: What was the Asian Tour like in the early days? KKH: In the early days, golf was really small; the tour was ten or twelve weeks long. The competition was very good, but the travel was strenuous with six days on and one day off. All the players would stick together; we’d ride the same airplane, 100-150 of us, throwing pillows, frustrating the pilots and stewardesses. We were all young guys playing for the love of the game. You’d arrive at the airport and all these guys are getting their luggage, putting it on the bus. It was actually a lot of fun, traveling on the same busses and staying the same places, talking, playing cards, drinking beer, there was no internet or mobile phones; we made more and deeper friendships. Now it’s a business with more TV exposure, more money and everything is done on a more professional level. SAN: What was your most memorable round? KKH: The most fun I had in my 24-year golfing career was playing with Tiger Woods in 2000 during the first two rounds of the Johnny Walker Classic, near Bangkok. I was highly-ranked on the Asian Tour and tried to match him shot-for-shot. I was trained to take the pressure, but lost by a lot, though it was an amazing experience! As athletes we train to do that in those moments when your hands are sweaty and your heart is beating. That’s basically why I retired seven years ago: there was no more pressure to prove anything and I figured that since I couldn’t beat Tiger or play on the PGA tour, there was nothing else (laughs)!

SAN: What did you learn from other pros? KKH: The discipline of top players. I remember the great F1 driver Nigel Mansell during the 80s and 90s, who loved to play. At the South Australia Open in Adelaide, the F1 was nearby. He played the Pro-Am with us and told us afterward that ‘golf required more concentration than race car driving.’ We all laughed at that! But he actually said he admired us and our concentration. That’s one reason he loved golf, because he felt that it helped his car driving because of the intensity of the concentration. If you look at the top golf players, concentration is the key to their success.

want to do in Asia, starting at The Dalat at 1200: create a place where our players can come and train at the best facility with no hassle or headaches. In return, we hope that the Asian Tour brand will help make it prestigious. SAN: How will the golfing experience at Dalat be different? KKH: The cool, dry climate is so different from anywhere else in Asia and very comfortable to play. This allows us to have bentgrass greens, like those used on the PGA and European

SAN: What’s your philosophy? KKH: Golfers have a great philosophy: do your job and the money will take care of itself. As a professional golfer, you’re taught to slow down and be patient. When preparing for a golf tournament, do everything very slowly, like eating, brushing our teeth or hair. When you’re in a high moment of concentration, everything slows down; the more pressure, the slower it should get. I see a lot of my friends try to play a round in the afternoon while trying to do business on the phone. I tell them ‘shut your phone off while you’re playing.’ There’s no way you can play with that distraction. You never see anyone on the PGA tour with a phone in their hand; they’re at work and their phone is in the locker room. SAN: What’s the best way for the occasional golfer to sharpen their game? KKH: Practice! Go hit a hundred balls in your spare time, several days before your round. Also, chip and putt a lot. I don’t see people in Asia pay enough attention to their short game and yet they always complain about their scoring; if you look at the pros, they spend a huge amount of time around the green. SAN: You’re doing a lot in business now? KKH: As the chairman of the Asian Tour, we seek to set up professional golf tournaments all over Asia; I’m really proud of that. Having been a professional player and now transitioning into the business side, I really cherish the experience. Now I’m also getting into golf course design. I was a big fan of Jack Nicklaus, then he got into golf course design and I’ve wanted to get into it since my 20s. I’m working on a course right now in Vietnam, called The Dalat at 1200. The first thing I saw there was the fantastic cool, dry weather in the highlands part of the country; it’s such a beautiful piece of land. SAN: Why this project? KKH: As an Asian Tour destination course, I’m designing The Dalat at 1200 to be challenging enough for the pro players and yet playable for the mid-to-high handicap golfer. When I was on the Tour in the US, the TPC (Tournament Players Club Network of golf courses operated by the PGA Tour) was all about the clubs giving back to the players. As a PGA Tour player there, you can practice and play at any TPC club. That’s what I

Tours. We’re making a great practice facility there, so Asian Tour players can practice on similar conditions to that of the US and Europe.

Kyi Hla Han Professional Wins • 1983 Malaysian PGA Championship • 1985 Malaysian PGA Championship • 1989 Thai PGA Championship • 1993 Hong Kong PGA Championship • 1994 Epson Singapore Open, Hong Kong PGA Championship • 1994 Johor Masters (Malaysia) • 1997 Rolex Masters (Singapore) • 1999 Volvo China Open (Asian Tour) • 2003 Nations Cup (with Aung Win) Team Appearances World Cup (representing Myanmar): 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 AAS President Glenn van Zutphen’ s consultancy, VanMedia Group, works with multinational companies and media to train effective speakers and journalists. This is part of his “Full-Time Life” series of interviews with interesting people.


Singapore American • October 2014

calendar

of

events

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

MUSEUMS 1 October – 2 November Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Story Tree Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place 10am-7pm www.acm.org.sg 1 October – 30 November Stories of Wood by the Migrant Ecologies Project NUS Museum University Cultural Centre 50 Kent Ridge Crescent www.nus.edu.sg/museum 1 October – 14 December CHINA MANIA! The Global Passion for Porcelain, 800-1900 Asian Civilisations Museum 1 Empress Place 10am-7pm www.acm.org.sg 1 October – 31 December My Mailbox @ SPM Singapore Philatelic Museum 23-B Coleman Street 9:30am-7pm www.spm.org.sg

ENTERTAINMENT 1 – 30 October International A Capella Festival TAS @ AAC 28 Aliwal Street #03-03 www.a-cappella.org.sg 9 – 19 October dans Festival 2014 The Esplanade www.dansfestival.com/2014 22 October Un Viaje Musical - A Musical Journey With Pianist Martin Söderberg (Spain) UCC Theatre www.cfa.nus.edu.sg 24 – 26 October The Merry Widow Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com.sg 27 & 28 October The Poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Poetry Performance Screening Room, The Arts House 1 Old Parliament Lane www.theartshouse.com.sg

LIFESTYLE 3 – 6 October Massive Clearance Sale @ Hedger’s Carpet Gallery 15 Dempsey Road #01-09 hedgerscarpets@singnet.com.sg 3 October – 30 November 4th Singapore International Photography Festival 2014 Various locations www.sipf.sg 14 & 15 October Autumn Fair Raffles Town Club, Dunearn Ballroom 10am-7:30pm (Tuesday), 10am-5pm (Wednesday) www.theexpatfairs.com 18 October A Magic Carpet Auction by Hedger’s Carpet Gallery The American Club, Colonial Room Viewing: 5:30-7:30pm Auction: 7:30pm www.amclub.org.sg

EDUCATION From 1 October UWCSEA Applications for Admission to UWCSEA in 2015 now open Dover or East Campus www.uwcsea.edu.sg admissions@uwcsea.edu.sg 2 October Open House Canadian International School Tanjong Katong Campus 371 Tanjong Katong Road 9am www.cis.edu.sg 8 October & 7 November Open House Stamford American International School 279 Upper Serangoon Road 9am www.sais.edu.sg 30 October Open House Canadian International School Lakeside Campus 7 Jurong West Street 41 9am www.cis.edu.sg

SPORTS

11 November Piano Seven 7 Pianos with Percussion and String Trio Victoria Concert Hall www.sistic.com.sg

17 – 26 October BNP Paribas WTA Championships Singapore Sports Hub 15 Stadium Rd www.wtachampionships.com

11 November The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Featuring Maestro Zubin Mehta Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands www.marinabaysands.com

8 & 9 November Sin City Invitationals A Regional CrossFit Community Event F1 Paddock sincityinvitationals.com

13 – 16 November Shakespeare’s Globe – A Midsummer’s Night Dream Esplanade Theatre www.sistic.com.sg

9 November Great Eastern Women's Run 2014 The Float@Marina Bay Marina Bay Floatship www.greateasternwomensrun.com

17 November Bill Bailey Limboland - Live in Singapore University Cultural Centre, NUS www.sistic.com.sg www.marinabaysands.com

MEMBER DISCOUNTS AAS Member Discounts AAS members enjoy discounts at a range of local businesses. Present your AAS membership card at time of purchase. Please see a full list of discounts at www.aasingapore.com/member-discounts.

2 hours free handyman service worth over $200 when you book your move with Allied Pickfords. Call 6862 4700.

Receive a complimentary round trip transportation to and from Changi Airport when you book a package tour with Country Holidays. Call 6334 6120.

Receive complimentary insurance consultations with an experienced insurance advisor. Visitors can choose to receive free, no-obligation quotes on Home, Medical, Life, Travel, Motor and Business Insurance. Get a six-month free membership to Expat Living magazine. Redeem: www.expatliving.sg/aas

Receive a 10% discount on all purchases over $100 at both Marina Bay Link Mall and Rochester Park locations.

If you spend over $800 at their Dempsey Store, receive a hand-woven Indian Kelim flat-weave rug (5’6”x3’6”) worth $150 absolutely free (while stocks last). Call 6462 0028. Receive a 10% discount on a one-year membership.


Singapore American • October 2014