19th August 2019 by Melinda Murphy 4 Min ReadTony Robbins, perhaps the best-known motivational speaker in the world, is coming to Singapore! Tired of settling? Want to redirect your career? Get the spark back in your love life? Transform your mindset? Get buff or just plain healthy? This is your chance. The best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist is bringing his powerful four-day seminar, “Unleash the Power Within”, to Singapore from 6 to 9 September. More than just a talkI’ll admit it. Even though I’m a pretty happy soul, I’ve always had a hankering to go to one of Tony’s seminars. And who wouldn’t? The likes of Hugh Jackman, Usher, Oprah and 50 million others rave about his results.So, what can you expect at “Unleash the Power Within?” Well, there’ll be the trademark fire-walking on Day One (if you can conquer the fear to walk on fire, what other fears can you conquer?), but the program is much more than that. Also on the bill are pumped-up music, wild lights, big pyrotechnics and dance-like-nobody’s-watching moments to rival any concert at F1. As Tony says, “Motion is emotion.” The master story-teller will also recount riveting anecdotes to a crowd of folks from all walks of life that’s likely to include stay-at-home moms, CEOs, celebrities and more. These seminars are foot-stomping, head-bopping fun… and they’re also brutal.Why brutal? Because his cornerstone is that the number one thing holding people back in their lives is fear. That’s why he leads audiences to figure out what they’re afraid of, to face those fears and move past them by using psychological tricks and following step-by-step instructions. If you do go along, it will mean being brutally honest with yourself. This can be tough, but it’s also ultimately very empowering.Knowing yourselfThe real key is that Tony’s blueprint for change doesn’t try to change who you are. On the contrary, the whole idea behind his teachings is for you to figure out who you really are, not who you’ve been conditioned to be. Once you figure that out, being yourself is easy. You can then be free to find your passion, live your purpose and ignite that fire within you.Gosh, wouldn’t that be great? To really know yourself and to be all that you can be in life? Sounds divine. So, why have I never gone? Well, for starters, I was never in the same town as a seminar at a convenient time. Plus, the four-day seminar is a wee bit pricey. But I was just telling my friend Mark all about the seminar and he said, quite matter-of-factly, “For a future of happiness, how can you not spend the money?” That Mark is a smart fella.So, how does this master of pep talks change your life in four days anyway? Well, first off, he’ll help you change your mindset.#1 Think of your goal as a “must”Too often, people set goals and think of them as pipe dreams. Stop thinking of your goal as optional and realise that, in order to be happy, you need that goal to be a reality.#2 Stop making excusesLife as an adult has far too many my-dog-ate-my-homework conditions. “I can’t do that because of…” What’s your reason? Kids? Job? Marriage? We all have reasons why we can’t reach our goal. But the truth is that the only thing stopping you is fear. Tony teaches you to move beyond the fear and excuses.#3 Learn moving forward isn’t always easyAnything worth achieving has growing pains. Setting realistic goals is the key and understanding the steps you need to take to grow is your blueprint.#4 Let go of pain in your pastEverybody has had pain in their past. Learning to let go of that pain is the key to moving forward. He helps you realise that by living in the past, you’ll never fulfil your future. And the best thing is that he gives you tools to let go. He can possibly help you accomplish in four days what years of therapy has not.#5 Understand there will be setbacksLife isn’t easy. There will be big bumps along the way – and that’s okay. This program helps prepare you so that hard times don’t derail your entire path.With all this under your belt, Tony Robbins will also teach you some specific steps to take to reach your goals, such as how to target those to ask for help and how to be specific in your requests.Basically? The program gives you the tools to make your life what you want it to be, what it should be. Four days now for a future of fulfilment? That’s a pretty good trade in my book.See the show:If you’re ready to scream Tony’s trademark “Yes!” then click here to sign up.Special price offer available until 23 August!For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.History: The story behind Dempsey HillChurches and other places of worship in SingaporeOur go-to tailors
16th August 2019 by Anthia Chng 3 Min ReadSpacious indoor and outdoor areas, check. Delicious brunch fare, check. Family-friendly features, check. Cafe Melba’s two locations – Mediapolis and Goodman Arts Centre – are popular amongst families, friends and couples for all the right reasons! Here are a few things we love about the restaurant. The bouncy castle is a hit amongst the little ones#1 Kid-friendly featuresOn Mondays, kids dine free with every main dish (above $22) purchased. On top of that, the little ones can look forward to a bouncy castle that goes up from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays and 9am to 8pm on weekends, if weather permits.Psst… Get a Kid’s Club Card and collect a loyalty stamp on every visit (with the purchase of a kid’s meal). Accumulate 15 stamps and your young one officially becomes a member of the Kids Gold Club, which entitles them to fab perks like a free meal on every visit! Buy one, get one!#2 One-for-one pizzasEvery Wednesday from 3pm onwards, nine-inch pizzas are one-for-one at Cafe Melba at Goodman Arts Centre. Grab your friends and tuck into classic combinations ($22) such as four-cheese, tandoori chicken and pepperoni, or premium options ($29) like parma ham and rocket, and the locally-inspired chilli crab.#3 Delicious all-day brunchOn offer is a diverse selection of modern Australasian brunch dishes, including the popular caraway marbled rye bread and avocado ($18): poached eggs, tomatoes, salad, fresh avo slices and, the star of the show, house-made rye toast. The variety of options is impressive; there’s definitely something for even the pickiest eater! You’ll also find vege-friendly dishes like halloumi and portobello burger ($24) and full Melba vegetarian breakfast ($25). Photo credit: Senica Photos (senicaphotos.com)#4 Perfect for partiesHosting a birthday party, planning a casual wedding affair or organising an office get-together? Both venues are super spacious with indoor and outdoor seating options. Cafe Melba at Mediapolis is a 150-seater boasting high ceilings and wooden furniture for a homey touch. Weddings have been held at the large alfresco dining area that looks out to a vast outdoor garden; it’s the perfect backdrop for breezy evening soirées! Over at the Goodman outlet, the café sits up to 170 people indoors and 100 more at the outdoor patio.Café Melba at Goodman90 Goodman RoadBlock N #01-56, Goodman Arts Centre6440 6068 Café Melba at Mediapolis#03-01, 1 Stars Avenue6352 2721 | cafemelba.com.sgLiked this? Check out more stories on our Wine & Dine section!3 reasons to plan a party at Café Melba MediapolisNew Nibbles: Where to dine this month
16th August 2019 by Anthia Chng 3 Min ReadInternational beauty trends don’t always translate well in humid weather. Heavy makeup – whether in the form of a smoky eye look, a well-contoured visage or rosied cheeks – rarely lasts a day in the Singapore heat. And aesthetic procedures can be difficult in this climate too. If you’ve tried any form of laser treatment, you’ll know that avoiding the sun for as long as possible afterwards is a requirement. Speaking from experience, running around Singapore under an umbrella while donning a big hat and sunglasses is no fun!A solutionUltherapy addresses years of sun exposure, working from the inside out to lift and tighten skin without downtime or any need to avoid the sun afterwards. And, it’s got the stamp of approval from numerous celebs including A-listers Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox. It’s a non-invasive facelift that treats sagging skin without surgery and it’s also able to target hard-to-treat areas such as the neck, under the chin and above the brow. Jennifer Aniston swears by Ultherapy!The technologyUltherapy uses FDA-approved ultrasound technology, which is applied to your skin using a probe controlled by your aesthetician. The energy pulses through to the deepest layers of the skin (up to 4.5mm in depth), stimulates the growth of fresh new collagen and strengthens weak stores. Your doctor can see everything happening on screen using ultrasound imaging, so they know precisely where to focus on. Why we like itSince there’s no need to dodge the sun after a session, and anti-ageing effects can be achieved without the use of pore-clogging creams, Ultherapy is great for Singapore’s humid tropical weather. Dr Tommy Ng of Trinity Medical has seen a five-fold increase in the demand for the treatment in the last two years. “Ultherapy has been FDA-approved since I started offering aesthetic procedures more than a decade ago. However, its popularity only surged when celebrities started talking about it,” he says. He explains that many of his patients are already aware of Ultherapy’s ability to work from the inside out to lift and tighten, thus creating younger looking skin. It works by bypassing the surface of the skin, delivering ultrasound to the layer that’s typically addressed in a surgical facelift. However, for Dr Ng’s patients, they’re also pleasantly surprised by the low aftercare maintenance and lack of downtime. “With the nearly zero downtime required, my patients often return straight to work after their treatment.”Ultherapy is fast becoming a favourite for many of Dr Tommy Ng’s patients. That’s particularly the case with those looking for an effective anti-ageing solution, plus results that can last three to five years. Sessions cost from $2,388 for a full face and upper neck.Written in collaboration with:Dr Tommy Ng Trinity Medical Centre87 Marine Parade Central #01-503440087 (beside Parkway Parade)sgtrinityaesthetics.com | 6344 0027Liked this? Check out more stories on our Hair & Beauty page! Latest beauty treatments and productsBest hair salons, reviewed!
Whether you are looking to learn a new sport from scratch or hone your skills after eons of not doing anything, being in front of a heap of other people while you’re doing it just isn’t appealing! Here’s a platform where you can find some of Singapore’s best private instructors in tennis, martial arts, yoga and fitness for personal training or small group lessons.Bespoke trainingThis is the whole idea behind bespoke training platform Befit121. It’s a service that makes some of the best instructors in Singapore accessible to anyone looking to exercise or learn a new sport in a more personal setting.“Befit121 keeps the social membership approach but conducts classes in private or small groups with a maximum of four participants to keep the focus on individual attention and proper techniques,” says Founder/Director Christo Wiese. He handpicks top trainers across multiple sports to create a high-end bespoke training experience for tennis, yoga, martial arts, strength conditioning and more.“After 15 years living in three different continents working alongside competitive coaches and a broad spectrum of clients ranging from business executives to kids, I decided to create a platform where some of the best trainers can come together and serve the growing fitness community here in Singapore,” says Christo. Here’s how it worksFirst, purchase a Befit121 credit package (there are various packages available) via bank transfer or PayNow. Then, use your credits to book the trainers of your choice. There are over 48 certified instructors to choose from. Each is worth a certain number of credits (starting from 90 credits per session), and the site lists bios, certifications and other details for every private instructor.Credits do not expire and are refundable if you need to relocate from Singapore. In addition, the credits are even transferable, which makes it simple for different family members to enjoy personalised training sessions at the location of their choice – whether it be at a gym near your office or in the comfort of your own home, a tennis court at your condo or a friend’s backyard.Expat Living readers who sign up for packages will get a $40 credit each month for 12 months. Simply use the promo code “121EXPATLIVING” at registration!Hear from Befit121 trainers:Vitor SilvaCertified tennis coach Vitor got his start as a professional player representing Portugal in several European championships. Now, he’s dedicated to training not only high-level competition players but also adults and kids looking to improve their tennis skills.“Some individuals approach their tennis problems by knowing that some strokes are not as good as others. They try to fix it by watching videos of professionals. However, that doesn’t work because every player has their own style. By taking private or group lessons, the coach can give very specific instructions tailored to each individual student’s style.” Vitor with a clientBronwen AppelA certified coach at Level gym in the CBD, Bronwen specialises in weight management, rehab, Pilates, swimming, and strength and conditioning. After experiencing fatigue and mood swings while working in the corporate world in her early 20s, Bronwen decided to trade her desk job for one that incorporates physical activity. Guiding clients through their individual fitness journeys is her true passion, she says.“Everything done during a session is methodically prepared for and tracked. Monthly and quarterly tests allow us to quantifiably see results and guide clients in the right direction. This is probably the most beneficial aspect of bespoke personal training – educating a client instead of mindlessly guiding them through reps and sets.“As a coach, it is important to stay current. There are new theories, articles and (dare I say it) social media posts that arise providing clients with countless information. So, staying current encourages me as a coach to help educate those around me and to increase my personal skills.“However, there is more to being a coach than tracking physical changes. Mental changes happen too and my goal is to combine the two for a more sustainable future with longevity.” BronwenPedro CorreiaPedro became a top national tennis player in Portugal at just 12 years old, winning the National Teams Championships. He says he loves teaching not just adults but also kids who are beginners and kids who play competitively. And, personalised lessons, he says, is the best way to perfect your skills.“If you want do something well, you should have lessons, especially in such a technical, demanding sport such as tennis. In a private lesson, the time is for you exclusively, so you learn faster. In a small group lesson, you can learn and socialise at the same time, which is why many adults and young kids love group tennis lessons.”Alex BettsA personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder, Alex has a bachelor degree in sports and exercise science. He serves as president of the Singapore Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (SFBF), and loves helping clients improve their health. To be at the top of his game, he says he’s always on the lookout for new ways to learn and expand knowledge and deliver it to his clients.“I enjoy being a coach as I am able to bring out the best in my clients in many different ways. I help them build the physical foundations of health and wellness, which is directly linked to their mental and emotional wellbeing.”He adds, “Many people lack direction, accountability and structure. This is where regular, well-planned-out training sessions become extremely valuable. And, of course, they produce excellent results and help to build rituals and life-long habits.” AlexHear from Befit121 clients:Victoria Cheng, media personalityAmerican expat Victoria wanted to work on her tennis skills for agility, coordination, and to get a fun workout. She began working with a private instructor through Befit121 once a week and has loved the experience.“I’ve tried a number of tennis instructors throughout my life, and I appreciate the actual skills these coaches have as tennis players; and the quality of the lessons,” she says. “In addition to the attention to detail on technical aspects, I enjoy the variety from lesson to lesson. One can be more focused on agility and stamina, while another can be purely technical. Or sometimes, we can just rally!”“The ability to work with different Befit121 trainers but all at the same skill level means you can have more classes and fit your training sessions even into the busiest of travel schedules.” VictoriaWelby Tidor, Executive Creative Director of Creations at Cirque de Soleil“A core part of my work is about inspiring others to do their best work, and cultivating a strong core is critical to practicing leadership. I practice tennis for the love of the sport, the values of leadership it instils, and for learning to enjoy playing under pressure. These are precious values from which any executives can benefit. When I put my fast pace life against the frenetic rhythm of life in Singapore, the benefit of fostering a strong, physical weekly training practice is limitless.I travel around the world, and everywhere I go, I’ve developed the ritual of finding a tennis class or fitness training to attend. Through the Befit121 platform, I’ve discovered top-notch coaching, a welcoming community passionate about tennis, fitness and positive values that are easily applicable beyond the playing and in the workplace.”So, if you prefer working out in a more private setting, there are loads of options for intimate group sessions that let you stay social while still getting that personalised attention you need to ensure proper form.To learn more, contact Christo at [email protected] or 8186 8299, or visit befit121.com.Like this? Read more in our Health & Fitness section.Marathons and running events: Are you ready?Physio, chiropractic, osteopathy and more
15th August 2019 by Expat Living 4 Min ReadAs the big race comes back to Singapore’s streets in September, it brings with it some of the world’s best musical acts and most revered performers. Everyone from pop goddess Gwen Stefani to American funk rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to feature during the F1 concerts this year. Catch the action at the Marina Bay Street Circuit from 20 to 22 September!Day 1 Highlights:International trio Swedish House Mafia return to our shores at the Padang Stage Zone 4 on 20 September, with a late evening set starting at 10.15pm. Join Axwell, Steve Angelo and Sebastian Ingrosso will bring their entertaining house music setup, playing global hits “Don’t You Worry Child”, “Save the World” and more. Also making an appearance on Day 1 are Jamaican reggae pioneers Toots and the Maytals at the Wharf Stage, Zone 1 (6.15pm). Don’t worry if you miss them; they’ll return on Day 3 (22 September) at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre Zone 4, at 7pm.For a bit of local representation, catch Singapore’s very own British-born R&B songstress Ffion at Zone 3 Uptown from 6pm. She has racked up over 1.8 million Spotify plays with her 2017 EP Bad Habits and earned a place in Apple Music’s “New Artist Spotlight” Playlist too.Don’t Miss Day 2:Pop icon Gwen Stefani – known best to some as a coach on The Voice but even better to many as a member of 90s sensation No Doubt – will get those hands in the air on 21 September, Day 2 of the F1 at Padang Stage Zone 4, starting at 8pm. Stefani’s has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and big hits such as “Spiderwebs”, “Don’t Speak” and “Hollaback Girl” are sure to feature. Also hitting centre stage on Day 2 is legendary English rock band Muse, at Padang Stage Zone 4 (10.15pm). With more than 20 million albums sold worldwide, you’re guaranteed to get your rock on as Matt Bellamy and crew belt out hits such as “Hysteria” and “Plug in Baby”. You’ll also want to catch the Lighthouse Family who will performing at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on 21 September. The British duo rose to fame with hit singles “Lifted” and “Ocean Drive”.Crafting banging beats since 1996, British DJ and producer Fatboy Sim will have you jumping along to his signature tunes including “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” and “Sunset (Bird of Prey)” at The Wharf Stage Zone 1, 7.30pm. You can also catch him on Day 3 (22 September) at the Padang Stage Zone 4 starting at 6pm.Indie-electronic band The Ramona Flowers have also recently been added to the lineup at this year’s F1 concerts. They’ll be taking on the Sunset Stage (Zone 1) on 21 September and the Downtown Stage (Zone 4) the next day. Extravagant Day 3:Day 3 of the F1 concerts will keep you on your feet, with American funk rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers bringing their instantly recognisable grooves to our shores at the Padang Stage Zone 4 at 10.30pm. Join one of the most successful rock bands of all time as lead singer Anthony Kiedis leads his troops through some of the genre’s best known tracks, from “Californication” to “Under the Bridge”.Classical music fans, we haven’t forgotten you! You can catch the renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer at the Wharf Stage Zone 1 (6pm), with plenty of movie nostalgia in store as Zimmer and his live symphony orchestra perform hit soundtracks from The Lion King, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and more. Back by popular demand, DJ Lizzy will be performing at Zone 4 Downtown at 9.15pm. The first female DJ to perform at 2017’s Ultra China electronic festival in Shanghai, Lizzy brings a unique approach to music and has achieved some chart success with “Kill the Vampire”. If you want to catch her at an earlier date, DJ Lizzy is playing the same venue at 9.15pm on Day 2 (21 September).Other Exciting ActsAmerican roots duo Larkin Poe will get the crowd moving when they play the evening slot on both Day 2 and 3. Also playing multiple nights is singer-songwriter NJWA from Malaysia, with tracks from her award-winning debut Innocent Soul sure to feature on Day 1 and 2. The only slight dampener on the big weekend is the news that American rapper Cardi B has cancelled her performance at this year’s race due to rescheduling of her September and October tour. Fans are hoping she can make her first trip to Singapore in the near future.Get your tickets!F1 concert tickets can be purchased on F1 Singapore’s official website, with single-day passes starting from $98 and three-day passes from $278. They can also be purchased through other authorised ticketing agencies and websites.By Pranav HarishLooking for more things to do in Singapore?Best parties and dining for F1 funLadies’ Night in Singapore
Plastic bags are a super convenient short-term solution that are used across many aspects of daily life, but what about their long-term effect on the planet?We’ve just had Plastic Free July, a global movement to encourage people around the world to stop using plastic. And it got us here at Expat Living thinking about our own use of plastic materials. So, we made a change when we were told the laminate of the front cover wasn’t bio-degradable. Now? The entire magazine is completely recyclable. And it feels good.How about you; what can you do to help? Well, you could start by refusing single-use plastic bags. Why? Because the world uses five trillion of them a year! That’s 160,000 for every second, or 700 a year for every single person on the planet. Truth be told, your own plastic bag usage may well be closer to double the 700, as there are plenty of people around the world who don’t use any at all. Wealthier countries tend to use more. Granted, those numbers aren’t exact. In fact, nobody seems to be able to really keep track of how many bags are being produced and used. But even the most conservative figures, those published by the Earth Policy Institute, suggest that two million bags are used per minute. Worse yet, according to environmental resource The World Counts, only one percent of these bags are recycled.Ouch. That’s bad. You know it’s bad. I mean, we can all list the things that are terrible about plastic bags: harm to animals, contamination of food supplies, global warming and so much more. You know all this. You must – the message is everywhere you turn.Places with bag bansThankfully, the world is finally listening. As of last July, 127 countries have banned or taxed bags, according to the United Nations. And it seems everybody is getting on the bandwagon; even an Al Qaeda-backed terrorist group reportedly banned plastic shopping bags last summer as “a serious threat to the wellbeing of humans and animals alike.” Wow. They’ll blow up people, but won’t use a plastic bag – seems a bit ironic.Bangladesh was the first country to completely ban bags – way back in 2002. But it is Africa, perhaps surprisingly, that has the most countries (34) adopting bag-related regulations, some of which are pretty tough, too. Kenya is particularly punitive: plastic bag manufacturers, importers, distributors and users face fines of up to US$38,000 or four years in jail.But do these bans work? Sometimes. Denmark was the first to pass a plastic bag tax, in 1993. Now? Each person living there uses just four bags a year. Some studies show that, while shopping bag use declines after legislation is passed, the sales of trash bags climbs. Kenya has even seen bag “cartels” pop up: people who smuggle in plastic bags from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania. Crazy, right? And, of course, the folks who make the plastic bags are doing all they can to fight these bans. After all, they’ve made a ton of money since this convenient product exploded on the scene post-World War II. Plastic bags are such a part of life now. It’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t until the 1970s that they gained popularity. Action at homeThe United States is the worst offender with only a few states banning or limiting use. Shockingly, Singapore, which is such a green nation, has no plastic bag regulations in place.The good news is that people here are starting to do something. For starters, there’s an organisation called Bring Your Own (Singapore). Its basic mission is to work with retailers to offer incentives to customers to bring their own reusable bags, bottles or containers. As of May 2019, it had 632 outlets from 82 brands participating.In July, Bring Your Own took things one step further by targeting a specific industry, launching the Bread Without Bags campaign. The idea was to encourage bakeries across Singapore to give incentives to their customers to bring their own bags. And it was successful, too. Well over 20 bakeries, including the likes of Maison Kayser and Keong Saik Bakery, as well as shopping centres such as Takashimaya and City Square Mall participated. (Want to get involved yourself? Check out byosingapore.com.)It’s a good start, but we can do more. Don’t wait for a law or a tax. Just take it upon yourself and do the right thing. Bring your own bags. Stop using plastic ones. Help save the planet. It’s that simple. Did you know?The amount of petroleum it takes to produce one plastic bag could drive a car eleven metres. A plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes.Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most found in coastal clean-ups.If we joined all the plastic bags in the world together, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.If just one person used recycled plastic bags over their lifetime, they would be removing 22,000 plastic bags from the environment.For more helpful tips, head to our Environment section.Our drowning planet10 wild animals you can spot in SingaporeWomen can use 9,600 tampons in a lifetime – here’s an alternative This article first appeared in the August 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!
Wondering where to live in Singapore, which neighbourhoods other expats are living in and what they love about them? Our Neighbourhood Guides – Street Talk as we like to call them in the mag – will help you decide. Here we chat to Irmelin Mathilde Røhn Amundsen about living in Spottiswoode Park Road.From: NorwayOccupation: Project Officer at the Royal Norwegian Embassy The SpecificsWhat’s the name of the street where you live? Spottiswoode Park Road.What does it mean? It takes its name from Charlie Spottiswoode (1812-1858), an English businessman who owned Spottiswoode & Co and lived in this vicinity.Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Spottiswoode Suites, across from Spottiswoode Residences, please.” Taxi drivers are usually very familiar with the area, but they understandably tend to get the Suites, Residences and 18 Spottiswoode mixed up. Everton Park is also a good reference.What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Outram; it’s perfectly wedged between Tanjong Pagar, Chinatown and Tiong Bahru. Closest MRT station? Outram MRT (East West Line and North East Line).How long have you lived here? Six months in this apartment and area. We’ve lived in Singapore for three and a half years, previously at Skyline Residences in Telok Blangah near Keppel Bay, which we also loved.Why here? We immediately fell for the large balcony and duplex layout of the unit. Additionally, it’s located just one to two blocks away from Keong Saik, Duxton Hill, Tras Street and a lot of other areas we love. Walking distance to work and F45 in the CBD is an added bonus! The SceneWhen you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Rows and rows of lovely, colourful shophouses.The closest store to your front door is: Kith Café, with good grub and amazing coffee.Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: Any Singapore heritage film.The unofficial uniform of your street is: Gym clothes, with a dog on a leash in one hand and a reusable coffee cup in the other.When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Explore the museums and temples in Chinatown. If you’re missing home, you: Barbecue fresh Norwegian seafood from Snorre Food on the balconyA mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: Satay Street behind Lau Pa Sat.A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That there is not a lot of greenery when living in a central location, when in fact there is a plethora of parks, palm trees and wildlife even in the middle of the city. A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: Karaoke bus pick-ups and drop-offs. (Occasionally ours…)The SuperlativesYour hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Garçons at Essen for funky food-court vibes, Wang Dae Bak for a Korean feast, Ottomani for a special occasion, Butcher Boy for bar bites and Neon Pigeon for an all-in evening. You won’t find better local food than at: Kok Sen Restaurant. We also love the Indian food at Indline next door, followed by drinks at Potato Head on the rooftop above. The strangest thing you’ve ever seen in your neighbourhood is: The crew of Crazy Rich Asians shooting a scene on Bukit Pasoh Road. We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: Casa Poncho for $5 draft beer and $10 cocktails any day of the week; truly a hidden gem for a fiesta. Also, Humpback on Monday night for happy hour oysters.The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: The Lokal’s fish and chips. One thing you’d never change is: The contrast between old and new architecture.But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The construction work, though it’s an understandable necessity for development.The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Make the pathways more easily accessible for everyone.Condo fact file Name: Spottiswoode SuitesSize: 175 unitsAge: New – around two and a half yearsFacilities: Pool, gym, tennis court, playground and spa For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.The expat’s guide on where to liveWhat’s it like living in Bugis?Guide to Ang Mo KioThis article first appeared in the August 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!
7th August 2019 by Lindsay Yap 4 Min ReadSingapore is currently commemorating the anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival here two hundred years ago, and the Singapore Cricket Club is celebrating the milestone with all kinds of bicentennial themed events for club members and the public alike. Here are some of the highlights, but first a bit of history…Blast from the pastSCC began as an elite sports and lifestyle club back in 1852, and has been witness to Singapore’s progress, triumphs and setbacks across the years. The conserved property is surrounded by prominent historic and modern buildings including Raffles Hotel, the National Gallery Singapore (the former City Hall and old Supreme Court, where the Japanese surrendered to the British in 1945), and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.The Padang has housed more than three clubhouse buildings; the first was built in the 1860s, the second in 1877, and the third pavilion, which forms the core of the present Clubhouse building, in 1884. It was extended in 1907, with the north and south wings added in 1922.Cricket was played on the Padang as early as 1837, just 18 years after Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore. Beyond that, the green space has hosted other sports such as football, soccer, rugby and hockey from the 1880s. Early yearsIn 1853, there were only 28 members of the club – mostly men working in the British business community as clerks and assistants. By the 1880s, numbers had grown to almost 400; having a membership at the SCC was seen as a mark of social status. While the member list rose as high as 878 by 1914, World War I affected the sporting scene in Singapore, with cricket suffering particularly badly. Then, when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, the club remained closed for the final years of World War II before reopening in 1945.Fast forward to 2019SCC and the Padang currently host a variety of field games, from cricket and hockey to tennis and netball. Games played include friendlies, inter-club matches, national leagues and international tournaments including the SCC International Hockey 6s and SCC International Rugby 7s. The club also utilises another field in Dempsey to accommodate its growing sporting calendar.In addition to playing sport, SCC members enjoy dining and social experiences; the Main Lounge is great for afternoon teas and after-work drinks at the long bar, Stumps is popular for live sports screenings, and The Oval & Verandah is known for local eats and pizza. And of course, The Padang Restaurant is a wonderful spot for a fine dining treat.A Bicentennial Bash – 11 to 26 October11 October: Wines from the Commonwealth Gourmet DinnerThe two weeks of celebrations kick off with an evening of wine appreciation at The Padang Restaurant, including delicious food by Chef Eric Teo. Tickets: $108 for members; $128 for guests18 October: The Peranakan FiestaOpen to club members, this feast will showcase Peranakan dishes whipped up by Chef Raymond Khoo at The Oval & Verandah, and cooked à la minute at live food stations. You’ll also have the chance to browse night street stalls at The Courtyard and wind down with entertainment by The Peranakan Voices and band at The Main Lounge.20 October: Family Day & Open HouseBig and little kids alike will enjoy this day out at SCC Clubhouse and the Padang. Look forward to family-friendly activities including pony rides, game stalls, bouncy castles and face painting, fuel up at the food bazaar, and bring your family heirlooms, jewellery and luxury items for evaluation at the antique roadshow by HotLotz. There’ll be an SCC family photo-taking session and a tour of the Clubhouse for those who are interested in the club.22 October: Ladies’ LuncheonEnjoy three superb courses and a cooking demonstration by UK celebrity chef Paul Askew at The Padang Restaurant at this special lunch. There’ll also be a hands-on session with gems and jewellery. Tickets: $78 for members; $98 for guests.23 October: SCC Comedy NightExpect loads of laughs at this stand-up comedy night featuring three local comedians at The Padang Restaurant. Entry comes with a yummy buffet dinner. Tickets: $98 for members; $108 for guests.25 October: SCC Heritage Charity BallHeld at the InterContinental Singapore, this gala dinner will feature a four-course dinner by chef Paul Askew. Running until late, the black-tie event will feature an auction, charity raffle and live music by party band 10 Seconds. Tickets: $295 for members; $325 for guests.26 October: Football CarnivalKids can take part in a football clinic with the Chelsea Football Club IDC at the Padang.Find out more and get your tickets at scc.org.sg/sccbicentennial.The Singapore Cricket Club is at Connaught Drive.6338 9271 | scc.org.sgFor more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.History: The story behind Dempsey HillChurches and other places of worship in SingaporeOur go-to tailorsThis article first appeared in the September 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!
Finding the right health insurance plan that meets you and your family’s needs and budget is challenging. Reading through policy details and clauses can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially when you’re unsure of what you need. Three years back, French expat GRÉGOIRE RASTOUL was in the same position, and it led he and his best bud Clément Bouthelier to start UEX Global. He tells us what we can expect from the health insurance platform.Give us a bit of background to the launch of UEX Global.My co-founder and best friend Clément and I both grew up in Singapore – our parents were expats here. After studying and beginning our careers in France, we came back to Singapore with our families; we found it difficult at that time to understand how to get the best health insurance coverage. UEX Global CEO Grégoire RastoulHaving worked in insurance brokerage for a long time, I’m aware that an insurance product is actually pretty simple, yet it can seem complicated to many people. It can be hard to understand what you’re covered for and what you pay for. It’s also easy to forget that insurance is meant to care for us and help us cover risks. Expats in Singapore are often used to public healthcare in their home countries and are not aware of the costs here. That’s why we founded UEX Global three years ago. We want expats in Singapore to understand their health insurance coverage and the financial risks they face if they don’t get sufficient cover.Why should people come to you?We strongly believe that health insurance should be personalised and catered to individual needs. UEX is not an insurance company but an online health insurance platform. On our platform, you’ll be able to do everything on your own, from the customisation of plans to subscription and payment. We built this tool to make procedures more efficient and convenient so we can focus on giving advice to our customers. Filling in forms takes time, whereas providing answers to customers’ questions and helping them understand how healthcare and insurance works in Singapore is able to benefit them. This is a way we bring value to our customers.We don’t just cover individuals but also companies, and we recently developed a new platform for SMEs. HR departments can personalise and manage employee coverage, choosing different plans depending on the profile and needs of the employee. They can also add and remove employees in just minutes directly on the platform.Our platform allows us to focus on our customers; we provide the necessary information and our advisors are able to answer specific questions from customers.Why is health insurance so important, especially for expats?Health is something we cannot play with. As a father, I’m concerned about what could happen to my son and I want the best for his health.Expats are typically used to the healthcare system back home and often don’t deal with private insurance. However, in Singapore, hospitalisation or a consultation with a paediatrician, for example, is expensive. We don’t have access to the public healthcare system, so it’s essential to cover ourselves and our families in order to avoid unnecessary or excessive costs.When choosing a health insurance plan, what are some key things to take note of?First of all, you should understand the coverage you need by analysing your habits, such as thinking about the risks you face during your daily life and hobbies. For example, do you need to cover just yourself or your family? Do you travel a lot? Will you need local or international coverage? Are you planning to have children in Singapore and, if so, have you thought about maternity coverage?It’s also important to be aware of healthcare costs in Singapore. The price of a birth, for instance, can start from $3,200 for a four-bedded room in a public hospital to more than $9,700 for a single room in a private hospital. That can double if there are complications. A simple surgery at a hospital, such as an appendix surgery, can go as high as $20,000. To me, it’s essential to understand the financial risks you could face so you know if you’re prepared to handle it, or if you need a cover. UEX offers information about these kind of costs so our customers can be well-informed.Finally, if your company provides health insurance coverage, read your policy details and check if it’s enough to cover your needs. Some employer health insurance plans cover only hospitalisations, while others only cover you but not your family. We have insurance advisors that can help customers understand their current coverage and if a top-up is needed.What coverage should a young family living in Singapore sign up for?At UEX, we believe that health insurance can’t be standardised. Each family and each family member has different needs. On our platform, you can personalise and cater your insurance coverage to the needs of every family member. For example, while a mother may choose international health insurance with maternity coverage, the father and children could get on a local plan. Our advisors will be able to help them choose a coverage that best suits their needs and pre-existing conditions.Anything else to look out for?We are growing and will be opening new offices elsewhere in Asia soon.We’re also always searching for more insurers to enhance our health insurance offerings and cater to customer needs. We’ve recently partnered with April Insurance, offering new options for maternity plans, inpatient-only cover and flexible international plans.UEX Global3158 3677 | uexglobal.comRead more in our Health and Fitness section.What life and health insurance do I need?Marathons & running events – are you ready?
A shophouse on Everton RoadI’m in a lucky position that I get to have a nose around lots of beautiful, unusual and interesting houses in Singapore. These have included some immaculately decorated shophouses. But PADDY and ROB’s home is, well, different.Who lives here: Patrick Dalton and Rob IoannouTime in Singapore: 12 years, including three in this houseSize and type of home: 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom, 3,000-square foot shophouseDécor style: Magically memorable museumAs I walk around the three-storey shophouse belonging to Paddy, an Aussie, and Rob, from Greece, I keep asking myself two questions: “How on earth did they find these things?” and “How does it all work so well together?” We’re talking clear perspex Phillipe Starck pieces next to mahogany armchairs from the French Revolution. But it works. Paddy explains: “Our home is a culmination of nearly 20 years of life together. We’re avid collectors of art, sculpture and furniture.” The two have sourced pieces from all over the region and added them to the existing treasures they brought with them from London in 2007. “We purchased many of the homewares from the usual expat haunts in Singapore, most of which have sadly disappeared now, but the artworks literally span the globe!” I’m a fairly minimalist person – think “scandustrial” as my preferred style. But this house? This house talks. Every wall, every surface (including tops of tall wardrobes) have perfectly placed fragments of Paddy and Rob’s story – they are hung, sat and perched everywhere.“To us,” Paddy tells me, “it’s an honour to live in this shophouse, and the shortcomings outweigh the joy the place gives us. It has a tremendously logical layout that makes entertaining and living really easy. This isn’t always the case with these buildings.”As we move from room to room, there are endless mementos of their life and travels – the home acts like a museum dedicated to their adventures. Where the house may lack large windows to the outside world, it generously makes up for it with ample wall spaces, which are a perfect canvas to display their incredible and eclectic art collection. Finding their galleryAfter four relaxing years in a bright penthouse condo on Sentosa, they felt the call to return to the bustling city. “We were familiar with conservation home living, having been in a magnificent shophouse on Emerald Hill for five years. We decided to keep an eye out for a cool shophouse close to Chinatown.”Amazingly, one actually found them, after friends of friends who were vacating the house mid-contract referred them to the agent. “We fell in love with it immediately as a fantastic backdrop for our art and furniture collection, plus the location was exactly where we wanted.”With so many items in the house that tell their story and journey, what are their favourites? Paddy laughs, “Wow, that’s a difficult question! Maybe we need to think about what we would rescue first if the house was on fire!?”Rob jumps in: “I would definitely grab the 19th-century Tibetan silver Buddha statue. While it’s one of the smallest Buddha images we have, it was definitely love at first sight. Paddy was travelling for work and I was browsing alone in The Renaissance Gallery when the intricate carving and delicate filigree called to me. I couldn’t pass up this most enchanting, beguiling and peaceful statue!” Paddy’s choice would be more challenging to carry out the door: a self-portrait of the artist Aiman with pink chrysanthemums that hangs in the living room. “It was painted by a talented young Singaporean artist and we purchased it from our favourite gallery, Art Porters, just around the corner in Spottiswoode Park Road. I love staring at it and sinking into the soft flowers while unwinding with a glass of wine.” Moving onAfter 12 exciting and rewarding years in Singapore, Rob and Paddy feel it’s time for another adventure somewhere that will challenge them in different ways. “I’ve spent more than 20 years as an employee for large financial institutions around the world, so I’m eager to be more entrepreneurial and work for myself,” Rob tells me.Paddy explains they also want to spend more time on their property “ventures” outside Singapore. “We’ve decided to base ourselves in Sri Lanka while also spending time in Greece and Australia where we have homes. For now, we’re trading suits and shoes for shorts and flip-flops!” Paddy says with a smile.When they initially moved to Asia, they sold their properties in the UK, but wanted to buy a new home somewhere else to supplement their city life in Singapore. They travelled extensively around the region and fell in love with Sri Lanka after a holiday in 2010. “Several weeks later, we went scouting for properties in the southern area of Sri Lanka, initially looking for a something small to renovate. But we somehow became spellbound with a huge plantation! The land has a magical quality to it and it’s so fertile! We love the seclusion – our nearest neighbours are a troupe of naughty monkeys and lazy grazing buffalo!”The plantation has nearly 50 acres and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of government-owned plantation lands that Paddy and Rob believe add to the beautiful sense of seclusion. The plot was formed during the Sri Lankan government’s contentious land reforms in the 1970s and was left derelict for decades, having been an extensive working plantation for many years.“It was bought by the last owners in the late 1990s. They worked hard to re-establish the tea fields and introduce more diversified crops such as coconuts and cinnamon. When we purchased it, we kept the same team. Together, we’ve been working to continue land improvements, crop diversification and expansion. We’ve also built an architecturally charming bungalow and have plans to diversify the plantation further by making it an agritourism venture.” New homes for their treasuresSo, are they taking their precious collection with them? No! Instead, they are taking the opportunity during this significant life change to downsize, declutter, recycle, gift and sell items that they feel no longer “spark joy”.“It’s a fantastic chance to evaluate everything we own, piece by piece, and decide if it’s something we want to migrate into our new lifestyle. Keeping the things that are precious increases their value to us, and finding worthy homes for things we no longer have space for is equally empowering. It’s the ultimate in sustainability to recycle our possessions, and for them to be reused and re-loved by new owners.” But wouldn’t selling everything be stressful, especially when they travel so much? “Thankfully, we discovered HotLotz Auction House, who have made the entire process a one-stop and stress-free event. Their operation is seamless, and they arrange all the logistics, which is invaluable to us.”HotLotz will be hosting several “open house” viewings for the items Paddy and Rob want to auction. Still, they will be taking a few things with them: “Our next home will be the backdrop for our new journey but it will also have many corners filled with objects to remind us of our Singapore life.”“We want to rekindle the sense of adventure and risk-taking that we enjoyed when we first left our safe-haven in London to come to steamy Singapore.” Part of their new adventure will be embracing some downsizing and making space for new opportunities, new experiences, and perhaps even a few new art pieces!Love Paddy and Rob’s style?You can check out their home and auction items on the following days at 26 Everton Road:• Saturday 17, 24 and 31 August from 12pm to 4pm• Tuesday 20 and 27 August from 6pm to 8pm. The catalogue will be available online from 15 August and the auction concludes on 1 September at 8pm.For more information and to bid, visit hotlotz.com.RecommendationsWine & Dine Straits Clan Private Members Club: 31 Bukit Pasoh Road(“Great cocktails, coffee and snacks”)6320 9180 | straitsclan.comBakalaki Greek Taverna: 3 Seng Poh Road6836 3688 | bakalaki.com Kith Café Spottiswoode: 69 Spottiswoode Park Road(“You’ll find us here on a Sunday morning attached to our regular stools!”)6221 5569 | kith.com.sgHomeArt Porters Gallery: 64 Spottiswoode Park Road6909 0468 | artporters.com Framing Angie: #03-02 Holland Road Shopping Centre, 211 Holland Avenue6466 0800 framingangie.com HotLotz: #01-15 Cendex Center, 120 Lower Delta Road6254 7616 | hotlotz.comWant more inspiration for your interiors? See our home décor section!This article first appeared in the August 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!