APRIL 2019


APR 2019


Inside an

China & Other Adventures


Bubbly Brunches, Custom Furniture & Fab Facials

The Yacht Show, Gourmet Summit, Competitions & Rugby 7s

EDITOR’SNOTE My initial editor’s letter was already done when the events in New Zealand took place, but then it seemed frivolous compared to the gravity of the attacks. Strangely though, my original letter had been about “poverty of thought” (a phrase that caught my attention on a recent trip to Japan) and the illogical thoughts and processes that people stick to because of their conditioning or out of habit. It’s still a relevant point, only now I want to add madness to that mix. What drives people to that point of madness? Hate? I definitely think it’s a case of people having a state of mind where they have stepped out of their own selves. Soldiers dying in war is illogical to me, but plain murder of civilians is madness. I’m off to a 60s-themed party for a birthday tomorrow. Perhaps it’s time for another “bed-in” like John and Yoko did back then, and time for us to stand together against “poverty of thought”. It’s not entirely clear when the Age of Aquarius is supposed to start, but maybe it’s time we create it ourselves now rather than wait for it to come to us! Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy. And let’s take time to remember all those people who are persecuted by “bullies”, wherever they may be in the world. Regardless of how we’ve been conditioned through our life, how about giving peace a chance?

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Want to feel a bit more peaceful? We’ve got some great stories and ideas around nature in this issue and online – including this camel ride in Western Australia



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | info@expatliving.sg Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | sales@expatliving.sg Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | subscription@expatliving.sg Production: +65 6812 1787 | production@expatliving.sg Editorial & Media Releases: editorial@expatliving.sg Calendar of Events: calendar@expatliving.sg Events: events@expatliving.sg Websites: expatliving.sg | expatliving.hk

Printed by Ho Printing Singapore Pte Ltd (hoprinting.com)

Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #07-06 Mapex Building, Singapore 577177

Artist Deborah McKellar (talkingtextiles.asia)




NEWS 14 Calendar Updates: 22 Readers’ Letters 24 EL Forum:

What’s on in the coming months

Our online antics and our upcoming events

26 Singapore Page:

Exploring the island’s past and present

47 Exploring a new showroom

HOME & PROPERTY 30 News 34 Win! A Décor Starter Kit Worth $3,500 37 Home Showcase: Exploring an artist’s space 47 Store Spotlight: Ethical artisan furniture 49 Inside Story: Looking for a customised piece? 53 Buying Guide: Ideas for kitchens and bathrooms 58 Inside Story: Apartments for long- and short- term needs 64 Street Talk: What it’s like living in Tiong Bahru

LIFE & FAMILY 68 News 74 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 77 Now Open at Dempsey Hill 78 People Profile: Meet tour guide Jane Iyer 80 Serving Singapore: First-hand accounts from expats on National Service

94 Auto Updates:

What’s new on the market

96 Car Talk:

A reader rates his ride 98 Australians Expats & Divorce 99 Investment Insights: Going for gold 100 Last Rites: Different faiths, different funerals 104 Helping Hands: Our new column on volunteering 106 Around Town: Photos from openings, events and more

94 Time to hit the road?

53 How to spruce up your bathroom


84 87

Nexus gets a new campus Discussing disabilities with kids Acing the IB exam: a true story


90 92

Life after high school

Want a career in UX design?




144 A family adventure

through Vietnam

WINE & DINE 116 News 120 Bar Tab:

New and notable spots for a tipple

122 Best of Brunch:

We round up some of the top bubbly buffets

128 In the Kitchen:

Cooking classes to try this month

130 Recipe Corner:

Fail-safe favourites to add to your repertoire

132 Review Crew:


Travel news and updates

EL goes on a cocktail trail

TRAVEL 138 News 142 Adventure Awaits: Ideas for your next holiday 144 Off the Beaten Track: Lost in Vietnam 148 Sustainable Sailing: A sea voyage in the Philippines 154 Destination Focus: China insights and reader tips

132 We test out margaritas!




STYLE & BEAUTY 160 Style News 162 Beauty News 166 Pamper Pros:

160 The latest

style updates

Four nail salons to try

168 Face First:

Top medical-grade facials

HEALTH & FITNESS 178 News 180 Ear Wax Explained! 182 Expert Voice: Why hydration is key 184 Couple Goals: REGULARS 187 Numbers & Websites 188 Horoscopes for April

The benefits of training together

190 Advertiser List 192 Parting Shot: Joys of the school bus

184 Couples and their gym routines



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SHOPPING & FAIRS HotLotz Fine Jewellery Auction (UNTIL 11 APR) Head down to the HotLotz saleroom to browse brand-name jewellery pieces and enjoy the atmosphere of an auction house. View your favourite lots in person and meet the friendly staff. Register online to see the auction catalogue. #01-15 Cendex Centre, 120 Lower Delta Road. hotlotz.com Singapore Yacht Show (11-14 APR) Back for its ninth edition, this four-day yachting and boating lifestyle show offers the opportunity to discover some of the world’s finest superyachts and boating brands. Book your tickets on the event website. ONE°15 Marina, Sentosa Cove. singaporeyachtshow.com


Singapore Badminton Open 2019 (9-14 APR)

This prestigious badminton tournament sees the world’s top shuttlers battling it out for the title. Organised by the Singapore Badminton Association, the event is part of the HSBC BWF World Tour. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub website. HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens (13-14 APR) The tournament will feature 16 of the world’s top Sevens teams, from the New Zealand All Blacks Sevens to South Africa’s Blitzbokke. Watch the on-field action, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy activities around the stadium and across town. National Stadium. singapore7s.sg

Harlem Globetrotters


Harlem Globetrotters (5 APR)

Catch the famous exhibition basketball team on court during their only show in Southeast Asia. The Guinness World Record-holding Globetrotters, who formed in Chicago in the 1920s, will display all their unique skills and thrilling antics. Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub website.

HSBC Singapore

Rugby Sevens




Sabrina Carpenter’s The Singular Tour (11 APR)


Sabrina Carpenter performs for the first time in Singapore this April, as part of her Singular tour. Previously, the American singer-songwriter’s 2016 EVOLution Tour took her across 35 cities in the US. Kallang Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Skechers Sundown Festival (19-21 APR) Look forward to more than 50 music artistes on three stages over three days, plus art installations, film screenings, a market bazaar, street food and fringe entertainment. There’s also a glamping and camping package to check out. Siloso Beach. sundownfestival.sg The Phantom of the Opera (24 APR – 26 MAY) The Phantom of the Opera returns to Singapore this April. The iconic award- winning musical is the longest running show on Broadway and has played to over 145 million people around the world. Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from Sistic. Stars of The West End Sing The Rock Musicals (27 APRIL) This show brings together leading stars from London’s West End, with songs from hit musicals such as We Will Rock You , Thriller – Live , Tina – The Tina Turner Musical , Beautiful , Dreamgirls and Motown The Musical . Grand Ballroom, One Farrer Hotel & Spa. britishtheatreplayhouse.com The Proclaimers (29 APRIL) The Proclaimers will be performing live in Singapore this April, showcasing songs such as “I’m On My Way”, “Let’s Get Married” and massive blockbuster “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. Capitol Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.


The Truth (3-20 APR)

Telling the story of a man caught in a love affair, this heart-hitting play explores what happens when the truth is uncovered, covering themes of friendship, suspicion and deceit. KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. Tickets from Sistic. Belinda Carlisle Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary Tour (6 APR) Pop icon Belinda Carlisle is touring to celebrate 30 years since the release of her album Runaway Horses . She’ll perform the album in its entirety, including hits such as “Leave A Light On” and “La Luna”. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Anne-Marie (9 APR) On the back of her successful debut album Speak Your Mind , the UK singer will be back in town to continue sending her message of self-love in a one- night-only performance in April. Capitol Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

The Proclaimers




Singapore Heritage Festival

Photo credit: National Heritage Board



Gretel and Hansel (UNTIL 26 APR) Based on the well-loved Brothers Grimm classic fairy tale, Gretel and Hansel is a heartfelt, humorous and exciting tale about sibling rivalry, family love and courage. KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. srt.com.sg ICS Spring Fest (27 APR) Enjoy live demonstrations in art and technology, and try your hand at ceramic wheel-throwing, robotic challenges and more. Also, check out the food trucks and dig into a variety of delicious food. 27A Jubilee Road. ics.edu.sg The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites (30 APR – 12 MAY) Meet The Very Hungry Caterpillar as he chomps away on his journey to metamorphosis. Also, come across other fun characters including Little Cloud and The Mixed Up Chameleon. Victoria Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Singapore Heritage Festival (UNTIL 7 APR)

A celebration of Singapore’s heritage and culture, this annual festival features trails, tours, open houses and performances across town. heritagefestival.sg Minimalism: Space Light Object (UNTIL 14 APR) Set across two sites – the National Gallery and ArtScience Museum – this exhibition of 130 works explores the history and legacy of minimalism, including the development of minimal art and ideas from the 1950s to the present day. National Gallery Raffles in Southeast Asia (UNTIL 28 APR) Held as part of the Singapore Bicentennial commemorations, this exhibition presents a multi-layered picture of Raffles while showcasing the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Java and the Malay world. Asian Civilisations Museum

Meet the Artist (25 APR – 8 MAY)

Deborah Mckellar will be having her solo exhibition “Singapore Stories Shared” this April and May. Walk through the five differently themed spaces inspired by the stories of Singapore and pick up various keepsakes to take home along the way. Emperor's Attic





Troy Sivan’s The Bloom Tour (3 MAY)

Jason Mraz Good Vibes Tour (11 MAY) Grammy Award-winning singer Jason Mraz will be in town as part of a six-city tour of Asia. Look forward to performances of his record-breaking singles such as “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up”. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Civilised (15-26 MAY) Written by Haresh Sharma, this play by The Necessary

Don’t miss Troye Sivan’s giant headline Asian tour this May. The South African-born Aussie singer and actor’s 2018 single “My My My!” went platinum in Australia and also cracked the US top 100. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

Elmer The Patchwork Elephant Show (9-12 MAY)

Based on the classic children’s book series by David McKee, Elmer The Patchwork Elephant Show is a celebration of individuality and the power of laughter. It features 21 lovable puppets and tells the tale of an elephant that stands out. KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. Tickets from Sistic. OCBC Cycle 2019 (11 MAY) Choose from three ride categories: adults, kids and families, and corporate. Participants will ride along closed roads in the city. Registration closes 12 April. ocbccycle.com

Stage examines the complexities of colonialism and colonisation, not only of the past, but also its manifestations in the world today. The Necessary Stage. Tickets from Sistic. Singapore International Festival of Arts (16 MAY – 2 JUN) Look forward to captivating and diverse works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. There’ll also be artists’ talks, workshops and more at The Arts House. Multiple locations. sifa.sg SSO Chamber Series: Brass Ensemble Of The SSO (19 MAY) Witness the talents of the Brass Ensemble of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at this eye-opening recital of brazen fanfares and clarion chorales, featuring pieces from the Renaissance up to the 20th century. Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic. AIA Glow Festival 2019 (25 MAY) At this wellness and music event, enjoy activities and entertainment including yoga sessions and acts by DJs and bands including Belgian DJ Lost Frequencies and UK band Rudimental. Also, browse the Marketplace for wholesome treats. Palawan Green, Sentosa. glowfestival.sg

Singapore International Festival of Arts

: www.expatliving.sg

For even more things to do every week, go to our online calendar or sign up for our newsletter




Settling into Singapore

Best Letter We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. We’ll be sending Geetika Ghai a bottle of champagne for her feedback.

I moved here six months ago and Expat Living came to me via Asian Tigers as they unloaded all my boxes. It’s my go-to source for all things Singapore. You and the team completely knocked the 200th issue out of the park; I absolutely love it. The girl power in it was inspiring and I actually tore out pages



“M um, Ibangedmyhead.” Engrossedinconversation by the swimming pool at theClub, Ibarely lookedup. “Oh dear,” I soothed. “How? Are you okay?” “Iwent down the slide head first and hitmyhead on thebottom.” Thatdidmakeme lookup.My12-year- old son Josh sat down beside me. He rubbed the right side of his forehead. “I hit ithard – ithurts,”he said. It was late afternoon. Josh and his friends had been fooling around in the baby pool and playing on the slide. I had lookedupperiodically,perhapseven noticed theywere going down the slide head first, but no alarm bells had rung. The water barely reached their calves. Theywere in the baby pool. I examined Josh’s head. There was no burgeoning bump, no bruise; but bangs to thehead areon aparent’s listof frightening things. Icalledourdoctor.He had left for theday. We went home. The pain seemed to have eased.Therewas stillnobruise,no sign of anything at all. I read an online head injury checklist of what to look for. Josh chatted, I observed him, my husband and I reassured ourselves that he seemed fine. Then the headache came. Five hours after he had banged his head, Joshwas clutching at it in pain and those alarm bells started clanging.We sped toRaffles Hospital, well-known to us for treating minor,weekend ailmentswhenourown doctor was closed. This visit felt very different.

Despite the lateness of the hour, the neurosurgeon arrived to assess Josh.He was monitored overnight in intensive care;westayedwithhim,hardlybelieving howanafternoonby thepoolwith friends had come to this. A second scan in themorning revealed that the clot had doubled in size. Outwardly calm to reassure Josh but inwardly terrified,wewatchedhimbeing wheeled away for surgery. “Wewill look after him,” the anaesthetist told us, his eyes full ofkindness. They did look after him. Two hours later, Josh emerged,bandaged,with four tiny titanium plates holding in place the piece of skull that had been temporarily removed to allow the neurosurgeon to remove the clot.We started to breathe again. Aweek later, hewas home,with an impressive scar and a tale to tell his anxious friends. This allhappened10years ago. Josh is nowworking.The titaniumplatesarestill in place and part of him for always.He was very lucky;wewere very lucky.We had access towonderfulmedical care at

RafflesHospital forwhichweareeternally grateful.At this time of crisis,we felt so fortunate tobe living in Singapore.

Here’s your chance to get published – and make some money at the same time. We’re looking for 500-word written contributions on any funny, poignant, practical or even controversial topic that touches on expat life in Singapore. Simply email your stories in aWord document to contribute@expatliving.sg and we’llconsider them for inclusion in anupcoming issue. Receive $200 TELLUSATALE&

Joshwas sent for anMRI straightaway. The scan revealed a blood clot between his skull and the protective covering of his brain.His foreheadwas still smooth and unmarked; the damage was all on the inside.



(including the Parting Shot article about the pool incident) for my kids to read. I can’t wait to read the experiences of the girls who get to shadow the ambassadors in an upcoming issue – what an amazing opportunity. You’re really doing an amazing service to our community and I do thank you for that. – Shimaali Ed: Thank you! Please let us know about any new adventures or discoveries you make in your new home; it’s always good to know what people are doing. (Readers, keep an eye out for Shimaali’s Vietnam “adventure” in our pages soon.)

Prize Winner!

I just wanted to say thanks for the competition prize I just received for my son from Sammyeve. Not only was it gorgeous, it’s one of the

best gifts he has received. Also, I’ve just picked up the March issue and I see it has a


preschool supplement, just when I needed it; so, I guess you read my mind! I am getting so glued to your beautiful and informative magazine – can’t thank you enough! – Geetika Ghai Ed: What a great letter – thanks so much!

25 schools to choose from!

On Yusheng Our February issue included a short piece on tossing the yusheng salad to usher in the Lunar New Year in Singapore. A couple of readers questioned aspects of our account, and provided details of their own traditions with regard to this ceremony; we thank them for those and apologise for any inaccuracies in our piece.


Climbing Kilimanjaro

David, Sarah and I can’t thank you enough for the article about our Kilimanjaro expedition in the March issue. I know Mum would be bursting with pride. We will treasure this, along with our memories from the trip, and I’ll also be sending the article to the Ovarian Research Australia team. Thank you again! – Kate, David & Sarah

Ed: It’s our pleasure – we also enjoyed reading your account of the trip, and the wonderful images.

Email us at info@expatliving.sg


APRIL 2019


Check out some of the best places to stay and play!

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Our upcoming events! Visit expatliving.sg/ELevents to register.


DATE: 16 April 2019 TIME: 8.30am — 10:30am PLACE: Grand Hyatt Singapore Yoga Studio PRICE: $25, including refreshments



DATE: 24 April 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.45am PLACE: Gallery 278 PRICE: $25, including refreshments


DATE: 26 April 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.30am PLACE: International Medical Clinic PRICE:

$20, including refreshments



Learn how to create a marketing strategy that works using a specific framework and tools developed by The EMMS to help you promote your business.

DATE: 30 April 2019 TIME: 9am – 11.30am PLACE: SPRMRKT @ Cluny Court PRICE: $50, including breakfast and workshop materials

25 APRIL2019


Investigating the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers! THE SINGAPORE PAGE

Explore Singapore


April Fool’s Day While it’s not hugely “celebrated” here, 1 April is still a day for pranks in Singapore. That goes for high-profile businesses and institutions, too. Here are three creative campaigns that caught plenty of people out last year: • Ngee Ann Poly advertised 1 April as “No Air Con Monday”, with all campus air-conditioning turnedoff for the entire day to raise awareness about climate change. • Durex Singapore claimed it had launched a new range of flavoured condoms (smoked chicken sausage, anyone?). • The NUS School of Computing promised higher marks for sleepier students: anyone achieving a minimum of eight hours’ rest would get a 0.1 increase to their CAP score.

Respecting Ancestors Qing Ming Festival, or Tomb-sweeping Day, is celebrated this month (5 April). It’s a day when Chinese families visit ancestral graves to clean and weed, and leave offerings and incense. If these traditions interest you, or you’re just a history buff, Singapore has many fascinating graveyards, including the four listed below. (It used to have more, too: Fort Canning, Novena MRT station and even Ngee Ann City all stand on former cemeteries.) #1 Bukit Brown Cemetery Off Lornie Road, this cemetery has more than 100,000 graves, including those of early Chinese pioneers. The Nature Society regularly holds walks through the property and the Singapore Heritage Society has created a self-guided trail. #2 Japanese Cemetery Park This park in Hougang holds the ashes of thousands of Japanese soldiers killed during WWII, and the remains of the early Japanese settlers. It’s the largest cemetery of its kind in Southeast Asia. #3 Kranji War Memorial This memorial honours soldiers from the UK, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died in WWII. Plot 44 marks a mass grave for 69 Chinese killed during the fall of Singapore in 1942. Services are held every Remembrance Day, 11 November, and Anzac Day, 25 April. #4 Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Singapore’s biggest cemetery is the only one left where people can still be buried. There are graves from a wide variety of cultures, and each section is culturally unique and beautiful. Visit while you can: part of the land has been marked for reclamation.

The Other Singapore We’re not alone! Did you know there are several s e t t l e m e n t s in India and Fact File

Pakistan called Singapur or Singhpur, at least one in Indonesia called Singapura, and even a town in South Africa’s Limpopo province called Singapore? The most famous “other” Singapore, though, is the one in Michigan, USA. It’s best known as that state’s most famous “ghost town” – one of the casualties of four great fires that ravaged America’s Midwest in 1871. The town had been built in 1836 by a New York land speculator hoping to rival the port settlement of Chicago. It flourished for a time and was home to Michigan’s first school. Today, its ruins lie beneath sand dunes near the modern town of Saugatuck.


Think you know Singapore well? What’s shown in this aerial image? See next month’s SG Page for the answer!

Last month: The close-up image from the last issue was of the Merlion.





Store Spotlight: Ethical artisan items for the home

Hacienda Blue

37 Home Showcase: Exploring an artist’s space

49 Inside Story: Readers’ custom- made furniture

60 Street Talk: Check out the Tiong Bahru neighborhood



Now open in the Tan Boon Liat Building is the Swiss-based luxury furniture retailer, Vitra. With over 80 years of experience in designing groundbreaking pieces for the home, office and public spaces, the iconic brand has partnered with local furniture dealerW.Atelier in Singapore. The showroom houses classics by Verner Panton and Jean Prouvé, as well as contemporary designs by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Jasper Morrison, and Jay Osgerby. Pop in and see the range today at 315 Outram Road, #14-08 or learn more about the company by visiting vitra.com .

Tech Troubleshooting SARAH & BO, TEKKIE HELP Give your computer a new lease of life A computer is a sizeable investment, especially if it’s a Mac, so you’ll want to keep it running for as long as possible. Did you know the average lifespan of a computer is four to five years? With good care and regular hardware upgrades and repairs, however, yours could last Avoiding physical abuse and caring for your computer is an easy way to increase its longevity. If you travel with your laptop, always carry it in a protective case; keep the computer well ventilated by regularly vacuuming out the fans and vents; keep your operating system up to date, and don’t eat or drink over your computer! New hard drive A sluggish system is usually an indicator that the hard drive is failing. This doesn’t mean you have to bin it. The hard drive can be replaced to give your computer a new lease of life. It’s also a good opportunity to upgrade to an SSD (solid-state drive) for enhanced performance. for many more years. A little bit of TLC

Hardware repairs A computer that doesn’t boot up at all is usually caused by a hard drive or logic board failure. Fear not, there are options to bring it back to life! Tekkie Help has the expertise to make these repairs for $250 to $500. This is much cheaper than buying a new computer or taking it to an Apple Store for repair.

We would advise against investment in upgrading (or undertaking significant repairs) if

your Mac is older than a 2010 model, or if your Windows PC is more than six years old. If the price of a new computer fills you with horror, don’t fret; we sell refurbished Apple computers, which are a more cost-effective solution. For further advice and help, contact Tekkie Help on 8113 8682 or visit tekkiehelp.com.




Skylines of Singapore

Hair-friendly Pillows Have you suffered from dry skin and frizzy hair in the morning? Wink Silk pillows are hypoallergenic, less abrasive than cotton and have moisture-retaining properties, helping to tame your tresses. Available in toddler, queen and king sizes from winksilk.com .

Looking for a gift or a memento of your time here? Nodums Barcelona, a little company born out of a passion for fashion and decoration, has just released a range of décor pieces in homage to the city. Made of iron, the design shows the Singapore skyline with iconic landmarks such as the Flyer, ArtScience Museum, MBS, Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion. It’s available in two sizes (25cm and 50cm) and various finishes, from The AC Boutique (East Coast) or nodumsbarcelona.com , from $105.

Under the Hammer! Netflix pro-organiser Marie Kondo is organising the world, one home at a time. Her “KonMari” method helps us hoarders (guilty!) to discard – after saying the required “thank you” – and only keeping or replacing those items that “spark joy”.

Need to spark some joy in your life?

While no one would describe the HotLotz saleroom as minimalist, there is plenty of joy in our auction catalogues. We have handpicked items across home décor, antiques, art, jewellery and designer fashion, all chosen for their quality, style and desirability. So, if Marie has inspired you to discard your unused designer handbag collection or the contents of your never-opened jewellery box – or anything of quality and style – give us a call, we can help! April “Home Contents” Auction Viewing of the contents of this 1970s landed home in Bukit Timah takes place at the property on Saturday 6 April between 11am and 3pm. Online bidding closes in this timed auction on Tuesday 9 April from 8pm. Visit hotlotz.com for details or pop in and see us at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15.

Matthew Elton is the Founder of HotLotz Auction House

Download the HotLotz app to view the catalogues and bid.




Up for Grabs ... a Décor Starter Kit worth over $3,500!


Pick up this great prize and you’ll imbue your home with the signature touch of Arete Culture. Comprising the team’s styling staples, this versatile set has been handpicked to ensure lasting elegance and flexibility, no matter how your styling preferences evolve over the years. Use the pieces together in a single room to create an ultra-luxe feel, or separately to add a touch of glamour in each room. Here’s what in the kit: Pair of table lamps ($585 each, total $1,170) Art panel ($1,250)

About Arete Culture Since launching in 2010, Arete Culture has completed over 700 home makeovers in the region. A multi- award-winning authority on living well at home, it offers interior styling services, alongwith an extensive range of furniture and home accessories, including The Bespoke Boutique Collection, an in-house collection of customisable furniture. In 2016, the team opened a second showroom, Arete Culture Outdoor Living, a dedicated space to living in the tropics. Find both showrooms in the centrally located Tan Boon Liat Building.

Tray ($385) Vase ($185) Orchid stalk ($18 each) Box ($285) Marble candle holder ($245) Cloche ($68) Cochine luxe diffuser ($85) Cochine luxe candle ($80)

Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | areteculture.com To enter, simply go to expatliving.sg/competitions




I love sitting at the little table in the morning, with a cup of tea. I work through things and then I feel ready for the day. My little kitty always sits with me, normally trying to drink my tea too!

When you live in the same space you work in, it can be tricky to create a work and life balance. But artist DEBORAH MCKELLAR is thriving in her East Coast home studio.


37 APRIL2019

D eborah McKellar’s home is tucked at the bottom of a quiet, traditional street in the east. When the houses here were originally built in the 1920s, they were right at the edge of the sea but today the land has been reclaimed and the ocean is just across the ECP. Her colonial-style black-and-white cottage has a tranquil front courtyard surrounded by tropical plants, and if you weren’t aware of its dual purpose, you would never tell it was a thriving home business. After Deborah gives me a quick tour of her home and creative area, we settle down to chat about her time in Singapore, and her career. “I was pretty young – only 20 – when my parents announced they were moving here. So, my sister and I were given the choice: did we want to stay in South Africa, where I had only completed one year of university, or did we want to come to Asia?” The very close sisters unanimously decided this

was a much more exciting adventure, despite having lived in the same home in Johannesburg their entire life. “We knew it would be difficult saying goodbye to our whole world. I didn’t know much about Singapore before we came. But I think this is what made the move so exciting. The whole discovery process I went through really helped with my career and creativity.” Deborah is the artist behind the successful business, Talking Textiles, which she launched after completing her education. “When I received my degree in fine art from Lasalle College of the Arts, I felt there was something missing. When I was little, I always thought I’d be a textile designer – I knew I wanted to work with colour and patterns! So, I went to Sydney and competed my master’s degree in textile design. I didn’t know at the time that this would lead me to creating these mixed media pieces using both fine art and textile design!”

Who lives here: Deborah and her seven-month-old ragdoll cat, Shnu

Nuu Nu. Time in Singapore:

Seventeen years. Size and type of home: A two- bedroom colonial black-and-white bungalow that includes a creative working studio and retail space. Décor style: Eclectic Bohemian, with a dash of African safari.




I didn’t have any idea I was going to be a full-time artist at any stage. I always thought I’d be a designer!

Right: “One piece that makes me happy every time I look at it is a large wooden Indian mirror from Singapore Trading Post. It has an intricately carved frame with a distressed teal paint effect.”

39 APRIL2019

Above: “I absolutely love the sideboard I bought from Emperor’s Attic shortly after I moved in. It’s painted in shades of green, which is reflective of the plants I can see outside my bedroom window. It also has these beautiful hand-painted Chinese scenes that make it really one-of-a kind. I also just recently bought this gorgeous rug from Living DNA.” Left: “I love this cushion from South African brand Ardmore Designs – it’s a little reminder of home in my bedroom.”




Above: One of the new creations from Talking Textiles, featuring Singapore cityscapes and gold leaf.

Knowing she wanted to be her own boss, Deborah headed back to Singapore and saw a gap in the market. “There weren’t enough little creative spaces here, like I’d seen in Sydney. From a business perspective, I knew it would work. I started just printing and creating soft furnishings – cushions, tea towels and table runners.” When Deborah began Talking Textiles, she started working part-time in the fashion department of the university she’d studied at. “I needed to lecture to pay the rent and start the business, but now I just go in one half-day a week because I enjoy teaching. I love the link it gives me to the students and the fact that it keeps me studying. It also ensures I’m not too isolated!” Not long after she started lecturing at Lasalle, a few of the other lecturers were having a group exhibition. “Generally, this would mean ‘putting something on a wall’. It triggered me to work with my screens and to put prints with images on a canvas. That exhibition actually pushed me to say, ‘Hey, I can use this screen-printing tool to start doing something on canvas again’ – something I was familiar with after attending art school.” Deborah slowly started adding fabric and merging other techniques she’d learnt into her artworks. It had its own natural evolving process – especially as she had the fabric in the studio already. “I didn’t have any idea I was going to be a full-time artist at any stage. I always thought I’d be a designer!” Today, she creates bespoke multi-media art for homes and is being sought out for commercial work,

41 APRIL2019


After initially occupying a less- than-ideal studio and retail space above a hostel, the Talking Textiles business moved to its current East Coast location – Deborah’s new home – a year ago. “My sister was actually looking for a new place and found it first. I always thought my next studio would be in more of an industrial space and not a colonial bungalow!” Her sister immediately fell in love with the house but it was too small for her own family; she knew it would be perfect for Deborah. “As soon as I saw it, I knew too! I loved the idea of living and working in my studio and thought it would give me more flexibility. The character makes it a great space to create in.”

43 APRIL2019

HOME Emperor’s Attic #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9011 0380 emperorsattic.com Singapore Trading Post #07-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 6221 4619 singaporetradingpost.com Living DNA #01-10B Space@Tampines 18 Tampines Industrial WINE & DINE Tea Chapter (“gorgeous shophouse serving tea and little snacks”) 9 Neil Road 6226 1175 teachapter.com Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore (“I’ve been coming for years”) 30 Boat Quay 6532 6283 pastafresca.com Satay by the Bay (“I love to ride my bike here”) 8 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-19 6538 9956 sataybythebay.com.sg Crescent 8511 3584 livingdna.sg Talking Textiles 9107 4409 talkingtextiles.asia




Designed and custom-made From dining tables to night stands, to sideboards, chests of draws, stools, trays, lamps and frames, the list of items available is only as limited as your imagination. Josephine is proud of the customisation aspect of the business. “Clients already come to us because they’re looking for something a little different, and this also means they often want something custom-designed. This is one of my favourite parts of my job: working with people to create and make something unique is truly wonderful.” Having a good old nosey through the draws (which contain some beautiful cashmere throws, also for sale), I’m also impressed by the workmanship. “When you see how each piece is painstakingly handmade with such skill and knowledge, you can understand why our pieces last and how you just can’t imitate their quality.”

JOSEPHINE BLUNCK lets us into her world of beautiful furniture and accessories in her new showroom at Portsdown. NEWBEGINNINGS BY KEL FLANDERS

Ten years ago, arriving as a new expat, Josephine just couldn’t find pieces that inspired her. Fast-forward to 2019, and she has just opened her first dedicated showroomnear Queenstown (opposite Tanglin Trust School), from what began as a hobby in her home. The beautiful black-and-white building that houses her retail store is perfect for the Hacienda Blue brand: traditionally made but with a modern finish, and created with the utmost quality. Dominating a very niche market, the stunning bone-inlay and mother-of-pearl-inlay pieces are meticulously designed by Josephine and created by artisans in India. “I spend most of my life travelling between these small, family-owned workshops. It still amazes me how this incredibly detailed skill has been passed down through the generations. There are no big factories and the artisans work in a very sustainable manner.” As we wander around the showroom, I’m absorbing Josephine’s infectious Aussie-ness and passion for her business. The pieces here are stunning and I can’t help but touch and wonder where I can find room in my home for some of them.

The new Hacienda Blue showroom is now open. Make an appointment to have a look – but bewarned, every item is Insta-worthy!

17 Woking Road (by appointment only) 9866 1024 | haciendablue.com

47 APRIL2019


WHEN ONLY CUSTOMISED WILLDO We spoke to a few readers to find out how they worked with different stores to find their perfect furniture solutions.


Shoba & Arun Ahluwalia, British and Singaporean When we moved into our new house, I began to search for some new pieces. My sons Ajay and Rahul drove me to numerous shops around the island, but I couldn’t find anything suitable. I realised I needed something bespoke and custom- made that would blend with my existing furniture. I chose Woody Antique House because of the quality of their service and their ability to design furniture to our specifications. When we entered the store, the first thing that struck us was the warm welcome we received. On subsequent visits they even remembered our names. We initially ordered two customised daybeds with a unique lattice design. I wanted them to have a low back so they didn’t obstruct the sea view fromour living room. I first saw this design on holiday and fell in love with it, and Mrs Ang helped me incorporate it into the daybeds. The store also custom-made fitted cushions and covers; it was a one-stop-shop with excellent customer service. I also designed a half-moon table for our lobby and a made-to-order shoe

cupboard. Again, Mrs Ang took me through various designs and helped me choose the perfect pieces. The daybeds are perfect for relaxing. My son and I love playing backgammon together on them while enjoying the wonderful sea view. I’m extremely happy with our purchases and have since bought two bar stools from the store.

Each member of the Woody Antique staff was extremely attentive to our needs – something not found often in today’s busy world. It was this personalised service that made shopping there such a pleasant experience.

13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 | woodyantique.com

49 APRIL2019

Rohan and Divya Singh, Canadian We needed our mattress to be custom- made as we brought our king-bed frame across from Canada. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a mattress that would fit the frame properly here. We also wanted a mattress that was made from latex, which we’d heard was eco-friendly. We chanced upon European Bedding when we were at Great World City, where they had a temporary kiosk. We spoke to Charlotte and Thijs on two separate occasions and were very impressed by their knowledge and the quality of their mattresses. They were really friendly and made us feel like valued customers straight away. In the end, we ordered an organic latex mattress made by Heveya, along with two latex pillows. We chose medium firmness for the mattress that felt just right for both of us. We were also given the option to split the mattress vertically and have two different densities if Divya and I had different preferences.

We’re extremely happy with our mattress and the experience with European Bedding. They know their product very well and provide a very personalised service. We also felt we received great value for the price we paid. Having experienced poor quality of sleep on our previous mattress, we now

realise we should have made the change sooner. We’re very happy we can finally get a restful night of sleep!

32 Eng Hoon Street, Level 2 6735 6658 | europeanbedding.sg

Amy and Jeff Kraft, American We were looking for a desk with storage. Initially we’d seen an executive desk on the Gallery 278 website which had the storage built in. After visiting their store, we decided we preferred a writing desk with a separate filing cabinet. They were very friendly and accommodating, and we could see that they carried quality furniture. They also told us they did custom work and explained it wouldn’t be a problem to custom-build a filing cabinet with the same design elements as the writing desk we had seen. Our teak desk with this matching teak filing cabinet (pictured) turned out wonderfully. We needed a second desk for our time in Singapore, but when we purchased this particular one and the filing cabinet, we knew we would eventually take them back to the US too. We’re very happy with our items and the service we received. Gallery 278 will be the first place we’ll go to for our future furniture needs.

278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 | gallery278.com





SieMatic Classic kitchen and Chinese wedding cabinet, Toto from W.Atelier

& BATHROOMS These two very important rooms in the home can be tricky to style. Have a look at some of these ideas to help you add a bit of your personality to your space.

53 APRIL2019

Reclaimed teak and rattan Chesnay Cabinet, $1,498, Naturalis Historia

Antique wooden stools, Just Anthony

Nomad India white cabinet, $1,880,

and Mud Australia pottery, Originals

Oven gloves and mitts in vibrant tones, $17 to $35, The Cinnamon Room

Jean Dubost cheese knives, $25 to $395, House of AnLi




Spun Bamboo Lacquer Bowl, from $29, Lim’s Holland Village

Interior design by E&A Interiors

Anrakugama rice cooker pot, from $241, HULS Gallery Singapore

SieMatic Urban kitchen, Toto from W.Atelier

Handmade ceramic platter and dipping bowl, from $80, The Cinnamon Room

Stainless steel bowl with elephant

head, from $90, Lim’s Holland Village

55 APRIL2019

Papier D’Arménie Etoile burner $35, incense booklet from $6.50, and 1900s box $95, Art and Abode

Libeco towels, from $40, House of AnLi

Reclaimed teak mirrors, from $30, Naturalis Historia

Historiae heart soap, $10, and room spray, $39, Art and Abode.

Nomad India white rack from $580,

and Mud Australia pottery, Originals

Styled by Arete Culture

Kumagai Hanakessho containers from $71, HULS Gallery Singapore

Stone basin, Just Anthony




Styled by Arete Culture


Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | areteculture.com

Art and Abode #05-04 Citilink Warehouse Complex 102E Pasir Panjang Road 9062 0376 | artandabode.com The Cinnamon Room #02-74 Jalan Merah Saga 6474 4202 | thecinnamonroom.com E&A Interiors 59 Eng Hoon Street, #01-75 6702 4850 | eandainteriors.com

Interior design by E&A Interiors

House of AnLi #03-17 Tanglin Mall 163 Tanglin Road 6235 3851 | houseofanli.com HULS Gallery Singapore 24 Duxton Hill 6225 6331 | huls.com.sg Just Anthony 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | justanthony.com

Lim’s Holland Village #02-01 Holland Village Shopping Centre 211 Holland Avenue 6466 3188 | facebook.com/limshollandvillage Naturalis Historia 48 Hillview Terrace, #07-02 | 6909 3464 #01-2004 Blk 1, Changi Village Road

6493 7237 ndo.com.sg

Originals #02-03 Sime Darby Centre 896 Dunearn Road 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg

W.Atelier 201 Henderson Road, #01-01 & #03-01 6270 8828 | watelier.com

57 APRIL2019

ASenseof Home Four readers give us an insight into their servicedapartment accommodation, and why it’s been an ideal solution for their time in Singapore.


Fernando Augusto D’Almeida Pó Coutinho Moreira, Portuguese

ST Residences had the best apartments that matched my current rental criteria. The whole rental process was easy, due to the efficiency of the staff. They were always on hand to answer my questions. I’m living in a cosy one-bedroom apartment on Shenton Way. It has really high ceilings, which makes it feel spacious. The kitchen is connected to the living room and there is a cute dining table that fits six people. The kitchen itself is easy to use and has everything I need. I love the huge window in the living room, which offers a really nice view towards the sea – it gets even more amazing by night. The bedroom also has a very large window and allows in all the natural light from outside. There are two closets in the room that are more than enough to store all my clothes. The amenities inside and around the building are pretty amazing. The pool is super big and the place is always clean and well maintained. There are plenty of trees and flowers, providing the impression of being in an oasis. At night, the pool is illuminated and is very impressive. I would highly recommend the ST Residences group – they also have other properties across Singapore.

Sandra Rodrigues, Portuguese

We didn’t bring any furniture, linen or towels with us to Singapore; we needed to buy everything new. It was tempting because who doesn’t love to buy new furniture and decorate a house? But my husband and I measured the pros and cons of renting and buying all the things we needed versus a serviced apartment. In the end, a serviced apartment suited us better. The convenience of it being fully furnished, with housekeeping services and even babysitters available was important to us. We were recommended Fraser Suites in River Valley when we first arrived in Singapore. Since then, we have moved to Fraser Place Robertson Walk . I just adore the ambience here and I love meeting people from all over the world. The team run a lot of social events and they always remember my daughter’s birthday. It makes us feel really special. I also love the neighbourhood; I feel very at home! We live in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. We have a very good living and dining room, a well-equipped kitchen, washer-dryer, two balconies and a storage roomwhere we keep our travel bags and sporting equipment. The furniture is elegant and beautiful. I could live at Fraser Place – and in Singapore – forever! Fraser Place Robertson Walk 11 Unity Street 6736 4800 | singapore-place.frasershospitality.com

Locations island-wide | 9058 9512 | stresidences.com



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