JUNE 2019


JUN 2019






A BED SETWORTH $5,000+! Win



Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

It’s not that easy to find your “slot”, and even then it can change – even a few times within a career lifetime. For years, I wanted to be a vet, surrounded by horses and countryside. EL editor Shamus was a university teacher before he started in media. Some people, though, have a real calling, and we often interview ambassadors for the magazine, many of whom have always known what they wanted to do. A recent story we did with the Dutch Ambassador progressed into a whole series: “Ambassador for a Day”. This involved us reaching out to 13 schoolgirls around Singapore to give them the chance to spend a day with one of the women ambassadors here. It was a big job for another of our editors, Melinda, to coordinate all the “mini ambassadors” – from their applications to their schedules – but the rewards have been great. And we’ve had excellent feedback from the girls – one of them even met the President of Singapore! We’ve divided all their stories between this issue and the next; turn to page 78 for Part 1. It’s so nice to know there are youngsters who are interested in politics – with the current state of global affairs, it gives me a bit of hope! We’re holding a workshop this month that features a panel of four women who have successfully changed careers. Please come along if you’re not sure what to do next in life and need a bit of encouragement. The details are on page 21. It’s a good idea to sit down and talk about better alternatives – we need to, because everything we once thought about business, investment and work life has changed, and is still changing. I saw recently that Amazon were inviting people to give up their desk jobs to become couriers instead, as there was such a shortage of them. We’d probably get pretty fit being a bike courier, though we’re not sure how long we’d last in this traffic!

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Happy reading!

The long and winding road to finding out what we want out of life!



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

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Angsana Velavaru Maldives Image courtesy of Jetabout Holidays (jetabout.com.sg)




NEWS 14 Calendar Updates:

What’s on in the coming months

18 Readers’ Letters 20 EL Forum: Our online antics and upcoming events 22 Singapore Pages: Exploring the island’s past and present HOME & PROPERTY 26 News 32 WIN! A bed set worth over $5,000 34 Showcase: A peek inside a Singapore shophouse 42 Inside Story: Readers’ tips on alfresco furniture 46 Buying Guide: Great finds for your outdoor space 54 Dreary to Dreamy: The inside story of a fab renovation 60 Home Help: Handy ways to get things fixed or improved 62 Serviced Suites: A home away from home near Haji Lane 64 Street Talk: What it’s like living in Ang Mo Kio

34 Inside a heritage home

LIFE & FAMILY 70 News 72 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 74 Around Town: Photos from openings, events and more 76 Reviewed:

86 Party Pals:

Locations for your kid’s next birthday bash

90 Sports Spotlight:

Girls’ contact rugby in Singapore

93 Education Focus:

Teaching life skills to special needs students

94 Settling Down: Coping with relocation 96 Earth Watch:


Popular podcasts and Netflix shows

78 Girl Power:

Are rising oceans affecting Singapore?

Outdoor furnishing

Our awesome Ambassador for a Day project

98 Business Profile:

82 Fun for All:

An entrepreneurial duo making great strides

Enjoy the British Club’s Family Day

100 Helping Hands:

84 Fresh from the Florist: Workshops and other updates

Our latest on volunteer opportunities




128 A caving adventure

like no other

WINE & DINE 108 News 112 Bar Tab:

A new and notable spot for a tipple

114 Tea Time:

Putting the city’s top afternoon teas to the test

118 Recipe Corner:

Fail-safe favourites to add to your repertoire

TRAVEL 124 News 126 Destination Focus:

Vietnam tips and recommendations 128 Journey to the Lost World: Into the world’s biggest cave in Vietnam 134 Travel for Two: Romantic escapes around the globe 136 London to Liverpool: The best of British culture

114 The best of high tea




STYLE & BEAUTY 144 Style News 148 Buying Guide: 150 Beauty News 152 Tried & Tested:

148 xxxxx x x xxx x x x x xxx

Our favourite menswear labels

The EL team reviews new products

154 Insights:

All about natural organic skincare

HEALTH & FITNESS 162 News 164 Life Coaching:

How to beat negativity

166 Expert Voice:

148 Menswear trends and accessories

The importance of regular eye exams

168 Sun & Skin:

How to properly protect yourself

172 Fitness Focus: Spartan Race diaries

168 What you need to know to protect your skin

REGULARS 175 Numbers & Websites 176 Horoscopes for June

178 Advertiser List 180 Parting Shot:

Life lessons from a four-year-old



pinterest.com/expatlivingSG instagram.com/expatlivingSG







HotLotz Online Art Auction (6-24 JUNE)

Get your hands on stylish and sophisticated pieces to display in your home. Drop by the HotLotz showroom from Tuesday to Saturday to view the lots in person. Bidding closes at 8pm on 24 June. Register online to see the auction catalogue. hotlotz.com DANCE, THEATRE & CONCERTS Mozart 36 (7-9 JUN) This performance will feature home-grown female violinist Tee Khoon Tang and British pianist Sam Haywood. Their evening concert will be on 7 June at the Esplanade Recital Studio, while on 8 and 9 June there will be specially designed interactive concerts for children up to age 12 at The Artground. Tickets from Sistic and tangteekhoongrandseries.com.

Paris Opera Ballet

The Planets (19 JUN)

The Singapore National Youth Orchestra and alumni will join the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra to perform a line-up from Holst’s The Planets . Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic. INALA – A Zulu Ballet (19-22 JUN) Look forward to an exhilarating fusion of South African and Western cultures at the show’s Southeast Asian premiere. It will see Singaporean dancer Adelene Stanley perform alongside the Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir and multi- award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin. Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from Sistic. Paris Opera Ballet (21-23 JUN) This famous ballet troupe will be making its way to town in June and performing works by three well-known choreographers: William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins and Crystal Pite. Esplanade Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

HotLotz Online Art Auction




FAMILY Professor Brian Cox Universal World Tour 2019: Live on Stage (8 JUN) Get some fascinating insights into nature through imagery from telescopes and space probes, in this tour of the acclaimed English physicist. Visual highlights include a journey into a black hole. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Introduction to Tanglin Nursery (14 JUN) Get a glimpse into the world of a Tanglin Trust School Nursery child. Hosted by the Head of Nursery, the morning will include a tour of the open classroom environment, outdoor learning areas and stimulating facilities and resources. Register on the school website. Tanglin Trust School. tts.edu.sg Aviva Superfundae (15 JUN) Enjoy a fun day out with the family at Aviva Superfundae this June, with a host of games and activities on offer including outdoor dashes, art workshops and more. The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. Tickets from Sistic.

Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore

Children’s Festival 2019 by Gardens by the Bay (15-30 JUN) The Supertree Grove will be transformed into a colourful carnival filled with family-friendly games and activities, inspired by Buzz, Woody and the gang from Toy Story . Gardens by the Bay The Jungle Adventure: A Romp on the Wild Side (29 JUN – 7 JUL) Inspired by The Jungle Book , this original musical puppet show tells the tale of Mowgli and his journey through the jungles of Southeast Asia to find who he is and where he belongs. The Pavilion at Far East Square. Tickets from Sistic. Step into the past and witness the evolution of Singapore’s landscape between the 1930s and 1970s. The works feature everything from idyllic rural villages to boats along the Singapore River. National Gallery Meet the Author with Megan K. Stack (6 JUN) National Book Award finalist Megan K. Stack will be having a reading of her latest book Women’s Work . There’ll also be a Q&A session, wine, nibbles and signed books available for purchase. Emperor’s Attic Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture (15 JUN – 15 SEP) This exhibition presents a dialogue between historical and contemporary Chinese design, juxtaposing 29 embroidered masterworks by Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei with 20 Chinese art masterpieces in the Asian Civilisations Museum’s collection. Asian Civilisations Museum ARTS & CULTURE Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore (UNTIL 9 JUN)

Professor Brian Cox Universal World Tour 2019

15 JUNE2019



The Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge (3 JUL) One of Cambridge’s finest mixed-voice ensembles, this choir’s extensive repertoire includes Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Dixit Dominus . Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic.

The Show – A Tribute to ABBA (5 JUL) This tribute to one of the world’s most loved band features original ABBA musicians, saxophonist Ulf Andersson and guitarist Janne Schaffer. Look forward to all the classics, from “Mamma Mia” to “Money Money Money”. Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from Sistic. Ballet Under The Stars (5-14 JUL) Look forward to two weekends of a stunning line-up as Ballet Under the Stars returns for its 24th edition. The show includes classic acts from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker . Fort Canning Green. Tickets from Sistic. Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities (6-21 JUL) Cirque du Soleil is back in town with one of its most popular touring shows. Kurios follows an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimensions. Big Top, Bayfront Avenue. Tickets from Sistic. Jesse McCartney (14 JUL) Don’t miss Jesse live in his first concert in Singapore in July. The American singer-songwriter will perform all his hits including “She’s No You” and “Right Where You Want Me”. Gateway Theatre. Tickets from Apactix.


Jesse McCartney

Russ – Live in Singapore (24 JUL)

The American rapper and songwriter will be in town for one night only this month. His music is inspired by 50 Cent and Eminem, as well as the classic rock he listened to as a child. ZEPP@Big Box Singapore. Tickets from Sistic. Sheena Easton: For Your Eyes Only (28 JUL) Grammy award-winning singer Sheena Easton is performing live in Singapore, showcasing her popular tunes such as “Morning Train”, “Modern Girl” and her signature Oscar-nominated James Bond theme, “For Your Eyes Only”. Gateway Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.

: www.expatliving.sg

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




Stories for All

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 Yoong Keng Chi a bottle of champagne for the feedback on our April issue.

I just read Melinda Murphy’s article, “Women Rule!”, in the March edition of EL (p95) and wanted to share my appreciation for this piece of well written and authentic content in a magazine that also contains a lot


My daughter is ten.When anybody asks herwhat shewants to bewhen shegrowsup, she says, “The first femalepresidentof the United States.” Shemeans it, too. But let’s face it: justearning the right tovotehasbeenanarduous journey forwomen. The Isle ofMan gavewomen landowners the right to vote in 1881, followedby theBritishcolonyofNewZealand in1893.The most recentcountry toopenup thepolls towomen?SaudiArabia, wherewomen voted for the first time in2015. Becomingaheadof statehasbeenevenmorechallenging.Sure, therehavebeenqueensover the centuries,going all thewayback to the nineteenth century BC when Egypt’s Sobekneferu ruled. After her death, it took 400more years before anotherwoman, Hatshepsut,wouldbenamedpharaoh. The road forwomen to run a country inmodern timeshasbeen pavedbymanyextraordinarywomen inotherareasofpolitics.The first femaleambassador inmodernhistorywasAlexandraKollontai, appointed ambassador from the SovietUnion to Sweden in 1932. Imaginewhat itwas like to beher,negotiating betweenmen back whenwomenweren’t supposed to evenhave anopinion? Shewas also one of the firstwomen activists, organisingmassmarches for working-classwomen andpeasants. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became the modernworld’s first femaleheadofgovernment.Since then,only 76women have served as heads ofmodern states, thoughmany were appointed to or inherited theposition. In1974,Argentina’s IsabelMartinezdePeronbecame the firstmodern femalepresident of anynation, inheriting theofficewhenherhusband JuanPeron died in office (shehadbeenhisVP). Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob is one of the few female heads of state in theworld today. Expat Living’sMELINDA MURPHY takes a look at female leaders whohavegonebeforeher.

InternationalWomen’sDay ison8March, and the theme this year is “Balance forBetter”. Still,we’vecomea longway sincemygrandmothercarried ahomemade signandmarched the streetsofNewYorkback in the20s,demanding the right tovote.Whoknows?Maybe my daughterwill be the first female president. I personally hope theUS elects awomanbefore she’sold enough to take office.Maybe she’llhave to sether sights a littlehigher. Rarely does awomanwin the popular vote, somewhat the oppositeofwhathappened inthe2016USelectionwhenHillary Clintonwon thepopular vote,butdidn’t earn thepresidency. (American elections are decided by the electoral college and not thepopularvote.) Currently, there are only 26 female elected heads of state, representing 15 percent of the total number of international leaders, themost ever in history. This includes Singapore’s HalimahYacobwhowas electedunopposed in2017.We live in a coolplace! Inmany cases,women only remain inpower formonths oracoupleofdayseven.Bangladeshhas themost totalyears served by female leaders.Dame Pearlette Louisy from Saint Luciaheldoffice for20 years and105days,makingher the longest-ever serving femalehead of state.Wow. Asia is a bit different. According to the International BusinessTimes, most female heads of state have beenwives or daughters of rulers. IndiraGandhiwas a pretty unusual case; even though shewas thedaughterof aPrimeMinister, she refused to assume the rolewhen he died. Instead, she chose tobecomeacabinetministerand, in1996 (sevenyears afterher fatherdied), shewonanelection tobecome thePM. In theUS,my home,morewomen have been elected than ever,making up about a quarter of both Congress and the Senate. Still, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, that only puts theUS 75th out of 193 countries, tyingwith Montenegro. Rwanda currently has the largest percentage of women inparliament.

95 MARCH2019

Timely Advice

of sponsored articles. (Not to criticise – I know that’s how the magazine survives.) After I typed this letter, I actually realised Melinda was also the one who wrote the article about Aidha (and me!) in the same issue – which is why I’m holding the magazine in my hands. Thank you for this. – Laura Ed: Thank you for recognising that we have to be commercial; yes, we couldn’t pay for the print bill otherwise! But we always try and include interesting and helpful articles whatever their source, so it’s good to know you enjoyed the read.

As always, Expat Living is filled with personal narratives and nuggets of useful information. One example is the article called “Mama, what is he doing?” from the April issue (p87). These tips are just in time for me to address my own child’s queries about children with disabilities and special needs. I can’t thank you enough for the great work! I can always spend many wonderful hours engrossed in reading Expat Living . – Yoong Keng Chi


What’s thebestway to respondwhen kids ask about childrenwith special needs? WHAT IS HE DOING?

Integrated International School’s Founding Principal and Clinical PsychologistDRVANESSAVONAUER shares six tipsonhowparentscan

bestaddresschildren’snaturalcuriosityaboutpeoplewith differences ordisabilities. #1Actnormally It’s a normal part of our human experience to interact with people who are different from us. If your child asks you about a physically challenged person in awheelchair, take a casual and explanatory toneby saying, “Somepeopleuse their legs towalk, and

#4Answerquestionswith honesty

Children are naturally curious and ask a lot of questions. Being honest is better than avoiding the situation or feeling embarrassed. If your child is staring at apersonwhomay appeardifferent, open the conversation with a short and matter-of-fact description thatwill answer your child’s questions while showing them that thepersonhasnothing to be ashamed of. #5Leadbyexample Instilling values, such as community and inclusion, teaches children to embrace differences andmakes everyone feel included. Ifyouseeachildwithspecial needs, smile, say “Hello” and talk to the parents. If you approach the parents in a comfortable and friendly way, it’smuch easier for your child to do the same. #6Encouragekindnessand understanding

someuse awheelchair toget around.” If a child asks about another child’s self-stimulatorybehaviours, suchashand-flapping,parroting sentencesor spinning exhibited by some children on the Autism Spectrum, take the sameapproachand say, “Somechildren show theirexcitementby flapping theirhands.”Keep the informationsimpleat first,soyourchildcanprocess thediscussion and followupwithquestions later. #2Read together Educate your child and show them that every person is unique in their ownway.Books are ahelpful anduseful toolbecause theynaturally incite curiosity and conversation. There are plenty of informative and friendly picture books that discuss special needs and differences. Talkwith your child about labels such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, sensoryprocessingdisorderandhearing impairment.Spend time together anddiscusspeople’sdifferences and the effects that they canhave. #3Emphasise similarities Explain the commonalities your child likely has with special needs children.Theyhave the same feelings, like tohave fun, love their families andprobably share a favouriteDisneymovie.Discussing similaritieswill show your child that beingdifferentdoesnotdefine aperson,much like your children’s physical characteristics don’t define them. Emphasising similaritiesalsohelpschildrenacknowledge thatbeingdifferent isnothing tobe ashamed of. It justmakes our friends and our livesmore colourful.

Children copy their parents in almost everything they do, and absorb everything they hear.When talking about someone with special needs, it’s importantnot touse terminology thatwouldmake someone feel left out or imply that they are “less than”. Your children can often sense whatever mum or dad is feeling. Feeling nervous, awkward or afraid around peoplewith differenceswill only be passed down to yourmini-me. Even if you are nervous, put those feelings aside and respond positively and calmly when encountering people with differences or disabilities. Your kiddos will follow your actions.

Integrated InternationalSchooloffersan inclusiveenvironment forchildren frompreschool to secondary school.

IIS is located at41SunsetWay, #01-01ClementiArcade. 64664475 | iis.edu.sg



Ed: Thank you – glad we got the timing just right!

Things to Do

I have lived in Singapore for about 13 years, and although it’s been such a long time, I always look forward to receiving my copy of Expat Living as it shows me another side of Singapore that I may not know of. Thanks for the articles and the details of events – I always refer to them for ideas on what to do. The travel articles are my favourite; I have my fingers crossed that I get the chance to visit all those destinations someday! – Lilian Ed: Thanks so much for your lovely email and feedback, Lilian. It’s good to know the magazine is still helpful for you. There’s so much going on in Singapore; I do think it’s nice to have everything mentioned in one place in the magazine and online so readers don’t have to look in various places for all the info.

Email us at info@expatliving.sg


JUNE 2019


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

Singapore’s Old Temples Curious about the impressive ancient temples and churches around town? One of the coolest things about living in Singapore is the mix of cultures – and, with that, comes a mix of religions. Walk around in any part of the island and you will stumble across a temple or church of some sort, some of them simply stunning. The temples listed below are all more than a hundred years old. Each has undergone major renovations throughout the years to help take them into the next century. # 1 Yueh Hai Ching Temple 30B Philip Street


With the recent opening of Jewel Changi Airport, and Terminal 5 construction work soon to begin, Singapore’s international airport continues to forge into the future. But what of its past? Here are some facts. Singapore Changi Airport opened in 1981. Before that, the air base at Paya Lebar served as the country’s international airport (1955-1981). Singapore’s first international airport, though, was Kallang Airport, which operated from 1937 to 1955. Famous aviator Amelia Earhart described the Kallang facility as “an aviation miracle of the East”. Changi Airport was built on the site of the existing Changi airbase, built by World War II prisoners-of-war from 1943 to 1944. Two huge advantages of moving the international airport from Paya Lebar to Changi were the availability of reclaimed land for construction, and the fact that noise pollution could be minimised because planes could fly over the sea. Plenty of these ( right ) were needed to build Changi Airport: the first phase of construction cost S$1.3 billion. Several more billions have been spent on upgrades and new terminals since then. The first flight to touch down at Changi was Singapore Airlines SQ101, from Kuala Lumpur, which landed at 7am on 1 July 1981 with 140 passengers on board. Changi had only a single terminal for the first nine years of operation. Terminal 2 opened in 1990. Anyone lost A HAMSTER? Well over 3,000 lost or abandoned items are found at Changi Airport every month, and they’re not all smartphones and wallets. Here are some of the more unusual things that have turned up in the various terminals in recent times: • A full-size bed frame A one-cent Singapore coin from 1980

While nobody is really sure when it was built, this is one of Singapore’s oldest Taoist temples. The earliest written record of the structure goes back to 1826, just seven years after Sir Stamford Raffles arrived. Originally built by the Chaozhou people, the temple sat on Singapore’s coastline to worship the Goddess of the Sea. Now, it’s surrounded by high-rises. A major feature of the building is the extensive use of tidal inlaid porcelain, the figures drawn from classic folktales or myths. # 2 Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka Keng Cheow Street This is Singapore’s oldest mosque, built in 1820 by the Aljunied family in an area known as Kampong Melaka, set aside by the Raffles Town Plan for the Muslim community. Now? It sits in the middle of a Chinese community. The original surau (prayer house) was a simple wooden structure with an attar roof, replaced in 1955 by a brick structure. In 2009, the roof of the mosque was replaced and there were additions of new classrooms, a women’s prayer area and a new resource centre for both Muslims and non-Muslims to learn about Islam. # 3 Armenian Apostolic Church of St Gregory the Illuminator Singapore Hill Street Singapore’s first Christian church was designed by an Irish architect named George Coleman and built in 1835. Construction funds were raised mostly by Singapore Armenians, as well as Armenians of Calcutta and Java. The simple church originally had a bell tower, which has since been replaced by a spire. The vaulted ceiling and cupola reflects traditional Armenian Church architecture, and the painting above the altar is of Christ and his Apostles at the Last Supper.

• A pet hamster (later reunited with its owner) • A 1kg gold bar valued at approximately S$50,000 (also reunited with its owner) • Worn dentures • Adult toys




#4 Thian Hock Keng 158 Telok Ayer Street

Fact File Did you know there is an annual event in Singapore known as Eat With Your Family Day? It’s been running for 16 years, and was launched by the Centre of Fathering in 2003 after studies showed that as many as eight out of 10 Singaporeans didn’t have dinner with their families on weekdays. The event encourages organisations to let staff leave the office at 5pm on the day, so they can get home for a family meal. The next Eat With Your Family Day is on 6 September this year.

Hokkien immigrants used to get off the boat from China and go straight to this temple to give thanks to Mazu, Goddess of the Seas. Built on what at the time was a sandy beach in 1828, the temple represents a traditional southern Chinese architectural style; amazingly, its pillars of ironwood, granite and carved stonework were all assembled without any nails. The “swallowtail” rooftop is perhaps its most noted feature. Major renovations have strived to preserve the original structure.

#5 Sri Mariamman Temple 244 South Bridge Street

If you’ve walked through Chinatown, you’ll have seen the gorgeous gopuram (entrance tower) of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, originally a place of worship from people from Southern India. The first wooden structure was built by a clerk from the British East India Company in 1827 and contained a small deity that can still be seen today. The building has undergone several renovations, with

the stunning entrance being added in the 1960s. For many years, it was the only place Hindus could get married. Now, the main festival celebrated here is Theemithi (fire-walking ceremony), held annually in October/November. #6 Nagore Dargah 140 Telok Ayer Street

Completed in 1830, this Indian Muslim temple was a memorial dedicated to Shahul Hamid, a saint from India who propagated Islam through his noble work and curing the sick. The building is a replica of a structure in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which houses Shahul Hamid. It is now an Indian Muslim Heritage Centre.

Think you know Singapore well? Where are these two walkways with views? Click!

See these pages in our August issue for the answer!

Last month: The pink MRT station is Redhill MRT in Bukit Merah.

23 JUNE2019


54 Renovation Recap: A successful

transformation tale

E&A Interiors

60 Home Help: Handymen, cleaners, tech support and more

34 Heritage Homes: A peek inside a colonial shophouse

42 Inside Story: Living the outdoor life!



TechTr ubleshooting


Goodbye Cable Services! I’ve heard StarHub is discontinuing cable services on 30 June; how will this affect me?

The move from the old coax network to the latest generation fibre network is causing many people a problem, not only with the loss of cable TV services but also for overall Wi-Fi coverage at home. This is because the fibre termination point may not be installed in the right place to enable the router to effectively transmit Wi-Fi and for the TV to be connected to the internet. What can I do to make sure I don’t lose my TV shows and Wi-Fi? You’ll need to have your TV connected to the fibre network via a data point in order to watch StarHub or MioTV. If your Wi-Fi signal is poor, you’ll also need the data point to access internet TV services like Netflix. If you don’t have a data point close to your TV, additional wiring can be installed but it can be costly and disruptive, and often requires installing unsightly trunking around the house. One great solution is to use specialised equipment called MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) that utilises the existing coax StarHub cables to connect the TV to the fibre network. But how can installing MoCA help me? By installing MoCA equipment, you can easily get access to fibre TV services. Plus, all the old StarHub cable points in your home can then be used as data points. In most cases, this means that fibre internet can be distributed around the house to areas that may have lacked good coverage, at speeds of up to 1gbps. How can I get MoCA installed and how much does it cost? Tekkie Help can ensure your home is fully functional after the switch to fibre network. MoCA installation starts at $360 for the connection of one main point.

Just Anthony’s annual sale is back! Until the end of July, in addition to some amazing sale prices, you’ll also receive $50 off for every $500 you spend storewide. Check out the collection of antique and reproduction furniture at 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road .

Vauban Buffets These gorgeous reclaimed t e a k b u f f e t s f r om Naturalis Historia are now available in three style variations with two different door options – rattan or louvre. You can

also add extra shelving if you need to. They’re also designed with interchangeable doors, so you can opt for a new look in the years to come, by purchasing another set of doors from the collection. Visit ndo.com.sg or see the showroom at 48 Hillview Terrace, #07-02 .

For further advice and help, or to book an appointment, call Tekkie Help on 8113 8682. Quote “Expat Living” for a ten percent discount on hourly rates. tekkiehelp.com




New Venetian Textiles at Altfield Rubelli interior textiles are now available exclusively in Singapore through Altfield Interiors. The newest collection for Spring 2019 features high-performance child- and pet-friendly fabrics in stunning patterns and colours, as well as decorative designs alluding to the brand’s long Venetian history using contemporary silks and jacquards. It’s available to view at the Altfield showroom at #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower, 1 Magazine Road .

Black & Walnut Expands Previously focusing on multi-functional furniture for small spaces, the company has now expanded to offer a complete range of home furniture and furnishings. Black & Walnut has debuted its collection with its new flagship store at 43 Keppel Road and another concept store at 10 Ubi Techpark, #01-21 . Plus, all the pieces are customisable so you can make a grand statement! Visit the store to enjoy exclusive offers for Expat Living readers.

Under the Hammer! For me, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid the realities of our changing climate. On the other hand, knowing how to make a genuine difference is not always easy. My passion for auctions came from the thrill of discovering beautiful things at “wallet-friendly” prices. However, in their own small way, auctions are also playing their part in helping to save the planet. This might sound far-fetched but think about it: buying pre-owned, up-cycling vintage and collecting fine antiques is all sustainability in action. In essence, it’s simply re-using and recycling – it even has a minimal carbon footprint because everything is consigned locally. So, next time you’re updating your décor, have a look at what’s going under the hammer before you buy new. You might be surprised how satisfying helping to save the planet can be!

Re-use and recycle, with added fun!

Breaking News! HotLotz is holding its first Certified Loose Gemstones timed

auction on 13 June! Visit hotlotz.com for details.

Matthew Elton is the founder of HotLotz Auction House. HotLotz has weekly Interiors & Antiques online auctions of eclectic items every Thursday night. Visit hotlotz.com for catalogues, download the app, or pop in for a visit at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15.




Shed Some Light OnIt

On the Move! After seven years at its iconic store in Cluny Court, Bungalow 55 has moved! Check out the new light-filled space at Dempsey Hill, which is open from 10am to 5.30pm every day. 8D Dempsey Road, #03-04.

We’ve all opened our monthly electricity bill and had a shock. But here’s a way to help reduce your bill. Licensed electricity retailer iSwitch services over 60,000 residential customers and over 3,000 businesses in Singapore, offering a variety of plans with up to 30 percent savings off your electricity bill. Online sign-up is a fuss-free, five- minute process and comes with some attractive perks: No supply change: Changing providers will not affect your electricity supply. You’ll still receive your electricity from Singapore’s national power grid – iSwitch just takes care of the transfer. Concerned about relocation or expatriation? If you’re unsure how long you’ll be in Singapore, or you may be moving address soon, don’t worry; iSwitch has 12-, 24- and 36-month plans. Plus, if you do have to relocate or expatriate, you only pay a small flat fee rather than an Early Termination Charge. Easy payment options: As an iSwitch customer, you can set up a recurring credit card payment each month. This means you can enjoy automatic payments and allow those credit card points to add up each month! Green certified electricity at no additional cost: The company retains a focus on a more sustainable future; through the iSwitch2Green programme, you’ll enjoy green certified electricity at no additional cost, if you sign up online. Wondering which plan would work for you? Fixed Price plan: Lock in your electricity rate so you know exactly how much you’re going to spend each month, no matter what the regulated tariff is. Discount Off Tariff plan: Choose this plan for a significant discount off the prevailing regulated tariff every month.

Perfect Memento It can be a struggle to find that ideal Singaporean gift to send home for your loved ones. The Singapore Streets Collection featuring tea towels, postcards and posters with original Hollis Carney prints has just been launched at Naiise Iconic in the Jewel Terminal, Changi Airport. Iconic motifs, historical landmarks, cityscapes and colours are depicted so you can take a bit of Singapore with you. Visit the store or see more at holliscarney.com .

Sign up today iswitch.com.sg/promo . Expat Living readers receive an exclusive rate until 30 June 2019.



For a

... a queen-size mattress and bedsheet set from European Bedding, worth over $5,300 !




Enter our competition and you’ll stand the chance to win a queen-size Heveya latexmattress II (worth$4,788) andaqueen-sizeHeveyabamboo sheet set (worth $558), including two pillowcases, a fitted sheet and a duvet cover.

About the company European Bedding is a premium bedding store in Tiong Bahru that recognises the demand for a sleeping system that focuses on good back support and individual needs, rather than fancy looks alone – that’s why it specialises in natural organic latex mattresses. About the mattress Natural latex’s elasticity is well- known to provide excellent sleeping comfort. As it moulds to the contour of your body, it also gives great support to ensure proper spinal alignment for a restful sleep. European Bedding uses only 100 percent certified natural organic latex in its Heveya mattress. That means no pesticides, fertilisers, heavy metals, VOCs or other chemicals that can put health in harm’s way. On top of being naturally anti-mould and dust mite-resistant, it comes with a removable and cleanable cover, made of luxurious and soft bamboo fibre and filled with organic cotton padding. So, you can rest easy knowing that you sleep in a healthier environment.

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


Simplygo to expatliving.sg/competitions and let us knowwhy you think anorganic latex mattress will help you sleep and live better. Increase your chances by liking the @european_bedding Instagram page and sharing the post!

33 JUNE2019

The shophouses of Joo Chiat and Katong have a long and rich heritage, which is being preserved by their modern-day inhabitants. We’re invited into one that has been meticulously rejuvenated – and we find out why a boy from Yorkshire has chosen to settle in Singapore.





Who lives here: Mike

Collins and his three sons who visit often Time in Singapore: 18 months Size and type of home: Three-storey, three-bedroom

traditional shophouse Décor style: Colonial elegance

35 JUNE2019

T he first thing that strikes me when I meet Mike Collins at his impeccably styled Joo Chiat shophouse is his voice – 30 years after leaving Yorkshire, his lilting accent remains, delivered in a tone that is deep and magnetic. The second thing I notice is his imposing stature. You can easily see thatMike, asChairman and CEO of Command Recruitment Group, is used to “commanding” a room. I’m transfixed as he starts to tell me about his expat journey. “I arrived in Sydney in 1990 at the age of 25. I didn’t have a job and I soon realised my background as an oil and gas engineer wasn’t really a required skill, as they don’t do oil and gas in Sydney!” After visiting numerous, unhelpful recruiters, Mike took matters into his own hands and started Command so he could help other engineers. Nearly 30 years later, he has offices across Australia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and soon Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. “A year and a half ago,” Mike tells me, “I realised I needed to get out of Sydney; it was too isolated. I’d always lived in the same area of Tamarama, and each of the six homes I’d been in was within a 500-metre radius of the others. I needed to experience more.”

Lord of the Manor Mike’s brother was the first to move over to Sydney to join him, then his sister and finally his parents came too. But when all the siblings decided to leave Australia recently, his parents went back to England. “This is what motivated me to go home for the first time since I left. I also wanted to show my eldest son Henry where I was from and where his Granny and Grandad live.” Was going back home after so many years a shock? “Yes, because I expected everything to have changed. But it hadn’t. My village looked the same. It’s so rural and real Yorkshire people just don’t want to change! The view from the front door was exactly the same. Even the same people were popping by for a cuppa! It was typically cold and wet, but I liked it. Plus, I got to have a decent pint of bitter and a proper pork pie for the first time in 30 years!” Mike even took Henry to see the home he had grown up in. “He’s only ever lived in Tamarama. So, to see a huge English manor house – with land, stables, a trout lake, market garden, 14 bedrooms, a servants’ wing and a forest that went all the way around – was a whole new world to him! Don’t let that paint a golden spoon image; my parents instilled work ethic, values, principles, honesty in all of their children and we had to stand up for ourselves.”

Above: The dining room

table is Mike’s favourite item. He likes to sit here, see the house and hear the koi pond bubbling. The original antique Chippendale dining chairs were sourced, refurbished and reupholstered by Cocoon Styling and the French hand- painted dinner set is over 100 years old.




Shophouse Living When Mike made the decision to move to Singapore, he knew he didn’t want to live in an apartment. He refers to them as “soulless boxes in the sky”. His Joo Chiat shophouse certainly isn’t soulless. As I stepped through the double entry doors, I felt like I was going back in time – back to a time of prosperity, luxury, elegance and a more refined style of living. The interior design of his home is the innovation of Karin Rysgaard from Cocoon Styling, and evokes the Raffles Hotel of the early 1900s. Dark, rich colonial tones sit perfectly against this 1930s traditional terraced building. “When I met Karin, I had no idea she would be able to create something so perfect for me. I said, ‘you’ve got a clean slate’ . We worked together to understand what the shophouse would feel like. Then I left it up to her. I just wanted to arrive and be amazed. And by god was I; it was incredible! The day I moved in, I arrived with just one suitcase, and I didn’t have to do a thing. The beds weremade, therewere freshlywashed towels and the fridge was even filled with food and, more importantly, champagne! There’s not one thing in this house she chose that I don’t love.” Being surrounded by antiques when he was growing up, Mike knew he wanted his shophouse to reflect a certain time in Singapore’s history. Even his coffee table is authentic. “It was originally in Raffles!” he proudly tells me.

Above: Mike’s favourite room, the lounge: “It’s open, with lots of volume. I never feel ‘closed in’ here.” Left: The koi pond and water feature in the courtyard, which transformed a previously dead space.

37 JUNE2019

Building a Business At its height in 2008, Command had risen to 13 offices and 250 staff across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. But then the financial crisis hit and he had to downsize. “That was one of the toughest times I’ve ever had to face in business. Some of the people had been with me for over 10 years.” As I’m learning, Mike always manages to see a lighter side. “Many had evenmet their partners at work – though I’m a bit disappointed, as not one of them called their child Michael! I still remain good friends withmany of the peoplewho have worked with me over the years.” But he did manage to keep Command going. Mike admits he had always liked visiting the office in Singapore before moving here. “It’s a great easy place to live and work. It’s multicultural, and has some of the best food and restaurants in the region.”

Right: “In the ensuite, I love the 1800s etchings featuring birds; they’re from HotLotz Auction House.” Below: “I’d always wanted a four-poster bed. When I heard one of Karin’s clients was

leaving, I snapped it up.”




These days, Joo Chiat is well known for its Peranakan shophouses and has become a popular foodie destination. The area first made a name for itself during the 19th- century when wealthy residents used it as a weekend retreat. Most of the buildings were built in the 1930s in what is known as the Late Shophouse style. When the Japanese occupied Singapore during the 1940s, the area housed army officers. There are reports that Joo Chiat had a more sullied past – as a housing area for “comfort women” during the occupation. In 2011, Joo Chiat was named by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and People’s Association (PA) as the first Heritage Town in Singapore, with a view to promoting and retaining the Peranakan c u l t u r e i t p r o u d l y champions.

Top: Mike ’ s nickname for the guest room is “The Pineapple Suite”! Left: When his two youngest sons come to visit, the loft space makes a great retreat for them and their friends.

39 JUNE2019

Living in Singapore Mike is obviously thriving in his new home city. “I love the development that is happening here – more MRT stations mean less cars on the road. And even the ability to ride electric scooters around the place amazes me; it’s nice to see a country with some foresight.” I ask if he’s happy and settled here. “I’ve really enjoyed my time in Singapore. I’ve met some great people and I’m starting to do some good business.” Mike then has to rush off to a meeting, so we bid our farewells and I time-travel forward to the present day again.

“My home office has lots of natural light; it’s a nice place to sit and work.”




HOME HotLotz Auction House (“They have amazing stuff, but I don’t have the space for everything I

see and want there!”) #01-15 Cendex Center 120 Lower Delta Road 6254 7616 | hotlotz.com

Taylor B (“One of the first places we went; I bought lots, like the mirror, the Buddha and the cabinets”) 43 Keppel Road, Level 3 & 4 6206 9736 | taylorbdesign.com Haji Tawakal Carpets (“Saeid is such a good salesman, I walked out with seven rugs – I should send my staff there for training!”) 50 Arab Street 6292 2340 Karin Rysgaard, Cocoon Styling (“None of this would have been possible without her”) 34 Lorong Kembangan 8126 6265 | cocoonstyling.com WINE & DINE The English House by Marco Pierre White (“fabulous 1920s English décor and music, and a very British menu – the rack of lamb is spectacular”) 28 Mohamed Sultan Road Spago at Marina Bay Sands 10 Bayfront Avenue La Brasserie at The Fullerton Bay (“I love a good brunch and this

Mike with designer Karin Rysgaard from Cocoon Styling

is my favourite”) 80 Collyer Quay

41 JUNE2019

Outside! Looking to spruce up your balcony, terrace or garden? How about some new outdoor furniture? Read where these readers found theirs.

Liz Caton, British, and her sons Samand Joe

We’d just moved to Singapore from Switzerland and into a new house with a large outdoor terrace. We needed new furniture so we could really make the most of the outdoor space and the climate! We weren’t sure what we wanted, but a good balance of quality, design and price was important. It had to be durable so it could stand up to both the rain and the sun. And we really wanted delivery as fast as possible. We ordered an L-shaped sofa with coffee table, cushions and matching storage from Woody Antique House . Wei Chin and her team were so helpful and friendly, making it very easy. They offered great advice on our decision, plus the ability to deliver quickly; and there was no hard sell, just genuinely great customer service. Finalising the order was quick and easy too, and the delivery came on time with no hassle. We were so happy with the purchase that I’ve already been back to buy more from the store! It’s a very helpful, customer-focused and friendly place to buy from. I enjoyed the shopping experience and the furniture is beautiful. Plus, nothing was toomuch trouble for the team.

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

Neil and Cheryl Sullivan, American

We recently moved to Singapore and our condo had a nice outdoor space that we wanted to furnish, as we didn’t bring any outdoor furniture with us. We have two dogs (Basset Hounds) that love to be near us all the time. We required a sectional sofa so they could share the space with us, without us all being on top of each other! We also wanted a table and chairs for outdoor dining. After doing a lot of research online and visiting a few stores, we decided that OHMM had the best quality and range for us. We ordered a sectional sofa with accent pillows, and a square dining table and four chairs. The furniture has held up well to constant use by our dogs, and it dries very quickly after rain. The team at OHMMwas really easy to work with and we’re absolutely happy with our purchases – we would definitely buy from them in the future. 30 Merchant Road, #03-09 6836 2747 | ohmm.sg



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