NOV 2019


Vote in our READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS and you could win a trip to the Maldives!





EDITOR’SNOTE I am dithering on what to do about a car – lease one or buy one? So, I’ve been cabbing a bit. And learning as I go! My most philosophical journey was with a driver called Raj, a retired businessman who had a very clear view on life. “Life is like driving a taxi,” he said. “If you’re the driver in life, you know where you’re going. If you’re a passenger in life and having a snooze in the back, you could end up anywhere.” Raj continued: “Like a driver, you need to focus on the big screen in front of you; that’s why it’s so big and wide. The rear view mirror is very small – it’s where you’ve been already, and you should only glance at it occasionally. And the side mirrors are just for a safety check for where you are right now.” Thank you, Raj! It’s a perfect anecdote, and linked into something I’d been thinking about for some time. I knew I’d been diverted from what I needed to get on and do, and that it was a pattern. It seems that just when I am near success on a particular thing, I find something to do that slows me down. Too busy looking to the sides and not focusing on the front windscreen! Aside from Raj’s words of wisdom, we’ve had some brilliant talks at our EL events recently. One that resonated in particular was Andrew Hallam’s talk on uncertain times. His message was that no time in history is certain, so stop procrastinating and get on with it! Whether you’re investing, saving or growing something, it’s the same premise. And now we need you to drive our Readers’ Choice Awards! It really helps motivate those who are doing a good job in their field, and it encourages others to do better too. Plus, there are some fabulous prizes for you to win. Turn to page 28 to see how to vote.

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Happy driving!

View from the top



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Special Projects MELINDA MURPHY Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers HARSHARAN KAUR | KELLI SHOEMAKER

Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | Production: +65 6812 1787 | Editorial & Media Releases: Calendar of Events: Events: Websites: |

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

Collector, Kevin White; The Garaj Mahal , page 40




NEWS 18 Calendar Updates: 24 Readers’ Letters 26 EL Forum:

Lamps and lights for your home 54

What’s on in the coming months

Our online antics and our upcoming events 28 Readers’ Choice Awards: Amazing prizes up for grabs! HOME & PROPERTY 32 News 40 Home Showcase: Meet one of Singapore’s great collectors 49 Furniture Feature: Tips for choosing antiques 54 Buying Guide: Bright ideas to light up your space 62 Street Talk: What it’s like living on Namly Place LIFE & FAMILY 70 News 74 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 76 Reviewed: Popular podcasts and Netflix shows

SCHOOL SPECIAL 82 Meet a high school principal 83 STEAM classes for preschoolers 85 Dulwich takes the class outdoors 86 Family life in Johor Bahru 88 12 awesome school trips 96 Parents’ guides to uni applications

78 On the Stage

Two live shows not to miss!

98 Reader

Recommendations: Two great pet services

100 Helping Hands: Our latest on volunteer opportunities 102 Catch & Release: Kayak and fishing fun in Singapore 104 Around Town: Photos from openings, events and more

School trips around the world 88




TRAVEL 138 News 140 Perfect Shot: Handy travel photography tips 142 Destination Focus: Thailand tips and reader recommendations 148 Girls’ Getaway:


An epic school bus road trip

Getting some R&R (rest and retail!) in Bangkok

152 Dream Jobs:

Meet a luxury resort designer

156 All Aboard:

The magic travelling bus


We test the best Singapore Slings

WINE & DINE 118 News 122 Review Crew: Our hunt for the superior Singapore Sling 124 Festive Eats: Dempsey dining spots for the holidays 126 Curry Corner: Sampling the island’s best Indian food 129 Business Profile: What’s cooking at Spicebox? 130 Recipe Corner: A couple of great dishes for Thanksgiving


Indian eats on the island




STYLE & BEAUTY 164 Style News 166 Cool & Casual: Everyday outfits for the tropics 170 Beauty News 174 Spot On: Aesthetic treatments for acne HEALTH & FITNESS 182 News 184 Teeth Talk: Whitening solutions, including at home 186 Man Up! 7 ways men can take control of their health 196 Families & Fitness: Fun ways to stay active with kids 198 Ace It: Reasons to try tennis REGULARS 203 Numbers & Websites 204 Horoscopes for November

206 Advertiser List 208 Parting Shot: Crisis? What crisis?


Give tennis a go!


Casual chic done right



W hat started as a game of words between House of AnLi owners Anne-Jean and Panagiotis, resulted in the name of their new culinary adventure: Pano Kato. InGreek–Panagiotis’smothertongue–PanoKato( ΠάνωΚάτω ) means ‘Upstairs Downstairs’. It refers to the pair's first retail brainchild, House of AnLi Store & Bistro, which can be found on the third level of TanglinMall, ‘upstairs’ from the newHouse of AnLi & Pano Kato, which is ‘downstairs’ on the second level. What can you expect at Pano Kato? True home-cooked Mediterranean fare–pure, unpretentious anddeliciously simple! Welcome and kαλή όρεξη!





HotLotz Online Chinese Porcelain Auction (11-25 NOV)

Affordable Art Fair Singapore (22-24 NOV) Back for its 10th edition, the exhibition will this year feature artwork from local, regional and international talents and over 80 galleries. As much as 75 percent of the art is available to purchase for under $7,500. F1 Pit Building. Cluny Court’s Christmas Fair and Market (22 NOV – 15 DEC) Held over four weekends, this annual fair will see a great mix of stalls selling festive goodies, gifts, decorations, party outfits and more. Also, drop by Santa’s Grotto for a photo op with the kids (22 November to 15 December). Donation boxes will be available at the fair and at Santa’s Grotto for donations to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Hours: 10am to 7pm Friday and Saturday; 10am to 5pm Sunday. 501 Bukit Timah Road.

This auction will feature stunning antique porcelain, jade, bamboo carvings and ancient bronze mirrors from the Quek Kiok Lee Collection. The local collector, who passed away last year, started gathering Chinese works of art in the 1960s. Over 200 lots will be exhibited in his home on 16 and 23 November. The auction closes at 8pm. Boutique Fairs: The Gifting Edition (15-17 NOV) Shop from over 350 independent retailers, including design-led and socially responsible labels. Also, enjoy food and wine from dedicated food and drink spaces at Collective and Social on level three. F1 Pit Building.

Boutique Fairs


Voilah! France Singapore Festival (UNTIL 17 NOV)

Back for six weeks in October and November, this annual French festival will feature more than 50 programmes showcasing French culture and lifestyle, and experiences in culture, education, science, lifestyle and sports. Multiple locations. A Spoonful of Sherman (20-30 NOV) Look forward to beautiful sets and nostalgic tunes from childhood films such as Mary Poppins , Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Winnie the Pooh , all written by renowned American songwriting duo, the Sherman Brothers. The musical production will showcase a talented local cast including Hossan Leong. SOTA Drama Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Singapore International Film Festival (21 NOV – 1 DEC) Back for its 30th edition, the Singapore International Film Festival returns with refreshed programmes this year, including short films produced by Akanga Film Asia.

Mumford & Sons

Neon Lights (23-24 NOV)

Look forward to a fun weekend of workshops and amazing music by top bands and artists at this outdoor festival, including Mumford & Sons, Halsey, Honne and Aurora. Fort Canning Park.






Melbourne Cup Day (5 NOV)

ARTS & CULTURE Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces November. Dig into delicious eats including turkey, potatoes and trimmings, while the kids take part in fun activities. Stamford American School. The highlight of this Iranian-American artist’s exhibition is a large installation called Sacco & Vanzetti Reading Room #3 . It includes two rooms, tables, chairs and racks with books, magazines and pencils. NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore Karen Knorr: Migrations (UNTIL 16 NOV) At this solo show, American-British photographer Karen Knorr will be showcasing a series of photos that explore ideas of migration and multiculturalism. Sundaram Tagore Singapore, Gillman Barracks Ian de Souza: Clear Light (UNTIL 8 DEC) The Australian artist will be holding his debut exhibition in Singapore, featuring his latest series of abstract ink paintings. The Private Museum At this charity event, enjoy a three-course luncheon with free- flow sparkling wine and beer. All proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research. Buy tickets at Shopping At Tiffany’s (#02-03 Tanglin Mall). Tables of 10 are available for booking. Four Seasons Hotel Singapore SCC International Rugby 7s Tournament 2019 (9-10 NOV) The SCC Rugby 7s will back for its 72nd edition in November. Watch top rugby teams from all around the world battle it out on the Padang. Tickets from Apactix. The Padang, Singapore Cricket Club. AWA Thanksgiving Picnic (24 NOV) Join the AWA for its annual Thanksgiving celebrations this for Democracy. (UNTIL 3 NOV)

BESSA: British Education & Schools Show in Asia (2 NOV) This is an opportunity to meet representatives from top British schools and education consultants and get helpful advice from experienced tutors about preparing for entrance tests and more. Jurong Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel. Halloween Family Carnival (2 NOV) An annual event by Power Kids Gym, the carnival this year includes family-friendly activities such as face painting, a haunted castle and dance arena. There’ll also be a costume contest with fun categories including best family costume and funniest costume. Skylight Atrium. Tickets from Eventbrite. Peter Pan in Serangoon Gardens (21 NOV – 22 DEC) Directed by Ivan Heng, this new musical tells the story of Wendy and her brothers who go on an adventure with Peter Pan. The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre @ Wild Rice

Halloween Family Carnival

The Private Museum – Ian de Souza





The Super Santa Christmas Show (6-8 DEC) With original music and loads of audience participation, the kids will love this fun and interactive Christmas production. Join Super Santa and The Superdudes to help save Christmas. There’ll also be a meet-and-greet with Santa and the cast after the show. Tickets from Sistic. SOTA Drama Theatre. The Great British Ball (7 DEC) Enjoy a champagne reception with tunes from a festive choir, followed by a delicious three-course Christmas dinner. Entertainment for the night includes a raffle draw, live auction, games and live music by The Countdown Band. Shangri- La Hotel.

Santa Run For Wishes (7 DEC)

At this annual fundraising event, choose to take on 2.5km, 5km or 10km runs. There will also be a carnival with festive games and kiddy rides. All proceeds go towards Make-A-Wish Singapore. Singapore Sports Hub.

Singapore Comic Con (7-8 DEC)

This year’s event line-up includes DC Comics illustrators and toy designers. Gaming fans can also look forward to rubbing shoulders with professional gaming influencers and celebrities. Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

The Snowman (12-15 DEC)

This fun live show tells the story of a young boy’s snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. Together, they set off on an adventure, meeting Father Christmas, reindeer and dancing penguins. Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Tickets from Sistic.

The Snowman


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




Courageous Tale Dear EL, I really connected with the story shared by Deborah Roques on her experience with breast cancer. Like her, I’m also young and have no family history of cancer. My diagnosis came as a shock,

BEST LETTER We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. For best letter, Sharon will receive a divine candle from To Be Calm. Each month, there’ll be

despite my healthy lifestyle. I share Deborah’s belief on how a person’s mental state matters, and how stress truly can cause cancer. I admire her for sharing her story, and for being so brave with her second bout of the disease. I’m now at my four-year mark and am always fearful of a relapse. Deborah has given me the courage and motivation to focus on the now and not think too much about what will happen. Thank you to EL for publishing this story! – Sharon Ed: I do think the fear is the most damaging of all on our health, so trying not to get caught up in that is the best thing we can do! I’m glad the story helped; all the best. Overseas Reader I no longer live in Singapore, but I ordered the book Singapore Colonial Style from the EL website ( during my current visit here – it was handed to me as I returned to my hotel this evening. Thank you for your efforts to make sure it got to me; I absolutely love it and devoured it in one sitting! Also, thanks to Anna from your team for sorting out my new digital subscription. I’m delighted to again be a subscriber to Expat Living after all these years – the mag is every bit as wonderful as I remembered, and now I can enjoy it electronically in the US. You guys rock! – Lis Young Ed: That’s brilliant, thanks! We love that you can read us from across the globe and keep in touch with Singapore.

one of their signature candles to choose from .

Adapting Lives Every time I get my hands on the magazine, I immediately flip to the Editor’s Note to see what can I expect in the issue or to read Rebecca’s words of wisdom for the month. And it never fails! This time, she said, “We have to adapt or give ourselves a bit of a push to keep going. It also helps to do as much prep as possible – research, attention to detail and planning. Then things have a better chance of being better.”

EDITOR’SNOTE Is anyonehaving to adapt to anew job,new schoolor the Singaporeheat? When Iclimbed to the topofMountOberon inAustralia lately, Iwas thinkingaboutadapting versusbeingprepared.Weknew itwasgoing tobecoldandwindy, so Ihad thermal leggings on undermy gym leggings, plus a thermal top, a thin jersey, a thick jersey, aKathmandu vest and aKathmandu jacket.And abeanie and gloves. Iwasprepared… However, Ihadn’t thought about the actualwalk, except the amazing view from the top. We setoff throughgorgeous forestupa45-degree slopeandafter tenminutes Ihad stripped offmost layers.At the stagewhere Iwas thinking simultaneously, “This is really going to be good formy thighs,” and “Iwant to gohomenow!”, it changed to a60-degree slope. At the last stage, Imet a familywith two young kids, and I thought, if they can do it, I cando it!A rocky climb tookus to the top,where the sea,gorgeousbeaches andmiles and milesof forest laybeforeus. Itwas allworth it!However, thewindwas coming straightoff theAntarctic andwedefinitelyneeded all the gearwe’dbought! Comingdownwaswonderful andwe got to really enjoy the scenery.But, the interesting partwas the uphill climb and the associated thoughts: “If I hide behind a tree and join upwith them on theway downwill anyone notice?Will Imiss out on anything if I turn aroundnow?” I realisedhow,when something isnotquitewhatwehad imagined,wehave to adaptor give ourselves abit of apush tokeep going. It alsohelps todo asmuchprep aspossible – research,attention todetailandplanning.Then thingshaveabetterchanceofbeingbetter. Look out formore adventureswith us on page 158 of this issue. There are no group walks thismonth, but ournewExpat LivingTravelClub is going on a spa retreat, andwe haveplenty of other events for you to look forward to.


I’m not an expat, but most of my friends are expats, and I realise that while there may be some benefits in being an expat, most of them miss their family, their friends and more. 6 OCTOBER2019 View from the top

View from the top

The words that Rebecca said are totally true: adapt, be positive and plan. Every level of our lives demands a different you. Again, thanks Expat Living team and keep up the good work in inspiring and surprising us. – “M” Ed: You’ve made my week :) It’s a lovely letter and I’m so glad that my monthly note is resonating. After doing it for 17 years, it can be difficult to make sure I’m still being relevant and interesting!

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October2019 Issue207

Storage... Sorted! Steakhouse StakeOut

GettingArty Workshops, Collectors &Favourites


StudentSpotlight PreschoolOutings, ToddlerTips& BoardingDiaries

Women 's Health Routine Checkups &ACancer Survivor’sTale

MCI (P)031/02/2019


JapanSkiing LaosTales WinaFamilyStaycation! Scan the QR code or visit



Our upcoming events! Visit to register.



in Singapore

DATE: 13 November 2019 TIME: 10am — 12pm PLACE: AAS Office @ 15 Scotts Road

DATE: 15 November 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.45am PLACE: Atelier by Arete PRICE: $20, including refreshments



learn the art of buying gemstones

DATES: 16 November 2019 @ 8am 19 November 2019 @ 9am PLACE: Sentosa PRICE: Free

DATE: 20 November 2019 TIME: 7pm — 9pm PLACE: HotLotz PRICE: $20, including drinks and light bites






Everything you need to know about hyaluronic acid One &only LPG Alliance Lab in Singapore DATE: 29 November 2019 TIME: 10am — 12 noon





PLACE: Beauty Hub PRICE: $10, including


DATE: 27 November 2019 TIME: 7pm — 9pm PLACE: The American Club PRICE: $10, including refreshments

goodie bag (worth $98) + complimentary treatments + refreshments


Our annual Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Vote for your favourite businesses in Singapore and you’ll stand a chance to win one of these fantastic prizes. Recommendations are what we’ve always been about at Expat Living and your contribution will help reward the people who are doing a fantastic job, as well as spread the word about them–plus you’ll be rewarded too.Win-win! Prize winners will be notified via email and results will be announced in February 2020. Good luck !

Prizes worth over $16K!


Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Three-night stay with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean in a Water Villa withpool, andbreakfast for twoat FourSeasonsResortMaldivesatKudaHuraa .

*Prizes are subject to sponsors’ own stipulated terms and conditions, which can be found at




Avani+ Samui Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Three-night stay for two adults in a beautiful pool villa at the Avani+ Samui Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand, including breakfast for two. Winners will also enjoy a one-time boat excursion to the smaller islands.

Marina Bay View Room at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

Sunday Brunch at Melt Café

Two-night stay with breakfast for two in a Marina Bay View room at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Singapore . Plus, Sunday Brunch at Melt Café for a family of four.

Vote now at

Closing Date: 30 November 2019


54 Get Lit: Lamps and lights to brighten your space

Naturalis Historia

32 New & Notable: Hot shops and what to buy right now

40 Cool Cribs: Vintage cars and antiques in this collector’s garage

62 Street Talk: The highlights of living in Namly Place



On the Move Chai’s Classic Home Collection is moving to the Tan Boon Liat Building. To celebrate, the store is giving away 75 sets of Christmas lanterns (valued at $150 each) to EL readers. To get your hands on a pair of these stunning handmade wooden and glass lanterns, just be one of the first to visit the new store from 6 December. It’s a perfect way to add Christmas cheer and festive light to your home or outdoor area – simply add an LED light or a real candle to create a warm and inviting Christmas feel. Store founder Chai Mengyin raved to EL about her new location: “We can’t wait to showcase our new collection of beautiful furniture and home décor accessories in our brighter, larger premises in a prime location. It’s the right time to expand our collection with even more high-quality, timeless and reasonably priced items.” The lanterns will be given away on a first-come- first-served basis from 6 December at Chai’s new store at #06-04 Tan Boon Liat Building . You can also view products and order online at .

Shophouse Shopping The China Collection team spent the summer completely renovating a two-storey pre-war Peranakan shophouse, and the doors have just opened. Pop in and see them at 252 Joo Chiat Road – you can’t miss the stunning Instagram-worthy blue- and-white building. For opening hours and new shipment details, visit .




Wonder Walls Altfield Interiors has relaunched its classic grass-cloth wallcovering, created in collaboration with UK-based interior designer Amelia Carter. The Designer’s Palette is a fresh take on one of Altfield’s bestselling p roduc t s , p re s en t i ng 15 new contemporary colourways. With pretty pastels and vibrant jewel tones, each one can be used as a design staple in any room and will introduce a bit of nature and texture. The beautiful panelling effect suits both classic and contemporary homes, adding a touch of luxury to any scheme. This new collection is now available at Altfield Interiors, #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower, 1 Magazine Road .

Christmas is Coming!

Can you feel it? I know, I know, it comes around quicker and quicker every year. I’ve made a promise to get myself organised a bit earlier this year. But I feel like I might say that every year! I often talk about sustainability (or “harp on”, according to my colleagues!), but it’s never more topical than at this time of the year. Millions of dollars are spent on new gifts, with many being disregarded almost immediately. Not to mention all the packaging waste. Maybe we should hold an “unwanted gifts” auction this January!

MATTHEW ELTON is the founder of HotLotz, which holds curated auctions of hand-picked, eclectic items every week. Visit for auction catalogues, download the app, or pop in for a visit at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15 Cendex Centre. Experience the excitement of a Live Auction “Join us for our Live Christmas Party Auction, featuring a specially curated collection of items that are perfect for gifts, as well as a few Christmassy drinks and nibbles!” When: 6 December (8pm) Where: The HotLotz Saleroom At HotLotz, we are passionate about encouraging people to recycle, reuse and give beautiful things a new lease on life. Buying something with a story or a history not only makes an interesting gift, but shows you have thought about the recipient. You haven’t just called into your local wine shop to buy a bottle of plonk! At HotLotz, you can pick up one-of-a-kind designer-luxe, vintage and antique pieces the recipient will love. And the best bit is that this is recycling, just with added fun! Meet the HotLotz team “Need a little kick-start for your Christmas shopping?We’ll be joining over 50 other vendors at this year’s Sentosa Fair Xmas Edition. Come along, chat to our experts, get a few tips and some gifting inspiration. Amongst other items, we’ll have a selection of vintage French champagne buckets and antique framed maps of Southeast Asia – all at ‘Buy Now’ prices.” When: 6 November (5pm to 9pm) and 7 November (10am to 6pm) Where: Constellation Ballroom at One15 Marina Club




Bedrooms & Bathrooms Step into the new Bed Bath N’ Table store at Plaza Singapura to pick up your favourites from Morgan & Finch, designer bed linen, bath towels, bathroom accessories, home décor, dinnerware and home fragrances. Level 4 .

Birthday Bonus To celebrate its 15th anniversary and show its appreciation, A-Team Amahs & Cleaners is giving EL readers a $120 discount on all agency fees for regular house-cleaning and babysitting services. Just quote “ELNov2019” when you book. Call 6100 6122 or visit .

TheEnchanted Garden Party The Arete Culture Group is taking its annual Christmas bash to enchanting new heights in the lush, private grounds of its newest showroom, Atelier by Arete, on Wednesday 26 November. Enjoy a magical night of live jazz, free-flow food and champagne. You can even take part in games under the night sky to raise funds for charity. To mark the official opening of Atelier by Arete at 20 Depot Lane, and to kick off the holiday festivities, there will be over $20,000worth of prizes given away on the night. For more details on this amazing event, visit . Want to go? Two lucky EL readers can win a pair of tickets each to this exclusive, invite-only event. Just visit to enter! Entries close on 15 November.




EntireMall of Furniture

If you’ve had enough of traipsing all around Singapore to buy home furniture, how about visiting The Furniture Mall? With 40 established stores and over 70 brands in one location, you can pick up bedroom furniture, kitchen and dining sets, living room furniture and furnishing items like curtains and carpets, all in one go. Level 1, 10 Toh Guan Road.

Troubleshooting! Tech Tip 2: Label your photos

Add metadata to individual photos to help you identify and search for them. Create albums to help organise your memories, too. Apple’s Photos app enables you to create smart albums where the software automatically organises your photos by the criteria you specify. Tip 3: Regularly remove duplicates As you download and share photos, it’s easy to accumulate duplicate images. Manually deleting these is time-consuming, and there’s a high risk of removing the original and being left with a low-res thumbnail. Invest in the right software to regularly “spring clean” your library by deleting unwanted copies. Tip 4: Back up, back up and back up again! Back up your computer regularly, including every time you transfer new images to your master library! With copies stored in different locations, you minimise the risk of losing them. We endorse the 3-2-1 backup strategy: three copies, in two formats and with one “off-site” in another location, such as the Cloud. And remember: the Cloud alone is not a backup solution. Tip 5: Future-proof your photo collection If you have photos and videos on old devices, convert them to a modern format (and scan and digitise physical photos) and upload them to your master library. Frequently evaluate new storage media options and upgrade if necessary. Tekkie Help is running a series of hands-on workshops focused on the above tips, plus editing photos, and creating books, calendars and cards. See for details and dates. For further help or to book an appointment, call 8113 8682 – and quote “Expat Living” for a 10 percent discount on hourly rates.

With smartphone cameras becoming more powerful than ever, there’s been a huge increase in the number of pictures we take. But where are all your photos actually stored? Are they backed up? The only way to protect your photo collection is to develop a good management routine; otherwise, you risk losing photos forever. Here are some tips on just that! Tip 1: Create a centralised “Master Library” Store your photos in one location, such as your main computer. Regularly consolidate photos from any devices to your master library. If your computer hard drive isn’t big enough, Tekkie Help can upgrade the hard drive to increase storage capacity.



The Pickers is a TV show about two antique dealers who drive across the US looking for cool stuff for their store. Their next stop should be Singapore and “The Garaj Mahal”, an amazing collection of carefully curated antiques, vehicles, signs and “junk”, right here in the Little Red Dot. THE GARAJ MAHAL BY MELINDA MURPHY PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL BERNABE

“I’m not really a collector, just a bad seller,” says KEVINWHITE. “People ask if things are for sale and I say ‘Nah’; I hate putting a price on anything for fear of seeing it walk out the door.” When Kevin first arrived in Singapore back in 1988, he was disturbed to see so much of the nation’s old heritage meeting the wrecking ball. He set out to save artefacts that reminded him of old Singapore – and so he bought his first enamel sign. His wife told him, “Okay, hang it in the bathroom.”





Signs of the times Within six months, he had about ten old signs covering the walls. The collection started to grow, so much so that three garage ports were built, then two more, and yet one more again. Now? All six of them are bulging with stuff from yesteryear, things that make Kevin smile. And yes, he has saved bits of old Singapore like he first set out to do. He estimates about 40 percent of what he has comes from “old Malaya”. “The signs remind me of a bygone era that I kind of wish I’d grown up in, the 30s to 70s. I specialise in mechanical things that don’t work, and signs that have multiple local languages. I love signs with grammatical or spelling mistakes. If my antique friends or ‘runners’ find a sign like that, they always bring it to me first. I like looking at the signs, imagining people at a café, drinking tea around them.” Kevin’s signs have come from all over Asia. He used to travel to Burma where there were a few junk shops that specialised in enamel signs – shops which have since disappeared. Among his favourites are a couple with interesting twists on English: “Please do not sit in the shop idealing” and “Speciel Maker of Fancy Coffins”.




The collection has gone beyond the signs – way beyond. The Garaj Mahal, as he wryly calls it, is loaded with items from the past. There are a couple of old pinball machines (one with another misspelling: “Singopare”), a jukebox and an old 1940s dentistry set that he picked up on Serangoon Road, complete with a wooden footboard with heel marks in it. Kevin jokes, “I’ve saved a lot of money with a big family doing a bit of home dentistry.” Lucky for Kevin, his wife Hilary embraces his passion. “Hilary says she’s an old car widow, but at least I’m at home, not out playing golf or poker. I’m always tinkering with something. All she needs to do is yell out.” Vintage vehicles Aussie Kevin met his Canadian wife Hilary in Sri Lanka while backpacking. The two ran out of money in Singapore and settled here. Within three and a half years, they had four children. The growing family needed a car, and buying a beat-up old jalopy was much cheaper than a new car. This was in the days before Certificates of Entitlement (COE), so Kevin imported an old car from Indonesia and fixed it up. Then they moved to less-expensive Bali to raise their kids for 12 years before returning to Singapore. Old cars were easily accessible in Bali – and so his passion for restoring engines kicked into high gear. “Everything that I’ve got here has a story, especially the cars. Each has a personality. Each has lived a life. They all come from a unique era when things were made with craftsmanship and care. Things lasted. Every year, the design was different. Each has a certain smell, personality and feel on the road.” Kevin’s eyes dance when he talks; it’s pure love.


I can get amongst my junk, poke around and feel real satisfaction and enjoyment

Vintage cars can be imported into Singapore through a complicated systemwhere you don’t have to buy a full COE; however, you can only drive each one for 45 days a year. “Old car guy math” suggests that you need six cars to drive the full year – and that’s just what Kevin has: six beautiful and very different cars. There’s the 1933 Ford hot-rod, bought in California, complete with suicide doors and a powerful flathead V8 engine. He added some dials from a WWII jet bomber on the dash. This is Kevin’s daily driver! The 1965 Barracuda was their Bali family car for years. His big worry? That a coconut falls and breaks the rear window, as they’re nearly impossible to replace. “I’d have to buy another car.” Then there are his two 1960s rides: the ridiculously large and finned Dodge Matador Coupe and the very sexy Corvette Roadster. The very original Beetle Green 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe with its curved lines is a rare Art Deco beauty, and one he’d never sell. The original Motorola radio antenna is still on top, resembling something from an old Buck Rogers movie. The V12 engine is tip-top, but thirsty. “The Zephyr passes everything on the road except a petrol station. It gets three kilometres to the litre.”




His is not a hobby for the faint of heart, as finding all the parts isn’t straightforward. It’s not like he can pop down to the automotive store and find what he needs. To get car parts long ago, Kevin used to travel to car shows all over the globe. He loved meeting other people who shared his passion, and he travelled to places he never would have gone otherwise. Now, there are vintage collector groups here in Singapore on Facebook, and the internet has also made finding parts much easier. Repair and restoration Of course, it helps that Kevin has always been good at fixing things. “As a kid growing up in Australia,” says Kevin, “I always ‘collected’ road signs and licence plates. I have older brothers who littered the backyard with broken-down lemons that I’d mess with. I’d pull apart my old man’s lawnmower and, much to his joy, never quite manage to get it back together working again.” That inclination for tinkering has grown into a full- blown passion for restoring anything mechanical. If something is broken, Kevin, a mechanical engineer by trade (he has worked at the same company since he was 17), is determined to take it apart and figure it out, whether it’s an old car engine, a ceiling fan or a radio. Unfortunately, here in Singapore, getting the motors working is sometimes easier than keeping them working. Battling rust is never-ending – the humidity isn’t good for the moving parts or chrome. Kevin invites neighbourhood kids to come over and play with the pinball machines to keep themworking.


Past to future Kevin has bought cars, fixed them up and sold them, putting the profits back into the collection. “I’ve hardly ever sold a car for a loss. An old car is worth whatever the next guy is willing to pay for it. I like buying cars in crappy condition, then putting the time and money into getting them the way I like them, which is mechanically in great condition, but still rough on the outside – a bit like me!” And then there are the motorcycles, all of them British: Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs. Kevin loves how they sound and feel on the road. That sound? Loud and rumbling! His favourite is an incredibly rare 1954 Vincent, the Rolls Royce of motorcycles. They only made a thousand of them a year for 20 years, each an example of fine engineering. What’s it all worth, this collection of his? It’s hard to say, but the Garaj Mahal is how Kevin has chosen to invest for retirement. “Who goes out to their garage and looks at their stock portfolio and has a good time? I can get amongst my junk, poke around and feel real satisfaction and enjoyment”. Who knows? Maybe that’s the trick to old age. There’s a Kickapoo Joy Juice blackboard in the collection, scribbled in chalk; it reads, “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”

Kevin’s Recommendations Good Pickings

C K Collection | 37 Kallang Pudding Road Sunday Flea Market | Fook Hai Building Keng’s | 51 Craig Road Michael Poh’s | Fook Hai Building Junkie’s Corner (Charlie’s) | 2 Turf Club Road Wings | 2 Havelock Road

Old Cars & Bikes Malaysia & Singapore Vintage Car Register (MSVCR) Barn Finds |

Local Advertising Collectibles Advertising Collectibles Playground (Facebook)

And one general recommendation... Do 100 push-ups a day!




HowtoSpot aGenuine


There’s a plethora of history and culture right on our doorstep in Singapore. But how to make the most of it? One way is to explore the island and enjoy different experiences. Another is to buy some memorable pieces of furniture to take with you when you go. We spoke towell- known stores about buying antiques, and how to spot the genuine article.

Audrey Lim Along with her two sisters, Audrey manages her family business, Lim’s Holland Village. With over 70 years of experience, the Lim family curates an extensive collection of antiques, vintage and reproduction pieces. Chris and Wei Chin Ang For over 18 years, the Ang family have been scouring Asia for antique, vintage, reproduction and contemporary furniture. Chris and Wei Chin Ang now manage the family business from its iconic Dempsey Hill location. Danielle Lee Danielle runs Just Anthony, founded by her father nearly 40 years ago. Danielle travels extensively to source Asian antiques and vintage pieces for the well-stocked store.

Woody Antique House


What’s the difference between antique, vintage, repurposed and reproduction?

Chris and Wei Chin: From a furniture point of view, an antique piece is usually one that is at least 100 years old, and usually retained in its original condition or with minimum restoration. They are usually rare pieces, representing a certain era of furniture style. A vintage piece is also an original piece of furniture of a certain age, though not as old as an antique one. They are more commonly available and may be repainted in various colours to fit with modern décor. There could be some modifications done to them as well. Repurposed furniture usually consists of new pieces made from old parts, such as dining or coffee tables made from old doors or window frames, or bookshelves from old door frames. They can also be items that are modified from their original purpose to become a furniture piece. Finally, reproduction pieces are newly made pieces of furniture that follow a certain vintage or antique furniture style, but with size, colours and compartments more suited to modern use.

Audrey: The term “antique” differs across different countries, shops and appraisers. We generally say that antiques are over 120 years old, but they must have documentation proving their age and authenticity. As the buyer of an antique, you will own a piece of history. Vintage is over 80 years in age, and the price is often more affordable, with a larger selection to choose from. Repurposed furniture is made from old wood (usually more than 50 years old) and is easier on the environment; old wood can come from a variety of places – gates and doors, for example, or large beams and pillars from village homes and shops. The functionality of repurposed pieces is often optimised for modern lifestyles. It’s very important to know how to identify reproductions. These pieces are made from new wood, using modern techniques, then finished to replicate antique or vintage pieces. They’re easier on the wallet and come in colours and finishes to suit modern homes.

This page: Antique furniture from Woody Antique House



What should I look for to decide if a piece is a genuine antique? Danielle: It takes time, practice and research to train your eyes to differentiate between antiques and reproductions. But, you can look out for stains, dents or scratches that indicate years of use. If the item has drawers, look for dents and a lighter colour on the supports. Old drawers don’t have metal runners, so the pulling and pushing of the drawers every day will create wear. Wood furniture in the past was made using 100 percent solid wood. It could be a mixture of woods, but it was all solid wood (like elm, pine, fir and camphor). Plywood was used much later; so, if you see any parts that are made of plywood or chipboard, it indicates a new piece, or one with a part that has been replaced. It also helps to have an understanding of how furniture was used in earlier times. For instance, most dining tables in China in the past were either square or round; it’s unlikely you would find a rectangular antique dining table. This isn’t to say there aren’t any rectangular tables, but they were used for other purposes like painting, calligraphy or for offerings – and they can be repurposed as dining tables today.

What questions should I ask in-store to decide what’s right for me? Chris and Wei Chin: There is no particular style that is “right”; it depends on your décor, preference and needs. If you need to add colour to your home, Mongolian and Tibetan styles are a great option. They usually have big compartments, making them very functional. Chinese pieces are more refined. They add elegance and you can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each piece. Indian pieces are more rustic and rugged – they give you a more original feel. Whether you opt for an antique, vintage or reproduction piece, your choice will depend on what you need that piece of furniture for. So, really think about its use before you start looking! Audrey: Set yourself a realistic budget and decide what you’re trying to achieve at home. Is this a centrepiece or a functional piece? Is there a colour scheme you’re looking to match? These will help the in-store experts recommend the right piece for you.

Above: Antique carved mirror and console table, Just Anthony Left: Antique medicine cabinet, Just Anthony




Can you mix styles together? Any tips for doing this? Danielle: You can absolutely mix styles together, and you should! Some of the Chinese antique cabinets or sideboards have quite a strong look, either because of their carvings or painting and colours, or the size. Mixing them with modern pieces and accessories gives a good contrast and allows them to be the stand-out piece. On the other hand, we also have Ming-style reproductions that have very clean lines and simple forms. Their look is so elegant, understated yet distinct, you’ll be surprised how easily they go with your contemporary furniture. A couple of tips I’ve given to our clients are: use fabrics with bold prints like ikat or Thai silk to make cushions for Chinese chairs and daybeds; hang a modern artwork above a Chinese console or sideboard; use antique doors or modern lattice screens for kitchen, walk-in wardrobe or powder-room doors. Audrey: Definitely. Take your time to add pieces to your collection. Never rush the creative process to find what works in your space. Play around with positioning the piece, be daring and move your existing pieces around. It’s more of an art than a science! Try to balance different materials while mixing styles. Soft furnishings add soft touches to your space. Antiques look great with touches of contemporary art or décor. You can also limit your palette. The key point I always bear in mind is if the colour palette works in a nature setting, then the colour palette will work in a home setting.

This page: Antique furniture from Lim’s Holland Village

What’s your own personal preference?

DIRECTORY Just Anthony 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | Lim’s Holland Village #02-01 Holland Village Shopping Centre 211 Holland Avenue 6466 3188 | limshollandvillage Woody Antique House 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 | Danielle: I like to mix and match – maybe one or two standout Chinese pieces with other simpler items like Chinese side tables or small cabinets. You can then add some Art Deco pieces, modern glass or ceramic vases, and colourful paintings! I would prefer the sofa to be contemporary, and a pair of vintage European or antique Chinese chairs next to it. Chris and Wei Chin: It all depends on the feel I have for the furniture piece when I look at it! If I had to choose though, I prefer vintage pieces, repainted in modern colours and modified to be functional for daily use. They add an interesting dimension to the home and still fit with modern décor and lifestyles. Audrey: We have so many beautiful pieces come through the store, so you’re putting me in a difficult position! Personally, I’m intrigued with vintage pieces. They carry a part of history and have been used by generations before us, each telling us a unique story. For example, the repetitive use of an armchair will lead to indents in certain places.



Don't be in the dark about the lighting in your home! Take some inspiration from our roundup of beautiful things to add a bit of brightness to your space.
















1 Cestita Batería portable and wireless lamp by Santa & Cole, $950, W Atelier 2 Matti chandelier in beech wood, $3,995, House of AnLi 3 Falaise standing lamp, $600, Naturalis Historia 4 Nomad Village tripod lamp in recycled teak, $520, Originals 5 Bedside lamp and home styling, Atelier by Arete 6 Waitsfield lanterns in antique nickel and polished steel, from $558, Janus et Cie 7 White-washed rattan lamp, $485, Arete Culture 8 Marble table lamp, $485, Arete Culture 9 Copper tealight holders, from $9 each, Lim’s Holland Village 10 Ceramic table lamp, $300, Hacienda Blue 11 Papier d’Arménie candle, $49, Art and Abode 12 Iron tealight centrepiece, from $85, The Cinnamon Room








13 Birdcage floor lamp, $190, Lim’s Holland Village 14 Stone seashell lamp, $220, Chai’s Classic Home Collection 15 Baila spheroid chandeliers in white ash wood, price on request, House of AnLi 16 Hollow table lamp, $280, Chai’s Classic Home Collection 17 Bronze table lamp, $202, WTP 18 Ceramic jade green table lamp, $250, Just Anthony



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