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107 Articles Found

Humans of the Embassy

By Quynh Pham, Consular Section, US Embassy My first taste of freedom came as a young boy of 12 during my first conversation with an American. It was 1983 and I was in the Pulau Bidong refugee camp in Malaysia, specially set up for the ‘Vietnamese Boat People’; refugees who had escaped by boat after the Vietnam War. I didn’t speak a word of English so, through a translator, the US government official asked me, “Why do you want to go to America?” My father was an artillery officer for South Vietnam during the War. After the Communist Party took over in 1975, my father was arrested and taken to a labor camp for seven years. When he got out, we had to seek better opportunities somewhere else as our family was blacklisted. My parents could only afford to pay …


Just as Much Fun for Parents!

By Fran Martindale Cub Scout Pack 3017 has been active this year going on adventures, ranging from kayaking at MacRitchie Reservoir, to hiking at outlying islands, as well as cultural walks through the city and, of course, the big Pack campout held every year. As we prepare for the annual Pinewood Derby car race, we know that the Scouts have a lot of fun, but the real surprise for many parents is that they enjoy Scouts just as much as their kids. “It’s a great way to bring our family together, as we do things in Singapore that we wouldn’t normally do on our own. It’s really not just my son learning how to do first aid, or put out fires, or outdoor survival skills – I’m learning alongside him,” says parent, John Sharp. “We’re away from his electronics, but …


Not Just for the Girls...

My 10-year-old daughter has developed an incredible sense of self confidence by learning to do some pretty cool stuff in Girl Scouts - from camping to learning bicycle maintenance to horseback riding to making jewelry and so much more. But as her Troop leader, I’ve done it all right alongside her and I’ve come to really care about all the girls in my troop, too. They’ve bonded as a true unit, building each other up in a safe, all female environment. This year, our Troop ran Day Camp and earned a Bronze Award, a major accomplishment.


Derby Day!

In April, the Scouts and families of Cub Scout Pack 3010 held their annual Pinewood Derby model race car competition at the Stamford American International School’s Early Learning Village in Lorong Chuan. The Scouts built and decorated their own wooden race cars for an indoor track reaching speeds of up to 200mph. Everyone entered in the spirit of good sportsmanship and competition and learned the skills needed to construct durable, fast wooden model cars.


Diary of a Scout June/July 2019

When I first joined the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in September 2015, I was really excited to follow in the footsteps of my family before me. My great-grandad was involved with the French Scouts, so was my dad and now three of my cousins. What was different for me, though, was that at the time I decided to get into Scouting, I had moved to Singapore. Once I had learned English, I joined BSA Troop 007 and, so far, my adventures as a Scout have been far from disappointing.


Small Is Beautiful

By Tyler WislerDesigning a space that is a bit demurer in square footage can be daunting for many. Even seasoned designers may need an extra moment to strategize the game plan because we frankly just don’t have the room for mistakes.So, if you are tackling a small space and need some advice, I’m here for you. Here are my five tips that may help you transform that modest abode into your perfect jewel box! 1. Keep the color palette to a minimum. When we have an environment where we want to visually expand the space, it’s best to let the eye keep moving. When we offer up a multitude of colors it breaks things up, it makes things visually busy, in a sense, which is not what we need. Instead try to stick to lighter neutrals. They offer the most …


My Singapore: Sentosa

Think of the island of Sentosa and it’s likely that you’ll conjure up images of theme-park rides, lavish hotels and breezy restaurants and cafés; a place to decamp for the weekend. Scratch beneath the surface of the island’s history and its former name of Pulau Blakang Mati, or ‘island behind death’ before it was renamed in 1970, rings truer to its previous incarnation. From pirates as far back as the 14th century plundering, looting and killing the inhabitants, to the Japanese occupation during the Second World War, Sentosa’s bloody history is rooted in being a frontier town and fortification. Reminders of its military history remain not only with Fort Siloso, one of Sentosa’s historical attractions, but with the remnants of others also remain on Sentosa, as well as Labrador Park across the water, some of which can still be explored …


Easy Personal Investing in Singapore

By Richard HartungIf you have extra money saved in your Singapore bank account it would be easy just to leave it there. Interest rates on savings accounts are low, though, and even time deposit rates of around 1.8 percent barely keep you ahead of last year’s core inflation rate of 1.7 percent. With the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expecting inflation to be 1.5-2.5 percent this year, it may be beneficial to look at easy ways of investing so your money can work harder for you.Exchange-Traded FundsWhile inexperienced or busy individuals have plenty of options for investing, some of them are expensive. Unit trusts, similar to mutual funds where investors’ money is pooled, or life insurance can cost up to 5 percent initially and, on top of that, fund managers charge a fee of between 1 and 2 percent of …


A Tale of Two Onsen

By Asif ChowdhuryThe very first time my Japanese colleagues offered to take me to an onsen on the outskirts of Tokyo, I was quite excited. I had heard of their therapeutic properties and was looking forward to soaking in these hot springs. However, once I entered the onsen and the etiquette of the Japanese public bath had been explained, my enthusiasm  quickly died. It turned out that Japanese onsen  etiquette requires that one must be in one’s birthday suit when using the baths. Obviously, men and women bathe separately, but I was still well out of my comfort zone. I was at a point of no return so, timidly, I entered the bath along with my Japanese friends and colleagues. Very soon my apprehensiveness evaporated and I began to relax in the steaming hot bath. It felt heavenly, especially since …


Why It's OK to Fail

Singapore was recently ranked joint first place as the “best country for children to grow up in” by Save the Children’s 2018 End of Childhood Report, while the United States ranked 36th alongside Russia, Kuwait and Bosnia. The report rates 175 countries, worldwide, on indicators relating to childhood mortality, education, conflict, labor and safeguarding. It is difficult to argue that Singapore does not have well-resourced and privileged healthcare, education and criminal safety but, as expatriates, are these criteria really relevant to the lives we have left and the new context in which we are raising our families? Risk factors such as child labor, child marriage, poverty and extreme violence were unlikely to feature in our former circumstances and, fortunately, the priority for our kids here is to thrive, not survive.