If you’re a 90’s kid, chances are you’d probably have heard Divian Nair’s voice on the radio. Just early this year, he made waves on social media withOn December 26, 2016 / By Nookmag
If you’re a 90’s kid, chances are you’d probably have heard Divian Nair’s voice on the radio. Just early this year, he made waves on social media with his impactful video titled “I Will Not Die For Singapore” which triggered a conversation among Singaporeans; and last month, he played host to The Best of You’s Finale Exhibition, a social movement that seeks to reinforce the spirit of appreciation within our communities by offering a platform for people to reflect upon their experiences, challenge stereotypes and break down barriers between communities.
We caught up with the bubbly media personality to chat about his involvement with The Best of You, his current initiative We Are Majulah, and the future for him.
Tell us more about your recent involvement with The Best of You social movement.
The Best of You social movement by Julie’s has always been an amazing platform for people to both share their stories and learn through the hardships and successes of others. My involvement was no different, save for the fact that I had the privilege of hosting its on-site exhibition. Being very much in line with the work I do with my company, Storyteller Productions and We Are Majulah, I felt a strong sense of purpose as I interacted with the team that put the movement together, the movement’s founder as well as the amazing people featured this year. I also learned valuable lessons about the importance of principles and commitment from my personal exchanges with some of the people involved.
You shared a touching story on your brother with The Best of You. What’s your fondest memory growing up with your brother?
I think it would be impossible to pinpoint one memory that would stand out as the fondest but the moments I treasured the most were our family trips to the zoo, Orchard Road during festive periods and definitely the airport – just to watch planes take off after dinner!
Growing up in an interracial family, how has this influenced you in your personal life and your work?
Growing up in an interracial family left me racially blind to a certain degree. I didn’t see my father as an Indian man, or my mother as a Chinese woman. They were just my parents. I also never identified myself as much by race as I did with my environment and culture. This proved to be very useful for the relationships I formed as I grew up because I didn’t identify people I met by race and took them for the people that they were. I have an inner circle of friends who represent all the major races of Singapore and it never occurred to me it was anything valuable.
What was difficult however, was seeing the stark contrast presented by people who were conditioned to identify themselves and others by race first. In a country where the balance of races are not equivocal, the mentality represented by some proportion of the majority race does not reflect a perspective of equality. This is inevitable and can cause some amount of stress through misunderstandings which still frequently occur. I myself have been subject to racist behavior on a personal and professional basis many times.
What are the challenges you’ve faced with your interracial background? How has this played a role in you founding We Are Majulah?
The primary challenge of growing up in an interracial family is feeling like you never really belong anywhere. To many Chinese people I’ve met, I have always been more Indian and vice versa to Indian people. In a country where the proportion of races are not as equal as my genetic make up, I’ve also realized, that even though I am exactly half and half, I’ve only ever been labelled as the “Indian Guy”. This naturally put me on a quest to find something bigger than race that I could belong to and identify myself with. Singapore, as a country, as a culture, became that for me. And so, We Are Majulah was born. “Majulah” (To move onward, to survive together) became a fundamental concept I felt could be shared as a non-contradictory belief on a micro and macro scale.
Your video titled “I Will Not Die for Singapore” garnered half a million views on Facebook alone. Are we expecting more “surprises” in the near future from the team?
I don’t know if the first video was ever intended to be a surprise! But we are definitely striving forward with what little resource we have to continue our efforts. We are currently developing an initiative to help combat the rising number of suicide linked cases from young adults between the ages of 10 and 19. We are also looking at putting out another video sometime next year. Apart from that, it’s really the daily grind of brick laying that we are focusing on.
In your opinion, does Singapore have our own identity?
In my opinion and experience through visiting over 20 countries while running We Are Majulah for almost a year, I’d have to say it’s there and it’s growing. Identity is hard enough to find as an individual. It usually grows the most during a period of struggle. It is also something that is extremely complex and delicate, plus it doesn’t always grow the right way. I know that the work my team and I are doing is a small fraction of contribution, necessary for a concrete identity to solidify but we feel that it’s better to do something constructive than sit around and complain all the time.
You’ve received your fair share of criticism on We Are Majulah being a propaganda tool; what is your response to detractors? With We Are Majulah, can you prove a point to your critics?
To the critics I say, lets discuss. Discussion is key for constructive growth as a people. What happens when one sides slams the other with no avenue for recourse because they think they are “right”? You get Brexit and Trump. The point is not to win an argument. The point is to not show that your side is smarter and everyone else is stupid because they don’t share your view. The point is understand each other so we can grow with compassion.
When we launched the video, the objective was to incite discussion. Everything from the title of the video, it’s level of ambiguity, the tone, the colors – it was designed to make people “feel” and thereby find it in themselves to say something about. We just sat back and watched it all happen. We saw how the media took different sides on how to portray the story. Critics and supporters alike weighed in. We also saw the phenomenon of the “silent majority” unfold. As we sieved through every comment and share, we found something interesting. While the impression formed through the headlines of some media articles and comments on the Facebook and YouTube video gave the impression that it was largely criticized, we found that most of the positive comments were written as personal posts through the video share.
We are Majulah still stands as apolitical and nonpartisan, like we said from the start. While we have collaborated with government-linked agencies for messaging that is in line with what we are trying to push out, we are not backed financially by any government or private party. To date, we have produced almost 50 episodes for the Good Word Project (a video series collecting advice from everyday Singaporeans), garnered almost 13,000 followers on our Facebook page, participated in events, had an event of our own and built a small community of writers – all in less than a year.
What are your thoughts on race and racial harmony in Singapore?
I think race and racial harmony is a work in progress. I heard Senior Minister of state Dr Janil Puthucheary once say that it is, and always will be a work in progress. I cannot agree more. If we consider that in our grandparents’ generation, not stabbing each other was not being racist, then in our parent’s generation, working together was not being racist – we can see how much we have progressed in a short amount of time. It is arrogant of us to think racial harmony is something we have already achieved and don’t have to pay too much attention to. We must continue to work at it.
What are your hopes and aspirations for 2017?
All I am hoping for in 2017 is that the escalating conflict overseas doesn’t reach our shores. And if it does, I hope that we will standby by each other and move on together, no matter what.
The Best of You is a social initiative by Julie’s Biscuits running in both Singapore and Malaysia that aims to create a positive change to the community we are living in. Since its inception in 2014, the movement has collected and shared thousands of inspiring stories from the public, artists as well as social organizations. Visit The Best of You’s official website to be part of this meaningful cause.
We are Majulah is a social enterprise that aims to provide community based solutions to improve civic consciousness for a better tomorrow. They are focused on the fundamental concept of “Majulah” (to move onward, to survive) as a belief that can be owned and shared by the individual and the community alike, to build a society that is inclusive, tolerant and compassionate.
“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” — Blaise Pascal What if the next MRT breakdown was not just another simple breakdown? What if your pet wasOn December 24, 2016 / By The Rainbow-Monger
“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”
— Blaise Pascal
What if the next MRT breakdown was not just another simple breakdown?
What if your pet was saving your soul every time it hisses and barks?
What if the next person walking off a ledge only wanted to fly?
Track Faults and Other Glitches by Nicholas Yong is a journey into a different dimension in our subconsciousness. It offers an alternate reality; a perspective focused on everything outside of ourselves, and results in a not-so-fairy-tale package that’s difficult to let go of until we reach the end.
The journey begins as we discover a zombie’s greatest fear, accompany a man as he gets over his inhibitions for flying, and discover the greatest love a parent can have for their child. One by one, each of the ten stories in this collective evokes a plethora of emotions, leaving us wanting just one story more. Be prepared to laugh, tear, hide under the sheets, and cuddle your pet close while reading this quirky book, and remember to spare a kind smile to the next ordinary-looking stranger you meet; you never know who it’ll be on the inside. *wink*
A senior correspondent with Yahoo Singapore by day, Nicholas finds inspiration from daily events throughout his decade worth of experiences, as well as from spell-binding storytellers such as Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick and John Le Carre. By night however, he transforms into a lyrical caped crusader who founded the Geek Crusade and strikes amusement and fancy in the hearts of his readers. Aside from Track Faults and Other Glitches, Nicholas is also the author of Land of the Meat Munchers (2013) – a zombie tale set in Singapore, and was one of the authors featured in the recent Singapore Writer’s Festival in November 2016.
Track Faults and Other Glitches is now available for sale in major bookstores including Books Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and Popular Bookstore at a retail price of SGD19.90 (after GST).
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX DJ Skool has been on a mission that extends beyond just imparting skills and knowledge to aspiring DJs. With its well-established DJOn December 21, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX DJ Skool has been on a mission that extends beyond just imparting skills and knowledge to aspiring DJs. With its well-established DJ academy, the establishment is adamant on building a community of like-minded individuals who are supportive of one another. Here, we highlight how it champions, nurtures and unites not only its rising talents, but also its professional acts.
At its core, E-TracX is a training ground for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. Depending on where you are in your journey towards achieving greatness, you can opt for either the introductory DJ courses or advanced creative courses. There are also one-off workshops that cover the essential aspects of deejaying, turntablism and music production.
A student is only as good as the instructor’s teaching methodologies, and E-TracX boasts some of the best instructors in the Lion City. They include DJ Koflow and Edwin, whose students have gone to perform at venues like Blu Jaz and St James Power Station. Another name also worthy of mention is Perk Pietrek, the six-time DJ Battle Champion who recently dropped his new album under Far East Movement’s record label.
E-TracX does not believe in complacency; it’s always looking for means to sharpen the skills of the trainees under its wings. Instead of just teaching them how to DJ like everyone else, part of the curriculum sees the instructors pushing the students to level up. They are encouraged to collaborate with other musicians and dig deep within themselves to think of new concepts.
At the end of the day, E-TracX aspires to create an ecosystem where ardent fans of the DJ culture can coexist in a positive and mutually-benefitting manner. To achieve this dream of building a family of champions, the school has created many platforms for DJs to shine, including DJ residencies at clients’ venues and ad-hoc gigs at clubs and bars.
They have also launched “Newbie” Jams, which welcomes anyone who needs help with turntablism and controllerism techniques. These sessions provide the perfect opportunity to hang out and network with other passionate talents of varying skill levels in the game.
In an age where digital entertainment and media sources dominate people’s time, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) relieves audiences from the screen to remind them of the unique magicOn December 15, 2016 / By Nookmag
In an age where digital entertainment and media sources dominate people’s time, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) relieves audiences from the screen to remind them of the unique magic of theatre, through LIVE experiential trailers enacted by the production cast.
SRT is known as one of the most diverse and progressive theatre companies in Asia, with its goal to enrich, educate and entertain audiences by staging productions of the highest caliber, while ensuring every young Singaporean is exposed to arts and literature in order to foster a love of culture.
To promote the recent Charlotte’s Web production, SRT partnered with TBWA\Singapore to create an immersive and interactive trailer experience that no billion-dollar 3D movie can replicate.
Disrupting the routine pre-roll cinema ads, the team hijacked the screening room to execute a live-action re-enactment from Charlotte’s Web to give young audiences their first taste of theatre.
SRT is the only theatre company in Singapore with its very own venue, where it stages international productions, a season of exciting original plays and musicals, and a season dedicated to the younger audience. SRT believes strong programming for young audiences is what will develop the arts scene long-term, and reaches close to 70,000 children a year with young talent programmes and play-productions with collaborations from the best international talent on and off stage.
“The youth are exposed to more forms of entertainment than ever before,” said Gary Steele, executive creative director at TBWA\Singapore. “Theatre contends in a plethora of more accessible and cheaper entertainment options like gaming or Netflix. But amid the rising screen culture, we were able to remind people of the irreplaceable magic of live-theatre. Dynamic performances, unpredictability and playhouse atmosphere that cannot be replicated onscreen.”
Singapore has seen the rise of a vibrant art scene, with flagship events such as Art Stage, and the recent opening of the National Gallery. However, many still perceive performing arts as highbrow, unfamiliar and difficult to appreciate.
As a non-profit organisation, SRT aims to groom a new generation’s appreciation of literature and performing arts, whilst creating direct employment for up to 300 people a year. It is a key partner of the National Arts Council, helping progress the industry through local talent development (key to creating the best original productions for future revenue streams) and increasing audience growth by partnering with creative agencies such as TBWA.
“With this project, we reached out to a wider audience who might never have considered theatre as an option,” said Charlotte Nors, executive director at SRT. “We compete in a rich world of entertainment, with a growing number of 3D movies as Hollywood strives for more immersive cinema. But nothing gets you closer to the action than theatre – real actors, real props, real fantasized experiences shared with the audience as a whole. We even experimented with the first scented musical in 2013, Red Riding Hood, to stimulate more senses than ever before. We truly believe theatre has the ability to bring people to together, more so than any cinematic experience.”
One figure. Nine point five inches. Thirty-seven individual parts. In its latest endeavor, Mighty Jaxx teams up with New York artist, Jason Freeny, and Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer,On December 10, 2016 / By Nookmag
One figure. Nine point five inches. Thirty-seven individual parts.
In its latest endeavor, Mighty Jaxx teams up with New York artist, Jason Freeny, and Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer, Fame Master, to launch the first-in-the-world 4D XXRAY Batman officially licensed by DC Comics™. An anatomical stylized figure more than twice the size of its 4-inch counterparts, this 4D XXRAY Batman offers collectors the ability to assemble and dissemble the bones and organs of their favourite character quickly and easily.
Mighty Jaxx Founder and Managing Director, Jackson Aw, says, “Since the launch of our XXRAY series late last year, we have received much love from fans all over the world, urging us to create bigger versions of our 4-inch collectibles. This really got us thinking on how we can improve the line even more. The idea of 4D XXRAY brought us back to our roots as I reminisced those childhood days I spent playing with my favourite action heroes, twisting their arms and legs to strike various poses. That is why we wanted to shake things up a bit and include the playability element in the 4D. We believe that characters like Batman can also help bridge the gap between conventional educational toys and superhero fandom. At the end of the day, what matters most to us is putting out great toys and bringing the joy of them to our customers.”
The 4D XXRAY was also inspired by the Funny Anatomy series proudly designed by Freeny and manufactured by Fame Master which catapulted the partnership into the spotlight of the designer toy community. The ever-popular series includes a collection of pop culture-referenced sculptures in clear plastic models that reveal the insides of these fictional characters.
This was only made possible with the help of Fame Master who is best-known for their innovative, high-quality educational puzzles and figurines under its 4D Master ® line. Eastman Ting, Director of Research & Development at Fame Master, shares “We are very pleased to work with Jason and Mighty Jaxx on the 4D XXRAY series. For a long time now, many people have been asking us what the 4D element is all about. While we are all familiar with 3D figurines, our toys have an additional dimension to them in terms of their detailed structure and that perfect paint job for a realistic effect. We really hope that the 4D XXRAY Batman will be a precious collectible for all the fans out there.”
Retaining Freeny’s signature dissected look, the 4D XXRAY Batman uses a mix of hard plastics for its transparent shell casing and dissectible skeletal system while a softer plastic, better known as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), is applied to its detachable organs. The figure stands tall at 9.5 inches and is individually hand painted to perfection.
Artist Jason Freeny, on the process of creating the 4D XXRAY Batman recollects, “This project is the result of a 10-year quest from mere concept to actual fruition. It’s the combined efforts of Mighty Jaxx – one of the top designer toy producers, Fame Master – the global expert in anatomical models, and myself – a dude with some clay and the curiosity to see what’s inside my favourite childhood toys.”
As the first-ever truly dissected licensed collectible, the 4D XXRAY Batman figure is now available for pre-order at USD89.99 per piece at Mighty Jaxx.
Like so many art forms that have grown and spread throughout the global audiences, comic books have been one of the most successful medium that have brought usOn December 7, 2016 / By Audrey Chiang
Like so many art forms that have grown and spread throughout the global audiences, comic books have been one of the most successful medium that have brought us a variety of influences. Including Marvel, DC comics or even Manga, this unique medium has inspired hit blockbuster movies and led to other artists creating their own style of expression. International scene aside, what do most people know about the comic scene in Singapore?
Take a look at The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, a comic novel that explores the changing political and economic environment during Singapore’s coming-of-age years in the mid-20th century, was a well-executed story that could be explored and read. It’s author, artist-illustrator Sonny Liew, has the unique ability to say something of value about the issues he feels strongly about, and conveys it through the evocative nature of his art.
Although this book revolves around the political history of Singapore, this masterpiece of work is a virtuosic display of different comics styles, ranging from American sci-fi comics to Japanese manga. In our interview with Sonny, he shared with us his inspirations and intentions with his book, as well as his advice for any inspiring artist.
What inspired you to create this book? Did you struggle in any years or did it come easy to you?
I’d always been vaguely aware that there were contesting accounts that challenged the dominant historical narrative here in Singapore, so I wanted to try to get to grips with things, and to see if I could craft a story around whatever understanding emerged, in a form that would be interesting.
I’d been reading book on comics, and realised that any account of comics also needed some background information on the places and times they were created in, so the came to me that it would be interesting to flip the idea on its head and have a narrative about Singapore’s history that was on its surface an account of its comics history, especially if that comics history was made-up.
I’d say the narrative itself – trying to find ways of putting the book together that was both formally interesting but also remained compelling – that was probably the biggest challenge during the process, aside from any practical considerations about paying the bills.
Would you say the book is a true representative of Singapore’s history or was it merely a personal perspective?
I’d like to think it’s a more inclusive account of our history – one that reflects the richness of Singapore’s past. Though there wasn’t much primary research, the book was fact checked based on existing accounts. At the end of the day, the main hope is that the book can encourage a critical approach to any representation – to raise awareness that we shouldn’t take historical narratives at face value.
Are there any artists / writers you turn to for inspiration?
Too many to list… At some level though, I think I’d like to do what David Simon (creator of the TV series The Wire) has been able to do – which is to combine a mastery of storytelling with a certain urgency and engagement with real world issues. In terms of comics, a shortlist would include: Bill Watterson, Chris Ware, Jiro Taniguchi, Yoshiharu Tsgue, Daniel Clowes, Seth… Though there really are too many to list.
What do you hope to gain / achieve from this project?
I’ve always hoped to be able to work on more personal projects, but finding the time and space for longer narratives has been a challenge over the years. This book was in many ways a moon-shot for me – for most part living off savings whilst working on 2 year long project, in order to create the kind of book I was interested in . For all sorts of reasons, it’s worked out quite well, and I think the success of the book, along with my work on projects like The Shadow Hero and Doctor Fate, has brought new opportunities for me to try to work on similar things in the future.
If a young beginner came up to you asking for advice on how to get started in writing, what advice would you give them?
I’d say its a craft with unlimited possibilities, and that you have to be willing to put your work out there, despite all the insecurities and fears that we all face – it is only through the process of creating stories and getting reactions and feedback that we start to get better at the craft.
Find out more about Sonny Liew and his work at his blog here!
Imagine walking into the National Museum of Singapore and being confronted by outdoor environments such as a mound of lush grass, or a beach inviting you for aOn December 6, 2016 / By Nookmag
Imagine walking into the National Museum of Singapore and being confronted by outdoor environments such as a mound of lush grass, or a beach inviting you for a tan. How about unexpectedly having artwork appear in front and around you, or actually being part of the final puzzle piece to an installation? These are among the experiences visitors will encounter at the National Museum’s latest exhibition, What Is Visible Is Not Invisible. Featuring selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC), this contemporary art exhibition is also a parallel project of the Singapore Biennale 2016.
Overall, What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible presents over 30 artworks by French and international artists from FRAC, one of the most important public collection of contemporary art founded in 1982 and anchored by 23 institutions across all the regions in France. The show is curated in collaboration with Platform1, the network of FRACs, and marks the first time that this selection of the collection is being presented in Asia Pacific.
“History inspires art, and art develops our understanding of history and ourselves. This collaboration between our museum and Platform presents significant artworks of our time from the FRAC’s collection to audiences in Singapore, and encourages our visitors to engage with contemporary art which is relevant and often inspired by history.” — Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore.
An Experience for the Mind and Senses
What is Not Visible is Not Invisible broadly surveys the imaginary and the temporary, and takes visitors on an experiential and progressive journey of the mind and senses through the artworks specially selected from FRAC’s collection of 26,000 works. Through the use of unconventional approaches in art-making, the exhibition of multi-media installations invites new ways of perception and brings each visitor into a new state of mind through personal interpretations of the presentations, its surrounding space, and context.
The title and design of What is Not Visible is Not Invisible takes inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit, which walks the line between physical and philosophical. At first glance, three infrared lightbulbs are strung from the ceiling in front of an unassuming blank wall. When triggered by the viewer’s presence, the bulbs light up to reveal the ultraviolet text on the wall: “What is not visible is not invisible”. The work only appears when it is seen, highlighting that to express the invisible, one needs to paradoxically have to make it visible.
The visual paradox initiated in this modest yet profound works sets the premise for the themes and artworks that visitors will engage with at the exhibition. Artworks such as Grass Grows by Hans Haacke where a mound of grass greets visitors to the exhibition, and Repulse Bay by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, where a beach is recreated indoors instantly captures the audiences’ attention through the displacement of what is expected to be outdoors, suddenly appearing indoors. The recreation of environments in unassuming spaces creates new perspectives and transports visitors into a new state of mind.
“As a former Ambassador of France to Singapore, I welcome the opening of this exhibition which enhances cultural dialogue between France and Singapore, one of the most dynamic countries in the world focused on research and creativity,” said Mr Bernard de Montferrand, President of Platform. “This exhibition presents a selection of works from the FRAC network located in all regions of France that is committed to making contemporary art accessible to the public, encouraging them to discover and understand it through the eyes of the young artists and designers.”
A Showcase of Pioneer Contemporary Artists
FRAC counts 5,400 French and international artists in its collection, and is credited to be the starting platform of many established artists and presents many household artists in its collection such as Gilbert & George, Andy Warhol, and Subodh Gupta, whose work will be presented at the National Museum of Singapore’s rotunda as part of Singapore Biennale 2016.
What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible is an opportunity to be acquainted with prominent contemporary artists of our time – pioneers who pushed boundaries to set the scene for we know today. For example, visitors will be presented the much-celebrated Work No262 by British multimedia artist Martin Creed, an installation that engages with the mind and senses as it invites visitors into a space of balloons, to contemplate and respond to the idea of the physical space. Martin Creed is most known for his controversial Turner Prize-winning piece Work No227: The lights going on and off – in which an empty room with lights flickers on a timer – which made international headlines.
Contemporary art aficionados will also be thrilled to be in contact with Anthony McCall, through his renowned 2005 work You and I, Horizontal. The British-born, New York-based artist is synonymous with solid-light installations, and is considered by many to be a pioneer who created works before his time in the 1970s. His art is immediately recognisable, and lauded for how fundamental audience’s direct sensory experience is to his work.
Involving Audience and Environment
The artworks in What is Not Visible is Not Invisible are curated to encourage audience interaction, and to leave room for personal interpretation. Many of the artworks call for the audience and the environment to play a key role in the artwork and its presentation. For example, Speech Bubbles by Philippe Parreno is an installation where a space is filled with helium balloons in the shape of speech bubbles, bringing to life what a person’s thoughts would literally look like – animating visitors as though were part of a real-life comic strip once they step into installation.
The National Museum of Singapore’s own collection also plays a part in an artwork, with the lithograph of the original steel engraving of the Plan of the Town of Singapore, as the centrepiece in Définition/méthode 131. Entourant le tableau by Claude Rutault. This everchanging piece from the FRAC Auvergne collection, specifies a set of instructions for the presenting institutions to create the artwork, resulting in a different outcome each time. Responding to the ideals of Rutault’s approach in his piece, the Plan of the Town of Singapore too functions as a set of instructions and guidelines that determined the layout of the city.
What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible
7 October 2016 – 19 February 2017
Open Daily | 10am to 7pm
(Thursdays – 1pm to 7pm)
Details on admission and guided tours are available at The National Museum, Singapore.
This December, light up your Christmas with the dazzling Universal Journey – an all-new Guinness World Record breaking experiential festive light display at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).On December 4, 2016 / By Elizabeth
This December, light up your Christmas with the dazzling Universal Journey – an all-new Guinness World Record breaking experiential festive light display at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).
The centerpiece attraction of the USS’ annual Santa’s All-Star Christmas celebrations, Universal Journey takes visitors to an enchanted wonderland, made all the more magical by being brilliantly illuminated with sparkling rainbow lights from floor to ceiling.
Universal Journey features an astronomical 824,961 light bulbs, setting a new Guinness World Records title for the largest light bulb display in an indoor venue. This is almost double the previous world record of 449,658 light bulbs, set in Romania in 2010.
The attraction, which took two months to construct, features eight thematic zones. Traverse a kaleidoscopic time warp tunnel to other worldly locations, gaze in wonder at towering trees of the Enchanted Pine Forest, and feel the Christmas cheer upon arriving at the Land of Great Gifts, adorned with Christmas presents of all shapes and sizes.
You can even meet and greet with famous stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop and Charlie Chaplin, all decked out in their Christmas outfits, for photo opportunities while on your journey.
Also, look out for two new exciting experiences in this year’s Santa’s All-Star Christmas: A quaint Santa’s Village, home to talking reindeer, the Gingerbread Man and Santa on his sleigh, as well as musical production, Bah Humbug! A Christmas Spectacular, showcasing 17 all-star cast such as the Minions, Little Match Girl, Snow Queen and Sesame Street friends.
“This year, we have upped the ante for Santa’s All-Star Christmas with new experiences including the visually spectacular and dazzling Universal Journey and the magical Santa’s Village,” said Mr. Jason Horkin, Senior Vice President of Attractions at Resorts World Sentosa. “We look forward to bringing the best Christmas cheer to our guests during this special time of the year.”
This festive season, park hours are extended till 9pm every night. Also expect snowfall, fireworks, festive light displays, as well as new musical performances and appearances by the park’s very own all-star cast.
Santa’s All-Star Christmas will be held from 1 December 2016 to 2 January 2017. Tickets are available at SGD74 (Adult), SGD56 (Child) and SGD36 (Senior). If you’re planning an evening visit, enjoy an after 5pm family bundle, priced at SGD134, which includes admission for two adults and one child, as well as retail and dining vouchers.
Prepare to get under the skin of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival as it returns for its 13th edition with the theme Art & Skin! Embrace, empower andOn December 2, 2016 / By Nookmag
Prepare to get under the skin of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival as it returns for its 13th edition with the theme Art & Skin!
Embrace, empower and express yourself through a presentation of 12 events from 7 countries. The theme Art & Skin welcomes a creative exploration and dialogue into matters of identity, beauty, intimacy, sensitivity, pleasure, pain and shame. This year’s line-up shines a spotlight on local works and artists, with participation from several international artists. The Festival line-up features five commissioned local works, five world premieres and four Asian premieres, spanning across four categories: Fringe Highlights, Live Fringe, Fresh Fringe and Fringe Activities.
The Festival also sees a new initiative Fresh Fringe, which serves as a springboard for up-and-coming artists to further their creations. Featuring works-in-progress and dramatised readings, audiences will be exposed to emerging artists’ works in development for future re-stagings. Art & Skin marks the last of the Festival’s thematic concept of “Art & ________”, which it has used since its inception. It will transition from 2018’s edition to a different approach which highlights an iconic Singapore art work in each theme. Artistic Director Sean Tobin helms the Festival for the third year in 2017, and with the extension of his tenure, will oversee the Festival’s shift towards a new direction from 2018 to 2020.
Go beyond the surface and dive deep into the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival from 4 to 15 January 2017 with performances and activities taking place at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Centre 42, as well as new partners including LASALLE College of the Arts, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, [email protected] and Silver Ribbon Singapore.
Art & Skin
Our skin is a protective membrane, capable of healing itself in the face of physical trauma. Yet humans throughout history have tried to manipulate their skin and identity, either to assert their difference or to assimilate into the majority. In an age where issues pertaining to the right to belong to a country, to dress according to one’s preferred gender expression, or to assert one’s religious identity are debated more aggressively than ever, let’s look beyond appearances. Welcome to this sensitive exploration of the works in Fringe 2017: Art and Skin.
The 2017 Festival features three Fringe Highlights: Foreign Bodies by brand new multicultural Singapore burlesque troupe Skin in SIN, Labels by Worklight Theatre and Undressing Room by Ming Poon. Skin in SIN is Singapore’s first diverse, politically progressive burlesque troupe produced and mentored by Eugene Tan (Producer, Riot! hosted by Becca D’Bus) and Madge of Honor, diva of high performance burlesque. Their debut performance Foreign Bodies seeks to explore otherness, racism and xenophobia experienced in Singapore through the popular performance form of burlesque. Foreign Bodies questions whether nearly naked performers can possibly be both vulnerable and empowered at the same time. What if we got serious? What if we also got sexy?
“If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, label yourself a winner.” This review aptly describes Labels by Worklight Theatre, next up in the Fringe Highlights category. Hailing from the UK, Labels is an internationally acclaimed smash-hit that charts a young man’s life in rural England, examining universal issues about culture, heritage and identity—all of which are undeniably relatable. Labels is a funny, moving and true story exploring mixed heritage and multiculturalism, exposing skin-deep prejudices, the shadow of colonial history and the human impact of labelling people.
Rounding off the Fringe Highlights is Undressing Room by Ming Poon, an intimate one-to-one performance between a participant and movement artist Ming Poon. Exclusive to just 18 performances over the Festival’s run, the piece invites one willing participant per performance to join Ming Poon in executing a ritual of undressing each other in total silence. The performance delves into themes of desire, shame, power and intimacy within a meditative space.
The exploration of Art & Skin continues with performances and artist talks in the Live Fringe category, including #CompulsiveCharcoal by Liz Atkin, Si Ti Kay by Akulah BIMBO SAKTI (I am the MAGIC BIMBO), Naked Ladies by Thea Fitz-James, Pretty Butch by Tan Liting, Skin Tight by Ah Hock and Peng Yu, FIGHT! PALAST #membersonly by PENG! Palast and Under My Skin by Alessandra Fel.
Liz Atkin’s life was dominated by Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP) for more than 20 years. She drew from her experience in visual and performance arts to heal from CSP, and now travels internationally to raise awareness of the condition and share her journey of recovery through art. As part of her advocacy, Liz will continue her #CompulsiveCharcoal one-minute sketches as she travels around Singapore and interacts with fellow passengers on public transport.
Making a comeback with Skin Tight is Ah Hock and Peng Yu, a Singapore-based contemporary dance company founded by the choreographic duo Aaron Khek and Ix Wong. Inspired by zentai, Skin Tight delves into a hyper-sensualised world where dancers articulate the transformation of donning the head-to-toe bodysuit and its resulting effects on the movement of the body. The performance looks at ideas of identity and the freedom—from internal and physical obstacles—a person gains through the erasure of visible physical identifiers.
Returning to the Festival is PENG! Palast with FIGHT! PALAST #membersonly. Dealing with the alleged freedom and self-determination of Generation Y in a critical way, this project was built from the actors’ histories, lives and experiences in badly paid side jobs, smelly and stuffy kickboxing basements and cosy support groups. Inspired by the novel Fight Club by author Chuck Palahniuk, PENG! Palast creates its own fighting arena to live out suppressed desires, only to get knocked out by its own utopias. Only those who are willing to risk defeat have the ability to win.
The Festival’s new initiative Fresh Fringe will introduce works-in-development by up-and-coming artists to audiences who will bring in new and fresh perspectives with their works. These works will explore a variety of themes from relationships to race to the examination of one’s culture and beliefs. These works include Deep in the Heart of Me by Kaylene Tan, a collaboration piece between Australian theatre-maker Andrew Sutherland and Singaporean Chanel Ariel Chan entitled Chrysanthemum Gate and Bitten by Nidya Shanthini Manokara and Thong Pei Qin.
This year’s line-up proves to be more than skin-deep, so don’t miss out on our bold servings! Do join our online conversations about the Fringe with the hashtag #M1SFF on various social media platforms as well.
Get ready to expose and break down traditionally held boundaries at the Fringe as we delve beneath the surface into Art & Skin.
Singapore Fringe Festival
4 – 15 January 2017
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
LASALLE College of the Arts
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
Silver Ribbon Singapore
12 events from 7 countries
2 Fringe Highlights
7 Live Fringe events
3 Fresh Fringe works-in-progress
1 Fringe Activities
Calling all Pokémon trainers! Do you remember frantically racking your brains during commercial breaks, trying to figure out ‘Who’s That Pokémon?’ on the hit TV series? If youOn December 1, 2016 / By Elizabeth
Calling all Pokémon trainers! Do you remember frantically racking your brains during commercial breaks, trying to figure out ‘Who’s That Pokémon?’ on the hit TV series? If you think you still have what it takes to be a Pokémon master, then you definitely need to test out your skills at the Pokémon Research Exhibition at Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A Aquarium.
Held for the first time outside of Japan, the exhibition, which is located at the exit gallery of the S.E.A. Aquarium, is the ultimate Pokémon quiz. Trainers can discover more than 200 Pokémon characters spanning various generations in three types of Pokéballs, each representing a different level of difficulty.
To have a go at the game, simply pick up a regular Poké Ball (easy), Great Ball (medium) or Ultra Ball (hard), and visit four of eight interactive stations to get different clues about the Pokémon in your ball.
You can, for example, use the Face Magnifier station to reveal a selected part of the face of the Pokemon, the Outline Shooter station to see the Pokémon’s outline, or perhaps the Weight Gauge to reveal whether your Pokemon is a heavyweight like Snorlax (460kg) or featherlight like Cottonee (0.6kg)!
If you’re feeling up for a challenge, make one of your selected stations the Cry Checker, which lets you listen to the cry of the Pokémon in your ball. Just in case you’re wondering though, it replays the sound the Pokémon makes in the Nintendo game – not the Pokémon shouting out its name as it does in the TV series. That’d be way too easy!
While you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a handy reference pamphlet that corresponds with the Pokéball you chose – aside from listing all the Pokémon that could possibly reside in your Pokéball, it also helps you write down clues.
After visiting all four stations, head on over to the Answer Station to identify the pokemon in your Pokeball.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a huge Pokedex wall, with as many as 721 Pokemon, and appearances by an iconic Pikachu mascot, dressed up in a lab coat, everyday at 11.30am, 2.30pm and 5.30pm.
The Pokemon Research Exhibition opens daily from 10am to 7pm. Tickets are priced at SGD35 for adults and SGD23 for children or seniors, and includes entry into the aquarium. The exhibition will run till 2 January 2017.
The boys of BrompingSG have combined their passion for cycling, Brompton bicycles and adventure, and created an incredible lifestyle for themselves. Looking effortlessly cool, this tight-knit bunch ofOn November 28, 2016 / By Gracie
The boys of BrompingSG have combined their passion for cycling, Brompton bicycles and adventure, and created an incredible lifestyle for themselves. Looking effortlessly cool, this tight-knit bunch of six is all about appreciating the experiences that cycling brings and ‘doing their own thing’. Just as Batman relies on his trusty Batmobile to fight villains, the BrompingSG folks swear by their Brompton bikes to combat normalcy.
They share over 20 years of friendship and are bonded by common ideals and attitudes about living and the things that matters. Through cycling, the boys get to take a step back and be their purest selves. It is no wonder they feel (and act) like teenagers again when the group is out and about. Together, they have explored Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Yogyakarta, Perth and parts of Japan with their Brompton bikes, and are armed with countless stories to tell.
In collaboration with Converse, we kicked back with Ashik, Esa, Firdaus and Luthfi from BrompingSG for a casual chat, and learn more about their camaraderie.
Nookmag (N): Hey fellas, take us back to your roots! How did your love for cycling and Brompton bikes develop?
Esa (E): My love for cycling started young. When I was a kid, my first ride was a mountain bike. I loved that bike to bits. I rode it until it turned rusty. The kind of bicycles that we ride depends on the group of friends. We have ridden mountain bikes, BMX, fixies… As we grow older, I don’t think we have the strength to ride fixies anymore. The Brompton fits in perfectly as we love travelling and exploring. It’s so compact.
Ashik (A): Basically, we have a love for two-wheel rides, regardless of motorbikes or bicycles. Brompton fits in perfectly with our lifestyle. We love to travel, adventure and explore.
Firdaus (F): With two-wheelers, you discover more as compared to cars. There are certain places that can only be accessed by bicycles. What more, the Brompton is so compact. That’s why we choose it.
N: We know the weight of Brompton bikes on our pockets. What do you have to say to people who call you crazy for spending so much on a bicycle?
E: Three words – effortless in folding. Being bike enthusiasts, getting our hands dirty with our bikes is not an issue. We have stripped our bikes from end to end, wheel to wheel, to see how well they are built. We appreciate the quality that goes into Brompton bikes because they are 100% hand-built. We’ve also watched documentaries on it to learn more. We not only love bikes but also the engineering that goes into them and their design aspect. For the Brompton, every single nut and bolt is so perfectly made. The quality is very high in terms of craftsmanship. It’s not the price, it’s the quality. We ride the hell out of our bikes. If we scrimp on the price and quality, we’d have to spend more time maintaining the bike instead of enjoying the ride.
Luthfi (L): I used to work at a bicycle store called Life Cycle that carried all sorts of foldable bikes. I got my first introduction to Brompton bikes there. First sight, I told myself that over my dead body would I get this bike as it’s so pricey and it’s a small wheeler. When I got the chance to mechanically service a Brompton, my mind was blown by the whole engineering aspect of it. Fast forward, I moved into my own place and it’s small, so I decided to sell my big bikes and Brompton came to mind. Prior to that, I went to Penang for a round island cycling trip and I used a friend’s Brompton. It brought me to the peak effortlessly while the others needed to be hand-pushed. Since then, I swore by it and bought one. The rest of the guys follow suit. We have over 20 years of friendship. We get to travel together and we’re like-minded – that’s important.
E: We trust each other’s opinion. When Luthfi said the Brompton was good, we believed him and tried it out.
L: The demographic of Brompton riders in Singapore is usually 50 years old and above. We want to break the whole stigma of riding a Brompton bike here. We do lots of hardcore stuff with our bikes such as play bike polo, ride them out to the trails and *lepak. We want to show people that you can do more with the bike than just go for coffee with it. Life is so much more.
E: We bring the cool factor to Brompton – just shamelessly putting it out.
N: Tell us more about the lifestyle that comes with cycling.
A: We love to adventure and explore. At the same time, we enjoy and appreciate the scenery around us. We have a passion for taking photos too. We’d bring our cameras along our rides and try to collect as many memories as possible.
E: Everything is so digital currently. People are on their phone all the time. Growing up in the 80s, we spend most of our time outside. What we’re doing now is another level up – we travel and spend more time outdoors. We like taking in the greenery. We slow down our pace, forget the noise and appreciate the people we’re hanging out with. Ultimately, it’s the people you spend time with that matters. If we don’t have our bikes, we can go travelling as friends. We find a balance in life.
N: I see you love chilling out with your (not-very-cheap) Helinox chairs too…
F: We believe that if you want to get something, you have to get the best. Or you’ll spend more if your stuff spoils easily.
E: To travel with our bike and all our accessories, space and weight are important factors to consider. What we buy have a purpose.
N: How spontaneous are you with regards to traveling or exploring?
E: Very spontaneous. The six of us have an incredible chemistry. We have the same attitude when it comes to traveling. No hesitation, no questioning. If any one of us has a suggestion, we’ll make it come true. In Japan, we had Luthfi to bring us around and we enjoyed the whole experience to the max.
L: When I go on holidays with my wife, I would always keep a lookout for how good that country is, the cycling network path and stuff like that. When you cycle in a foreign place, you can explore more. I fulfil my wish with these guys. They are the best people to bring around on a bike.
E: In Yogyakarta, the cycling infrastructure is not really there. But Perth city is entirely made up of park connectors. You can travel anywhere within Perth on a bicycle. Same goes as Japan. The cycling infrastructure is so safe and convenient that you don’t need to take anything else. You just jump on your bike and go. If the distance is too far, you can fold up your bike and take it on a train.
N: How much of your journey do you plan?
E: We would have an itinerary but it can change anytime. Most of the time, we’ll go to the places that we plan to and then some. We’ll meet people and they’ll bring us around. For example in Osaka, the good people at Giracha (a fixed gear bike shop/café) specially planned a night ride with us to bring us around Osaka from their perspective. Luthfi and the owners are friends. If we only did the touristy things, we’d never experience the beauty of the city at night. We try to be flexible. If you follow your itinerary too strictly, you wouldn’t experience the uniqueness of the country.
N: Any plans for your next trip?
L: We would like to have an unsupported trip before I reach 40. It’s always been my ambition. I would like to do an unsupported ride around Iceland – that would be nice. All these while, it’s been credit card travel. It’ll be nice to camp out at night under the stars. Every year we would like to go somewhere but we’ve yet to plan for next year.
N: How does an unsupported trip work?
E: An unsupported trip is when you bring your tent, food, clothes, and go into the wild. You don’t stay in a hotel and you don’t go to restaurants for food. You cook on your own. If we could get sponsors for that, it would be awesome. We’re trying to work towards that. I’d love to go back to Japan. Not only was the cycling great, but it’s also the people and the culture.
N: What are some challenges you face when riding a Brompton?
A: High slopes, steep climbs. We’re riding with three-speed bikes and we need a lower gear for us to climb steep slopes.
E: If you compare with normal full-size bikes, we struggle in that sense. It’s one of the setbacks of riding this bike but it doesn’t deter us from riding.
N: What kind of shoes do you like to wear during your rides?
L: One with very stiff soles would be good as power transfer is needed.
E: Comfort is important because we spend long hours on our bicycles. Waterproof is good too. Something that is comfortable, light and visible – all these factors help in your performance in riding, so you’ll ride longer.
N: You guys definitely have the cool factor. How do you like to dress?
E: I’m more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. I like anything that is comfortable. Nothing too flashy for me. I like basic colours, simple t-shirts. I can’t be bothered with how people look at me. As long as I’m comfortable with myself and I look appropriate, it’s good. I don’t dress to impress.
F: Comfort comes first. 90% of our wardrobe is made up of only two colours – white and black.
A: As long as Luthfi doesn’t give me the side-eye, I’m good.
E: We like being comfortable, presentable, clean and appropriate. Shoes can be a little flashier but no wild colours.
L: We cycle and our shoes get dirty. We stay stylish while being comfortable at the same time.
E: Long-lasting is key. We’ve come to a point where we buy something that we can use for a long time before we replace it.
A: I love shoes that I can wear during and off cycling.
N: How does Converse fit into this?
E: Which one of us doesn’t own a pair of Chucks? We’ve been wearing Converse shoes since our secondary school days. The brand represents our generation. I don’t know how many pairs of Converse I’ve owned. They last very long, almost forever. Even a pair of worn-out Converse still looks good. I’d look at my worn-out Chucks and say, “That represents me!”
F: Converse is very clever when it introduced the Chuck II with the Lunarlon sole and all. We need that level of comfort while maintaining our style. It suits us for cycling.
E: We got the Chuck II when it was first launched. If only it was waterproof at that time… Converse is made for us.
A: I like how Converse is always supporting music, arts, skateboarding – the whole lifestyle.
*Meaning to chill and relax in malay.
Conversation seeks out inspiring individuals who possess a creative spirit and brim with passion. It offers an insight into the lives of these individuals and the things that drives them. This edition is proudly sponsored by Converse.
Photo Credits: Chee BP
Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to announce its new gallery space on Dempsey Hill, previously known as the Tanglin Barracks – one of the city-state’s most vibrant lifestyleOn November 22, 2016 / By Nookmag
Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to announce its new gallery space on Dempsey Hill, previously known as the Tanglin Barracks – one of the city-state’s most vibrant lifestyle and dining clusters. The gallery will open on 24 November, 2016 with a solo exhibition by contemporary Chinese artist Su Xiaobai.
Tanglin Barracks was first used by British troops in 1861 as the first garrison outside of Fort Canning and areas around the city centre. Since then, it had been occupied by the Japanese, returned to the British, and finally ceded to the Ministry of Defence in 1972. Over the course of Singapore’s development into the city-state we know today, the Barracks has played host to several art events including the inaugural Singapore Biennale in 2006. As such, the opening of Pearl Lam Galleries marks a new chapter that revives this part of the history of Dempsey Hill. The Galleries’ new space at Block 15 will be situated right next to Como Dempsey, a new luxury lifestyle quarter run by Club 21. Tenants include Candlenut, Dover Street Market, Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, and Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
The new gallery space will continue to feature the works of Pearl Lam Galleries’ international roster of contemporary artists and build on its role of providing a platform for rising and established talents internationally. In its new location, Pearl Lam Galleries will be well positioned to lead the way in presenting critically acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions in the Dempsey cluster in particular and in Singapore in general. A programme of exhibitions or events will be maintained in Gillman Barracks.
“Our new gallery space demonstrates our commitment to Singapore and Southeast Asia at large. Since our first showing at Art Stage Singapore 2012 and the opening of our first permanent space in Singapore in 2014, we have been working to connect meaningfully with both mature and younger collectors in the region. With Dempsey Hill, we see an opportunity to create more areas for dialogue and education, especially among those who are not yet familiar with contemporary art.” — Pearl Lam, Founder of Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, Pearl Lam Galleries is a driving force within Asia’s contemporary art scene. With over 20 years of experience exhibiting Asian and Western art and design, it is one of the leading and most established contemporary art galleries to be launched out of China.
Playing a vital role in stimulating international dialogue on Chinese and Asian contemporary art, the Galleries is dedicated to championing artists who re-evaluate and challenge perceptions of cultural practice from the region. The Galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore collaborate with renowned curators, each presenting distinct programming from major solo exhibitions, special projects, and installations to conceptually rigorous group shows.
Based on the philosophy of Chinese Literati where art forms have no hierarchy, Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to breaking down boundaries between different disciplines, with a unique gallery model committed to encouraging cross-cultural exchange.
The four branches of Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore represent an increasingly influential roster of contemporary artists. Chinese artists Zhu Jinshi and Su Xiaobai, who synthesise Chinese sensibilities with an international visual language, are presented internationally with work now included in major private and public collections worldwide. The Galleries has also introduced leading international artists, such as Jenny Holzer, Leonardo Drew, Carlos Rolón/Dzine and Yinka Shonibare MBE, to markets in the region, providing opportunities for new audiences in Asia to encounter their work. Pearl Lam Galleries encourages international artists to create new work which engages specifically with the region, collaborating to produce thought provoking, culturally relevant work.
Luminescence by Su Xiaobao
Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Chinese born artist Su Xiaobai (b. 1949, Wuhan, China). Su’s highly contemporary artworks combine the vocabulary of an international artistic style, cultivated during his studies in Germany, with an aesthetic and philosophical practice rooted in Chinese tradition. Self-restraint is at the core of Su Xiaobai’s artistic beliefs. His gift of expressing a grand vision through simple forms has made him one of the most profound artists to address the question of existence through art since the Abstract Expressionists.
In an echo of what the German-American painter Josef Albers (1888–1976) referred to as the materie, the manipulation of the external appearance or character of the work perceived by touch and vision, Su Xiaobai gradually reduces the primacy of material form over the work itself, integrating the material into its core until it becomes inseparable from the work. This impulse originates from his explorations of the alternative energy present in materie. Ignoring the dangers of obstacles or failures, Su’s poetic inspiration remains unwavering throughout these artistic experiments. He is not afraid to express sincerity in his work, trusting his intuition to bring him towards the actualisation of a simple yet rich “concrete reality” in his experiments. The innocuous flat plane of painting is transformed using the techniques of bodiless lacquerware, creating entities that are curved, textured, and sculpture-like. These works stand at the boundary of object and artwork. Each mark, crease, indentation, and crack documents Su’s complex and time-consuming production process.
The changing form of his paintings is not meant to convey a subject or a meaning, nor does it narrate a concept or express personal emotions. Day after day, he applies colours on linen, polishes layers of lacquer, introduces subtle undulations, light and shadows, depth of texture, tactile sensations, and movement into his artworks. The artist has elevated his “material” from something with practical use to the embodiment of a meditative state. It is exactly because the material has been taken as meditation rather than a tool of description that the works are able to contain rich cultural implications, expressing a non-traditional visual force and existential power.
Su Xiaobai has an independent view of the world. Influenced by Western philosophy’s view on the nature of existence and ontological argument, Su chose lacquer, a traditional Chinese material with thousands of years of history, as a material to embody his artistic ideology. Lacquer not only possesses a distinctive and majestic range of colours but also a unique temperament; during the process, if there is a lapse in temperature-control, humidity, lighting, or ventilation, the surface of the lacquer will not dry for a long time. In contrast to traditional methods of working with lacquer, Su deliberately cracks and wrinkles what is supposed to be a glossy exterior and creates undulating and textured rather than smooth surfaces, breaking up what is meant to be a whole. Su identifies with the Daoist belief of “action through inaction” by resisting the allure of traditional presentation and not relying on the innate nature of lacquer. Using the ideas of materie, Su indicates presence and quality, speaking in its unique language and creating an undeniable tension on the surface of the artwork.
This exhibition will present a series of subtle and understated monochromatic paintings. The choice of colours and hues that only vary slightly brings about a kind of mystery. In the all-white Luminous White series, a rich and expressive range of tone is still present and reflects the beauty and simplicity that is the essence of these works.
Su Xiaobai Solo Exhibition
24 Nov – 31 Dec 2016
Daily | 11am – 8pm
Pearl Lam Galleries
15 Dempsey Road
#01-08 Dempsey Hill
Come this December, the Glass Rotunda at the National Museum of Singapore will be reopening after two years of renovation works as part of the final phase ofOn November 12, 2016 / By Nookmag
Come this December, the Glass Rotunda at the National Museum of Singapore will be reopening after two years of renovation works as part of the final phase of the museum’s revamp of its permanent galleries. An ode to the National Museum of Singapore’s beginnings where a substantial part of its collection focused on natural history, the Glass Rotunda will be repurposed to showcase two new exciting permanent installations – a commissioned work titled Story of the Forest, a larger-than-life interactive digital art installation created by internationally renowned Japanese digital art collective teamLab, and the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by acclaimed local photographer and artist, Robert Zhao.
“This is the first revamp of the Glass Rotunda since it was launched back in 2006 as the signature feature of the Museum’s new extension. We are excited to reintroduce it to our visitors with two new installations that reference the museum’s early collections history and invite discourse and dialogue between the historical and the contemporary,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore, “Through both installations, we hope to offer our visitors new ways of looking at Singapore’s history and culture.”
Upon entering the Glass Rotunda, visitors will be introduced to Story of the Forest, where they will be immersed in a massive interactive digital installation inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized collection – The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. With a ceiling measuring 15m high and an 80m passage that continues on from the bridge and down to the base of the drum, this is the most challenging digital artwork installation created by teamLab to date. The installation will utilise cutting-edge technology to transform 69 drawings from the collection into animated illustrations, which will come to life and interact with visitors as they make their way down the Glass Rotunda.
At the bottom of the Glass Rotunda, visitors will also encounter the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by renowned local photographer and artist, Robert Zhao. Inspired by one of the oldest postcards found in the National Archives of Singapore depicting an unspecified tree dating back to the year 1904, the exhibition was first commissioned as part of the Singapore Memory Project and held at the National Library Singapore in May 2015 as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations. The exhibit, which will showcase 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlight intimate stories of each, will give visitors an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.
Both Story of the Forest and the Singapore, Very Old Tree will offer museum goers the option of beginning their experience of the Singapore History Gallery from the Glass Rotunda. Together, the revamped Glass Rotunda and the updated permanent galleries provide visitors with an overview of Singapore’s history, from a small fishing village to the bustling modern metropolis it is today. Visitors can look forward to experiencing the new installations at the revamped Glass Rotunda from 10 December 2016.
Story of a Forest by teamLab
Singapore, Very Old Tree by Robert Zhao
10 December 2016 | 10am – 7pm (Daily)
Glass Rotunda, Level 2
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
* Admission charges TBC
Where investigative journalism in the 21st century is concerned, no piece has rocked the very foundation of publishing and caused a worldwide stir quite like the Panama PapersOn November 1, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Where investigative journalism in the 21st century is concerned, no piece has rocked the very foundation of publishing and caused a worldwide stir quite like the Panama Papers Exposé. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Frederik Obermaier and his colleague, the dubious business dealings of law firm Mossack Fonseca has been brought to light.
Before his participation at the Singapore Writers Festival, the investigative journalist from Germany offers Arman Shah insights into the unveiling of questionable offshore accounts that involve some of the world’s most dangerous criminals and political leaders.
When did you first develop an interest in writing?
In high school, but I didn’t even dare work for the school magazine because I didn’t think I could write. I was studying political sciences at university, but when I met students who were studying journalism, I was thrilled by what they were learning. So, I took up journalism alongside political sciences and never regretted it.
What motivated you to pursue investigative journalism as a professional career?
I was always fascinated by investigative journalists like Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They investigated scandals for months and years and strengthened democracy through uncovering wrongdoings.
I myself stumbled upon investigative journalism by accident. In 2012, after my two-year traineeship at German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Hans Leyendecker – the most renowned investigative journalist in Germany – asked me to help with his assignment.
He was investigating the mysterious deaths of German motorcycle club members and asked me if I wanted to join his investigative unit. It was a small team of only four people back then, and it felt like my senior colleagues had thrown me into cold water by giving me such a big assignment from day one; it was thrilling.
How did you get involved with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)? What has it taught you about collaborative journalism?
In 2013, my colleague Bastian Obermayer and I had a great opportunity to be part of an international team of journalists who were investigating what is now known as the Offshore-Leaks. After that project, ICIJ invited us to be part of the consortium. I was 29 at the time and being asked to join was such a big honour.
Bastian and I believe in the power of collaborative investigative journalism. In the past, investigative journalists were lone wolves who didn’t share anything, but projects like the Panama Papers have radically shown what we can accomplish if we work together.
Let’s discuss the Panama Papers. How did you get involved with the Mossack Fonseca exposé that shook the publishing world?
Mossack Fonseca is one of the largest providers of anonymous shell companies. Some of the world’s biggest scumbags have used the law firm’s anonymous offshore companies to disguise their business dealings.
Bastian and I did try to expose Mossack Fonseca before, but the case was like an impenetrable wall; a black hole. Every time our research led us closer to progress, it usually spelled the end of the investigation. When I heard that an anonymous source who we now call John Doe was offering data about the company, I was thrilled.
Can you explain the nature of your communications with the whistleblower, John Doe?
I hope you understand that we need to keep some things secret to protect our source. The only thing I can say about the communication is that it was encrypted.
What was going through your mind when you saw such sensitive information and its dangerous involvement of so many powerful political leaders?
The more names of notorious individuals we found, the more scared I was. They were members of drug cartels, the mafia, Bashar al-Assad’s cousin, the best friend of Vladimir Putin, guys close to Gaddafi – in order words, questionable people you normally do not want to mess with.
Fortunately, there has been no threat to my life. However, our colleagues in Russia were branded US agents and had to leave their country for some time. In Hong Kong, the Executive Chief Editor of Ming Pao newspaper was dismissed hours after the Panama Papers were made public.
The website of our Tunisian partner – the online magazine Inkyfada – was attacked by hackers after it reported the offshore connections of a former adviser to the president. In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa tweeted the names of the journalists involved in the investigation. The message was clear: he wanted to put them under pressure.
How do you feel about the treatment the other journalists received?
All these happenings are not acceptable. Society needs free press, and if the rich and powerful try to attack that, we should all raise our voices. If you fight one of us, you fight all of us – you fight free society.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of publishing the Panama Papers exposé?
It was good to see that the Panama Papers have caused an international debate about tax-havens and anonymous companies and their threat to society and democracy.
You’ll be attending this year’s Singapore Writers Festival. What teachings do you hope to impart to those who are inspired by your work and aspire to be like you?
For me, it is a great honour to be part of the Singapore Writers Festival. I hope I can share some of my experiences working on the Panama Papers exposé and give insights into this thrilling investigation.
If you’ve missed last weekend’s River Nights performances, fret not. There’s still one more weekend of festivities left! This October, premier arts festival River Nights, returns to lightOn October 24, 2016 / By Nookmag
If you’ve missed last weekend’s River Nights performances, fret not. There’s still one more weekend of festivities left!
This October, premier arts festival River Nights, returns to light up the banks of Singapore River in the heart of the Civic District. Organised by the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), and with the National Arts Council as Principal Partner, this third edition presents the theme “Phantasmagoria”, inspiring four nights of magic and illusion as technology puts a new spin on traditional art forms, marrying the old and the new.
Festival Director, Dr Lim Chye Hong said, “River Nights 2016 truly reflects Singapore’s strong bilateral and cross-cultural relations, as we present the best of local and international artists on the same stage. One can look forward to collaborations between international artists and the local community; as well as participation from overseas communities such as Japan, the US and the Philippines as they offer us a glimpse into their arts, culture and tradition. At the heart of this year’s programming is also the use of technology to blend the old and the new, presenting new and shared experiences for both artists and the public. The cross-cultural diversity and shared experiences offered at River Nights 2016 is definitely something that festival-goers can look forward to.”
Where arts and technology intersect
In celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations and cultural exchange between Singapore and Japan, the public will get to witness the first time a Noh play – an age-old Japanese theatre form – is being paired with 21st century 3D projection. An original theatrical experience, Yugen: The Hidden Beauty of Japan, is presented by Shutaro Oku and prolific director Amon Miyamoto, whose work has recently been commissioned for a pre-event performance for Tokyo Olympics 2020. This performance will be held on 28 and 29 October, 8pm and 9.30pm at ACM Green.
Also for the first time in Asia is the Umbrella Project, a collaboration between world renowned American dance company Pilobolus and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Distributed Robotics Laboratory. This interactive art and dance piece is inspired by science and technology. Collaborating with 100 students from Singapore Polytechnic, the public will be able to experience a colourful and dazzling performance as students light up the night sky with a ballet of colour-changing umbrellas. This performance will be held on 28 and 29 October, 8.45pm at Empress Lawn.
Yet another performance, Soundscape: The River is an ambitious project that melds a variety of instruments and the human voice to create the story of a river by weaving the magic of sound, whispers, the rustling of the wind, and the fury of a thunderstorm into one integral whole. It is a collaboration of five instrumentalists, two voices and a dancer demonstrating the unity and diversity of sound, mood and emotions. The musical artwork is pre-set yet at the same time allows on-the-spot improvisation, demonstrating complete understanding and integration amongst the performers. Performed across three stages, technology and artists have to be in sync to create this 20-minute immersive experience.
A celebration of cross-cultural diversity
ACM’s signature and widely anticipated lifestyle event, ACM after Dark, will also return this weekend of the festival, presenting a showcase of Asian supernatural and beliefs. This year’s instalment, themed Horror Mash-Up, is supported by the Embassy of the United States and will feature an East-meets-West zombie-themed programme. One can brave through zombies within ACM’s galleries and attend indoor movie screenings of Asian and Western horror movies, or participate in a series of family-friendly activities such as face-painting, craft workshops and dress-up and photo-booths. Come dressed in your Halloween-best, be spotted by the organisers at ACM, and stand chances to win attractive prizes!
Members of the public will also be able to sign up for workshops and talks with featured artists over the festival weekend. Partners such as Japan Foundation, *SCAPE, Preservation of Sites and Monuments, and SJ50 Film Festival have also come on board to complement the festival offerings with fringe programmes ranging from music performances, guided tours of Singapore monuments to a showcase of short films from Singapore and Japan.
Dr Lim added, “River Nights celebrates the river’s legacy as a vital trading artery in the colonial past to the vibrant Civic District it is today. The museum’s strategic location has enabled us to present a creative canvas for local and international artists, and a holistic experience to festival-goers. With ACM championing the visual arts and the Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall anchoring performing arts, Empress Place is an important cultural playground for both artists and visitors. It is very exciting to see this area be filled with buzz, as we meld the area’s rich heritage with arts and culture through River Night’s specially curated programmes.”
River Nights will take place on 28 and 29 October, from 7pm to 11pm around the Civic District. For more information, visit the Asian Civilisations Museum website.
May, a frequent traveller who constantly seeks to experience life outside her comfort zone, was travelling in Manali, India, when she chanced upon a jewellery shop. Crystals andOn October 21, 2016 / By Jamie Lee
May, a frequent traveller who constantly seeks to experience life outside her comfort zone, was travelling in Manali, India, when she chanced upon a jewellery shop. Crystals and stones became her best friends (and the shopkeeper too!), and her newfound fascination egged her towards setting up her own brand — Tesselate. Co.
Combining business and travel, Tesselate. Co’s handmade and handpicked accessories feature stones with healing properties, and uses the finest materials of 925 Sterling Silver and Brass. However, her love for jewellery was not the only thing May stumbled upon during her travels. She also got to know Fior Di Loto, a non-profit organisation in India that improves the lives of over 500 village girls.
As a strong believer in giving back to society, the opportunity to combine her passion with doing good was definitely the universe’s way of telling her to pursue what her heart truly desired. As of 2016, Tesellate. Co have sponsored the education of two girls for a period of five years!
We talk to May about Tessellate. Co’s partnership with Fior Di Loto, and her Howlite Collection.
Hi May! Tell us how you became acquainted with Fior Di Loto and their work.
I was in India, and heard a lot of good things about Fior Di Loto from the locals, so I visited the school to take a look for myself. I met the girls there, who are all really polite and warm, and saw how the organisation operated. I trust that Fior Di Loto will do their best for these village girls, and I feel comfortable working with them!
How was the atmosphere and culture in Fior Di Loto?
The students show a lot of love for one another, as well as respect for the teachers and volunteers. They learn a lot of things in school that build their knowledge and confidence. For instance, they start with meditation in the morning before having various subject classes (English, Math, Science, Arts) and sometimes get to learn third languages from the volunteers that come from other countries.
The donation goes to a lot of different things, such as the girls’ education fees (the girls receive free education, materials and are provided with lunch and transport) as well as food rations for the less privileged families. Fior Di Loto also improves the villages by building wells for the community as well as houses for the poor, and offers medical treatment for the sick.
Tell us more about Durga, the girl you’ve sponsored.
Compared to her peers, Durga is quite the introvert. She is one of the best students in class, and is very hardworking. She loves to draw, and has many books which are filled with her illustrations! She even sent me some of her drawings; feel really touched and proud to receive them.
Why is education important?
Education develops one’s character and mentality. In India, education is one of the key factors in helping people break out of their poverty cycle. I’ve heard that some of the girls graduate from Fior Di Loto and move on to become teachers, nurses and even doctors. All these would not be possible if they were not provided with education.
Although there are free public schools available in India, it is difficult for these village girls to get transport into town. A lot of them miss the chance to go to schools for this very reason. This is where Fior Di Loto comes in, to provide education and transport for the girls. I am so happy and proud of Durga, as she is doing very well in school and is likely to better her job prospects in the future.
You’ve chosen the Howlite gemstone, as the star of your latest collection. What do you love about it?
I wanted to create a minimalist collection, and I found Howlite to be perfect due to its simplicity and elegance. Howlite is also known to be a stone with calming properties, and it helps wearers to relax and be at peace with themselves.
Tell us more about the fair trade artisans aspect of your business.
Most of the artisans I work with actually work from home, and run their own business instead of working in big factories that might underpay them. In our discussions, they have the final say on whether they want to take up the job or not, and they quote the fees for their work. This allows them to have better working conditions and receive fair wages. I find this to be a sound business model as it is more sustainable in the long run.
Be sure to check out updates on Tessellate’s full range of collections at their online store.
Local illustrator and owner of independent brand label, Sarah Thursday, will launch her first solo exhibition at a cat cafe on 29 and 30 October. The exhibition willOn October 20, 2016 / By Nookmag
Local illustrator and owner of independent brand label, Sarah Thursday, will launch her first solo exhibition at a cat cafe on 29 and 30 October. The exhibition will showcase both her past and new works, which will be hung up across the entire cat space in Neko no Niwa, a cat cafe housing 13 rescued cats in Singapore. Likewise, limited edition fabric prints, tee shirts, sweatshirts, totebags, phonecases, pouches, accessories and vinyl stickers will also be available for purchase during the exhibition.
To date, Sarah has illustrated several collections, including her first, “The Monochrome Collection” in 2014, inspired by Victorian vintage illustrations with hints of gothic influence; one of her most well-received collections, “The Yokai Project”; and her newest collection, “The Nocturnal Project”.
Celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the Sarah Thursday label, the launch of her newest collection depicts her lifestyle split into 3 different illustrations, namely the “Daydreamer”, the “Nightwalker”, and the “Stargazer”. Armed with only a drawing tablet, the Photoshop software, and her inspirations, Sarah illustrates the intricate and detailed designs of each of her projects with the aim of sending messages which relate to different viewers.
For instance, “The Yokai Project” is heavily inspired by Japanese culture and illustrations. As “Yokai” refers to spirit animals, Sarah came up with several designs for this project, depicting four different spirit animals, namely the Cat (Neko), Ram (Hitsuji), Wolf (Okami) and Peacock (Tori).
Aside from this exhibition, Sarah’s full range of merchandise can also be viewed and purchased at ActuallySG located at Orchard Gateway, or online at Sarah Thursday.
The Nocturnal Project
29 – 30 October 2016
10am – 10pm
Neko no Niwa
54A Boat Quay Lvl 2
RSVP by 25 October 2016
(Note : Only 20 people are allowed in at once)
Entrance Fee : SGD12/hr
The public can also choose not to go in but stay
outside to take a look or to purchase merchandise.
About Sarah Thursday
Sarah graduated from Temasek Design School at age 20, and started her own one-man label, Sarah Thursday, on Halloween 2013. From her early days retailing paper products,
to her now-expanded merchandise collection including apparels such as tee shirts, sweatshirts, totebags, and etc., Sarah can be considered one of the pioneers selling her merchandise at the booming art markets that have been popular these recent years.
She can often be found at TheLocalPeopleSG’s art markets with her full range of merchandise displayed at available booths, and has also been invited to exhibit her works at shows such as Kult’s Little Shop of Horrors and Glitch’s Local Flavours.
Today could last a million years. Today could be the end of me. It’s 11:59; And I want to stay alive. — “11:59”, Blondie It’s Sunday. AlongOn October 18, 2016 / By The Rainbow-Monger
Today could last a million years.
Today could be the end of me.
It’s 11:59; And I want to stay alive.
— “11:59”, Blondie
It’s Sunday. Along with the upcoming Monday-blues, this blistering weather has evapourated all the goodwill along with what’s left of the weekend. Having parked my car, I briskly made my way along the long corridor of shop houses, and spotted the bookstore I was looking for. Eagerly pushing my way in through the heavy door, the cool air hit my face then, as if gently reprimanding me to slow down and savour the time spent among a treasure trove of literature.
A smile unfolded upon my face as I caught sight of a familiar title – I’d just read it a couple days before. Turning absentmindedly, I caught sight of a fairy-sized gentleman; bespectacled, with coffee-coloured wings. Upon flipping the page, I found myself in a world of satire, penned by Felix Cheong, an artist whose words flowed from blood to pen….
While getting rid of all the sugar-coating our society seems to indulge in, Felix Cheong has managed to strike at the heart of some of the main societal issues in Singapore. A local writer and poet who has won several awards for literature since 2000, Felix has since published several books including Temptation and Other Poems, Broken by the Rain, and his latest work, the Singapore Siu Dai series.
Far from the conventional writer of short stories with happy endings, Felix admits that flashes of dark humour often appear in some of his works. “They often have a Monty Pythonesque cheekiness,” he says, referring to one of his short stories in Vanishing Point. “For instance, in ‘The Boy with the Missing Thumb’, a hardcore teen gamer wakes up one morning to find his right thumb missing.”
While there may be an “Aesop’s Fable” lesson to be gained from this story in particular, each story in his vast collection of written work is crafted to entertain, to induce a good laugh at times, and to take things lightly.
Take his Singapore Siu Dai series for example. Explaining that any kopi addict worth his weight in sugar knows that “siu dai” refers to “less sugar” in local coffee-shop lingo, Felix tells short tales of everyday life in a portrayal of Singapore that is not dripping with the “look, honey!” sweetness put up by the local tourism board. “It’s my 50-cent contribution, as a writer, to nation-building,” he confesses.
Although the stories in each series provoke laughter at every turn, if one sits and ponders the deeper meaning behind each story, we’ll find that behind the humour, each tale questions the fundamentals of who we are as a nation, why we are the way we are, and what type of pills we can possibly take to make it all go away.
Having been an artist of the written word for more than a decade now, Felix still teaches and occasionally writes as a freelance contributor to various publications. However, “writing is not my career per se,” he told us. “I was born for it.”
The third book in the Singapore Siu Dai series was published last month, and can be purchased individually or as boxed sets at Books Kinokuniya, as well as the Ethos Books Webstore :
Felix has a tattoo of a typewriter on his right forearm, for which he wrote a poem.
Chronicle of a Tattoo of a Typewriter
Father, I have branded myself as
yours, on a Sunday,
a day of rest. The ink,
welling too long in capillaries,
has poured out of membrane,
memories, found its own pen, finally,
a striking expression on skin,
stigma, stamp, keys that deliver
and open your letters, every stroke
like a keyhole to your face,
a typeface I can apprehend,
where my fingertips move to seize it
permanent, as do these lines,
image imperfect. I am as
you have meant me to be.
Singapore River Festival 2016 returns on 4 to 5 November with the theme “River Connections” to celebrate the vibrant culture and lifestyle along the Singapore River precinct.On October 14, 2016 / By Nookmag
Singapore River Festival 2016 returns on 4 to 5 November with the theme “River Connections” to celebrate the vibrant culture and lifestyle along the Singapore River precinct.
For the first time ever, a tightrope will be extended across the Singapore River for the opening act, ‘Crossings’ a dazzling tightrope spectacle by French performance group, Underclouds Cie who would be performing the original production inspired and conceived by the story of the Singapore River itself.
Festival-goers can expect to be entranced by a series of enjoyable experiences as the river buzzes with activities suited for all ages to partake in. Clarke Quay will be bustling with party jams at the Silent Disco, multi-sensory acrobatic acts at the Riverside Carnival and headline act, Crossings. Boat Quay will host a street festival programmed by local creative non-profit Hyphen, named Circular Spectacular, while Robertson Quay will screen popular local film “7 Letters”at Quayside Cinema and host Fitness Workshops by the River.
Singapore River (SR) Signatures will also be featuring 21 winning dishes picked out by our four local celebrity chefs, Nixon Low, Anthony Yeoh, Bjorn Shen, and Cheryl Koh. In celebration, some of the restaurants along the river will also be running special promotions on these dishes during the festival.
SR Signatures is an annual accolade conferred on restaurants along the Singapore River who serve up gastronomical wonders to their customers. It is organised in conjunction with the Singapore River Festival to connect visitors to the River through food and provide them with the opportunity to tantalise their taste buds while exploring the sights and sounds of the festival.
This year’s theme, “Where Chefs Eat”, highlights the gourmet choices of the chefs and aims to share their expertise with visitors of the event. Visitors can enjoy the opportunity to pit their taste buds against these chefs and decide for themselves how much they enjoy the dishes. It is also part of the Singapore River Festival experience to stimulate all senses during the festival, and taste is certainly one that we did not want to miss out on!
Nixon Low (Portico Restaurants)
Nixon Low, 30, is an award-winning chef who discovered his calling in the kitchen when he took up a one-semester culinary science module at Temasek Polytechnic, where he graduated with a Diploma in Hospitality Management. He believes that there is a lot of science behind cooking and thus enjoys serving unpretentious comfort food that has a complex taste, balanced by using fresh ingredients and experimenting with diverse cooking techniques.
Nixon Low holds a few awards titles under his belt with the Singapore National Team, of which he served as the Team Captain for the 2013 Dubai World Hospitality Championship. In 2014, he was named Top Local Chef in Singapore by SG Magazine Online, and this year, Nixon Low was named one of the 30 Singapore’s rising stars under 30. He is also a nominee for World Gourmet Summit (WGS) 2016 Rising Chef of the Year.
NIXON’S TOP 5 PICKS
Chicken Liver Marsala Tagliatelle
At Lucca’s Trattoria, diners can enjoy Cucina alla casalinga, ie. home cooking, based on several signature Tuscan dishes. The Chicken Liver Bacon Marsala pasta is an authentic signature dish from the charming town of Lucca, Tuscany. Sometimes referred to as Pasta di Lucchesse, it is made with tagliatelle, premium seared chicken livers and bacon rashers deglazed with marsala, and finished with a monte of butter. This unique dish is simply delicious and warms your soul at the same time, as it may evoke memories of your favorite aunt’s cooking.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Chicken Liver Marsala Tagliatelle @
SGD24 with a free cup of Segafredo Coffee.
Lucca’s Trattoria Singapore
11 Unity Street, #01-12 Robertson Walk
Gambas al Ajillo
A traditional house favourite; Fresh shrimp cooked in a dish of boiling olive oil with garlic and chili pepper.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Special Price : SGD14 (U.P. SGD16)
My Little Spanish Place
54 Boat Quay
Signature Ma Po Tofu
Don’t let Peony Jade’s Spicy Szechuan Ma Po Tofu intimidating looks fool you. Beneath its fiery appearance, it’s a dish delicately prepared by the chef. It starts with the tofu itself, requiring at least half an hour of preparation. Crispy on the surface and soft on the inside, it gives the dish an extra dimension in its texture. Chock full of stuffing, the pork filling is paired with moderately spicy Szechuan sauce. Fresh peppercorns highlight the dish with a slight numbing after effect. Yet, neither the spiciness nor numbing sensation overwhelm the taste buds. Definitely a classic with a twist!
SRF 2016 Promotion
25% off Spicy Sze Chuan Ma Po Tofu for the festival, 4-5 November 2016.
Exclusively for Singapore River Festival and at Peony Jade Clarke Quay outlet.
Peony Jade Restaurant
3 River Valley Rd, Clarke Quay
Century Egg Tofu
The Century Egg Tofu is homemade tofu topped with Century Egg Sauce.
30 Robertson Quay, #01-15 Riverside View
Start your modern Mexican dining experience with Super Loco’s signature dish – Elotes, a Mexican street style grilled corn with chipotle mayo, cotija cheese and served with a slice of lime wedge!
SRF 2016 Promotion
Enjoy a pair of Elotes for only SGD8+ (1-4-1 offer)!
Valid on 4 to 5 Nov 2016, during Dinner only (not available for weekend Brunch)
Quote “SRF Elotes” to any of our Super Loco team during the festival period
60 Robertson Quay, #01-13 The Quayside
Anthony Yeoh (Cocotte)
Anthony Yeoh, head chef at Cocotte, was inspired by his grandmother who was trained at Le Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris to start cooking. He started out his culinary journey to be a chef in 2007, when he enrolled himself at the At-Sunrice Culinary Academy.
Upon graduation, he started the Funky Chefs, a personal cheffing company, before assuming the position of Head Chef at Cocotte. It was through his experiences there that he discovered his cooking style, which was a casual and honest take on country style French food. The Cocotte menu reflects his knowledge and passion for gastronomical delights, incorporating as much organic produce in his cooking which he advocates, and actively engages in when sourcing for sustainable and unadulterated ingredients for his menu.
He specialises in French food and prefers to use organic produce in his cooking which he obtains from an organic farm in Cameron Highlands. Cocotte, located on the ground level of Wanderlust Hotel, serves up unpretentious, rustic French cuisine in a casual and comfortable setting, where the guest gets to interact and socialise over communal dining. By sampling sharing portions, diners get to experience an assortment of delightful creations by the chefs. One of the highlights at Cocotte is the Weekend Brunch Trolley where diners get to pick brunch dishes off a trolley after paying a flat rate.
ANTHONY’S TOP 5 PICKS
Maguro Zanmai Don
Using only the freshest premium grade tuna, Cho Omakase’s Maguro Zanmai Don features tuna served three ways. Sliced chutoro, sliced akami and chopped otoro are tossed in a light shoyu sauce which not only gives the dish its fragrant and savoury taste, but complements the freshness of the premium grade tuna. The tenderness of the sliced chutoro and akami contrasts with the chopped otoro and lends varying textures to the dish, providing the palette with an interesting dimension.
SRF 2016 Promotion
The Maguro Zanmai Don that Chef Anthony selected is part of an SGD80++ Cho Omakase offering. As part of the Singapore River Special, the dish will be included as a seasonal highlight in their SGD50++ Omakase Lunch Set.
Promotion is valid from 4-30 Nov 2016
14 Lorong Telok
Vitelli Tonnato (Roasted Veal with Tuna Sauce, Cappers and Truffles)
This dish is served chilled or at room temperature, generally in the summertime, it is also the main course in an Italian meal. At The Lighthouse House Restaurant & Rooftop Bar, Chef Carlo presents this dish as an elegant antipasto.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Enjoy 30% off ‘Vitello Tonnato’ when you order a Pasta or Main Course from The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rooftop Bar.
Applicable for dine-in only. Offer is applicable for lunch and dinner for 4 and 5 November 2016. Offer is not valid in conjunction with other promotions or discounts. Offer is not valid on eve of public holidays, public holidays and may include blackout dates determined by the merchant, unless stated otherwise.
For dining reservation or enquiries, please call Dining Reservations at (65) 6877 8911 / 8912 or visit the Fullerton Hotel Website. The hotel reserves the right to vary and amend any of terms and conditions without prior notice.
The Lighthouse Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
1 Fullerton Square, The Fullerton Hotel
Carpaccio di Polipo
Thin slice half cook Mediterranean octopus in olive oil lemon dressing.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Promotional price: SGD22.00 (usual price: SGD26.00)
Limoncella Pizza & Grill
95 Robertson Quay, Rivergate Condominium, #01-19/20
The 79 is a buckwheat flour Galette filled with a marination of bacon, caramelized onions and potato topped up with melted artisanal Reblochon Cheese.
SRF 2016 Promotion
A glass of cider will be given for free for every
‘The 79’ ordered during the Singapore River Festival period.
79 Circular Road
The Gambler is a spicy chicken burger featuring free-range chicken thigh fillet marinated overnight in buttermilk and secret ingredients from The Butchers Club Singapore Burger recipe vault. The fillet is double breaded in a crunchy mixture of flour and spicy seasoning. The fillet is then fried to order until golden brown and crispy, before being tossed in a spicy glaze of Red Hot sauce and lathered in butter.
This red hot burger is served in our house buns with a bed of lettuce and a thick slice of beef tomato. The whole thing is topped with a blue cheese and celery slaw, and crumbled blue cheese. Wear a napkin as this burger is meant to make a mess.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Free upsize (including Bottle beers, cold brew coffee or milk shake) with every order of ‘The Gambler’ during set lunch on weekdays from 12pm to 3pm (usual price SGD22.80++)
The Butchers Club Burger
3A River Valley Road, #01-01B Clarke Quay
Bjorn Shen (Artichoke)
Bjorn Shen is the chef-owner of Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant, Artichoke and author of Artichoke cookbook – “Artichoke- Recipes and Stories from Singapore’s Most Rebellious Kitchen”. He is known for his wacky personality and outlandish style of cooking that is spontaneous and playful.
Apart from that, Bjorn writes for Time Out magazine in a monthly column titled “Bjorn Says”. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, and a Master’s degree in Marketing, he also conducts lectures at the Culinary Institute of America and consults on new restaurant openings.
Bjorn also owns and oversees other brands such as Bird Bird, a down-and-dirty Thai eatery, and Neh Neh Pop, a retail range of crazy flavoured double-coated creamsicles, and is the Asia Pacific Chef Ambassador for United Nations – Recipes for Change food project. Likewise, he is named chef of the year in 2013 by SC Global magazine, and Best Local Chef at the SG Readers’ Choice Awards 2015.
BJORN’S TOP 5 PICKS
Gai Yang (grilled chicken) is brined in lemongrass, palm sugar, coriander root and fish sauce and served with tamarind sauce and grilled asparagus and baby corn.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Dish is priced at SGD18.00++ (usual price: SGD21++)
Soi 60 Thai
60 Robertson Quay, #01-04 The Quayside
Kubideh is Iran’s Signature kebab and most famous of them all. No one else does it better than Shabestan. It is made from ground lamb or chicken with onions, saffron and persian herbs and cooked on a skewer on a charcoal grill. This dish is usually served with White Basmati Rice with saffron or with Persian Bread in some cases.
SRF 2016 Promotion
20% discount off –
Lamb Kubideh (usual price: SGD35)
Chicken Kubideh (usual price: SGD32)
Mix Kubideh (usual price: SGD34)
80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13 The Pier
Dojo’s customers’ all-time favourite ever since they opened their doors in October 2014, the Kaiju burger consists of a monstrous helping of mushrooms and melted cheese on a pork patty slathered in a delicious homemade mushroom sauce. ‘Kaiju’ – aka cheese mushroom, refers to the Malay word for cheese, “Keju”; “Kaiju” also refers to “monster”, which happens to be a cute play on words in the case of this cheesy mushroom burger!
SRF 2016 Promotion
1 for 1 Kaiju Burger @ SGD12 for the month of November. Customers are to present the marketing collaterals showing the promotion.
Each customer is only allowed to redeem this offer once per day. This promotion is valid for dine-in purchases only, and may not be used with any other promotions. Management reserves the rights to amend of modify any terms & conditions without prior notice.
72 Circular Rd
DBQ specializes in slow smoked meats, central Texas style. That means food here are cooked with wood only – no gas, no electric – the way people have been doing since before America was a country. Taking that role as ambassadors of Texas tradition seriously, the crew at DBQ stay up all night cooking their briskets to perfection. Likewise, their smoker is manned around the clock for the entire week as a show of dedication to a time honored tradition, allowing them to create food that really speaks for itself – possibly the best American barbecue in Singapore, and maybe even Asia.
The Plate for two allows customers to select three meats (200g each) from a selection of brisket, chopped beef, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, buffalo chicken wings, and turkey breast (turkey on Fri/Sat/Sun only). Customers can also choose two sides from a selection of brisket beans, coleslaw, cornbread, mac and cheese, potato salad, and kale salad.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Two half pint draft beers from Brewerkz for SGD10
with the full price purchase of a Plate for 2.
60 Robertson Quay #01-17
8 Colours Set
E!GHT’s signature 8 Colours Set (SGD98), suitable for three to four diners, is a veritable treatise on the wide-ranging flavours that complement this Mangalitza pork. Mouth-watering strips of thick-cut pork belly are flavoured in eight different ways – wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso, and red pepper paste. Each strip, approximately 100g each, is elegantly rolled up and presented on a custom-made wooden tray. The tray not only features the name of the restaurant; each flavour is clearly carved into the wood to ensure the customer knows exactly what is being served. Be sure to start your journey at the light tasting original, and end with a strong finish at the red pepper marinated strip!
Eight Korean BBQ
6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central
#02-79/90, Clarke Quay Central
Cheryl Koh (Tarte by Cheryl Koh)
Pastry Chef, Cheryl Koh began her culinary journey at the Singapore Raffles Hotel, where she worked part-time during her school holidays. Cheryl fell in love with working in the kitchen, and her culinary experience at the Raffles Hotel cemented her decision to pursue a career as a pastry chef. As she embarked on a global odyssey, learning from world renowned chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants, Cheryl’s career took her to the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Lasserre, before she was appointed Chef de Partie at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. She also worked alongside one of Italy’s revered restauranteurs, Chef Alfonso Iaccarino from two-Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890, and sister restaurant at the Grand Lisboa in Macau.
In 2015, together with the Les Amis Group, Cheryl opened her own patisserie called “Tarte by Cheryl Koh”, which retails a range of artisanal tarts made with a variety of seasonal ingredients. When it comes to desserts, very few chefs in Singapore are willing to invest in seasonal fruits such as the French Gariguette Strawberries, Iranian Pistachios and Indian Alphonso Mangoes. However, Cheryl is not one to comprise on quality. A lot of time and effort is spent perfecting a seemingly simple tart and sourcing for the right ingredients.
CHERYL’S TOP 5 PICKS
Cheese dumplings dipped in milk and garnished with dry fruits.
RAS Northern Indian
3D River Valley Rd, #01-05A, Clarke Quay
Filet Americain (Steak Tartare) is made using hand-diced Angus beef tenderloin, tossed with capers, shallot, pickles, mustard, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, tabasco, cognac and cocktail sauce, and served with hand-cut fries on the side. The steak tartare is served with an egg yolk to add a creamy texture.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Order a Filet Americain and enjoy a complimentary bottle of Belgian Primus Beer (330ml). Promotion is valid all day on 4 & 5 November 2016.
#01-12 The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Rd
Al Funghi E Saalsiccia
Homemade Italian sausage and mushrooms sautéed in light cream.
(Diners have the option to choose any pasta they want to pair with this sauce)
Recommended fresh pastas: Penne or Rigatoni
SRF 2016 Promotion
Enjoy 20% off the dish.
Offer is valid from 4-5 November 2016.
Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore
30 Boat Quay
Snack Tasting Platter
Much like the ambience and character of The Mad Men Attic Bar, their food is fun, new, and yet familiar. While serving up many various bar food classics, chefs here try to insert their own little taste (be it local or modern) in every dish whenever they can. From the Mini Beef Burger with soft pimento cheese and caramelised onions, to the Roast Duck Quesadilla with hoisin sauce, scallions, shiitake mushrooms and cheese, The Mad Men Attic Bar hopes to always offer food that is predictable, but surprising at the same time.
The “Snack Tasting Platter” is the best way to taste what this bar has to offer. Having a mix of some long time classics, along with their new Chef creations, the crew at The Mad Men Attic Bar promise that their platter will change constantly to reflect the best of their menu at any point in time. Enjoy the food, live music and drinks at just SGD25 nett all day, everyday, and you will not be disappointed.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Dish is priced at SGD20 nett from 4-5 November 2016
The Mad Men Attic Bar
11 North Canal Rd, #03-02 (Attic Level)
Breaded Shrimp with Salmon Aburi
Deep-fried Breaded Shrimp Maki Roll with flame-grilled Salmon fillet, Miso Paste-Mayonnaise Sauce, Ebiko (Flying Fish Roe), Spring Onions, Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Flakes) and drizzle of Teriyaki Sauce.
SRF 2016 Promotion
Dish is priced at SGD14.80, valid from 4-5 November 2016
JJ.com Fish Mart
06 Eu Tong Sen Street, Clarke Quay Central #01-68
Singapore River Festival 2016
4 November (Fri) | 8pm onwards
5 November (Sat) | 3pm onwards
Multiple events along Singapore River
Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Robertson Quay
*Free admission, open to public. Seating along the river is subject to the seating capacity made available by restaurant owners.
For more info on the festivities, please visit the Singapore River Festival’s official website.
The 19th edition of Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) goes topical with unconventional writers and artists this year, offering a strong literary contingent with a slant on topical issuesOn October 8, 2016 / By Nookmag
The 19th edition of Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) goes topical with unconventional writers and artists this year, offering a strong literary contingent with a slant on topical issues with the theme “Sayang”. A Malay term with multiple meanings, it can be used to express love, and also to express a sense of pity and regret when loss is experienced. Sayang aptly represents how the stories which speak the most deeply to us – whether written, spoken, danced or sung – are centred on love and loss.
One of Asia’s premier literary events, SWF 2016 celebrates life’s cultural and emotional riches through a kaleidoscope of global creative talents. From 4 to 13 November 2016, almost 330 writers from Singapore and around the world will congregate over 10 days at the Civic District to make the Festival an exciting place to exchange ideas, and examine how global affairs, such as the refugee crisis in Europe and the Fukushima disaster, have centrifugal ripples in their myriad ways. This is the first time SWF has chosen a non-English theme for the Festival.
With less than a month to Singapore’s biggest literary event, SWF has unveiled some of its literary speakers this year, including Joanne Harris, award-winning British author behind Chocolat; Man Booker International Prize-nominee Eka Kurniawan, name-checked as one of Southeast Asia’s most celebrated novelists; and O Thiam Chin, winner of Singapore’s inaugural Epigram Fiction Prize award. Housed across the Civic district, this year’s Festival continues to be helmed by Festival Director Yeow Kai Chai. The 10-day Festival will showcase fictionists, poets, academics and thinkers, as well as unconventional literary artists like musician-poets, theatre thespians and YouTube personalities, the Panama Papers journalists, and commentators on the US Presidential Elections.
Festival goers can look forward to a diverse range of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and performances that are broadly categorised under five new interdisciplinary tracks of
experiential events: SWF Stage, SWF3 (SWF For Families), SWF Beyond, SWF Class, as well as SWF POP, a series of pop-up literary events. These topics will be presented by notable personalities such as former CNN foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and novelist Atia Abawi (US); and The Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak (US), whose popular YouTube series analyses deeper human conditions through topical issues such as the Harry Potter series, Donald Trump’s speeches, and Brexit.
Atia Abawi (US)
A former CNN foreign correspondent and novelist, Atia was stationed for close to five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and raised in the US. In 2014, she published her first book, The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan.
Evan Puschak (US)
Better known as The Nerdwriter on YouTube, Evan writes, hosts, edits and produces a weekly web series, which features video essays about art, culture, philosophy, science and politics.
Joanne Harris (UK)
Author of Chocolat, on which the British-American romantic comedy-drama film of the same name was based, Joanne is one of only four female members of the “Millionaires’ Club”, the elite group of authors who have achieved a million sales of one book in the UK.
Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia)
A writer and graphic designer, Eka is the first Indonesian ever nominated for a Man Booker International Prize. His works have been translated into more than 24 languages, and his novel, Beauty is a Wound, made the list of 100 notable books by The New York Times.
A Yi (China)
Billed as the most exciting Chinese novelist in recent years, A Yi has been published in Granta and The Guardian. In 2010, he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future.
O Thiam Chin (Singapore)
Winner of the inaugural Epigram Fiction Prize, Singapore’s richest literary award, Thiam Chin was an honorary fellow of the Iowa International Writing Program in 2010, a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2012, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize.
Likewise, the festival explores collaborations with partners such as Unthinktank, The Select Centre, Esplanade, the Noise Singapore festival, BooksActually and the Organisation of Illustrators Council. The Country Focus this year is Japan, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations (SJ50), featuring writers, poets, musicians and translators.
The 10-day event is one of the few literary festivals in the world that is multi-lingual, and will celebrate works in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.
Singapore Writers Festival 2016
(4 – 13 November 2016)
The Civic District
The Arts House
Asian Civilisations Museum