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Singapore Slingers clinch second ABL win

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By Kristine Paula Aquino
21 October 2009

The Singapore Slingers beat the Philippine Patriots 74-69 and won the second ASEAN Basketball League this Sunday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Helmed by top scorers Kyle Jeffers and Michael LeBlanc, the Slingers charged through the tension-filled match and led over the Patriots by as much as 15 points in the third quarter.

LeBlanc believes the Slingers’ biggest strength during the match was its ability to stick together as a team. “There was a lot of adversity tonight, but the main thing is we got our offense, we got the lose balls,” he said.

The Patriots, however, did not go down without a fight. After a sloppy third quarter, they stepped up to score 27 points in the game’s last ten minutes. Led by Brandon Powell and Jason Dixon, the Patriots sank a succession of two and three-pointers in the fourth quarter to whittle down the Slingers’ massive lead.

According to Slingers coach Frank Arsego, his team’s less-than-stellar response to the Patriots’ late game rally signaled a need to go back to basics.

“For us we made some simple fundamental mistakes, so early in the week we go back and work on the fundamentals: passing, being strong with the ball. Those things do make a difference when you’re under pressure,” Arsego said.

The 2,200-strong crowd certainly adds pressure to the players as they cheered and booed vigorously throughout the entire match. Ten-year-old Daniel Osbourne, who has been a fan of the Slingers since they coached his school’s basketball team, said, “I’ll be cheering for Michael LeBlanc.”

Alfred Paras, who has lived and worked in Singapore for six years, welcomed some good old Philippine basketball by the Patriots. “I had only recently heard about the Patriots, but I decided to come down here and give them my support,” he said.

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As the excited fans egged on their respective teams, tensions ran high in the game’s second half.

The Patriots lost point guard Warren Ybañez to a bloody nose in the last minute and a half of the third quarter after he attempted to block a layup by the Slingers’ LeBlanc. Slinger Wong Wei Long got testy in the fourth quarter, after being called for successive fouls against Patriots Dixon and Powell respectively.

In the midst of the heated arguments and fumbled balls, however, Slingers co-captain Kyle Jeffers offered some sound advice. “When things aren’t going our way, we have to continue to stick together as a team, play our hardest and be strong with the ball and our offense,” he said.

The Slingers will face off against the Brunei Barracudas for their first road game on October 24, after beating them by 18 points in the season-opening home game last week. The Patriots, on the other hand, will fly back to the Philippines to face the Thailand Tigers on October 25.

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Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

12,000 sing to new record

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By: Thiang Xuefen

A 12,000-strong crowd thronged the Marina Bay floating platform last weekend, setting a new national mass-singing record at The Great Singapore Sing-Along.

Held on Oct. 17 by TCR Music Station, the inaugural record-setting event hosted in mandarin featured almost 60 songs, including folk songs, evergreen Chinese oldies and Singapore’s community tunes.

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The Singapore Flyer provided a stunning backdrop for the well-received Great Singapore Sing-Along event.

“This event is very successful. We’ve never had so many people come together for such a joyous sing-along session before. Our target was only ten thousand, and we’ve achieved a record beyond that”, Chua Yi Ren, the event organizer, said.

The last time a sing-along event was organized on a national-scale was in 2007, when nearly 4,000 people gathered for the final sing-along session at the National Stadium. Named We Sing Our Song, the commemorative concert took place before the stadium was closed to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub.

This four-hour session was a nostalgic endeavour too, as evident from the familiar tunes people of all ages could sing along to.  This was in tandem with the purpose of the event, raising sing-along awareness.

“We want to create a big record and let everyone know about sing-alongs, and join us”, Chua said.

The audience comprised mainly of people aged 40 and above, including senior citizens who turned up with their friends and family, and some middle-aged parents who brought their children along. Each ticket for this event was priced at $16.

“I came here with my tai-chi friends. It’s very good. We can sing songs together… share more interests”, Goh Meng Kok, a 64-year-old retiree, said.

Besides providing an avenue for bonding, the audience were also able to reminisce about their past as the songs evoked emotions and memories for some.

“My son knows I love to sing karaoke, so he bought the tickets for me. He encouraged me to come with my husband for a date, like we used to do in the past”, Ang Swee Lian, a 53-year-old tuition teacher, said.

“The night scene is beautiful, and the atmosphere is right. It’s relaxing and perfect for my mother and my kids”, Derrick Ng, a 52-year-old IT technician, said.

Singaporean singer Mavis Hee and local song-writer Liang Wern Fook also attended the event, which was supported by the National Arts Council.

The event-goers also included volunteers and the elderly, from Geylang East Home for the Aged and Shan You Counseling Centre, who received sponsored tickets from Cenosis, Chua said.

“The sing-along was fun. The big screens with lyrics were very helpful in bringing us and the volunteers closer because we can all sing together”, Lim Yin, the manager of the home, said.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

JewelFest Dazzles for the 7th Season

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By Kuik Kian Wei
October 10, 2009

It is a dazzling celebration for love and romance at the Singapore JewelFest 2009.

JewelFest launched its seventh edition at the Jewel Pavilion at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza yesterday, with the theme “Renaissance of Love”.

A total of 36 international and local jewellers have been brought together in this extravaganza, displaying more than S$120 million worth of jewellery at the 10-day event.

Leading local jewellers participating in this year’s JewelFest include D’Meyson Jewellery, GoldHeart Jewellery, Lee Hwa Jewellery, Poh Heng Jewellery, Soo Kee Jewellery and TianPo Jewellery, while international jewellers include prestigious brands from Asia, Europe and the USA, such as DeGem, Versace, Zydo and Temple St. Clair.

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Grandiosa from Goldheart Jewelry

The main dazzle of the event, “Grandiosa” from Goldheart Jewellery, stands out from the other exhibits with a cost of S$6.4 million. The 206.95-carat choker is made of 135 round brilliant diamonds of one carat each, with a 30-carat diamond as its centrepiece.

Another showcase, the Rare Coveted Treasures, also features a collection of fine jewellery made of rare gemstones, superior design or craftsmanship.

The director of marketing communications of JewelFest and director of Lizard Storm, Angela Loh, said the JewelFest targets both big buyers, such as collectors, and small buyers who buy jewellery for themselves and their loved ones for special occasions.

Exquisite items, such as those found in the Rare Coveted Treasures, appeal to the collectors because of their investor value.

Loh explained that the trend from past years indicated that small jewellery items captured an essential share of the market as well. In addition, these buyers tend to engage in an ongoing pursuit for quality and superiority.

“For the last two years there are a lot of ‘upgraders’ – people who buy small items are able to buy bigger items suddenly. So there’s a progression,” Loh said. “Like you buy a 0.5 carat last year, next year you will want to buy a 1 carat. There is this mentality when jewellery is concerned.”

Dean Wee, 23, a customer at JewelFest, said the size of a jewellery item is definitely a consideration for him regardless of how the economy is doing.

“Despite all the talk about the economy being bad, I will still buy a big, yet affordable, item for my girlfriend,” Wee said. “Like love, it should not be lesser as time passes.”

JewelFest is open to the public 12pm to 9pm daily from October 9 to 18.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

Jolly Bolly Workout

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Some 70 fitness enthusiasts celebrated Deepavali bright and early on Saturday morning with a twist: doing Bhangra-inspired aerobics, along with three other types of aerobics for two hours straight.

The Bolly Jolly, the term coined for this type of aerobics, combines Bollywood dance moves with aerobics and is accompanied by Bhangra music.

The “I Survived All Shapes” Aerobathon, an aerobics marathon, was held at the East Coast Playground @ Big Splash. The event was held by All Shapes Fitness Centre in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Supported by the Breast Cancer Foundation and Singapore Heart Foundation, $2 from the $30 registration fee for the Aerobathon was donated to each of the organizations.

Eight breast cancer survivors put up a lively demonstration of the Bolly Jolly, after which participants embarked on their own aerobics marathon led by All Shapes instructors for each type of workout.

53-year-old administrator Jean Leng was one of the breast cancer survivors who took part in both the demonstration and the two-hour non-stop workout. She only underwent three sessions of the Bolly Jolly before going on stage to demonstrate it.

As a volunteer for the Breast Cancer Foundation, Leng has also previously participated in other events to raise awareness for the illness. She took part in a Pink Ribbon walk last year at Bukit Timah.

Leng said, “The Aerobathon is a good platform to bring awareness to the people at the park, especially to those who are healthy.”

Besides the workout itself, sponsors of the Aerobathon also set up booths around the open area, providing food and drinks for the participants of the event. A children’s play area featuring an inflatable playground and a small pool with paddle boats were open to children of the participants of the event.

Marketing executive Harris Lin was one of the few men at the Aerobathon. The 41-year-old brought his daughter along to support his wife, but he waited in the shade as the morning sun proved too hot for him and many others.

Lin said, “The crowd is small and it’s too hot. If the area was sheltered it might get more people involved.”

Peggy Ong, a retiree and volunteer with the Breast Cancer Foundation shared Lin’s sentiments. The 65-year-old was there to support the other volunteers, but could not keep up with the strenuous aerobics exercise and did not take part in the activity.

She said, “I think the name of the event is very apt, the participants can proudly say that they survived the two hours working out under the hot sun.”

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

Reviving Indian Performing Arts in Singapore

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By: Sivaprakash Packirisamy
21 October 2009

7Singapore— Are Performing Arts in Singapore a Waste of Time?

“The performance arts scene in Singapore is not for me. I might continue to perform in local dramas, but I will not think of it as a career,” Gangka Periasamy, a 22 year -old Mathematics undergraduate from National University of Singapore (NUS), said.

Like Periasamy, most of the NUS undergraduates who attended Sitharalgal 2009, think that Singaporeans and the government do not give full support to the local talents.

In response to this, Vadivalagan, a 37 year-old Raffles Junior College Economics Lecturer and well-known Theatre personality, said, “The younger generation needs to work on absorbing new art forms while maintaining the cultural aspects of their performances, that is how they can gain support.”

Vadivalagan was invited by the NUS Tamil Language Society to speak to some 150 Tamil speaking undergraduates at the dialogue session held at NUS University Cultural Centre yesterday.

Vadivalagan shared his views on the dialogue theme – “Are Performing Arts in Singapore a Waste of Time?” He said, “People are talented here in Singapore. It is not talent that we need to upgrade but the confidence and ingenuity of YOU, yes you, to want to express that talent to others.”

Sitharalgal 2009, a dialogue session held entirely in Tamil, aims to encourage Tamil speaking NUS students to converse in Tamil without hesitation. Organisers of this seventh annual session said that this year’s event is a fruitful learning journey for everyone.

According to Nallu Dhinakaran, a 21 year-old Geography undergraduate and organiser, there was active participation and the session was so intriguing that they lost track of time and forgot about the interval.

There was lively exchange of differing views between the undergraduates and the invited guests on the roles of performers and consumers of art.

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Many participants felt that this year’s discussion was closer to their hearts as it affects them directly.

“As an art practitioner in the performing arts industry in Singapore, I can’t help myself, but I feel that we are being treated as guests in our own country,” Ruben Victor, a 24 year-old  NUS Political Science undergraduate and classical singer, said.

When asked of his views on this, Vadivalagan said, “It is a continuing issue with no final solution as it depends on how open our society is and how well we as performers can get people to engage in our art.”

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

Surf’s up on Sentosa

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By:Tan Suat Ying
October 19,2009

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Photo by: Tan Suat Ying Praise Singaporean Flowriders showing off their tricks during the media event.

Flowriding venue, The Wavehouse, was launched over the weekend, along with a series of international and local flowriding competitions.

The sport of flowriding combines the tricks of skateboarding and surfing while riding on artificial waves.

At the media event, Sentosa’s director of operations, David Goh, said that this was part of Sentosa’s efforts to “add to the buzz and quicken the pulse of our beaches.” Goh added that Sentosa helped facilitate investment in The Wavehouse, which is privately funded.

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Photo by: Tan Suat Ying Praise Local competitors Jeanette Ngo and Ili Lim, encouraging each other before the competition.

Tom Lochtefeld, inventor of the artificial wave technology, said that he was initially apprehensive about using Sentosa Wavehouse as a launchpad for Asia, because he was told that “Singaporeans cannot surf”.

Lochtefeld has since been proven wrong. Seventy-five local surf, wake and skim boarders took part in the locals-only competition, pulling off advanced tricks such as a shove-it, which involves jumping and flipping the board. They accomplished all these despite only flowriding for a few weeks.

Flowriding has three variants – strapped, strapped-less and bodyboarding. Strapped is akin to snowboarding, while strapped-less is similar to surfing. Bodyboarding involves lying prone or squatting drop-knee on the board.

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Photo by: Tan Suat Ying Praise The youngest competitor, 12-year-old Max Sokolov, riding strapped.

One local contestant said that the sport does not have a steep learning curve. 32-year-old real estate manager Jeanette Ngo, the runner-up for the women’s category, had no prior experience in any water sports. She said that flowriding is “easier then rollerblading as the wave cushions my fall”.

23-year-old Kirsten Barney, a member of the USA flowriding team and an avid snowboarder, said that flowriding skills are transferable from other sports. She said, “I was snowboarding for 10 years before picking up flowriding and I also practice some of my flowriding tricks on the skateboard.”

The youngest international competitor, 12-year-old Max Sokolov, from Dubai, said that he has been riding since he was seven years old. Sokolov said, “I have just been riding stand-up for 25 days and I am working hard on my backflips.”

For those who intend to pick up the sport, The Wavehouse has two artificial waves to cater to riders of different levels. The FlowRider is a sloping, flat wave for beginners, while the FlowBarrel is a 3-metre high wave for expert riders.  These “waves” are made of a tough and flexible canvas and powered by high-speed water jets.

A one-hour session costs $35, inclusive of equipment and coaching. Each wave can take 12 riders every hour.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

Korean Culture Festival with ASEAN

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By: Ng Ai Ping Audrey

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Melodious sounds and sweet notes filled the air at the National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre during the Korean Culture Festival with ASEAN held on Oct. 17.

Organized by the National Arts Council of Singapore and the embassy of the Republic of Korea, highlights of the night included the performance by world renowned Korean break dance group, Rivers Crew.

Guest of Honour for the event, RAdm(NS) Lui Tuck Yew the Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts of Singapore, said that “this event has an added significance for Singapore as we seek to broaden exchanges and promote greater understanding among member economies.”

The evening started off with performances from Singapore that showcased the nation’s racially diverse culture. Among the performers was Chinese folk dancer Serene Tan, the Bhaskar’s Arts Academy Music Ensemble, an Indian performing arts group, as well as the Malay dance group Sriwana.

This was followed by the Korean performances that featured the richness of Korean culture, from the Hwagawnmu, a dance put on for the aristocracy, and the Haegeum, a two-string fiddle played in court music, to the Sogo Dance, a dance put on by farmers, and the Taepyeongmu and Samulori, which are traditional folk dances.

20The event was targeted mainly at the Korean public in Singapore but NUS students get to know the event through online publicity efforts carried out by the Korean Cultural Interest Group during the Korean Cultural Week.

Vivian Liu, president of the NUS Korean Cultural Interest Group said that the Korean Embassy had approached them to help publicise the event to the NUS population.

Year 3 Statistics major Joanna Koh who heard about the event from the group’s Facebook page said she liked the fact there were performances that were both traditional and modern and she “especially enjoyed the Gayageum Ensemble that played traditional Singapore songs on a Korean instrument.”

Teaching assistant Ng Li Ting from the Communications and New Media department went for the event as she was interested in Korean culture and was looking forward to seeing the B-boys, a professional break dance team.

Park Hyo Jae a Korean Permanent Resident who has lived in Singapore for five years enjoyed the performances from Singapore and thought the event was a “good way to expose Koreans and Singaporeans to each others’ cultures.”

The Korean Culture Festival with ASEAN is part of the Korea Festival 2009 that seeks to promote greater opportunities for cultural exchange between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Korea.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News