Search
Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join ANZA!
ANZA Magazine
Blog Home All Blogs

Charity Starts at Home United

Posted By Administration, Thursday, 22 June 2017

The inaugural Singapore United Football Fiesta this July looks to bring together communities through sport.

Singapore United are working together with S-League heavy-hitters, Home United FC to host a 5-a-side football weekend extravaganza – and you can get involved. Held on 22-13 July at the Home United Youth Football Academy grounds, it looks set to be a fun weekend of soccer, sunshine, and scores of families.

On the Saturday there are plans for an U14s and U16s kids tournament – we all know how strong our ANZA Soccer stars are ¬- as well as a corporate competition so why not pull together a team of colleagues or promote a team-building day? The Sunday is set aside for a World Cup, a chance to play for the glory of the country of your birth – or citizenship! Head to the website www.singaporeunited.wixsite.com/main to register teams and pay the entry fees.

Aside from the antics on pitch, there’s plenty going on the sidelines too including appearances by some of the Home United star players, lucky draws, prizes to be won, a flew market to wander around and lots of local and international food on offer to keep your energy levels up.

Not only is this a great family event to busy the kids with during the summer break, but it’s all for a good cause too – they’re raising money for Home United’s Youth At Risk programme.

We talk to Home United FC CEO, Azrul Shah Sohaimi to hear more.

When and why was Home United’s Youth-At- Risk programme set-up?

“It was launched by our patron at the time, Minister Masagos Zulkifli in October 2014. This was the same year that HYFA (the academy) was launched. The programme is simply titled “Project HYFA” with its tagline “From grassroots to glory” alluding to our vision of developing holistic football players through this programme. It was set-up as a way to ensure that underprivileged youth as well as youth-at- risk (i.e. individuals who may be more predisposed to unsociable behaviour due to prevailing family or social circumstances) could realise their fullest potential through football. We were aware that football was a medium to engage these youth, and instill critical character values that could serve them well in their life outside of football.”

How do you help?

“Project HYFA helps these youths by providing a year-round football based programme and is split into three areas: Technical, Character Development and Sports Performance. Based on these factors, a yearly plan is conceptualised and then put into operation. HUFC hires our own staff to run the programmes and includes coaches, administrative staff, and specialists (i.e. sport scientists).” How many children has the programme helped so far? “We have had an annual enrolment of between 150-200 trainees since 2014. This depends on the structure of competitions organized at national level as we tag the number of trainees selected based on this.”

How is the programme looking to grow?

“Moving forwards, the focus is not on the numbers enrolled, but more on the amount of help that we can extend to each trainee. To this end, we hope to raise funds that will be used to provide all the necessary resources each trainee will need to realise his/her fullest potential.

“The money raised over this weekend will be used to provide the basic necessities to the trainees such as food and drink that they can consume after training, purchase of school books, or payment of tuition fees, purchase of football equipment (boots, bag, socks etc.) and payment for concession passes for public transport.”

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Smash not Crash

Posted By Gerard Ward, Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Had a bit too much stress at work and need to vent? Give one of these activities a go and watch the worries fade away.

Rage Room

For an all-out vent, the newly opened ‘rage room’, The Fragment Room, is your new favourite place. The first in Singapore and possibly Southeast Asia, the grey concrete rooms are your safe space to take any anger out on objects.

You’ll be given safety gear – overalls, full face mask and cut-proof gloves – and a room where you can take to physically smashing inanimate objects. There’s a selection of ‘plates, cups, vases, television sets, radio sets and other electronic appliances’ to smash – anyone familiar with the movie Office Space may want to re-enact the scene with the office printer.

Everything provided is recycled, which lessens the blow of all this destruction, and it certainly gives you the safest space to try something so primal. The best part is you can bring your own music, so you can play Ride Of The Valkyries – or even Taylor Swift if that kicks in the adrenaline – while wielding a baseball bat, sledgehammer or crowbar. Packages start from $38 for a single session – which includes a crate of breakables and 30 minutes – $75 for a double with a friend, and the ‘Annihilation’ package with 60 minutes with unlimited crates.

A: The Fragment Room, 3 Balestier Road, 329671

T: 9155 8897

W: thefragmentroom.com

 

Baseball Batting Cage

Don’t know how to play baseball? Pfft! All you need to know is how to swing a bat. Grab a helmet, head into one of these cages and let your arms do the talking. Arranged like an indoor golf driving range, there are four lanes at various speeds for players to step in – starting at the softball lane for beginners, and working its way to the 80km, 90km and 100km baseball lanes. The pitching machines, complete with a digital screen of a pitcher, spit out 15 balls per token (it’s $20 for 5 tokens, or $40 for 11). The machines are fed by pre-paid tokens at the counter. While 15 doesn’t seem like a lot at first, you’ll realise which muscles you’ve rarely used as they ache by the third token.

There’s a pitching game at the back of the room too, with nine squares for players to practice hitting targets. Ask the staff to teach you how to properly throw, or just pitch that ball with all your might.

A: Homerun Baseball, 200 Pandan Gardens , #01-01/04, 609336

T: 6635 6315

W: hrb.com.sg

 

Running

The freest way to sort out a muddled mind is to throw those runners on and head out the door – it’s also free. Running causes the body to produce endorphins – those feel-good hormones that produce what runners have playfully called the ‘Runner’s High’ – which increases your mood and acts as a natural painkiller.

Over time your running habits will help improve your reactions towards stressful situations. Running can also make for better sleep – and lack of sleep tends to be a big player in our moods to begin with.

The repetitive nature of running also serves as a kind of meditation. Because your body is busy making the various limbs work to keep the pace, your mind has more time to contemplate – whether it means plugging yourself into a music playlist to keep the mind busy, or just listening to our own body as it handles the exertion. Running with a friend also serves as a way to ‘talk it out’ with someone, getting a second opinion on all those thoughts running through your head.

Reach out to the ANZA Running Group if you’re new to running and wouldn’t mind joining in with like-minded folk. They’re in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. 

 

Boxing

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. You don’t need to be planning on a new career inside the ring, but boxing is a sure-fire way to get the heart racing – and shake the stress off.

While the physical benefits are plentiful in terms of weight loss, muscle toning, cardio and flexibility, there’s something about the physical exertion that can really relieve built-up tension. A lot of what makes training effective as a stress reliever is taking instructions from a trainer; when you’re being told to hook, hook and 1-2-3, there’s little time for your mind to be wondering whether you should write a snarky email to a work colleague.

Places like Spartans Boxing Club (spartansboxing.com), Legends Fight Sport (legends.com.sg) and The Ring (thering.sg) are open to both men and women, with various packages. Like any sport, over time you’ll begin to notice each session giving you a clearer mind.

 

Darts

While it’s less of a full-body workout and more of a way to throw pointy things at a wall, darts is a great way to unwind. Grab a couple of friends and spend some time at one of the many bars around town that have a darts machine. Modern-day dartboards in Singapore are aplenty, working in the form of an arcade machine – with screens that count for you. Dart bar chain i Darts (idarts.com.sg) have spots around places like Bugis and Jurong East. Each game is a dollar, and there’s usually a bar if you want to get a drink.

A: I Darts Halo, 201 Victoria Street, Bugis+, #-03-24, 188067

T: 6634 9662

W: idarts.com.sg

Tags:  ANZA  ANZA Guide  ANZA magazine  anza singapore  expat  explore singapore  Exploring Singapore  feature  fitness  performance  review  Singapore  sports 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Crossing the Borderline

Posted By Charley Larcombe, Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Back again in Singapore for the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival, Ross McCormack talks about his latest performance, Area² as part of the Borderline show.

 

Ross McCormack (pictured left) talks about his latest performance to ANZA. Photo by Shaun Ho.

 
How are you feeling coming back to M1 CONTACT Festival this year with Area²?
It’s super interesting in many aspects, not just for me but also as a part of a small group, Musclemouth, from New Zealand; it’s the first time we have engaged or attempted to take our format as we understand it, and build something on another company while keeping that idea alive. It is different from a choreographic commission in that sense, but it’s our first go at something like this, so it evolves as we do it. There are expectations on both sides that have to understand or find something new, which I like.

What kinds of collaborationS are involved in Borderline?
[Lead composer/sound designer] Jason Wright (pictured, right) has the hardest job, stringing together the whole evening in a sense, building two scores while keeping an overarching view on the production in its entirety; it’s a huge task actually. We continue to push each other more and more. Obviously when we first began creating together, Jason’s work was reactionary to the choreography, but these days we almost jostle for the floor! The ideas are pushed and contested, sound and movement both come first now and the idea, in some cases, can become the result.


Contortion at the Borderline show. Photo by Shaun Ho.

 
When did you first come across movement theatre, and what drew you towards it?

It was viewing Les Ballets C de la B at the New Zealand Festival in 1999. That’s not to say dance theatre was not rich and being presented... more that the subject matter and content, the approach to movement and idea of dance as the language, it worked with me instantly. I felt their world was in fact one close to me.
Simply put, in my mind it was as if their work ‘Iets Op Bach’ was set in my town Rangiora, out the back of one of our old pubs! It was also more than that – my heart shifted with the characters in such a profound way. I was watching with no care about technique or execution for the first time; how good he or she was as a dancer gave way to their craft as a performer, actor or dancer. I personally connected more to them as artists than dancers.

What themes do your pieces tend to focus on?
The environment, but not in the obvious way of the word, or what we attach to it especially in 2017. These are not statements from a political view, or reactionary in that sense. It is more surreal in the idea of environment.
There is something very intriguing, watching performers during the process come to terms with where the work might be in terms of its world. Once we have that defined I like going even further and letting rituals and systems take over…the natural order and some deep unknown, almost as if the dancers have a secret about their world.
I love to find what the body of movement is going to really be. It seems there is always a code of sorts that prevails and fits everyone. This time it’s detail and something machinery-based. I had no idea that would be the case, but it’s not important that I completely know or understand the work – this is a bit standard now, I get that, but for me it’s important and very natural.
The difference being a complete commitment to the unknown, and the conviction from the performers that their world has been established by them. What we have made is a display, reaction, and representation of that.

 

Catch the Borderline show at Esplanade Theatre Studio 22-24 June.

 

 

Tags:  ANZA  ANZA magazine  anza singapore  art  artist  entertainment  events  interview  performance  Singapore 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Book of Hat

Posted By Charley Larcombe, Wednesday, 14 June 2017

ANZA is supporting the launch of the inspirational story, The Book of Hat, at the New Zealand High Commissioner's Residence, Friday 30 June. Read the story behind the pages of Harriet Rowland and how one brave girl's voice can inspire many.

 

The late Harriet Rowland, writer of The Book of Hat

 

Cancer, in any language, is like a swearword. It is said with venom or through gritted teeth or gulped back through tears. Sarcomas are a particularly brutal form – like the sort of phrase you only use when anger has the better of you and that word comes spilling forth. They originate from connective tissues, can arise anywhere in the body and frequently like to lay hidden until they can do the most damage. This prevalent type accounts for 20% of all childhood and young-adult related cancers and are the most aggressive, with 50% mortality within five years of diagnosis.

It’s not a “light at the end of the tunnel” type prognosis is it? If ever there was a time to rattle off some expletives, add in several hand gestures and generally unleash primal kicking and screaming it would be then, wouldn’t it?

But there is another way to cope with this hand dealt; take inspiration from Harriet Rowland – or ‘Hat’ as she was known.

The talented New Zealander was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which originated in her knee, at just 17.

Naturally going through treatment and countless hospital visits ostracised her from her friends, and so she found that loneliness – shared by many cancer sufferers – was something else to battle too. Until she read John Green’s novel, The Fault in Our Stars about a protagonist called Hazel Grace who talked honestly about living with cancer. Like her fictitious heroine, Hat discovered that there was still happiness to find in her life.

Throughout her journey, she kept a blog, My Experience of Walking the Dog, which has since been edited into a collection of her posts called The Book of Hat. Her tone of voice, which transmits through the page, shows not only her writing talent but also the attitude with which she faced her illness. She candidly talks through tough situations with humour and courage and is a pure inspirational read.

Harriet entered the Mary Potter Hospice, Wellington two days after her book launched, and died surrounded by her family and friends on Friday 7 March 2014.

The Book of Hat is being launched in Singapore on Friday 30 June at the New Zealand High Commission with all proceeds going to Kick Sarcoma, the Sarah Grace Sarcoma Foundation.

Dr Grace Moshi, herself a sarcoma survivor and founder of Kick Sarcoma, the Sarah Grace Sarcoma Foundation.

 

Registered in Australia, and now in Singapore, the Foundation’s mission is to advocate for increased research to find new and better therapies with which to treat Sarcoma patients. Their objectives are to raise awareness so that early diagnosis reduces the devastating impact, and to raise much-needed funds.

As sarcoma widely affects children and young-adults, complaints about aches and pains can be attributed to growth spurts or sports injuries from school – but there could be a much more sinister reason.

Treatments of sarcomas – still mainly surgical – are costly, often ineffective with extremely high morbidity and mortality. Survival rates have not progressed in the last decade. These forms of cancers are still not well-understood. Founded by Dr Grace Moshi, herself a sarcoma survivor, the charity is at the forefront of research studies. The John Curtin School of Medical Research has benefitted from the fundraising efforts and celebrated a breakthrough this year. The team in the labs there have discovered a molecule that can block sarcoma mestastases (the spread of the cancer to secondary locations) and next stages are being implemented.

By supporting Kick Sarcoma, and initiatives like this, there is hope that a voice such as Hat’s won’t have to be heard from beyond the grave. That we can finally tell cancer where to go.

Read an extract from The Book of Hat in the July edition of the ANZA Magazine.

 

To get involved, ANZA members can attend the launch event at the New Zealand High Commissioner's Residence for the membership price of $100. The cheese and wine reception and poetry reading is all in support of the Kick Sarcoma charity, which is benefitting from the sales of The Book of Hat. The first 100 guests to RSVP to the event have the opportunity to receive a copy of the inspirational book. Click here to sign up.

Tags:  ANZA  anza action  ANZA magazine  charity  New Zealand  Singapore  the book of hat 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A Night by the River

Posted By Charley Larcombe, Thursday, 8 June 2017

It takes just one mid-week staycation to remember what attracts people to this neighbourhood, Gerard Ward finds.

 

Robertson Walk maybe familiar to some, but a staycation means looking at the area with fresh eyes.

 

Every Saturday morning I pass by the same corner on my way to yoga class. There tends not to be anyone outside Beast & Butterflies in the morning – the restaurant attached to hotel M Social – but I’ve often wondered what it’d be like inside.

Recently, a chance came up to stay a night and, despite hitting mid-week, I still wanted a chance to try it out – even if it was after work.

Robertson Quay – the once-bustling strip known for its stretch of restaurants and bars along Singapore River – has quietened down a bit. This is where people used to go for a night out – much like the nearby Clarke Quay – and in a way it still functions as such for the short-term visitors. This neighbourhood provides enough of what a nomad or business traveller would be looking for – from Japanese restaurants and whisky bars, to pub grub and football on big screen TVs.

A midweek staycation is new for me and, although there’s no need to impose rules when on a staycation, it sometimes makes the ‘trip’ more enjoyable; I tell myself not to venture further than 15 minutes from the hotel to experience the neighbourhood.

Arriving at the lobby of M Social to a whiff of cool air – with marble tables, self-check-in machines and intricate statues encased in pink plastic walls – I check in to my room on the ninth floor.

Clean, concrete walls, floor-to-roof windows and a comfy bed on the second floor of the mezzanine, the Loft Premier Room (starting at $290++ per night) is modern and cosy, making use of the real estate. Designed by French designer Philippe Starck, the hotel follows the recent trend of shedding some of the traditional luxuries for modern extravagance fit for Instagram-hungry Millennials.

The fifth level pool is open 24 hours a day, and is quiet when I visit. There’s a whole shelf of towels, plus a cold-hot water dispenser, which is a nice change. I actively avoid eye contact with the gym on the way out.

 

Sit back & relax, you're on staycation at the M Social.

 

Keeping to my 15-minute rule, Brewhouse (171 Chin Swee Road), a small bar owned by Singaporean microbrewery Innocence Brewing, is a little over 10 minutes’ walk. On weekdays from 5-8pm they serve 1-for-1 craft beers, and even at the early time of 4pm they have $10 pints. I opt for the Calamity Coffee Ale – a dark ale with the burnt barley taste of a stout, and that bitterness of coffee.

Common Man Coffee Roasters (22 Martin Road), a five minute walk from the hotel, is a Melbourne-esque café with mixtures of dark wood, white tiles and bare concrete roof. Above the café is another one called Grounded, a smaller cafe owned by the same people for those going to Yoga Movement – the yoga studio owned by the group. The Common Man brand has grown incredibly in the last few years, being a well-oiled machine for the weekend morning and brunch rush.

At the time of my visit, it’s almost empty – peaceful, you could say. I order a latte ($5) and a serving of churros ($12), trying the ‘treat yourself’ mentality one would want to adopt on a staycation. Served on a small cutting board, the hot churros are star-cut with thick edges, a soft centre, and a whole lot of sugared cinnamon. Closing hour comes and I head out to Roberston Quay.

What we tend to forget is that a lot of these neighbourhoods still play a big part in first impressions. Newcomers may be blown away by the sight of Robertson Walk with the architecture of the serviced apartments, fountain centrepiece and mix of sports bars and Korean BBQs. In fact, I notice that the variety of food is incredible in Singapore. You’d be hard pressed to not only know where to find particular cuisines if someone asked, but be able to name multiple places that serve it.

I arrive back at the hotel and see a strange robot plugged into the wall in the lobby. AURA, as she is known, is a room service robot that delivers all manner of things to your room. I’m not convinced but request some bottles of water delivered to my room. I giddily rush upstairs to wait for technology to come knocking at my door. The phone rings, but I instead rush to the door to a happy chime and AURA’s head opening up to show two bottles of water. It works!

Later, I finally get to see inside the hotel’s restaurant, Beast & Butterflies; the back wall covered in iPads playing videos of various highlights around Singapore, and dining tables surrounded by unique glass and lava lamps.

Duck Crispies ($15), a row of six dumplings with a crispy fried edge, filled with a delectable mix of shredded duck and a light peppery sauce, makes for a sweet starter. The sous-vide soy salmon ($25) with aubergine confit, sautéed snow peas and soy emulsion is a delightful mix of crisp, crunch and meaty. The Assam shortribs ($35) are boneless, tender, slightly sweet with the tamarind broth, with mashed chickpea coriander and sautéed pea sprouts – a mixture of tangy, spicy and fattiness.

 

A delicious and beautiful plate of sous-vide soy salmon at Beast & Butterflies at the M Social hotel.

 

Leaving the restaurant, my girlfriend and I set off for a wander down the quay. SPRMRKT Daily (41 Robertson Quay) sits by Singapore River with a covered al fresco seating area. The selection of wines to choose from are listed as either organic, sustainable or biodynamic. We order two glasses of Bordeaux wines and watch people pass by, enjoying the red glow of the lights coming from Alkaff Bridge and soaking in what countless others before us have done.

I think to what makes this moment of reflection special to me; it’s knowing what else Singapore has in store for those who venture out further, but that there’s still a lot to enjoy around areas like Robertson Quay.

 

The evening view of Alkaff Bridge over the Singapore River.

 

Tags:  ANZA  ANZA Guide  ANZA magazine  Check Out  hotels 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Seouly Missed

Posted By Gerard Ward, Thursday, 25 May 2017

From pancakes and padlocks to katsu and cats, South Korea’s capital serves up plenty to see in a short amount of time, Gerard Ward finds.

No matter how many times you practice, no matter how many podcasts you listen to and TV shows you watch, as soon as someone looks at you quizzically after attempting to speak another language, confidence disappears immediately.

I had been to Seoul before on a very short trip, and had squeezed four days of activities into a day and a half – think of the TV show 24. Now with my girlfriend accompanying me – and time on our side – we had a chance to try seeing the city at a leisurable pace. It isn’t until my first attempt at speaking Korean to a train station attendant that I lose all confidence again in the very few amount of words I thought I knew. ‘Sure, no problem at all,’ the uniformed staff member replies in fluent English to my request in Korean for two new train tickets – I already mistakenly bought the wrong tickets from the automatic machine.

Heading to Seoul days before Christmas was a gamble; not only did we not know what would be open or closed because of the holiday, but whether the country saw Christmas as a holiday at all. Our jam-packed research before going indicated that the holiday was seen as more of a ‘couples day’, which worked for us, but we are aware that this will not be our typical Christmas.

We drop our gear off at our Airbnb flat – sitting conveniently above the Gongdeok train station, a great interchange between different lines – and discover a Christmas cake in the fridge, with a note from the owner wishing us a happy holiday. If the owner thinks he can just charm us into a good Airbnb review…he’s…pretty spot on.


Gongdeok Market’s Pancake Alley.

We head outside to find something to eat, having starved ourselves by taking a budget airline flight. Just outside and five minutes away is Gongdeok Market’s Pancake Alley, a well-celebrated Korean pancake spot where various types of fried foods mixed with every ingredient under the sun – from chives and green onions to Spam. The concept of this food stall is to take a small weaved basket and some tongs, and select pre-fried pancakes on display, then taking a seat indoors while the food is refried – if it sounds a workout for the arteries, you aren’t too far off.

Away from the chill of the outside, we sit in a room only occupied by a few others – a group of younger girls who are mostly quiet, and two older gentlemen who by the amount of empty bottles of soju (a clear liquor that can range anywhere between 16-45% alcohol content) seem plenty liquored up.

Having ordered more than our stomachs could ever handle, the dishes come with banchan – a handful or two of side dishes given out at most meals ranging from kimchi (spicy cabbage) to japchae (glass noodles).

Together with a bottle of Komju, a newly released type of soju that was weakened down to 9.5% by the soft grapefruit flavouring, the pile of warmed up pancakes are now ready to be cut into shareable sizes with a robust pair of scissors – this is standard practice in most Korean BBQ restaurants. One wonders why this practice hasn’t caught on in other cultures.


Street art in Seoul is clever and quirky.

Taking a walk down towards Seoul Station, we face the chill of the December air. While the sun is out and the sky is bright blue, it is still only a few degrees above zero. We come across multiple coffee shops, all highlighting their offering of americanos, and stop at Psycho Barista for a hot latte – mostly so we can keep our hands warm and our senses buzzing for the rest of the day.

It’s hard to avoid the allure of caffeine when there are cafes on almost every street. Cafes serve as the perfect meeting place for couples wanting to come together outside the peering eyes of parents back home.

Popping over to Itaewon, known to locals as the expat-friendly strip, the street is relatively quiet – it’s only noon on a weekday. Nighttime is where this place shines, but for us, we are after a place to find some quality japchae.

Heading down Itaewon-ro, we pass a mixture of BBQ restaurants, international café chains and a couple of art galleries until we reach the Hannam district – where the buildings become less touristic, and more industrial. Thinking we walked too far, we take a left down an alleyway where it seems there’s groups of people walking the same way.


Freshly made japchae glass noodles.

Further down, we come across an intersection of multiple side streets, with modern-looking diners – from an Italian pizzeria to an unmarked room with a killer line of people waiting for the door to open.

We had stumbled upon a hidden spot with a very cool vibe to it, and decide to wander around first to digest our ‘breakfast’ before lunch. We stroll past two-storey homes with modern architecture – a change from the typical design of buildings along the main road – and come across two obedient Shiba Inu dogs smiling at us outside one of the houses. They seem playful, but we worry that two tourists bundled in massive coats look odd enough, and leave the pups alone.

We eventually arrive at the doorstop of Parc – which translated on the menu says ‘park in the famed romance language of Catalan’ – serving traditional Korean food inspired by the owner’s mother. You’d mistaken the inside for a London pop-up wine bar or a hip loft, with white-painted brick walls, a wall-to-wall window that opens up, and a selection of gins and wines.

The clientele in the restaurant are groups of young, fashionable diners who fit the description of Seoul’s modern designers and influencers. A common assumption of Korea is that every passer-by has the looks of a K-pop star, and until now we hadn’t come across this. One group has the look you’d expect of self-proclaimed fashionistas and bloggers, and another bunch of friends look like they’ve just finished a group modelling photoshoot. I look at the room my incredibly puffy jacket is taking up in the small restaurant, and try to stuff it out of sight of the designer coats.


A woman stares at the slightly frozen river.

Opting for the Korean beef ribs stew, the main meal comes with a light Winter Doenjang soup, brown rice and three side dishes – fried anchovies, kimchi and thin-sliced mushrooms. We can’t help ourselves to order a side of japchae, the glass noodles we’d been searching for. The beef stew falls effortlessly from the bone, with a hearty stew of carrots and potatoes to hold it all together. My stomach is already hating me for my indulgence.

We make our way to Namsan Park, which sits at the bottom of Seoul Tower – a tourist hotspot with a 360-degree view of the city right in the centre. The winter has already taken the leaves of most of the large trees in the park, covering the ground in a fading red hue. The nearby lake has a thin sheet of ice covering it. An older woman stares at the ice, perhaps wondering just as I am how the fish survive such chilly conditions.

We follow the signs to walk up towards Seoul Tower. The distance on each sign we see fluctuate a little too much for us to feel one hundred percent confident that we are heading in the right direction, but the steep inclines are surely warming us up.

As we climb the hill, the southern side of Seoul shows itself – there’s a mountainside backdrop behind residential and business districts before us, and we wonder whether there might be snow over yonder.


Drummers tour the fenced-off square with traditional garb.

There’s a moment to absorb the size of Seoul at a large wooden lookout along the way. This is where experts of panorama photos can create a masterpiece – though on this occasion the weather is a little hazy, kicking in flashbacks of Singapore’s recent haze. By now we can see more detail on the tower, with what seems to be King Kong scaling the monument.

A line of tour buses travel past us and up the winding road to the tower. There are some that are happy to take the easy way up, though I feel there’s nothing like taking the time to make your way up to appreciate kilometres of view. That, or I didn’t realise there was a bus to begin with, but these are minor details.

Among the swarms of tourists standing around at the entrance to the tower is a handful of people surrounded by a fenced off bit of space, rehearsing traditional sword fighting moves for what would ten minutes later be a half-hour show on traditional Korean warriors and dancers.

Dressed up in black and white garb with gold sashes and hats with elaborate feather arrangements, the drummers tour the fenced-off square. One child is so mesmerised he runs from his father to the performance space to join in, to the crowd’s amusement.


People sign their names on to locks and keep them atop Seoul Tower.

What surrounds the tower other than plenty of tourists is metal fencing completely covered with a sea of colourful locks. Reminiscent of Paris’s well-known Pont des Arts bridge, couples come here to write miniscule notes in different languages on padlocks bought from the nearby souvenir shops to make their bond official.

In the theme of Christmas, there’s also Christmas tree-shaped frames – though we avoid clipping our own lock to this in case the trees are removed when January arrives.

Atop the tower is a 360-degree view of Seoul, and this day seems to have a thin layer of either fog or pollution – I consider the former to keep the illusion of the journey being perfect this far. The sun begins to set as we leave the glorious views of the tower, and the stomach begins to somehow shout at me.

As we take the winding pathway down towards Myeongdong, two groups of people watch a fox terrier puppy and an older beagle react to each other – the puppy is adorably terrified, while the beagle takes pleasure in being nosy.


A glass street light illuminates the park.

Myeongdong is best known for its late-night shopping attractions – it’s usually near nightfall when you begin to think maybe skin moisturiser would be good on a tired face. Myeongdong 10-gil is the busiest street, with street vendors selling spicy tteokbokki (spicy soft rice cake) outside of beauty shops and fashion labels.

MilleFeuille, a Japanese restaurant chain recommended by a few YouTube videos we watched previously, focuses on tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) stuffed with various ingredients. We hop inside after seeing one particular cutlet that I couldn’t resist ordering – the cheese-stuffed pork cutlet.


Fresh cheese chicken tonkatsu.

Upon picking up the first piece, I witness that same stretchy cheese moment as every pizza advertisement – and a satisfying crunch from the wispy batter. A large bowl of thinly shredded cabbage given at the beginning of the meal becomes our breather from the heaviness of pork and rice – and is topped up after we finish it.

There isn’t a shortage of people in oversized animal suits trying to convince passers-by to check out the nearby dog and cat cafes – and when we leave the restaurant, the second orange cat we come across convinces us to take a side street detour to what is simply called ‘CAT cafe’. There are twenty heads that turn to us as I slowly open the door. Their eyes analyse the new distractions that just walked in, then with a silent sigh, all turn away.


Cynical cat stares ahead, pondering his life.

It’s 8pm now, and we are sure the cats are exhausted. For the price of a hot drink – which in this case is around $8 SGD – we are granted the chance to coerce feline friends over with supplied toys and a distinct measurement of enough attention to interest them. It takes thirty minutes before one of the staff feels pity enough to give us a cup of tuna and a spoon. ‘Here, take this,’ she says, and not a single second goes past before the scent grabs the attention of the snobby cats.

A little bribery goes a long way, and being momentarily popular with a large group of cats is not what we expect just before Christmas, but it sure is a memorable one.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

And the winner is...

Posted By Charley Larcombe, Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The annual Volunteer of the Year Awards celebrated the numerous supporters who work tirelessly for the ANZA community.


The winners of the Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017 with the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Bruce Gosper, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Dr. Jonathan Austin, Charities Patron Antonia Kidman, ANZA President PJ Roberts & ANZA Vice-President Adam Martin.

Over 200 volunteers from the ANZA community attended the seventh Volunteer of the Year Awards hosted by the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency Bruce Gosper this week. Canapés, cheers-ing and a compère to charm the room all led to a great evening celebrating those who often go unsung.

The annual event provides an opportunity to shine a light on the dedicated volunteers from the wide range of ANZA groups; from the sporting field, to the tours of Singapore; from talent-sharing committees, to the tireless charity work and our various interest groups. Winners are nominated and awarded, but it truly is an evening of celebrating the community that gives back to the Lion City.

And this year’s event rang true to form.

Having reached for a glass of wine, a handful of light bites – guests made short work of the short ribs – and listened to students from the AIS serenade the crowd, it was onto the main event.

ANZA President PJ Roberts, freshly flown back in from Bangkok, took to the stage to welcome everyone and act as master of ceremonies. Then the roll of honour was read through with winners taking to the podium for ‘thank yous’ and congratulations from Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Bruce Gosper and New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Dr. Jonathan Austin, as well as the charities patron, Antonia Kidman. Virginia Soh, winner of the ANZA Action in the Community Award dedicated her trophy to all the volunteers, which mirrored the feeling in the room of support for all groups and charities.

As ever, this year’s VOYA was a great example of ANZA’s effect on the greater Singapore community as the ANZA President summed up: “It is everyone in this room that drives ANZA,” PJ Roberts said. “Thank you to everyone and keep up the exceptional volunteering work."

The Australian High Commissioner to Singapore Award: Steven Wong

The New Zealander High Commissioner to Singapore Award: Craig Norwood

The Outstanding Contribution to ANZA Award: Cara D’Avanzo

The Leadership Award: Christopher Brown

The ANZA Action in the Community Award: Virginia Soh

The ANZAC Spirit Award: Janine Furlong & Michelle Wheeler

The ANZA President’s Award: Alp Altun

 

Proudly supported by

Scoutable - passionate about helping you build your wealth through Australian property

scoutable.com.au/overseas-buyers

Tags:  anza  anza singapore  charity  volunteering  volunteerism  VOYA 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Time, Hands and Tools

Posted By Gerard Ward, Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2017

It doesn’t matter what you’re good at, chances are someone else could use your help, Gerard Ward finds.

Most of the time helping out a charity or organisation lacks that connection when it simply involves reaching into the pocket and handing over cash. While there is definitely intrinsic value in money donations, there are plenty of ways to do something to help others.

Truly being a part of Singapore and the community means getting out there and giving back when we can. Getting to show our appreciation towards this country that has allowed us to live in can come in many forms – not only creating a stronger connection, but bridging those gaps felt all too often between expatriates and their new homes. Here are some ways that you can get involved.

Time

New2U Thrift Shop

No one should feel guilty about letting go of some of those clothes that we all say we’ll wear but never get around to doing so. New2U sell pre-loved clothing, brica-brac and books that are generously donated by the public. The thrift shop needs people to help sort and sell their donated items. If you’re happy to donate your time, please email volunteer@scwo.org.sg.
scwo.org.sg

Dress for Success

This amazing initiative empowers women with low incomes in preparation for their next job interview. While the group is always open to donations of some pre-loved clothes that’ll stun employers, there’s also a lookout for any stylists, career coaches to help these women gain the knowledge and confidence for economic independence. Email anzaaction@anza.org.sg.

singapore.dressforsuccess.org

Salvation Army

ANZA Action has worked with the Salvation Army Family Support Services for many years with its food distribution programme for the elderly. Packing is done on a Monday, and then delivered on a Tuesday, so if this sounds like something you could work with – you would be rostered on approximately once a month – email anzaaction@anza.org.sg.
salvationarmy.org/singapore/family_support_services

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)

The work that the RMHC does for children is amazing, creating a home-away-from-home for families to be close together with their hospitalised child at no cost. If you can spare four hours on a Monday once a month, then Ronald McDonald House at NUH could do with your help to staff the front desk – email anzaaction@anza.org.sg.
rmhc.org.sg

Food from the Heart

This non-profit delivers food and toys to the less fortunate with a distribution programme and a generous supply of donated food from bakeries, hotels and food industry partners. There are a number of ways to help out – there’s even a fun tour on their website to figure out what’s best for you. This includes sorting out food items at the charity’s warehouse or feet-on-the-ground work at events to car owners delivering bread once a week from bakeries and hotels around Singapore to welfare homes and senior activity centres.
foodheart.org

The Soup Kitchen Project

Seems so tried and true to start at a soup kitchen, but they’re a worldwide initiative because it works. This volunteer-run initiative started in February of 2009, and gives out an average of 270 vegetarian dinners per week every Monday night. Reach out to the team to see how you can get involved.
facebook.com/thesoupkitchenprojectsg

Hands

Melrose Home

One of ANZA’s main adopted charities, Melrose Home Children’s Aid Society is a professional and progressive charity whose mission is to nurture, motivate and develop young persons in need of care – providing residential care for children. Melrose Home is updating some of their rooms and need our help. ANZA will help spruce up the counselling rooms in June to make them more ‘kid friendly’, so if you can help out with a working bee to prepare the rooms, all help will be gratefully appreciated – from sewers, knitters and crafters to painters. Do you have an old video game console you’re willing to give, or help install? Melrose Home would love to upgrade its games room for the kids.
childrensaidsociety.org.sg

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Singapore

Do you love horses? If so, you’re in luck, because the RDA are always open to having sidewalkers to help kids learn to ride horses. Horse riding therapy – also known as hippotherapy – has shown to dramatically improve the lives of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. RDA Singapore offers these therapy sessions free of charge, and is an amazing initiative to get involved with. You’ll be helping one of ANZA’s favourite charities, as well as making a child’s day at the same time. For more information, please email volunteer@rdasingapore.org.sg.
rdasingapore.org

Cycling Without Age

Cycling Without Age takes elderly and infirm Singaporeans around their old haunts, and other places of interest in purpose built trishaws – read all about this great initiative on page 23. Not only do you get to brighten someone’s day with a simple ride around the neighbourhood, you might just make a new friend or two. If you can help to pilot these trishaws, then email Marieke at cyclingwithoutagesg@gmail.com.
cyclingwithoutage.sg

The Food Bank Singapore

Helping curb food wastage, cofounders Nichol and Nicholas Ng have reached out to companies, restaurants and people for food donations to be delivered to beneficiaries like family service centres, homes, soup kitchens and other VWOs. Anyone with a drivers licence can assist the food bank van or be delivery assistants. The warehouse can use some help with storing, packing and inventory taking of food, and there are spots available for admin assistants. Photographers, artists and social media experts can offer their marketing skills, and for the R&D-savvy, they’re looking for a researcher to help collect data on food wastage in Singapore.
foodbank.sg

SPCA

It’s hard not to know what the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) does. The Singapore branch has been a part of the country longer than Singapore has been independent, helping run emergency animal rescue services, running a shelter for stray animals, running foster care programs and more. At the animal shelter you can offer your time as a dog walker, a shelter helper – helping cleaning animal enclosures and surrounding areas – or the reception desk manning the phones and being the first person people see when they come in. There’s a SPCA merchandise shop that needs manning, and also someone happy to attend events around Singapore to sell merchandise to the public.
spca.org.sg

ACRES

Dogs and cats aren’t the focus of ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society). This group takes care of the victims of the illegal wildlife trade. Everything from the rescue to the rehabilitation of animals like owls, monkeys, snakes, turtles, pangolins…the list goes on. There is a whole lot that you can do to be involved, whether it be helping out at the wildlife sanctuary or being involved in the outreach program to bring awareness to children and adults.
acres.org.sg

Tools

Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

The latest charity for ANZA to adopt, Babes is a wonderful group that offers support to pregnant teenagers here in Singapore who need the help – ensuring no woman feels alone. Every person’s situation is different, but Babes wants to be the source of information and support – and even diapers if need be – wherever possible. ANZA members will be helping out at Babes Day on Friday 12 May from noon, taking photos of the mums and bubs, running yoga and stretching classes as well as helping with other activities. If you have an instant camera to lend, or dress up props for the girls and babies, or just want to volunteer your time, please email anzaaction@anza.org.sg. Otherwise, reach out and let them know you’d love to be of some assistance.
babes.org.sg

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Heartwarming tales of living out children’s dreams – from ‘I wish to have a Liverpool FC room’ to ‘I wish to take an airplane’ – require all sorts of assistance. Heading to the website’s volunteer form, you’ll be able to tick what suits you better. If graphic design or photography is your thing, your skills could help tell the wonderful tales that this foundation makes happen.
makeawish.org.sg/en/volunteer

Creatives for Causes

Don’t let your talents go to waste. Anyone with experience in the creative industry (from PR specialists and copywriters to graphic designers, bloggers and photographers) can offer their services pro bono for NGOs that are doing great work but just aren’t getting the right message out – or none at all. Sign up to the newsletter and be sent periodic assignments and opportunities.
creativesforcauses.com/volunteer

Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2)

We covered a recent initiative by TWC2 asking for donations of old 3G mobile phones to help low-wage migrant workers who depend on 2G phones to talk to families back home – 2G connectivity was disconnected last month, so these phones have become obsolete. This association helps migrant workers when they are victims of unpaid salaries, workplace injuries and threats of repatriation when in dispute with employers. Along with some office support and outreach roles available, anybody with writing, photography or filmmaking skills would be of great benefit heading out once a month to cover the latest work the organisation is doing. Anyone with media relations would also be of big help, being able to work from home for most requests, but on site if need be.
twc2.org.sg

Tags:  anza  anza singapore  charity  volunteer  volunteering 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

From Cub to Champ

Posted By Gerard Ward, Sunday, 21 May 2017

It only took the uniform to inspire the future Scouts role model to join its ranks, Gerard Ward says.

Working at the indoor skydiving attraction iFly on Sentosa, you wouldn’t guess that James Mansfield-Page had an interest in skydiving but a fear of heights. ‘I always wanted to do it, but I never got the chance to during the army,’ James says of skydiving. ‘Somehow through contacts I managed to get on to the course. But being afraid of heights, it was something that I had to do to get over a fear I had.’

James’ dad – who was in Scouts as a kid – ran a boarding house here in Singapore, and was well acquainted with the international schools. At an event run at school, James saw a table with pictures of Scouts in their iconic uniform. ‘I knew Scouts existed, but I didn’t know what they did,’ James says. ‘I loved uniforms ever since I was a kid, so I asked my dad if I could join ANZA Scouts. My dad later became a leader with Cubs, because we had Cubs back then.’

Joining the Cubs at eight years old, then moving up to Scouts at age 10, James was enamoured by the activities, quickly climbing the ranks within. While he also played drums and the violin – as well as being a part of a lion dancing troupe – it was Scouts that stood out.

When his parents divorced, James had to leave Scouts, eventually moving away from Singapore during his formative years. It wasn’t until James returned to Singapore and completed his compulsory National Service duty that he realised that there was something awfully familiar between the army and Scouts.

‘I didn’t take it too seriously at the time,’ James recalls of ANZA Scouts. ‘I think at that age I wouldn’t expect anyone to anyway. I moved up quite quickly within Cubs, so unbeknownst to me, what I had learnt in Cubs came in really useful. Someone wouldn’t know how to do something and I would help out, and that pushed me into a leadership role.’


James (left) with two of his fellow Scouts.

The fundamentals, field craft and leadership interactions with others that James had learned in Scouts became second-nature almost. ‘I understood the concept of the interaction and leadership roles even though I didn’t know I was learning them at that age,’ he recalls. ‘You don’t think “This is going to make me a General one day!” right?’ he laughs.

After finishing his service, James did a bit of soul searching. ‘I realised I was doing activities because I wanted to be perceived in a different way,’ James begins. ‘I was going to the gym because I wanted to look good, not because I wanted to. I thought “Hell, I want to do something I love”, and [Scouts] was one of the first things I remember loving for what it is.’

Reaching out to ANZA Scouts, James explained his experience and wondered whether the group had any way for him to get involved. ‘I thought if it did me good in the military, what I’ve always believed is whatever you learn in life you have to give back,’ James says. ‘There’s no point of gaining knowledge and then holding onto it. It doesn’t make sense.’

Over the years James has become an integral part of ANZA Scouts, building upon the group’s strengths in offering a supportive environment for kids to make friendships and work together. The kids have looked up to James as a role model – something he appreciates as another learning curve. ‘I’m always exhausted after Scouts camps,’ he reflects. ‘Always running around, last one to bed, first one to rise…that’s what it’s like to be a dad though, right?’ he laughs.

James’ hard work has even earned him the highest of awards, the Baden-Powell Scout Award. The award has different components to it, from training, physical (continuous physical sport or activity showing improvement over six months), time dedicated to service (six months working either within Scouts or outside of). One of the elements of the Baden-Powell Award was Personal Skill, learning a new skill or improving on an existing one. James chose to take on making a flag. ‘Handmade sewn and embroidered,’ he says. ‘It took me 50 hours. I learnt how to use a sewing machine, spent countless hours on YouTube just figuring out all the things that can go wrong with a sewing machine.’

Another component of the Award, called Community Development, is an initiative to have Scouts work on an event that positively impacts society or the community. This formed into a project working with Singaporean charity Melrose Home – one of ANZA’s adopted charities – to give a fun-filled day out for the kids and ANZA Scouts – an event that for the past two years have been huge successes. ‘The mentality was if I could teach at least one skill to one child, that’s plenty,’ James says. ‘More than that, if I can convince or at least keep the interest of one child to maybe want to join Scouts, brilliant, because I know a lifetime of change will come from that.’


James having a chat with some of the younger recruits.

James talks about the personal benefits being involved with Scouts. ‘It keeps me grounded,’ he says. ‘I think we’ve always got to think about ourselves every once in a while. As much as I’m giving back, I’m learning so much as well. From a mentoring point of view, I’ve gained tremendously, but from an organisational point of view, it’s made me more of an all-rounder.’ His work also led to winning the ANZA President’s Award last year.

Working in sales in his full-time job, some of the work habits have crossed over. ‘KPIs are part of my job, so when I look at Scouts I go “Are there KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) there?” James says. Looking at a Scout group’s progress on earning badges were a little erratic, mainly due to the short time families may spend in Singapore, be it job turnovers or moving away. ‘They are just not here long enough,’ James explains.

This led to reorganising how sessions were laid out, so that if you turned up to a certain amount of sessions and followed the protocol laid out, then ‘in theory, you will get to this badge by this date, and so on’. ‘Hopefully that changes my KPI that I’ve set for myself, James adds. ‘Nobody is saying “James you need to get Scouts through this badge or else we’ll shut you down”, but I like to think it’s a good reflection on us.’

With the recent addition of Venturer Scouts (from ages 15-17), there’s the new goal of getting someone the Queen’s Scout Award, ‘which is the same calibre as the Baden-Powell Award to the point where in certain universities you can get college credits for it’.

Because of the incredible amount of work required to earn a Queen’s Scout Award – or the Singaporean equivalent, the President’s Scout Award – ‘universities are more willing to accept you because it’s like a degree where you’ve learnt how to manage your time’. James hopes to get at least one Venturer this prestigious award. Given his determination to go above and beyond, it seems a given.

Tags:  anza  anza scouts  anza singapore  scouts  voya 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Born to Support

Posted By Gerard Ward, Wednesday, 17 May 2017

One ANZA Soccer coordinator not only gives time to help kids play on the field, but helps breast cancer patients live their lives better, Gerard Ward finds.

ANZA’s reputation was well-established for Janine and her family before they left their life in Hong Kong for Singapore – so much so she recalls possibly joining the association even before her family arrived.

Knowing some people who were a part of ANZA Soccer, Janine was hoping to get her two boys – aged 6 and 8 at the time – into the next season of soccer. ‘At the time we couldn’t get the kids into ANZA Soccer, so we would just turn up every Saturday just to see if the kids could have a kick around,’ Janine says. It wasn’t until the U9s Coordinator Cheryl Morrow was leaving and asked Janine whether she’d like to take over that she got involved with volunteering for ANZA Soccer – alongside friend Michelle Wheeler.

Two years later, Michelle and Janine are now coordinating the U11s, as well as taking over the competitions that Penny Galligan used to run. ‘We were going to be there all the time anyway because the kids were playing,’ Janine says. ‘Michelle and I like doing it. It’s nice to do it together as well, I think doing it on your own is quite a huge job as well.’

Her two boys Lucas and Matias, now aged 8 and 10, are playing soccer, and Janine hopes to get her daughter Amelie to play next year. ‘When you see on a Saturday we have like 100-something kids just in our age group, there’s a real sense of satisfaction that these kids are [playing soccer],’ Janine says. ‘If we didn’t have organisers, then we couldn’t get to do it, so it’s good for the kids to do it for them.’

Janine has had a bit of experience in organising in the past, having helped out the Australian Association of Hong Kong when she lived there. She was involved in running the Pink Morning Tea fundraiser there, helping raise money for breast cancer research.

Having lived in Hong Kong for five years, it was in her second last year living there that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. ‘I was only at stage 1, but I had a type of cancer that was called a HER2+ (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive), which is a very aggressive type of cancer,’ Janine explains. ‘I had to go through all the treatments, I had a lumpectomy, and then they had went in to check that it hadn’t gone into my lymph nodes, which it hadn’t, which is great.’

While she was lucky to have caught it early, there was much more work to do, including chemotherapy treatments, particular drugs and radiation sessions. Shortly after her one-year clearance, Janine and her family moved to Singapore. ‘For me, having all those treatments does take a toll on your body,’ she explains. ‘So my first year here was more about me and getting my health back. I went and saw a nutritionist, and she got me on a very good track with a diet.’

Janine explains the process of eliminating food and beauty products that could trigger a change in hormones, as ‘breast cancers are a very hormonal-based cancer’, and she was ‘triple-positive’ – where her body was producing so many. Because everything has chemicals in them, it meant figuring out what foods to cut out. That meant dairy, gluten and processed sugars, which at the beginning made her wonder what she had left to enjoy. ‘It becomes a lifestyle change,’ Janine says of the new diet, explaining that within a year, she felt a whole lot better. ‘I was feeling healthy, happy to do my exercise four to five times a week…like I’m on the right track.’


The Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF)’s 'Befriender Counselling’ course.

Once Janine felt like she was happy with where she was, it was time to help others. A week later, with almost impeccable timing, she received an email. Janine had joined the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) when she first came to Singapore, and the email was from the BCF about an upcoming ‘Befriender Counselling’ course. This crash course isn’t to make you into a fully qualified counsellor, but in four full days, it aims to certify you as a Befriender for the foundation, whereby you are equipped with the skills to help guide others who’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer. You can either attend the hospital every Tuesday to see ladies who have just been diagnosed and need someone to talk to about support or general questions, or be available via telephone. There is also a big support group once a month where ladies and befrienders come together to talk on different topics, from treatments and operations to nutrition.

Janine offers her help every Tuesday at hospital, getting a text message the day before to let her know how many people will be diagnosed. ‘Sometimes we don’t have clients where no one’s been diagnosed, which is always great news,’ Janine says of the text messages. ‘Other days there’ll be two or three, but they don’t necessarily want to talk to you straight away. I know how I felt when I was first diagnosed, and I’m not sure I would want to go start talking to some lady I didn’t know about what’s going to happen straight away.’

The aim is for befrienders to be available in case someone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer has someone who can guide them in those questions that come from hearing such shocking news. ‘BCF tries to link people up of similar situations like cancer, treatments, operations,’ Janine says. ‘We have someone in the group who has had a full mastectomy with no reconstruction, a mastectomy with a reconstruction – and these ladies have no problem or issue in showing the other ladies this is what it’s going to look like. They’re quite brave, actually.’

While not there to inform what kinds of procedures or operations they should have – Janine insists her best advice is to trust your doctor – the Befrienders can talk about things like side effects of chemotherapy. ‘It’s different for everyone, but even if you have really bad nausea or vomiting from chemo, there are always tablets you can take to ease that,’ Janine says. ‘You don’t want to give them the horrible impression of it, but you also want to reassure them that there are ways to ease whatever symptoms you might have.’


Michelle Wheeler and Janine Furlong at ANZA Soccer.

Her biggest surprise in being a part of the BCF is that oftentimes the biggest issue for those newly diagnosed isn’t the cancer itself, but the financial or family matters attached to it – something that during her time on the counselling course, Janine was wondering why they were learning about finance. ‘You’d be amazed at what issues come up when you diagnose,’ Janine’s teacher told her.

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the happy, healthy Janine sitting across from me that she ever had breast cancer, and part of her openness towards her story has come from having the time to get her health and happiness back. ‘It’s not like I’m embarrassed about it or anything like that, but what you don’t want was anyone’s pity,’ she explains of the difficult topic. ‘Thinking back to Hong Kong when I first had to go out in my scarf, I got into the lift of the condo we were in, and a lady I knew from the bus stop saw me and just burst into tears,’ Janine recalls. And I was consoling her, you know? “I’m okay, it’s fine”.’ No matter how well-intended reactions and comments were from friends and colleagues, it’s hard to face that kind of attention on a daily basis.

Everyone knew she had breast cancer in Hong Kong, so moving to Singapore – where only a handful of friends knew – was so refreshing to Janine. This gave her the time to be prepared in her own time before being more open about her journey with cancer.

Everything happens for a reason, Janine tells me. She mentions this because soon after she decided that she was willing to talk more about her life’s story, an email from yours truly popped into her inbox, asking for a chat.

Tags:  anza  anza singapore  BCF  cancer  soccer 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 35
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 
more What's On

22/5/2017 » 15/7/2017
ANZA Yoga Session 3 - May to July 2017

30/6/2017
Casual Coffee

30/6/2017
The Book of Hat

    Find Us:

Privacy Policy
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal