Lawrence Wong, Halimah Yacob to co-anchor PAP’s Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC team

THE People’s Action Party’s (PAP) team for the newly formed Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representative Constituency (GRC) will be co-anchored by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong and Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.

Backbenchers Alex Yam and Ong Teng Koon will make up the other half of the four-member group, announced Mr Wong on Friday at a void deck party at Block 3, Marsiling Drive.

Although Marsiling-Yew Tee may be a new GRC, Mr Wong said it is a place with “very rich history and heritage”.

“We want to build on this legacy, and do even more in Marsiling-Yew Tee. . . We will see how we can enhance connectivity for residents across Marsiling and Yew Tee, and also enhance the services and facilities across the whole GRC,” said Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister of Communications and Information.

As the only completely new constituency in the 2015 electoral landscape, Marsiling-Yew Tee takes in about 61,000 voters from Sembawang GRC’s Marsiling and Woodgrove wards, and another 46,000 voters from Chua Chu Kang GRC’s Yew Tee ward. All told, there are an estimated 107,527 electors in the new GRC.

Added Madam Halimah, who will be focusing on the Marsiling ward: “We are all servants of the people. . . This is a new GRC, and therefore we want to serve with our hearts, with total commitment, in order to uplift the lives of the people here.”

Singaporeans enjoy more housing options with new 2-room Flexi Scheme

MND and HDB announced the introduction of the 2-room Flexi Scheme to help meet the diverse needs of Singaporean families, singles and elderly. Incorporating feedback and suggestions from the public, the new scheme will combine and replace the existing 2-room flat scheme and Studio Apartment (SA) scheme, and offer greater flexibility to accommodate different groups of home buyers.

Amongst the flexibility introduced are:

  1. Shorter leases for Singaporeans aged 55 and above, including first-timers and those that have enjoyed housing subsidies before
  2. Option to choose the length of the lease, from between 15 and 45 years , in five-year increments and enough to cover the applicant and their spouse to 95 years of age
  3. Choice of 36 or 45 square meter flats

At least 40% of the 2-room Flexi flats will be made available to the elderly. A new Senior Priority Scheme will set aside half of the allocated units for seniors that wish to live near their current flat, or married children. Over 70 BTO projects with 2-room Flexi flats are planned for the next 5 years.

MND and HDB will also introduce additional help for the elderly, including:

  1. Waiver of accrued interest on resale levies for second-timers aged 55 and above, who sold their flats before 3 March 2006 but have not yet paid their resale levies, and choose to right-size to a 2-room or 3-room flats
  2. Flexibility to extend their lease by 5, 10 or 15 years, at the prevailing market value, for current SA owners
  3. Option to extend their lease by an additional 5 years, at the prevailing market value, for flat owners under the older Lease Buyback Scheme from 1 April 2016 onwards
  4. Waiver of forfeiture fees for the elderly currently waiting for the completion of their SA flats if they wish to apply for a 2-room Flexi flat and cancel their current flat before 19 August 2016

The 2-room Flexi Scheme and waiver of accrued interest on the resale levy will be implemented from the September 2015 BTO exercise.

Singapore Night Festival 2015: Ten Starry Light Installations To Wander Into

It feels as if Christmas always comes early to our little red dot, thanks to the highly-anticipated annual event we have all come to love – Singapore Night Festival.

Singapore Night Festival 2015, taking place over the last two weekends of August 2015, returns to light up our city centre with a spectacular line-up of provocative light art installations, glamorous acts and breath-taking street performances.

This year, Singapore Night Festival boasts over 100 performances and light installations by more than 30 international and Singapore artists.

Of course, in light of Singapore’s golden jubilee, this year’s Singapore Night Festival will showcase an ensemble of world-class entertainment set to the theme of Glitz and Glamour.

A favourite and key feature of Singapore Night Festival is the bright light art installations that will be scattered all over the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct, which always receives much awe and admiration from festival goers.

At this year’s Singapore Night Festival, Popspoken shortlisted 10 of these Night Light artworks for our readers to check out.

1. Anooki Celebrate Singapore @ National Museum of Singapore

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Façade

The Anooki (Anook and Nooki) are the world’s smallest Inuits. Watch these adorable characters come alive and run riot across the façade of the National Museum in a story specially created for the festival and Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. Dance and sing along to their irresistible tune and soak up their contagious energy!

2. Le Desir Et La Menace @ National Museum of Singapore

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Banyan Tree

Cédric Le Borgne invites everyone to view daily life in a refreshingly new way. His work employs precise mise en scène and lighting techniques to give his chicken wire sculptures life, and abolishes barriers to blend with the space around them. Le Desir et la Menace is a collection of three bird wire sculptures perched on the branches of the National Museum’s majestic banyan tree, creating a magical atmosphere as you approach.

3. Drawn In Light @ National Museum of Singapore

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 AM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Mainground

In 2014, Drawn In Light was declared the public favourite of the Amsterdam Light Festival. This 12-metre-wide installation is made from metal wires, hand-bent into the form of a typical Amsterdam-style canal building. The sculpture not only reflects light but also hovers and rotates above the ground, inviting visitor interaction.

4. Illuminate @ Peranakan Museum 

  • Date: 21 Aug & 22 Aug, 28 Aug & 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM
  • Venue: Peranakan Museum, Lecture Room

Marvel at fashion displays that glow in the dark, designed by students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The futuristic Peranakan ethnic prints, patterns, motifs and fabrics on each outfit are illuminated by UV light, offering a different take on contemporary Peranakan fashion.

5. Hanami @ American Church

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: Armenian Church

This light installation is inspired by hanami, the Japanese tradition of celebrating the transient beauty of cherry blossoms each spring. Visitors can stroll down a path amid glowing, miniature cherry trees adorned with shimmering chandeliers that create a constellation of sparkling lights, reminiscent of falling cherry blossoms.

6. Spark! @ National Museum of Singapore

  • Date: 21 Aug & 22 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.30 PM
  • Venue: School of the Arts (SOTA), SMU, Armenian Street, National Museum of Singapore
  • Roving performance begins at SOTA

Five mysterious characters made of light and sound will take you on an immersive journey through the vibrant Bras Basah.Bugis precinct. These fascinating LED light drummers will interact with the audience, accompanied by high-impact drumming and exuberant music, beautiful lighting design, dynamic choreography and dazzling costumes.

7. The Garden of Angels @ National Museum of Singapore

  • Date: 28 Aug & 29 Aug
  • Time: 9:00 PM, 11:00 PM (25 mins show)
  • Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Front Lawn
  • 28 & 29 Aug | 8pm (30 mins)

Inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall, Theater Tol’s latest performance merges the realms of nature, people and fantasy into one. A vibrant parade starting from Armenian Street brings to life a surreal world of dancers, musicians, flowers and animals that take to the streets in revelry. The parade culminates at the National Museum of Singapore, with a spectacular aerial carousel of angels descending from the heavens and showering gifts over everyone.

8. Pixels Wave 2015 @ National Design Centre

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: National Design Centre, Atrium Level 1

Take flight on this giant light carpet inside the National Design Centre, featuring multi-coloured graphic scenes and geometric patterns that react to visitor movement and interaction. A collaboration between artist Miguel Chevalier and local designers Carolyn Kan and Depression, this new creative work utilises optical illusion to create the sensation of a shifting kaleidoscopic floor.

9. Seeing Through The Corridoor @ Waterloo Centre

  • Date: 21 Aug to 29 Aug
  • Time: 7.30 PM to 11.00 PM (Sun – Thu), 7.30 PM to 2.00 AM (Fri & Sat)
  • Venue: Waterloo Centre, ARTSPLACE @ Waterloo Centre (along Queen Street)

Inspired by her own memories and recollections of common spaces, choreographer Dapheny Chen brings together a myriad of stories that portray familiar encounters along common HDB flat corridors. Told through the medium of contemporary dance in collaboration with set designer Gene Tan, these stories reflect relationships, community spirit, filial piety and personal growth.

10. Alchemy @ Singapore Art Museum

  • Date: 21 Aug & 22 Aug
  • Time: 8:00 PM, 9:30 PM, 11:00 PM
  • Venue: Singapore Art Museum, Front Lawn

Catch the exhilarating journey of reconciliation between Apollo from the world of Ethereal Light and Nuri from the world of Eternal Flame, told through three 25-minute segments during the night. Starlight Alchemy’s spectacular showcase of its multi-disciplinary flow arts combines a variety of aerial and large custom-made fire props, as well as LED technology performance props.


All Photos: Singapore Night Festival Facebook & Website
Singapore Night Festival is presented by the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and National Heritage Board (NHB), supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), in celebration of SG50.

MAS apologises for misspelling Yusof Ishak’s name in commemorative folder

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has apologised for misspelling the late Yusof Ishak’s name in a folder containing the SG50 commemorative notes, which were made available for exchange today (Aug 20).

The name of Mr Yusof, who was Singapore’s first President, was misspelt as “Yusok”. The MAS is printing stickers that will be stuck over the error on the folders from next Tuesday. Those who have purchased the notes can also collect the stickers then.

In a statement, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said: “This should never have happened, is not acceptable, and I take full responsibility. I apologise on behalf of my colleagues who worked hard to prepare the notes and folders, but are deeply disappointed that we made this most unfortunate mistake. We will put this right.”

The set of six commemorative currency notes comprise a S$50 polymer note and five S$10 polymer notes with various designs.

The launch of the sets at nine retail banks yesterday saw long queues across the island. UOB said as of 11am yesterday, it had received more than 10,000 online reservations, while DBS said its DBS and POSB branches exchanged 200,000 sets today.

Some took to social media to showcase their new notes, while others chided MAS for the gaffe. “Terrible, how can (you) spell his name wrongly?” said one Twitter user with the handle @LividEye.

The MAS said it is “encouraged by the very positive feedback we have been getting from Singaporeans on the SG50 notes”.

“We hope that Singaporeans will treasure these notes. We apologise once again for our oversight in the folder which will be rectified soon,” it added.

Singapore to supply more water to Johor as drought bites

SINGAPORE — National water agency PUB has agreed to Johor authorities’ request for Singapore to supply more potable water to the state in light of the dry weather afflicting the state’s water supply, it said in a statement today (Aug 20).

Since last Friday, PUB has drawn an additional 5 to 6 million gallons per day of potable water from the Johor River Waterworks it operates at the Kota Tinggi district to supply to Johor Bahru. Water-rationing was implemented in parts of the city starting last Sunday and lasting till Sept 15, after the dry weather severely affected water levels in the state’s Sungei Layang dam.

The request comes after the Johor authorities sought late last year to impose higher land-assessment tax on the Johor River Waterworks, Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said in Parliament earlier this week.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said PUB is not obliged to pay the higher tax amount, which is twice that of the next-highest rate in the state, because PUB’s operations in Johor are governed by the 1962 Water Agreement. Under the agreement, which expires in 2061, Singapore buys raw water from Malaysia and, in turn, Malaysia buys treated water from the Republic.

Over the years, PUB has supplied, at Johor state’s request, about 16 million gallons of potable water per day to it. PUB said the current arrangement of supplying about 22 million gallons of potable water per day to Johor is temporary and subject to regular review.

It added: “This will not affect the water supply in Singapore. There has been some rain in Singapore, and PUB has increased its production of NEWater and desalinated water to meet local demand, allowing water levels in local reservoirs to remain healthy.”

Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan visited the Linggiu Reservoir in Johor earlier this month, after water levels there had dipped to historic lows because of the dry weather. The reservoir improves the yield of water from the Johor River, from which Johor and Singapore draw water. Water from the reservoir is released into the river to prevent saltwater from the sea to intrude into the river, as salty water cannot be treated by the water plant further downstream.

The facility extracts and treats up to 250 million gallons of water a day from the river, in accordance with terms under the 1962 Water Agreement. The volume is equivalent to 60 per cent of Singapore’s daily water needs.

In its statement today, PUB said the water level at the Linggiu Reservoir has inched up slightly to 54.18 per cent, from 54.5 per cent two weeks ago.

Kay Lee Roast Meat (Tanjong Katong): Singapore Food Review

Understandably a $4 million Recipe

Interestingly enough, Madam Betty Wong and Husband Hong Wai Kai sold the Kay lee recipe to the Aztech group in hopes of immortalizing the recipe in years to come, as well as retiring on a comfortable bank account.

Aztech normally deals with technology, so it was interesting to see them venture into Singapore’s F&B scene, and whether they make that four million investment worthwhile.

roast duck kay lee roast meat tanjong katong

ambience

Seth and I were invited to the fourth Kay Lee outlet at Tanjong Pagar Road, following their other successful franchises at Suntec City, Ubi and Upper Paya Lebar. The place is set very simply, wooden tables and chairs with air conditioning.

The outlet has a modern touch – not all out pretentious. I like how the Aztech group did not go to the modern overhaul extent that it would rob the Kay lee roast duck franchise of its roots. I would like to remember that it after all, started as a small humble store on its own.

flatlay kay lee roast meat singapore

watercress soup

The watercress soup $4.50 was rich and had that pleasant vegetable sweet taste. Vegetables were well blanched without ending up too mushy. If in a big group, I would suggest to have at least one of these soups (other traditional soups like lotus root, white radish, bitter gourd – all $4.50 too are also available)  to contrast against the other heavier items.

kay lee roast duck singapore

The meal really got started with the holy trinity, sio bak (roast pork), roast duck and char siew, prices for the roast duck drumstick and roast pork with rice start at $14.50;  servings at $32 and $44 are also available for bigger groups.

Not to worry, if you are dining alone, the usual roast duck rice is also available at $4.50 here in the Tanjong Pagar outlet. I was at the Suntec outlet a while back and was told the same roast duck rice was not available. Perhaps because their target audience is for a different crowd.

menu kay lee roast meat tanjong katong

I have never been to Kay Lee’s prior but the dark sauce’s distinct sweetness, flavored with pork lard no less was both sharp and light; strong enough to flavor without masking the meat. It’s not ‘gao’ (thick), you taste the sweetness but it quickly evaporates so you do not get sick of the sauce – understandably a $4 million recipe.

The roast duck skin was exceptionally crisp giving a nice contrast to the meat. The meat itself is rather lackluster lacking that robust flavor I look for in my roast ducks. Sio bak was good, a very appropriate proportion of meat to fat ratio. Crispy skin but a shade or two lacking in that fleshy fatty flavor, the roast duck and sio bak were a notch better than the average stall but not quite there yet.

The char siew was my favorite of the lot, rich and tender that is slightly charred at the sides with a caramelized honey finish. Very good char siew with an even better duck sauce. Sin on a platter worth loading calories for.

*Seth: Request for a fatter cut of char siew, that really brings the char siew to the next level of yum.

We had 2 servings of the char siew, first with a leaner cut and the latter being fatter, as a result the meat was a wee bit more tender with significantly more fat. This was more popular round the table but personally preferred the leaner cuts. Diners too can state their preference of the meat cuts to accommodate all those around the table. A nice touch of service by the people at Kay Lee.

wanton noodles kay lee roast meat singapore

The wanton noodles – served either with prawn wantons or prawn dumplings (both $5) were springy and Q, wet enough to taste not too dry that it became stale. They were rather typical- I personally prefer Thai style wanton noodles so perhaps why it did not score too well with me. Their noodles come with either shrimp dumplings or shui jiao. On the first round, dumplings were a tad bit undercooked which we sent back to the kitchen for a second wave.

A pity though, perhaps due to their folding technique. I could still pick up a slight flour taste at certain thicker folds in the dumpling. Enough to overlook but I was earnestly hoping for better. Prawns in the shrimp dumplings were fresh enough that they had that bite to it. The shui jiao has some black fungus too for a play on textures.

kay lee roast meat singapore shui jiao

Overall, the wanton noodles were rather typical and not that outstanding. I was hoping for more. Perhaps they still need to play around with the recipe/delivery process a bit to maintain the same quality cooking process.

Of what we had today, the char siew truly stood out, that touch of crisp and smokiness is unparalleled. With that ridiculously seductive duck sauce, a good mix of sweet and lightness. Their wanton noodles definitely needs some work though.

*Seth: I felt the Sio Bak was pretty good too, just the right amount of cripiness and fat to meat ratio.

I would not go as far to say the Kay lee franchise is worth travelling for but definitely a good to have if you are staying or working in the area. Plus, given the many outlets available queues are a lot more bearable. I say the Aztech group is going in the right direction with their first F&B group.

Expected Damage: $4.50 – $15 per pax

Kay Lee Roast Meat (Tanjong Katong):  283 Tanjong Katong Road Singapore 437066 | Tel: 6594 2204 | Website | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm

Malaysia ringgit falls to new low against Singdollar

SINGAPORE — The Malaysian ringgit fell to a fresh all-time low against the Singdollar today (Aug 21), trading at 2.9708 at about 12pm from its close of 2.9464 yesterday.

Against the US dollar, the ringgit was at a 17-year low today, falling nearly 1.0 per cent to 4.1780 per US dollar, its weakest since Aug 31, 1998. Investors are waiting for foreign exchange reserve data for signs on how much ammunition the central bank has left to defend the currency.

The country pegged the ringgit at 3.8000 to the US currency in September 1998 and maintained it until 2005.

Malaysia will release the reserves data as of mid-August at 1000 GMT. Its international reserves fell below the US$100 billion (S$140.8 billion) mark last month.

A protracted political crisis, slumping commodity prices and an investor exodus from emerging market assets have all undermined the currency’s appeal, and pressure intensified after China’s surprise yuan devaluation last week.

The South-east Asian country is a major supplier of liquefied natural gas and palm oil. WITH REUTERS