Hostel Review: 5footway.inn – Project Boat Quay

I hate to begin my blog post on a negative note, but Singapore IS getting more expensive. These days most hotels have increased their room rates by more than 20%, some even doubled the price compared to few years ago. With real estate price continuing to climb, most tourist class hotels are offering rooms at min. $200 per room per night.

As a member on Couchsurfing.org, I often get requests from overseas visitors asking if they can do a home-stay with me. But as I’m living still sponging under the roof of my folks, often I have to reject them and recommend some nice hostel choices for them.

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Located in the heart of downtown Singapore, Project Boat Quay is one of 5footway.inn‘s latest hostel. It’s only 5 minutes walk away to Raffles MRT station or 8 minutes walk to Clarke Quay MRT station. Neko no Niwa Cat CafeLONDON Bar, seafood restaurants, cafes, pubs, massage parlour, 24-hour convenient store, board games cafe and coffeeshops are all within 5 minutes radius.  From its balcony, I can have a good view of Marina Bay Sands!

Passing through the front door, Tiffany Yong and I are pleasantly surprised to find out that 5footway.inn Project Boat Quay is more than just a hostel. It is also an art gallery. The team has collaborated with award-winning Singaporean photographer, Edwin Koo to install Gallery 76 into the common spaces of the hostel.

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The layout feels like a maze but there are proper signages to guide us. At the 3rd floor of this restored shophouse is The Terrace, a common area where there is a cosy TV lounge, alfresco dining area, pantry with refrigerator, water dispenser  and microwave oven. There is even a hot beverage dispenser machine which you can make a cup of milo or teh tarik (hot tea) and enjoy a decent conversation. Breakfast is provided. Free flow toast and cereal are available for breakfast.

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Upon check-in, the staff leads us to our room. For this review, we are staying at a standard double room. We are given bath towels and a security card which allows as to access the main door, our room and also the lockers in the room. The whitewashed room is small but comfortable. Besides the bed, there is a side table, two lockers and a mirror. There are no TV or attached bathroom. For guys, the shared bathroom is located at level 3, and Ladies is located at level 2. Shower gel and shampoo are provided in the shared bathroom. I’m glad that the cleaner takes pride in ensuring cleanliness of the toilets.

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Bearing in mind, it’s a hostel, they try their best to make up for what is lacking. Free high-speed WiFi is available throughout the spaces and I have no problem accessing internet from the comfort of my room or at The Terrace at level 3. There are also 3 sets of Mac desktop available in the reception area. Cheap drinks and beer are available for purchase as well. They also provide laundry service at a small fee.

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At night, there is live music coming from the nearby bar but the sound doesn’t penetrate to my room. However, as there is no attached toilet, I can hear people closing doors and footsteps as people make their way to the washroom to relieve themselves. I am a light sleeper and old shophouses are not built to be soundproofed, hence it was difficult for me to get rest at night. But hostel culture is communal living, so one cannot expect hotel standard and service when one is only paying a fiction of price. Overall, it is good for a roof over your head.

  • Location: 4 / 5
  • Ambience: 4 / 5
  • Facilites: 3 / 5
  • Amenities: 3.5 / 5
  • Price: 4.5 / 5
  • Overall: 4 / 5

Project Boat Quay is located at 76 Boat Quay, Singapore 049864. Price starts from S$28 for mixed dorm. Visit their website or Facebook for more information and booking.

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Started in September 2011, 5footway.inn is currently the largest hostel chain in Singapore with over 700 beds in 4 outlets located at key tourist heritage districts in Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Boat Quay. Opened in May 2013, Project Boat Quay is the newest and largest property. Situated along the Singapore River, facing the Parliament House and Asian Civilization Museum, it is a few minutes walk from the legendary Fullerton Hotel, Lau Pa Sat, Merlion Park, the Esplanade and Chinatown.

“Save time, pay less, travel more – Get cheaper air tickets and hotel rooms with Wego.com“.

Splurge or Save: 6 Ways to Spend the Ultimate Weekend in Singapore

It’s official, Singapore overtakes Tokyo and is now the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). These days, weekends are no longer fun anymore. A weekend trip out with your partner / friends / family can easily cost more than S$100 per person. I hunt down the latest buzz for you to enjoy at a dime, but wait, there’re also options for special treats!

Weekend is the best day of the week for sleeping in. Usually I will spend Saturday hanging out with friends and keep my Sunday to laze around. After all, it definitely cost less to enjoy beer at home than a meal outside. (Read on to find out how to win FREE F&B vouchers GIVEAWAY!)

Suggested Itinerary / Recommended Program

1. Brunch @ MEDZ 

There’s a new brunch in town packed with culturally diverse flavours happening at MEDZ  – the casual dining restaurant for Mediterranean food. Recently launched on 22 February, I ditched my nasi lemak and kaya toast to choose from the wide range of cuisines from France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

SAVE: Experience one of the largest range of brunch items with prices from just $12.90 to $14.90. All brunch items come with free coffee. Go in a group of 5-6 and order 4-5 items for sharing. Remember to leave some room for the delightful dessert – The Berry Lust Pancake!

Le Jolly Monsieur (French) - Ham, bacon, Bechemel sauce, cheese, scramble egg & pork bratwurst ($13.90)

Le Jolly Monsieur (French) – Ham, bacon, Bechemel sauce, cheese, scramble egg & pork bratwurst ($13.90)

Stacked Brunch Torte (Italian) - Puff pastry, eggs, ham, mushroom, spinach, cheese & bell pepper ($14.90)

Stacked Brunch Torte (Italian) – Puff pastry, eggs, ham, mushroom, spinach, cheese & bell pepper ($14.90)

Bouncy Benedict (MEDZ style) - Home-cured salmon, baked tomato, rosti potato, English muffin & salad ($14.90)

Bouncy Benedict (MEDZ style) – Home-cured salmon, baked tomato, rosti potato, English muffin & salad ($14.90)

Toasty Tortilla (Spanish) - Scrambled egg, stewed beans with chorizo & Brioche toast ($14.90)

Toasty Tortilla (Spanish) – Scrambled egg, stewed beans with chorizo & Brioche toast ($14.90)

Poseidon's Wrap (Greek) - Prawn, fish, squid, tomato, lettuce, scramble egg, tzatziki & Greek salad ($14.90)

Poseidon’s Wrap (Greek) – Prawn, fish, squid, tomato, lettuce, scramble egg, tzatziki & Greek salad ($14.90)

A Berry Pancake Gala (dessert) - Fresh berries, summer berries, topping cream ($12.90)

A Berry Pancake Gala (dessert) – Fresh berries, summer berries, topping cream ($12.90)

Locations: MEDZ currently has two locations – Orchard Central #B2-01 to 03 / #B2-30 to 43, and Millenia Walk #01-46/47/55/56. Brunch available from 11am onwards at Orchard Central, and from 11.30am onwards at Millenia Walk out. For more information, check out their Facebook.

2. Teo Heng KTV Studio

After a hearty meal, hop on to the MRT and alight at Bras Basah station (Circle Line) or Dhoby Ghaut station (North-South / North-east Line) . A stone throw away is Teo Heng KTV Studio where you can sing your heart out without bursting the seams. For those who are not aware, this budget karaoke studio has a new outlet at Rendezvous Hotel.

SAVE: Happy Hours start from 12pm to 7pm. Medium size room costs only $10 per hour, can accommodate up to 5-6 persons. If you and 4 of your friends sing for 3 hours, that’s only $6 per person! It’s a no-frills concept but drinks available at $1 onwards.

I had a good 3-hour of singing with my UniSIM school mates after our exams

I had a good 3-hour of singing with my UniSIM school mates after our exams

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Photo credit: http://michellelujj.com

Location: Teo Heng KTV studio is located at 9 Bras Basah Road, Rendezvous Hotel Gallery #02-03. Remember to call the outlet at 6338 0603 to make reservations at least 1-2 weeks in advance. They have other outlets spread across the island, check out their website for more information.

3. Platinum Movie Suite @ The Cathay

If you croak like a frog or just tired from singing, take a walk down Orchard Road to The Cathay. Golden Village has its version of Gold Class and Cathay Cineplexes has its Platinum Movie Suite. I was fortunate to enjoy the experience as my friend, Min Lee had a free pair of tickets to RoboCop (2014) from her boss. We were treated to spacious airline first class style couch with butler service and a welcome drink. The butler on duty would tuck us in a comfortable duvet before the start of the movie.

SPLURGE:  This is for one of those special occasions. Perhaps it’s your first date, anniversary or celebration, get a pair of platinum movie ticket at $28 each. Dining & Movie Experience package is at $76 per person (Priority Cardholder: $69). For the budget conscious, there is the 1-for-1 student deal every Monday & Tuesday for screen before 6pm, and discount on popcorn and F&B menu.

Image from Popspoken.com

Image from Popspoken.com

Locations: Cathay Platinum Movie Suites are located at The Cathay, level 5 (2 Handy Road), Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, level 4 (8 Grange Road) and JEM, level 5 (50 Jurong Gateway Road). Visit their website for more information.

4. Ramen Kagetsu Arashi 

After movie at The Cathay, go down Basement 1 for a mouthwatering ramen treat to end the day! Ranked one of Japan’s top 3 ramen chains with more than 290 outlets worldwide, within 6 months, Ramen Kagetsu Arashi has already opened 3 outlets in Singapore. My personal recommendations are their gyoza and the two new exclusive dishes – Ginjiro ramen and Itameshi dry curry rice.

SAVE: Gourmet ramen and tasty curry rice can be affortable. A bowl of Ginjiro ramen is priced at only $13.90 (definitely tastier than any of Ramen Champion’s ramen) and Itameshi Dry Curry Rice, priced at $12.90, gives Pepper Lunch a run for its money. Ramen Kagetsu Arashi provides freshly crushed garlic, special in-house seasoned chives (prepared daily), specially imported black pepper and their chef’s secret recipe soy sauce to accompany your meal.

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Complement the flavours by adding freshly crushed garlic using the unique garlic press tool provided

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I added seasoned chives and a dash black pepper to accentuate the flavours of the signature soup base

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Even those who cannot take spicy food will like the brand new dry curry rice

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No ramen meal is complete without gyoza (5-pc for $6.00)

Locations: Choose from 3 locations – The Cathay #B1-01/02/03, The Star Vista #01-41, or Tampines 1 #02-09/10. Their Facebook page contains more information on contact number and opening hours.

Off the beaten track – Hidden Cafes in the heartland

If a day in town is not your thing, why not try these quiet corners for cafe in Singapore? Forget about heading to shopping malls, I have enough of Starbucks and ToastBox. Here are 2 of my personal choice when it comes to the pastries, moreover, you don’t have to look far as they are probably your neighbourhood.

5. The Audacious Cakery 

Everton Park is slowly evolving into an enclave of vibrant food scene with the addition of The Audacious Cakery being the new kid on the block. Located a short walk away from Outram MRT station, this cozy, vintage theme cafe is hidden from the main road. Though a small seating area for about 10 persons, this unique cakery offers mini cakes, tarts, cupcakes and macarons. Some of my favorites include Lemon Meringue Tart and the Matcha (green tea) Cupcake.

SPLURGE: Come to The Audacious Cakery because it offers a selection of alcohol-infused pastries. I confessed I’m alcoholic hence my choice of these premium cakes. I simply can’t get enough of their Foret Noir ($9.80) and Monet ($9.80) cakes. Two distinctively flavours – one with Kirsh soaked cherries and Kirsh Cream on a dark Vairhona chocolate genoise, and the other contains orange mousse with champagne, served with a tart raspberry compote on a Cointreau soaked sponge studded with red currants.

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Foret Noir (Black Forest) – $9.80 for the petit gateau servers 1-2 persons, warning it’s alcoholic

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Quintessential vintage style environment greets you as you walk into The Audacious Cakery

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Mini cakes start from $6.80 to $9.80 each. Cupcakes at $3.50 each (addition $1.00 for alcoholic cupcakes – Irish Cream, White Russian and Strawberry Daiquiri)

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Order your cuppa to enjoy with the delectable tarts from $5.80 to $8.80 each

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I had a good time with Sophie and Mariana. Alcoholic pastry treats are best enjoyed with your Down Under buddies.

Location: The Audacious Cakery is located at 2 Everton Park, #01-61, Singapore 081002. Opening hours is from 8am to 7pm (closed on Sunday & public holidays). For more information, please visit their website or Facebook.

6. fRoZ Bakery

If splurging on pastries burns a hole in your hole, try these treats from fRoZ Bakery. I guarantee that you will soon be burning calories due to these irresistible muffins, cheesecakes and brownies at affordable prices.  Originally located at 128 Bedok North Street 2, fRoZ Bakery made a business decision to relocate. It’s now located near Dunman Secondary School and All Saints Home. I managed to chance upon it while attending Mr Baey Yam Keng’s monthly Kopi Talk.  Check out the review by Priscilla (Pingerrain.com) and Michelle (Michhysaurous)

SAVE: Muffins are priced at $1.30 each, brownies at $1.70 per piece and miniature cheesecake from $3.50 onwards. My all-time favorite is the Banana Walnut Muffin (only $1.30), consumed when freshly baked is a heavenly treat. Now they also have premium flavour selection muffins at $1.50 each. They have several set promotions like 6-piece Value Box consisting of 2 muffins, 2 brownies and 2 mini cheesecake at only $10.80 (usual price $14.00). Take your time and have your choice.

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12 different flavours to choose from. A box of 6 muffins at $6.80. Ala carte at $1.30 per piece. Premium flavours available at additional $0.20 per piece.

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6-piece Value Box with 2 muffins, 2 cheesecakes and 2 brownies at only $10.80. Let’s call for a tea party!

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Food styling by http://www.pingerrain.com

Location: fRoZ Bakery is tucked in a corner on the eastern shore of the island at Blk 476, Tampines Street 44, #01-175B, Singapore 520476. For details, please visit their Facebook page or website. Opens daily from 9am, except every Thursday (closed).

FREE food vouchers for GIVEAWAY!

I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (10 sets of $25 vouchers to be given away), simply click on the link and follow the instructions.

1. Follow @MalcolmSunny on Twitter

2. Comment on any of my blog posts

3. Follow @MalcolmSunny on Instagram

Giveaway ends on 31 March 2014. Applicable for only residents in Singapore. Good luck! 

“Save time, pay less, travel more – Get cheaper air tickets and hotel rooms with Wego.com“.

I’m going Esplanade for Countdown 2014!

Initially, I was skeptical. In fact, it took me awhile before agreeing to be one of the five official blogger ambassadors for Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2014. To be honest, I prefer spending New Year eve away from crowd but with the comfort of my bed, my sparkling Moscato and telly set.

In all true of the matter, I’m a laid-back guy and being with the big crowd gives me claustrophobia. Sometimes I see myself as a hermit, preferring to spend same major festivals like New Year at home, chilling with friends over wine.

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Esplanade is the best place to visit the fireworks and light display for Marina Bay Countdown 2014

But my exclusive invitation to preview the light installation on Sunday night at Esplanade had turned this non-believer into an evangelist. Standing the roof top of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay at 11.30pm to get a glimpse of the rehearsal of the light display for the celebration is a magical feeling. Someone must have sparkle mystical powder over those amazing lights which make me fell in love.

This 31st Dec 2013, I will be heading to Esplanade for the countdown celebration. Are you joining me?

Lead by event host, Vivien Tan, come join Cat Ong & Sheila De Niro and the Singapore Char Siew Baos as they use their powerful vocal harmonies and positive tunes to help us reflect on 2013 and usher in the new year.

Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, 7pm to 1am

7.00pm – 7.40pm: Cat Ong & Sheila De Niro

7.40pm – 8.05pm: Short Film – Beautiful Life

8.05pm – 8.45pm: Singapore Char Siew Baos

8.45pm – 9.10pm: Short Film – Beautiful Life

9.10pm – 9.50pm: Cat Ong & Sheila De Niro

9.50pm – 10.15pm: Short Film – Beautiful Life

10.15pm – 10.55pm: Singapore Char Siew Baos

10.55pm – 11.20pm: Short Film – Beautiful Life

11.20pm – 11.50pm: Singapore Char Siew Baos

11.50pm – 12.00am: Lead up to Countdown

12.00am – 12.10am: Fireworks + Music

12.10am – 1.00 am: Singapore Char Siew Baos

Programme may be subjected to change. For more information: Visit Esplanade’s page here or Marina Bay Countdown 2014 page here.

I saw a familiar name and realized that my friend, Jacob Teo is actually a Char Siew Bao! I mean part of the local band, Singapore Char Siew Baos. I hope I get a chance to catch up with him on New Year eve.

The highlight of this year’s celebration is the 40-second LED countdown display on the façade of the Ocean Financial Centre. If Time Square in New York can have their mega LED display, so can we right? After all, we are Singapore and we always can find our own way of doing an international gig in a local fashion.

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Ocean Financial Centre – the building with the red LED lights will be transformed into a large countdown timer for the celebration at Marina Bay

Warning! Please take note the road closure on 31 December 2013.

Lane Closures

Raffles Avenue, extreme left and right lane (from Temasek Avenue Junction to Esplanade Drive Junction) – From 6pm to 2am.

Road Closures

Esplanade Drive (Both carriageways) – From 11.30pm to 1.30am.

Connaught Drive (All lanes closed) – From 11.30pm to 1.30am.

Raffles Avenue (All lanes closed) – From 11.30pm to 1.30am.

Esplanade’s Vehicular Access Advisory

Esplanade’s Basement Carpark entrances and exits will be closed from 11.30pm to 1.30am.

Esplanade’s Waterfront Carpark will be closed from 27 December to 1 Jan 2014.

Esplanade Mall’s driveway entry and exit will be closed from 6pm to 2am.

Taxi Stand at Esplanade’s Mall Driveway will be closed from 6pm to 2am.

For a more detailed advisory on road closure around Marina Bay, please refer to this site.

Those attending Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2014 need not worry about how to get home as SMRT trains and bus services will be extended. Yeah!

Last trains towards Joo Koon, Pasir Ris and Jurong East will depart City Hall Station at 2.15am, and the last train towards Marina Bay at 2.01am.

Those heading towards HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut can catch the last trains at Circle Line terminals at 1.38am.

Tiffany Yong and Michhysaurous will be joining me for the countdown. What say you?

Happy New Year! See you in 2014.

Marina Bay Countdown 2014!

This is probably the first time I’m writing a blog post with mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m really excited and honoured to be selected as one of the 5 official bloggers for Marina Bay Countdown 2014.

And on the other, I’m fairly upset that I have to rush out this post by tonight due to a slight miscommunication with the organisers and my busy work schedule. I have originally intended to integrate tomorrow’s gathering pictures for this purpose. But well, miscommunication is not uncommon so no hard feeling. I’m always known as “the sunny guy” so let’s move on to the happy stuff.

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Check out the other bloggers: https://www.marinabaycountdown.sg/blogs.html

Like I mentioned, I will be featuring more about the Marina Bay Countdown 2014 activities and hopefully I get to have some exclusive behind-the-scene experiences to share. Talking about sharing, you can capture the spirit of this year’s countdown and enter the photo competition and stand a chance to win the grand prize, OSIM uDivine (worth S$5,488)!

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Merit Prize winner for Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2013 Photo Competition

The theme for this year’s Marine Bay Singapore Countdown 2014 Photo Competition is “Beautiful Life” and all Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and foreigners residing in Singapore are eligible to take part. Simply submit an entry based on the theme to showcase happy moments with family members and beautiful time with loved ones against the scenic backdrop of Marina Bay area.

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2nd Prize winner for Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2013 Photo Competition

You may include (but not limited to) Marina Bay skyline, fireworks display or Wishing Spheres installation and display, including penning of wishes on the Wishing Spheres at Wishing Station. For submission, all files must be less than 3MB, within 2048 pixels by 1536 pixels.

All it takes is just 3 simple steps to enter this photo competition:

Step 1: Fill up your personal particulars 

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Step 2: Choose your file and upload it

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Step 3: Ensure your selected file is within the submission requirements 

For more information, terms & conditions please visit:  https://www.marinabaycountdown.sg/photo-competition.php

I will be sharing more again soon so keep a look out for it!

Lion Earl Roars at Nation Pride

What would you design if you are given the task to come up with the new collection of Singapore Pride? 21 PARCO next NEXT designers took on the challenge, using the most basic staple found in everyone’s wardrode, to present a limited edition t-shirt that represent their interpretation of this nation.

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[Photo: PARCO next NEXT]

It was a pre-birthday party like no one, as I was treated to a night of fashion show, music, champagne and nostalgic bite size treats at the launch of Nation Pride at PARCO next NEXT on 2 August 2013. Furthering the theme of all things local, retro Singaporean treats were served by dolled up Snack Studs and Candy Chicks.

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[Photos: PARCO next NEXT]

“We are celebrating National Day with Pride and Passion. Our young emerging designers came up with an exclusive Tee, inspired by our great Nation. For the first time, 6 of our PARCO next NEXT alumni designers are also invited to show along with the current designers. The cool and eternally hip T-shirt best symbolizes Singapore Style!” said Mr David Wang, Project Advisor of PARCO next NEXT and Chairman of the Designers and Retailers Group, Textile and Fashion Federation, (Singapore) (TaFf).

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[Photos: PARCO next NEXT]

Using white, the color of purity, clarity and virtue. The white cotton top from Lion Earl is inspired from the rectangular outline of the flag with the addition of cut-out sleeves. Designed for the modern woman, one who is strong, capable and confident, the feel of this top portrays a slight military and armor-shell like look to celebrate Her growth throughout the years.

“Singapore to us is a women with strong determination that will keep going forward. She is our home and shelter from which we grew along with her throughout the years.” said Lionel Low, Creative Director of Lion Earl.

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Other uniquely Singaporean designs from the Nation Pride 2013 Collection include:

The iconic Merlion is reinterpreted on an embellished T-shirt by Foreword. 20:TwoThree and KaeHana took a trip down memory lane by re-imagining the Good Morning towel and White Rabbit Milk Candy (respectively) from our childhood. Mash-Up once again displayed their distinctive sense of humor with a hand-drawn map of local hunts.

WSDM’s black T-shirt in camouflage print is inspired by the designer’s days in National Service and evenodd’s T-shirt reflects the various Singapore landmarks from the new (Marina Bay Sands) to the heritage (Kampong Glam & HDB, etc).

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[Photos: PARCO next NEXT]

Ms. Lai Sau Kuen, General Manager Corporate of Parco (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, adds, “Nation Pride has always been a great opportunity for Parco to not only showcase our very own PARCO next NEXT fashion designers, but also actively collaborate with local talents from various creative fields like the arts, music, theatre, etc.  so as to lend our support and help raise  awareness for  these gifted individuals and groups.”

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These limited edition customized T-shirts are available at PARCO next NEXT (Level 2, PARCO Marina Bay) and on sale while stocks last. Head down to the store before they are sold out by this weekend!

Buoy Up with Airs & Graces at Millenia Walk

Defying the conventional expectations of private art exhibitions, Art Stage Singapore transforms Millenia Walk into an instant contemporary public art museum, offering a unique shopping experience to buoy up the much-awaited holiday and shopping season.

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Last Thursday, I attended the VIP reception of the Airs and Graces exhibition at Millenia Walk. This special art exhibition, which runs from 1 June to 7 July, is co-presented by Art Stage Singapore and Millenia Walk, featuring an impressive cast of renowned international and regional artists, including Singapore artist Sai Hua Kua.

Graced by Dick Lee as the guest-of-honour, attendees at the cocktail reception were treated to ‘live’ art exhibition, sand art performance and lots of ‘bubbles’.

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“We are delighted to partner the Art Stage Singapore in the ‘Airs & Graces’ exhibition. This engaging exhibition demonstrates our continued support towards developing a vibrant contemporary art scene here in Singapore. We certainly look forward to sharing and celebrating the inspiring experience with all our visitors at Millenia Walk,” said Mr Tan Boon Tuck, Senior Vice-President of Millenia Private Limited.

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“Designed by Pritzker Architectural Prize Laureate Philip Johnson, the inviting and spacious interior of Millenia Walk is ideal for a wide range of creative interactions and installations. This enables us to create a truly enriching experience for our visitors to enhance the premier lifestyle experience as opposed to just another sales promotion,” added Ms Esther Teo, Vice-President, Advertising and Promotions of Millenia Private Limited.

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“It is our great pleasure to work with Millenia Walk to deliver an art project which can extend our reach to the local audience and transform the space into an instant museum for fun and discovery,” commented Mr Lorenzo Rudol, Fair Director of Art Stage Singapore.

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Sai Hua Kuan’s Going Somewhere 01, Yavuz Fine Art Singapore

Sai Hua Kuan works in a diverse range of media, including installation, sculpture, film, photography and performance. He graduated from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2007, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions internationally, including in the UK, Canada, Germany, France and Singapore. He lives and works in Singapore and the UK.

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Max Streicher’s Floating Giants, Gallery Maskara Mumbai

Max Streicher is a sculptor and installation artist from Alberta, Canada. SInce 1989 he has worked extensively with inflatable technology in kinetic sculptures and installation works. He is known for his large and imposing inflatable sculptures which have been described as being distressing and enchanting, disruptive and playful. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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Sri Astari’s Armors for the Soul #2/3

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Sri Astari’s Love-Fear Bag #2/3 and Lochan Upadhyay’s Wedding Chair, Art Plural Gallery Singapore

Sri Astari is a painter, sculptor and installation artist. She studied painting at the University of Minnesota, USA and at the Royal College of Art, UK. Her work explores traditional Javanese values and social norms and how they relate to the status of women and gender roles in modern Indonesian society. Sri Astari lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Lochan Upadhyay graduated from the M.S University of Baroda where he is presently reading for this MFA. Influenced by various mediums, his work playfully blends tradition with modernity. He is known for using pieces of sari fabric given to him by the women of a rural village for his large wedding chairs, like a symbolic dowry. Upadhyay has showcased his work across India, New York and Paris. He lives and works in Baroda, India.

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Navin Rawanchaikul’s Mission Navinland, Yavuz Fine Art Singapore

Navin Rawanchaikul is best known for dynamic art pieces that involve direct public interventions, social commentary, and eccentric fictional tales featuring recurring characters. His oeuvre has grown to encompass a broad array of media including performances, billboards, films, comics, games, and cocktails. He has been exhibited widely across Asia, Europe and the USA. Navin Rawanchaikul lives and works in Fukuoka, Japan and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Entang Wiharso’s Feast Table: Undeclared Perceptions, Arndt Berlin/Singapore

Entang Wiharso majored in painting at the Insitut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta and is considered one of the Indonesia’s foremost contemporary artist. He is known for his unique and hyper-detailed style inspired by Indonesian mytholog, contemporary global culture, public memory and personal experience. Entang juxtaposes the past with the present, and the absurd with the real, to cast a critical eye on the state of the world. He lives and works in Rhode Island, USA and Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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Chen Wen Ling’s Humanities Landscape, Linda Gallery Singapore

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Chen Wen Ling’s Illusory Realm, Linda Gallery Singapore

Chen Wen Ling graduated from Xiamen Academy of Art and Design in 1991. He is known for his provoking and interesting sculptural works that often invoke metaphors and symbols related to Chinese culture. He has been exhibited widely around the world. Chen Wen Ling lives and works in Beijing, China.

MUSE: Airs & Graces Art Exhibition runs from 1 June to 7 July 2013 at Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596

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In conjunction with the art exhibition, Millenia Walk is having the following promotions:

Buoy Up The Finer Side Rewards (1 to 30 June 2013)

Spend $300* and enjoy a Patisserie G’s special-edition art-palette artisan cookie. Top up the spending to $500 and receive an additional jar of gourmet homemade Apricot Confiture with Fresh Thyme from The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore and an art jamming session with Gallery 798. Other spending perks include complimentary 1st hour parking on weekdays and 3 hours on weekends and complimentary gift wrapping with a minimum spending of $50 from the outlets.

*maximum 3 same-day receipts from Millenia Walk. Other conditions apply.

A Life Inspired – Shop, Dine & Revel in the Finer Side (1 to 30 June 2013)

Indulge in guilt-free shopping and dining experience this Great Sale Season at Millenia Walk, select from masterfully crafted timepieces to bespoke tailoring, designer fashion and eclectic cuisines, everyone will surely find something to suit the sartorial bent and excite the palate.

PARCO next NEXT – Rocks the Rack

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Welcome onboard and step up to PARCO next NEXT, where young designers’ vivid imaginations meet fashion fantasies, creating beautiful manifestations from myriad points of references.

On Saturday 18 May 2013, local fashion label, LION EARL invited us to join them on a fashion journey of discovery: from outer space to sailing on the high seas, from plain basics to Peranakan-inspired digital prints. From boxy, airy shapes to body-contour dressing and androgyny. From ghetto chic to the streets of Asia. We witness the launch of PARCO next NEXT latest collection.

Rêvasseur

“Run away and join the navy to sail the seven seas. From cute manga sailors to sexy sirens bidding “ships ahoy!”, Revasseur’s nautical inspiration has everything from naughty to nice!”

www.revasseur.com

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Comments: My first reaction to this collection by Revasseur was “oh, how cute!”, it was as if the characters from the famous Japanese manga ‘One Piece’ coming to live on the runway. As we all know Singapore is an island and what other way to bring out the sunny heritage of our country through this nautical-inspired fashion. 

Coupé-Cousu

“The Space Man takes centre stage as this slick men’s collection shines in red, navy and grey. Bold metallic galaxy prints send the look further into outer space.”

www.coupecousu.com

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Comments: Have you heard of the mission to launch humans onto Mars by 2023? It’s okay if you are not a fan of astronomy because this new collection by Coupe-Cousu offers menswear from both the bold and conservative. Opt for the bright red to bring out your personality or choose the navy or grey clothing sprinkled with star dust, definitely make you shine during the company’s annual dinner and dance.  

KAEHANA

“All women are beautiful. Kaehana embraces all body types and ages. The brand reinforces that all women are unique and have their own individual take on what looks good on them. Her digital prints say, “Celebrate your inner goddess!”

www.kae-hana.com

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Comments: Actions speaks louder than words as designer Kae Hana walks down the runway in her own designs. KAEHANA label offers a vivid alternative to your usual office wear. Also, do check out my previous article on KAEHANA here

20:TWOTHREE

“The designer sees beauty in imperfections and harmony in the unusual. Strange beauty is translated in 20:TWOTHREE’s androgynous collection. The almost “colourless” collection speaks volume in texture, shapes and forms.”

www.20twothree.com

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Comments: Dig deeper into this collection by 20:TWOTHREE to discover the fine details underneath the plain white, black, grey surface. This collection offers a smart look for casual and practical aesthetic for your daily wear for work.

WSDM

“Sends a message of “Happy Thoughts” in their latest menswear collection. A hark back to those happy and carefree days as seen in the use of cotton and knits in cool combinations of strong pastels. The mood is laid back with the use of dots, stripes and checks.”

www.wsdmstore.com

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Comments: Move aside sunshine, WSDM’s happy collection is set to brighten up your Monday and weekend. Pronounce as ‘wisdom’ and not ‘W-S-D-M’, this cool collection has won my heart over by reflecting the gleeful personality of Malcolm Sunny! I can totally see myself spending a whole day at the store and walking away with my pocket empty but heart full of joy.

LION EARL

“Architectural lines blend with the hourglass of the female form. Fluid prints juxtapose with sharp, angled graphics. The result – strong, individualistic womenswear.”

www.lionearl.com

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Comments: Scream out with LION EARL’s fashion! Dress up in a contrast of elegant black & white with sharp floral-inspired prints. This collection offers dressing for those seeking an alternative to their working wardrobe and after hours chill out.

EVENODD

“Men’s basic staples like the Tee and Polo shirt are reimagined and reworked. Blending clean lines with shiny, patent paillettes, the look is sporty, healthy and sexy.”

www.evenoddstudio.com

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Comments: Men’s quintessential is transformed by EVENODD’s bold use of shine and glitter. A simple white tee becomes a fashion statement thanks to EVENODD designer’s vivid imagination.  

MASH-UP

“Varied points of streetwear references are mixed and mashed up from this mens and womenswear collection to shock and titillate your senses. Be bold and express yourself.”

www.mashupcollective.com

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Comments: Funky and quirky are what MASH-UP latest collection seeks to represent. Stand out from the crowd with this series of bright, neon designs mean for the young and the young-at-heart. 

See this Her World PLUS article for more gorgeous photos and write-up.

About PARCO next NEXT

PARCO next NEXT is a fashion design incubator project with a mission of nurturing promising local design talents, It is a one-of-a-kind retail zone that features specially curated selections of Singapore’s fashion future.

Visit PARCO next NEXT at: PARCO Marina Bay, level 2 (9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596). Nearest MRT station: Promenade (Circle Line), Exit A

Website: www.parco.com.sg/parconextnext

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PARCOnextNEXT

Twitter: @PARCOnextNEXT

For more information about the Fashion Design Incubator programme, visit http://www.parco.com.sg/parconextnext/recruitment/

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A big THANK YOU to lifestyle blogger Christina of Huney’Z World (http://huneyzworld.blogspot.com) and her hubby, Winston for the photos.

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Also, check out Cosplay blogger, Zolynne of Charismatic Chiro blog post on the event: http://charismatic-chiro.blogspot.sg/2013/05/audi-fashion-festival-singapore-1842013.html

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Double Js after the fashion show: Thank you Julianatasha for the extending the invitation to us. Happy to see my friend, Joel Xiang the fashion stylist again!

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After the fashion show, we make a trip to the F1 building with fashion blogger, Jeremy Chase to shop at Blueprint. Jeremy blogs at http://homme-by-jemchase.blogspot.sg/

Blueprint is an annual event held in conjunction with Asia Fashion Exchange, focusing on East West Exchange, buyer-brand networking and strong media outreach to create invaluable branding and sales opportunities for best emerging and established designers from Asia and around the world.

Website: www.blueprint.sg 

Audi Star Creation Capsule Collection 2013

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From left: Winners of last year’s Audi Star Creation, Soravit Kaewkamon, 24 (Thailand),  Roderic Wong, 28 (China), and  Ko Youngji, 32 (South Korea) have been busy developing their collections under the mentorship of Douglas and Odile Benjamin of leading fashion house F J Benjamin.  The capsule collection by the three 2012 winners debuts during Audi Fashion Festival at the Tent@Marina Promenade on 17 May 2013.

Thai designer, Kaewkamon presents the Beauty of Hornbill, the women’s wear complement to her competition collection last year, featuring defined cuts and strong structure on woven fabric and leather, but with shapes that are more feminine, bolder digital prints and more intricate laser-cut details.

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Soravit Kaewkamon, 24, is a graduate of Silpakorn University with a degree in Decorative Arts. She has participated in and won several fashion design competitions in Thailand, including two awards at the Saha Group Bangkok Young Designers Awards 2010 and her winning menswear collection at SINGHA LIFE 2011. She is currently halfway through her internship with F J Benjamin, where she contributes in both menswear and womenswear design teams. 

South Korean designer, Ko Youngji presents her new collection, La Porte, drawing inspiration from the time she spent in France while studying at the I’Ecole Superieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode (ESMOD). Using primarily pink, violet and ivory, she incorporates the beauty and mystery that centuries-old Parisian doors hold into this collection.

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Ko Youngji, 32, whose grandmother was a hanbok designer, cultivated an interest in fashion through watching her grandmother work, Recently graduated from I’Ecole Superieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) with a degree in fashion design and tailoring, Ko has dedicated over a decade of her life to fashion, starting from her fashion design major in high school back in South Korea. Her creations have been retailing at Korean multi-label shops like ALAND and Lab 5 since 2010. Ko plans to launch Deuxy, a womenswear label, in South Korea later this year.

Winner of last year’s Audi Young Designer Award, Roderic Wong presents Inspiration featuring material manipulation, but in black, violet and navy, contrasting with his 2012 competition collection  which was predominantly white. This collection uses thick and heavy fabrics such as wool and pashmina to complement lighter, more elegant fabrics such as silk, and features more intricate details.

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Roderic Wong, 28, spent most of his childhood in Shanghai but eventually moved to New Zealand to study computing, After receiving his diploma and spending a short period doing odd jobs, Wong realized that fashion was his calling. He then returned to China and completed a two-year course in fashion design at Donghua University before graduating from Raffles Design Institute (Shanghai) in 2012. Wong was crowned a winner of the Audi Star Creation 2012 competition and also earned the Audi Young Desinger Award title for his innovative womenswear collection, Tissue of Being.

A note for budding fashion designers: 

The Singapore Designer Attachment Programme (SDAP) aims to develop fashion design talents in Singapore by providing a platform for designers to gain industry experience under the guidance of knowledgeable and experienced supervisors in established Singapore fashion companies. Selected designers will be placed under work attachments with fashion enterprises for a period of 12 months. This programme is managed by Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf) Singapore and supported b SPRING Singapore.

SDAP is open to Audi Star Creation finalists and participants, as well as graduating designers from the Fashion Design Incubator (FDI) programme of PARCO next NEXT and graduates from local fashion schools such as Lasalle College of the Arts, Raffles Design Institute, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Temasek Polytechnic.

For more information, please refer to TaFf’s website http://www.taff.org.sg/

Special thanks to Christina Chung from Huney’Z World for the beautiful runway photographs. See her blog post at this link: http://huneyzworld.blogspot.sg/2013/05/audi-fashion-festival-2013-audi-star.html

Singapore Shines at Audi Star Creation 2013

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Audi Star Creation, a regional fashion design competition, identifies and nurtures emerging Asian fashion designers. First held in 2010, it’s an event of the annual Asia Fashion Exhange (AFX); the competition is open to aspiring designers between 16 and 35 years who are Asian citizens. Audi Star Creation is spearheaded by the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (TaFf) and sponsored by Audi Singapore and supported by fashion house, F J Benjamin.

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From left: Haziq Putra (Singapore), Sun Yi Jin (China), Odile Benjamin (RAOUL), Vu Ta Linh (Vietnam)

Temasek Polytechnic student from Apparel Design and Merchandising, Haziq Putra‘s “Pursuit to Freedom” took one of the competition’s three top spots. In addition, the 21-year-old also won the Audi Young Designer Award (AYDA), which is given to the winner whose creation best embodies the Audi design spirit of innovation, technology and progression.

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Haziq’s menwear collection featured hand-dyed batik, from which he created a digital print. He also incorporated two distinct Kelantan icons – the Wau Bulan, a giant kite , and the ikan pari, or stingray.

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“I thought the collection was very original and I like the fact you could see his design concept of the stingray flow right through. He was creative but not too over the top with progressive design, much like Audi. At the same time, the collection is very well made and seems to be market-ready. I can even see myself in some of his pieces!” commented Jeff Mannering, Audi Singapore’s Managing Director on Haziq’s design.

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26-year-old Vietnamese, Vu Ta Linh won the judges over with “The Contour”, a womenwear collection inspired by the Vietnamese rice terraces Ruong Bac Thang in Sapa. Linh graduated from Hanoi London College of Fashion Studies in July 2012, and uses stitching, weaving and embroidery to capture the curves and waves of the Vietnamese heritage.

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Bagging the third and final spot was 24-year-old Sun Yi Jin from China, whose womenwear collection drew on the Chinese costumes and handicraft techniques of the 56 ethnic groups in China.

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Commenting on her win, judge David Wang, the Vice President of the Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore, said, “What impressed us most was the fact that the collection draws so strongly on history yet manages to come across as modern. That is exactly what we were looking for with this year’s InspirAsian theme – a designer who was able to dig deep into his/her own culture but emerge with something that would fit right in on the streets of New York or Tokyo.”

Each of the three winners will get $10,000 in cash from Audi Singapore, an internship with leading fashion retailer F J Benjamin and the chance to launch a capsule collection at Audi Star Creation 2014.

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I met my friend, Joel Xiang (in the centre) who is a fashion stylist. To engage him, email him at shangdeshang@gmail.com

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Many thanks to Christian from huneyzworld.blogspot.com for all the lovely photos you have seen here.

Yoga in the Sky at Mind-Body-Spirit Festival 2013

Last Sunday 12 May 2013, I attended the Mind-Body-Spirit Festival organised by Singapore Flyer in conjunction with Mother’s Day celebration. With the day-pass ticket, there are various classes to choose from and at different venues to provide unique experience for all.

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Yoga, pilates, fitness marathon and  mass workout are some of the selection available. Eventually I decided to train my abs and headed for the yoga class held at Bayview Room at level 2.

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The YogaDivas CORE workshop was presented by yoga instructor, Sarah Powell from YogaDivas. Yoga is not just about gentle stretching, during the one-hour session, we learned to discover our inner strength and also had fun with arm balances. If you think yoga is just for girls, don’t be misled by the YogaDivas name, there were a couple other guys attending the class with me.

Sarah started the class with relaxation breathing exercise before proceeding to stretching and balancing on our core muscles and arms. Most of the poses were manageable except for a few which were rather challenging. Sarah also demonstrated varied versions of the pose to achieve the desired result without hurting ourselves. After the one hour, I could really feel my abs again!

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As I was recovering from my previous yoga class, I met up with the organisers who gladly informed me that they had specially arranged for a workout in the sky for me. Although I was feeling slightly tired but the idea of doing yoga in the sky excited me (click here to read my previous experience with doing yoga inside the capsule).

The special class of Hatha Yoga was presented by Master Ankan Kumar Sarkar from Sky Fitness. Hatha Yoga is the most ancient, complete and popular system of yoga for mental and physical health. It is a science of breathing, purification and synchronization on the physical and mental dimensions. During the two rotations of one hour, we learned the ancient techniques of esanas (postures) and pranayama – good health, peace prosperity, longevity and self-realization.

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Doing yoga inside the capsule is an amazing experience. Imagine seeing the Marina Bay district 165 metres above the ground in an upside-down position. The beautiful scenery makes enduring the more challenging postures so much more enjoyable. It is an experience that is not offered everyday.

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I would like to thank Singapore Flyer for the lovely invitation and I really hope that can make the Mind-Body-Spirit Festival a yearly event or have more classes of yoga, pilates or fitness workout in the sky so many others can enjoy the unique experience.

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[Glowing with glee and a touch of wellness after two sessions of yoga in one day.]

Check out Singapore Flyer’s website at www.singaporeflyer.com for their next exciting event and upcoming promotions.

Sarah conducts regular outdoor yoga classes. Find out more about YogaDivas at http://www.yogadivas.biz/

Sky Fitness offers a variety of fitness classes at their venue in HarbourFront and Serangoon Gardens. Visit www.skyfitness.com.sg for more information.