Time Out Singapore: Bill Burr

The American stand-up comic is a regular on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon’s shows, and is famed for his rants against marriage – until he got himself a wife last year. He’s all set to bring his signature, mildly offensive brand of humour to Singapore, but first, he tells Gwen Pew about his life, love and laughs.

Photo: Koury Angelo

Photo: Koury Angelo

1 Feb 2015:

Is the guy we’re seeing onstage the real Bill Burr?

The guy you see on stage is how I am when I’m in a bar or hanging out with my friends. I’m not always like that. Right now I’m lying on the couch with my dog watching a movie.

You’ve said you don’t research before you talk about certain topics – how much do you wing it?

I wing it about 30 percent of the time. On a good night, when the ideas are flowing, it gets up to about 60 percent. But yeah, I don’t know what I’m talking about most of the time.

Have you made any joke onstage that you regret after?

In 23 years, I’ve only had that happen a couple times. I’m telling jokes. It’s not serious.

Do comedians have a line that they shouldn’t cross?

As long as you’re being funny, I don’t think there’s any topic or subject that you can’t joke about.

It’s been just over a year since your wedding! How’s your life been so far?

She hasn’t left me yet so I think it’s going pretty good.

And how about women? Do you feel your understanding of them has, well, improved?

I understand women enough to know not to answer that question.

What’s the best thing about being a comedian?

The best thing about being a comedian is lying on the couch with your dog during the middle of the day, watching a movie, while everybody else has to go to work.

Convince us in one sentence to see your show.

The thrill I’m going to have performing my jokes in Singapore cannot be summed up in one sentence.

Time Out Singapore: Guide to Chinese New Year 2015

Don’t know where to ‘goat’ to this Chinese New Year? Don’t be ‘sheepish’ about it – Gwen Pew highlights the best events for ‘ewe’ to usher in the new year

CNY 2015

16 Feb 2015:

Sentosa Celebrates

Feb 19-22

A sea of lanterns adorns the Sentosa Beach and Merlion Plazas as the self-proclaimed ‘State of Fun’ gets into the mood for CNY. There are a number of performances, including those by the Northern Lion Dance troupe and the LED Dragon Dance Troupe, which jazzes things up by introducing lights to their costumes. Dotted around the plazas are caricature artists, fortune tellers and a gigantic God of Fortune.

City Square Festivities

Until Feb 22

Little ones can get up close and personal with the stars of popular cartoon Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf at this mall’s celebrations. They’ll make their rounds over the two weekends before CNY to play games with the kids – get a meet-and-greet pass when you spend over $50. On February 14, feng shui master Neo Zhen Jue reveals the fortunes of the zodiac signs for the coming year, and if you need to do a bit of last minute shopping, NTUC’s sale on Mondays to Wednesdays from Feburary 2 to 18 has festive goodies up for grabs.

River Hongbao

Feb 17-28

One of the most iconic events to take place along the waterfront, River Hongbao returns for the 29th year with lantern displays, handicrafts, and performances by local and international artists. To commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary, the edition features an exhibition entitled Reliving the Past, Welcoming the New Year, which showcases more than 230 photographs documenting the way Singaporeans have been celebrating Chinese NEw Year through the decades. And if you get hungry, feel free to stuff your face with a variety of local delicacies like chicken rice, bak kut teh, prawn noodles, ice kacang and more.

Gardens by the Bay – Spring Surprise

Until Mar 8

Barely has the fake snow melted from the Christmas display at the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay and the glassy conservatory is already back with a new look. Entitled ‘Asian Tales’, the latest floral display to grace the flowerbeds aims to bring the scenic landscapes of traditional Chinese paintings to life with fields of colourful dahlias. Visitors are invited to spot goats carved into the flora, and embark on a themed journey through the garden with the help of a trail map that comes with your ticket. Look out for the gardens’ God of Fortune mascot and the craft booths, which are set up on weekends.

Chinatown CNY Celebrations 2015

Until Mar 19

Enjoy a range of activities, from the Festival Street Bazaar to a walking trail that takes participants on a journey through Chinatown’s history. There’s a mass reunion dinner for the underprivileged on February 15 at the Kreta Ayer Community Club and Singapore National Wushu Federation ($10), and nightly shows of music and dance at Kreta Ayer Square until February 18. All these festivities culminate in a countdown party at New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, where local celebs ring in the Lunar New Year with games and fireworks.

Time Out Singapore: Adult Playground

Adult Playground 2014

4 Nov 2014: Get physical – that’s what the folks at Experience 22 want you to do at the provocatively named Adult Playground. The outdoor festival aims to bring sports and music together, but before you dismiss it as an attempt to bring back nasty secondary school Sports Day memories, hear us out.

First off, this isn’t your average beach party with volleyball and futsal. It’s all about games and activities that are out of the ordinary, such as Bubble football (where players don a rubber orb), bossaball (tennis on an inflatable court), and soaring on ‘jetpacks’ (strap on a water-powered jetpack and take flight). And upping the musical ante of the festival is a line-up of local acts – indie-pop band The Sam Willows, acoustic duo Jack and Rai, and folk-pop singer-songwriter Gentle Bones will be on hand to keep the party going strong.

If you still insist on remaining a couch potato, however, there will be plenty of nibbles you can munch on. Two food trucks – The Travelling C.O.W. and Kerbside Gourmet – will be rolling by, and you can quench your thirst with cocktails from the beach bar. The non-alcoholics can beat the heat with all-natural popsicles and frozen sorbet from Popaganda.

Adult Playground came as a result of Experience 22’s years of know-how in organising smallscaled sporting events, says the company’s general manager, Ellen Goel. But when she realised that attendees would also enjoy spending a full day with their friends ‘trying out unconventional sports’, the idea for the playground was born. ‘They picture themselves drinking beer, tuning in to cool music and having a good time, so we wanted to create a festival that brings together sports and music on a whole new level,’ she says. Go get your beach bum on!

Time Out Singapore: Singapore Writers Festival 2014

As with previous iterations, this year’s edition will bear a strong local flavour. But if you need a little help in working out who’s who in the rota of more than 120 Singaporean writers, Gwen Pew spotlights five local authors you should know about.

SWF2014

20 Oct 2014:

Adeline Foo

Best known as the author of the children’s book series The Dairy of Amos Lee, Foo is a near-permanent fixture on the The Straits Times bestsellers list. Her first young adult fiction, Thomas Titans: Men Among Boys, is being made into a telemovie that is slated for release at the end of this year.

‘The SWF is the one big event in the year where almost every Singapore writer I know will be attending. It’s a wonderful time to catch up on gossip and to discover if what you’ve heard about so-and-so winning a writing award is true!’ she says. ‘In my SWF sessions, I will talk about the challenges that I had to overcome in picking the right story for the TV show. I will also share the differences between writing a book and a TV screenplay.’

Catch Foo at ‘Text Into Film’: 1 Nov, 7-8pm; Makeover Tent, Campus Green, SMU. ‘Writing for the Global Audience’: 9 Nov, 4-5pm; Makeover Tent, Campus Green, SMU. ‘Natural Compositions’: 9 Nov, 5.30-6.30pm; Glass Hall, Singapore Art Museum.

Yap Seow Choong

Born and bred in Singapore, Yap used to be a journalist with Lianhe Zaobaobefore moving to Shanghai in 2003. He’s still based there today, where he joined the publisher of and consultant for the Lonely Planet guide books in China. He has also written and published several travel books in China and Taiwan. ‘My work took the form of travel literary writing with an Asian journalistic approach. They are true accounts of the places and people I came across. Every essay focuses on a destination, yet it also weaves in other similar experiences accumulated from over 80 countries that I’ve been to,’ he says. ‘At SWF, I will be sharing my experience in publishing travel guidebooks in China and my views on the future of guidebook publishing and its challenges.’

Catch Yap at ‘Beyond Travel Guides’: 8 Nov, 10-11am; Makeover Tent, Campus Green, SMU.

Jerrold Yam

Currently a law undergraduate at the University College of London, Yam has published three poetry collections, Chasing Curtained Suns (2012), Scattered Vertebrae (2013) and Intruder (2014). In 2012, he also became the youngest person to be nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in the US.

‘I try to tread a fine line between honesty and storytelling, revelation and commentary. I also keep an international audience in mind,’ he says. ‘My event at SWF is targeted at young or emerging writers, so I’ll be sharing my creative writing journey, and elucidate the ways in which a Singaporean adolescence will impact a writer’s creative output. For example, all three of my poetry collections interrogate the experiences with which Singaporean youths are familiar: the dichotomy between private and public selves, university, National Service and globalisation, among others.’ Catch Yam at ‘Finding My Voice’: 8 Nov, 7-8pm; Seminar Rooms, National Museum of Singapore.

Joel Tan

One of the hottest up-and-coming names in the local theatre scene, Tan is an associate artist with Checkpoint Theatre, and has worked with a range of companies, including Yellow Chair and Wild Rice, for whom he penned the pantomime, Jack and the Bean-Sprout, last year.

‘I’m best known, probably, for my play Family Outing (Wild Rice 2011, Man-Singapore Theatre Fest), but a lot of my more recent work focuses on young Singaporean voices, human relationships and the changing emotional/spiritual landscape of Singapore,’ he says. ‘For SWF I have been working with the poets Tania de Rozario, Cyril Wong, Pooja Nansi, Joshua Yip and Jollin Tan to create Apart, an experimental performance work that weaves in poetry, music, confessions and drama. It’s a play, co-written by the poets and dramaturged and directed by myself.’

Catch Tan at ‘Plays Station’: 8 Nov, 4-5pm; Centre 42 Black Box. ‘Apart’: 9 Nov, 7-8pm; Gallery Theatre, National Museum of Singapore.

Yeng Pway Ngon

A recipient of the Cultural Medallion for Literature in 2003, Yeng is a poet, novelist, playwright and critic with 25 book titles under his belt. Three of them – 骚动 (Unrest), 我与我自己的二三 事 (Trivialities about Me and Myself) and 画室 (Art Studio) – earned him the Singapore Literature Prize. At this year’s SWF, he’ll participate in three events: the launch of the English translation of his novel 我与 我自己的二三事; a dialogue with his translator; and he’ll act as moderator in a panel discussion among three young Chinese writers. ‘I look forward to sharing my experiences and encourage them to continue writing in Chinese,’ Yeng says.

Catch Yeng at ‘座谈会: 就是爱用 华文写作!’: 1 Nov, 5.30-6.30pm; Seminar Rooms, National Museum of Singapore. ‘Trivialities About Me and Myself’: 2 Nov, 10-11am; Festival Pavilion, Campus Green, SMU. ‘在翻译世界里交汇’: 2 Nov, 11.30am- 12.30pm; The Salon, National Museum of Singapore.

Time Out Singapore: Pasir Panjang Treasure Hunt

Head out on our Pasir Panjang walk, which takes you by art galleries, HortPark, Reflections of Bukit Chandu and Singapore’s most bizarre attraction, Har Par Villa.

Pasir Panjang

30 Apr 2014:

Start

Labrador Park

1. Arty Farty

Take Exit A out of Labrador Park station, and walk through the series of overpasses and get off the first escalator at Alexandra Road. Keeping the PSA Building and ARC Shopping Centre on your left, walk north along the road – this is actually part of the Alexandra Garden Trail – and you’ll soon see the Academy of Singapore Teachers on your right. Go past it, and you’ll reach Malan Road, leading to Gillman Barracks. Once a military encampment for the British Army, the area was converted into an art cluster in 2012, and it’s now home to 16 galleries (opened at various times from Tue-Sun). Feel free to make a detour here to admire the art – we recommend checking out Singapore’s own FOST, New York’s Sundaram Tagore, Tokyo’s Mizuma and Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam galleries – then take a right back on Alexandra Road until you get to the overhead bridge that takes you across to HortPark.
Q: When you get onto the park connector, there’s a sign that tells you things you shouldn’t do when encountering wild monkeys – what are they?

2. Farm Ville

Enter HortPark – the first gardening hub in Asia – through the Floral Walk. Make your way to the Visitor Services Centre, the exterior of which is covered by a colourful, shimmering mosaic piece that was created by students from the Nanyang Technological University as part of their annual Challenge Your Limits (CURL) project, and unveiled in 2008. Take a stroll through the park, where you’ll encounter a range of interesting themed gardens, such as the Balinese, Edible and recently completed open-concept Butterfly Garden. Continue walking up the hill after the Prototype Glasshouses, where you’ll find a shortcut to the next landmark.
Q: There are two types of greenhouses at the Prototype Glasshouses section – what are their respective climates?

3. Past Reflections

Walk up the wiggly uphill path that will take you towards Reflections at Bukit Chandu (Tue-Sun 9am-5.30pm; free for locals & PRs, $0.50-$2 for foreigners), which means Opium Hill in Malay. The restored black and white bungalow was first built at the turn of the 20th century for British officers, but the area remains an important historical site today as this was where the fierce Battle of Pasir Panjang took place in 1942 during the Second World War. Malay soldiers led by British commanders fought against the Japanese even though they were heavily outnumbered. It didn’t end well, unfortunately, and almost all of them either died in battle, or were captured and killed. The British surrendered two days afterwards, and Singapore became Syonanto until the Japanese surrendered in 1945.
Q: On the gates outside Reflections, visitors are invited to check out another war-related site – what is it?

4. Eco-temple

Make your way downhill on Pepys Road – it’s a long and winding walk, but amidst the quiet of nature, the views are pretty spectacular. Turn right when you get back onto Pasir Panjang Road. If you’re hungry, there’s a PIT STOP Fatboy’s The Burger Bar (122 Pasir Panjang Rd, 6471 3224: drop by with a copy of this month’s issue and get a free milkshake with every main course purchased – valid until 31 May); if not, just continue west past Pasir Panjang station. About ten minutes past the station, you’ll reach a slightly tucked away Chwee Chian Road sandwiched between a few condos. Walk up it and continue around its bends – admiring the gorgeous landed houses in the sleepy neighbourhood while you’re at it – and you’ll find the Poh Ern Shih Temple on your left. Much blood was shed here during the war, and the temple was erected by philanthropist Lee Choon Seng in 1954 as a way to liberate the spirits of those who died here. Four years later, American Venerable Sumangalo was asked to be its honorary abbot, thus becoming the first western abbot of a Buddhist temple in Singapore. The originally single-story building was demolished at the start of the 2000s and reconstruction works were completed in 2007; this is the first religious building in the country to boast of eco-friendly features such as solar panels and a rainwater purification system. It’s now also home to the forward-thinking, non-sectarian Buddhist Fellowship.
Q: The outside wall of the temple has a series of patterns on it – what are their shape and colour?

5. Go to hell

Continue along Chwee Chian Road and turn left onto Lorong Sarhad, then left again when you get to South Buona Vista Road. Take a right when you get back onto Pasir Panjang Road, and keep going until you reach the surreal Haw Par Villa (daily 9am-7pm). With a slope that’s surrounded by tigers, snakes and other beasts, you won’t miss this place. It was created in 1937 by Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the brothers who founded Tiger Balm, and its most well-known feature is the pretty disturbing Ten Courts of Hell – a dimly-lit tunnel that takes you through the levels at which various crimes would be punished, ranging from having your heart torn out to being drowned in a pool of blood.
Q: A figure of a man stands to the right of the attraction’s name before you reach the entrance. What’s the colour of his robe?

6. Pop a pill

Emerging from Haw Par Villa – and hopefully you’re not too shaken to continue on with the final part of the trail – turn right and walk along Pasir Panjang Road once more, until you reach the junction at Science Park Road. Sitting inconspicuously on a patch of grass is a large stone structure, which is actually the Pasir Panjang Pillbox. There were once quite a few of these along the road (which used to be the coastline prior to the extensive land reclamation works to the area), but today this is one of the handful that can still be found. During the Second World War, British machine-gunners were stationed here to protect Singapore against coastal attacks from the Japanese, although it is now locked and cannot be accessed by the public.
Q: According to the blue plaque in front of the machinegun pillbox, the structure lays within the World War II defence sector of what?

Getting home

Turn around and walk east back along West Coast Highway to get to the Haw Par Villa MRT station. If you fancy doing a spot of cheap food shopping before heading home, you can also take a shortcut located across the pillbox and find your way to the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre on the opposite side of West Coast Highway, where you can buy dried goods and vegetables in bulk at a fraction of supermarket prices – there’s also a lively auction in early hours of the morning for the freshest goods.

Time Out Singapore: Best Pub Quizzes in Town

You’re in luck – there are plenty of pub quizzes in Singapore where you can get your trivia on. Gwen Pew and Natasha Hong round up the best pub quizzes for all types.

Pub Quiz

14 Mar 2014:

Best all rounder

Brewerkz

Every Tue
Quizmasters John Genzler and Poonam Chaphekar.
Format Five rounds, covering topics like general knowledge, British history and trivia, tourist attractions in South- East Asia, music lyrics and Jeopardystyle questions.
Maximum team size Eight. Additional players can be added on for one point penalty each.
What to expect Dominated by teams of mainly expats, Brewerkz’s quiz is located in a side room at its Riverside Point outlet, in a space that is separated from its general drinking crowd, unlike some others on this list. The atmosphere here is slightly more serious than most other quizzes, though there’s a regular stable of teams that maintain friendly relations with each other – a lone guy was invited to join a rival team when his quiz mates failed to show up one evening. They’ve got pretty-easy-totackle questions, and a mid-session break comes in the form of a headsand- tails game that awards the person to correctly guess the sequence of coin flips with a pint of Brewerkz beer. However, although it’s got almost the same number of rounds as most other quizzes, our Tuesday bout ended later than most, only finishing at 11.15pm.
Sample question ‘Paul David Hewson is a musician better known by what stage name?’
Prize The kitty of team entry fees and a $100 Brewerkz vouchers for the winning team, a $100 voucher for second place, and a five-litre mini-keg of Brewerkz beer for third place.

#01-05/06 Riverside Point, 30 Merchant Rd (6438 7438, www.brewerkz.com.sg). Clarke Quay. Tue 8pm. $5/person.

Most difficult

Boomarang

Every Tue
Quizmasters Branka Ralph, who also hosts the quiz nights at Boomarang’s Boat Quay outlet every Thursday and at Roundhouse Pizza, Bar & Grill every other Wednesday. (Ralph was away on the night we went, however, so our experience is based on a replacement quizmaster.)
Format Five rounds including history, sports, business, mixed bag and picture.
Maximum team size Six.
What to expect Winning the title of most punctual starter – we arrived less than five minutes late and found that we had already missed the first few questions, though the quizmaster kindly repeated them to us later on – this is also the most challenging out of the ones we tried. Contrary to our initial worries, it isn’t Aussie-themed, despite it being conducted in an Aussie-themed bar, but largely consists of advanced general knowledge questions. The regulars – who are mostly expats, at least on the night that we went – have a running tab of weekly scores in hopes of being crowned champion at the end of the season, but non-regulars are welcomed to come by anytime. Be warned, however, that there’s no running away from embarrassing scores (our team experienced some pretty bleak rounds), as answers are swapped and marked by fellow participants, and scores are broadcasted alongside the team names on a giant screen atop the bar. Definitely one for the more serious quizzers – you’ve got to know your stuff here.
Sample question ‘Where is the International Monetary Fund headquartered?’
Prize The winning team gets their bar tab for drinks consumed throughout the quiz – excluding high-end spirits and wines – on the house.

#01-15 The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay (6738 1077,www.boomarang.com.sg). Take a taxi. Tue 8pm. Free.

Best for fun extras and games

Nosh

Every Wed
Quizmasters Russell Britton, who’s been doing it at Nosh for over a year.
Format Six rounds including general questions, film titles, stick or bust, music, wild card and picture, plus a bonus round.
Maximum team size Eight.
What to expect One of our favourite quiz nights, Nosh offers something a bit more light-hearted and quirky than the others. The setting of their breezy outdoor terrace is beautiful and we loved the warm lighting, although our long table did make it a little difficult to communicate discreetly at times. The crowd here is a good mix of locals and expats; there was even a family with kids on the night that we went. The questions cover extensive grounds and one of the highlights is definitely the bonus round. On our night, the question was ‘guess the cocktail’, where we had to figure out the name and ingredients of our complimentary drink. There’s an ongoing eight-week league for regulars, with prizes for winners of individual nights, too.
Sample question ‘What is the largest island in the world?’
Prize $100 Nosh voucher for first place and a bottle of wine for second place.

9 Rochester Park (6779 4644, www.nosh.com.sg). Buona Vista. Wed 8pm. Free.

Best for East Coast know-it-alls

Picotin Express

Monthly
Quizmasters Simon Burrows and Mark Reeve, who occasionally host other trivia nights around town.
Format Six rounds, covering current affairs, TV and film, an alphabet round, stick or bust, connections and a picture bout.
Maximum team size Eight.
What to expect Held on most first and third Wednesdays of the month, Picotin continues its trivia nights from its nowclosed Horse City branch at its newish outlet out east with experienced quizmasters Burrows and Reeve. Its location deep in Opera Estate makes it a little harder to reach and therefore might appeal more to smarty pants living in the neighbourhood. Teams here are smaller groups of threes and fours, despite the eight member maximum, and tables are more than sufficiently spaced out that it’s easier to murmur speculated answers to your team mates. Questions, even in the current affairs category, leant more towards film and pop culture covering everything from 1930s crooners to 1980s horror trilogies, and our picture round was a challenging guess of film stills with its humans cleverly photoshopped out. The quiz is also quite generous, conducting mid-quiz name card draws to reward attendees with bottles of wine, and games of virtual golf at Urban Fairways.
Sample question ‘What do Robin Hood, Leonardo da Vinci and George Best have in common?’
Prize $100 dining voucher for Picotin, and a $50 dining voucher for the runners up.1 Figaro St (6445 5590, www.picotin.com.sg). Take a taxi. 8pm, check website for dates. Free.

Best for a casual tourist crowd

Prince of Wales

Every Tue
Quizmasters Colin Chamberlain, aka the Quiz Master, who also hosts quizzes at Molly Malone’s and Lazy Lizard (check out his site here).
Format Six rounds including ‘fictional dogs’, geography, music, science, connections and picture.
Team size No limit.
What to expect Colin Chamberlain isn’t known as the Quiz Master for nothing – he runs three separate trivia nights around town every week, and tailors his questions to suit his audience at each venue. As the crowd at POW is largely older expats, the songs in the music round, for example, are mostly hits from the 1960s to ’80s. We liked the alfresco setting by the river underneath a covered tent, but some technical aspects could have been improved: the PA system was pretty terrible, and while the reusable laminated answer sheets is a great idea, our marker pens kept running out. Those minor issues aside, however, this is a solid quiz night that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Sample question ‘Who was Hamlet talking to when he was describing “a fellow of infinite jest”?’
Prize A bucket of Heineken.

51 Boat Quay (6533 6296, www.pow.com.sg). Clarke Quay. Tue 8pm. Free.

Best for local trivia

SG Tipsy Trivia

Final Thu of every month
Quizmasters Founders Christine Chong, Lucas Ho, Lynnette Kang, Laremy Lee, Huiran Leong, Gabriel Seah and Eisen Teo, who started SG Tipsy Trivia in December 2012.
Format Six rounds, with themes like ‘Bukit’, ‘More than Words’, ‘Thievery’, social media and a picture round. Maximum team size Six, though up to two extra players can be added on for a 3.5 point penalty each.
What to expect Billed as the city’s only Singapore-themed quiz night, this is a roving event that takes place at restaurants and cafés around town every last Thursday of the month (past editions have taken place at Earshot Café, A for Arbite and the nowdefunct Via Mar at the Singapore Art Museum). Calling it Singapore-themed is a bit of a stretch though, as only 60 percent of the questions fielded cover life in the city, but questions like ‘What does NETS stand for?’ and ‘What is the motto for the Jurong Bird Park?’ are enough to make you face palm at all the things you wished you took more note of living in Singapore. Other questions in the more generic categories can sometimes be needlessly difficult, covering niches like linguistics, law and dead white men in the picture round, though the teams in attendance with deliciously punny names like ‘Team Ho Wan’, ‘Cereal Killers’ and ‘Merlion Sushi’ did add to the fun atmosphere by putting in random, funny answers, which the quiz hosts sportingly read out for comic relief.
Sample question ‘Which 1956 novel by British novelist Anthony Burgess borrows for its title the advertising slogan of a Singaporean beer?’
Prize 50 percent of the pot of registration fees for the winners, 30 percent for second place.

Various locations. 7.30pm, every last Thur of the month. $5.

Best for CBD dwellers

The Bank Bar + Bistro

Tue every fortnight
Quizmaster Magazine editor Ranajit Dam, who’s been there for a year.
Format Six rounds, with themes like mixed bag, TV & movies, sports, ‘Odd One Out’, plus either a music or picture segment and a connections round.
Maximum team size Eight.
What to expect Located right in the heart of the Marina Bay financial district, The Bank makes for a perfect post-work haunt for the white-collar CBD crowd. There’s usually a solid mass of punters occupying the bar’s outdoor seating, with the action inside also highly visible thanks to the venue’s full glass exterior. The questions cover a mass-market range of news and history, celebrity gossip, politics, and popular genres of music and Hollywood films – plus a few brain teaser questions that simply rely on logic. It’s great for a fun night out with dinner – there’s no entry fee and their burgers, pizzas and mains offer more solid fare than your typical pub grub. There’s also a lucky draw offering a brunch voucher for two.
Sample question ‘In 1963, which Englishman became the first Honorary Citizen of the United States?’
Prize $200 dining voucher.

#01-01 One Shenton, 1 Shenton Way (6636 2188, www.thebankbar.com). Downtown. 7pm,second and fourth Tue every month. Free.

Best for pop culture

Urban Fairways

Tue every fortnight
Quizmaster Azmul Haque and guests.
Format Six rounds including medley, sports, audio, advertisement taglines, connections and picture.
Maximum team size Four.
What to expect The website states that a maximum of ten teams is allowed at the trivia night, but we needn’t have worried the evening we went as only five teams showed up (including an Urban Fairways staff team), and the quiz started more than half an hour late. Still, it ended up being a fun evening as the questions are a good mix of popular culture and general knowledge – not golf-themed as one might expect from the selfproclaimed ‘inner-city golfing oasis’ – and not too niche or technical. Even the music round included hits by artists ranging from Shaggy to Owl City (with a connecting theme of artists who have come for the F1), so there really is something for everyone here. This is also the only quiz we tried where the picture round could be used as the joker, which we took full advantage of.
Sample question ‘What do you call a triangle where none of its sides are the same?’
Prize $500 golfing voucher for four people for first place and a $100 dining voucher for second place.

#01-07 Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Rd (6327 8045, www.urbanfairways.com). Tanjong Pagar. 7pm, second and fourth Tue every month. Free.

Time Out Singapore: President Design Award 2014

Gwen Pew speaks to three winners of this year’s prestigious President’s Design Award – Patrick Chia, founding director of the Design Incubation Centre at NUS, Pann Lim, creative director of Kinetic Design and Advertising (both of whom won Designer of the Year), and Edwin Low, co-founder of retailer/gallery SUPERMAMA, who won Design of the Year – whose works will be presented as part of an exhibition for all recipients at the National Design Centre for Singapore Design Week.

Presidents Design Award 2014

10 Mar 2014:

First off, tell us a bit about your design projects.

PC: I am proud of the work I’ve done at the Design Incubation Centre (DIC), which is recognised as one of the most progressive design laboratories in Asia Pacific. There were two innovative designs from the DIC – ‘Touch Hear’ (a device where you can listen to a word’s meaning by simply touching that word on a page) and ‘Roly Poly’ (a pair of ‘eggs’ that sense and mimic any movement imposed on each other, regardless of distance) – that were selected to be showcased at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and at the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery in Vancouver.

PL: Our designs for Maki-San and The Uu 3D Studio were cited for the award, but I think winning the PDA Designer of the Year is not just about winning an award; it is a joint celebration with the rest of my team at Kinetic. In our industry, no one works alone, so winning this is truly a team effort. EL: SUPERMAMA initiated The Singapore Icons, a collection of porcelain wares created in collaboration with KIHARA INC, a porcelain label based in Japan. The intent of the collection is to identify new Singapore icons as alternatives to the Merlion – it’s part of a new label I’m creating called Democratic Society.

How do you feel about the design scene in Singapore right now?

PC: It is at a turning point where the designers are creating work that has a unique voice.

PL: The current design scene is very vibrant. We have a lot of independent design studios opening and this leads to healthy competition. Subconsciously, everyone is working harder to ensure that their ideas are fresher and better than ever. This is indirectly raising the standards of our industry. I’m seeing more designed-in-Singapore products and books, as well as more art and design-related exhibitions. I am very optimistic about the growth in our design scene.

EL: I think we are looking at the rise of a new breed of designers – the designer producers. They are designers, regardless of fields, who are creative enough to design and crazy enough to take on the business aspects of the trade. You will probably see more independent labels with a niche following popping up, even with designers still in full-time practice.

What are your plans after winning the President’s Design Award?

PC: I plan to create a new start-up in the technology, internet and device space, as well as devote time for my own design practice to create furniture and other irreverent objects. I also hope to start projects for the local small and medium enterprises, providing design strategy and direction.

PL: My plans have always been the same – to do work that I believe in with an insight, and to create fresh and beautiful ideas that meet the marketing objectives. I am also looking at raising the profile and standards at Kinetic and ensuring that everyone in the team builds a better portfolio. Additionally, I want to share my knowledge with the younger generation because education is not exclusive, but should be shared.

EL: We’ll launch a collection of individually handcrafted and mouthblown glasses, called Aspects, on 14 Mar at SUPERMAMA@8Q. We will also be celebrating our third birthday during the launch. That aside, I will be setting up an platform called NEXT for emerging designers, artists and illustrators to produce and launch their personal design collections.

Time Out Singapore: ‘i Light Marina Bay 2014’ Guide

The i Light festival is back again to invade Marina Bay with a host of environmentally-friendly art and activities. Gwen Pew rounds up the best events this year.

iLight Marina Bay

21 Feb 2014: This month, the waterfront of Marina Bay will again be transformed into a beautiful landscape of lights as the bi-annual i Light festival returns for three weeks. Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authorities, the festival urges companies in the area to switch off unnecessary lights and turn up their air-conditioning temperatures to promote environmental sustainability. Several artists have also been invited to create energy efficient light art. This year, they’re back not only with plenty of Instagram-worthy installations, but a range of other activities to keep the whole family entertained as well. Here’s what you should keep your eye – and camera – out for.

Art

Works by more than 25 artists, hailing from both our own sunny shores and overseas, will be dotted around Marina Bay. Memorable highlights from the last edition include the Merlion sculpture’s colourful new look, created by Portuguese collective OCUBO, and local artist Ryf Zaini’s sprawling installation, ‘5QU1D’ (pictured above). This time, we can expect more stunning and quirky pieces, such as Greek artists Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis’ ‘The Guardian Angels’, which comprises a series of “watering-lanterns” (flower pots that are colourfully lit from the inside), and ‘The Beat’ – glowing, pulsing light globes made by Cherry Wang from local design firm Arup.

Food

Should you get hungry from wandering around the art, there are three places you can go to grab a bite. If you’re after something a bit more casual, check out the two food trucks, Kerbside Gourmet and The Travelling C.O.W. – the former is a charity initiative that promises to donate one dish to needy families for every dish bought, while the latter boasts the title of being Singapore’s first mobile food truck. For something more upscale, PasarBella will be leaving their Grandstand home and setting up a station offering a range of fresh produce.

Performances

From fire dancing (9, 15 & 29 Mar) to renditions of popular English and Mandarin hits sung by the Hark Performing Team (8 & 22 Mar), there are plenty of live acts to catch this year. The Singapore Sky Dancers will be also putting on a light show of synchronised kite flying at Go Fly Kite (15, 16, 29 & 30 Mar), or you can even try your hand at playing with illuminated props – such as hoops and staffs – with the performers of the Illuminated Street Shows (16 & 28 Mar). Keep a look out for the roving Neon Stilt Walkers (7, 8, 22 & 23 Mar), too!

Shopping

Local flea market group, For Flea Sake, will be setting up a Goodnight Market to sell everything from paintings to pastries, while the people behind the weekly Sentosa Broadwalk Bazaars, TGIF Bazaars, will be organising thei Light Marina Bay Waterfront Bazaar, whose range of products include lighted gadgets, collectible items and environmentally-friendly goods.

Sports

If you’re looking to get fit from more than just walking, there are a number of ways to exercise while enjoying the festival. We’re especially taken with the idea of Glo Yoga (22 & 23 Mar), where instructors from Spice Yoga will take you through a series of stretches against the skyline. Otherwise, instead of just admiring the skills of professional skaters at the Singapore Rollersports Federation’s Skate Competition & Demonstration (15 & 16 Mar), learn to do it yourself from the experts at the Fun Skate Clinics (10-28 Mar); if you already know how to, then join in their Fun Skate & Walk (15 Mar) from the Float to Gardens by the Bay. Fathers and sons (yes, this one is only for the dudes in the family) can also bond at the Adventure with Dad camp (22 & 23 Mar).

Walks and Trails

There will be free guided tours around the area available during weekend evenings, where volunteers will take visitors around to see various art pieces. There are two routes to choose from – just register at least one day before on their website. For those wanting to get a more unique perspective of the installations and skyline, book a 30-minute boat tour with the Singapore River Explorers. Meanwhile, corporate teams who might have a few thousand bucks to spare can take on the SCS Marina Bay Challenge (8 Mar; it costs $5,000/ team of six, but all proceeds go to the Student Care Services charity) to complete a series of tasks at various checkpoints – the winning team will get to bring home a trophy!

Time Out Singapore: ’50 Years of Television’ Preview

Thanks to NMS’s 50 Years of Television exhibition, Gwen Pew learns a few interesting facts about the history of TV in Singapore.

The fondly-nicknamed 'TV Tree' outside the exhibition. Image courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore.

The fondly-nicknamed ‘TV Tree’ outside the exhibition entrance. Image courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore.

31 Dec 2013: It’s hard to imagine a time without TV, but it was only 50 years ago that television officially arrived in Singapore with the launch of TV Singapura in 1963. To mark local television’s golden jubilee, the National Museum curated an exhibition to take us back in time for a look at the development of the box set and local programming through the years, with antique TVs and filming equipment, as well as the way it has shaped our lifestyles and cultural habits. Here we round up a list of ten interesting facts we’ve learnt from the exhibition.

1 While Singapore’s first TV station was launched in 1963, only about 1.5 percent of the population owned a TV set then, and it was common for households to share it with their neighbours. By 2009, the figure rose substantially, with 98.5 percent of Singporeans owning at least one set.

2 During the ’60s, TV-watching used to be an extremely community-based activity, especially since it was so expensive to own one back then. There would usually be one set at a local community centre, and people would gather around it in the evenings. The government also took advantage of that to broadcast public service announcements and other messages en masse.

3 There is – and has only been – one main local TV station in Singapore, but it has gone through several name changes over the years: TV Singapura (1963), Radio and Television of Singapore (RTS, 1965), Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC, 1980), Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS, 1994) and, finally, the present incarnation: MediaCorp (1999).

4 The station used to be owned by the Ministry of Culture until 1980, when the government decided to hand over the reins to a private company – it remains privatised today, but as with all media on the island, content is still subject to government regulation.

5 A local electronics company called Setron used to produce TV sets in Singapore – at just $1,750, it was almost half the price of imported ones, which would cost around $2,900.

6 The first TV remote control – invented by Robert Adler in 1956 for Zenith Electronics – was included with several TV sets displayed at theVictoria Memorial Hall for public viewing. It had four buttons and its only function was to allow people to change channels from a distance; nevertheless, Zenith Electronics were so proud of the new technology that they decided to name it the ‘Space Command’.

7 Colour TVs were first introduced in 1974, but initially were not very popular in Singapore, since people then considered it an unnecessary update. This changed, however, when it was announced that Singapore will be live broadcasting the World Cup finals later that year – 2,000 sets were sold in three days after the news announcement, just in time for the event.

8 A huge Bosch colour TV camera from 1974 – on loan from MediaCorp for the exhibition – was one of the first to be used in the country to film in colour. It had significant limitations, however – the screen of the viewfinder still appears in black and white, so it would take two to three hours to adjust the colour settings before each shoot. Cameramen didn’t know exactly how the colour would turn out until the reels were viewed, so there was a lot of trial and error involved.

9 The Awakening, the first locally produced Chinese epic drama series, debuted in 1984. Starring Xiang Yun and the late Huang Wenyong, it attracted a record-breaking viewership of 822,000 – before the ’80s, most content consisted of local news, sports and variety shows, plus imported programmes.

10 Samsui Women, which aired in 1986, was the first Mandarin drama to be dubbed in English.

Time Out Singapore: Downtown Line Phase 1

Gwen Pew takes a sneak peek at the first six stations to open as part of the brand new Downtown Line.

Bugis Station. Image courtesy of Morven Koh.

Bugis Station. Image courtesy of Morven Koh.

4 Dec 2013:

Bugis

With a new exit pavillion built along Tan Quee Lan Road (Exit D), the Downtown Line platform is a bit of a trek from the original East West Line station under Bugis Junction mall. If you want to transfer between lines here, expect at least a five minute walk (even with travellators) along a newly-built underground link – though we like that the walkways have a glassy and futuristic look (featuring an art installation, ‘Ephemeral’ by Patrick Chia).

What’s around it Bugis Junction, Raffles Hospital, Bugis Village

Promenade

Standing at 42m below ground level, Promenade takes over Bras Basah (35m) as the deepest station on the MRT line. The two new Downtown Line platforms are located beneath the existing Circle Line ones – there’s a very long escalator down to the concourse. The artwork on the walls of the new platforms, entitled ‘Earthcake’, is created by Ana Prvacki and inspired by kueh lapis as well as striations created by different types of rocks piled on top of each other. There are no new exits.

What’s around it Millenia Walk, Suntec City, Marina Square

Bayfront

The Downtown Line train track runs directly parallel to the Circle Line here, which means that the lines share the same platforms, making it one of the most convenient transfer points in the MRT system.

What’s around it Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, Gardens by the Bay

Downtown

Located along the south end of Marina Bay, the namesake stop for this line is one of two new stations opened in phase 1. The platforms are both located on the basement level but are divided by a wall – decorated with an artwork called ‘Leaves’ by local ceramics artist Jason Lim – so you’ll have to go up and around to switch directions. Despite the stop’s compact size, there will be six different exits, with most of them connecting directly to Marina Bay Link Mall.

What’s around it Marina Bay Financial Centre, Marina Bay Link Mall, The Sail, One Raffles Quay, The Promontory@Marina Bay

Telok Ayer

Located under the junction of Cross Street and Telok Ayer Street, the station stands in between Chinatown and Raffles Place. The two platforms are located at the Basement 2 Level, albeit on different sides of the station (similar to the Downtown station), while the ticketing concourse is on the floor above and riders will have to take another escalator up to reach the ground level and exit through one of the three entrances.

What’s around it Amoy Street, Far East Square, China Square

Chinatown

The Downtown Line platforms are located on a floor above the existing North East Line station, which means that switching between the two lines only requires a relatively short walk. Still, a new concourse area has been built – accessible through new Exits F and G (leading to Hong Lim Complex and Chinatown Point, respectively – both along Cross Street) – which features ‘Flying Colours’: vibrant, abstract sketches of laundry on invisible drying lines created by Cheo Chai-Hiang, one of the founders of local modern art.

What’s around it Chinatown Point, Hong Lim Complex, People’s Park Complex