The ultimate guide to Seminyak and Petitenget
Kuta has long been known as the party and tourist central of Bali, but for those looking for somewhere more luxurious and away from the backpacking crowd, we’d suggest that you visit its northern sibling, Seminyak. The area is known for its upmarket lifestyle, and has no shortage of fashionable boutiques, chic restaurants and Instagramworthy cafés. And should you find yourself tired, there are plenty of spas and bars to rest your tired feet – not to mention the fact that the sunsets along its fine grey beach are truly magical. But if you want to stay ahead of the curve, then venture even further north to Petitenget, home to some fantastic hang-out spots. We’ve trawled through the streets of both districts to revisit some time-honoured institutions and hunt down cool new establishments, so whether you’re a first timer or an annual visitor to the area, we’ve got you sorted. Rates on Skyscanner for AirAsia direct flights to Bali start from $241 return.
Ruben Pang graduated from LASALLE’s Faculty of Fine Art only four years ago, but he already has a few pretty feathers in his beret. His works have been showcased in places as far flung as Turkey, Italy and Switzerland, and, at only 24, he’s fast becoming one of the brightest stars in the local art scene. The finesse and distinctiveness of Pang’s oil and acrylic paintings belie his age – a mesmerising chaos of colours that have been carefully layered onto aluminium composite panels to resemble abstract human forms. ‘The development of my recent works stemmed from a sense of insecurity with regards to my practice. Painting was my form of escapism for a few years, and I was concerned that this process-based abstraction was self-indulgent,’ he says of his upcoming exhibition, Ataraxy. ‘This body of work is an examination of two different approaches to my process: one where I paint very deliberately, and the other almost aimlessly, like a never-ending game. The show’s title is a play on the condition of ataraxia; it refers to a state of extreme calmness, which he enters when he paints. But he’s not afraid to stray outside of his comfort zone. For instance, the piece ‘Building the Triad’ (pictured left) depicts ‘a single figure split into four levels of consciousness, trampling over one another in a clumsy attempt to align themselves with a tuning fork,’ Pang explains. ‘They are chasing melody, finding music. I have difficulties connecting to music, and there is an internal resista
The Finger Players: 'The Truth about Lying'
Working in the arts is easy and lucrative. Said nobody, ever. And yet, you’ll never come across a more passionate bunch of people. So what keeps their fire burning? That’s what emerging director Tan Liting explores in her new work, The Truth about Lying: Heresy and Common Sense for the Theatre. Part of a mini festival by The Finger Players, the production is based on interviews Tan conducted with both veteran and up-and-coming actors in Singapore. She tells us what she learnt. "One theme keeps coming up: if you love what you do, you’ll do whatever you can to keep doing it." Why the focus on local actors? When I was selected by The Finger Players to be part of the [Watch the Space director’s mentorship] programme, I wanted to take this opportunity to devise an original work. So I got a bunch of actors together and started asking very personal questions about passion and obsession. And the actors were sharing with me stories about their career and their lives. So it became a natural thing to talk about actors and acting. How did you decide which actors to interview? The first three – Chanel Chan, M Haja and Shafiqhah Efandi – were obvious choices because they’re in the cast, and their stories form the base on which the piece is built. I happen to be fortunate in the sense that I’ve met many actors who are at different stages of their careers. Tan Liting. Photo: David Lee "It’s a balancing act between ‘artist’ and ‘actor for hire’" What were the most memorable things you
Plays to see at The Studios
After a madcap season last year, with five full-scale productions and 45 dramatized readings in celebration of SG50, the Esplanade’s The Studios festival returns with a leaner line-up of four plays and two works-in-progress. The theme this time ’round, ‘The Fiction of Memory’, is also more contemplative – audiences are encouraged to delve into the depths of the human mind and experiences. Heavy stuff. So we got Fezhah Maznan, the theatre and dance programmer for the Esplanade, to share her thoughts on four plays we can catch this month.
Listings and reviews (4)
Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group are many things: they're actors, rock stars, comedians, artists, science teachers and ravers – and they roll all of that into 90 brilliant minutes. It took the trio 25 years since its inception on the streets of New York to land in Singapore, but the wait was well worth it: it’s probably the most fun you can ever have at the theatre. It starts even before the house lights are dimmed. An LED message board broadcasted a string of helpful advice – including ‘Please do not be electronically annoying during the show. Drone piloting is right out. As is posting photos of the meal you just ate’ – and spurred the crowd to say ‘hello’ and wish ‘happy birthday’ to several audience members. And then, as thumping beats filled the theatre, there they were: their larger-than-life shadows were projected onto a screen, which is soon lifted to reveal the trio of Blue Men. Covered from head to fingertips in electric blue paint, these cheeky, mute, bald aliens experience the world through child-like eyes and hands. Which means you'll hardly be sitting still. 'Audience participation' isn't just a cute thing to say about the show – it's the cherry on top of the Twinkie. The Twinkie that, when we caught the performance, an admittedly sheepish lady in the crowd shared onstage with the Blue Men themselves. The rest of us were hardly idle spectators – the ponchos given out to those in the first few rows before the famous 'paint-drumming' routine should provide enough of a hint. And when
Cirque Éloize iD
The circus rarely comes to town, and this one is no normal sideshow act, either. Founded in Quebec, Canada in 1993, Cirque Éloize is swinging by Singapore with its stunning mash of acrobatics, hip hop and video projections inspired by sci-fi flicks, comic books and street art. Highlights to look out for include a stuntman who skips ropes on a bike, and another who ‘trampowalls’ – a daredevil feat that involves performers jumping off a tall wall onto a trampoline, and bounce back up the wall again.
Amir Nikravan: Masks
At first glance, American artist Amir Nikravan’s works resemble painted walls that have been scarred by a solid paintbrush. Yet the process of creating – and destroying – them is incredibly complex. He starts off by layering paint upon a canvas, as most painters do. Then, rather than simply standing back and hanging that on the wall, he wraps the canvas in fabric and subjects it to the force of an industrial vacuum bag. The wrinkled surface of the fabric is then sprayed over with various colours using an airbrush. The fabric is then peeled off, stretched out and mounted, while the original painting is destroyed. What’s left is the physical shadow of an object that no longer exists. Through this curious and labour-intensive procedure, Nikravan hope to explore the limitations – and possibilities – of space. It’s also why he chooses to create marks on these works that resemble walls. The abstract pieces invite viewers to consider which parts of them are real, and which exist only as part of their history.
The Karting Arena
The circuit bills itself as ‘Singapore’s first-ever permanent electric karting track’. To let the numbers do the talking, the track is 545m long, 8m wide, and has 11 turns, including a hairpin and a chicane. The karts are electric – meaning they produce no fume and little noise – but we are promised that they can reach speeds of 30 to 50km/h, and can outperform their gasoline-powered brothers. The arena even has its own app, which features an automated queuing system and lets visitors track lap times and results. A weekly racing league called the E1 Challenge takes place on weekday evenings across two categories – one for those below 18 years old, the other for those aged 19 and above – where drivers can race for prizes and cold, hard cash. And even if you don’t know how to drive, it’s all good. No license is required, so get ready to hit the tarmac and channel your inner Lewis Hamilton.
Thomas Pang: the star of 'Shakespeare in the Park'
We named him the best up-and-coming actor of 2015 after his brilliant performance in Pangdemonium’s Tribes. And now, 26-year-old Thomas Pang is taking on the role as one of the star-crossed lovers in Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet. We ask him to tell us more about his thoughts on the play. He acknowledges that the play is essentially about a reckless teenage relationship. ‘But wanting the intensity of love they experience is not irrational. There’s no magic in this play like in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. It’s pure chemistry and idealism. That’s what Romeo and Juliet is about: the raw courage to pursue a ridiculous ideal to its fullest.’ He loves the balcony scene the most: ‘The way the words and sounds tumble around and halt at Juliet’s rationale and wisdom versus Romeo’s endless love speech – it’s truly a union in language.’ His favourite version of the play is: ‘[animated romantic comedy] Gnomeo and Juliet. Because Elton John.’ If Pang were Romeo IRL… ‘I wouldn’t be stupid enough to jump straight into Capulet’s house. No, I’d wait to catch her out somewhere. Play the long game.’ His dream roles include: ‘Iago, Bruce Lee, anything in Eternal Sunshine, Jho Low in 1MDB the Musical, Brutus, and “Thomas Pang as Daniel Radcliffe in Batman: Vigilante or Night Club Owner”.’ Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet is at Fort Canning Park from Apr 27-May 22.
Two dinner theatre shows: 'Faulty Towers' and 'The Wedding Reception'
With evening performances usually starting around 8pm, we sometimes find ourselves with barely enough time to scoff down a post-work dinner before rushing to the theatre. Interactive Theatre – which operates in Australia and the UK – solve that problem by incorporating a meal into their productions. This month, they’ll be bringing in two interactive shows: Faulty Towers and The Wedding Reception. Artistic director Alison Pollard-Mansergh tells us more about both. Faulty Towers Faulty TowersPhoto: Ron Rutten Synopsis This pitch-perfect tribute to the TV series Fawlty Towers starts as the audience wait to be seated, then hurtles along as they’re served a three-course meal by hotel owner Basil, his wife Sybil and Spanish waiter Manuel – Fawlty-style, of course! Interactive elements Audiences will be greeted personally by Basil, seated by Manuel, and serenaded by Sybil. Faulty TowersPhoto: Ron Rutten On the menu Tomato soup for starters, roasted baby chicken for mains, and cold lemon tart for dessert. The best lines Basil: Have you ever heard of the Black Death?Manuel: Is dessert?Basil: No, Manuel, it’s not dessert. It was very popular in the Middle Ages. [Turns to older member in audience] Wasn’t it? Faulty Towers is at Raffles Hotel until Apr 10. The Wedding Reception The Wedding ReceptionPhoto: Alex Brenner Synopsis Meet the bride and groom, their family and their friends in this interactive comedy, during which the audience becomes part of a roller-coaster journey fu
Kevin Hart vs Russell Peters
This month, two comedians – Kevin Hart and Russell Peters – grace our shores with their wit and tart tongues. We pit them against each other – so you be the judge on which you'd rather tickle your funny bone. Or better yet, attend both shows if Hart and Peters' proudly unapologetic jokes appeal to your (warped) sense of humour. Kevin Hart, 36 Nationality: American Russell Peters, 45 Nationality: Canadian Before he was a comedian, he was… KH: A shoe salesman RP: A DJ First got into comedy KH: Late '90s in Philadelphia RP: 1989 in Toronto Favourite topics KH: His family, his height and celebrities RP: Race and cultural stereotypes Film appearances KH: The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Little Frockers (2010), Ride Along (2014), The Wedding Ringer (2015) and The Secret Life of Pets (2016). RP: Source Code (2011), New Year's Eve (2011), Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014). Classic joke KH: ‘I don’t have exes! I have Y’s. Like “Y the hell did I date you?”’ RP: ‘Indian people, we are proud of our cheapness. You are never gonna insult us by calling us cheap. That's the best part, you know. You walk up to an Indian guy, “You guys are cheap.” “Thank you for noticing, thank you.”’ Most crass joke KH: ‘Light-skinned women usually have better credit than dark-skinned women… Broke ass dark hoes… lol’ RP: ‘You know what? F*** deaf people. Are they here? Even if they were it’s up to you to tell them what I’m saying. F*** ’em in their ears! Let me tell you something about deaf people, and
Real fish, fake fish?
Let’s play a game – are the aquatic animals in the following photos real or fake? 'Guppy Love' 'Live Simply' 'Two Sides' 'Bad Hair Day' 'Find Joy in your Life' If you guessed that they were real, you’re wrong. But we wouldn’t hold it against you – in fact, we’re told that Keng Lye’s works are so life-like that he’s even been accused of animal cruelty. The local artist first started toying with the technique of painting on layers of resin after a friend showed him a video of Japanese painter Riusuke Fukahori, who also creates similar hyper-realistic pieces in the same way. For his second exhibition at K+ Gallery, Keng is presenting a series of new and increasingly challenging works. For instance, ‘Two Sides’, seems to show fighting fish painted onto resin that’s been poured into glass jars. But the caption reveals that the jars themselves are actually crafted out of resin, too. There are also a few works – including ‘Lucid Dream’ and ‘Bad Hair Day’ – at the back of the gallery that are created in collaboration with Hong Kong ceramic sculptor, Johnson Tsang. Still don’t believe us that the animals aren’t real? Go and see them for yourself.K+ Keng Lye is at K+ Gallery until Feb 29.
Ten Instagram-worthy works at Art Stage
You know what they say – you weren’t really there unless you snap a pic (or ten) and post it onto social media. So if you’re planning to hit up Art Stage this weekend, here are ten works that will prettify your Instagram account. So get ready to dive head first into art. ‘Water Dripping – Splashing’ by Zheng Lu Public artwork by Sundaram Tagore Gallery, booth A7 The massive splashes of silver ‘ink’ seem as though they’re suspended in mid-air – but closer inspection reveals that the installation is crafted out of stainless steel, and comprises hundreds of thousands of Chinese characters. ‘Matchstick Men’ by Wolfgang Stiller Galerie Mark Hachem, booth A1A/A2 They're not just gigantic matchsticks, they're gigantic matchsticks with faces of Chinese men on them. The German artist prefers to leave its meaning open to interpretation, so read what you will into it. ‘Made in China (Yellow)’ by Joe Black Opera Gallery, booth C17 Same same but different are the miniature toy soldiers that make up this British pop artist’s piece, for each of them have been painted in a different colour. But despite their unique shading, they’re only a pixel in the larger picture of a boy soldier. ‘Sweet word #HAPPY’ by Anon Pairot Southeast Asia Forum, in front of VIP Lounge Ooh, a piece about positivity! But then you take a closer look and realise that it’s made entirely out of cockroaches. Are you still feeling #happy now? If you’re conflicted, then the Thai artist has done his job in getting y
Yun vs Art
Our art-averse colleague, Yun Quek, shares her thoughts on the works at Gillman Barracks Heri Dono – 'Three Donosaurus' 'It's what I imagine a Tim Burton movie set would be, except these characters are more perverted. I could only focus on the skeletons hanging off the men's crotches.' Mizuma Gallery. Chun Kwang Young – 'Aggregation 15-Mao16' 'What sorcery is this? I absolutely adore the optical illusion from afar – the dyes, positions and shadings of the small triangles are marvellous up-close.' Pearl Lam Galleries. Miya Ando – 'Winter Black' 'First thought: did I just see the gradient effect in PowerPoint come to life? Second thought: the smooth finish is almost perfect. Final thought: what am I doing with my life?' Sundaram Tagore Gallery. Grace Tan – 'Carbonation (View 1)' 'All I can see is an uncanny resemblance to haw flakes. Green haw flakes. Like an Asian version of Green Eggs and Ham. Mmmm, ham. Can we go now?' FOST Gallery. Read our Guide to Singapore Art Week to find out what else is happening during the nine-day extravaganza.
Dream job: fine art framer
Steven Yip, 51Managing director at Q Framing How did you first get into picture framing? By accident. I was trained as a marine engineer, but when I was waiting for my 'O' Level results to come out, I spent six months at Merlin Frame Maker – probably the oldest framers in Singapore. I did NS in the navy, but I saw some old sailors on the ships and they’re all very lonely. I didn't want to become like them, so I went back to Merlin and stayed there for ten years. I also ended up meeting my wife, Zoe, there! You're a certified picture framer – what does that mean? There are two trade bodies – the Fine Art Trade Guild in the UK and the Professional Picture Framing Association in America – that offer certified programmes to promote good practice, and I flew to Las Vegas with Zoe in 2007 and we did the examination. We also use higher-grade materials. What makes museum-grade materials so much better? Matte boards, for instance, are divided into five grades, and the lower-grade ones will leave yellow stains over time because they contain an acidic material called lignin. The museum-grade ones are made of 100 percent cotton, which don't contain lignin and therefore won't leave an acid burn even after many years. Who are your main clients? I have a regular group of art collectors, but I also work with high-end galleries such as STPI, Sundaram Tagore and the National Gallery. Tell us about the most valuable piece of art that you've dealt with. I'd say around 90 percent of Cheong Soo Pi
Five of our favourite things about Wild Rice’s 'The Emperor’s New Clothes'
There’s nothing like winding down at the end of a big, action-packed year with a big, action-packed pantomime. And who else can we count on delivering that but Wild Rice? This time, the company took on Hans Christian Andersen’s short story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and turned it into a full-fledged song-and-dance show. Here are five magical elements that make the – very localised – production such a delight for the whole family. The cast The great Lim Kay Siu leads a brilliant cast of emerging and established talent. The Sam Willows’ Benjamin Kheng and fellow pop singer Sezairi have a wonderful dynamic as the tailors Nathan and Khairul, while Andrew Lua, Siti Khalijah and Benjamin Wong make for the ultimate comedic trio as government ministers. The songs The music is without a doubt the strongest element of the production, brought to life by three musicians as well as the actors themselves (who knew Lim Kay Siu could play the violin so well?) It took every bit of self-restraint for us not to triumphantly yell out the lyrics to ‘Naked as My Butt’ as we exited the theatre. The costumes (or lack thereof) The play revolves around the 50th edition of the ‘NDP’ – that’s ‘New Dress Parade’, natch – as there’s nothing Emperor Henry Lim Bay Kun adores more than his clothes. In fact, he decided that an air-conditioned dome would be built over his kingdom just so he could break out his Fall/Winter pieces. The set The set here is, typical of Wild Rice productions, a sight to behold.
Five things that’ll make you go ‘aww’ at the Peanuts exhibition
It’s been 65 years since Snoopy and his friends brought smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike, one comic strip at a time. To celebrate the occasion – and in conjunction with The Peanuts Movie that’s opening this week – the Singapore Philatelic Museum is currently staging an exhibition that looks at the life and legacy of the beloved beagle. Here, we ask the museum’s senior curator and self-professed Snoopy fan, Lucille Yap, to share more about five of her favourite exhibits. ‘The first Peanuts-themed stamps were issued by Portugal. The stamps celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strips, which made their appearance on October 2, 1950. It’s also to commemorate the creator Charles Schulz, who passed away on February 12, 2000.’ ‘This is the second issue of stamps featuring Peanuts, which was issued by Japan. The theme of the stamps is letter writing, which is something that regularly crops up throughout the Peanuts comic strips. Charles Schulz used letter writing to express his thoughts and to depict the personalities of the comic characters.’ ‘The first time that American stamps featured Snoopy was in 2001, and it depicts one of the most popular fantastical identities of Snoopy: the Flying Ace of World War I. He sits on top of his doghouse – while claiming it is a Sopwith Camel biplane – to do battle with [his arch-rival] Red Baron.’ ‘Here’s a great quote from Charles Schulz about the concept: “My son Monte was very interested in making World War I mo
Five attractions we can’t wait to see at Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay
As far as magical photo opportunities go, it doesn’t get much better than the massive light displays of Christmas Wonderland. We were already impressed with the event last year, but this time, we’ve been promised that it’s gonna return even bigger and better. It officially opens its doors to visitors on November 27, and we’re as excited as you are. Here are five things that you can look forward to there. Luminarie Photo: Christmas Wonderland @ Gardens by the Bay With a few reaching heights of over 20 metres, there’s no doubt that these light sculptures are the stars of the show. Each of the 56 pieces is handmade by craftsmen from Italian company Paulicelli Illuminations, and you’ll find them spread across the gardens in places like the Dragonfly Bridge, Baby Bridge and the Flower Dome. The largest display is called The Spalliera, which surrounds the Cassa Armonica, an illuminated gazebo where carollers perform from Tuesdays to Sundays. Christmas Toyland Floral Display Photo: Christmas Wonderland @ Gardens by the Bay The Flower Dome has decked its halls with boughs of holly, Christmas rose, poinsettia and other winter plants for the Yuletide season, so get ready to feel super festive in this climate-controlled conservatory. The centrepiece is an 11-metre-tall Christmas Pyramid, which comprises four tiers of toys around a traditional German carousel. Ice Palace Photo: Christmas Wonderland @ Gardens by the Bay We’ve been promised snow by Christmas events in Singapore
Ten things to know as BooksActually turns ten
Established in 2005, BooksActually has become something of an institution for book lovers in Singapore, giving local writers, artists, designers, independent publishers – and three super cute cats – a place to call home. Things haven’t always been easy for founder Kenny Leck and his dedicated team, but as the bookstore celebrates its tenth anniversary this month with an exhibition at The Substation, we get Leck to reflect on how far they’ve come. 1) Leck started BooksActually for, unsurprisingly, the love of books: ‘Well, mostly. It was a combination of wanting to set up a business and growing up reading too many books. Couple that with a few years of experience working in a bookstore, and it led to BooksActually.’ 2) There have been plenty of memorable moments at the store, but the one that stands out is: ‘When we still get at least one or two customers who walk one round in the bookstore, and then ask, “What are you selling?” It sounds hilarious but on the flip side it also shows how unbelievable our book culture, and the existence of bookstores, is in Singapore.’ 3) The most important lesson he’s learnt is: ‘To not become big-headed no matter how successful we are. Also, the learning never ends.’ 4) He hasn’t been drawing a salary for ten years: ‘[I live on] an allowance. Basically, my meals and transport expenses are all paid for by the bookstore. So this is like schooling days when my mum will give me just about enough to cover the meals that I had at recess!’ 5) He thi
Darren Soh makes Singapore look dazzling and dreamy
Darren Soh is well known for his mesmerising photos of HDB blocks, but here’s a new project of his that captures a different side of Singapore: In the Still of the Night. To shoot this collection of haunting images, Soh turned nighthawk and headed out to strange and unfamiliar places – like the one pictured here. The photographer tells us about it. 'My objective isn't really to capture any change per se, but more a challenge to shoot images of Singapore that aren't instantly recognisable as Singapore – basically no cityscapes or HDB flats or amazing infrastructure. I found it difficult, as Singapore has become so much more developed and urbanised over the years. 'The image pictured here was shot last year in Kranji, near the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve. Those are actually mangrove trees in the image and that’s Johor in the background. It's very unusual to have mangrove trees along the coastline in Singapore, as much of our natural mangrove coastlines have been swallowed by urbanisation. The mangrove forest in Kranji is one of the few remaining ones on the mainland, and this part of the forest isn't even within the boundaries of the wetland reserve. So in a sense, it is wilder. Who knows what will become of this once development takes over. It's probably not going to exist in ten years. 'The image is special to me because it is such a serene vignette compared to the chaos and development that is Singapore. And I think it very nicely says in one image what I want to say with