Wednesday, 27 January 2021

What could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic? Experts list the risks and unknowns ahead - CNA

What could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic? Experts list the risks and unknowns ahead  CNA

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Foreign buying of Singapore private homes drops to 17-year low in 2020 - The Straits Times

Foreign buying of Singapore private homes drops to 17-year low in 2020  The Straits Times

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Singapore Airlines Piloting Portal for Covid-19 Testing - Business Travel News

Singapore Airlines Piloting Portal for Covid-19 Testing  Business Travel News

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Singapore, BA, Emirates, Etihad airlines trial blockchain Covid-19 credentials - Ledger Insights

Singapore, BA, Emirates, Etihad airlines trial blockchain Covid-19 credentials  Ledger Insights

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Singapore Airlines cabin crew share their Lunar New Year-inspired dishes

The Lunar New Year is a time of celebration and gatherings, of renewal of family ties and feasting. Below, Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew share some of their very own dishes, created with the special festivities in mind.

Jessica Sum SIA cabin crew
Jessica Sum

1. Jessica Sum

Inflight Manager

In service: 31 years and 7 months
Specialty: Chinese, Malay, Nyonya-inspired and Western cuisine
Dish created: Prosperity Treasures

What (or who) was your inspiration behind the dish?
My talented and amazing mother-in-law. She is a great influence in my style of cooking esp Chinese/ Cantonese cuisine.

Why does this dish remind you of the Lunar New Year?
This dish was created after I was inspired by a Lunar New Year dish made by my mother-in-law. I adapted and improvised that dish and put my own twist to it by incorporating roast pork (my favourite!) and roast duck (my husband’s favourite). It is a wholesome one-pot claypot dish that signifies abundance of prosperity with the use of sea cucumber, dried oyster and shiitake mushrooms – ingredients that are synonymous with good fortune during the Lunar New Year. The dish is complemented by beautiful broccoli florets.

Jessica Sum SIA cabin crew
Jessica’s dish reminds her of celebrations with her husband’s family

What do you love most about the Lunar New Year? How do you usually celebrate the occasion?
LNY and reunion dinners are very important to us and are usually spent in Malaysia with both our families whom we seldom meet due to our busy work schedules, as my husband and I are both flying crew with Singapore Airlines. Without fail, lunches and dinners would usually consist of a lavish spread prepared beforehand by my mother-in-law and we would watch and enjoy the many fireworks lit around our housing estates after that.

Which SIA destination does it remind you of and why so?
Hong Kong, as the dish is very much a Cantonese dish in terms of its flavours, texture and usage of dried ingredients which is abundantly available in our Chinese provision stores. Cantonese cuisine has taught me many things but most of all I remember one thing: “For a dish to shine, let the flavours speak for itself.”

Jessica Sum SIA cabin crew
Jessica’s Prosperity Treasures

Ingredients:
Half a roast duck
1 strip of roast pork (cut into chunks)
3 dried oyster (soaked in water)
1 medium sea cucumber (cut into 1 inch-long slivers)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
5 slices of ginger
1 medium broccoli (cut into rosettes)
Straw mushroom (half a can)
4 shiitake mushrooms (soaked and sliced)
1 stalk of spring onion (cut in 1 inch lengths)
1 stalk of coriander (roughly chopped)
Oil
Fried garlic
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tsp of light soya sauce
1 tsp of dark soya sauce
½ tsp of sugar
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of white pepper
1 tsp of five spice powder
1 tbsp of shaoxing wine
4 cups of water (some from the shiitake mushroom)
1 tsp of cornflour and 2 tbsp of water (mixed well)

Method:
1. In a medium claypot, sauté garlic and ginger in hot oil till fragrant.
2. Add shiitake and straw mushrooms, lightly fry.
3. Place roast duck and roast pork in the pot and cover with water.
4. Add five spice powder.
5. Cover pot and allow to simmer for one hour over small fire.
6. Add in dried oyster (that has been hydrated) and sea cucumber and continue to simmer for the next half hour.
7. Stir in oyster sauce, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, pepper and shaoxing wine. Cover pot for another 5 minutes.
8. Add salt to taste.
9. To thicken the gravy, add cornstarch mixture and stir quickly. Remove from stove.
10. Blanch broccoli in a pot of hot water and season with a little salt and some oil.
11. Drain and arrange broccoli around the rim of the claypot dish.
12. Drizzle broccoli with some fried garlic and oil.
13. Garnish dish with some spring onions and chopped coriander.
14. Serve with steamed rice.

Leading Stewardess and sommelier Chan See Yee’s suggested alcohol pairing: Yamahai Sake

The sake is dry on the palate yet rich in acid that works harmoniously with the braised gravy. It’s also high in umami that pairs well with the flavours of the mushrooms. Lastly there’s a clean finish that brings up the overall dish.

 

Sherry Ng SIA cabin crew
Sherry Ng

2. Sherry Ng

Chief Stewardess

In service: 25 years and 10 months
Specialty: Baking
Dish created: Melt-in-your-mouth Kueh Bangkit

What (or who) was your inspiration behind the dish?
It was my mother who gave me the idea to make this delectable cookie. She said she misses my late grandmother, as my granny used to make very yummy cookies for the family to celebrate Lunar New Year with when they were back in Indonesia. Kueh Bangkit, a small biscuit that made from sago starch, is one of the Lunar New Year goodies that she misses the most.

Why does this dish remind you of the Lunar New Year?
As a kid, I used to look forward to eating Kueh Bangkit, one of my favourite Lunar New Year cookies. I could finish a whole container of Kueh Bangkit by myself. However, as I grew older, I cut down on my sugar intake and try to avoid sweet food. It is also not easy to find nice Kueh Bangkit offerings with just the right sweetness. This is another reason why I decided to learn making these cookies after my mother’s request. My mother is a diabetic patient and she is unable to take sweet stuff.

Sherry Ng SIA cabin crew
Sherry decided to make her own version for her mum

What do you love most about the Lunar New Year? How do you usually celebrate the occasion?
I look forward to this joyous festive season, where I can meet and catch up with my beloved family members, some of whom we only see once a year during this festive season. I also look forward to eating a lot of yummy food during these times – but in manageable quantities!

Which SIA destination does it remind you of and why so?
Because of the shape of the cookies, it reminds me of the most romantic place on earth, Paris. It was in the City of Lights that I had an unforgettable memory: I experienced snowfall for the first time there and was able to feel the fine snowflakes melting in my hands. It was truly a memorable affair for me!

Sherry Ng SIA cabin crew
Sherry’s melt-in-your-mouth Kueh Bangkit

Ingredients:
340g sago flour
110g tapioca flour
160g caster sugar
190ml coconut cream
4 egg yolks
6 pandan leaves

Method:
1. Bake sago flour and tapioca flour with pandan leaves at 200 degree Celsius for 30 minutes (bake an extra amount to use for dusting your mould).
2. Sift flour mixture after cooling completely.
3. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add flour mixture and coconut cream in three batches.
5. Mix, combine and gently knead into a dough (Dough should feel soft and not sticky). *Note: Add small amount of coconut cream if dough appears dry.
6. Roll dough flat about 1cm in thickness.
7. Dust the design mould with some flour mixture before cutting the dough into the desired shape.
8. Bake cookies at 180 degree Celsius for 20 minutes.
9. Let it cool completely and store in an air-tight container for about a month.

See Yee’s suggested alcohol pairing: Eden Valley Riesling

The delicate floral aromas of this Riesling as well as its subtle acid and great finish of lemon zest is a great match for these creamy rich coconut cookies.

 

Jo Luo SIA cabin crew
Jo Luo

3. Jo Luo

Leading Stewardess

In service: 15 years and 2 months
Specialty: Chinese cuisine
Dish created: Shanghainese Meat Rolls

What (or who) was your inspiration behind the dish?
Shanghai is my hometown, and it was the inspiration behind this dish.

Why does this dish remind you of Lunar New Year?
It reminds me of reunion dinner with family members during Lunar New Year in Shanghai. And it is my Grandma’s recipe.

Jo Luo SIA cabin crew
Jo loves cooking Chinese cuisine

What do you love most about Lunar New Year? How do you usually celebrate the occasion?
I get the chance to experience this special occasion with my family members in Shanghai. However, I cannot travel back to Shanghai during this pandemic; so to commemorate my family, I will prepare this dish during the coming Lunar New Year. I believe my Grandma will be proud of me. We usually spend time playing traditional games such as Mahjong and card games after dinner.

Which SIA destination does it remind you of and why so?
It reminds me of Shanghai, and that is because it is the place where I grew up. All of my beautiful childhood memories are all in this beautiful and modern city of China.

Jo Luo SIA cabin crew
The filling in Jo’s Shanghainese Meat Rolls suggests reunion and harmony

Ingredients:
1 pound (453g) of minced pork and prawn
2 sheets of crispy beancurd skin
Chopped cilantro
Chopped spring onions
1 tbsp of Shaoxing wine
2 tbsps of soya sauce
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 green onion (chopped finely)
1 tsp of minced ginger
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsps of white sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil

Method:
1. Mince the meat with a chopper but make sure not to over mince, otherwise it will be too powdery.
2. Deshell and devein the prawns before cutting them into small pieces.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and seasonings listed and mix well until it becomes sticky.
4. Use a clean, damp cloth to gently wipe the bean curd skin on both sides to get rid of the salt coating.
5. Cut the bean sheet into 10 equal squares.
6. Use a spoon and scoop about 2 to 3 tbsps of the meat mixture onto the bean curd square, leaving about 1cm perimeter along the skin.
7. Put water in a wok and bring it to a boil.
8. Put a metal rack into the water.
9. Place the tray of meat rolls onto the rack to steam for about 15mins.
10. After steaming, let it cool completely before removing the rolls from the tray. Otherwise, the rolls will break.
11. In a wok, heat 2 bowls of oil over medium fire.
12. Slowly put one roll in first to test the temperature.
13. Fry until golden brown, then repeat with the other rolls.

See Yee’s suggested alcohol pairing: Maconnais (Chardonnay)

The good concentration of acid makes it a perfect pair for the oily and salty dish. This fresh and luscious fruit forward wine marries well with the meat rolls.

 

Andrew Wong SIA cabin crew
Andrew Wong

4. Andrew Wong

Flight Steward

In service: 8 years and 4 months
Specialty: Chinese cuisine
Dish created: Cai Po Steamed Fish

What (or who) was your inspiration behind the dish?
I secretly learned this dish from my late paternal grandmother. Among all the Chinese cuisine she cooked, this is the only dish with a simple recipe and is easy to remember. I doubt I can cook it as well as her, but I still continue do my best to cook this dish for my family.

Why does this dish remind you of Lunar New Year?
The dish was always one of the many dishes my late grandmother cooked during the Lunar New Year. Her hard work in creating delicious home cooked dishes was always able to draw family members home for dinner. On Lunar New Year, her spread is even more extensive! Everyone including extended relatives will gather around the table to enjoy the familiar home-cooked food. Furthermore, fish is an important dish during this time as its annotation is similar to having an abundance yearly.

Andrew Wong SIA cabin crew
Andrew draws inspiration from his late paternal grandmother

What do you love most about Lunar New year? How do you usually celebrate the occasion?
It’s definitely my favourite festive holiday. I love that it creates a perfect reason to gather everyone together, including relatives who are not staying nearby. I really treasure these gatherings as well as the traditional practise of giving out red packets. In my younger days, I was always really happy to receive red packets. After I got married, it became my turn to give blessings to others by handing out red packets to the younger ones. Now that I have a boy, he will also receive these good wishes from everyone. I just love Lunar New Year celebrations at every stage of one’s life.

Which SIA destination does it remind you of and why so?
It will definitely be China. My colleagues and I will organize hotpot sessions after almost every one of my flights to either Shanghai or Beijing. It’s really enjoyable – eating hotpot together, especially during the winter season, can be incredibly cozy, just like a Lunar New Year gathering.

Andrew Wong SIA cabin crew
Andrew’s Cai Po Steamed Fish

Ingredients:
1 slice of cod fish fillet (or your choice of fish)
4 cloves of garlic (diced)
4 tbsps of sweet radish
2 tbsps of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
String onion
Chilli and parsley for garnish

Method:
1. Heat pan and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.
2. Add in diced garlic and fry till golden brown.
3. Add in sweet radish and 1 tablespoon of soya sauce. Stir fry together, mixing well.
4. Prepare the steamer.
5. Place the whole stalk of spring onion as base for the fish fillet. (If you prefer, you can place sliced spring onions as the base instead.)
6. Place fish fillet on top.
7. Add the prepared sauce on top on the fish.
8. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes till fish is cooked.
9. Add chopped chilli and parsley for garnish.

See Yee’s suggested alcohol pairing: Ginjo Sake

The light, fruity, dry and subtle flavours of the sake help to bring out the overall flavour of the fish.

 

SEE ALSO: Welcome a prosperous year ahead with a luxurious menu from the comfort of your own home

The post Singapore Airlines cabin crew share their Lunar New Year-inspired dishes appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris

How to experience the Light to Night Festival from the comfort of your home

*Produced by SilverKris for National Gallery Singapore*

For the first time in its existence, the Light to Night Festival is going digital. Well, partially. The marquee event – where the Civic District’s cultural institutions and public spaces are transformed into works of art through light, sound and movement – is part of the annual Singapore Art Week. Currently back for its fifth edition (22 to 31 January), the festival has taken on an exciting hybrid structure to allow more people to enjoy the festival.

This year, in addition to stunning on-the-ground exhibitions, you can also partake in a plethora of online programmes and digital components that are easily accessed via the festival’s microsite. This means that besides marvelling at spectacular light projections on the façades of iconic buildings; checking out thought-provoking art installations across the Civic District; and chancing upon pop-up art in SMRT train cabins, you’ll also be able to catch livestreams of thrilling performances; play with specially designed Instagram filters and view animations of paintings from National Gallery’s Singapore‘s collection through a special augmented reality (AR) experience.

“Ways of Seeing” by Zarch Collaboratives at the Asian Civilisations Museum Green

This year’s festival theme is “____-in-Progress” – a nod to the current climate of flux and the journey of change we undertake as we adapt and move forward in the face of uncertainty. Spearheaded by National Gallery Singapore with partners The Arts House, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the festival looks to inspire audiences to forge deeper connections with art in new and engaging ways, as well as to begin the new year with hope and positivity.

Here are a few ways to get your fill of 2021’s Light to Night Festival online.

“Life by the River”c. 1975 by Liu Kang, part of the festival’s augmented reality offerings

1. Experience paintings in augmented reality

You may have previously caught a glimpse of these paintings in the halls of National Gallery Singapore, but what about experiencing them in your home? As part of the festival, audience members can view iconic paintings from the National Collection in a whole different light with Augmented Reality: National Collection Comes Alive. With the help of augmented reality technology, you can simply scan a QR code to project an animation of a famous painting on the walls of your home and watch the National Collection spring to life like never before. Paintings include Boschbrand (Forest Fire) (1849) by Raden Saleh, Market at Marmot (1940) by Louis Rollet and Life by the River (1975) by Liu Kang. The QR codes can be accessed via the Light to Night Festival microsite and the festival’s social media channels.

Gallery Mix ft. Temporal by Intriguant and Flex

2. Check out unique video programming

From dance to comedy to music, the Light to Night Festival microsite offers a host of exciting video content that’s sure to provide plenty of entertainment. There’s Gallery Mix ft. Temporal by Intriguant and Flex, a mesmerising 30-minute performance set in the Supreme Court Foyer that combines music with visual projection and presents a unique perspective on the landmark location. You can also check out Gallery Gigs, in which local artists and performers use empty spaces in National Gallery Singapore to create memorable pieces inspired by art, as well as share what the festival theme means to them. Featured artists include dance duo ScRach MarcS, musician Yung Raja and filmmaker Victric Thng.

An example of one of the Instagram filters created by Eugene Soh

3. Access dynamic Instagram filters

Besides taking Boomerangs and selfies with the festival’s light installations, you can check out a series of Instagram filters created by tech artist Eugene Soh specially for the festival. Inspired by the works and artistic techniques of Singaporean photographer Tan Lip Seng and woodcut print works from the National Collection, these vibrant and abstract filters allow you to interact with and learn about art in a fun and dynamic way. You can check out the filters on the festival’s dedicated Instagram page here.

4. View livestreams of musical performances

With the resumption of live performances in Phase 3, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay will be presenting a daily show entitled All Things New for the duration of the festival (at 7pm each evening). The best part? It will be livestreamed on the Esplanade Facebook page and Esplanade Offstage portal, so you’ll be able to catch the exciting performances from wherever you are. All Things New offers a platform for fresh and established talent to showcase new music, with participating musicians including exciting indie band Burmese Bombshells, pop duo The Fleurists and experienced acts such as R&B- and soul-inspired band Astronauts.

The Arts House, where you can find an art installation by Mural Lingo based on the documentary film “I Want to Go Home”

5. Tune into artists’ talks and special videos

For a more in-depth perspective, check out Ask Away: Gallery Edition. In these engaging 60-second videos, National Gallery Singapore’s Chief Executive Officer Chong Siak Ching and Gallery Director Eugene Tan respond to questions from the festival’s Instagram page, offering candid views on their roles, perspectives and what inspires them. Do also check out In Conversation with Wesley Leon Aroozoo and Miki Hawkinson, which will be broadcast live on The Arts House’s Facebook and YouTube channels on 30 January at 3pm. Join the author (Aroozoo) and translator (Hawkinson) of documentary film I Want to Go Home – which inspired an experiential art installation at The Arts House – as they delve into constructing the film’s narrative and share their reflections on their roles as storytellers.

6. Take a fun and interactive quiz

Ever wondered what your artistic personality is? Or perhaps your artistic style? Find out by accessing a range of quizzes that will help you uncover the answers to these questions, and more. The eye-catching and funkily designed quizzes consist of fun and easy-to-answer multiple-choice questions, and even offer an art recommendation based on your results. For instance, if your artistic personality is that of a realist (“You appreciate the everyday things and actively seek to experience them just the way they are. You live in the present and strive to enjoy every moment to its fullest.”), you’ll be directed to check out the painting National Language Class (1959) by social realist artist Chua Mia Tee.

For more information about the Light to Night Festival and to check out its online offerings, visit the website here. To learn more about National Gallery Singapore and other current and upcoming exhibitions and programming, click here.

The Light to Night Festival offers free admission for all. If you’re planning to experience the festival in-person, please check the website for opening hours and visitor information before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

The post How to experience the Light to Night Festival from the comfort of your home appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris

Singapore's December jet fuel exports near 4-year low - Argus Media

Singapore's December jet fuel exports near 4-year low  Argus Media

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Singapore Airport Begins Full-Scale Vaccination Efforts - Business Travel News

Singapore Airport Begins Full-Scale Vaccination Efforts  Business Travel News

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Singapore Airlines Piloting Portal for Covid-19 Testing - Business Travel News

Singapore Airlines Piloting Portal for Covid-19 Testing  Business Travel News

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U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state - Pacifica Tribune

U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state  Pacifica Tribune

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What could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic? Experts list the risks and unknowns ahead - CNA

What could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic? Experts list the risks and unknowns ahead  CNA

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U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state - Pacifica Tribune

U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state  Pacifica Tribune

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Latest developments: COVID-19 and travel - Kiwi.com

Latest developments: COVID-19 and travel  Kiwi.com

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India-Singapore air travel bubble 'under negotiation', says India High Commissioner - The Online Citizen Asia

India-Singapore air travel bubble 'under negotiation', says India High Commissioner  The Online Citizen Asia

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The most glamorous cars in Singapore, according to a premium car dealer

Produced by SilverKris for Cars & Coffee

Before investing in a luxury item such as fine art or a high-end timepiece, it makes sense to get a feel for what the experts are doing – which artists or artworks are on collectors’ radar, which watches do horologists gravitate towards? The same goes for buying a luxury car. You’ll want to know which car models the experts covet, and why.

When it comes to being an expert on supercars, there are few people more knowledgeable in Singapore than Tony Wan, managing director of Cars & Coffee, a leading multi-brand premium dealership. The second-generation automobile dealer has recently launched a new showroom – Cars & Coffee Gem – that offers a wholly unique experience for car enthusiasts. The by-appointment-only lounge displays no more than 10 vehicles at one time, carrying only top-of-the-line brands such as Porsche, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

“When it comes to cars, it’s hard to play favourites because I appreciate the workmanship and technical specifications of each model,” says Tony. “However, there are several cars that have a special place in my heart.”

Mini John Cooper Works GP

This vehicle is high on Tony’s list, and for good reason. “There are only 3,000 of these produced worldwide, and just eight units available in Singapore, so there is a high level of exclusivity.” Designed using race-car expertise, this is the fastest model from Mini Cooper that has ever been approved for road use. Adrenaline junkies will love how the car is able to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, and reach hair-raising speeds of up to 265 km/h.

Toyota GR Supra

“While Toyota is a popular brand in Singapore, this particular model is only produced for the Japanese domestic market, so it’s hard to get a hold of it outside Japan,” Tony says. With its sleek lines, this sports car is definitely a head-turner on the roads but it’s not all form and no function. Designed with international motorsport expertise, the GR Supra offers exceptional agility and stability as well as a smooth driving experience.

Porsche Cayenne Coupé

“At Cars & Coffee, we specialise in Porsche cars but this model is the cream of the crop,” Tony shares. “Combining the adventure-driven design of a sports car with the utilitarian functionality of a SUV, this car is perfect for young families who enjoy spending weekends exploring the nooks and crannies of Singapore.”

Honda NSX

If he could have any car in the world, Tony says it would have to be this one. “Many people think it’s strange that my dream car is not a flashier Ferrari or Lamborghini, but this iconic model is truly special. Dating back to 1985, the NSX was the inspiration behind Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 supercar as he found the NSX chassis to be superior to many other high performance cars. Murray has said that the NSX design was ‘monumental’ in the world of sportscar design, so who am I to argue with that?”

For even more luxury automobiles, head down to Cars & Coffee, either at the One Commonwealth flagship or the swanky new outfit, Cars & Coffee Gem. The latter offers an elevated retail experience, with a pool table on site, as well as a full-fledged whiskey bar – because what better way to consider your options than with a Scotch in hand?

In addition to their tightly curated selection of luxury vehicles, Cars & Coffee offers a comprehensive suite of services, from the financial options available to the after-sale care.

 

For more information about Cars & Coffee , please visit the official website.

Cars & Coffee logo

The post The most glamorous cars in Singapore, according to a premium car dealer appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris

The Wrap: Singapore Airlines pilots pre-departure testing, Skyscanner appoints new CEO, and more … - WIT - Web In Travel

The Wrap: Singapore Airlines pilots pre-departure testing, Skyscanner appoints new CEO, and more … - WIT  Web In Travel

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Foreign Buying of Singapore Private Homes Drops to 17-Year Low - Bloomberg

Foreign Buying of Singapore Private Homes Drops to 17-Year Low  Bloomberg

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U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state - Pacifica Tribune

U.S. Covid-19 travel restrictions state by state  Pacifica Tribune

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa - Voice of America

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa  Voice of America

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Consumers are gaining confidence to travel in 2021: Report - WIT - Web In Travel

Consumers are gaining confidence to travel in 2021: Report - WIT  Web In Travel

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Latest developments: COVID-19 and travel - Kiwi.com

Latest developments: COVID-19 and travel  Kiwi.com

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Marina Bay beckons as Singapore gears up for 'Davos in Asia' - Reuters

Marina Bay beckons as Singapore gears up for 'Davos in Asia'  Reuters

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SoftBank-backed travel platform Klook raises $200M amid COVID-19 - TechCrunch

SoftBank-backed travel platform Klook raises $200M amid COVID-19  TechCrunch

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Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa - Voice of America

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa  Voice of America

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Overseas travel will be difficult even after all in Singapore get Covid-19 vaccine: Health Minister - The Star Online

Overseas travel will be difficult even after all in Singapore get Covid-19 vaccine: Health Minister  The Star Online

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2021 travel trends: We ask industry experts for their predictions

Just a couple of weeks into the new year, there were jokey memes circulating on social media – about how we’ve had the free trial of 2021 and we’re not interested in continuing our subscription. And while there’s a wry humour to such a sentiment, we at SilverKris prefer to be cautiously optimistic about what 2021 has in store.

Sure, certain things may feel the same (travel restrictions still being in place, for example), but there is also a palpable shift in the air. With the gradual global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and the carefully calibrated easing of social-distancing restrictions, there is a quiet hope for better days ahead.

travel research
Part of the excitement of travel comes from planning and researching the trip. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

And we are not alone in feeling this way. Experts from the travel and tourism sector that SilverKris spoke to talked of a slow but steady rejuvenation of the industry. “Vaccination programs, when combined with extensive testing, will facilitate the recovery of international travel,” says Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications, Expedia Group. “While these measures create a much safer environment for travellers to move about between international destinations, much of the recovery of travel still hinges upon the establishment of bilateral agreements between governments.”

She adds, “Countries which have had similar success as Singapore in dealing with the pandemic are likely to be the first to welcome visitors from Singapore. We are optimistic of a re-introduction of the Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble at some point in 2021. [However] we have to be prepared for the situation to remain dynamic, and adapt quickly to capture opportunities when the time comes.”

According to TripAdvisor’s 2021 Travel Outlook report released on 21 January this year, nearly half (47%) of all respondents globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021. Within this group, one in nine respondents have already booked an international trip for 2021, and an additional 17% say they are actively in research mode.

In fact, planning and researching a trip now brings a new quality of excitement for travellers. With most of us cooped up at home for a good part of 2020, it’s no wonder three quarters of travellers surveyed globally (including more than 79% of travellers in Singapore) say they will spend more time choosing a destination this year.

Travellers in Singapore have also indicated that the availability of the Covid-19 vaccines has bolstered their confidence to venture overseas once again. In Singapore, 90% of travellers say they are more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine.

So what else can travellers look forward to in the months ahead? Read on to find out.

Velassaru Maldives
Post-Covid travellers are more likely to seek out sustainability-minded accommodation, such as Velassaru Maldives, part of the SLH group of hotels

1. More mindful travel

According to Mark Wong, Senior Vice President (Asia Pacific) at Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), luxury travel is evolving from “travelling with style and indulgence” to “travel with purpose and intention”. Because travel has once again become a limited and precious commodity, people are more likely to be more intentional with where they spend their tourist dollars. Increasingly, they will be looking for accommodation that align with their values – that gives back to the local community and keeps waste to a minimum. A recent SLH survey bears this out. Interviews with over 1,500 members of SLH’s Invited loyalty club found that nearly two thirds believe sustainability is more important now than it was pre-Covid-19 era, and 58% of respondents say they intend to make more sustainably minded choices when they resume travel.

Four Seasons Private Retreats
Four Seasons Private Retreats offers guests a safe and luxurious home rental experience that is ideal for those working remotely

2. An evolution of “bleisure”

While the trend of combining business and leisure in a single trip has been gaining traction in the last couple of years, the pandemic has shifted the way people work and play. People are increasingly working remotely and, as we’ve seen, this does not necessarily mean working from home. Rainer Stampfer, President, Hotel Operations – Asia Pacific, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, says the brand has definitely seen an uptick in their home rental services.

Stampfer shares, “While the conventional form of business travel is having a slower recovery compared to leisure travel, we are seeing a growing group of executives combine work, family time and leisure at a hotel or a resort. In parts of the world where travel is taking place again, we are seeing our luxury home rental arm (Four Seasons Private Retreats) gain popularity from guests who are seeking a getaway. They want assurance that they have their own space and privacy, especially if they are travelling with family.”

Four Seasons Private Retreats are self-contained with all the amenities of a home, but come with the full service of a hotel or resort.  To cater to this trend, the brand is offering additional benefits for extended stays of over 30 days, including private fitness sessions and personalised culinary and wellness plans.

Expedia
Hotels and travel service providers need to be extra nimble to deal with unforeseen circumstances. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

3. More flexibility from service providers

While we have our fingers crossed that the recovery of travel and tourism will be a smooth one, it’s only prudent to hope for the best and expect the worst. Lavinia Rajaram of Expedia Group echoes this sentiment. “The need for flexibility will be key for travel in the future,” she says. “Learning from their experiences during the pandemic, travellers will adopt an ‘anything can happen’ approach, as lockdowns may reoccur and plans may change at the last minute. In anticipation for this shift, Expedia has enabled the option to filter flights with ‘no change fees’ and lodging and activities with ‘free cancellation’.”

Tanjong Beach Club
Dining out at atmospheric places such as Tanjong Beach Club (pictured above) offers people a chance to transport themselves to another destination

4. Dining out is in again

While the government-mandated lockdowns have proved a boon for takeout and delivery services, nothing quite beats the experience of dressing up and enjoying a night of revelry about town. According to the aforementioned TripAdvisor report, 48% of respondents in Singapore say they plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often this year. This should come as a relief to the beleaguered F&B industry that has unfortunately seen one too many restaurants shut down due to the pandemic. Wee Teng Wen, Founder of the Lo & Behold restaurant group, says, “Guests are looking to restaurant experiences as a wonderful means of transporting ourselves to destinations we love.”

He adds, “Recovery for the industry looks generally optimistic, with Singapore emerging stronger compared to many counterparts. We are very fortunate to have a strong domestic market and inbound visitors who are drawn to Singapore as a safe haven.”

If you’re among those who are raring for a night out or even a weekend of café-hopping, check out our recommendations for the city’s hidden speakeasy-style bars here and the most unique brunch spots here.

Please check the establishment’s website for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

SEE ALSO: These 7 wellness trends will be big in 2021

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India-Singapore in talks on air travel bubble: High commissioner - CNBC

India-Singapore in talks on air travel bubble: High commissioner  CNBC

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Choose your own adventure: exploring Singapore by car

*Produced by SilverKris for Avis*

As overseas travel remains limited, there has never been a better time to explore the wilds of Singapore. Yes, they do exist, but getting to these far-flung spots and exploring them at your own pace can be tricky without a car. Renting a vehicle for the day opens up a host of new adventures across the island. Not only can you come and go as you please, you can load up the car with all the supplies and adventure gear you might need. (To rent a car in Singapore – and earn KrisFlyer miles – visit the Avis website.)

Here are four recommended itineraries, each packing stunning views, delicious bites and plenty of photo ops.

View from tower at Kranji Marshes
View from tower at Kranji Marshes

Itinerary 1: Kranji

Go if you like: Hiking, bird-watching, farm-to-table brunching and a spot of go-karting 

Day-trips up to Kranji in Singapore’s idyllic north are more popular than ever. But farm-hopping can be tricky once you get there, as cabs are few and far between, and the shuttle bus has limited times and stops. Rent a car for the day, gather up your friends and go at your own pace.

It’s a 35-minute drive from the city centre up to Kranji Marshes. Somewhat overlooked in favour of more famous nature spots, the marshes are a 56.8ha stretch of freshwater marshland, home to more than 170 bird species. Its status as a serious bird-watching spot becomes obvious the moment you pull into the parking lot, where die-hards start setting up their tripods and telephoto lenses as early as 7am.

LEARN MORE: Book a car for the day here

 

If you’re more into coastal views and mangrove ecosystems, the much bigger Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is just a few minutes up the road. Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park has forest, coastal and migratory bird trails that offer a variety of animal sightings – everything from mudskippers and otters to plovers and sandpipers.

For a late breakfast, make the quick drive to Bollywood Veggies, where the famous organic farm’s in-house Poison Ivy bistro does a hearty blue-rice nasi lemak, roti prata with chicken curry, kueh and other goodies. Load up on organic vegetables, eggs and other healthcare products at Earth Shop.

KF1 offers nighttime go-karting
KF1 offers nighttime go-karting

After your meal, you have the option of two types of adventures. Drive northwest into Lim Chu Kang and find your way to Cashin House. This 1930 historic family home that juts out over the water belongs to the Cashin family, whose history in Singapore can be traced back to the early 1840s. It’s set to become the centrepiece of the upcoming Lim Chu Kang Nature Reserve, due to open in 2022.

For something much more fast-paced, drive east to KF1 Karting Circuit, which boasts the longest track in Singapore at 960 meters, with 18 hair-raising corners, top speeds of 110km/h and the option to race at night. Don’t forget to observe the real-world speed limit when you get back in your car to head back to the city.

What to bring: A change of clothes and shoes; water and isotonic drinks; tripods, cameras or binoculars for bird-watching; a cooler for your vegetable shopping.

Coney Island, Singapore
The soothing vibes at Coney Island, Singapore

Itinerary 2: Punggol & Seletar

Go if you like: Romantic bike rides, secluded beaches, sunsets and atmospheric dinners

When date-nights feel all too short, and a proper getaway is still many months away, it’s time to organise your own romantic sojourn. And if you have your own wheels, Singapore has plenty of lush and remote plates to offer beyond the Michelin-starred restaurants and atmospheric wine bars.

Start out with a drive to Punggol Park, where you can park and rent bicycles at the GoCycling kiosk near the Hougang Avenue 10 entrance. Set off east along the Sungei Serangoon park connector, before turning north to ride along the Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk.

Be sure to cross over the Instagram-worthy Lorong Halus Red Bridge and turn left onto the dirt road, which takes you into Coney Island’s East Entrance. On a weekday, you pretty much have the place to yourself. Put out a small picnic and take a dip at one of the secluded beaches. If you need a heartier refuel, exit from the West Entrance and pedal to The Punggol Settlement, which overlooks the Johor Strait and Malaysia and is home to comforting local restaurants such as Ponggol Seafood, the White Restaurant and Kampong Chai Chee.

The Summerhouse restaurant in Seletar
The Summerhouse restaurant in Seletar Aerospace Park

Afterwards, you can either retrace your steps, or, if you’re feeling more energetic, take some more time and finish the remainder of the beautiful 26km North East Riverine Loop along the Punggol, Buangkok and Serangoon park connectors, which will also take you back to Punggol Park and the car park.

Back in the car, drive along the TPE to Rower’s Bay, a hidden gem of a park on the edge of Lower Seletar Reservoir which boasts a beautiful sunset experience. Find a grassy spot and enjoy a serene moment with your sweetheart before taking some golden-hour photos at the nearby Yishun Dam. Finally, top out a gorgeous day with a drive back to Seletar Aerospace Park, where restaurants such as Wheeler’s Estate and The Summerhouse restaurant offers a rustic-yet-luxurious atmosphere and delicious food.

What to bring: A change of clothes; a bag for wet clothes; bathing suit if you plan to swim; a cooler for your wine and beach picnic; hat and sunblock for your bike ride.

Sailing at Aloha Sea Sports Centre
ECP’s Aloha Sea Sports Centre offers sailing and standup paddleboarding rentals

Itinerary 3: Sembawang & Khatib

Go if you like: Kayaking, mangroves, hot springs and hidden restaurants

If you’d rather get soaked than sweaty on your big day out, consider driving up to Sembawang Park, which is a starting point for kayaking trips to Khatib Bongsu Nature Park. Experienced and licensed kayakers can bring their own gear, or you can book a tour through an adventure outfitter. A paddle out to the mangrove forests and back to the park should take about three hours, and there are restrooms at the park for showers and outfit changes.

After your strenuous workout, drive down to hidden-gem Indian restaurant Grace’s Pot, famous for its Indian-style claypot rice, or satti soru, as well as its mutton dishes. Once your belly is sated, it’s time to soak your weary bones. If you have a good parking spot at the restaurant, leave the car and walk the kilometer or so to Sembawang Hot Spring Park, Singapore’s only natural hot spring. There’s also a new Floral Walk feature on-site.

LEARN MORE: Earn KrisFlyer miles when you rent a car with Avis

 

On the drive back to the city centre, home décor fans shouldn’t miss the chance to visit World Farm, a sprawling plant nursery beloved in Singapore’s community of green-thumbs. Take advantage of having your own vehicle and load up on herbs, potted trees, hanging plants and lots more.

What to bring: Kayaks and paddles; a change of clothes and shoes; a bag for wet clothes; a bucket for the hot spring.

Itinerary 4: East Coast & Changi

Go if you like: Stand-up paddleboarding, fun with your kids, dinosaurs, playgrounds and ice-cream

There are also plenty of water-based adventure to be had along East Coast Park, and plenty of ways to ensure your kids put away their video games for a few hours. To avoid the hordes of runners, cyclists and picnickers, make a booking for a morning session at Aloha Sea Sports, near Carpark E2 and East Coast Lagoon Food Village. This affordable and well-equipped outfitter has its own patch of beach, a food and drink kiosk as well as stand-up paddleboards for rent.

T-Rex at Jurassic Mile
T-Rex at Jurassic Mile. Photo credit: Changi Airport Group

For a well-deserved lunch, drive 20 minutes along the ECP and Loyang Avenue to the quaint and lovely Changi Village where Tang Tea House serves Halal-certified classics such as dim sum and chicken rice in a kampong-style setting. It’s a short drive from there to the newly opened Jurassic Mile where you can snap photos with 20 prehistoric figures, the tallest being 5m high and 17m wide. You can park at Changi Terminal 4 Arrivals, and follow the signs on foot.

After all that activity, if your kids are still clamoring for more, it’s time to head to the entertainment wonderland that is Jewel Changi. Wander and jump your way through attractions such as Hedge Maze and Sky Net. Round off the action-packed day with a treat at American ice cream import Emack and Bolio’s before driving home for a long nap.

What to bring: A change of clothes; a bag for wet clothes; floatation toys; cold water and isotonic drinks.

Avis offers short-term rentals and KrisFlyer miles on selected vehicles

For more information on renting a cart in Singapore, as well as earning KrisFlyer miles, please visit the official Avis website.

Avis logo

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Business travel is back and it's weirder than ever before - Wired.co.uk

Business travel is back and it's weirder than ever before  Wired.co.uk

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Travel Bubble Plan with Singapore; Riau Promotes Several Tourist Sites  Tempo.co English

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Biden to reinstate coronavirus travel restrictions, add South Africa  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Consumers are gaining confidence to travel in 2021: Report - WIT  Web In Travel

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Singapore Airport Begins Full-Scale Vaccination Efforts  Business Travel News

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Global travel won't return to normal after S'poreans are vaccinated: Gan  The Straits Times

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Singapore Airlines Piloting Portal for Covid-19 Testing  Business Travel News

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Travel Troubleshooter: How to unlock an Airbnb account locked because of COVID-19  The Mercury News

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Singapore’s winning recipe to become Asia’s Silicon Valley

Produced by SilverKris for Mishcon de Reya

For the essence of ultra-modern Singapore, follow your nose to any of its hawker centres. While you’ll find all the classics, from chicken rice and laksa, to roti prata and even English bangers ‘n’ mash, there’s one traditional ingredient that is becoming increasingly scarce: cash.

Singapore is fast making QR code payment the de rigueur settlement mechanism at hawker stalls, handing out a monthly bonus of S$300 to vendors who go cashless. Proactive policy to spread digital culture is a key reason why Singapore ranked No. 1 in KPMG’s 2020 ranking of global tech hub rivals to Silicon Valley.

Look more closely, and you’ll discover even more factors cited by KPMG for Singapore’s rise to tech hub leadership. An eager embrace of the world. Diverse lifestyle attractions. Above all, an abundance of talent and entrepreneurial drive. Thanks to a convergence of open innovation, digital infrastructure and government support, Singapore is fast winning a reputation as Asia’s Silicon Valley.

Singapore startups and VCs
Singapore is at the top of the VC and startup scoreboard. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Unicorns such as mobility super-app Grab and gaming and ecommerce platform Sea are reimagining the digital experience, even as Singapore shoots to the top of Asia’s VC investment scoreboard – with nearly 300 funds and more than 4,000 startups. Singapore’s financial services prowess plays a key role, matching funding to promising startups and driving a three-fold jump in investment into Singapore from 2017 to 2019 to US$8 billion.

Meanwhile global tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon are setting up regional hubs and R&D centres, injecting Silicon Valley expertise and startup mentorship into a dynamic ecosystem.

“In a nutshell, Singapore is a flourishing ecosystem providing fertile ground for startups, supported by a forward-looking government ensuring ease of doing business, conducive infrastructure, strong research bases at local universities and a skilled talent pool,” according to Patrick Yeo, Venture Hub Leader at PwC Singapore.

Choice ingredients for tech hub success

No doubt Singapore competes with star players for the title of Asian Silicon Valley – including Seoul, Shenzhen, Beijing and Bengaluru. And the city-state needs to work on deep tech capabilities – the ability to build rather than adapt game-changing technology – to bolster its claim. But only Singapore brings together the advantages most cited by tech players as reasons to launch or invest in a new market.

Singapore's R&D capabilities
Singapore’s R&D capabilities are a key factor. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

In KPMG’s 2020 tech innovation survey, company leaders ranked factors for a successful tech hub in this order: 1) modern infrastructure, 2) attractive urban environment for young professionals, 3) at least one research-intensive university, 4) available investment funding, 5) a pipeline of skilled talent and 6) a favourable regulatory environment.

SEE ALSO: Singapore gives fair winds to world’s biggest trade deal

 

Singapore comes out on top because it excels in all six categories, and shuns complacency. Over its 200-year history, the Little Red Dot has honed competitive edge through reinvention, be that in maritime trade, financial services or digital transformation.

“This game is not about hierarchy or organisation. Successful ecosystems are ones that are able to connect and support each component within the network and facilitate valuable knowledge and information sharing,” says Dan Sinclair, Head of MDR LAB, law firm Mishcon de Reya’s series of programmes dedicated to supporting the next generation of LegalTech.

Only Singapore brings together the advantages most cited by tech players as reasons to launch or invest in a new market

According to the World Economic Forum, Singapore has now made strides in building deep tech clout, citing 260% investment growth in advanced research startups between 2017 and 2019. Driving the strategy, says WEF, is Startup SG, a government-led programme to forge an ecosystem for tech players including startup founders, VC investors and digital incubators.

As Covid boosts the need for groundbreaking digital solutions, Singapore is adding resource intensity to Startup SG. It has allocated more than US$110 million to boost the programme – opening the taps to startup capital and tech incubation.

SEE ALSO: Singapore’s leadership in global trade is no accident of location

 

Not least, Singapore is positioning itself at the frontier of sustainable industry through the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). It’s Asia’s first R&D centre for giving industrial castoffs new life through innovation. ARTC is developing 3D printing, smart manufacturing and advanced robotics to build sustainable solutions for a resource-strapped world.

Smart manufacturing in Singapore
Smart manufacturing is a focus area for Singapore. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Gateway to the digital future

As Southeast Asia’s tech innovation hub, Singapore is the gateway to a region seen as the next big tech story. Southeast Asia’s increasingly tech-savvy population of 600 million is the world’s third-largest market. And it is home to an explosion of digital innovation, from Gojek in Indonesia to ELSA in Vietnam.

“Singapore is often seen as a great test bed for new technologies,” says PwC’s Yeo, “and the gateway to access the broader Southeast Asia market opportunity.”

Singapore’s status as a leading tech hub gained momentum with the November launch of the world’s biggest trade deal, bringing together ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) takes effect, Singapore’s tech leaders gain unprecedented access to both emerging and mature markets covering nearly 30% of global GDP, and almost a third of the world’s people.

Speaking to WEF, Michele Ferrario, co-founder at StashAway, a digital wealth management platform, drove home why Singapore is as ideally placed in the digital era – as it was in the maritime golden age – to reap the fruits of tomorrow.

“Singapore is a unique place,” he said. “It provides access to the very fast growing markets of Southeast Asia while offering the benefits of a global financial centre.”

 

For more on how Singapore stands to gain from RCEP, click here. For Mishcon de Reya’s legal services in Singapore, please visit the official website.

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