Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hidden Treasures

Tucked away specialty cafes that are worth seeking


Discover the amazing versatility of eggs at Hatched, where breakfast is served all day and is customizable to satisfy any palette. Customers can choose from pre-conceived options on the menu (A highly recommended dish would be the Le Rossini, scrambled eggs with foie gras and truffle oil) or design their own dish: baked, boiled, fried, poached or scrambled eggs with add-ons like black forest ham, smoked salmon or wilted spinach.

For those who are not feeling egg-friendly that day, a juicy cowboy burger is available to tickle the taste buds: a hearty patty served on an English muffin with sautéed Portobello mushrooms and a fried egg. “Customers can even email us their special request in advance for more unique meals and we will try to whip up something good,” said Hatched supervisor Claudia Manap.

Seek it:
#01-06 Evans Lodge, 26 Evans Road.
Tel +65 6735 0012

Papa Palheta

Forget the menu at Papa Palheta. Here, customers order classic coffee items (latte is a hot favourite) and decide how much the coffee they get is worth. Papa Palheta only accepts tips instead of charging customers for their coffee (customers tip $3.50 per cup on average). Specializing in roasting and serving specialized coffee, Papa Palheta’s concept is not exactly that of a café, but more of a coffee retail boutique.

They sell coffee beans, and their quaint little space is more like a “showroom” for customers to try out the coffee before buying the beans. However, most customers keep coming back for the good coffee, friendly and personable service and relaxed ambience.

“Papa Palheta is quite unlike the usual places around town, if you drive along the road, you wouldn't notice us at all because there's no signage. But the good thing is, a lot of people see us as a secret haven to enjoy coffee” says Dennis Tang, one of the partners of the cafe.

Seek it:

140 Bukit Timah Road.

Tel: +65 9799 0420

Arteastiq Tea Lounge by Marxx

Despite its location in town and being way easier to seek out than the previous two cafes, Arteastiq is often missed as is it tucked away behind the showroom of contemporary European furniture house, Marxx, in Mandarin Gallery. Arteastiq is originally an extention of Marxx furniture boutique, to cater to their clientele. “As a styling house, we wanted to provide a space for our customer to consider their purchases,” explains Vanessa Chow, Retail Manager of the boutique.

However, Ever since it’s opening, Arteastiq has served many who visit the cafe especially for their individually brewed beverages and to enjoy the quiet and luxurious space which is kitted out with items from Marxx and shows them off to great effect. Arteastiq’s most popular drinks include the fruit teas and dessert teas, some of which are infused with alcohol and others topped with their premium gelato. Their apple cake and savory wraps are also hot favourites.

Seek it:
333A Orchard Road #04-14/15 Mandarin Gallery Singapore
Tel: +65 6235 8705

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Alternative Nightlife for Youths

In the often straight laced country like our Singapore, most people would think that there are only a couple of ways to go out for some fun after sundown – the usual clubbing, dining and catching films would come to mind. Thankfully, there are still more interesting activities to explore and discover at dusk, but only if you know where to look. This time, The Culture Y Journal has come up with a list of alternative activities for your night out that is not to be missed.

Tickle a funny bone at 3 monkeys café

Bored of listening to the same old jokes over and over again? Why not attempt to be your own star? At 3 monkeys café, anyone brave enough would have the opportunity to stamp your own brand of humour in this place and entertain the crowd as a standup comedian! The cheekily-decorated restaurant and bar definitely sets the stage, with its readily fun crowd who’s always up for anything. It is definitely unconventional fun and you could possibly discover a hidden talent. If sitting back and relaxing is more your idea of fun, catch resident comedian Kumar and he sends his audiences into peals after peals of laughter.

Picnic-ing takes on a new high

Ever imagined what it would feel like to picnic amid the glittering lights of our very own urban oasis in the middle of the night? Now you can experience it for yourself. Rest your aching feet after hours of shopping along Orchard Road and spread your picnic mat out on Orchard Central’s 24-hour rooftop garden and chill out. Whether it is time spent with your date or a group of friends, the relaxing ambience makes for a great location to chill out, as well as a great opportunity to take in the great view of the orchard skyline and people watch from way up high.

Support the young and trendy

Be in the know on cool indie acts in Singapore. AT *SCAPE Youth Centre, a myriad of activities await you. Check out a series of concerts featuring renowned performers such as alternative band Copeland, the Frank Gambale Trio as wll as other emerging local bands at the new second level auditorium WAREHOUSE, or the freshest talents at the *SCAPEalbum launches that happen periodically at the Youth Centre and Lab. You can also do your part to support the local young entrepreneurs during the weekends, when bazaars are held at *Scape.

Entertainment that wouldn't cost you a cent

At Orchard, it seems like all he world’s a stage. With international busking acts that are beginning to set up makeshift performance spaces at every corner. Look out for a Charlie Chaplin look-alike statue, with a comedic yet strangely eerie stance that only changes about every five minutes. Besides such quirky acts, also treat yourself to more physically challenging performances such as fire spitting and acrobats. You can even park yourself by the gleaming façade of Ion Orchard and catch blockbuster movies for free on the huge screen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mind Games

Three iPhone strategic games to challenge your minds with


Trainyard for iPhone combines simplistic graphics design with puzzles of a higher complexity. The concept of the game is to get all the trains into the correct stations while avoiding a collision. The first several levels will get players familiar with basics but after that, it will be a head-scratching good time.

The basic concept of Trainyard is simple: to route color coded trains from their departure points to the correct destinations by laying tracks. Sometimes, every train must arrive at the same destination and at other times, the game requires the managing of crossing paths and the switching of tracks to get each train to the right terminal. At more complicated levels of the game, the player will even have to combine trains or arrange for them to change color in order to complete the level. It is a clever concept, simple to grasp but with a lot of variety. The game is hindered only by its finer touch controls—it is not quite as responsive as it could be, especially for players with bigger fingers, track-laying may be somewhat finicky.

Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope distinguishes itself from the rest with its vibrant visuals, and fitting sound design. It employs an incredibly simplistic form of gameplay, and an even simpler story to act as a background; the player, has candy, and must make sure that it reaches the adorable monster, whilst also ensuring that it picks up the three stars that are placed precariously about the screen set. To do so, you have to cut/stretch/loosen/jiggle/shift the rope(s). As the levels progress, they become increasingly difficult, with new gameplay mechanics introduced, including bubbles that make candy float, and spikes that simply break the candy into bits.

Astoundingly, when playing Cut the Rope, every one of the introduced gameplay mechanics feels intrinsic to the experience. Every time a new mechanic is included in the game, the puzzles adapt to suit, and so the player is forced to think about the game in a completely new way.

Cat Physics

In Cat Physics there are two cats, the player’s job is to get a ball from one cat to the other the other. In this game, there are no complicated controls to master. Simply drag the arrows which influence the direction of the ball into place and tap the cat to begin. It offers the player instant gratification from the moment the game is start up for the first time. On each single-screen level there are various obstacles to overcome, buttons to push and springboards to propel the ball, plus teleports and breakable bridges later on. You amass points by ensuring the ball travels the shortest distance between the two cats.

After completing each level, players will earn between one and three stars, and while getting one star is simple, getting all three takes real skill as it represents the absolute shortest distance the ball can travel between the cats. Returning to a previously completed level can often see players using the arrows in different ways than first time around, opening up the possibility of finding a new route across the screen. Cat Physics is a lot of fun and there’s plenty of replay value. The physics are excellent, with the ball bouncing and rolling naturally. Graphically, Cat Physics is simple but attractive enough.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let There Be Light

Asia’s First Sustainable Light Art Festival Illuminates Marina Bay

Lumenocity Singapore

i Light Marina Bay, Asia’s first sustainable light art festival was held from 15 October to 7 November 2010. The festival celebrated Singapore’s nightscape with the use of energy-efficient lighting while creating awareness for energy-saving lighting technology for the urban environment. The event received a good response, with all guided tours fully booked in advance.

From 7.30pm to midnight, the Festival featured a Light Walk comprising over 26 dynamic light art installations and sculptures as well as interactive and performance-based art displays from talented local and international design luminaries. The Light Walk spans The Helix Bridge, The Floating Platform, The Esplanade, One Fullerton, The Promontory @ Marina Bay to the City Gallery at the Waterfront Promenade.

i Light Marina Bay is presented by The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in collaboration with a creative team helmed by Mary-Anne Kyriakou, the Festival Director, together with Singaporean co-curators Kelley Cheng and Randy Chan.

Being the first major light art event in Asia, the Festival was set as a regional platform for the exchange of ideas and technology, artistic expression and public engagement through beautiful light art works with intelligent light usage. A key component of the Festival is the participation of both local and international light artists and designers who have created new, site-specific works addressing the theme of people, place and time.

“Besides creating a distinctive skyline and attractive public spaces around Marina Bay, URA worked with partners to offer a rich array of activities and events to enrich visitors’ experience,” said Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of URA. “i Light Marina Bay is one such event. We hope that the show gave visitors an immersive experience of creative art works in a night setting in Marina Bay, and encouraged the community to discover and enjoy the Bay and many of the wonderful attractions around it,” he added.


i Light Marina Bay is conceived as a festival which creates a dynamic visual night environment through the use of energy-efficient lighting for the community to enjoy. The ‘i’ in the name alludes to the festival’s innovative content, the intelligent use of lighting as well as its international lineup of creative talent. It is also an invitation to everyone to get involved in this free outdoor celebration of creativity in a new community space.

Among the international artists are Francesco Mariotti from Switzerland, Ingo Bracke from Germany, Warren Langley from Australia and OCUBO from Portugal. 10 local artists have been selected from the artistic submissions received as a result of a call for entries that took place earlier.


They include contemporary artist Michael Lee; lecturer Angela Chong; architect Aamer Taher and the lighting design team from Meinhardt Light Studio Singapore. The selection was based on the creativity of the light installation design which should be stimulating and engaging for the public, the feasibility of realising the idea and the use of smart technology and/or design for energy efficiency.

“i Light Marina Bay presented new ideas for light art and architectural lighting in city environment through stunning light art sculptures and designs,” said Mary-Anne Kyriakou, Festival Director. “It also encouraged cross-cultural exchange of ideas between the local and international artists as well as initiate an understanding of innovative approaches that reduce energy consumption and light wastage, while energising urban spaces.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

In for a Spooktacular Surprise

Singapore’s largest Asian-themed Halloween returns to haunt the shores of Sentosa

Pale floating shapes and bloodied bodies with deep, ugly lacerations and darkened eye sockets beckoned. Sentosa was transformed at sundown; ghastly characters crept out from their daytime hiding places and infiltrated the crowd of thrill-seekers.

Sentosa Spooktacular received an overwhelming response for the five evenings, over the two weekends which it was held, from 22 to 23 October and from 29 to 31 October, receiving a total turnout of 12200 guests. “Tickets were sold out for every evening and ticket sales increased at least a hundred percent from last year,” said Low Keng Kwok, Senior Manager, Sentosa Attractions Management Unit.

This year, the event featured an expanded dark force, with dozens of Asian ghouls, ruling over four distinct venues. Two of the attractions are located within the Images of Singapore (The Haunted Asylum and the Dead or Alive Wax Museum), one at The Merlion (Cursed Island) and lastly the Tiger Sky Tower (Tower of Fear).

The haunted Asylum is modeled as a cannibal village on Pulau Hantu. With its inhabitants killed by plague, their violently out of control souls are still trapped within the village. Whereas The Dead or Alive Wax Museum is a labyrinth of dead bodies preserved in wax, after the resident artist went insane and murdered everyone, turning them into his works of art.

More horror awaited guests in The Merlion where zombie pirates and mysterious monsters lurked under the sea. The Tower of Fear offered a terrifyingly-elevated experience, taking guests 131 metres above sea level, and there, they were greeted by a ghostly audio experience and other spooks.

The multi-sensory Spooktacular featured sound effects, special lighting effects and movie-quality costumes and makeup. The production involved a cast of 100 performers, makeup artists and costume designers and took three months to prepare. The cast consisted of industry professionals as well as approximately 40 volunteers of alumni and undergraduates from Temasek Polytechnic’s course of Leisure and Resort Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management and Accounting and Finance.

Developed in conjunction with Temasek Polytechnic, Sentosa Spooktacular is under the Sentosa Apprentice Programme. This programme, which started in 2008, aims to provide students specializing in Festivals and Events Management for the diploma in Leisure and Resort management, and the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, an opportunity to acquire hands-on learning experience.

Students worked in groups to submit an event proposal of various themes and the winning team gets the opportunity to intern in Sentosa. Spooktacular was the brain child of the winning team of this scheme in 2008. It was also this group of LRM students who coined the name Spooktacular and interned with Sentosa Leisure Group to make the event come true in 2009. The four students from the winning team this year are now interns with Sentosa, and are part of the main committee which planned and managed the 2010 event, with guidance from Sentosa’s events team.

“While Halloween has been a western-celebrated holiday, Singaporeans have in recent years grown to embrace the festival. When we held the inaugural Spooktacular last year, the response was overwhelming. This was a happy problem for the team, even if we had to extend the operational hours just to manage the crowds,” said Jimmy Wong, Events Director, Sentosa Leisure Group.

Sentosa Spooktacular and Night Safari’s Halloween Horrors are the largest and most anticipated Halloween events in Singapore especially amongst youths. On the competition from The Night Safari (with Ngee Ann Polytechnic), Low Keng Kwok, Senior Manager, Sentosa Attractions Management Unit expressed, “We don’t see it as a competition. We see it as jointly holding the events to spur on the mood of Halloween for Singaporeans.”

“I really enjoyed Spooktacular this year, the sets and characters were very well designed and convincing and the trails were very scary, I would definitely come back again next year,” shared Haslina Lin, 23, HR Assistant.