Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise Founder Michael Tay On How the Smallest Act of Giving Can Transform the Arts Scene

In 2003, fuelled by a love for the arts and music and a passion for Singapore, Michael Tay, the then-Ambassador to Russia, commissioned Russian composer Vladimir Martynov to compose a symphony about Singapore. The symphony, now titled UTOPIA, has been recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under their LPO label and released worldwide in November 2020. But Michael’s passion for the arts would carry on in the later half of his career – as Founder and Director of The Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise, he has helped to connect many local artists to opportunities across the world. SGN speaks with Michael about how his passion has led him to build he bedrock for a thriving arts scene in Singapore.

Building Bridges with Music: How Russian Composer Vladimir Martynov Composed a Symphony Inspired by Singapore

Inspired by Singapore’s culture and identity, renowned Russian composer Vladimir Martynov accepted a commission by ex-Singapore Ambassador to Russia, Michael Tay, to compose a symphony in 2003. UTOPIA, which premiered in 2005 in Russia and performed in 2007 in Singapore, was most recently performed and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and London Philharmonic Choir in Abbey Road. The symphony will be performed live in Singapore at the Esplanade in 2022. SGN goes behind the scenes and speaks to Vladimir Martynov on his creative process in creating UTOPIA and his experience getting to know about Singapore’s rich culture.

Meet our Expats: I now call Singapore ‘home’

From Bristol to Sydney to Toronto and New York, Kash Hasan’s exciting career in the events and MICE sector has allowed him to travel the world! Currently residing in Singapore, he shares more about witnessing and experiencing the genuine sense of community here, where to find his favourite hometown fish and chips, and what makes Singapore the ‘perfect destination for the MICE industry’.

The digital developing economy: Southeast Asia in five objects

This is part of “The Edges of Southeast Asia” project by Deloitte, the Singapore Economic Development Board and the US-ASEAN Business Council, which shines a light on the bright spots of creativity and innovation in the region. Looking at emerging 'edges' or customer segments, geographic markets or products that offer high growth potential opportunities in ASEAN, we begin with the rapidly growing digital economy.

#couplegoals: Love Across Borders

As they saying goes, “there is only one happiness in life – to love and be loved”. With the pandemic season upon us, we know that there are many couples in long distance relationships missing each other. For this upcoming Valentine’s Day, we had a chat with Terrence, who heads the Singapore Airlines (SIA) office based in Shanghai, as he shares about his long distance relationship (LDR) with his wife, Anna! Trust us, this is a good story <3

A Singaporean’s Guide To Singapore

Think Singapore is just another urban concrete jungle? In this guide from the lens of a fellow Singaporean, you can find a list of establishments in Singapore, from parks to bars, that gives it “that little more soul".

Meet Ghib Ojisan: How A Backpacking Trip Led to Full-time YouTube Career in Singapore

It’s not every day that we get to meet a Japanese YouTuber based in Singapore. Yup, you already know who we’re talking about – in this edition of our Meet Our Expat Series, we have a candid chat with the 184,000 followers-strong Ghib Ojisan about his experience living in Singapore and what he has picked up from the city over the years.

Singapore Brands Going Overseas: Heritage Brands Gone Global

Growing up in an Asian household meant that you would most likely find all sorts of traditional balms and oils for various purposes in the back of your medicine cabinet. In this Singapore Brands Going Overseas series, we take a closer look at how heritage brands Chop Wah On, Lotus Leaf Brand and Three Star Brand have evolved their products and leveraged on digital technologies to expand their reach to the wider audience.

Food For Thought: How Kausmo Redefines The Dining Experience

Ever wondered what goes on your plate? Kausmo (derived from the word “Cosmos”, referring to a system of thought), a dining concept launched in 2019, takes food for thought to the next level, with aims to spark conversations about practicing thoughtfulness and conscientiousness in the way we dine and live. We speak to young founders Lisa Tang and Kuah Chew Shian on how they’re redefining the dining experience.

SG Junior Part 2: The little overseas Singaporeans

Last month, Lim Monica Devi spoke to parents to find out how they keep their Singapore spirit alive. In the second part of this story, she continues her journey and speaks to several Singaporeans living overseas and their children to find out just how Singaporean our little Juniors are.

Singapore Brands Going Overseas: ‘Tis The Season to #SupportLocal

No matter where you are this Christmas, you can’t miss the festivities in the air. It’s the season of giving and one exciting affair we can’t miss is ripping open the presents on Christmas morning! If you’re scratching your head over what will make the perfect gift this year, we’ve curated just the list of local holiday gift ideas from Singaporean brands you must check out!

Making Every Second Count: Living University Life to The Fullest

Believing that there should be no boundaries when it comes to chasing after her dreams, Nicole Anne Hia set off to South Korea to pursue higher education, spurred by her interest in studying international relations but also wanting additional global exposure and a regional focus in East Asian affairs.

SG Junior: The little overseas Singaporeans

Singapore is a country of immigrants. We are constantly welcoming newcomers to our shores, but we are also bidding adieu to many who leave to set up homes overseas with their foreign spouses or to pursue their careers. In the process, many Singaporeans take their children along, or have children born away from the island. How much do these children, “SG Jr.”, know about their parent’s homeland?

A City to Finally Call Home

Born in the US, his father a black man from Jamaica and his mother a white woman from Cleveland with Russian and Czech heritage, Triston has been acutely aware of racial differences since his childhood. Read about his journey as he finds a place where he finally feels comfortable enough to call home.

Lockdown Cooking: A Taste of Home

In the last of our three-part series on Lockdown Cooking, Lim Monica Devi, a Singaporean in Belgium seeks out the Singaporean community around the world to share a common love – food! This month, as we celebrate National Day, many countries are still practising some form of quarantine. With safe distancing in mind, Monica takes a virtual peek into their larders (which often has a second refrigerator) and gardens to uncover how Singaporeans living overseas dish out a plateful of home while away from the island.

Lockdown Cooking: Beyond Borders

In the second of our three-part series on Lockdown Cooking, Monica Devi Lim, a Singaporean in Belgium seeks out the Singaporean community around the world to share a common love – food! She will be speaking to them about their journeys and joys during the global lockdown, including their favourite dishes to make and memories of the Little Red Dot. Get your forks ready as she dishes out this month’s flavours: international recipes from Italy, Greece, and India. And if you wish, of course you can adapt the recipes to suit your taste – just go easy on the chilli (or not)!

5Qs with Joanna Lau

5Qs with Joanna Lau - Joanna came to the U.S. to attend New York University 13 years ago. As the Founder & CEO of JEMMA, a fashion e-commerce handbag brand, Joanna shuttles regularly between Singapore and New York, where the brand is based.

Remaining rooted to Singapore: “Where are you really from?”

Sharmishta is only 26 years old, but in this short amount of time, she has lived in nine countries, across 3 continents. She shares her rootedness to Singapore even though she has spent a majority of her life away from this island, her insights as a third culture kid moving around the world, and how being a global nomad steered her passion for international affairs and global governance.

The rise of the independent film industry in Singapore

Singapore film is returning to global prominence with critically acclaimed productions such as Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice and Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo. For journalist and researcher Alfonse Chiu, he believes more can be done for the film industry in Singapore, because of the special role it plays in defining our culture.

Dum Briyani in The Prairies

Read about Thiviyan’s recount to discovering a different kind of Kung Pao chicken while studying in small town Camrose, Canada. Quickly realising that cooking his favourite Asian dishes is better, Thiviyan recreates his version of Chicken Dum Briyani and Sugee cookies – a Deepavali favourite – make sure you give it a try!