Lalamove brings total funding to USD 60 million

lalamove-001 lalamove-002

Lalamove, a Hong Kong based on-demand delivery company, completed its Series B Financing round, raising USD 30 million.

The Series B Financing round was led by Xianghe Capital, a Beijing VC firm founded by former Head of Baidu M&A, Mr Hesong Tang, with participation from Blackhole Capital and existing shareholders MindWorks Ventures, Crystal Stream and Thailand’s Asia Plus Group Holdings. The investment round exceeds its previous three rounds of financing, bringing the startup’s total funding to a combined USD 60 million.

With the investment, Lalamove will continue to expand aggressively in Asia, where it plans to launch in an additional 60 cities by the end of 2017. It already maintains the largest service area in Asia for intracity delivery, where its app connects users with more than 500,000 delivery drivers.

“Logistics is a big market – a USD 1.7 trillion market in China – and it accounts for up to 27 percent of GDP for some countries in Southeast Asia; it is underpenetrated by mobile internet,” Mr Shing Chow, Lalamove Founder and CEO, said. “Our users have said they want faster and simpler ways to send things in their cities and we have proven that we can help them deliver anything in less than an hour.

“The evolution of the logistics industry has not been as rapid as some other markets like communication, but we believe we are at a tipping point where transformation will now happen very rapidly. We will see some amazing companies built this sector.”

Lalamove’s fast growth was enhanced by key partnerships with the world’s foremost tech companies. In 2016, Lalamove partnered with LINE, one of the world’s leading mobile platforms, to develop the LINE MAN app, which gives users the ability to quickly purchase and receive documents, packages, food and grocery items in Thailand. The company previously developed enterprise solutions for Google and IKEA as well.

“In our two years of operations in Bangkok, Lalamove has become the city’s leading on-demand delivery app and we have witnessed significant growth both from users and drivers. This funding will not only enable us to expand to other cities, but also to offer additional services to meet the needs of our users and to further develop and upgrade the app with new features,” pointed out Chanon Klahan, Lalamove Thailand’s Managing Director.

“Lalamove is a textbook example of how the internet helped to improve a traditional industry,” Mr Hesong Tang, Founder of Xianghe Capital, said. “We appreciate the vision and determination of Mr Shing and his team, and believe this rapidly expanding company will become a hugely influential enterprise.”

Lalamove is not only the first real-time intracity logistics company, it is expected to become the biggest and most successful in Asia, and potentially worldwide,” said Mr David Chang, Founding Partner of MindWorks Ventures. “Intracity logistics is a high-frequency enterprise, and will become a very important traffic portal, ensuring its foothold in a massive global market.”

“We are excited to once again participate in this round of funding with Lalamove and to support their team to reach the next level of growth in Thailand and beyond,” added Asia Plus Group Holdings’ CEO Dr. Kongkiat Opaswongkarn.

 

CROSSINGS – A New Play presented by young & W!LD

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-11-03-43-amThe new young & W!LD cohort will be staging its first public performance in February this year. The world premiere of Crossings, a brand-new double-bill of original plays about the choices that make or break our lives, will be staged for seven performances only at Centre 42’s Black Box from 15 to 19 February 2017.

Bold, dark and funny, the two plays in Crossings follow characters who have arrived at a critical crossroads in their lives. The choices they make will change their journeys forever: setting them on the road to self-discovery – or self-destruction.

The eight members of young & W!LD, from the ages of 19 to 24, came up with the stories, characters and themes that will feature in Crossings via improvisations and devising workshops. With their help, Rodney Oliveiro, their programme co-director, put together the final scripts of both plays.

“Just like these troubled characters, we all have to live with the decisions we make and their consequences,” explains Oliveiro. “I chose the main title of Crossings because it speaks to me of human wills and desires and ambitions – how we always bravely chug along, how we’re always busy with a new endeavour, even as we occasionally miss the subtle signs pointing towards our doom.”

The current cohort of young & W!LD embarked on their 18-month training programme in February last year. Since then, they have gained valuable experience in devising and performing their own original work. Following months of intensive workshops, they presented When S#!T Hits The Fam, an experimental piece that explored the trials and tribulations of family life, in May 2016.

“Over the past year, I’ve been most impressed by their openness, their willingness to try new things and their support for one another,” says Serena Ho, co-director of young & W!LD and Crossings. “I hope they will trust their voices and never stop surprising themselves.”

“It’s wonderful to be a part of young & W!LD,” adds Jasmine Blundell, 24. “There’s never a dull day because everyone brings their own brand of energy and ideas, and the perspectives are always so varied.”

The young & W!LD programme reflects W!LD RICE’s commitment to developing and nurturing the next generation of Singapore’s theatre-makers.

It’s been so rewarding to watch these young theatre-makers grow in confidence and ambition over the past few months,” says Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of W!LD RICE. “To see them challenging themselves and tackling difficult questions with Crossings reminds us of the power of theatre to educate, engage and empower our youth.”

Crossings runs from 15 to 19 February 2017 at Centre 42’s Black Box (42 Waterloo Street, S187951).

Tickets go on sale from 11 January 2017 on Peatix.

Dine Inn’s First Community Event Presented a Galore of Home-cooked Goodness

image002

enrica-yuan

ed-leow-mun-tat

On 7 Jan 2017, Dine Inn welcomed the new year with their first community event at Ci Yuan Community Club! With 20 Dine Inn Hosts participating at this event to share their specialty dishes, this communal gathering brought together neighbours and food lovers living in the Hougang estate! Besides sampling scrumptious home cooked modern cuisines, family recipes, snacks and desserts, guests also took part in cupcake decoration and kay making workshops, as well as pick up tips from various cooking demonstrations.

Launching in end January, Dine Inn (www.dineinn.com) is an online platform dedicated to bring together the makers and lovers of food.  This project is the brainchild of Mr. Luke Lee and Chef Eric Teo, who believe that Singapore’s best kept secrets are hidden in plain sight.  Dine Inn is poised to open up a new horizon for consumers who crave for the sincerity and affection of home-cooked meals.

With 200 Hosts offering a variety of home-cooked cuisines from appetisers, entrees to desserts, guests have the option to dine in, have it delivered, self-collect or even have the Host cook at their place.

The Dine Inn website is scheduled to launch in end-January 2017 and the app in first quarter of 2017 on App Store and Google Play.

 

 

3 Ways Telecommuting Leads to Happier Employees

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-4-01-26-pm

3 Ways Telecommuting Leads to Happier Employees

If you’ve ever struggled through a long commute or had to manage a last minute workplace crisis due to an absent employee, you probably have thought about the benefits of working at home. You’re not alone, says The Washington Post, since there are approximately 139 million people who commute every day who may have shared the same idea. Technological advances are making it easier than ever to remotely connect to your office and work from home. One solution that many businesses are exploring is telecommuting via video conferencing, and often in groups. Studies have been conducted that prove the effectiveness of reducing commutes resulting in higher worker productivity and morale, lowering travel costs and employee absenteeism and even allowing employees to be more engaged citizens. Exploring telecommuting can also save your business money by reducing maintenance costs and aid in the hiring process.

  1. Higher Productivity with Fewer Distractions

During a typical workday, there are any number of distractions that can derail a productive employee. No matter how tight a ship you run, there is always ways that time can be wasted, intentionally or otherwise. Telecommuting using a corporate video communications service like BlueJeans can increase the productivity of your employees. Busywork and distractions such as idle chit-chat with colleagues, checking personal email and social media sites or a few stolen extra minutes at lunch all can be eliminated with telecommuting and relocating your workplace into the virtual meeting room. Attending meetings or working on project management through video conferencing from home allows employees to have contact with coworkers while still maintaining the autonomy of working from home. Time wasting diversions are lessened because the worker can complete personal tasks at home while still putting in the time at work. This inevitably results in higher job satisfaction and lowered work-related stress. Happier and more gratified employees can lead to lower turnover rates and better overall morale, in or out of the office. The beauty of today’s video conferencing system, though, is that it’s possible to unite all your telecommuters into one room. Whether you’re offering a general information session, or it’s a smaller team meeting, the ability to bring more than just one or two remote workers into a meeting is possible.

  1. Decreasing Stress Levels

Commuting is stressful, no one will argue with that. Whether driving or taking public transportation, there are potential risks and pitfalls for commutes. Weather conditions can significantly affect commutes by causing traffic delays and rail closures. Driving in unsafe conditions or tackling delays on public transportation to make it to the office can be a major cause of distress and anxiety. Telecommuting can alleviate the pressure of the daily commute and can help employees use their time more effectively. For example, video conferencing can be a vital aid to working parents, those with chronic health conditions and to connect remotely with other offices. Additionally, video conferencing can replace the anxiety caused by work-related long distance traveling with the added benefit of saving on travel expenditures. Given that stress is one of the most counterproductive forces to innovation and creative thinking, taking reasonable measure to combat it only makes sense. Instead of expecting your employees to make it in during a snow storm of for an important meeting, ditch the meeting altogether and have them tune in via video as a group.

  1. Benefit Your Business, Benefit Society

Can telecommuting through video conferencing and other technology lead to a better world? Reducing commutes mean that people can become more involved in society through higher voter engagement, have a greater chance of escaping poverty, and even raise more emotionally stable children. While not all businesses can cut out their employees’ commutes entirely, offering the option of part-time or occasional telecommuting can be a step in the right direction. There are benefits for your company as well. For employers who offer compensation for travel or commuting expenses, it can be a simple way to cut costs. Human resource managers can connect to a whole new market of employees all over the world and tap into the potential of a diversified workforce. Candidates looking to relocate can be interviewed with ease over video conference, saving your company time and money in the hiring process. In reducing the number of employees in the office, businesses can also reduce the costs incurred by having a larger physical space, such as square footage, furniture, energy bills, and other costs, according to Entrepreneur. In addition to saving your business money, telecommuting also cuts down on fuel costs and emissions from vehicles. If you want to sell this point, you can offer large-scale video conference meetings as a so-called green initiative also makes your company ethics look good to both employees and also clients.

It’s easy to see how telecommuting through video conferencing can improve your business. Your employees can connect remotely via smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices, making video conferencing a simple solution to many workplace dilemmas. Offering telecommuting options to your workers gives you an advantage in the job market and makes you more appealing both to your current employees and to future hires.

 

 

While She Sleeps joins Bring Me the Horizon as Special Guests

bmth-wss-singapore-updated-artwork

LAMC Productions is thrilled to announce that English Metalcore band, WHILE SHE SLEEPS will be joining BRING ME THE HORIZON as special guests for the show on February 2, 2017 at D’Marquee, Downtown East!

While She Sleeps is a melodic hardcore / metalcore band formed in Sheffield in 2006. The band consists of Lawrence Taylor on Vocals, Mat Welsh on Guitar/Backing Vocals, Sean Long on Guitar/Piano, Aaran McKenzie on Bass and Adam Savage on Drums/Percussion.

While She Sleeps play a unique mix of melodic hardcore with strong metal influences. They have released two studio album and are working on their third album, You Are We, which is set to  release on April 2017.

In their early years, While She Sleeps played close to 300 shows across the UK and mainland Europe. Their debut album “The North Stands For Nothing” received critical acclaim from European music publications like Kerrang and Metal Hammer. Their songs and videos also started getting highly sought after spins and views on major European media outlets like XFM Total Rock, Scuzz, and Kerrang TV in the U.K. Through this they began to make a name for themselves and the opportunities being presented grew bigger accordingly.

Brainwashed, the band’s second studio album, is the culmination of what the band’s five members went through in order to make it, a physical manifestation of pure triumph in the face of adversity. It’s an album that got made both in spite of and because of the things that threatened to prevent that happening – serious trouble with Taylor’s vocal chords that required two bouts of surgery and which essentially delayed the making of the record by a whole year.

The album’s eleven songs are a terrifying force to be reckoned with; from the anthemic chug of “These Four Walls” to the powerfully unrelenting and irascible “Trophies Of Violence.

Korean Superfood KOKOPANDA opens its first outlet in Singapore!

screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-11-59-42-amscreen-shot-2016-12-26-at-11-59-56-am

This December, KoKoPanda, a new ‘Superfood’ focused, Korean soft serve and beverage concept is arriving in Singapore! It will officially launch on 16 December 2016 at Plaza Singapura #B2-60.

KoKoPanda provides health-conscious individuals with soft serve & beverage choices that offers a guilt-free indulgence. Their three unique soft serves include Black Yogo (frozen yogurt), White Cremo (Korean soft serve ice-cream), and the signature KoKo Twisto ( a combination of half black yogo and half white cremo).

The Seoulistic softserve also comes with options of adding superfood toppings such as the KoKoCrunch granola; a mix of rice puffs and dried fruits, and a wide range of premium dried Korean superfruits including Jeju Tangerine, Strawberries and Apples. Softserves come at a price of $4.90 per cup with one free topping or $5.90 per cup with a choice of three toppings (one premium and two normal toppings).

KoKoPanda’s exciting super beverage menu offers a variety of drink choices. A must-try signature drink is their Jeju Green Tea Latte. Other options include the ChiaChaCha, a refreshing combination of 100% coconut water with Chia seeds, fruit vinegar ciders, and fruit enzyme drinks. Prices for drinks range from $2.90 to $4.20.

If you are looking for a dessert and beverage alternative which combines deliciousness with nutrition, this new addition to the dessert scene is a must-try!

5 Things to Include in Every Video Meeting

screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-11-06-33-am5 Things to Include in Every Video Meeting

As online conferencing becomes more common, replacing the traditional board room entirely in some companies, there are still some who aren’t yet used to holding their meetings through a computer screen or aren’t conducting their conferences in the correct way. Many of the principles for online discussions are the same as they are for in-person talks, but there are still some additional things to think about, which can be easy to forget about if you aren’t used to them. Here are just a few things you should be sure to include in every one of your online conferences, and why they can benefit you:

  1. A Scheduled Agenda

The Dummies Guide says that lack of proper focus is one of the major downsides to meetings, be they online or in-person. It is all too easy for a large group of people to begin arguments, go off on tangents, or forget what the discussion is intended to accomplish. You can avoid this by making the objective of the conference clear before it begins, in order to avoid an unnecessarily high amount of conferences which serve no purpose, which people really hate. Writing up an agenda with a scheduled time slot for each item and sticking to it during the conference will ensure that it remains on-topic and ends on time so that all participants can return to their regular jobs. If you feel that a meeting has gone off-topic, bring it back as quickly as you can in order to keep the proper momentum going.

  1. Introductions

Nerds on Site suggests that if you are the host, you should begin each session by introducing yourself and every other person on the talk. This is especially important for remote teams who don’t work in the same location as each other or when outside collaborators are brought into a project. It serves as an ice breaker that helps people to build a rapport that they will need to conduct talks effectively and develop positive working relationships. Be sure to leave a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting for introductions.

  1. Allowing Each Person to Speak

A meeting isn’t the same as a seminar or lecture. It isn’t intended for several people to spend the entire time listening to a single person speak. That defeats the entire purpose of having one. Even worse is when one person tries to dominate the discussion, speaking rudely over others, interrupting them, and perhaps getting into an argument with another person that the rest of the team is forced to sit through. Instead, encourage every person to bring their own thoughts, opinions, and observations to the table so that everybody can benefit from them. If there are disagreements, let them be expressed properly rather than escalating into an argument. Video conference equipment makes this easy as there are options for the administrator to mute and unmute speakers, meaning there is no risk of a pushy person speaking over or interrupting others. If a member of your team is shyer or introverted, offer gentle encouragement for them to present their findings and then let them know that you value their input.

  1. Visuals

The great benefit of online conferencing over the board room is the range of options it offers, especially live streaming video clips with ease. Video has a much greater impact to present your argument, improve a pitch, or keep people interested in the meeting rather than becoming bored and nodding off. It may sound difficult, but it is easy to create a basic video, even with a smartphone and basic editing software, which can then be uploaded to your conferencing programme and played for each participant to watch. If you are looking for a way to liven up your meetings or make a stronger argument, consider using a short video clip.

  1. Acknowledgement of Thanks

The people you work with are much more likely to respect you and feel valued in their jobs if they feel appreciated. You don’t need large gestures to show this but a series of small ones. Taking a few moments at the end of each session to thank everyone for attending and sharing their views is just one small way to make people feel appreciated and motivate them to continue doing a good job.

You have probably noticed already that most of the etiquette and essentials for an online conference are the same as they always were during in-person meetings, and yet the switch to new technology has still caused many people to forget about them. It is also easy to overlook the many advantages and additional features that the software provides that could be of benefit to your talks. Keep all of the above in mind during your future meetings and you will make a big impact and see each one functioning smoothly.

JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach debuts in Singapore

image002-png01d25198-39926520

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, the global luxury brand that is part of Marriott International’s (NASDAQ: MAR) luxury brands portfolio, is thrilled to debut the new JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach – the brand’s first hotel in Singapore. Located in close proximity to the Marina Bay entertainment and business districts, the new 634- room luxury hotel is poised to become an iconic lifestyle destination in the heart of Singapore’s arts and culture district.

“We are thrilled to welcome discerning travellers to this design-led landmark in the hub of Singapore’s arts and culture district,” said Derek Flint, General Manager, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach. “We look forward to enriching guests with a truly luxurious experience and showcasing the warm, intuitive service that is synonymous with the JW Marriott brand globally.”

The hotel consists of both historic and newly constructed buildings with interiors designed by renowned French designer Philippe Starck and architecture by award-winning British architects, Foster and Partners. Complemented by a multi-million dollar collection of more than 30 works and installations by regionally and internationally acclaimed artists, guests can expect enriching and multi-sensory cultural experiences throughout the hotel.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a 7-metre video wall installation by South Korean artist Lee Lee Nam. The wall brings art to life through movement and technology with the use of the LED monitors as a canvas to create an artistic symphony. Additional works include the Donna a Cavallo, a lobby sculpture by the acclaimed Fernando Botero, and the Gorilla, a reclaimed scrap metal sculpture at the hotel entrance by Turner Prize winner Iain Nutting. Guest elevators are also an artistic expression with custom RGB wallpaper, and graffiti artwork by Milan-based art and design duo Carnovsky.

Set to become one of Singapore’s most coveted culinary destinations, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach will feature a total of nine dining options. Akira Back, opened by celebrity chef Akira Back, offers modern Japanese cuisine with Korean accents and culinary influences from around the world. Beach Road Kitchen, an all-day-dining restaurant, features global cuisine and to-go items; Court Martial Bar and Media Bar offer cocktails in a refined cocktail bar and gastropub setting; and Tonic serves gin-based cocktails in an intimate environment. The remaining four outlets will open second quarter 2017.

JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach offers hotel programming and amenities to appeal to and nurture guests’ passions. In the lobby, guests can feed their curiosity in the Concierge Library – a social space hosted by the hotel concierge – and at the Activity Table, which offers enriching cultural programming such as wine and cheese tastings, coffee experiences, chef-led culinary events and more. Additional curated experiences include a hotel heritage tour showcasing the property’s historical significance and architectural brilliance.

The property also features a variety of wellness offerings including Spa by JW (opening second quarter 2017), a brand spa concept created to demystify and reimagine the spa experience with treatments based on four benefit states. Spa by JW comprises 10 treatment rooms, including two private and two express treatment suites. JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach also boasts two outdoor infinity pools, two sky gardens and a 24-hour fitness centre at Flow18.

Each of the 634 guest rooms and suites are fitted with a full array of modern amenities and smart technology including an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) system, up to seven USB power sockets per room, and a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phone that allows guests to receive calls anywhere within the property. The hotel also offers guest rooms with the female traveller in mind, featuring amenities such as a “boyfriend” shirt, facial steamer, hair straightener and more.

An ideal venue for any event, the property has 1,771 square meters of indoor and outdoor events and meetings space, including a 520 square meter Grand Ballroom housed in a 1930s historic Drill Hall and features a dramatic 11,520-light Forest of Lights design by Philippe Starck. The hotel’s 15 meeting rooms are housed in Assembly, one of the property’s restored historic buildings. Two additional events and meetings spaces are available in the NCO building and Ebb6.

Fashion One releases its Top 5 Must Have for 2017

3-manifesto-concept-store-opening-singapore7-sakina-msa-front-de-mode-concept-storeTime to check your closet and prepare for the New Year as Fashion One –– the leading New York based international fashion, entertainment and lifestyle network –– reveals the much anticipated hottest 2017 trends list from the runway, right to your screen.

Feeling overwhelmed by which styles will fade away and which trends are here to stay? Worry not, as Fashion One narrowed them down into five essential must-haves for every style and every closet.

The first must-have on our list is all about comfort and ease. From classic button ups paired with loose tailored trousers by Huga Costa, to the gender-neutral deconstructed shirts with extra long sleeves from Craig Green, oversized and free-flowing silhouettes are definitely going to be a staple.

For evening wear, this year’s hottest shade is yellow. Whether it’s canary, neon or pastel, this cheerful color glowed on the runways such as in Angel Sanchez’ tropical flowers inspired Spring Summer collection which were dominated by citrus hues; and in Miami’s Funkshion Fashion Week where gorgeous evening wear range from delicate pastel shades to true yellows that were instant hits and guaranteed to make you the bell of any ball.

Other trends brought back the nostalgic feeling of 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s fashion just like Jeremy Scott’s disco inspired Spring Summer collection; a revival of the classic trench coat using unexpected colors and modern tailoring like that of Richard Chai and Jermyn Street’s designs; and an explosion of abstract prints ranging from polka dots to pop art-esque designs just as it ruled the catwalk during Project Runway’s finalist group show in New York.

No matter what your style, our Top 5 Must-Haves for 2017 special is sure to have you feeling inspired!

Top 5 Must-Haves for 2017 will be revealed on Tuesday, December 27 at 9:30pm, only on Fashion One. Fashion One is available on StarHub (channel 442).

 

4FINGERS Turns 7

Homegrown casual dining chain 4FINGERS Crispy Chicken celebrated turning seven and the grand opening of its Marina Square outlet yesterday. In 2009, its founders opened their first outlet at ION Orchard and seven years on, 4FINGERS is grateful for having quite a bit to show for on its “report card”. In Singapore, the brand launched 10 new stores in under two years. As of today, the chain operates 14 stores, serving up its famous fried chicken to nearly 12,000 hungry diners daily across the region, including in Kuala Lumpur, Medan and very soon, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Approximately 300 guests, media, industry partners and friends attended the seventh birthday bash at the brand new 4FINGERS Marina Square, where they were treated to good music, great food and witnessed urban artist Samantha Lo (‘Sam Lo’) put on the finishing touches to a 5 metre (width) by 2 metre (height) mural. A permanent feature at the restaurant, the artwork was specially commissioned for the occasion. It was assembled  on opening day with every guest playing a part in putting on the final touches.

Gallery & Co. Festive Menu & Merry Morsels

b045a681-e4d5-449f-99f6-36d8c507013d

Primed for the season of year-end celebrations, Gallery & Co. launches a festive set menu by Chef Anthony Yeoh of Restaurant Cocotte. A continuation of the all-day-dining menu revamp that was previously launched in mid-August, the festive special features a selection of Christmas and New Year favourites with a familiar Southeast Asian twist. Available in sharing portion (Option A – Feeds 3-4 Pax at $75++) or single person set (Option B $45++) until the 31st of December, highlights of the menu include a Coconut & White Wine Seafood Curry, Assam & Honey Glazed Christmas Ham, and Wagyu Beef Roast with Coriander Salsa Verde.

GALLERY & CO. MERRY MORSELS DESSERT PACKAGE

da41a5ee-b35d-48b2-aa16-997086c10401

Along with the festive set menu, Gallery & Co. is also launching Merry Morsels, a dessert package of twelve lovingly crafted crafted treats for each day of Christmas. Priced at just $40, the set is perfect for gifting and for convivial celebrations. The desserts and are available now at Gallery & Co. and pre-orders on Gallery & Co’s website are open until the 19th of December.

Ordering Details
To order the set of 12, visit: http://merrymorsels.galleryand.co
Self-collection dates: 21st – 24th Dec
Time: 6.00 – 8.00pm

ANA Brings in Two More World-Class Chefs to THE CONNOISSEURS

joachim-splichal-executive-chef-patina

takeshi-kikuchi-head-chef-tokyo-shiba-tofuya-ukai

ANA, Japan’s largest airline, is proud to announce that in December it will add two renowned master chefs to its “THE CONNOISSEURS” program: Takeshi Kikuchi, Head Chef of TOKYO SHIBA TOFUYA UKAI, and PATINA Restaurant Group Founder and Executive Chef Joachim Splichal. This brings the total lineup of THE CONNOISSEURS to 22 members. December will also mark the expansion of desserts overseen by Pierre Hermé Paris. Offered seasonally on a limited number of flights, the desserts will now be offered year-round on a steadily rising range of flights including those from Narita and Haneda to Singapore.

ANA first launched THE CONNOISSEURS in 2013 to empower globally-acclaimed chefs and other celebrated professionals to produce outstanding cuisine and beverages exclusively for meals in ANA lounges and on its international flights departing from Japan. Over the past three years, these exceptional menu choices have consistently earned stellar marks from passengers both in Japan and around the world.

Both Takeshi and Joachim are prominent specialists in their field who have collaborated with ANA to produce brilliant in-flight dining on the airline’s flights originating from overseas destinations.

Takeshi Kikuchi, has an established career in Japanese cuisine, and assumed his current role as Head Chef at TOKYO SHIBA TOFUYA UKAI in 2016. The restaurant is known for fastidiously crafted homemade tofu and seasonal flavors served in elegant private rooms or traditional tatami-mat space steeped in the ambience of Edo (Old Tokyo). In addition to manifesting his stupendous culinary skills, Takeshi is also driven by the desire to expand the joys of cutting-edge Japanese gastronomy to overseas markets. From December 2016 to February 2017, passengers on ANA Business Class flights from Japan to the United States and Europe can enjoy TOFUYA UKAI specialties such as “deep fried lily bulb and maitake mushroom tofu dressed in snow crab kudzu sauce” – a fusion of soft and flaky lily bulbs with crisp maitake, and “tosui tofu” – a tofu tour de force prepared to savor with a special soup concocted from soybean milk.

Chef Joachim Splichal forged his reputation as the top chef at a noted restaurant in the south of France, and relocated to the United States in 1981. Since opening the PATINA flagship in Los Angeles 1989, he has struck a commanding presence as the Group’s Executive Chef, expanding to 50 specialty restaurants concentrated on the West Coast, and its devoted patrons including a long list of Hollywood stars, politicians and other celebrity gourmands. In 2002, Joachim was recognized as a legendary chef by Bon Appetit magazine, epitomized by his coveted selection as “Restaurant Owner of the Year,” and has been nicknamed the “King of California Cuisine.” From March to May 2017 ANA will serve an international cuisine menu produced by Joachim on its Business Class flights departing Japan to the United States and Europe.

ANA takes pride in its distinction as the only Japanese airline to earn five-stars, the highest rating in the commercial aviation field. ANA has continued to achieve this honor for four consecutive years, thanks to its innovation on initiatives such as THE CONNOISSEURS to constantly improve services for its passengers.

Win Your Ultimate Friendmas by Jack Wills

image-2

With Christmas drawing closer, Jack Wills celebrate the lead up to the most festive day of the year with the 21st century invention of Friendmas.

The brilliant invention allows many of us who have moved away from home to celebrate Christmas Day twice. It’s when best friends get together with the sole aim of eating, drinking and being very merry, with gifts, knits, hats and crackers.

British lifestyle and fashion brand Jack Wills has seen a trend among its customers particularly twenty-somethings now living away from home – for celebrating Christmas with their friends about a week before Christmas Day. As such Jack Wills has announced a new festive moment in its honour – officially declaring the third Saturday of every December to be Friendsmas, with the inaugural Friendsmas Day on Saturday 17th December 2016.

“Although I am now an ancient 42-year-old, some of my happiest Christmas memories actually revolve around spending that week before it with mates,” said Peter Williams (Founder and CEO of Jack Wills).

To celebrate Friendsmas 2016, Jack Wills will ask the public to share favourite #Friendsmas moments and give them the chance to win the ultimate Friendsmas Day for themselves and four friends in the #DearJack competition.

Public can create as many guest list of 4 on Jack Wills interactive website (jackwills.hk/DearJack) for the chance to win an Ultimate #Friendsmas – a FREE shopping spree in Jack Wills and a festive feast with their friends.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0tmiHfCWUU

 

 

Raffles City collaborates with Craftholic

Fans of CRAFTHOLIC are in for a special treat this Christmas at Raffles City!

ms-ikuko-yamamoto

The creator of CRAFTHOLIC, Ms IkukoYamamoto, has flown in specially to Singapore from Japan for a meet-and-greet session with her fans on 25 November (Friday)at 3.00pm and 7.00pm at the Level 3 Atrium.

“This is the first time that I am coming to Singapore for a CRAFTHOLIC event and I am very excited to be able to meet my Singaporean fans. I would like to thank them for their support and embracing my CRAFTHOLIC creations,” said Ms Ikuko Yamamoto, creator of CRAFTHOLIC.

“I would also like to thank Raffles City Singapore for the opportunity to set up the first CRAFTHOLIC pop-up store in the malland I hope that everyone will be able to come and celebrate the joy of Christmas with CRAFTHOLIC,” added Ms Yamamoto.

In addition to the variety of cute and irresistible CRAFTHOLIC products, a Limited Edition CRAFTHOLIC Denim Collection, featuring the two main CRAFTHOLIC characters –Rabbunnyjnd Sloth Bear,priced from $16to $210,is available exclusively at the CRAFTHOLIC Pop-Up store.

img_9753

Shoppers will get to snap photos with their favourite plush cushion characters in action as CRAFTHOLIC’s cute mascots, Rab Bunny and Sloth Bear, make their appearances during specific timeslots. During the weekends, shoppers can also participate in three CRAFTHOLIC activities, which include3D gift card making andhair-band making.

In addition, female shoppers can get Christmas-party ready by pampering themselves with a CRAFTHOLIC manicure session, which is redeemable with minimum purchases of CRAFTHOLIC products at the Pop-Up store periodor any store in Raffles City.

Probably the Best Job in The World

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-10-38-07-am

Carlsberg’s Best Job is back in Singapore by popular demand with applicants vying for the coveted job that pays a jawdropping salary of S$20,000 for four hours of work. Drinking beer that is.

Probably the Best Job in the World

Mr. Jimmy Toh, General Manager of Carlsberg Singapore, has this message for aspiring applicants: “Whatever Carlsberg does, we strive to do better. While the exhilarating job of a beer taster remains the same this year, the successful applicant will earn $20,000, which is double the salary offered last year – simply to enjoy ‘Probably the best beer in the world’.

We are looking for the best candidate that exemplifies this spirit, and demonstrates passion for the Carlsberg brand to bag this unique job opportunity.”

Job Requirements & Registration

Anyone who feels that they are the best candidate for the job can make an application at http://www.probablythebest.com.sg. This job is only open to applicants aged 18 and above.

Online registration (free, of course) opens on Monday November 21 and closes on Sunday December 4.

Selected finalists will be notified to attend a simple job interview on the afternoon of December 15.

The Inaugural Campaign in 2016 Carlsberg’s Probably The Best Job In The World campaign was launched in Singapore last year to great fanfare and media interest. Social media manager Daniel Osgodby was eventually selected as the lucky winner, taking home $10,000 after “putting in” four very happy hours enjoying ice-cold pints of Carlsberg beer.

Guava Sketches: A Love for good design and functionality

Guava Sketches is a shop founded by two sisters Jennifer and Joan.

Their homeware selection is curated based on a love for good design and functionality. This passion started with an appreciation for well-made items, whose beauty is complemented by utility. Their shop reflect the same ethos – it is informed by a love for nature and a great appreciation and respect for craftsmanship.

Their offering ranges from small items such as collectibles and jewelry, to kitchenware, furniture pieces, and everyday homeware. These pieces are made by artisans with distinct taste. Though from diverse eras – some having a history of more than a hundred years, while others are young brands at the forefront of a generation redefining “new”, these makers are bound by the same aesthetics and belief.

This is their humble way of sharing with you the joy of experiencing these beautiful pieces and celebrating these artists & their commitment to their craft.

Simply click on this link https://www.guavasketches.com to find out more about the brand.

img_8073

img_8389

img_8047-1

img_8249

Singapore Is the Best City in Asia for Expats

unnamed-2

While Singapore is the only Asian city in the overall top ten, Beijing is considered the best place for personal finance

Melbourne, Houston and Madrid top the list of the best cities to live abroad according to previously unreleased data from the third annual InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey. With more than 14,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive studies ever conducted to explore the general living situation of expatriates. Ranking 5th out of 35 cities in this year’s survey, Singapore has positioned itself among the top places for expats. It is the only Asian city that makes it into the Top 10 in the overall ranking. All other destinations achieve below-average results, with Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur making it to 23rd and 24th position out of 35. Beijing and Shanghai do anything but well, coming in 26th and 31st place respectively. However, Beijing outperforms all of its competitors in financial terms and secures the first place in the Personal Finance Index. The latest InterNations survey finds that nearly three-quarters of the respondents in Beijing (72 percent) agree that their disposable income is more than enough to cover their daily needs.

Melbourne, Houston, Madrid: Top Scorers for Expats

As part of the Expat Insider 2016 survey, InterNations takes a closer look at cities around the world and ranks them according to such factors as the quality of life, personal finance, working abroad, and settling in. Melbourne takes the top spot for expat life out of the 35 cities analyzed. Expats in Australia’s second-most populous city are particularly pleased with their work-life balance: 79 percent of respondents rate this positively, which is notably higher than the global average of 60 percent. Overall job satisfaction in Melbourne is also above average, with 71 percent rating this factor positively. This city down under also excels when it comes to the availability of leisure activities: an astounding 91 percent rate this aspect positively, 19 percentage points higher than the global average of 72 percent.

Houston, Texas, finds itself in second place overall and for general satisfaction among expats. The United States of America’s fourth-biggest city also excels when it comes to the cost of living and personal finance, ranking fifth and seventh, respectively, in both of these categories. Houston comes in first place in the Ease of Settling In Index, too. However, the data was collected before the US presidential elections: it is yet to be seen if the election results will have an impact on such ranking categories as “Friendliness” or “Feeling Welcome”, which the Ease of Settling In Index is based on.

Madrid ranks third overall, mainly due to expats feeling welcome there and finding it easy to make friends: the Spanish capital takes the top spot in both of these categories. Spain’s capital is also appreciated for its comparatively low cost of living: 72 percent of expats rate this factor positively, in comparison to the 49 percent global average. Duesseldorf, Germany, and Singapore round out the top five best cities for living abroad.

Singapore Leads the Asian League

The majority of respondents (89 percent) does enjoy living in Singapore, agreeing to be quite satisfied with their life abroad in general. The city leaves its Asian competitors far behind with an eighth place in the Quality of Life Index. What is more, it even makes it the very top in the Safety & Security subcategory: over 80 percent consider the city’s safety very good. This is a more than significant difference to the global average of only 38 percent saying the same about their city of residence. Occupying the tenth place worldwide, Singapore also does quite well in the Ease of Settling In Index. This result is especially due to the Feeling Welcome subcategory, where the city comes in ninth place. For example, 73 percent of the respondents say that it is easy to get used to the local culture in Singapore. Among the other Asian cities, only Kuala Lumpur does better with regard to settling in, ranking 8th out of 35.

Beijing Top, Asia Flop in Personal Finance

While Singapore does very well in the overall ranking, the metropolis narrowly misses the Top 10 in the Personal Finance Index, coming in 12th place. The respondents in the other Asian cities do not seem to be extraordinarily satisfied with their financial situation, either — with one major exception that makes it even to the top of the list for personal finance:

Beijing comes in first place in the Personal Finance Index, with almost three-quarters (73 percent) saying that they are generally satisfied with their financial situation. However, the respondents seem to be less satisfied when it comes to the cost of living in China’s second-largest city, ranking it at a mediocre 16th place in this respect.

Shanghai does even worse and comes in 21st place out of 35 cities in the Cost of Living Index. In fact, not a single respondent in Shanghai is completely satisfied with their living expenses.
Expat life appears to be considerable more affordable in Kuala Lumpur: the Malaysian capital triumphs in this index, coming in at a very respectable 6th place, with 68 percent rating the cost of living in general positively.

Quite surprisingly, Hong Kong only makes it to a sub-par 22nd place in the Personal Finance Index and an even worse 23rd place in the overall ranking. Still, 57 percent state that they are mostly satisfied with their present financial situation. Unsurprisingly, the metropolis appears in the Bottom 5 of the Cost of Living Index (33rd place). More than seven in ten respondents (71 percent) are not happy with the cost of living in general. As many as 90 percent also consider it difficult to find affordable housing, which significantly exceed the global average of only 37 percent.
Poor Work-Life Balance in Asian Cities

Despite the rather negative results when it comes to finance, about 71 percent of the respondents in Hong Kong say that they are overall satisfied with their job. According to the InterNations survey, all respondents agree, though, that the Asian cities struggle when it comes to a good work-life balance. This affects Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, which all are found in the below-average ranks of the respective subcategory. Although Kuala Lumpur is not among the worst-rated cities regarding work-life balance, it merely achieves a mediocre 17th place out of 35 destinations. In the Malaysian capital, just one in ten expats is completely happy with this factor, as opposed to 27 percent in Melbourne, the number one for work-life balance.

Find more InterNations Expat Insider 2016 rankings, reports and infographics on http://www.internations.org/expat-insider.

About the InterNations Expat Insider 2016 City Ranking

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked about 14,300 expatriates representing 174 nationalities and living in 191 countries or territories to rate and provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. For the first time in three years running, survey respondents were also invited to share, which city of residence they are currently living in.

Based on this information, a list of cities qualifying for this ranking emerged. For a city to be featured in the league table, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per city was required. In total, the responses used for the city ranking represent 4,096 expats living in 35 destinations and 22 countries or territories in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East.

Participants were asked to rate more than 30 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 12 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up several topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living. These were further averaged in order to rank 35 cities worldwide. In 2016, the top five were Melbourne, Houston, Madrid, Duesseldorf, and Singapore.

Catch the iFitness Cover Model Search 2016 Finalists this friday

The inaugural iFitness Cover Model Search 2016 will be taking place on the 11th November 2016 at the Capitol Piazza basement from 7.30pm onwards.

The winner of this competition will be featured in December’s cover of iFitness magazine and win a cash prize of S$1,500, plus a modeling contract with the prestigious NOW Model Management. He will also take home prizes from various partners and sponsors.
Here are the 12 finalists:
14450005_895702377241248_382520026181582428_n 14457318_892779397533546_7966339046040034291_n 14463152_897445110400308_5082800650763261735_n 14492557_896121557199330_295724241106082742_n 14502713_892134447598041_3349404435407605494_n 14516387_896745153803637_645739804283677985_n 14520374_891667984311354_6746489615490874805_n 14570381_900900653388087_8387579464560149746_n 14581563_898161283662024_3857769891069884441_n 14591790_900435163434636_8134081514162108496_n 14600885_900785386732947_8109935729215415679_n
screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-37-15-am

 

Jack Wills opens second outlet at NGEE ANN CITY, TAKASHIMAYA

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-47-14-pm

Jack Wills, known for its cult British clothing, announces the opening of its second retail store at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City, two years after its debut in 2014.

This retail outlet is the brand’s eighth store in Asia, and the third outside of Hong Kong since the company’s foray into the region in 2011. The 200 square foot store in Takashimaya, located at the heart of Orchard Road reflects all that is Fabulously British. Jack Wills, for more than 16 years, has brought British heritage inspired wares of the highest quality to the wardrobes of spirited and

inspired youths, epitomising what it is to be British, irreverent and carefree. This store will carry an extensive range of products targeted at the discerning and sophisticated women and men who are inspired by the British heritage and fashion style.

The Grand Opening Party was presided by the brand’s Founder & CEO, Peter Williams who had flown in for the day to celebrate the official opening of Singapore’s second Jack Wills store.

“Since we opened our first store in Singapore in 2014, we’ve received an immense support and brand liking towards our Jack Wills Brand which we are grateful. The strong consumer demand for our products accelerated our plans for this second outlet. I have watched Jack Wills grow and flourish in the region and we are committed to provide even better quality products and a unique customer experience through the opening of our second outlet,” Peter Williams said.

Jack Wills was established in 1999 by founders Peter Williams and Robert Shaw in Salcombe, Devon, a small coastal town in the south of England. Ever inspired by the best of British, from its history and culture to sporting and country pursuits, the company’s registered trademark,“Fabulously British” encapsulates the inspiration behind Jack Wills – high quality goods that draw heavily on British heritage and style. Jack Wills takes pride in using the finest quality materials, techniques and design to deliver the brand’s distinctive connection between the old and new, epitomizing what it means to be young and Fabulously British.

The Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya store opens with the Jack Wills Autumn and Christmas 2016 collections. For the Christmas 2016 collection, expect festive hues, soft textures and iconic “Made in Britain” outerwear pieces. The boutique will also carry accessories, homeware and gifts to suit every shopping need.

Jack Wills’ Christmas collection focuses on quality rather than quantity, and clothes that suit our lifestyle, for work, socializing and everything in between. The designers have invested a huge amount of time and energy into upgrading the fabrics, fits and detail of not only the core clothing –hoodies, loungewear, knitwear – but also seasonal items such as outerwear of the finest quality.

Jack Wills has a strong following amongst some of the most quintessentially British style icons, including Princes William and Harry, Emma Watson.

Local Fashion Influencers and celebrities who attended the grand opening party include Nellie Lim, Maybeline Sim, Peggy Heng, Silver Ang and Benjamin Tan. When interviewed, Silver Ang, who is a local artiste and blogger said ‘I am definitely impressed by the new outlet at Takashimaya. British fashion has always been an inspiration for me and Jack Wills’ clothes have indeed motivated me to pursue the finest quality and style in my choice for a fashion label. I look forward to shopping more often at this outlet’.

Monopoly Game returns to McDonald’s®, with more ways to win and close to 4 million prizes up for grabs!

image005-2

The Monopoly Game will return to McDonald’s on 3 November 2016 with more extravagant prizes! With more ways to play and more chances to win, customers can look forward to winning a brand new Citroën C4 Cactus, OCBC Bank cash prizes worth S$40,000, Nestle Gold Bar sets worth $25,000, and Star Cruises Family Holiday packages worth more than $7,000, and many more prizes!

“We know that our customers have enjoyed the Monopoly Game at McDonald’s in previous years. This time, we are elevating the thrill of the game by offering customers the chance to win bigger and with more chances to win. Every meal with McDonald’s will bring them closer to winning!” said Yvonne Low, Senior Director of Marketing, McDonald’s Singapore. “More importantly, we are continuously looking for ways to delight our customers – be it by our food or the fun and unique experiences that we have to offer.”

3 Ways to Play

From 3 November to 28 December 2016, customers will be entitled to a Monopoly Game Label with every purchase of an Extra Value Meal. This year’s edition will see more touch points for customers to play the game including at all McDonald’s restaurants which comprises Self-Ordering Kiosks and Drive-Thrus, at McCafé counters and via McDelivery. Upsized Extra Value Meals and McDelivery Bundle Meals entitle customers to more Game Labels.

3 Ways to Win

Every Game Label represents a chance of winning an attractive prize in three different ways: Collect to Win, Instant Win and Chance Card.

image006-2

1. Collect to Win
Customers who collect all property Game Labels within the same colour group as shown on the game board will win the prize corresponding to that colour.

2. Instant Win
For customers who receive an Instant Win Game Label, they can either redeem the prize by presenting it at any McDonald’s restaurant or by following the redemption instructions, indicated on the label, to claim the prize directly from the prize partner’s outlet before the expiry date.

3. Chance Card
Chance Cards enable customers to enter a Weekly Lucky Draw by registering the given code number on http://www.mcdwin.com by 30 December 2016. Over a period of eight weeks, five winners will be picked each week to win a NETS Flash-Pay card pre-loaded with a value of S$500. There will be a total of 40 winners at the end of the lucky draw.

Registered entries which do not win in a particular week will automatically roll over to the next draw in the following week and finally to the Final Prize Draw on 12 January 2017. Registered entries that have won a Weekly Draw will not be eligible for future draws, including the Final Prize Draw.

Meal Donation

In addition, McDonald’s is partnering with The Food Bank Singapore Ltd to allow customers to donate their meals. Those who wish to donate their meals can simply inform the counter crew when they place their order. Donated meals will be valued at $5.00 each and will be presented to The Food Bank Singapore Ltd in the form of McDonald’s meal vouchers at the end of the promotion.

For more information on Game Play and Terms and Condition, customer can log on to http://www.mcdwin.com

3 Crucial Topics You Should Start Discussing With Your Children Today

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-46-01-pm

3 Crucial Topics You Should Start Discussing With Your Children Today

Start Discussing These Vital Points Early To Build A Strong Foundation

It requires a lot of skills and techniques as well as plenty of patience to raise kids in today’s fast-changing world. Keeping them away from using those digital devices, which are considered unhealthy for their brain development, and showing them how to properly manage their time is not an easy chore. Besides these topics, there are plenty of other important points that you need to discuss with your kids at an early age in order to create a solid foundation of communication and transparency. Let us have a look at some of those vital topics:

  1. Disappointment And Failure

No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and face disappointments and failures in life, and children are no exception. When they socially interact with each other they are bound to make mistakes and face disappointments and failures at one point or another.

There is nothing wrong to act as an emotional umbrella and give all the social and moral support to your child under such circumstances; however, it is better to take the role of a guide instead of a “savior”. There is no way you are going to be around your child forever; sooner or later he/she has to learn how to manage such situations. Therefore, the best course of action should be to discuss and teach your kid how to properly manage setbacks, disappointments, and failures.

Next time you kid comes home complaining that the other kids won’t let him/her play with them, instead of just asking about his/her feelings about the situation; you need to discuss on how your child would change the situation to his/her favor.

Pro-tip: Instead of giving your child a shut-up call on silly ideas, you should try to strengthen his/her problem-solving skills by asking for possible solutions. Another important trait that you need to inculcate in your child from a young age is self-comparison. Instead of rating their self-worth on traits such as popularity, academic success, and appearance, you must teach your kids to evaluate and value themselves. You need to teach them that they are human beings and accepting failures and criticism is part of human experience. Research shows that kids who practice self-comparison are able to recover quickly from failures. Such kids are also not afraid of trying new things as they know how to deal with criticism and failures if they fail.

  1. Sex And Other Related Topics

While it may seem like an irrelevant subject to discuss with kids at an early age, taking about sex and sexuality is an important subject that is best discovered in the safety of the home. There are plenty of things that you can relate to while explaining sex and sexuality to your kids. While watching a TV show with your kid, if you come across a scene showing a pregnant woman, you can use it to initiate the talk and explain your kid about sex and life. There may be plenty of such teachable moments that will come your way and can be used to initiate a more natural conversation with your kids.

While discussing sex and other sex-related topics with your kids that they will face in their future, you also need to teach them to respect their privacy and that of others. Your child should be able to understand the occasional need for “private time”, he/she should also be able to learn the value and importance of knocking the door before coming in when the door is closed. At the same time, you should also emphasize to your kid that his/her private parts are private and he/she needs to protect them and never allow others to see or touch them except his/her parents or the doctor.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you should follow that same rules yourself that you want your kid to learn; otherwise, the whole exercise will be not as effective.

  1. Financial Planning

Although it may sound like a pretty difficult subject to teach your kids, but financial planning is an important subject that you need to start discussing with your kids at an early age. You can start by teaching your kid that money has value and every time he/she spends the money it is gone. It is also suggested that you should try to use cash instead of your debit/credit card while shopping with your kids. Once your kids are able to fully comprehend how cash is used for various financial transactions, you can slowly teach them the same concept using your credit/debit card.

If you want to inculcate the saving habit in your kids, it is always a good idea to make them use objects like clear jars rather than money boxes. Kids are able to develop this habit once they are able to witness and observe the actual accumulation of their saving efforts and it is more visible in transparent jars.

Another great way to support your kids to develop this savings habit is to match his/her saving contribution with yours. For example, if your kid saves $1 a day, you can pitch in $1 from your side. This will not only serve as a reward for his/her efforts, it will also reinforce his/her saving habit.

Once your child fully understands the concept of savings and shows his/her interest in this activity, you can gradually introduce four new objects. You can make him/her distribute the money in four different money jars or money boxes to teach these fours new concepts.

  1. Jar 1 – Spending Bank – money to be used soon
  2. Jar 2 – Saving Bank – money to be used later
  • Jar 3 – Investment Bank – money to grow
  1. Jar 4 – Donation Bank – money to give to others

These four new saving concepts will not only provide a better understanding of them on how to utilize their money properly but also teach them to look beyond their own needs and care for the less privileged. If you are interested in teaching your child how to be prepared to face some of the large expenses that lie ahead with careful planning and investment, you need to make sure to visit our site for details.

Sooner or later, your kid is going to face all these challenges in life, why not equip him/her with these skill-sets at an early age.

 

Barron is a lifestyle writer in his mid-30s. In his free time, he enjoys going out with his friends to explore different uncanny places of Singapore and share it with the world.

 

Festive Merriment at Mitzo

image001-3

This December, progressive Cantonese restaurant, Mitzo Restaurant & Bar, introduces a range of lavish menus to complement the festive season.

Mitzo joins in the merrymaking with a selection of modern Cantonese dishes paired with artisanal cocktails. Celebrate the festivities with Festive Merriment I & II – both seasonal menus that incorporate premium and well-loved ingredients such as lobster, abalone and wagyu beef, befitting the jolly season. Elevate the festive spirit by opting for the cocktail pairing option which comes with two special tipples that are concocted using the freshest of ingredients.

Festive Merriment I (S$88 per person / S$118 per person with 2 cocktail pairings) features a delectable array of Cantonese fare including the Festive steamed dim sum platter, Braised abalone and asparagus king prawn skewers, and Steamed rice served with truffle wagyu beef. Amp things up by opting for the Festive Merriment II (S$108++ per person / S$138++ per person with 2 cocktail pairings) menu which offers a Festive Platter comprising of the restaurant’s signature Mitzo special barbecued pork and a Crispy soft shell crab wrapped with salted egg charcoal puff, a Steamed live Boston lobster topped with soya sauce, black and white garlic, and finally a bowl of Poached noodles topped with pork ribs.

Both menus are available from 10 to 31 December 2016, during lunch and dinner.

Yum Cha lovers listen up! Whet those cravings during this festive season with Mitzo’s Christmas and New Year’s Champagne Yum Cha Brunch (S$88++ / S$148++ per person) available on 24, 25, 31 December 2016 and 1 January 2017, 11.30am to 2.30pm. For the ultimate Yum Cha experience, guests are invited to choose from over 40 types of supreme seafood dishes, dim sum, roasts, wok dishes and desserts.

The Problems with Social Media Nowadays

img_1467

I admit. I am guilty of all these charges. In fact, my attention span becomes so short that it took me almost a week to complete this post. Reason: Being interrupted constantly by so many things on hand.

Is that a valid reason, I ponder often? As an entrepreneur and academic, I am all for multi-disciplinary learning and often sing praises for students who could seemingly juggle many things at one go. In today’s highly complex world, employers are also seeking graduates who show multiple involvements and interests in several areas like sports, arts, literature, community, politics and the list goes on. I am not surprised many early achievers see themselves as movers and shakers ahead of their peers just because of their ability to multi-task and achieve great results in their pursuits.

So what’s my point, you might wonder? I think the World has gone social and is in a better place; we, however, are not.

Herd Mentality

Don’t get me wrong. We all need references in our lives. In fact, I believe one of the ways to really learn is to model after someone who is successful; or learn from the mistakes made by others. My contention here is the prevalent herd mentality that is entrenched in our daily routine. Alright, social media guides our actions and behaviours. However, due to the high dependency we have on these platforms, a lot of our opinions, thoughts and behaviours are shaped and influenced by what we see online. We tend to normalise this behaviour and disregard critical thinking in other aspects of our lives. A case in point; We are seeing a lot more influencers posting information and sharing news about a new product or service. If there is a negative publicity generated about a brand by an influencer; a stigma is attached immediately until the brand recovers itself through constant public relations exercises or word of mouth by customers.  How many of us really bother to investigate the truth of each matter?

I want Fame

We are all striving for numbers. In fact one of the reasons why famous celebrities could get popular in the past was due to the immense reach generated through their works from movies, dramas or endorsements. It is all about reaching the minds of people and having a substantial mindshare. Fast forward to today’s generation, we see struggling old-time personalities trying to keep themselves current. All of a sudden, a sense of irrelevance kicks in. Fame hungry and dynamic Youtubers and Influencers begin to carve a niche for themselves by creating ‘programmes’ or productions that are real-time, social and less scripted. In the online world,  fame could be found instantaneously without having to go through the traditional route of being cast in popular films and dramas. Fair enough, a lot of celebrities are very popular on social media platforms, but increasingly, the newcomers find themselves thrown into the entertainment realms due to the strong online following they have.

5 Minutes of Fame make-believe 

My point is that the concept and desire towards fame have slowly infiltrated into our common concept and minds. Everyone wants to be known. Everyone wants to be seen as important and well, regarded.  Scan around your social media sites and you’ll see your friends posting pictures or videos of a media preview; food pictures & videos and even travelogues created all for the sake of getting it trended. ‘PPAP’, aka Pen Pineapple Apple Pen, a viral online video has stirred many renditions submitted by ordinary folks all in the name of joining the bandwagon and getting noticed through the process.

What’s the psychology behind? It’s definitely random fun and just for laughs. More strategically, it throws oneself into the public eye to be observed, discussed, gossiped or talked about. Remember, when you are in the centre of attention, you penetrate into the mindshare of people. Slowly and surely….You get more popular. Or should I say, you get your five minutes of fame.

Who sets the agenda? 

Let’s talk about the seemingly old modes of production of content. Journalists go through the manufacturing of news process and news are created through a careful selection and editing of news. Producers of dramas and films spent tons of hours working on issues relating to scripts, casting, location, props, production and the end products are marketed and aired on tv and cable channels. It has been a long debate in the media fraternity regarding the notions of agenda setting and propaganda. The media sets the agenda for people to think and react to it. With the advent of social media, new modes of content productions have evolved from citizen journalism, youtube productions, one liners to memes that could easily sum up the public opinion in the most creative manner.

We are exposed to tons and tons of information everyday through our Facebook feeds, Twitter timeline, Bigo Live, Instagram updates etc, often times with no agenda in these forms of communications.

Are we all ready and trained to decipher what’s real and whats not on social media? Can we trust all sources that are invading our social spaces?

Wants, Wants and more Wants 

I once had a friend who said ‘Ignorance is bliss’. He said ‘the more we know, the more unhappy  we become. In life, it is better to know less, so we don’t expect anything in our lives’.  How true!

Do you subscribe to this notion?

This comment , when applies to the concept of ‘needs and wants’, suggest that our wants are triggered because we are informed about the alternatives and many options we have. Very often, a sense of emptiness kicks in when we see friends’ posts on their latest travel vacation, extravagant purchases, fine dining, celebrations, promotion, anniversaries, new business openings etc. I am not suggesting that social media causes unrealistic wants; rather it exposes us to the concept that we are always inadequate in our material possessions. Obviously old forms of media like TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and outdoor billboards have long been guilty. Social Media has definitely makes it more apparent as we are tuned to our platforms on a 24/7 basis.

I wonder whether seeing posts of material possessions and achievements from peers makes us more motivated to achieve even more or on the contrary, depressed further from the inadequacies in our lives. What do you think?

Who is receiving? 

Communication starts with the sender encoding a message through a channel with the receiver decoding based on his or her perceptions and stereotypes. In a traditional way of communicating, the sender has a receiver in mind. In most circumstances, you tailor your messages to your intended recipient based on how you think the person might perceive or receive. In the realm of social media, the nature of the platforms doesn’t allow customised or personalised messages. Much of what we post go to a diverse group of people who have followed us, or ‘friended’ us via Facebook based on varying reasons in the past. A lot of our acquaintances receive our messages on a day to day basis without getting any true meanings or understanding. From an effectiveness standpoint, I question how much of these daily status updates and video posts actually get received fully from the recipients. If everyone is posting and no one is actually receiving, isn’t it a very very sad world? Again, I could be wrong.

Negativity begets negativity

You scroll your Facebook feeds and see updates from your friends filled with negativity.  Friend A talks about the unhappiness at work and the ill treatment received from his boss. Friend B laments about a bad driver who has cut into his lane while driving. Friend C posts a picture about a stranger whom she quarrelled in the bus.  Friend D shares about someone who just passed on.

Familiar? Bad vibes are happening everywhere. By amplifying these vibes, are we propagating and reinforcing that this world is, in indeed, sad?

We’ve been told to surround ourselves with positive and happy friends. Who wants to be reminded often on the sad truths and negativity in this world? Yes, we know the world is a harsh one. Aren’t we all in this journey of searching for happiness in our lives?  I worry about the long-term effects it has on the psyche of people as we are bombarded by these messages constantly.  Believe me, time will tell.

We feed Advertising?

In traditional mode of advertising, empowered and smart consumers have recognised the commercial intention of businesses and have discredit the effects long ago. We simply switch channel when it’s commercial break time. We selectively listen to the radio news and omit the radio jingles heard over news radio 938. When we are commuting on MRT, we simply ignore the billboards and get on with our lives.

This selective perception is however a lot more difficult on social media. How many times  have you seen sponsored ads popping up on our Facebook news feed. Even instagram forces you to check on a sponsored ad after 5-10 seconds of scrolling your friends updates. Can we avoid these messages? The answer is NO. Marketers are already trained to enter into the realms of consumers based on their media habits. Where there are people congregating, there will be advertising and commercial interests.

Advertising is here to stay. If you want to stay in the social media realms, you need to live with it.

Sex: Powerful tool 

We know “SEX SELLS’. And this notion is amplified on social media. All too often people with great bodies who are willing to bare get far more attention from the ordinary folks. ‘If you have what it takes, flaunt it’, I fully agree. I am not jealous or anything. I know I don’t have a great bod! LOL What I am against is the wrong subscription amongst the younger generation that if you bare, you will get attention.  I think from a marketing standpoint, this notion is true. However I don’t think this is a good mindset to have in the society. I just don’t think trivialising sex is the way to go.

Instant Gratification 

Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting or needing things, experiences, or products in a timely manner. However, It’s important to balance our desires with a realistic sense of timing and patience.

We gain instant feedback from our devices, because we’re constantly plugged in and turned on. Social media gives us instant ability to upload videos, photos and status updates. We receive instant feedback from our social followers. We respond in near real time to emails and tweets. We have the ability to make things happen without having to wait.

Because our devices are ubiquitous, our connectedness is constant. There’s very little patience required.

We even expect business growth — a phenomenon long considered to be gradual — to happen overnight. Like the viral explosion of a YouTube video, we want to hack business growth for viral expansion. The pursuit is admirable, even if the results aren’t always what we desire.

Therein lies the problem, the belief that social media can fuel businesses quickly and success is guaranteed. We fail to think of the rigour and hard work involved in making things work. We think social media is the magical answer to entrepreneurship and success. We think that hiring influencers to blog about our products or services will ensure streams of customers coming to our stores. We think that viral videos are the way to go. We think digital marketing is the solution to all business evils. Bullshit.

 

Well, I need to qualify that I am a proponent of social media. I believe the media is always neutral and outcomes are determined by the users themselves. With every con you see from social media, there are always pros that come along. In fact, I could easily write another article about the growing advantages of social media. I am no saint and I am not here to play God. I just want to share my thoughts about the growing trends and hopefully we can sit back, and reflect on this digital giant, amidst our fast moving society.

Thank you and adios.

Dennis Toh

loading…

New ‘Click & Collect’ service at Robinsons The Heeren

image004-2

Robinsons is delighted to introduce ‘Click & Collect’, a new online shopping feature which officially launches on 3 October 2016! ‘Click & Collect’ invites shoppers to browse and purchase their desired items via the Robinsons shopping website before collecting them at Robinsons The Heeren. From the digitally savvy woman who enjoys shopping in the comfort of her own home to busy executives who prefer purchasing their lifestyle essentials on the go, ‘Click & Collect’ by Robinsons provides shoppers with more options and convenience to indulge in retail therapy.

In line with the introduction of the newest Autumn/Winter collections at Robinsons, ‘Click & Collect’ allows shoppers to get their hands on the latest items for the season with just a few simple clicks and a trip to the department store’s flagship store at Robinsons The Heeren.

Featuring an exclusively curated line-up of over 300 offerings across fashion, beauty, travel, technology and home & lifestyle, including items which are sold exclusively at Robinsons, shoppers will delight in the smorgasbord of products available for purchase. With ‘Click & Collect’, shoppers will enjoy exclusive online prices plus GST absorption^ on their purchases!

To find out more about making an online purchase with ‘Click & Collect’ at Robinsons, please see below:
1. Visit shop.robinsons.com.sg to browse the products
2. Select your desired products and make your payment via the site
3. Your items will be ready for collection in three hours! Present the online receipt to confirm your purchase and collect your coveted products at the Concierge on Level 1 of Robinsons The Heeren.

To kick off the launch of ‘Click & Collect’, the first 100 shoppers who make a purchase via the service will receive a welcome gift set worth more than $80, including $40 worth of vouchers redeemable at Robinsons The Heeren till the end of November.*

The joy of indulging in a little retail therapy begins at your fingertips. Visit shop.robinsons.com.sg to make your next quick and easy purchase with Robinsons today!

COO – Singapore’s First ‘Sociatel’ Brand, A New-Generation Hospitality Experience & COO Bistro

image002-2

image003

Singapore’s first ‘Sociatel’ brand introduces a new-generation hospitality experience to locals and travellers alike – its first property in Tiong Bahru, designed by multi-award winning design firm Ministry of Design, synergises a design hostel and a casual bistro, while introducing COO Connect, a digital interest matching tool aimed at connecting like-minded hostel guests. The unique COO brand DNA of being ‘Glocal’, Social, and Playful transcends through the design hostel, bistro offerings, and in the future – all things related to COO. Unveiling STAY, EAT and CONNECT in its first phase, COO aims to continue building a distinctive brand experience with future expansion plans to include introducing single rooms alongside the shared ones, varying F&B concepts, integrated retail spaces and even co-working environments.

The design hostel houses COO Bistro, that casually sits in the heart COO and serves up a contemporary ‘Glocal’ menu that draws inspiration from an array of global and local cuisine. In keeping with the COO brand ethos of being ‘locally rooted’, the casual bistro showcases its whimsical interpretation of local dishes that resonate with the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood.

Catering to both travellers and locals in a neighbourhood that embodies the quintessential local experience, COO Bistro plays up on its ‘Glocal’, Social and Playful aspect of the brand in its menu creation. True to what real food should be, fresh ingredients are used and sauces and dips are house made from scratch. Opened daily (except Tuesday), the bistro serves up two menus, an All-Day-Brunch Menu and a Dinner Menu, the latter offering a more refined choice of mains.

Priceza Strengthens Its E-Commerce Platform In Southeast Asia With Burda Principal Investments, The Venture Arm Of Hubert Burda Media

logo-priceza

Priceza, the leading shopping search engine and price comparison shopping platform in Southeast Asia, announced at a press conference today that it is joining forces with a strong Series B investor, German global media giant Hubert Burda Media (HBM), to secure its rising success and competitive power within the region’s rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

Priceza currently has a presence in six regional markets, dominating in Thailand and Indonesia, with a combined 13 million visits a month. Traffic to Priceza Thailand numbers 7.5 million a month or over 200,000 a day and the website has seen a 100% growth from 2015 to 2016. The platform has a product database of over 59 million items across six countries.

Thanawat Malabuppha, Priceza’s CEO and Co-founder, welcomes the funding as an important turning point for Priceza to develop into an international e-commerce tech company in its 7th year of operations.

“For Priceza, it’s a significant milestone; recognition as a strong, international tech-based company. Being backed by a strategic, global investor like HBM, who shares our mission, enables us to leverage their digital expertize and in depth media understanding to deliver the best online shopping services to consumers across SEA.”

“According to the Euromonitor, Bofa Merrill Lynch’s eCommerce Report, e-commerce shopping accounts for a mere 1-2% of total retail sales in SEA, compared to 16% in Korea, 9% in US and 8% global average. With the growing e-commerce ecosystem in the region, having the support of HBM will firmly place Priceza as the number one online shopping search engine in this region and provide the fuel for rapid growth. “Both Priceza and HBM share a vision to make the retail ecosystem in SEA as transparent as possible to benefit both buyers and sellers,” added Thanawat.

Priceza’s Series B funding is in the seven-figure USD range and significantly higher than Series A funding in 2013. HBM has now taken over the initial stake from CyberAgent Ventures (CAV) giving them a 24.9% share in Priceza. Media conglomerate HBM is a big investor in consumer-facing internet businesses which account for some 60% of its annual revenues.

This investment, carried out by a recently formed unit within HBM called Burda Principal Investments (BPI), set up in 2015 to offer long-term growth equity for fast-growing digital technology and media companies, is the first of what will be many investments by the company into SEA.

“We are looking at increasing our investments in SEA and Priceza seemed a natural choice because of how it has grown from an idea from three Thai computer engineers in 2010 to a high-profile platform spanning 6 countries,” pointed out Fredrich von Scanzoni, CEO at Burda Asia.

“This is in alignment of our strategy to invest in a great team and in a robust e-commerce ecosystem. We have been investing in e-commerce companies for the past 20 years and understand the price comparison space very well. With Priceza joining our portfolio, they will bring deep insights into the region and together we can build Priceza to be a significant player and market leader in SEA,” said Friedrich.

Peter Kennedy, executive chairman of Burda Asia, echoes this support for Priceza.

“We have been impressed by the growth of Priceza within and beyond Thailand. The strategy behind the Series B investment is to enable Priceza to expand and develop even further and solidify their market dominance”.

The Unveiling of The Anam Villas – The District’s First-ever Colonial Beachside Resort

unnamed-5

unnamed-6

Situated on a superlative spot on the tranquil shores of Nha Trang Bay in Vietnam, The Anam Villas is the latest beachside resort addition to Worldhotels’ diverse and growing portfolio of independent hotels. Boasting some of the most captivating sunsets over the boundless Pacific Ocean, and accompanied by a sea of turquoise tinged waters and a 300m stretch of sugar-white sands, The Anam Villas oozes exuberant resort styled living and brings their motto “No News, No Shoes, No Stress” to life.

The hotel’s name Anam is derived from the bygone era of “IndoChine” and also stands for the alternative name of Vietnam in the past – with the entire property’s look and feel inspired by this particular epoch in time. Guests will find that the main lobby of The Anam Villas overlooks the wide expanse of the shimmering South China Sea and comes adorned with rich wood accents, and luxurious fittings and fixtures. These visually arresting elements are complemented by Peranakan inspired floor mosaics tiles, imbuing the entre property with an old-world architectural elegance with a contemporary appeal. Guests will also be pampered by the personalised and first-class service provided by The Anam Villas’ most precious gems, their dedicated staff. As a team that goes beyond the extra mile, witness first-hand as Vietnam’s finest butlers, valets and concierges tend to each and every guests’ needs, and get blown away by their supreme Vietnamese hospitality, comfort and charm.

From now till 19 December 2016, enjoy IndoChine’s luxurious charms at The Anam Villas. Room stays from Seaview Premium category will be priced at an introductory rate of USD 220++. This rate includes complimentary breakfast, fresh in-room fruits, roundtrip shuttle bus services to Nha Trang city centre, return airport transfers and free room upgrades when available. Prices for higher tiered room categories will also be at a discounted rate and include the same perks stated above.

“Sweet dreams are made of this”
Boasting an award-winning “Sweet Dreams Ala Carte” concept, The Anam Villas offers guests goose down duvets and pillows that provides the utmost of comfort and a good night’s sleep. This is only further complimented by exclusively manufactured Irish linen bed sheets and pillow cases. The luxurious bathrooms, with their sunken bathtubs, rain-showers, and artisanal French lotions and toiletries, typify The Anam’s meticulous attention to detail. Each of the hotel’s 95 villas also tick off all the required boxes of an archaic but yet, swanky retreat and come airy, bright and suffused with the most exquisite of Vietnamese hardwood and antique styled tiling. The villas also come adorned with native artefacts like straw conical hats, better known as nón lá, which can be found in each villa and provide guests with shade from the scorching sun.

An explosion of flavours and a native dining experience
The Anam Villas believes that dining is so much more than just great food, and offers guests gastronomic options to slow down, relax and catch up with those who matter most. IndoChiné Cafe blends two distinct traditions into its meals – the Vietnamese tradition whereby an entire family unit sits down and shares a meal together, and the Venetian tradition of Cicchetti, which smaller servings of food are opted over larger portions, allowing guests to savour more even more dishes in one sitting. Satay Club brings guests on a trip around the world and promises the discovery of the world’s many varieties of satays. The third epicurean option for guests to adjourn to is Beach Club, which serves up The Anam Villas’ signature cocktails, an extensive range of single malt whiskies and the very best of casual dining by the beach.

Recreational and therapeutic activities for everyone
The luxurious Sri Mara Spa, named after the first Cham King of Vietnam, offers a range of private treatment rooms equipped with therapists specially selected and trained in the art of Balinese massage. Kids can frolic their days away in three large swimming pools, a kid’s adventure club and a playground. For guests who seek for an active lifestyle, there are options such as tennis, yoga, water sports and even a fully functioning dive centre for underwater enthusiasts, along with a well-equipped fitness centre. With the help of The Anam Villas’ dedicated staff, guests can even plan their own customised vacation agenda when residing at The Anam Villas.

“Nha Trang is an up and coming leisure and coastal destination in the APAC region, and is slated to become one of the must-see places for the avid and discerning traveller,” says Roland Jegge, Executive Vice President Worldhotels Asia Pacific. “Worldhotels cannot be more delighted over the addition of the first luxury villa retreat in Vietnam, The Anam Villas, and we are excited to be part of their reign from the get-go.”

Lalamove Satisfies City’s Hunger for Food Delivery

lalarecommended

Hong Kong based on-demand delivery app Lalamove is moving into restaurant and food delivery across Bangkok to feed the growing appetite for appetizing restaurant dishes and produce to be brought straight to customers’ doors.

Restaurants and food producers invited to use Lalamove’s 24/7 dedicated courier service receive a stamp of approval with a ‘Lala Recommended’ graphic featured on Lalamove social media. Invitees are selected for their high quality cuisine, outstanding reputation and popularity amongst customers.

Alongside this insignia, dishes and produce are promoted on Lalamove’s Facebook and Instagram pages, giving businesses a real boost and satisfying demand for reliable delivery for hungry customers too.

In return, ‘Lala Recommended’ restaurants and food companies are promoting Lalamove services via their own social media too; reminding customers that Lalamove is the go-to app for all delivery needs in the city, from important documents via motorcycle courier to large items of furniture via pickup truck, and everything in between.

The food delivery scheme which began recently already offers a wide array of tempting ‘Lala Recommended’ cuisine, from high-class dinners to nourishing comfort foods and lunches for health-conscious workers across the city. This includes fresh seafood from Lobster Gangster and The Cooking Crab, Japanese dishes with Taka Sashimi Express, plus juices and wheatgrass shots with Own Your Own Fresh, plus much more.

Norwegian Jewel retrofitted with Gas Scrubber Technology

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-3-11-57-pm

In conjunction with its Eco-Smart Cruising program, Norwegian announced today the successful completion of the retrofitting of a new Exhaust Gas Scrubber system on Norwegian Jewel, aimed at significantly reducing air emissions and the ship’s environmental footprint.

Norwegian Cruise Line is the first cruise line to retrofit a vessel while it is in service with an Exhaust Gas Scrubber Hybrid system. Norwegian Jewel’s new lightweight in-line scrubbers are a hybrid technology developed by Yara Marine Technologies that are able to operate in Dry mode, Open loop and Closed loop. Five scrubbers were installed, one per engine, covering the whole propulsion system. Collectively, they are capable of reducing the emission of sulfur to air up to 99 percent and also reduce 85 percent particulate emission, pollutants, to the air.

Norwegian Jewel’s new technology will reduce the equivalent of approximately 1,500 tons of Sulfur Oxide, SOx, gas in the years to come as a result of this new technology. A two year project, Norwegian Jewel’s retrofitting began in spring 2014 and featured more than 100,000 man hours between numerous partner organizations to be completed.

“Norwegian is firmly dedicated to upholding the highest standards of excellence in environmental protection practices, as well as leading the industry in seeking out technology that makes our ships not only an enjoyable vacation experience, but also ensures that we continuously protect the environment that our guests love to explore,” said Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Norwegian is the first cruise line to install scrubbers with a state-of-the-art water membranes filtration unit. This sophisticated water cleaning system uses Ultrafiltration technology to clean the recirculated water during the closed loop operation down to clear water. The by-product is collected and removed in drums.

As part of Eco-Smart Cruising, Norwegian’s Safety and Environmental Protection Policy establishes several objectives relating to the environment, which include reducing the impact of its operations on the environment, disposing garbage and waste materials in accordance with national and international rules and regulations, recycling and re-using materials and establishing specific objectives and targets for continual improvement of environmental management programs.

Norwegian currently has three of ships outfitted with Gas Scrubbers technology, with Norwegian Jewel joining Norwegian Escape and Pride of America. Norwegian Cruise Line is on track to meet its MARPOL Annex VI compliance goal of reducing its global sulfur cap from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent by 2020. Furthering Norwegian’s commitment to Eco-Smart Cruising, Norwegian Jewel’s sister ships, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem, will complete their scrubber commissioning within the coming weeks with Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun scheduled for retrofitting in the first and second quarter of 2017, respectively.

Keeping Company Data Safe: Educating Your Employees on Basic Security Measures

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-2-52-27-pm

Keeping Company Data Safe: Educating Your Employees on Basic Security Measures

The problem with security in the modern realm is that from a technical point of view, there are far too many traps and pitfalls for inexperienced or older employees to fall into. The amount of liability is not only an unheard of amount, but when you start to think about the quantity of potential traps and the sheer number of threats out there each and every day, you can easily see why it is so hard to trust older employees who aren’t as familiar with the internet to have full access to both computers and sensitive data. Consider the following measures as necessary to discuss with your employees with respect to basic security.

Understand The Importance Of Passwords

According to the Last Pass, employees make far too many mistakes with passwords. Not only do they not record them, but when they do record them they leave out their password sheet. They can use the same password over and over again to remember it, but the problem is if that password is breached or compromised then every password that they have is susceptible. They may use the same passwords for both personal use and company use, but then that can open up an entirely new set of problems. Password education is a critical step because the entire security of the organization depends solely on the security measures in place being taken seriously as well.

Verify Who You Are Talking To

The truth is when you are responsible for any sort of data or sensitive data, then you have to be aware of the potential problems that can come up with respect to having and protecting that data. That is why when people make phone calls, send phishing emails, and even pretend to be someone else in person, then you have to have multiple systems in place to verify that someone is who they say that they are. The benefit is to use something with security already built in such as encrypted video conferencing for IT solutions by the BlueJeans in order to know that the only people who are able to access your company and your data are the very people who are being protected behind encrypted channels.

Compromising Sensitive And Confidential Information

When you think about the specifics of compromising data and confidential information, the first thing that you should pay attention to is the fact that you are always somewhat vulnerable to hacks. As the SSE Network reported, even the United States Census was able to be hacked by world famous hackers known as Anonymous. This means that even the top security measures taken to protect people can still come up somewhat short and can still have holes in their security measures. What it also means is that regardless of what your plans are as an organization, you will always be vulnerable. That’s why when you are storing any sort of information for any reason whatsoever, you have to make sure you not only protect it to the best of your abilities, but you also find a way to transfer the risk and possible even have other organizations store it on secure servers.

Keep Permission To A Minimum

While employees might think that they are vital to the operation and should have access to do whatever they please and to do it whenever they would like to, the truth is that those sorts of employees are delusional. They want to go online and download apps and games, access news sites that will allow them to view gossip, and even shop. Not only are those things not related to work, but they are some of the top methods that hackers take in order to access your system and to break through into your data. In other words, it is the actions of the employee that actually create the bridge into your company. Instead of giving your employees every permission imaginable, it makes far more sense to simply lay down security blockers, disable downloading capabilities, and keep your employees from accessing anything that could be deemed a threat. As you continue to educate them about the possibilities of what could be waiting out there for them, they should hopefully understand and fully comply with your requests.

As you continue to gain more knowledge into the world of online security and the major problems that come with the territory, it can only make sense why so many will make such a big deal about protecting data and keeping cyber security threats to a minimum. Just make sure that you do whatever is necessary to get your employees onboard and in no time at all you should start to be able to breathe a sigh of relief as you know your biggest cyber threats are minimized if not eli

Rooting For A Cause with Toast Box and ABLE’s Sixth-year Milestone

5638-toast_box_logo_hr2-jpg

To mark its sixth year milestone, Toast Box goes a step further with non-profit charity organization, ABLE (Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations), to join hands with beneficiaries to raise awareness and funds for ABLE’s rehabilitation, respite and training programs.

This year, the funds will be raised through the sales of Sprouting Kits — a portable-sized cup that comes with soil compost processed from Toast Box’s recycled coffee grounds, and seeds for growing the sprouts. As part of giving back to the community, Toast Box has been supporting ABLE through fund-raising programs in the last six years.

Together with ABLE’s staff and beneficiaries, Toast Box’s staff-volunteers pack and assemble the Sprouting Kits — from sticking of labels onto the cups, to packing the soil compost, seeds and instructional guides within the kit.

These packing sessions keep the beneficiaries physically and socially active. It also allows Toast Box staff-volunteers to better understand the challenges faced by the beneficiaries and how the funds raised can help serve ABLE’s programs which are aimed to help the physically challenged lead a productive, meaningful and independent life.

To take this social community effort further, this year’s fund raising also stems from the brand’s creative way of giving back to the environment by recycling their coffee grounds and reusing them as soil compost.

Gene Lee, Executive Director of ABLE, commented, “We’re very happy to continue collaborating with Toast Box for the sixth year to raise funds for ABLE. This year, our beneficiaries are especially delighted to play a part in this fund-raising initiative and through Toast Box, we hope to reach out to more members of the public to increase awareness of our services and to help more beneficiaries!”

With the underlying meaning of ‘growing’ new life, the Sprouting Kits allow customers to have a hands-on engaging experience in growing their very own edible ‘Bak Choy’ or ‘Kai Lan’ sprouts, which they have the option of adding the sprouts to salad, or cooking with other vegetables.

Vincent Lim, Regional General Manager of Toast Box, Bakery Division (ASEAN), rallies the community to be part of this meaningful initiative, “We are especially heartened to have ABLE’s beneficiaries and staff, Toast Box staff and even our industry partners coming together for the first time to put their best foot forward in this initiative. With the support of our customers, we believe this can be developed into a long-term social and sustainability effort in supporting our community.”

From 22nd September 2016, these portable sized Sprouting Kits will be sold at $5 each. 100% of the sales will go to ABLE.

‘Who is Jesus’ Musical Casts local heartthrob Jeffrey Xu as a roman Soldier, Apple Hong to play Saint Claudia

IMG_6920

IMG_8645 done

FullSizeRender (6)

Local Mediacorp Actor Jeffrey Xu has been tapped to play a Roman Soldier in the upcoming musical, Who is Jesus, produced by Newstring Ministry.

Adding to the incredibly talented and attractive cast, local artiste Apple Hong has been cast in the iconic role of Saint Claudia, wife of Pilate, who is played by local Model and Entreprenuer Dennis Toh.

Other notable actors include ex-host DaiLan, veteran Singer XiaHui as well as Singer Song Writer Lin Yi Zhong, who will play the iconic role of Jesus.  Sound Engineer from Dreamworks, Terence Teo, who is a renowned Music arranger in Asia has also been invited to provide musical direction to the production.

With a realistic approach, this musical seeks to unravel the life story of Jesus as an actual historical figure. The story begins with two Roman soldiers delegated as spies to observe Jesus. Both saw how the Jews clustered around him with admiration and witnessed how Jesus was ultimately set up by the religious leaders, only to be crucified on the cross.

Once unaware of the past behind Jesus, the two Roman soldiers eventually came to discover his love and soon realised that he is the true Son of God.

Liza Foong, Director and Producer from New String Ministry commented ‘It has been a rough journey getting this stage play together. However, we have witnessed several parties coming together for the sole purpose of piecing the stage play into one. I want to thank everyone who has helped us throughout the process’.

The epic two-hour musical will take place at the Esplanade on 3th September (2pm and 8pm) and 4th September (2pm and 8pm). Admission is free. Interested theatre-goers are invited to call 81660922 or email whoisjesus2016@gmail.com for tickets. For more information, visit WhoisJesus.sg.

Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with Mooncakes with Deliveroo!

Gift Mooncakes With Deliveroo

To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, Deliveroo, the on-demand premium food delivery service, has launched deliveries for mooncakes this festive season allowing customers to order mooncakes in advance from now until 15 September.

Gift Mooncakes with Deliveroo is Deliveroo’s new service to help customers celebrate the meaningful occasion. As mooncakes have come to define the festival and all that it stands for, Deliveroo is committed to go the extra mile to deliver the delectable pastry to customers, so that they can enjoy the sweet mooncakes without having to step out of the house.

Customers will be able to order and enjoy special early bird promotions (where available) from Mandarin Orchard, Grand Park City Hall, Dean & Deluca, TCC, Antoinette and many more. Customers can browse their offerings and order their desired mooncakes, through Deliveroo’s mobile phone application or website.

Robinsons the Heeren presents TWS Twisted Sisters

ALLIA Culottes (Front)VERONIQUE Top (Black)

Committed to bringing the best Asian brands from the region under one roof, Robinsons, a leading department store in Singapore, continues to enhance its fashion repertoire by presenting budding Hong Kong label, TwS Twisted Sisters, in a pop-up store format at Robinsons The Heeren Level 3 from now till end August 2016.

Designed for the savvy and confident women, TwS Twisted Sisters is a brand which epitomises the personality and style of its wearer. Helmed by Hong Kong-Canadian designer, Maria Mak, the ready-to-wear collection features simple yet edgy designs that play with graphic silhouettes, clever tailoring and strong contrasting elements with an underlying hint of grunge twist to each piece.

Be charmed by the understated apparels, comprising a myriad of tops, jumpsuits, dresses, skirts and jackets in lightweight materials such as polyester, organza, satin, faux leather and neoprene, the line is edgy and refined. TwS Twisted Sisters adds lustre to the collection with sophisticated fabrics in luxurious wools and silks. The colour palette perfectly blends the conservative hues of black, white, grey with full blooms of pastel tones, rejoicing the beautiful spirit of women shining through her own confident from inside out.

TwS Twisted Sisters has won the hearts of an impressive list of fashionable celebrities and influencers including Angela Simmons, Neon Hitch and Débora Rosa. Priced between $125 and $369, the noteworthy fashion label offers a contemporary and classy wardrobe that prepares every stylish woman to transform seamlessly from work to dinner date.

TwS Twisted Sisters is showcased from now till end August 2016 at Robinsons The Heeren Level 3 Women’s Department.

[ LATEST] Pokemon Go available for download in Singapore

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 9.19.21 am

Trainers in 15 new countries and regions across Asia and Oceania can now officially download Pokémon GO from the Play Store or App Store. Discover Pokémon in the world around you!

Countries and regions include: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau

Go Download NOW!

Get ready to indulge in Swensen’s Moon Treasures ice cream mooncakes this Mid-Autumn!

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 12.07.53 am

This year, Swensen’s unveils Moon Treasures, a collection of six delectable flavours, comprising of three all-time-favourites and three new trendy offerings. Expect exciting new flavours like the Aroi Milk Tea, Salty Eggy, and Coco Yammy, along with familiar classics such as Sticky Chewy Chocolate and Durian Royale.

Encased in a beautiful and luxurious gold box with a complimentary matching cooler carrier, these deliciously icy treats are great as gifts or simply as a treat for the whole family, making them the perfect addition to round off all Mid-Autumn festivities!

Swensen’s Moon Treasures Mooncake Collection will be available at all Swensen’s and Earle Swensen’s outlets from1 August to 15 September 2016, at $35.80 (inclusive of GST) for a box of any 4 flavours.

Individual mooncakes can be purchased separately at $9.50 each (inclusive of GST).

No pre-orders are required.

National Day Celebrations at The Scarlet Singapore

The Scarlet Singapore Deluxe Room
Celebrate Singapore’s 51st birthday together with your family or friends at The Scarlet Singapore!
Take a break and enjoy a rejuvenating staycation during the National Day long weekend at The Scarlet Singapore. The Scarlet Singapore is ideally located for adventurers or history buffs to explore and experience the interesting neighbourhoods and their rich heritage. For those who prefer to wine and dine, be prepared to indulge in the myriads of culinary and entertainment options in the vicinity of the hotel.
National Day Celebrations Package starts from S$208++ per night for Deluxe Room, S$228++ for Executive Room, S$288++ for Premium Room and S$488++ for themed suites (excluding Passion Suite).
National Day Celebrations at The Scarlet Singapore Package is valid for stay from 5 to 9 August 2016 and includes the following:
  • Complimentary welcome amenity
  • Complimentary mini bar
  • Complimentary Golden Village movie vouchers for two persons
  • Guaranteed late checkout at 3pm
  • Complimentary wireless Internet access in guest room
  • Complimentary use of FLAUNT and SODA
For room reservations or enquiries, please call (65) 6511 3333 or send an e-mail to reservations.sg@thescarlethotels.com. Room reservations can also be made online at www.thescarlethotels.com.

Your own guide to investing in property in Singapore

Property investment is a great way to make a lot of money – if you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it can be a very risky market, one fraught with legalities and nuances. But with the right guide and a good idea of the marketplace, you can well be on your way to building a proper portfolio. So let’s get you started!

Best-locations-for-property-investment-in-Singapore

Image Souce:- PropertyGuru Singapore

Introducing The New ECCO Shape Collection – Heels That Look As Good As It Feels

Inspired by extraordinary women and their dynamic lives, ECCO, the Danish footwear and leather goods brand, introduces ECCO Shape Collection, a new range of beautifully designed footwear with heels.

Launching as part of the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, ECCO Shape hails an era of razor-sharp technology with the innovative design of its high-heeled shoes to achieve what was previously impossible – heels that look as good as they feel.

The ECCO Shape Collection, priced from S$249.90, will be available at all ECCO concept stores and online: sg.ecco.com from August 2016.

HERE’S a Sneak Peak

ECCO SHAPE 75 SLEEK$259.90 (AUG)

ECCO SHAPE 75 $269.90 (SEP) Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 12.06.20 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 12.06.40 AM

#womenshapetheworld

Your Favourite McDonald’s® Curry Sauce is Now Available in a Limited Edition Take-Home Bottle

McDonald's Bottled Curry SauceA hot favourite among Chicken McNuggets® lovers, the delectable McDonald’s Curry Sauce in a take-home bottled edition is set to sweep fans off their feet!

The Curry Sauce was developed in Singapore more than 10 years ago and since then it has become one of McDonald’s most popular and iconic condiments, capturing the hearts of Singaporeans with its burst of local flavour. Now, other than enjoying the dip with nuggets, fans can look forward to savouring the taste of McDonald’s Curry Sauce with other favourite foods at home.

Curry sauce lovers can purchase the bottled Curry Sauce (375ml) at $4.50 with any Extra Value Meal, limited to 4 bottles of Curry Sauce in a single receipt from 21 July.

The limited time offering will be available after breakfast hours in all restaurants (except NTU, NUS, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic) and via McDelivery®, while stocks last. For more information, please visit www.mcdonalds/com/sg/confirmshiok.

[Commentary] 5 reasons not to own a CAR in Singapore

IMG_9396

 

$40k, $50k, $60k… The COE for cars have been rising and rising at breakneck speed yet cars are still flying off their wheels to be owned. Owning a car is not only for transportation in Singapore but it is also a status assuring commodity. Aspiring individuals who are keen to own a car for better or…for worse, here’s 5 reasons why you should not own a Car in Singapore:

 

1. Parking lot Nightmares

Parking is always not available! Depending on locations, sometimes finding a French cuisine in a hawker centre yields higher returns. And if you ever chance upon empty lots, sorry my friends, these are reserved for seasons parking holders. It is so bizarre when you keep driving around the empty parking lots. Lot after lot, floor after floor… And still they are ‘red’ lots!!! And when you finally see ‘white’ lots after circling up the car park for petrol that cost like $10, there is no empty lot for a single car. Empty promises at it’s best!

 

2. Hassle of using Carpark Coupons

I am sure many drivers out there will exhale a ‘heng ah!’ Finally found a parking lot!! Yes, my same sentiments every time, that is when you reach over to the side compartment to fish out the parking coupon, and to your worst nightmare, all the coupons you have got, like 30 of them, are with holes; you go through them one  by one trying to find one without holes. Heart beat fasten, palms start to sweat… All you can find are ‘holely’ coupons fit for the bin. Then you try to make an educated guess if you do not display any coupon, will you be fined? At this point, my advice is: no matter how educated your guess is or how educated you are, you will get a ‘fine’ notice on your windscreen when you return.

Run, yes I mean run to the nearest not so convenient store and get the coupons ASAP! Your heart will wrench when you return after a good movie to find a slip of long white paper pinned to your wiper.

 

3. The irritating Beep Sound from IU

Beep beep beep, chimes the ERP device in the car after you have exited from the car park. Value in the cash card is lower than $5, an alarm sounded in your head to top up the cash devouring card. After driving for 5 mins, you pass by another car park, beep beep beep the device chimes again. This is repeated a number of times before you finally reach your location. It could be passing by car parks, ERP gantries or anything that looks vaguely like a ERP gantry. The device never fails to remind you that it is hungry and low in vitamin M. The chimes is more irritating than the damn alarm clock in the morning!

 

4. The Yearly Road Tax visits you again

You open the mailbox as per normal. A stack of mails await you, your eyes catch a glimpse of a blue logo with a traffic cop on a bike, it’s the time of the year again! Road tax is here, and when road tax is here, his friend, ‘car insurance’ will be here as well!!! Wow you lament, one year passes so fast. Yes, reality hits where it hurts most, your bank account. For the next 10 years or whenever your COE expires, you will be hurt yearly.

 

5. Either a Fine or more demerit Points 

You wake up late in the morning for work, no worries you thought, I can drive a little faster. You reach the car and on the ignition, the car starts up, and the yellow petrol logo lights up. Always on the dot, always on the wrong dot. After wasting 20 mins to the petrol kiosk, you drive off at shooting star speed, you reach the office just in time for the important meeting. Good if you do. 7 days later, the cop on the bike logo might appear in the mailbox again. When it does, best of luck to you. A fine or a demerit composition might awaits you.

 

Why not keep a Pet?

The car is like a pet, it needs constant care, washing, waxing & servicing. It requires feeding (petrol), it’s requires snacking (coupon and cash car), it needs hospitalization care (flat battery, flat tyre, engine problem… ) and you only used it like 1 hour twice a day.

Would you rather keep a pet which has better returns? I am sure most cats and dogs outlive a car anytime in Singapore. The above may seem trivial and to some nothing worth mentioning, multiply it by 12 months by 10 years, that is 120 months of self inflicted pains!

But on hindsight, there are also many fun activities that you can do in a car, limited to 2 consenting adults at best due to space constrain.

So for those who are planning to leave the MRT, taxis, buses and ubers behind, I wish you all the best with owning a piece of junk after 10 years.

 

Shang Guan Hei

SINGAPORE Chicken rice restaurant Pow Sing suspended for link to gastroenteritis outbreak

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.30.05 PM

The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are investigating several cases of gastroenteritis reported between 4 and 11 July 2016, traced to the consumption of food prepared at Pow Sing Restaurant, located at 63-65 Serangoon Garden Way. As of 12 July 2016, a total of 29 cases were verified to be affected, and further investigations are ongoing.

MOH, NEA and AVA were first notified of the cases on 4 July 2016 and had immediately conducted joint inspections of the restaurant’s premises on 5 July 2016. Several hygiene lapses, including failure to maintain temperature records and allowing an unregistered food handler to prepare food, were observed. The operator had been instructed to rectify them immediately. On receiving further notification of another 4 affected persons on 11 July 2016, there is reason to suspect that there might be a continuing source of infection in the premises.

To protect consumers from public health risks, NEA has suspended the licence of Pow Sing Restaurant with effect from 13 July 2016, and required it to dispose all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items, conduct thorough cleaning and sanitising of its premises including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets, and review and rectify the lapses in food preparation processes identified during the joint inspections.

AVA has collected food samples from Pow Sing Restaurant, as part of the investigation. Laboratory tests are ongoing.

MOH has collected stool samples from the affected cases and the restaurant’s food handlers have been sent for stool screening. Only food handlers who are tested to be free of food poisoning pathogens, and have re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene Course will be allowed to resume work. MOH and NEA will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Members of the public are advised to report such incidents by calling our 24-hour NEA Contact Centre at 1800-CALL-NEA (1800-2255-632).

 

Five social customer service trends you need to know about [For Marketers]

Five social customer service trends you need to know about

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 1.07.44 AM

We recently lined up 18 statistics which took the social customer care temperature as we head into the second half of the year.  To give you a better understanding of some of the key developments underpinning these numbers, we’ve taken a deeper dive into five trends which we see as the influential shapeshifters, priorities and challenges ahead.  Here goes …

#1 Social media teams and technology are converging

Businesses are changing the way they organise internally around social engagement.  Marketing teams used to be the headline act when it came to social media.  They held the social purse strings and strategies were aligned around what they wanted to say.  The social contract put the onus on the customer to listen.  How things have changed.  The contract has been torn up and the onus is on brands to listen – together as a business – to understand and respond to what customers experience along the way.

When it comes to frontline support, marketing campaigns are only effective if customer service teams are prepared to answer questions and comments about the campaign.  Organisations working towards a collaborative approach are investing in one suite of tools which can be tailored to serve multiple use cases for engagement:  listening, routing, prioritisation, response, crisis management, performance management, analytics, reporting and CRM.  Customer care teams also need to share budget with marketing and other key stakeholders to drive economies of scale.  This will also help to stop the silo mentality resurfacing if different departments continue to use different tools and social data is skewed by incompatible listening methodologies, objectives and outcomes.  To foster closer collaboration, regular cross-departmental meetings need to be scheduled to share feedback, insight and ideas.

Where are we at?

The number of businesses which work collaboratively and those which still work in silos are now evenly split.  Participants in a recent webinar we held in partnership with Netcall told us:

  • 42% were collaborative
  • 42% were siloed
  • 8% were competitive
  • 8% other

#2 Seeing the bigger picture

This really ties in with the trend for closer collaboration.  Customer experience is the new wealth and businesses can no longer trade on price advantage alone.  However, most organisations can’t see the bigger picture and don’t analyse social data to understand what customers go through.  It’s always better to understand why consumers choose your brand than hedge your bets on simply asking them to.  You also need to find out why they abandon purchasing decisions or want to jump ship.  But, the reality is data-driven insight on social customers is still elusive and brands are missing unfettered feedback.  Operationally, businesses which do not measure social activity are not accurately monitoring how support teams perform, consolidating internal processes to best serve customers, nor working out how to use channels to resolve increasingly complex queries.

Where are we at?

Research from Incite Group found that 64% of brands are not accurately measuring the impact of their social activities.

#3 Hello, is there anybody out there?

Improving response times is a top priority for those brands which need to close the chasm between what customers look for and what they are able to provide.  We’re going back to basics here.  Consumers don’t just talk to one brand on social channels and they shine a light to those which are quick and efficient in getting back to them, putting businesses which are ignoring comments, or slow on response times in the shade.  Organising workflow and simplifying agent inboxes will go a long way in fixing this for businesses struggling to keep up.  One of the biggest routes to failure is not investing in engagement technology which can scan, filter, route and prioritise mentions to make it easier for social media teams to get back to each and every customer that needs a response.

Where are we at?

Just how wide is the chasm?  Dimension Data research found that the average social media response time is 78 minutes.  While a study from BT and Avaya found that 70% of consumers expect a response on social media within 15 minutes.  When it comes to answering the people who are complaining the problem is acute.  Jay Baer’s research in partnership with Edison showed that just 32% of social media complainers are satisfied with businesses’ response times.

#4 Messaging apps and chat bots

Consumers are increasingly looking to one-to-one private conversations when they need support and demand for chat apps is pushing the customer frontier.  These apps could change the way mobile customers connect with brands altogether.  It’s possible that consumers will get app fatigue and replace brand apps with an easy option like Facebook Messenger to connect with businesses at all points of their journey and simply pick up threaded conversations again when they need assistance.  Messaging apps could even replace live chat as customers see them as a quicker solution to waiting around on websites for support to get back them.  These apps are an always-on connection and brands could lose engagement with customers that start to leave websites when they want to connect.

Just how popular are they?

Messaging apps are outpacing social networks when it comes to monthly active users (millions):

  • Messaging apps 3,500
  • Social networks 2,500

Channel choice:

  • Mobile apps are a top three choice for customer service for under 55s
  • Social media is the number one choice for customer service under 25s

When it comes to supporting customers on these platforms, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line et al need to be integrated into the engagement apps that agents already use to provide a consistent service, making sure you can offer customers the best engagement experience from a single point of access.

What about chat bots?

Chat bots are a potential game changer.  Facebook, for example, has upped the ante on this by letting businesses drop chat bots into Messenger.  Other platforms will follow suit.  Using bots will help reduce agent-assisted interactions but the outcome as always depends on the quality of the AI brands deploy.  Companies will need to work out the right balance between bots and real people to effectively support customers to avoid re-igniting frustrations about automated services.  Businesses will probably only use AI for simple enquiries and FAQs.  In most cases bots will start a conversation and then agents will take over to do the heavy lifting.

Where are we at?

Research from Mobile Ecosystem Forum and Mblox found that 65% of customers now talk to businesses via chat apps.  Financial services customers are the most active users at 22%.  Retail and e-Commerce customers come next at 16%.  There is an untapped opportunity here as the study also found that 35% of chat app users are currently unengaged.

#5 Customer patience is running out

Customers who find interacting with a brand easy improves trust.  If a consumer trusts that contacting a business is easy, they won’t necessarily turn to competitors.   If people want to use social channels and support is slow or a hassle, or they feel like they are being ignored, they are likely to just give up and go elsewhere quicker than they can type #poorservice.  55% of consumers have intended to make a purchase, but didn’t due to bad service.  We’re going full circle here.  Customer experience is the new capital and making social customer care easy is a wealth creator.

Where are we at?

Research by tyntec found that 80% of consumers view getting through to an agent quickly as the number one priority for customer service.

For more info visit www.sentimentmetrics.com

This article was contributed by Sentiment Metrics.

FREE Gelato to Celebrate Earle Swensen’s New Westgate Outlet!

To celebrate the grand opening of Earle Swensen’s newly opened outlet at Westgate, Earle Swensen’s will be hosting a FREE Gelato Day for all patrons on the 9th July!

 

Earle Swensens Westgate FREE Gelato Day

 

Patrons will be spoilt for choices as they get to indulge in all-time classic favourites like Chocolate, Vanilla, and Mint Chip, amidst an exciting assortment of 13 flavours including Cheese Cookies, Lychee, and Matcha.

Earle Swensens Westgate Gelato Flavours

The best part? There is no minimum spend required.

Now there is no reason not to treat yourself to free Gelato in our sunny humid weather!

ES Single Scoop

Each customer is entitled to one scoop of Gelato (while stocks last).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Earle Swensen’s FREE Gelato Day:

Date: 9th July 2016, Saturday

Time: between 3PM – 5PM

Venue: Earle Swensen’s at Westgate (3 Gateway Drive #03-10/11, S608532)

 

 

We look forward to your support for Earle Swensen’s FREE Gelato Day!

 

Jaw dropping discounts and promotions at The ROBINSONS EXPO SALE

Robinsons EXPO Fair 2016 Campaign Image

The highly-anticipated Robinsons EXPO Sale has finally arrived! From now to 10 July 2016 at Singapore EXPO Hall 5, enjoy up to 80% off a wide selection of products, ranging from fashionable wear for men and women to luxurious home and living products.

Look forward to popular fashion brands such as Ted Baker; footwear labels such as Skechers; and bedding brands such as King Koil Estoile, the Robinsons EXPO Sale is your chance to stretch your dollars as you expand your wardrobe and home essentials!

There are more reasons to visit the EXPO Sale: all shoppers get to enjoy $9 off with every $90 nett purchase in a single receipt* (valid 30 June to 3 July 2016), as well as enjoy purchase‑with‑purchase on products such as a 3-piece Cookware Set from WMF or a 1.75L Blender from Electrolux with just minimum $60 nett spend^!

 

* Terms and conditions apply.

^ Exclusions, terms & conditions apply. While stocks last.

 

 

[HEARTBREAKING & SHOCKING] Undercover footage exposes the horrific abuse and torture endured by dogs inside slaughterhouses at China’s Yulin Dog Meat

Dog_being_killed-e3666283637d927cb6367921d44d053f

closeup_dog_face-400b83c5768a94fc994e75e73969f3ee

Bloody_Dog-66e5139bdc5383c999b05fcae5645fd5

Undercover footage released exclusively by nonprofit Last Chance For Animals (LCA) exposes the horrific abuse and torture endured by dogs inside slaughterhouses at China’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival. LCA is the first organization to document the unsanitary conditions and inhumane treatment of dogs inside Yulin’s slaughterhouses. The footage was shot prior to the June 21, 2016, start of Yulin’s annual dog meat festival where an estimated 10,000 dogs are killed during the summer solstice.

Video taken by LCA’s investigators inside the Yulin area slaughterhouses documented cruel transport, handling and killing of dogs, including:

  • dogs tightly packed inside transport cages and left for hours on the sidewalks adjacent to markets
  • slaughterhouse workers ramming and hitting terrified dogs with metal pipes to move them from large transport trucks
  • dogs dragged by their necks with metal tongs and bludgeoned with metal pipes as an ineffective means of stunning them
  • dogs having their throats cut open and slowly bleeding to death while visibly gasping for breath
  • dogs exhibiting signs of severe distress as they stand in pools of blood and watch their cage mates die

To view the undercover video and learn more about the investigation, visit: www.stopdogmeat.com.

The Yulin dog meat festival was launched by dog meat traders in 2009 as a commercial enterprise to boost flagging sales of dog meat. An estimated 10,000 dogs will be killed and eaten during the festival. Many of these dogs are stolen pets and are transported hundreds of miles over provincial borders to reach Yulin. The slaughterhouses operate without the requisite certificate of inspection as mandated by China’s Agriculture Ministry.

LCA’s investigative team traveled to Yulin before the festival started to document the cruel slaughter. LCA will present its findings to the Yulin city council and demand that the slaughterhouses be closed. While the city of Yulin has withdrawn their sponsorship of the festival they have failed to enforce existing laws and regulations violated by the dog meat trade, including laws that regulate animal disease control, food safety, trans-provincial dog transport, and youth protection.

“LCA’s investigation inside the area’s dog slaughterhouses spotlights the cruel and illegal practices that Yulin’s city government can no longer turn a blind eye to,” said Adam Wilson, Director of Investigations for LCA. “The city council must act now to stop the illegal slaughter in Yulin. The festival is condemned by millions of Chinese citizens who overwhelmingly support the passage of animal cruelty laws that would ban the killing of dogs and provide basic protection for all animals in China.”

To view the undercover video and learn more about LCA’s efforts to stop China’s dog meat trade, visit www.stopdogmeat.com.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and public awareness campaigns. Since its formation in 1984, LCA has succeeded as one of the nation’s pioneer animal advocacy organizations. Working internationally, LCA’s Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit documents abuse in research labs, puppy mills, factory farms, and the entertainment industry, and works with prosecutors to enforce animal cruelty laws. LCA’s educational and outreach programs have empowered the public to make positive changes for the animals in their own communities. For more information, please visit http://www.lcanimal.org/.

We really need to stop this cruel and insane acts. Spread the video around.

YouTube star TIFFANY ALVORD added as Special Guest to SAM TSUI & KURT HUGO SCHNEIDER

Square-Poster---Tiffany

LAMC Productions is thrilled to announce YouTube sensation TIFFANY ALVORD will join YouTube superstars SAM TSUI and KURT HUGO SCHNEIDER as a Special Guest in Singapore for their one night only concert on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 8pm at Kallang Theatre!

Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider, hailed as internet singing sensations, were among the very first musicians to establish a hugely popular music-focused channel on YouTube. To date, their videos combined, including covers, medleys, and mash-ups, have amassed over ONE BILLION views and close to 10 million subscribers on YouTube alone, contributing to their ever-expanding worldwide fanbase.

Tsui and Schneider have been able to harness the ever-changing tools of the digital music age to independently create internationally popular channels and brands, garnering them countless TV and magazine appearances, including The Ellen Show, The Oprah Show, Entertainment Weekly, and In Style Magazine. Both Tsui and Schneider have also applied their powerful digital platform to many brand deals, including KIA, Dell, and a national spot with Coca Cola that ran during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Tiffany Lynn Alvord is an American singer and songwriter. She has been cited as one of YouTube’s first “home-grown celebrities”. She has a large social presence on YouTube with over 500 million video views and over 2.8 million subscribers, making her channel among the top 50 most subscribed music channels on YouTube. Alvord also has a strong following on social media sites including more than 2.6 million Facebook fans and over 360,000 Twitter followers. In December 2012, Alvord performed in Times Square on the Nivea stage with Carly Rae Jepsen, Train, PSY and Taylor Swift as part of the 2012 New Year’s Eve celebration.

Standard tickets: S$128 (Includes Meet & Greet), S$108, S$88, S$78 and S$58.
Tickets on sale now at http://www.sistic.com.sg and via all other Sistic channels.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1712139669042529

Sam Tsui Official Sites:
Web: http://www.samtsui.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamTsuiMusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamuelTsui
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesamtsui

Kurt Hugo Schneider Official Sites:
Web: http://www.kurthugoschneider.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KurtHugoSchneider
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kurthschneider
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/KurtSchneider

Tiffany Alvord Official Sites:
Web: http://www.tiffanyalvord.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TiffanyAlvord
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TiffanyAlvord
Instagram: http://instagram.com/TiffanyAlvord

‘MAI TU LIAO’: It’s time to put your ‘No Carb Diet’ on hold and Fall in Love with Mcdonald’s once again

Diversity of cultures and food is a unique reflection of the Singaporean identity. With this in mind, McDonald’s Singapore is launching three new limited time offerings that are defined by local flavours that Singaporeans love – salted egg yolk, pepper crab and Gula Melaka.

As McDonald’s continues to evolve its food offerings based on Singaporeans’ changing tastes and preferences, it will proudly introduce new additions to the menu including, the Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Burger, Twist & Shake Fries with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker, and Gula Melaka McFlurry® with Layer Cake Bites! .

Combined with the evergreen favourites at McDonald’s like the McSpicy, Spicy Nuggets and Banana Pie, customers are set to be spoilt for choice.

 

Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Burger

Inspired by Singaporeans’ love for salted egg yolk, McDonald’s infuses this rich, salty-sweet grainy concoction with breaded whole-muscle chicken patty, curry leaves and chopped lettuce on a black pepper and white sesame bun.

The Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Burger is available a-la carte from $5.75. Customers can enjoy the burger in an Extra Value Meal that includes French Fries (M) and Coca-Cola (S) from $7.5

Salted Egg Yolk Chicken BurgerSalted Egg Yolk Chicken Burger

 

 

Twist & Shake Fries (M) with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker

The Twist & Shake Fries (M) with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker brings together the best of both worlds – our all-time favourite Loop Fries and Shaker Fries. To trigger local taste buds, the Twist & Shake Friesare amped up with a flavourful seasoning reminiscent of Singapore’s iconic salt and pepper crab.

Customers can purchase the Twist & Shake Fries (M) with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker a-la-carte from $3.40 or enjoy it with any Extra Value Meal by topping up $0.60.

Twist & Shake Fries (M) with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker

 

Twist & Shake Fries (M) with Salt & Pepper Crab Flavoured Shaker
* Only available in (M)

 

Gula Melaka McFlurry® with Layer Cake Bites

Gula Melaka, also known as palm sugar, is a local favourite when it comes to desserts and cakes; while the Thousand Layer Cake, also known as kueh lapis, is a must-have during festive seasons in Singapore. TheGula Melaka McFlurry® with Layer Cake Bites combines swirls of Gula Melaka-flavoured syrup with velvety vanilla soft serve and tops it off with delicious layer cake bites.

Gula Melaka McFlurry with Layer Cake Bites

The Gula Melaka McFlurry with Layer Cake Bites can be purchased a-la-carte from $2.90.

Gula Melaka McFlurry with Layer Cake Bites

 

McSpicy 

Made to suit Singaporeans’ local palate and love for spicy food, the McSpicy in Singapore is one of the spiciest McDonald’s formulations in the world. Bite into the thick and juicy chicken cutlet marinated with fiery hot spices, topped with crunchy lettuce and sandwiched in a toasted sesame seed bun.

 

McSpicy

McSpicy

 

Spicy Nuggets

For McNuggets® lovers, the Spicy Nuggets will set your taste buds ablaze. Order them a-la-carte from $4.45 for the 6pc option, from $5.95 for the 9pc option, or from $11.20 for the 20pc option.

The Spicy Nuggets Extra Value Meal that includes French Fries (M) and Coca-Cola (S) can be purchased from $6.05 for the 6pc option and $7.70 for the 9pc option.

Spicy Nuggets

Spicy Nuggets

 

 

Banana Pie

Goreng Pisang is a favourite childhood snack that many Singaporeans grew up with. McDonald’s version of Banana Pie will bring back those good ol’ memories as you bite into the flaky crust and taste the sweet banana bits that ooze out. The banana pie is available from $1.20.

Banana Pie

 

Banana Pie

The brand new offerings are available after breakfast hours in all restaurants and via McDelivery® from 30 June 2016, while stocks last.

Put your No Carbs Diet on hold. Go and fall in love with Mcdonald’s once again today!

ANZ claims six awards at Cannes Lions for campaigns supporting diversity and inclusion

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.09.43 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.10.14 AM

ANZ’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been acknowledged with the bank taking out six Cannes Lions awards for its Equal Future initiatives and GAYNZ campaign.

The bank was awarded Gold Lions in both the PR category for Equal Future – Pocket Money and the media category for GAYNZ; on top of a further four Bronze Lions.

ANZ Group General Manager Marketing Louise Eyres said: “We’re thrilled to have our work supporting diversity, inclusion and financial equality recognised on the world stage. These awards are a testament to the marketing teams at ANZ and our world class partners, led by Whybin/TBWA with the support of PR agency Haystac and media agency PHD.”

The Pocket Money video created for International Women’s Day highlights the gender pay gap in Australia by capturing the reactions of brothers and sisters doing the same chores but not receiving equal pay. The campaign, an extension of ANZ’s Equal Future Women’s Initiative, reached more than 1.5 billion people globally.

To mark ten years of partnership with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, ANZ’s Oxford Street branch – at the heart of the parade route – was rebranded as a GAYNZ branch, a baroque-inspired celebration of LGBTI culture.

The GAYNZ logo was extended across anz.com, social media channels and company business cards and in collaboration with Twitter ANZ developed a rainbow coloured flag emoji which appeared whenever #GAYNZ was used – a brand first for Australia. The GAYNZ campaign reached 840 million people globally.

Cannes Lions is the world’s pre-eminent awards festival recognising excellence in marketing, communications and advertising.

In 2016, ANZ was the second most awarded bank by number of Lions with only nine banks to be awarded at the festival.