Monthly Archives: November 2016

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A craving to convey kolek races back again to Singapore

Words and phrases by Mayo Martin / Multimedia by Lam Shushan

Study Component 1 of this series: Viewing a way of existence vanish

Component 2: Bringing back again a generations-old tradition

RIAU ISLANDS, INDONESIA: For some Singapore residents observing at house, it is stirring nostalgic memories of times gone by – and the wistful hope that they might be introduced yet again.

We are on locale at Tanjung Pinang in Bintan, streaming the pre-race festivities of a kolek or regular sailboat regatta on Fb Dwell on a cloudy working day in late October.

Viewing this, Yazid Van Lamri writes: “Last viewed this with my late father at the coastal parts of (Pasir) Panjang at the rear of hawker centre now at close by park.. they connect with it ‘lumba kolek’.”

Other people like Hisham Hiseánas Huang remember how these tall, sleek sailboats that have been aspect of the region’s maritime culture considering that the 1800s employed to be raced all through the New 12 months Regatta and off Katong, Siglap, Telok Kurau and Bedok.

A kolek race in Bedok in 1963. (Photograph: Ministry of Info and the Arts Collection, courtesy of Countrywide Archives of Singapore)

Arthur Lee states: “If this was aspect of our Singaporean heritage, why not have Singapore Tourism Board organise this function? I think it could commence from Clifford Pier, go close to Sentosa as a vacationer promotional function, and conclusion at HarbourFront.”

Baseer Shamsudin is amongst those who thinks it a excellent idea to revive these types of neighborhood-bonding activities. In the old times, kolek racing was a kampung-compared to-kampung function, significantly like neighbourhood soccer clubs.

Observe: The Fb Dwell stream from Tanjung Pinang

It is all quite encouraging for Mazlan Mohd Nasir, a Singaporean who is doing work to convey back again the sport of kolek racing to prominence yet again, at minimum in the Riau Islands. (Study about his efforts listed here.)

“It feels good having these good responses. When there are more participants, points can turn out to be a reality,” states the 54-yr-old, who grew up in the Southern Islands observing his family’s kolek, Pujangga, catch the breeze. (Additional on the old times listed here.)


The thrill of these races isn’t like Components 1 or horse racing, where by the competition burst full-throttle from the beginning blocks. But there is a selected class when their brightly-colored large sails slowly and gradually distribute as the crews labour to harness the wind.

And then they out of the blue electric power earlier you, and you realise how quickly these craft are. Mazlan states they can likely go up to 11 knots (20kph) tapping sheer wind electric power.

And simply because they constantly feel to be tilted to the aspect, kolek give the impact of perpetually currently being this shut to capsizing. Straining to management the sails, the crew stand on the gunwale at a perpendicular angle to the boat in buy to preserve stability. Within, there is constantly just one guy frantically bailing out the h2o coming in.

Overlook F1, this appears more like a rodeo – with 9 people today valiantly attempting to subdue a quite stubborn and gigantic bull.

There is a little perception of awe when you realise just how significantly skill it takes – and pleasure, as well, when you remember that the kolek of the Riau-Singapore-Johor location in the 1800s was way in advance of the English sailboat (which employed to be beaten by the kolek in races in the nineteen sixties, Mazlan recollects).

In fact the trapeze process of leaning out of the boat, it is stated, only arrived to be employed by English sailors in the thirties.

Observe: The kolek in action. Observe from three:05 for how the regular compares to the modern sailboat.

What’s at stake at these races? Mazlan states there are trophies and a bit of hard cash, close to S$eighty at most for the profitable staff. But more importantly, it is about “the title (of the boat) and the pride”.


However, this isn’t Mazlan’s racing year. His family’s boat capsizes 2 times in two races in August, which is when we 1st witness Pujangga in action in the Riau islands.

When its yellow sail vanishes from look at for the next consecutive race, it is not by itself – eight of the 11 boats in its class also capsized, a testimony to how challenging this sport is. “The wind is quite powerful more than there,” mutters Mazlan.

The drenched sailors come up to accumulate their consolation prize of packets of nasi padang, h2o and gas for the journey back again house. “Capsize yet again!” just one of the sailors blurts out. They are all smiles, but Mazlan’s nephew Firhan whispers to us: “They’ll be upset.”

It is two months prior to we see Pujangga yet again, this time in Tanjung Pinang in October in the most significant and final race to be held this yr. The kolek capsizes in its third consecutive race. But this time, Mazlan is beaming.

Click on interactive story-map: Our journey to doc Mazlan’s story

Not only has Pujangga been joined by a different kolek from Keban, where by Mazlan’s 76-yr-old father life and the family is attempting to revive the racing culture – Mazlan has also lastly confident his spouse, who does not share his passion, to go away Singapore for a bit and be a part of him in Bintan for this race.

Additional than 30 kolek commence out on that quite challenging circuit, circling a huge island off Bintan. A fierce squall blows in half an hour into the race. As the rain and winds lash out, the Pujangga is amongst its a lot of victims.

But for Mazlan, this third consecutive capsize isn’t a negative consequence at all. Ahead of the storm strike, the kolek was amongst the frontrunners at some details and had managed to reach the turning issue at the other island, the longest length it had sailed this yr.

“I’m pleased,” he tells us. “They did it towards the powerful winds, which demonstrates you the high quality of the boat and the crew.”

He’ll have to wait around till future yr for his kolek to complete a race. But for now, as the survivors trickle in to significantly cheering and excellent-natured heckling by spectators cheering for their kampong teams, it is time to delight in the instant.


In fact at the conclusion of the working day, profitable and getting rid of isn’t the most essential thing that matters to these island-folks.

After just one of the losses, we return with Mazlan to his father Mohd Nasir Awang’s compound in Keban. Whilst we have been fast paced at the race, his sister Lela and the many others have been fast paced preparing for a sumptuous feast serving as each a celebration and a commemoration.

It is a thank-you dinner for the valiant crew who gave it their all. It is also held in memory of Mazlan and Lela’s mother, Cik Nasir’s spouse, who handed away in 2003 and their brother, a diver who died in 2008. For them, family and neighborhood are just one and the same.

The dwelling home has been cleared out to make home for the attendees, folks from the villages who pack on their own in to sit on the ground as the village priest qualified prospects the prayers.

Later on, the food streams out of the kitchen area, a buffet of hen curry, epok-epok, bubur kacang hijau, prawn porridge, roti jala and an assortment of kuehs.

Observe: Food stuff they make at house on Keban, in 1:twenty mins

As the air grows thick with cigarette smoke, Mazlan, who’s seated with the crew, leans more than to us and states: “This is the time for bonding. We get jointly to discuss and share stories.”

Due to the fact there is no race the future working day, anyone stays up later than regular. After dinner, Mazlan, Cik Nasir and the crew transfer outside the house to go on their banter under the stars.

Despite having lived significantly of their life in Singapore, it is apparent just how powerful these Singaporeans’ bonds are with the people today of Keban, who have embraced them in change.

For Cik Nasir, it is a existence that has come full circle: The son of a penghulu who still left Keban to develop a family (and even assist a new country come across its footing) is now back again house.

For his have son, Mazlan, after getting rid of contact with his kampung childhood by the sea and his beloved kolek, he has rediscovered in his father’s hometown. And now he shuttles between two locations he calls house, to keep a distinctive tradition afloat for the future generation.

Study Component 1 and Component 2 of Mazlan’s story. Coming up: A former Singapore national sailor turns artist documenting regular boats.

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Craft beers take on could of mainstream brews in beer-guzzling Vietnam

HO CHI MINH City: A microbrewery in Vietnam the moment created durian beer, defying the urban myth that mixing liquor and Southeast Asia’s king of fruit could destroy you.

No a person died ingesting the Pasteur Street Brewing Company’s durian wheat ale, but it was not a hit with customers.

“I was bartending below at the time and people today would ask: ‘Oh you have that durian beer?’” The company’s Canadian advertising and marketing manager Mischa Smith mentioned with a chuckle. “I’d give them a very little sip, they’ll taste it and say, “Okay, do you have just about anything else?’” 

Bubbling UP 

Durian ale is no extended on the menu at Pasteur Street’s little thirty-seat bar in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, replaced in its place by flavours like jasmine, passion fruit, chocolate and even bacon.

It is a person of a escalating range of craft breweries that have bubbled up in Vietnam’s first-tier cities in the past two a long time, and guiding them is an eclectic blend of expatriates who are betting on the taste and wide range of their brews to stand out in a market ruled by domestic and global giants these types of as Saigon Beer and Heineken.

Vietnam drank 3.6 billion litres of beer in 2015, ranking fifth in Asia and holding its title of Southeast Asia’s major beer guzzler. Thanks to a robust beer society and a youthful population of ninety three million, beer suppliers see Vietnam as the next turning position for progress in the region, according to Euromonitor Global.

A range of craft beers at a Vietnamese microbrewery Pasteur Street Brewing Corporation. 

Facts reveals beer usage grew 6 per cent in 2015, of which imported beers getting the most dynamic at sixteen per cent in total quantity conditions. Consumers are achieving out for imported beers from Western nations around the world, which are seen as the more healthy, much better tasting and a classier drink for higher-revenue Vietnamese.

This section of the market is what craft brewers want to faucet. But competition is rigid – Vietnam’s craft beer start out-ups are up towards the multimillion dollar advertising and marketing strategies, considerable distribution networks and proven model names of the huge boys.  


Craft beer can often be “too different” for the rising Vietnamese market, which needs time and convincing, mentioned Mark Comerton of Platinum Drinks.

“We tried to release a golden ale that was unfiltered, that intended it was a very little bit cloudy,” the Irishman told Channel NewsAsia.

The look did not go down nicely with Vietnamese customers utilised to the clarity of lagers. Distributors started off returning the kegs stating “There has to be some thing completely wrong with this,” Comerton mentioned. “But we held robust, tried to do more education and learning and conveying, ‘No, this is how it’s supposed to be created.’”

Rates of a range of craft beers at Pasteur Street Brewing Corporation in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Much more significant perhaps is the cost position. In a place where the most affordable beer can be uncovered on the streets for as very little as US$.forty, can craft beer with its premium cost tag of US$2 and up genuinely flow for the Vietnamese?

“You’re paying for what you get,” mentioned Brian Vo, a university college student and craft beer standard who belongs to the country’s nicely-travelled urban center class.

Talk to any one on the road, having said that, and probabilities are most have never heard of craft beer, besides for bia hoi, the watery forty-cent draught brewed by tiny impartial brewers and uncovered simply in tiny bars, places to eat and road stands specifically in northern Vietnam. 

Bia hoi: Cheap, refreshing and created contemporary day-to-day.  

Very long Highway TO PREMIUMISATION 

Impending industry agitations spell intense competition in Vietnam’s beer market. The govt is transferring to sell off significant stakes in condition-owned beer giants Sabeco and Habeco, the brewers of Saigon Beer and Hanoi Beer, drawing interest from international rivals like Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Asahi.

Craft brewers are unfazed, buoyed by total market progress and their self esteem in Vietnam’s extensive highway to “premiumisation”, an industry phrase for consumers’ willingness to fork out more for high priced liquor.

“If huge international beer providers were to deliver in their possess craft beers, it would enable teach a market where craft beer is continue to in its infancy,” mentioned Marc Djandji, a Pasteur Street shareholder and head of institutional income at RongViet Securities.

The weeknight group at the Pasteur Street bar states it all. In a total household of expatriates and travellers, 34-year-old Vietnamese architect Binh stands out as a noticeable minority.

“The mainstream beers are all the exact, so I come below for a different taste,” he mentioned.  

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Singapore college students prime international rating in maths and science

SINGAPORE: Singapore college students are the world’s best in arithmetic and science, in accordance to an international benchmarking review introduced on Tuesday (Nov 29). 

Key four and Secondary two college students right here topped both subjects in the Traits in International Mathematics and Science Analyze (TIMSS), which assessed pupils from 63 other education techniques about the environment.

Not only are Singapore college students scoring nicely in people subjects, they also have far more positive attitudes towards learning and are immersed in condusive learning environments, the survey located.

About six,500 Key four college students and six,100 Secondary two college students – all randomly chosen from across all schools in Singapore – took portion in the newest review which has been executed each and every four decades because 1995.

At the Key four amount for occasion, for arithmetic, college students right here obtained the greatest ordinary score of 618. Hong Kong came in second with 615 adopted by South Korea with 608. The identical college students obtained the greatest ordinary score of 590 for science, ahead of South Korea (589) and Japan (569).

Sample of a Key four Science product at the “superior” benchmark. 

The conclusions also showed improvements by Singapore college students above the decades, especially in better-purchase imagining techniques.

The Ministry of Training (MOE) explained: “This displays our curricular shifts towards a better emphasis on such imagining techniques above the decades.” Likely ahead, MOE will set better emphasis on crucial imagining techniques in examinations. 

“It can be not about producing examinations harder, it can be about irrespective of whether the examinations exam the techniques that we want our college students to acquire,” explained Ms Minimal Khah Gek, deputy director-common of education (schools).  “So in this scenario, we do want our college students to be ready to feel critically, and also to be ready to demonstrate their imagining.”

MOE credited the students’ positive learning attitudes to the learning atmosphere both at property and in university, adding that far more than eight in ten college students in Key four and Secondary two explained that their math and science teachers are clear in their expectations, are very good at detailing ideas, and hear to their views. 

The international review also exposed that the Singapore education system supports college students across all accomplishment concentrations, MOE explained. The proportion of Key four and Secondary two college students who did not attain the cheapest international benchmark remained incredibly compact in both subjects, and down below the international median. 

One particular for every cent of Key four college students in Singapore who took portion in the review did not attain the “reduced” international benchmark in arithmetic, though three for every cent did not attain that benchmark in science. This is as opposed to the international median of seven for every cent and 5 for every cent respectively. 

Sample of a Key four Maths product at the “reduced” benchmark. 

For the Secondary two amount, 1 per cent did not attain the “reduced” international benchmark in arithmetic and three for every cent did not attain the benchmark in science. This is as opposed to the international median of 16 for every cent for both subjects. 

“We are proud of our college students,” explained Ms Minimal. “Our teachers have furnished high quality learning ordeals for them, and we are heartened that our educating and learning techniques are strong.”

She included that schools will continue on to function closely with mother and father and the bigger neighborhood “to further more create on our students’ strong basis and get ready them nicely for their next stage of education and for a fulfilling occupation ahead.”

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US airlines resume immediate flights to Havana

HAVANA: US airlines resumed immediate flights to Havana on Monday (Nov 28), a signal of the switching times just as the Cuban money held a tearful memorial for late groundbreaking chief Fidel Castro.

Following location off from Miami with a h2o cannon salute, an American Airlines flight touched down at Jose Marti international airport at 8.45am (9.45pm Singapore time).

It was the to start with time in much more than fifty yrs a US airline delivered standard industrial provider to Havana.

“It’s some thing historic. We have been anticipating this for a extensive time below,” reported American passenger Edgar Salveani on arrival.

American Airlines passengers disembark at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. (AFP/Yamil Lage)

The to start with JetBlue Airways flight from New York to Havana arrived soon following.

Industrial flights amongst Cuba and the US experienced previously resumed in August below the historic rapprochement the aged Chilly War foes introduced in December 2014. But these are the to start with to Havana.

In an added dose of symbolism, they arrive just three times following Castro’s death at age 90 turned a webpage on the groundbreaking leader’s divisive legacy.

As the planes touched down, hundreds of 1000’s of Cubans have been streaming onto Havana’s legendary Revolution Sq. to pay their past respects to Castro, who ruled the island with an iron fist from 1959 to 2006.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience, it will be fascinating to see how folks are responding to his passing,” passenger Priva Rhat advised reporters on the American Airlines flight.

Air travel amongst the United States and Cuba experienced been restricted to charter flights from 1979 right until earlier this calendar year.

Direct industrial flights began on Aug 31, linking numerous US airports with nine Cuban metropolitan areas, numerous of them in or close to tourism hotspots.

There are now 110 scheduled day-to-day flights from the United States to Cuba, 20 of them to Havana.

The immediate flights have been one of numerous watershed alterations initiated following US President Barack Obama and Castro’s successor, his younger brother Raul, introduced a thaw following much more than fifty yrs of hostility.

Diplomatic relations have been restored in July 2015.

Washington still bans Us citizens from browsing Cuba as visitors, but travel is permitted for twelve other classes, which include cultural and academic trade.

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Wide array of threats detected in Singapore airspace every day: RSAF

SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Pressure (RSAF) detects a vast array of threats on a day by day basis and some of the suspicious targets include unidentified aircraft which bear no information on the place they are headed.

“Some of these incidents we examine are joined to possible terror assault groups so we take them pretty severely. And when desired, we will activate our air defence responses to offer with them, primarily as a precautionary evaluate,” Commander of the Air Defence Process Pressure, Brigadier Common (BG) Tan Chee Wee, mentioned to the media on Monday (Nov 28), just after the wrap of the biannual Physical exercise Vigilant Shield.

The RSAF has been on a heightened air defence warn to thwart terror assaults due to the fact the September 11 assaults in 2001.

In 2010, a spherical-the-clock process pressure was established up to respond speedily to terror threats. Air Defence Process Pressure (ADTF), collectively with the Exclusive Operations Process Pressure, Island Defence Process Pressure and Maritime Protection Process Pressure, make up the Higher Readiness Main that safeguard homeland safety, Singapore’s skies and waterways.

Not all incidents, nonetheless, will lead to the scrambling of the RSAF fighter jets. “Our air defence group is generally searching for possible deviations of visitors in our vicinity,” mentioned BG Tan. As an air hub, Singapore sees about one,000 arrivals and departures on a day by day basis, mentioned BG Tan.

(Photograph: Xabryna Kek)


In the wee hours of Monday early morning, two RSAF F-15SG fighter jets were being scrambled to intercept a “suspicious airliner” at about two.10am in a simulated hijacking situation as aspect of the RSAF’s Physical exercise Vigilant Shield.

RSAF’s KC-a hundred thirty five, participating in the aspect of the suspicious civilian airliner, was flying approximately 11,000ft earlier mentioned the South China Sea when it commenced to deviate from its supposed flight path. In a make any difference of minutes, RSAF fighter jets were being activated to escort the suspicious civilian airplane, which was placed on crimson warn.

“You’ve been intercepted by the Republic of Singapore Air Pressure Fighters,” a RSAF fighter pilot mentioned by way of the radio channel. “You’re to comply with all recommendations. Admit.”

The air defence training is meant to reveal the ADTF abilities in responding to possible air threats spherical-the-clock with a robust networked air defence procedure.

The KC-a hundred thirty five aircraft was chased by way of the Singapore skies by RSAF fighter jets for much more than an hour, right before remaining pressured to land at Changi Air Foundation at three.30am.

When fighter jets scramble to intercept a suspicious airliner, there is standard method to observe, as defined by the Worldwide Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). These processes include radio interaction or visual indicators in evening and day situations.

For instance, in a 10 o’clock and two o’clock placement, fighter jets rock their wings to build communications with the suspicious airplane, signalling interception. The jet in dilemma will then repeat the action, indicating that its pilots have understood the scenario and will comply.

Said Main of Air Pressure, Major-Common (MG) Mervyn Tan: “The thriving carry out of this training shows that we have a robust networked air defence procedure and our tight inter-agency linkage with our partners. The RSAF will proceed to reinforce our skill to protect and safeguard the sovereignty of Singapore’s airspace.”

The past time RSAF fighter pilots were being activated to intercept a civilian aircraft was in 2008, when a little Australian-registered plane intruded into Singapore air house. Two Australians were being on board the Cessna 208 which did not have an authorised flight path.

This year’s training involved about 400 contributors from the RSAF, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Police Pressure. The RSAF also deployed property this sort of as the F-15SG fighter aircraft, AH-64D Apache helicopter, I-HAWK, SPYDER and RBS-70 Ground-Centered Air Defence systems. 

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