Divergent: High school teen flick goes dystopian

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Shailene Woodley
Theo James
Directed By: 
Neil Burger

In the dystopian future of the movie adaptation of bestselling YA novel Divergent, each person belongs to one of five personality-based factions. Each faction plays a specific role in society, and members dress and behave the same way. The setup is much like a classic American high school flick: Dauntless (rebels) brawl and defend in all black and tattoos; Amity (nice kids) hug things out in sunny hobbit garb, Erudite (nerds) do clever people things in uptight navy; Candor (precocious indie kids) "tell it like it is" in black and white (ugh, of course).

Opening Date: 
Thu, 2014-03-20
Running Time: 
2 hr. 19 min.
Clara Lim

The newly appointed director of Singapore Art Museum—who took the post just as the museum was undergoing structural changes and as Singapore Biennale got under way—talks to Clara Lim.

To curate, is to care for the soul of things. Interestingly, the term has religious roots—it originally referred to a priest’s care for the spiritual and psychological needs of his village.

This is going to sound quite dire, but there’s almost always a “crisis moment” going on at work. There are a lot of things happening here at once.

Everything has to be perfect. There are no excuses for shortchanging a visitor’s experience.

Artists are the way they are because they take their work very seriously. If you’re serious about art, you can communicate many things and even change the way society thinks.

For a long time, the government couldn’t see how art was relevant. But now, they do see that there really is such a thing as cultural capital.

My work day started before I’d even gone to sleep last night!

I believe we’re influenced by forces that we can’t measure. I believe in the unconscious.

I wish we didn’t have to think about Singapore in a segmented way, via mother tongue and race. All I see are dividing lines.

Sometimes when I’m talking to someone I suddenly know what astrological sign they are. That really worries me: How do I know that?

When a culture comes of age enough to look back on itself and figure out what it’s not prepared to lose—that’s when a museum comes about.

I run on idealism. If you want to make things happen, you can’t afford to be weak. You can’t afford to give in to your tiredness.

When St. Joseph’s Institution had vacated the building that is now SAM, I snuck into their library with a friend and we found so many books that they’d left behind. It was such a magical moment.

Everybody thinks I’m a Scorpio.

What keeps me sane? I try to see the light side of things—and the bigger picture. Nothing worthwhile ever was achieved easily.


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Guitar Heroes
We’ve barely recovered from the eardrum-blistering Singapore Rock Festival earlier this month, but we’re already prepping for another musical onslaught as more old school metal royalty descend upon us. Practically playing back-to-back are guitar god Steve Vai and ex-Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’anno.

Perfect 10
The Arts House Turns 10 this month, and we couldn’t be more psyched for its unusual lineup of theatrical events. “We didn't want to do the usual celebration with pomp and flair,” says The Arts House director William Phuan. So the team, with playwright Chong Tze Chien, created “an alternate universe where The Arts House does not exist anymore, but is replaced by a boutique hotel, dance hall and a giant bookstore.” Join in the bash to find out how exactly they’re going to pull that off. Find out more at the Arts House website.

In the Frame
Shutterbugs, rejoice: There’s going to be a new major contemporary art fair with a focus on your favorite hobby this year. The Milan Image Art Fair is debuting in Singapore, hand in hand with the Singapore International Photography Festival. With a purported 50-50 mix of Asian and Western exhibitors, this looks like the place to be if you want to check out cutting-edge photographic and video works from all over the world.


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We catch up with the head bartender of New York’s famed “secret” bar PDT, who was in town to guest judge the Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia Finals on May 15-16.

Your job is pretty glamorous. Is there a not-so-pretty side to it?

Bartending was my calling and I’m fortunate to be able to do something I love. If I really had to pick something, I would say the long hours take a toll. The job can be very physically demanding and late nights can be challenging.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a professional basketball player.

Why do you think the alcohol industry is so male-dominated?

I think a lot of trades are male dominant, not just bartending. That being said, there has been a rise in female bartending talent and influential names in the industry, like Singapore’s Aubrey Sim and Julie Reiner from the US.

Words of advice for someone who’s interested in pursuing a career like yours?

Understand that this job has some amazing perks, but do not forget how much work is required on a daily basis to be a good employee, co-worker, bartender and then competitor.

The number one unspoken rule among bartenders is…

I can’t tell you, only bartenders know.


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Dennis Tay, the founder of online store Naiise, tells us why and how everyone should get into design.

What got you interested in doing what you’re doing?

I always had a strong belief that design is one of those things that can improve people’s lives in tangible and intangible ways. Yet design wasn't really accessible in Singapore for a number of reason: limited exposure for designers or brands, and a misconception that design was expensive and "atas". So I started Naiise with the hope of addressing these problems, and helping more people discover design through a good platform.

Where do you get inspiration?

Great brands like Apple, Nike and Chanel have really inspired me. I also love to find inspiration from places like Pinterest and Flipboard; I love how I get to see so many great ideas and things from all around the world all consolidated in one place.

Who's your personal hero?

I really admire the late Steve Jobs, who was a great influence on me.

How do you think design should affect people?

Design exists everywhere but we tend to forget the role it plays in our lives. It is in the products we live with that inspire and help us live better everyday, and these products can make us smile, beautify a personal space or perform functions that add value to our everyday lives. Waking up daily to objects and spaces we love can actually make a positive impact on how our day will turn out. So I believe the things we own are, to a large extent, an important part of our lives and make us who we are.

You decided to turn down some lucrative offers because you felt the integrity of your business would be compromised. What do you stand for and what are some of the challenges you face?

Trying to effect change and make a business sustainable at the same time is definitely difficult, so funding can be tempting because you won’t have to work so hard and you can expand much more quickly. But I believe it’s even more important to focus on building a great product that people would love to use, and that itself should help you get to the next level. I felt the offers would have changed the design ecosystem of Singapore. It takes time for people to grow and appreciate design in the correct way. I didn't want to give that up.

What is your design philosophy in a nutshell?

Design is meant to be for everyone and for everyday. It just shouldn’t be made out to be a high brow and alienating thing. I hope in time the community will find it easier to adopt design and not be afraid of it.

What do you think are the next big trends or changes we'll see soon in Singaporean design?

People are becoming more aware of design and how it contributes to everyday living, and they now have more choices to design and products than before. I think that's definitely an upward trend towards the adoption and use of good design, and we'll become more design-centric as a society. With that demand in place, I believe that many of our talented local designers can further pursue their passion locally.


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