I-S talks to Andrew Goetz, part of the duo behind New York cult beauty label MALIN+GOETZ, about setting up shop in Singapore and his favorite experiences when he was last here. 

Keeping in mind the Singapore weather, what are the typical mistakes we make with our skin?
The typical Singapore weather is similar to that of a New York summer, which we're very familiar with. I think the common mistake is that people tend to use overly harsh cleansers on their face to compensate for the heat and humidity. By doing so, they strip their skin and actually force it to produce more oil. Use a gentle but thorough facial cleanser like our Grapefruit Cleanser, followed by our oil-free Vitamin Face Moisturizer, and your skin will never look better. 

Any plans for a MALIN+GOETZ spa in Singapore?
We would love to open a Malin+Goetz shop in Singapore. We are not a spa business; we create and manufacture a great line of skincare, body care, haircare and candles. We are happy to leave the spa business to experts like Strip and Browhaus. But we know that we could not manage this on our own from New York; so having a local partner would be imperative.  

What are some of your favorite places to visit in Singapore?
It's our second time here, and while we're always faced with a rather heavy workload, we always make time for some good fun. We absolutely adore going to the hawker center—that's a total blast for us. Chinatown and Little India are equally great experiences. Some of the other places we hit on our off hours are the Tippling Club, where we've had an incredible 10-course meal, as well as Open Door Policy, which has a super brunch. 

What’s on the cards for MALIN+GOETZ in Asia, in the next five years?
Both Matthew and I personally love traveling to Asia and look forward to developing business throughout Asia.  We have a really amazing business in Singapore and would love to one day have a Malin+Goetz Shop there some day.  Our business in Taiwan and Manila are also very strong. We need to further develop Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul.  Bangkok is also of interest to us.  As a small independent niche brand, I don't think we are ready for Mainland China just yet, but hopefully in the near future.

How would you desribe the MALIN+GOETZ brand if it was a friend?
Malin+Goetz is a true, honest really supportive friend. Always there to help you solve a problem.

MALIN+GOETZ products are available at all Strip and Browhaus outlets, as well as at Beauty Emporium.


Leave a Comment

Halal restaurants in Singapore are a dime a dozen but these ones score best on quality and variety.

1market by Chef Wan Asian

Book a table at 1 Market By Chef Wan with Chope

You've seen him on the telly, on just about every cooking channel there is, now taste Malaysia's renowned celebrity Chef Wan's creations at his first restaurant, right smack in the heart of town. Look forward to a buffet spread of delicious dishes inspired by his travels in Southeast Asia.

Badoque Western

We once gave this cozy spot in Simpang Bedok a four-star review and for good reason: The wait staff are especially accommodating, the menu creative (and we don't just mean 'cos it looks good—try their chicken and orange salad) and the servings, wildly generous. Make a reservation—East siders book up the place all the time.

Bumbu Asian

If you're not in favor of any particular cuisine, Bumbu's a great halal restaurant pick in that it offers Indonesian, Peranakan and Thai dishes on its menu. A central spot that doesn't necessarily attract throngs of people (unlike Carousel below), Bumbu is known for their tahu telor, century egg salad and beef rendang.

Carousel International

This darling hotel restaurant has been a hot buffet favorite with our Muslim friends since its inception and is almost always packed to the brim on weekends and during the month of Ramadhan. Among the halal restaurants in Singapore, this one's got the best variety—a succulent seafood spread, yummy Mediterranean fare and a delightful chocolate fountain. Worth braving through the Orchard crowd.

Casa Bom Vento Peranakan

Arguably one of the best Peranakan restaurants Singapore has to offer, Casa Bom Vento offers all the mainstays of the popular cuisine, including itek itim, ayam buah keluak and Nyonya chap chye. 

Derwish Turkish Restaurant Turkish

This Turkish restaurant certainly has the Middle Eastern vibe down to pat with blue tiled walls and a chill atmosphere. They serve traditional halal food like baba ganoush and baklava.

Fika Swedish

We may not have warmed up to Fika when it first opened but it looks like things are looking up for the Swedish bistro, which launched a second (and just as pretty) outlet in Millenia Walk. Definitely worth your time if you want to sample what our Swedish friends say "tastes just like home", but also great for tea—they've got a yummy dessert menu.

Gurame Indonesian

If you're game for some tongue-numbing sambal, head down to Gurame, which offers up a variety of them as accompaniments to delicious signature dishes like the fried Gurame fish. You're going to have to drive or take a cab down for sure—though a shuttle service is available from Tanah Merah MRT station—but the calming sea view and overall dine-in quality are worth the trip.

Kintamani Indonesian

Located deep inside the Furama Riverfront hotel, this small yet cozy restaurant is a bit of a pain to get to even if you're driving. But Kintamani has managed to sustain over the years on a great reputation—their service staff are consistently affable and their offerings of gado gado, barbecued sambal prawns, durian pengat and more, almost always delicious.

Koh Nangkam Southern Thai Restaurant Thai

A halal food joint that serves up some of the most authentic Thai dishes, with must-trys such as the pandan chicken and mango salad.

New Shah Alam Restaurant Indian

The simple menu consists of Indian-Muslim staples like mee goreng, naan, dosa and murtabak, but the runaway winner are the biryanis which come in huge portions. This is your new go-to CBD lunch option.

The Orange Lantern Vietnamese

There are not many halal restaurants in Singapore that serve bona fide Vietnamese fare so we're keeping this one in our little black book for awhile. Come for beef or chicken pho, of course, but don't forget the spring rolls.

Straits Kitchen Asian

The last time we reviewed this place, we found it to be a suitably pleasant dining experience and we haven't changed our mind. A great variety of Asian delicacies like beef rendang, oyster omelette, kung pao chicken and palak paneer is available at one of the halal restaurants in Singapore situated in a hotel.

Thai To Go Thai

Have your spice fix at this restaurant, which serves an extensive menu of affordable and authentic Thai food. You can't go wrong with crowd favorites like pineapple rice, and of cos, tom yum goong. They also have a delivery service, if you're hankering for some Thai when you're homebound.

Vintage Delicafe Western

This homey Western cafe in the Mediterranean-heavy Arab quarter has attracted only positive feedback from the grapevine. Their menu features all the comfort food: crinkle cut fries, grilled meat and pasta (your choice of pasta type, sauce  and spicy level), and there's no service charge. Score.

Know any other great halal restaurants in Singapore? Leave a comment below or email us!


Leave a Comment

Founders of cool car club The MINI Mob (www.theminimob.com) Ivan Ng and Kimberley Olsen talk about organizing the city’s largest convoy, good driving music and what makes life interesting.

What are you guys up to these days? We spend a lot of time scouring the Internet for all things MINI—the latest news, customization tips and modification ideas—content that keeps our members engaged both on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/theminimob) and the website. We also get everyone together for what we call the MINI Mob Meetups (MMU), which can be anything from convoys to doggie day outs. It doesn’t always have to be car-related; it’s also about lifestyle.

What was your last event like? We were surprised by the turnout of our last MMU! We’d hosted a convoy that saw over 50 MINIs paying tribute to the car’s British roots in light of the Olympics season, and broke the record for the largest local convoy. We drove around with flags and custom decals, receiving quite a lot of attention along Orchard Road. It was awesome!

What’s happening next? We’re in the midst of planning The MINI Mob’s first anniversary in December—we’re pretty excited about that.

Why MINI? We could go on for ages about why we love MINI. In a nutshell, there’s just something intangible about MINI—it’s such a personal car and you can customize almost every detail of it to suit your personality. This is why no two MINIs look the same. MINI also has a very strong heritage, starting from the classic Austin Coopers to the modern BM W MINI. We don’t have a particular favorite—we love them all—but we’re proud owners of a MINI Cooper S.

What do you consider most important when buying a car? The car you choose has to be a statement of expression, or an extension of your personality and lifestyle.

What kind of music do you listen to when you drive? We love hip hop, rap and R&B. These kinds of music really get us groovin’ while we’re movin’.

Complete the sentence, “Driving is like...” Life. Life is not about the destination but the journey, and being on that journey in a MINI sure makes life more interesting!


Leave a Comment

Joshua Wong, Abigail Khor, and Caleb Wong are the founders of TouristPads, a local startup that rents out iPads to tourists.

Who came up with the big idea?
When Joshua was on holiday in Vienna last year, he wished he had had an easy way to understand how to navigate the local transport system. He was going to catch an opera and was so worried he’d be late because he was having trouble getting to the venue. After much discussion, an idea that combined all of our interests, technology and traveling was born.

Tell us about your App-Visors.
App-Visors is a carefully and lovingly curated list of apps that we believe will add amazing value to our customers’ time in Singapore. There are thousands of apps catering to the Singapore market and we do the hard work of selecting the most relevant, user-friendly and delightful ones for our customers. As most of the apps are relevant only to Singapore, it’s a waste for customers to purchase them on their own—with our rentals, they don’t have to.

What’s next for TouristPads?
Our priorities for the coming year are to drive product awareness, create additional value for our customers in the form of special deals and tie-ups, international franchising, as well as distribution.

Now that you’re part of the local startup scene, what are your thoughts on it?
In terms of infrastructure, setting up shop in Singapore is relatively easy. There’s not much red tape to deal with and we’re not short on talent. 


Leave a Comment

Spencer Yang is a co-founder of ArtKred, an online art buying portal that aims to bridge the gap between emerging talents and the new generation of collectors.

How did ArtKred come about?
It all began when I received a simple gift from a friend who went to Belgium. It made me want to know more about the art-buying industry and I ended up discussing the ArtKred idea with friends and family. The more I talked to artists, the more I liked the idea, and after lots of research and planning, I launched ArtKred in September 2011.

What’s up with the local arts scene?
It has a lot to offer. The artists within this space are rapidly emerging with fresh ideas, great stories and the potential to be world class. But as always, we need to do more to groom them and showcase their work.

How do you scout for talent to feature on ArtKred?
We browse sources we’ve found ourselves online or through referrals. We also put ourselves out there so that emerging artists can reach out directly to us.

With platforms like the Affordable Art Fair and Vue Privée flourishing in Singapore, how do you differentiate yourselves?
Our core strategy differs from others—we employ emerging tech trends to our advantage when showcasing and marketing the works of our artists. This way, we make them as accessible as possible to art lovers around the world.

What’s your motivation?
ArtKred started as a simple idea but has quickly turned into a passion with potential rewards. The monetary aspect is secondary to us—our main aim is to create value for artists and art lovers—but we understand it’s necessary to sustain the team.

What does it take to launch your own startup?
A good team and a healthy market are really important. Without them, the startup will not be able to build a decent product, much less sustain itself.


Leave a Comment

The successful filmmaker and a runner-up at Yahoo!’s recent Singapore 9 Awards, a platform recognizing our brightest young talent, talks to Hidayah Salamat about being optimistic.

I feel very fortunate whenever I receive recognition for the amount of work I’ve put in. It’s motivating to know that hard work pays off.

I’ve been rejected multiple times, made mistakes, and in many occasions, failed to impress.

Everyone has a passion, and because of how society is and the pressure to survive, may have to make sacrifices for their passion.

My biggest wish is that I can wake up every day doing what I love most and be proud of it.

Having my film Closer to Me as the only Singaporean candidate at the Louis Vuitton Journeys Awards 2012 makes me very proud. Although we’re a young nation, I believe we have the potential to be world class; our works have shown maturity.

I hope the sustainability of a filmmaker or an artist in Singapore improves. They usually need day jobs to support their passion for the arts. If we want to develop more talented individuals, we need to help them concentrate on what they do best and give them the freedom to practice their craft. Censorship restricts the full potential of creativity.

Filmmaking was the only thing I did that did not make me weary. I’ve always loved telling stories and became addicted to creating and making things happen on screen when I started working with film in my teenage days.

My favorite themes to shoot are faith and betrayal.

You never know what you will get until you try. This is a motto I live by every day.

To me, being able to balance health, work and the rest of my life is a measure of personal success. The other thing is being able to leave my comfort zone to do something.

When I need a break, I travel. I always find new inspiration when I’m traveling. My favorite city to escape to is Taipei—I love the food, beer and compassionate people.

Spending time with my family and dog works too—it helps to stop for a moment and appreciate how important life is. A simple experience such as this never fails to put a smile on my face.

If I could say something to my 18-year-old self, it’d be, “I know it’s hard to keep doing what you love but it’ll be worth it—you’ll be happy and may even be an inspiration to someone else.”

Before I die, I want to be a grandfather, travel the world with my family and attain international success.

Bullies and arrogant people make me angry.

If I could have lunch with anyone in the world, it would be with my all-time favorite film director Martin Scorsese.


Leave a Comment

These Singapore yoga studios are great for those who don’t want to keep practicing in one place.

Hom Yoga (Orchard)
We love the vibe of Hom Yoga’s latest outlet which is right smack in the heart of town. The studio’s design is inspired by a New York warehouse, featuring two bright and spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and mirrors, as well as organic timbered floors. Hom also wins our hearts with their low energy consumption heating system and use of non-toxic, eco-friendly products. They have over 60 hot classes weekly, including Hatha and Vinyasa, but their signature is the multi-level Hot Hom, which is based on Hatha and Ashtanga postures, and great for detox.

$39 for a drop-in class. 

Como Shambala Urban Escape
One of the city’s longest running yoga and pilates centers offers Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar, Pranayama and even problem-specific classes like Back Care Yoga and Yoga for Runners. They’ve also got massage services to aid injury recovery or provide muscle tension relief in general, as well as a retail corner selling yoga apparel, props and their in-house line of massage oils and body care products.

$37 for a single class.

Yoga Movement
A small yet cozy space (think black-and-white posters, glossy wooden floors and mood lighting) in the Boat Quay area, Yoga Movement was set up by local singer and songwriter Alicia Pan. The six instructors she’s personally picked ensure that being in class makes you feel like you’re in another world (even though the studio’s located by the road). Choose from six classes here—the standouts are their Yoga Basics class (great for beginners) and their signature Monster Hot class, which happens every weekend. A portion of the money made from Monster Hot goes toward wildlife conservation.

$20 for a single class.

Yoga on Nassim
One of this year’s hot new openings, this holds classes such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yogalates, and Reverse Aging Yoga, in a lush garden setting. Sessions are conducted in one of the five Balinese-style, open-air pavilions that link to a lovely outdoor pool. What we like most about Yoga on Nassim: it partners with Spa Boutique (in fact, they’re both on the same site) to provide other health-related services like colonics, detox programs and massages—holistic pampering, anyone?
$30 for a single class.



Leave a Comment

We've got our gripes, but Samsung's latest tablet offering is still an impressive machine. 

What it is: Samsung’s new tablet offering (available in pearl white or grey) looks just like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 with its rounded edges, but comes with the S Pen and a host of cool, work-friendly features.

Specs: 10.1-inch LCD, 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16/32GB flash storage. 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm, 600 grams.

The good: It holds its own in terms of speed—it runs on the fastest processor we’ve ever seen on an Android tablet—so 3D gaming and movie watching are a breeze. The home screen allows large and medium-sized widgets and a right-hand-corner pop-up reveals shortcuts for you to switch to power saving mode, control screen brightness and toggle your music player. What we like best: the Multi Screen feature, where you can use two different applications side by side, simultaneously. Like in the S III, you can also watch videos in a floating window while you’re working on other stuff, such as sending an email or reading one of the textbooks in the Samsung Learning Hub. The Note 10.1’s cameras, both front and back, are stable and shoot well in low-light conditions.

The bad: It looks good—really sleek and clean, especially the white—but the fact that it’s made almost entirely out of plastic can be a bit of a turn-off. With the new iPad’s retina display and the ASUS Transformer Prime’s bright-as-the-sun Super IPS+, you’d have thought Samsung would go for the 1080-pixel resolution minimum, but it’s really a small gripe considering the Note 10.1’s super-sensitive digitizer.

The verdict: As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is really a working tablet. The build quality and screen resolution are a tad iffy, but if you’re always sketching or doling out research findings, this is probably your best option.


Leave a Comment