These smartphone apps are great for city slickers.


There are at least 50,000 motorists in Singapore, which means parkingrelated apps are a dime a dozen here.Even the Housing Development Board has jumped on the bandwagon and released Mobile@HDB, which may potentially be every motorist’s go-to app for car park, season parking and parking offence information (a pity about the poor search functions). Until that’s fixed, Carpark@SG remains everyone’s driving buddy. It’s got almost every car park in Singapore listed (with rates and availability) using data collected from the Land Transport Authority and allows users to suggest other types of information they find useful.
Free from the App Store.


There’s been a mad scramble to ride on the success of taxi booking apps
like Comfort DelGro’s all year, with the launch of two new cab-sharing apps (Split-It and GoMyWay) since August. Considering apps of this nature require critical mass to hit home, we figure the one to watch is Split-It, which came out on September 25 after successfully garnering 10,000sign-ups. The app’s easy enough to use: share your location, post your destination and watch the results for anyone who’s going in your direction. You can both communicate via their chat feature (without disclosing your contact details) using credits, which are free till the end of the year. You can also earn credits by referring friends—another great marketing tactic.
Free from the App Store. Available on Google Play from October onwards.


It seems the cinema experience is still very much appreciated even when video-on-demand is readily available. Both Cathay and Golden Village have rolled out ticket booking apps and while these get the job done with minimum fuss, nothing is a better time-saver than the integrated Popcorn app. Pick a date (you can only book a maximum of three days in advance, though), a cinema and your movie (in that order) and you’re directed straight to the booking page. Most cinema sites are mobileoptimized so the entire process really doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes with 3G.
Free from the App Store and Google Play.

If you’ve downloaded the iOS 6 and are afraid you’re never going to be able to make your way around the city again (we miss you Google Maps!), don’t fret. has a search engine that reads streets, building names, postal codes and even acronyms, as well as provides dining reviews and listings for amenities, plus train, bus, driving and walking directions with street views. There is nothing else to desire for.
$2.99 from the App Store.


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Simulate barefoot running with these lightweight shoes.

adidas adizero Feather 2

The lightest model on the market, it comes with SPRINTWEB, a thin mesh that gives great support and breathability so your feet don’t stink after a long run.
$179 from the adidas Sports Performance Concept Store.

New Balance Minimus Ionix 3090

This has a plush underfoot feel and provides great flexibility—all at under 190 grams.
$155 from the New Balance Concept Store.

Nike Free 3.0

Besides being the lightest model in the Free series, this pair also sports injury-prevention features like rubber inserts in high-wear zones.
$113.40-189 from Nike.


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Singapore’s most innovative office spaces were featured in Bangkok design/architecture magazine art4d, who worked with Archifest director Adib Jalal to determine the top 10. Editor-in-chief Mongkon Ponganutree talks about his selections.

What kind of criteria did these companies have to meet to make the list?
We basically covered offices that were recently built or refurbished, making sure to include spaces of various sizes and many different fields of creative practices.

Was there anything the final 10 had in common?
No matter how big or small they were, all of them had an open plan concept so everyone in the office could communicate easily and exchange ideas with each other. Each office also tried to create an atmosphere that expressed who they were and what inspired them.

What does it mean to have your own creative space?
It’s important that you work in a space you feel comfortable in that is conducive for
creativity. You don’t need to have a big space or table, or anything elegant in the place, but it needs to have an inspiring ambiance so you and the members of your team can retain your creative energies.

What are the pros and cons of living as a creative in an urban and highly progressive environment?
A big advantage of living and working in a big city is access to all sorts of inspiration, including museums, galleries, events and people. The dynamism of city life can keep you fresh but can also tire you out. You just have to find a space where you can keep a good balance. In fact, this is a question we’re trying to explore further at Designing (in) the City.

Designing (in) the City is an Archifest event happening October 10, 7pm.


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Don your square-rimmed specs and head down to these top picks from this month’s Archifest 2012 in Singapore.

This pop-up store located at the Viridian Art House features FARM’s quirky knickknack collection, mostly products of collaboration with local designers and institutions that offer a twist on the Singaporean identity. Oct 6-31. Free.

The Pool is Closed
Architectural photographer Jeremy San introduces his photographs of the country’s oldest public pools, part of a series that documents the era of Modernist architecture in Singapore. Oct 6-31. Free.

Rethink Office Spaces
Tour creative, smart and inspiring work places such as the Park + Associates Office, Solaris and the Ministry of Design Office at this event. Only 30 spots available. Oct 12, 2-6pm. $26-37.

TEDxCity2.0: ReThink! Ideas for Idea Cities
If you have aspirations you’d like to share with other people passionate about shaping our city’s future, this brainstorming session organized by TEDxSingapore is your chance to talk. Oct 13, 4pm. Free.

Urban Graphics in Singapore
Singapore’s urban landscape is saturated with signs and symbols. At this walking tour, learn how to understand the use of typography and lettering in these artifacts. By the end of the session, you’ll be able to critically evaluate the imagery and architecture of the city. October 13, 2:30pm. Orita Sinclair School of Design. Free.

The Archifest Forum
This one-day round-table discussion and networking session involves progressive practitioners like Atelier Dreiseitl’s managing director Leonard Ng discussing a wide range of topics, including architecture photography and urban greenery. October 17. School of the Arts (SOTA). $160-270.

10 Years of Shooting Home
Held in conjunction with Objectifs, this photography exhibition features new talents like Deanna Ng, Lim Weixiang, and Jean Loo exploring the themes of home and identity. October 20-December 30. National Museum of Singapore. Free.

Reading the Symbolic-geometric Order of Old Singapore: from Mandala to Pentagram
Find patterns in ancient Singapore’s spatial plan based on the Hindu Mandala principle, British colonial panopticon viewpoints and even Masonic pentagrams in this unique walk led by Dr. Johannes Widodo, associate professor at the NUS Department of Architecture. Only 20 spots available. October 27, 9am. Free.

Read our interviews with the principal designer of the Archifest Pavilion James Tan, as well as the editor-in-chief of 4d magazine in Bangkok, which is behind Archifest event Designing (in) the City.



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The former electrical engineer and proud owner of the MINT Museum of Toys talks to Hidayah Salamat about living in Singapore and the person he’d like to spend time with the most.

I was born in Indonesia but came here when I was very young. I’ve spent most of my life in Singapore and this is where I grew up and was educated. Being a Singapore citizen, I also proudly served the country as part of the first National Service batch.

My fondest memory in Singapore is growing up during the 1960s, when life was a lot simpler. The 1960s marked a significant period in Singapore’s development and things were less expensive then. Life was also less complicated since we didn’t have mobile phones, the Internet and COE.

One of my proudest moments is the opening of the MINT Museum of Toys, where former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. George Yeo was a guest of honor.

It took my wife and I more than 10 years to secure a good site for the museum. We looked at many areas in Singapore, mostly places we’d considered to have some heritage value like Joo Chiat and Emerald Hill.

Putting the museum on the world map as a key tourist attraction like Madame Tussauds and Museum of Modern Art is one of the things on my bucket list.

There isn’t any toy that I’ll keep away from the museum. I want to share my entire collection with the public, but progressively—there are more than 50,000 toys and childhood memorabilia in it.

Every piece in my collection isimportant to me as each acquisition marks a unique experience. These toys have been gathered over a period of more than

30 years. I would be grateful if the government could give more support to unique private museums like mine. We have a part to play in the development of a child’s early years by making them aware of key historical events.

I wish I’d known 10 years ago that things would cost a lot more today. I wouldn’t have delayed certain decisions, since changes are taking place too rapidly now.

Whenever I need a burst of inspiration, I just go home. There, I can be with my family and do most of my thinking undisturbed.

If I could have lunch with anyone I wanted, it’d be my late father, who passed away when I was still studying in the UK. I didn’t get to see him before his passing and have always regretted not having been able to spend more time with him.

What I have achieved today is in part thanks to all the advice I’d received from my late brother.

The worst advice I’ve ever received came from an estate agent, who just took advantage of my ignorance. I took it as a constant reminder to be more wary when making all decisions.


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Business creativity expert and author of bestselling book The Idea Book Fredrik Härén is on the panel for ideas incubation competition Pitch It!, a lead up to the Asia on the Edge 2012 conference. He tells Hidayah Salamat how to keep the ideas coming and why he's now based in Singapore.

Who are some people you look up to?
I am the kind of person who has great respect for my child's kindergarten teacher, the Bangladeshi construction worker and the photographer who last took a picture of me. I am an identical twin, which means I've become pretty good at looking and reflecting on what another person is doing.

What are the five tools essential to having a healthy bank of ideas?
Take a lot of time off to give your brain time to think, isolate yourself so your brain can think up its own ideas, play with your kids to remind your brain to be curious about everyday things, change your environment so you are always reminded that there are many ways to do something, and avoid getting stuck in email and admin work each day. I just came back from a six-week island vacation in Sweden with my family and my brain is just boiling over with ideas.

Describe the most inspiring moment you've had in the past year.
The day I finished the construction of my new house on my island in Sweden. It's now the most inspirational place I have to sit and write my books. It's a crazy house that looks like a bird's nest!

What do you do with your ideas when they enter your head?
I write them down in The Idea Book so that I don't forget them! I dreamt a great idea last night and didn't find a pen and forgot it when i woke up. Still annoyed about that!

Has anyone you've ever spoken to in an audience made an impact on you?
I've spoken to over 1,500 different audiences but if I had to pick just one person, it'd have to be a 16-year-old girl I met in Sweden. She was so depressed she skipped school for six weeks and laid in bed the whole time. One day, her friend came over and showed her one of my speeches on YouTube. After that, she got up, went to the school principal and scolded him for not caring enough about depressed students. She also pushed the government to start a project for depressed young women—she succeeded. After, she set up a record company, went on tour with a Swedish rock star and had famous American songwriters mentor her. Talk about a speech changing a person's life.

What makes a city a great launchpad for startups?
My latest book One World. One Company talks about looking at your company as a global company—startup companies should follow that lead. A great launchpad city is one that makes its entrepreneurs think more globally. And this is the reason why I live in Singapore, though the startup scene here is still in its infancy.  

How has the publication of The Idea Book changed your life?
It has taken me around the world. Thanks to the book, I have been invited to speak in more than 45 countries from Iran to Iceland, and that has made me think about the world as one, instead of in terms of countries.

Asia on the Edge—who should be there?
People who want to know what's going on.

Asia on the Edge - Creative Mapping of Asia is happening September 7-9, 9am at The Arts House. See video below for an idea of what Fredrik Härén's speeches are like.



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Khailee Ng is the CEO of, a group of user-curated news sites based in Australia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and now, Singapore.

How did SAYS come about and where is it going?
SAYS was born out of conversations with advertising friends, who wanted new ways of engaging social media users with great content. We used SAYS to popularize a group buying site I co-founded called, which was later acquired by Groupon. Some of my former team members still run Groupon Malaysia and other Asia Pacific offices today. This is why I believe in what SAYS can do and replicating its power in new markets is naturally, the next step.

What was it like when you first launched?
SAYS first took off in 2010 in Malaysia, where there was a very active social media population. It was a very good test location for a global social media company and the response was encouraging. We grew to over 400,000 users, reached half the social media population in the country with our campaigns and worked with 70 of the country’s largest advertisers.

Why did you to decide to expand into Singapore?
My mom is Singaporean and I come back to visit family very often so it’s like my second home. We’re still testing the waters at the moment but with several thousand users and seven major advertisers signed up, it feels like it’s off to a good start.

Does the style of usage differ across the markets?
Yes and no. Some things don’t change. Users such as those in India and the Philippines, enjoy news and sharing them with friends. Australian users however, seem to have a different motivation behind sharing. It’s early days yet and we still have a lot to learn about the usage metrics. The landscape is also evolving. But as we launch more features, we’ll find out more about what’s important to focus on.

Local start-ups have invested in similar ventures—what do you think of them?
I like how quick Gushcloud rolls out new features. It seems that all of us are trying to crack this model in a major but scalable way. There’s a lot to learn from each other as we fine-tune our approaches.

What’s been some of your biggest challenges?
The scene is heating up and more players are making their moves in the key markets. Rocket Internet has even launched a clone of SAYS. Right now, we’re striving to innovate and scale faster while keeping quality standards. This stretches us a team and we’re excited about the challenge.

What do you think of the Singapore start-up scene?
It’s fun. I was speaking at the most recent Echelon event and am impressed by how Singapore is shaping up to be a great hub for startup activity.

What do you foresee for SAYS in the next five years?
As a product, it’ll be something useful to millions of people. As a company, it has to be a game-changing workplace. We’ve recently been featured on WorldBlu’s list of the World’s Most Democratic Workplaces alongside and it’s a small step towards what we really want to create: a great company that truly improves lives.


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