The debuting actor tells Justine Ong how hard it is being a teenager undressing in front of a live audience.

How do you relate to your character Alan Strang?
Alan is very much like me when I was 17. I didn't have a clear idea of what I was doing and didn’t quite know or feel comfortable with where I was. What he goes through with the other characters is really how I used to feel every day—the feeling of being scrutinized and judged. I was constantly on the lookout for someone to see things through my lens.

How do you feel about having to do a nude scene?
I think it would be a lot more interesting to ask my mother this question! She'll have a lot to say! Jokes aside, after reading the script multiple times and having had the chance to dissect it, I've grown more and more comfortable with the idea. Admittedly, I do sometimes think about it and feel incredibly nervous, but after reminding myself that it's such an integral part of the piece, I feel a lot less pressure. I think it's important to remember, both as an actor and an audience member, that the nudity is an element within the piece, but should not overshadow its core.

What tips were you able to pick up from Daniel Radcliffe’s interpretation of the character?
I was not fortunate enough to watch Daniel Radcliffe's performance. However, that also means that I will not be too influenced by his interpretation. This allows me more freedom as an actor to paint on the canvas that is Alan. I have my own ideas for the character both physically and emotionally and I am really excited to bring them to the stage.

What has the experience on set been like?
Currently, we are still in the workshop phase of the production; that is forming a common vocabulary within the ensemble and getting to know one another. We've done a fair amount of research into the piece as well as the themes that we'll be exploring and finding out just what Equus is about and what it means to an audience. The workshop enables us to think about things and work on them at home so that once we enter the rehearsal room, we can get the show up and ready fast and with superb quality.

What can the audience look forward to in Equus?
They can look forward to raw emotion put to hard-hitting literature. Peter Shaffer has written a masterpiece and it's an honor to be working on this production, and more so with this team. Expect to leave the theater questioning a lot of things in life and hopefully see things in a bit of a fresher perspective.

Catch the young actor in action in Equus.



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Five brands that care about more than just profit.

Shopping can be a pretty unfulfilling experience, and not just because of that gnawing credit card guilt the next morning. These days we know enough about the manufacturing cycle to know that what we choose to buy can make a real difference to lives elsewhere or to the future of the planet. So we’ve rounded up a selection of interesting brands that put social or environmental responsibility at the core of their business; meaning the only after-effect of your next retail binge will be a warm and fuzzy feeling of goodwill.

Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery

Melding luxury and sustainability, this jewelry brand engages the dying breed of craftsmen from Karen hill tribes native to northern Thailand. The pieces are made from reclaimed metals and distributed in ways that minimize environmental impact. The Bezel v.2.0 series puts a spin on the conventional bezel setting by integrating up to three distinct styles in a single piece, all done in bronze and 18 karat gold vermeil with glowing gemstones of various colors.
$295 upwards at Sulin Serio.


This is the Singapore-based eco fashion brainchild of Dragos Necula and girlfriend Yumiko Uno, who abandoned their stable jobs in Japan to set up camp here two years ago. The label employs a fair trade production process that upholds quality standards and labor rights. You’ll find unique accessories made from upcycled odds and ends as well as apparel sewn from organic cotton sourced and manufactured around India, thus minimizing the carbon footprint. The latest Madison Blvd collection, influenced heavily by the sophistication and clean silhouettes of early 60s New York, is simply fabulous. Adorned in their plaid and floral cropped tops and A-line skirts, you’ll look as if you just stepped off the set of Mad Men.
$41 upwards at Choose by Olive Ventures.


Founded in 2008 by Beverly Hills-born Jujube Li, these clothes are crafted from 100 percent biodegradable materials. JUJUBE’s modulated range of womenswear features versatile pieces that can be detached at the waistline and reattached to other pieces from the same collection, creating entirely fresh looks.
$119 upwards at Terra Plana


This green initiative by French company Linkskin and homegrown optical retail chain Nanyang brings us eyewear made from non-toxic recycled materials. The hip range of eyewear ditches traditional soldering processes, screws and spring hinges for a unique buckle-lock system at the folding temples, and most frame fronts and temple tips are cut from 100 percent recycled acetate. Linkskin uses a full circle recycling system in its production chain, encouraging customers to dispose of old spectacles, contact lens cases and solution bottles into recycling bins found in their stores. The optical waste is then sorted and made into pellets before being manufactured into eco-friendly eyewear once more.
$280 upwards at Alexis Eyewear Boutique.

Wings of a Pig

Inspired by the ebb and flow of everyday life and serenity of nature, local designer Jane Tan channels her energy and time towards designing nifty bags and accessories made from upcycled materials, hemp and organic cotton yarn. For over a year now, she’s been turning to thrift stores and friends for vintage odds and ends, giving these scraps a new lease of life with her artistic customizations. Quirky and chic, we especially like how she’s torn apart her wonky QWERTY keyboard to make rings ($4) out of the individual keys. And if you’re into knit-wear, you have to check out her meticulously handcrafted collection of exquisite bags ($79 upwards). Rumor has it that she’s got a pile of old yardsticks sitting in her living room. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Available at Choose by Olive Ventures.


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Cowboys & Aliens

Editor's Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)
Daniel Craig
Harrison Ford
Olivia Wilde
Directed By: 
Jon Favreau

One might find the idea of cowboys fighting against demons from outer space quite promising. Unfortunately, not even Indiana Jones and James Bond could salvage this movie, which we say is just so-wrong-it’s-right kitschy. The film just marries Western and pulp sci-fi archetypes without much thought.

Opening Date: 
Tue, 2011-08-09
Running Time: 
Justine Ong
Go back to basics at these stylish stationery stores.

When your smartphone runs out of power, or when you’re bored in a meeting and your iPhone Doodle app won’t load, you’ll realize that there are just some situations when nothing’s quite as reliable as pen and paper. Instead of settling for flimsy jotter book material, check out these inspiring stationery stores that go where QWERTY keypads can’t.


A great place for colorful fountain pens, leather-bound journals and classy desktop accessories. The Renaissance-style leather-covered notebooks ($34-69) come in a variety of rich colors, pens ($225-450) are handcrafted out of solid aluminum blocks. We also like the chic lizard print namecard holders by Luxo ($36), and the Axel BETA inkless pen ($38), which writes on both regular and glossy paper, and doesn’t smudge.


With two outlets in the CBD, Prints is a hit with corporate types. The gorgeous range of fabric hardcover journals ($19.40-29.90) is well worth a look—they’re thick enough to last you through the year. The store also scores points for its chic, minimalist décor—think floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves stacked according to color. Scrapbooking options (albums costs $41.90-79.90) are also set up on an island display like a mini paper market.


This classy Swedish establishment stocks diaries and planners for just about everything—fashion, moments of inspiration, meals, chores and habits. It also carries an impressive variety of folders ($12.90 upwards) for sorting important documents, letters and recipes, ready-made wedding invitations and menu cards, among many others.


The Australian brand’s first Asian franchise opened here just three months ago and offers an assortment of colorful pens (Rainbow ballpoint scribblers, anyone?), notebooks with wacky illustrated hard covers ($9.95 each) and quirkier items like egg-shaped speakers ($24.95). Predictably, the store draws a fair number of squealing school kids so enter at your own risk.


This store is all dark parquet flooring, lacquered brown shelves and row upon row of paper accessories. There’s an interesting variety of journals, albums and sketchbooks, as well as 60s-inspired accessories ($8.90-14.90 for their vintage music range) like a tape dispenser and memo holder shaped like a vinyl record. Also worth a look are their planners ($20-28)—particularly good for inspiring you to keep that journal you’ve always talked about.


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Justine Ong spoke to Neon Trees’ vivacious drummer Elaine Bradley before the band’s first gig on our shores.

How did you guys meet?
Chris and Tyler were neighbors from Southern California. They were really into music and it was actually their dads who came up with the idea for them to start a band together. And then Chris moved to Utah, and Tyler knew he wanted to play with Chris so he came along to Utah as well. We were all in the same music scene in Utah when the chance for us to play together came about. Brendon was playing bass for a few different bands at that time and was looking for something steady. My band was just about to break up. We’d watched each other play before so there was this kind of music respect between us. And when we finally got to play together for the first time, there was a certain energy to it and we just knew that we wanted to keep playing together. The first documented song we played together was Tidal Waves, which still has a video floating about Youtube.

Who or what are your major influences?
All four of us are all very different, but as a band we like Morrisey, Michael Jackson, The Smiths, Billy Ocean. We like all sorts, really.

How does it feel having your first single “Animal” top the charts?
It feels great! We actually have to pinch ourselves from time to time because it is such a dream. We often have to step back and just appreciate the success it’s achieved. It really is such a blessing. It’s hard to count on something becoming a hit with people, you can only just hope that people will like it and keep requesting for it.

How do you feel about the cast of Glee singing it?
We’re actually really flattered. We’re fans of pop culture in general. And so to have been a part of Glee is just amazing.

How did you pick up drumming?
I initially started out wanting to front a band, so I sang and played the guitar. I only began seriously playing drums when a friend and I would jam together and there would be no drummer, which was a pain. So it all kind of happened accidentally and I picked it up, sort of as a favor, so we could have a better time jamming. It ended up being really fun and I realized that I was better at it than I had thought. It’s become a real passion. I like how physical it is. Drumming is definitely more difficult on the body than playing the guitar.

Which band would you like to tour with and why?
A band from the past would be Fleetwood Mac. We all love the band, and think that it’d be fun. Or maybe Duran Duran. Touring with a band that I grew up with would be really cool. We were actually just on tour with My Chemical Romance. They’re the nicest people! It was like a dream tour. They’re so down to earth and the fans were really kind.

Tell us an interesting tour story.
One of the coolest things that happened was playing at a mall in Canada which had a huge theater attached to the mall. My Chemical Romance actually rented out the theater for an IMAX movie after hours so it was like this huge chill out session with My Chemical Romance, the crew and the band who opened, The Architects.

You haven’t performed in Singapore before, what do you think your fans here are like?
We’re hoping that they’re going to be full of energy. We want them to sing along and dance, basically have a good time with us. We don’t want them to just watch us, because that’d be boring. We hope they’re going to come excited and ready to participate. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

What was the worst performance you’ve had?
I think it was maybe one of our first tours during the fall or winter of 2009, when we first started out. It was at this tiny club and we had maybe only 10 people at our show. Nobody was really interested in us or our music. It was really quite sad.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to sign your autograph on?
I signed a kid’s face just last week. It’s crazy. I don’t know why anyone would want to an autograph on their face, but I did it anyway!

Which is your favorite song to perform?
It changes a lot, but right now I really like “Your Surrender.” It’s fun and full of energy. We’ve been opening our recent shows with that song.



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Stop traffic with these stripey standouts.

1. Don’t be afraid to walk the talk as you step out in these heels with a sleek touch of red. $169 from The Editor’s Market/Avenue.

2. This roomy bag is perfect for you to lug around your laptop, grocery shopping and document files in. $69 from The Editor’s Market/Avenue.

3. A total bargain, the scarf attached to this dress can be styled in numerous ways depending on your heart’s desire. $79 from The Reckless Shop.

4. Strike a pose because you’ll be turning heads in this strikingly colorful skirt. $89 from The Editor’s Market/Avenue.

The Editor’s Market/Avenue
The Reckless Shop


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Think you know it all? Put on your whiz hat at any of these free regular trivia nights.

Boomarang Bar & Bistro

Tuesdays, 7:30pm.
If your store of knowledge is as good as your capacity for alcohol, get all the answers right and have the house pick up your tab from the first question of the quiz to the last. Book at least a day in advance for a table of maximum six people.
#01-15 The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, 6738-1077.


Tuesdays, 7pm.
Pub quizzes here add even more punch to the already lively microbrewery. Challenge your knowledge of everything from geography to history, sports and science and stand to win cash vouchers or booze, or both. Book at least two days in advance.
#01-05/06 Riverside Point, 30 Merchant Rd., 6438 7438.


Wednesdays, 7pm.
Hosted by Perfect Ten 98.7FM DJ Shan Wee, round up five of your smartest friends and attempt to walk away with a prize or two. There are monthly prizes too. Call at least a day in advance to book.
9 Rochester Park, 6779-4644.

Turnstyles Sports Bar

Tuesdays, 8pm.
A boozy home of armchair sports, this bar hosts quiz nights with a chance to win assorted prizes. Hopefully you won’t be distracted by the sporting action happening on the plasma TVs and large screen projector here. Book at least one day in advance.
45A Circular Rd., 6536-1524.


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Just how smart are you? Diane Wong & Justine Ong lay down a challenge. Illustrations by Shahira Khalid & Tetuko Hanggoro Prasetyowibowo.

PART 1: Be Logical

Fiendishly difficult brain-twisters.

1. Muthu is grilling steaks for Yam Ah Mee. His little grill can broil two steaks at a time, but Ah Mee is hungry and wants three.
That’s a problem: It takes four minutes to grill each side of a steak, so he’ll spend eight minutes grilling the first two steaks, then another eight grilling the third. Sixteen minutes is a long time to keep a Returning Officer waiting.
How can Muthu improve his time while still cooking the steaks thoroughly? Ah Mee really likes his well done.

2. Ah Seng challenges Ah Boon to a 100-meter race. Ah Boon crosses the finish line when Ah Seng has covered only 97 meters.
The two agree to a second race, and this time Ah Boon starts three meters behind the starting line.
If both run at the same speed as in the first race, who will win?

3. Ali says Ahmad lies. Ahmad says Siti lies. Siti says Ali and Ahmad lie.
Who lies and who tells the truth?

4. You arrive in the Fifth Court of Hell to find it’s just a typewriter on a desk. As you take your seat, you notice that the C key is glowing faintly. Yen Lo Wang, the God of Death says, “All you have to do is type the integers, in order: ONE, TWO, and so on. The first time you strike the C key, you’ll be released into paradise.”
That doesn’t sound too bad. Assuming it takes 10 seconds on average to type each number (and that you spell each correctly, in English), how much time will pass before you first type the letter C?

PART 2: Spot the Difference

Ten things are not quite the same in the photo below. What are they?


PART 3: A Tasty Crossword

How well do you know your local food?


05. Roasted or fried nuts or beans usually sold in a paper cone. (7, 5)
06. A type of meal that involves small individual portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. (3, 3)
07. Which household brand was the first in the world to package its drinks in Tetra Brik Aseptic containers? (4)
10. Besides gin, Heering cherry liqueur, lime juice, Cointreau orange liqueur, Benedictine herbal liqueur, grenadine syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters, what else is required to make a Singapore Sling? (9, 5)
12. What chain of air-conditioned kopitiams in Singapore was founded in 1944 by Loi Ah Koon? (2, 3, 4, 5)
13. What seed from a poisonous fruit is eaten as a delicacy in Peranakan cuisine? (4, 6)
16. What stir fried noodle dish is cooked with lard, shrimps, squid and slices of pork? (7, 3)
17. A convenience store selling miscellaneous sundry goods, often run by Indian shopkeepers. (4, 4)
19. What product was traditionally made using leftover meats from festivals and banquets and preserved with salt and sugar before being smoked? (3, 3)
20. What drink is poured repeatedly back and forth from one cup to another to give it a thick frothy top? (3, 5)


01. A soup consisting of meaty pork ribs simmered in a broth of herbs and spices. (3, 3, 3)
02. What is the name of Singapore’s first market? (5, 4, 6)
03. What drink contains edible pearls? (6, 3)
04. What drink is topped with an extra spoonful of powder that is rich in protein and made from malted Barley? (4, 8)
08. What local chain of bakeries has transparent glass panes separating the kitchen from the retail space? (9)
09. Small and roundish, this food item was rumored to be soaked in horse urine during preparation. (7, 3)
11. A spicy dipping sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, shallot, fermented ground shrimp and sugar. (6, 7)
14. The method used by your grandma to determine the amount of salt for her famous Itek Tim. (4, 4)
15. A salad, the name of which is also used to describe something as being a jumbled mix. (5)
18. A curried noodle dish with a reputation in Katong, usually cut up into smaller pieces and can be eaten with just a spoon. (5)

PART 4: Photo Zoom

Do you have an eye for detail? Try and guess these everyday Singaporean objects up close.

PART 5: Local Trivia

How well do you know Singapore, really?

01. What do the five stars on the national flag symbolize?
02. Before the government started reclaiming land, which temple used to face the sea?
03. What is the maximum height that buildings can be built to here?
04. In what year did the government ban the manufacture, import and sale of chewing gum?
05. How many floors did the tallest building in 1924 have?
06. What animal can be found on the right side of the National Coat of Arms?
07. Which is the only other country with a Merlion statue recognized by the Singapore Tourism Board?
08. Which country has taken over Singapore as the world’s busiest container port?
09. Who was the first non-Chinese to take up the post of army chief of Singapore?
10. How many opposition political parties have held seats in our Parliament post-Independence?
11. Who scored the last ever goal at the National Stadium?
12. How many public stadiums do we have?
13. What is the name of the 11th expressway to be constructed?
14. What were the predecessors of the ERP?
15. Which popular US reality television series did Phua Chu Kang appear on?
16. What was the lowest temperature recorded in Singapore?
17. Who became the first person to fly an airplane here on Mar 16, 1911?
18. Which was the first hotel to offer a swimming pool in its premises?
19. How many capsules does the Singapore Flyer have?
20. What upgrade to the cable car system cost $30,000 per cabin in 1999?
21. What was the name of the oceanarium that stood on River Valley Road near Fort Canning from 1955 to 1998?
22. How many pedestrian and vehicular bridges go over the Singapore River?
23. Name the first market that opened here in 1825.
24. What is the name of the oldest Roman Catholic church?
25. Where is the tallest slide found?
26. In which estate, where British soldiers were once housed, will you find roads with names like Portchester, Crowhurst, Brockhampton and Braemar?
27. Name the country’s tallest mall.
28. When and where was the Institute of Mental Health first built?
29. How much prize money was on offer during the first race at the Singapore Turf Club?
30. What is the name of the building that now houses the Peranakan Museum?
31. What is the maximum amount of water Singapore is allowed to draw from the Johor River per day?
32. What are the names of Ah Meng the orangutan’s two sons?
33. What is the name of the first polar bear to be born in the tropics at the Singapore Zoo?
34. In what century did Sang Nila Utama found Singapura?
35. What is the name of the systematic massacre of Chinese by the Japanese military in Singapore during World War II?
36. Where did the British surrender to the Japanese on Feb 15, 1942?
37. Workers from what company were involved in the riots on Black Thursday in 1955?
38. What is the minimum age to run for the office of President?
39. Who was the first (and so far only) directly elected President of Singapore?
40. Who founded the Workers’ Party?
41. In what year did the government transfer Christmas Island to Australia?
42. Singapore was known as Temasek once. What does “Temasek” mean?
43. Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. When did he die?
44. What office used to occupy the premises of Dempsey Hill?
45. What is the name of the country’s first international airport?
46. When did Singapore become a member of the United Nations?
47. Which year did the government introduce a Goods and Service tax?
48. Which part of Singapore is sometimes called the “Muslim Quarter” due to its history?
49. What was the name of the organization responsible for mass housing programs before the Housing and Development Board?
50. Name the four operational lighthouses administered by Singapore.


PART 1: Be Logical

1. Grilling steaks
Put two steaks on the grill. After four minutes, flip one and replace the other with an uncooked steak. At the eight-minute mark Muthu’ll have one well-done steak and can finish cooking the two half-done ones that remain. Total cooking time: 12 minutes.

2. 100-meter race
Ah Boon will win again. We know that Ah Boon covers 100 meters in the time it takes Ah Seng to cover 97. If Ah Boon starts three meters behind the starting line, the two will be neck and neck at the 97-meter mark, and Ah Boon will pull ahead.

3. Truth and lies
Only one answer is free from contradiction: Ali and Siti lie and Ahmad tells the truth.

4. Arrived in Hell
It’s a bit worse than you thought. You’ll type for 300 quintillion years before reaching ONE OCTILLION.

PART 2: Spot the Difference

PART 3: A Tasty Crossword

07. YEO’S


PART 4: Photo Zoom

Supreme Court

Red Dot Traffic Building

Hokkien Mee

The Art Science Museum


PART 5: Local Trivia

01. Democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality
02. Thian Hock Keng Temple
03. 280 meters
04. 1992
05. Two. Ellison Building, corner of Selegie and Bukit Timah Road
06. Tiger
07. USA, California
08. Shanghai
09. Colonel Mancharan Singh Gill, in 1982
10. Four: Workers’ Party, Singapore Democratic Party, Singapore People’s Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance.
11. Noh Alam Shah, Jan 6, 2010
12. 19
13. North-South Expressway
14. The RPS (Road Pricing Scheme) and ALS (Area Licensing Scheme)
15. The Amazing Race, Season 3
16. 19.4 degrees Celsius, Jan 31, 1934
17. Joseph Christiaens, a Belgian engineer and racecar driver, in a Bristol Boxkite
18. Goodwood Park Hotel, 1947
19. 28
20. Glass-bottomed cabin
21. Van Kleef Aquarium
22. 15
23. Lau Pa Sat
24. Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
25. Changi Airport, Terminal 3, 12 meters
26. Serangoon Gardens
27. Orchard Central, 12 floors above ground and two levels of basement
28. 1841, corner of Bras Basah Road and Bencoolen Street
29. $150
30. Old Tao Nan School
31. 250 million gallons
32. Hsing Hsing and Satria
33. Inuka
34. 14th century
35. Sook Ching massacre
36. Old Ford Factory, Bukit Timah
37. Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus Company
38. 45 years old
39. Ong Teng Cheong
40. David Marshall
41. 1957
42. Sea Town
43. 44 years old
44. Central Manpower Base of Singapore
45. Seletar Airport
46. September 21, 1965
47. 1994
48. Kampong Glam
49. Singapore Improvement Trust
50. Bedok, Horsburgh, Raffles, Sultan Shoal

Gather your friends and try out at any of these trivia nights at these bars in Singapore.


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The buzz: This is LG’s first showroom in Asia, equipped with the latest gizmos to offer a leisure experience like no other.

The vibe: With smooth and glossy white floors, comfy lounge chairs, a pleasant and relaxed environment, and a 65 inch TV, the overall effect is to make you feel at home. If home was 50 years in the future.

The goods: On display are some of the most ground-breaking technologies in home entertainment, mobile communications, home appliances as well as air conditioning and energy solutions, such as LG’s newest Cinema 3D technology and the world’s first 3D glassless smartphone, which lets you record videos in 3D. LG LIVE showcases a stunning range of limited edition products and prototypes, and while the store is not retailing any products, you can locate the nearest retail outlet through theose interactive touch panels.

Why you’ll be back: A one-stop destination to keep up-to-date with the freshest tech in the market, this is the place for those bored of FaceTime and not easily impressed by the color white. Plus, they refresh the product display every three months.

#B2-47/48, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-7341. Open Sun-Thu 10am-11pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight.


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