SINGAPORE (Nov 26): The Edge Singapore’s management team lets us in on their plans for the long-awaited festive period.
(Main image, pictured from left: Tong, Teo, Chan and Tan at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore)
In December, I will be heading back to Vancouver with my family, as we always do during this time of the year. We will be spending Christmas in Whistler, which has been a tradition since I was seven or eight years old. I love it that days are so short there. It gets dark at 5pm or 6pm, so I’m hoping to also catch up on my reading after those hours: Jeffrey Archer’s latest two books, as I’m a big fan of his work. I’m also working through John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, so that is definitely going to be part of the pile of books I take to Canada with me.
It is also going be the first time my daughter, Olivia, will be experiencing snow in the great outdoors, along with the rest of the children in the family. She stayed indoors for the most part of our trip to Whistler last year. Now that she’s in her “terrible twos”, she has already started chatting and walking, so we are in the midst of planning some fun snow activities for her while we’re there. After that and the New Year celebrations, we will be rushing back to Singapore as my wife and I will need to get Olivia ready to enter preschool.
We usually celebrate Christmas by having dinner at home with the extended family on Christmas Eve, and heading to midnight Mass. But this year is going to be an exception. I’m going to Japan with my husband, daughter, mother and two aunts. I believe it is the first time we will be spending this holiday abroad. We are flying to Osaka on Christmas Eve and heading straight to Universal Studios Japan on Christmas Day! We will also be visiting Kyoto before flying back in time for New Year’s Day in Singapore.
I have to admit I’m a bit stressed about the trip because I messed up the flight schedules. I was in a huge rush to book our tickets, as the prices were going up. To make a long story short: I ended up purchasing return flight tickets 12 hours earlier. This means landing in Japan late at night at an airport far away from the city, and flying out at 8am. Airport transfers are going to be a problem. On the bright side, we are going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I’m so excited, although I am the only Harry Potter fan among the six of us… I feel bad about dragging the rest around with me. But family sticks together, right?
Chan Chao Peh
My wife and I have spent some of our Christmases attending potluck gatherings with friends. We will do that or just stay at home and catch up on our sleep, read an engaging non-fiction book, read newspapers (The Edge Singapore included, of course) and enjoy the year-end specials put together by other publications. It’s not a tradition for my wife and me to exchange gifts. So, I am definitely not getting her anything this Christmas, or else eyebrows will be raised.
I have no plans to travel for now, but if I could spend the year-end season abroad, I would consider Okinawa. It is a nice place to take a break. My first trip there was just in April this year, and I want to go again. Okinawa is slightly off the beaten track in comparison to all the other prefectures I have visited in Japan so far. I find that it offers a good balance of Japanese hospitality, modern conveniences and plenty of nice spots to chill over a mug of Orion beer.
My family never really had the habit of celebrating Christmas together because it happens to be the busiest and most stressful time of the year for my father, who is a chef. Still, the holiday is very meaningful to me, as it is a time for everyone to finally wind down after an entire year of hard work. I’ve spent the past Christmases at quite a number of gatherings with friends where we’d feast, do gift exchanges and, of course, enjoy plenty of alcoholic beverages during each party. And while it is not set in stone, my plan for this year is to clear a week’s worth of leave and stay at home for a change to do some painting — a hobby that I find extremely therapeutic.
I’ve always been interested in fine arts as a subject, so much so that I studied art in secondary school — although I was eventually forced to give it up to focus on my core subjects after playing hooky too often. My next painting is ideally going to be something I can hang up on the wall of my apartment, which I bought and moved into last year. I’m also thinking of using this week-long break to talk to an interior designer about the possibility of doing up my place, as I’ve left most of it untouched so far.