Author Archives: Shaun Tan

Year of the Shark?

When I first heard the news that two major supermarket chains in Singapore – Carrefour and NTUC FairPrice – had announced in January 2012 that they were discontinuing the sale of sharks’ fins here, I was surprised, to say the least.

I greeted the news with more skepticism than cheer, poking and prodding at the announcement as a cynic would. Yet, the movement seemed to be growing here, especially after Shangri-La announced a couple of weeks later that it had banned shark’s fins from all of its 72 hotels, most of which are located in Asia.

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Are ice cream shops here melting in the heat of added competition?

Remember the days when ice cream was a rare treat meant for special occasions or good behaviour? Well it looks like those days are long gone, what with the number of ice cream stores popping up across the island.

However, though customers now have the chance to get a great variety of sweet, cool treats all over Singapore, ice cream business owners are starting to feel the heat. Though no aggregated tally of all the ice cream stores and businesses in Singapore exists,  business owners and store workers Communiqué interviewed confirmed as much. Read the rest of this entry

Mervyn Hi: Barber / Black Sheep

It was not the first time I was having my hair cut by a stranger, but what felt new to me was how comfortable I was; no fear, or even wariness of the man I’d paid to take a razor to my hair.

I’ve seen my share of barbers, with their different styles of cutting – even shearing – hair. Some remained decidedly old school, drawing from their diverse repertoire of two hairstyles – completely bald or the crew cut. Others went up the decidedly high-tech route, with UV-sterilized combs and the promise of a complete haircut within ten-minutes.

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More international acts performing here – a bane or boon for concert promoters?

Music aficionados living in Singapore have been spoilt for their choice of live acts to see of late, with the rapid increase of big-name foreign acts performing here having escalated steadily, which stands in stark contrast to the plateauing music scene of a decade earlier.

Unsurprisingly, the growth in the number of live shows being played here have been attributed to one factor – the ever swelling ranks of concert promoters in Singapore. The new wave of promoters are younger, highly capable teams, and despite often being completely “green”, they adapt quickly and grow into the jobs.

A prime example would be Upsurge Productions, a concert promotion company fronted by former Republic Polytechnic coursemates Mae Ng and Lizanne Teo, both of whom are barely 20-years-old. The company, which the female duo co-founded in late-2010, organised its first ever show on July 6 last year, when American rock band Mayday Parade made its debut in Singapore.

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Young Singaporeans volunteering to help those in need

For Singaporean Egan Jeremiah Hwan, 22, waking up in the middle of the night to the aftershocks of Japan’s March 11 earthquake became such a regular occurrence, he would often ignore the shaking and go back to sleep.

“There were earthquakes practically every day that had magnitudes of between 6.9 and 7.1, as Ofunato is right next to the epicentre of the quakes.

“The shaking could be quite bad and things would fall off the shelves,” he added.

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