Exciting Cultural Dances

Exciting Cultural Dances

Other neighbouring countries' cultures generally influence Singapore's cultural dances. Yes, the dances typically reflect a mix of different cultural practices, mainly India's, China's, Indonesia's and Malaysia's folk dances. Singapore's traditional dances constitute both contemporary and classical techniques. The primary identifying mark of these dances is that they always retain the traditions and beliefs of the ethnic peoples. They also creatively portray the concepts and social practices of the people through such an art. Just to find out, we can now explore some of the most popular dances in Singapore:

Dances of Singapore

As noted, in the 1980s, Singapore's culture predominantly featured Chinese and other Asian cultural dances. It amalgamates these and presents them in a uniquely traditional Singaporean form.

The Lion Dance for Good Fortune and Luck

The Lion Dance is one of the most popular Singaporean dance forms. It's primarily adapted from Chinese culture. Essentially, the performer of the Lion's dance usually imitates a lion's movement. To make this perfect, the performer wears a lions' costume while on the dance floor. According to local folks, the Lion's dance brings good fortune and luck at any festival or cultural event. The dance is mostly performed when people have special celebrations. It's also performed when the people are in the process of starting a new venture or project; at the same time, the Lion's dance is a popular feature when there are special Chinese New Year celebrations. The Singaporean Chinese population greatly adore the dance.

How is the Lions Dance performed? During the performance, two of the dancers usually hold the ";lion"; which- obviously- has ";a tail";. Overall, the Lions dance is different from another popular genre-the dragon dance. Two kinds of lions are usually featured- the southern and the northern lion. What is the southern lion? This is usually a one-horned monster. The designers craft it using lots of bamboo cutouts and paper. The lion's colour symbolizes the lion's age and type. Since the dance is supposed to bring good luck, the colours used may be different.

The Malay National dance (Zapin Singapura)

This popular dance style reflects the famous Malaysian Zapin dance. The Middle Eastern people are thought to be the dances' originators. Zapin dance was introduced into Singapore before the British colonialists arrived and mainly popularized in 1973. Zapin has evolved over time and changed significantly over the years. At first, Zapin dance was mainly a ceremonial dance that featured during religious occasions. Male dancers mainly performed the Zapin. Today, the Singapura Zapin dance includes both men and women.

How is it performed? The dancers move in pairs. They wear a straight gown outfit, wrapping a different piece of clothing over the gown. While the dancers are busy, the musicians play different kinds of instruments, more like an orchestra performance. The instruments include rebab, bass, accordion, gambus, bongos (marwas), synthesizer, the drum (known as Rebana) and the Dok. Zapin comes in different forms including ulau, Malayu, Pekajang, Tembung, Lenga, Johar and Zapin Arab.

The Kathak - Dance Story

The Kathak invokes the telling of traditional folk stories and dances. Kathak is a classical Indian dance style that recites the stories of the traditional folk communities and presents them in the form of dances, intricate movement of the hands and the entire body, facial expressions and dynamic foot movement. Kathak is mostly performed during international shows and dance festivals.

Peranakan - The Poetic Dance

Peranakan Sayang is a traditional Singaporean poetic dance. Perakan is usually associated with Chinese and Malay communities (the Straits). Thus, this dance style encompasses Malaysian and Chinese cultures. The Perakans are a native Chinese group of people who came from the southern provinces and settled in Malaysian islands before moving to Singapore. How is this dance performed? It mainly features during important ceremonies like weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. The dancers wear special costumes like Malaysian batic sarongs and Kerosangs. They might also wear Perakan beaded slippers (the Kasot Manek) and brooches. The costumes are typically floral ensembles; the footwear consists of colours derived from the Perakan porcelain. The dancers follow prompts from Dondang singers while the orchestra-like music performs. The musicians usually play various instruments, including traditional Malay hand drums (or the Rebana), the violin and the gong. These instruments are usually complemented with traditional guitars, accordions, tambourines, flutes and western drums.

Top Athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Top Athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Have you ever wondered: Who are the top Singaporeans featuring at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Of course, Singapore has truly come a long way in its quest to win the most coveted Olympic medals ever since the days of Tan Howe Liang, who won a historic weightlifting medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Later, the women's table tennis won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling also made history in the Rome Olympics when he won the country's first-ever gold medal. He broke the records with this 100 meters butterfly race. As the world got ready for the Tokyo Olympics that started in July 2021, Singapore sent a strong 23-athletes contingent. The Singapore team was set to compete in a record-breaking 12 games. Among these are fencing, diving and equestrian debutants. Would you like to know the top athletes who made the team? Here's the list:

Shanti Pereira (24 years)

Shanti Pereira was set to compete in the women's 200 m race (athletics). Shanti was the only athlete from Singapore who would compete in the track and field event at this Olympics. How did she get there? Well, Singaporean officials handed the youthful athlete a universality ticket or wildcard. Shanti held the national record for both the women's 200m and 100 m races. Earlier on in 2015, the athlete had achieved a specular 200 m qualification mark at the SEA games. She also won the country's first sprint gold medal in the SEA biennial event in a period of 42 years.

Tan Sze En

Tan Sze En was set to make his Olympics debut at the Tokyo Games. The 20-year-old athlete, who is a gymnast, battled injuries ahead of the 2017 SEA games. She later suffered a fracture of the left ankle during training. One year later, the athlete had surgery immediately after the Asian Games. She just trained for three months before the start of the 2019 world championships. Tan Sze En eventually secured her Olympic place in an epic show when she attained the required mark in the all-around event.

Loh Kean Yew

Loh Kean Yew, 24 years, competes in the men's single event. This is Singapore's top-ranking badminton player. He's ranked no 42 in the world. He was set to make the debut in the Tokyo Olympics, featuring alongside Yeo Jia Min, his fellow teammate. Loh Kean Yew is originally from Penang in Malaysia but later moved over to join his brother, Kean Hean, to pursue studies in the sports discipline. Later, Loh Kean Yew enrolled at the Singapore Sports School and successfully applied for Singaporean citizenship. He won honours at the 2015, 2017 and 2019 SEA Games. Loh Kean Yew memorably performed a giant-slaying feat when he defeated former world No. 1 Lin Dan (China) in the 2019 Thailand Masters finals.

Amita Berthier, 20

Amita competes in the women's foil event. He was the first Singaporean fencer to make it to the Tokyo Olympics when she floored Uzbekistan's Yana Alborova in the women's foil final event at the Asia-Oceania Tournament. Anita is a former junior World No. 1.

Yeo Jia Min, 22

Yeo competes in the women's' singles event and is currently ranked No. 30 in the world. She's a former world No. I who wants to make a big mark at the biggest sports event of its kind. At the 2017 Asian Junior Championships, Yeo won a bronze medal. She later added three bronze medals to her crown at the 2015, 2017 and 2019 SEA Games.

Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman, 21

Kiria competes at the women's epee event. She is the reigning champion at the SEA Games. Kiria excited Singaporeans when she made a double-digit performance, upstaging higher-ranked athletes, to earn her Olympics slot at the Tokyo Games qualification event. She's currently ranked No. 207 in the world.

Jonathan Chan, 24

Jonathan Chan competes in the men's 10m platform event. Two years earlier, Chan won first place with an epic performance and earned the right to represent Singapore at the Tokyo Olympics. Chan kicked off her sporting career as a budding gymnast at the age of 5 years. Later on, Chan and her sister Kimberly both switched to the dividing competition in 2010.

Journey Toward Carbon Neutrality in Singapore

Journey Toward Carbon Neutrality in Singapore

The market for solar energy is heating up worldwide, with more and more countries joining the Race to Zero, "a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, [and] investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery," to directly quote the United Nations. This is a concerted, global effort to fight against climate change. Singapore, a small and resource-scarce city-state, is no exception, and the island is now home to one of the world's largest offshore floating Photovoltaic (PV) farms, a 5 MW-peak project that's been deployed in the Straits of Johor.

Developed by Sunseap Group, a solar energy solutions provider in Singapore, the five-hectare sea-based solar plant is equivalent in size to five soccer fields. With 13,312 solar panels, 40 inverters, and more than 30,000 floats, it's estimated to produce up to 6,022,500 kWh of energy per year, supplying enough power for 1250 four-room public housing flats on the island and offsetting an estimated 4258 tons of carbon dioxide.

In 2021, the Singapore government announced the Singapore Green Plan 2030. This nationwide initiative to advance Singapore's national agenda on sustainable development followed on from its announcement in 2020 that Singapore will aim to halve its peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vision is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but this can only be reached if the nation significantly reduces its reliance on fossil fuels. Finding alternative methods to generate electricity is therefore essential, as natural gas is responsible for 97% of electricity generation in Singapore.

Restricted by its small size, Singapore lacks access to natural and renewable energy sources such as wind and hydroelectric power. However, located almost on the equator, Singapore draws a high average annual solar irradiance. Simply put, it gets a lot of sun. As such, one of the key targets under the Green Plan 2030 is to quadruple solar energy deployment to 1.5 GW-peak by 2025, with further plans to reach 2 GW-peak by 2030.

However, for Singapore to achieve such ambitious goals and unlock the true potential of green solar PV, it must turn to state-of-the-art technologies.

Singapore's spatial constraints led Sunseap to look offshore, to the open seas, as a viable alternative for renewable energy, ultimately deploying the PV system in coastal waters. In doing so, Sunseap also achieved another milestone: constructing an undersea cable system connecting the floating platform to the mainland, creating a 22 KV electrical distribution network.

Unlike inland water bodies, the open sea is subject to a range of conditions and is prone to change, from fluctuations in temperature and rough swells to the corrosive nature of saltwater. Such unfavorable conditions, combined with the biofouling commonly found in warm tropical waters — where microorganisms, plants, algae, and small animals accumulate on surfaces — can potentially accelerate the degradation of PV system components, such as inverters.

By tapping into its expertise in integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the cloud, Huawei introduces the latest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into PV equipment to optimize power generation. Sunseap selected Huawei to supply its field-proven smart string inverters — Huawei SUN2000-90KTL-H2 — to make the floating solar farm more efficient, safer, and more reliable.

"We are honored to be selected by Sunseap, a Singapore solar energy solutions provider, to provide industry-leading solar inverters for one of the world's largest offshore floating-PV projects," said Bruce Li, Managing Director of the Huawei Asia-Pacific Enterprise Digital Power Business. "As an expert in integrating digital and power electronics technologies, Huawei is committed to helping people and industries worldwide benefit from clean solar energy with its innovative Smart PV solutions, accelerating the transition to renewable energy. We look forward to working closely with Sunseap and contributing to Singapore's Green Plan 2030."

Huawei inverters have already contributed toward generating gigawatts of electricity across utility solar power systems worldwide, demonstrating the company's ability to operate successfully at any scale and under any conditions. In addition, the inverters have undergone a series of tests for salt corrosion and heat dissipation, demonstrating their resilience to harsh environments and temperatures ranging from -55°C to 80°C. By deploying Huawei inverters, Sunseap has been able to streamline the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) process of the floating platform, as well as prevent rust and general material wear and tear.

Besides the performance benefits, a modular design ensures that deployment is fast and easy, with minimal adjustments required onsite. Such ease of deployment was another critical differentiator that led Sunseap to select Huawei as its technology partner.

Shawn Tan, Vice President of Engineering at Sunseap, said: "The portability of Huawei's string inverters was a key feature as it allowed us to install the inverters directly onto the floating platform, next to the PV panels. This eliminated the need for a Direct Current (DC) cable hose and DC combiner boxes, reducing costs and deployment times. Owing to the unique design of the inverters, heat is dissipated more efficiently, increasing the overall reliability of the entire solar PV system."

By implementing Huawei's smart string inverters, Sunseap has also streamlined the O&M process and its engineers are now able to conveniently conduct daily routine checks remotely. Wilson Tsen, Manager of Business Development and Project Management at Sunseap, commented: "Thanks to Huawei's Smart PV Solution and its intelligent O&M platform, we are able to carry out routine inspection and servicing of the plant equipment, the floats, and the mooring lines with greater convenience and ease. Huawei's technology is simply a game-changer: not only can we diagnose plant issues remotely, but we can also troubleshoot without having to be physically onsite."

The completion of this project and the time it took to get the grid connected will hopefully serve as a blueprint for other land-scarce and densely populated countries in the region to roll out similar initiatives.

Frank Phuan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sunseap, remarked: "The Green Plan from the Singapore government is a strong commitment against climate change and the offshore floating 5 MW-peak plant that we have here is just a small step forward on the path to carbon neutrality. I hope, in the future, Sunseap and Huawei will continue to contribute to the clean energy landscape here in Singapore."

BeatO entered the ASEAN market launching in Singapore

BeatO entered the ASEAN market launching in Singapore

BeatO – India's leading digital care ecosystem for chronic condition management – has raised USD 5.7 million in funding led by US-based venture capital firm, W Health Ventures. The funding also saw participation from e-pharmacy Unicorn PharmEasy (a Threpsi Solutions Pvt Ltd brand), Merisis VP and existing investors Orios VP, Leo Capital, and others. With this new funding, BeatO has raised more than USD 10 million over the last year across its Series A and Pre-series B rounds. The fresh funds will be utilized across two key areas – growth in subscriber base across multiple channels and geographies, and product enhancement to provide care for other cardiometabolic conditions.

BeatO's digital health platform combines real-time monitoring through its IoT-connected devices and app ecosystem to provide AI-driven personalized insights and proactive intervention by doctors and health coaches to patients with chronic conditions. With around 463 million people with diabetes and 1.13 billion with hypertension across the world, BeatO seeks to expand its presence beyond India to the ASEAN countries, Middle East and the US to provide better health outcomes to people with chronic conditions. BeatO recently entered the ASEAN market by launching operations in Singapore.

Commenting on the new funding, Gautam Chopra, Co-Founder & CEO – BeatO, said, "Diabetes and Hypertension have been the major killers in this pandemic. With our holistic tech-based solution that supports end to end management for these conditions, we have a proven product and technology with a highly engaged and rapidly growing member base. We welcome our new partners in our exciting journey as we continue to address this large global problem and positively impact millions of lives."

"We're impressed with BeatO's unparalleled patient experience and outstanding clinical results. The Company's exponential growth is driven by its ability to transcend geographical and socio-economic barriers. We're thrilled to join the BeatO team in this exciting journey of making affordable, accessible, and world-class diabetes care a reality for millions of people across the world," said Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Executive Vice President at W Health Ventures.

After the COVID-19 outbreak in India, BeatO has seen a significant double-digit month-on-month growth both in members and revenues. BeatO has expanded to 500,000 app installs and 300,000 paid members (adding 25,000 paid members every month). Revenues have soared 600% in the same period and the Company is clocking an annual gross revenue run-rate of USD 10 million. BeatO's growth is backed by a sharp increase in patient engagement and robust customer retention. This can largely be attributed to BeatO's user-friendly app (which makes measuring and tracking blood glucose levels easy), real-time actionable insights and data-driven proactive intervention via BeatO's health coaches and doctors.

Higher engagement is driving better clinical outcomes. BeatO's real-world evidence-based studies have been published in the prestigious American Diabetes Association and the Advanced Technologies and Treatment for Diabetes forums. These large population-based studies from India demonstrated that within 30 days, BeatO's program is effective in reducing mean blood glucose levels by 10% and for patients prone to hypoglycaemia, the program is effective in reducing hypoglycaemia incidence by 52%.