Thailand: Centara Turns Up The Holiday Cheer With Fun-Filled Festive Programme 2021

Bangkok, Thailand – Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, invites travellers to celebrate the festive season with loved ones at Centara hotels and resorts across Thailand, Maldives, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE.

From beachfront resorts and city hotels to family entertainment destinations and adults-only hideaways, the holidays just got a little more merry with special Christmas dinners, New Year’s Eve countdown parties, and month-long activities for children.

Travellers are also invited to rejoice in the holiday spirit and receive surprise gifts and treats for every stay booked directly with Centara from today – 10th January 2022.

For Centara Reserve Samui’s debut festive season, the new luxury resort offers guests a taste of the holidays with gastronomic Christmas Eve and Christmas experiences at Act 5. Salt Society Beach Bar & Kitchen has also curated a festive programme including a Christmas Day Brunch as well as a special New Year’s Eve lunch and dinner at a stunning beachfront location.

On the last evening of the year, celebrate new beginnings on the beach, or dance into the night at a pool party under the night sky. Revellers can also indulge in a gala dinner overlooking the shimmering city lights and countdown to midnight from the rooftop of Centara Grand at CentralWorld when elaborate fireworks displays light up the Bangkok night sky.

During the most wonderful time of year, families can relive the wonders of the holidays through the eyes of children. The festive programme includes Christmas lighting, plus Santas and Santarinas to share the magic of the season with younger guests. A line-up of family-friendly activities includes Christmas carol singing, themed arts and crafts, pizza making, and local experiences such as batik painting to ensure fun for all ages.

Guests travelling over the festive season also receive one gift voucher upon check-in for every room booked directly with Centara. Gifts can include a free upgrade, complimentary afternoon tea set, discounts or buy-one-get-one offers for spa and culinary experiences. To receive festive gift vouchers, travellers can book directly with Centara for stays from now until 10th January 2022.

For more information, contact the Centara Contact Centre at ccc@chr.co.th and +66(0) 2101 1234, or visit www.centarahotelsresorts.com/place-to-be-festive

Sports: SMBC SINGAPORE OPEN RETURNS IN JANUARY 2022 WITH INCREASED PRIZE MONEY

The SMBC Singapore Open will make a welcome return in 2022, and with an increased prize purse of US$1.25 million, up from the US$1 million previously on offer. The event will once again take place on the Serapong Course at the Sentosa Golf Club from 20 to 23 January.

After a hiatus in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore’s premier men’s championship will be the final event of the 2020/21 Asian Tour season. The tournament, jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization, will decide who will be crowned The Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.

Said Ross Tan, President of the Singapore Golf Association: “The SMBC Singapore Open has always been a highlight on the local sporting calendar, and organisers have worked with the relevant authorities to create a truly unrivalled experience under the circumstances and in the safest possible manner. We look forward to welcoming the players back to Singapore and are confident of staging another successful edition of the SMBC Singapore Open.”

Lauded as the Best Golf Course on Tour in 2019, Andy Johnston – General Manager and Director of Agronomy, Sentosa Golf Club said: “We are very excited to host and welcome the players back to Sentosa Island and Sentosa Golf Club again for the SMBC Singapore Open. Since we last hosted the tournament, we have made many improvements to The Serapong and we are very much looking forward to the players experiencing and enjoying the changes we have made.”

Public health and safety remain the highest priority during the event and organisers, SPORTFIVE, have been working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that all protocols will be followed .

All players and officials will adhere to strict protocols including pre-departure tests and tests on arrival. Working closely with both Sentosa Golf Club and Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Singapore, SPORTFIVE will ensure the highest level of preparedness. All onsite personnel will also undergo all necessary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties. It is unlikely there will be spectators allowed but limited hospitality is being planned. More details will be shared later.

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Commissioner and CEO said: “We are very pleased that the SMBC Singapore Open will be returning in 2022. The tournament has always been popular among players and fans, and we are confident that event organisers and partners are working hard to put together a high-quality event that is safe for all involved.”

Isao Aoki, Chairman of the Japan Golf Tour Organization said: “The SMBC Singapore Open 2020 was the opening event of the 2020 Japan Golf Tour Organization. We are delighted to be starting our year in Singapore again in 2022 and resuming the Tour in style. We appreciate the tournament organisers’ efforts to ensure the safe return of professional golf to Singapore and look forward to watching some of the world’s top golfers in action at  Sentosa Golf Club.”

Singapore’s flagship golf tournament has a storied history and has consistently attracted some of golf’s biggest names since its inaugural edition in 1961. Stars who have competed here most recently include then-world No. 1 Jordan Spieth in 2016, and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia ‒ who won the 2018 title. Updates on the players who will feature in the 2022 event will be shared soon.

The 2020 edition of the SMBC Singapore Open took place from January 16-19 on  Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course. Matt Kuchar, the bronze medallist from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, pulled off a stunning comeback in the final round to win the tournament with an 18-under par total, turning the tables on gold medallist Justin Rose, who finished second, three shots back at 15-under par.

The SMBC Singapore Open takes place from 20th to 23rd January 2022 on the Serapong Course at the Sentosa Golf Club. More information available here

Game On: ACEND SECURE VICTORY IN BERLIN TO BECOME FIRST EVER VALORANT WORLD CHAMPIONS

The inaugural season of the VALORANT Champions Tour concluded with Acend defeating Gambit Esports in the tournament finals to earn the title of VALORANT World Champion. A record setting one million concurrent viewers tuned into the match, which saw the European Acend take the series three games to two and secure the Champions Trophy. Led by strong performances by CNed and StarXo, Acend entered the finals without dropping a single game during the initial stages of the tournament.

“We were thrilled with the success of Champions! This tournament demonstrated the global resonance of VALORANT as a sport and that any team, from any region, can step up to be a contender for the Champions Trophy,” said Kasra Jafroodi, Global Strategy Lead for VALORANT Esports. “Seeing the level of competition rise around the world is an incredible sign of the continued growth of our game as we head into our next season in February.”

Sixteen teams from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia qualified for the event and competed for the title of the first ever VALORANT World Champion. More than eighty players descended on Berlin to compete during the course of the past two weeks across the group and knockout stages. While Acend won the finals, the underdogs from Latin America, KRÜ Esports, stole the hearts of fans around the world with their cinderella run into semifinals. Although they fell to the finalist Gambit Esports, the semifinal match between the two teams went into five overtimes before a winner could be declared. Team Liquid, featuring the Benrlitom brothers, also made a convincing berth that was eventually put to a stop by the eventual champions, Acend. In addition to the $1 Million USD prize pool, each of the sixteen teams was awarded with an equal split of 50% of the net proceeds of the VALORANT Champions bundle, a cosmetic skin sold worldwide within the VALORANT game. As of the last update, total contributions to participating teams was tracking at over $7.5 million USD in aggregate, approximately $500,000 per each participating team.

The Finals kicked off with an Opening Ceremony on December 12th that featured performances by Zedd, Rezz, PVRIS, and Grabbitz. To celebrate the event Riot Games and Grabbitz collaborated on a brand new track, “Die For You” which debuted ahead of the event. During the Finals Opening Ceremony, Zedd and Grabbitz performed a new remix of “Die for You” created specifically for the show.

More than one million concurrent viewers tuned in around the world to watch the Finals on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Afreeca, and Trovo which was broadcast in more than twenty different languages. Additionally for Champions, Riot Games expanded the Watch Party program to include more than 150 content creators around the world. Watch Parties allow prominent members of the gaming community to overlay their commentary on top of the official stream and distribute it across their channels, drawing their respective communities into the event.

Champions was the final event of the VALORANT Champions Tour, which began this past January. During the course of the season, more than 10,000 teams attempted to qualify for the final event across regional Challenger events and international Masters events. The next season of the VALORANT Champions Tour will begin in February and will feature the return of international competitions, a new tournament series during the off season, and a new global Game Changers event that will showcase the best women’s teams from around the world.

Sports: JSSL Singapore FA Cup Guest of Honour Peter Schmeichel holds clinic for young footballers

JSSL Singapore FA Cup Guest of Honour and Danish football legend Peter Schmeichel met 10 young footballers on Saturday, 11 December at Our Tampines Hub. On the sidelines of the inaugural JSSL Singapore FA Cup, the former Manchester United captain shared football tips and advice, and practised light goalkeeping drills with the youth athletes, who were aged between 12 to 16 years old.

After the clinic, Schmeichel said: “It’s my first visit today in this fantastic venue. It’s so great to see kids play football and kids being happy on a football pitch. We’ve got this wonderful tournament here – the JSSL Singapore FA Cup – and it’s for kids. Kids are playing football, they’re back on the football pitch enjoying this wonderful sport and this tournament, it’s an incredible event.”

The JSSL Singapore FA Cup started on Friday, 10 December and concluded with the Cup and Plate finals taking place at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday, 12 December. A total of 144 teams of vaccinated boys and girls aged 12 to 17 participated in this 4-a-side football tournament.

For more information about the JSSL Singapore FA Cup, visit https://www.jssl-cup.com

Game On: Global eSports Games announces official partners

The inaugural Global Esports Games (GEG) in Singapore will be supported by a slate of partners that includes Singapore Airlines, MyRepublic, Samsung and Razer, signalling the strong backing that the event has received from organizations across the APAC region. 

GEG, the flagship event of the Global Esports Federation (GEF), is a global, multi-title competition. The inaugural edition features Dota 2, eFootball 2022, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition with teams from more than 40 countries and territories around the world competing. The event runs from 18 to 19 December at Resorts World Sentosa.

This is Singapore Airlines’ first esports partnership, and the national carrier will be the GEG’s Official Airline Partner. The GEG’s other official partners in their respective areas are MyRepublic (Telco), Samsung Neo QLED (Technology), Razer (Esports), and Lazada (Ecommerce). Joining them are community partners TikTok and GosuGamers, and venue partner Resorts World Sentosa. 

In a tangible demonstration of its deep commitment to the esports community, Flare Networks, GEF’s Global Partner for Blockchain systems, is making a grant of their Songbird Tokens ($SGB) to every athlete and team heading to Singapore and helping the global broadcast reach the entire world.

Chris Chan, President, Global Esports Federation said:  “We are thrilled by the support from world-class brands for the first-ever Global Esports Games. We are now in the final phase of preparations for the GEG. The entire team remains focused on staging a prestigious international competition as planned despite the challenging circumstances. We are grateful to our partners for their commitment to sharing and supporting our #worldconnected vision.”

GEFcon, the GEF’s international convention of esports thought leaders, will take place on 16 December 2021, as well as GEFestival, a three-week celebration of esports culture that unites art, music, and technology to the broader gaming community across the world. Viewers around the world can watch live streams of the GEG through GosuGamersTwitchFacebookYouTube and Huya.

New Opening: Old Airport Road’s Western Barbeque heads West

Fans of Old Airport Road Western Barbeque no longer need to head east for their garlic sauce fix. After opening its second branch in Blk 59 Upper Changi Road in November, Old Airport Road Western Barbeque is opening its first Westside outlet on 15 December 2021,at 132 Jurong Gateway Road, bringing its unique garlic sauce, hearty Chicken Chops, and Pork Chops, to the West.

Old Airport Road Western Barbeque was established in 1974 in Old Airport Road Hawker Centre by Uncle William Lim, who has been serving up his rendition of Hainanese Western food for the last 47 years. Brother and sister team, Sharon and Derek Lim will be manning the third branch as a continuation of their father’s legacy.

Sharon and Derek say: “Response has been encouraging at Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road, with regular customers coming by to lend their support to us, as we’re just starting out in a new location. Now that we are able to open up in new locations, we are even more excited to have people located in other parts of Singapore try our father’s recipe and have them enjoy what we have to offer.”

The Jurong outlet will offer the same delicious items as the one at Old Airport Road and New Upper Changi Road. Diners will be able to try the Chicken Chop ($7), Pork Chop ($7), Chicken Cutlet ($7) along with the one-of-a-kind Garlic Sauce, as well as Cheese Fries ($3.50) and Onion Rings ($3.50). Other must-tries are the Mixed Grill ($12), which comes with chicken, pork, lamb, fries, coleslaw and an egg, as well as the Black Angus Beef Sirloin Steak ($12), which features 200g of premium beef.

Old Airport Road Western Barbeque
Where: 132 Jurong Gateway Road (Happy Hawkers Coffee Shop) Singapore 600132
When: Monday to Sunday, 10.30 am to 9.00pm
Instagram: @WesternBarbequeSG
Facebook: @WesternBarbeque
Accepts cash only. Also available on Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood (to be launched at later date)

Lifestyle: New lifestyle offerings and reimagined spaces as Singapore EXPO reopens with largest in-person exhibition held

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the i4.0 Experience Zone of ITAP 2021.

Constellar successfully hosted the 4th Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC from 22-24 November, as Singapore EXPO welcomed an estimated 3,600 visitors, the largest in-person exhibition since the pandemic. The event was held in a hybrid format, with a total of 143 exhibitors and five national pavilions from Singapore, China, Germany, Indonesia and Malaysia, engaging delegates in online and offline formats for a total attendance of over 11,000 attendees from 70 countries over three days.

In an industry where face-to-face interaction is still important, ITAP 2021 was a pilot event of the Vaccinated-Differentiated Safe Management Measures + Test (VDS + Test) protocol, providing much needed engagement between exhibitors and delegates in a safe manner. This was powered by Viatick and Trakomatic technologies that enabled contactless registration through facial recognition and data-based crowd management.

As Singapore’s largest Safe Management Measures (SMM) – compliant MICE facility, Singapore EXPO offers visitors versatile and customisable business spaces, adapting to needs for conventions, exhibitions, and conferences of all scale. Together with a full suite of solutions to support events, including digital insights tools and analytics, integrated marketing services and customised dining experiences, the venue has upgraded its spaces to bring greater value for business visitors post COVID-19.

Attendees at ApeX Studio, Singapore’s largest hybrid studio for the Opening Ceremony for ITAP 2021

The opening ceremony of ITAP 2021 was held at the ApeX Studio. With a mammoth 54 metre widescreen, ApeX Studio is Singapore’s largest hybrid studio. Perfect for hosting physical audiences while engaging online delegates at the same time, this 1000-pax* studio is housed within at Singapore EXPO Hall 1. Complementing this is the Garnet Studio, which is a 100-pax* studio for medium-size gatherings of physical audiences and unlimited digital audiences.

For purely virtual events, the Topaz Studio provides a warm and intimate environment for dialogue to engage audiences online. The studio is ideal as a recording studio, live chat show or panel discussions. 

Beyond the upgraded MICE facilities and services, Singapore EXPO have also enhanced the lifestyle offerings for the public. Visitors can look forward to a fun workout over a game of badminton at the largest hall in Singapore or zoom through laps at Singapore’s largest fun kart circuit operated by KF1^ featuring a 750m track with 16 turns. With over 22 indoor courts available, including two pickleball courts, shuttlers can smash their way to a good time on non-slip mats and individual lighting to simulate a tournament ambience. 

Professional and new bakers alike can hone their kitchen skills at the Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts (APCA), which is the is the biggest pastry and culinary training centre in Asia and is widely known as one of the finest pastry schools in the world. 

On the F&B front, Timbre+ Eastside offers a plethora of food and beverage choices, with 32 delectable international dining options#. They will also offer a first-of-its-kind kerbside pick-up service, featuring 14 unique options, where diners can order their meals via the Timbre+ app and pickup at the drive-through window.

MICE organisers hosting events at Singapore EXPO can also now offer a more premium and unique fine dining experience for private networking sessions via K2. Organisers can rent the bespoke setup and customise their menus with the chef to preferences of their guests.

“We are introducing a new Singapore EXPO experience; a one-stop venue where there’s something for everyone with our new F&B options and the variety of activities while restarting the MICE industry in a safe manner through digitalisation and more,” said Jean-François Quentin, CEO, Constellar. “As we gradually reopen and resume physical MICE events, we look forward to welcoming visitors back to a transformed Singapore EXPO and a world-class MICE facility that we can all be proud of.”

As Singapore transitions to living with COVID-19 in the new normal, Singapore EXPO stands ready to support national resilience efforts, with public health and safety remaining the top priority.

Being one of the first venues to be SG SafeEvents certified, Singapore EXPO has put in stringent safe management measurements to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, so visitors can Meet, Feast and Play @ EXPO with peace of mind.

New Opening: Old Airport Road’s Western Barbeque opens in Bedok

One stand-out among the many established food stalls in the Old Airport Road Food Centre is Western Barbeque. Established in 1974, Old Airport Road Western Barbeque has been there since the Food Centre first opened with Uncle William Lim serving up their rendition of Hainanese Western food for the last 47 years. Wishing to continue their father’s legacy, brother-sister duo Sharon and Derek Lim has opened a branch in Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road, on 25 November 2021, with their father staying put at Old Airport Road.

Sharon and Derek have been learning the ropes since young, helping out at the stall since their teens. They went on to carve careers in the corporate world until 2018, when they decided to take on the challenge of being a full-time hawker. Sharon and Derek say, “Our father has always wanted to expand and bring Old Airport Road Western Barbeque to more places. With us now fully on board, we can make his wish come true. We know the job is a challenging one but we both feel an immense sense of pride and satisfaction from doing this and being able to continue on the Old Airport Road Western Barbeque name.”

Sharon and Derek hope to do justice to the recipes Uncle William has perfected across the last 5 decades. Uncle William and his wife has given the siblings their full blessings, ensuring that the duo is able to create the recipes they have perfected through the years. As Derek puts it, “I knew we were ready when they stopped lecturing us.” To ensure standards are met, Uncle William will be stopping by from time to time.

The Bedok outlet will offer the same delicious items as the one at Old Airport Road. In addition to the famous Chicken Chop ($7), Pork Chop ($7), Chicken Cutlet ($7) and the one-of-a-kind Garlic Sauce, there will be some new dishes such as Cheese Fries ($3.50) and Onion Rings ($3.50). The siblings will also be introducing a brown onion sauce, which is a non-spicy alternative to go with the protein. Other must-tries are the Mixed Grill ($12), which comes with chicken, pork, lamb, fries, coleslaw and an egg, as well as the Black Angus Beef Sirloin Steak ($12), which features 200g of premium beef.

Uncle William, now aged 71, says “My wife and I have worked very hard to build this up and we are very happy that my children are continuing the business. When I first started, I had detractors and naysayers saying I would not last, so it gives me a sense of joy and pride to see that Old Airport Road Western Barbeque will hopefully live beyond me.”

Old Airport Road Western Barbeque
Where: Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 461059
When: Monday to Sunday, 10.30 am to 9.00pm
Instagram: @WesternBarbequeSG
Facebook: @WesternBarbeque
Accepts cash only. Also available on Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood (to be launched at later date)

Food For Now: Fatboy’s Launches Durian Burger

Over 300 suggestions later, Fatboy’s is ready to unveil the winning ingredient of their 12th birthday challenge with the launch of the all new Fatboy’s Durian Burger.

“We were thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm of our fans and friends. At Fatboy’s, we love hearing from you because that’s how we ensure that we consistently serve up comfort food we know you’ll love!” says Bernie Tay, Founder, Fatboy’s.

From 26 September to 10 October, participants bombarded the challenge with some of the most creative, and crazy, suggestions of what ingredients we should include in our Fatboy’s menu. Amidst the cries for mooncake, squid and even controversial coriander, 12 lucky participants emerged victorious and walked away with $100 worth of Fatboy’s vouchers each.

For anyone who harbours second guesses about the pungent, meaty fruit in a burger, we invite you to have a taste for yourself. Crunch into a generous slab of durian croquette that has been fried to golden-brown perfection, layered over a juicy homemade beef patty featuring the signature Fatboy’s blend. While your senses reel over the supreme textures, let your tastebuds luxuriate in the thick creaminess of decadent durian puree enhanced with a tart smear of jam, all wrapped in the warm hug of a fluffy buttered bun.

Durian Burger now available at all Fatboy’s outlets. More information available on their website,
Instagram and Facebook.

New Opening: Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha sets sights on Bedok and Tampines

After coming out of retirement and rejuvenating the Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha brand at Blk 505 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 in October 2021, a revitalised Uncle Lim Hai Chay sets to make his mark in the East. Two new stalls in Bedok and Tampines, opening in November and December respectively, will bring Chow Yun Fatt’s favourite Bak Kut Teh to more Singaporeans in the other parts of Singapore. The first, opening on 26 November 2021, is located at Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road with Blk 201C Tampines St 21 Tampines opening on 16 December 2021.

With over 45 years of heritage and legacy, Uncle Lim is a pioneer in the Bak Kut Teh scene and is responsible for the use of loin ribs in Bak Kut Teh (as pictured), as well as creating clear white pepper soup. Through the years, Uncle Lim has served generations of Singaporeans and he hopes that more people will be introduced to Rong Cheng with this expansion.

Uncle Lim says, “After coming out of a 5-year-long retirement to relaunch Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha in Ang Mo Kio, I am very happy with the amount of support we’ve received. I came out of retirement as I wanted to continue the Rong Cheng brand name and have it lived beyond me. It is beyond my wildest dreams that we’ve gone further than that, and will be opening new locations. I am very happy and thankful for all the support from new customers and old regulars.

Diners in the East can now enjoy dishes such as the signature Dragon Rib Soup ($9.00) and the Pork Rib Soup ($6.50). Other mains on the menu includes Pork Trotters ($6.50) and Pig Liver Soup and Pig Stomach Soup ($5.50 respectively). Customers can also enjoy sides of Mui Choy, Peanuts, and Tau Kee for $2.00 each, and Dough Sticks (You Tiao) for $1.50.

Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha (New Upper Changi Road)
Where: Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 461059

Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha (Tampines)
Where: Blk 201C Tampines St 21, Singapore 523201

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8.30am to 9.30pm
Find them on Facebook and Instagram

Cash only at their physical store. Also available on Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood (to be launched at later date)