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AWA Magazine


... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

November - December 2023 issue

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Editor's Note

Welcome to the 2023 Winter issue, our last for 2023. Although living close to the equator means we don't get to trade our slippers for boots, or tank tops for hoodies and coats, this time of year always brings a festive yet reflective energy for me. Not only do we get to look forward to the twinkle of lights installed around the city for the festivities of Deepavali and Christmas, but many of us will be taking vacations at the end of the year to spend time with family or chosen family. It was with my own nostalgic moments that I suggested this issue's theme, Finding Light Within Community, to our writers. 

Community Helps Us Find Meaning: Dulce Zamora shares stories about how she cultivates resilience within herself and her family by intentionally strengthening ties with her tribe. ​Andrea McKenna Brankin - founder of AWA's Listen Ladies support group - shares how learning to listen has helped her, and could help you, find meaning in community. Mandakini Arora writes about the importance of a writing community, specifically the AWA Writers' Group that she co-chairs. Group members will be presenting a workshop (aptly titled, "Don't Be A Stranger Now!") at the Singapore Writers' Festival (SWF) on November 18! But don’t stop there. SWF is a great community event (November 17-26), and thankfully Stephanie Kolentsis provides us with a shortlist of suggested events. 

Jewels of Inspiration: AWA turned 88 this year. Because 88 is a number that represents luck and prosperity in Chinese, we took the opportunity to dig up some jewels of AWA's history, which show AWA to be a light in the community through volunteerism. These include a letter from pioneer Martha Smith recalling her years with AWA from 1948 to1982! To get a better picture of Singapore during those early AWA days, Mandakini’s book review will make you want to pick up Rachel Heng’s acclaimed novel, The Great Reclamation

​Indeed, inspiration abounds in the community. Caroline Beaumont shares how she has rekindled her interest in history through her volunteer role as a docent with the National Museum of Singapore. Keri Matwick, one of the AWA running group's leaders, shares the recent and inspiring journeys of Qian Marquand who ran her first marathon and Bernie Tretta, former co-chair of the running group, who tackled an ultramarathon in Vietnam. Keri’s passion for healthy, locally-made foods led her to interview Elizabeth Theodoros and learn about her entrepreneurial journey to making clean, tasty hummus, which is  widely available here in Singapore. You will marvel, too, at the artistry of Bebe Seet’s traditionally embroidered shoes, captured by Elena Boyce’s photography and Lena Sharp’s words. Last but not least, Christine Agertoft, a Member of The American Club, shares her unique heart-warming traditions while away from her family's hometown.

In case you missed the AWA's Annual Carpet Auction, you can check out our enthusiastic recap (including a photo slideshow) here

​I hope you enjoy this issue. May you be inspired to seek your community - through friendship, service, sportsmanship and the arts - and be an integral part of it.


Suellen Lee, Editor-in-Chief

AWA Insights and Feature Articles

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Our Team

Get to Know Us!

The AWA Magazine is managed by a group of volunteer women who love to share stories, adventures and all things related to living in Singapore and Southeast Asia, while having fun along the way. 

We are always welcoming new volunteers to join our magazine team of writers, managing editors, copy editors, photographers and designers.  If you are looking to share your talents or even try something new, get in touch with us

“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”

Jimmy Neil Smith
International Storytelling Center
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