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AWA Magazine

All Women, All Walks of Life, All Nationalities

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

February - March 2024 issue


Editor's Note

This February 10th will mark the 2024 grand ‘entrance’ of the Year of the Dragon and it is said 2024 will “foster growth, progress and abundance” (Zi). Inspired by this optimistic projection, I set the following theme for this year's first issue: “Finding Confidence and Clarity of Purpose.”


That was October 2023. Fast forward to January 2024 when I started work on this issue and the theme felt sanguine. Through reflection I eventually shifted my unease to find clarity (I explain more in my extended editorial here), and I’m relieved to say that I was not alone. Andrea McKenna Brankin who regularly contributes her wisdom in her column, “You Are Not Alone,” also faltered initially with this theme but then found wisdom and inspiration from her community. AWA writer Rajashree Keller shares her journey about facing personal losses and realising the power within herself to transform her story. These experiences remind me that the dragon also symbolises strength and resilience.

For inspiration about purpose, read Keri Matwick’s interview with AWA runner, Laura Binns, about what motivated her to train for her first marathon in London this April to support Mind, a mental health charity in the UK (where another AWA runner, Bernie Tretta, will also be running the London marathon to support the charity MS-UK!).


One's art is also where one can find purpose. Elena Boyce, for example, is a portrait photographer who found her purpose during her years in Singapore by helping people discover Singapore’s heritage makers through her Faces Behind the Makers series, which was a staple of this magazine for the past 2-3 years. Lena Sharp summarises Elena’s journey in this issue’s Member Spotlight. While Elena will be returning to France soon, we pay homage to her series in light of the year of the Dragon and republish her article about the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln. Like Elena, Maureen Mai finds purpose in her fine art photography to share the beauty of her travels to Venice with family, friends and to readers of this magazine. 


Besides the gifts of scenic beauty, travel also offers opportunities to encounter inspiring people we wouldn't meet at home. Dulce Zamora travelled to North Vietnam and encountered purposeful and resilient female entrepreneurs who use their business to resist encroaching development in North Vietnam. How's that for inspiration?

Last but not least, for historical inspiration of resilience, read Mandakini Arora's review of the novel, The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese, which is an Oprah Book Club pick!

​I hope you enjoy this issue. May you be inspired to seek and find a sense of purpose, strength and resilience this year in all circumstances.


Suellen Lee, Editor-in-Chief

Zi, Lily. “Year of the Dragon 2024: Predictions, Personalities and the Wood Element’s Meaning for the Next Lunar New Year.” South China Morning Post, 16 Dec 2023,

AWA Insights and Articles

lady smiling and looking at ipad

Calling Storytellers!

The AWA Magazine Team is a Special Interest group that strives to be a creative platform for AWA members to nurture and express their craft as storytellers, empower them to share their authentic voices as women who happen to live (or have lived) in Singapore, and forge meaningful connections along the way.


If this sounds a little or a lot like you, we invite you to get in touch with us at We'd love to meet up over a cup of coffee (or a Zoom call) and discuss your interest in being part of the magazine team!

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Meet Our Team

The AWA Magazine is composed of 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. 

Click on the pictures to learn a bit more about 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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