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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

September - October 2023 issue


At the Threshold: Embracing Opportunities for Change

Editor's Note

Welcome to the September-October 2023 issue of the AWA Magazine! We are back from the summer and ready to launch our second annual, online publishing cycle. (We now publish 5 issues a year, September to June.) While we have lost some members of our team - an ever-present challenge for an all-volunteer-run-mostly-expat group - we are ever ready to tackle the task of reforming ourselves and re-”norming” what it means to be a source of novel stories, updates, insight and advice for the AWA community of women.


As September rolls around, we know change is in the air.  For many parents, a new school year has begun and some have even had the bittersweet experience of graduating young adults into their next chapters of life. For everyone, September marks the last quarter which can herald all sorts of endings and changes. As for me, I just stepped into the “Editor-in-Chief” role this summer, which has felt completely new and daunting. In the past month since returning from vacation, I admit having wrestled internally with “imposter syndrome.” When I established this issue’s theme over the summer, “At the Threshold: Embracing Opportunities for Change,” this was an attempt to reframe my own internal resistance to change! Indeed, my fears grew when I had to start getting my hands “dirty,” so to speak, and to get production underway. 


Then, I remembered that I am not alone. 


I remembered the lessons of last year, where I served as Online Editor, and how Andrea (our previous Editor-in-Chief) and I collaborated constantly to ensure the successful continuation and transition of this magazine - the switch from an online-print magazine to a magazine blog format. The experience taught me that teamwork involves not just intention, commitment and openness, but that making decisions and trying new things is always easier in the context of friendship and community. To embrace my new leadership role as Editor-in-Chief this summer, I knew had to step outside my comfort zone, which of course rattled my nerves, but the realisation, “I don’t have to face this alone!” started to shift my outlook and my mind was freed to see possibilities. 


A huge thank you to the following in our AWA community for helping me grow into this new role:


To Andrea Perez, our previous Editor-in-Chief, whose fearless leadership foreshadowed what I needed to do.  My work with Andrea taught me that the best thing about being with the magazine is learning not to take ourselves too seriously even as we take ourselves seriously, but only just enough. 


To Bailey Kennemer, who is new to our team as Online Editor. She has been my right-hand woman and sounding board this past month without whom I could not have carried out this role. 


I also could not have stepped into this role without the kind and generous ears of empathy and encouragement of Lauren Raps, Maureen Mai, Dulce Zamora, Mandakini Arora, Helena Cochrane and Elena Boyce. Last, but never least, to our entire team of committed and insightful writers and storytellers - you are so awesome to work with.


If you are an AWA member and are an aspiring/amateur/professional writer, visual storyteller, photographer, tinkering poet, or editor, do consider joining our team. You don’t need a lot of experience, just the willingness to take a risk and to challenge yourself to commit. It also helps to be curious, to be open to creativity and to the possibility of learning something new about yourself and others. Do you enjoy culture? Are you a foodie? Do you love fashion? Care about the environment? Do you enjoy nature? Give yourself a chance to explore and to expand your interests here in Singapore and share with us your stories and journeys.


Our writers have outdone themselves with this Fall issue on exploring change and transitions. Stephanie Kolentsis explores how an unexpected change in her life helped her redefine personal fulfillment. Andrea McKenna Brankin - a mental health advocate - provides wise tips on managing change. Dulce Zamora - a mother of teen girls - shares how her family has learned to face change through years of mishaps. Keri Matwick examines how running/walking with a group can foster physical and mental health. Helena Cochrane, a writer who is set to return to the US soon, shares how she grew as a person and an artist in Singapore. Elena Boyce interviews artist Lynelle Barrett about how her passion for traditional textiles prompted her to be fearless. Sara Kelly, a mother of young children, shares a tongue-in-cheek children's poem about how a brother learns to embrace his new baby sister. Need a bit of escape? Check out Mandakini’s review of the historical fiction novel, House of Doors, by Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng. The American Club, our featured partner, inspires the spirit of home through 75 years of community-building.


I hope you enjoy this issue. May you be inspired with not just ideas, but with courage and creativity to tackle any transition you are going through.



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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