18 January 2018

Preorders open in Singapore for new Microsoft Surface family members

Microsoft has made a number of products in its Surface family available for preorders.

Source: Challenger eDM. Preorder invitation for the Microsoft Surface Laptop.
Source: Challenger eDM. Preorder invitation for the Microsoft Surface Laptop.

The Surface Laptop will be available in Singapore starting 24 January, with preorders now available from the Microsoft Store as well as authorised retailers. The retailers include Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, LOL by Epicentre, Harvey Norman, and Newstead.

Starting from S$1,488, Surface Laptop balances performance and style. The Surface Laptop is engineered to start fast and stay fast with a 7th generation Intel Core processor and up to 14.5 hours of battery life*. At 1.25 kg** and under 14.5mm thick, the Surface Laptop is also engineered for portability.

“We are excited to be bringing Surface Laptop to Singapore for customers who are seeking a differentiated laptop experience,” said Veronica Chiu, Windows and Devices Group Lead, Microsoft Singapore earlier this month.

“Meticulously crafted to deliver a portable and performance packed experience, Surface Laptop empowers our customers to unleash their creative potential by bringing the best of Windows and Office together, while redefining its category.”

Available in Platinum, the signature keyboard on the Surface Laptop is covered in Alcantara material and features a quiet, responsive keyset, large precision trackpad, and soft palm rest for typing comfort.

The 13.5" PixelSense Display is optimised for touch and inking while the optically-bonded Corning Gorilla Glass 3 adds durability. The Surface Laptop will also support the new Surface Pen***.
Shipping with Windows 10 S, a new Windows experience streamlined for security and superior performance, Surface Laptop starts up and runs faster with InstantOn and an operating system optimised for sustained performance.

With Windows 10 S, applications that are downloaded from the Windows Store are first verified for security, and then locally run in a “container” that is isolated from other containers for safety. In addition, Surface Laptop is fully integrated with OneDrive to keep  content safe in the cloud.
Preorders for the Microsoft Surface Studio, along with Surface Dial are also available now.

Source: Microsoft. The Surface Studio.
Source: Microsoft. The Surface Studio.
The Surface Studio is an entirely new device designed for the creative process. With a 28" PixelSense Display that is adjustable, the Surface Studio provides a canvas for users to sketch, paint and edit photos, or even to lay things flat as with a drafting table.

It can be paired with the Surface Dial which provides easy access to shortcuts, controls and drawing tools.

In addition, the Surface Book 2 (13” and 15”) will be coming to Singapore in March 2018. Billed as Microsoft's most powerful Surface ever, the Surface Book 2 features the latest quad-core Intel processors and the best graphics performance yet with the latest NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

It is also able to support varying work styles, including studio mode, laptop mode, view mode, and tablet mode by simply detaching the screen. Studio mode refers to using the Surface Book 2 as a tablet but with the keyboard still attached.

Microsoft also announced in a blog post that preorders for Surface Book 2 15” have begun in Australia, New and Zealand among other countries.

Source: Microsoft blog. The Surface 2, with the Surface Dial on the left and the Surface pen third from left.
Source: Microsoft blog. The Surface Book 2, with the Surface Dial on the left and the Surface Pen third from left. The Surface Book 2 on the left is in laptop mode while the Surface Book 2 on the right is in view mode.

February through April will see Surface Book 2 13” and 15” roll out to Bahrain, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, KSA, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the UAE within Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions.


Pricing is as follows:

Suggested retail price (including GST)
Surface Studio - 2TB / Intel Core i7
Surface Dial
Surface Book 2
Availability and pricing information for Singapore will be shared at a later date. 

The Surface Studio and Surface Dial can now be preordered from the Microsoft Store and authorised retailers Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, LOL by Epicentre, Harvey Norman, and Newstead.

Surface Laptop and Surface Studio will also be available for preorders for commercial customers via authorised device resellers including AsiaPac Distribution, JK Technology, and UIC Asian Computer Services.


Watch the video introducing the Surface 2
*Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2017 using preproduction Intel Core processor, 256GB storage, 8GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors.

**Weight is based on the i5 configuration.

***Sold separately.

17 January 2018

Rolls-Royce shares Bespoke models from 2017

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has shared the finest examples of bespoke design and craftsmanship to be completed by the luxury house over the past 12 months. The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke department is a collective of designers, engineers and craftspeople who bring patrons’ most ambitious and personal visions to reality. Today, almost every motor car made by Rolls-Royce is bespoke.

According to the company, 2017 was the year that Rolls-Royce elevated its Bespoke initiative to unprecedented new levels, resulting in one of the most significant years for the Bespoke department in the 114-year history of the brand.


Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The Sweptail.

Rolls-Royce Sweptail premiered in 2017, draws on the lineage of 1920s and 1930s Rolls-Royce motor cars. The client’s vision was for a coach-built two seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof.

The grille, milled from solid aluminium, presents a distinct formality. The side profile of Sweptail defines its stately character, whilst the rear taper of the motor car pays homage to the world of racing yachts. The rear culminates in the registration number 08, milled from ingots of aluminium and hand-polished to a mirror finish.

Phantom and The Gallery

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The Thorsten Franck Bespoke Phantom Gallery.

This new Rolls-Royce Phantom has at the heart of its design aesthetic The Gallery, a contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel.

An application of glass runs uninterrupted across the fascia, providing an unprecedented opportunity to present artwork within a car.

Dawn and Wraith at Porto Cervo

Two motor cars were created in honour of the 2017 Rolls-Royce Summer Studio, Porto Cervo, Sardinia in Italy. A bespoke Dawn drophead coupé and a Wraith Black Badge were commissioned to encapsulate the essence of the island.

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The Porto Cervo motif in sapphires and mother of pearl, in the Dawn.

Dawn adopted a nautical theme, evoking emotions of a Mediterranean sojourn. The Porto Cervo motif, encrusted with genuine sapphires and mother of pearl, is embedded into the front fascia of the motor car. Navy blue and arctic white hues complement an expanse of teak, including the decking and floor.

The Porto Cervo Wraith emulates Sardinia’s night time ambience. A two-tone Diamond Black exterior is contrasted with gloss and matte paint applications, while black woven leather door panniers infer Wraith Black Badge’s dark and complex character.

Spirit of Calligraphy Ghost

A special one-off commission unveiled in Dubai, UAE in 2017, the Bespoke Spirit of Calligraphy Ghost draws its design inspiration from the art of Arabic calligraphy. Words are harmoniously moulded into shapes called calligrams, creating a unique effect where text and image become one.

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Detail of calligraphy motif, Spirit of Calligraphy Ghost.

Sir Henry Royce’s words “Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it”, in their Arabic form are shaped into Rolls-Royce’s flying mascot, the Spirit of Ecstasy. The calligram, created by artist Khaled Al Saaei, features as a silver inlay on the centre panel and as embroidery on the rear centre seat, amidst an array of Turchese, Black and Arctic White leathers.

Ghost Elegance

Commissioned for an individual collector, the Ghost Elegance is the first motor car to be finished in a paint infused with diamonds. Named Diamond Stardust, the unique paint incorporates 1,000 diamonds crushed to form a very fine powder, giving the finished panels unmatched lustre and sparkle.
Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The Ghost Elegance.
The flanks of the car are highlighted with Mugello Red and Black twin coachlines, reflected inside with black leather seats and accents in Mugello Red, carried through stitching on the doors and piping on the seats. The detailed fascia of smooth open-pore Tudor Oak veneer is also complemented with a Mugello Red single stitch along the top of the dashboard, and finished with a Bespoke clock.

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Dawn in Fuxia.

Dawn in Fuxia
In 2017, US collector Michael Fux was presented with his 10th Bespoke model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Following a visit to Pebble Beach, US in 2016, where he collected a cluster of fuchsia petals, he challenged the Bespoke team at Goodwood - the home of Rolls-Royce - with a commission to bring a new colour to Dawn.

Dawn in Fuxia represents a unique hue to the Rolls-Royce Colour Collection, and is reserved exclusively for Fux. His most recent commission is his second Dawn, having collected the first – in one-off Fux Blue – in 2016. Reminiscent of that car, the interior of Dawn in Fuxia is trimmed in Arctic White leather.

Dawn B50 for Hotel Byblos

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hotel Byblos in Saint-Tropez, France in 2017, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars revealed the Dawn B50, a Bespoke car inspired by the warmth and vibrancy of the Côte d'Azur.

Commissioned by the Hotel Byblos as the automotive Jewel of Saint-Tropez, the Dawn B50 has two dominant exterior colours. The combination was developed exclusively to celebrate the hotel’s anniversary, along with bespoke door treadplates and a unique hand-painted coachline on each side bearing the B50 logo. The sophisticated interior takes inspiration from the Mediterranean sun, with tangerine tones that accentuate the dashboard and echo the stitching across the seat upholstery and floor mats.

A special Silver Dawn

Prominently displayed at the Home of Rolls-Royce is a very rare 1952 Silver Dawn. It was sold new to a customer in Canada, and in 2017 a commission for a new Dawn from the same country led to a homage to this particular car in its 65th anniversary year.

Finished in two-tone Midnight Sapphire and Jubilee Silver, the new Dawn closely emulates the original finishes of the 1952 motor car, with a Bespoke painted coachline, broken for the first time on a Rolls-Royce. Inside, Selby Grey and Navy leather are combined with Crossbanded Walnut Burr veneer, closely matched to the original. The finishing touches include a Bespoke clock with 1952 lettering and a Spirit of Ecstasy veneer inlay.

Inspiration from South Korea

The Bespoke Collection for Korea embraces the aesthetic heritage of South Korea with contemporary flair. The Ghost Seoul Edition reflects colours that grace the country’s Taegukgi national flag, finished in bright Andalusian White with a twin coachline in Cobalto Blue and Mugello Red – along with a handpainted Bespoke motif that captures the silhouette of the iconic Namsan Seoul Tower. Inside, the black leather upholstery is complemented by contrasting bands in Arctic White, as well as blue and red highlights for stitching and piping.

The Wraith Busan Edition is inspired by the hues of the coastal city of the same name, with a two-tone exterior in Royal Blue and Jubilee Silver that conjures up the shimmering sea. The rear pillar motif echoes the delicate latticework of traditional Korean hanok screen doors, and is also carried inside the car across the dashboard. Emulating the dusk sky across nearby mountains, a single coachline in Blushing Pink draws attention to the shoulder line. The colour is also applied to the seat stitching, instrument panel and RR headrest monograms inside, as a flourish to the Selby Grey and Cobalto Blue upholstery.

16 January 2018

ARTWALK Little India mixes something old, and something new

Source: ARTWALK Little India. Izzad Radzali Shah, Festival, ARTWALK Little India 2018, LASALLE College of the Arts, 2018. Photo: Ng Wu Gang.
Source: ARTWALK Little India. Izzad Radzali Shah, Festival, ARTWALK Little India 2018, LASALLE College of the Arts, 2018. Photo: Ng Wu Gang.

Multidisciplinary arts festival ARTWALK Little India, jointly organised by LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) with the support of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, returns for its fourth edition in January 2018 as part of Singapore Art Week

Themed Urban Mythology, the event marks the first of a renewed three-year partnership between STB and LASALLE, following a successful first three years between 2015 and 2017. Visitorship grew from 74,000 in 2015 to 140,000 visitors in 2017. 

In total, there are seven new murals, one visual art installation, and three performing artists at ARTWALK 2018, in addition to fringe activities. The programme spans 10 days and features new hands-on activities such as dress-a-puppet workshops and aura photography readings. 

This edition of ARTWALK sees several artists return to resurrect tales of Little India. Master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran, a participant since 2016, will be telling stories of the supernatural variety. Eunice Lim, artist of ARTWALK Little India murals Cattleland and Cattleland 2, is also back to honour Singapore’s longest-running Tamil bookstore, Siyamala Bookstore, which imports publications directly from India. Leow Wei Li, a student volunteer on Lim's mural in 2017, has decided to take part in this year’s ARTWALK together with Dominic Khoo to form art duo sobandwine. Their mural is an homage to the marigold flower in Indian culture.
To further draw out the collaborative nature of the festival, business owners within Little India have been invited to play a more engaged role in ARTWALK 2018. For the first time, corporate sponsors who have businesses within the area have jumped on board. These include main sponsor Corwin Holding, a joint venture between Lum Chang Holdings and a fund managed by LaSalle Investment Management Asia and developer of the new mixed development project at the former The Verge; plus co-sponsors Nippon Paint and Wanderlust Hotel. Four organisations also came on board as programme partners: Monster Day Tours, Indian Heritage Centre, Artgrain, and Audace Bar & Restaurant.

“We wanted to ensure that everyone involved felt like they have a stake within the neighbourhood and festival. Our end goal is all about celebrating the rich diversity and history of Little India, and with the personal investment of these individuals, many of whom came up with very creative ways to amplify the theme of this year’s ARTWALK; we believe 2018’s edition adds new layers to an already exciting and on-going dialogue of Little India,” said Hazelina Oh, a BA(Hons) Arts Management student of LASALLE. ARTWALK is managed by a team of seven BA(Hons) Arts Management students from LASALLE, with guidance from artist and LASALLE Senior Fellow, Milenko Prvacki. 

ARTWALK Little India has played a key role in injecting vibrancy into the precinct and making Little India and its rich heritage relevant to a younger generation. It has also made the tourist experience in Little India more immersive,” said Kenneth Lim, Director, Cultural Precincts Development, STB.


ARTWALK Little India 2018 runs from 18–27 January 2018, with programmes and activities happening on Thursdays to Saturdays, 6pm – 9pm. 

The festival guide is available for download and can also be picked up at the Indian Heritage Centre or Clive Street POLI site.

Sign up for guided tours by Monster Day Tours

Self-guided tours can be accessed via the Locomole app on mobile devices, downloaded on both the App Store and Google Play store.

Flightleaders.com to enrich programmes in 2018

Source: Flightleaders.com website. An aircraft cockpit.
Source: Flightleaders.com website. An aircraft cockpit.
Aviation-themed leadership training and facilitation programme provider Flightleaders.com, a division of the McGallen & Bolden Group, plans to beef up its offerings over the course of 2018.

"Corporate training will be a huge thing given the gap between the generations at the workplace, and this will transcend tech and other so-called 'disruptive' evolutions through tech. People and management will always be the breaking points," said Dr Seamus Phan, Flightleaders.com Leadership Trainer, whose specialty is corporate leadership and philosophy approaches.

"The best tech will always fail if you cannot have the right people in place, and manage all the diverse and often opinionated talents cohesively."
Flightleaders is best known for What’s Next Leadership - lessons from the ancient East. In this programme, Dr Phan and fellow Leadership Trainer Captain Michael Caston, an expert in crew resource management (CRM) as well as human factors - bring time-tested CRM and Flightleaders' proprietary trademarked benevolence, rectitude, and mindfulness (BRM) philosophy to corporate leadership and business transformation. 

"Unlike what many executives may have previously learned from Sun Tzu's Art of War (孙子兵法), we take our learners through learning points from the ethics classic Analects (論語, wisdom from Chinese sages such as Confucius, Mencius), wisdom from the Three Kingdoms (in power from the year 184 to 220), Hagakure (葉隠聞書) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, and Gorinosho (五輪書, also known as The Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi, both 17th century samurai classics. Our programmes are highly engaging and immersive, with role play, interactive videos, and realistic flight simulator sessions if needed, guided by commercial pilots," said Dr Phan.

"Because I was trained on the Airbus platform with multi-crew cooperation (MCC) training and the Captain's experience is primarily on Boeing we can work with other synthetic flight training companies, including both Airbus and Boeing, to recreate cockpit scenarios and develop more varied and realistic scenarios."

Dr Phan, who is  responsible for digital and interactive training programme development at Flightleaders.com, also shared that the curriculum will become richer over the year. "For classroom settings, we will bring in more classics, including the other Chinese military classics - there are seven, which the Art of War is just one. I have already started working on two of the others, which are very fascinating," said Dr Phan.

Dr Phan pointed out that many training programmes today are based on Western thought, which spans just 200 years if US history is considered. "There is lots more wisdom to glean from thousands of years of history from this side of the world. I may include more Eastern history, including Korea, and maybe India," he said.
Flightleaders.com will also create more interactive video content for tech and engineering audiences this year, said Dr Phan. "Going forward, we intend to spend more time in 2018 to create interactive video segments, which will be useful for resource-strapped companies which cannot dedicate a whole class at a fixed timing," he explained.


Flightleaders.com offers training programmes for critical infrastructures such as those found in aviation and healthcare; corporate training including Leadership Secrets at 30,000 Feet and IntrinSelling, a sales leadership programme, as well as custom programmes.

Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about the origins of Flightleaders

Hashtags: #leadership, #management, #humancapital, #aviation, #training

15 January 2018

FUMI crafts complete Japanese experiences for diners

Source: FUMI Facebook page. FUMI sushi.
Source: FUMI Facebook page. FUMI sushi.

Japanese restaurant FUMI aims to bring the best of Japanese food to Hong Kong in a space filled with Japanese-inspired art, furniture and tableware. A variety of meals will be served, from multi-course omakase and kaiseki dinners to àla carte dishes and set lunches.

Located in California Tower, FUMI has exclusive access to the best seasonal ingredients from Japan, flown daily to Hong Kong and delivered straight to FUMI’s kitchen. Often served to diners mere hours after being plucked from the Japanese soil or sea, these ingredients will appear in FUMI’s sushi, sashimi, omakase and kaiseki dishes, as well as on a variety of seasonal menus.

FUMI’s seasonal menus will highlight the unique dishes and cooking techniques found in different prefectures of Japan and feature dishes never served before in Hong Kong. FUMI’s team will devise some of these seasonal menus, but others will be created and presented by celebrity Japanese guest chefs.

“Omakase” roughly translates as “I’ll leave it up to you”, indicating that the diner leaves the choice of dishes totally in the hands of the chef. Rarely written down, omakase menus change daily depending on what ingredients have been delivered to the chef that morning.

FUMI’s kaiseki menu will also be regularly updated to feature seasonal ingredients. FUMI’s kaiseki experience also showcases Japanese craftsmanship, with each course meticulously presented on tableware handmade by artisans around Japan. There are several kaiseki menus, with highlight dishes featuring the liver of the angler fish; oden, a hotpot-style dish with a broth made from two different types of katsuobushi (bonito flakes); and unusually thick slices of A4 Miyazaki beef sirloin steak served with homemade sukiyaki sauce, Japanese-style poached egg, zucchini, grilled tofu, small onion, shiitake mushroom and mini tomato.

Signature ala carte dishes include fresh soy milk skin and sea urchin with wasabi starchy soy sauce, prime sea urchin sushi trio and Miyazaki beef tenderloin tartar.

FUMI’s rooms draw upon the best of traditional Japanese crafts and contemporary design. VIP rooms are separated from the main space by classical bamboo screens and other tables will be divided by washi laminated resin panels made in Japan. A traditional sushi counter, with fresh seafood laid out on ice, will run along one wall of the restaurant. FUMI’s designers have also created a Japanese zen garden on the restaurant’s balcony.

Through food and drink, FUMI hopes to educate diners about Japanese culture and traditions, the variety of food found around Japan and how Japanese cuisine has developed over time. Planned activities include marking traditional Japanese holidays with cultural menus and Japanese dance performances, Japanese calligraphy demonstrations, and talks about Japanese food culture.

This desire to celebrate the broader culture of each prefecture is behind FUMI’s name. In Japanese, the written character “ 文 ”, which is pronounced as “fumi" in English, forms part of the Japanese and Chinese word for culture, “文化”.


FUMI is at 6/F, California Tower,
Lan Kwai Fong, 30-36 D'Aguilar St,
Central, Hong Kong.
For reservations, call +852 2328 3302 

Hashtag: #FUMI

The Murray, Hong Kong now welcomes guests

Source: Wharf Hotels. The Murray, Hong Kong.
Source: Wharf Hotels. The Murray,
Hong Kong.
Wharf Hotels announces the opening of The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel, as the group's latest flagship Niccolo property and a new addition to the luxury contemporary chic collection by Wharf Hotels. 

As one of eight historic landmarks under the Conserving Central initiative introduced by the Hong Kong government in 2013, The Murray has almost 50 years of history. The landmark building is located in the heart of the city in Central, Hong Kong, and celebrated as a pioneering example of sustainability. Designed with deeply recessed square windows, its ground-breaking energy efficiency concept is still applauded today - decades later. These windows have been enlarged and now create a magnificent picture frame for city skylines and garden vistas.
The Murray includes 336 sophisticated suites and guestrooms spanning 25 floors, with over 75% at 50 sq m or larger.  Interiors are embellished with natural fabrics and stone, leather and plush textiles creating a contemporary chic sanctuary and sophisticated ambience.

Said Dr Jennifer Cronin, President, Wharf Hotels: “Niccolo Hotels was launched as a new luxury hotel concept with Niccolo Chengdu three years ago, where it soon became one of the leading hotels in the city, followed by Chongqing in September 2017 where Niccolo Chongqing is making its mark as a sky hotel*. Niccolo’s Changsha and Suzhou will also open sky hotels in the next two years.

“As a Hong Kong based hotel group, we are indeed proud to bring Niccolo’s flagship to life where the story really began. We are extremely excited to be able to evolve the legacy of the past from an iconic city landmark, to a new destination for luxury hotel experiences of the future.  Under the leadership of Duncan Palmer, MD, The Murray will become one of the great hotels of the world for which Hong Kong will be extremely proud.” 

Source: Wharf Hotels. A suite in The Murray, Hong Kong.
Source: Wharf Hotels. A suite in The Murray, Hong Kong.

For gourmands, The Murray will offer five restaurants and bars led by a world-class culinary and mixology team, including a modern European restaurant - The Tai Pan; an elegant venue - the Garden Lounge; a Wall Street-inspired bar in Murray Lane; a rooftop bar and restaurant - Popinjays, and the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, Guo Fu Lou. 

Complementing its banqueting expertise, The Murray will present over 1,900 sq m of meeting and event spaces designed for lifestyle and corporate occasions. The Niccolo Room on the 25th floor adds to the list of the city’s most desirable event spaces for banquets and conferences with a capacity of  240 seated guests or receptions for up to 350. Additionally, there are six smaller boardrooms all featuring natural light.

Foster + Partners has honoured the building’s rich history by retaining its signature features, including the former driveway that circled the building beneath the property's three-storey arches. The one-of-a-kind space will transform into a semi-alfresco venue named The Arches that can host up to 350 guests, overlooking Hong Kong Park, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, and St John’s Cathedral. The Arches is expected to provide a stylish setting for fashion shows and luxury automotive showcases, exhibitions, cocktail parties and social gatherings.


The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel is at
22 Cotton Tree Drive
Central, Hong Kong
Call +852 3141 8888 with enquiries

*A sky hotel is a hotel that is situated within a skyscraper, typically on higher floors.