A night visit to the park

A night visit to the park

A night visit to the park

In order to balance out Singapore's rapid urbanisation, the government initiated several plans in the last few decades to ensure there was plenty of green space left on the main island. The net result of this is that Singapore boasts a host of lush parks, their flowerbeds overflowing with exotic flowers. As you would expect they are kept spotlessly clean and beautifully tended, so it's an absolute joy to take a stroll around them.

The only problem is, of course, the weather. Those year round temperatures of 25 – 30 degrees might be great for your suntan but they are not so much fun if you want to spend a long time outside. The solution? Hit the park at night.

As the sun sinks in the horizon and the city cool down, the green spaces become lushly romantic places for a quiet stroll. While your western mind-set might already be worrying about the possibility of crime in a city park after sundown, don't forget you're in Singapore now. The near non-existent crime rate means you are perfectly safe, no matter what time of day it is.

Fort Canning Park is a great place to go for a view of Clarke Quay and downtown Singapore. Also, it's colonial architecture and ancient gothic gates will be of plenty of interest to history buffs. Bishan park is another lovely park for a late afternoon stroll. The scenery and architecture is much more modern than in Fort Canning and the atmosphere is a bit livelier too. It's particularly popular with dog walkers so, if you have a four legged friend, this is a nice place to go and play.

Best Singapore beaches

Best Singapore beaches

4 of the best Singapore beaches

East Coast Park Beach

East Coast Park Beach offers something for everybody. A very long, very popular Singaporean sun spot, this shows off the best of the south eastern coast. You can cycle, rollerblade or engage in any number of water sports in the crystal water. If you're feeling peckish, a trip to one of the many world class food stalls is highly recommended too.

Punggol Beach

Not so long ago, Punggol was a rather rural neck of the woods, populated by farmhouses and fish farms. Recently, however, it has transformed into a thriving though peaceful residential area. It also boasts a terrific, quiet little beach. A great place to collect your thoughts and take in the scenery.

Sentosa Palawan Beach

A trendy sandy sun spot, Sentosa is where the work hard, play hard Singaporean's who slave away in downtown's corporate bear pit Monday to Friday, come to chill out and catch some serious rays on the weekends. Once you take a dip in the legendary hot springs you'll see why it's so popular. Locals claim a soak in the springs will cure bad luck. We're not sure about that but we are sure it will make you feel a whole lot better if you've been working all week.

Sentosa Siloso Beach

The trendiest of trendy Singapore beaches is, without doubt, Sentosa Siloso. This is a constant buzz of activity, by day and night, with beach volleyball often the main attraction. All the fun water sports are, of course, on offer too – wakeboarding, skim boarding, canoeing – plus the cycling and blading you would expect to find on any self-respecting beach where the beautiful people hang out. It' a great place to eat too. Sunset Bay is our big tip for hungry beach bums – an unpretentious little spot with superb cocktails. Another good spot for a drink is The Cool Deck, on Siloso Beach Walk.

Investment in the Future

Investment in the Future

The Government's Investment in the Future of Music

The Media Development Authority (MDA) have an abundance of extremely generous schemes in place to help media professionals develop new skills and seek new opportunities, whether as a freelancer or as an employee.

If you work in production and are looking to develop new skills in a particular software package or are required to build up certain qualifications to work in a niche area of production then there are grants to help you fund your goals. Or perhaps you are part of a band or solo musician or singer who is looking to release their own record or who is providing the soundtrack/sound effects for film/animation/TV. There are multiple grants to help you get started in your chosen endeavors.

At a glance, here are some of the ways the Singapore government can help members of its music industry:

Development Assistance Scheme - developing a single and press kit The scheme aims to aid unsigned artists (solos and bands) looking to break into the commercial music industry and who need some assistance in funding their first single and promotional material. It's a means of financing the first step into the music industry.

Development Assistance Scheme - developing a single and press kit Production Assistance Scheme - funding the completion of a full EP For the established musician who has already taken the first steps in releasing their own singles and building up a fan base. Criteria such as YouTube subscribers, Facebook fans and amount of records and digital copies already sold, factor heavily in the application process. Pro-active musicians who have an audience of followers and who have done most of the initial leg work themselves are desired candidates for the grant.

Development Assistance Scheme - developing a single and press kit Production Assistance Scheme - funding the completion of a full EP Marketing Assistance Scheme - Promotion If a record is already completed and now promotion is required to showcase via live performances, this grant is a great way to help fund some of the touring. This scheme was designed for musicians who have a completed product and want to reach a larger audience.

Development Assistance Scheme - developing a single and press kit Production Assistance Scheme - funding the completion of a full EP Marketing Assistance Scheme - Promotion Talent Assistance Scheme - Training and Developing new skills A great way for those in production who are required to learn new software packages or develop new skills. As technology is always evolving and software and equipment are expensive, this generous grant is invaluable for freelancers and employees who wish to move further up the ladder in their chosen talent.

Development Assistance Scheme - developing a single and press kit Production Assistance Scheme - funding the completion of a full EP Marketing Assistance Scheme - Promotion Talent Assistance Scheme - Training and Developing new skills The above is an overview of some grants available to you, but by no means is a complete list. The Singaporean Government is committed to furthering the arts and has many schemes in place to help their national talent.

Craft and Business

Craft and Business

As with any industry, there are always two main elements to consider in the music industry; the craft and the business itself. There appears to be more of a divide between the two in the music business, as both elements require two completely different skill sets. But without craft there is no business, and without business there is no life line for the craft to emerge.

Many performing arts schools are dedicated to the first element; building the craft. They nurture, educate and bring out the very best in each of their pupils. After many years of training and honing those new skills, it is often a shock to the new graduate how things work outside the safety bubble of their educational establishment. The schools are dealing extremely efficiently with building the craft, because without skill there isn't a product to push forward. It all comes down to primitive buying and selling, just like in any market place. But there is a great opportunity to also introduce extensive training on the business side of the industry and how graduates can turn their skills into a profitable means of earning a living.

Many training institutes are slowly building business courses into their creative programmes with very admirable efforts. With previous generations of musicians, business was something that was handled by someone else, like an agent or manager or record label. The musician would only have to worry about making the best possible product to sell and keeping their skills sharp.

This is no longer the case nowadays as record labels and management companies are more cautious about investing in talent without a guaranteed return of investment. This means that the talent has to prove themselves in the industry on their own initially, by getting a large following, releasing their own records amounting to notable sales or by showing entrepreneurial skills in some other way. They want to take on a product that has been tried, tested and has audience acceptance before they then invest a large amount and take the act national or international.

Singapore's musicians have the opportunity, now more than ever, to build up their own fan base and release their own records. With the already established music scene and the welcoming attitude from the industry toward pro-active talent, business skills have become just as important as the craft itself.