Few footballers come to Asia beyond the promise of money or comfort; even fewer believe in the possibilities that run deep in the soul of Asian football. Yet, there is a young European premier footballer with French and Italian heritage who loves Asia and has returned to Singapore to grow with Asian football. For Antoine Viterale, football is life beyond those 90 minutes. COVERED Asia’s Liyann Seet speaks with the man who embraces the spirit of Asian football, about his football journey and life in Asia.
What was Antoine Viterale’s childhood and what inspired you to be a professional footballer?
Football is my passion. Growing up as a child, I have never wanted to be anything except a soccer player. I was born in an extraordinary city with a loving family and with football on my mind 24/7. My dad introduced me to the game, and I also had my football heroes who I wanted to emulate but could only see them on the TV or on the big billboards. When I was a toddler, my dad was the first man who taught me how to kick a ball. The first word that I could pronounce was “ball”. I knew from an early young age that there is nothing else I wanted to be except a professional footballer.
We understand that you left Hong Kong and your family at the young age of 13 to pursue a career in football. What was the driving force behind it?
An opportunity presented itself to go to Italy for trials. At that time, this particular opportunity was not very clear, but it was a chance. When you are a kid from Hong Kong, you feel like you are far away from that dream. Even when the tiniest of chances came, I knew that I had to take it. I was scared, and I really didn’t want to leave my family. Nevertheless, there was something in me that said I had to do it.
Would you like to share with us more about the obstacles that you faced in the process?
It was hard for me to leave my family at the age of 13 to pursue my passion for football. I was alone in a foreign country far from home. I learnt that I have to be independent early in life. Growing up in Hong Kong, I have assimilated into the Asian culture. It was hard for my peers in Europe to accept that I am a Caucasian man with an Asian heritage, so I struggled hard to be accepted by my peers in Europe. I am a Caucasian by birth because my father is an Italian and my mother is French. I am proud to be an Italian and French. I am glad to be given the opportunity to grow up in Hong Kong. Yet, I feel that we should not be discriminated because of our race or background. Football is a sport that unites us as one. It didn’t matter where we grew up, our heritage or education background, it matters that our heart beat as one for the sport and we fight for the best interest of the team.
What countries have you played in and what have you learned on and off the pitch?
I started playing in Hong Kong and then moved to Europe. In Europe, I played in Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. Every place has taught me a life lesson. I would say that my learning curve was the steepest in Europe. On the pitch, I learnt discipline and professionalism of top-level football. Off the pitch, I learnt the harsh realities of life at a young age. Hong Kong was like a bubble and facing them alone in Europe has given me great strength today.
Would you like to share with us more about your earliest memories of growing up playing soccer in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is such a special city in every aspect. However, there was not a lot of space and grass to play in comparison to Singapore or Europe. My fond memories were playing soccer with my best friends literally anywhere, mostly on concrete or dirt pitches. When we felt adventurous, we would sneak into the schools’ field to play football.
Your father is a successful hotelier, what is his impact on you?
I cannot sum up in a few sentences what impact my dad has had on me. If I try, I would be here all day. He was the one who used to throw me the ball to kick and control. Everything started and happened because of him. I remembered growing up when my dad was not the successful man he is today, I watched him climb up the ladder through hard work and dedication. At the end of the day, people might perceive Giovanni as the hotel veteran. To me, he is a loving father.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
A couple of years ago, I would have never thought that I will be playing in Singapore. Life is never a straight line. I believe in conquering the small goals one at a time with the big goal always in mind. For now, I want to be the best player here in Singapore and in the region. And then, I will work hard and strive to go back to Europe to finish what I started.
My final objective is to go back and play in the top leagues in Europe. I need to demonstrate to myself that I can do it. If I am to play the rest of my career in Asia, I would still be a very happy man because as a young boy from Hong Kong, my dream was to become a professional football player. I am here because I want to do big things and give back to Asian football. It is them that helped me from my origins till today.
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An anticipated look (and taste) at the Glenmorangie Private Edition 8th Release – The Glenmorangie Bacalta.
The Glenmorangie Private Edition, an award-winning range which provides whisky connoisseurs and aficionados the opportunity to experience a dram of rare and intriguing single malt, recently unveiled its 8th release – the Glenmorangie Bacalta.
Inspired by the Glenmorangie Madeira Finish created in 1995, The Glenmorangie introduced us to the Glenmorangie Bacalta, the eighth expression in the brand’s longline of award winning range by inviting us to the savour in the “Bacalta Experience” at Botanica at The Garage, Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Drawing inspiration from long, balmy days on the tropical island of Madeira, the 1995 Glenmorangie Madeira Finish was the world’s first whisky extra-matured in Madeira casks. After two decades of dedicated pursuit for perfection, Dr Bill Lumsden has recreated his dream of the perfect Madeira-finished whisky; theGlenmorangie Bacalta.
The evening started with…
After a fairly acceptable walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens, we found The Garage where we later had to go around the corner to climb a short stair flight to Botanica.
Our hard-work paid off as we were welcomed with a special Glenmorangie cocktail, The Glenmorangie Sunrise, created by Botanico at The Garage’s In-house Mixologist Ruzaini Hashim to beat the heat of the Singapore evening and teasing us with what is the be revealed of the evening’s highlight.
Along with the refreshing cocktail, food pairings by Botanico were served including rock melon and lamb prosciutto skewers, Hokkaido scallops, roasted pigeon with parsnip, walnuts and purple sorrel, and Idiazabal cheese croquettes with Iberico chorizo.
The wide range of canapes definitely kept our hunger satiated as the tables were set to prepare us for the much anticipated Glenmorangie series tasting session.
“Today’s tasting represents many firsts for me. I am excited and proud to introduce Glenmorangie’s Private Edition to Singapore for the first time. It is also my first time holding a whisky tasting in a beautiful alfresco setting; a refreshing change for me as such an experience is not common in Scotland, where I am from, due to the rainy weather!” said Mr. McCarron, who was on his maiden visit to Singapore.
Mr. McCarron begun the evening by first introducing us to Glenmorangie’s Core expressions, including The Original and extra-matured range of single malts, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, and Nectar D’Or. He then shared the intriguing story of the limited-edition Glenmorangie Bacalta’s inspiration and creation.
Even after the session, guests stuck around to enjoy the company of fellow whisky enthusiasts and to get to find out more about the exclusive Glenmorangie edition. It is safe to say that everyone left The Garage satisfied and happy.
The Glenmorangie Bacalta can be enjoyed in Singapore at bars including Chop Suey Café, Dempsey — PS. Cafe, Liquor Bar, The Garage at Singapore Botanic Gardens, Monti, The Summerhouse, and 1-Altitude.
Those interested to purchase a bottle of Glenmorangie Bacalta can do so from the following retailers: The Whisky Distillery, Le Vigne, 1855 The Bottle Shop, The Standish, Le Rouge, Bottles & Bottles, and online store Asher BWS (www.asherbws.com). TheGlenmorangie Bacalta is produced as a small-batch special edition and will be available in Singapore only while stocks last.
Lagavulin Celebrates 200 Years of Tradition in Singapore
Not many whiskies that can call themselves a bicentennial brand. Yet instead of a huge elaborate party attended by hundreds of whisky enthusiasts, the Lagavulin 200th Anniversary was celebrated by way of a tasting party with a small, privileged and select group of 30 whisky lovers and collectors who gathered in high spirits at The Auld Alliance in Singapore.
The name Lagavulin is an anglicisation of the Gaelic “lag a’mhuilin” – which means “hollow by the mill”. Born out of the island of Islay in Scotland, Lagavulinis a brand which dates back to 1816, and is well known for its slow distillation speeds and pear shaped pot stills production methods. Each of the two wash stills have a capacity of 11,000 litres, and the two spirit stills hold up to 12,500 litres each.
Lagavulin 200th Anniversary Celebrations in Singapore
The Auld Alliance in Singapore, believed to have the largest whisky collection in the whole of Southeast Asia, recently played host to the Lagavulin 200th Anniversary celebrations in Singapore. Upon arriving, guests were promptly welcomed with a dram of the Lagavulin 16 – the winner of four consecutive double gold medals between 2005 and 2008 in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Celebrations begun with a Tasting Party that started off with a short introduction of the history of Lagavulin. Following which, guests were then presented with their next dram – the Lagavulin 8 Years, and the Lagavulin 25 Years which was paired with a homemade bottle-shaped Scottish Shortbread.
Moments after, guests bore witness to the worldwide exclusive launch of the Lagavulin 15 Years Old.
#unCOVERED – Mike Soldner on the Lagavulin 15, a Lagavulin 200th Anniversary Private Collector’s Edition
In a special interview, COVERED Asia talks with Mike Soldner, business owner of the B28 Whisky Fund, and the private bottler responsible for the Lagavulin 15 Years.
COVERED:Could you tell us why you selected Lagavulin as your choice for this private bottling, and perhaps share with us about your journey with the brand prior to this?
MIKE : I’ve been a bit of a “peat head” since I was in my late teens. I started big with Laphroaig and Ardbeg, but as I matured, gravitated toward Lagavulin for a gentler, but equally complex Islay whisky.
COVERED:Was there anything in particular you were looking for when you were tasting for the Lagavulin limited collection?
MIKE : I was looking for a cask at the absolute peak of its powers naked. One that no amount of water, filtration, vatting or other process could improve. I believe I found it.
COVERED:When you finally found the Lagavulin 15 years, what went through your mind when you were finally bottling it? Was there any significance of this bottle?
MIKE :Many months transpired between the date of purchase and the date of bottling, so I was mainly just excited to finally see the liquid in a bottle. Being able to assign my daughter’s birthday as the bottling date was definitely a nice touch.
COVERED:What really stood out for you in each of the expressions for the 200th Anniversary releases? Is there there’s any other particular expression that you have grown to like throughout the 200 years of Lagavulin history?
MIKE : In addition to our cask, I’m also a fan of the Lagavulin 200th Anniversary 8 Year bottling. I like the honesty of the 8 year age statement on the label, and I like the light freshness of the whisky both visually and on the palate. The 48% ABV is nice too, and the below $100 price tag is very friendly.
ALLIED, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, is the story of Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan, who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.
For the socially informed, the Rice Ball by the W!ld Rice theatre company has over the past 14 years, come to distinguish itself as one of Singapore’s most entertaining and creative fundraising events. And this year’s Wild Rice Ball 2016 proved to be even better yet.
With a theme like “XXX”, you already knew that this year’s 2016 edition of the Rice Ball was going to be all kinds of provocative. Think strippers, leather, belts, and chains – all of which you’d expect right off the set of an S&M (sadomasochistic) video.
One of Singapore’s highly anticipated society balls has truly lived up to its name; the “XXX” event delivered an “X-hilarating” evening of sensuality and seduction. There was but one pre-entry requisite, just leave your inhibitions at the door and step into an X-citing world of hidden passions and secret desires.
Presented by Swiss-luxury watchmaker Hublot, the Very W!LD RICE BALL led its guests into an electrifying wonderland of sensual fantasy – part burlesque, part cabaret and pure entertainment.
RICE BALL’s guests were treated to an X-quisite banquet laid out by the chef of Shangri-La Hotel and paired with entertainment and fun by some of Singapore’s finest multi-talented performers.
Behind the closed doors of the impeccable ball, a galaxy of stars took over the stage for The “XXX”-Factor Cabaret Show. Directed by Ivan Heng and Glen Goei, the X-travaganza, heart-throbbing, eye-popping cabaret show set up to scandalize the hearts of the Merlion City. The cosmopolitan city’s finest performers, including Pam Oei and Hossan Leong, took on the stage with The Brass Barre’s Artistic Director & Principle Instructor Elena Chernyshova and internationally-acclaimed burlesque artist Sukki Singapora.
Probably one of the highlights of the evening, Sukki Singapora, the Lion City’s first professional burlesque artiste, who swept the stage with her Burlesque glamour; delivering an opulent performance in an original Legends of Burlesque gown (a 17.5 inch corset adorned with 20-thousand Swarovski crystals) inside the world’s largest diamond ring filled with champagne.
Adding on to the entertainment and exciting list of highlights on the night, a guest at the event got down on one knee, in a surprise marriage proposal to the girl of his dreams.
The 15th edition of The Rice Ball closed off in spectacular and “X-Rated” fashion, with Ivan Heng and Glen Goei bringing a whole new meaning to the term stand-up comedy, as they closed the evening with an unusual (but not surprising) performance of “Stand Up for Singapore”.
The party did not stop there, as DJ KFC soon took the reigns and carried friends and family of The Rice Ball through the night with his brand of non-stop fist-pumping electronic dance music.
Congratulations to W!LD RICE PRODUCTION and its organizing committee for yet another successful and W!ld Rice Ball!
About the RICE BALL
The Rice Ball, now in its 15th edition, has distinguished itself as one of Singapore’s most entertaining and creative fundraising events, not least because of its trademark all-star concerts. Annually, Singapore’s great and good, the members of its social and business elite, come together to show their support for W!ld Rice as it continues to fulfill its mission of creating significant, inclusive and innovative works that inspire audiences in Singapore and around the world.
Every Wild Rice Ball is guaranteed to be fun-filled and W!ld, with guests dressed to the nines according to the night’s theme, supping on a gastronomic feast created by the island’s finest chefs and enjoying a concert that showcases Singapore’s best theatre talents.
W!ld Rice, like many other major theatre companies all around the world, looks to the generosity and support of benefactors, patrons and sponsors in order to do increase its support in the arts. All funds raised from the evening’s festivities will go directly towards supporting artistic and educational programming at W!ld Rice.
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As with most popular cultures, 16 years signifies the “coming of age”. Since its birth in 2000, the Prestige Magazine has indeed come a long way in coming to be the authority in the luxury scene in Singapore. Here’s our inside look at the Prestige Magazine 16th Anniversary, held earlier this month.
Pull up into the driveway of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, and you will expect to drive pass a fleet of luxury cars; a familiar sight for society’s elite. Ladies make the final adjustments to their gowns, whilst gentleman adjust their bowties. At the hotel lobby, your car door opens to the warm smile of the hotel valet and doormen. They greet you, and signal your arrival at the Ritz.
The Society Walk-In
Soon enough, no one is feeling out of place as they enter the anteroom full of society’s finest. Guests are then welcomed down the red carpet and invited to take a mandatory picture at the Prestige photo wall. As you find yourself mingling with like-minded guests, none is left without a glass of Charles Heidsieck champagne in hand, and all are ever ready for that “wefie” moment.
The Main Event
As the door opens, signifying the commencement of Prestige’s sweet 16th celebrations, guests are led to their seats inside the Island Grand ballrom of the Ritz. Emcee Timothy Nga welcomes all guests, and kicks-off the event proper with an invitational performance piece Flow, accompanied by an EFX Show of high-tech lights & lasers by special effects specialist Kiki Tay. This was followed-up by a speech by Director of Operations at Prestige Magazine, Laura Lim who gave her heartfelt thanks to family and friends of Prestige for their support each year.
This year’s Prestige x Tumi Award gave recognition to Susanna Han. Starting out from humble beginnings, the Prestige x Tumi award recognizes her many successful career achievements over the years. During her acceptance speech, Susanna paid heartfelt tribute to her late mother who used sew her a set of beautiful clothes every Chinese New Year, which led her into her journey of fashion.
Another award presented on the night was the Prestige Ball’s Most Stylish Gentleman, presented by Ermenegildo Zegna. The recipient of this inaugural award was the ever dapper Darren Cheong. Lead up to this award began earlier in June ’16 this year, with an intimate by-invite-only event by Prestige Magazine titled; An Evening with ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA”.
By the Foyer
With all the festive celebrations taking place inside the Island Grand Ballroom, one could really catch a break away from the party. An outdoor bar in the foyer served up a fine range of McCallan whiskies and Snow Leopard vodka. Nearby an Aston Martin DBII on display appealed to petrolheads in the room.
A Special Supper Treat
Breaking dessert banquet traditions, a supper buffet comprising of local delights such as Mee Siam and Kueh Pie Tee was served. The supper spread sustained party-goers as they continued to move to the beat of the invited DJ. Guests Ginny & Richard Wiluan even made a cameo on the turntables.
Congratulations once again to the Prestige Magazine Singapore team! We look forward to your Prestige 17th Anniversary Ball!
For the full report on Prestige Magazine Singapore’s 16th Anniversary, grab your copy of the November ’16 edition of Prestige Magazine.
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Celebrating 7 Years – An Inside look at the EXOTICARS Club– by Johannes See(edited by Nick T.)
A fortnight ago, probably one of Singapore’s most exclusive car clubs, the EXOTICARS CLUB rode their way into their 7th Anniversary Dinner hosted by W Singapore, at Sentosa Cove.
Having first started their engines back in 2009 with a group of 30 supercar enthusiasts, the EXOTICARS CLUB (ECC) has since grown to a close-knitted community of 130 like-minded supercar owners. Unlike many other super car clubs, the ECC is just one of the only few non-brand exclusive car clubs that welcomes petrol-heads who owns some of the most illustrious (and fastest) supercars on the island.
Highly regarded within their professional sectors of choice, the ECC member is more than just a massive supercar lover and owner, but also a qualified “mover-and-shaker” within their own industry space.
7th Anniversary Dinner
As a contingent of supercars, led by ECC President, Chia Boon Teck, pulled up into the arrival lobby of the W Singapore, hotel staff and guest looked curiously on as a panel of supercar event photographers greeted the ECC members upon their arrival at the black-tie ECC Anniversary Dinner.
Following the traditional arrival photo-taking activities, guests were ushered to their seats at the Great Room, signalling that dinner was to be served.
As guest tucked in to a select “four-hand” menu, exclusively prepared by the Winner of Masterchef Australia Season 2, Adam Liaw, alongside W Singapore Executive Chef Larry Li, ECC Club President, Chia Boon Teck took to the stage rostrum for a special opening segment, where he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people who has made the ECC what it is today.
Amongst these loyal supercar lovers, special mentions were given to a few individuals including Allan Chua, Chris Tong and Timothy Wimala for going the extra mile for the ECC.
Special mentions were also given to ECC Vice-President, Jaacky See and Secretary / Treasurer Wong Kai Yun, who were amongst the founding leaders since the Club’s birth.
“We all had a grand time at ECC’s 7th Anniversary- black tie event. This is now something I look forward to every year. It just keeps getting better every year.”, comments one of the ECC’s youngest members, Heeraj Sharma, who runs a family business dealing in cosmetics, and has been part of the ECC for about two years now.
“I feel honored being one of the youngest members in EXOTICARS CLUB. My age has not been a problem for me at the Club, as I feel that most of us are on the same wavelength given our common interests.”, added the 27 year young Sales Director, Heeraj Sharma.
Other highlights on the evening included a special “live” cooking demo by special guest, Chef Adam Liaw.
The evening ended with a customary cake cutting with the EXOTICARS CLUB committee members as the EXOTICARS CLUB ride into another year.
COVERED Asia and our sister company, COM3 Singapore congratulates the EXOTICARS CLUB on their 7th Anniversary.
(Photo credit: Crispcontrasts)
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The Lead-Up to The Prestige Ball 2016 – A presentation by Ermenegildo Zegna.
– by Johannes Christian See, and Nick T.
Every gentlemen needs at least one good suit, they say. With over 100 years of fine tailoring traditions, there is not many better qualifed than the Ermenegildo Zegna team to learn from when it comes to gentlemanly dressing standards.
Every industry is anchored by at least one name that is recognized for setting the standard for its peers in the trade. For four generations since 1910, the Zegna family has since become one of the world’s biggest global producers of fine fabrics.
“The Most Stylish Gentlemen Award” by Ermenegildo Zegna
In line with their proud tradition of dressing some of the world’s most discerning of gentlemen in fine bespoke suit, Ermenegildo Zegna will present “The Most Stylish Gentlemen Award” at the coveted Prestige Ball in Singapore this year.
In recognition of gentlemen with an appreciation for the art of suiting up, the Zegna team together with Prestige Singapore, presented distinguished invitees who will attend The Prestige Ball 2016, with a showcase of various men’s suits and tuxedos earlier this month. Held at the Ermenegildo Zegna ION Boutique, the evening’s event also offered guests an opportunity to receive personal consultation by the Ermenegildo Zegna Su Misura (Made-to-measure) stylists, over chilled champagne and canapes.
Whilst it may be common knowlege that the classic black and white tuxedo is a safe choice for any society event. Guests on the evening were presented by alternative tuxedo and suits styles, created with the modern gentlemen in mind.
Each Zegna fabric has its own unique characteristics, and with the wide range of styles and personalization services on offer, it is no wonder that Zegna was recognized as the world’s largest menswear brand in recent years.
After the session has ended, the guests were invited to have a chat and further consultation with the Su Misura stylists. COVERED’s very own Johannes See had the opportunity to consult Su Misura’s specialist, Billy Legaspi on how Johannes could “better his chances” at winning “The Most Stylish Gentlemen Award” at this year’s Prestige Ball. The reply? It is strongly recommended that a gentlemen returns for alteration checks on his suit or tuxedo, at least once every 2 to 3 years.