Getting tired of your usual shows, movies or videos yet this time round of Phase 2?
With the new phase 2 heightened alert measures in Singapore, we get it. Watch these livestreams, new and old series, must-see movies, concert highlights, behind-the-scenes videos and more. They’ll offer a break from reality until Singapore is done taking its own break from life during this Phase 2 (heightened alert).
Bonus: At least three popular, legit content owners – Amazon Prime Video, Singtel Cast and HBO Go – are offering some online programmes for free during the Phase 2 (heightened alert) period. Read more here.
(Is your Internet connection too slow to stream online movies and the like? Don’t despair! Poh Kim offers free delivery on its thousands of DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K UHD videos. It has plenty of picks to choose from in four different languages – Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese – plus you can even pre-order.)
In the meantime, here are our top recommendations for things to watch during this Phase 2 period!
1. Mini Concerts
If you’re feeling claustrophobic being stuck inside your house during the circuit breaker, imagine being one of today’s biggest music artists performing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert web series.
Not familiar with NPR? It’s what used to be called National Public Radio in the U.S., and its addictive Tiny Desk Concerts – literally staged in a bookcase-lined office cubicle – now number nearly 1,000. Fall down the rabbit hole with small-but-mighty shows by Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Adele, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, The Lumineers, and pretty much everyone in between!
Info: Watch them on NPR’s site or YouTube. Bonus: NPR has been putting out Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts since late March 2020, and there’s an eclectic collection of artists (think Lady Princess and Rodrigo y Gabriela), which you can also enjoy here.
2. Award-Winning Movies Online
At this point, who hasn’t heard of Parasite (2019)? Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece made history at the 2020 Oscars by picking up the Best Picture award (among many others), and for good reason! The film boasts some great performances and beautiful cinematography, as it follows a poor family in Korea trying to escape from poverty.
Alternatively, another ground-breaking achievement is Chloe Zhao’s recent Oscar 2021 win for Best Director in the film Nomadland (2020). Being the first female to win this award in a male-dominated is truly a feat to be remembered. Catch this Oscar-winning film on Disney+ now!
Info: If you didn’t have a chance to see it, or you’re just up for a rewatch – you can stream it now on Hulu or rent or buy it on AppleTV+, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and other digital platforms (check for availability).
3. Hello from Amigo! Visit Wildlife Reserves Singapore Online
Although it is totally possible to visit fury friends in groups of two, social distancing during Phase 2 means it might not be the most responsible decision. But thanks to technology, you do not have to leave your home to hang out with animals.
The Wildlife Reserves Singapore has organised virtual meets with instructors and animals so you won’t have to miss out! Hello From the Wild Side offers an interactive, online experience for caretakers to chat with you, share their passions and answer all your questions. You can even check out the behind-the-scenes and learn about animal rehabilitation, training, and nutrition. Want a more personal touch? You can send family or friends a personalised message from various animals, such as a talking bird named Amigo!
Plus, contributions go directly to care of the animals and support for wildlife conservation.
Info: Each webinar will be $10 per screen and personalised messages range from $50-$80. There are various times and shows online. Check out the timings here.
4. The Northern Lights
Chasing the elusive Aurora Borealis can take hours of waiting in the cold – not to mention, not possible during Phase 2 travel regulations.
A more comfortable alternative is to watch them via a livestream from the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Churchill, a remote town in eastern Canada that is also known as the polar bear capital of the world.
Bored while waiting?
Chat with a community of virtual Northern Lights chasers who share weather updates and screenshots of the aurora borealis when they manage to spot them. It is the next best thing to making new friends while standing outside in the snow.
Info: Go to Explore.org to start watching.
5. Celebrities Performing From Their Living Rooms
In March 2020, Elton John hosted a livestream iHeart Living Room Concert for America with the likes of Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato and Dave Grohl performing from their own living rooms.
The lineup also included Green Day lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong, singing the sombre “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” while strumming a guitar, and the Backstreet Boys performing “I Want It That Way”, harmonising perfectly despite being in different locations.
Separately (get it?), music artists and acts from John Legend and Coldplay’s Chris Martin to OneRepublic and The Vamps have shared #TogetheratHome concerts on YouTube, too.
Info: You can catch #TogetheratHome performances on YouTube.
6. Some Funny Stuff
If this Phase 2 business – and the resultant lack of human contact – is starting to get to you, may we suggest you watch some new comedy specials? After all, laughter is the best medicine, right?
As The New York Times recently reported, the five new funny fests range from Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill on Netflix to Cole Escola’s one-man variety show on YouTube “packed full of a dizzying number of his eccentric characters”. Note: Some of the comedy experiences are audio-only.
Info: See links above.
7. The Magic Of The Bolshoi Ballet
You do not have to fly to Moscow to catch ballet performances by the legendary Bolshoi Theatre. Enjoy classics, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, streamed online for free.
Info: Go to the Bolshoi Theatre’s YouTube channel.
8. Broadway Shows… On Broadway
Sure, Broadway shows come to Singapore (or used to before the pandemic), but nothing beats watching them on NYC’s Great White Way itself. So, theatre buffs here take note: BroadwayHD.com has introduced a free seven-day trial period to its subscription service in the wake of the coronavirus shutdowns.
In order to get to the goodies, you’ll first need to pick either the US$8.99 per month or US$99.99 annual subscription plan. But the charges will only kick in after seven days. You might even want to stay subscribed after Phase 2 because this platform is a smorgasbord of content.
There are crowd-pleasing musicals such as An American in Paris and Oklahoma! as well as more highbrow offerings like British director Phyllida Lloyd’s astonishing take on Henry IV, set in a women’s prison, and archival gems like a 1973 version of The Glass Menagerie starring Katherine Hepburn.
The one bummer: Not all the latest hit musicals are available. There’s no Hamilton, for example, nor The Book of Mormon.
Info: Head to BroadwayHD.com to start your free trial.
9. More Broadway Bonuses!
If you don’t know who Andrew Lloyd Webber is, just skip on down and read about the next thing to watch. For the rest of you, musical hit-maker been streaming his greatest shows on the YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On every Friday. So far, the shows have included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel Love Never Dies.
Separately, Disney has finally made musical hit Hamilton available online! And now that Disney Plus has come to Singapore, you can enjoy this musical favourite any time.
Info: See links above.
10. Behind the Scenes of the Singapore Airshow
Singapore launched its first International Air Show 59 years ago, in early April of 1961, and this was recognised as its proudest aviation achievement at the time.
Fighter jets and other military aircraft from Britain’s Royal Air Force thrilled crowds with an aerial display and then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye said he hoped the air show would “awake citizens’ interest in the aviation industry”.
Although this year’s Airshow is pushed back to late 2021 due to the new Phase 2 heightened alert regulations, you can find out how the Singapore Airshow has evolved over the years with a behind-the-scenes look at the 2020 installment on The Backend Show.
Multimedia journalist Kimberly Jow of The Straits Times speaks to the people behind the highly anticipated aerial acrobatics and learns the strict rules pilots have to follow.
Info: Watch it on The Straits Times.
11. Sports Documentaries On Netflix
While there have been many sports-themed box-office hits – such as Rocky (1976), Remember the Titans (2000) and Moneyball (2011) – a number of excellent documentaries have also been produced in recent times.
Icarus (2017) won an Oscar for its expose of Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme; while Athlete A (2020) looks at USA gymnast survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse.
Info: Netflix Singapore
12. Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s Past Concerts
The Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) has introduced the #DabaoSCO series, in which full-length versions of some of its past concerts are put up on its Facebook and YouTube pages.
New concerts are released every Friday. SCO has also launched a #roomformusic series on Facebook that sees its musicians recording themselves as they play in their own personal spaces.
13. Beastie Boys Story And More On AppleTV+
Released 24 April 2020, the Beastie Boys Story is a documentary on the titular New York trio of rappers by the director of Her, Spike Jonze, who – bee tee dubs – also directed the music video for the Beastie Boys’ 1994 hit Sabotage. In this doc, members Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond discuss the group’s 40-year friendship, and its explosion in popularity after hip-hop turned mainstream in the late 1980s.
Info: If you sign up for AppleTV+’s one-week trial, you get seven days for free, then it’s US$6.98 a month. But you’ll also get to enjoy original series like the new Defending Jacob, which follows a family sideswiped by an accusation that their 14-year-old son is a murderer, as well as popular ones like The Morning Show and kid-friendly Helpsters.
14. Free Programmes By Brahm Centre
Brahm Centre, a charity that promotes happier and healthier living, has curated free programmes – from exercise to online seminars to talks – to benefit the community during this circuit breaker period.
There are workouts conducted in the mornings and evenings from Mondays to Saturdays. (Looking for more at-home fitspo? Check out these 10 awesome apps.)
Associate Professor Angie Chew, the charity’s founder and chief executive, conducts a 5-Day mindfulness retreat on 2 July 2021; and there are health talks every Saturday.
Info: Brahm Centre’s Facebook page
15. Highlights Of Past Esplanade Concerts Online
Miss live music during Phase 2? Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay has a “The Show Goes On”…line series, where it releases highlights from performances from its archives.
Among the shows are a concert by Fredo, frontman of 1970s Singapore band The Flybaits, and a November 2019 performance by Singapore pop-duo StellaVee. Amongst the most recent uploads: a 2017 show by indie singer Tim de Cotta.
Info: Rock and roll on over to the Esplanade website.
16. Kid-Friendly Esplande Offerings, Too!
Also on the Esplanade’s Offstage website, scroll down the list of genres and you’ll hit the Families section, which is where the kid-friendly content can be found.
Tweens will enjoy the I Kid You Not video series, of which there are six to date, featuring three tweens. Each tween is featured in two videos, one in which they talk about the art forms they practice and love, and another in which they teach clueless adults their practice. The latter videos are a hoot.
For younger children, parents should check out the illustrated folktales which will make for perfect bedtime reading sessions. 40 Trees, 1 Arrow is inspired by the Ramayana and tells the story of how Rama and Laksamana defeated a giant serpent. Story Of Nian is about the monster that inspired Chinese New Year traditions. 40 Trees has quirky faux-naif illustrations by Brandon Ong while Ang Wei Tyng’s dynamic Nian monster is more cute than scary. Even the adults will appreciate their stylish illustrations.
Even cuter? The DIY family activities for PIP, the Esplanade’s mascot for its kids’ programme. The How Do You Feel Today activity offers adorable dinosaurs in a downloadable template for children to make into magnets.
Info: Find the Esplanade’s Family content here.
17. Old Or New Shows On Netflix
It’s time to switch up some of our old, go-to shows this Phase 2. All six seasons of Community hit Netflix in April 2020. Not already a fan? Here’s a quick synopsis for your binging purposes: It follows the trials and tribulations of Jeff Winger – a disgraced lawyer who had his degree revoked and has to enroll in a community college to get a new one. He soon finds himself in a study group filled with a lovably diverse cast of characters, and hilarious hijinks ensue – including but not limited to a campus-wide paintball war, a Dungeons & Dragons game gone terribly wrong, a stop-motion animated Christmas episode and an actual zombie apocalypse.
Meanwhile, new to Netflix, Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake, a black market mercenary hired to rescue a crime lord’s kidnapped son. Tyler has to deal with weapons dealers and drug traffickers alike in an action-packed and utterly dangerous mission. Side note: The movie is written by Joe Russo – one-half of the directing duo behind Avengers: Endgame! (Or, check out Her World‘s curated list of Netflix show to binge on. Right. Now.)
Info: Netflix Singapore
18. The Metropolitan Opera’s Live In HD Encore Presentations
The famed Metropolitan Opera has been broadcasting performances live from its Lincoln Center home since 2006. Live performances may be cancelled, but opera fans can head to the Met Opera’s homepage where every day, one opera from this long-running series will be available for 24 hours for free.
Recently, it featured a Wagner Week, in which Das Rheingold with Wendy Bryn Harmer and Bryn Terfel kicked off the series at 7:30 p.m. New York time, which means Wednesday morning, 7:30 p.m. Singapore time, just SYK.
Info: Click on link above to splash into the stream.
19. Royal Opera House
The English counterpoint to BroadwayHD and the Metropolitan Opera’s livestream (see both above) is the Royal Opera House’s curated programme.
The selection of operas and ballets, including La Traviata and Alice In Wonderland, are hosted on Marquee TV.
Info: To get access, you will have to sign up for a 30-day free trial on the Marquee TV site. The service costs $11.98 a month or a special promotion rate of $119.8 for an annual subscription.
20. Fashion Brands’ Social Media Offerings
Some of the biggest labels are providing entertainment and edu-tainment on their social media platforms.
Choose from Chloé Voices, a social media performance series featuring talents such as Ellie Goulding; Bottega Veneta’s showcase of chefs, artists, writers, musicians, film directors and designers; and many more! Read the full roundup of fashion-centric entertaining options on the Harper’s Bazaar Singapore site.
21. E-Sports and Online Gaming Streams
Watch livestreams of esports such as Fifa online or catch Formula 1 drivers racing pro-gamers on virtual tracks and see who comes out on top. If you love American football, this article‘s got hacks on how to catch them here in Singapore.
This may also be the time to finally find out why there is so much fuss over popular gaming streamers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who made about US$10 million (S$14.2 million) in 2018 by making videos of himself playing games and entertaining people from home.
22. Cave Paintings And More
Step into the Chauvet Cave in southern France with Google Cultural Institute’s virtual tour.
The prehistoric cave markings date back 36,000 years and have been photographed in pristine condition. The most important markings are discussed in detail during the virtual tour. Plus, there are high-resolution pictures for viewers to see the art in detail.
Info: Go to Meet Our Ancestors. Bonus: Google Arts & Culture has nearly 200 360 Videos on fascinating subjects, from kayaking around glaciers or climbing in an icy crevasse to watching rare animals in their natural habitats, tap dancers, fashion designers and much more.
23. The Projector’s Latest Release Online
Indie cinema The Projector has launched The Projector Plus, an online video-on-demand service for you to enjoy your favourite independent films from your very bed. Although the cinema is open during Phase 2 heightened alert, it’s best to watch these films safely at home, if you can.
A recent addition is the film I Am Not a Witch (pictured above), a BAFTA Award winner in 2018, directed by Rungano Nyoni. This film follows a young girl of eight years old in a rural Zambian village. Quickly escalating, she was found guilty of witchery and sentenced to life in a state-run witch camp. Sounds thrilling, no?
Info: Find the link to rent I Am Not a Witch at The Projector. The rental fee is $10 for a 48-hour viewing window.
By Ong Sor Fern, Clara Lock, Malavika Menon + Benson Ang with input from Sazali Abdul Aziz and SPH Information Resource Centre, Text adapted from The Straits Times, March and April 2020; also by Tim Augustin, some text adapted from HardwareZone, April 2020 / Additional Reporting: Sara Lyle Bow, May 2020 / Last updated by Isabel Wibowo / Images: attributed to respective source + Patrick De Grijs, 123RF.
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