Thursday, September 11, 2008

SO bitten by an insect!

I just received an sms from SO that he is bitten by an insect and that he is presently in hospital.

The doc gave him a jab and asked him to be warded overnight.

My heart skipped a beat. Oh no....Not again.

This is not the first time that he was bitten by some insect and warded in hospital.

I think it happened twice already, or thrice? The last time was about 10 years ago when he was living at home. He was bitten by some creepy crawly and his father sent him to the hospital.

Anyway, this time he told the doctor that he refused to stay overnight.

I offered to go down to the hospital to meet him but the bitch simply refused, saying the doctor would review him in 2 hours time. And then he would come back.

And he asked me not to sms him anymore, cos he wanted to sleep!

I couldn't breath. My heart was heavy with worry. I wondered if the insect bite could lead to some severe allergy.

Hmmm...wondering if I should go down and surprise him at the hospital. But his colleagues are there......and he did not want me there.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mommies matchmaking session

Gosh, is this for real?

Just cos the PM mentioned it in his speech did not mean people should take it as the holy word.

Frankly, thank goodness, I am not single. And that my mother would not do something like that.

And if she did, I dun think I would forgive her for poking her nose into my private business.

So where's your mommy yesterday afternoon? Matchmaking?


The Straits Times
8 Sep 2008

Matchmaking meet

They share CVs to find mates for their children at first such event here

By Goh Chin Lian

WITH a picture of her son in her handbag, housewife Wang Lianzhi mingled with some 150 parents at the Speakers' Corner yesterday for a mass matchmaking session.

'My son's 30. He's never had a girlfriend. He's working on his computer all the time and seldom goes out,' explained Mrs Wang, 67. So she decided to play Cupid, distributing his business card to other parents.

It was the first parents' matchmaking session, organised by dating agency Clique Wise which had taken up a suggestion by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PM Lee had floated the idea of having parents play matchmaker for their children in his National Day Rally speech last month.

He described how thousands of parents in Beijing secretly sought out spouses for their children at such sessions, commonly held in parks, and suggested Singapore parents try it too.

Yesterday, they did. Parents took matters into their own hands, saying their children were too busy for a social life.

Many like Mrs May Jow, 60, came without their children's knowledge. 'I took my daughter's photograph from the drawer without telling her,' she said.

The matchmaking process was simple: Parents exchanged details of their children like age, education and current job, and asked to see a picture of the 'candidate'. Some whipped out passport-sized photographs, others 4R-sized pictures. One parent came with an 8R computer printout of the family posing with the candidate in a graduation gown.

Parents were not only scrutinising the candidate's looks, but also sussing out the candidate's parents to see if they came from similar backgrounds. If all goes well, they exchange phone numbers.

Some parents like Mrs Jow were on the lookout for candidates who matched their children's height and age. 'The age difference should be about three to four years and he has to be at least 1.76m tall,' said Mrs Jow, whose daughter is aged 30 and is 1.68m tall.

Parents hunting for a son-in-law also wanted someone with a higher educational qualification and a stable career.

Said housewife L.H. Heng, 55: 'My daughter has a polytechnic diploma. Her spouse cannot have any lesser than that.'

The session's organiser, Ms Lydia Gan, said the event was held at Speakers' Corner as the older generation was familiar with Hong Lim Park. It was also free.

All Ms Gan had to do was register online with the National Parks Board, since rules were eased to allow outdoor demonstrations at Speakers' Corner from Sept 1.

While the matchmaking session was registered as an exhibition, and not a demonstration, it did draw onlookers like odd job labourer Jeff Tan, 60. He had dropped by after shopping in nearby Chinatown, thinking he would catch a protest in progress.

But there was none. So far, only non-profit group Hearer of Cries has held a demonstration, staging a 10-minute protest against employers who abuse maids.

Mr Tan said: 'I wouldn't come here specially. I work in Changi and I'm living in Tampines. It's too far.'

Monday, September 8, 2008

I was drugged!


I think I was drugged by SO.

I have asked him but he simply denied it.

I have been sleeping more than usual. On Saturday night, I slept at about 3am and woke up on Sunday at 9am.

After breakfast, I went back to sleep from 11am to 5pm!

And all our plans for Sunday was ruined. I had planned to go to a movie but I was simply too tired.

That Sunday night, I slept at 11pm till Monday morning 6am.

And I still felt so tired.

I dun know what SO fed me but I have slept too much.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Winners of the SG blog awards

Below are the winners of the SG blog awards!

Best Youth Blog
Witch Yuki

Best Photo Blog
Eunice Khong

Most Insightful Blog

Most Entertaining Blog
Jimmy Lee

Best Design Blog
Shaun Chng

Best Blog Shop
Miss Loi

Best Individual Blog
Jane Chin

Popular Choice Awards Winners

1. Shaun Chng under Best Design Blog by Shaun Chng

2. Sparklette under Best Design Blog
only in fairy tales by Veron

3. 阿谁 under Most Entertaining Blog
阿谁的世界 by Jimmy Lee


The Straits Times
6 Sep 2008

1st S'pore Blog Awards

A MARATHON runner and a full-time mathematics tutor are among the winners of the first Singapore Blog Awards.

The awards, organised by Singapore Press Holdings' bilingual web portal, aim to showcase bloggers' creativity, and to popularise the form.

Mathematics tutor Loi Wai Ling, 33, won the Best Blog Shop award for her blog, . Unlike many blog shops which sell accessories and clothing, hers sells sets of exam questions.

Engineering student and marathoner Shaun Chng, 24, won for having the Best Design.

Blog awards Pictures, Images and Photos
Winners of the Singapore Blog Awards, organized by (clockwise from top left) Most Entertaining Blog, Jimmy Lee, Best Design Blog, Shaun Chng, Most Insightful Blog, Kenny Lau, Best Blog Shop, Loi Wai Ling, Best Photo Blog, Eunice Khong, Best Individual Blog Jane Chin and Green Apple Award Cheryl Thiam, with their trophies. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

In all, 1,000 blogs were considered, and 10 were shortlisted in each of the seven categories: Best Youth Blog, Photo Blog, Design Blog, Individual Blog, Blog Shop, and Most Entertaining and Most Insightful blogs.

The winners received trophies and a laptop computer. They were given their prizes at a ceremony held at the Asian Civilisations Museum last night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

There's a new browser in town

I am a sucker for new stuff. Especially cyber stuff.

I am glad there is a new browser in town. Anything to break the monopoly of Microsoft.

Personally I have been using Mozilla Firefox and I have not been having much problems with it.

I have great faith in Google products. Their google maps are fabulous. So is their Gmail and Blogger.


The Straits Times
4 Sep 2008

Google browser shines

It shows off application's features in challenge to Microsoft's Explorer

By Alfred Siew

GOOGLE yesterday showed off a slick Web browser that promises to let users surf the Internet faster. Going by the name Chrome, it could shake up the industry as previous browser wars have done.

Google is eyeing much more: In the same way users access their e-mail on the Web now, it wants them to do their word processing and spreadsheets on a more advanced browser in future, forgoing the need to install Microsoft software.

A trial version of Chrome became available for download on Google's website,, on Tuesday, after the company inadvertently leaked information about it days ahead of time.

In a demonstration to reporters yesterday, Google showed off Chrome's smart features. For example, its Omnibox can predict what search term or Web address the user wants based on his past surfing patterns and those of other users online.

A user looking for Amazon, the online bookstore, may need to type no more than 'Am' to bring up the link to the site.

The new browser also comes with a privacy mode that lets a user surf the Internet without leaving a trail on a computer, a feature handy for those who share computers with others at home.

With Chrome, Google is taking aim at Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, the browser of choice for three-quarters of Internet users and which is pre-loaded on computers running on Windows.

The last browser war, which pitted Microsoft's Explorer against Netscape in the 1990s, left Netscape beaten.

Battle lines have been drawn now between Microsoft, which made its fortune selling software for personal computers, and Google, which wants to overturn that dominance with online alternatives.

By developing its own browser, Google says it is ensuring that its online applications - alternatives to Microsoft's Word, Excel and Powerpoint - can be run optimally in future.

To show that Chrome was faster than its rivals, Google yesterday set up a computer and compared the time it took to download two Java Web pages using Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Chrome streaked ahead, completing the download ahead of its rivals. A webpage with, say, a 3D drawing loaded several seconds faster.

In a video conference with reporters at Google's offices, director of engineering Linus Upson said he expected power users to be Chrome's early adopters.

'But they will tell their friends...and we are confident it will get into the hands of millions of people,' he said. He noted that the browser, using open-source software code, would benefit from add-ons and updates created by the online community.

The question for Google now is whether users will bite. Early adopters such as undergraduate Chin Su Yuen, 22, are already sold. Noting that the software is faster, she said: 'I have opened Facebook with 2,000 items on it, and it took a longer time to load on older browsers.'

Before Chrome, the alternatives to Internet Explorer have been Apple's Safari, Opera from Opera Software and Firefox from the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, which Google helps fund.


Star features in new browser

GOOGLE has promised that its new Chrome Web browser will be faster and smarter than its competitors, including Internet Explorer from rival Microsoft.

The company is banking on three star features to lure Internet users. They are:

# Omnibox

This is the box where you type in a website's address. It also allows you to write any term, say, Felicia Chin, and it will bring up a list of websites on the actress.

Before you even finish typing, Chrome predicts what you are after by looking up websites you visited previously, and by referencing similar searches by other Web surfers. If you have visited, say,, the box also lets you search for things on that website, without typing in its address.

# Privacy mode

If you do not want others to find out what you have been surfing, there is a new Incognito feature. It ensures that traces of your Internet session are erased the moment you exit the browser.

This means things such as virtual 'cookies', which track the items you browse on, for example, are not stored on the computer, so others cannot access them.

# Smart tabs

Users often surf several webpages at once on multiple tabs on their browsers. In Chrome, these tabs run on separate 'processes', so if one website takes up too much of the computer's resources or causes the software to crash, each tab can be shut down individually.

The other pages, loaded separately on other tabs, can continue running.

With current browsers, a problematic website can sometimes cause the entire browser application to freeze up.

A dream of 2 doggies

Last night I had a dream of my 2 dogs.

SO and I were in this cafe and there were these 2 dogs caged right outside the cafe.

I recognise the dogs as Gin and Bell, whom in my dream, had gone missing.

A staff of the cafe was grooming the dogs, trimming their fur, bathing them etc.

So I asked SO to go over and ask how much they cost.

The response was $60 and $70. And I was thinking in my dream, so cheap.

However, SO was like this miser, saying that they are our dogs in the first place so why should we pay?

I was like, just pay for Gin. It's only 70 bucks.

So we got back Gin. She had gone from a silvery ashy silky to a poofy poodle. Well, in my dream, I know it was absurd and I remembered thinking, she turned white out of fear.

We were going to leave Bell in the cafe but after thinking over, decided to buy him also.

He got epilepsy and I dun think he would last long with any new owners. They would probably put him to sleep once he started foaming and twitching.

End of dream.

During the duration of the dream, I was turning and tossing in bed, moaning. Yeah, I was aware it was a dream and yet it felt so real. I woke up at about 4 am this morning and could not go back to sleep any more.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I need a dog

I so need a dog.

It has been about 2 months since my baby Gin died. And since then I have not hug anything fluffy and furry.

I so need a doggie hug right now.

Bell is so frigid, like SO that he growls the moment I carry him.

I want to get Bobby, my mom's dog over right now.

And oh yeah....I have not cried over Gin for some time. But it made me sad when I think of her.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Manila virus

SO spread the Manila virus to me.

I shared a moon cake with SO on sunday and we both used the same knife to eat the mooncake.

And by evening, my throat was all raw and dry and scratchy!

I thought that the bitch had recovered from his bout of flu virus he contacted in Manila and now he had spread the virus to me.

I was so tired these few days, sleeping more than usual.And after these few days of sore throat, I have been feeling better.

Now I would think twice before I share food with the bitch.

He is so contagious. Some weeks back, he spread this high fever to me. I had laid in bed for days, too sick even to move.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fuglies going to Paris

I was at Watson with SO on sunday.

We were browsing at this hair care products when this 30 something fugly (fucking ugly) stood near us.

He was talking to this senior mature lady, whom I dun think was his mother or relative. Probably his colleague or church friend.

He was boasting to this lady friend that he is going to Paris next week.

The lady asked...And why you going to Paris and what would you do there?

And he was like....for the fabulous shopping...

And then he added....maybe I would send you a topless photo of myself to you.

SO and I were rolling our eyes. And I think so was his lady friend. He was so gay, so flamboyant and loud. And there were quite a few people around who heard that conversation. And that fugly knew everyone was hearing their conversation.

He then told his lady friend...and when I return, I would be all buff and tanned. And with that, he sashayed out of the store, swaying his hips!

Gross! What a show off! Attention grabbing slut!

And why are fuglies going to Paris?

Another fugly I know, who is actually SO's brother went to Paris some weeks back. And SO was biting his tongue in envy! He was that jealous of his bro going to Paris.

And the thing was that fugly did not brought anything back from Paris. Absolutely nothing. Nothing for his mother either. No souvenirs of whatever sort.

Made us wonder why he went to Paris in the first place and why fuglies like to go to Paris.

Nigeria Marriage Scams

Nigeria is like the con city of the world.

And this is not just any discriminating statement. I am not racist or discriminating against any countries but the name Nigeria seemed to appear regularly whenever online scams or cons are mentioned.

That is one of the main reasons that a lot of companies everywhere dun ship to Nigeria. Chances are that they wun get paid. This is backed by bad experiences.

And I repeat myself. I am not against Nigeria, but if I received any email or offers or whatever from Nigeria, I just delete them.

So beware of any cyber stuff originating from Nigeria. Chances are it's a scam.


New Paper
31 Aug 2008

I want to marry you, send me money

Woman's online search for love attracts 'suitors' from Nigeria. They claimed to be expatriates but asked her to send them money so they could come to Singapore to marry her.

Elysa Chen

WHEN a Singaporean woman went online in search of a life partner, she received several offers of marriage. But it was not wedding bells but alarm bells that went off in her head.

The reason: The proposals were from men in Nigeria.

And, rightly or wrongly, the mere mention of the African nation summons visions of scams.

The woman, a 47-year-old accounts executive who wanted to be known only as Josephine, is sure her suitors are con men targeting lonely women with false promises of love and marriage.

They claimed to be expatriates working in the oil industry in Nigeria but asked her to send them money so they could come to Singapore to marry her.

Ms Josephine recently posted her profile on the Singapore Expats forum, hoping to find a man who could commit to a long-term relationship and eventually marry her.

But when she received six e-mail replies from different men in Nigeria, each promising marriage, she became suspicious. She said: 'If I had never heard of so many scams from Nigeria, I would have been thrilled.

'I have never been popular with men and most don't take a second look at me. So, when so many guys were interested in me and telling me how much they loved me by their third e-mail, at the back of my mind, I found it unbelievable.'


First, these 'widowers' wooed her with poems and showed her pictures of their children. They also spun heart-wrenching tales of how their wives had died during childbirth and told her that she was 'the perfect mother' for their children.

Of course, she had no idea whether the pictures were real. But the stories, because they were so similar, got her suspicious.

Within days of getting to know her, they would ask her for money. Most asked her to send sums ranging from $2,000 to $3,000.

One asked her to buy him a laptop and ship it to Nigeria.

The most frightening request was from a man who went by the name of Houston. He claimed he was from the Cayman Islands and asked Ms Josephine to open a bank account in Singapore so that he could transfer millions of dollars to her.

With wide-eyed horror, she said: 'He could have been trying to use me to launder money.'

Even if she were unaware of Nigerian scams, Ms Josephine said she would not have fallen victim as she finds it 'too difficult to part with her hard-earned money'.

Emotional blackmail

When she did not accede to their requests, the men resorted to 'using four-letter words' on her or emotionally blackmailing her by asking her to send the money for the sake of their children.

One even went as far as to call himself her husband.

Laughing, Ms Josephine said: 'We haven't even met, and he's saying that he is my husband.

'They must have thought that I was one of those airheads whose heart would melt the moment they said they loved me and give them all my money.'

Although she had mentally prepared herself for fake offers, it was still 'devastating' that every suitor ended up asking her for money.

Her sister, Mrs Elaine Wee, 45, said: 'This is the cruellest thing that anyone can do to a single woman. I was so indignant for not only my sister, but all the other women that these men were out to cheat by playing with their feelings.'

Ms Josephine, who has spent about $8,000 on local and foreign matchmaking agencies, has one simple wish: To find a nice, honest man she can go home to after a hard day's work.

Smiling, she said: 'Somewhere out there, there might be someone for me. I'm not going to just give up.'




Conmen post advertisements on the Internet to sell iPhones, but unsuspecting buyers end up empty-handed after sending the money. A Singapore student was cheated of $1,600.


They pretend to represent top English Premiership clubs. Victims are duped into sending money in the belief that they are paying official registration fees to have a trial at Premiership clubs.


They hack into someone's Hotmail account and send e-mail to people in the person's address book. The recipients are asked to send money to help the Hotmail account-holder, who is stranded during a holiday in Nigeria.

Former Singapore Idol finalist Jeassea Thyidor had similar experience with her Hotmail account.


They pose as pretty and lonely women in trouble and ask victims to send them money so they can fly to meet them.

A tale of two press conferences

I used to organise press conference in my previous job.

And I missed that. The press invites, preparing the location, food, press kit etc. I missed it all.

It has been a long while since I organised or attended any press conference.

I included this article in my blog cos I see the humor in it.


New Paper
31 Aug 2008

A tale of two press conferences

PRESS conferences can be some of the most inane events on the planet.

By Ng Tze Yong


PRESS conferences can be some of the most inane events on the planet. They are often tediously formal and humourless, a long-drawn merry-go-round that leaves you more baffled than informed - cushioned, of course, by the nice folders and souvenir pens.

But this is a story of two interesting press conferences which took place this past week.

The first, held in a cozy function room at the Botanical Gardens on Monday, was held to announce the new rules at Speakers' Corner.

The second, held yesterday at the Grand Copthorne Hotel, dealt with the liberalisation of another place - cyberspace.

Both marked landmark events. Interesting, also, because if you watched closely, the body language told you more than the press release resting on your lap.

It is like a peek backstage, just before the curtains rise for a perfect orchestration.

The Speakers' Corner press conference was a brisk, efficient affair, co-chaired by the police and NParks.

On the plush chairs, the police officers sat erect, radiating competence. Beside them, the NParks officials sat, slouching just a little, perhaps a hint of reluctance on their faces: The new rules would require the handing over of that hot potato, Speakers' Corner, from the cops to the park rangers.


Just how - exactly - would it work?

You could see the spark in each reporter's eyes - they were waiting for the field day to begin.

'Would there be plainclothes policemen?' A polite laugh from the police, and a speech on the operational needs of police work.

Can protesters do this? Can they do that? The common refrain: Anything goes, except race and religion, but safety first.

Then, the killer question came: Can protesters burn effigies of PM Lee?

Silence. Then, COO NParks turned over his palms and explained in a mixture of exasperation and resignation. Sure, he said. 'Just don't burn down the shrubs and the trees.'

Later, back in the newsroom, I called the police and asked: Can protesters burn a Singapore flag?

The act is illegal. But could it be allowed, if considered as part of a lawful demonstration? There were 'hmmm's and 'erm's over the crackling phone line.

I was advised to seek clarification from somewhere else. The rest of the conversation was declared off-the-record.

Before we hung up, it was re-emphasised to me again, almost apologetically: Just no race, no religion, can already.

Later in the evening, a wag SMSed me: 'Would a demo to 'say no to racism' pass or fail the test?'

And 'haha :)' was my reply.

Which makes a nice transition to the press conference that came a few days later, whose target audience was not the shouters and the crazies, but the savvy eGeneration, who crave just as much to be heard.

In a hotel function room, they discussed Xiaxue, Facebook and YouTube, chaired by a panel with stern-faced members ranging from CEOs to a professor of philosophy.

Let's talk

It was not a briefing. It was an in-depth discussion. Their message: Loosen up. But caution - and consultation - were the key words.

Unlike the lightning PowerPoint presentation and slim press release at the Speakers' Corner press conference, this one came with a detailed 103-page report, with detailed bibliography and methodology.

We don't pretend to know the answers, said a member of the panel. It went a long way in tempering the scepticism.

There is black and there is white. PM Lee is leading us into the middle grey. But grey is a difficult area to straddle.

The two press conferences tried to do it. The cyberspace guys populated it with questions and suggestions.

The police and NParks broad-brushed it with vague allusions to catch phrases, and a sudden invitation to come create a ruckus.

I left it feeling baffled, doubtful and unassured.

The other one, I left feeling a little more hopeful.

Lewd University Orientation

Well, I have made my say over the issue of lewd orientation. Some activities are simply bordering on the sexually suggestive.

Frankly, I am surprised that some students actually find the orientation games harmless. Are you kidding?

And joining in almost sexual activities are suppose to help them and socialise with their peers? How is that suppose to help in building team spirit and instilling a sense of belonging?

Maybe I am too conservative and prudish? And kids these days are too liberal and open minded?

After all, these days, how many are still virgins by the time they reached university age?

There is still the element of peer pressure. These are not full adults. They are young, undeveloped adults and they tend to conform to the usual norms.

I came across a blog where a female student narrated her experience with lewd orientation at her university.

She said that most of these orientation forfeits seemed to involve the more private parts of the body like the face, buttocks, mouth, chest etc.

On the very first day, she was made to do this forfeit where she had to pass this sweet to a guy mouth to mouth. And you know what, he was actually using this as an excuse and she could feel his tongue in her mouth, groping about. She felt humilated and awkward. She had never kissed a guy before and here, she was, with this guy, who was swirling his tongue in her mouth. All in the name of fun and sport. And getting to know other people.

She felt violated but she dared not say anything. She did not wanted to be labelled a spoilsport, a wet blanket. So she continued.

Another forfeit she had to do was that she had to lie on the ground with her back facing the sky while the guy did push ups above her body.

This time, it was even worse. As he did his pushups, she could felt his dick pressing on her buttocks with each pushup. She was extremely disgusted. She really wanted to walk out but she couldn't. She did not want people to talk bad about her. And then the worst thing happened. He collapsed on her!

She was horrified. She could feel his erected prick pressing on her back!

She who had never had intimate contact with any other guys, had some guy's erected dick on her back. It was so sick and it felt so wrong.

She felt so sexually violated and thus made up an excuse that she was sick and skipped the rest of the day's orientation activities.

That very night, she was that terrified and tramatised that she developed a high fever. She was sick for the rest of the week and skipped all her orientation.

She wanted to complain to the university. This was suppose to be orientation activities to help new students socialise and break the ice. But she felt she had enrolled in in some sort of hell camp for sex slaves.

But a female classmate told her to grow up and stop being a whiner. She was also accused of being uptight, childish and sensitive.

In the end, she did not take any actions but she developed this fear of the opposite sex. Especially if a guy is too physically close to her in proximity.

End of story.

Frankly, all these orientation activities are just an excuse for bullying by seniors on freshmen. Bullying disguised as initiation. What crap!

And who know who thought of all these sexually suggestive activities?

Horny male university undergrads! Just in case, you dun know, boys at this age are their most horny or rather most sexually curious peak. And they thought of all these almost sexual activities to fulfill their sick sexual fantasies.

And SDU endorses universities orientation activities. Well, no one complained! Until someone wrote in the the forum, triggering this expose.

If such lewd activities are so ice-breaking, how come SDU did not incorporate these into their social activities programs?

So are we developing these undergrads into sluts and players? Is this the way to go to promote having more babies?

When the time comes to say no and walk out, can you actually walk out? Even when there is extreme peer pressure, when people called you names like, wet blanket, uptight, sensitive, spoilsport, not sporting etc?

Many cannot.


The Sunday Times
31 Aug 2008

Orientation - just fun or plain lewd?

Students, academics, freshmen and others weigh in on the sexual slant

By Shuli Sudderuddin

When National University of Singapore (NUS) freshman Rachel Lee turned up at an orientation camp in campus last month, she got a rude shock.

During one of the games, she was made to do a forfeit where the 'girls had to lie down and the guys had to do push-ups over them', she said. Ms Lee, 19, declined to comply - she felt the act was lewd.

Another game she observed required participants to pass M&M chocolates to one another using their mouths.

'I left after the first day with five or six like-minded friends,' she said of the five-day camp organised by the NUS Students' Union.

'Lewd and improper' orientation activities were the subject of a letter by reader Soh Eng Phang, who wrote to the Straits Times Forum page recently complaining about this. In a phone interview elaborating on this, Ms Soh, who is in her 40s, said: 'They are totally uncalled for and give youth a very superficial idea about making friends and finding a partner.'

Orientation is held at the start of a school year in July and August to welcome freshmen. This year, the three universities here welcomed 14,700 freshmen.

Most camps are run by students and attendance at most activities is optional.

In the past, the trend was to subject freshmen to humiliating treatment such as having one's head dunked in a toilet bowl or having to do chores at their seniors' bidding.

Over the years, however, orientation has taken on a more sexual slant.

Unlike Ms Lee, however, many other freshmen accept such games as a time-honoured ritual and do not find them objectionable.

Ms Yvonne Ho, 19, a freshman at the NUS faculty of arts and social sciences, attended a camp run by Sheares Hall hostel earlier this month. Forfeits included touching the chests of males.

'I don't see a reason to get agitated. This is in fun and we laugh about it. There's nothing sexual,' she said.

Students from NUS and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said their orientation camps often included risque games and forfeits. At the Singapore Management University (SMU), students said games and forfeits were milder.

Dr Carol Balhetchet, director of youth services at the Singapore Children's Society, said the young today are more confident.

'They are bolder and some set up situations to break social barriers, especially since those between ages 18 and 21 are beginning to seek partners,' she noted.

Said Mr Sam Kuna, family therapist and executive director of volunteer welfare organisation Teen Challenge: 'Normal games and old-fashioned ragging just don't cut it anymore.'

But sexually-charged activities can backfire if they are too extreme, he said. 'At least 70 per cent of students are conservative and these games could make someone more inhibited.'

Universities said they put a firm foot down on any demeaning activities.

Associate Professor Low Aik Meng, dean of students at SMU, said: 'SMU does not feel that ragging will help our students achieve the objectives of building collegiality, team spirit and a sense of belonging.'

A spokesman for NTU said the university will take action against students who overstep the boundaries of decency.

Over at NUS, a spokesman said that if the university receives complaints, it will investigate and counsel or discipline students.

However, some students and organisers feel that activities involving physical contact are no big deal.

NTU Cultural Activities Club camp programmer Choi Wen Ting, 22, said: 'These games are only small elements and can boost the spirit of the camp. University students are sensible enough to speak up if they are uncomfortable.'

This sentiment is shared by Ms Nadya Huang, 20, who sits on the executive committee of the NUS Students' Arts and Social Sciences Club.

'It's just for fun and we're all adults. I've never seen people do anything against their will.'

Rain of Madness - The video

This has got to be the hottest video of the moment.

It's a a spoof of the spoof within the spoof.

This video is about 10 mins 30 secs long.


New Paper
31 Aug 2008

Tropic madness

We round up the Internet sites or videos that people are talking about

What's the noise?

Rain Of Madness is a 30-minute fake 'making-of' mockumentary of the feature film Tropic Thunder, about a group of actors making a war film.

This send-up of Hollywood war movies and its stereotypes stars Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller and Jack Black.

Rain Of Madness uses all the styles of a behind-the-scenes segment in a DVD extra feature and 'chronicles' the insanity of Tropic Thunder's fictitious cast and crew and their struggle to finish the film.

Essentially, this is a spoof of the spoof within the spoof. It has hilarious pseudo-interviews with the cast and crew, including some bizarre moments with Downey Jr.

Rain Of Madness was shot in Hawaii using the same locations as Tropic Thunder.

It is directed by the latter's co-writer Justin Theroux, who stars in the mockumentary as German documentary producer/narrator Jan Jürgen.

Paramount put Rain Of Madness online alongside Tropic Thunder as part of its Internet viral marketing for the film.

What we say:

It sucked that we could not download the film as it was available only on the US iTunes site, so we turned to other video-sharing sites as well as the mockumentary's website.

Who would have thought Hollywood could take the mickey out of itself and do it well?

Film buffs would recognise this as a send-up of the 1991 documentary Heart Of Darkness, which chronicled the making of Francis Ford Coppola's problem-plagued 1979 epic war film Apocalypse Now, starring Martin Sheen and the late Marlon Brando.

I do hope Rain Of Madness does make it as an extra feature on the Tropic Thunder DVD release.

What people say:

'If you thought Tropic Thunder was funny, you have GOT to check out the documentary showing the making of the film - Rain Of Madness.'
- be

'A twisted and well-done riff that manages to add to the value of the existing film while deserving a life of its own.'

Sex addiction

This actually reminded me of a joke.

It is kinky when you do it with a feather. It's SICK when you use a whole chicken.

So when is it actually classified sexual addiction? Is it considered an addiction, only when it interferes with work and life?

I read a comment in a forum, a guy wrote that it is addiction only when the sexual activities disrupts daily life. Otherwise it is not considered addiction even if the person has numerous multiple sex partners.

Frankly, I dun totally agreed with that.

I have actually know of some guys who are sex addicts. They have about a different sex partner or more a week. Well, that's about 52 partners a year. And that is a very conservative estimate.

Most actually average about 2-4 partners a week. Which means about 100-200 plus different sexual partners a year.

Gosh, is that normal or ordinary? That is so freakish!

And it is not sexual activities if it does not affects the person life and work?

Stop kidding. 100-200 sexual partners is simply not the norm! It is too perverted and sick. Just because it did not interferes with normal living did not mean it is not sexual addiction.

It is sexual addiction when you cannot stop thinking about it or doing it. It may not interferes and disrupts life but when that is beyond the norms of normal people, it is sexual addiction!

How many people actually have sex with 1oo-200 people in a year! Even one different sex partner a month is not the norm!

I know a friend of a friend who was a sex addict. He was this gay guy who liked to frequent saunas and gyms. Every chance he got and whenever he's free.

And each time, he would have several multiple sexual partners. And he claimed that he used protection in all his sexual encounters.

Now he has Hiv. He was diagnosed last year with Hiv after a bout of sickness. He could not stop his sexual activities addiction and thus contacted Hiv from some stranger in some sexual activities.

Of course, he was full of regrets and remorse for his actions. For the first few months.

And then life was back to normal when he realised that Hiv is not that fatal in the short term and that he was not going to drop dead in the next few years.

His partner (yes, he has a partner for years) said that he refused to eat healthy, take vitamins or even exercise.

And frankly, I suspected that he was going back to his sexual activities. I am not that close to him, so I dun really know for sure.

I mean, could he really curb his sexual urges? Just because he got Hiv did not mean that his sexual urges died with the surfacing of the disease. His urges are still there, his addiction is still there, he is still as horny as hell.

Frankly, most young male adults in some point of their life has sexual addiction. But not in having real actual sex with other people, but more of a pornography addiction.

With the rampant surge of the internet, it is now so easy to view pornographic material online these days. And well, young men are sexually curious. They cannot help it. It's in them, their constant sexual urges.

And they may not be experienced enough to experience multiple sex partners, but that does not stop them from looking at porn contantly.

So when is sexual addiction, an addiction? Only when it affects normal life? Or when is it is not the norm?


The Sunday Times
31 Aug 2008

Just can't say NO to SEX

Psychiatrists here are seeing more sex-addiction cases, mostly men. Stress can be a trigger for such urges

By Shuli Sudderuddin

Just three years ago, psychiatrists here hardly saw what may be described as sex-addiction cases.

The situation today is different. Three psychiatrists interviewed said they each see two to four cases a year, most of whom are men.

The disorder made the news last week when it was reported that Hollywood actor David Duchovny, 48, most famous for his TV series The X-Files, was seeking treatment for it.

'Before 2005, I saw zero cases. Now I see two or three cases a year,' said Dr Ang Yong Guan, a consultant psychiatrist at Paragon Medical.

Experts said sex addiction is a disorder similar to other addictions and dependencies like alcohol abuse. There is seemingly no genetic cause for it and it may lie dormant in a person for years, only to appear when triggered by stress.

It also commonly occurs in people who are vulnerable to other addictions like drugs. It can take several forms, ranging from a constant urge to view pornographic material to seeking out one-night stands with, say, prostitutes. Some even indulge in fetishes like sex with objects.

Although some addicts have partners, they often seek external stimulation at the expense of their relationships as they may find their partners boring. The affliction becomes serious when one's social life or work is noticeably affected.

Several factors have contributed to the increase in the number of people being identified with sex addiction.

Dr Ken Ung, a consultant psychiatrist at Adam Road Medical Centre under the Pacific Healthcare Group, noted that the Internet has led to chatlines and easily available pornography.

Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, agreed and cited cases in which addicts were able to satisfy their urges online, from viewing pornography to contacting people for sex. The Internet has also led to more people being caught for their addiction as partners or family members can track the addict's history of visited websites.

The experts said sex addiction is more prevalent in men and that it cuts across social classes.

Dr Ung added: 'It is seen more commonly in men as they are more open than women in dealing with their needs.'

Dr Ang said that people who have experienced abuse or neglect may be more prone to developing sex addictions. 'Often, it manifests in people with shy, introverted personalities who have social anxiety and are under some kind of stress,' he said.

Added Dr Ung: 'People with high sex drives who use sex as a way of coping with life's stresses are also more prone to addiction.'

In women, sex addiction usually takes the form of highly impulsive sexual relationships like one-night stands. Sex addiction can lead to crimes like molestation or the stealing of fetish items like underwear.

There are various treatments, lasting from six months to a year.

Dr Ung uses a combination of medication like anti-depressants and therapy. In the latter, the patient has to imagine his arousing behaviour alongside consequences like getting caught. 'Sometimes, practical methods help. A businessman travelling often can limit the opportunity to stray by arranging to share a room with a male colleague,' he said.

Dr Wang teaches patients to focus on the negative impact of their addictions and helps them identify the trigger factors, which can be anything from low selfesteem to relationship or work stress. It is also important to improve their sex lives with their partners, who they sometimes find sexually boring, he said.

He had a case of a young man who was addicted to seeking commercial sex but seldom had sex with his own girlfriend. The man later learnt that sex with his girlfriend could be more satisfying if he abstained from commercial sex.

He added: 'Sex addiction is probably more prevalent than we imagine because it is less socially acceptable than addictions like drinking or gambling. People are still less likely to seek help.'

The grass is not necessary greener - Retiring overseas

To be continued..........


The Straits Times
25 Aug 2008

Two-thirds of S'poreans think of retiring abroad: Poll

By Theresa Tan

ALMOST two-thirds of Singaporeans have considered retiring abroad, according to a new study.

They are attracted to a slower pace of life and a lower cost of living, said the survey, which gauged how Singaporeans felt about getting older.

Dr Mary Ann Tsao, president of the Tsao Foundation, which commissioned the study, said: 'What struck me was that so many young people thought of growing old abroad. Singapore has so much to offer and it's a desirable place to live.'

The foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to helping the elderly, released the results of the online survey yesterday. It queried 300 Singaporeans aged 21 to 55.

The desire to retire abroad was highest among Singaporeans aged 21 to 34, three-quarters of whom have entertained the idea. In the 45 to 55 age group, only one in two thought about spending their golden years overseas.

But Mr Guy Hearn from research agency TNS, which did the study, said it is hard to gauge the true intentions of respondents. 'We don't know how serious those thoughts are,' he said.

Australia is a popular destination for Singaporean retirees, said agencies providing migration services. Cities like Perth, Melbourne and, increasingly, Adelaide boast large numbers of retired Singaporeans, they say.

Agencies that handle migrations Down Under say Singaporeans are attracted to the relaxed pace of life, the gentle climate and the fact that big-ticket items like houses and cars are much cheaper.

'One house in Singapore can buy you two bungalows in Perth,' said Mr Phillip Sim, one of the bosses of Ntrust Australian Immigration Specialists.

He estimates that there are tens of thousands of Singaporeans living in Perth. 'There are entire areas...that are filled with Singaporeans. People there have time to chat, cook curry fish head and invite their friends over. How many people in Singapore have time to invite people over to their homes?'

Besides Australia, Malaysia also houses a sizeable number of Singaporean retirees.


Meanwhile, the study released yesterday also found that:

# 60 per cent of respondents say they are prepared for retirement.

# 57 per cent say they are saving 'a bit' for retirement, but do not know if it is enough.

# 50 per cent feel uncomfortable with the support Singapore provides for seniors. Their worries include things like housing and social activities.

# 92 per cent of respondents said they do not expect to live with their children in their old age.

Dr Tsao said the last figure was a shock. 'This is surprising considering we are an Asian society where children have lived with their old parents for thousands of years.' She said many seniors have told her they fear becoming a burden to their children and do not expect support from them in their later years.

Sociologist Paulin Straughan is not surprised, saying values of the younger generation are very different from those of their parents. 'Children are not so much seen as social safety nets now,' she added.

The findings have serious implications for society, said Dr Tsao. For example, the state has to examine if there are sufficient services for elderly people who live alone.

'I think for many people, the cost of paying for health care in their old age is a big concern,' said Dr Tsao. The 53-year-old was born in Hong Kong, trained as a doctor in the United States and is now a Singapore permanent resident.

'I think people considering retiring abroad is a very real issue. I'm not leaving Singapore, but I have considered moving to the US to tap the social security system there, which will pay for the bulk of my medical expenses.'


New Paper
31 Aug 2008

Retiring abroad ain't bed of roses

By Philip

THEY are day-dreaming, those young Singaporeans who said in a recent survey that they wanted to retire abroad. A make-believe Utopian world is always more pleasant than the real one.

Harmless reverie, I suppose. A form of escapism when all roads here seem to lead to ERP gantries. But we need to also get real. It ain't all hunky-dory in the US. G'days come with bad ones too in Australia. And there's no milk and honey aplenty in Canada, Malaysia or China.

Who needs this reality check? The poll result showed that a desire to live abroad was the highest among those aged between 21 and 34.

They probably had in their young minds attractive lures such as cooler climate, cheaper housing, lower cost of living, wide open spaces and so on.

Pardon me, while I burst a few bubbles.

First, housing abroad is not as cheap as we once thought, except perhaps for sub-prime property. Nor is the cost of living. And by the time these youngsters retire, costs would have soared even higher.

A change of weather? Yes, spring, summer and autumn are nice seasons, although in many countries early spring and late autumn are as chilly as winter. Winters can be so severe that old joints ache, parched lips crack and aged minds go into depression.

The last is the result of a phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is believed to be caused by the deprivation of sunlight during the short winter days.

I was a sufferer when I lived in Vancouver for 10 years. Some are afflicted year after year and may need exposure to artificial sunlight. Some feel suicidal.

When one has reached retirement age, making new friends is not going to be easy. Set in their ways, they cannot discard their idiosyncrasies accumulated over so many years on earth.

Idiosyncrasies and new friendships don't mix. Don't believe that everyone ages gracefully. Many are cantankerous, irascible, suspicious and anti-social.

At a time when you most need the sight of the familiar faces of family and friends, you'll find yourself among virtual strangers - living in a strange land and feeling like a second-class citizen.

I know of friends who migrated to the West years ago after renouncing their Singapore citizenship, only to regret this after a few years.

Immigration: Many countries in the west and in Australia today prefer young, qualified immigrants, not oldies with money.

So the picture is not as rosy as the young imagine. Let's hope they wise up.

- The writer is a seasoned journalist with decades of experience in various newsrooms. His enduring columns have been compiled in a new book, Fridays with Philip, and it is available at Borders, Kinokuniya, MPH, Times the Bookshop and Harris.


The Sunday Times
31 Aug 2008


Message from the dark side

By Linda Collins

Sometimes, you can tire of Singapore.

An expat starts to view his old life back home through rose-tinted glasses. He hankers for the familiarity of kith and kin. Or some Singaporeans might think the grass is greener.

Yet, leaving can be a mistake. I ought to know - I am one of those who succumbed to this feeling.

It was post 9/11, a time when Westerners felt vulnerable and unsettled. I lasted only eight months back home in New Zealand. Luckily, I was able to return to Singapore.

The weeks before my ill-fated departure were focused, not on what my new life would be like, but on buying things for it. The spending frenzy included: linen sheets (from Chinatown), value-for- money furniture from Ikea (the Swedish firm isn't there yet), and a claypot from a mini-mart.

But for my Filipino maid, homeward-bound preparations were somewhat different. One day, I found her carving a hole in a pair of wedge-heeled shoes. She comes from the strife-torn southern island of Mindanao, and explained that it is common for mini-vans to be held up by gun-toting bandits. She was planning to hide jewellery and cash in her shoes.

I thanked my lucky stars that it was unlikely anyone would shove a Kalashnikov in my face and demand money back home.

However, while that did not happen, returning to my home city of Auckland was a shock.

Within days of moving into rented landed property in an upmarket area, I received a phone call from a cop asking if I was Linda Collins. 'Yes,' I replied, puzzled. He said thieves were going on a spending spree with a credit card in my name. Copious purchases of jewellery and watches had triggered a credit alert at the bank. Turned out that my bank had posted me new cards - which had been intercepted either by a 'bent' postal worker, or by someone keeping a watch on my mailbox.

It was creepy to think of a crook staking out my home.

But that was nothing. It was the nights I came to dread. The real estate in the area may have been worth multi-millions, but the city fathers stinted on basic services like street lighting. At night, parts of the road were pitch black.

Outsiders would come over under cover of darkness, prowling around for houses and cars to break into.

As I lay in bed late at night, I could hear the guffaws and calls of teenage guys - no doubt high on drugs - as they made their way down the street, setting off car alarms. Their scampering footsteps resounded on the nearby public footpath and even past my window - they seemed to regard my backyard, in fact all yards, as handy shortcuts.

It was futile to call the police, who were usually too busy with boozy brawls and knife attacks. Problems involving just property came further down the list of their priorities. Still, I'd sometimes hear the whump-whump of a police helicopter - copper chopper, as locals called it - on night patrol, and be dazzled by its spotlight shining on our houses.

What I really came to dread, what had me awake at night with a lump of terror in my throat, was hoodlums banging on the doors and windows of the house. I would pray that the locks held.

Singapore is a haven of safety in comparison. We moved back, even managing to rent the same unit as previously. And we tracked down our same maid, who agreed to return to us.

The decision nearly killed her, though.

She had to pick up her flight ticket at Davao International Airport a week before travel. Fifteen minutes after getting her ticket, she was leaving in a mini-van when a bomb blast ripped through the airport. At least 15 people were killed.

We heard news of the blast in Singapore and were in agony before her relatives were able to tell us she was unharmed.

Six years later, we are still in the same part of Singapore, with the same maid.

In Mindanao, government soldiers battle the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Artillery rounds are crashing into the hills directly above our maid's town as I write this. Thousands of people have been displaced.

In New Zealand, our worry now is not crime, but the effects of Mother Nature on a rural holiday cottage we own. Severe winter storms this year caused coastal erosion, and part of a main access route to it has fallen into the sea.

In Singapore, my thoughts are on the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The neighbourhood holds a lantern-making contest for kids. Have I kept aside enough egg cartons for my daughter?

Ah, the luxury of small concerns such as this.

The writer is a copy editor with The Straits Times and has been living in Singapore for 15 years.

Ms Lee and the Table Tennis Drama Part 2

Ms Lee is such a hot potato. She is too hot to handle. Even her boss, Teo Ser Luck had to admit that this was his most draining task by far.

Ms Lee made some mistakes, caused some miscommunication and misunderstandings, simply by over reacting. And she did all this without any help from others. All by herself.

She has caused so much trouble that the very top dog of the ministry, Sports Minister Dr Vivian has to personally take over to resolve the issues at hand.

This is however no small laughing matter. A nation is at wrath. A sport is in danger. If left to Ms Lee alone, she could have make the situation worse. She could be that spark that cause the nation displeasure with the government.

So the government had to step in and settle it once and for all, instead of dragging it further.

And now even Teo Ser Luck is implicated. After this article below was published, with Teo saying this was this most draining task by far, there had been harsh online criticisms of his handling of this matter.

Some felt that this was actually not that difficult a matter and wondered if he could cope with the stress and pressure that comes with the political job.

And if he found this table tennis drama be such a handful, how could he handle the Youth Olympics in 2010?

Anyway, I used to think that Teo Ser Luck was a very cute fella. That was before he joined politics and was working in the corporate world.

But now, gosh, he seemed to age so much in just a few years. Now his face is all wrinkly and dry and old. He just looks like some ugly uncle.


The Sunday Times
31 Aug 2008

Ser Luck's 'most draining task by far'

By Terrence Voon

Resolving the table tennis debacle was by far the most draining task that Mr Teo Ser Luck has had to do as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports.

He, together with Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Ng Ser Miang, had worked feverishly the past week to settle the disputes within the Singapore Table Tennis Association.

Speaking to The Sunday Times yesterday, he revealed that he went home exhausted after attending Friday's pivotal press conference at the STTA.

'When the whole thing was resolved, I went back home. I put on some music and sat on the floor, not moving, for half an hour,' Mr Teo said. 'Since I took office, I have helped to resolve different issues. This was, by far, the most draining.'

Only the aftermath of the dragon-boat tragedy in Cambodia last year, he said, was more emotionally-taxing.

Paying tribute to Dr Balakrishnan, Mr Teo said the minister's personal attention had been crucial in bringing the table tennis saga to a close.

'Like the good eye surgeon that he is, he saw the issue, dissected the problem, dispensed the medication, and restored everyone's eyesight so that they could see the road ahead,' he said.

As public outrage swirled around the association, Dr Balakrishnan, Mr Teo and Mr Ng spent time speaking to the players, coaches and STTA officials. During the mediation process, numerous meetings were held and countless phone calls made.

Mr Teo confessed that he lost sleep during this period.

Said Dr Balakrishnan on Friday: 'In the course of my interactions with the stakeholders, it's very obvious to me that there have been some mistakes made, there was a lack of communication, there were certainly some misunderstandings, there was some overreaction.'

But as the talks went on, one common ground emerged: All parties wanted what was best for the sport and the country.

Even Gao Ning, whose outburst sparked the initial controversy, cooperated in the discussions.
Gao, Singapore's top male paddler, had suffered a shock defeat in the third round of the men's singles, after his coach failed to turn up for his match.

Said Mr Teo: 'I don't blame him for being emotional, especially after the Olympic loss. But when he cooled down and thought things through, we were able to find a solution to the problems.'

Following the mediation, as well as investigations by Team Singapore's chef-de-mission Dr Tan Eng Liang, it was decided that a dedicated head coach would be hired for the men's team.

No one was disciplined over Gao's incident. Explaining this, Mr Teo said: 'Gao Ning's case is about improving the process, not about finding out who's at fault.'

Following Friday's press conference, the paddlers, coaches and officials shared dinner at a nearby restaurant with their mediators.

It was a fitting gesture to mark the end of a traumatic week for the table tennis fraternity.

Said Mr Teo: 'It wasn't easy. But now we have all managed to cross the finishing line together. 'What is more important now is that the players and the coaches can carry on with their good work in the coming years.'