Monday, 30 April 2012

Watz Online - 30 Apr 2012

Egypt's 'Farewell Intercourse' law allowing sex with dead wives sparks fury

London, Apr 27 (ANI): Egypt's new Islamist-dominated parliament is preparing to introduce a controversial law that would allow husbands to have sex with their deceased wives up to six hours after death.

Known as the "farewell Intercourse" law, the measure is being championed as part of a raft of reforms introduced by the parliament that will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 for girls.

Egypt's National Council for Women is campaigning against the changes, saying that 'marginalising and undermining the status of women would negatively affect the country's human development'.

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Satellite photos show N Korea may be preparing for nuke test

WASHINGTON - New satellite imagery appears to show a train of mining carts and other preparations under way at North Korea's nuclear test site but there is no indication of when a detonation might take place.

Early this month, South Korean intelligence reported digging of a new tunnel at the Punggye-ri site, which it took as a sign that North Korea was covertly preparing for a third nuclear test.

According to an analysis of photos obtained from a private satellite operator and taken between March 8 and April 18, some 8,000 cubic meters of rubble have been excavated at the site, where the communist country conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

The analysis was conducted by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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KFC ordered to pay $8.3 million to Australian girl

Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken was Friday ordered to pay Aus$8 million (US$8.3 million) to an Australian girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralysed after eating a chicken wrap.

Monika Samaan was seven when she suffered salmonella encephalopathy -- a brain injury linked to food poisoning that also left her with a blood infection and septic shock -- in October 2005.

Other family members also fell ill and they claimed Samaan's injuries, which include severe cognitive, motor and speech impairment and spastic quadriplegia, were caused by a "Twister" wrap containing chicken and salad from a Sydney KFC outlet.

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Eighth foreign domestic worker falls to her death

Eight this year already.

That’s the number of foreign domestic workers who have fallen to their death so far this year, reportedly from cleaning windows.

On Thursday evening, an Indonesian maid fell from the ninth floor of Block 801 Woodlands Street 81. A stool and cleaning materials were found next to the window where the 25-year old worker fell, reported The Straits Times.

Her death comes amid a growing movement that calls for a total ban on the cleaning of window exteriors in high-rise flats.

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Don’t pigeonhole foreigners: Chan Chun Sing

People living in Singapore should relate to one another as human beings first instead of trying to “pigeonhole” one another according to nationality, said Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing.

“When we look at an issue, let's try not to pigeonhole each other as a Singaporean or a foreigner, which can complicate the problem,” said the Minister, who was speaking to an audience of about 600 community leaders at the annual National Community Engagement Programme Dialogue on Saturday, reported the Straits Times.

The hot-button issue of foreign talent dominated the dialogue at the Regent Hotel, which was chaired by Chan, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim and Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin.

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Underage prostitute deemed as victim in eyes of law

48 men were charged for having paid sex with an underage prostitute. The identity of the girl has not been revealed in the media. It is also unclear whether she will face charges in court.

S Radakrishnan, joint managing director, Bernard & Rada Law Corp, in an interview with RazorTV, said he thinks that the girl would not be charged as prostitution in Singapore is not an offence per se.

But under the Children and Young Persons Act, the director of social welfare has certain powers and can order the girl to be moved to a "place of safety", Mr Radakrishnan said. A place of safety is a home that is run by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

"The girl's parents can also arrange for her to be moved to a place of safety," the senior lawyer added.

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Rising oil prices lead to higher operating costs for wholesalers

SINGAPORE: Wholesalers are reporting a 10 per cent rise in transportation costs resulting from an increase in petrol prices.

To cope with the rising costs, the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association is thinking of ways to help the wholesalers.

Some wholesalers said that it takes about five hours to deliver fruits and vegetables across the island everyday.
The association has proposed mass transportation of goods to help them cut costs.

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'Turtle boy' undergoes successful surgery to remove huge mole'


He was dubbed 'turtle boy' and made fun of because of a huge mole on his back that gave him the appearance of having a shell on his back.

In its Body Shock Special, Channel 4 (C4) reported on the sad story of Didier Montalvo, 6, who was suffering from a rare condition called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (CMN).

These are moles that are found in infants at birth and are usually larger in diameter.

It is said that the rare birthmark affects about one in 20,000 babies born, but a top surgeon described Didier's case as the worst he'd ever seen, the Mirror UK reported.

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KL protest ends in violence

Police unleash tear gas; organiser Bersih says it lost control of crowd.

As the Malaysian police unleashed tear gas and chemical-laced water yesterday on demonstrators, protest organiser Bersih admitted it lost control of the tens of thousands on the streets when protesters failed to adhere to strict instructions not to breach the police barricade surrounding Independence Square.

At least 25,000 demonstrators swamped the capital, hoping to pressure Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition to overhaul electoral policies before polls that could be held as early as June.

Wearing yellow T-shirts, waving banners and chanting slogans, they massed near the square, which the authorities had earlier declared off limits and sealed off with barbed wire and barricades.

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Malaysia govt blames opposition for violence at protest rally

Malaysian police today released 471 protesters who were part of a chaotic demonstration to demand electoral reforms, as the government blamed the organisers for allowing the opposition hijack the rally and turn it violent.

An estimated 25,000 people had gathered in downtown Kuala Lumpur yesterday demanding electoral reforms, and police resorted to firing tear gas and chemical-laced water after protesters broke through the barricades to enter the Independence Square, defying a venue ban.

Charges have not yet been filed against them.

The NGO Bersih, which organised the rally, wants the government to review the country's election system and clean up the electoral roll before the next elections, that are expected to be announced soon.

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Policeman jailed for theft

A spate of house break-ins was reported over a six-month period and the police were called in.

For months, they chased leads and interviewed victims and potential witnesses to end the criminal's crime spree.

When they finally identified him, it must have made them sick to their stomachs.

Because he was not just any other crook, he was one of their own.
Mohamed Faisal Mohamed Yusoff, 33, was a staff sergeant attached to the Divisional Intelligence Branch of the Central Police Division Headquarters.

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Vietnam arrests US pro-democracy activist

Hanoi, Vietnam:  A Vietnamese-American pro-democracy activist has been arrested and accused of terrorism for allegedly trying to sabotage liberation celebrations commemorating the end of the Vietnam War, state media said on Sunday.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, 58, of California, was detained on April 17 after arriving at the airport in southern Ho Chi Minh City, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. He is accused of planning to hold protests for Viet Tan, a banned US exile group, during this week's May Day festivities and the April 30 anniversary of the fall of the former US-backed South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, to the northern communists in 1975.

Authorities also found many documents in Mr Quan's possession on "terrorist training," the paper said. Mr Quan, a mathematician, was previously sentenced to six months in jail by a Ho Chi Minh City court in 2008 for terrorism.

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Yishun Triple Murder: Accused denies intention to flee 

He was fully dressed when the police arrested him and two bags containing identification, cash and other items were found on the sofa.

But Chinese national Wang Zhijian, 45, denied yesterday that he was planning to flee the murder scene.

He is accused of killing his girlfriend, Madam Zhang Meng, 41; her 17-year-old daughter, Feng Jianyu; and their 36-year-old co-tenant, Madam Yang Jie.

The murders took place in a sixth-storey flat in Block 349, Yishun Street 11 between 11pm on Sept 18 and 12.49am on Sept 19, 2008.

One charge for attempting to murder Madam Yang's daughter, Grace (not her real name), who was 15 then, has been stood down.

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Rationale for continued immigrant influx flawed

I READ the report "Which path to take?" (April 25) with interest. However, I spotted two fallacies in the argument for more immigrants.

Firstly, the National Population and Talent Division stated that by 2030, without new citizens and the total fertility rate remaining at 1.2, there would be 2.1 working-age citizens to each elderly citizen.

To use only this ratio, instead of the generally-accepted "working-age to non-working age population" ratio, is flawed.

Children, too, need to be supported, not just the elderly.

With a higher fertility rate, resources would be needed to support children.

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Lowdown on online vice case

Singapore's biggest online sex scandal case unfolds

by Zayne Heng
inSing.com - 19 hrs 30 mins ago
Singapore's biggest online sex scandal case unfolds
Lee Lip Hong (left), Howard Shaw (middle) and Chua Ren Cheng. (Pic / Internet)

April has been a busy month for those keeping abreast of Singapore’s biggest sex scandal involving several high profile individuals and one underage prostitute.

Camera crews and photographers camped outside the Subordinate Courts have been kept especially busy in their attempts to snap the best shots of the 48 men, some of whom, have taken to donning sunglasses, using files and brown paper bags to shield their face.

To say the online sex-ring scandal has captured the nation’s attention is an understatement.

A nation used to presenting a squeaky-clean image to the world, the unfolding drama has piqued the interest of our neighbouring countries.

In case, you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so – here’s a lowdown on the case thus far.

What happened?

48 men were charged for having paid sex with an underage prostitute after engaging her services online.

Initial reports said around 80 men were assisting the police in the case.

According to reports, investigators have now narrowed the list to 62 men.

The men are alleged to have paid $450 to $850 for each sex session with the girl.

There is a court gag order on the identity of the alleged underage prostitute.

When did it happen?

The sexual encounters allegedly happened between 2010-2011. The men were charged in court on 16 and 19 April 2012. On 27 April, ex-principal Lee Lip Hong was the first man to be charged. He will serve 9 week in jail for the offence.

Who were involved?

The list of men was apparently uncovered in the alleged pimp’s laptop by the police during an anti-vice raid last year. The list includes high-ranking civil servants and businessmen, ranging from 21 to 48 years old.

The girl in the middle of the scandal was under 18 when the sexual encounters took place.

Where did it take place?

Reports say locations range from an apartment in the east as well as budget hotels in the downtown area and bigger hotels such as Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La.

Why are they in trouble?

Prostitution is legal in Singapore under certain conditions but having paid sex with a prostitute under the age of 18 is illegal.
The offence carries a maximum jail term of seven years or a fine, or both.

Notable Figures

Tang Boon Thiew- alleged mastermind of the online vice ring
He was already charged in November with 34 counts of living off the earnings of a prostitute. Each charge could mean a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

One of Tang’s former workmate at Yahoo! Singapore described him to inSing News as a “nerd” and that he “seemed like a very decent fellow”.

Full report: Ex-workmates reveal more about sex-ring men

Lee Lip Hong- former principal of Pei Chun Public School
Lee pleaded guilty to two charges of paying $500 on each of the two occasions of sex with the girl.

He is a married father of one.

He allegedly had sex with the girl at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on 26 September and 14 December in 2010.

A former colleague said Lee was a “quiet and extremely proper” man.
(Read report here)
Howard Shaw- former Singapore Environment Council head

Shaw allegedly paid the girl $500 for sex on 30 October 2010 at Hotel 81 Bencoolen, according to various sources.

A business associate who has known Shaw for a few years said he is a “good man and one of the best environmentalist.”

He is the grandson of Shaw Organisation founder Runme Shaw.

Full report: 4 more charged in online sex ring case

Juerg Buergin- former executive director of operations in UBS Investment Bank

It was reported that Buergin had sex with the girl at Shangri-La Hotel on Sept 29, 2010.

The second encounter took place at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Jan 3 2011.

He has a daughter in Switzerland.

(Read report here)

Chua Ren Cheng- former River Valley High School teacher

He was also a grassroots leader.

(Read report here)

Latest Updates

Ex- principal of Pei Chun Public School Lee Lip Hong has been sentenced to nine weeks jail for the offence.

Full report: Ex-principal gets 9 weeks jail for paid sex with minor

Former River Valley High School teacher Chua Ren Cheng was back in court on Wednesday 25 April for the second mention of his case.
The next hearing for Howard Shaw is 18 June.

The next hearing for Juerg Buergin is 18 June.

Reyner Desvando Suhartono, an Indonesian businessman, was granted permission to leave Singapore to get married back home. Suhartono had made arrangements for his 2 June wedding as far back as November 2011 before the authorities called him up. He will be away two periods – from 20April to 29 April and from 16 May to 6 June.

Full report: Indonesian suspect in online vice ring case allowed to leave S’pore

The court will in due course examine if Tang Boon Thiew has the immoral intent to possibly be the mastermind of the online sex ring.

14 out of the 62 men are still being investigated.

read more

Ex-principal Lee Lip Hong jailed 9 weeks for having sex with underage prostitute

The former principal of Pei Chun Public School Lee Lip Hong (pic left with PAP MP Josephine Teo) has been sentenced to nine weeks’ jail for having paid sex with a minor, a sign of what is in store for the other 47 men who have been charged for the same offence.
Lee was charged for paying $500 twice to have sex with the prostitute ‘Miss XXX’ who was 17 years old at the time of the offence twice on 26 September and 10 December in 2010. He pleaded guilty on Friday morning.

The court heard that Lee first came to know of the girl’s services from an online porn site ‘theviemodels.com’ ran by pimp Tang Boon Thiew who had sex with the same girl earlier for only $50.

She was described as having the following attributes on the site:

“1.60m tall, slim figure, C-cup breasts…(She) still has that naive girlishness, offers excellent sweet young thing, girlfriend experience….Advance booking for (her) is required, don’t leave it to least minute booking as it always almost won’t work!”

Unable to resist the temptation, Lee procured her services through the website which stated the girl’s age as 18 years old.

In mitigation, Lee’s lawyer Melanie Ho told the court that her client was misled about the girl’s real age and when he met the girl’s pimp, Tang Boon Thiew, he was told that the girl was 19 years old.

Ms Ho said Lee had no reason to suspect that she was younger than her stated age on the website. She said when Lee met the girl, she told him she was 19 years old.

Despite obviously being deceived into the ‘deal’, Lee was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, bringing an end to his otherwise illustrious teaching career.

Meanwhile, the girl can now continue to prostitute herself legally as she is now 19 years of age . A gag order has been imposed on exposing her identity and as such her future clients will never realize they are having sex with the girl who caused the downfall of 48 men and possibly many more to come.

Related articles:
Women’s group supports charging of 48 men for sex with underage prostitute
Underage prostitute kept sex diary of bonking sessions with men
Man accused of having sex with underage prostitute writes to Tan Kin Lian seeking his help
Underage prostitute to testify in court against ex-clients
High society sex scandal with underage prostitute: A young man speaks his mind
Porn site exposes identity of underage prostitute
Chua Ren Cheng promised to patronize freelance prostitutes frequently with two other teachers
Senior lawyer and SAF officer to be charged for having sex with underage girl
Indonesian charged with having sex with underage prostitute allowed to leave Singapore
Chua Ren Cheng was a Head of Department at Ministry of Education
Tang Boon Thiew paid only $50 to have sex with underage prostitute
Teo Ser Luck defends underage prostitute: She is young and deserves to be protected
Former grassroots leader and teacher Chua Ren Cheng charged for having sex with underage prostitute
Polytechnic prostitute had marathon sex with 4 men in one day
PHOTOS: 17 year old polytechnic student cum prostitute with C cup breasts
Ex-principal Lee Lip Hong paid underage prostitute $1,000 to have sex twice with her
Subhas Anandan: She is a HARDCORE prostitute who deserves no protection
PHOTOS: Some clients of underage prostitute
Ex-police superintendent Jarrod Song charged for having sex with minor
Pimp Tang Boon Thiew set up model agency to recruit girls for prostitution
List of 44 men charged for having sex with underage prostitutes
Ex-principal of Pei Chun Public School Lee Lip Hong charged for having sex with underage prostitute
60 men may be charged for having sex with underage teen model
Senior Vice President patronized teen prostitute thrice due to excellent serevices
Teacher jailed for asking student to masturbate him
Allied educator charged for asking girl to touch his ‘balls’
Teacher jailed 10 years for having oral sex with student
Male teacher arrested for outrage of modesty

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10 best hawker foods in Singapore

10 best hawker foods in Singapore

Very little gets Singaporeans riled up, but engage them in a discussion on hawker food and watch a debate wage on.

And who can blame them? With a mind-boggling array of hawker food available, how does one decide who has the best char kway teow? Or which laksa is the most lemak? And if a plate of nasi lemak warrants a 20 minute wait?

To help trim down the gorging process, we’ve scoured the island to bring you inSing.com’s compilation, our 10 favourite hawker dishes, and our personal recommendations.

Char Kway Teow
Cockles and lard, what’s not to like? Char Kway Teow may be a nutritionist’s worst nightmare but a well-fried dish of cholesterol-filled flat rice noodles-and-cockles (optional for some) in sweet black soy sauce, is the stuff that drives us across the island just for a whiff of its “wok hei.”
Recommended: Hill Street Fried Kway Teow, Blk 16 Bedok South Road, #01-187 Bedok South Market and Food Centre.
[Read more]
Carrot Cake
Westerners eat their carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting, us Singaporeans prefer ours fried with garlic, fish sauce, chai poh (preserved turnip), fried egg ala minute, a sprinkling of spring onions, and with a choice of white or black (doused in a thick dark soy sauce).
Recommended: Chey Sua Carrot Cake, 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #02-30 Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court.
[Read more]
Bak Chor Mee
Early Teochew immigrants to the island created the dish and locals have loved it so much, there’s even a podcast about it. Noodles tossed in a piquant mix of chilli-vinegar sauce with slow-cooked mushrooms and a liberal dash of lard oil. The sign of an unforgettable bowl often lies solely in its strength of chilli-vinegar sauce.
Recommended: High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle, 12 Prince Edward Road, #01-16 Bestway Building.
[Read more]
Nasi Lemak
Whether you prefer the original Malay style or Chinese version, the taste of fluffy rice made richer by coconut cream, spicy homemade sambal and crispy ikan bilis/sausage/fried chicken, is one yummy way to start the day.
Recommended: Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre, 965 Upper Serangoon Road.
[Read more]
Briyani
The trademark yellow-orange basmati rice is hard to miss: saffron and spices tease your tastebuds while the marinated meat (chicken or mutton, depending on your preference) provides the “bite” of the dish.
Recommended: Abak Briyani Dam, 10 Jalan Pisang.
[Read more]
Laksa
Whether you’re into the famous Katong version, or laksa in a thick coconut-y broth, or the tangy Penang version, there is no doubting laksa is a true blue Singapore dish. Scissor-cut noodles in a soupy gravy made from dried shrimp, a bowl is never incomplete unless topped by freshly-chopped laksa leaves.
Recommended: Sungei Road Laksa (Jalan Berseh), 27 Jalan Berseh, #01-100 Jin Shui Kopitiam.
[Read more]
Bak Kut Teh
Literally translated to mean “meat bone tea”, this Chinese delicacy consists of peppery pork rib soup, rice and a variety of side dishes. Who serves the best bowl of bak kut teh remains a hotly debated topic among foodies.
Recommended: Rong Cheng, 22 Sin Ming Road.
[Read more]
Roti Prata
It never ceases to amaze us how versatile the humble prata can be. There’s the standard kosong (plain) or telur (egg) version, but it also comes with cheese, onions, chocolate sauce – not altogether - and even ice-cream wrapped up in its dough-y goodness.
Recommended: Sin Ming Roti Prata, Blk 24, #01-51 Sin Ming Road.
[Read more]
Satay
Ah, satay! Marinated strips of spiced beef, mutton and chicken dipped in chunky peanut sauce, this is one hawker delight you won’t mind arriving a little ‘burnt’.
Recommended: Best Satay, Stall #07/08, Boon Tat Street, Lau Pa Sat.
[Read more]
Fishball noodle
A humble addition to the list, but much cherished nonetheless. Raw fish flesh finely minced and beaten into a circular bouncy form mixed in with sambal-infused noodles and a variety of condiments.
Recommended: Li Xin Chao Zhou Fishball Noodle, 2 Orchard Turn, Food Opera, B4 of ION Orchard.
[Read more]

See also: Best Hawker Food and Tried & Tested series

read more

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A healthy U

Look Five Pounds Thinner (From a Bra!)

The simple act of wearing the right bra can help you look slimmer—instantly.
Best Bra
Who doesn’t remember that awkward moment when your mom took you to the local department store to buy your first bra? You walked into a vast sea of nude and blush-colored brassieres and passed by shockingly large cup sizes that could hold watermelons—a far cry from your humble set.

And the person to help you find the right bra for your newly perky breasts? An elderly lady, peering down at you over the reading glasses perched on her nose, measuring tape in hand. Even though her attitude was one of “I’ve seen it all before, honey” you felt mortified, anxious and overwhelmed. And if you step into a department store today to pick up a new bra, chances are, not much has changed since then.

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The Truth About Ear Candling

See if this "health practice" is benefitting you, or hurting you!
The Truth About Ear Candling
For those of you that are not familiar, ear candling is a process that is supposed to clean out ear wax and other stuff by "sucking" it out using heat from a burning candle (sounds weird, right?). Ear candling can be done at home with a kit and is even offered as a treatment by some spas (not sure that putting a lit candle in my ear sounds very relaxing!). Kits are available online and from natural food stores and usually retail between $10 - $30. Lets take a closer look at this process to see if it works and address any safety concerns. 

What is ear candling?
The process (sometimes referred to as coning) works by inserting a wax "cone" or cylinder into the ear and then lighting the other end. Proponents say that the smoke from the candle spirals down into the ear, creating a vacuum effect that gently dislodges foreign debris, old ear wax and helps to evaporate excess moisture. 


Eight Bad Brushing Habits That Harm Your Teeth

Are you hurting instead of helping your teeth when you brush? We pinpoint common brushing mistakes—and how to protect your pearly whites.
Eight Bad Brushing Habits That Harm Your Teeth
It’s not exactly a newsflash that one of the most important reasons to brush your teeth is to fight off cavities (not to mention prevent bad breath). But what if the way you brush your teeth actually makes you more susceptible to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease? Scary.

Turns out, there are a host of common mistakes that many of us make morning and night that can damage teeth and turn a healthy smile upside-down. Find out what you’re doing wrong—and how to break these bad habits for better teeth. 

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17 Facts You Didn't Know About Coffee

Considering that almost 300 million people in the United States drink about 400 million cups of coffee every day, it's not surprising that the specialty coffee industry brought in $12.2 billion in sales in 2006.

Here's a handy infographic from EspressoMachineAdvisor.com, compiling all the data you need to figure out whether to buy that $200 espresso machine. Highlight: Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a satirical cantata about coffee.

17
Infographic by: Espresso Machine Advisor


9 Foods to Help You Sleep

Stressful, busy days and the constant bombardment of technology can make it difficult to shut off the outside world and get to bed. Instead of reaching for that Ambien or Tylenol PM pill to knock yourself out, try one of these easy and more natural ways to help you fall asleep. Nutritionist Kelly Aronica shares some tips on how to ease yourself into a gentle and peaceful slumber that won’t leave you feeling groggy or sluggish the next day (a side effect of many sleeping pills). Plus what to avoid if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Aronica says that there's definitely a connection between carbs and the release of serotonin (your body’s feel-good hormone) in the brain, so a snack within an hour of bedtime that is mostly carbohydrates with a little protein can boost serotonin levels. Why?

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McDonald’s Makeover: 7 Things You Didn’t Know

A tour of newly renovated McDonald’s units around Tampa, Fla., revealed details of the fast food giant’s plan

McDonald’s has touted much about its plan to revamp most of its 14,000 domestic locations, ditching the bright colors and iconic roofs of the past for ultramodern interiors and exteriors.

However, a recent tour of newly renovated McDonald’s units around Tampa, Fla., revealed new details of the quick-service giant’s plan.

Securities analysts Larry Miller of RBC Capital Markets and Jeffrey Bernstein of Barclays Capital, who participated in the tour, noted not only the new facades, digital menu boards and fancy new seating, but also several operations-minded upgrades, including a new POS system and dual drive-thrus meant to speed service times and boost throughput. They also learned more about the costs involved in the reimaging plan.

Based on reports by the two analysts, here are seven things industry watchers may not know about McDonald’s undertaking:

read more 

10 Daily Habits To Stop Back Pain 

Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, preventing pain is actually quite simple. It's all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting the spine, and strengthening the muscles. Simply changing a few daily habits could make the difference in maintaining a healthy, pain-free back for the short and long term. 

1. Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees
Elevating your legs slightly relieves pressure on your back as you sleep. Sleeping on your back puts an estimated 55 pounds of pressure on your spine. By placing a pillow under your knees, you can cut that pressure in half. 

2. Work Your Core
The numerous health benefits of exercise are well known, but a regular strength training routine that focuses on the core muscles of the body can also help reduce your risk of back-related incidents, such as strains and muscle spasms. For a stronger, more flexible back, try to incorporate some sort of back and abdominal strengthening exercise into your workout at least twice a week. 


Migraine Learning Center

Migraine is a disorder characterized by chronic, severe headaches of intense throbbing or pulsating pain that can last from four hours to several days. Other migraine symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraine, which is more common in women than in men. 


Use This Sleep Position for Back Pain

If you've got a testy lower back, here's something you can do in your sleep that might help: Sleep on your side.
Health experts say that this position puts less strain on your spine than sleeping on your back or your stomach does. 

Less Painful Positioning
Joseph A. Abboud, MD, and Soo Kim Abboud, MD, coauthors of No More Joint Pain, contend that sleeping on your side is better for your back because it produces less curve in the spine. Also helpful: a firm mattress that supports your lower back. Tucking your legs up a bit and placing a pillow between your knees can help keep your spine comfier, too


Effectiveness of Glucosamine

At least five randomized, controlled trials have compared glucosamine sulfate, either taken by mouth or injected. In every case, glucosamine sulfate showed results that were significantly better than in the placebo condition. Two of these used intramuscular injections.

In all three randomized trials that compared glucosamine sulfate taken by mouth to a placebo, the use of glucosamine resulted in better outcomes. All comparisons are statistically significant. 

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10 Ways to Wake Up Gorgeous

Sometimes looking in the mirror first thing in the morning can be… challenging. Messy hair, dark circles, puffy face. Unless you’re Karlie Kloss, chances are it’s not a pretty sight. But it doesn’t have to be that way, check out our tips for looking sexy when you wake up—even if it’s 6 AM. 

1. Change Your Sleep Style

Bad news for stomach sleepers. The average head weighs 7 to 8 pounds—that’s a lot of pressure to be putting on your face night after night. In fact, most dermatologists can tell what side of the face you’re sleeping on by the number of wrinkles there. Eek.

If you just can’t sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side with a body pillow. Your face won’t be as smashed into the pillow.

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Population Up^ Up^ Up^

Citizen Population Scenario

1. This paper discusses the demographic characteristics of our citizen population under various scenarios.

2. The population scenarios are not predictions or forecasts, but are illustrations of the growth and change in population that would occur if certain assumptions about future demographic trends were to prevail over the projection period. These assumptions may or may not be realised

3. Our citizen population demography is dependent on the following key factors:
i. Total Fertility Rate (TFR)
ii. Life expectancy
iii. Migration

Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

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PMO: Singapore needs to continue attracting immigrants to slow down the decline and aging of citizens

A paper released by the National Population and Talent Division under the PMO has stated that Singapore needs to continue attracting immigrants to slow down the decline and aging of its citizen population.

By 2030, the number of elderly citizens will triple to 900,000, representing about 30% of the population. Compounding this is Singapore’s low Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 1.2, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Without immigration, the National Population and Talent Division says citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 – up from the current 39 years.

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Immigration Crucial to Singapore’s Growth: Govt Study

As sentiment against foreign immigrants becomes increasingly pronounced in Singapore, the government’s agency in charge of population has issued a paper saying a steady flow of immigrants is crucial to the baby-scarce city-state’s survival.

According to a report from the government’s National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), headed by deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Singapore – with one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at 1.2 children born per woman but with a rising life expectancy – would need 25, 000 new citizens per year to keep the population stable.

“Without immigration, and if our current low total fertility rate and high life expectancy continue, the number of citizen deaths is projected to outstrip births by around 2025,” the report said. “At that point, our citizen population will start to decline.”

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Why Singapore needs new citizens


The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is now 1.2, one of the lowest in the world. If it stays as it is and Singapore shuts out new migrants from this year, the citizen population will start shrinking in 13 years' time.

This means the pool of working age citizens will also drop steadily from today's 2.1 million to about 1.5 million in 2060.

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Population Paper has the fundamentals wrong

Just when we thought our Government had heard the call of Singaporeans to moderate the flow of immigration, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), under the purview of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, seems bent on convincing us of our folly with a policy paper (an “Occasional Paper”) heavily biased in favour of an ever-more open-door policy.

Simply put, the Occasional Paper states that Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is unsustainably low, and that the solution to demographic decay is immigration.

More precisely, immigration at a rate of 25,000 new citizens a year.


Unwinnable Argument

Yesterday we had another paper from the Singapore government to defend the massive number of foreigners working in Singapore. A paper from the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) said that Singapore need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable.

NPTD report that if Singapore maintain the current fertility rate, there would be a population decline of almost 750,000 citizens by 2060. They also point out that Singaporean deaths are projected to outstrip Singaporean births by 2025, leading to a significant decline in our citizen population due to the current low fertility rates. Thus the need to maintain an inflow of foreign workers.

The problem for them...that was not what the Singapore government did! In 2008, there were 100,000 new foreign workers in Singapore. 4 times higher than the 25,000 stated in the NPTD report. There are more than 1 million non citizens working in Singapore currently. 25,000 per year is a drop in the bucket compare to 1,000,000.

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The ugly truth about TFR and foreign influx....

Yesterday we heard this argument again - if Singapore's fertility rate does not go up, we have to import more foreigners. A paper from the National Population and Talent Division, suggested that unless we get our TFR (Total Fertility Rate) up from 1.2 which is the lowest in Asia, we need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable[Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: Govt paper]."Without immigration, the paper shows that citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 - up from the current 39 years.

The citizen workforce will also start to shrink, with fewer working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizens.

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No let up in push for 6m population

Another big convincing article in the ST, and in other news media, telling how precarious the country will be if there is no intake of immigrants. The need for population growth or replacement is a critical issue and without growth or at least replacement it is like we are going to perish. This one track mind on population growth and economic growth will not change and will be the basis for all other policies of the country.

Why must there be population growth to survive? The fact is that if every country goes on this path, the world will come to an end faster. This world, and this island, needs lesser population growth. Lesser population and less growth in economic numbers do not directly lead to lower quality of life. We were 1m and 2m before. We survived very well. Why a need for 6m or 10m? Better economic growth? More people, more demand for goods and services, more jobs, more housing, but lesser space for everyone. And replacing Sinkies with foreigners so that the country can be proud of great economic numbers?

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Kicking Out The Chaff

Richard Hartung is a consultant who has lived in Singapore since 1992, what we do not know is whether he has taken up citizenship after 20 years of immersion. What we do know is that his expat friends have gotten word of employment pass renewal rejections, and even permanent residents' (PR) re-entry permits are not being renewed as (easily as before). Writing plainly with sympathy to their cause, he quotes one blogger: "It's pot luck … Doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason." Or is it?

Well, we now know that the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) is targeting an intake of 20,000 to 25,000 to keep the population size stable, whatever that means. In countries that have free healthcare and social welfare for the needy, the number of working age available to support elderly citizens is a significant ratio in demography. In Singapore, young or old, our individual CPF balance is our own lifeline. Ask for a discount in transport fare, and the ogre of a minister will threaten to increase the GST.

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Total Fertility Rate and foreign influx

Yesterday we heard this argument again – if Singapore’s fertility rate does not go up, we have to import more foreigners. A paper from the National Population and Talent Division, suggested that unless we get our TFR (Total Fertility Rate) up from 1.2 which is the lowest in Asia, we need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable[Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: Govt paper].

“Without immigration, the paper shows that citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 – up from the current 39 years.
The citizen workforce will also start to shrink, with fewer working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizens.
Currently, there are 6.3 working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizen.
By 2030, this ratio will drop to 2.1 is to 1.” – Today Report [Link]

I haven’t gone through the numbers but lets take it that it is correct and reasonable to maintain a workforce of a constant size. That is not what the PAP govt did in the last 10 years – they were not maintaining the workforce but expanding it to ramp up the GDP:


The above chart shows just the new PRs + new citizens [Link]does not include the large non-resident workforce of more than 1 million (see previous posting).

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Unlike HK, Singapore has easy access to cheap foreign labour

UNLIKE Hong Kong, the market forces of demand and supply do not apply here because of the abundant source of cheap foreign labour ('About that superior Hong Kong wage comparison...' by Mr Toh Cheng Seong; last Saturday).

The buoyant economy and slow productivity growth over decades discouraged mechanisation, and so the construction industry here lags behind that of Hong Kong.

We should not accept the widening income gap any longer. It is easy to insist that higher wages must be predicated with higher productivity and economic growth to meet global competitiveness.

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BIG POPULATION INCOMPATIBLE WITH SICK, FAT, LAZY GLOBAL ECONOMIES (REMEMBER YOU CAN’T MAKE ELEPHANTS DANCE)



Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize- winning economist and Columbia University professor is right. The GFC exposed “major flaws” in prevailing ideas [Link]. Amongst these were financial markets are efficient and competitively priced of resources allocation; economic participants behaved rationally and have equal access to information. I want to add a few more of these now-flawed premises – “BIG” population is beautiful and government-know-it-all of solutions in resolution of the GFC – are also complete nonsense. Why? The excesses of “BIG” asset bubble economy, after that burst, threw millions out of work, into poverty and knife edge struggle for survival in two of the largest economic “prosperity” blocs – US and Europe. In the reality of globalized economies, you can’t make elephant dance, particularly for open and export-dependent economies most vulnerable to economic turbulence. Big population supplying huge labor input is toxic and Singapore being without a strong captive external sector supporting indigenous manufacturing are at elevated risks of magnified impact of another major global economic downturn. Obesity implies higher risks of employment redundancy in a repeat of another GFC.

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Comparing Canada's high standard for PR approval to S'pore's suka suka policy

I have made a few posts regarding Singapore's lax entry requirements for PRs such that we now have any Tom Dick and Harry in the streets. Anyone with skills, or no skills, or any skills, will do. Rojak.

Many developed countries only accept PRs with the skills the host country wants. Canada is one of the highest sought place to emigrate. It has about one of the longest waiting period of approval due to the super long queue.

Today, in 2012, as the number of migrants fill up the quota, Canada has decided to raise the criteria bar higher. Here is a report from the Straits Times.
Canada may screen skilled migrants before arrival

OTTAWA (AFP) - Skilled immigrants to Canada may soon have to certify their educational credentials with third parties before arriving in the country, according to a new proposal by the immigration ministry

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Friday, 27 April 2012

A walk through the old neighborhood

Serangoon Gardens Estate

Serangoon Gardens was formerly a residential estate for the British (and some Australian and New Zealand) soldiers and airmen, where some of them were based in the nearby RAF (Royal Air Force) Chia Keng Camp, until the early seventies.

The name Serangoon is likely to be derived from burong ranggoon, referring to a species of black and white stork that lives around Sungei Serangoon (formerly called Rangoon River). Satu, or one in Malay, was added to the name, thus becoming Saranggoon. This name was used for a long period of time before it eventually evolved to Serangoon. During the Japanese Occupation, large plots of flower farms were cultivated in this region, leading to the naming of the estate as Serangoon Gardens.


Serangoon Gardens was developed in the early fifties by Steven Charles Macey, a British private developer who also worked as an engineer at RAF. Due to its limited accessibility from other parts of Singapore in its early days, and for the benefits of the residents, Macey sought approval from the Singapore Rural Board to build a recreational clubhouse on a 5.56 acres of land. Completed in 1956, Serangoon Gardens Sports Club was opened exclusively to the residents of Serangoon Gardens at a monthly membership rate of $2.


The clubhouse underwent major changes over the decades. It was renamed as Serangoon Gardens Recreation Club after the British withdrew from Singapore in the early seventies. However, the clubhouse suffered a decline in membership and had difficulty maintaining its facilities due to a lack of funds. In 1981, it was given a makeover under the proposal of Lau Teik Soon, Member of Parliament for Serangoon Gardens, and became the new Serangoon Gardens Country Club.

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Eastern and Oriental Express

This post is overdue.
Then again, memories stay in our minds.
So what was yesterday's memories
Could seem very present
As if these have taken place today.

5 Jun 2011 shall be remembered as the date of the final departure of the luxury Eastern and Oriental Express train service from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

On a rainy and tearful day, many people visited the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to have a good glimpse of the final departure of the beautifully romantic Eastern and Oriental Express from the Art-Deco style Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. This railway station is no longer in operation after 30 Jun 2011.







Thanks to a lift from Jerome, after the Eastern and Oriental Express had departed, there was enough time to witness the Eastern and Oriental Express train travelling past the Bukit Timah Station which is no longer in operation.

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What Terrible Twins? Larry Lai And Tan Swee Leong
Singapore had its first independent cable station in the 60s called Rediffusion. Back then the term DJ or Disc Jockey was practically unheard of in conservative Singapore. I still remember using the term, Announcer during the 50s when listening to such programmes on the radio.

To be a DJ in the 60s was the ultimate. It is a profession that promises fame and fortune. Larry Lai and Tan Swee Leong were two of the most prominent personalities at Rediffusion. With their faultless and fluent British accent on air and sometimes cheeky capers, Larry and Swee Leong became household names. "Like Kleenex!" Larry remarked.

So here they are again, the Terrible Twins. But how terrible can they be? Both were just carrying out their duties. Larry Lai (left, in case you still don't know and haven't been reading this blog too carefully) was up the ladder of shelved Long Playing records, searching for vinyls to spin for his new show Disc Jockey Parade which aired in September, 1960. Slim and trim, he was still a teenager then, at 19 years young.

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Selegie Integrated school

How Selegie Integrated School Looks Like Today
In February this year, Sunday Times reporter Kon Xin Hua requested me for an email interview as the newspaper would be publishing an article on old buildings and Selegie Integrated School was one of them. Her questions and my answers are reproduced below:

Q1. What was the reason that saw you studying at Selegie Integrated School?

A1. Our family lived quite near to the school then. We were staying in Cheng Yan Place, a mere 15-minute leisurely stroll to the school which was less than one kilometre away. Of course, in those days, there was no such thing as priority for registration if you lived within one kilometre of the school. Even if there was, we would have no problem with it. As my family was not very financially well off, we could save on transportation costs if the school was nearby. The school was also brand new. I went to Primary One in 1963 which was year when the school was opened. (The then DPM Dr Toh Chin Chye officially opened the school on 19 Jan 1963.)

Dr Toh Chin Chye, Deputy Prime Minister and Assemblyman for Rochore Declaring the School Open on 19 Jan 1963 - Photo Courtesy of the National Archives
Q2. What were your initial thoughts on the 10-storey tall building?

A2. Having attended one or two years of kindergarten classes on the 2nd storey of a 4-storey SIT residential block in Prinsep Street, the 10-storey building certainly looked huge and imposing. (The SIT blocks are still in Prinsep Street. They have been conserved and possibly been converted into dormitories.) I had not seen such big lifts before. The only times when I took a lift was when my family visited my uncle's flat in a 9-storey SIT red-brick resident block (Blk 1) on Upper Pickering Street.

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It is a sad day for Singapore.

The celebrated "Singapore works" moniker is in danger of extinction. The erstwhile 'it just works' island is now an unreliable place to be, transport wise. How did we ever descend into this?

Commuters are so spooked that they pray and cross their fingers they will get to the office on time every morning. And students taking exams are now caught up in this worrisome phenomenon - of trains breaking down for hours. Come to think of it - Singapore students of one type or another are taking exams and tests throughout most of the year, except perhaps in June and December. I am beyond that, but I have children who may face this previously unthinkable prospect. If you are late, it is because you are late. Don't blame the bus or the train. You should have set off earlier to allow for heavy traffic. That's what we get told anyway.

Now, we can definitely say it was the train that was late. What can you do when you are stuck in a subterranean tunnel somewhere on the island for an extended period of time? There is really nowhere to go, nothing to do except wait for help. And given the mess that is likely taking place above ground, you can hunker down and wait, and wait and ....until the oxygen runs out or someone smashes the door with a fire extinguisher.

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Bye Bye Hollywood Theater and Lion City Hotel

Those who had been to the hotel, the shopping complex below was considered an unique feature and one of the largest then. It housed an emporium which sold China products, and there were also a snack-bar, and finance company and bank. There was even a first class restaurant then on the first floor catering both European and Chinese dishes in the evening with a live band playing soft music for dancing. On the ground floor, there was a cocktail lounge too. Maybe many may not be aware that there was even a swimming pool located on one of the floor in the hotel but in the later years, the pool was removed.

It is sad that the Lion City Hotel together with the Hollywood Theatre had to make way for new developments. When you are reading this post, the hotel and it’s surrounding are gone;



Above : Lion City Hotel then



Above : Lion City Hotel going
And the surrounding Hin Hollywood Canteen also disappear;



Above : Then



Above : Gone

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OPINION: Saying Goodbye to One of Singapore's Last Historic Cemeteries - Mimi Kirk
The Atlantic Cities, 24 Apr 2012
Bukit Brown, the largest Chinese burial ground outside of China with an estimated 100,000 graves, became a municipal cemetery in 1922. It serves as the resting place for some of Singapore’s most illustrious families as well as thousands of long-forgotten middle and lower-class citizens. Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s first and longtime prime minister, has a grandfather buried here (next to a descendant of Confucius, no less), as does Tony Tan, Singapore’s current president. Baked goods magnate Chew Boon Lay (1852-1933) also lies here. Like other pioneering merchants buried in Bukit Brown, Boon Lay’s name graces Singaporean public spaces such as subway stations and housing estates.
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Boon Tat Street in the early days (Picture from: http://missingthepast.com)
Boon Tat Street, right in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District, is named after Ong Boon Tat (1888-1941) - a well-known, wealthy, Peranakan businessman who also served as Municipal Commissioner and Justice of Peace.

Boon Tat Street is parallel to Cross Street and runs from Amoy Street and intersecting with Telok Ayer Street, Robinson Road, Shenton Way and Raffles Quay. Interesting landmarks on Boon Tat Street include the SGX Centre (Singapore Exchange), the iconic neo-classical Ogilvy Centre, and the distinctive Octagon and historic landmark, Lau Pa Sat. And most importantly for many of us, part of Boon Tat Street is closed to traffic in the evenings to make way for dining at the row of Satay stalls just outside Lau Pa Sat.

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The historic clock tower of Methodist Girls' School, a spot filled with memories.

In a rapidly changing world, the subject of heritage can give rise to much drama and strong emotions.
Even more so in Singapore, which has embraced a relentless drive to develop and modernize for the last 45 years. Little has stood in the way of development.
We have bid goodbye to our kampongs and the communities that went with them; we have said farewell to our street hawkers and the food heritage they embodied; we have seen countless old streets and buildings -- too numerous to count and generic to name -- get swallowed up by urban planning; and then we also watched things we thought had become priceless landmarks of the city fall to rubble.

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