Association of Bloggers (Singapore): Beware of the Thirty... | Find out what's missed out from The New Paper!

The latest news has the President of the 3-member Association of Bloggers (Singapore) plans to invite 30 "prominent" bloggers to join the elite--no matter that it's dying--organization. I'd love to see who among these so-called 30 "prominent" bloggers would be grossly misled to accept the membership. I mean, yeah, people do make a mistake, you know?

Let's just wait & see.

On a separate news as the president the Clandestine Regime of Anonymous Bloggers or--uhm--CRAB, I too have the pleasure to announce that we plan to plead for 300 "prominent" anonymous bloggers to join our non-elite (but not dying, mind you!) organization.

They would have the priviledge of being visited three times by me (if that's what it takes! Thanks, Liu Bei for the tips!) as I shall persistently seek their joining our rank. Having some experience in running for a loanshark in the past does help. Hur hur.

In addition, although it's supposed to be a clandestine organization, I shall not be secretive as not to allow the unverified rumour spreading that CRAB intends to infiltrate ABS, take it over & disband it as soon as possible. Talking about a very hostile takeover. Heh.

Okay, back to the news. It's published today and thus, it's supposed to be the latest. But it's disappointing to read how selective the writer is. How could the fact that 7 members have left is missed out?!

Even before it's launched next month, Singapore's first official blogging association is getting flak from the very people it hopes to attract.

The Association of Bloggers (Singapore), or AB(S), has been fodder for local blog chatter over the last two weeks.

Numerous bloggers have expressed scepticism about the organisation, questioning its purpose and leadership.

Some have called for a boycott of the organisation, which now consists of 10 local bloggers.

A spoof site, calling itself the 'Singapore Plurk Association', has even been set up to parody the AB(S).

Plurk is a popular social networking and micro-blogging service.

In a 21 Jan post, blogger Holly Jean Aroozoo questioned the need for local bloggers to join the organisation.

She wrote: 'My blog is my labour of love. It is a big part of my identity. Why would I even need to be part of an association to validify my existence as a blogger of any worth?'

Not much credentials

Questioning the credibility of AB(S), she added: 'Would I really want to be associated with something that is set up and run by a clique of people with not much credentials and resource?'

Said blogger Brian Koh: 'I personally would not join the association, on the grounds that I am a free-thinking individual and I owe no specific allegiance to anyone. That is the beauty of blogging and exercising our right to freedom of speech.'

Another blogger, DeadPris, said: 'I don't think it's a good or bad idea, but I'm sceptical of how much AB(S) can really aid local bloggers...

'How can AB(S) help when there is chaos and politics in the local blogosphere? How are they going to educate bloggers to blog responsibly?'

AB(S)'s mission statement, posted on its temporary site (, states that it's committed to 'promoting, protecting, and educating its members', 'supporting the development of blogging as new media', and 'helping to extend the power of the every citizen'.

To join, a blogger must pay an entrance fee of $50. Ordinary membership is $60 a year and corporate membership, $100 a year.

The fees go towards the association's operating costs.

Responding to the online comments, founder and president Jayne Goh, 43, said it was set up mainly as a self-interest group for avid bloggers.

She said: 'Such an organisation would allow us to pool our resources so that we can upgrade ourselves.'

The association plans to engage external instructors to educate its members on specific topics relevant to blogging, ranging from legal and ethical issues to creating blog templates.

It was not formed with the intention of controlling or regulating the blogosphere, she said.

'However, we required the organisation to be a legal entity in order for our members to have access to certain events we would like to cover,' she said.

Ms Goh gave the example of this year's Singapore River Hongbao, which she managed to get behind-the-scenes access.

She said: 'We wouldn't have been able to do this if we weren't a registered entity.'

Since the association got the official nod on 16 Jan, Ms Goh said it has received several enquiries from netizens interested in joining.

However, no new members have been admitted yet.

She said the organisation also plans to invite about 30 prominent bloggers to join as members, but declined to name them.

'We hope to get bloggers from across a few categories, such as food, lifestyle, socio-political blogs, photography and so on.'

From The New Paper, "Is she blogging a dead horse?"

A: Definitely. Oh yes, she is. Wait a minute, isn't this supposed to be a rhetorical question?

Other ABS-related posts:
- 5 Top Reasons of Not Joining Association of Bloggers (Singapore)
- Association of Bloggers (Singapore) -- And soon there were none?! (Updated continually)

Agus Noro, the leader of Indonesian Kamasutra 'sex cult': busted!

I guess that may be a reason why yoga is banned in Indonesia? Because it has something to do with Hindu & so is this Kamasutra thing? No way, that is so farfetched!

An Indonesian cult head accused of leading his followers in wild orgies and giving sermons in his underpants was arrested Thursday and faces charges of "lewd acts" and insulting religion, police said.

Agus Noro, the head of the Satria Piningit Weteng Buwono sect, turned himself in early in the morning after a three-day hunt, Jakarta police spokesman Zulkarnain told AFP.

Noro, who is called Agus Imam Solihin or "leader of the faithful" by followers, is alleged to have had sex with his disciples and instructed them to have group sex while he watched in the sect's mansion outside Jakarta.

"We're investigating him based on a report made by a female follower named Kartiningsih on January 26. She complained that Noro had asked her to massage him and touch his genitals," Zulkarnain said.

"She was also made to have sex with him, while her husband and followers watched," he added.

"Lewd acts" and insulting religion carry jail terms of up to nine years and seven years respectively, Zulkarnain said.

"If our investigations prove that he carried out lewd acts, we'll name him a suspect and hand him over to the court," Zulkarnain said.

"He has about 40 followers, all adults. At the beginning, Noro told them to pray and carry out religious recitations. After several months, he told them he was God and that they didn't have to do that any more," Zulkarnain said.

Noro gave religious sermons wearing only his underpants and told his disciples they would be taught "Kamasutra" sex techniques to use in the afterlife, former follower Eko was quoted as saying by news website Okezone.

"We just obeyed like we'd been hypnotised," Eko said.

Police described the sex guru, believed to be in his 40s, as looking "cool... just like youngsters nowadays," with dyed brown hair and fair skin, the website reported.

From Yahoo! News, "Indonesian 'sex cult' leader arrested".

Gay penguins become dads; yes, they're so gay!

Gay penguins become dads and turn out to be best parents in the zoo. It's a fact. And an interesting one at that.

A gay couple of male penguins has attempted to steal eggs from straight penguin couples, at the Polar Land zoo in north-east China. In an effort to hide their crime, the couple even placed stones at the feet of parenting penguins before leaving with their eggs.

"One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs," explains a zookeeper. "Despite this being a biological impossibility for this couple, the natural desire is still there."

But their behavior has been noticed by the other penguins, and they have been ostracised from their group. Now pressure from animal rights groups and zoo visitors has forced keepers to give the pair some eggs of their own.

“It wasn’t fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them,” said one visitor.

The happy couple have become doting dads after being given eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother.

“We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they’ve turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,” said a keeper.

“It’s very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.”

Wildlife experts at the park say the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be dads.

“Despite the fact they can’t have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,” said one.

From, "Gay penguins become dads and turn out to be best parents in the zoo".

Also read, "Gay penguins expelled from zoo colony for stealing eggs are given their own to look after following animal rights protest":
A pair of gay penguins thrown out of their zoo colony for repeatedly stealing eggs have been given some of their own to look after following a protest by animal rights groups.

Last month the birds were segregated after they were caught placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs.

But angry visitors to Polar Land in Harbin, northern China, complained it wasn't fair to stop the couple from becoming surrogate fathers and urged zoo bosses to give them a chance.

In response, zookeepers gave the pair two eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother.

'We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,' said one of the keepers.

'It's very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.'

Wildlife experts at the park explain that despite being gay the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers. Glad it's quite a happy ending for the happy couples.

'One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs.

Despite the fact that they can't have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,' said one.

One campaigner who did not want to be named welcomed the move and said: 'It wasn't fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them.'

Last month zookeepers said the couple were removed from the group not because of discrimination, but so as not to disturb the colony during hatching time.

Linda Lee's open letter to the God of Wealth

Learn the art of sending an open letter to the God of Wealth from a comical Linda Lee. Her style in composing the letter is hilarious. I wonder if she blogs. Heh.

A 16-year-old girl got a stranger to rape a 13-year-old girl

The news stated that the rape failed (Quite understandable because the crime took place as the victim was surrounded by the evil 16-year-old and the group of teenagers--all between 12 and 15). As the rape didn't happen, the older girl made the 13-year-old girl to have oral sex with the man and even recorded the obscene act with her cellphone. No, don't expect me to google for the clip, you perv!

All these cruel punishments are because the victim had bad-mouthed the 16-yeard-old previously.

My goodness.

What other thing which rather puzzles me, is that the identity of the bad girl is revealed in the article. At 16 years old, isn't she considered a minor? Or perhaps, her crime was very bad (Well, it was!) that she deserves further humiliation in a national newspaper?

I don't know. Anyway, I'll be looking forward reading the follow-up news about this case. Not just about the punishment, but also about whether the unknown man who agreed, but failed, to rape is caught.

Surely there are some kind of phone records between the stranger & the bad girl. It should not take too long to identify & nab the man.

Seems to me he's an adult & yet he just did what a 16-year-old girl told him to do?!

A 16-year-old girl instigated an unknown man to rape a girl who had bad-mouthed her previously.

When the rape failed, Nor Azura Omar forced the 13-year-old girl to have oral sex with the man and even recorded the obscene act with her cellphone.

All this took place at a staircase landing of a block of flats in Woodlands on June 28 last year.

A district court heard that Azura had planned to 'break the virginity' of the girl and wanted to take revenge on her for having badmouthed her previously.

She called a chatline and managed to arrange for the unknown man to meet her at a block of flats in Woodlands Avenue 1.

Over the phone, she told him to 'break' the victim's virginity.

The victim overheard this but was afraid to make an escape as she feared that Azura would beat her up, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Diane Tan.

Initially, Azura's accomplices, all between 12 and 15, did not know about her plan.

Surrounded by Azura and the group, the victim was forced to lie down on the ground.

She then instigated the man to rape her but he failed.

Unhappy, Azura forced the victim to perform oral sex on the man.

After the man, who is at large, had left, Azura remained unhappy that her plan did not materialise. She felt that the victim had not learnt her lesson.

The DPP said she then slapped and kicked the victim, who was also attacked by the rest of the group.

After inflicting group violence, Azura decided to humiliate the victim further by forcefully stripping her of her shirt and bra, exposing her breasts to public view.

On Friday, Azura admitted to five charges including one of misappropriating her friend's bag on July 24.

Community Court judge May Mesenas called for a reformative training report on Azura before deciding what to do on Feb 20. She also wanted a psychological assessment on Azura's risk of re-offending.

From Straits Times, "Teen got man to rape girl".

Also read Straits Times, "Teen plotted girl's rape". More details are revealed:
A 16-YEAR-OLD girl was so incensed at having been belittled by a younger girl that she spent time plotting her revenge.
Her plan was to co-opt a man into raping the 13-year-old. But when the appointed day came and the attack did not go as planned, Nor Azura Omar forced the girl to have oral sex with the man - an episode she recorded on her cellphone.

A district court heard yesterday that Azura planned to 'break the virginity' of the girl who had bad-mouthed her. It is not known how long she took to hatch the revenge plan.

On June 28 last year, she called a chatline and arranged for the man - whose identity is unknown - to meet her at a block of flats in Woodlands after having briefed him on his 'role'.

The 13-year-old girl, who was then with her and overheard the phone conversation, was afraid to make a run for it because she feared Azura would beat her up, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Diane Tan.

Later that day, the man turned up at Block 362 Woodlands Avenue 1 and met Azura, her 12- to 15-year-old accomplices and the victim.

The group trooped up to the staircase landing on the fourth floor. There, with everyone looking on, the 13-year-old was ordered to get down on the floor.

Azura then bade the man to rape her, but he was unsuccessful.

Unhappy that the victim's virginity was still intact, Azura forced her to perform oral sex on the man.

The frightened girl complied. She stopped after less than five minutes, after which the man left the scene.

Azura, dissatisfied that her plan had not panned out, slapped and kicked the victim. Her friends joined in, stopping only when they heard footsteps approaching.

Azura next stripped her, and called the police herself to report that the girl - who had escaped from a children's home - was with her.

This was how the assault came to light.

Azura's seven accomplices, four girls and three boys, are being dealt with in Juvenile Court.

The court also heard another matter involving Azura yesterday: A Ms Rashidah Mohamed, 19, filed a police report against her on July 26 last year, alleging that Azura had failed to return her a bag.

The pair had met at a shopping centre as Azura said she wanted to listen to music from Ms Rashidah's mobile phone.

After the pair exchanged bags, Azura said she needed to use the toilet urgently. She fled with Ms Rashidah's bag, which contained two mobile phones worth $428 and some documents.

Yesterday, Azura admitted to five of 11 charges related to these two incidents.

Her lawyer, Mr Noor Mohamed Marican, said his client's parents were in jail for drug offences, so she was 'without a home, without family, without anyone to guide her'. He added that she was contrite and wanted to turn over a new leaf.

But even he conceded that it was hard to understand, how, at Azura's tender age, 'a person could go to such an extent to commit these offences'.

Community Court judge May Mesenas postponed sentencing to Feb 20, pending a reformative training report and a psychological assessment on Azura's risk of re-offending.

Studies show...Vegetarians have better sex???

This time PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) really over-did their advertisement. Considered too hot & racy (Relative, I'd say, just view the video here), the ad has been banned by NBC. The PETA advertisement clip was supposed to air during the Super Bowl Sunday.

openers january

t took a while for the editor to get this up, but here is my 'most played music 2008 list'. i had a similar albeit shorter blog post on 2008 music here on nooka style around new years time. if you can read japanese, enjoy my fragmented writing style brushed up-to-snuff by yu yamada of nooka japan. article here.

support musical artists and buy music on itunes or other legal online purveyors.

if u were looking for nooka accessories, click here.

Association of Bloggers (Singapore) -- And soon there were none?!

Just like the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers", there were 10 fearless, relatively-unknown bloggers who initiated the infamous Association of Bloggers (Singapore) or ABS. A protem committee was formed. By the way, the word 'protem' or 'pro tempore' actually means 'for the time being'. (Oh yes, this new knowledge, at the very least, I have to credit to ABS.)

It is perhaps a sign that it is truly 'for the time being'. Out of 9 protem committee members (excluding the President), 3 have since left: Mr. Endoh (Vice President - Operations), Xtralicious (Events Director) and Nicole Wong (IT Officer).

And then there were six (excluding the President).

So what are their reasons of leaving? The three of them quoted almost similar reasons of being busier with more other important things namely studies, families and projects.

Here's Mr. Endoh's reasons quoted from his blog:
Before anyone jump to conclusions that the criticism is too strong, it is a decision made based on internal issues rather than the initial. Hope that will clear up some potential speculations. That’s to say, speculations are totally anticipated.


What’s more? I have recently undertaken a new advertising and PR project for a automobile importer and nobody can actually deny that the time and attention will be better spent there. With the current economical climate, it is encouraging to see that clients are opening up themselves to unconventional methods not commonly seen in the industry. Especially so, for big ticket items.

This serves as an additional reason for stepping away. 24 hours a day is only what I’ve got, afterall.

And this one is from Xtralicious:
What is my reason for stepping down? Is it the backlash from some bloggers? Is it due to misunderstandings? Is it the heat that got to me?

I can say with confidence that it is not. I had already said so earlier on - I will step down after I had done what I should do as this is a protem committee after all. And so I am doing so to spend more time with my family and new work projects.

And from Nicole:
I take my leave from protem committee of ABS. Hence forth, I shall be concentrating on my studies, the bloody assignments, and tech65.

The work load has ballooned to an all time high, and hence, it would be more prudent of me to concentrate on it.

Good for them. They should not ever have their priority mixed up. Still it's a pity that their timing is, well, badly timed.

If the protem committee members are quitting so soon (never mind the ominous word of 'protem'), how would other bloggers be convinced to join?

I won't. And this unfortunate lack of commitment from the founders of the organizations would make it as my sixth reason of not joining the Association of Bloggers (Singapore).

Update on 31/01: DK (Vice President - Membership) & DaintyFlair (Treasurer) both resigned from the committee. Unlike the earlier 3 quitters, they didn't give any excuse about being busy with other projects. There's a nice echo, though, that both DK & DaintyFlair quoted "It’s been a great learning experience over the past few months" & "It has been a great experience and I have learnt a lot throughout the whole journey respectively.

Oh yes, I'm sure being founders of a redundant organization which founders are soon quitting IS a great experience.

And then there were four (excluding the President).

If Paddy Tan indeed threw in the towel too (Not verified, but thanks for the info, deadpris), I would revise the earlier sentence to be "And then there were three (excluding the President)".

Members are quitting is usual. Founders doing so in such rush manner isn't. Even more unusual is the fact that the President of the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) has not yet announced any replacement.

Surely there are still many ill-informed bloggers out there who are willing to take the jobs?

If worst comes to worst, they are still able to quit & I'm sure a decent amount of traffic would have been generated by that pathetic "I hereby resign" announcement.

Update on 31/01 (after the earlier update la): Paddy Tan (Marketing Director) has indeed left!

In his post, Paddy has revealed--and hinted--more of why he gave up:
Ultimately, the focus now is on the companies. Whatever decision I make, will affect the livelihood of the colleagues. Thus the departure of ABS is a right decision to be made when I dont see it going the way it ought to be with the original vision and direction going differently. Internal conflict? Nope, more like disagreements. I will let time be the judge whether if that was a good decision to leave or not.

And apparently these 'disagreements' were enough to make Paddy quit? Sad. Let me quote more from the same post of his:
I prefer the my CEO style, where everyone are involve in the process and explain clearly the objective and goals. No top down decision made by a few (yes, dont pin it to just ECL just becos you try to manipulate the sentence here) and manage by the lot. This is just not me. This irritates the hell out of me when others (yes more than 1 person, read again) just simply block you out thinking they (3rd hint, it is not 1 person again) know better. Always be open to ideas and analyze it. Nobody knows everything, that is what a committee is for.

And then there were three (excluding the President).

I have this sudden thought that if all the committee members eventually come to their senses & quit, would the organization's name changed from "Association of Bloggers (Singapore)" to "Association of Blogger (Singapore)" which consists of a sole President cum a member? Heh.

Update on 01/02: Yes, I just learnt that Paced (Events Officer) has come to her sense & left the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)!

In her blog, she's quoted to give an excuse of 'others being able to do a better job than her'. Hmm...another hint of a series of internal strife in the organization?

After much deliberation, I'm leaving the Association of Bloggers (Singapore). I'm really glad to have been a part of the protem committee but I know for sure that there are others out there will do a better job than me. It was an experience through this journey and I thank everyone who was working with me.

And then there were TWO (excluding the President).

I believe Paced when she said it's not hard to say goodbye. Especially not to ABS. Well done, Paced. Well done!

Update on 03/02: in TODAY article, "8 drop outof Bloggers Association" it is reported that "eight founding members have stepped down, leaving president Jayne Goh and secretary Wilfrid Wong at the helm". That means it's confirmed then that Xin Yun (Marketing Officer) has resigned.

And then there were ONE (excluding the President).

Unlike the earlier 7 members who gave any kind of excuses in their blog, Xin Yun has not yet done so. Except her latest post showcasing two wonderful shots of a sunrise & a sunset in Bangkok, she just gave a cryptic remark of:

I’m glad to have such clear view of sunrise and sunsets during my trip. Perhaps in a way, it’s a sign.

A sign? Of what, Xin Yun? That has something to do with your leaving the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)?

Back to the TODAY article, the President of a 1-member organization shared her thought about why the committee members were fleeing out of her sight:
“There are quite a lot of disagreements as well, on the way the association is run and on my conduct.”

Hey, if that's the case, should it not be better if the President herself resigns & let the members vote for the new one? After all 8 heads are definitely better than one.

TODAY article also has this strange thing to say:
The eight who stepped down will still be considered as ordinary members, said Ms Goh. But one former member, who declined to be named, said those who dropped out were not consulted on this.

Ms Goh, by the way is the President of the ABS who blogs under the nick, "eastcoastlife". (I'll only put an URL to her nick after she too wakes up & resigns.)

Interesting to note from the above quote is how those 8 who stepped down don't really fancy themselves to be associated to ABS anymore--not even as "ordinary members". The President, being delusional, has her own view. Will she then chase the 8 for $60 yearly subscription--assuming they mistakenly had paid the entrance fee of $50?

Update on 04/02: Wilfrid Wong (Secretary) has...not left! He has spoken up in an interview in Straits Times (good to read someone else' opinion beside the President's) & also re-emphasized his points in his blog, albeit not officially as the Secretary for the Association of Bloggers (Singapore).

Okay, I'm impressed. So at least there's one member (out many, one?!) who demonstrates a logical thinking & reasonable state of mind.

I won't be surprised (in fact, I'm looking forward to) if Wilfrid would once take over the leadership in the otherwise doomed organization.

C'mon, you won't leave with a tail between your legs, will you, Wilfrid?

Update on 05/02: I just checked the temporary, official website for the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) & learnt that there would be two office-bearers joining the organization as the treasurer & a committee member. Strange that their identities are not revealed.

I do hope that these nameless, secretive office-bearers do blog as well. That--to state the obvious--should always be the first & foremost requirement for any Bloggers' association. (And if they stay anonymous, I'd like to extend a special membership of CRAB for them. Oh wait, they could be the two among 300 "prominent" anonymous bloggers I already approached. The problem with working together with anonymous bloggers is that I may not be aware if they're office-bearers. Heh.)

And then there were (dammit) three (excluding the President).

Other ABS-related posts:
- 5 Top Reasons of Not Joining Association of Bloggers (Singapore)
- Association of Bloggers (Singapore): Beware of the Thirty... | Find out what's missed out from The New Paper!

Unidentified Naked Couple in Holland Village--caught!

On 25/01 one post by Leonard Tan revealed that on the night before, two naked people were spotted in Holland Village. He wrote that "one was a tall Caucasian man, and the other a petite woman who looked Japanese". I actually wondered earlier about how he could say that the woman is Japanese.

Perhaps he fancies himself as an expert or something? See many nude Japanese women, don't you Leonard?

Well, the latest news had clarified that the naked woman is an ethnic Chinese. No, although her nationality is not mentioned, I just have a difficulty to imagine that she is a Singaporean.

Now to think about it, the naked man, too, may or may not be a Singaporean.

Anyway both of them were reported to have been arrested & released on bail. Let's just wait for further news about the naked duo. Personally I'm a bit surprised that 'a protest' was mentioned in the article. The couple could have been just exhibitionists & nothing more.

A couple treated open air diners to a 15-minute naked parade in Singapore, triggering both embarrassment and applause for a scene almost unheard of in the conservative city-state.

Pub manager Terence Chia told the Straits Times newspaper he saw the couple taking off their clothes on Saturday night at a staircase in a block of flats in Holland Village, known for its popular nightspots.

"Then, clothes in hand, they coolly walked in their flip-flops towards the market," he said, adding when the couple did a U-turn a sea of spectators was ready and poised with cameras.

"There were more than 200 people and everyone was taking pictures," the newspaper on Wednesday quoted Chia as saying. "Even women were busy clicking and people were cheering, whistling and applauding like crazy."

Police said the couple, a Caucasian man and an ethnic Chinese woman in their 20s, had been arrested and released on bail. If convicted under Singapore law, they could face a fine of maximum fine of S$2000 , up to 3 months in jail, or both.

Protests are rare in Singapore and only made legal last year in a designated area called "Speakers' Corner", modelled on London's Hyde Park.

"They looked really comfortable walking down the street, which led to many curious stares," wrote blogger Leonard Tan. "Singapore is getting more and more exciting."

From Yahoo! News, "Naked couple surprises diners in Singapore stroll".

PS. Leonard has since updated his post with the 'modified' photo. Earlier he had 3 photos of the naked couple, now there's only 1 with an attempt to cover their privates. Heh.

No, you don't miss anything because the photos are actually blurry. Leonard must be shaking in his excitement to capture the moment. Too much zooming in at the not-so-bright environment, huh?

Update on 09/04: The fearless naked couple are finally identified as Jan Philip, 21, a Swedish student and Eng Kai Er, 24, a Singaporean (she happens to be a university student in Sweden).

just wanted to share this news from 1981

noo territories: romania

i have written before on the subject of social networks and also a separate post on the different ways communications get to me [via,, linked-in, facebook, PR company etc.]

well here is a poster-child for linked-in, the business online community as andreea is someone who initially contacted me there. this turned into a sample order for her online store which then turned into a full-fledged business relationship with her becoming the distributor for nooka in romania!

my fondness for romania goes way back to an early childhood obsession with vampires, and was only strengthened with my professional relationships and moreover, friendship with graphic designer extraordinaire, dan dumitriu in london. i was since told that romanians do not like being referred to as vampires, and in actuality, there are no vampires there – it's like a christian child being told there is no santa claus!

already, andreea has garnered an AMAZING amount of press for nooka in her beautiful country, a sample of which is here. i hope to see nooka grow with the new economies of eastern europe, and really want to go skiing in romania some time soon.

andreea's company is called clockwise, and their site is here. pretty amazing to have a 2 different products featured in a single edition of ELLE magazine, especially for a small brand like mine.

not in romania? nookas always available here.

noo music: miho hatori and towa tei

last week, towa tei released the first single from his upcoming album on itunes, mind wall featuring the vocals of miho hatori. the video is really cute and i love the song.

i had brunch with miho on sunday in bed-stuy brooklyn to discuss each others' projects and we always get into profound discussions on creative process, influences, and life – my respect for her deepens each time we meet. but please don't think i'm pushing this because she's a friend – because i don't do that often. you simply must try and catch a live performance of her's. the purity and natural depth of her singing is only hinted at in recorded form.

anyway, miho hatori and tei towa, a fun musical match. support the arts, buy the single on itunes!

if you're looking for a nooka, they're available here.

Wrong or False: Eugene Wee's remark of "The value of online opinions rise considerably when people are prepared to show their faces ..."

What a laugh. Eugene Wee, who's the author of "Think of faceless online critics as bacteria" has this to say:

But a crucial point is that these anonymous sources are known to someone, like a reporter, and efforts are made to verify the information supplied.

But online critics are largely faceless. You can't tell if it's just a small group or an individual kicking up a storm, or if there is widespread discontent.

The value of online opinions rise considerably when people are prepared to show their faces and stand up for what they believe in.

If you won're [sic] not brave enough to put your name or face to strong views, others are unlikely to take them seriously.

Don't blame 'Big Brother' for not identifying yourself. See the punchy comments in the letters to newspapers. These readers have the guts to speak their minds openly.

I strongly disagree. The value of online opinions does not have any correlation with whether the people who opined are showing their faces. Even in government's initiated forums to get feedbacks from the public like REACH, we don't see people giving their online opinions and submitting their photos, do we? (Okay, so I admit I'm being too much literal.)

The thing that you fail to truly understand about online critics, Eugene, is that they don't really care whether 'Big Brother' gives them any recognition. They aren't bothered with such a trivia thing at all. What they care is that they speak up for what they believe in, they do their very best to elaborate their points & let the readers decide themselves whether the criticisms are valid & credible.

One lady, Juliet once declared:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Yes, she is a fictitional character alright. And you may not want to choose to believe it. However, think for a while how true the saying is--names are overrated; opinions will never be.

Gaile Lai provocative lingerie photos exposed on Facebook account belongs to photographer Eydie Tai

It could have been an innocent mistake. Perhaps the photographer, Ms. Eydie Tai is not that good in navigating her Facebook account. After all, it's not that easy to find the link to those Gaile Lai lingerie photos.

Try google 'Gaile Lai photos'. That's the best keywords I could come up with. No, the result page doesn't lead to the targeted URL.

Like I said, it's not that easy. There are just too many information & unless you are a fan of Gaile Lai--or simply a pervert, or simply someone having too much of free time--you can't locate the right site without spending a lot of time.

Sexy bedroom photos of Hong Kong top model Gaile Lai, girlfriend of Heavenly King Leon Lai, are currently spreading on the Internet. The source of these photos was pointed to the Facebook account of female photographer Eydie Tai. Lai is known to be bold in taking provocative photos which had been published on tabloids.

Tai, who shot Sammi Cheng's album cover photos, uploaded photos she had taken of 40 top models which include Lai, Balia Chan and Lisa S, onto her personal Facebook account and set the privacy level of photo album to "Everyone", whereby anyone with or without a Facebook account can view the photos.

Judging from the background of the series of 43 photos, it is believed that they were shot at the models' private apartments.

In the photos, Lai was seen in alluring poses, sitting and lying on her bed filled with plush toys, dressed in sexy lingerie; another photo featured her biting her lips provocatively, in a tank top, seeming without her bra on, sitting on a flush toilet.

According to reports, Lai was stunned and helpless when she learnt that her photos had been spread via her photographer's Facebook account. Apparently, the photos were uploaded without permission.

According to reliable source, Tai has excellent socializing skills and knows many top models and celebrities. In addition, she is one of the very few female photographers in showbiz; many female stars have thus more comfortable working with her.

From Yahoo! News, "Gaile Lai lingerie photos exposed on Facebook".

Yoga ban craze is now in Indonesia...and the reactions are hardly new!

The good part at least is that it is stated that the ban only applies to Indonesian Muslims. Also the emphasis is on "yoga that contains Hindu rituals like chanting". Feel that funny feeling of déjà vu?

I read about the similar incredible phenomenon--no, I'm not referring about déjà vu--has happened before. But it's Malaysia. There, it was an outright ban at first before Malaysia PM finally declared Yoga can be practised but without chants.

Indonesia's top Islamic body banned Muslims from practicing yoga that contains Hindu rituals like chanting, the chairman of the group said on Monday, citing concerns it would corrupt their faith.

Cleric Ma'ruf Amin said the Ulema Council issued the ruling following weekend talks attended by hundreds of theological experts in Padang Panjang, a village in West Sumatra province. Though not legally binding, most devout Muslims will likely adhere to it because they consider ignoring a fatwa, or religious decree, sinful.

The ban, which follows a similar edict in neighbouring Malaysia, was passed after investigators visited gyms and private yoga classes across the country to see what effect Hindu rituals like chanting mantras might have on Muslims.

Mr Amin said clerics decided it could weaken their faith.

'Those who perform yoga purely for health reasons or sport will not be affected,' he added. 'We only prohibit activities that can corrupt Islamic values.' Indonesia is a secular country of 235 million people, 90 per cent of whom are Muslim. Though most practice a moderate form of the faith, a vocal extremist fringe has gained strength in recent years.

In recent years, yoga - a blend of physical and mental exercises aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit - has been increasingly practiced in gyms and dedicated centers around the world.

In the United States, where it has become so popular that many public schools began offering it in gym classes, yoga has also come under fire.

Some Christian fundamentalists and even secular parents have argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state.

Egypt's highest theological body also banned yoga for Muslims in 2004.

Indonesia's Ulema Council - which wrapped up its annual meeting for the issuing of fatwas late on Sunday - decided to investigate the need for a yoga ban after Malaysia's top Islamic body issued its fatwa late last year.

From Straits Times, "Yoga ban for Indon Muslims".

The reaction of the Yoga ban for Indonesian Muslims is just like that in Malaysia. Well, actually it's quite different because the response also included that for the edicts concerning vote abstention & smoking.

The country’s highest Islamic authority has come under fire for bans on vote abstention, smoking and yoga.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued several edicts last Sunday that, among others, partially ban smoking and certain aspects of yoga.

Edicts on the bans were issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) during its two-day national meeting in Padangpanjang, West Sumatra, which ended Sunday.

Some 700 clerics from the council agreed Muslims were forbidden to abstain from voting in elections if “qualified” candidates existed.

“Islam obliges Muslims to elect their leaders if the latter meet certain criteria,” Gusrizal Gazahar, MUI West Sumatra head, said after the meeting.

The criteria include “being Muslim, honest, brilliant and ready to fight for the people,” the council added.

It also forbade smoking by children and pregnant women, and smoking in public places.

Outside these conditions, smoking was still deemed makruh (blameworthy) for Muslims, it said.

Muslims are also banned from practicing certain aspects of yoga that contained Hindu elements such as chanting and meditation, it said.

But Muslims can continue to perform yoga for purely health reasons, the council added.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organisation, slammed the edicts as “excessive.”

NU deputy head Masdar F. Mas’udi said the MUI should not have dragged religion into the three matters.

Yoga, as it is practiced in Indonesia, he said, was a pastime and must not be seen in the context of religious worship.

To discourage people from smoking, he added, the MUI should not use “Islamic law” as a tool.

“What’s important is to inform the public of the bad effects of smoking and urge the government to enforce policies to discourage smoking,” Masdar told The Jakarta Post.

He also said the MUI should “not bring in God and threaten people with hell” if it wanted to encourage Muslims to vote.

Political expert Syamsuddin Haris agreed the MUI should not force people to vote, saying it was their democratic right to vote or not.

“It’s absolutely pointless. A religious body shouldn’t dictate political behaviour,” he told, adding the edict would have little impact.

Muslim scholar Azyumardi Azra also slammed the ban on yoga as “excessive” and “counterproductive.”

However, he lauded the edicts against vote abstention and smoking, saying the former was “positive” in strengthening democracy and elected administrations.

Azyumardi, an assistant to Vice President Jusuf Kalla, said the MUI had “compromised” and taken “accommodating” measures to partly forbid smoking, considering the fact the tobacco industry employed so many workers and contributed much to the country’s economy.

MUI edicts issued on Jan 25, 2009
1) A ban on aspects of yoga that contain Hindu elements;

2) A ban on vote abstention if “qualified” candidates exist;

3) A ban on smoking by children and pregnant women, and in public places;

4) A ban on abortion unless the mother is a rape victim, the pregnancy endangers her life, or the foetus is aged less than five weeks;

5) A ban on vasectomy because the process is “irreversible”;

6) A ban on marriage with minors, based on a 1974 law that forbids men under 19 and women under 16 years old from marrying

From The Star Online, "Indonesian Islamic authority slammed for fatwa".

Other Yoga-related Posts:
- Malaysia tak boleh: Ban on yoga for muslims?
- Malaysia tak boleh: Ban on yoga for muslims!
- Malaysia (maybe) boleh: Alternative version of yoga!
- Yoga: OK in Singapore, OK (if without chant) in Malaysia, Maybe OK in Indonesia

Red Cliff -- How the movie differs from the chronicles of the Three Kingdoms & the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Here are substantial differences between the movie, "Red Cliff" and the historical chronicles of the Three Kingdoms:

* The Battle of the Red Cliffs did not actually occur at the Red Cliffs. In fact, Cao Cao's battleships were burnt down at Wulin.

* It should be noted that the primary cause for Cao Cao's withdrawal in history is still an open topic in the academia. In fact, more professional historians are biased towards the theory that the epidemic that plagued Cao Cao's naval camp was the primary cause and not the fire attack itself.

* Kong Rong was sentenced to execution by Cao Cao after he spoke ill of the latter before an emissary from Sun Quan, whereas in the movie he was executed for openly challenging Cao Cao and denouncing him as a traitor with the intention of usurping the throne before the Emperor Xian.

* Lady Gan of Liu Bei's two wives survived the Battle of Changban unlike in the movie where she was killed by enemy soldiers amidst the chaos. In addition, Liu Bei had numerous sons, and the son portrayed in the story was not his only "remaining bloodline" (though he was the most conspicuous and significant in the novel because he was Bei's first non-adopted son). In reality, his two daughters were captured in the battle.

* Zhou Yu and his generals did not visit Liu Bei's camp. In fact, Liu Bei attended Zhou Yu's camp, and according to the fictional account in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhou Yu attempted to have Liu Bei assassinated.

* Cai Mao and Zhang Yun had surrendered to Cao Cao before the Battle of Changban along with their lord Liu Cong but in the movie they did so after the battle and even decided to serve Cao Cao.

* Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang did not become enemies in the future as Zhou Yu had replied towards the end of the film. However, in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhou Yu was jealous of Zhuge Liang's intelligence during the planning before the Battle of Red Cliffs. Zhou Yu knew that Zhuge Liang would become a formidable foe in the future and attempted to kill Zhuge several times.

* Sun Shangxiang had not met Liu Bei before their marriage, which was a politically-arranged marriage to strengthen ties between Liu Bei and Sun Quan. In the movie, Sun Shangxiang met Liu Bei at the banquet to celebrate the victory.

* The battle scene in which the army led by Zhang Fei used reflective shields were not mentioned either in novelization or factual history. It was also far too impracticable because glass mirrors had not been invented yet at that time and copper was too expensive to be largely deployed.

* Jiang Gan was not killed on Cao Cao's orders. In the movie, he was poisoned on Cao Cao's orders after he made the blunder which fooled Cao Cao into killing Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.

* Sun Shangxiang did not participate in the battle at all in history. In the movie, she fought alongside her comrades and even disguised herself and infiltrated Cao Cao's camp to act as a spy.

* Xiao Qiao was not present in the battle at all. In the movie, she accompanied her husband Zhou Yu to the main camp and provided him with moral support. Towards the end of the movie, she even ventured into Cao Cao's camp to persuade Cao Cao to give up his ambitions. When Cao Cao refused, she attempted suicide but was stopped by Cao Cao. Later, she distracted Cao Cao by having a conversation with him on the art of tea, in order to buy time for the allied forces to launch their attacks.

* Sun Quan did not participate at all personally in the Battle of Red Cliffs. In the movie, he joined in the battle and fought alongside his men together with Zhou Yu and Sun Shangxiang.

* Liu Bei's forces did not launch any offensive on Cao Cao's camp during the Battle of Red Cliffs as in the movie. In fact, they set up ambushes on Cao Cao's retreat journey, hoping to capture him alive along the way.

* The main battle was fought in this order: Huang Gai feigned surrender and launched the fire attack on Cao Cao's navy, the forces of Eastern Wu launched their main assault on Cao Cao's forces, Cao Cao retreated and fell into ambushes set up earlier by Eastern Wu forces along the retreat journey.

* Cao Cao did not stay behind and fight the enemy after his defeat, as in the final scenes in the movie. He fled after his defeat and managed to make his way back to his territory despite falling into several ambushes along the way.

And the difference between the movie and the novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms":

* Zhang Fei and a few soldiers met Cao Cao's troops at a bridge where Zhang Fei bellowed at the enemy, striking fear into them such that they did not dare to advance. In the movie, Zhang Fei led an army of 1000 to engage the enemy head on.

* Guan Yu only arrived to reinforce Liu Bei's retreating army after Zhao Yun had rescued Liu Shan. He did not stay behind to hold off the enemy forces alone like in the movie.

* Zhuge Liang met Sun Quan personally and discussed about the alliance with him in a private conversation unlike in the movie where the duo met during an assembly of all the subjects of Wu.

* Zhou Yu was training his troops at Chaisang prior to the Battle of the Red Cliffs and not at the Red Cliffs.

* Zhuge Liang first met Zhou Yu at the latter's residence through Lu Su's introduction, unlike in the movie where they met at the military training grounds.

* Cao Cao had never met Xiao Qiao before in his entire life. However, in the movie he gazed with lust at a drawing of her, mentioning that he had "never forgotten her" since he had first seen her with her father Qiao Xuan and that he intended to claim her for himself after defeating the warlords.

* The battle scene in the movie with the Eight Trigrams Formation was a fictional one. The forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei did not fight side-by-side with each other in any battle.

* Zhou Yu led Jiang Gan on a tour of his camp to show the prowess of his army and held a Heroes' Banquet after. He passed his sword to Taishi Ci, ordering him to kill anyone who spoke of military affairs with the sword, as a plan to shut Jiang Gan out. Later that night, Zhou Yu pretended to vomit and mumble in his sleep to incur Jiang Gan's suspicions. Jiang Gan crept to Zhou Yu's desk secretly and discovered the fake letter by Cai Mao and Zhang Yun. He stole the letter and secretly made his way back to Cao Cao's camp. In the movie however, the letter was first revealed to be hidden inside the scabbard of Zhou Yu's sword and fell out when Zhou was performing swordplay. Zhou hid the letter in his sleeve and Jiang Gan stole it from him during his sleep after eavesdropping on a conversation and overhearing something about Cai Mao and Zhang Yun planning to betray Cao Cao.

* Huang Gai suggested the Self-Torture Ruse to Zhou Yu in which he was flogged on Zhou's orders for apparently showing disrespect. This convinced Cao Cao further to believe that his surrender was indeed true with the help of Kan Ze's tongue. In the movie, this section had been omitted but Huang Gai did propose the Self-Torture Ruse to Zhou Yu, who did not heed his suggestion.

The above two excerpts are copied from Wikipedia, "Substantial differences between the movie, the novel and the chronicles".

Wonderful, Wikipedia! It really saves the trouble from rereading the chapters. For those who are interested to find out themselves, you may want to read the following Red-Cliff-related chapters from Luo Guanzhong's version of Romance of Three Kingdoms:

- Chapter 42. Screaming Zhang Fei Triumphs At Long Slope Bridge; Defeated Liu Bei Marches To Hanjin.

- Chapter 43. Zhuge Liang Disputes With The Southern Scholars; Lu Su Denounces The Majority Opinion.

- Chapter 44. Zhuge Liang Stirs Zhou Yu To Actions; Sun Quan Decides To Attack Cao Cao.

- Chapter 45. At The Three Gorges, Cao Cao Loses Soldiers; In The Gathering Of Heroes, Jiang Gan Is Trapped.

- Chapter 46. Using Strategy, Zhuge Liang Borrows Arrows; Joining A Ruse, Huang Gai Accepts Punishment.

- Chapter 47. Kan Ze Presents A Treacherous Letter; Pang Tong Suggests Chaining The Ships.

- Chapter 48. Banquet On The Great River, Cao Cao Sings A Song; Battle On Water, Northerners Fight With Chained Ships.

- Chapter 49. On Seven-Star Altar, Zhuge Liang Sacrifices To The Winds; At Three Gorges, Zhou Yu Liberates The Fire.

- Chapter 50. Zhuge Liang Foresees The Huarong Valley Episode; Guan Yu Lifts His Saber To Release Cao Cao.

Update on 29/01:
1. I just realized Pang Tong was not identified in Wikipedia article for Red Cliff. In the novel, it's he who suggested to chain or secure the ships together as to create more stability so that Cao Cao's men won't suffer from motion sickness. In the movie, it's Cai Mao (Cao Cao's general) who suggested the securing method (not using a chain).

Here's another good reason of not using a taxi...

Take a look at this article, "Why taxi firms are not dropping surcharges". The best part is even one of the taxi drivers was quoted to say that he "just hopes that the authorities can reduce the fare, so there will be more passengers for us."

One of the commuters rightly pointed out that "it's encouraging that buses and trains are doing their part to ease the burden for consumers during the economic downturn. So she hopes taxi operators can likewise reduce their fares."

Will the taxi companies ever wake up from their stubborn dream of keeping the fare not revised cheaper? Forget the customers, the taxi companies don't care with the problem that their own drivers are facing?! With the cheaper alternative means of transport like buses & trains, I'd imagine many would be more than willing to stop using taxis.

Taxi-Related Posts:
- The Case on The Vanishing Taxis: Solved!!
- Trans-Cab (the leader) axes fuel surcharge | Comfort (the follower) trails behind

A Chinese Woman sells her 'life' on the Net gaining 'Enlightenment'-- and Money

Her story makes a very good movie material. I reckon it's going to be at the same level of "Yes Man" and "The Terminal".

Miss Chen Xiao, a 25-year-old Beijing native, started her unusual online business last month on auction website She sells "the rest of her life" on the Internet.

Chen Xiao's online mission statement declared: "People can sell their personal time. Planning my time is your right. Completing your tasks is my mission.". She explained her rationale for setting up her unusual business: "Life has no meaning... I want to change my lifestyle - so I'll let you plan the rest of my life."

(One of the news source also quoted her advertisement to be: "Life has no meaning. But I can't die, so I've decided to let you, my friends on the Internet, arrange every day of my life. I just want to do something for others.")

I've got this to say about her venture. Very creative! At the very least, she did not take an easy way out of killing herself when she first thought (wrongly) that life has no meaning.

Within six weeks, Chen has collected signatures on a poster on the Great Wall, done some pet-sitting, accompanied people to doctors' appointments, had lunch with a beggar, taken photographs of people and posted online for them.

She had fun, for sure. And equally important is she earned good money while doing so--$500 in 1½ months, a respectable salary in China!

Well done, Chen Xiao! Although knowing the country where you live, I wonder how long it would be before other people start 'copying' your idea. Heh.

Read also:
-"She sells her 'life' on the Net" (Asiaone)
- Chinese Woman Follows Online Path (ABC News)
- Chinese woman 'sells her life' online (

'Invisible Children' by Brian Gothong Tan (in Berlin)

The grimy image of a HDB flat lit by spartan flourescent light tubes opens up a landmark film in Singapore's film history - 12 Storeys. The soft billowing of army camouflage uniforms and neighbourhood shop underwears on poles under the afternoon sun sets the scene for what looks like 'revisiting' 12 Storeys. But not quite. On a more neutral and clinical note, 'Invisible Children' by Brian Gothong Tan takes us on slightly distanced and wryly humorous look at a few lives who share something in common - a compelling need to run away.

There is a pair of brother-sister siblings who live in a home of quarelling parents and a despotic mum. The brother is helpless, a little wimpy and a lot lost. The sister has an unspoken magnetism and strength in her and her eyes ooze with determination, if not, adamance. Perhaps one of the more arresting characters in the film.

The other character that stood out (at least the the crowd at the Berlin Asian Hot Shots Film festival) was Lim Poh Huat. After having played so many inconsequential 'extra' roles in films, this was one kind of tailored made for him. With his crisply-ironed national-hygiene-board shirt wrapped around his lanky, sterile-looking frame, he keeps himself pre-occupied with cleaing his house and inspecting other people's houses.
At this point, it is amazing to think how there were still at least 3 other stories that involved about 4 other characters. Naturally, the depth of understanding the characters suffered a little due to this. There is an army officer who upholds the regimental practices in camp but yearns for a freer life overseas. In his own camp, there is a sluggish Private who has trouble keeping up with the rules and time. Despite getting punished by the officer, he feels a certain unspoken attachment to him. An expressway away from the camp, in the heart of CBD , is a fresh lawyer who is struggling hard to keep afloat in her job. Finally, and delightfully, out of nowhere struts in the MerlionAir Girl, a symbol a grace, modernity and supposedly a source of national pride. While she graces a (tongue-in-cheek) MerlionAir TV commercial, her personal life is hollow.

Brian's previous works have been distinguished by their use of iconoclastic visual imagery. And many references are made to national icons and symbols in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Having first established himself as a video artist, the 'installation' look is apparent. In a more subtle way, 'Invisible Children' presents a series of troubled lives in 'boxed-up', clean and slightly-stylised kind of setting. Except for the army bunk, there are plenty of white walls and sterilised settings. Singapore looks like a santitised, inhumane, almost surreal kind of place. Many characters wear white or plain off-white clothing. Either that, or uniforms - there were at least 4 ..... army boys, school students, policemen and an air stewardess. If this is all starting to sound like a visual statement, it probably is. Watching this in Berlin in front of a foreign audience, I began to worry if the Germans would view us as people from another planet.

I was actually watching it for the third time. The more I watch, the more the intellectual and conceptual marks of the film speak to me. Lim Poh Huat's character drew consistent laughter from the German audience. Perhaps it speaks to their disciplined nature. But I felt it made a huge and hilarious statement in the film, be it overseas audience or not. Then there was surrealistic disappearing scene which helped the kids escape for 2 stoogey policemen. However, the scene that takes the cake involves Yeo Yann Yann playing a Chinese teacher who speaks teached healthy 'Asian' values. Lol!

On the downside, the emotional aspects speak less and less. Perhaps, this is because not all the characters were defined adequately. A number of characters did seem like token symbols of a larger group of people. This included the stewardess and the lawyer. But the treatment of the 2 army characters and the mother-children trio gave the film more depth and irony. In fact, the film concluded an ambiguous shot of the mum's reaction to seeing something epiphanic, after grieving over the disappearance of her children. Karen Tan locked in a nuanced and affecting performance. The camera holds on her close up as her funereal expression morphs into one that hopeful, yet a 'make-believe' kind of hopeful. This I felt, was probably the emotional centre-gravity of the film (interesting that it is at the end).

Many of Brian's previous works are actually watchable from YouTube. Check out the following titles : Waking the Fluorescent Lion, Imelda Goes to Singapore, Sublime Monsters and Virtual Children, Across Asia.

"...will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner. "

I was reading (just for fun, I swear!!) my horoscope for the day. Here's what it's said:

The romantic side to your character will be highlighted by the sweetness of the present lunar climate and will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner. You'll need romantic outbursts so as to feel satisfied.

The part about "...will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner" actually amuses me. So far the only question that may seem 'sexual' in nature was the one about the difference between a lover and a boyfriend. (Which by the way I have since ignored it & my colleague did not do any follow-up.)

Somehow "tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner" reminds me to the movie, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno". There are lots of sexual questions answered in a realistic manner. In a very realistic manner.

For example (Quoted from IMDB):
Miriam Linky: Nobody wants to see us fuck, Zack!

Zack: EVERYBODY wants to see ANYBODY fuck. I hate Rosie O'Donell, but if somebody said "I got a tape of Rosie O'Donell getting fucked stupid" I'd be like "Why the fuck aren't we watching that right now?"

Okay, that may not sound literally a question. This one might be a better example:
Brandon: I thought you recognized me from my work, but you're not my demographic so I'm not offended.

Zack: Well, who's your demographic?

Brandon: Do you like pussy?

Zack: Yeah.

Brandon: Then not you.

(Brandon is by the way a gay & a star in a gay porn. I don't mean to poke fun at gays nor do I have a thing against gays. I just believe the above is truly a realistic way in tackling a sexual question. Or not. Heh.)

He could have been Singapore's YOUNGEST loan shark!

Fact or fiction? Being creative or being realistic (it's never too early to prepare oneself for one's dream job--although sadly, that turns out to be a loan shark)? You decide.

At first I'm so tempted to look for the video online. Then again, maybe not. Seems to me there's an element of child pornography in that video.

A Singaporean boy's homemade video caused some rife discussion on the local online forums lately, with Netizens disapproving of his imitating a typical illegal moneylender, or Ah Long, in the online clip.

According to local Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, the boy, who looked no older than 10 years old, imitated an Ah Long demanding money from his debtors, and even threatened to cut the debtor's penis off if he didn't pay up.

The video seemed to be filmed in an alley near a local HBD estate, Lianhe Wanbao reported. They boy, who was still dressed in his school uniform, sat on a plastic chair with his left leg propped up like a typical gangster.

He then shouted at the camera, asking an imaginary debtor to "owe money pay money". He then got up from his seat and walked towards the camera, saying "Pay up, if not I'll chop you! If you don't pay up, I'll cut your penis off!"

The boy then proceeded to gesture his threat, and even unzipped his fly, revealing his white underpants.

As the 31 second video came to a close, one could hear the person behind the camera trying not to laugh.

Lianhe Wanbao wrote that a link to this video was posted on a local forum and angered the Netizens who disapproved of the boy's actions.

The Chinese daily said that most replies to the thread centred around Netizen's worry for the boy's future. One forum member wrote in reply to the post, "This boy looked no older than 10 years of age, but he's already behaving like this. What are our children learning nowadays?"

Another Netizen questioned the whereabouts of the boy's parents, wondering why they were not around to keep an eye on him or discipline him.

From Asiaone, "Boy imitates Ah Long in online video".

Malaysia tak boleh? | Rihanna's umbrella punctured by a protest note

Even if Rihanna were to plead that Malaysians will have her heart & that they'll never be worlds apart--darn those catchy Umbrella lyrics--Federal Territory (FT) PAS Youth is not going to be swayed.

FT PAS Youth chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad was recently reported as saying that inviting the Grammy-award winning singer from Barbados here was “akin to insulting eastern culture”, among other reasons.

Meanwhile, Kamaruzaman yesterday handed over a memorandum of protest to the concert’s local sponsor Celcom (M) Berhad.

“This singer is not a good icon in the entertainment world for Malaysians to idolise,” he said after handing over the memorandum.

From thestar, "No reason to stop Rihanna concert, says Shafie".

It brings to mind to the strikingly similar case involving Malaysia's very own Queen of Rock, Ella or Norzila Aminuddin. For her, it was the Selangor PAS Youth who submitted a protest note & even threatened to stage a "peaceful" protest. (Somehow I now find the two words, "peaceful" & "protest" do not really go well side by side.)

Thankfully, the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has enough common sense to declare that the Rihanna concert will go on. As long as she & the organizer fulfill the conditions laid out by the ministry. Care to guess what these conditions are? I find it strange that they're not clearly spelt out.

Specific terms & conditions for those singers who intend to perform in a concert may prevent further furious protest notes raised by PAS Youth. Seriously, they should have better things to do than wasting their time drafting the protest notes, shouldn't they?

PS. I like it when a minister is firm in his stand. Well done, Pak Shafie!

"They can always protest, but the ministry has the final say," Minister of Unity, Culture and Arts Mohamad Shafie Apdal was quoted as saying by the country's Bernama news agency, yesterday.

From The Nation Newspaper, "Islamic group warns Rihanna".

Virginia Tech Beheading Murder -- The killer blogged he was ready to take a life; 7 witnesses froze

A pity that the killer, Zhu Haiyang did not have the guts to kill himself. Instead, he attacked a female Chinese graduate student, Yang Xin--no, not the actress Yang Xin--with a large kitchen knife in a campus cafe at Virginia Tech. (Yes, it's the very same Virginia Tech where the shooting massacre happened in 2007.)

After a police received a 911 emergency call minutes after the assault, the officer who arrived at the scene found Yang's head had been cut off. Zhu Haiyang must be a very good knife wielder.

It was reported that there're 7 witnesses in the cafe.

Apparently the best they could do was to freeze as the bloody onslaught was committed & to call a police minutes after the assault. Yes, the witnesses might practise extreme caution not to antagonize the killer by calling for help immediately. One man with a sharp object did for sure overpower seven witnesses, whom presumably to be all adults.

Who am I to judge others' choice to be safe? Perhaps they were frantically thinking the possibility that the murderer had a gun with him as well. Who knows? (The news did highlight that at the time of his arrest, multiple "edged weapons" were found inside Zhu Haiyang's backpack.)

Anyway, I wonder what the motive behind the slaughter was. One of the news stated that the emergency contact records suggest that Yang Xin and the student who murdered her, Zhu Haiyang from Ningbo, China, knew each other. Let's rule out then that Yang Xin was killed by chance.

I know many must be wondering about the killer's & the victim's personalities.

Kim Beisecker, the director of the Cranwell International Center, which works with international students described the victim as "a very sweet young woman" and the murder "as a polite young man". The subliminal message is even a polite young man may kill & do so in a horrible manner. Beware.

Although you passed away so tragically, do rest in peace, Yang Xin. (And to think that she's only 22!). I wonder how badly her family took the news.

For you, Zhu Haiyang: at 25 years old you're still considered young. Hope you rot for life in jail before upgrading in a much warmer Hell.

Sorry everybody. I know it's almost Chinese New Year. Although that doesn't mean it's a break time for crimes (you know what they say, Crime never sleeps--or something like that), I never expect there's a horror news just within days to Chinese New Year.

Snippets from the relevant news articles:
He was so frustrated he was thinking of killing someone or ending his life, Zhu Haiyang wrote in a chilling weblog entry - barely two weeks before he hacked off the head of a fellow mainland student newly arrived at US university Virginia Tech....

From South China Morning Post, "Killer blogged he was ready to take a life".

"There were seven witnesses in the cafe. There had been no argument, no shouting" when the young woman was attacked, said Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski, confirming that Yang had been decapitated.

The Collegiate Times, the university's newspaper, said police received a 911 emergency call minutes after the assault and the officer who arrived at the scene found Yang's head had been cut off. The murder weapon, a large kitchen knife, was found at the scene.

In a copy of a police affidavit published by the Collegiate Times, the officer said that when she arrived at the scene she found Zhu holding Yang's head in his hand.

"This is horrible and tragic. Especially when we know that Virginia Tech has got its share of hardship and horror," Owczarski said.

From Yahoo! News, "Chinese student decapitated at Virginia Tech".

A Chinese student has been charged with murder in the United States after the horrific killing of a fellow student from Beijing.

Alone and in a new country, graduate student Yang Xin had reached out to other Chinese students at Virginia Tech when she arrived two weeks ago, trying to establish her life on campus.

But her new life was to end in tragedy.

She went to social events with international students, was in touch with the campus center that helps them adjust and appeared to be making friends. But one of those friendships may have led to her death.

Police say she was decapitated with a kitchen knife while having coffee with a Chinese doctoral student in a campus cafe on Wednesday.

From, "Chinese student charged with murder after horror on campus".

Yang and Zhu were among 477 Chinese graduate students enrolled at Tech this semester. Karen DePauw, dean of the graduate school, said that the incident would not affect foreign student recruitment.

"I don't think it will have a negative affect," Depauw said. "Like April 16, people will read about it but they will also know that we have quality academic programs and that we are dedicated to building community."

From, "Stabbing death in Donaldson Brown".

Thai Coca Cola

Remember the previous shot of Arabic Coca Cola? Now I manage to hold (no, I've not drunk it yet) a can of Coca Cola made in Thailand. Here's the photo. Again, I like how the logo looks like in the local lingo. Heh.

S'pore's own world heritage site?

The New Paper
By Ng Tze Yong
24 January 2009


Tiong Bahru among the nominees by new Facebook group for S'pore's first Unesco World Heritage Site

THE buzz to find a new national icon, one to match the Angkor Wats and Taj Mahals of the world, is growing.

A little over a year ago, Singapore rejoined Unesco, the United Nations agency that conserves sites of world heritage.

Now, government agencies and heritage lovers here are throwing up names of places in Singapore that might make it to Unesco's World Heritage Site (WHS) list - and gain official recognition as a world wonder.

WHS status is given to the world's greatest natural or human-made wonders, deemed to be of 'outstanding universal value'.

The WHS list, which currently stands at 878 entries, includes the who's who of world attractions, such as the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Stonehenge in the UK.

Now, Singaporeans want one of their own.

A Facebook group set up two weeks ago, which called itself the Unesco World Heritage Site for Singapore, has gathered 150-odd members.

Possible local WHS nominees range from established tourism attractions like the Botanical Gardens to lesser-known spots like the old Tiong Bahru estate.

Said its founder, Mr Tan Wee Cheng, a 39-year-old adjunct associate professor in accounting at NUS: 'I hope to encourage Singaporeans to start identifying the things we hold dear to our hearts and want to showcase to the world.'

In cyberspace, members of a heritage lovers' forum are discussing the possibility of setting up a local chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

Also known as Icomos, it is a non-governmental organisation, comprising professionals interested in conservation, which will facilitate the nomination.

The government agency responsible for a WHS nomination, the Singapore National Commission for Unesco, said it is 'working with the relevant Ministries and government agencies to study the suitability and feasibility of nominating' a WHS.

But while the idea has captivated heritage lovers, it also has its fair share of detractors and cynics.

Their common refrain: So what's there in Singapore?

Nevertheless, Singapore's chances are 'pretty good', according to Mr Richard Engelhardt, senior adviser at Unesco and the former regional adviser for culture in Asia and the Pacific for Unesco.

Not anytime soon

'There is confidence in the Government's ability to conserve any site that is eventually selected,' he said in a phone interview from Bangkok where he is based.

However, Singapore won't be seeing a WHS of its own anytime soon.

The nomination process takes about five years, involving in-depth research by the applicant country, numerous site visits by Unesco and reviews by various committees.

Before a place can be declared a WHS, laws for the protection of the site also need to be set up and a management plan implemented to ensure its preservation.

Public support is another requirement.

'Unesco won't look at a nomination unless all the stakeholders are in agreement,' said Mr Engelhardt.

These stakeholders include government bodies, private developers and homeowners.

In Singapore however, the discussion so far seems to be taking place mostly between government bodies.

An obvious stakeholder, the Singapore Heritage Society, has not been consulted, said its president, Dr Kevin Tan.

'We do not even know of the existence of this Singapore National Commission for Unesco,' he said.

He believes the Government is taking a cautious approach.

'They are probably considering all the pluses and minuses of having a WHS in Singapore first,' said Dr Tan.

'It's the civil service mentality and that's okay. But in determining the pluses and minuses, who are they talking to?'

He feels the Government needs to engage all stakeholders and not have a perception that 'the only stakeholder is the Singapore Tourism Board'.

He hopes that the National Commission, currently made up of officials from various ministries, expands to include others like academics, architects, the Nature Society, the Heritage Society and Harp (the Historic Architecture Rescue Plan, a conservation group).

If successful, WHS status will bring many benefits, both tangible and intangible.
The tourism industry may be boosted by an influx of tourists.

'Getting on the WHS list is, after all, like getting a ISO 9000 stamp,' said Mr Tan.
'It will give us a different selling point and make our tourism industry more resilient.'

National identity

A WHS may also help to achieve what years of National Education have tried to do - cultivate a sense of national identity.

'Choosing a WHS is a healthy process for a young nation,' said Mr Engelhardt. 'It is like a high school student discovering things about his past in grandma's attic.'

But with benefits come perils.

Gaining WHS status can drive up rents and attract new residents and businesses, altering the character of a place forever.

The influx of tourists may actually end up causing harm in places if infrastructure is lacking.

This was what happened to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Machu Picchu in Peru and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

WHS status can also stifle development.

Mere months after gaining its hard-won WHS status, Penang's Georgetown may now lose it due to the construction of four high-rise hotels, projects which were planned beforehand.

But if the government halts the projects now, it can be sued by developers.

For Singapore, the first obstacle may be selling the idea to Singaporeans who believe there is little culture here to speak of.

It's a uniquely Singaporean problem.

'Most countries do not suffer from such a mindset,' said Mr Engelhardt.

'The irony is that tourism messages aimed at foreigners might have actually affected local residents even more in the way they look at themselves.'

In the 1960s and 1970s, Singapore's tourism slogan was Instant Asia, as it sold itself as a one-stop destination to see Asia.

Then came the about-turn to the present slogan, Uniquely Singapore.

'If we are truly Uniquely Singapore, then we have to ask what it is that is unique about Singapore,' said Dr Tan.

'And surely, that cannot be a shopping mall.'




CIVIC DISTRICT (includes Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street)
The heart of old Singapore, then the jewel of the British Empire.
Besides outstanding examples of imperial architecture, also comprises well-planned ethnic districts.

The British Empire's laboratory for tropical botanical research. First place outside South America where rubber was commercially planted. This changed the landscapes and economies of Malaysia and Indonesia forever.

Some of the world's best examples of nature conservation in an urban area. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve contains more varieties of plants and trees than the whole of North America.

Teems with unique collections of marine life from six distinct habitats - coastal forest, mangroves, sand bars, seagrass lagoon, rocky shore and coral rubble.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.
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