Recent acheivements

This piece of art titled Nature's mosaic was submitted for Breakthrough Art-Creations II-a competition organised by
Fill-your-walls Gallery, singapore http://fill-your-walls.com/gallery.php. From a total of 200 art works submitted, 40 were selected to be exhibited on 19th August,2009 and Nature's mosaic was one of the pieces selected.

I used my knowledge of water colour painting as well as oil painting to get the desired results using acrylic. This particular medium allows one to use both techniques as it is water soluble. Glazing[ see video -below ] helped me to enrich the colours and create a dramatic effect for the dead leaves.

nooka sightings: fallout boy [part 3]



courtesy of photographer todd owyoung, fallout boy's patirck stump (vocalist and guitarist) was pictured sporting a nooka silver zub zoo 20. on august 19th, falloutboy performed at the pageant and todd owyoung was able to get up-close and capture the band in action. known for their creative and enthusiastic love for music, it was a pleasure to see the band showing nooka love. be sure to pickup the nooka that patrick is wearing.

nooka is available at fine shops and online here.

also, don't forget to vote for nooka at pulchra. the voting process may seem a bit tedious, but it is actually really simple. simply drag nooka to the number 1 spot, if that's your choice of course and choose the other 9 objects until you have completed your list. In order for your vote to be valid, you will need to complete the details form. remember you can only vote ONCE PER DAY, so make sure to log on the next day and do it all over again. link is here!

follow nooka on facebook and twitter.

Short Cuts in Shot

Ghazi (middle) holding his chest up high in the Q & A; Wesley (in green) trying to look emo.
Little boy from 'Outing'

Nooka Sighting: Josh Wilson & Marcus Trufant


after having the chance to meet josh wilson (cornerback of the seattle seahawks) earlier this summer, it came to no surprise that he would be invovled in charity events for his home town, washington. wilson, along with teammate marcus trufant (cornerback) sported nookas watches to the seahawks children's chartity event hosted by vision house, a nonprofit organization whose mission is "To follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and homeless to promote positive transformation of their lives." wilson wore the glow in the dark zub-zenh 20, while trufant sported the white zub zenv 20.

to learn more about what you can do to help vision house, visit vision house.

nooka is available at fine shops and online here.

also, don't forget to vote for nooka at pulchra. the voting process may seem a bit tedious, but it is actually really simple. simply drag nooka to the number 1 spot, if that's your choice of course and choose the other 9 objects until you have completed your list. In order for your vote to be valid, you will need to complete the details form. remember you can only vote ONCE PER DAY, so make sure to log on the next day and do it all over again. link is here!

follow nooka on facebook and twitter.

The Fashion Industry – Ambassadors of the Jamaica Brand?


Recently, I came across a series of fascinating articles on the Australian Fashion industry and how it was being positioned to service the Australia brand internationally. Indeed Austrade’s (Australian Trade Commission) National Manager, Rob Sutton commented that:

‘The Australian Fashion industry isn’t just about fabrics, frocks and fanfare, but one of the key cultural ambassador industries. Fashion is one of Australia’s key creative and design industries and we know that there are over 2000 active fashion exporters delivering their products and services in overseas markets”.

It occurred to me that Jamaica might not be fully exploiting its own successes in the fashion industry to market Jamaica. When I say successes I mean the country’s international reputation for producing international top models whom have graced the cover of top fashion magazines (Vogue, Essence etc).

Jamaica – A Place for Fashion? Lessons from Australia
Jamaica has also had enormous success premised on its past victories at international fashion industry competitions such as Miss World and Miss Universe pageants. These arenas have not only exhibited the beauty of our women, but displayed Jamaica’s top class designers and the quality of their productions.

Australia has no doubt recognised that it has an international reputation for producing some of the emerging stars in the fashion world. The country is therefore committed, Sutton says, to exporting this vision with the goal of reflecting their creative environment; modern fresh ideas and quality products.

As part of Brand Australia, Sutton says, they look at promoting the image of the nation through varying strategies, with fashion being an attractive component of that vision. For them, it holds key international mainstream media impacts, artistic component and celebrity story reach.

This is undoubtedly true as I notice that top celebrities such as Eva Mendez, among others, have been flying into Australia to sample the design collections of many Australian designs – from the mundane items such as bracelets and bangles to top market pieces such as clothes, bags and shoes! Obviously, Australian celebrities such as pop singer, Kylie Minogue and actress Nicole kidman would have helped to establish the Australian brand by buying and wearing Australian desisgners.
Sutton argues that:
“It really helps to further Australia’s message through the creative industry. We are able to project diversity from pour relaxed beach culture – with our leading surf wear/swimwear brands to our vibrant cosmopolitan city lifestyles – with our urban street wear companies and cutting edge high fashion designers”.

Reggae Fashion
No doubt, the Bob Marley clan have cornered a part of the reggae wear market and have had celebs such as Gwen Stefani sporting the signature reggae colours. Other artistes such as Sean Paul, Sean Kingston and Shaggy have been instrumental in enabling the Jamaica design brand overseas. Cooyah designs and others have emerged as niche marketers of a line of Jamaica clothing. It would have been nice to see them in Berlin expanding the reach of Jamaica and Jamaican designs on the world stage.


Jamaican Street Wear – Untapped Potential
I give credit to the emergence of a wide variety of Jamaican urban ‘street clothing’ by creative young designers. The ‘Portmore Collection’ and the Kingston Collection have the potential to take off. Some entertainers such as General Degree have been attempting to tap into the T-shirt market. This is also a good thing as the worldwide obsession with reggae and Jamaica and things Jamaican mean that the space is wide open for further in roads to be made in this arena.

Australia’s creative industry particularly in fashion was showcased at the Rosemount fashion week in 2008. It featured Australian brands such as Jayson Brunsdon, High Tea, Mrs Woo, Madame Marie Rachel Bending which captured international buyer interest from countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand.

Government Support
Like other cultural industries, the fashion industry may require government support. Sutton chalks up Australia’s success to the “result of the ongoing work that Austrade does in-market throughout the year to raise the profile and image of Australian brands. Actively supporting Australian brands and helping Australian exporters overseas. We work closely with retail buyers and agents to highlight the unique style of the Australian fashion industry.
Sutton considers as successes Austyle London and Dubai, Thailand’s Fashionably Australia and the 200 Ford Supermodel of the World event, which featured some of Australia’s top designers to more than 1000 of the worlds influential fashion leaders and international media.


It certainly would be interesting to the Caribbean Fashion Week – which I have enjoyed immensely every time it’s on – receive the kinds of international exposure and traction apparent in Australia. And Jamaican/Caribbean designers tap into the international circuit.

The success of the Australian business model is apparent – strategic thinking and positioning. In short, it’s no accident or chance encounter but deliberately planned and executed.

Educating And Training in Fashion
Sutton’s commentary is telling here: “We (Australia) have also worked hard to host pre-fashion week seminars with over 100 participants to bring interested new fashion exporters up to speed on managing international sales growth and the expectations of our international guests”.

Education and training – what would we do without it. It would appear that Jamaica has left fashion to the ‘unskilled’- those who can’t find a job and therefore should get [‘sewing’] skills. The perception of the industry must change and fashion seen as not just a alternative vocation for less formally educated but a real industry that can produce stars of design – clothes, shoes, bags etc.

The fact that Australia created their own ‘Project Runway Australia” reality show to much popularity, and established popular design schools for those wanting a career in the field - only serves to crank up interest in the fashion and design industry and ensure its endurance.

Jamaica is well-positioned to tap into the fashion market. We just need to seize the opportunity.

For more information on Australia’s creative industries, see www.austrade.gov.au

Contributed by Dr. Hume Johnson
Dr. Hume Johnson is a communications consultant, co-founder of The Communication Workshop; http://thecommunicationexperts.blogspot.com
Also see, Talking Politics at http://humejohnson.wordpress.com
Images sourced online from Caribbean Beat blog, fashionoverstyle_photos on photobucket.com, dryhyphenplympics.blospot.com

"Dumb Test" uses Michael Jackson for its Advertisement: A smart move?

This curious advertisement says, "Michael Jackson's IQ is 110. Can You Beat That?" No, I can't. Not that I try the site which is rightly named as "Dumb Test". Consider this post as a free ad for you, Dumb Test! Honestly, though, I think it's a hell of dumb move that you choose to use Michael Jackson as your ad.

Is that too much to ask to be a bit sensitive? The King of Pop had died, for goodness sake!!

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time


Finally I managed to watch it last night. Thank you, okto! Heh. More about the anime, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" can be found in this Wikipedia article. Check out also the full trailer of the movie here.

Now I'm ready to watch (preferably to read, actually) "The Time Traveller's Wife". =)

Melissa Faith Yeo -- the fearless model who goes for boob job...and proud of it!!

For those who want to learn more, her blog is easily found, "Melissa Faith Yeo" (http://melissafaithyeo.blogspot.com/). But somehow I couldn't find the particular post on her "ordeal" to get her breast enhancement. Some of the photos (scary or sexy? You decide) can be found here.

I mean, it's up to everyone's decision, and who am I to criticize? Still I am just curious to compare the news with her exact post in her blog? Are there any misquotes? Are there any incomplete, out of context quotes? And so on and so forth...

For 23-year-old Singaporean model Melissa Faith Yeo, getting her breasts enhanced - and posting the details and photos on her blog - is no big deal.

Prior to her 11-day trip to Bangkok, she posted this on her blog: "I'm going for a boob job."

She continued, "Yep, I said it and I'm not afraid to publicize it. After all, people are not stupid lor! We can all tell la ok?"

"I'm not only admitting I'm doing a before-and-after but also, I will document it," she adds.

Her subsequent blog entries chronicle her entire hospital experience.

Despite having decided on a C-cup saline implant, the doctor convinced her to get a silicone implant after she poked, prodded, twisted and punched the sample and found it unbreakable during her experiment. He also told her to get 220-ml B cups instead, as her body is too small. She now proudly posts her new stats, 32B-24-34, on her blog.

The model lived up to her promise of documenting the experience, littering her posts with information like:

* "When they scooped me up to place me on my bed, the nurse turned my body to the right so that they could properly put me down (I think) and that was when I felt a SHARP pain in my chest."
* She proudly announced: "My boobs were FINALLY modified!!"
* "I always ended up grabbing my chest when I sat up because my boobs and armpits would have very sharp pains shooting through."

Personal photos including the model at the hospital and post-op images are all prominently posted on her blog. She warns: "*Warning: Dangerous curves ahead. OK, not so much that but please don't freak out when you see the photo with my bruises. It's nothing gory at all but pretty graphic still."

Her surgery cost 87,672 baht, or $3,726.

From Asiaone, "Singapore model goes to Thailand for boob job, documents process online ".

Ruan Qi (aka Devil Consultant) is the guru of pick-up artists in China

Ruan Qi is the China's guru of pick-up artists. And when I read how the term "average frustrated chumps" is mentioned, I come to remember this book, "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists" by Neil Strauss. Quite a wonder that even in China, the evil art of picking-up-girls has gathered its followers. Heh.

Just kidding. Remember the movie, "Hitch"? It really depends on the individual to misuse the knowledge.

An online posting about his experience of picking up girls on the street has accidentally transformed a failed businessman into a professional pick-up artist.

Last year, Ruan Qi's apparel business failed. Frustrated, he started writing online, covering topics such as setting up a business and picking-up girls on the street, or in the workplace.

Within weeks, he received a multitude of e-mails, interested in nothing but his "pick-up skills" (dashan), which soon made him think he could make money out of it.

In February last year he started his first training class in pick-up skills at Beijing's Wangfujing Bookstore. Six men participated. Within a year, they all found girlfriends and claim this would not have been possible without their enhanced finesse with the opposite sex.

Word spread. Over the past year, Ruan's training class has become such a phenomenon that on douban.com, the website where Ruan first posted, there are now about 50 pick-up groups based in different cities across China.

Ruan now runs classes full-time. He has even got a nickname: "Devil Consultant".

His classes take place every weekend, though the venue changes from shopping malls to bookstores and college campuses.

Currently, some 300 people have registered for Ruan's classes, among whom nearly 30 percent have established relationships with their pick-up targets.

"Class members are aged between 22 and 35, with those between 25 and 29 in the majority," Ruan says. "Most of them are white-collar workers and post-graduate students who have not been able to find girlfriends, partly because of their small socializing circle and their shy and unassertive character."

They are the so-called "average frustrated chumps", referring to guys who have no pick-up skills.

"I blushed, my heart fluttered and I couldn't speak every time I talked with pretty girls, even if they were my classmates," says a 27-year-old post-graduate science student surnamed Han, who like others interviewed for this article did not want to give their full name.

"Now, inspired by 'Devil' and encouraged by my fellow members, I have the guts to speak to even women I don't know."

Traditionally, men or women of a marriageable age unable to find a partner will turn to matchmakers, usually relatives and friends, or commercial agencies. But dating of this kind has its limitations. "Blind dates are usually embarrassing and disheartening, because matchmakers simply don't understand what we want. Also, even if we know we don't click at first sight, we have to have dinner together for the matchmaker's sake. It is a waste of time and money," says a 30-year-old man surnamed Wu.

Ruan gives online lectures, imparts techniques to spot a potential target, pick up, date and maintain a relationship. Advanced classes involve phonetic coaching and image building.

"Although seduction groups have been formed in cities around the world for nearly two decades - they even have guide books - I drew on techniques mostly from my personal experience, because Western theories don't apply to our Eastern culture," Ruan explains.

Success in the dating game doesn't come cheap. Tuition for basic classes is 600 yuan ($88) per person, while advanced classes are 2,200 yuan. Student Han thinks it's worth it.

"Besides the progress I have made in dealing with girls, another benefit is that after image building training, the security guard at my college no longer checks my credentials out of the suspicion that I might be a migrant worker," Han says.

But there is also opposition to the pick-up artists.

While there are 50-some pick-up groups on douban.com, about 3,000 people have formed a "counter-pick-up group" on the same website to discuss ways against the "art of seduction".

An online survey by sina.com shows that while 57.7 percent of 10,906 respondents are supportive of pick-up classes, believing they promote confidence and social competence, 37.3 percent fear they may encourage sexual harassment and one-night stands.

Another young man, surnamed Yang, was called a "pervert" when he tried to pick up a girl.

"I was lousy that day and the place - an elevator - made things worse," he admits.

Girls who have this dismissive attitude are termed "steel slabs". "Glass slabs" are indifferent, while "plastic slabs" are generally friendly and perhaps willing to leave their phone number. Ruan tells his trainees that you don't have to become a pick-up professional to meet someone but with the addition of pick-up skills the likelihood is greater. And he is not short of real-life examples.

"From October 2008 to March 2009, I have taken part in 13 weekend practices, started 40 pick-ups, got 18 phone numbers, and become friends with six," writes a former member of Ruan's pick-up class, who calls himself "Fog".

"Now, since I have found the one, I will quit. But guys, we can still have dinner together."

From Asiaone, "Picking up girls makes failed businessman success".

Landbanking & how long will this long-term investment be?

Something you may want to consider before you commit your money in this type of investment. I know there are people who swear that landbanking is good (well, good for them if it works alright!) and there are others who are skeptical about it.

Me? I can't decide yet. But from what I gather, one may need to prepare to wait for quite a considerable amount of years before one realize the profit. I don't think I can afford that.

Buy a piece of land and sell it to property developers later for a tidy profit.

This is the pitch by landbanking companies to potential investors.

In landbanking, a company buys a plot of land, usually in a rural area in another country, subdivides it into smaller plots and sells them to investors.

Once planning permission is given, the value of the land will rise. But like all investments, returns are not guaranteed and could take years to materialise.

Marketing executive Rita Wong, 40, found this out after paying about $30,000 for 4,000 sqm of land in Ontario, Canada.

In 2003, at a friend's invitation, Madam Wong attended a seminar organised by Walton International, a landbanking company with offices in Canada and Singapore.

She told The New Paper: 'I was greeted by a salesman who kept telling me that Canadian land was a viable investment as there would always be demand for housing, thanks to immigration.'

The company told Madam Wong there was no fixed time-frame for the Canadian government to approve the land for development.

Six years later, she's still waiting for this to happen.

'I thought there would always be demand for land. I could have earned some money in a shorter time had I invested in fixed deposits,' she said.

'I may have to spend the rest of my life waiting for the Canadian government to allow the land to be developed.'

The New Paper contacted Walton for comment on Tuesday but it did not reply by press time.

A sales executive from Walton, however, told us that profits could take years to materialise and the company had investors who saw profits only after 10 years.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it has received four complaints about landbanking companies so far this year.

It got three complaints last year and two in 2007.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said the complainants wanted to terminate the investment contracts, but Case could not help as investments do not fall under the association's ambit.

Landbanking companies allow investors to exit their investments by getting someone else to buy over their plots and paying transfer fees of about 15 per cent of the plot price.

The companies said that should they go bust, judicial managers will take care of the investors' interests.

Long-term decision

Mr Seah cautioned that landbanking carries high risks.

'The land you buy may not appreciate in value for a long time and the money you invested may be stuck for a long time with no returns,' he said. 'Reselling the land, if possible, may also result in losses.'

The New Paper attended a landbanking seminar by Edgeworth Properties, a Canadian-based developer, on Wednesday.

Edgeworth develops land in oil-rich Alberta and part of its development strategy is to get funds from overseas investors to buy plots.

Edgeworth said it had already submitted applications for planning permission and that returns of 75per cent on land in Alberta were guaranteed after four years.

The price of each plot of land costs C$10,000 ($15,000), depending on the size. So if you invest $15,000, you would get back $26,250.

The returns were guaranteed in Edgeworth's sales contracts.

There was no hard-selling.

Mr Leslie Ng, country manager of Edgeworth Properties, told The New Paper: 'The investor has to ask why this particular location makes it viable and attractive for a developer to want to build there.

'But bear in mind that your funds will be locked in for four years. If you foresee big financial commitments in the near future, please consider carefully.'

Mr Ng added that Edgeworth has 1,800 investors in Singapore.

He said: 'We used to get C$2m ($2.65m) a month in investments, but we took a hit after the financial crisis, when monthly investments fell to between $250,000 and $500,000.

'But we're recovering nicely now.'

We asked Edgeworth if it had any successful investors but it said its first project would only mature next year.

Other companies, such as Jardin Smith International and The Profitable Group, could not guarantee when investors could see returns.

Jardin Smith, which has been operating here since 2005, sells land in the UK to investors and also applies for planning permission there.

Its chief executive, Mr Stewart Gunnery, said that none of its plots in Water Orton, a village in Warwickshire, has received planning permission.

He said: 'Landbanking is a medium-to-long- term investment. If you're looking for short-term gains, you can try the stock market, but that's volatile.

'Our sites are all carefully selected using specific criteria, such as good communication links and proximity to local amenities and schools.

'We carry out extensive checks on the viability of the land through our UK planning agents and our lawyers.'

When we asked Mr Gunnery if it was better to buy land that was already zoned for development, he said it was too expensive.

He said: 'Greenbelt (conserved) land is cheaper and once planning permission is granted, its value rises and investors will make money.'

Checks with the UK Land Directory showed that greenbelt land could be used if there is demand for residential and commercial developments.

Approval for developing greenbelt land, however, is a long process that starts with directives from the housing ministry and ends with permission from the county councils.

Too risky?

Property analysts here feel landbanking is too risky an investment.

Mr Albert Lu, managing director of C & H Realty, said: 'I'll never invest in landbanking, because these companies are just selling you a plan that will materialise only if the land can be developed.'

He feels it would be better to invest in residential property overseas since prices have dropped with the recession.

Mr Donald Han, managing director of real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, said unseasoned investors should be careful when it comes to foreign investments.

He said: 'It will take time to get planning permission so if you're looking for short-term gains, this type of investment is probably not suitable for you.'

Mr Han added that investors should find out the exit strategies in the worst-case scenario.

He said: 'Market cycles come into force. A downward cycle in Singapore may last two years but in another country, it could be 10 years.'

The uncertainty surrounding landbanking explains why some countries view it with suspicion.

Last June, the Financial Services Authority in the UK, an independent body that regulates financial services, shut down UK Land Investment after 4,500 investors paid Pounds69m ($162m) for 5,000 plots of land.

None of the land, which was in conservation areas, was ever granted approval for development.

From The New Paper, "Bank on land = no cash in hand?".

6th Short Cuts-Kissing Faces

Frankly Speaking...I almost got "LOST"in watching the short.
1.Nearly mistaken the short as a typical Karaoke Video.
2.Ponders is it a short film or a Video

Overall,in short it is almost mistaken as a Karaoke Video seen in those Sleazy KTV bars.

But the storyline to the short is well written...Kissing Faces is about the mind of a KTV hostess who wishes her life was like a Karaoke Music Video-Beautiful and Carefree.

6th Short Cuts-Miss A Shot

Missed a shot is actually short film by Ghazi Alqudcy and Ezzam Rahman.
This duo has been in collaboration,telling and sharing stories based on their personal encounters and experiences.

A true enchanted tale from Woodlands New Town Garden.A man encounters a transgender and they start engaging in coy,flirtatious repartee.Despite Humidity,sparks fly.

It is a comical short which I encountered,using SMS terms as subtitles to interact the audience.
It is pretty informal and interactive to the audience,but unfortunately...the storyline sounded like going round and round around the religious leader.

It meant to pass off as a friend's birthday...But that is a pretty interesting short I have seen.
I really enjoyed the short.

6th Short Cuts-Hush Baby

Hush Baby is a graduation film for Wei Keong
He has been wanting to use mixed media technology to do some short stories,thus here comes the Hush Baby

It is pretty abstract and through animation,it actually has a strong backing as hands meddling with the baby may be something in relation to real life experience,maybe between Citizen and Government,or to a smaller extent,parent to child.

It is a cute animation which I enjoyed it.

Rasa Sayange (by SHE, Teresa Teng, some funky Cantonese group) -- No, the songs not in Malay or in Bahasa Indonesia!




Admit it. We're fed up with all the bickering between Indonesia and Malaysia about the Pendet dance controversy & also (although not much ruckus) the song, Rasa Sayange.

Here are the 3 clips of the song, "Rasa Sayange" which I searched in the Net that were performed by Taiwanese group S.H.E., the legendary Teresa Teng, and some performers who sung it in Cantonese.

It's about Rasa Sayange, people. It's about Feeling of Love--which both Indonesia and Malaysia are lacking. Ironic, the song of love has incited a feeling of hatred...

Check out the YouTube clips:
1. S.H.E - Rasa Sayang 2004 Concert
2. 拉 萨 萨 哟 (印尼民歌) Rasa Sayange (An Indonesian folk song), Feeling Of Love
3. Rasa Sayange (Chinese)

Gillian Chung: I Ought To Be in Pictures! (But preferably, not naughty ones, please...)

What, she wants to remind everybody about the naughty picture scandal which involved Edison Chen? Gillian Chung, you ought NOT to be in (those) pictures! Heh.

One of the biggest Hong Kong female stars sidelined by the Edison Chen sex photos scandal made her stage debut Thursday, giving her first performance since launching her comeback five months ago.

Gillian Chung from the popular female duo Twins starred in a Cantonese production of the Neil Simon comedy "I Ought to Be in Pictures" financed by her management company, performing to a near-capacity audience at a 1,200-seat theater at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

The 28-year-old actress-singer said she valued the experience of playing an aspiring actress who reconnects with her estranged screenwriter father.

"I've really learned a lot since I started rehearsing," she said after the first of five performances late Thursday.

Chung's co-stars, veteran Hong Kong stage actors Chen Shu-yi and Shaw Mei-kwan, praised her debut.

"She was working very hard during rehearsals. She's improved a lot," Shaw said.

"When I performed on stage for the first time, I was lost after I finished. She knew what she was doing. That's a great start," Chen said.

Chung and seven other female Hong Kong stars were seen performing sex acts with Chinese-Canadian actor-singer Edison Chen in photos that were leaked onto the Internet early last year, causing a huge uproar in the socially conservative Chinese-speaking community. A Hong Kong computer technician was sentenced to 8 1/2 months in jail in May for copying the photos from Chen's laptop.

Chung launched her comeback in March by endorsing a jeans line.

From Yahoo! News, "HK actress in sex photos scandal makes stage debut".

PS. I Ought to Be in Pictures is a play by Neil Simon.

SixLives.sg (Six Lives, One Language): Baby, Check Out My Wedding Package


What 'Wedding Package'? It's a tough time, baby! (Yeah, some may think that way whereas others would prefer having a special celebration for that special event). Anyway, check out this neat site, SixLives.sg (I came to know it after reading how DPM Teo Chee Hean advised Singaporeans to speak standard English to maintain competitive edge).

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out what this SixLives.sg is actually all about. The Episode 1, "Baby, Check Out My Wedding Package" at present has 4 (blog?) posts: "Baby, Check Out My Wedding Package", "Feeling Quite Queasy About It All", "I Took Ten Seconds to Fall", and "No Promotion, No Money for Car".

Singapore has made a head start in business and trade in today's globalised world because it has chosen English as its working language, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Launching this year's Speak Good English Movement on Friday, Mr Teo said Singaporeans must continue to speak good English in order to maintain its competitive edge.

The upcoming Youth Olympic Games and other international events will bring many overseas visitors to the city-state. With English being one of the world's most spoken languages, Singaporeans will need to express themselves clearly using standard English.

Mr Teo, who is also defence minister, said: "Singlish is very quaint, but it is not going to help us be understood outside of Singapore. So I think it is important to focus, to be understood internationally.

"It has been a big advantage for us. In fact, when I travel around the region, many countries ask us how we maintain our English in Singapore. They are quite envious of our language proficiency."

Looking to maintain this advantage is the year-long Speak Good English Movement. Now into its 10th year, the movement wants to encourage Singaporeans to speak simple English, rather than use difficult words or construct long sentences.

This can be done with a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary. With younger Singaporeans spending more time online, the movement is using platforms familiar to them, such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to reach out to this group.

It has launched a website, www.sixlives.sg – about a couple planning for their wedding – to stress the importance of using good English to communicate well. The story has 12 episodes in all and a new episode will be put up every Friday.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Speak standard English to maintain competitive edge, says DPM Teo".

Natas travel fair's special deals to great tourist spots! (Dream, make it happen & enjoy...)

Check out these Natas travel fair's special deals to great tourist spots! Which ones do you fancy to go? Me, I'd love to try out this Bhutan package:

Explore Bhutan in eight days with CTC Holidays. Highlights include visits to Tashichho Dzong, where the King of Bhutan works; Punakha Dzong, the winter retreat of the Chief Abbot, and Taktsang Monastery, which is perched on the side of a 900m cliff. Package cost: From $3,888.

Heh. It's good to have a dream.

And where do I read this little story? There was a man who loves reading books but he had no money to buy them. So he worked hard, got the money & bought the books & he continued doing so thinking that he would enjoy reading those books (he got more money & he purchased more books!) when he's retired.

The sad part was when he did go to the path of retirement, he couldn't read the books because his eye sights failed him.

(Argh. Where did I read it?!)

The moral of the story, perhaps, is although it's good to have a dream, as you make it happen, you should have enjoyed it as you earn it.

QUEST out of stock: Hold on your loan receipts!

This is why. I'm glad NLB announce it clearly & that they don't simply stop the promotion. Heh.

nooka sighting: T.O. show


sorry to post this late as this was monday night. when we're talking about T.O., we're not referring to football. the cast of the T.O. show made a trip to vegas to celebrate mo's bachelorette party and while poolside, the cast could be seen sporting their nooka watches. seen here is kita wearing the red zub. be sure to catch the full episode of the T.O. show at vh1.com and order your very own nooka. [terrell owens for the uninitiated. i was told he was a cowboy at one point, but he seems more like a former football player than a cowpoke!]

nooka is available at fine shops and online here.

also, don't forget to vote for nooka at pulchra. the voting process may seem a bit tedious, but it is actually really simple. simply drag nooka to the number 1 spot, if that's your choice of course and choose the other 9 objects until you have completed your list. In order for your vote to be valid, you will need to complete the details form. remember you can only vote ONCE PER DAY, so make sure to log on the next day and do it all over again. link is here!

follow nooka on facebook and twitter.

nooka at project in las vegas september 1–3



now for the official launch, well official as in having the attention of buyers from around the world to see the new nooka strip [that's nookan for belt], nooka AO [nookan for wallet], the future distilled™ [the nooka scent] as well as our up and coming collections for our time pieces at project in las vegas!

we rarely do trade shows, but the strip, AO and fragrance all have more mass potential than our signature watches so i'm looking forward to the response...i think we're off to a good start as 2 of our products were highlighted in today's WWD which is their project las vegas special edition. learn more about project here. say hello to robert, christen and carrie as well as some regional sales rep who will all be there. i was told to stay away as buyers do not feel they can speak freely in front of the designers, as as much as i like making people nervous, i am also a business man.

can't make it to vegas, buy you nooka stuff or find out where to buy here. follow us on twitter.com/nooka and on facebook with the box on the right of this page.

on another note, this week has been full of amazing press which i hope to catch up blogging about. i was also in los angeles this past weekend [came back to nyc on tuesday night] which was a lot of fun, so i need to do a 'nooka loves L.A.' post soon too!

MediaCorp vs. MediaBanc: the latter sued for copyright & trademark infringements & a CONSPIRACY (WTH?!) to injure its business

I guess the verdict is still outstanding for the case of MediaCorp vs. RecordTV (blogged earlier in June 2009)and today I just learn that MediaCorp is suing a Malaysian firm, MediaBanc. The success in this case might lead to MediaCorp winning the case against RecordTV.

Hopefully we'll learn more about this latest case. I'm especially intrigued about this part "a conspiracy to injure MediaCorp's business". A conspiracy involving MediaBanc and ... ??? Damn, no further details!

Singapore media company MediaCorp has taken a Malaysian company to court for selling content recorded off its radio and television channels.

The Malaysian company, MediaBanc, is alleged to have compiled, sold and distributed MediaCorp news and radio programmes, without licence. The acts were discovered in 2006.

MediaCorp is suing for copyright and trademark infringements, as well as conspiracy to injure its business.

The Singapore media company called six witnesses to the stand at the opening day of the trial in Kuala Lumpur.

MediaCorp said it sent letters to MediaBanc in 2007, urging it to cease all alleged acts of infringement, but its requests were not met.

MediaCorp is seeking damages, as well as a court injunction to stop MediaBanc from selling or distributing its content without authority.

The four-day trial is scheduled to end on Friday.

From Channel NewsAsia, "MediaCorp sues Malaysian firm for copyright, trademark infringements".

Zivanna Letisha Siregar -- the near Miss Universe 2009


The near Miss Universe 2009. A "near miss". You don't get the play of words? Okay, never mind.

Despite the bad joke, this post is as a matter of fact a kind of tribute to Miss Indonesia, Zivanna Letisha Siregar, who according to the online poll sponsored by contest officials, was favoured to win the title of Miss Universe 2009! "I have the power!" Zivanna Letisha Siregar (or in short, Zizi) might have screamed in delight as she saw the incredibly positive poll result. She too could have felt a little uneasy, though, for quoting her favourite TV show, Masters of the Universe.

Well done, Zivanna Letisha Siregar aka Zizi! You have done great & many of us do hope that Wikipedia post on Miss Universe 2009 will soon be updated to include your achievement in that offical online poll. Heh.

More galleries from the Miss Universe: Galleries on Miss Indonesia: here. I'm especially curious about her photo no.5: she was wearing an archer costume as Srikandi?



Beauties from Latin America and Asia emerged as the crowd favorites as the quest for the next Miss Universe draws to a close.

An online poll sponsored by contest officials favoured Miss Indonesia Zivanna Letisha Siregar, followed by Miss Brazil Larissa Costa and Miss Guatemala Lourdes Figueroa on the eve of showdown among 15 Miss Universe finalists vying for the crown in the Bahamas.

Observers cast tens of thousands of anonymous votes by Internet.

Latin American contestants held 11 of the 15 top slots in the informal poll. Reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza is from Venezuela.

Contest officials closed a comment section of the online poll because more than 50,000 submissions were recorded in the first couple of days.

'It was just so excessive,' said Mr Carl Althoff, a spokesman for the pageant. 'We weren't able to monitor them.'

Dozens of tourists milled about the media centre at the Atlantis hotel on Saturday, trying to slip past security and get an unauthorised glimpse of the ballroom where the event was due be held yesterday.

They stopped chattering and stared as pageant co-owner Donald Trump strolled by with two bodyguards.

'Incredible!' proclaimed Mr Frederic Battut, who flew in from Paris to watch the event.

His companion, Mr Fernando Alzate, wore a T-shirt emblazoned with Miss Colombia's name. But contest officials told him he would not be admitted unless he found a jacket for the event.

Tourism officials in the Bahamas hoped the pageant will stimulate an economy hard hit by the global economic crisis: The Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma hotel announced in May that it would close and pageant host Atlantis dismissed about 800 employees this season.

By Saturday night, about 2,700 tickets of the 3,100 available for the show were sold, said Ms Glenda Johnson of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

From The New Paper, "Miss Universe 2009: Miss Indonesia is Internet favourite to take crown".

Despite a strong showing in online voting, Indonesian Miss Universe candidate Zivanna Letisha Siregar didn't figure in the beauty contest's top 15 in the pageant held in Nassau, the Bahamas.

In fact, no Asian faces graced the pageant's top 15 on Monday, though the Miss Congeniality title went to Miss China, Wang Jingyao, 19, while Miss Thailand, Chutima Durongdej, 23, got the Miss Photogenic title.

Miss Venezuela, Stefania Fernandez, 18, was crowned the winner in the 58th annual pageant, which is co-owned by American billionaire Donald Trump. But Venezuela's win has drawn strong reactions among some pageant-watchers. 'Another plastic Venezuelan?' said Ms Tan Mei Ling, a 31-year-old who works in the advertising industry. 'Do we really need another one of those women as Miss Universe?'

However, pundits said Miss Venezuela just has the X-factor. Venezuela has won more Miss Universe and Miss World competitions than any other country, noted the Associated Press (AP).

Some girls begin training to be contestants from as young as five. Its pageant industry has drawn criticism for pressuring contestants to have cosmetic surgery, said the AP report.

Miss Fernandez was crowned by fellow Venezuelan Dayana Mendoza, who was last year's champion. It is the sixth time a Venezuelan has taken the Miss Universe title. 'She evokes the glamour of 1940s screen goddess Rita Hayworth,' enthused Mr Josepeh Vitug, a writer with GlobalBeauties.com, a 10-year-old Internet portal on pageants.

The other top five finalists include runner-up Miss Dominican Republic, Ada Aimee de la Cruz, followed by Miss Kosovo, Droga Ganusha; Miss Australia, Rachael Finch; and Miss Puerto Rico, Mayra Matos Perez.

Miss Zivanna, 20, failed to advance to the swimsuit round, said the Jakarta Globe, even though she was No. 1 in the pageant's Internet poll. The poll saw tens of thousands of observers casting votes for the 84 contestants via the Internet.

Thailand's Miss Durongdej came in at No. 5 on the poll, while Miss Vietnam, Hoang Yen Vo, took sixth place. Miss Philippines, Bianca Manalo, was placed at No. 11. Miss Singapore, 24-year-old Rachel Kum, came in at No. 55 in the poll, but did not advance beyond the swimsuit round.

'I am so turned off by this,' wrote netizen Banana on Yahoo Buzz, in response to the results. 'Not one Asian figured in the top 15, considering four out of the top 11 in (the online poll) are Asians... There are more beautiful and intelligent women around the world aside from (those from) Venezuela!'

From Straits Times, "Why did Asians lose out?".

A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum


Blogged about the song, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" once in Aug 2006. Gosh, how time flies! It is, thus, a pleasant surprise that I happen to recall this song tonight as I mindlessly browse through the YouTube.

Check it out the Original 16mm Scopitone conversion, from the 'summer of love' 1967 hit record, A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum.

Taxi driver's kidney is a match; the lady passenger saved!

The taxi driver was reported to say that he was a man of faith and that a higher power wanted him to step in.

"By then, me and the good Lord already had a talk. He said 'Tom, you go give her one (Note: the kidney, that is). It will work."

An American Baptist Minister and the Civil-Rights Leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. once remarked:
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"”

The taxi driver, Thomas Chappell had done the same. He's a good Samaritan who has been a life-saver for his passenger, Rita Van Loenen by offering to give her his kidney and as God do His miracle, the kidney matches!!

These couple have sex for 101 days straight...and they're lovin it!

To reinvigorate their marriage, Annie and Douglas Brown decided to have sex daily for 101 days straight. Does it work? Heck, is it healthy at the first place?

True of False: Malaysian DPM Muhiyiddin Yasin claims Singapore was ready to go to war if Malaysia did not want to supply enough water.

Read these two articles from Today, "Muhyiddin denies selling land to Singapore" and from MY.sinchew.com, "DPM denies selling land to Singapore". Almost having the same titles, aren't they? And so are their content, except with this sensitive difference: the Malaysian article from MY.sinchew.com has mentioned about how Singapore's then PM, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew allegedly said Singapore was ready to go to war if Malaysia did not want to supply enough water.

Well, nothing's mentioned about it in Singapore's Today! Why I wonder...if it's not true, can't the word 'alleged' be used? And if it's true, the media should have no problem to quote that in their news, right?

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Wednesday regretted the allegation by the opposition that he had purportedly sold a piece of land to Singapore when he was the Johor Menteri Besar.

He said he was purposely being slandered so that the people would hate him and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

"I wish to clarify that (during my tenure as Johor Menteri Besar) I had never sold even an inch of land to Singapore and that this (allegation) is a mere slander," he said at a ceramah at Tanjong Putus in conjunction with the by-election for the Permatang Pasir state seat, here Wednesday night.

The Deputy Prime Minister said they made the allegation because they did not know the actual history that a water treatment plant had existed in the Sungai Lingu area in Bandar Tenggara, Johor.

"I have to reply because the opposition was spreading lies... what actually transpired was when I was the Menteri Besar, I received a call from Dr Mahathir (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) one day," he said.

Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir had summoned him to attend a meeting with visiting Singapore prime minister then, Lee Kuan Yew over gas pipeline and water supply issues in Kuala Lumpur.

He said during the meeting between Dr Mahathir, the then finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, Lee and him, Lee had pressed for adequate water supply to the republic from Johor.

"Lee said Singapore was ready to go to war if Malaysia did not want to supply enough water and expressed his regret over the stalled water supply project from Sungai Lingu.

"I said we did not have the money and Lee said Singapore was willing to bear the cost and when completed, the assets will be owned by Malaysia, so Singapore had merely footed the bill,"
said Muhyiddin.

From MY.sinchew.com, "DPM denies selling land to Singapore".

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has denied an allegation made by the opposition that he had sold a piece of land to Singapore when he was the Johor chief minister.

He said he was being slandered so that people would hate him and the ruling Barisan Nasional government, reported Bernama. "I wish to clarify that I had never sold even an inch of land to Singapore," he said at a by-election rally on Wednesday.

Mr Muhyiddin said those who made the allegation did not know that a water treatment plant had existed in the Sungai Linggiu area in Bandar Tenggara, Johor.

He recalled that when he was Johor chief minister, then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad summoned him to attend a meeting with then-Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, to discuss the gas pipeline and water supply issues. He said that during the meeting, Mr Lee had pressed for adequate water supply to the Republic from Johor.

Mr Muhyiddin said: "Lee ... expressed his regret over the stalled water supply project from Sungai Linggiu. I said we did not have the money and Lee said Singapore was willing to bear the cost and when completed, the assets will be owned by Malaysia, so Singapore had merely footed the bill."

In a 1990 pact signed between Singapore's PUB and the Johor state government, Singapore was allowed to construct a dam across Sungei Linggiu to facilitate the extraction of water from Johor River. Johor was to set aside land for the project.

On its part, Singapore agreed to pay RM320 million ($131.4 million) as compensation for the permanent loss of use of the land and its associated revenue. The cost of building and maintaining the dam would be borne by Singapore. In return, Singapore would buy treated water generated by the new dam.

From Today, "Muhyiddin denies selling land to Singapore".

Botak Jones to become a Singaporean & he gives out a party!!


Yay, Botak Jones owner Mr. Bernie Utchenik will become a Singapore citizen on 28 Aug Citizenship Ceremony...and there's a celebration at the Botak Jones outlet at Toa Payoh on 27 Aug. It's "all you can eat barbeque" party from 6 pm to 10 pm. Customers are requested to wear red. There will be 10% discount for the beer whereas it's FOC for the soft drinks. Heh.

His official site botakjones.com would hopefully feature him posing with Singapore flag. Move on, US flag...

Well, after slogging out the bad times and enjoying some of the good times for over 15 years, my time has finally come. Yes that’s right, on August 28th at 3:15, or there abouts. I will become a full fledged oath taken Singapore Citizen and Botak Jones will be a Singaporean company to its very core. It’s a huge step for me, maybe not such a big deal for you.

To try and make it a big deal for you though, and because I am in such a Nationalistic mood, we’re going to have a an ALL-U-CAN eat Bar-B-Que at out Toa Payoh Outlet on the 27th of August from 6:00pm until 10:00pm with a Singapore theme, even though we will be grilling up Authentic American food.

So wear something RED and join us for a lot of eating, drinking and networking. Yeah, networking! We had one of these two months ago and so many people made great new contacts it was amazing and they didn’t need a computer, mobile or PDA to do it! It’s amazing the kind of people we attract.

This time all of our beers will be at 10% off the whole night for those partaking in the Barby. Soft drinks will be on the house!

From Bojak Jones official website. =)

He is the tall 'botak' (bald) ang moh famously known as Botak Jones. Come this Friday, he will proudly become a Singaporean.

Detroit-born Botak - Mr Bernie Utchenik - is so at home here that he eats at hawker centres and orders his 'kopi siu dai' (coffee shop lingo for coffee with less sugar).

Mr Utchenik, 57, first came to Asia in 1991 as an oil industry engineer. In 1996, he settled down in Singapore and, in 2003, started American food joint Botak Jones. It now has 11 outlets islandwide.

He has been a permanent resident here for seven years, and his wife is Singapore-born.

He will go to the ICA Building in Kallang Road to get his pink identity card this Friday.

'I've told my friends this is one of the few times they'll see me in a suit, so they should come support me,' he quipped.

'My wife is a Singaporean, my business is here, so rather than feel like an outsider who just happens to live here, I should lend my support and allegiance to the country,' he said.

Asked what of him is most Singaporean, he said: ''Aiyoh' and 'aiyah' come very naturally to me.'

From Straits Times, "Botak Jones to be S'porean".

LOL...

NUS, what the hell is wrong with you: 4 out of 5 scholarships not open to S'poreans...because of vague website?!?!

Website gave wrong impression, says NUS. And yet, has that website been updated?! And how could a supposedly world class university like NUS has a website with content so vague that it gives wrong impression?!

Associate Professor Alan Tan, the vice-dean of Graduate Programmes in NUS Law was equally vague in his 'explanation'. Check out the parts highlighted in red below.

Kudos for the blogger, "Mr Wang Says So" for digging out this issue to the surface for the 1st time in his post, "A Simple Illustration of Question 9".

THE post-graduate programmes in the National University of Singapore (NUS) law faculty are open to students from all around the world - except Singapore.

At least that's the way it appears on the faculty's website.

Are Singaporeans being marginalised on their own turf?

There are five categories of scholarships on offer: Research Scholarship, the Graduate Scholarship for Asean Nationals, the Faculty Graduate Scholarships (FGS), the Scholarship for Young Asian Academics, and the Microsoft Scholarship.

Only the Research Scholarship is open to Singaporeans.

The rest are open to a range of nationalities and come with the qualifier 'except Singapore citizens and permanent residents'.

That has riled some netizens and students.

Blogger Mr Wang wrote: 'It is clear that in our country today, citizenship... turns out to be a liability.'

Mr Wang, who could not be contacted, compared NUS Law's scholarship distribution to that of the University of Cambridge. Its law faculty website displays eight categories of scholarships and funding programmes for post-graduate students, none of which exclude British citizens.

In fact, one of the eight is exclusively for citizens from Britain and Commonwealth countries.

Netizens' outrage

Mr Wang's blog postings sparked reactions among other netizens, most of whom questioned the exclusion of Singaporeans in the NUS Law post-graduate scholarships.

But Associate Professor Alan Tan, the vice-dean of Graduate Programmes in NUS Law, insisted it was wrong to say Singaporeans are excluded from most of the scholarships.

He said it was necessary to look at the number of recipients in each scholarship category and that the FGS category is, in fact, open to Singaporeans despite the NUS Law website stating otherwise.

But he did not clarify why it was not made clear on the website.


Prof Tan said about 10 to 12 students are awarded the scholarship each year but declined to reveal how many were Singaporeans or PRs.

There is no cap on the number of Research Scholarships - which are open to Singaporeans - given out yearly. He did not give exact numbers on how many were given out, or how many were awarded to Singaporeans.

In comparison, only one or two scholarships are given for the other three categories.

Prof Tan said the difference between the profile of NUS Law's post-graduate students and that of its undergraduates should also be taken into account.

'The LLM does not qualify the holder for practice in Singapore. It is the undergraduate LLB degree that qualifies the holder,' he said.

'As such, the bulk of our undergraduate students are Singaporeans, but the proportion is reversed for post-graduate students.'

'Mostly non-S'poreans'

He said 98 per cent of the latter are non-Singaporeans, 'because Singaporeans very rarely apply to take post-graduate courses. They prefer to go overseas'.

Prof Tan said NUS encourages Singaporeans who have obtained the LLB to pursue an LLM abroad 'because we feel they should obtain overseas exposure'.

Said an NUS Law Year 3 undergraduate who declined to be named: 'If you want to practise law here, the LLM is not necessary, but if I had to pursue an LLM, I would take up NUS' programme because it's much more cost-effective even without a scholarship.'

The fees for Singaporeans applying for a Masters in NUS Law Faculty are significantly lower because of subsidies - $5,890 for most programmes, compared to $14,730 for foreigners, according to NUS.

Recent graduate and NUS Law valedictorian Zhuo Wenzhao said the NUS masters' programmes have 'many modules that are similar to those offered to undergrads', so local students graduating with an NUS Law LLB may 'feel they're doing the same thing '.

The 25-year-old chose to pursue a joint programme by NUS and New York University (NYU) which allowed him to get his LLB from NUS and LLM from NYU in four years.

However, Mr Zhuo added: 'Even if Singaporeans make up the minority of the post-graduate student population, there is no need to exclude Singaporeans in terms of eligibility.

'This would ensure that scholarships are awarded based on merit.'

From The New Paper, "4 out of 5 scholarships not open to S'poreans?"

A White Woman Explains Why She Prefers Black Men

Is she considered a racist...against her own race? Check out this NSFW article about how this white woman explains why she prefers black men. Quite hilarious actually.

Tintin in the Congo: a racist book, really?!


One of Tintin's adventures comics (Tintin in the Congo) is pulled off library borrowing shelves after NY readers complain. No, it is not mentioned at all whether the NY readers are Congolese. I reckon one doesn't have to be a victim to feel offended by the alleged racist book.

I myself try to recall whether I have read this particular book. Tintin in the Congo. Hmm...So glad that our National Library Board have not followed the herd & simply banned the book. It's still available at these library branches.

According to Wikipedia entry on this particular series, Tintin in the Congo, the author Hergé regretted this album and regarded it as a "youthful sin". Okay, so perhaps he admitted his guilt.

Anyway, this is not a new issue altogether. On 12 Jul 2007, Britain's equality watchdog namely The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) had expressed their outrage against Tintin in the Congo.

A spokesman for CRE (who wisely chose to be nameless) was quoted to say:
"This book contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.

"It beggars belief that in this day and age Borders would think it acceptable to sell and display Tintin In The Congo. High street shops, and indeed any shops, ought to think very carefully about whether they ought to be selling and displaying it."

From Telegraph.co.uk, "Ban 'racist' Tintin book, says CRE".

Meanwhile, it's apparent that there are equally many readers who disagree that Tintin in the Congo is racist.

Michael Meyers had commented rightly. Here are the excerpts of what he said:
By placing a racist illustrated book, "Tin Tin Au Congo," behind locked doors, and making it available only upon request and appointment, the Brooklyn Public Library is sending the wrong message about how to deal with controversial works.

We blacks, of course, know racially offensive images when we see them, but we also don't need librarians protecting us or our children's wonderment and discovery from "bad" images and messages in books. Where would such paternalism in the forms of censorship and banishment begin and end? Will the librarians also banish "Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain's classic work, on account that Twain's book uses the "n" word too many times? Would some parents' or scanners' objections to "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" also hold sway and place that book under lock and key, too? Our children, black and white, deserve better.

We shouldn't try to hide unpleasant truths from our children. It is historical fact that white racialists colonized Africa, and that explorers and even missionaries thought of black Africans as primitive savages in need of civilizing. Similar tales of the white man's so-called burden were depicted in films of enormous cultural value, such as Tarzan movies, not to mention "Gone With The Wind" and "Birth of a Nation." Even Saturday morning cartoons on TV are full of stereotypical cats and dogs and color-coded good and bad characters. Westerns, still a staple on cable TV, have the black hats and the white hats, and a full array of Indians as savages.

From NY Daily News, "Free Tin Tin! Brooklyn Public Library made a big mistake when it put racist book in a locked room".

It might be a comic but some readers didn't find it that funny.

Brooklyn's head librarian has ordered Tintin Au Congo off shelves in some branches after customer complaints.

The nearly 80-year-old book is the only book in the city library system hidden from public view after a reader complained that it was 'racially offensive', reported the New York Daily News yesterday.

The popular Belgian children's work - due to be made into a movie by Steven Spielberg - is locked behind a series of hidden doors on the third floor of Brooklyn's central library.

Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan said it had been relocated as it had illustrations that were racially offensive and inappropriate for children.

The curious have to make an appointment to see the original Georges (Herge) Remi piece. The next available date was Monday morning, said a library official.

Ms Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, blasted librarians 'for taking the easy way out' and not considering the 'long term in engaging in censorship'.

Looking at a recent reprint of the 1930 cartoon from a Brussels newspaper, Mr Marcus Ramirez, 26, a security guard from the Bronx, agreed: 'It's art, it's an expression. Other people get offended? I don't see why.'

Spielberg isn't offended either.

The famed filmmaker will put Tintin on the big screen in 2011, highlighting the adventures of the young reporter who travels the world with his dog, Snowy.

Herge was a Belgian enthusiast who pushed a pro-colonial message as Tintin taught confused natives right from wrong during his travels to foreign lands.

Even Snowy the dog insults a young Congolese boy, telling Tintin that the child 'doesn't look very bright'.

Library officials across the city said they have debated pulling about 25 books - including Godless: The Church Of Liberalism by Ann Coulter and a Harold Robbins novel - and DVDs from city shelves, but rejected the requests.

Only Tintin was blacklisted in Brooklyn - and quietly yanked from the shelves in 2007.

'Racism is relevant,' said Brooklyn resident Karina Estedan, 28, who agrees the book should be locked away. 'The public library caters to the sensitivity of the community. People are trying to erase the mistakes of the past.'

From The New Paper, "80-year old Tintin book racially offensive".

2009 National Day Speech (2nd Half)



Listen in to part of PM Lee's 2009 National Day speech.

He gave a interesting lecture on the THEN and NOW of Singapore.

Sex sells: EVONY - Best Free Web Game (Part 2)


Do you remember the screenshot of the busty blond babe in Sex sells: EVONY - Best Free Web Game? This is the second of such photos featuring a different model. Obviously not a blond, but may indeed be equally alluring.

What kind of a web game is Evony that it's so desperate that it has to resort to the overly use of such gorgeous ladies for enticing (ok, that's a nice use of word 'enticing'. Heh.) its potential customer?



Update: Just saw this article from The New Paper. It also laments the non existence of distressed damsels in need of rescuing in the Evony game despite the promising advert. Very naughty, Evony. You do mislead many of us!

Advertisements for online games usually don't deserve a second look.

But one particular advert has managed to spread across the web and catch the eye in a not-too-wholesome manner.

You've probably seen it yourself.

The banner ad advertises Evony, a free online role-playing game where the player builds up a civilisation, trades commodities with other players and conducts war against competing civilisations.

But Australia's ABC News reported yesterday that the way the game has been marketed online has caused controversy, with increasingly racy banner ads depicting busty women alongside the words 'Play Unnoticeably', 'Save the Princess' and 'Save your lover'.

But the game itself has no distressed damsels in need of rescuing.

The marketing campaign was criticised after its Google ads appeared frequently on websites with family content, with many site owners struggling to block the ads.

La Trobe University sociologist Dr Michael Flood has researched the potential social effects of pornography on young children. He says advertising tactics like Evony's could become even more commonplace.

He said: 'It can go as far as advertisers, marketeers and amateur porn producers want it to go. I think there will continue to be efforts in legal regulation and technical strategies like filtering, and they will also continue to be circumvented.'

Dr Flood said one result of such exposure is a liberalisation of attitudes, meaning that children and young people are more accepting of sexual activity, assume that their peers are sexually active, and more approving of various forms of sex and sexual relations.

ABC News reported that as more and more young children become Internet-savvy, the need for parents to protect them from harmful content grows.

A Sensis e-business report has revealed a big jump in the number of children under the age of 5 who use the Internet.

Internet adverts syndicated through Google's AdSense are all over the web, allowing website owners to display ads relevant to their site's content.

And the danger for young users of the Internet is that some of these sexually-suggestive adverts can appear potentially anywhere where a site has allocated space for Adsense banners.

Dr Flood added: 'Children are sexual beings and do deserve information on sex and sexuality. However, much of what's available online and elsewhere isn't age-appropriate and doesn't teach very healthy messages about sex or women.

'Parents should be having conversations with kids about sex and sexuality as kids age anyway, and part of that is having conversations about the materials they may see online and elsewhere.'

He said because the Evony ads show women in various stages of undress, they are teaching the attitude that girls and women are sexual objects, and that their main value is in terms of their appearance and their bodies.

From The New Paper, "Seen this banner ad online? You're not the only one".

Production Talk - 'Blood Ties' by Chai Yee Wei



"Blood Ties The Movie" will be Yee-Wei's directorial debut for a full length feature film which is also written by himself. Though it has just been a short 4 years since he actively pursued a career in filmmaking, Yee-wei has quietly built up a body of works that showcases his talent in telling interesting stories through the film medium. His passion in telling stories which draws on inspiration from things around him pushes him to explore different topics and genres as evident in his earlier works. "I am a curious person by nature. And I seek to use film as a medium to ask questions and explore situations which would otherwise be difficult to do so in real life."

Taken from www.bloodtiesthemovie.com


*****


Grace (G): I know that you had made a previous short film, Blood Ties which was screened during 2007 and this upcoming debut Blood Ties is a longer version. Can you tell us the difference for both films?
Yee Wei (YW): Well... the premise is the same. A murdered cop, returns on the 7th night of his death to possess his little sister to exact revenge on his murderers. Other than that, the story is totally different. Many people thought the feature is a longer version of the short film, but it is actually not true.

Jeremy (J): Have you always wanted to make Blood Ties as a feature even when u shot the short?
YW: Yes. I always wanted to toy with the question of "If you could return on the 7th day of your death, what would you do?” So when I wrote the short film, it was sort of a litmus test for me to see if the idea was novel enough to be made into a commercial film. And true enough, after the short film was made, a few production houses asked me if I was interested to turn it into a full length feature.

G: Have you had any personal incidents of supernatural sorts? What inspired you to think about that question?
YW: No direct experience for myself, but my mother and my family did. And it was somewhat related to the "touqi" (7th night) myth. My grandfather after he passed, on the 7th night, the family prepared food offerings on the altar. And one of my aunts put powder on the floor. At night, one of my aunt heard foot steps, and chains being dragged. Then she peeped into my grandfather's bedroom and saw the rocking chair that he used to sit on rocking by itself. And there was smoke in the air. My grandpa used to rock in that chair while smoking his pipe. The next morning, the rest of the family saw footprints on the floor. The rice in the bowl on the altar also looked like someone had pressed on it.
J: Very vivid memories indeed.
YW: It was a family story… since everyone's involved. I was too young to remember ... so my aunts and my parents told it to me.


J: How long did you take to shoot this?
YW: It was a 20 days shoot.

J: I am amazed at the visual treats in the trailer!
YW: ... There will be more. I was trying hard not to reveal too much


J: How did you manage to pull so many strings for the film? I mean I saw Kenneth Tsang (veteran), lots of realistic shooting scenes, explosions and amazing production design!
YW: Wow ... where do I begin? Maybe let me share the part with respect to my crew. The Director of Photography Derrick Loo and the Art Director Zoe Chu, they were both on working in those respective positions on the short film as well. I thought since me, as a first time director am given the opportunity to direct my first feature, I should let 2 new talents give it a go too. Maybe that's why they worked really hard for this.
For Cheng Pei Pei, she was pitched the idea at least a year before production. And she had seen very early drafts of the script. The latest script caught her interest and timing was good, so all fell into place. For Kenneth Tsang, he said he wanted to do his part for the Singapore film industry, and again, timing was good. Did you know he's a Singapore citizen by the way?


G: That's nice! I didn't know that! Would you say this is your dream project?
YW: I would say I HOPE that this is the start of my many dream projects to come.

J: What are the marketing plans in store for this?
YW: I can't really disclose too much at this at this point.


J: What would you say will make this stand out from the horror movies we know?
YW: It is more a supernatural thriller piece. But I would say audience might be surprised by the amount of human drama that can be injected into a cross genre piece like this. I hope people will come out thrilled and moved at the same time.

G: Do you think the film would be produced differently if it weren't funded under Singapore Film Commission Fund?
YW: No. In fact, I was surprised SFC hasn't interfered or influenced the creative process at all. I was glad I am able to craft a film for the international market in mind, without concerns that I have to serve only the local market. In fact, the SFC investment is a huge help in terms of production and marketing!


G: Blood Ties was screened during Cannes Festival. What were the responses like?
YW: Blood Ties was not screened at Cannes. It went to the market to garner sales interest. And we got some pretty good responses from overseas buyers.

G: Can you share with us, what kind of films you like?
YW: It is all these simple questions that are the trickiest. Can I say who's films I enjoy?
G: Sure!
YW: I enjoy films from directors like Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Alex Proyas, Sam Raimi and Sidney Lumet. And films acted by Tom Hanks as well. But generally, movies with a great story and with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

G: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers out there?
YW: Hmm ... Tell stories that are closest to your heart. And keep practicing!


G: Last but not least, any final words, anything you'd like to add on for Blood Ties?
YW: Oh yeah... we're giving away Blood Ties movie Posters for people who send in spooky stories they've heard or experienced. A Blog will be launched soon with these stories there. The top 10 stories will also win a pair of tickets to the gala premiere! Send the stories to stories@bloodtiesthemovie.com!

And the posters are while stocks last ;)

Watch the trailer here

Blood Ties will be released in Singapore on September 10


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