Close @ Tiong Bahru

I found this while surfing the web. I wonder why Kelvin did not post it in his blog.

Anyway, to get to the page, just click on the picture. Have fun reading it!

Behold top 10 'the most popular in the last 24 hours' with ZERO pong

Screenshot of (30/09/09, 08:05 PM)

It's the last night of September & FINALLY seems alive! Or does it? I noticed a few new posts featured in, but alas, not mine.

I vigorously clicked the 'update all my blogs' option. Nada. Not a single post of mine was displayed.

Why? I have no idea yet.

Till I know the reason, I'll just enjoy the rare view of the 'most popular (posts) in the last 24 hours' showing zero pong. That's very rare, indeed...Considering a certain someone would have employed clones to shoot up his post straight to the top 10. Snigger.

Muelmar Magallanes: A Hero mourned

“Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.” That's what Will Rogers--an American entertainer, famous for his pithy and homespun humour--once was quoted.

One 18-year-old teenager from the Phillipines, Muelmar Magallanes, proved with his death how true the above saying is. He swam to save more than 30 people & lost his life as he rescued a six-month-old baby girl.

Maria Luz, his mother described his departed son as "incredibly brave". Muelmar Magallanes is truly a hero.

How many of us--regardless of our age--can make such a strong claim that we have done the best we could to make this world a better place? I can't.

Teenager Muelmar Magallanes braved rampaging floods to save more than 30 people, but ended up sacrificing his life in a last trip to rescue a baby girl who was being swept away on a styrofoam box.

Yesterday, family members and the people saved by the 18-year-old construction worker hailed him as a hero, as his body lay in a coffin at a makeshift evacuation centre near their destroyed Manila riverside village.

'I am going to be forever grateful to Muelmar. He gave his life for my baby. I will never forget his sacrifice,' said Ms Menchie Penalosa, the mother of the six-month-old girl he carried to safety before being swept away himself.

Magallanes was at home last Saturday with his family when tropical storm Ketsana unleashed the heaviest rain in more than 40 years on the Philippine capital and surrounding areas.

At first the family, long used to heavy rain, paid little attention to the storm.

But Magallanes and his father decided to evacuate the family once they realised the river 800m away had burst its banks.

With the help of an older brother, Magallanes tied a string around his waist and attached it one-by-one to his three younger siblings, whom he took to higher ground. Then he came back for his parents.

But Magallanes, a strong swimmer, decided to go back for his neighbours, who where trapped on rooftops.

He ended up making many trips, and eventually saved more than 30 people from drowning, witnesses and survivors said.

Tired and shivering, Magallanes was back on higher ground with his family when he heard Ms Penalosa screaming as she and her baby were being swept away on the polystyrene box they were using in an attempt to cross the swift currents.

He dived back in after the mother and daughter, who were already a few metres away and bobbing precariously among the debris floating on the brown water.

'I didn't know that the current was so strong. In an instant, I was under water. We were going to die,' said Ms Penalosa, her eyes welling with tears and voice choking with emotion.

'Then this man came from nowhere and grabbed us. He took us to where the other neighbours were, and then he was gone,' said Ms Penalosa.

She and other witnesses said an exhausted Magallanes was simply washed away amid the torrent of water.

Neighbours found his body on Sunday, along with those of 28 others who perished in Manila's worst flooding in decades.

Standing next to his coffin, Magallanes' parents paid tribute to their son.

'He always had a good heart,' said his father, Samuel.

'We had already been saved. But he decided to go back one last time for the girl.'

His mother, Maria Luz, wept as she described her son as incredibly brave.

'He saved so many people, but ended up not being able to save himself.'

From Asiaone, "He gave up own life to save so many".

Read also:
- Daily Mail, "Philippines floods: Hero teenager saves more than 30 lives before he is swept away". (A lot of photos)
- The Independent, "'He saved us, and then he was gone'".

retail news: ac gears new shop

this friday there will be 2 parties to go to for nooka. one is the nooka custom nookanooka show in tokyo japan, and the other is the grand opening of AC GEARS 2nd store in NYC. i'll be in tokyo, but i'm sure they'll be lots of fun people in the west village as well.

be sure to rsvp for the event at AC GEARS here, as they will be raffling off great prizes!

nooka is available at AC GEARS, fine shops all over the world and online here.

Birthday celebration at Eng Hoon Street 2009

I was reminded of a question that was asked by Chilipadi when I saw a lot of huge flags that line the road along Tiong Bahru Road and Eng Hoon Street.

As I was early for an appointment, I walked into the Monkey God temple at Eng Hoon Street to ask them if they have any up and coming activities.

I was asked to read about it on the notice that was pasted on the pillars on the temple.

"Eerrr, uncle, 请您告诉我这里什么时候有庆祝节目?"

(I'm bilingual but mono-literate and so I had to struggle real hard with the content of the notice)


"Eeer, uncle, ANG MO 是什么?"


"Ok, 谢谢"

I think I managed to grasp the essence of what he said to me and what the notice was about. Anyway, GOOGLE is still the laziest way to find out any information and this is what I found out :

Birthday of the Monkey God
This event, observed on the 16th day of the 8th lunar month, honours the beloved Monkey God and is celebrated in several Chinese temples in Singapore. Priests enter trances to channel the spirit of the Monkey God, making them behave like monkeys. To signify the Monkey Gods bravery, they skewer themselves through the cheek and tongue, or slash their arms and legs. A grand procession through the streets leads to the Monkey God Temple. An empty sedan chair is carried by devotees and the entranced, pierced priests file behind with spears and skewers. Chinese opera and puppet plays are often performed in the temple courtyard.

So with the information I had from the temple custodians, verified through GOOGLE, I think you can safely bring your DSLR down to Eng Hoon Street this Sunday at about 4pm.

I was told the procession through Tiong Poh Road, Guan Chuan Street, Seng Poh Road and Eng Hoon Street will take place at 5pm.

And this time around, it will take place on a weekend and hopefully many Tiong Bahru residents will catch a glimpse of the procession.

Past related post on the monkey god event :

The monkey god birthday procession

Wayang at Tiong Bahru Monkey God Temple

A Haiku from a shaky launch--under the heat of the...uhm...Sun (what else?!)

Ocean surface waves
Harmony pierced by a boat
Silver Chasm trails...

Ris Low gives up the title 'Miss Singapore World 2009'...or forced to?!

Bleah! There is no an inspiring sequel to "Miss Singapore World 2009 Ris Low should NOT be brought low & smeared by her dark past of being a credit card fraud!!"

The latest news has Ris Low gives up the crown. She is no longer the Miss Singapore World 2009. The so-called 'righteous' netizens, you may gloat now.

Damn. The title of the article is kind enough to give an impression that she willingly relinquishes the title.

If you read a previous article about how the beauty pageant organizer, ERM Marketing stated on Monday that it would now be seeking legal advice on whether to allow Miss Low to keep her crown, you can't help feeling that Ris Low is being cornered. Badly.

Let go the crown, you credit-card fraud! Or else, face our formidable group of lawyers!


Whatever happens to give someone a second chance, people?!

Are we that bad in our holier-than-thou shitty mentality?!

Miss Ris Low has resigned as Miss Singapore World 2009, days after her past conviction for credit card fraud was exposed.

The organiser of the local beauty pageant, ERM World Marketing, said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon she will no longer represent Singapore at Miss World 2009 in South Africa.

ERM said it will be interviewing a new representative to represent Singapore at Miss World 2009 in the coming days and will announce her shortly.

The organiser said it has met Ms Low and her parents and 'they have agreed to allow their daughter to resign from the crown as we feel is in the best interest for the Miss Singapore World Pageant and Singapore at large.

'We are accepting her resignation,' said ERM.

On Ms Low's conviction in May and her bipolar disorder, ERM said there was no way of checking if a contestant has a criminal record or suffering from depression.

'Ris Low was determined, well behaved and performed well throughout the 2 month competition and even went on to win eight special awards. This is not easy task to accomplish from a group of 22 contestants. With her good performance and beauty, she excelled in the competition.'

On her command of English language, which has been criticised by the public, the organiser said: 'We felt that person who made fun of her on YouTube was malicious and did not do her justice. The video clip was presented in a way to ridicule her.

'The incident was a one-time interview which misled the Singapore public to believe she spoke English poorly. During the Grand Finals competition held at the Shangri La hotel on the July 31, she spoke perfectly good English, had a good answer (short, sharp and sweet) and performed very well to impress the 11 judges that she was good enough to win.

'So perhaps her spoken English could also be an effect from her Bipolar disorder.'

ERM said it felt sorry for Miss Low but added: 'We cannot compromise on our contest rules, regulations and the image of the Miss Singapore World Pageant.'

ERM, which broke its silence only on Monday said it did not give any comments earlier to the media and press because 'we were taken aback by this incident and we did not have any documentary evidence to justify the allegations and could be faced with legal implications later'.

'Ris Low committed this offence as a young offender, and we had to be sensitive to handle any comments delicately where a young offender is concerned. The treatment would be different if she was over 21 years of age,' it added.

'We like to add that this is the first time in Singapore beauty pageant history that such an incident has occurred. We had to be careful with the approach.'

From Straits Times, "Ris Low gives up title".

The organiser of the scandal-tarnished Miss Singapore World pageant finally broke its silence on the Ris Low saga on Monday, saying it had no knowledge of her conviction for credit card fraud when she was crowned queen.

After days of silence on the issue, ERM Marketing said in a statement on Monday that it would now be seeking legal advice on whether to allow Miss Low to keep her crown.

The tersely worded statement said the company was investigating the issue, and would make a decision later in the week, once it has all the 'pertinent facts'.

It added: 'Kindly do not call us or disturb for answers. We will entertain you once we have a decision made.'

Since news of Miss Low's troubles with the law surfaced last week, ERM has kept its silence, despite the raging debate among Singaporeans over whether Miss Low should continue as Miss Singapore World. Even a politician has weighed in: Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah (Ang Mo Kio GRC) told the Chinese evening daily Shin Min on Saturday that Miss Low should not represent Singapore internationally.

She said: 'Using another person's credit card is a very serious offence. Honesty and integrity are very important.'

However, when pressed last week for an answer due to the high level of public interest in the matter, ERM said: 'Singaporeans did not pay for her.'

Miss Low, 19, has been a magnet for controversy ever since video footage of her speaking poor English made the rounds on the Internet.

Things got worse last week, when a report in My Paper, Singapore Press Holdings' free publication, broke the story that she had stolen several credit cards and used them to pay for $8,000 worth of jewellery, lingerie and restaurant bills, among other things.

She was sentenced to 24 months' supervised probation for her crimes.

From Straits Times, "We didn't know".


Agency: ADK Singapore
Client: Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Creatives: Maxx Koh, Joseph Wong, Le Gill, Jody Yeoh
Client Servicing: Eugene Lim, Abby He
Production: DigiPost / MHz Film (Malaysia)
Post Production: DigiPost
Producer: Julian Sin
Audio Engineer: Ken Chong

mini nookanooka

text by michael traverzo

nooka has joined forces with legendary artists/toy designers to commemorate the release of the new mini nooka. that's right, jeremy madl (mastermind behind the cult following mad toy design inc), ilovedust (renowned design boutique), shin tanaka (creator of paper figures inspired by the popular urban vinyl phenomenon) and Matthew Waldman custom designed their own mini nookanooka. each of you will be able to own these custom designs by mid october, so pre-order yours here!

mini nookanooka dimensions dimensions: 5.3"(height) x 3.9"(width) x 1.96" (135 x 100 x 50mm )

srp: $25

learn more about the nookanooka at their new interactive site with videos, pics and more here!

nooka is available at fine shops all over the world 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.

Maria Ozawa in "Kidnapping Miyabi"

Maria Ozawa: "Feature me if you can, Indonesia!"

I'm impressed at the creativity of Indonesian filmmakers whose idea is to feature Maria Ozawa--popularly known as Miyabi--as herself in the incoming Indonesian movie, "Menculik Miyabi" (or "Kidnapping Miyabi").

It's supposed to be a comedy, mind you. Not the usual rated 'stuff' which Maria Ozawa is (in)famous of. Still, her presence has ignited a spark of righteous anger among the Indonesian Muslim Council (MUI). What a great publicity!!

Gentlemen, brace yourself for an upcoming Indonesian film that might tempt you more than any other: It will feature famous Japanese porn star Maria Ozawa, better known as Miyabi.

Scheduled for release at the end of this year, Menculik Miyabi (Kidnapping Miyabi) is a movie that will probably attract a lot of hype this year.

Written by witty blogger Raditya Dika, the comedy tells the story of a man so obsessed with Miyabi that he plans to kidnap her.

Production house Maxima Pictures are still pulling the necessary strings to cast the 23-year-old Japanese star, movie producer Odi Mulya Hidayat said, as quoted by newsportal on Thursday.

"It's not easy to invite her here and we have to pay her a lot to star in the movie," Odi added.

But excited male audiences should calm down and rein in their imaginations: Miyabi won't be doing any scenes of the type she is famous for.

It will purely be a comedy, just with an occasional shot of Miyabi's face here and there.

As a woman of distinctive beauty created from the mix of genes from her Japanese mother and French-Canadian father, Miyabi has risen into global stardom since she started appearing in porn movies in 2005.

From Jakarta Post, "Miyabi to feature in Indonesian movie".

Filmmakers in Muslim-majority Indonesia on Monday defied condemnation by clerics, saying they would stick to their plans to fly out a top Japanese porn star to act in a local comedy.

Muslim leaders have blasted plans to bring out 23-year-old erotic film megastar Maria Ozawa, popularly known as Miyabi, to play herself in the upcoming film 'Menculik Miyabi' (Kidnapping Miyabi).

But Maxima Productions General Manager Adi Sudiadi said the company would stick to its plans to include Ozawa in the film, which tells the story of a group of university students who accidentally kidnap the starlet.

'We guarantee that Miyabi won't be playing in a porn film here, we'll bring her here not as a porn star but purely for a comedy movie,' Mr Adi said.

'Miyabi is well-known by Indonesian people... we're expecting that Miyabi will attract a lot of spectators here. We're also trying to fix Miyabi's image by showing she can play more than just a porn star,' he said, adding that no final agreement had been reached with Ozawa to act in the film.

Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) Chairman Amidhan slammed the choice of Ozawa - who has gained notoriety in Japan's burgeoning porn industry thanks to her striking Canadian-Japanese looks - as a threat to the moral health of the country's youth.

'Even if the film isn't porno, it's very dangerous for our young people, particularly if they become fans of this porn actress and become curious enough to watch her films,' he said.

'We have to be firm and not let rubbish into our country. This is about Indonesia's reputation as the world's most populous Muslim country,' he said.

Nearly 90 per cent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim. Most practise a moderate form of the religion.

Indonesia's parliament earlier this month passed a controversial film law that imposes tighter controls on content, including violence and sex.

From Straits Times, "Filmmakers defy clerics".

MUI Medan denounce the Japanese adult-movie star, Miyabi’s movie directing in Indonesia, as her popularity as vulgar actresses would harm Indonesian youth’s morality, despite the house production told it is planned to generate a comedy-genre movie.

“Similar to central council, Medan MUI also reject her present in Indonesia, particularly in Medan, North Sumatra,” General Chairman of Medan MUI, Mohd Hatta said here, as quoted by Waspada Online Monday (Sept. 28).

According to Hatta, if the actress also known as Maria Ozawa permitted to accomplish the movie directing in Indonesia, she would be scheduled to visit Medan later. “As we know that Medan is third biggest city that is famous as new film launching as part of marketing attempt, so there should no doubt Ozawa plan to promote it in Medan.”

In order to boycott the film production, government should charge Pornography Bill to censor vulgar scene toward the comedy movie titled “Menculik Miyabi” To Kidnap Miyabi. “Whether the movie genre is comedy or not, however her profession as adult movie actresses unavoidable to show adult-movie image.”

“The President should perform firm behavior to issue entrance ban toward Ozawa,” Hatta suggested. “If Malaysia government issued entrance ban toward Miyabi, why we (Indonesia) don’t.”

From Waspada Online, "MUI Medan boycott Miyabi’s movie in Indonesia".

Malaysia boleh: Polygamy Club & their rules

Rule no.1 of the Polygamy Club: You do not talk about the Polygamy Club. Rule no.2 of the Polygamy Club: You DO NOT talk about the Polygamy Club. The Ashaari clan has broken the rule: it is reported to have launched a Polygamy Club that claims "the noble aim of helping single mothers, reformed prostitutes and women who feel they are past the marrying age".

Fantastic. I'm speechless & I'm sure many are subscribing to the idea. After all, hey, it's such a noble act to have more than 1 wife. Whether you can cope (and I don't merely mean 'financially), it's of secondary importance.

PS. And I thought I won't see anything weirder than this declaration, "Polygamy is the most practical approach, an effective cure to a woman's desire."

PPS. The rules mentioned in the beginning of the post are shamelessly inspired by the movie, Fight Club.

When she was practicing law, Kartini Maarof once went beyond the call of duty for her divorce client.

She arranged for Rohaya Mohamad, a mother of seven, to be married again - to Ms Kartini's own husband.

The spouse they have shared for a decade is 43-year-old Ikramullah Ashaari, who has four wives and 17 children. His 72-year-old father has 38 offspring from five marriages, without ever having flouted Islam's prescribed limit of four wives at a time.

Polygamy is legal for Muslims in Malaysia, though not widespread.

The Ashaari clan believes it should be. Last month it launched a Polygamy Club that claims the noble aim of helping single mothers, reformed prostitutes and women who feel they are past the marrying age.

'We want to change the way people perceive polygamy, so that it will be seen as something beautiful instead of something disgusting,' said Hatijah Aam, the founder of the club. She is the fourth wife of Ikramullah's father, Ashaari Muhammad.

Polygamy may seem out of place in an Asian democracy proud of its skyscrapers, high-tech skills and go-getter economy. But it retains a foothold in this Muslim-majority country of 27 million where piety is deeply embedded and Muslims can be arrested for drinking alcohol or consorting with the opposite sex unless a couple is married.

The government also polices religious practice. Mr Ashaari, the family patriarch, used to head an Islamic sect that was banned in 1994 as heretical because it projected Ashaari as an absolver of sinners.

Most of the Polygamy Club members belonged to the sect, and there's nothing illegal about how they live now, so long as they're Muslims. For the one-third of the population that isn't Muslim, polygamy is unlawful.

The practice used to be more common but has dwindled to an estimated 2 per cent of all Muslim marriages as women have become freer and careers have opened up for them.

From Straits Times, "Polygamy club woos M'sia".

The polygamists point out that the Prophet Muhammad is thought to have married about a dozen women in his lifetime, including widows in need of protection.

'Some people treat polygamy as a laughing matter because they do not fully comprehend it,' says Ikramullah, a jovial businessman and son of his father's first wife. 'But a community that practices it would know that it is not bizarre. In fact, you would be teased if you were a man with only one wife.'

The club claims to number 300 husbands and 700 wives. It hopes to cultivate examples of happy households to counter women's rights activists who say some spouses and children suffer in polygamous marriages.

Club members say polygamy deters adultery and would improve the marriage prospects of ex-prostitutes if more men were available to marry them.

But Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Muslim female minister in charge of family policy, says polygamy 'is not a culture that is encouraged in our society.' Sisters in Islam, an advocacy group campaigning against polygamy, says it isn't good for women.

'If people choose to be monogamous, there are enough men for every woman,' it said in a statement to The Associated Press.

One opponent of polygamy is a 42-year-old business executive who asked to be identified only as Sharifah.

She said she threatened to divorce her husband of nearly 15 years after he told her last year that he had fallen in love with a divorced mother of three, felt she needed help, and wanted to marry her.

'I felt like my fairy tale had ended,' Sharifah said. 'He was my soul mate. ... I couldn't believe it was happening. Then I started to scream at him.'

She said some people told her that agreeing to a second wife would secure her place in heaven. But Sharifah, the breadwinner for her two children and jobless husband, refused to give in.

The couple underwent marriage counseling and Sharifah's husband has promised not to marry the other woman.

'Women have to make a stand. We are getting more progressive. We know our rights,' she said. 'I will not enter into a polygamous marriage. I know I deserve better.'

Ms Kartini, 41, says polygamy has served her well; while she was busy arguing court cases, her husband's first wife would cook, clean and look after the children.

'The wives can complement each other,' she said. 'Of course, you miss your husband and there are natural feelings of competition and jealousy at first. But after a while, you try to become friends and you learn that you can share your problems with each other.'

The club says most of its husbands keep each spouse in a home of her own unless the women agree to live under one roof. Many husbands rotate their days among households.

The tight-knit family is concentrated in Rawang, a town outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city.

They gather for religious holidays and other festivities, such as a recent 'Family Day' where they performed songs for each other and picnicked. They mingle easily in public, chatting and joking like any ordinary family.

The club is funded by the family's grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses. It plans to offer matchmaking, wedding planning and marriage counseling.

Hatijah, who became the patriarch's fourth wife in 1982, used to be skeptical of polygamy, and agreed to the marriage because she worried that at 27, she was getting too old to find a husband.

Now 54 and a mother of eight, she says: 'What is wrong with sharing a husband? I've been doing so for nearly 30 years.'

From Straits Times background story, "Polygamy 'not bizarre'".

GSK AquaFresh

Agency: Grey Singapore
Client: Glaxo Smith Kline (AquaFresh)
Title: Remote
Creative Director: Koh Hwee Peng, Justin Lim
Copywriter: Jody Yeoh
Art Director: Nick Tan
Digital Imaging: Magic Cube

Taufik Batisah & his 'honest mistake' singing Singapore national anthem wrongly

The article was first published on 27 September 2009 at 2323 hrs. I'm impressed. MediaCorp was quick in their attempt to clarify with Taufik Batisah what the hell went wrong with his version of Singapore national anthem!

Local celebrity, Taufik Batisah who was given the opportunity to sing the national anthem during the Formula One Grand Prix tonight, made a mistake while doing so.

His televised performance was viewed by millions all over the world.

But instead of singing "marilah kita bersatu", which means "let us unite", he sang “marilah kita berseru" which means "let us proclaim".

Speaking to MediaCorp, Taufik said, he's very sorry for making the error.

He said he was very nervous while singing.

But the winner of the first season of Singapore Idol added that he's aware that there's no excuse for him to make such an error.

Taufik says he hopes that the public will forgive him for what he refers to as an "honest mistake."

From Channel NewsAsia, "Taufik Batisah apologises for Singapore national anthem error".

He spent a sleepless night mulling over a mistake that was heard by 100 million people live on TV.

It was to be the biggest moment in Taufik Batisah's life, the highlight of a career that took off when he became the first Singapore Idol five years ago.

But he goofed when it mattered most. And he did it while singing the national anthem.

His task was to sing Majulah Singapura before the final race of the F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday night. Heart pounding, he went on stage and sang a jazzed-up version of Majulah Singapura.

Midway through the first chorus, however, he knew something had gone wrong.

'I didn't realise at the first 'berseru' that I'd sung the wrong word,' he said. It should have been 'bersatu' there.

It was when he sang 'berseru' a second time - where it is the right word - that it hit him.

'I felt this sick feeling in my stomach,' he said.

A rehearsal the night before had gone 'very well'.

Taufik, 27, said he had also been practising the song every day since he was picked for the honour about three weeks ago.

But on Sunday night, he said, nerves led him to sing 'berseru' (soar) instead of 'bersatu' (unite).

He made the mistake only once, though the chorus is repeated.

When he realised it, he said, he 'had to carry on'.

'Almost immediately, the cameraman got closer, so I really had to try and keep cool,' he said.

But he was far from that.

'Never in my wildest dreams, or nightmares, would I think of changing the lyrics,' he said.

He received text messages the moment he got off the stage, from friends and relatives who heard the error and wanted to know what had happened.

His brother, who was in the grandstand with some of Taufik's friends, was quick to reassure him.

But Taufik was in a daze.

'I was introduced to the Backstreet Boys and Chaka Khan, but I just felt so numb,' he said.

'I couldn't believe what I'd done.'

He did not sleep well later, taking only a 'short nap'. His Facebook fan page shows he was up at 2am, writing that he was 'very sad and disappointed'.

He reiterated that message to The New Paper, adding that he 'did not want to make excuses' for the mistake.

'There's nothing I can say that can explain it away,' he said. 'At this point, I'm just hoping Singapore will accept my apology.'

Taufik revealed that he is usually nervous before performances, but the feeling was 'amplified' this time because he knew he was singing to millions of people.

'I suppose it was a combination of things, trying to do the song my way, my nerves,' he said, before quickly repeating that there was no excuse for the mistake.

More than 100 comments poured in for him from fans on his Facebook page, most with the message that 'all humans err'.

Miss Kelly Chua, 27, thought the mistake was 'not unforgivable', but was 'certainly very embarrassing'.

'He's lucky because most of the people watching would not have spotted the mistake,' she said. 'But to a Singaporean, you just couldn't miss it.'

'Common mistake'

Netizens have mostly been critical of the flub.

'He had been singing the national anthem since Pri1 and still can get it wrong,' said one of them, Picnic06. Some thought the hullabaloo was 'petty'. Others pointed out it was a 'common mistake'.

'This 'marilah kita bersatu' instead of 'berseru' was emphasised several times when we were young,' said another, Dafansu.

Responding to the online criticism, Taufik said he was 'happy that people are patriotic about it'.

'I myself am very upset about this,' he said, sighing heavily.

Still, it hasn't put him off the idea of singing the national anthem again.

'I want to sing it again, but not to prove anything to anyone. I'm very proud of the anthem; I'm very proud of my country. It would be an honour if I were given the chance again,' he said.

From The New Paper, "TAUFIK'S NATIONAL ANTHEM BOO-BOO AT F1 | 'I felt this sick feeling in stomach'".

Setting Sail

nookanooka ×10 artists exhibition TOKYO

nooka has teamed up with 10 globally renowned japanese artists for a custom nookanooka exhibition to support the launch of the nooka strip, asset organizer and fragrance in japan! it helps that i'm personal friends with a good number of the artist. as timing has it, i myself [matthew waldman for those of you who don't know] will be there for the opening. if you're in tokyo, you should definitely stop by. this will also be good practice for the november launch of the mini nookanooka collabs we have coming up. we'll keep you posted on that.

at martina: JINGUMAE 3-4-9 B1F, shibuya-ku, tokyo, japan. 03 3407-1223 from wednesday september 30th - saturday october 3rd 11:00am - 8:00pm. party is friday october 2nd 6:00pm - 9:00 pm.

info in japanese here.

the artists that are included in the exhibitionare as follows: Taku Anekawa / BLANK / EDING:POST / HIROCOLEDGE / MATTHEW WALDMAN / Mikiko Minewaki 嶺脇美貴子/ Taro Mukasa or Takekasa 武笠太郎@ZARIGANIWORKS / Atsuo Ogawa 小川敦生 / SHIN TANAKA / T9G

and special thanks to mai-chan for supplying the glaceau vitamin water for the event!

nooka is available at fine shops all over the world 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 latest Ping fraud exposed: 'passportchop' & his army of clones??? 26/09/09: passportchop in No.3 of the 'Most' Popular site for the last 24 hour...

...with the supports of 10 clones. Pwned!!

Hey, don't get me wrong! I'm one of those few who are initially impressed with passportchop's blog. A shock is (almost like that when Ris Low was revealed to be a credit card fraud) that passportchop has a formidable group of clones in

This is how I came to know that.

Earlier this morning (as I have nothing to do), I just realized that within less than 5 hours, he had gathered 11 pongs for his post, "Riding into the Thick of Battle: Army Live Firing Safari" & thus, secured a 3rd place in the most popular (site) in in the last 24 hours.

Impressive feat, I remember myself commented. But the content was hardly interesting. So I wonder who the hell ponged this post of his?

Then I noticed unfamiliar nicks of pingsters (trust me, I'm one of the regulars) & moreover, I realized they a) do not have blogs registered and b) joined between a short time span between 26 Aug 2009 to 06 Sept 2009.

Here are his clones (with the sequence of ponging):
1. professorx (date of join to 29/08/09)
2. bingspine (26/08/09)
3. johnny67 (28/08/09)
4. roslina (28/08/09)
5. omigod32 (31/08/09)
6. maximlee (26/08/09)
7. thomascrown (31/08/09)
8. koreadramaqueen (31/08/09)
9. lucymei (01/09/09)
10. hydroburn (06/09/09)

Therefore I conclude with a great disappointment: Greed (of seeing one's post in the top 10 of the most popular in in the last 24 hours) has claimed yet another victim.

Sorry passportchop! Better luck next time...

Singapore welcomes Shrek of Far Far Away in Sentosa!!

Couldn't resist a smaller screenshot of "An Ogre in Sentosa" pdf file. It's just so exciting!! (Boy, do I sound like a little boy!! Heh.)

Open the pdf file for the description of the 6 amazing attractions from the "Far Far Away Zone":
- Madagascar: A Crate Adventure
- King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round
- Enchanted Airways
- Shrek 4D
- Magic Potion Spin
- Donkey Live

Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS) is banking on the appeal of two mega-movie franchises - Shrek and Madagascar - to draw the crowds to its theme park when it opens in first quarter of next year.

Six attractions at the integrated resort's (IR's) 20ha Universal Studios theme park will be based on the storylines of the two DreamWorks Animation films, according to details released on Thursday by the developer.

Visitors will get to see sets and characters from Shrek come to life, including the Far Far Away Castle belonging to Princess Fiona's father.

They will also get to experience rides based on the adventures of four animals from New York's Central Park Zoo who are shipped to Africa by accident and left stranded on Madagascar.

There will be more than 10 retail and dining outlets done up in the same themes as the two respective zones.

The two movies are among DreamWorks' most successful box office hits, with Shrek and its two sequels grossing over US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) worldwide, and the first Madagascar film alone taking in $500 million.

RWS chief executive officer Tan Hee Teck said the films are popular with Asians.

Prices for the theme park will be announced later, but The Straits Times understands they are likely to be on par with, or even cheaper than, tickets to Universal Studios theme parks elsewhere. A day pass to the park in Orlando costs US$70 and Osaka charges 6,000 yen (S$92).

The theme park - the first of its kind in South-east Asia - is expected to be one of the IR's biggest draws. The second IR, the Marina Bay Sands, is gunning for well-heeled business travellers.

Details of 18 other attractions at the Sentosa IR's remaining five zones - Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, New York and Hollywood - will be announced later. An RWS spokesman said the IR is on track for its soft opening in first quarter of next year.

From Straits Times, "Mega-hits at Sentosa IR | Madagascar and Shrek form themes at six attractions".

More about the attractions:
(1) Madagascar: A Crate Adventure
An indoor boat ride. Animated figures and special effects recreate the world of the 2005 film, which featured the adventures of four animals in New York’s Central Park. (Ride duration: 9 minutes and 30 seconds)

(2) King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round
A carousel ride. The seats will be modelled after the animals in the movie, such as Alex the lion, Melman the giraffe, lemurs and others. (2 minutes)

(3) Enchanted Airways
A roller coaster. The train of cars is modelled after Dragon, Donkey's wife, and the ride will feature other characters including the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio and the Big Bad Wolf. (70 seconds)

(4) Shrek 4D
A cinema with high-tech seats that can rumble, tickle and do other things. A 3D film about the honeymoon adventures of Shrek the ogre and his wife Princess Fiona will be screened, with an additional ‘fourth dimension’ of air blasts and water sprays within the cinema. (17 minutes)

(5) Magic Potion Spin
A miniature ferris wheel. The attraction is set within a larger retail outlet where visitors can buy Shrek merchandise and drinks. Interactive stations will also be set up for kids.(1 minute and 30 seconds)

(6) Donkey Live
A live, interactive show starring Shrek's sidekick Donkey. (18 minutes)

Partially quoted from Relax, "Sentosa IR banks on mega-hits".

Miss Singapore World 2009 Ris Low should NOT be brought low & smeared by her dark past of being a credit card fraud!!

I know many are damn fast to use the chance to further criticise her & the organiser of the Miss Singapore World pageant, ERM World.

In contrary, I'd say this shameful fact (if Ris Low was indeed guilty last time for a credit card fraud) should not be used to strip her from her title of Miss Singapore World 2009.

She won it fair & square & her dark past should not have any influence to it.

So she is not an angel. Who is?!

In a country like Singapore where people are encouraged to give a second chance for ex-offenders (Yes, I'm referring to that Yellow Ribbon Project), it's a pity to see how someone who was merely slapped with 24 months of supervised probation in May this year ought to be so severely chided.

Give her a chance & perhaps, this humiliating episode of her life will motivate her to do better in the international pageant & make Singapore proud. (The international event will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa in December this year.)

Lastly, kudos for ERM World for not making it compulsory for the contestants to declare their past criminal records. And please don't give in to the uproar of the 'righteous' citizens. Treat them as a noise. It will eventually be muted.

Recently crowned Miss Singapore World Ris Low, 19, had earlier been found guilty of credit-card fraud.

The beauty queen was convicted of five charges of misappropriation, cheating using illegally obtained credit cards, and impersonating their users' identities.

The first-time offender was sentenced in May this year to 24 months of supervised probation, said a Subordinate Courts spokesman in response to a query from my paper.

Another 60 charges were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing, he said.

Court documents show that Miss Low spent a total of more than $2,400 on at least four separate occasions, using at least three different credit cards in April and May last year.

She bought two gold anklets worth almost $1,000, a $698 mobile phone, and food and drinks at a swanky restaurant.

It is not known how she obtained the credit cards.

my paper understands that her previous employer, a healthcare company, made a police report about her in April last year.

It suspected that Miss Low, who worked there for five months as a patient-service assistant, had used credit cards belonging to its patients. It asked her to leave the following month.

Before leaving, she was said to have returned a part - an unspecified sum - of the total amount she had spent using the cards.

When contacted, Miss Low, now a student, said that she was "not in a position to comment".

The organiser of the Miss Singapore World pageant, ERM World, did not respond to queries as to whether it was aware of her criminal record during the pageant.

The international Miss World pageant will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December.

It is unclear whether Miss Low will be allowed to leave the country to take part in it.

From Asiaone, "Guilty of credit card fraud".

A question mark hangs over whether recently crowned Miss Singapore World, Miss Ris Low, will be able to represent the nation in the Miss World 2009 pageant.

The international pageant will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December but it is not clear if Miss Low will be allowed to leave the country as she is on probation after being convicted of credit-card fraud.

In April and May last year, she spent more than $2,400 on at least four separate occasions, using at least three illegally obtained credit cards, at times impersonating the identity of their owners.

She was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation in May this year.

It is unclear how she obtained the credit cards.

my paper understands that the 19-year-old student is seeking permission from the court to travel to South Africa for the pageant.

When contacted, Miss Low said that she was not in a position to comment.

Multiple e-mail messages and phone calls to the organiser of the Miss Singapore World pageant, ERM World, went unanswered.

Generally, offenders put on probation are required to apply to the courts for permission to leave the country, said lawyers interviewed by my paper.

This is because they usually have to observe curfews, and are required to report regularly to their supervising officers.

It is usually "quite rare" for probationers to be granted court permission to leave the country, said criminal lawyer Amolat Singh.

Whether permission is given would depend on their reasons for going overseas, Mr Singh said.

"Probation is a second chance at life, compared to being sentenced to a prison term. Permission may be granted for exigencies, such as family emergencies," he said.

It would also depend on the terms of probation and how well the offender has behaved, said lawyer Mark Goh.

Mr Singh added that probationers given permission to leave the country have to be placed under proper supervision while overseas.

Picked from 22 contestants, Miss Low was crowned Miss Singapore World in July.

She recently came under fire for her poor standard of spoken English, by netizens who had watched a video of her interview with Internet-TV news site RazorTV. This had been posted on the website prior to her win.

Videos spoofing phrases she said, such as "leopard preens" (leopard prints), "bigini" (bikini) and "boomz", have emerged online, along with heated debates over Singapore's education system and the use of Singlish by youth here.

From Asiaone, "Can she represent S'pore at Miss World?"

Netizens had a field day heaping criticisms on newly-crowned Miss Singapore World, Ris Low.

Having already been panned in the press and by the public for her poor command of English, the 19-year-old student made headlines again - for the wrong reason - when mypaper, an SPH free newspaper, on Friday reported on its front page that she was found guilty of credit card fraud in May.

The beauty queen was convicted of five charges of misappropriation, cheating using illegally obtained credit cards, and impersonating their users' identifies, and sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation.

It is unclear if Ms Low, crowned Miss Singapore World on July 31, will be able to leave Singapore to take part in the Miss World pageant to be held in Johannesburg in December, for which she will need court permission.

When contacted, a staff member of ERM World, the organiser of the pageant, exclaimed 'We don't know anything!' and hastily slammed down the phone.

The latest revelation has stirred a wave of criticism against her from netizens.

'She is lucky that she did not have to wear 'zipbra preens' for a few months behind bars,' said reader Misnomer, taking a dig at Ms Low's remarks on safari-inspired fashion in her much-derided interview with RazorTV that first sparked the uproar over having her represent Singapore at the international Miss World contest.

In response to the news report that Ms Low had used stolen credit cards to purchase gold anklets, among other items, a netizen suggested wryly that she should have used the credit cards to pay for English classes instead.

Netizens in the blogosphere were equally merciless in poking fun at the 1.7m-tall beauty queen. One commenter said her chances 'had literally gone 'boomz'', making reference to Ms Low's bizarre description of her sense of style.

Another commenter took it further and punned on Ms Low's name, saying that she was not 'Low Ris' but 'every bit high risk' for fraud. reader jason_akk pointed out that Ms Low's fall from grace was not the first incident of beauty queens gone bad as Miss Singapore Universe Rachel Kum also attracted much controversy after racy photos of her with phallic paraphernalia and an inflated sex doll made its rounds on the internet.

However, despite the brouhaha over Ms Low, some netizens expressed sympathy for her. One commenter said, while Ms Low is 'not that smart, she's probably not a nasty person'.

Another sympathetic reader, posting under the username perry0164, felt the beauty queen needs counselling help 'before further damage' is done to her.

She is scheduled to represent Singapore at the international Miss World pageant in South Africa in December. In light of current developments, it remains unclear whether she will be allowed to leave Singapore to participate.

From Straits Times, "Netizens slam Ris Low".

A defiant Miss Singapore World, Ris Low, who is in the spotlight again - for the wrong reason - is fighting back.

'I will not give up my crown - and my dreams,' she declared, as her past conviction for credit card fraud becomes public.

The 19-year-old controversial beauty pageant winner, who was panned in the media and by the public for her poor command of English, made headlines again when mypaper reported on Friday that she was sentenced to 24 months of probation for credit card fraud in May, stoking a new wave of criticisms from Netizens.

Responding to the latest news reports, Miss Low confirmed her conviction on five charges of misappropriation, cheating, using illegally obtained credit cards, and impersonating their users' identities, in interviews with two Chinese evening dailies - Shin Min Daily News and Lianhe Wanbao on Friday.

She also revealed that pageant organisers ERM Marketing did not know about her offences at the start, but she came clean prior to signing a contract.

'They said then that as long as the news did not get out, they would give me the opportunity to continue with the competition. Who would've thought this would leak out. Now that the whole thing is all blown up, I'm not so sure,' said Ms Low.

Asked if she would give up the crown and withdraw from the international beauty quest, Miss Low said: 'Of course, I am not willing to. I do not want to give up on my dreams. But if the organisers want me to, I will comply. After all, it would be the only fair thing to do.'

It is still unclear if Ms Low, crowned Miss Singapore World on July 31, will be able to leave Singapore to take part in the Miss World pageant to be held in Johannesburg in December, for which she will need court permission.

Asked by Lianhe Wanbao if she feels that she has let Singaporeans down, the student from Management Development Institute of Singapore said: 'No, but I am disappointed with myself. If I could turn the time back, I definitely would not want to make the same mistake.'

Despite the setbacks and embarrassment, she said she has no regrets taking part in the competition.

'How many people out there, fully aware of their shortcomings, still dare to stand out to pursue their dreams - and will not back down despite so much pressure? If there are any regrets, I would blame myself for doing those things in the past,' she asserted.

'Who does not have a past? Who has never done wrong? In actual fact, being put under probation does not make it a criminal record. It is made serious because my offence is a legal one.

'This incident has made me appreciate the love and support from my family members.'

From Straits Times, "'I will not give up crown'".

Vicky Zhao Wei will not marry a Singaporean because, what, she is patriotic?!

Vicky Zhao Wei carries a torch ONLY for a China man

Yeah, right. Whatever. Whoever this mysterious Singaporean businessman 'Marco' who was rumored to have proposed Vicky Zhao Wei twice ought to step up & clarify that he too would not marry a China girl because he is damn patriotic as well!! After all, Singaporean women are the best.

On a separate point, I'm quite amused to read the news published by Diva Asia on 23 Sept 2009 compared to Yahoo! News on 22 Sept 2009. The former had reported about Vicky Zhao Wei to marry a Singaporean businessman, code name, 'Marco' whereas the latter (albeit published a day earlier) said about her patriotism prevents her to marry a Singaporean.

Which news to believe, it's all up to you...

On 22 Sept 2009:

Chinese actress Zhao Wei denies talks of her impending marriage to a Singaporean businessman and explained that she is a patriotic woman

A month ago, Chinese actress Zhao Wei was rumoured to be married to a Singaporean businessman. It was later revealed by the production team of her upcoming Chinese movie, Hua Mulan that the rumours released were in fact a publicity stunt created for the movie.

At the press conference held a few days ago for the movie, Zhao Wei stepped forth and put an end to these rumours once and for all. She referred to herself as a patriotic woman and said, "I love my country so much, I will not get married with a Singaporean."

Last week, director Jingle Ma expressed his worries about Zhao's participation in the movie sequel, Hua Mulan 2. When reporters questioned the actress if she would delay her marriage for the movie, Zhao straightforwardly remarked, "If I were to meet the right guy, I wouldn't care so much."

The reporters persisted and further questioned Zhao on her previous statement. "I have already met someone suitable. I would not announce my marriage online or inform my parents in my hometown about it. However, given my character, it would also be hard for me to keep things a secret."

From Yahoo! News, "Zhao Wei: I will not get married with a Singaporean".

On 23 Sept 2009:

Vicky Zhao Wei is said to be marrying a Singaporean businessman, known as Marco, at the end of the year. The Shin Min Daily News quoted Hong Kong reports that it was singer Faye Wong who brought the couple together, when she introduced the pair to each other at a night club in Beijing.

The two are said to have dated for two years. During that time, Marco has already proposed to Vicky twice. The couple have remained low-key about their relationship as Marco is not industry insider. He is said to be a businessman who is about Vicky's age, and owns two top night clubs in Singapore. The pair hit it off very well after being introduced by Faye, and passion quickly sparked between the two.

The couple's families approve of the relationship and they will be married in a low-profile ceremony at a secret location in Singapore later this year.

Marco's first proposal received a refusal from the actress, as she had work commitments. However, she said yes to him when he asked her again in a second proposal which took place two months ago.

However, Vicky's spokesperson Chen Rong has denied that the marriage will take place, and also denied any knowledge of Chen Rong. When Hong Kong reporters asked if Faye Wong was the matchmaker for the couple, the spokesperson said: "These are personal matters, let's not discuss it. It's not important who introduced the couple to each other."

But at a promotional activity held at the beginning of the month for her movie "Hua Mulan", Vicky admitted that she already had someone in mind as a marriage partner when she was asked about it by a reporter, although she declined to elaborate on further details.

Before Vicky met Marco, Apple Daily reported that the actress was spotted holding hands with musician Li Quan, 37, at the opening of fashion store H&M in Shanghai in 2007. Up to two months before the photo was captured, it was still known to the media that she was dating Chinese table-tennis star Wang Liqin.

From Diva Asia, "Chinese actress Vicky Zhao Wei to marry a Singaporean businessman".

nooka X ilovedust: t-shirt

text by michael traverzo.

nooka has released 2 noo shirts that come in either light gray or charcoal gray with print designed by ilovedust. This is the 2nd collaboration between nooka and ilovedust and if i say so myself, these shirts rock!

ilovedust is a renowned design boutique that specializes in brand identity and has worked with the likes of nike, coca cola, jordan as well as others. back in early 2009, they collaborated with nooka and designed one of a kind nooka watches. for those of you who missed out and those of you who didn't, this shirt is a definite must have!

nooka is available at fine shops all over the world 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.

How do you recover from this?

Two old aunties rushed down to AVA after they found out that their cats were caught. A mother and her baby.

The officer brought the cats out but said he could only release one. The aunties had to choose.

The cats jumped for joy at seeing these familiar loving faces, not understanding the anguish and the tears.

They chose the mother. Because they had seen her as a baby, as a young playful adult and then an unwitting, unsavvy young mother. Then they witnessed the baby frantic, hysterical in the cage as she was carried back into the unspeakable backrooms.

How does anyone make such a decision? How do you expect them to recover from it? This happened some time ago but the aunties will never ever forget this.

Audi Branding

Malaysia sex party at Felda Krau 4, Raub -- foiled due to a tip-off

The way I see it that tip-off could have been originated from a disgruntled worker who was somehow not invited to join the decadent (sex) party of the year. Snigger.

Police broke up a sex party involving Bangladeshi plantation workers and local prostitutes at a kongsi in Felda Krau 4 early on Monday.

The Bangladeshi workers, who were on long festive leave, hired the prostitutes who were sent by a pimp to their kongsi in the oil palm plantation.

The sex party for the 19 men came to an end in the early hours of Monday when police raided the place following a tip-off and detained all of them, including the three prostitutes, one of whom was a 17-year-old school dropout.

Police also detained their lookout, a 56-year-old local man, not far from the area. He is believed to be the pimp who supplied the women to the Bangladeshis.

Raub police chief Superintendent Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman said the men tried to escape into the plantation when the raiding party moved in, but they were all nabbed.

Police also found used and unused condoms scattered on the floor in the kongsi which was fitted with partitions for privacy.

Wan Mohd Samsudins said initial investigations revealed that the three women, who are from the area, arrived at the kongsi on Saturday night before returning again on Sunday to offer their services.

"The pimp would usually ferry the women to Felda areas, targeting foreign workers at plantations.

"It is difficult to trace them (the prostitutes) without proper information as they are mobile and often switch locations."

The Bangladeshi workers, who had valid work permits, have been remanded at the district police station along with the four locals for further investigation.

He said it was the first such case reported in the district and thanked the public for the tip-off.

From Asiaone, "Cops break up sex party at oil palm plantation".

Three local women were caught having an orgy with 19 Bangladeshi men on the first day of Hari Raya.

None of them realised they were being monitored by a group of policemen, who had surrounded the house in Felda Krau, Raub, before they were raided at 2.30am.

Harian Metro, quoting Raub OCPD Supt Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman, said all 22 were arrested, including the three women aged between 17 and 43.

He said investigations revealed that the women had spent the past two nights in the house to satisfy the lust of the Bangladeshis, aged between 20 and 30.

"All three women are detained for investigations under Section 372B of the Penal Code for soliciting for the purpose of prostitution," he said, adding that police also found several used condoms in the house.

He said during the raid, some of the men tried to escape but failed as the house had been cordoned off.

A 56-year-old man, suspected to be the pimp, was also detained later under Section 372A of the Penal Code for trading in prostitution.

From Asiaone, "Three women caught at sex orgy with 19 foreigners".

Sightings at the Asian Film Symposium 2009

Sanif (Olek) made time for his film screening 'a la folie' while still dressed in his Baju.

Li San posing for me :p

Shots from Sinema's International Social Action Film Festival

Sparing a thought...

Finding an answer...

Making a point.
Sinema's International Social Action Film Festival continues until 1st Oct. Do catch them especially if you are feeling a lack of drive and am in search for something to knock you into action.

the weardrobe nyc conference

if you’ve been following the weardrobe nyc conference, you’ve probably read about or seen photos from some of the events. nooka was given the opportunity to be one of the sponsors and we're glad we could help. if you don't know about it, it was the first ever conference for young women fashion bloggers. learn more about it here.

here's a bit of a recap, courtesy of suzanne xie, "overall, the conference was a truly unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime experience for the bloggers involved. the conference officially kicked off on friday afternoon, where we had a meet&greet in the penthouse suite at the gramercy park hotel. the first day consisted of a street style photo shoot in gramercy park, goodie bags and an open forum pizza dinner. the first night ended with drinks on the rooftop of the hotel. the second day was epic, starting with a brunch at eat records in brooklyn and a Fred Flare shopping spree, continuing on to more thrifting in brooklyn and finally a diy challenge with pac sun denim. after hours of studding, shredding and pinning, the girls were ready for a delicious dinner at the fat hippo with gilt groupe. Day three was also a nonstop day of Soho shopping, traffic stopping photo shoots, blogging workshops, all starting with a scrumptious press brunch at lure fishbar. after such a full weekend of shopping and shooting, it was only natural that we reserved our last day for a blogger clothing swap, photo booth shots and a teary-eyed farewell brunch".

nooka is available at fine shops all over the world 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.

QUEST will be back soon...Thank you NLB!!

This is the follow up of my earlier post on NLB's QUEST cards. Heh. So glad to read the announcement that the cards shall be issued soon...on 25/09!

"Polygamy is the most practical approach, an effective cure to a woman's desire."

This ought to be the joke of the day, eh Malaysia?! I was this close to fall from my chair laughing. Really, we have to credit Malaysia for having such a wonderfully ridiculous sense of humour!!

KUALA LUMPUR: All Muslim women should open their hearts to polygamous marriages.

Ikhwan Polygamy Club spokesperson Hatijah Aam said this was because a woman had nine nafsu (internal desires) and one intellect whereas men had nine intellect and only one nafsu.

"When women are upset, they make a lot of noise, but men don't. The emotional nature of women makes them broadcast their problems. They rant and rave.

"Because this is their character, God allowed polygamy to challenge women to control their desires," said Hatijah, the second wife of Ashaari Muhammad, the founder of the controversial and now-defunct Al-Arqam movement.

"When the husband hurts them by taking another wife, their nafsu are challenged and curbed, and this makes them better people.

"A woman when left to her desires becomes very dangerous like a tiger. In fact, even fiercer than that. If the world is left to women, we will be open to continuous war."

The Al-Arqam movement was declared illegal by the National Fatwa Council in August 1994 after the group's teachings and beliefs were found to be against Islam. At its height, the movement had 10,000 members.

Polygamy, said Hatijah, would ensure that women were not controlled by their nafsu.

"When I feel sad that my husband is with another wife, he (my husband) will remind me that the pain God bestows upon us is a way to eradicate our sins.

"The husband is the leader who saves women from being consumed by their desires. There is a verse in the Quran which says that if the nafsu are not controlled, then 'nafsu itu akan menjadi Tuhan' (the desires will become God).

"Polygamy is the most practical approach, an effective cure to a woman's desire."

Hatijah said women in monogamous marriages were not challenged and that was dangerous as their nafsu could then control them.

"Why see only the negative in polygamous marriages? We can share a life as sisters. It is the nafsu that do not allow us to share and that is why men are there to suppress it.

"A polygamous marriage is actually beneficial.

"We can help each other with many chores including looking after the husband and children. The other wives come into our life to complement it."

Hatijah said one of the reasons the Ikhwan Polygamy Club was established was because Ashaari wanted to show the world he was living proof that polygamous marriages could be successful.

Ashaari has 38 children, eight of them with Hatijah. Twenty-three of the children are in polygamous marriages.

"Having been in a successful polygamous marriage for 30 years, Abuya (Ashaari) wanted to show that it could be a harmonious way of life.

"We also wanted to shock society. We wanted to show them there is an alternative for those who practise free sex. There are men who need more than one woman."

She said some monogamous marriages were failures as the men cheated on their wives.

"They are leading life as in the Jahiliah era (age of pagan ignorance preceding Islam) when men had many mistresses without any responsibilities."

The idea of the club was mooted in August and was launched in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Hatijah said the club's activities included counselling, courses and organising weddings for polygamous marriages.

"One of the first activities we will carry out is counselling. We will have one set of lectures explaining practical steps towards a harmonious polygamous marriage.

"We have 40 men and women motivational counsellors to conduct this. We will also organise courses every weekend.

"Training towards a harmonious polygamous marriage is more difficult than training to become a doctor."

When there is a problem in a polygamous marriage, the issue will be taken to the board of advisers which comprise the highest ranking officers in the club.

Five men and five women sit on the board. They include Hatijah and Ashaari.

"Here we will have meetings to decide the outcome of the marriage and whether there should be a divorce or not. Divorce is allowed by God."

About 300 families comprising some 900 individuals are members of the club.

Some of the families are from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Jordan and Syria.

They are all part of the Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd group, a business entity which has over 10,000 members. Businesses under Global Ikhwan include bakeries, sundry shops and restaurants.

Ashaari helms the group which funds the activities of his followers.

Who is the club open to?

"All individuals who practise the Islamic way of life. We have had many enquiries about the club, including from some Datuks in polygamous marriages."

Asked if she had been criticised for starting such a club, Hatijah said: "There has been no backlash at all, just a lot of support.

"I think I receive this support because people see polygamy as a solution and a way out of adultery."

The club has a theme song entitled Keluarga Role Model.

Hatijah said the club would ensure that men who married more than one woman were able to sustain their marriages.

"The men do not choose the wives they marry. Instead, Abuya decides who the men should marry and they rarely refuse.

"Only men who Abuya believes have leadership qualities and who can manage a polygamous lifestyle are chosen."

Asked whether she had ever regretted entering into a polygamous marriage, Hatijah said: "I have been declared founder of this club with my husband.

"There is no way I regret entering this marriage.

"Of course, in the 30 years that I have been married there were times I wished out of this life.

"I asked God for a way out but now after 30 years, I am reaping the benefits and I can say that polygamy is beautiful."

Hatijah said for a man to be just and fair he has to teach his wife that her first love must always be God.

"If you can't teach your wife to love God, marry only one.

"If a man wants to give more to one wife, he will be prevented from doing so because of his love for God. God says that if you love one wife more, you cannot show it."

Asked whether her mother was in a polygamous marriage, Hatijah said: "No, during my mother's time, there was not much emphasis on religion. My mother now accepts my way of life."

As for her controversial move to call on prostitutes to join the club, Hatijah said Ashaari wanted to "save everyone".

"If I was a prostitute, what would my life be like? People can talk, but what is the way out for them?

"Who says polygamy is oppressive? It is the way out. They can become a wife and be protected legally. In fact we are going to start with five women with HIV soon. We will place them in a shelter.

"We will counsel them, treat them medically and teach them the Islamic way of life.

"When they are back on the right path, we will advise them to get married and assist them in every way."

She said wives whose husbands wanted to take another wife should know that their husbands still loved them.

"They should realise how much it hurts their husbands when they (the wives) ask for a divorce. They should realise they are losing a man who loves them."

From Asiaone, "Polygamous marriage is beneficial".

Mas Selamat: a terrorist, an escapee, a captured escapee, and...a damn bloody liar?!

It's good that Malaysia still detained this 'inglourious basterd'. If he were to be in Singapore, he deserves to be hung...

He had no idea the clean-shaven man standing in front of him at the detention centre in Malaysia was Singaporean terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari.

The same Mas Selamat who had escaped from the Whitley Detention Centre in Singapore in February last year.

The same Mas Selamat who was captured in April after an intense manhunt by Singapore and Malaysian authorities.

Mr Simon Sipaun, the vice-chairman of Suhakam (Malaysia's Human Rights Commission) said: 'I didn't know it was him until later. He looked very normal, he was smiling at me.'

Mr Sipaun found out that he was talking to the terrorist who had made headlines only when he asked where he was from. Mr Sipaun was visiting the Kamunting Detention centre to report on conditions there on Friday.

Under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act, it is part of his organisation's duties to visit detainees in such centres, said Mr Sipaun.

Mas Selamat made a series of wild claims which the Singapore Government has since refuted.

Speaking to The New Paper over the phone last night, Mr Sipaun said: 'It was only when we asked him where he was from, and he said that he was from Singapore, that we realised it was the terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari we were talking to.'

Mr Sipaun, who was surprised that the man wearing a white skull cap was Mas Selamat, said: 'I didn't quite expect him to be such a normal human being. I don't know how a terrorist would look like, but I expected Mas Selamat to look more fierce.

Can't look fierce

'I suppose, someone who's already in detention can't look very fierce.'

Mr Sipaun, who has been the vice-chairman of Suhakam for the last 10 years, said: 'He seemed very forthcoming, he looked at me when he spoke... It was just like a conversation you would have with someone you met on the street.'

Except that this was no ordinary man on the street.

Mas Selamat was a key player in a plot to crash a plane into Changi Airport in 2002. He was also the head of the Singapore cell of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

Mas Selamat sleeps in a dormitory the size of a small hall. It had four or five fans, and he said he was 'very happy' there, said Mr Sipaun.

While he was comparing the conditions in the detention centre with those in Singapore, said Mr Sipaun, Mas Selamat told him that he suspected that he was being drugged.

Mr Sipaun said: 'He brought up the idea of being drugged when we asked him if he wanted to go back to Singapore. He also told us that his family in Singapore had wanted to see him.

'He said the Malaysian authorities had no problem with the visit, but the Singapore authorities took the passports of his family.'

Mas Selamat claimed that he never felt normal during his detention in Singapore, liberal news portal Malaysiakini reported.

He suspected that the authorities were administering drugs to him through his food.

He said he always felt dizzy and tried to eat as little of the food as possible and escaped at the very first opportunity that he got.

During their visit, Mr Sipaun and his colleagues spoke to eight of the nine detainees at the centre.

Mr Sipaun said he had lingered in Mas Selamat's room, spending 30 minutes of his two-hour visit there because he had read about his escape in the newspapers.

Mr Sipaun said: 'I wanted to ask him how he escaped from Singapore, but we started talking about other things, and it just slipped my mind. It is one of my biggest regrets.'

Seasoned Malaysian journalists said Suhakam, which was established by Parliament under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, does not have much authority.

It made a series of recommendations to the Malaysian government but few were taken up.

The appointees have largely been ex-government men. It is fighting for credibility and risks being tagged as a toothless organisation, they said.

Investigate claims

Said one journalist: 'Their job is less to investigate and more to do with articulating the claims. They act as the mouthpiece to counterbalance government statements.

'So if government says black, they say white. In the recent case involving the death of a young DAP (Democratic Action Party) politician, Suhakam echoed claims made by the family of the deceased against the corruption agency. But they did not investigate the claims; they just repeated it.'

The Star newspaper in a recent report about Suhakam said it is under intense pressure to keep its A status, which lets its members participate in the UN Human Rights council. With B status, they will be able to participate only as observers.

Said one journalist: 'A foreign detainee is the best. If you read carefully, Mas Selamat's claims are about his detention in Singapore, not Malaysia.

'By repeating those claims out loud, they get to show they are not toothless and yet not hurt the image of the authorities here because the claims are about the time in Singapore.'

Mr Sipaun, who holds the title of Tan Sri,is a former Sabah State Secretary.

He was also Sabah Public Services Commission chairman.

In April 2000, he was among the 12 people appointed into the Malaysian Human Rights Commission - headed by former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam.

S'pore detainees treated better than prisoners

Detainees at the Whitley Detention Centre would be treated better than criminals at normal prisons, Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of Singapore's International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research told The Straits Times last year.

He said: 'If you treat them badly, their resentment will grow.'

Unlike in Changi Prison where a vast majority of prisoners share their cells with other inmates, at Whitley Road, detainees are housed singly to keep extremist ideology from spreading.

Detainees at Whitley Road have further privileges - their families get to visit weekly.

They are allowed to wear civilian clothes and to 'spruce up', by shaving for example, when their families visit.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said: 'The family is an integral part of the rehabilitative process.'

Detainees also meet Internal Security Department (ISD) warders, case officers and psychologists frequently.

The Whitley centre aims to provide a holistic environment in which detainees can be rehabilitated, said MHA in a previous report.

'These places are not just about punishment, but also to integrate them back into society,' said Dr John Harrison of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Also in April last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said security agencies from the US and Europe had come here to compare experiences with the ISD and study Singapore's methods in fighting Islamist terrorism.

Some 30 Islamic religious teachers make up the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), which works to steer detainees away from the JI's distortions of Islam.

The group started when a handful of senior religious leaders were approached in 2003 to help counsel the detainees. They roped others in, embarked on a study of JI teachings and how to counter them, and began counselling in April 2004.

Since then, religious counselling has been a key part of the rehabilitation process for these detainees, reported The Straits Times.

The RRG also counsels the detainee's family to ensure that wrong lessons are not passed on to the next generation and to help wives, sons and daughters assimilate into the mainstream. Many families receive financial support from the Government, and detainees have jobs waiting for them when they are released.

As of May, 40 former terrorists, or roughly two-thirds of the detainees Singapore has arrested since 2001 have been rehabilitated and released, reported The Straits Times. None have returned to their violent past.

This month, the Government has released three more, having assessed that they no longer pose a security threat.

MHA: Mas Selamat had ample opportunity to report ill-treatment

A Ministry Of Home Affairs spokesman said in response to media queries that the passports of Mas Selamat's family members had been officially seized in 2005 because of immigration offences committed by them while they and Mas Selamat were on the run from the authorities and hiding in Indonesia in earlier years.

Mas Selamat had procured a false Indonesian identity card, and he and the family had hidden in Indonesia as illegal immigrants.

Their passports were also seized for security reasons, as Mas Selamat's wife was a member of the JI's women wing.

The family's request for travel documents to enable them to visit Mas Selamat at the Kamunting Detention Centre is currently being assessed by the Singapore authorities.

We will have to consider, given the family's past immigration offences, Mas Selamat's terrorist activities and plots against Singapore, and the fact that Mas Selamat's wife was also a member of the JI, whether it is in our national security interests to grant the family travel documents to leave Singapore to visit him in Malaysia.

As for Mas Selamat's allegation that his food was drugged, all detainees are examined daily (on weekdays) by a doctor and they may also ask for a doctor at any time.

Those who have medical problems requiring additional attention are sent to the hospitals.

In addition, a Board of Inspection makes unannounced visits to the detention centre to ensure the detainees' well-being.

Any report of ill-treatment of the detainee is sent to the Minister for Home Affairs.

The Government did not receive any report of ill-treatment from Mas Selamat, the doctor, his family, or the Board of Inspection during his detention.

It should also be pointed out that in the last few years since Mas Selamat was repatriated to Singapore from Indonesia, despite his having plotted terror attacks against Singaporeans and despite his having deserted his family in Singapore and fleeing to hide in Malaysia, ISD and members of the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group (ACG), which comprises several Singaporean Malay-Muslim organisations and individuals including AMP, Khadijah Mosque, Mendaki and Taman Bacaan, had provided the family social and financial assistance such as help with their utilities bills, and tuition and school textbooks for the children.

Hoi Wan Theng (Ms)
Senior Manager (Comms)
Ministry of Home Affairs

From Asiaone, "Mas Selamat makes wild claims about ill treatment in S'pore to human rights official".

Blog Archive