Dickson Tan Jing Yun

Dickson Tan Jing Yun will spend 80 months in a jail after running a Ponzi scheme. He had received a total of $6M from 46 investors, but paid out only $1.5M. What an asshole! How can such a Dick (sorry, can't resist) sleep at night?!

A former insurance agent was sentenced on Wednesday to 80 months' jail after running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme, between 2004 and 2008.

A Ponzi scheme takes place when somebody makes use of monies obtained from investors to pay off returns to earlier ones.

Thirty-seven-year-old Dickson Tan Jing Yun had received a total of about S$6 million from 46 investors.

But he paid out only about S$1.5 million to them.

The remaining sum totalling more than S$4.5 million was either lost in the course of trading or converted for his personal use.

Tan ran the Ponzi scheme as a sideline to his insurance job.

He had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of carrying on a fund management business without holding a capital markets licence.

Twenty-two other CBT charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Tan admitted he had misappropriated S$1.37 million in all.

Deputy public prosecutor Christopher Ong told the court that Tan had not made any restitution other than the some-S$1.5 million which he had earlier paid out to investors.

DPP Ong also said one-third of those who invested with Tan were not educated beyond secondary school level.

Tan had earlier informed his victims that he would invest their money in futures trading.

This would be done through his personal futures trading accounts with a company known as Phillip Futures.

He told them he would manage these investments.

Tan also promised his investors guaranteed fixed returns from 10 to 13 per cent per annum.

In his mitigation plea, Tan's lawyer, Noor Mohamed Marican, had said his client had lost almost everything as a result of the trading activities.

Mr Marican also said Tan had lost about a million dollars of his own funds in the investments as well as money belonging to his 68-year-old father.

However, senior district judge See Kee Oon said that Tan's offences warranted a deterrent sentence, saying that Tan had played a "confidence trick repeated many times over on potential unsuspecting victims".

From Channel NewsAsia, "Man jailed over Ponzi scheme".

A MAN who ran a large Ponzi scheme by promising high returns to his investors in futures trading was jailed for 80 months on Wednesday. Dickson Tan Jing Yun took nearly $6 million in investment funds from 46 people from September 2004 to October 2008.

He paid out only $1.5 million to the investors, including principal repayments. No other restitution has been made, with $4.5 million lost either through trading or personal use.

Tan, 37, pleaded guilty last week to running a business of fund management without holding a capital markets services licence between 2004 and 2008. He also admitted to 10 charges of criminal breach of trust of $1.2 million, of which $834,332 or 67 per cent of the total sum were dishonestly converted to his own use.

Senior District Judge See Kee Oon, who took another 22 charges into consideration, agreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong Siu Jin that there were aggravating features in the case which called for a stiff sentence.

'The premise was to lure additional investors to join the scheme while seemingly making good on initial promises of guaranteed fixed returns - essentially a confidence trick repeated many times over on potential unsuspecting victims,'' said the judge. He said Tan clearly planned his offences, and had systematically repeated his pattern of offending, A number of his clients were not well-educated and a few were above 50 years old.

Tan was an insurance agent in 2004 when he ran the scheme on the sidelines. He then joined another company as an associate manager and his last appointment was a branch manager with an insurance broker December 2007.

From Straits Times, "Man who ran Ponzi scheme jailed for 80 months".

MP Koo Tsai Kee to retire

Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, 56, has confirmed that he will not be seeking re-election.

Four-term MP Prof Koo, who is Minister of State for Defence, broke the news of his impending departure to his grassroots leaders and branch activists in Tanjong Pagar GRC over the past week, said PAP sources.

The Colombo Plan Scholar, who is on the civil engineering faculty of Nanyang Technological University, was first elected in Tanjong Pagar GRC in 1991.

Since then, he has served residents in two wards in the GRC: his own Tiong Bahru ward as well as Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's Tanjong Pagar ward, where he stands in at Mr Lee's Meet the People sessions.

In 1995, Prof Koo became a parliamentary secretary. He was promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary in 1999 and to Minister of State in 2006.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Truncated from the report MPs Koo Tsai Kee and Ong Ah Heng to retire, By Elgin Toh, the Straits Times (30th March 2011)

VOTE and you can win these prizes!

Thank you to all who supported Mise En SIN the exhibition! The online Best Poster Voting Contest is still on and your 2 WEEKS LEFT to vote in order to win prizes. The closing date is 15 April!

Here is how to vote:
1. Go to SINdie's Facebook page via this link.

2. Click on any of the images to go to our Flickr.com account where you can find all the film posters.

3. Browse through the entries and click on "Favorite" to vote.

4. You're done!

Here are what you stand to WIN!
5 DVDs from Objectifs Films for 5 lucky voters
The winners will be randomly selected from anyone who voted.

1. Almost Famous
by Mark Pestana, Kenny Png, Marilyn Tan and Angus Yang

Almost Famous
looks at the stories of 16 characters who thrive in a parallel world they inhabit.
Ladyboys or “kathoeys” occupy a precarious
position in the Thai social landscape. While alienated as outcasts, they are an important feature in the package of images making up “Amazing Thailand”. Follow the social phenomenon of the country’s ubiquitous transgendered population through the triumphs and tragedies of 3 Thai ladyboys.

The youth of today’s Taiwan they have traded their
white lilies and gentle folk songs in exchange for corpse paint, black leather and the hellish howls of metal music. Is the Taiwanese obsession with independent music a reflection of the island’s own

India’s educated middle-classes, schooled in the
language of visual storytelling through a lifetime of exposure to film are picking up cameras to shoot their own stories. Find out how women, armed with cameras are finding their voice and with documentaries, finding a platform for their voices to be heard in India. The documentary has become for them, a means to declare, “I exist”.

Ep 4:
Not content with merely reading manga,
fans are taking it a step further by dressing up as characters and imitating their trademark mannerisms. Yet, as Cosplay has become a global phenomenon, Japanese cosplayers are frowned upon in their own country, for choosing to be different in a society that values conformity. Are these sub-cultures slowly creating a new image of Japan?

2. Let's Fall in Love
by Wuna Wu
The subject is love, not the heartwarming, quixotic, groovy kind of love but one that is draggy, agonizing and messy. Indeed the unflattering, painful and downright awkward do not faze the brave married men and women interviewed in the film. They talk to one another and to the camera about their struggles and disappointments in the relationship, with great openness and vulnerability. Helping these couples build a life together is Consultant Chen, matchmaker extraordinaire and exceptional crusader of the human heart. She works her brand of magic with tireless passion, old-school wisdom and solid straight talk. Some documentary filmmakers keep their distance but director Wuna Wu shares her own painful past as transparently as she tells the stories of others.

3. Fireflies
by Gili Meisler

This is the story of two brothers. Giora, the most talked about MIA of the Yom Kippur war, and Gili, who has been searching for him and for himself ever since. In 1973, on the first night of the Yom Kippur war, Giora Meisler, a tank driver in the Sinai peninsula, went missing under mysterious circumstances after his tank was hit by Egyptian forces. Fireflies is a film about three journeys. It is the story of a 12 year old boy, a 24 year old man and a 44 year old adult in search of answers. This is also the story of Giora, who will forever remain 19.

4. I-San Special
by MingMongkol Sonakul

“I-San Special” is a bus that travels from Bangkok to Nong Bua, a very small town in Northeastern Thailand (I-San). On this bus, a group of up-country and native I-San is returning to their hometown via the normal bus route. However, in this “Special Bus” the routine route under a full moon night is anything but usual. The travelers become the focus of a story worthy of the surreal world of Thai Soap Opera. Their scripted drama unfolds as the bus travels east interrupted only the reality of gas station stop and other usual roadside diversions. At first glance, the film will look as if it is divided into two parts: the soap style acting on the bus, and the documentary-style story telling of the bus passengers off the bus. However, as the film goes on, we will see that these two sections are not really parallel. There are many links between these two worlds: the world of a harsh reality and the world of a surreal soap.

5. Carrot Cake Conversations
by Michael Wang

Four strangers find themselves stranded in Singapore two days before Christmas. This is a story of how they find companionship over a plate of carrot cake and a conversation. Kate, a failed American actress, is in transit in Singapore for one night, on her way to New Zealand to set up her dream café. Kate meets Daniel, a dishevelled businessman who recently caught his wife cheating on him, Matthew, a rich property mogul who finds himself at the crossroads of his life, and Ruth, a prostitute who longs to be Singapore’s first blues singer. Is it possible that a conversation can change everything? Perhaps sometimes in life, all we have to do is talk.

The Most Voted Poster also gets a prize. The filmmaker (or he could pass it to his designer!) will win a LIMITED EDITION COLOURSPLASH CHAKRAS LOMO CAMERA!

This sleek Lomographic camera (see below) will re-cast your world with a gorgeous riot of color. Its patented colorwheel system puts several tinted flash filters at your finger tips for instant selection; with an additional 9 filters included to exchange. Just select your color, put it in front of your flash, and fire a burst of colored light at your subject! Long exposure capability creates dreamy streaked backgrounds behind crisp, color-flashed foregrounds.

This special limited edition has been customized by Staple Design with a rubberized surface and Staple’s signature pigeon graphics. Inspired by the ubiquitous bird of New York City (and countless other urban locales), this special edition is outfitted in a slick grey & red color scheme. It uses regular 35mm film that can be developed anywhere.

So to all filmmakers, get your friends to vote for you today!

Finally, we would like to thank Objectifs Films for partially sponsoring the wonderful prizes!

now this is LOGIC: if i do not sleep, YOU WILL NOT SLEEP!

funny pictures - If I do not eat, I do not sleep. If I do not sleep, YOU WILL NOT SLEEP. Are we clear on this?

Electricity rates to up by 6.5% from April 1

Don't you wish it's really a funny joke of April Fools' Day. Alas, there's nothing funny in an increase of electricity rate by 6.5%!!

But you may this "Energy Saving Cartoons and Comics" is a bit of consolation for you (and for me. Sobs!!)

I like this the best: 'Rising energy costs have forced us to turn off the light at the end of the tunnel.' Hehe.

ELECTRICITY tariffs in Singapore will increase by an average of 6.5 per cent starting April 1 to reflect the higher cost of fuel, the city-state's main electricity retailer said on Tuesday, adding to inflationary pressures in the city-state.

SP Services, a unit of Singapore Power, said the higher price of electricity follows a 14 per cent rise in fuel oil prices to $113.37 per barrel over the last three months that was partially offset by a 3 per cent drop in network charges.

Singapore's consumer price index rose by 5 per cent in February from a year ago, below January's 5.5 per cent increase, but economists warn inflationary pressures remain strong in the city-state due to strong domestic demand as well as higher commodity prices.

The government has taken steps to keep inflation in check by persuading hawkers to refrain from increasing prices and deferring an annual review of train and bus fares till the fourth quarter of this year.

From Straits Times, "Singapore electricity rates to rise by 6.5% from April 1".

SP Services said households will pay more for their electricity from April, with their electricity tariff increasing by 6.1 per cent to 25.58 cents per kilowatt-hour.

On average, families in four-room HDB flats will pay about S$4.85 more a month for their electricity based on the new tariff.

Explaining the tariff increase, SP Services said the average fuel oil price increased sharply by 14 per cent to S$113.37 per barrel over the last three months.

At the same time, there was an annual review of the grid network cost or the cost of transporting electricity through the power grid, which resulted in network charges being lowered by 3 per cent for the year ahead.

It said the significant increase in fuel cost, however, more than offsets the reduced network charges.

The Energy Market Authority has approved the increase.

However, about 800,000 Singaporean HDB households can expect to receive S$194 million worth of Utilities-Save (U-Save) and Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates in April under the 'Grow & Share' Package announced in the Budget.

The Finance Ministry (MOF) said this is on top of the S$108 million in rebates that households will receive this year under the on-going GST Offset Package.

In total, it said the Government will be giving about S$300 million in U-Save and S&CC rebates this year.

This April, a Singaporean household will receive S$170 to S$220 worth of U-Save rebates and half to one month waiver of S&CC, depending on HDB flat type.

The rebates aim to help households, especially lower income households, cope with rising costs, including higher utilities bills due to the increases in electricity tariffs.

Those living in 1-room and 2-room HDB flats will enjoy utility rebates for at least five months.

Those living in bigger flats will benefit from at least a month of offset of their utilities bills on average.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Electricity tariff to increase 6.1% starting April".

Tin Pei Ling, the youngest PAP candidate

Most of the news said her name to be Ms. Tin Pei Ling. One said she's Ms. Rina Tin Pei Ling. And my point? Well, not to debate the accuracy of the news, but more to highlight this impressive PAP candidate who sparkles not just because she's the youngest ever candidate. Besides so many other articles highlighting on her achievement, do take a look at her impressive speech, "Globalisation – High & Low" during PAP Convention on 11/11/07.

Ms Tin Pei Ling

Ms Tin, a senior associate at Ernst & Young Advisory, is the youngest candidate to be fielded thus far.

But Mr Lim said whether age was a barrier for Ms Tin would depend on her performance.

"It is through your deeds of what you do that demonstrate your sincerity of wanting to serve and whether you put their interests first and foremost," Mr Lim said.

"And when you do this over time, people will judge you and people will decide whether you are someone they can look to, to trust."

Ms Tin added: "Although I am young, I have the energy, the youthfulness, the attitude and willingness to learn and serve the people I will represent.

"Although I have been in the grassroots for the past seven years, I have deep respect for the senior grassroots leaders and the volunteers I have come in contact with.

"I have always learnt from them that it is about serving with a heart.

"At the end of the day, age shouldn't be an issue. It is about the potential and capacity to learn, to reach out to people of different segments and to come out with meaningful initiatives and solutions to help them".

Over the last four years, Ms Tin been involved in business and management consultancy work for both public- and private-sector organisations.

Her work experience includes strategic thinking and planning, change management and performance management.

The PAP said Ms Tin has been deeply involved in grassroots and community work for seven years.

She is an active Internet user and has been playing an active role in YP Media, which she currently heads.

Ms Tin said she sees new media as a platform to give voice to people from all walks of life, to share good ideas and to promote understanding across different values and viewpoints.

"Our own activists have to be active out there in the social media realm," Ms Tin said.

"Currently it is quite dominated by some of the netizens who are more pro-opposition or anti-establishment from the bulk of comments that we always see.

"one (of the things) we can do is for our young activists to engage netizens on serious topics and issues to find out more of what they are concerned with and try to put forth our point of view."

Ms Tin is currently understudying MP for MacPherson Matthias Yao.

According to an entry on the Marine Parade Facebook page, "MParader", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has agreed to let Ms Tin contest and serve in MacPherson.

The division has been absorbed into the Marine Parade GRC under the latest Electoral Boundaries Review report.

Also according to "MParader", incumbent MacPherson MP, Matthias Yao has given Ms Tin high marks and that he found her "mature, bright, pleasant and able to connect with young the and old".

Partially quoted from Channel NewsAsia, "GE: PAP unveils third batch of new GE candidates".

But the spotlight fell on Ms Tin Pei Ling, 27 - the youngest PAP candidate since former Member of Parliament Ng Kah Ting was fielded for the first time in 1963 at age 23 and former Speaker of Parliament Tan Soo Khoon in 1976, also at age 27.

Ms Tin, who found herself taking on a slew of questions from reporters, acknowledged there "would be some room" for her to grow and build her experience. "Although I'm young, I have the energy, the youthfulness, the willingness to learn and serve the people I represent," said Ms Tin, who has been a grassroots leader since she was 21.

She added: "Age shouldn't be an issue. It's really about the potential and the capacity to learn, to reach out to people of different segments and to understand them and come out with meaningful initiatives, solutions or ways to help them."

Mr Lim, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said her candidacy was "not unusual", as the PAP needed to bring in younger people to hone their skills while renewing Parliament.

"In the past, they had to serve in single constituencies where demands on them were much higher," he said.

"Today, a young candidate like Pei Ling will stand in a GRC, and she'll have the support of older members of Parliament in her constituency. So we're in a much more fortunate situation today. For those in the constituency who aren't as comfortable talking to such a young person, they can look for someone older."

According to an entry last night on the PAP's Marine Parade Facebook page, Ms Tin will contest and serve in the MacPherson division, now part of Marine Parade GRC, for the GE. The Facebook entry said that incumbent MacPherson MP Matthias Yao has given her high marks. He found her "mature, bright, pleasant and able to connect with young and old".

Ms Tin is married to civil servant Ng How Yue, who is principal private secretary (PPS) to the Prime Minister.

When she was asked if her husband had shaped her political aspirations, Mr Lim weighed in and pointed out that Ms Tin was volunteering in Ulu Pandan grassroots before Mr Ng became PPS.

She added that she was "pretty independent minded": "If anything, it's the influence of my parents because my father was a grassroots leader."

Ms Tin hopes to have children in the "near future". Asked how this may impact her MP work if she is elected, she said she would "fall back" on the grassroots leaders and her other GRC MPs. "Even if I'm on maternity leave, I'd still be keeping an eye on what's happening because I can still work from home ... So, I don't foresee a problem," she said.

Partially quoted from Today, "Spotlight on youngest candidate since 1976".

DON'T be surprised if you receive a message on social-networking website Facebook from Ms Tin Pei Ling soon.

The new People's Action Party (PAP) candidate intends to use social media to reach out to the younger generation in the lead-up to the upcoming election.

Ms Tin, who sits on the executive committee of the party's youth wing, Young PAP (YP), said: "By building a friendship online, we can then take them into the real world where we sit down, face to face, to interact with each other...and we can have a more constructive discussion."

She also heads YP Media, the team set up to drive YP's virtual, technological and digital outreach. At 27, the senior associate at professional-services company Ernst and Young is the youngest PAP candidate to be introduced so far.

She was speaking at the PAP headquarters in New Upper Changi Road yesterday, where the party's third batch of three fresh candidates was unveiled by PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng.

Having observed sentiments aired online on various political issues, Ms Tin said: "Our own activists need to be active out there in the social-media realm...and engage netizens on serious topics."

Her age is also a cause of contention, with netizens expressing their doubts about her capabilities and ability to connect with the older generation.

However, Ms Tin feels that her youth will not be an issue. She has had experience serving as a grassroots leader in the Ulu Pandan ward in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC since the age of 21.

From Asiaone, "PAP youngest candidate has tech savvy edge".

MS TIN Pei Ling's path to politics began in a Ghim Moh coffee shop owned by her father, where she helped serve tea and coffee as a junior college student.

She soon began accompanying her Chinese-educated father, who is also a grassroots leader, on market visits and to community events.

'He had problems communicating in English, so I became the impromptu translator or interpreter,' she said.

Late one night, when she was an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, Ms Tin dropped by the coffee shop and came across a group of Ulu Pandan grassroots volunteers. They were having supper after their weekly Meet-the-People sessions. The group included the then MP, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

'My father introduced me to the volunteers, and to Dr Vivian. They said, why don't you join us at the Meet-the-People sessions?

'It sounded interesting. I thought I would give it a shot. I've been at those sessions since then.'

After seven years of volunteering, Ms Tin, at the age of 27, on Monday became the youngest woman candidate to be unveiled by the People's Action Party in recent history, and the youngest candidate since former PAP MP Ng Kah Ting was fielded in 1963 at the age of 23.

Partially quoted from Straits Times, "She wants to be voice for youth".

Wearing a jaunty white cap and coloured hair, the ceremony’s energetic emcee, Ms Tin Pei Ling, 26, stood out. Her youth and zest garnered her one of five medals given to outstanding young PAP members.

She is currently the vice-chairman of the Young PAP sub-committee in the Ulu Pandan branch.

The business and management consultant told Petir that she was approached to join the Party five years ago, at a coffeeshop in Ghim Moh Block 19.

“My father, who is active at the grassroots level, ran a coffeeshop where Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and PAP volunteers went for supper after meet-the-people sessions,” said Ms Tin, an only child who used to help translate for her Chinese-educated father.

“One night he asked me to go and say hi, and Dr Vivian asked me to help out in the MPS sessions. How could I say no?”

She now compiles online feedback about the PAP. Some of it is cynical, she said. “Maybe some young people feel a need to be different and they express it by being anti-establishment.”

Partially quoted from Petir November/December 2009, "Fresh blood".

尊敬的党领导及各位同志朋友们,早上好!我是行青团,也是乌鲁班丹支部的陈佩玲。非常感谢大会容许我针对“收入差距,贫富悬殊” 这个课题,以双语发表看法。

Respectable party leaders and comrades, good morning to you all. My name is Tin Pei Ling from the Young PAP (Ulu Pandan). I am grateful to have this opportunity to share my views in two languages on the topic of the widening income gap.

相信这个课题已不是什么新鲜事。在考虑贫富悬殊这项难题的当儿,不仅是考量收入差距是否越来越大,更值得关注的是那些属于“贫困” 的一群是否能,最低限度,生存并避免恶性循环。对于这个日趋严重的问题,许多人怨天怨地,更怨政府。可是,这真的只是政府的责任吗?我,不以为然。

This is not a new topic. Besides studying whether the gap is widening, it is more important to find out if the lowest-income group is able to get by and not fall into the vicious cycle. Many people are complaining and blaming the government for this problem. But is this really the responsibility of the government? I don’t think so.

政府可以从宏观的角度,设立强有力的架构协助我们成功,但这是不够的。所谓:” 国家兴亡,匹夫有责” 。每个人,不分你我,对国家有责任,对周围的同胞们也有责任!

The government, at the macro level, can set up a robust framework to help us be successful, but this is not enough. As the Chinese saying goes, the individual has a responsibility towards the survival and success of the country. Everyone, besides a duty for the nation, also has an obligation to the fellow countrymen around him.


Today, I am not trying to find a reason for the situation. We should not just talk about it, but need to be proactive in finding a solution. Please excuse my boldness in offering two suggestions, and two more in my English speech.

第一项,我们要自强不息,力争上游;不断地自我调适,自我更新!许多人认为做人难,做新加坡人更难!从某些角度来看,这或许是真的。可人生又曾几何时是尽如人意的?我们应该要了解,环球发展不会为了新加坡,更不会为了你或我而放慢。尽管政府再怎么尽全力地资助或扶持我们,这始终不是万全之策 -- 治标不治本。

First of all, we need to persevere and strive for continuous improvement, adjustment and rejuvenation. A lot of people think that making a living is difficult, I think making a living in Singapore is even more difficult! We need to understand that globalization will not slow down for Singapore, or you and me. No matter how hard the government tries to subsidise and help us, it will just be treating the problem superficially without solving the root.


The government is like a ship and it can help us reach our destination safely and smoothly. However, this ship still needs to be operated by people. In other words, we still play the critical role ourselves. If we are not helping ourselves, how can we solve the problem?


Secondly, we need to learn from our forefathers and seniors. We should emulate and promote their value systems and spirit of endurance. Our party is 53 years old, many pioneers are still active today. They have lived through the years of turbulence, under very poor living conditions, but they did not give up. They bite the bullet and helped to build a strong foundation for Singapore. Take my own father as an example, when he was a young man in the sixties, he struggled even with three meals a day. If he dropped 20 cents, he would have to starve for a day and walk all the way home from school. Despite all these, his generation worked hard and succeeded ultimately. This is something we should learn from.


Hence, even when the economic environment is not favourable, we must continue to persevere, work hard and make a difference!

A very good morning to Party Chairman, Secretary-General and fellow comrades! My name is Tin Pei Ling from the Young PAP (Ulu Pandan).

I thank you for the opportunity to speak today, and I thank my fellow YP comrades for sharing their insights with me online. Allow me to share these with you.

Singapore’s income gap is growing. The Gini coefficient for Singapore had increased from 0.442 to 0.472 in year 2000, before adjusting for Government benefits and taxes. From an economic standpoint, this suggests a growing income inequality.

This widening of income gap is a complex challenge faced by every society. And to tackle this, it helps to break it down and address the components accordingly.

Getting the Economics Right

To address the rich-poor gap, we must first ascertain the possibility of becoming rich in the first place! Hence, from a macro-level, we must be able to progress and hold our own against giant, booming economies such as China and India. We must not easily fall prey to the short-sighted proposals made by the Opposition, who push for either protectionism or welfarism! We are Singaporeans who have dignity and integrity. We can achieve much if we are willing to put in the effort. And we should not yield to these temptations (short-term wins), as other greater nations than ours did and been the worse for it.

From a micro-level, and of most immediate concern, those at the bottom of the social ladder must have sufficient to live by. Having ensured that, there must be hope for the children of those who are considered poor now to break out of the poverty cycle later in life. In essence, we must – (1) Help the poor; (2) Maintain social mobility.

Helping the Poor

In Singapore, it appears that while the rich has gotten richer, the poor have NOT gotten poorer. The Department of Statistics reported that the bottom 20% of our population have seen their lives improve over the last decade.

BUT there are still those amongst us who need help. Some, we meet weekly at our Meet-the-People Sessions; some, we meet almost daily in our classes or workplace. As youth, it is crucial that we remain aware of the needy. We, who have voices, must advocate for those who cannot speak. And we must do more than speak – we must act, by seeking out those who need help and find ways to help them.

As YP members, we also have the privilege of working with our Parliamentary leaders and decision makers. In the course of serving the community, we have learnt about the different avenues of assistance and paths to seek help. We know the strength of our national system, and how the good can become even better!

This confers upon us a special responsibility, to give ground feedback sincerely and honestly, without fear or favour. Let it never be said that the Young PAP is a bastion of yes-men and women, but young thinking Singaporeans who are prepared to speak our minds, defend and decide what is right and not just about being popular.

Maintaining Social Mobility – Helping the Next Generation

Our nation abides by the principle of meritocracy.

It is a tragedy when a family descends into poverty. But the tragedy is multiplied if that family’s children cannot rise out of poverty. We must not let this happen.

Hence, children from poor families must enjoy equal access to education. They must not feel compelled to leave school in order to make ends meet. Neither should they be afraid to aspire to schools of excellence, for fear that their great talent is not matched by great wealth.

Thankfully, our education system has done well compared to other countries! We have been able to subsidise education for young Singaporeas, and spread quality across our neighbourhood schools. Singapore has done this competently and should continue to evolve to become better!

As members of Young PAP, we also have a role. Those of us who have risen out of poverty can be role models, helping to guide the less fortunate along the road we have trodden ourselves. And those of us still struggling to make ends meet, can be a voice to highlight situations on the ground, while inspiring our fellow men and women as we endeavour onward and upward to build a better future.


In summary, the rich-poor gap is not an easy issue, and there are no easy answers.

As youth of today, we have an important role: Our willingness to serve and give back to society can be the inspiration for others to do the same.

If we help one another, if the privileged willingly contribute out of a sense of social responsibility, then we can achieve a precious possibility. -- Build a country where the poor know they can aspire to greatness, where the helpless – having fought the good fight – will be looked after.

We, the youth of Singapore, have been privileged with many gifts by virtue of our history and our unique situation today. With our great gifts, comes great responsibility.

Let us take up that responsibility and build a better tomorrow, starting today.

From PAP - News & Stories, "Tin Pei Ling: Globalisation – High & Low". (11/11/07)

A Colorless Soul for Judeo Herrera


“The sad plight of farmers compromising whatever is left to our agricultural sector in their farm lands only to be laborers on a daily wage earner is a cause for alarm. Not only did they left their families as well as their fields become untended but their dignity is tarnish as they struggle hard in a jungle of a city where there are no trees but of concrete as gray as decay of their existence.”

Thus wrote Judeo Herrera of his monumental work entitled Konkretong Gubat ng Mga Pangarap which was his entry in the recent Tanaw: National Art Competition of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Konkretong Gubat ng Mga Pangarap

Ongoing at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, unfortunately the work is not among those hanged. And the exodus of farmers leaving his hometown is at an alarming rate prompting him to paint such predicament.

It is a welcome respite or one may even be grateful that Judeo has never left his roots in Tarlac. He represents all those non-Manila-based and non-Fine Arts school educated painters who try to break into the Philippine contemporary art scene. His staying put in his hometown may have some good vibes after all. Personally what Judeo offers is a fresh perspective, one whose brushstrokes may be more organic than the temporal contemporariness of the art spaces and the genre works in the galleries in the malls.

Contrary to its limiting nature, for him joining art contests with themes provides for Judeo the most liberating act there is. You really can’t separate the images of Tarlac from his works as it has always been his playground as his work represents how he approaches whatever grim matter there in his hometown with a fresh perspective. His style may be too blatant, as one both versed with realism and abstraction, he seems quite obsessive with his splats of paint and his use of “this ash-like tint” in his works.

From a simple theme of a farmer’s exodus to the city, with an explosion of his sub-conscious lies a certain fluidity which is constant among his images. The foreground is what the subconscious is to the viewer. Judeo is one of the few artists I know who’s well-versed with watercolor and oil-acrylic. This is just the initial mark of his brilliance.

However more than a talented artist that he is, one appreciates Judeo first as a good son. He had to forego his schooling to try out his luck in the KSA as a designer and he has applied his paintings, making each piece unique. Observing him at various phase of his artistry, for someone who has maximized colors early on, the element of this mixture of black and white is a welcome respite. Having worked in Al-Khobar, could he be affected by his short stint in Saudi Arabia had a drab effect on his paint brushes?

He explains further: Keeping in mind the overall appearance na gusto ko lumabas dun sa artwork, I usually start with an abstract background. Yung movements nung texture sa abstract background nagsusuggest nang direction or personality nung subject ko. Having learned decorative art painting sinubukan kong i-apply s artwork ko yung techniques na natutunan ko abroad. Iniiwasan ko gumamit ng skin tone. A friend told me there is no local color, ibig nyang sabihin kahit na anung kulay pwede mo gamitin sa kahit anung bagay. It’s the value that counts.

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Heart of Generosity

Kids are always part of Judeo’s initial forays with experimentation. In fact these were his first works using this style. Mothers, you can never get enough of them. Consider Heart of Generosity. Unlike other parents, Judeo was fortunate unlike those other artists who didn’t have mothers to support behind their back.

An Alliance Beyond Culture and Dependence

There is so much wealth of subjects for Judeo than one wonders has he become too personal for comfort. In the Alliance of Beyond the Culture of Dependence proves otherwise, social themes are also part of his consciousness. The pull of nationalism is nothing new to him as he is from Tarlac which is more than just represented as one in the eight rays of the Philippine flag and by an event known as Death March during World War II. An entry at the recent AAP-PAF, one would think socio-political view he does not prefer the rigid clenched-fist approach to solving poverty. He is more positive in narratives which are visual than symbolic more uses metaphor.

Judeo adds: I’m having fun at my new discovery as if making both non representational and representational painting at the same time. And as I try to enjoy the painting process this is what comes out, if it I like it and it turns out good kaya tinuloy tuloy ko na. The painting itself is composed of layers of paint kaya you really have to be patient na hintayin mong matuyo bago ka pumahid ng panibago. Thus when you will look into it closer mapapansin mo yung details nung pagkakapatong patong ng mga kulay.


Pragmatic is my personal favorite, about love and its deeper meaning. Casting shadows of airplanes and other material well-off, one aspires to provide for a love one but what if she decides alone to fend for herself and leave him behind? Most especially when one is young and carefree. But what about commitment, dreams of having a together, of one’s talents to new hopes for the country.

Judeo’s works may not even be decorative or described as pretty. What makes these pieces come alive is its narrative is deeply rooted on his experiences channeled through his own artistic terms; from an artist who is not a product of your typical western fine arts degree or from the current city art scene. His not showing commercially does not mean he is not willing tto accept an invitation not to be part of where the action is.

A subject void of color which is almost stainless in effect may not be of sadness or of blandness but of liberation. Judeo’s careful attention to his hues, how colors are well coordinated against his images as his imagery continuously evolves, his involvement digs deeper and his palette becomes more gray in urban treatment.

More than just producing two presidential aspirants during the last presidential elections (if you were in another planet one even made it to Malacañang), Tarlac has been a community of young masters like Judeo are churning out masterpieces as they add to the luster that is Philippine art while painting in the peripheries. It may be off the center, through persistence and dedication, their collective efforts may yet unravel something big and brighter for all of us to see.

Dr Susan Lim 'threatened' Ministry of Foreign Affair??

Dr. Susan Lim is fearless indeed. She wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) saying that to defend herself properly she would have to expose information that could cause "unnecessary embarrassment" to Brunei and affect ties between the country and Singapore. I wonder how MFA is going to react against her.

Prominent surgeon Susan Lim wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) saying that to defend herself properly she would have to expose information that could cause "unnecessary embarrassment" to Brunei and affect ties between the country and Singapore if a disciplinary hearing against her proceeded, the High Court heard yesterday.

Dr Lim's letter dated 1 March 2010 and addressed to Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo was presented yesterday to the High Court, which will have to decide whether the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) can set up a second disciplinary hearing against her regarding the fees she charged a patient, the cousin of Brunei's Sultan and sister of his queen.

SMC's lawyer, senior counsel Alvin Yeo, told the High Court that the letter amounted to Dr Lim "threatening" Minister Yeo and was another attempt by her to "subvert the legal process", according to The Straits Times.

In the letter, Dr Lim said that "some of the facts that may cast a negative light on Brunei" include the medical condition of the patient and the "apparently inconsistent relationship between the Ministry of Health, Brunei, the Royal Family and the patient's family".

She also claimed that there had been "extraordinary and often unreasonable demands placed on me by the patient and the Royal Family, including significant out-of-pocket expenses I was made to bear... including the cost of a private air-charter to transport the patient to Brunei which I personally paid for", TODAY reported.

Pengiran Damit, who had breast cancer, was Dr Lim's patient from 2001 until her death in 2007. Last month, the news broke that Dr Lim charged her $26 million for the period January to July 2007, but later slashed the fee to just over $3 million.

In a letter of reply dated 16 March last year, the MFA said it had taken note of Dr Lim's letter and that the it "is not in a position to intervene in an ongoing legal process".

Dr Lim, who is facing 94 charges of professional misconduct by the Ministry of Health, also wrote to the chairman of the second disciplinary committee formed by the SMC to look into the complaint of overcharging against her.

Yeo told the High Court that in the letter Dr Lim sought to raise "ridiculous assertions of purported personal or professional conflict of interest against" the chairman.

Earlier, the High Court heard that Dr Lim allegedly marked up bills of third-party doctors by as much as 500 times, allegations that Dr Lim's lawyer, senior counsel Lee Eng Beng, yesterday described as "false and mischievous".

The reading of the bills were taken out of context and should include other services provided at the time, Lee contended. He also questioned SMC's lack of a benchmark to determine a case of overcharging.

Meanwhile, as the hearings were being held, Lim herself was away travelling in the U.S. and Europe.

According to Dr Lim's husband, banker Deepak Sharma, she attended a medical conference in San Francisco before going on a private trip to a high-end ski resort in Courchevel, France, where she joined her two daughters, aged 19 and 21, The New Paper reported.

On 20 March, she said on her Twitter page that was "starting the yearly pilgrimage up the mountain from Moutiers to Courchevel to enjoy the freshness of spring skiing."

On 19 March, she said she had an "exhausting day at the shops in Geneve with my teenage daughters before hitting the slopes".

On 25 March, she tweeted, "Let not an honest citizen be trampled upon by public authorities when their injustice and irregularities are exposed."

She had been expected to fly back to Singapore yesterday.

From Yahoo! News, "Top surgeon ‘threatened’ MFA: counsel".

ShoutOUT! First Takes for the month of April

First Take Playlist for the month Of April

Screening Schedule:

SLAYER / ANWAR WU / 8 MIN / 2009 / TBA

A young average girl stumbles upon a man dressed in white, bleeding profusely, and strives to help him. Little does she know that a mysterious man in black will include her in his hunting spree.

Anwar is a Singaporean of both Malay and Chinese descent. A graduate from MDIS in 2008, with an Advanced Diploma in Mass Communications, he is currently pursuing his degree in film, at Lasalle College of the Arts.


December, a flight ticket, a digital camera, a quiet moment = result.

Sunset is part of a series of short experimental “visual sketches” collected by the artist in his travels.

Ezzam Rahman is a practicing multi-disciplinary artist and an accidental filmmaker. He recently completed his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fine Arts from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, University of Huddersfield. He was formally trained in LASALLE SIA College of the Arts. As an artist, he has participated and co-curated numerous local and international group exhibitions, events and festivals. His works vary from the choice of medium, concepts and strategies of presentation. Ezzam also enjoys talking to himself, and smiles to sleep..


Three boys try to escape poverty by heading to the city to form a band. The journey of them being discovered leaves their mother all alone at home.

Trio Dekil was produced as part of the director’s objective while participating in the Jatiwangi Artists in Residence Festival (JARF 2010). The director conducted a scriptwriting workshop with the educators and acting workshop with the elementary school theater club. With the script from the educator, he works with the fifteen kids to produce the film that was inspired from an open source street song.

Ghazi Alqudcy enjoys telling stories through digital film. His works vary in its approach – from fictional narratives, to documentaries, to experimental projects. Thematically, Ghazi has touched on issues of sexuality, spirituality, and death. During his free time, he loves to indulge himself in a slumber party with his friends and that is how he usually gets inspired. Currently his motto is, ‘ Buy less t-shirts and do more films’.

First Take

Monday 4 April, 8pm
The Substation Theatre

Entry By Donation

Presented by The Substation Moving Images

Holland Village Samantha...Who? | Support 'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day" 09 April!!

Hearing this insensitive female called Samantha who claimed herself residing in Holland Village & making ridiculous statements against heartlanders is kind of making me recall this TV show called, "Samantha Who?". Perhaps it is a morbid wish that this Samantha too will one day develop retrograde amnesia--no, not necessary after a hit and run accident--and turn out to be a better person. To see the bright side, though, this Holland Village Samantha might be credited to bring more awareness of self-unity in Singapore (regardless whether you're heartlanders or Holland Villagers)...and more business to the place. Really! Just take a look at the incoming event on 9 April called "'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day". Organised by Gerald Tock, there would be 1,000 people expected to be in Holland Village wearing singlets, shorts, and slippers. Heh.

SHE branded HDB heartlanders an "uncultured" lot and called a radio talk show to ask them to keep away from her upmarket Holland Village neighbourhood.

Just look at the way heartlanders dress, she said on 91.3FM's The Married Men Show on Wednesday morning. Calling herself Samantha, she said: "They come in shorts and slippers and like, weird coloured hair. Yeah, and the heartlanders, people from like Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Toa Payoh and like the nearby Bukit Batok... they come to our coffee shop, and dress like one kind, talk like one kind... "Very uncultured, and no manners... "Please stay where you are, I think you fit best there," she added.

And her brazen comments have upset netizens, many of whom have posted on The Married Men's Facebook page condemning her remarks.

One of them is even planning to hit back by asking people to go to Holland Village wearing only singlets, shorts and slippers - to make a statement. On Thursday, Mr Gerald Tock, 31, created an event on Facebook called "1,000 peeps to Holland V in Singlets, Shorts and Slippers Day".

The computer game developer hopes that people will go to Holland Village from 11am to 2pm on April 9, a Saturday, to eat, make friends, and take photographs of themselves doing so.

He told The New Paper that he chose that day to give people sufficient time to learn about the event. As of yesterday, almost 800 people have indicated on the Facebook page that they will be "attending". And it's no gimmick, he insisted.

Tongue-in-cheek, he said: "I'm not affiliated with Samantha, the (radio) station or any business selling singlets, shorts, slippers or coffee." Mr Tock said he bears no ill will towards Samantha, but was disturbed by her comments because they seemed to "promote barriers of culturedness". He said: "Samantha is entitled to her perspective, though it does display her tremendous ignorance."

When contacted, Married Men hosts Rod Monteiro and Andre Hoeden said they were so shocked by Samantha's comments that they could hardly contain themselves. Monteiro, 44, told The New Paper that his jaw dropped during the call. "To be honest, I find it absolutely strange. It's a bit snobbish. But, different strokes for different folks. "For me, it's one people, one nation, one Singapore. Holland Village is open to everybody." Hoeden, 35, said: "I was taken aback. Samantha has a right to her own opinion, but this doesn't mean that she is right." The third host, Jill Lim, had gasped several times on air after hearing Samantha's views.

Maddy, a listener who lives in Bedok, contacted the station in response to Samantha's call. She said that heartlanders work for their money and should be allowed to eat at Holland Village. To which Samantha had retorted: "Do you even earn enough to come to Holland to buy what we have, what we enjoy?"

After she went off the air, more than 10 callers went on air to criticise her remarks.


The station's SMS service was swamped by comments. It crashed three times in the two hours after Samantha's call went on air, Monteiro said.

Similarly, online forums have been rife with comments condemning Samantha's views. At least 30 netizens have posted comments on The Married Men's Facebook page.

One, Mr Victor Khoo, 58, posted: "Her comments instigate and promote elitism, social class barriers, segregation (and) discrimination..." The well-known entertainer, who lives in the River Valley area, added: "Irresponsible citizens like Samantha, if left unchecked...can eventually destroy the social fabric of our society."

Freelance housing agent Serene Ng, 32, wrote in to citizen journalism website Stomp on Thursday about the incident. The Woodlands resident told TNP: "I've been to Holland Village, and it's no different from anywhere else. "Why is she (Samantha) making such comments? I find them ridiculous and unreasonable."

Mr Malcolm Choo, 30, who lives in a flat in Holland Village, felt Samantha's views were not representative of people living in the area. The IT engineer invites his friends - some of whom live in the HDB heartlands - to his estate for drinks and coffee. Mr Choo said: "You don't have to have culture to be here."

Samantha could not be reached as the station's phones do not have caller ID, Monteiro said. But she called the station again yesterday morning to admit that she had been "a bit insensitive". She said: "I was slightly insensitive to people who might be offended to what I said. "I'm not retracting. I just apologise (sic) for them (people who might be offended) feeling this way."

She explained that she was at the Starbucks outlet at Holland Village on Wednesday when she called the station. She said that the people sitting beside her at the time, who looked to her "like heartlanders", were "talking really loudly, with vulgarities all over the place". "That kind of ticked me off a bit," she said.

She stressed that she did not say she hated heartlanders and refused to give her full name or contact number.

Monteiro then asked Samantha if she was married , explaining that he was asking as most couples' first home is a flat in the heartlands. Her retort? "What makes you think I'm not a rich person?"

But what about Mr Tock's mission to get people to Holland Village on April 9? Would his well-intentioned statement about inclusion be seen as a unlawful assembly?


Said Mr Tock: "There is no common meeting point, programme or protest. The intent is to encourage people to get out there and help break the perceived barriers that may currently exist. "This event is just for people to make a statement."

When contacted, lawyer Luke Lee said: "I don't think he needs a police permit. "I don't see how people coming together to drink coffee and take photographs is breaking the law, so it's definitely not an unlawful assembly."

Samantha herself hinted she might even show up at the April 9 gathering. She said yesterday during her call to the radio show: "I would love to see who actually bothered to show up. "I might go in my shorts and slippers. (But) I won't reveal who I am."

From Asiaone, "'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day' at Holland Village".

Erica Simone self-photo naked for "Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen"

One US artist, Andy Warhol once said, "Art is anything you can get away with." The beautiful Erica Simone is for sure taking it literally. She took 20 photos of herself nude in public and she got away with it--and thus, she has created a form of art uniquely her own. She will feature her 20 shots--check some of them here!--as part of her new exhibit Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen, which opens next month at the Dash Gallery in Tribeca. Her remarks that 'It's crazy that it's illegal to be naked' can be imagined to be an immediate classic & repeated quote by nudists. Or by other photographers who would want to take their own self-photos naked. Heh.

A Parisian-born shutterbug who likes to flash her camera has turned daily routines in the Naked City into works of art. Photographer Erica Simone, 25, has gone au naturel in a series of self-portraits taken around New York.

In them, she rides the subway, checks out library books and shovels the snow on the sidewalk outside her apartment - all in the buff. The 20 shots are part of Simone's new exhibit "Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen," which opens next month at the Dash Gallery in Tribeca.

The inspiration for the photos came to Simone during Fashion Week two years ago. "I was sitting around thinking about fashion and what would we be if we were naked and what if we didn't have fashion to show who we were, our status, how much money we had, all these things," she told the Daily News.

"Then I got the photographic idea of shooting people naked in the street, but just doing regular things, not especially posing, or being naked, but doing whatever."


She drew on the work of Miru Kim, a New York-based artist known for taking self-portraits in barren industrial spaces.

Simone was also intrigued by the challenge of staging the shots - which she took using a remote sensor - and stripping down to her birthday suit. "At first it was like, 'Can I really do this?'" Simone said. "I was into the idea, but I didn't totally have the [nerve] to do it - I'm not totally an exhibitionist."

She landed five usable images on her first day of shooting in the West Village. "And I didn't get arrested," she said. Simone wants to draw people to the playfulness of the shots. "It's not about sex, it's silly," she said. "It's crazy that it's illegal to be naked."

New Yorkers shown the photos bared their admiration for Simone having the courage to take off her clothes in public. "I don't have the guts to do it," said Megan Clausen, a 25-year-old architect from Philadelphia. Her, co-worker, Darcy Wilkins, 29, agreed. "I'd go see it," she said. "I always ask my cat, 'Why can't I walk around naked?'"

From NY Daily News, "Parisian-born photographer Erica Simone lays bare everyday activities in nude works of art".

Photographers are often said to bare their souls through their pictures.

But Parisian Erica Simone has taken this to the next level by literally laying herself bare - she has photographed herself in nothing but her birthday suit on the streets of New York.

The 25-year-old has turned doing daily routines in the city to works of art simply by removing her clothes. And Miss Simone made the daring decision to step out from behind the camera and go au naturel in a series of self-portraits taken in and around the Big Apple.

Speaking to MailOnline she said: 'At first it was like, "Can I really do this?" I was into the idea, but I didn't totally have the [nerve] to do it - I'm not totally an exhibitionist. 'But I managed to do it on my first day of shooting in the West Village and I didn't even get arrested. 'I think that was just a combination of good timing and luck, and it is not as if I just spent the whole day walking around naked. I was fully clothed until I was ready to take the shot.' 'It's not about sex. It's crazy that it's illegal to be naked. The whole process was really liberating and it made me feel freer and more comfortable in my own skin and not be ashamed of my body.'

In the pictures, she rides the subway, checks out library books and shovels the snow on the sidewalk outside her apartment - all in the nude. The 20 shots are part of Simone's new exhibit Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen, which opens next month at the Dash Gallery in Tribeca.

Miss Simone said the inspiration for the exhibition came to her during Fashion Week two years ago.

She said: 'I was sitting around thinking about fashion and what would we be if we were naked and what if we didn't have fashion to show who we were, our status, how much money we had, all these things. 'Then I got the photographic idea of shooting people naked in the street, but just doing regular things, not especially posing, or being naked, but doing whatever.'

The pretty 25-year-old said she was not sure if she herself could go through with it but was intrigued by the challenge of staging the shots - which she took using a remote sensor - and stripping down to her birthday suit. She said the general public were very accepting of her nudity and she did not have any bad experiences while doing it. 'Most people were laughing, smiling or applauding and cheering. They seemed OK with it,' she said.

'The most challenging one was on the subway. I had to ride the whole way from West 14th Street to the end of the line to get the right shot. 'The only person I told was the guy next to me as he had to hold my coat. But by the time some people even found out about it, I was clothed again.'

Miss Simone also said she has come a long way from the first shot to where she is now. 'The first few times I was so nervous and I guess innocent about everything, and yeah it was scary a bit as well,' she said. 'But now I don't care about being naked. I am more concerned about getting the shot right rather than worrying about being naked or what people in the streets are thinking.'

From Mail Online, "Naked ambition: Photographer lays herself bare in nude poses on the streets of NYC".

Cheaper home loan from foreign banks. Save $500 per year!!

Savings of up to $500 in first year; low Sibor rate is to their advantage. Three of such foreign banks mentioned in the article are RHB, Maybank and Citibank. Something you may want to seriously consider if you're thinking to refinance your mortgage.

RECORD low interest rates are allowing some foreign banks to offer cheaper mortgages than their local rivals.

The difference between the best floating rates at a foreign bank and that at a local one means savings of only $42 or so a month on a $1 million loan.

With local banks having to service the high costs of maintaining branches and cash counters, they will not be as free to make razor-thin cuts to mortgage rates.

Mortgages for less

* One of the best deals from a local bank currently comes from OCBC, with a first-year rate at three-month Sibor plus 0.55 per cent, working out to 0.99 per cent.

* Foreign banks are offering better rates for their first year: Malaysia's RHB is offering 0.90 per cent; Maybank, 0.94 per cent; and Citibank, 0.96 per cent.

* Take a home buyer with a 30-year, $1 million loan. The monthly difference between the first-year loans for OCBC and Maybank comes to about $42 a month, or about $500 a year. There may still be savings in subsequent years, depending on how the rates move.

From Straits Times, "Getting a home loan from a foreign bank may be cheaper".

Cameraman Sued for Bad Wedding Video

British couple took hired wedding videographer to court. It's a tragic episode--for both the couple and the videographer. What's hilarious, though, is the style of reporting by ABC News towards the end of the clip. Don't you agree? Heh.

Full-time blogging in Singapore: fact or fiction?

Apparently it's a fact. At least according to the latest news that says how there are estimated 100,000 bloggers in Singapore & half of them registered with blog advertising community, Nuffnang Singapore (a blow to its competitor as it's not mentioned at all--nor its name is worth written here!). Also reported how more will be blogging full-time.


Why not?! You know what they say: Man does not live by bread alone. He/she can also live by a cheap packet of instant noodles. Heh.

Singapore has an estimated 100,000 bloggers, with about half of them registered with blog advertising community, Nuffnang Singapore.

Social media experts said this number is set to rise and more will turn blogging into a full-time career.

Nuffnang said top bloggers can earn up to S$5,000 a month, depending on factors like blog demand and editorial content. Other factors include the blogger's style of writing and blog readership.

Most influential bloggers get about one or two ads a month. And as manager of their blogs, Nuffnang limits the number of ads so that blogs do no get over-commercialised.

But with the lure of money, what safeguards are there to ensure young bloggers do not compromise on their reputation in the blogosphere?

Well-known blog Monoxious.com was created by best friends Dawn and Arissa as a hobby in 2009. Their blog, which caters to teens and young working adults, got only seven unique hits a day when it first started.

However, after gaining recognition from blog awards, it now sees close to 1,000 unique hits a day.

Their fashion-centric blog is among a growing trend of niche blogs.

"Last time a lot of people blog to focus on their lifestyle, like what they did today. But now blogs are more inclined towards niche blogs and it has to be focused on few things like travel, food or fashion and beauty. And I think these niche blogs have more potential to expand than personal blogs do," said Dawn.

Like them, there is a growing number of bloggers who get paid for writing brand reviews or advertorials. This as more brands are recognising the power of influence online, and also the lower advertising costs compared to traditional media.

With such monetary gains, one social media expert said more should be done in schools to educate young bloggers on its pitfalls.

Pat Law, a social media blogger and expert, said: "To begin with, it should come from fellow bloggers to other bloggers. We can start by making it known or having events where you talk about our experience as bloggers. We should have at least a module on social media, why there are some things you should not say or can you bear the consequences if you say what you want to say.

"So if there aren't any educational programmes catered to the very fundamental fact that we are dabbling in social media, it's about time."

Nuffnang said it has about 50 bloggers who have signed contracts with them and those below 18 years must have a parent present to attend meetings regarding the contract.

The parent also has to sign the contract on his/her child's behalf. The terms are explained very clearly to both parent and child to ensure they understand and there is a grace period where they can take the contract home to discuss or consult a third party.

Meanwhile, as a content regulator, the Media Development Authority (MDA) said its policies are aimed at safeguarding public interest, increasing media choices and enabling informed decisions by consumers.

It looks out for content that touches on broad areas like "national interest" and "racial and religious harmony", as well as specific areas such as violence, language, sex and drug scenes.

From Channel NewsAsia, "More bloggers going full-time".

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