Brandon Wey: Can Buy Them Love

Yeah, like the Beatles, I'm perfectly sure that you disagree with what Brandon Wey is doing. The entrepreneur launched WhatsYourPrice.com which lets 'generous' members bid hard cash - between US$20 (S$24) and US$100 - for dates with 'attractive' users.

The idea may be original, but it is still very much wrong. Wanna bet that the website soon (if not already) degrades to be the hub for 'freelancers'?


The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (Live)


CAN MONEY buy you love? A Singaporean-born entrepreneur has stirred up a huge controversy in the United States over several risque online dating businesses he created that promote the idea that money can buy one love.

The latest of these: WhatsYourPrice.com, launched in March 2011, lets 'generous' members bid hard cash - between US$20 (S$24) and US$100 - for dates with 'attractive' users.

From Straits Times, "Bid-for-date online dating site causes stir".

Entrepreneurship going overboard? STOMPer boyslikesgirls does not think it is socially responsible for this Singaporean guy to create online dating websites where men can pay money for a date with 'beautiful women, guaranteed'.

According to the report in The New Paper today (Jul 31), Singaporean-born Brandon Wey has set up the 'sugar daddy' website to provide an opportunity for any man, who is able to pay, to date attractive women.

He said he created several 'sexy' websites where 'generous' members can bid for dates with 'attractive' women, because he was always unable to find a date back in St. Andrew's Secondary School and Hwa Chong Junior College.

Brandon met his ex-wife, who was 13 years younger, when she was an interpreter for him in Ukraine. He met his current 25-year-old girlfriend when she sat for an interview for a job in his company.

His latest website, WhatsYourPrice, lets male members offer between US$20 to US$100 to a female member for a date. The site charges 2.5 to 10% of the transaction.

The STOMPer shares:

"I'm quite stunned to see such a site appear.

"It's like a social escort online service.

"Who knows what the people who buy dates will do also.

"Plus, money can't buy you love!

"I was even more stunned to see it was created by a Singapore-born person.

"Entrepreneur-ing? Yes, but...not socially responsible."

From STOMP, "SG guy creates 'sugar daddy' website: Ordinary men can pay to date hot girls".

Slut Walk in New Delhi India (and Poonam Pandey to lead Slut Walk in Mumbai?!)

It seems that the event, Slut Walk held today for the first time in India's capital city, New Delhi was a success. Poonam Pandey is reported to be leading slutwalk in Mumbai. The date is not finalized yet, though.

"Full support to Slut Walk in Delhi! n Soon u will see me heading the Walk Ahead in Mumbai... wish i was der at Delhi today for the slut walk," Poonam posted on micro-blogging site Twitter. After becoming a sensation in Toronto and Melbourne, the SlutWalk in New Delhi was carried under the name of 'Besharmi Morcha'.


In case you're wondering who the hell this Pooname Pandey is: she is the very same Pooname Pandey who during Cricket World Cup she announced that she will strip in the green room if India wins the trophy, but it never happened. Hur hur. So yes, I share your doubt that she'll be leading the Slut Walk in Mumbai. Heh.



Anyway, here are the 2 related clips for this Slut Walk event for India:


Slut Walk Delhi


SlutWalk Delhi 2011 arthaat Besharmi Morcha


DEMONSTRATORS in India's capital were due to hold the country's first 'Slut Walk' on Sunday to protest at an alarming rise in sexual assault cases and the growing sense of insecurity among women.

Hundreds were expected to attend the rally in New Delhi organised by 19-year-old journalism student Umang Sabarwal, who says it is time for Indian women to speak out.

'Slut Walks', which have become a global phenomenon to protest against sexual violence, see women march dressed in skimpy clothing to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should be blamed for the crimes against them.

'In India, no matter what we wear, even if we are covered head to toe in a sari or a burqa, we get molested and raped,' Ms Sabarwal told AFP ahead of the protest. 'If we are victimised, it is justified by saying we asked for it,' the teenager said.

Last week, a case widely reported in the Indian media illustrated the danger in Delhi where 85 per cent of women fear being harassed, according to a 2010 survey. A group of women were on their way home from a nightclub in a suburb when a gang of wealthy, drunken young men celebrating the purchase of a new SUV started following their taxi and forced it to stop.

A 24-year-old woman in the front seat of the taxi was dragged from the vehicle and kidnapped. Police rescued her several hours later after a car chase, meaning she avoided the fate of numerous other women in the capital who have been forced into vehicles in recent months and repeatedly raped. New Delhi now tops the chart of the most unsafe cities in the country, with 489 reported rape cases in 2010, up from 459 in 2009, according to police statistics.

From Straits Times, "Indians to protest sexual violence with Slut Walk".

So, Delhi is finally ready to witness its first ever Slut Walk. The organisers have openly declared on their website that "the permission for the walk has been granted by the Delhi Police" and "the Walk will take place on 31st July, from Jantar Mantar Road to Parliament Street and back". But Delhi Police has made it clear they won't allow the 'walking'.

According to KC Dwivedi, ACP, New Delhi district, the organisers have been given permission only to organise a gathering at Jantar Mantar. He says, "Since it is a morcha, we gave them the permission to gather at Jantar Mantar for a while, but they are not allowed to march or walk in and around central Delhi."

Tell him that the organisers have said they'll walk, and Dwivedi says, "Yes, they had plans to walk from Jantar Mantar till Asoka Road, but we've not granted permission for that. There'll be thousands of people involved, we don't want any mishaps." How about the participants gathering at the Patel Chowk Metro station? "They can assemble there, we don't have any issues with that, but we won't allow any demonstrations or even holding of placards at the metro station," says Dwivedi firmly.

That apart, Delhi Police is all set on the security front to ensure the safety of the women participating in the Slut Walk. "We'll have police personnel posted there. There'll be PCR vans patrolling the Jantar Mantar area. The organisers told us that they are expecting around 1000 people, so we will deploy police force accordingly," he shares.

Interestingly, Delhi Police has also levied Section 144 in certain areas of central Delhi.

Vijender Singh Pundhir, ACP, sub-division Parliament Street, issued a prohibitory order on July 28 for a period of 42 days. Was this done because of the Slut Walk? Says Pundhir, "This has nothing to do with the Slut Walk. The order was issued in the interest of the capital's security."

While the police is all set, Umang Sabharwal, the organiser of Slut Walk Arthaat Besharmi Morcha, is blissfully unaware of all the legalities. Explaining the route and the duration of the walk, she says, "We'll start assembling at the Free Church Gate by 10.30am, and from there we'll proceed towards Jantar Mantar." What about the police ban? "There is no ban.

Dwiwedi, he gave us the permission to do a small walk - from Parliament Street to YWCA guest house and then to Jantar Mantar. And we'll be doing exactly that. We'll have our volunteers present there, taking care of everything - from security to food and everything else."

From The Times of India, "Delhi ready for its first ever Slut Walk?".

World Cup Asian Qualifiers Third Round

Everybody will guess (some will bet, for sure) how the results are going to be when Singapore faces China, Jordan and Iraq in the third round of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers?

That ought to be very exciting games to watch.

Well, as long as there are no idiots misusing laser pointers to spoil the spirit of the game. Hur hur.

Singapore will face China PR, Jordan and Iraq in the third round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Asian Qualifiers.

The preliminary draw was held in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

Singapore, which defeated Malaysia with a 6-4 aggregate over two legs earlier this month, was in Pot 4, along with Thailand, Indonesia, North Korea and Lebanon.

Brazil's legendary Zico, along with rising star Lucas from Sao Paolo, were on hand to conduct the ASIAN Zone draw and decide the fate of how things would unfold over in the third round.

As the draw took shape, Singapore was picked and grouped with China PR, Jordan and Iraq in Group A.

The matches will be played on the following days:

September 2: China vs Singapore
September 6: Singapore vs Iraq
October 11: Singapore vs Jordan
November 11: Jordan vs Singapore
November 15: Singapore vs China
February 29 (2012): Iraq vs Singapore

From Channel NewsAsia, "Football: S'pore to face China PR, Jordan and Iraq".

Captain America: The First Avenger (Stay after the Credits to catch The Avengers movie trailer and misc parody clips)


Finally watched "Captain America: The First Avenger". Quite a bearable show especially as it doesn't really explain about the Cosmic Cube. Or was I just nodding off at that part of the show?

Oh well, the part that really wakes me up is actually the part after the credits. Yes, there's an extra scene basically showing the future assembly of the Avengers in a movie planned to be released next year aptly titled, The Avengers.

Check out this clip, "The Avengers Teaser Trailer Sneak Peek and The Final Scene of Captain America".

Two of the screenshots:

Black Widow, Thor, Bruce Banner, Captain America

Nick Fury, Tony Stark


Now that will really a promising movie! According to Wikipedia, the characters featured in the movie, The Avengers are going to be:
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor
- Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the Norse god of mischief.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of the super-spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)
- Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, a master archer known in the comics as "the World's Greatest Marksman".
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Jackson's Nick Fury


Nice, huh? Nice, huh? Nice, huh?

Heh. Okay, til then enjoy these 2 parody clips of "Captain America: The First Avenger":


CAPTAIN AMERICA MUSIC VIDEO! (Green Day American Idiot parody) - A Tribute


Rooster Teeth Shorts: Captain America: The First Avenger (Parody)

36415 views in 2.5 days! You must watch this if you haven't!



It's the Third Day of the launch of SINdie's 'Another Home'.
If you like it,SHARE IT!!!

Life in India and the Singhsons


The above clip is titled, "LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem Parody: Life In India". Heh. As per this morning (1050 hrs), the YouTube clip has gathered 60,072 views. Impressive as the

A two-and-a-half-minute music video parody on living in India is a big hit online.

Ingeniously titled "Life In India", the YouTube music video is a parody of the fist-pumping club favourite, Party Rock Anthem by dance duo LMFAO.

Uploaded by GeekSlayer73 three weeks ago, it shows a young Indian man jiving enthusiastically to the music while declaring his love for his country and all things Indian. As of Friday afternoon, it has been viewed 26,000 times.

Despite cringe-worthy lyrics such as "Life in India is fun tonight, everybody grab a bowl of rice", users have described the parody as being so bad, it's good.

YouTube user Vksan wrote, "You just killed the song dude... but I LOVE it lol".

Another user, Edfrost, predicted: "I guess this video is getting 1million views".

It's not the first time "Geekslayer73" has parodied a video or celebrity. On his official Facebook channel, Jay Karamchand describes himself as someone who likes to "make music video parodies, skits, and comedic ads. Though many of my videos are about Indians, they are all jokes and are not serious."

His official website also showcases his other personas in which he parodies Justin Bieber and hit songs by US hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas. Combined, his YouTube videos have received over 100,000 views.

Partially quoted from Yahoo! News, "Hilarious music video makes waves online".

And since we're in the India-related Youtube clip, do check out this cute video, "The Singhsons (Indian Simpsons spoof)":



One of the comments worthy to reproduced here is from one nahor88. S/he said, "I'm Indian and I thought this was f***ing hilarious! People need to learn to laugh at themselves."

Photosplash: cINE65 Field Trip to Shooting Gallery Asia

I was at the Shooting Gallery Asia yesterday for a field trip workshop as part of cINE65's efforts to promote and cultivate budding filmmakers. I spent my time following a group of students from SOTA (School of the Arts) as they went around various stations in the Shooting Gallery. While it was less informative than I had expected, the trip was nonetheless a huge eye-opener for me and a great exposure for young filmmakers who get to see for themselves the fascinating world behind the scenes of filmmaking.


Nick from Sinema opens the session with a short introduction.


Louisa, Creative Director of Artison Asia, giving us a tour of the Art Department. Look how fascinated we all are.




Some of the many props and wardrobe in the Art Department.







A 70s Chinese home setup.


At the next station, Suon Oon of Wishing Well Imaging Station explaining how they shot over 1000 ants to create the print advertisement for Heineken.


A photographer directs a horror scene with two volunteers from SOTA.


Explaining the various thought processes that go into a studio shoot, such as lighting ratios and composition of elements.


Behind the scenes of the horror scene shot.


Next, we saw the set up for a balloon bursting in slow motion. The technician explains how they use precise mechanisms such as soldering iron and laser guides to ensure minimal errors in the shot.


The scene was shot by a Phantom Gold HD at 1000fps.








Watch the video for the really cool playback!




Tada! The end of the field trip with all the people who made it possible.





Malaysian fan who shone a laser pointer to the Singaporean goalkeeper identified (His name is ... )



The shameful Malaysian fan who might fancy himself as a Green Lantern (hur hur) was identified. Alas, there is no name mentioned in the article, "Laser pointer culprit identified". C'mon! He ought to be caned for failing his power ring to distract the willpower of the Singapore goalkeeper, Izwan Mahbud.

Singapore have gone through to the third round of the Asian Zone World Cup Qualifiers.

They drew 1-1 with Malaysia in the Return Leg match at the Bukit Jalil stadium in KL, winning 6-4 on aggregate.

Malaysia took the lead in th 57th minute with a goal from Mohamed Safee.

But Singapore's Xi Jiayi equalised with a neatly placed finish in the 72nd minute.

Around 600 Singaporeans made their way to the 85 000 capacity stadium in KL.

From Xin MSN, "Singapore beats Malaysia on aggregate in World Cup Qualifier". (28/07/11)

A Malaysia fan shone a laser pointer into the eyes of Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud during last night's World Cup Qualifier showdown. Video footage taken during the match clearly shows the green glare of the pointer on his face.

The match is the second meeting between the two sides in the run-up to World Cup 2014, which saw Singapore through to the next qualifying round with a 1-1 draw. Their first meeting on July 23 was a 5-3 victory for the Lions.

A similar incident had occurred during Malaysia's Suzuki cup meeting with Indonesia which led to the Indonesian team walking out temporarily during the match. The Malaysians went on to win the match 3-0.

The video of the unscrupulous fan's attempt to sabotage Singapore's goalkeeper was uploaded onto YouTube.com, where it sparked outrage among viewers.

According to the submitter of the video:

"Fans at the Bukit Jalil Stadium were shining a laser light in the face of the Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

"This was during the Malaysia vs. Singapore 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier, held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, on July 28."

From STOMP, "At it again! Malaysian hooligan points laser at Lion's keeper to blind him". (29/07/11)

Here's the YouTube clip showcasing the shame of Malaysian fan:


"Taken from a Malaysian Newspaper, Sinar Harian.

"The title of this news was in Malay but I'll try translate it using my epic fail Malay, it's 'Singaporean Players act too much'.

"It briefly said that Singapore players act worse than all the well-known divers in football like Cristiano Ronaldo.

"And it never states anything about their 'epic laser showcase' .

"Oh well, but still, we won and they didn't."

Partially quoted from STOMP, "Sour grapes! Malaysia paper says Lions 'dive' worse than Ronaldo". (30/07/11)


Mario Takes Out Angry Birds (Godfather Parody)


Fed up with app games like Angry Birds, Mario and gang (Master Chief, Sonic, Solid Snake, and Megaman) decide it's time to take matters into their own hands...

Business Times : Tiong Bahru Redux

Designer home offices, indie retail outfits, penthouse parties, a resident stormtrooper... Welcome to Tiong Bahru, where heritage is hip and old-world charm meets edgy entrepreneurship.

Business Times
30 Jul 2011
By Tan Teck Heng

AND LIFE GOES ON
Unfazed by the arrival of a younger, hipper crowd, the original residents of Tiong Bahru continue to gather for chats downstairs, or watch the world go by from their upstairs windows

TIONG Bahru resident Lim Kah Hoe is a hardcore Star Wars fan who's game enough to don his stormtrooper uniform on a walk around the neighbourhood.

This masked and costumed figure may be a pretty startling addition to the scenery, but considering the transformation that has swept through the district recently, the sight of a stormtrooper hardly counts as an alien invasion. A walk from Eng Hoon Street to Yong Siak Street today is like visiting a completely different world, thanks to an influx of designer home offices, creative small businesses and indie retail outfits with artsy facades.

Says Mr Lim: 'I like the fact that many new residents and businesses‚ have been moving in; it injects life, and a changing‚ estate is a dynamic one.'

Homegrown comedienne Selena Tan agrees: 'It's really been gentrified, but still has a lovely village feel.' And the Dim Sum Dolly ought to know - she helps out at her mother's Peranakan food stall in Tiong Bahru Market. Daisy's Dream Kitchen sees all sorts of customers daily, from elderly residents to expatriates and yuppies living or working around the area.


QUICK BITES
Daisy Tan (left) flanked by her children Selena, the local comedienne, and Ray. Mrs Tan's Peranakan food stall in Tiong Bahru Market, Daisy's Dream Kitchen, sees all sorts of customers, from elderly residents to expatriates and yuppies living or working around the area.
 'It's (becoming) an edgy type of place ... a lot of fancy cars around,' says Steven Ong, chef owner of patisserie Centre Ps. The patisserie, started in 2007, was one of the first new wave outfits in the area. Mr Ong notes that the young couples or expatriates who live around the area often turn the upper levels of the neighbourhood into 'penthouse parties'.

    Steven Ong, chef owner of patisserie Centre Ps, one of the first new wave outfits in the area
One doesn't have to look far for a similar sentiment - Maria Ng, owner of art gallery White Canvas located just next door, concurs. 'Because of the low-density and the conservation efforts, the older population has moved out,' she says.

'You get the younger people and expatriates moving in who are sure of what they want - those who don't want to live in a box or high up in sky - and many of their homes are designer types which have been featured in magazines.'

It was quite a different story five years ago. Says Mr Lim, who owns a studio apartment: 'Back then, with the shabbiness that was associated with the area, many were not keen about moving into this place at all.'

COLOURFUL CHARACTERS
Stormtrooper Lim checking out the upholstery shop behind his apartment. Above right: Maria Ng, owner of art gallery White Canvas and art cafe The Orange Thimble

But he took the plunge, and is probably very glad he did. Since then, property prices have doubled, says Centre Ps's Mr Ong. A conservation site since December 2003, Tiong Bahru today sees tidy streets lined with refurbished, freshly painted shophouses. Many ground level units sport fancy, contemporary facades with sleek, modern lines.

One such unit along Yong Siak Street houses creative studio Tofu, started in March. Says creative director Michelle Au: 'We really like the old and new energies together, (with) new talents and shops sprouting up among old historical buildings.'

The shops Ms Au is referring to include the holy trinity of coffee joint 40 Hands, bookstore BooksActually and artisan boutique Strangelets, all located just next door to each other. After 40 Hands opened in October last year to rave reviews, the latter two outfits were persuaded to shift from their previous locations in Chinatown.

For many, the old-world charm and serenity of the district is the biggest draw. 'We find the old Tiong Bahru neighbourhood incredibly charming with its interesting mix of old architecture and an up-and-coming arts scene,' says co-owner of Strangelets, Ong Ker Shing.

And for them, creativity is not the only thing that's hitting an all-time high; business is better, with both Strangelets and BooksActually reporting growing sales figures.

It explains why the surrounding businesses are not content to rest on their laurels. Management consultancy firm Ampern Services moved in last year, diversifying from its core business with a new concept retail store and art gallery named Bhutan Shop. The current floor space is divided into two by a lounge/gallery area, with Ampern's office at the back.

The retail outfit sells products from Bhutan which are organic, eco- and social-friendly. Director Ong Eng Chin hopes to see 30 per cent of his overall revenue coming from Bhutan Shop in the future.

White Canvas's Ms Ng has also started up what she calls an 'art cafe' just down the street from her already established gallery. Named The Orange Thimble, it features artworks related to the neighbourhood. There are also quaint decor elements in the form of refurbished antique furniture and novelty accessories - reassuring residents who may be concerned about the rapid evolution of the district that they can have their cake and eat it too.

'There are many zi char restaurants here, and people do come here for the food,' observes Ms Ng, who notes that there are also many visitors who come for more plebeian pursuits. 'You can't compete with that - the idea here is to complement them.' So newer establishments should offer a place where one can have 'a cup of coffee in an air-conditioned place ... or (food) for the health-conscious, like sandwiches', she says.

That is exactly what the minds behind 40 Hands - beauty and F&B brand Spa Esprit - intend to do. Come late September, they will open a new casual dining restaurant named Open Door Policy (OPD). The menu will be designed by Ryan Clift, co-founder and executive chef of Tippling Club at Dempsey.

'The appearance of 40 Hands has changed the landscape of Tiong Bahru, turning it into a bustling and much talked about area,' says founder Cynthia Chua. 'With that endorsement, we are stoked to launch another creative F&B concept to further boost the scene.'

Despite the surge in development, there are obstacles halting the rate of growth. 'The commercial units (in the area) are not easy to come by, and there are very few of them,' says Ms Ng, who has had trouble getting a unit for her art cafe which is closer to White Canvas. She adds that the Housing Development Board (HDB) has been increasingly reluctant to give out cooking licences, apparently because of noise complaints from residents.

But Tofu's Ms Au feels that controlling the number of businesses here is a good thing. 'This helps ensure that the residents don't get crowded out, and that the vibe remains peaceful and laid back - we love that.'

She adds: 'I hope ... it doesn't get overly commercial or pretentious. After all, what makes this area charming is the authenticity of the old businesses and residents.'

Still, tenants remain confident that their vision of Tiong Bahru turning into an indie hangout will come to fruition.

'We think Tiong Bahru will continue to grow in popularity - its laid-back, chilled-out vibe appeals to those looking to escape the crowded and heavily-commercialised parts of Singapore,' says Strangelet's Ms Ong.

And you can't buy heritage. 'There are pre-war HDB buildings here; I don't think you can find it anywhere in Singapore ... there's a lot of historical value,' adds Centre Ps's Mr Ong.

Concludes stormtrooper Mr Lim: 'Tiong Bahru is certainly evolving, and I definitely think its headed in a nice direction - it has a certain chaotic, yet natural beauty.'


THE RIGHT FIT
Business at BooksActually has increased significantly since it moved from Club Street to its Tiong Bahru premises (above right). Above left: Sara Tan and Peter Ng of Bhutan Shop get all dressed up for the occasion
BooksActually
9 Yong Siak Street
Tel: 6222-9195
booksactually.com

FIRST, it was part of an independent retail movement in Club Street that turned the Chinatown neighbourhood into a gentrified lifestyle hotspot. Now, BooksActually has joined other independent operators who are doing the same in Tiong Bahru.

Moving in three months ago, owners Karen Wai and Kenny Leck were convinced by their friend Harry Grover, who started the popular coffee joint 40 Hands just across from them on Yong Siak Street.

The relocation is friendlier on their bank books too. 'Rent-wise, we are paying less than half of that in Club Street,' says Ms Wai, who says it was the main reason for their move. 'It's hard to find a nice location that's rather central, but which has ample parking.'

While their subsidiary brand Birds & Co - which retails hand-made stationery and vintage novelty items - has two outlets in Tangs and Cineleisure Orchard, the owners have no intention of shifting their flagship store to the heart of town. Nor are there plans to open branches of the bookstore, as the whole idea is to retain an intimate connection with hippie book lovers.

The shift has in fact done just that, with results exceeding the owners' expectations, and the neighbourhood is proving to be just the right fit for indie establishments.

'People living here are mostly PMEBs and expatriates - people with higher income brackets,' says Ms Wai. 'They are more supportive of independent startups,' she continues, adding that business has increased significantly since the shift.

As the current store is also slightly larger and consolidated into one single level (compared to the two-level space at Club Street)), there's more leeway to host larger events. Hence, the outfit has fired up its efforts to galvanise the local literary scene.

One new initiation is Babette's Feast, a fortnightly gathering where writers new or experienced can 'come and share their own works, and talk about writing with people from the writing industry,' says Ms Wai.

The sessions will culminate in a series of chapbooks - short books - which will be distributed by their in-house publishing press, Math Paper Press.

Bhutan Shop
1D Yong Siak Street
Tel: 6236-0750

FOR a country obsessed with rankings, Singapore has done remarkably badly in indices measuring happiness.

So perhaps it's time to take an interest in Bhutan, the land from which the concept of 'Gross National Happiness' originated. If you can't find Bhutan on the map (hint: it's a Himalayan nation), the best place to learn about it here will be at Bhutan Shop, tucked away in a corner of Yong Siak Street.

Started in March by a group of friends, the retail outfit specialises in all things Bhutan-related. It's also the local representative of two Bhutanese tour agencies, so it really is a one-stop shop.

A lounge and gallery area features works by Bhutan artists (priced between $800 and $12,800). In addition, there are organic products from Bhutan and Thailand. The eco-conscious will love the 100 per cent organic 'soap nuts', or nature's own detergent, which are purportedly suitable for people with sensitive skin. There's also honey, handmade cashmere bags, organic herbal teas, and a range of lemongrass fragrances and essential oils which can act as insect repellents.

Featuring Bhutanese culture as an integral theme of the retail outfit was, shall we say, an equally organic decision.

'We have good connections with Bhutanese business associates and friends,' says store manager Tan Tiong Pin, adding that interest in Bhutan has skyrocketed since Hong Kong celebrities Tony Leung and Carina Lau had their wedding there.

Speaking of weddings, the shop will host its debut cultural exhibition in October - in line with Bhutan's royal wedding. Bhutanese contemporary art, wedding culture and traditional costumes will be displayed, and visitors will get a chance to sample Bhutanese fare as well. The centrepiece of the exhibition will be Bhutanese artist Dorji Gyeltshen's painting Kilkhor, which is an abstract representation of 'four boundless thoughts: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathy and equanimity', says Ms Tan.

If happiness can indeed be bought, perhaps it'll be found amidst the 'green' esoteric offerings of Bhutan Shop. But whatever form it takes, it'll probably involve a fair bit of tree-hugging, social causes and healthy living.

EYE FOR DESIGN
Ong Ker Shing (above left) of Strangelets, an artisan's boutique inspired by Greenwich Village in the Big Apple. Curated items (above right) range from retro cardholders to jewellery
Strangelets
7 Yong Siak Street
Tel: 6222-1456

'A STRANGELET is a theoretical particle that converts any other particle it touches into a Strangelet as well,' explains co-founder of the outfit, Ong Ker Shing.

It makes 'Strangelets' a doubly apt name for an artisan's boutique located along Yong Siak Street. Because while Strangelets may have meant to make waves by converting the way people shop ('It's not all about brand recognition,' says Ms Ong), it's also one of a handful of independent startups along Tiong Bahru - and like its namesake, the outfit is creating a ripple-like effect with the area morphing into an artsy hangout.

The chemistry started with a passion for design, and a love of 'handcrafted objects or the intelligence and simplistic beauty in design items,' says Ms Ong.

So along with husband Josh Comaroff, friend Schirin Taraz-Breinholt (all architects) and investment banker Yeo Wenxian, the group of four started the brand in mid-2008 on Amoy Street, and moved to their current location in June this year.

The shift was 'driven by a desire for change,' says Ms Ong, and the group was drawn to the area due to the presence of indie bookstore BooksActually as well as coffee joint 40 Hands.

'In a way, all three of us appeal to the indie crowd,' says Ms Ong. 'When the unit next to them became available, we jumped at the opportunity to be side-by-side as we complement each other'.

Business has been brisk at the location, and the 'small boutique experience' they offer (inspired by Greenwich Village in the Big Apple) is a hit. Their curated items form an eclectic selection, ranging from American retro cardholders by Postalco ($185) to white glazed ceramic tableware and titanium plated cutlery by Astier de Villatte ($30-300), and there's stationery and jewellery too. So it's little wonder that they're attracting everyone from the indie crowd to working professionals and tai-tais.

'For us, Strangelets is a fun mix between hobby and enterprise,' Ms Ong says. 'We wanted a diversion from the tedium of the mass market shopping scene in Singapore.'


WHERE ART MEETS F&B
The Orange Thimble is a happy mix of old and new, serving gourmet sandwiches in a refurbished shophouse (above left)
The Orange Thimble
Blk 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-68
Tel: 6223-8068
http://www.theorangethimble.com/

THERE'S a schizophrenic air about Tiong Bahru which adds to its charm factor - a heartland district with low-rise flats dating back to the 1950s, dotted with artsy, indie startups in refurbished shophouses co-existing with old-fashioned provision shops.

Offering a mix of old and new is The Orange Thimble, opened just this week by Maria Ng who also owns art gallery White Canvas. The cafe is located just down the street from the gallery, and features works from artists (both local and foreign) with whom White Canvas has built relationships. Many of the works are also Tiong Bahru-themed and include paintings by Tia Boon Sim, once a student of the late homegrown artist Liu Kang.

Ms Ng took great pains to preserve the shophouse which she has transformed into a quaint hangout where art meets F&B. The collapsible grille and folding doors were kept, and a cast-iron window frame was refurbished and installed. The decor also includes an antique cash register, a safe, and Chinese stools given to her by Tiong Bahru residents.

There's even a wooden menu hung on the wall, poached from a traditional coffee shop - but of course The Orange Thimble doesn't serve soft boiled eggs or kaya toast. On the menu instead are gourmet sandwiches and coffee, shepherd's pie, and a range of desserts, including ice cream.

'We wanted to remember the past,' says Ms Ng of the design concept, and in fact, the reference to the thimble is in honour of the previous owner who was a seamstress. The premises have, however, been updated with a vibrant coat of Tuscan orange paint, and the alleyway is in the middle of being converted into an industrial-chic al fresco area with a trellis and an exposed brick wall.

'My business partner and I travel a lot and enjoy coffee,' says Ms Ng, who's had her palate refined by visits to cafes and restaurants in cities such as Paris and London. So while they wish to bring the experience of chilling at a mom-and-pop cafe to the district, 'we (also) want to honour and preserve the heritage of Tiong Bahru', she concludes.

thtan@sph.com.sg

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Tan Kin Lian goes to Batam to give interviews (And how is this supposed to be impressive?!?!)

Why will he not be visiting Jakarta, instead? Surely Mr Tan Kin Lian is aware that the capital city of Indonesia is still Jakarta, and not Batam. Hur hur.

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Tan Kin Lian will be visiting Batam on Sunday to do interviews with the local press there, according to his campaign office.

In a statement sent to The Straits Times, his office said that the interviews will give Mr Tan an opportunity to 'extend greetings, on behalf of Singaporeans, to the people of Batam as Indonesia will be celebrating its Independence Day soon'.

It added that he would also be meeting with Singaporeans, and 'take the opportunity to view the progress of developments there as there are many Singapore investments'.

The statement also quoted Mr Tan as saying he is impressed by the developments in Batam over the years.

'Each time I go there, I see more projects taking off. This is good as it means there are more jobs. I also find the people here very friendly and helpful. I wish the people of Batam a peaceful and prosperous future. I also hope that the good relations between our two countries will continue so that we can visit each other more often,' he said.

A campaign source told The Straits Times that the trip would show that Mr Tan is 'capable of handling international relations and foreign reporters'.

Mr Tan, 63, is due to meet with reporters from Batam media outlets at a hotel there. These outlets are: newspapers Batam Pos, Haluan Kepri, and Tribunnews Batam, as well as Radio Sing FM. Following the press conference, Mr Tan will likely tour shopping areas in Batam which are popular with Singaporeans, to 'shake hands with them', according to the campaign source.

From Straits Times, "Tan Kin Lian to visit Batam on Sunday".

Friends and Heroes sometimes are just mutually exclusive...

What puzzles me is how the victim's two male friends did not choose to subdue the culprit together. Instead they went to seek help from a nearby fire post. Why did they not call the police instead?! Or even to ask the piano teacher to call the police on their behalf?!

The culprit was proven guilty alright. No doubt about it. The monster is sentenced to 13 years' jail & 15 strokes of the cane. A little consolation for the victim.

A 24-YEAR-OLD polytechnic student was on Friday sentenced to 13 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane for raping a 13-year-old secondary school student.

Wang Jianbin had befriended the girl in October 2008 after coming across her email address in the 'making friends' column of a teenage magazine. They started to communicate via text mesages and telephone calls.

But he started asking her sexual questions and sent her sexually explicit text messages. In December 2009, he asked to meet at her home.

The girl asked two male friends, 17 and 18, to hide in her mother's room and to call for help if she could not handle Wang.

When Wang arrived, the girl brought him to her room as he demanded. She did so because she thought he would not dare to do anything to her because her brother was having a lesson with his piano teacher in the living room. But inside, Wang molested her.

One of the girl's male friends came into the room and struggled with Wang but he made the girl tell the friend to leave. Both teenage boys then went to seek help from a nearby fire post, in their absence, Wang raped the girl. The two teenage boys then returned with several civil defence officers. The police arrived shortly after and arrested Wang.

From Straits Times, "Man gets 13-years' jail for raping 13-year-old student".



Update: the identity of the culprit is revealed. He's Wang Jian Bin.

They had been acquainted for less than two months, but the then 23-year-old polytechnic student was already sending lewd text messages to the 13-year-old girl.

When she repeatedly spurned his advances and requests to meet, Wang Jian Bin threatened the girl in order to force himself on her.

The High Court yesterday sentenced Wang, a Chinese national who obtained citizenship in 2005, to 13 years in jail and 15 strokes of the cane for raping the minor on Dec 2 two years ago.

The girl, who is now 15, cannot be named to protect her identity.

The court heard that Wang, now 24, got to know the girl through a teen magazine sometime in October that year.

Wang began pestering her to meet and sent explicit text messages to the girl, but she ignored him.

On Dec 2, 2009, Wang threatened to ask his "gang" to create trouble for her and her friends, and to also expose her purported sexual relationship with her boyfriend to her parents unless she allowed him into her home.

She caved in and Wang forced himself on her in her bedroom.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Irving Choh said his client came from a broken family and urged the court for leniency towards a young and exemplary student.

Mr Choh added that Wang sought more strokes of the cane in exchange for a shorter jail term so that he could go back to his mother and younger sister as early as possible.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chua Ying-Hong, however, pressed for a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail and six strokes of the cane, arguing that Wang had groomed the victim for sexual relations.

From the suggestive text messages he had sent, it was apparent that he was planning to have sex with her.

During the sentencing, Justice Chan Seng Onn noted that Wang had harassed the victim by "continuously sending her sexual and depraved messages despite being told to stop".

Wang had also preyed on his victim's young age by frightening her with threats. Worse, the assault took place in the sanctity of the girl's home, the judge added.

Two other charges of criminal intimidation and sexual penetration of a person under the age of 16 were taken into consideration during the sentencing yesterday.

The rape of a minor below 14 carries a maximum 20-year jail term, a fine or caning.

From Today, "Former poly student who raped minor jailed".



Update: more details revealed such as how the victim's friend (the 18-year-old friend) barged into the room with a martial arts spear belonging to the girl's brother, but yet still unable to defeat this Wang Jianbin. A formidable monster indeed, huh?

A 24-year-old polytechnic student was sentenced to jail for 13 years by Singapore's High Court on Friday after he was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old.

Wang Jianbin had raped the teenager in her room while her brother was in the living room with his piano teacher.

The former commando pleaded guilty to rape. One charge each of criminal intimidation and sexual assault were taken into consideration as well.

High Court judge Chan Seng Onn also ordered Wang to be given 15 strokes of the cane.

Wang had asked through his lawyer for more strokes of the cane so that he could have a shorter jail sentence to be with his mother and 10-year-old sister, but the judge did not say if the request affected his sentence, according to The Straits Times.

The punishment was heavier than expected as the prosecution had asked the court to give him at least 10 years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

Wang came here from China with his family in 1997 and became a Singaporean in 2005.

Through a 'making friends' column in a teen magazine, Wang got to know the secondary school girl involved in October 2009.

Even though she told him she had a boyfriend and was not interested, the then 23-year-old still harassed her through instant messaging, text messages and phone calls.

Wang kept plying her with sexual questions, such as the colour of her underwear and whether she had a boyfriend she had sex with.

Uneasy, the girl told him that she was in a sexual relationship with her boyfriend and was not interested in meeting him when he pressed to meet with her.

On 2 Dec, with a 17-year-old male friend visiting her in her home, the girl received messages from Wang asking for her address as he wanted to visit her.

But she turned him down, and even gave the phone to her friend and asked him to pose as her father to give a warning to Wang not to harass her, the newspaper reported.

Unfazed, Wang said that he already knew where she lived. He threatened to "find trouble" and bring his gang to "mess up" her home and reveal to her parents that she had sex with her boyfriend.

The friend then called another boy, aged 18, to join them at her home for backup.

When Wang arrived, the girl had already instructed the two boys to hide in her mother's room and to call for help if she could not deal with Wang.

The girl thought that Wang would not do anything to her with her brother and his piano teacher in the flat, and followed his instructions to bring him to her room.

After closing the door, Wang started violating the girl.

Thinking to help the girl, the 18-year-old friend barged into the room with a martial arts spear belonging to the girl's brother.

But it was a futile attempt as he was chased out after a struggle.

While her two friends ran for help, Wang raped her. When the boys returned with civil defence officers, followed by the police, Wang was still around and was arrested.

The punishment for rape is up to 20 years' jail and caning or a fine.

From Yahoo! News, "Poly student sentenced to 13 years’ jail for rape".

Kelvin Lee vs Tan Kin Lian: 1 - 0

Kudos for Kelvin Lee who raised up the issue about the iPhone app--supposedly generates numbers for TOTO lottery--created and sold by Tan Kin Lian & Associates.

Kelvin Lee could have chosen to report his finding to STOMP, but he approached TODAY instead. Well done! Heh.

While I agree with Mr Tan Kin Lian that he did not mean to promote gambling, I am somewhat puzzled to read his statement that IF he gets elected as President, he has to pass this business to another person.

Why? Does that mean that he agrees the iPhone app may not be morally right?

Business development manager Kelvin Lee was surfing through the iPhone App store on Wednesday night when he stumbled on an app that generates numbers for the bi-weekly TOTO lottery.

When he launched the app, he was surprised to find out that the app was created and sold by Tan Kin Lian & Associates, a software and consultancy firm run by presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian.

Mr Lee, 34, who contacted TODAY, said: "Even though betting on TOTO and 4D is legal, what is legally right may not be morally right. Given the fact that Mr Tan is running for presidency, he should aim for some moral high ground, especially with public unhappiness over gambling."

TODAY found another similar app, OneInAMillion - also created by Mr Tan's company - in the iPhone App store.

When contacted by TODAY, Mr Tan stressed that the apps were part of "more than 10 apps" that were developed by his company.

"This concern (that these apps will encourage gambling) is exaggerated ... if some people like to try my app to get their unique numbers, I will be delighted. But I do not think that it will be addictive, and I certainly do not encourage them to be addicted to any form of gambling. But as a pastime and fun, it is all right."

He added that he saw TOTO and 4D as an entertainment for many ordinary people - "a way of having some distraction from the busy and hectic life".

Explaining why the apps were created, Mr Tan said he had asked his developer to try some simple apps and chose TOTO and 4D as they are popular games and are well known.

Mr Tan said the number of downloads for these two apps are "quite small" compared to other apps - including one for taxi booking - developed by his company. "If I get elected as President, I have to pass this business to another person ... But if I do not get elected, I intend to use the know-how in developing mobile games for many business applications involving mobile and web platforms," Mr Tan said.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Tan Kin Lian defends TOTO, 4D applications by his firm".

Train - Hey Soul Sister Parody: Harry Potter (Before We Say Goodbye)


So how much do you like the parody version of "Hey, Soul Sister" titled as "Harry Potter (Before We Say Goodbye)"?

For comparison sake, here's the Train clip, "Hey, Soul Sister":



Or if you prefer the Glee's version? Heh.

Where in Malaysia is Stephanie Foray???

Stephanie Foray. This 30-year-old Frenchwoman has been missing in Malaysia for almost three months. It's incredible to read how the Malaysian authorities are still hopeful that she's still alive.

She might very likely have been robbed and killed.

If she's still alive, it would only be for the purpose of getting a ransom. In other words, it'll be a kidnapping case. But there was no such a demand letter for the ransom money, was there?

MALAYSIAN authorities are still hopeful that Stephanie Foray, a Frenchwoman who has been missing in Malaysia for almost three months, is still alive.

Although she has been missing since May 8, both the Malaysian police and their French counterparts are still working under the presumption that the 30-year-old civil servant is still alive.

Police do, however, have new leads following the arrests of two men in Pulau Tioman, the last place she was seen alive.

The first man was arrested at Kampung Tekek in Pulau Tioman last week. The other, a 44-year-old businessman, is believed to be one of the last people to have seen Ms Foray alive when he allegedly gave her a ride on a motorcycle to a chalet which belonged to his relative. Police also found Ms Foray's mobile phone and Sri Lankan currency notes with one of the men.

Ms Foray, who regularly travels alone, arrived in Malaysia on May 5 after touring India and Sri Lanka. She spent a couple of nights in Malacca before leaving for Pulau Tioman on May 9.

Her family suspected something was wrong after they stopped receiving e-mails and telephone calls from her. Her last e-mail to them was sent from Malacca.

From Straits Times, "Search for missing Frenchwoman continues".

Authorities are still hopeful that Stephanie Foray (pic), a Frenchwoman who has been missing in Malaysia for almost three months, is still alive.

Although she has been missing since May 8, both the Malaysian police and their French counterparts are still working under the presumption that the 30-year-old civil servant is still alive.

Malacca police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Chua Ghee Lye said: “The investigation is still in its early stages. Hopefully, we will find her alive and well.”

The French liaison officer Yves Godiveau, based in Singapore, who has been in constant contact with the Royal Malaysian Police over the investigation, echoed the sentiment.

“I hope so,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Police do, however, have new leads following the arrests of two men in Pulau Tioman, the last place she was seen alive.

The first man was arrested at Kampung Tekek in Pulau Tioman last week. The other, a 44-year-old businessman, is believed to be one of the last people to have seen Foray alive when he allegedly gave her a ride on a motorcycle to a chalet which belonged to his relative.

Police also found Foray's mobile phone and Sri Lankan currency notes with one of the men. SAC Chua said the two men, who are cousins, were being questioned.

Foray, who regularly travels alone, arrived in Malaysia on May 5 after touring India and Sri Lanka. She spent a couple of nights in Malacca before leaving for Pulau Tioman on May 9.

Foray's family suspected something was wrong after they stopped receiving e-mails and telephone calls from Foray, who had contacted them regularly. Her last e-mail to them was sent from Malacca.

Foray has blue eyes, chestnut brown hair and is 157cm tall. Those with information on her whereabouts can contact the embassy at 03-2053 5500 or Crisis Centre for Individual Cases Unit at the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry at +6597319123.

From The Star, "Cops hopeful on missing tourist, search continues for Frenchwoman".

Police are looking through footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the popular Jonker Walk as the search for missing French tourist, Stephanie Foray, intensified.

State police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said besides the CCTV recordings, police also obtained a video recording from a shop selling chicken rice-balls in the area.

He said initial investigations revealed that the 30-year-old French woman had checked into a hostel in Jonker Walk on May 7 and left two days later.

"We are now trying to ascertain if she was alone or had company. This case is top priority even though no report had been lodged.

"We are combing all hostels, guest houses and budget hotels in and around Jonker Walk. We are also gathering information from taxi drivers and trishaw riders."

Chuah said since Foray had gone missing two months ago, police needed time to go through all CCTV recordings.

"We have also sought assistance from our counterparts in Johor and Negri Sembilan besides working closely with the French embassy and Interpol to help track down Foray."

The New Straits Times also learnt yesterday that a French liaison officer, based in Singapore, met senior police officers at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman on the missing woman.

The officer will be meeting with police here today for updates on the search operation.

Foray was believed to have spent time here before she went missing. Her last email to her family in France were sent from here on May 8.

Foray, a communications officer with a French civil service, arrived in Malaysia on May 5 after spending several months in India and Sri Lanka.

In her email to her family, she said she spent two days in Kuala Lumpur before heading to a small town outside the city.

Foray allegedly met a man who invited her to his house to use his computer.

She also met another man on the same day and had lunch and dinner with him. He also took her to watch a movie and went on a walkabout at a shopping mall.

According to her family, Foray was a seasoned traveller and embarked on this holiday in November. They claimed that wherever she went, Foray would contact her family and friends through emails at least once a week.

Her friends and family, however, started to get worried when they stopped receiving her emails after May 8, and could not reach her on the mobile phone.

Foray is 157cm tall with an average build, has blue eyes and chestnut brown hair.

From Asiaone, "CCTVs may give clues on missing tourist". (16/07/11)

Missing Frenchwoman Stephanie Foray spent May 8 with a man in a small town outside Kuala Lumpur.

In her last email to her family in France, the 30-year-old communications officer with the French civil service said she spent the whole day with the man.

"I met a guy and spent the day with him. We had lunch together at 3pm, rice, chicken and a dessert with a soya milk and ginger sauce.

"Then we went to a huge shopping mall and walked a little bit around before going to the movies. We saw Fast and Furious, that was a nice film in English, of course, so I couldn't understand everything but I recommend it to you. It's worth seeing.

"Then, after the movie, he invited me for dinner and that was a real treat, an omelette with oysters and some fish with a beer sauce. That was a nice day but life is so different here from India or Sri Lanka," said Foray in her last email to her family on May 8.

In an earlier email, Foray also told her family that she had more time on her hands now after coming to Malaysia.

She also told them she was invited by another man to his house so that she could use his computer.

Foray said the man who invited her to his house and the one she spent time with on May 8 were two different people.

Foray's family, in an email to the New Straits Times, said she was a seasoned globetrotter who had already travelled to Senegal, the Canary Islands and Thailand before embarking on her latest holiday in November last year.

According to her family, she would travel for at least two weeks every year, visiting different countries.

Foray was travelling alone when she left France in November.

Her family knew she visited India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, but could not say if she went elsewhere before coming here.

Her family said Foray was always in constant contact with them and her friends through emails. She would email them at least once a week.

Family and friends started worrying when the emails stopped after May 8 and when they could not reach her on the mobile phone.

The French embassy, which helped the New Straits Times get in touch with Foray's family, is hoping that the men she last met here would come forward to shed some light on her whereabouts.

Her disappearance was highlighted in several newspapers here last week after her photograph was made available by the French embassy.

An embassy spokesman said even after news of her disappearance was published, there had been no word on her whereabouts.

The family had sought the assistance of the French government and Malaysian authorities to locate the woman.

Foray is 157cm tall with an average build, has blue eyes and chestnut brown hair.

From Asiaone, "Tourist had a date before going missing". (14/07/11)

Serene Fairy Tng Tuck Lee: A fairy godmother for stray cats (She steals for them!!)

This is supposed to be an inspiring story of a modern Robin Hood lady who steals for the sake of forsaken stray cats.

Then again, it is not.

Especially so because of her stealing the cosmetics. Surely the stray cats do not need such facial pampering. Well, unless she stole them and re-sold them and then used the money to fund the lifestyle of her stray cats.

Right. Who am I kidding?!

A DIVORCEE was fined $4,000 for stealing $390 worth of products from a pet shop in Sengkang in June last year.

Serene Fairy Tng Tuck Lee, 45, bought $100 worth of pet food from the Pet Station store in the Compass Point mall on June 3. After she left, staff viewed the security video and noticed her stealing $166 worth of other items including pet cologne and eye powder.

Four days later, she returned to steal pet food, eye lotion and supplements, and was caught red-handed.

Her lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said that his client, who was financially tight, used the stolen items for the stray cats she took in.

A third charge for stealing $1,070 worth of cosmetics a month earlier from Pink Beauty Cosmetics in Ang Mo Kio was taken into consideration in her sentencing.

From Straits Times, "Fined $4,000 for stealing items for stray cats".

Review: Twisted


Horror-comedy films have been in existence for decades, but the genre only started to see a resurgence in Singapore last year, with Where Got Ghost? and The Ghost Must be Crazy being released months apart from each other. Unlike those two films, however, Chai Yee Wei’s Twisted shows a keen understanding of how to use both genres to complement each other, when so many purported horror-comedies wind up numbing the genuinely suspenseful moments by dialling up to excess the comedic mood.

Twisted carefully escapes this ditch by the sly use of black comedy; its humour here is not at the expense of its chill-inducing moments. Rather, there are moments that are genuinely terrifying that still rather curiously push you to laughter, especially in the first and third segments. The horror and the humour are inextricably bound together; the key, Chai understands, is to keep the audience laughing at their own fears. He succeeds in doing so at pivotal points in the film, especially in the third segment (e.g. the scene of the exorcism ritual).

That is not to say the film is consistently frightening. In fact, the scares engineered by Chai are actually of a hit-and-miss quality – some violently startle you, while some are, for better or worse, unintentionally funny.

Twisted is made up of three segments, all sharing a very tenuous connection, à la Chungking Express, with narratives that never really overlap, and if you happen to not pay attention, the link between all three segments will be lost on you. The first part features comedian Mark Lee in one of his best performances to date, playing – what else?- a gangster who peddles drugs. Lee shines in roles of this mould because he happens to be just playing himself, but his performance in this movie is a notch above above because it allows to be himself in an outrageously over-the-top fashion. He winds up killing his pregnant girlfriend in an accident, and she –what else? – returns to haunt him. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but still ridiculously entertaining to see Mark don the rims of his car wheels as armour. Yet this segment also happens to have some of the afore-mentioned unintentionally funny scenes, like the one with Mark Lee's character in a struggle with the ghost of his girlfriend. It winds up being more funny than scary.

Chai does some nimble balancing between humour and horror in the third segment, where Hong Kong actress Zhu Mi Mi plays the mother of a possessed girl who enlists a pair con-men exorcists to expel the demon from her daughter. She wears a creepy blank expression across her face that accentuates her character’s coldness. This segment ends up being the funniest, with the exorcist duo serving up a riot of laughs.



The weakest segment is the second one, which revolves around a pair of air stewards, played by Randall Tan and Calvin Soh, who try to get fresh with their colleagues, played by Tracy Lee and Linda Liao. Things do not go as planned, and one thing escalates to another, resulting in tragedy. Even though the writing for all three segments isn’t fantastic, the plot in the second one comes almost close to being non-existent. You just have to leave your expectations of coherence back home in order to enjoy this one. I suspect the weak story in this segment is why Chai employs a MTV-ish wham-bam! style editing, using a series of very quick cuts to try to make the events in this segment link up better.

Though the editing doesn’t actually quite cover up for the lack of a strong story, it does emphasize the film’s theme of karma. In employing this brand of dizzying editing, Chai accelerates time: we don’t hang around waiting for something to happen; the film jumps from one event to another, generating a cause-and-effect like rhythm to the film (and the second segment in particular), and the ideas of retribution and consequence are foregrounded. The downside - which is apparent in the second segment, not so in the first and third – is that with no mellower moments to puncture the constant frenetic atmosphere, the ‘highs’ in this segment – and there are a lot of them – don’t seem to be as suspenseful as they should be.

While the film does have many flaws, I respect this film just because of its sheer ambition. Anytime a local director makes a commercial effort without trying to pander to the lowest common denominator (i.e. having a smidgen of ambition and trying to put forth ideas in their films), I rejoice. Twisted may have weak stories for its segments, but as a whole the film features strong performances from its cast members, and was adroitly executed to accentuate the theme of karma, elevating it to a morality tale on being responsible for one’s actions. A quirky horror-comedy with a soul.

Kenny Bee buzzed angrily as he claimed to be treated poorly at Changi Airport

Who on earth does this Kenny Bee think he is?! The immigration officer was surely doing her job. Her only fault perhaps is likely due to her 'failing' to be bedazzled by the supposedly famous Kenny Bee.

The so-called star can be so pathetic in his attempt to secure a headline.

Well, it works. Another headline in this blog for you, Mr Kenny Bee! Buzz off, why don't you?!

Veteran Hong Kong actor-singer Kenny Bee took to his microblog on Tuesday, complaining about being treated poorly at Singapore's Changi Airport.

Bee, 58, was in town to perform on a luxury cruiseliner, but his trip here with his family was apparently marred by an incident with an immigration officer upon arrival.

He flew in on Friday with his girlfriend, Fan Chiang, and seven-year-old daughter. They left yesterday.

Bee wrote in his microblog, complaining about a female immigration officer who 'made things difficult for him'.

He said her attitude and behaviour caused his family distress and fans who were around to feel embarassed for them.

Bee also wrote that the officer seemed to be taking out her personal frustrations on them and they were just the 'unlucky victims'.

His girlfriend, Fan - who seemed more agitated in her posts to her microblog account - went a step further, saying they were 'treated like criminals'.

She wrote: "The immigration department is the first point of contact for travellers to any country. In Singapore, we met with an unpleasant female officer, who treated not just us, but everyone as if they were criminals.

"I hope the Singapore immigration department will look into this and not let one bad apple spoil the whole basket."

This is not the first case where celebrities have complained about being ill-treated at Singapore's immigration checkpoints.

Just last month, sultry Hong Kong actress Shu Qi wrote on her microblog account that immigration officers in Singapore 'need to improve their attitude'.

Her post prompted one fan to reply that Singapore is all about giving fair treatment, and that if she's not happy, she should not come.

In response, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that all travellers are subjected to the same security regime at our checkpoints and are treated equally in the course of security checks.

A spokesperson said that investigations into Bee's complaints showed that his girlfriend did not complete and sign off on her embarkation/disembarkation (DE) card. The officer attending to her then asked her to fill in the missing information, while continuing to clear the rest of the travellers in the queue.

She added that ICA officers are constantly reminded to be professional and courteous when handling travellers.

From Asiaone, "HK actor Kenny Bee complains about being 'treated like criminals' at Singapore airport".

ShoutOUT!:8th Singapore Short Cuts( Week 1)



Celebrating its 8th edition this year, Singapore Short Cuts continues to be one of the most popular and widely anticipated showcases of local short films in Singapore. The programme features a diverse selection of some of the most innovative and outstanding recent Singapore short films ranging from documentaries to animation and experimental work. Some of the filmmakers whose films have been featured in Singapore Short Cuts include Victric Thng, Sherman Ong, Eva Tang, Boo Jun Feng, Liao Jie Kai, Tan Pin Pin and Eric Khoo.

All screenings will be followed by discussions with the filmmakers.


SCHEDULE
SATURDAY 6 AUGUST | 2PM | RATING TO BE ADVISED
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF KNOWING by Tan Pin Pin
SNOW CITY by Tan Pin Pin
WAKE by Atsuko Hirayanagi
SOLITARY MOON by Eva Tang
COMFORT by Afiq Omar

SUNDAY 7 AUGUST | 2PM | RATING TO BE ADVISED
ONE DAY I FORGOT AND USED MY HANDS A.K.A HANDS by Charles Lim
BIRTHDAY CAKE by Ang Soo Koon
LIBERTAS by Kan Lume & Megan Wonowidjoyo
I WANT TO REMEMBER by Sherman Ong
A CLOUDY CONUNDRUM by Samantha Lee Suyi, Yvonne Ng & Calvin Chua
BURGER BURGER by Huang Shicong & Gavin Tan Jun Jie
THIN AIR by Kirsten Tan


TICKETING INFORMATION
Free tickets to the 8th Singapore Short Cuts can be collected at the National Museum of Singapore (Stamford Visitor Services Counter) a week before each weekend’s screening. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis, and limited to four tickets per person. Any remaining tickets will be given out at the door on the screening day.

SAT 6 AUG screening (Tickets for collection from 30 JUL)
SUN 7 AUG screening (Tickets for collection from 31 JUL)
SAT 13 AUG screening (Tickets for collection from 6 AUG)
SUN 14 AUG screening (Tickets for collection from 7 AUG)

Ticket Collection
Stamford Visitor Services Counter, Level 1
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897
Tel: 6332 3659

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7.30pm

Patrons are advised that valid identity pass showing proof of age is required for all screenings. For latest ratings and more information on the 8th Singapore Short Cuts, please log on to www.nationalmuseum.sg.

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