Friday, December 18, 2009

Poster "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow." Outrageous?!


Is the above poster really "inappropriate" and "disrespectful"?

Put the fiery sense of defending your religion aside & bring forward your analytical thinking: No, I don't think so. Joseph is after all a legal husband of Mary. And it's not uncommon for a couple to feel 'disenchanted' about their relationship. Let alone if it's caused by the third party. Or in this case the Third Party...

The news was also featured in Straits Times multimedia here.

An unholy row has broken out in New Zealand over a church billboard aimed at "challenging stereotypes" about the birth of Jesus Christ.

A dejected-looking Joseph lies in bed next to Mary under the caption, "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow".

St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, which erected the billboard, said it had intended to provoke debate.

But the Catholic Church, among others, has condemned it as "inappropriate" and "disrespectful".

Within hours of its unveiling, the billboard had been defaced with brown paint.

The church's vicar, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, said the aim of the billboard had been to lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story.

"What we're trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about," he told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA).

"Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?"

He told NZPA that the church had received e-mails and phone calls about the controversial image.

"About 50% said they loved it, and about 50% said it was terribly offensive," he said. "But that's out of about 20 responses - this is New Zealand."

But Lyndsay Freer, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Auckland, said the poster was offensive to Christians.

"Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph," she told the New Zealand Herald. "Such a poster is inappropriate and disrespectful."

The family values group Family First said any debate about the Virgin birth should be held inside the church.

"To confront children and families with the concept as a street billboard is completely irresponsible and unnecessary," Family First director Bob McCroskrie told the news website stuff.co.nz.

From BBC, "Unholy row over New Zealand Mary and Joseph billboard".

World's Fattest Cat

Today, we ask the question, is this the fattest cat in the world?

Mercer 2010 forecast of salary increase

Any readers who are from pharmaceutical industry care to share their comment about the projected salary increase of 4.1%? (Higher than the average of 3.2%!)

Projected figures from Mercer Singapore:
- Pharmaceutical: 4.1 per cent
- High-tech: 3.3 per cent
- Aerospace: 3.2 per cent
- Consumer goods: 3.1 per cent
- Banking and finance: 3.1 per cent
- Chemical: 2.9 per cent
- Property: 2.6 per cent

With the recession over, the question among workers now is how well companies will pay them next year.

On Friday, human resource consultancy Mercer Singapore threw its hat in the ring with a forecast of a 3.2 per cent rise in salaries.

It is the rosiest projection among at least four companies that have recently given their forecasts for next year.

Mercer based its projection on its survey, done in October, of 262 companies in 11 industries.

Expected to give top dollars are pharmaceuticals, which plan to hand out 4.1 per cent more, and high-tech companies, at 3.3 per cent more.

The banking and finance industry plans to give a 3.1 per cent pay rise, a quick rebound over this year's average increment of less than 1.5 per cent.

From Straits Times, "Expect 3.2% pay rise".

WITH the recession over, the question among workers now is how well companies will pay them next year.

On Thursday, human resource consultancy Mercer Singapore threw its hat in the ring with a forecast of a 3.2 per cent rise in salaries.

It is the rosiest projection among at least four companies that have recently given their forecasts for next year.

Mercer based its projection on its survey, done in October, of 262 companies in 11 industries.

Expected to give top dollars are pharmaceutical, which plans to hand out 4.1 per cent more, and high-tech companies, at 3.3 per cent more. The banking and finance industry plans to give a 3.1 per cent pay rise, a quick rebound over this year's average increment of less than 1.5 per cent.

Only 15 per cent of the companies intend to freeze salaries next year, compared with 35 per cent that did so this year.

From Straits Times, "Rosy salary rise projections".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign


Currently reading "Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign". I'm tickled reading how good guys playing as supervillains. Heh.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin: jail term doubled for this maid abuser

It's been more than one year since this post of mine, "3 entries to Hall of Shame of those who abuse their maid...Presenting: Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin, Tay Wan Leng, Maselly Abdul Aziz & family". I'm somewhat surprised to read the name Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin appears again in the news.

His jail term had been doubled to two years! No, it's got nothing to do with those seven charges of sexual abuse, including one count of rape, which Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin was acquited.

What I really don't understand, though, is why it takes more than one year to double his punishment.

A police staff sergeant who assaulted his Indonesian maid over a period of four months had his jail term doubled to two years on Tuesday.

In the first maid-abuse case to go before the three-judge Court of Appeal, the jail term handed down to Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin, 37, underscored the Singapore courts' firm stance against those who abuse their domestic maids.

Justice V. K. Rajah, in a 114-page written judgment peppered with denouncements of Lim's conduct, wrote:

'This is a sentence that appropriately encapsulates my profound aversion and disquiet with Lim's deplorable conduct without having the effect of being crushing.'

The case landed in Singapore's highest court because Lim, from the Criminal Investigation Department's Intellectual Property Rights Branch, was first tried in the High Court.

Typical maid-abuse cases are tried in the Subordinate Courts, with appeals - if any - heard in the High Court.

From Straits Times, "Abuser's jail term doubled".

Should the court follow sentencing norms based on the severity of an assault, or can judges consider, in a maid abuse case, the position of authority held by the employer and the vulnerability of the maid as an aggravating factor?

This poser has split the Court of Appeal in a case involving an Indonesian maid who was abused repeatedly by her employer.

The 37-year-old accused, Lawrence Lim Hwang Ngin, is a police officer who was found guilty of kicking the maid, hitting her on the head and rapping her forehead with his knuckles on five occasions between January and May 2006. The maid was 23 at the time.

Now, the appellate court - the highest court in the Singapore justice system - in a 2-1 judgment has opted to not only let his conviction stand, it has doubled his jail term to 24 months.

While the signal from Justices Andrew Phang, V K Rajah and Woo Bih Li is clear - that maid abuse cannot be tolerated - the three Court of Appeal judges were split in their individual conclusions.

Justice Woo, the dissenting judge, felt that the positions of maid and employer ought not to be viewed as an aggravating factor.

He also argued that "there is a current sentencing norm of one to six weeks imprisonment in cases where there is no serious physical injury".

But in the 114-page written judgment, Justice Rajah opined: "Surely, it cannot be said that an abusive employer who persistently mistreats and humiliates a maid and then later physically injures her should be sentenced similarly with one who ordinarily treats a maid well but then on a solitary occasion loses control of himself and then inflicts a similar injury?"

"Does that mean that anything short of a grievous or permanent injury is not a serious injury?" he wrote.

Justice Phang, who agreed with this conclusion, added that "the sentencing process is not - and ought not to be - a mechanistic one".

This case was unique, as the accused had admitted that he wanted to wage "psychological warfare" on his victim, added the judge.

Justice Kan Ting Chiu, who presided over the trial last year, had also noted a pattern of assault, which took place at regular intervals.

Lim had initially faced 13 charges for sexual and physical assault on the maid, who cannot be named, but was acquitted on all allegations of sexual offence, including rape, because of reasonable doubt.

He then appealed against the sentences for his five convictions and the verdict for three of those, while the prosecution had appealed against the length of the jail terms for all five charges.

Justice Phang noted: "When the severe physical injuries inflicted on the victim are coupled with the mental abuse which she was subjected to (all in a systematic and patterned fashion), it can be seen immediately that the sentence meted out by the Judge in the court below is, with the deepest respect, manifestly inadequate."

From Today, "Split judgment in maid abuse case".

Tiger Beer Classic Special Edition: a failure?


I've just realized that I have bought 3 beers from Changi Airport duty free shop some time in year 2007. It's 2 years back. And even though the beer is labeled 'Tiger Beer Classic Special Edition' (nice design of the can, huh?), the usual rule of 'best consumed within 6 months of the brewed date' still, unfortunately, applies.

Pity. I tried to console myself by gulping down those expired beers. Nah, just kidding. I tried to feel better by googling about 'tiger beer classic special edition', just to find out more about the beer.

This one site beeradvocate.com has two reviews about the beer:

1. Not good. Sweet and sticky malts. Little hops or bitterness to speak of, pretty bad, i haven’t had regular Tiger in a while, but it would probably be better than this. Not particularly special in anyway over the regualt Tiger, this is just more concentrated with atocuh more alcohol.


and

2. A Singaporean student brought back a three-pack of cans from Singapore for me. He says this is not the same as the standard Tiger Beer, but the taste is not far off. The 330ml gold can reads "Classic Special Edition" in big red lettering. The abv is stated to be 5.5% and "DFS" (?) is marked on the top.

The beer is a slightly orange-ish gold and clear as day. The foamy head is dense and off-white. Aroma is nutty and sweet. The sweetness shows up in the slightly strange-tasting front. The middle is just a little fruity, leading to a bitter, but sugary finish. Obvious alcohol betrays this as possibly the "strong" version of regular Tiger Beer.

There aren't really enough good beer flavors going on here. Just straight sugar + uninteresting bitterness. (Some nuts, too, to be fair). It's kind of like drinking with a cold.


I ought to feel better after reading the negative reviews on 'Tiger Beer Classic Special Edition'. But somehow I didn't. I love my Tiger Beer! (No, again, I am not vested in Asia Pacific Brewery shares!!)

Tiger Beer related posts:
- Tiger Beer: "The Last Tiger. Worth Playing for" TV ads with 2 different endings
- The Last Tiger. Worth Playing for? (More like 'Paying')


Kseniya Simonova, sand animator: 2009 Winner of Ukraine's Got Talent



Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII. (Oh, and she has earned herself a place in Wikipedia post on herself. Heh.)

Check out the amazing video as she does the magical painting here or in YouTube, "Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation (Україна має талант / Ukraine's Got Talent)" which has so far gathered 9,005,753 views!



Not many people around the world watched the inaugural season of Ukraine's Got Talent on TV last spring. But since then, the winning performance—a live sand drawing by Kseniya Simonova—has received more than 7 million views on YouTube and won raves for its mesmerizing depiction of the Soviet Union's fight against Nazi Germany. Gracefully manipulating handfuls of sand atop a light box, Simonova created ever-transforming images that were projected onto a screen: a bucolic village disintegrates into a war zone, a woman grows old waiting, her piteous face transforms into the Ukrainian monument to its Unknown Soldier.

Thanks in part to Simonova's performance, live sand drawing—also known as live sand animation—is quickly winning new fans and widespread notice from Mexico to China. Part performance art, part visual art and part storytelling, the craft has been featured at Cirque du Soleil and Christian youth camps, Russian nightclubs and corporate events. Live shows enchant audiences not only because the visual effect is riveting, but because they tell a story, typically about love, war, or faith. Artists, who can command tens of thousands of dollars for a single gig, storyboard their shows the way directors do their movies, so that each image flows seamlessly into the next. The effect is like a patriotic fireworks show or a pop concert, designed to pluck heartstrings and astound crowds.

So far, there is just a handful of well-known sand artists. But Mexican-American artist Joe Castillo, who also performed live sand drawing on America's Got Talent, expects that to change. "Right now sand art is new and unique," he says. "There are lots of artists out there, and once they get light tables ... well, I've got a couple years before there's a sand artist on every corner."

Sand-animation films first appeared in the late 1960s. But Canadian filmmaker and animator Caroline Leaf, a pioneer of the art who completed her first film while at Harvard, doubts the performance-based live form grew out of her work. "I was always alone in a dark room doing very meticulous adjustments," she says. "It seems instead they're responding to the plasticity of the material."

Although sand is malleable, it is not easily controlled. Once it is poured, pinched, or flicked away, there's no going back. Artists must relinquish perfectionism. "You can't fix or erase it," says Ilana Yahav, an Israeli artist who has performed at the Kremlin accompanied by four live bands. "You have to move your hands with the music, so you can never stop for a second." As a result, no two shows are the same—and oftentimes, says French artist David Myriam, an accident creates a "marvelous effect."

The most established live sand artists—Castillo, Yahav, and the Hungarian Ferenc Cakó—also create TV commercials for clients such as Qwest, Animal Planet, and Mercedes-Benz. But they say nothing compares to the energy of working a live crowd. After Castillo performed at the September opening of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology outside Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, people approached him weeping. Even the judges at Simonova's winning appearance sobbed. With such strong reactions, it's little wonder companies—and countries—increasingly hire these artists for big events. "There's a natural fascination with artists at work," says Leaf, who regrets she has only seen live sand drawing on YouTube. It won't likely be long before she can see it on any street corner.

From Newsweek, "Drawing Lines in the Sand".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Storm Warriors: Nice use of 'comics art' in its official website


Yes. Visit the official website of the movie, "The Storm Warriors". Under 'Gallery', you click 'Comics Art' & you'll be presented with a 12-page artwork. The above screenshots are the comics art for the 2 characters 'Second Dream' & 'Chu Chu'.

For those who missed the first movie, The Storm Raiders, you may be interested to notice that Golden Village is offering "The Storm Warriors Movie Marathon". You get to watch THE STORM RIDERS and The Storm Warriors back-to-back on the big screen! It costs you $26 (if you are a GV Movie Club members) or $32 (if you are a non-member). The price includes free flow of popcorn & drinks.

The synopsis of the movie, The Storm Warriors is quite linear (the special effect must compensate the simple plot, I guess). Quoted from Wikipedia post on The Storm Warriors:

The evil Japanese warlord Lord Godless (Simon Yam) desires to conquer China. He imprisons a large number of pugilists and attempts to make them subjugate. Among the captives are Cloud (Aaron Kwok) and the Mou Lam legend Nameless (Kenny Ho). Wind (Ekin Cheng) comes to their rescue and the trio fight with Lord Godless.

However, they are no match for him and suffer grave wounds. Cloud's lover Chu Chu (Tang Yan) is knocked out when she shields him from Godless' attack. The other pugilists sacrifice their lives to buy time for the trio to escape, hoping that the trio will return to defeat Godless one day and save their nation.

Chu Chu is badly injured and remains unconscious. Cloud feels remorseful and vows to take his revenge.

Wind chooses to take the evil path to improve his prowess in martial arts more quickly and defeat Lord Godless. During his training, he meets Second Dream (Charlene Choi), who will become his future lover. Meanwhile, Godless' minions come to attack and they disrupt Wind's training when Wind tries to save Second Dream from the invaders. Wind disappears after killing some enemies.

Lord Godless took The Emperor in captivity and stationed his troops in Heaven Cave. Cloud arrived alone and started a combat with Lord Godless. Lord Godless had the upper hand. Suddenly, the half-evil Wind appeared and joined the battle. Durng the fight, they inadvertently discover the "Lung Mak" (aka Dragon Bones), the spiritual foundation of the Chinese empire. They also recognize that the Japanese invaders were actually planning to seize the secret object and use it for the domination of China. The secret has been concealed in an ancient tomb, a forbidden ground below the Chinese imperial palace.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Haiku as I slowly walk home


The dark leafless trees,
Their branches embrace the sky,
in silent prayer.

2 lions kill a white tigress

Dorothy's (from The Wizard of Oz, who else?!) famous exclamation of "Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!" will do better to be revised as "2 lions vs. a white tigress? Oh, my!". Yeah. Okay, not funny.

The poor white tigress, a 17-year-old Isabella was ripped to pieces when 2 lions sneaked to her cage. The killers--Sultan, 14, and Elsa, 11--are said to feel 'cage-sick' (just like homesick). That's why they tried to enter Isabella's cage (previously it's theirs! Yeah, yeah, I too don't understand the rotating system of cages that the zoo implemented.)

Two lions have torn an extremely rare white tigress to shreds after penetrating into her cage in a Czech zoo.

"Normally they live separately and can never come into contact with each other'' David Nejedlo, who runs Liberec zoological park, said.

According to Mr Nejedlo, the lions Sultan and Elsa beat the security system and managed to enter via a gate into the tigress Isabelle's cage.

The 17-year-old Isabelle, who gave birth to white tiger triplets in 1999, lasted just a few seconds in the unequal contest.

Hearing the animals roar, a breeder ran to the scene but came too late to help the tigress.

The zoo in Liberec is the only establishment in the Czech republic to breed the white tiger, of which only a few dozen remain in the world.

Isabelle was brought to Liberec in 1994 from the Swedish zoological garden in Eskilstuna.

In 1999 she gave birth to Artemis, Afrodita et Achilles.

The white tiger is the most emblematic animal in the Czech zoo, founded in 1919, and the local ice hockey team are nicknamed the "White Tigers of Liberec''.

From News.com.au, "Lions tear rare white tigress to shreds".

Two lions at a zoo in the northern Czech Republic have killed a rare white tigress after entering her enclosure.

The incident happened at Liberec Zoo - the only one in the country which has white tigers.

Zoo workers were alerted by the cries of the tigress, but were unable to stop the killing.

White tigers - the result of a recessive gene - find it difficult to catch prey in the wild because their colouration stands out in the jungle.

The lions - Sultan, aged 14, and Elsa, 11 - managed to open a trap door leading to an open-air area occupied by the 17-year-old tigress, Isabella.

Surviving daughter

Lions and tigers in the zoo share the same pavilion overnight, which they leave for separate open-air enclosures during the day.

But the open-air enclosures are rotated, and zoo authorities believe the lions were trying to get into the area where they had spent the previous day.

"The current security system has been in place for 12 years and such an accident has never happened before," said zoo director David Nejedlo.

There are three surviving white tigers at the zoo, including Isabella's daughter.

The zoo is the oldest in the Czech Republic and was established in 1919.

From BBC, "Lions kill rare white tiger at Czech Republic zoo".

A rare white tiger has been savaged to death by two lions who forced their way into her pen at a zoo.

Helpless keepers watched in horror as the lions slaughtered 17-year-old Isabella in seconds.

The killer cats, Sultan, 14, and 11-year-old Elsa, prised open a heavy metal trap door to get into Isabella's enclosure.

Keepers at Liberec Zoo in the Czech Republic heard the attack and ran to the scene but could do nothing to stop it.

Luboa Melichar of the zoo said: "We tried to distract the lions but it was hopeless.

"Afterwards, we had to wait as one of the lions stood over the tiger long after she had died."

The lions and the white tigers take turns to use the openair enclosures at the zoo and keepers believe Sultan and Elsa wanted to get back to the pen they had been in the day before.

When they got in and saw Isabella, their instinct told them she was invading their territory.

The zoo have three surviving white tigers. One of them is Isabella's daughter.

Only a few dozen white tigers are left in the wild.

From Daily Record, "Lions sneak through trap door at zoo to kill rare tiger".

'Up' extras: what happened to George & AJ?

AJ & George helplessly in shocked as they witness the house flying.

AJ & George helplessly in shocked--still--as they drive away.

AJ helplessly in shocked--still--during the night. Note: he's too shocked to even change his attire.

Likewise what happens with George. Surprised his wife does not ask why the hell he sleeps with his working uniform on.

AJ & George helplessly in shocked while being interviewed by a TV reporter in the next morning. Can safely assume they are still wearing the same clothing.


If you watched Up, you were probably dying to know what happened to the black dude (the name's George) and the white guy (he's AJ) with a mullet who came to put Carl Fredrickson in a old folks' home, Shady Oaks.

In the animated movie, Up, they witnessed first hand how Carl Fredrickson escaped with his house with his house elevated to air, thanks to countless balloons.

In this new short film by Pixar, more are revealed about what happened next to George & AJ. I like best to see their consistent look of shock. Ah, why don't you just check out the clip, "Pixar Short: George and AJ"? Heh.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not eating meat will not make one unsexy. Or will it?


Be sexy, don't eat meat. Especially not those yummilicious lamb chop. Save the sheep (like how the above babe sportingly embrace the smelly animal. Lucky lamb! Hur hur.)

Want to be sexy? Don't eat meat - that's the message behind a campaign to promote vegetarianism in China, where meat consumption is booming on the back of rapid economic growth.

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals unveiled the campaign on Thursday, fronted by sultry Taiwanese actress and singer Barbie Hsu.

Hsu, better known in the Chinese-speaking world as 'Big S', will appear in adverts in fashion magazines and websites in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong within the next few weeks to promote the benefits of giving up meat.

Vegetarianism is not a widely popular concept in China, where until fairly recently many people struggled to feed themselves, and where all sorts of creatures - some of them endangered - are considered food, to the chagrin of environmental groups.

PETA's China campaign follows on other global efforts involving celebrities, such as its annual 'sexiest vegetarian alive' awards, which last year were given to performers Anthony Kiedis and Leona Lewis.

In the China adverts, a smiling Hsu holds a little yellow chick up to her face above the slogan 'vegetarians make chicks happy", though the wording in Chinese literally translates as 'Love her, love vegetarianism'.

From Straits Times, "Be sexy, don't eat meat".

Warriors of the 3 Kingdoms: yes, there are at least two beautiful warriors???


Warriors of the 3 Kingdoms. Well, unlike EVONY (which claims to be the BEST free web game), Warriors of the 3 Kingdoms is not making such a daring announcement. However like EVONY, they too employ (why am I not surprised) not one, but two beautiful lady warriors!

Sure, in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms there are no formidable (in terms of beauty or martial power) lady warriors. At least, not mentioned whatsoever. But hey, as long as this game can attract more attention, why not?

Not really related posts:
- Sex sells: EVONY - Best Free Web Game (Part 2)
- Sex sells: EVONY - Best Free Web Game

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

H1N1 vaccine side effects?

From the complaints made by those who have taken the H1N1 vaccination (some side effect reported to be fever, rashes, nausea and vomiting), there is nothing mentioned, however, which of the two type of the vaccines that caused most the side effect.

There are two H1N1 vaccines approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA):

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has approved the following two H1N1 influenza vaccines on 9 and 15 Oct 2009 respectively:

i] Panvax H1N1 Vaccine by CSL Limited, Australia
ii] Pandemrix H1N1 Injection by Glaxo Smithkline Biologicals

Panxax and Pandemrix contain the A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) viral antigen and are able to induce an adequate immune response. Both vaccines were assessed to have met the criteria for quality, safety and efficacy for the use by adults above 18 years against the current circulating influenza A(H1N1) virus in a pandemic situation.

These vaccines will be distributed by the Ministry of Health to local doctors and clinics, and should be used in accordance with the official guidance.

From HSA website, "HSA Approves Two H1N1 Vaccines"

Fever, rashes, nausea and vomiting are some of the complaints that have been made by those who have taken the H1N1 vaccination.

As of Sunday the Health Sciences Authority has received 27 reports of adverse affects since the pandemic flu jab became available on Nov 6.

It is not clear how many people here have used the vaccine although more than 300,000 have placed orders.

A HSA spokesman said the cases reported so far were 'non-serious anticipated side effects'. 'These reactions are commonly expected from all flu vaccines and most of these reactions are resolved within a few days.'

As pandemic vaccines are usually administered on a large scale, special safety issues may arise which had not been dectected due to a lack of clinical trials.

The HSA's vigilance branch, which monitors vaccine safety on the national level, has intensified its surveillance activities to closely monitor the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that are available here.

From Straits Times, "Flu jab side effects reported".

An unusual number of severe allergic reactions to swine flu vaccinations have been recorded in Canada, where a batch of the vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline has been recalled, the WHO said on Tuesday.

World Health Organisation spokesman Thomas Abraham told AFP: 'The Canadian authorities are conducting the appropriate investigations on the vaccines' and 'recalled a batch of vaccine from GSK'. 'We need to understand what happened in Canada,' he added.

Mr Abraham said, however, that the WHO had not changed its recommendations regarding swine flu vaccines.

Last week, the WHO said checks on many of the 30 deaths recorded following mass pandemic flu vaccinations had so far ruled out a direct link to the vaccines.

The fatalities made up a minute fraction of at least 65 million doses of swine flu vaccines which have been administered, said the WHO, citing data from 16 countries.

For every 10,000 doses of vaccines administered, only one report of adverse effect had been logged. Of every 100 reports of adverse effects, five are serious cases such as death, according to the WHO.

From Straits Times, "Severe reactions to flu vaccine".

The Health Sciences Authority said on Tuesday that 27 cases of adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of the H1N1 vaccine have been reported so far.

But "these reactions are non-serious anticipated side effects such as fever, rashes, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting", said an HSA spokesperson. "These reactions are commonly expected from all flu vaccines and most of these reactions are resolved within a few days."

MediaCorp understands that one Mrs Wee - a 37-year-old supply chain assistant manager - suffered serious side-effects when she, her husband and maid took the jabs at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on November 7.

She had "insect bite-like" marks on her left forearm that spread and became red blotches "all over her limbs" within a day. Her wrists, elbows, knees and ankles also swelled to twice their sizes, making it painful for her to walk.

Mrs Wee is believed to be the first case of someone suffering from serious side effects after taking the H1N1 vaccine jab since the doses were made available earlier this month.

Even as the H1N1 vaccine has a "relatively good safety profile", the World Health Organisation told AFP an "unusual number of severe allergic reactions" to the H1N1 vaccine have been reported in Canada.

"The Canadian authorities are conducting the appropriate investigations on the vaccines" and "recalled a batch of vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)", said a spokesperson.

A spokeswoman for the UK drugmaker also told Bloomberg that Canadian doctors should hold off on using one particular batch of GSK's swine flu vaccine temporarily while the company probes reports of higher-than-expected occurrences of a side effect known as anaphylaxis - where one suffers from swollen tongues and throats, leading to breathing difficulties and dizziness. Typically, it affects one in 100,000.

HSA said it is closely monitoring the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that are available in Singapore, and doctors are "strongly encouraged" to report all cases where patients have suffered serious side effects due to the jabs.

From Channel NewsAsia, "27 cases of adverse reaction to H1N1 vaccine reported so far".

The Health Sciences Authority said on Tuesday that 27 cases of adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of the H1N1 vaccine have been reported so far.

But "these reactions are non—serious anticipated side effects such as fever, rashes, flu—like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting", said an HSA spokesperson. "These reactions are commonly expected from all flu vaccines and most of these reactions are resolved within a few days."

MediaCorp understands that one Mrs Wee — a 37—year—old supply chain assistant manager — suffered serious side—effects when she, her husband and maid took the jabs at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on November 7.

She had "insect bite—like" marks on her left forearm that spread and became red blotches "all over her limbs" within a day. Her wrists, elbows, knees and ankles also swelled to twice their sizes, making it painful for her to walk.

Mrs Wee is believed to be the first case of someone suffering from serious side effects after taking the H1N1 vaccine jab since the doses were made available earlier this month.

Even as the H1N1 vaccine has a "relatively good safety profile", the World Health Organisation told AFP an "unusual number of severe allergic reactions" to the H1N1 vaccine have been reported in Canada.

"The Canadian authorities are conducting the appropriate investigations on the vaccines" and "recalled a batch of vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)", said a spokesperson.

A spokeswoman for the UK drugmaker also told Bloomberg that Canadian doctors should hold off on using one particular batch of GSK’s swine flu vaccine temporarily while the company probes reports of higher—than—expected occurrences of a side effect known as anaphylaxis — where one suffers from swollen tongues and throats, leading to breathing difficulties and dizziness. Typically, it affects one in 100,000.

HSA said it is closely monitoring the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that are available in Singapore, and doctors are "strongly encouraged" to report all cases where patients have suffered serious side effects due to the jabs.

From Yahoo! News, "27 cases of adverse reaction to H1N1 vaccine reported so far".


Related Posts:
- of H1N1 vaccine availability (wth Canada has more??), Mr. Khaw took a jab himself, and alleged deaths in China due to the vaccine
- Coming soon: The Immediate Rush for H1N1 Vaccine??

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(Spoof) The Twilight Saga: New Moon


Witness how (gay) Jacob's wolf pack look like! Heh. Check out the video, "Twilight New Moon Spoof - Rise of the Man Wolf (Jacob)".

About the movie, New Moon: here (From Wikipedia). Official Website of the show: here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

('Educational') Video: GET LAID BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS!!!


Oh yes. This is hilarious. This video will show you how. LOL.

Five Graphic Novels Hollywood Needs to Stay Away From

Five Graphic Novels Hollywood Needs to Stay Away From: 5) Y the Last Man, 4) Preacher, 3) Top 10, 2) Walking Dead and 1) Sandman.

Here are the reasons why presented by movieretriever.com.






Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aramsa Spa: The BEST spa in Singapore

Screenshot of Aramsa Spa - About Us

First, let me state it upfront: this is NOT a sponsored post by Aramsa Spa. I'm not paid at all nor given a free spa package to pen this article in favour of Aramsa Spa.

Allow me to elaborate. Only recently Singapore spa lovers have been hit hard by the news on how a popular (now, the word ought to be 'infamous') spa namely Wellness Village Spa & Fitness had been abruptly closed. Consumers who had purchased their costly spa package from Wellness Village are--needless to say--furious.

I too am concerned because I once signed a spa package, but luckily not from Wellness Village. But from the much better spa outlet: Aramsa Spa.

See I have fallen in love with Aramsa Spa ever since I spent one relaxing Saturday morning a year ago at Bishan Park. Feeling the freshness of the air, gazing longingly at how much fun the dog owners & their dogs at the designated 'dog run' site at Bishan Park, and basically revelling to the fact that I didn't have to work on that day.

So I decided to try out this cosy spa outlet at Bishan Park. Aramsa Spa has a very presentable interior design, it's cosy & you'll immediately feel at home.

Equally important is the therapists are professional. You just have to try Aramsa Touch which is its signature massage, a fusion of eastern meridian and western classical massage techniques.

And their customer service? Fantastic!

In the event of the vanishing Wellness Village Spa & Fitness outlets, I emailed Aramsa Spa to voice my concern. (Yes, I too bought a spa package from Aramsa Spa. And no, I did that WITHOUT any regret because Aramsa Spa's customer service did not resort to hard sell tactic when she introduced the package to me.)

Of course, I emailed Aramsa Spa anonymously. Heh.

And you know what? The customer service, one Ms. Jacqueline Goh (from Marketing, to be precise) made an effort to reply me & assure that Aramsa Spa "has adequate pay up capital and necessary insurance to prevent such a mess".

I quoted the whole email below:
Dear Concerned Customer,


Thank you for expressing your concern about this matter.


The Wellness Village Spa & Fitness fiasco did cast a bad reputation for the spa industry -what they did was irresponsible and unethical.


To address your concerns, at Aramsa, we take pride in our customer care; understanding that the customers are the foundation of our business. The spa already has adequate pay up capital and necessary insurance to prevent such a mess. Not to worry we have done what is required to be viable and sustainable.


With such a nice environment and location that is pretty hard to secure in Singapore, aramsa will definitely be here in years to come, we will definitely ensure it!


I hope this reassure your worries and thank you so much for your patronage here at Aramsa.


Do come back to visit us soon!


Best Regards,

Jacqueline Goh marketing


Thank you, Ms. Goh. And I do sincerely hope Aramsa Spa continues doing great & provides the best unforgettable spa-experience to your customers.

You may want to read also 88DB Lifestyle's Spa Review on Aramsa Spa. Titled "Aramsa Spa: A Lush Haven In An Urban Jungle", the article is quoted as follows:

Aramsa Spa is a spa unlike others. Set in a tranquil park, amidst canopied tress, foliages and acres of greenies, it is 7500 square metres big and boasts of an architecture that mirrors its setting: countless open spaces, various garden themes, as well as see-through floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

From the reception to the therapy rooms, a sense being one with nature permeates as you feast your eyes on the beautiful landscape and gardens, the brainchild of Nature Landscapes.

The spa boasts more than 20,000 plants from over 200 species – a testimony of its objective to create a nurturing and holistic approach to wellness.

Traversing on a cobblestoned path to your assigned therapy room is nothing less than therapeutic. You will be greeted by carefully manicured gardens – bromeliad elliptical garden, fern garden, secret garden (ginger and herbs), scented garden and heliconia garden – each one a feast for the eyes.

Indeed, all your senses will be hyped up for your upcoming therapy.

Aramsa Spa has 14 rooms, and each has its own garden. There are four double suites, three premium suites, five standard suites, and two Vichy shower / hydrotherapy suites.

The Vichy shower, nicknamed the ‘rain dance', combines the therapeutic benefits of massage and water.

Recommended for those with back injuries, this treatment “shoots” water onto you while you lie down on a treatment bed. The cascade of hot water, which is controlled by a computer panel, is pure heaven!

The hydrobath comes equipped with colour therapy, recommended for those who want to remove unsightly cellulite.

Pick from an array of treatments ranging from exfoliation, body wrap, water, face, eye and back therapy.

Otherwise, opt for the Garden Spa Packages. This includes the highly popular tropical Java Lulur, Botanical Energy, Mineral Infusion, Rain Dance and Lavender Drizzle, to name a few.

How to Buy Your First Property

A very insightful article on the essential guide to buying your first property.

I in particular like about the question whether it is a good idea to repay off the mortgage loan as soon as possible. See, I am one of those who do not like living with the knowledge that I'm owing money to others. Time to change my thinking. Heh.

Making a decision to purchase a property should never be taken lightly. A property purchase is possibly the biggest-ticket item that an individual would ever make. In this section, Damien Fong, from Singcapital Pte Ltd., answers some of the most important issues (affordability, sourcing for a suitable mortgage plan etc.) a potential homebuyer needs to know, and offers tips on what new homeowners need to know.



iFAST: What is the best way for individuals to gauge if they can afford to buy a property?



DamIen Fong: Before one makes any decision on what type of property to purchase, it is paramount to know how much one can afford to pay. After comparing your expenses against your income, you will now have a clearer picture of just how much you have left over to finance the payment of your new home. You can then decide on the property that best meets your financial situation and family needs. Examples of income sources are employment income, trade income and so forth.




When working out your current and future income, it is safer to take a conservative approach. Even if you now have a stable source of income, there may be changes that would affect your income flow, for example, a job change, sudden loss of one source of income, income fluctuations if part of your income comes from sales commission, or other less stable income sources. You should set aside a sum of money to take care of such contingencies.




After working out your Income and Expenses, you can then work out your Debt Servicing Ratio (DSR) which is often used by banks to access whether a loan application can be approved. DSR is the percentage of the borrower's total monthly financial commitment against his monthly income and it will determine the loan quantum to be granted. The acceptable DSR varies from bank to bank, but it is usually in the region of 40% to 50%.




Whether banks will approve a loan application will largely depend on whether the borrower would have the money to repay a loan in the future. Banks will usually examine the current market value of the property (if any); your income; your employment history; your assets and liabilities; the total equity which you are committing to the property, and your age.




It is advisable to seek consultation from an independent financial adviser or mortgage broker as they will be able to provide you independent and unbiased mortgage planning advice on whether you can afford to buy a property. They can also help you in getting in-principle approval of your home loan eligibility before putting the downpayment for your big ticket purchase.




iFAST: Is it a good idea to repay off the mortgage loan as soon as possible?




DF: The advantage of repaying off the mortgage loan as soon as possible is that when you repay early, you reduce your borrowing, and that reduces the interest you must pay to the bank.




Whether you should repay the loan sooner, rather than later, actually depends a lot on what you are doing with your cash or CPF monies




If you can invest the money with better returns over and above the mortgage loan interest, then it is wise to use your money to generate more returns, for example, by buying unit trusts or shares (ideally when the buying price is low and the future potential upside is there). Mortgage loan is considered as good debt if you can have better returns from cash and CPF monies.




Hypothetically, with an interest of 7% investment returns versus 4% mortgage loan interest, it may seem attractive to pay off your mortgage loan earlier, because the net interest difference is effectively 3% positive growth, assuming that you have the same amount of cash as your loan.




However if the investment return is not high, then, it is worthwhile to consider paying off the mortgage with higher monthly installments, so that the interest incurred over a shorter period is not excessively high.




In Singapore, personal loans, renovation loans, credit card loans all charge interest ranging from 8% to 24% per annum. None come close to a home loan's low interest rate.




iFAST: How about homeowners who use their CPF monies to repay their mortgage loans?




DF: For homeowners who use CPF for repayment, there are two important considerations to take note of.




Firstly, by not paying off your home loan and thus, not depleting your CPF account, you can actually keep a reserve in your CPF ordinary account. If you or your spouse have a period of unemployment and cannot make CPF contributions, you may need that cushion. Think of it as ‘homemade insurance' against a home loan default.
Secondly, if you make the extra home loan payments from your CPF account, it will mean that the CPF withdrawal limit will be reached faster.




Once that happens, it disallows the use of your CPF account for home loan payments. You must then use cash for loan repayments, which may affect your cash flow at that time. Then, to keep your home and avoid defaulting on your home loan, you may have to cut back on other cash expenditures, like food and clothing purchases.
iFAST: What tips can you offer readers who are sourcing for a suitable mortgage plan?
DF: Before taking up any mortgage loan, it is important to examine the terms and conditions of the loan. Some basics that a borrower should know about are:




i. Interest Rate
In Singapore, banks typically offer mortgage loans with fixed interest rates in the first two to three years and variable interest rates thereafter, or other combinations of fixed and variable rates.




A fixed-rate loan charges the same rate of interest throughout the duration of the loan. You know exactly how much you'd have to pay monthly. But your payments won't be reduced when interest rates fall. However, payments won't be increased either if interest rates rise.




A variable-rate loan is typically pegged at a fixed "spread" (certain percentage points) above the bank's prime rate. The prime rate is the interest rate charged by the bank to its best and most credit-worthy customers. If interest rates go up, so do your monthly mortgage payments. If interest rates drop, you save money with lower payments.




ii. Loan Repayment Period
Depending on the borrower's age, housing loans can stretch up to 30 years or more. A longer repayment period means you'll be paying lower installments every month but the total interest payment will be higher.




If you use CPF to repay the housing loan, it would be ideal to pay off the mortgage or maximise the CPF withdrawal limit by the time you reach 55. This is because of the lower CPF contribution rates for workers above 55. You should also note that the contribution rates for workers above 50 to 55 are lower than for those below 50.




iii. Interest Computation
The cost of a loan largely depends on the loan repayment period, interest rate and how the interest is computed. In general, the interest charged will be lower for monthly rest, and higher for annual rest. A useful rule of thumb: The more frequently the interest is computed, the better.




iv. Penalty for Early Repayment
Some homebuyers may want to pay their mortgage early, partially or fully, to save on interest. However, banks may charge them a fee, known as a pre-payment penalty. The penalty varies among banks (eg. it could range from 0.5% to 1.5% of the loan principal, if repayment is made in the first few years of the loan, within the pre-payment period).




This penalty is designed to persuade homeowners to continue to pay interest for a certain period, instead of paying off their loan early. Banks impose such penalties to ensure they have an opportunity to recover their costs on the particular deal that they gave to homebuyers.




iFAST: Would you advise potential homebuyers to take up a fixed or variable rate mortgage plan?




DF: Since mortgage loans are a leveraging tool for home owners to be able to complete their desired home purchase, the most important feature is the interest rate and how these rates will change.




Having a fixed rate package will give homeowners peace of mind during volatile interest-rate environment, but such packages come with a higher premium (i.e. higher interest rates) as there is security and peace of mind.




For homeowners who are willing to take the risk of interest rate fluctuations, or who want to have the flexibility to determine when to pay down or fully pay off the mortgage loan, then variable rate packages would suit their needs.




During the first three quarters of 2008, many homeowners in Singapore prefer the variable 3-month SIBOR package because it was the cheapest. As the financial crisis deepens, many countries, including Singapore, have seen borrowing rates shooting up, due to the seizing up of the available credit in the global markets. In such times, many homeowners would be more cautious and prefer the 12-month SIBOR or fixed rate packages.





Tips for New Homeowners




Getting a new property and a mortgage loan can be an exhausting procedure. Besides being excited about your new dream home purchase, arranging the logistics for house moving and so forth, it is important to ensure ease in your financial well-being and take note of the following essential items that new homeowners should have:




i. Mortgage Loan Insurance
Mortgage loan insurance is provided by many insurance companies to safeguard your home and family against the unexpected, so that they will not be burdened with mortgage repayments or face the possibility of losing their home.
Most mortgage loan insurances allow one to have a single plan that provides life coverage for joint homeowners. Such a plan takes care of unpaid home repayments, should any unforeseen event such as death or total and permanent dis¬ability happen to any one of the homeowners.




Most plans provide coverage for a shorter premium payment period. For example, some policies require you to pay premiums for only 25 years if you have undertaken a 30-year home loan. That gives you 5 years of free coverage.




Other features available in mortgage loan insurance is portable coverage, to allow the remaining terms of an existing coverage to be used for a new mortgage loan, should you decide to sell your property or fully redeem your existing loan amount.




ii. Refinance Early and Often
There is a substantial difference between the banks' first and third-year interest rates. This difference is the minimum you can save by refinancing your home loan. It could be more since banks often charge rates that are higher than their advertised loan rates. Banks have said they are under no obligation to offer home loans at their low advertised rates for years 1, 2 and 3 of variable rate loans and those rates can increase at any time.




Therefore, it is important to review your home loan once every few years to see if you can get a better deal by refinancing, particularly so after your lock-in period.


If your lock-in period ends this year, you can look to refinancing in 2010 and then again in 2013, etc. "Every few years" is the recommended interval in the Consumer Guide to Home Loans by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).




iii. Monitor the Changes in Interest Rates
Do not be penny wise, pound foolish. A 0.1% change in interest rate could mean thousands of dollars in savings or more, especially if your loan amount is large (more than $1 million).




For homeowners who take up the variable interest rate packages, the need to monitor the home loan interest rates is even more essential in volatile market conditions. Interbank rates move daily and hence could affect your monthly installments, depending on your loan package terms. Interest rates will only be repriced according to the interest period used. For example, for a three-month SIBOR rate package, repricing is done once every quarter.




The prospect of low interest rates has also opened a window for homeowners looking to lock in low home loan rates. As interest rates move in cycles, the window of opportunity for homeowners to lock in rates may not stay open for long.




iv. Write or Update Your Will
With the new purchase of your dream home, there will be a significant change in the composition of your assets. Therefore, you may wish to write or update your Will to reflect the changes.




A Will is a document which provides for the administration and distribution of what is owned by you, among people whom you desire to have a share or shares of your estate/assets after your death. Essentially, a Will is your expressed intention of what should be done with your property (e.g. movable and immovable assets) after your death.The iFAST Editorial Team is part of iFAST Central, Singapore's foremost wealth management platform for financial advisory companies.





iFAST Central provides services to more than 50 financial advisory companies, exempt financial advisers and financial institutions, and over 2,500 financial adviser representatives. Damien Fong is Financial Advisor Director at Singcapital Pte Ltd, a financial advisory company.



From Yahoo, "An Essential Guide To Buying Your First Property".

Friday, November 20, 2009

Russia Today in StarHub TV

It's in English, though. How interesting this Russia Today is? Well it's a news channel after all. So there.

But Wikipedia article on Russia Today has this to say: a CBC News story contains allegations that RT is "a continuation of the old Soviet propaganda services".

A new 24-hour English-language news channel, Russia Today, will debut on StarHub TV Dec 1 - and is free to viewers.

With the launch, StarHub will be the first pay TV operator in Singapore to offer viewers here round-the-clock news and infotainment programmes from a Russian perspective, said the telco in a statement on Thursday.

Russia Today is delivered 'live' from Moscow. Available on StarHub TV Channel 174, Russia Today is the sixth channel to join StarHub's existing tier of Complimentary International Channels. The other channels in this tier are Arirang TV, Australia Network, Deutsche Welle, KBS World and TVRI.

'StarHub is delighted to offer our StarHub TV customers with comprehensive, credible and in-depth news coverage with a fresh perspective from Russia. Always on the lookout for quality programmes from across the globe to present to our valued customers, StarHub once again breaks the barriers by offering Russia Today to customers at no extra charge,' said Ms Ong Bee Lian, StarHub's Vice President of Home Solutions.

Russia Today's content line-up covers a wide array of genres including news, entertainment, arts, technology and business.

From Straits Times, "Russian Channel on StarHub TV".

The Atrium 100-hour movie marathon

Would love to know more details such as what the movies shall be screened. Heh.

It seems Singaporeans love to test their endurance. Just earlier this month, many pushed themselves to the limit by taking part in the MediaCorp-Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge.

This time round, a hundred movie fans are going to the extreme by competing in a hundred-hour movie marathon at The Atrium, near Plaza Singapura. The reward? - S$10,000 and a trip to tinseltown Hollywood.

To survive this challenge, contestants have to come up with strategies to keep themselves awake throughout the marathon, without talking.

"I have this rubber band on my wrist, so if I fall asleep or feel tired, I'll just snap it," one of the contestants said.

Another added: "It's a mind-over-body kind of thing. Worse come to worse, I will pull my ear lobe."

The marathon organiser said on Thursday there are measures in place to make sure no contestant passes out from an overdose of Hollywood.

Jasmmine Wong, country business manager, Nestle, said: "They've got toilet breaks. They just have to raise their hands and they'll be escorted. There'll also be nutritional meals and stretching exercises of about five minutes in between (movies) for the participants."

On Saturday, celebrities will be taking part in a special 24-hour movie marathon challenge where the winner will donate the S$10,000 prize to charity.

From Channel NewsAsia, "100-hour movie marathon begins at The Atrium".



Update on 21/11: no news yet about which movies were shown. =(

Less than a dozen die-hard movie fans are left in an unusual challenge.

By sitting through a 100-hour movie marathon, which started on Thursday, they could walk away with S$10,000 cash and a trip to Hollywood.

Many went through some limbering exercises to stay awake.

And in order to add some sparkle, a celebrity element was added on Saturday as some familiar faces took part in an easier 24-hour movie marathon.

Some celebrities dropped out soon enough, but those still in the game stand a chance to win S$10,000 – with the money going to a favourite charity.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Die-hard movie fans sit through 100-hour movie marathon challenge".

Monday, November 16, 2009

70 facts you didn't know about Marvel

Venom: What, me, female?! Don't you see these muscles?!

70 facts you didn't know about Marvel. It's intriguing to read (Fact no.16) about how...

The Spider-man villain Venom was originally supposed to be a woman, not the Daily Bugle journalist Eddie Brock. Venom's creator, David Michelinie, said that woman was heavily pregnant and on her way to hospital when a cab driver, distracted by a fight between Spider-man and some super goon in the sky above, accidentally runs over her husband in front of her, causing her to go into labour. She loses the baby and goes crazy as a result. The black alien costume that Spider-man had tried to destroy several issues before because it was taking control of his mind seeks her out and bonds with her. Although Spider-man editor Jim Salicrup liked the idea of an "evil Spider-man", he did not think a woman could be a credible threat to the hero. Michelinie then came up with the idea of Eddie Brock.

Partially quoted from TimesOnline, "70 facts you didn't know about Marvel".

Sounds a bit an insult, eh? A woman couldn't be a credible threat to the Spider-man. Heh.

lemongraphicblog -- the latest Ping cheat?

Screenshot of Ping.sg dated 16/11/09 10:05 PM

I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves. In the screenshot above, it shows lemographicblog's two posts in the top 10 of Most Popular posts for the last 24 hours in Ping.sg.

The first post reveals that there were 7 Pongs by lemongraphicblog, wishingstar, lingo, yixuanz, adeline, joanneshin, and serenesim. Which were also the same nicks who ponged for the second post. In the exact same order!

And what's more amazing is that besides the pingster himself (aka the shameful lemongraphicblog), the 6 Pongs were originated from members who were also joining ping.sg on the same date (24 June 2009)!!

I rest my case. Uzyn (the Maker of Ping.sg), care to re-look on how the pong system can be improved? Or at the very least, introduce some sort of penalty system for those who misuse the pongs.

In case you wonder, this is not the first case. Yup, do remember howcomeyouarehere in "howcomeyouarehere -- the latest Ping cheat?" and passportchop in "The latest Ping fraud exposed: 'passportchop' & his army of clones???". Hur hur.

The First Post by lemongraphicblog: Notice who ponged it?!


The Second Post by lemongraphicblog: Notice who ponged it?!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Zuji $1 Early Bird Airfares Sale!!


It's not a hoax. So far they have offered such tickets to Bali (10/11), Siem Reap (11/11), Koh Samui (12/11) & Kuching (13/11).

No, we weren't kidding when we promised you $1 airfares. We heard your voice through the "Petition for $1 Travel Deals on ZUJI", and with so many of you asking for it, who are we to argue? So here we are, with $1 Early Bird Airfares - always committed to Helping Holidays Happen.

Now, here's our advice - book your 2010 holidays early. And along with that, we highly recommend that you turn up for work on time - 9am sharp! What's the relevance? Nothing much really, just thought that we should reward early holiday birds and studious punctual working folks like you with a really Early-Morning Sale of $1 Early-Bird Airfares! If you are a latecomer or a procrastinator of sorts, it's probably time for some discipline, especially now when you have - a better reason to come in on time at 9am.

From Zuji, "Book in advance for cheap 2010 holidays | $1 Early Bird Airfares Sale".

Clicksor: The Best Alternative to Google Ads





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Click the screenshot above to enlarge.


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Human Bat Prank


Infamous French prankster Remi Gaillard shows us who the REAL Batman is! Check out the amusing video here. I like the shock expression of the lady when the lift doors open & the Batman is seen hanging upside down. Haha.

World Kindness Day: will kindness keep us alive?

Just like love, huh? Kindness will keep us alive. Perhaps.

It's, however, a pity that World Kindness Day is limited to just for a day (it's on 13 Nov, by the way). But why being kind to others is defined to just for a day? Without this so-called World Kindness Day, surely people can still be kind to one another?! Duh. Let's not state the obvious, shall we?

So what's the purpose of celebrating such a day?

Partially quoted from World Kindness Day website from Australia:

The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world.

As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realise that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavours, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common.

When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people.

While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are.

When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.


Incidentally, it's the exact wordings noticed from Singapore's World Kindness Movement page on World Kindness Day. Good. At the very least, there is a standard definition, I guess.

Here in Singapore. the first celebration of World Kindness Day yesterday was done with 45,000 stalks of yellow daisies distributed to public who in turn can pass the flower as a token of appreciation to someone who has been kind to them.

In UAE, the theme of World Kindness Day was set to be "Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself". I suspect, the union of dentists there were unhappy about it. Seriously, what's the point of having 'Brush your teeth' in the theme? I mean, well, yes, of course brushing one's teeth is important, but so are taking a bath, having sufficient rest, exercising, and so on and so forth.

No matter. It's good, though, to see how refreshing the approach of UAE. When we hear the words 'Be Kind', we tend to think immediately that the words refer to others. Be kind to others.

How many of us think that the words 'Be Kind' may also apply to our own selves?

And really, nothing's wrong with that. If one can't even be kind to one's own self, how can he/she be expected to be kind to others?!



Singapore marked World Kindness Day for the first time on Friday.

This day is also celebrated in countries such as Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates.

Yellow daisies are said to be the fifth most popular flower in the world. And as part of World Kindness Day, Singapore has adopted it to represent its kindness movement.

Some 45,000 stalks were distributed at various locations, such as Raffles Place, to motivate the public to show appreciation to someone who has been kind to them.

Many were pleasantly surprised, while others were a little confused.

Azizah Ahmad, volunteer, said: "At first they were a bit apprehensive... But after we explained it to them, they were so happy."

One person said: "I think it is very interesting that you actually have this; it is like passing on a deed."

Another commented: "Everybody is so busy with their life, and it does not take much, just a simple smile, just a simple flower. I think it will make somebody's day."

A third person revealed: "I am going to give one stalk to my colleague because one day when I was sick, she brought me bread for my lunch. That is why I want to thank her."

Yet another noted: "Everyone in the office has been very kind to each other, so I thought this (is a good) opportunity to let everyone appreciate each other."

The Singapore Kindness Movement hopes the flower initiative will be more effective than a big scale campaign.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Singapore celebrates World Kindness Day".



Gulf News readers are all geared up to celebrate World Kindness Day on Friday. It is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion in order promote peaceful co-existence.

According to worldkindness.org, in 1996, the Small Kindness Movement organisation in Japan met up with individuals who had initiated some sort of kindness movement, which marks the start of this day. Since then, they meet annually to increase the spread of kindness around the world.

Elaine Fernandes, an Indian expatriate, believes kindness comes from the heart.

She said: "I would like to highlight how a clerk in our office, who joined less than a year ago, got us sweets on his birthday. He is alone in this country and he treated his colleagues as his family. Kindness is not limited by cast and creed."

Every individual might have a different definition for the term ‘kind'.

Fernandes said: "The definition would differ from person to person, but to me kindness means touching someone's heart with an act that doesn't cost much, but can make a huge difference."

Zahrah J. Saleh, a Somalian expatriate, defines kindness in a different manner.

She said: "It is about a friendly smile and a welcoming attitude. Even if it is a complete stranger, I try to assist an individual in need. However, we should not keep count of such acts of kindness."

During her years in the UAE, Zahrah says she has come across a lot of kind individuals.

"A lot of my colleagues are very kind, but we should allow people to provide us with feedback on our deeds."

Peter van Veyeren, a South African expatriate, believes helping those in need without expecting anything in return is the true form of kindness.

He said: "I don't think the purpose of kind acts is personal gain. That is not the reason why several people are involved in various forms of charity work."

Veyeren personally volunteers for organisations that support the under-privileged.

He said: "It takes a lot of time, but to see the gratitude on those innocent faces makes up for everything and the negative is erased."

Albert Gayo, a Filipino expatriate, suggests putting yourself in somebody else's shoes.

He said: "You should expect to be treated the same way you care for others — what you give is what you receive."

Gayo witnessed an act of kindness, recently, which he claims is unforgettable.

He said: "I saw an elderly man get on the bus, but he was asked to leave as his bus card was not working. However, a young man volunteered to give away his own bus card to him. They did not know each other, but that simple act of humanity was much appreciated."

Dubai Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself, a simple but a significant message that the Kindness Movement in the UAE is emphasising on World Kindness Day on Friday.

Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement in the UAE, told Gulf News that as a group here they are not planning any big events on the day, but they believe everyday should be a kind day.

"Kindness for me and for all of us here in The Kindness Movement of the UAE is the essence of every virtue in our life, if we practice kindness we will assure a life, which is rewarding and meaningful but I wish we all can add a bit of creativity to our work," he said.

Al Dass said being kind to ourselves is the first step to spreading kindness.

"It [kindness] is contagious and will grow every time. One has to start by being kind to themselves, their family members, friends, coworkers and then it keeps growing," he said.

Al Dass said they are planning to bring to light outstanding kind individuals, as they are planning to start kindness award from 2010.

A simple message

Brush your teeth, Be kind to yourself, a simple but a significant message which the Kindness Movement in the UAE is emphasizing on this year's World Kindness Day.

Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement in the UAE, told Gulf News, that as a group here they are not planning any big events on the day, but they believe everyday should be a kind day.

"Kindness for me and for all of us here in The Kindness Movement of the UAE is the essence of every virtue in our life, if we practice kindness we will assure a life which is rewarding and meaningful but I wish we all can add a bit of creativity to our work," he said.

Al Dass said being kind to ourselves is the first step to spreading kindness.

"It [kindness] is contagious and will grow every time. One has to start by being kind to themselves, their family members, friends, coworkers and then it keeps growing," he said.

Al Dass said they are planning to bring to light outstanding kind individuals, as they are planning to start kindness award from 2010.

World kindness day is being celebrated across the globe with various activities in countries like Italy, India, Scotland, Singapore and Japan to name a few.

From Gulf News, "Gulf News readers celebrate World Kindness Day".


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Psychoville & a peep at Paradise Syndrome


Written by the Leagsters for BBC Two, Psychoville is a dark character comedy mystery featuring characters from all over the UK, who each receive a mysterious letter. Spoiler alert: don't check out the Wikipedia article on Psychoville. Oh, never mind.

It's a hilarious, dark comedy & what I like most is that I learn a new thing about sick people with their sick mind. For example: one 'psycho' suffers from Paradise Syndrome which is defined briefly in Wikipedia as 'a feeling of dissatisfaction despite having achieved all one's dreams'.

If you google 'paradise syndrome psychology', you'll come across this TVNZ article, "Paradises syndrome: When too much is never enough".

Partially quoted:

Are you dissatisfied with your life, even though you've got everything you ever wanted - kids, a lovely house, a loving partner?

Have you landed that dream job or reached the pinnacle of your career, yet still feel empty inside?

If this is you, you may be suffering from paradise syndrome - a term used by cultural commentators to describe a condition where people feel dissatisfied even thought they've achieved their dreams.


Interesting. It now seems a good move to set an unachievable target, doesn't it? Lest one may suffers from Paradise Syndrome. Either that, or always set a new (higher) target, or not to even set a goal at all (Nah, this is too extreme!).