Online dating version 2.0

[Published on 29 September, 2008]

Boot up your computer, turn on your camera and make sure you
comb your hair. Because in the next three minutes online,
you could be meeting the love of your life.
Internet dating may be as old as the World Wide Web itself,
but it is fast losing the stigma once attached to it, and
becoming a way for tech-savvy singles to find each other.
Now you can speed date, play realtime games, and chat with
prospective partners in your home, or even office, whom
you never have to meet in real life if you don’t want to.
One local site offers online games such as checkers, pool,
even tennis, where Singaporean singles can play together.
They can also speed date, form social clubs and chat in virtual
rooms that look like bars, swimming pools or even Times Square
in New York.
Another site locates available singles working in the vicinity
of busy executives.
Online dating reaches out to a younger segment of the population
who are not likely to use offline or face-to-face matchmaking
services.

Doctors learn from the horse's mouth

[Published on 05 July, 2003]

A group of United States medical students have traded
stethoscopes for horse halters and sterile hospital hallways
for dusty equine exercise pens in a bid to improve their
bedside manner with human patients.
A western US ranch is the setting for an innovative
University of Arizona Medical School course with the weighty
title, Medicine and Horsemanship: An Introduction to
Human Nonverbal Interaction at the Bedside.
"This course is not about horses; it's about body language,"
said the head of the college's surgery department.
"Horses are very, very good at detecting those unspoken messages,
and it's a wonderful way to teach medical students to become
aware of their own body language."
At the Rancho Bosque horse ranch, the students get up close
to the horses, but do not ride them or use saddles or bridles
to control the nervous animals.
Instead, they learn and practise non-verbal clues -- such as
posture, eye contact, movement or breathing -- to soothe, guide
and encourage the 450kg patients into completing simple tasks
such as trotting in a circle.
Students learn that simple gestures -- such as gently patting
a patient's shoulder -- sends the message that they have a
genuine interest in hearing about his or her concerns.

Bottoms Up!

[Published on 15 September, 2002]

NEWater is treated wastewater that has been purified using
microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet technologies,
in addition to conventional water treatment processes.
The water is potable and can be consumed by humans.

Here are some ideas that can be used to coax more Singaporeans
to down a glass or two of reclaimed water...

RIDE ON THE FAD
Bottle a new version. But what type?
Something which gives Singaporeans a quick fix for fat.




HOT DEAL
They are willing but unable.
Bring down the psychological barrier by serving Newater
in restaurants -- for free.




HAVE SOME TASTE
Give flavour to Newater.
Add a taste of lime, pineapple or mango.
And how about harmless, artificial 'Nicotine' flavour for
those who wish to kick the habit?




POT vs KETTLE
People taking potshots while you're quenching your thirst
with Newater? Here are a couple of comebacks:

If your antagonist is drinking bird's nest soup...



If he is ingesting Kway Chap (Pig's Organ Soup)...




YOU BET!
Make the bottle opaque.
The hotline number, which changes each week, is printed
inside -- visible only when the content has been drunk.

Shorter NS, thanks to technology

[Published on 16 June, 2004]

In the old days, a recruit had to wake up long before the crack of
dawn to make his way to a live firing range to learn how to shoot.
He could spend the entire, day there, mostly waiting for his turn
to shoot, and end up firing only 10 rounds.
Now, thanks to the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) Individual
Marksmanship Trainer, the recruit no longer has to wait almost a day
for his turn to shoot.
Instead, with the simulator, he can correct his shooting fundamentals
before he even steps into a live range.
In fact, the marksmanship trainer is so advanced, it can tell the
shooter things like how hard he squeezes the trigger, or how his
breathing pattern changes before, during and after the shot.
And it is technological advances like these that have convinced
the Ministry of Defence that national service could be shortened
by six months, without affecting the overall capabilities of the
Singapore Armed Forces.
With simulators and computerised combat trainers widely used,
soldiers are not only more effectively trained, it also takes
less time to train them.

Phones that announce the name of the caller

[Published on 28 February, 2003]

A new telephone device not only identifies the number of the
person calling you, but also shouts out the name of the caller.
The gadget, patented by United States phone company AT&T, uses the
caller's number to consult a central database of subscribers' names.
Once the name is found, it then activates a voice synthesiser on
the phone to announce -- like a butler at an embassy reception --
the name of the caller.
The invention also works the other way, by announcing to you the
name of the subscriber whose number you have dialled.
Many phones already provide caller ID in the form of a phone number.
But the new-fangled service will let a user screen out undesirable
calls, such as from salesmen, heavy-breathing stalkers and creditors.
And it could save money on misdialled numbers too, because you could
ring off before the call is answered.

Carpark surgery plan to cut hospital queues

[Published on 11 March, 2002]
British hospitals are preparing to use military-style mobile operating
theatres, which can be set up in their carparks, to reduce waiting lists.
The M*A*S*H (mobile army surgical hospital) style mobile theatres were
designed to treat battlefield casualties but have been adapted to deal
with up to 12 patients a day.
It can be set up in hours and connected to hospital supplies of oxygen,
water and electricity.
Hospital officials expect up to 500 cardiac patients could be treated a year.
The mobile theatres were named after the American Korean War film and
television series. They include an anaesthetic room, patient recovery room
and washroom for medical staff, alongside the basic operating theatre.
The units would help surgeons cope with emergency cases while existing
theatres were used for routine operations.

Government to release land for pet shelters

[Published on 14 June, 2003]
Stray cats saved from culling may get a new home at the Loyang Agrotech Park
near Pasir Ris, and sterilised strays picked up by town councils may be handed
over to animal welfare groups.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority will release five parcels of land for
animal lovers to set up pet shelters.
Any group interested in setting up such animal boarding facilities, which has
proven experience in taking care of and providing boarding for pet animals,
may bid for the land.
It was estimated that industrial users would pay between $8,000 and $10,000
a month in rent in the Loyang area for a 0.4ha plot of land. But that could
be halved if the bidders are animal welfare groups, which have smaller budgets.
The Cat Welfare Society, however, is convinced that shelters are not a
sustainable solution. It would rather the Housing Board did away with existing
rules barring cats from HDB flats, and believes sterilisation is the way to go
in the long term.
The society's president said: "There are many reasons why a shelter is not a
long-term or practicable solution. There is a limit to the number of animals
which can be sheltered and running costs will be crippling."

Do you feel ill on Mondays?

[Published on 25 February, 2002]

British scientists believe they have come up with the answer to what we
have always suspected: That going to work makes you ill. They believe
that even the mere sight of the office is enough to trigger depression,
headaches and a cold.
The classic Monday-morning feeling that makes people want to stay in bed
rather than get up for work may not be just imagination but a real ailment
triggered by the workplace.
'Triggers' could include sounds and smells, particularly in factories from
heavy machinery or flashing lights, or merely the sight of an office building.
The research, funded by the Health and Safety Executive, will also compare
levels of illness in industrial places of work with those in offices.
Companies taking part will have to keep a detailed diary over the course
of the year, recording frequency and severity of illnesses, as well as
information about jobs and type of work.
Of those taking part, a smaller group of 25 people will be asked to provide
saliva swabs, which will be tested for the chemical cortisol, a natural
steroid hormone produced in the body.
This will give researchers the means to study any chemical change in
volunteers' immune systems which may be caused by the working environment.

British motorists confused by even the most simple road signs

[Published on 22 April, 2001]

Sixty per cent of British drivers stopped for a survey believe that the
"Beware of Cattle" road signs indicate areas infected with foot-and-mouth
disease.
The survey by the RAC Foundation found that half of all British motorists are
baffled by road signs.
Misinterpretations included a sign for toads crossing that was identified as
indicating a French restaurant.
Only 10 per cent recognised signs that a dual carriageway had ended, and 20
per cent thought that those ordering them to give way to oncoming vehicles
meant "one-way street ahead".
Five per cent said that signs warning of side winds meant "kite flying area",
while 50 per cent did not recognise the sign indicating an end to a speed limit.


AND NOW, THE SINGAPORE VERSION...

What the sign means: ACCIDENT AREA

What some wrongly think...



What the sign means: ROAD NARROWING

What some wrongly think...



What the sign means: SLIPPERY ROAD

What some wrongly think...



What the sign means: ROAD LEADING TO QUAY/SEA

What some wrongly think...



What the sign means: ERP ZONE AHEAD

What all correctly think...

New stink-bomb for crowd control

[Published on 7 July, 2001]
The Pentagon is developing a stink-bomb that would drive away
hostile crowds by unleashing an odour that creates panic in the ranks.
The new device will be part of a growing arsenal to tackle the increasing
number of violent protests against globalisation.
Researchers working on the project said there was a close link between a
particular kind of smell and fear, and that a particular odour could activate
tissue deep within the brain.
The aim would be to use such a smell to send demonstrators fleeing in panic.
"It would give us an offensive capability against large and unruly groups of
people, if they are unwilling to move or are openly hostile," a Pentagon
spokesman told the New Scientist magazine, which published details of the
invention this week. "And it would minimise the risk to our people and to the
antagonists."
Resolving situations like out-of-control crowds can be a dangerous process
for the police, suspects and bystanders alike.
To reduce the risk, scientists have tried to devise weapons that can be used
without deadly force.

US govt cyber experts advise browser switch

[Published on 2 July, 2004]
The United States government's cyberdefence experts, along with other computer
gurus, are urging users to consider a switch away from Microsoft's widely used
Internet Explorer (IE) because of new security problems.
The unusual - and for Microsoft, highly embarrassing - warning comes because
of a security hole that has allowed hackers to surreptitiously install software
on hundreds of websites that use Microsoft's Web server programs.
That, in turn, downloads spyware programs to personal computers, including
one that steals credit card numbers and other forms of financial information.
Most anti-virus software have been updated to block the specific program,
the JS.Scob Trojan, but Microsoft has not, so far, been able to inoculate IE
against the broad technique.
None of the most prominent alternative browsers, Opera, Mozilla or Netscape,
is vulnerable to the flaw. Nor are computers running Linux or the Macintosh
operating systems.
Another new threat emerged this week that might compromise the passwords and
account information of users who bank online.
It targets users of IE and can be picked up from pop-up ads that secretly
download software capable of capturing users' keystrokes.

Sentosa Sensations



Highlights of the $3 billion plan to make
Sentosa a more attractive getaway:


SENTOSA EXPRESS
A new air-conditioned rail system that takes visitors directly from the
HarbourFront MRT station at World Trade Centre onto the island.





ENTERTAINMENT ZONE



The island’s most vibrant area, with features like a waterfront village and
specialty retail shops.



SPA BOTANNICA (Beaufort Hotel)
Singapore’s first garden spa on a site the size of a football field.
It will have 14 indoor treatment rooms and six outdoor pavilions.





DANCE OF FIRE AND WATER SHOW
A pyrotechnic extravaganza, which will replace the musical fountain show.
Special effects include 12m-high fire jets and 10m-high water fountains.





MARITIME EXPERIENCE PREVIEW
Asia’s first interactive theatre show at the Images of Singapore forecourt,
it will take visitors on an "all sensory" journey through Singapore’s rich
maritime history.





GREEN BELT
Highlights include nature trails, an equestrian centre and spa resort.
And treetop accommodation.

No minimum pay needed for new credit card

[Published on 19 July, 2007]
A radically new type of credit card with no minimum income requirement and just
$500 in credit has arrived in Singapore.
Global banking giant Citibank yesterday launched Singapore’s first-ever credit
card that does away with the standard $30,000 minimum annual income
requirement.
The American bank is taking advantage of a recent regulatory change and will
start taking applications for its new Citi Clear Card from today. The card,
mainly aimed at students and other young adults, will have higher 28 per cent
interest on rollover balances.
University students will be the prime targets as they are more likely to embark
on well-paying careers on graduation, becoming potentially lucrative clients.
Indeed, tertiary students were highlighted as a target group by the three local
banks which are looking to launch similar credit cards soon.

Modern, but where is Singapore identity?

[Published on 1 May, 2002]

LETTER FROM A READER:
No doubt, both the Esplanade - Theatres On The Bay and the Supreme Court
building were designed by foreign architects chosen for their 'international
standing and design skills for innovative, world-class, award-winning
architecture'.
However, it is precisely architectural pieces such as these that have
rendered almost every major city in the world identical.
In fact, there are numerous so-called modern designs, such as the Shanghai
Arts and Performance Centre, that are similar in design to the new Supreme
Court.
Under the guise of modernisation and international design, these Western
styles of architecture have flooded Asian cities. Moreover, their presence is
reinforced by the authorities' idea that Westernisation equals modernisation.
Considering the fact that the Government is trying to retain places that are
meaningful and memorable to Singaporeans, the act of demolishing historic
buildings and replacing them with international icons negates, in effect, any
effort to create a unique Singaporean identity.

Cartoon Caption Contest, 17 May 2009



The shortlisted ones:
"See all the green bits stuck up there... this one's a vegetarian.
Let's have low-fat tonight."
- Joanna Oh

"I don't understand -- some sleep with all their teeth,
some take them out, this one takes out only the top ones."
- Fong Sow Han

My personal favourite:
"This is a better hive for our winter hideout.
It's large, warm & moist.
Quick, inform our queen."
- Lim Siew Hwee

And the winning entry:
"This is what we call breakfast in bed."
- Tay Joon Kang

Charitable author + illustrator

One fine day, I got a call from David Goldwich, a trainer in
communications and management. David is from Miami (Florida)
and is now based in Singapore. He had published a book called
"Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?: Lessons in Effective Communication"
and is releasing a second one, which is a collection of humourous essays
about his ten years in Singapore. And he would like someone to help
in doing up the book cover.

After reading the manuscripts he sent me, I recommended my friend
and colleague Miel, whose style suits the tone of David's writing
very well. Here is how the cover looks like:



And here is an extract from the book, a piece entitled 'Singapore Girls'.
I crack up every time I read it! --




Even before I arrived in Singapore I had heard about the legendary
Singapore Girl. I knew that she had perfectly coiffed hair and used
just the right amount of makeup. I knew of her warm and inviting smile.
The Singapore Airlines stewardesses (no need to call them
'flight attendants' here) are the best in the world. The Singapore Girl
is an icon in aviation circles. They are the most polished, courteous,
and solicitous women ever to push a beverage cart. I have been told that
there are 500 applicants for every position. Their uniform, called the]
sarong kebaya, is derived from a traditional Malay costume, and is only
part of their heavily regimented appearance. No detail is overlooked.
The result is nirvana for the weary traveler. These ladies are beautiful,
refined, and sexy (in a wholesome, sophisticated way, of course).

By the time I arrived at Changi Airport I was exhausted from my
thirty-hour journey. The Singapore Girl was of no help to me --
I didn’t fly Singapore Airlines. The airline that brought me across the
Pacific is regulated by enlightened laws requiring it to be politically
correct. This means that if a cow can walk on two legs it must be hired,
or the airline could face a huge lawsuit. Fortunately, the crew working
the Tokyo to Singapore leg of the trip was composed of local talent --
no doubt Singapore Airlines rejects, who are still well above average.
Thus I arrived in good spirits.

As I walked through the terminal I got my first glimpse of the
Singapore Girl, coming out of another gate in her sarong kebaya,
rolling her luggage behind her. She was lovely, and right then I vowed
that I would have a Singapore Girl of my own.

I had already arranged to take a flat, but as it was after midnight
it was too late to collect the key. I would have to spend my first night
in Singapore in a hotel. I knew that some of the hotels here were
very expensive, and as I would only need it for a few hours, I asked
the cab driver to take me to the cheapest hotel. He took me to a place
called Geylang. As soon as I got out of the cab I was approached by
a very pretty girl in a very sexy dress. She asked me if I would like
a date with her. I was very tired after my long flight, so I told her
perhaps another time. When I got to the door of the hotel I was approached
by another very pretty girl in a very sexy dress. She also asked me
for a date. I gave her the same excuse, but I was quite flattered.
I had only been in Singapore for 40 minutes and I was already a hit
with the ladies. As I lay in bed that night I thought to myself:
I’m going to like it here! I’m going to be very popular!

I awoke early the next morning, eager to get my flat and begin my
new life here. I spent most of the day shopping for furniture and
household items. I was going to be doing plenty of entertaining at home,
and I wanted a swinging bachelor pad worthy of Austin Powers.
After everything was squared away to my liking I went downstairs to
check out the local action. There were a couple of pretty young women
sitting on a bench, chatting. A couple of hot prospects! I knew how
to play the game in this town: Just show up and let them approach me.
I walked past them slowly and -- they didn’t say a word. Perhaps they
were not prepared for me, I thought. I walked past a second time,
slowly and deliberately. Again, they said nothing. I decided to make
one more pass and confront them directly. I walked right up to them
and said hello. They answered politely and then -- nothing.
"Well," I said, "aren’t you going to ask me for a date?"
They looked at each other and said "Siao!" I didn’t like the sound of that,
so I walked away, my ego slightly bruised.

Perhaps a Singapore girl was not in my future. Perhaps I should
stick with what I know best. But where would I find a western girl
in Singapore? I didn’t know my way around yet. Back home, if I wanted
to meet a Chinese girl I could go to Chinatown. If I wanted to meet
an Italian girl I could go to Little Italy. Where could I meet a
western girl in Singapore? I looked at the map and found what seemed
to be the perfect place: Ang Mo Kio. I got on the MRT and alighted at
the Ang Mo Kio station. As soon as I scanned the platform I realized
my mistake -- I was the only ang moh in Ang Mo Kio. I started to panic.
The Asian girls ignored me, I didn’t know where to find western girls --
it looked like I would be all alone in my new bachelor pad.

The next morning there was a glimmer of hope. It was Sunday,
and I was awakened early in the morning by the sound of an old-fashioned
bicycle horn. Honka honka! Honka honka! Who could be riding a bicycle
at such an early hour, I wondered? I asked Auntie Soh, the elderly
Chinese lady next door. She told me in broken English that it happened
every Sunday, it was someone named Karen -- Karen Gooney.
Ah, a western girl, I thought. She must be very beautiful if this auntie
even knows her by name. I imagined a tall, shapely girl riding her bicycle,
her long blond hair billowing behind her. I decided I would meet
this early morning cyclist.

The following Sunday I was up before the sun. I got dressed nicely
and went down to the void deck to wait. Soon I heard the sound
I was waiting for. Honka honka! Honka honka! I looked around but
did not see a bicycle, or even a trishaw. The only thing I could see
that had wheels was a dilapidated pushcart filled with old newspapers.
There was no sign of Karen Gooney.

For weeks I woke up early every Sunday and went downstairs to wait,
but I never did meet this mysterious blond beauty, this Karen Gooney.



The book "Getting Into Singapore -- A Guide for Expats and Kayoh Singaporeans"
is available in the stores. To find out more, you can contact David via his blog.

Oh, after Miel had done the cover, he suggested that he should be
paid in the form of a donation to Thien Nhan, and David promptly
contributed S$500 towards helping the toddler.

Thanks, both!

Charitable author

A few days later, I received an email from Colin Ong, a speaker and
trainer and Founder/Managing Director of MR=MC CONSULTING PTE LTD.
He is writing a workbook about mentoring targetted to Singapore schools
and requires an illustration for the book cover.

Inspired by Miel and David (see post before this one), I took up
the project and in return, asked for a fee that will become a donation
for Thien Nhan.

The cover looks like this (do note that this is a tentative visual
as the book title may change. I will update the image once everything
is finalised):



The very next day, I received an envelope that contained a cheque of
S$500 as payment for my illustration (which will go to Thien Nhan)...
PLUS a bonus cheque of S$200 as Colin's personal donation to the kid.

Thank you, Colin!

A new aphrodisiac

[Published on 26 October, 2000]
Forget about oysters and a candle-lit dinner for two. The next time you want
to get into a romantic mood, just tuck into a curry.
A British survey has found that curry can cause sexual arousal - the spicier
the curry, the greater the stimulation.
Researchers at Nottingham Trent University monitored more than 100 volunteers
up to the age of 80 and found that the taste of curry sent blood pressure and
heart rates shooting up, creating a natural "high".
It sets off biological responses and creates a feeling of stimulation.
Even the thought of eating curry was enough to trigger a response.
When the volunteers were told to expect an Indian meal, their blood pressure
went up 1.8 per cent cent and heart rate, 3.2 per cent.
When told to expect a traditional steak-and-kidney pie, their blood pressure
and heart rate was unchanged.
When the volunteers tucked into the hottest curry, their blood pressure rose
by 3.8 per cent and their heart rate leapt a massive 18.3 per cent.
When the volunteers ate roast beef and vegetables, their blood pressure rose
a mere 1 per cent and their heart rate, by just 2 per cent - and nobody
reported an increase in stimulation levels.
Researchers also found that curry is addictive.
The study was done after earlier surveys showed that British people now buy
more Indian take-away meals than fish and chips or Chinese meals.

What make us Singaporeans unique

WE HAVE TO BE NUMBER 1
It’s almost a prerequisite for us to be tops in everything.




WE ARE BIG-HEARTED
We don’t think twice when donating fat cheques to earthquake victims abroad.
But it’s a different story with Flag Days at home.




WE FEEL FOR OTHER SINGAPOREANS
We may not know each other; but when disaster strikes our fellow people,
we share their anguish.




WE HAVE GREAT FORESIGHT
The Government always says, "Plan early for retirement."
We always plan ahead...




WE LOVE FOOD
Brought about by the vast variety of food in our multi-cultural melting pot.




WE ARE LAW-ABIDING
Well, most of us are, anyway.
Those wayward few face punishments which are also unique to us...

End may be near for banana

[Published on 17 Jan, 2003]
It is one of the world's favourite fruits, but the banana hasn't had
sex in years and its days may be numbered.
Without scientific help, the sterile, seedless fruit could disappear within
10 years, according to a Belgian plant pathologist.
The fruit lacks the genetic diversity needed to combat diseases and pests.
Only biotechnology and genetic manipulation may be able to save it, New
Scientist said.
The fruit is a genetically decrepit sterile mutant. Among the world's oldest
crops, the first edible variety was bred 10,000 years ago from a rare mutant
of the virtually inedible wild banana.
Because all are effectively clones of that first plant, they cannot evolve to
fight new diseases.
Black sigatoka, a fungal disease that cuts yields by up to three quarters and
reduces the productive lives of banana plants from 30 to only two or three
years, has become a global epidemic.
Without help, production could drop and mark the beginning of the end of the
fruit. "We may even see the extinction of the banana," New Scientist added.

Announcement


This is for Foo Charn Lim and Yew-Kwan Mee Sin:
can you please contact me when you see this?
Thank you.

Cartoon Caption Contest, 29 March 2009



The shortlisted ones:
"I don't think this fella can help you.
Have you tried Michael Jackson's doctor?"
- Rafeeda Bte Abdual Jaleel

"This cosmetic surgeon's great!
Years ago, I too looked like that oven!!"
- Aarti Gogna

And the winning entry:
"I have one of those in me
but it’s not digesting my food so well these days."
- Tang Junshi

Cartoon Caption Contest, 22 March 2009



The shortlisted ones:
"I heard India came up with a cheaper way to put
a man in space... but this is too much!"
- Aida Mekonnen

"No wonder experts say India is going to be
the next powerhouse!"
- Derick Tan Aik Teck

And the winning entry:
"The things you can get at Mustafa's these days...
simply out of this world!"
- Kelvin Song

Cartoon Caption Contest, 15 March 2009



The shortlisted ones:
"Now use your teeth to remove the bulb."
- Sazali B Husin

"I want a divorce! There's nothing else you can do
that will TURN ME ON anymore."
- Yeo Lye Huat

And the winning entry:
"Hurry up with that! We've got a call
from the Singapore Flyer. It's stuck again."
- Prithviraj Gogna

Time running out to adjust phone systems

[Published on 18 Feb, 2002]
On March 1, when users need to dial an extra digit '6' in front of all
fixed-line telephone and facsimile numbers here, many smaller companies
may find their communication lines cut off.
The reason - many of them have yet to reprogramme their internal switchboards
or Private Automatic Branch Exchanges (PABXs) and their systems may reject
eight-digit numbers or chop them off after seven digits.
This means that if someone dials 6123-4567 to reach them, their system may
read the number as 6123-456, cutting out the last digit and the call as well.
The change will not affect normal household phones but users have to remember
to add a '6' when they dial the numbers of other fixed line telephones.
Most large companies and multinational corporations have already reconfigured
their PABXs but the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) believes that many
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here have not done so.

Pacifier = lower intelligence?

[Published on 18 March, 1997]
British researchers have found that babies who suck pacifiers grow up
to have lower intelligence than babies who do not.
The university team tested the IQ of 1,000 men and women born
in Hertfordshire, England.
Participants' intelligence was measured on a scale of 50. Those who
sucked pacifiers, on average, scored 3.5 points lower than those who
abstained as infants.
The researchers made the link between their use and intelligence while
examining whether breast feeding affected intelligence.
They hypothesised that one possible reason for the association between
pacifiers and intelligence was that infants might be so pacified they are
less receptive to outside stimuli. They also suggested that pacifiers
might be used by less intelligent parents, who more than likely would
have less intelligent children.

The good, the bad and the smelly

[Published on Apr 18, 1998]
In 1998, a newspaper did a ranking of all 160 cinema screens in Singapore. Over a period of three months, each cinema was tested in seven areas: screen size, seat comfort, leg-room, gradient of theatre, cleanliness, temperature and toilet hygiene. Even popcorn and service levels were not spared. Here are the findings:


BEST OVERALL SCREEN
It is tie! Orchard 3 and Picturehouse both clocked 20 points, each of them
falling short of perfection by only one point.
Orchard 3 garnered perfect scores in all categories except for toilets.
Although its lavatories are clean, there are only two of them. So that means
a long line forms outside them and when the doors are not really thick,
movie-goers, especially the males, have to take great care not to make too
loud a splashing sound when they do their business.



Toilets also proved to be Picturehouse's Archilles Heel. A little damp and
not entirely fragrant, the cinema's loos took home only two points.



WORST OVERALL SCREEN
CHINATOWN 2 has the dubious honour of being the cinema with the lowest
score -- eight out of 21. Except for a good gradient (three points), everything
else about this 183-seater are atrocious.
The screen is tiny, the seats creak, the leg-room is miserly, the floors are
sticky and the air-conditioning is non-existent.





SEATS

Roomiest:
All six screens at Century cineplex have seats that measure a
whooping 46cm by 50cm.

Plushest:
The six screens at Orchard Cineplex feature soft and comfortable
seats upholstered in a smooth material that resembles terry-cloth.

Tightest squeeze: Mandarin 1's seats are obviously designed to keep
movie-goers glued to them. They measure 43cm by 37cm.



Hardest: Republic 1's seats are merciless when it comes to discomfort.
Sagging and creaky, they have cushions that are so old they look like pancakes.
Plug these killer-seats into a power outlet and you get an electric chair.




LEG-ROOM

Widest:
Marina 2. With 50cm of space between the edge of your seat and the
back of the seat in front, you have room for a giant tub of popcorn.

Narrowest: Chinatown 2. Already ranked as the worst screen in Singapore, it
also features seats which are leg-crushers with a ghastly leg-room of 16cm.






POP-CORN

Dearest:
You pay $3.60 for popcorn at Empress cineplex but it does not
taste that great.

Cheapest: Queensway's popcorn cost only $1.00 but it is quite inedible.
Best Tasting: Bugis Junction takes the top honour hands down. The popcorn
($2.50) is buttery and fragrant. So crunchy it is sure to annoy your
neighbour in the cinema.

Worst Tasting: Choa Chu Kang cineplex sure has a way of taking the taste
out of the cinema staple. Bland, soft and unfragrant, the popcorn there is
not worth $2.50.






BOX-OFFICE STAFF

Most Polite:
United Artists at Beach Road has wonderfully polite staff that
never break down no matter how long the box-office queues are. If you happen
to be lost on your way to a screen, ask any staff member and he will lead you
there gladly.

Rudest: Singapura cinema is manned by a very fierce woman who will hang up
on you should you call her and ask for the cinema's address.