End to piracy

[Published on 13 April, 1998]

Singapore has the best record in the Asia-Pacific region for combatting
software piracy, a leading Swiss business institute survey has shown.
For three consecutive years, the International Institute for Management
Development (IMD) has ranked Singapore as the top Asian nation in the
protection of intellectual property rights.

In the survey, the institute ranked Singapore ahead of countries like
Denmark, Austria, France, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain and
Israel, in stamping out software piracy.

In 1997, the police conducted 560 anti-piracy raids. The market value
of pirated software seized was close to $4 million.

1999 holidays

[Published on 7 June, 1998]

In 1999, three public holidays fall on Saturday.

Under the Employment Act, if Saturday is your rest day, your
employer must compensate you with another day off if a public
holiday falls on Saturday.

But if Saturdays are half-days for you, tough luck -- it’s considered
a working day, and you’re not entitled to a half-day holiday on
another day to make up for the public holiday falling on Saturday.

Plan to turn night into day

[Published on 23 July, 1998]

Russian scientists are planning to put what will appear to be a
second moon, 10 times as bright as a full Moon, into the night sky above
London and other cities in November as part of a scheme to end night-time.

The orbiting space mirror will pass across the night sky quickly, up to
16 times in 24 hours, but will last only one night - Nov 9 - before burning up
in the atmosphere, according to a report in the Electronic Telegraph.
The reflecting spacecraft, Znamya 2.5, is part of a Russian-led consortium's
plan which bears some similarities to the plot of the James Bond film
Diamonds Are Forever.

After the one-night feat, the Space Regatta Consortium, led by Energia of
Korolev, near Moscow, wants to launch a constellation of several hundred
mirrors, each up to 100 times brighter than the full Moon.

They will cast sunlight from the far side of the globe into the darkest
corners of Siberia during the Arctic winter and make city street lights

But the proposal has alarmed environmentalists.

Mr Daniel Green, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said:
"I cringe to think that we could lose the night sky because of all these
companies with brain-dead ideas."

Mr David Thomas of Bangor University said almost any ecosystem "would get
completely screwed up" and that the permanent daylight could cause more
Arctic ice to melt.

He said plants and animals depended on darkness. "Everything -- sex, movement,
feeding -- is triggered by day-length," he said.

Prediction: Future Joy #19

All workplaces provide Virtual Reality Headsets for over-stressed employees,
which they can use to chill out.

Prediction: Future Joy #18

Hell's Angels finally realise that having ear-deafening engines
is so very uncool and switch to silent motorbikes instead.

Prediction: Future Joy #17

Escalators have two different speeds, hence ending the lengthy debate
on the need for a "stand on the left side" ruling.

Notable Cartoon Caption entries

23 November 2008

 "Your magic pen really works! Now draw me a chest of gold."
- Wee Tai Seng

30 November 2008

"Mommy! Daddy scared me playing ‘Peek-A-Poop’!!"
- Gokkilam A

"For the last time, it's a LEFT turn at Albuquerque!!"
- Mikail Lo

14 December 2008

 "The artist who did the ASEAN logo must have gotten
his inspiration from these bananas."
- Lim Soon Kheng

"My goodness! I thought I asked you to make banana fritters...
how come there's a rabbit in the frying pan?!"
- Chan Su Lee

"What?? You're saying my pisang is not long enough
and shrinking?!?"
- Albert Pang Tze Kaan

21 December 2008


"Yours is for the Nice... mine’s for the Naughty."
- Kayley Oh

Prediction: Future Joy #16

The Parks and Recreation Department fits
Elizabethan collars on trees at open carparks.

New homes

[Published on 9 August, 1997]

This model HDB new town is so popular that a separate queue has been
set up for it. It will have 48,000 HDB flats and 32,000 private homes by the sea.

The place has its own unique laid-back atmosphere. Five hundred more
houses or low-rise flats are slated. Recreational facilities will be
improved. More chalets are in the works as well.

URA has proposed hillside condominiums and stepped housing and
houses on stilts in its future plans for the area.

When the Turf Club moves to Kranji next year, the estimated 4,000 new homes
that can be built in the prime residential enclave will be a sure bet with buyers.

City-living comes alive. Some 26,000 new homes spoilt for choice of
views: by the park, along the waterfront or in the heart of the new
Central Business District.

Thief with skin problem?

[Published on 6 April, 1998]

The shoplifter either had a terrible case of the blackheads or was headed for
the black market. Because, hey, why else would anyone pop off with 360 boxes
of Kao Biore Pore Pack?

"I cannot understand why anyone would want to steal so many boxes of the
product," said a security officer at the NTUC outlet in Thomson Plaza.

The Pore Pack, a popular peel-off plaster that removes blackheads, costs
between $3.20 and $5.90 each, depending on the number of plasters in each

Stolen: $1,983 worth of them.

Going by the security officer's suspicions, the theft occurred practically
under his nose that night.

He thinks that two men made off with the packs. "I was observing them.
Then I got a call that I was needed at the delivery bay. When I came back
five minutes later, the whole shelf was cleared of the product," he said.

New telemedicine service soon

[Published on 16 April, 1998]

The doctor is in - in your home, that is.

People will be able to consult their neighbourhood doctor for advice on
minor ailments, from their homes, over the high-speed SingaporeOne
online network.

That is when a trial video-conferencing medical assistance service begins.
With this new telemedicine service, a patient can arrange to "meet" his
general practitioner online and show him such symptoms as a rash and a sore

Under the doctor's supervision, a patient can take his temperature,
blood pressure or blood sugar readings. These readings can help the doctor
decide if the patient should come to the clinic, or be referred to a specialist.

When telemedicine service starts

More Singaporeans are consulting their doctors via telemedicine
with easy-to-use videophones from the comfort of their homes...

Telemedicine service: the real benefit

... which means, no more waiting at the A&E Department.

Cartoon Caption Contest, 16 November 2008

The shortlisted ones:
"In line with Singapore's Graciousness Drive,
you have to clean up all your hair from the floor before leaving."
- Long Shu Fen

"Sorry. I had too much beans last night."
-Kerwin Low

"Hmm, your hair is very suitable to make into a wig for me."
- Kelly Chang

"Since there is a financial crisis, be like me:
we can save on shampoo!"
- Wong Siok Hui

Many many participants played on similar themes such as:
- The barber forgot his glasses,
- The barber was formerly a grass-cutter, and
- The barber was a student of Sweeny Todd.

And the winning entry:
Before I leave I will destroy everything!"
- Jasbir Singh

Cartoon Caption Contest, 02 November 2008

The one which won:
"Not tonight. So stop popping your sex pill."
- Chan Mun Chee

The one which was shortlisted:
"Make sure this is the last time you wet yourself!"
- M. Mahindran
The one which many, many people sent in
(about 99.5% of all the participants!):

"Did you see my denture which I put in that glass?"

Do try and think differently...
the next winner could be you.

Pretty money

Flowerpod is a beauty/fashion online community in Singapore. It has kindly
pooled its one-time registration fee of S$12 from new members and
donated the entire gorgeous sum of S$1,500 to help Thien Nhan.

Thanks very much to Flowerpod's Admin, Eric Lim, for making this possible.

Avert your eyes! You are not supposed to see this!!

It is illegal to take part in an illegal assembly or procession in Singapore.

Two men who joined a protest against rising prices were arrested and fined
for the offence. I was so inspired by this news item that I based one of my
Sunday comic strips on it.

Unfortunately it was banned from being published
(as with all toons on Singapore's judicial system)... but luckily, there is the
internet where I can still show it to you:

Speaking of our judicial system, the outcome of two different court cases had
left me extremely befuddled. I have condensed them in a comparative chart below:

I'm not saying that kissing a lady's hand without her consent is okay --
but 6 months as opposed to only 2 for actually harming someone??

Am I missing something?

Cartoon Caption Contest, 26 October 2008


The winning entry:
"Looking for a full chest? Call 1800-BREAST-IMPLANTS."
- Hew May Leng

The shortlisted ones:
"Send $10,000 to claim the treasure...
sounds like another Nigerian scam."
-Quek Seow Khoon

"I'm leaving you for Captain Bushbeard, baby.
He has got a bigger ship, two strong legs plus ALL of your gold!
-- Your beloved ex-wife, Sarah."
- Chen Zhengyong

"I need this more than you do
-- Johnny Debt."
- Kelvin Soh Weixian

"An IOU note! Looks like our money was taken to bail out some banks!"
- Yio Wei Cong

"What? 1 Bonus Point for NTUC premium dinnerware redemption!"
- Ron Sim Yew Wah

Could have won...
"Thank you. Please try again."
- Wong Lee Chan
...but, thing is, there were many captions similar to it.

Don't expose magic secrets

[Published on 29 June, 1998]

After a local TV screened the show Breaking The Magician's Code,
it received a protest letter from the Singapore Association of Magicians,
to which the TV station replied that the exposures depicted are of
"entertainment value" to viewers and that magic secrets are already
available to all and sundry in the public libraries.

Here is an excerpt of a follow-up response from the president of
the International Magicians Society:

"The reply given shows a wanton disregard for magic as a performing art and
condonement for the exposure of magic secrets for the sake of increased TV

Ethics aside, the TV station has knowingly damaged the rice bowls of many
professional and semi-professional magicians in Singapore.

We all know about how canned applause, laughter, sound effects, aerial
fighting, and gun battles are engineered in the movie industry.

But should all these "secrets" be exposed in the name of public

Like music, opera, painting, ballet, juggling, clowning and mimicking, magic
is an age-old performing art.
Apart from breaking rice bowls, exposure of magic secrets takes the wonder
and fun out of the art."

Prediction: Future Joy #15

HDB blocks are coated with Teflon-treated paint.
Since Teflon surfaces are slippery and nothing sticks to them,
loansharks can't deface common areas with spray cans or markers.

(Idea inspired by Al Jaffee of MAD magazine)

Euthanasia. Yes? No?

Opinions from some folks on the street...
(...and the cartoons in this section are a reflection of mine).

"Morally, euthanasia is hard to justify, but I’m agreeable to it overall.
If I
were terminally ill, I would opt to die painlessly."

Research chemist
"It goes against my religious beliefs. We shouldn’t assume to displace
what has
been planned for us. Life is a gift."

Civil servant
"I feel that life is sacred but euthanasia should still be an available option.
Checks need to be put in place to prevent loopholes arising.
There should be
counselling services for those thinking of doing it."

"I’m okay with it, provided people are fully informed
and understand the
implications of their actions.
It’s a quality-of-life issue for the suffering person."

Sales assistant
"I think it should not be allowed. Even with those who are really sick,
we should not be encouraging them to die faster."

"I think it’s a good idea to allow it. Unless you give the person a choice,
might just be prolonging their agony.
There should still be strict regulations
on who gets to opt for euthanasia."

Renovation contractor
"It’s hard to say. For family members of the terminally ill,
they may want to
let their loved one go peacefully.
It’s still a difficult decision to make on behalf
of others and
we should definitely consider carefully before we make any laws."

"When someone is in deep pain, it’s only the wearer
of that shoe who feels it.
If that person wants relief,
he should be allowed to get it."

Cartoon Caption Contest, 19 October 2008

The winning entry:
"This is the lastest in steam-driven automobile --
The Kettillac!."
- Krishna Kumar

The shortlisted ones:
"Check out my car's new exhaust pipe.
Now, I can drive through floods!"
- Julia Chin

"Welcome to Ah Seng Mobile Bak Kut Teh Stall.
Have a seat inside. Youl will be served shortly."
- Cindy Goh Shu Wei

"Hey, this is my grandpa's CNG car back in the 30s!"
- Mustaqim Bin Ramdzan

"Wow! Another splendid contribution to
The Sunday Times' 'WE HELP YOU SAVE' series!"
- Ho Hoi Sang

"You told me to warm up the engine first."
- Brenda Lim Li Ying

Drink and (charity) drive

After Yeo Puay Lin of Barclays Capital donated $200 of her own money
to Thien Nhan, I thought it was the last I heard of her -- but nooo...
that woman and her gang (Siddharth Kumar, Lynn Sin, Tan Zehuei,
Tan Hui Yi, Lim Beeling & Kitty) went another step to organise
Merry Chari, an event where staff contribute money and the bank pays for drinks.

During the merriment, Chew On It! T-shirts were sold and an impressive
S$3,841 was raised... a sum that will take me months to reach (cough!).

Thank you, Merry Chari team!

Lear turns out to be comedy of errors

[Published on 13 June, 1998]

British students found to their horror that they had spent two years
studying the wrong play when their examination paper had no questions on
Shakespeare's epic tragedy King Lear.

Bradford Grammar School, whose former pupils include painter David Hockney
and former Labour minister Denis Healey, discovered its curriculum error and
hastily rang the examination board.

A teacher mistakenly taught the pupils King Lear instead of three other
Shakespeare plays which were on the syllabus.

The headmaster, Mr Stephen Davidson, said the teacher was "absolutely

A spokesman for the examination board said: "It will have been a stressful
time for the students and we will do everything we can to make sure that they
are not disadvantaged by a mistake that was not their fault."

Prediction: Future Joy #14

One smart card for all financial transactions.
When swiped through a home computer gadget every April,
it fills up the tax form online, automatically.

Meeting Thien Nhan, Part III

Back in Hanoi on yet another business trip, my friend Adarsh and his Dad met up
with Thien Nhan again (pixs and captions provided by Adarsh) :

"Thien Nahn with my Dad and I. In his hand is a red toy car that my Dad
bought for him from Singapore."

"Thien Nhan smiling brightly as my Dad cradles him on his lap."

"Thien Nhan sitting on my lap and holding some silly little stick with play-dough
around it and pretending to be a Kung-Fu expert! :) Seated next to me is one
of my Dad's Vietnamese business contacts, Mr. Pham, who also contributes to
Thien Nhan's cause in Hanoi."

"Thien Nhan still playing with his 'kung-fu' stick and trying to look fierce as
I join him in his antics."

"Thien Nhan starting to read his older brother's (Big Minh's) Vietnamese textbook.
Although he really cannot read yet, as he is only 2 yrs +, he is still very clever
and looks at all the pictures and asks his Dad lots of questions."

"Thien Nhan in his Dad's arms, smiling brightly at my Dad (not in picture),
as my Dad amused him by putting on Little Minh's motorcycle helmet
(which little Minh uses when his Mom drops him to school on her motorbike)
on his head! What a bright and brilliant smile! :) "

Prediction: Future Joy #13

Patrons have to surrender their handphones and pagers
before proceeding into concert/theatre halls. This is to ensure
uninterrupted performances for everyone's enjoyment.

Cartoon Caption Contest, 5 October 2008

The winning entry:
"You do have a point!"
- Louis Lim

The shortlisted ones:
"Been messing with the new Powerpoint tools again, huh?"
- Stephen See

"Don't think you may slim down
by puncturing yourself with an arrow."
- Ang Teit Kiet

"What a scary Halloween outfit -- a Wall Street analyst
struck by the wooden arrow of financial crisis!"
- Jimmy Ng

"Did you happen to stand under the stocks chart
when it fell?"
- Pameline Kang

And this one -- nonsensical but amusing:
"Oh! Long time no see, Mr Arrow. Have a cup of coffee!"
- Richard Chia

Cartoon Caption Contest, 14 September 2008

The winning entry:
"Why did you buy an iPhone? You don’t have an ear for music."
- Judy Leong

The shortlisted ones:
"I decided to abduct him because he is smarter and lighter
than the other species on earth..."
-Thomas Wu

"Wow! iPhone from earth. Does it include an 'Universal Plan'?"
- Leong Fook Cheong

"The queue stretched all the way to Jupiter!"
- Hoa Min Hui

Could have won...
"I found this on earth. Doesn't it bring back some memories...?"
- Zhi Hui

...but, thing is, many readers also wrote captions
similar to it.

Orang-utan tries to seduce scientist

[Published on 20 March, 1997]

An orang-utan being studied by scientists in the Borneo jungle
developed a crush on her psychologist and tried to seduce him.

Dr Gary Shapiro, vice-president of the Los Angeles-based Orang-Utan
Foundation International, developed a close relationship with the
female, Rinnie, when he tried to teach her sign language.

"On my 27th birthday she came up to me and actually greeted me as
I swam across the river. She took me by the hand, walked me across
a dry swamp, and took me behind a tree," he said. "There, on the ground,
she had constructed a day nest which was larger than the normal.
She lay down on the bed, spread her legs and started pulling me
towards her.

"It was a very definite proposition. I signed to her 'No' and she
looked at me with those big eyes. She knew I had scorned her.
From then on she was much colder, not nearly as affectionate and just
very businesslike, though she did get over it."

Dr Shapiro, married with a wife in California, described Rinnie as
"nice-looking and good-natured as orang-utans go".

Fellow orang-utan expert Dr Birtute Galdikas was said to have
joked on Dr Shapiro's return to their camp: "Gary, you should have
done it for science."

Prediction: Future Joy #12

When a Chinese wedding invitation states that the dinner starts at 7pm, all the guests show up at 7pm. No more wasting time waiting for one another.

Prediction: Future Joy #11

Text books and homework are all on DVDs,
spelling an end to heavy school bags.

Prediction: Future Joy #10

We have our very own glass biosphere which we can activate
when the haze or El Nino strikes again.

Cartoon Caption Contest, 07 September 2008

The winning entry:
"Maybe you should have swallowed your Ribena before sneezing..."
- Janice Tay

The shortlisted ones:
"I think someone vomitted blood when he heard that
the ERP rates are going up."
-Joyce Son Siew Peng

"Existential symbolism of pain?
More like accidental spillage of paint!"
- Aida Mekonnen

Could have won...
"Dear, didn't I sell this to the Karung Guni man last week?"
-Kimberly Ng

"How did our old place mat get up there?"
- Tiffany Leong

" Doesn't that resemble what our 2-year-old Johnnie did last week?"
- Chai Yok Mee

...unfortunately, many readers wrote the same
thing too.

An expensive meal

People who feed monkeys cause more harm than good, and anyone caught
doing so will be fined S$3,000.
(Please disregard the "S$250" part in the photo... the fine had increased
12-fold since this report was last published!)

To ensure that people get the message loud and clear, the National Parks Board
(NParks) is conducting regular raids, apart from monitoring closed-circuit
television cameras which were installed along Upper Thomson Road last year.

The "strong stand" is necessary because feeding monkeys creates several
problems. They become bold and aggressive, snatching food from people,
and even attacking them. Often, people who live on the fringe of nature
reserves bear the brunt of this behaviour.

The monkeys also become reliant on humans, a habit which can be fatal.
Between 2001 and 2005, more than 100 wild monkeys were run over
on the roads while waiting for humans who would feed them.

Feeding leads to a baby boom, too, with the population surging as they
spend less time foraging for food in the forests and more time engaging
in breeding activities.

The following week, I based my Sunday strip on the report above.
Soon, NParks contacted me to inquire if they could use the cartoon
in their parks and I said okay.

This is how the poster turned out:

When NParks asked what token they should give me for my service,
I excitedly asked for a horde of monkeys as payment.

Imagine! I can attach faux wings on them, put on my impersonation
of that delirious Wicked Witch of the West (from The Wizard of Oz),
and scream like a banshee,"Now, fly! Fly! Bring me that girl
her slippers! Fly! Fly! Fly!"

But, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Monkeys cannot be used as currency.
In the end, I asked for a donation and received a cheque of S$150,
which I have forwarded to my cause.

So, thank you, NParks, for helping Thien Nhan.