Store decor

It was reported on Dec 20 (2012) that a shopping centre is infested with rodents...

A madcap video

Here are two clips (shown back to back) which I've made with my niece and my nephew.

I'd strongly suggest that you use IDM to download the 720p version over here.
The quality will be much better than viewing it on YouTube.

Royal joy


When I heard the news that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge,
is pregnant with her first child, this popped into my mind:

Of course I didn't offer it to the papers: it's just a silly gag.
(But, for most men, the fear of losing their crown of glory is very real!)

This is so wrong

[Published on 27 Aug, 2012]

Does it bug you when you are on a pedestrian walkway and, all of a sudden,
an irate cyclist repeatedly rings the bell behind you, forcing you to give way?
I suspect many of them are not aware that it is an offence to cycle on the pavement...

Credit card write-offs hit 12-year high

[Published on 01 August, 2003]

Bad debt written off by banks on credit and charge cards hit a
12-year high in June, as prolonged unemployment and dwindling
savings caused more Singaporeans to go into default.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, banks here
wrote off $17.5 million in June, up from $14 million in May.

That was the highest monthly write-off since 1991.

With many white-collar workers, particularly those in their
40s and 50s, having lost their jobs, many are now unable to
pay their bills, say bankers.

During the three months ending June, banks wrote off $8 for
every $100 rolled over by cardholders at the end of each month.

A consumer is said to have 'rolled over' his card balances
if he does not settle in full the amount owed to the bank.

Banks typically write off debt as uncollectable when they have
not received any payment for six months.

As such, some card-issuers have become more stringent in
issuing new cards. Their debt-collection departments are also
more proactive in contacting card-holders who show even the
slightest hint of financial difficulty.

These measures, coupled with the high 24 per cent interest banks
charge on rollover credit, mean that credit-card portfolios
remain profitable despite the huge write-offs, say industry watchers.

Some green tips

[Published on 10 November, 2007]

» Switch it off. When leaving the room, switch off lights,
fans, air-conditioners, televisions, computers and other
appliances. Pull out the plug as well.

» Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
instead of incandescent bulbs. Install dimmers, timers
and sensors. They save energy too.

» Do not place lamps, television sets or other heat-emitting
appliances near the aircon thermostat. The latter senses
room temperature to regulate the unit’s operations,
making it work harder than it needs to.

» Don’t overcool air-conditioned rooms. Set the temperature
at between 24 and 25 deg C, and shut doors and windows.

» Cool hot food before putting it in the fridge so it does
not have to work harder to maintain the temperature.
Avoid overcrowding -- too many items obstruct air circulation
and reduce cooling capabilities. And don’t place the fridge
near the oven.

» Decide what you want. Then open the refrigerator.
That way, it doesn’t stay open for too long and waste energy.

» Learn to compost. Even if you live in an apartment,
food waste can be used as compost in a personal or
community garden.

Offset carbon emission. Sign a Friends of World Heritage
"I am a responsible traveller" pledge or apply to buy
carbon emission offset credits.

» Don’t change your sheets everyday. If a hotel offers it,
take up the option of not having towels and sheets changed
every day. If not, let housekeeping know that it is your
preference. It saves on energy, water, soap and other resources.

» Take your own soap and shampoo on vacation. Those little
bottles of shampoo and soap in hotels create unnecessary waste,
since the open -- and often unfinished ones -- end up in the bin.
If you use them, finish them.

» Switch appliances off. If your hotel does not have a system
where electricity is cut off when you remove your key card,
manually turn off things like the air-conditioner, TV and lights.

» Bring your own bag. When shopping during your vacation,
take a tote or backpack. Do this at home too. Avoid plastic bags.

» Don’t buy endangered species products. Boycott tortoise shell,
ivory, animal skins or feathers. Don’t buy star fish or
turtle-shell related souvenirs or any creature that may have
been put to death for the sake of a gift shop sale.
More often than not, these animals may have been killed
specifically for tourist trade.


The Lemon Law is here!

[Published on 04 Sept, 2012]

The pandas are here!

[Published on 08 Sept, 2012]

Early travel perks

[Published on 04 July, 2012]

To make trains less crowded, one solution is to offer incentives to encourage
commuters to begin their morning journey earlier...

Zoo's big splash on a new name

[Published on 03 March, 2003]

For 30 years it has been the Singapore Zoological Gardens and
a top attraction.

But the people running the place aren't too happy with the name.
They want something to distinguish it from run-of-the-mill zoos

So they are spending $500,000 on a massive branding exercise to
acquire a new name, logo, signs and staff uniforms.

The new name is a closely-guarded secret known only to top management.

The management first decided on a name change in 1995, when the zoo
began implementing a master plan based on the guiding principle of
'Journeys to Wild Places'.

A name-creation workshop was held recently for managers, who were
told to think of a new name in keeping with the zoo as a natural
and wild place, where visitors can have an adventure and interact
with the staff.

They came up with a list of 1,000 names, which were narrowed down
to three options by interviewing almost everyone at the zoo.

They then asked visitors and former zoo employees to rank the
three options.

But a regular visitor said: 'They can call it what they want.
Singaporeans will still call it the zoo.'

Weak connection


Visitors to Gardens by the Bay have complained about the spotty 3G coverage
in the outdoor areas.

The putting up of more base stations (which are boxy) and antennas (which must
be mounted atop a building) can solve the problem, but it is not done due to
aesthetic concerns.

However, telcos are working with the park’s management to resolve the issue.

Not in my backyard!

[Published on 04 June, 2012]

The Government plans to build nursing homes in selected estates...
but some residents petitioned against having such a facility
in their neighbourhood.

One of the reasons: "The old folk will be groaning right into my home."

Researchers hit on raw fish way to serve vaccines

[Published on 12 September, 2003]

A vaccination could one day come in the form of a tasty slice of sashimi.

Researchers in Singapore have created zebrafish that produce vaccines
in their muscles, and they say the technology could be extended to popular
food fish, such as salmon, to do away with the pain of injections.

The only catch is that the fish must be eaten raw, as cooking would
destroy the vaccine, which is a protein.

A professor has successfully transferred non-zebrafish genes into the fish,
so they produce hepatitis B vaccines.

However, the edible vaccines are still in the early stage of development
and will require years of clinical trials before they can make their way
to the dinner plate.

Ringgit down...

[Published on 16 July, 2012]

Three professors excited by one hot babe

[Published on 24 November, 2003]

Three men are paying $300,000 to get their hands on a hot Danish babe
in order to take her temperature.

That is because the blonde bombshell is a mannequin, wired up to breathe
like a human and be as sensitive to heat as a person.

Her sensitivity has provoked tremendous excitement in three men
at the National University of Singapore. The associate professors,
who specialise in indoor air quality, see in her a way to discover
the best methods for cooling a room while saving energy.

She will be used in experiments as if she were a human, putting her
through various temperature changes and monitoring the amount
of carbon dioxide she generates. She is so sensitive that if a fan
is suddenly turned on in front of her face, her face will feel cold.

The blonde is divided into 26 parts, with four parts in her face alone.
This is to help the researchers pinpoint the different temperatures
in neighbouring areas. By doing so, they can determine the optimum
temperature at which an air-conditioner should be set, and even
where it should be placed.

Sending the wrong message

[Published on 24 Aug, 2012] 

A mother lodged a police report after her 12-year-old son’s teacher
cut his hair an hour before his PSLE oral exam.

She claimed the teacher also threatened to deduct marks from
the boy’s exam if he refused to have his hair cut.

Sing, Singapore!

August 9 is Singapore's National Day.

This cartoon was scheduled to appear on August 10...
but the Editor rejected it because it is "too negative".

Negative, but true!

The Straits Times carnival

The event took place at Gardens by the Bay.

Activities include Cover Photos, Meet ST Journalists, Headline Contest,
Caricatures and Photo-illustrations.

The idea of a Photo-illustration is that the person in the picture strikes a pose
and an artist fills the rest of the space with a doodle.

Here are some which I did for my 'customers':

There was also a Cosplay Contest.


Thank goodness no wild dogs actually showed up!

Here are some of the actual contestants:
[Photos courtesy of The Straits Times]

Speaking of Cosplay, one of my favourite characters is Spiderman.

In my opinion, the classic costume -- the comic-book version -- is still the best.
Here are a couple of pictures of a friend posing as one:

If you have the height (at least 170cm) and build
and would like to have a photo taken of you as Spidey,
drop me an email.

Do you like to fly model aircrafts?

Here's some good news for you, then:

That "Sticker Lady" debate

[Photos courtesy of The Straits Times]

Art or Vandalism?

Lot 26

On 22 April 2012, S$12,855.58 (excluding my donation) was transferred to
Thien Nhan. To the following contributors: Thank You...

Jessie Oh (S$50)
Leona Ang (S$400, extra donation)
Alyssa Chen (S$80)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Sally Lam (S$125, for Nov 2011 to March 2012)
Irene Lee (S$45)
Jenkins Chng Sun Ping (S$100)
Leona Ang (S$50, for March 2012)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for March 2012)
Lam Chooi Wun, Wong Zhi Ying & Wong Zhi Jing (S$200)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Feb 2012)
Lim Choon Wa (S$10)
Tan Siew Lay (S$50)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Alex Luo Yanghao (S$100)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Feb 2012)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$30, repeat donor)
Lee Sang Hong (S$374.14)
Sim P J (S$50)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$20, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Jan 2012)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Vadodaria Reetesh Hasmukh (S$100)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Jan 2012)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Dec 2011)
Justin Foo (S$130)
Victoria Pollock (S$150)
Vivien Voo (S$50)
Ariel Loh (S$100, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Dec 2011)
Anonymous (S$1,500)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Nov 2011)
Winston Ho (S$50, second donation)
Amelia (S$120)
Caren Tan (S$50)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Nov 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Oct 2011)
Ong Teng Hong (S$200, repeat donor)
Parag Desai (S$101, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Oct 2011)
Miel (S$50, for Oct 2011)
Miel (S$50, for Sept 2011)
Sean Lim (S$100)
Loy Mei Chan (S$500, second donation)
Sally Lam - (S$25, for Oct 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for Sept 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Sept 2011)
Ariel Loh (S$50, for Sept 2011)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Sept 2011)
Ariel Loh (S$50, for Aug 2011)
Leona Ang (S$250, bonus!)
Serene Teo Lay Hong (S$30)
Sally Lam (S$25, for Aug 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for July 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for July 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for June 2011)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for July 2011)
Miel (S$50, for Aug 2011)
Miel (S$50, for July 2011)
Janice Lee (S$50, second donation)
Loy Mei Chan ($500)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$30, repeat donor)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Wendy Tong (S$100)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$20, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for June 2011)
Miel (S$50, for June 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for June 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for June 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for May 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for May 2011)
Monique Chong, Joyce Ryme, Joanna Sim, Denise Chong (S$200)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor) 
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for May 2011)
Miel (S$50, for May 2011)
Eric Teh (S$50)
Ang Lip Chor (S$50)
Anonymous (S$20)
Eugene Sim Junying (S$200)
Leona Ang (S$300, bonus!)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Apr 2011)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$30, repeat donor)
Nicholas Chin (S$100)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Apr 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for Apr 2011)
Miel (S$50, for Apr 2011)
Sally Lam (S$25, for March 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for March 2011)
Leona Ang (S$50, for March 2011)
Chew Lye Heng (S$50)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$30, repeat donor)
Rende Wong (S$50)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Feb 2011)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Feb 2011)
Miel (S$50, for Feb 2011)
Jessie Tan Lay Yong (S$100)
Sally Lam (S$25, for Feb 2011)
Tan Kim Huat (S$70)
Ng Geok Peng (S$100, repeat donor)
Tan Yoke Meng (S$50)
Serene Goh (S$100)
Colin Koh Teow Teng (S$200)
Lee Yoke Cheng (S$50)
Huang Wan En (S$200)
Sadie-Jane Nunis (S$30, repeat donor)
Linda Lum Seaw Wai (S$500.44, repeat donor)
Wang Boon Lian (S$100, repeat donor)
Leona Ang (S$50, for Jan 2011)
Anonymous (S$1,000)
Tan Kia Hui, Heng San San,
Elaine Loo, Audrey Seah, Lim Whee Nai, Grace Cheong, Fiona Kanagasingam & Seah Yang Hee (S$560)
Tay Chern Hui (S$25, for Jan 2011)
Low Pei Lin (S$50)
Maria Poon Mui Ying (S$500, repeat donor)
Miel (S$50, for Jan 2011)
Irene Lee (S$10, repeat donor)
VĂ©ronique Medard (S$70)
Ariel Loh (S$50, repeat donor)
Sally Lam (S$25, for Jan 2011)

Nasal assault

This strip was inspired by a real-life situation:

There's this girl who sits three desks away from me.

Whenever she walks past, I have to hold my breath for about 20 seconds
because her perfume would linger like a deadly mushroom cloud.

The scent is so potent that it even clings itself onto those sitting next to her.

And the issue is made worse by the fact that my desk is in her path to the loo...
so you can imagine how many times I have had to stop my oxygen-intake in a day!

Do you also have a colleague who uses perfume in wild abundance?

Banned! (Part 2)

Another of my Sunday strips was deemed,
ahem, not suitable for print in a national newspaper.
So I had to tweak it

This is what was published:

This is the original version (which I prefer):

Homing birds are just streetwise

[Published on 06 February, 2004]

The secret of carrier pigeons' uncanny ability to find their way home
has been discovered by British scientists: They follow the roads
just as people do.

Oxford University researchers spent 10 years studying homing pigeons
using global positioning satellite and were stunned to find the birds
do not often navigate using the sun.

Instead, they fly along motorways, turn at junctions and even go
around roundabouts, adding kilometres to their journeys.

One professor said pigeons use their own navigational system when
doing long-distance trips or when doing a journey for the first time.

But when they have flown a journey more than once, they home in on
a habitual route home. "It looks like it is mentally easier for
a bird to fly down a road... they are just making their journey
as simple as possible."

Authors admit to posting bogus reviews

[Published on 12 August, 2002]

Some bestselling authors in Britain are giving their own novels
glowing reviews on Amazon by pretending to be readers,
and the Internet bookseller is trying to put a stop to it.

According to a report in The Telegraph, authors Jane Green
and Isabel Wolff, two of the leading lights of the so-called
'chick lit' genre popularised by Helen Fielding's
Bridget Jones's Diary, are among those who have given themselves
'five star' reviews to boost sales.

Both have admitted to posting bogus reviews in the section of
Amazon's website where readers can submit their opinions
of a book anonymously and award it between one and five stars.

Amazon, which has 3.3 million customers in Britain alone,
said it was trying to find ways to curb the abuse.

"We will investigate any complaint we receive concerning a review,"
a spokesman said. Green, who has written five bestsellers,
admitted faking a number of favourable reviews for two of her books,
Jemima J and Mr Maybe, signing them 'A reader from West London'.

She said: "I did it because I could not bear the abuse,
the vitriol of the reviews from other people. As a novice author,
I took criticism more to heart and became deeply wounded
by these reviews."

In response to a hostile review which dismissed her novel as
"a must for self-obsessed, materialistic, shopaholic social climbers",
Green wrote an anonymous five-star review which called the book,
about a young woman looking for a rich husband,
"a wonderful escapist read - perfect for a holiday".

Wolff, who has also produced several bestsellers,
confessed to writing a few complimentary reviews for her book
The Trials of Tiffany Trott, The Telegraph reported.

But other authors said they could understand the need to
defend one's work. Robert Harris, the author of Fatherland and Enigma,
told The Telegraph: "Anyone who has written a book would love to
write their own reviews if they thought they could get away with it."

Michael Holroyd, the biographer and novelist, said:
"This sort of thing existed in the old days before word processors.
Anthony Burgess reviewed his own books under a different name.
All's fair in love and publishing."

Show me the real money

[Published on 15 August, 1998]

If someone hands you money and the note feels too smooth,
chances are that it is fake, printed with a colour printer or photocopier.

There were 14 cases of people who tried to print fake money
this way in the first six months of 1998, double the number
for the whole of 1997, said the Commercial Crime Division.

According to the police, the rise is not significant as the
same culprit was involved in a number of the cases.
So there is little cause for alarm, said the head of the
CCD's financial fraud branch.

The counterfeit notes look similar to the real ones,
but if you feel them carefully, you can tell the difference easily.
The fake notes feel smoother and are thicker than genuine ones
because the fakes are printed on plain paper.

Both photocopiers and laser printers use similar printing technology,
which coats paper with a mix of powder dye, while ink-jet printers
use ink.

It is easier to distinguish the fakes if they were printed with
an ink-jet printer. Just rub your fingers on the notes,
and the ink will smudge.

The police said that in most cases the fake money, all Singapore notes,
were detected by banks when victims tried to deposit them.

The victims, such as hawkers and taxi-drivers,
had accepted the fake notes in haste without checking them carefully
because they were busy tending to their business.

A 17-year-old teenager and a 14-year-old girl were prosecuted
for using and making counterfeit money with a laser printer.

They had made three $50 notes. The girl used one at a McDonald's outlet
at Hougang on May 7, 1998. Later, both tried to use the remaining notes
at a coffeeshop in Geylang on two different days.

But the stallholder noticed the fake note the second time
they tried to use it.

They fled in a taxi and used the last counterfeit note to pay the driver.

By coincidence, the taxi driver returned to the same coffeeshop later
the same day and used the fake note to pay for coffee.

The teenager will be sentenced on Aug 20. The girl has been sent to
Toa Payoh Girls' Home, pending a pre-sentence report.