Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I SAY: Time To Get Tough

From TODAY, Voices

Wednesday December 24, 2008


Kids grow up disrespectful and spoilt when parents fail to discipline them

Ho Kong Loon


BULLYING in schools is one of the manifestations of the lack of firm discipline, which starts with liberal parents who insist on handling their kids gingerly with a huge dose of over-protectiveness and indulgence.


Schools, under immense pressure from vocal and demanding parents, cave in to their insistence that only the parents have the right and responsibility to discipline their kids. Many teachers adopt a hands-off policy just to avoid unnecessary hassle of having to explain their actions to parents of kids who have been “wronged” by being disciplined.


Uncomplimentary terms like lazy, naughty, playful and uncooperative are frowned upon. Euphemisms thrive, and many remain puzzled why kids of today still hand in written work late or not at all, or why rowdy kids disrupt lessons with impunity.


School discipline has been degenerating for many years, and like the ostrich which buries its head in the sand, some can’t comprehend why kids eventually turn out to be vociferous, self-centred and disrespectful of rules and elders.


It is time all parents grab the issue by the scruff of the neck and say “enough is enough!” Parenting is about setting the kids on the straight and narrow path from the word “go”.


There should be no compromise where firm discipline is concerned. Orderliness, respect for others, rules of ethics and civics, good citizenship and other such values, once ingrained in the mindset, enable the individual to navigate their way through their teenage years and adulthood without the major upheavals associated with rebelliousness, callousness, truculence or defiance.


Parents must work hand in glove with teachers to help mould the child’s character during his or her formative years. It is imperative that adults bite the bullet and institute a sea change now, or they will find themselves biting their nails in frustration and angst in later years should correction, counselling or punitive measures be needed in adulthood.


Yes, I am suggesting parents and teachers reclaim their rights and responsibility to ensure the young ones grow up polite, responsible, thoughtful and respectful of rules and laws meant for the good and comfort of all.


There is nothing so pathetic or comical as adults who cave in to the kids’ demands regardless of the legitimacy or correctness. Let us nip juvenile indiscipline in the bud and consign it to the debris of misplaced liberalism and individualism.


The writer is a teacher.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

JESUS is the reason for the season!

Santa and Jesus


Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year. Jesus is an everpresent help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies. Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited. Jesus stands at your door and knocks and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His Name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap. Jesus lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is, "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?"

Jesus knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address, too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our head.

Santa has a belly like a bowlful of jelly. Jesus has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is "Ho, ho, ho!" Jesus offers health, help and hope.

Santa says, "You better not cry." Jesus says, "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers makes toys. Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle, but Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under the tree, Jesus became our gift and died on the tree.


It's obvious there really is no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to put Christ back in Christmas. Jesus is still the reason for the season.


May the Lord bless and watch over you and your loved ones this Christmas. And may He prosper and bless the work of your hands in the New Year ahead.


Friday, December 12, 2008

PUBLIC MINDSET: Some things are worth the risk

From TODAY, Voices

Friday December 12, 2008


Many of us stay in our comfort zones without realising it


Letter from Jimmy Ho Kwok Hoong


I REFER to “Don’t wait, just do it” (Dec 10), which described how a group of Singaporeans took five minutes to offer an umbrella to someone in the rain.


Even though I am not a psychologist, allow me to forward my views for this.


Most Singaporeans are brought up in a spoonfed environment. Through time, they lose the conviction to act in a “grey” situation or one that requires decisiveness.


While what is often necessary in life is to take risks in a calculated manner, many stay within their comfort zones without noticing it themselves.


Two decades ago, Singapore started to go global in a big way. During that time, when an opportunity arose, the Taiwanese and the Hong Kongers could be seen running towards it. Singaporeans, on the other hand, would side-step to assess the risk and reward ratios, or strengths and weaknesses before moving ahead.


Many of us have also invested in China thinking that the Chinese would change their business system to ours, and without accommodating for their public mindsets.


We have tried developing initiatives but the internal systems continue to be auto-penalising to those thinking out of the box, whether in education or within the business circle. We took too long to accept the negative psychological effects of our primary school streaming system.


Likewise, creativity is being compromised in business practices, sometimes by those in control to secure their own positions.


In my view, our traditional system of conservatism only serves well in circumstances such as our tripartite union action, involving the workers, the employer and the Government during bad times, where the majority look forward to top-down instructions.


In the case of Mr Tan Kin Lian who was speaking in the rain, I would guess that, initially, everyone was waiting for others to offer him the umbrella first, in order not to be seen as directly being associated with him.


They failed to calculate the risk involved and in the process, lost the opportunity to be — simply — a considerate human being. 


Thursday, December 11, 2008

I SAY: Such innocent, wise eyes

From TODAY, Voices

Thursday December 11, 2008


We parents must help our children make sense of the mindless violence they see on the news daily



Subana Hall


MY seven-year-old and I often have conversations about world affairs and as most children do, my child too tries to put the world right. Although I am often intrigued by her interpretation of war and order in the world, I was most moved by the comments she made this weekend when we discussed the Mumbai bombings.


The discussion arose when she saw me reading a Weekend Xtra piece, “The Winner is ... Iran” (Dec 6). Leaning over from the back seat of the car she asked, “Mummy, who is Iran? Is that him?”, pointing to a picture of an analyst on the page.


I explained to her that Iran was a country and briefly described what the article was about. As my seven-year-old has been watching the news of the recent Mumbai attacks, she sat up and asked more questions about the article and wanted to know more.


She asked me in all innocence: “Why did those people kill the others? It is not nice to kill others, is it mummy?” If only everyone had the simple wisdom of a seven-year-old, I thought to myself.


As most parents would, I explained to my inquisitive daughter that sadly, in the real world, not everyone is as wise as her and that the world would certainly be a better place if only every person had nice thoughts like her.


She still did not understand why or how people could commit such violence... but then again, neither do I.


She then asked if there was a place on earth that had not been bombed before, to which I replied I am sure there is and that we needed to do some research on that. As our conversation, although meaningful, was getting a little factual and deep, I was almost ready to wrap it up when she suddenly blurted out: “Will Singapore ever be bombed, Mummy? I hope not.” To which I replied: “Me too, sweetheart”.


At this point I felt real sadness in my heart that my child has such fear and I cannot begin to describe how protective I felt over her.


After a short pause, she concluded our chat with this statement: “I wish we could move to a planet where there will be no bombing, Mummy”. With that, she looked out of the window and stared at the petrol station.


I looked at her and thought: What powerful words from a seven-year-old. She was clearly thinking deeply about what had happened and empathised with those killed unfairly.


I was moved by her empathy at such a young age.


On one hand, I was sad that she was growing up witnessing such horrific events; on the other hand, I was proud that she was one of the rays of hope of our future generation.


So let us — the present generation of parents from all around the world — do our part in instilling a sense of unity and right and wrong in our children for a better and more peaceful world tomorrow. Vigilance alone will not be enough. We have to continue to sow seeds of love, tolerance and empathy.


We can’t give up hope yet.




The writer is a former Television Corporation of Singapore journalist who was born here, but moved to England. She has since moved back to Singapore. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Electric car recharging network for Israel

From TODAY, World

Wednesday December 10, 2008


RAMAT HASHARON (Israel) — An electric transport company is to install thousands of recharging points for electric cars across Israel ready for commercial use by 2011 in the first such nationwide network.


The firm, Better Place, demonstrated its first charging spot on Monday at a car park above a shopping centre in Ramat Hasharon, near Tel Aviv. In a pilot project, it will install 500 of the charging points by the end of this year in several cities, including Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. It expects to have 500,000 charging points by the time the first cars are marketed.


Mr Moshe Kaplinsky, head of Better Place Israel, said the firm believed it presented a fundamental challenge to petrol-driven cars. “This vision is to stop this addiction to oil,” he said.


“The profits of oil, we know where they go,” he told a news conference.


“Unfortunately a great part of the resources of oil are held by countries that don’t share the same values we cherish in the western civilisation where we live. The gap is very clear between the price of producing a barrel of oil and the price that it sells for on the world market. And in some places these profits finance terror.”


Better Place expects a lithium-ion car battery to last for 106 miles (170.6 kilometres). Given Israel’s small size, the company expects relatively little need for changing batteries.


Payment for the service would come through a monthly account, similar to a mobile telephone bill. No prices have been announced, but Mr Kaplinsky said the cost of buying the car and paying for recharging would be less than the costs incurred with petrol-driven cars. “We intend that by 2020 almost all the cars in Israel will be electric vehicles,” he said.


Better Place, which is based in California, has signed deals for similar electric car networks in San Francisco, Denmark and Australia but the project in Israel is seen as its pioneer system. The firm has signed agreements with the Israeli government and with Renault-Nissan, who will supply the electric cars.


Separately, Better Place announced yesterday it will build battery exchange stations in Japan as part of a government pilot project to encourage the use of green cars. The Guardian


Friday, November 21, 2008

Think twice before you post racy photos online

From MY PAPER, My Say



I REFER to the commentary, “What sexy shots say about you” (my paper, Nov 18).


I share similar thoughts with the writer about women posting suggestive photos of themselves online on social-networking sites such as Friendster and Facebook.


Such sites serve the purpose of letting people network, share information with friends or colleagues, or are a cheap, efficient channel of communication for people separated by distance.


It is also a means through which people seek out new friends, or even soulmates.


Networking sites should not be misused. Reports abound about sexual predators, who are mostly men, using such sites to search for and communicate with victims.


Photos that are posted on the websites could be an extra incentive for these individuals to be more active in their search.


Let’s use the Internet wisely, especially for purposes such as increasing your knowledge, furthering your career and exchanging information.


Posting suggestive photos not only invites trouble, but can also be cause for others to see you in a negative light, and can be damaging to your reputation.


Just imagine someone who has a respectable profession, such as a teacher, doctor, lawyer or executive, posting such photos online.


What if your friends, relatives and colleagues came across these photos? What would they think of you and your family?


I suggest that everyone think twice before posting such photos on profiles and blogs.


The Internet is becoming a “smaller” place, and more people have access to it. My advice is to be wise, smart and extra careful when online.



Mr Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban 


What sexy shots say about you

From MY PAPER, My Lifestyle






WHEN a naked shot a girl posted of herself on social-networking site Friendster surfaced two weeks ago, it created an uproar in the online community.


The picture clearly shows the girl bending over, exposing her bottom and her left breast. On Stomp, a post about it got 45 pages of comments at press time, with some calling her a “slut” and accusing her of being “cheap”.


Others weren’t fazed.


“What’s the big issue?” asked Stomper Goodcitizen001. “She made her own choice – why bother so much?”


I’m of that mindset as well. If someone chooses to post a nude picture of themselves online, that’s their business. (The Friendster account in question, by the way, has been closed.)


What I do find disturbing is that naked profile pictures seem to be a “natural” progression from the sexy profile pictures that seem to be the norm these days.


Many profile pictures, particularly those of women, often tend towards the risque. Some show them in suggestive positions, or in clothing that leaves little to the imagination.


To most, sexy, or even nude, pictures are just another way of saying: “Hey, I’m hot.” But what they’re really saying is: “Hey, I’m up for grabs.”


Posting them online is broadcasting that message to the entire online community and, sadly, there are those who are na├»ve enough to not be aware of what they’re doing.


One friend of mine posted a picture of herself kneeling on a bed in a skimpy bikini. Even though she had posted it as a joke, it was reason enough for some of our friends to take her aside and tell her to consider the implications of her actions.


“We all know you’re not a slut,” they told her. “But just know that that’s the message you’re putting out.” She pulled the pictures from her account.


And posting revealing pictures may be telling of your mental state as well.


A friend of mine who lives in the United States posted pictures of herself lounging in her room while dressed in only a very transparent nightie. While beautifully shot, they verged on soft porn.


A mutual friend of ours sent me a concerned e-mail message to ask if I knew what was going on with her.


“She doesn’t seem to be in a very good place – the pictures tell the whole story,” he said. He was right – her relationship was on the fritz and her job was in jeopardy at the time. She seemed then to be misguidedly looking for some attention through sexual means.


A revealing picture in an online profile points to the fact that – let’s say it plainly – you are inviting sex.


I acknowledge that for the most part, those who post those pictures are looking for play partners, and often do so on sites like Adult FriendFinder.


So, hey, if that’s what you’re after, and you’re legal, then it’s bombs away with the nudie shots.


But what’s next – hardcore sex pictures on Facebook? After all, that seems to be the next step after nude pictures.


And here’s the thing – at the end of the day, being naked is still a private thing.


Should you post revealing shots of yourself in the very public online domain, it makes people wonder why you would want to do that and what exactly it is that you’re trying to prove.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why the Danes are so happy...

From TODAY, News

Friday November 21, 2008


A history of defeat resulting in the birth of a small nation-state was ironically what helped the people of Denmark become such happy people, said Mr Joergen Oerstroem Moeller.


Describing the Danes as a “tribe”, Mr Moeller – formerly the Danish ambassador to Singapore and now a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – said that being a small, uni-culture society pushed together by defeat created a strong sense of trust between people.


And it is this trust that fosters the sense of security which encourages risk-taking and innovation in the Danes.


“It encourages people to be creative and to dare to try something bold,” he said, adding that this has helped the country stay competitive.


The sense of trust is reinforced by a government rated top in the world for being corruption-free, as well as a strong social welfare system that the Danes “are very happy to pay high taxes for”, said Mr Moeller.


Political parties have tried and failed to campaign on platforms of reducing taxes and raising income.


“They try to say, you can have strong social welfare with lower taxes, but the Danes are too smart for that.


“They know that if you want something, you have to pay for it.”


The downside is that such a society means immigrants have to adapt or be excluded.


“This will have some impact on the inflow of talent,” said Mr Moeller.


 “But I think there is a gradual opening up, even if it’s going to be acrimonious at times.” 


Revelation 3:8

Revelations 3:8

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly! 'The power of one sentence! God is going to shift things around for you and let things work in your favor in Jesus name Amen. If you believe, it will work. God closes doors and no man can open & God opens doors and no man can close. If you need God to open, some doors for you...send this to encourage people. Have a blessed day and remember that you are a blessing !...

You are truly loved and covered in prayers.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do they know about sex?

From TODAY, News

Thursday November 20, 2008


Sexual Responsibility Survey

Findings show women are ignorant about contraception, risks of getting pregnant


Alicia Wong


A 20-year-old patient stepped into Dr Janet Lee’s clinic complaining that she had not had her period for six months.


Upon examination, the doctor discovered that her patient was six months’ pregnant. The young woman should have been able to detect fetal movements by then, said Dr Lee, but the patient had not noticed any symptoms.


In another instance, a 16-yearold mistook her pregnancy as gastric pain. “She said: ‘How could it be? It was my first and only time.’ But with each instance of unprotected sex, you can always get pregnant,” stressed Dr Lee.


The two cases lend anecdotal support to the results of an annual survey which showed that while fewer younger women were sexually active compared to those polled last year, their knowledge of the risks of unplanned pregnancies had dropped as well.


Conducted by the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore (OGSS) and pharmaceutical firm Bayer Schering Pharma Singapore, the survey found only 55 per cent of women realised the chance of getting pregnant, if one has consistent unprotected sex throughout a month, is 40 per cent. In last year’s survey, 75 per cent of respondents were aware of such a risk.


Dr Lee, from Temasek Medical Centre, said: “There is a steep drop in women’s knowledge of unwanted pregnancy risk.”


Dr Beh Suan Tiong, the OGSS’ president, explained that despite public education efforts, people continue to believe that “it won’t happen to me”.


In its third year, the “Say Yes!” to Sexual Responsibility survey aims to discover young women’s contraception knowledge and sexual practices.


Of the 814 respondents, who were between 20 and 35 years old, 61 per cent were sexually active — 14 per cent less than last year.



At least one in four sexually active women in Singapore may be contributing to the rising abortion rate.

Dr Beh Suan Tiong, OGSS president



Among them, 74 per cent were not prepared for pregnancy, but only six in 10 were using reliable contraception, such as condoms. A significant 26 per cent, three per cent more than last year, were not using contraception at all.


“It means at least one in four sexually active women in Singapore may be contributing to the rising abortion rate,” warned Dr Beh.


He sees about 20 cases of unplanned pregnancies a month, of which about three-quarters end in an abortion. There are about 12,000 abortions a year in Singapore.


Women continue to have misconceptions that the condom is more reliable than the pill, and that the pill has undesirable side-effects, the survey found. In fact, the pill offers 99 per cent reliability, while a condom has a failure rate of 2 to 15 per  cent, Dr Beh said. Modern pills also do not lead to weight gain, added Dr Lee.


The OGSS attributed such misconceptions to a lack of education at a national level. The authorities’ intensive efforts to encourage people to use condoms to prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases have shown success, it said.


Both doctors advised couples to use both condoms and oral contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.


In another poll of 240 students, aged between 15 and 20, respondents lacked basic sexual health knowledge. About 60 per cent thought douching, urinating and exercising could prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.


Such a lack of knowledge comes as a surprise, said Dr Beh. “If they bother to google it, I’m sure you can get a reasonable amount of knowledge.”


Schools should hire health professionals to teach this topic, he suggested, since some teachers may be shy to broach the issue.


The OGSS plans to target students and young adults in its public forums on issues such as adolescent health next year, said Dr Beh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Atlantis Hotel in Dubai - Wow!



Water world ... the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai , one of the world's most anticipated hotels, finally opens its doors on September 24. Situated on 113 acres of the Palm Jumeirah, the hotel boasts over 1539 rooms.

2. Water bed ... the Neptune and Poseidon Suites are exclusive to Atlantis, with both bedroom and bath views directly into the mesmerising underwater world of the Ambassador Lagoon.





3. Sea view ... the Ambassador Lagoon is a window into the wonders of the ocean, and the centre-piece of Atlantis, with over 250 species of fish and sea creatures.




4. Fish surprise ... keeping with he water theme, the Lost Chamber is a maze of underwater halls and tunnels under the Ambassador Lagoon with over 65,000 fish.

5. See sea food ... Ossiano is home to a three-star Michelin chef, and offers gourmet seafood with views of the exotic marine life of the Ambassador Lagoon.




6. Pleased to meet you ... Dolphin Bay is a four-and-a-half hectare lush tropical setting where you get the chance to meet the colourful characters in their natural habitat.

7. Big dipper ... Aquaventure is a 42-acre waterpark with the Zigguret Centerpiece that touts a 27.5m vertical drop.





8. Shark tank ... after the Ziggurat, you will emerge slowly through the lagoon at Shark Attack.

9. All washed up ... the Rapids is a 2.3km path of tidal river with one metre waves though a lush tropical landscape.





10. Shark proof ... you can also experience the Shark Tank from the dry, and more comfortable, viewing chamber.





11. Bar view ... sip cocktails in the oceanic space of Barazura and enjoy views overlooking Palm Jumeirah.





12. Grand view ... the Grand Lobby makes a colourful first impression.






13. Bath time ... the spa experience includes two hours of spa treatments, your own private time in a jetted tub and access to both indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.





14. Spa service ... the Royal Spa Suite offers treatments designed to individual needs, and a spa menu delivered by private butler service.
Grand designs ... each of the 1373 spacious guest rooms and 166 suites is designed with subtle oceanic and Arabic influences.









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