Advertorial: Unwrapping soon


Recession or not, it is time we made lists for Christmas giving.

Shopping moves the economy, like it or not, so we’ll be doing our bit if we bought some things for friends and loved ones.

Plus, it’s always nice to be surprised when you unwrap your prezzies on Christmas morning – which is probably why I liked that I have no idea what this campaign is about, apart from knowing the name of the client, and the fact that they’ve placed these bus stop ads you like the one you see in the picture.

I’ve been told they’ll be unwrapped some time before Christmas, and you’ll hear about it here first, so stay tuned!

(Meantime, you can leave your guesses in the comments)

Halfway there


One of the funnier moments in the last 20 weeks was comprised of me, sitting in the ob-gyn’s office, reacting to the ob-gyn’s indicating on the ultrasound that Naomi and I would very likely be having a baby boy instead of a girl which I had so confidently predicted previously “because I can just feel it”.

I went, “oh”.

The Ob-Gyn asked if I was disappointed while Naomi laughed as hard as she could, teasing me about being so sure previously.

So, yes, we are expecting, and while it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing, we are both very excited and nervous – being first timers and all, and being close to being buried by the tons of information on the internet, in books (the Kino discount card is handy) and magazines.

Conflicting dietary advice has also been coming in from many well-meaning family members and friends, and while we’re trying to let common sense be the final arbiter in difficult choices, it can still be worrying (e.g. oh no, I’ve eaten 2 mangoes in a week already, and now they say cannot eat mango, how ah?)

Being expectant parents also explains our indifference at our Krups breaking down again as we’ve both gone off coffee (I still have the occasional espresso but my tolerance for caffeine’s gone down tremendously – one double shot and I’m climbing walls like spiderman on um… caffeine), while Naomi’s cravings have been interesting without being bizarre.

Sometimes it feels as if we’re operating a short order kitchen – sandwiches, pasta, chips – as the books say Naomi should eat smaller but more frequent meals.

The books don’t say anything about expectant daddies gaining weight because the expectant mummies can’t finish their food. Well, they do, and I have put on 5kg since and I can’t fit into my jeans any more.

Naomi’s gonna be a Mummy! And I is gonna be a fat daddy!

We are sorry we lost your money

200811241835.jpgThat’s the sentence that is mysteriously missing from reports and statements from Pasir Ris – Punggol Town Council and its MPs.

Instead, we read that “half of S$4m investment not written off”, and that fixed deposits “will only give you minimal returns. At times, it doesn’t even cover inflation”.

So losing $2m of residents’ money is completely justified. No apology required.

PAP Town Councils – What A Fiasco

There may be smelly, don’t worry, it’s ok

EuropAce Slow Cooker Instructions

We’ve been eating at home a lot lately, and when I say I cook up a storm, I’m mostly referring to the debris that has to be cleaned up in the kitchen afterward.

Naomi and I have inherited quite a few appliances from our parents’ kitchens – toasters, juicers, steamers – some of which have never been used, and one of which I opened up to see if I could make stew with.

EuropAce Slow Cooker InstructionsThe appliance is called the EuropAce Slow Cooker, and I’ve never seen the need for a slow cooker because I usually make stews on the stove top in a conventional pot, simmering for maybe five or six hours, and as far as I know, the Slow Cooker does the same thing, only electrically, with several different settings.

Apparently, you don’t have to watch the slow cooker because it’s less likely to burn your food if you go out shopping and forget about your cooking and take in a movie instead.

So I read the instructions in the 3 page manual, chuckled a little, and got really alarmed when I read the part which said:

“When first time use, there may be smelly, it’ll last a few minutes. Don’t worry, it’s ok”.

So I put the whole thing back in the box, including the “inner pot”, which is “made from high quality ceramics or white clay, which contains many elements for human body needs”, because I don’t have the means to grind it up and eat it.

Stew was finally made using a large conventional WMF pot we bought at the last Robinson’s sale.

EuropAce Slow Cooker Instructions

EuropAce Slow Cooker Instructions

EuropAce Slow Cooker Instructions

Keep away

You do not want to be standing close to the customer at the bookshop thumbing through the pages of this book. Or more accurately, in the case of our city’s fine bookshops, the customer asking the cashier to kindly unwrap the shrinkwrap so that he/she can thumb through the pages of this book:

No browsing

National Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares For Polytechnic / Tertiary Students

National Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares for Polytechnic/ Tertiary Students
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!
Dear Bernard,

My name is Benjamin Lee, and I am also known as Mr Miyagi. I must be getting old, because I felt a little peeved that you were so presumptuous, addressing me as “Friend” when I hardly know you.

I have re-read your email several times and, as I was saying about my advancing age, I seem to keep missing the word “please” anywhere in your request for my endorsement of your campaign apart from asking me to “please kindly send my logo/header/diagram.”

However, I do “wish to encourage youths of today to make a difference and take ownership of the destiny of this nation”, and I do believe it begins with courtesy and good manners. The link between Fairer Transportation Fares and the destiny of this nation is a little more tenuous, but I’m willing to give this a shot.

I, like you, believe that students should have cheaper public transport fares too. I mean, you are the future of our nation, and once you stop having to worry about unaffordable fares, you’ll have time to learn to write nicer and more courteous emails to older, crankier folk like myself who have no right whatsoever in asking for lower transport costs.

You have my endorsement.

Warmest regards,

P.S. Your organization’s name is too long. If I were to pause and read out the whole thing, I’d miss my bus stop.

P.P.S. I can’t find how to download your logo. Please help this old man.

On 11/11/2008, at 11:54 PM, wrote:

Hi Friend,

My name is Bernard Chen, 23, a student at Temasek Polytechnic, one of 10 young Singaporeans, who are initiating a nationwide National Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares for Polytechnic/ Tertiary Students to collect between 30,000 to 100,000 actual signatures of support.

For more information on this nationwide campaign, please refer to

We would like to obtain your official endorsement to promote this youth campaign.

If you wish to encourage youths of today to make a difference and take ownership of the destiny of this nation, please kindly send your logo/ header/ diagram/ picture to Basically, we need something that readers can identify you with.

We will be putting your your logo/ header/ diagram/ picture up on our website under the “Endorsements” page and visitors to our website will be able to access your site through a direct link found on the logo/ header that you have provided us.

We would also appreciate if you could put up our campaign logo on your website.

We are pleased to also announce that TheOnlineCitizen ( is the official media channel for this campaign.

I must reiterate that we are a non-profit organisation, just a sincere group seeking your valuable support.

If you require more information, do feel free to contact me @ (+65) XXX-XXX-XX.

With your official endorsement, we will be taking a giant leap towards a successful petition campaign.

Thank you!

Organiser(s) of the National Petition for Fairer Transportation Fares for Polytechnic/ Tertiary Students

Note: To be fair – Bernard did write immediately to apologise, and was exceedingly courteous, but I won’t publish it here because it’s not funny the way a rude email is, you know?
Update: Silly me, Bernard attached the logo in the email. I should always check for attachments whether or not the sender tells me it’s attached. Here ’tis:

Campaign Logo (Internet).jpg

Advertorial: SSC POSB Everyday Champions


I’ve been asked to write about either a person or an organization that inspires or supports or encourages participation in sports.

I can think of a handful of people I know who have been influential, although not in the way we’re accustomed to seeing, in promoting participation, and to a certain extent, excellence in their field of sport.

I recall very fondly my rugby coach in Sydney, Frank, who was in charge of our hapless MacArthur Mooses (rhymes with Losers) club’s men’s team, which was entrenched at the bottom of the NSWSRU’s 6th Division, and which didn’t look like winning a single match when I joined in the 2000 season.

With only about 20 players to pick from, it was a hard task every week trying to form a team of 15 players when a rough match the week before could decimate the playing stock through various injuries, but Frank soldiered on for some reason, and for some reason, the rest of the team soldiered on with him.

Before you think there’s a fairy tale ending here and the Mooses go on to win the division and get promoted to the 5th Division, stop. They lost every match of the 2000 season but one, and also in the following year.

Still I’m quite sure the team’s still in the competition somewhere, playing and losing and the players earning Frank’s quite remarkable ire every time.

Frank used to run us through our drills every training, very earnestly – shaking his head at every spilled ball, and egging us on with all sorts of vulgarities – which we eagerly translated to income via a swear-fine jar ($5 for every swear word).

And then there was one bizarre pre-match briefing which entailed Frank trying to hypnotise key players to help us play better. We lost that match 145-0, and urged Frank to try that trick on opponents instead. He just sighed, swore under his breath, and took $5 out of his wallet and put it into the swear-fine jar.

Not a potential nominee for coach of the year, Frank. But what my teammates and I liked about Frank and many other coaches/managers of the suburban sporting leagues in Sydney was their unwavering policy of “giving everyone a go”. It didn’t matter if you were tall, short, fat, skinny, fast or slow, he’d give you a run on the team at some point, whether or not you were a 100 game veteran or a newbie who’d just only recently touched a rugby ball.

It was no surprise that the MacArthur Mooses comprised Anglo-Australians, Pacific Islanders, Italian Australians, Lebanese Australians, and at the end of the backline, a Malay-Singaporean, a Chinese-Malaysian and of course, yours truly.

Everyone got a go, and I never once felt demoralized at being on the wrong end of hundred point hidings, and neither did my teammates. We loved playing, and being on the field, and being part of a sporting culture that embraced everyone.

Nothing sums it up more than one afternoon, while gearing up for another hiding on home ground, with my Malay-Singaporean teammate in the stands in charge of the BBQ stall because he is out injured with a broken nose. The referee is about to blow the whistle to start the game when my teammate yells:

“FRANK! Are these sausages HALAL? Because if they’re not, I shouldn’t be touching them!”

Frank, to his great credit, did not utter a single swear word in his response, which was simply a measured: “For the lot of you, whaddya think?”

If you, like me, are inspired by people who’ve pushed you to participate in sport, and think that that person or organization deserves mention – do check out the Singapore Sports Council’s POSB Everyday Champions and nominate them:

It could be your coach, your teacher, or your father who drives you to training every morning – anyone!

Speaking of which, I recall a teacher from secondary school at ACS who used to be in charge of our swimming PE lessons. Mr Goh, I think his name was, but which was often forgotten in favour of his more popular nickname, Darth Vader, on account of his raspy voice and stern demeanour.

Every swimming PE lesson, every boy in the class would be ushered into the swimming pool, and made to swim. No mucking about, no games, just swim, and swim laps.

Darth Vader would prowl the perimeter, and although dressed only in his Speedos, would never actually be in the water. In place of a light sabre, he had a broom stick or a swimming pool cleaner’s net, which he would use to prod boys who’d been tired enough to hang on to the side of the pool.

“SWIM”, he’d rasp.

“But sir, I’m tired”, would come the typical response.

“THEN SWIM SLOWLY”, he’d rasp again while poking you off the side of the pool.

And so, every boy swam at every PE. (OK, I’m exaggerating – some managed to get out of it totally).

And you might argue that the link is tenuous, but in 1984, some of the boys who’d swum in that same pool (Shaw Pool, Barker Road): Ang Peng Siong, Oon Jin Gee, Oon Jin Teik and David Lim formed the Singapore Olympic team that swam at the Los Angeles Olympics.

It all starts somewhere.

Nominations open from 16 Oct – 16 Nov 2008

Cross dressing bank robber thwarted

Cross dressing bank robber
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

It’s a crime wave! I mean, when was the last time we heard about an attempted bank robbery?
I don’t know why, but this paragraph was especially funny to me:

According to a CISCO guard who pinned down the suspect, he already knew that something was wrong when the suspect entered the bank. He said the suspect was acting very suspiciously. Furthermore, he was wearing ladies clothes.