Tremors II


OK, I got my sleep interrupted by a very long series of tremors, and we’ve just turned on the telly to watch CNA talk about last night’s quake, aftershocks and then this morning’s shaking news.
“Normally our building code is sufficient to build buildings of safety”, says the engineer/professor who’s a guest on CNA right now. So, how safe are we? When do we evacuate? When do we rush down the stairs and stand in the car park, within the shadows of our tall apartment blocks?

How sure are we that the buildings we live and work in haven’t been damaged by the tremors? What’s our building code? Does it specifically say that the building must be able to withstand sways of up to 1m? So many questions, so hard to type. Because I’m sleepy, and I would have swayed as I walked out to get my computer even if there wasn’t a quake anyway.

The engineer/professor also says that we should evacuate to where “only if there’s really open ground”. So, OK, we’ll just wait till the open ground eventuates before we do anything. Personally, I reckon the waves of en-bloc sales do more damage to old apartments here than quakes ever do.

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This just in. Naomi thought the cat was under the sofa rocking it, causing her to feel a little dizzy. Then we found the cat on his perch, and so she asked me to sit on the sofa to feel it swaying a bit.

“Why ah?”, she asked. Being the professional bullshitter that I am, I said, “I think the seat of the sofa sits on the base in an unstable way.”

I sat on the other sofa, which didn’t “sit on a base in an unstable way”, and said, “No, this one don’t have”, and then, “eh? Got”.

For confirmation, we stared at a glass of water on the coffee table, and saw ripples.

Oops, there it comes again!

There are no thundering sounds, so Jurassic Park III is ruled out, and I don’t think our neighbours have bought their 5:1 Dolby home theatre system yet.

Just switched on CNA on the telly, and they say there’s been a quake near Bengkulu, Sumatra at 7.9M.

USGS says its preliminary magnitude is 8.0 and a tsunami warning has been issued.

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Damn you creative people and your idiosyncrasies!


Your, you know, idiosyncrasies, are going to infect the heartland!

“Eventually I cannot put a finger on it. But I would say if this is the way the world is going and Singapore is part of that interconnected world and I think it is, then I see no option for Singapore but to be part of it.

“They tell me and anyway it is probably half-true that homosexuals are creative writers, dancers, etcetera. If we want creative people, then we got to put up with their idiosyncrasies so long as they don’t infect the heartland.”

I dunno. There’s probably an easy solution to this dilemma, isn’t there? You know, come up with a couple of useful campaign slogans – like the really scary one for dengue – “If they breed, you will bleed”?

Oh wait, they don’t breed. Well, at least most of them don’t. Hmmm… Oh, it’s just too hard. Thank goodness I’m not a public servant and have to think up measures to deal with these things. Good thing they’re so well paid.

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Partial recall

UsfdaWhile idly on the ingterneck a couple of mornings ago, we decided to see if the cat food we buy for Jake was on the recalled brands list. So we googled, and got on to the USFDA’s website, and to our shock and horror, the list was like, damn long lor!

A quick scroll down the list found the brand of cat food we normally feed Jake, and a call was made to the pet shop to see if they’d done anything about it – i.e. taken it off the shelves. The friendly pet shop boy on the phone said the distributor had just called the day before and asked for them to take the brand off the shelves.

(It turned out that the dry cat food we buy for Jake wasn’t on the recall list – only the wet cat food was)

AvaLater, we decided to take a look at the AVA (our friendly local government agency tasked to deal with such matters) website, and not surprisingly, the website was last updated on 10th April, and the latest press release to do with the pet food recall matter was dated 20th March, whereas, the USFDA’s page on the matter was updated 20th April, which was like, two days ago.

There was nothing on the AVA’s site to suggest that there was any cause for concern, as the site merely says:

According to the recall information available so far, the products are sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Nevertheless, the AVA is currently carrying out investigations to determine if the products had been exported to Singapore…

A chat with the pet shop boy suggested that the best place to go to for the latest information would be the pet shops, ‘because we get information from the distributor who get information from the manufacturer direct’.

I suppose, then when they feel like it, they then tell the AVA, and the AVA might just update their website with the latest information.

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BYOB’s yer uncle

That way!

This Bring Your Own Bag Day thing has gotten quite a few people in a tizzy. I didn’t know of it until a friend mentioned that he was charged 10c per plastic bag when he went shopping. He claims it isn’t unreasonable, given that, ‘in Taiwan, you buy anything in the 7-Eleven also have to pay for the plastic bags’.

But what’s this news of people wanting discounts for reusing/recycling bags? WTF?

Anyway, going green can be interesting, especially if you visit’s section on ‘How to green your sex life‘. It’s got very very enlightening bits of information such as:

The meat industry is immensely resource intensive and accounts for 70% of the water pollution in the US. Reducing your meat consumption is one of the greenest things you can do…

…There are some very strong rumors going around that vegetarians have the best tasting love juices (though some items from the vegetable kingdom you may want to avoid, like asparagus and garlic). ..

Mmmmmm… more V8 all round.

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Fake fakes

Some of the fake fur used in clothing isn’t synthetic, and actually contains dog hair.

“Americans don’t want Lassie turned into a fur coat,” Moran said. “In the US, we treat cats and dogs as pets, not trimmings for the latest fashion wear.”

Apparently most of the fake fakes come from China, which isn’t really surprising, given they have a tendency of producing fakes of everything.

This reminds me of the time I dined at a supposedly venerated vegetarian restaurant in Sanya on Hainan Island. The establishment prided itself in creating dishes which were supposedly the closest visual and flavour facsimiles of meat dishes.

So we had mock-roast duck, mock sweet sour pork, mock steamed fish (the steam was real), mock braised chicken, mock stir-fried beef – basically every dish in a non-vegetarian Chinese restaurant menu you could poke your chopsticks at, and which might have been the envy of a person who was vegetarian on account of his religion, this place could and did mock-up.

 Media Korea-Adoption 041384

So, when the 2nd last dish was served – braised buck-choy with garlic – my cousin, in mock-delight, cried, “wow, mock vegetables!”, at which a surprisingly life-like waitress swooped in and informed my cousin, with genuine concern, that the vegetables were real.

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Mercy Relief: A Christmas Mission

Mercy Relief - PhilippinesThere’s an idea I got from a few other people the past couple of days.

A wedding we recently attended (and a beautiful one at that, congratulations, D&N) did away with wedding favours, the money which would have spent on them having been donated to UNIFEM. And a friend who attended the wedding as well informed Naomi and I that in lieu of presents she was going to buy for us, she was donating what she would have spent to World Vision.

Mercy Relief - PhilippinesSo, if you haven’t bought Christmas presents for family and friends yet, here’s something you can do, and I am only suggesting that you do so for this charity organisation called Mercy Relief, which, as I’ve written, is undertaking the tasks of providing medical and logistical aid to the typhoon stricken areas of The Philippines.

Mercy Relief has identified several localities which require immediate help, where basic needs such as drinking water were not available until the arrival of the organisation.

Cash donations are much preferred over real goods, and you can direct funds as follows:

Mercy Relief, 11 Kheng Cheow Street #04-10 Riverside Plaza, Singapore 059608
DBS account, no.: 054-900493-6

After you’ve donated the money you would have spent on pressies, you can then write your friends and family little notes that go along the lines of:

Dearest Friend, Although I wish you the world, and would have given you a token of it by way of a present, I thought that it would mean a lot more to both you and I if the money that would have been spent on the said token be directed to the worthy cause of bringing Christmas cheer to the victims of the typhoons in The Philippines. I hope that you will also consider doing the same.

Mercy Relief - Philippines

If you’re not the sort to give presents anyway, please just spread the word.

Mercy Relief’s Press Release, 15th December 2006:

Singapore’s Disaster Response Team sets to work in the Philippines
Friday, 15 December 2006

Legazpi City (Philippines)

Mercy Relief’s 1st Disaster Response Team arrived in Legazpi City in the Bicol Region on Thursday, 14 December 2006.
Following an initial assessment around Albay, the 4-man team set to work in the community of Oro Sige village where there is a large number of children and aged needing medical assistance. Overnight, the team set up a makeshift clinic in s school and attended to more than 80 patients the next day.

Most cases treated were gastrointestinal and respiratory infection, which are generally due to poor sanitation and contaminated water supply. The team will continue to monitor the situation to prevent any pandemic outbreak and will alert the local department of health should anything surfaces.“The majority of trauma cases have been dealt with prior to our arrival. It is now critical for us to maintain the healthcare of the community to prevent outbreaks of diseases because of the poor living conditions. These people survived a natural disaster and must not be allowed to suffer an epidemic” cautioned Laura Tham, Mercy Relief’s Disaster Response Specialist and a certified Nursing Officer.

Most parts of the city are still without electricity or reliable communication infrastructure. Residents who lost their homes are seeking refuge in schools and community halls. Local and international NGOs are rallying behind the local municipality to co-ordinated relief efforts so that aid can be given effectively to the deserving beneficiaries.

General medical supplies and food are being provided by the Philippines government and several foreign NGOs. However, much needed are blankets and clothing to keep the survivors warm during this monsoon period. Mercy Relief plans to be entrenched in the community of Oro Sige and will fan out to other nearby communities to help provide, maintain and improve their health needs.

Their 2nd Disaster Response Team, comprising 2 doctors, 2 nurses, a logistician and lead by another Disaster Response Specialist (a qualified paramedic) is expected to depart on Tuesday 19 Dec 06 to support the first team’s mission in Oro Sige village.

Mercy Relief is presently making an appeal for the public to support their relief efforts. Donations can be made via a secured online transaction at or by sending a crossed cheque made payable to Mercy Relief. Donors are advised to write their Name, address and contactable number so that the organisation can follow-up with a cheque. Cash donations can be made at Mercy Relief’s office, 11 Keng Cheow Street, #04-10, Singapore 059608 during normal business hours.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Frederick Foo
Executive Director, Mercy Relief
E-Mail :
DID : 6332 6326
Mobile : 9011 6218

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Mercy Relief for the Philippines and Vietnam

The charity organisation Mercy Relief is sending a team today to areas in the Philippines stricken by Typhoons Durian and Utor. The team of volunteers comprises 1 doctor, 1 nurse, 1 logistician and 1 support staff. More teams are being prepared for these areas as well as for stricken areas in Vietnam.

If you’re able to help, please send donations to Mercy Relief, 11 Kheng Cheow Street #04-10 Riverside Plaza, Singapore 059608. Or you may transfer funds electronically to their DBS account, no.: 054-900493-6

For more information, visit Mercy Relief, or email them for details at

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