Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eunos Trip to Southern Ridges

28 September 2008

After Youth OUT!, this is the next event that I'm organising in Eunos YEC. This is also my first time organising a trip in Eunos YEC.

The process of planning the trip was simply fun. One week ago, Hock Rong, Wei Kiat and I went to recce the Southern Ridges. Realising the tiring escalation if we were to start from HortPark, we decided to make it the end point instead.

So on this very bright Sunday morning, a bus of participants left for the Southern Ridges, enthusiastic about the landscape they were going to witness.

During the bus ride, I acted like a tour guide, explaining the trip and the various attractions. I enjoyed the attention and found it addictive to hold on to the microphone. Haha.

We reached Henderson Waves and took a group photograph. The sky was slightly cloudy, making the journey more cooling than the recce trip three of us made.

I greatly appreciate the attendance of my peers - Chee Lee, Jun Jie and Jian Hao. It's not easy for a youth to wake up that early on a Sunday morning.

How beautiful it is, the Henderson Waves.
"At 36 metres above Henderson Road, Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It was built to connect the two hills of Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill. The bridge has a unique wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel “ribs” that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved “ribs” form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within."

The organising committee took a picture together, before embarking on the Forest Walk.

"The Forest Walk, a steps-free elevated walkway with earth trails meanders through some 50 metres through the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill and connects to Alexandra Arch. The raised walkway with heights ranging from 3 to 18 metres brushes the canopy of trees and offers a bird’s eye view of the forest. The modules of the elevated walkway derived their design from the triangular-shaped leaves of the fast-growing “Mile-a-Minute” plant. The ground level earth trails offer a more rugged experience, bringing you closer to the wildlife found in the area."

After the elevated stroll through the Forest, we then admired the sexy curves of the Alexandra Arch.
"The bridge, with its curved deck and tilted arch, spans across Alexandra Road like an opened leaf. On the Hyderabad Road side, the bridge is connected to HortPark - the gardening hub, via the Floral Walk. Near the bridge is Gillman Village, a former British military camp in the early 20th century, is now home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, pubs and art galleries."

The HortPark was crowded when we finally reached. Took a breather at the air-conditioned showcase rooms while the participants took their time to explore the park.
"This is Southeast Asia’s first one-stop centre for gardening-related recreational, educational, research and retail activities in a park setting. Some park highlights include attractive themed gardens as well as outdoor display plots showcasing designs and ideas for home gardening."

The trip ended with a shopping session at the Far East Flora shop at HortPark. There, I was drawn to the following plants:

Pitcher Plant

Venus Flytrap


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mid-Autumn Festival Gathering for Eunos Grassroots Leaders

24 September 2008

On 14 September 2008, residents of Eunos celebrated Lantern Festival at the Petal Garden. It rained heavily minutes before the start of the event and subsided when the Guest-of-Honour arrived.

Tonight, the sky was clear and the weather was cooling. Eunos Grassroots Leaders gathered for an appreciation dinner. The Guest-of-Honour is Mayor Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who is also the Adviser to Eunos Grassroots Organisations.

Harmony has always been the theme of Grassroots events.

After the buffet dinner, we each received a battery-operated lantern. The respective committees were each issued a Kongming Lantern (孔明灯). The shipment of the lanterns were delayed, hence they were not used on Lantern Festival itself. Traditionally, it was believed that you could convey your wishes to Heaven with the Lantern by writing them on the lanterns. Some of the lanterns carried lottery numbers!

One by one, the lanterns were light up and released into the air. Fishing wire was attached to the lanterns to prevent them from floating away and becoming fire hazards.

Mayor Zainul lighted up some of the lanterns.

The event ended with a group photo taking session.

The Youth Executive Committee (YEC) commenced our short meeting and then proceeded to hang the banner for our next event:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dementia - Patients or Family Suffers?

In Singapore, "one in 20 Singaporeans may suffer from dementia at the age of 65"^. In percentage wise, it's 5%. If we have a class of 40 students, 2 classmates would lose their memories after 65. If we have a school of 1600 students, 80 students would forget their peers at 65. That translates to 2 classes of people. What a high percentage!

Imagine yourself losing your precious childhood memories. What would it feel like? Painful, neutral or peaceful? At current scientific progress, we don't really have the answers to this question. But one thing is certain, and that is people around Dementia patients suffer.

It hit me hard when my Grandma couldn't recognise me. As my guardian for more than a decade, I thought I would be the last of all things to be forgotten. It took me quite a long period to get over it and I finally did. I realised, to a certain extent, it could be a positive outcome for Grandma to forget the bad (inevitably the good) memories and be in a peaceful state of mind.

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, in his eulogy to the late S. Rajaratnam, mentioned that "A few years ago he began to lose his memory. When I visited him in 1998, he did not recognise me."^^ He dropped tears for the second time on television.

Nevertheless, showing care and Love for dementia patients is still very important. They didn't want to lose their memories. They have given us the best memories. And the best we can do is to make them feel positive about themselves. A recent comment by an influential medical ethics expert completely made my heart boil.

I strongly condemn Baroness Warnock's point of view!

Baroness Warnock: Dementia sufferers may have a 'duty to die'
By Martin Beckford Social Affairs Correspondent

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.

Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as "immoral" and "barbaric", but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.

Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain's leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.

A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers should be helped to die.

Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to "living wills", so patients can appoint an "attorney" to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.

But in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland's magazine Life and Work, Lady Warnock goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services.

Recent figures show there are 700,000 people with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's in Britain. By 2026 experts predict there will be one million dementia sufferers in the country, costing the NHS an estimated £35billion a year.

Lady Warnock said: "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."

She went on: "If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.

"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."

Her comments were criticised last night by MPs, charities and campaigners.

Neil Hunt, the chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "I am shocked and amazed that Baroness Warnock could disregard the value of the lives of people with dementia so callously.

"With the right care, a person can have good quality of life very late in to dementia. To suggest that people with dementia shouldn't be entitled to that quality of life or that they should feel that they have some sort of duty to kill themselves is nothing short of barbaric."

Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, said: "I believe it is extremely irresponsible and unnerving for someone in Baroness Warnock's position to put forward arguments in favour of euthanasia for those who suffer from dementia and other neurological illnesses.

"Because of her previous experiences and well-known standing on contentious moral issues, Baroness Warnock automatically gives moral authority to what are entirely immoral view points."

Phyllis Bowman, executive director of the campaign group Right to Life, added: "It sends a message to dementia sufferers that certain people think they don't count, and that they are a burden on their families. It's a pretty uncivilised society where that is the primary consideration. I worry that she will sway people who would like to get rid of the elderly."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Swing KPE - A Run Down the Longest Underground Tunnel in SEA

14 September 2008

More than 15,000 people gathered at the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) today morning. The KPE tunnel is the longest underground expressway tunnel in Southeast Asia. They were ferried from shuttle buses departing from Tampines and Kovan. Some Community Centres also had buses to ferry their constituents here.

Mother, Aunt, Lin Qiang and I reached the start point just on time to do some warming up. There were 2 categories of participants, namely the competitive 10km run and the Fun Run 5km.

Among the Guests-of-Honour were Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Finance Mrs Lim Hwee Hua and LTA Chairman.

Participants of the Fun Run category were each given a battery-powered lantern. LTA hoped that the event could go into the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest lantern parade.

There were relatively few participants in the competitive category. After taking some photographs, the race began

It was cool to see the Electronic Signboards with messages on the event, Swing KPE.

As we run into the tunnel, there were segments where we were running in the dark, with spotlights and revved-up music to keep up the tempo. It was like having a disco party (with running substituting dancing).

Participants were told not to stray from the route onto others such as (below) Bartley Rd East. There were crew members stationed at each emergency exit so as to evacuate participants in terms of emergency.

There were a few disappointing features of the run. Firstly, there were no toilets within the tunnel. Secondly, there were only 2 water points issuing NEWater bottles to participants. The resultant litter of bottles (that rolled onto the running path) and bottle caps proved to be an eyesore and safety hazard.

On the positive side, as we run 5km into the tunnel from one end and making a loop into the opposing direction on the other side, there were informative banners to inform the participants on the safety points to note when using the KPE. Image above shows a message (both on the floor and in the lighted display) advising us not to reverse vehicles within tunnel. How cheeky can it get.

When we approached the finishing point, we were given goodie bags. Above Image shows typical Singaporeans grabbing way too many goodie bags for themselves. We happened to see Mayor Zainul, so we also took a photo with him.

In the evening, my family and I went to wedding dinner at HarbourFront Centre's Dragon Gate Restaurant. It reminded me of the time when Tengda organised a platoon buffet dinner at the same restaurant a few years ago.

There were only 5 people seated in our tables and we had a great feast.

Among the gifts were a cup coaster and some chocolates.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Renoma Wallet Gift from Baohui

12 September 2008

Baohui gave me a pleasant surprise when I met her after my Forensic Science lecture.

The wallet looks good and professional. Love it :)

Witness Survival Kit

12 September 2008

Forensic Science (GEK1542) of National University of Singapore is a very interesting course. Being my first Science module, it has really left me a lasting impression.

Today, the main lecturer, Adjunct Associate Professor Stella Tan, was giving a lecture on Rules of Evidence. At one point, she brought out a suitcase with a label on it reading "Witness Survival Kit".

Witnesses need to prepare themselves when they present themselves in court, in a similar way as one would be when one is going for a job interview.

In the Witness Survival Kit, there is a book (for killing time and to impress others), an umbrella (since the Subordinate Courts do not have shelter to any other buildings, a jacket (for the cold temperature), notes that you prepared, and avoid plastic bags (don't look good + can be very noisy).

Didn't know that being a witness can be so formal a thing. A witness that isn't reliable can see his/her credibility permanently lost in the eyes of the Court.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Volunteer Orientation by NKF

11 September 2008

It's 9/11 again.

Headed to the HQ of National Kidney Foundation (NKF) after my long day of school. Situated at Kim Keat Road and a walking distance away from St Micheal Bus Interchange, the head office is really hard to locate.

I was the first volunteer to arrive. The reception area had a cafe booth and was comfortable. It looked better than some hotel lobbies.

The Volunteer Management staff greeted me very warmly. There were 8 of us that attended the Volunteer Orientation. During the talk, we learnt about the symptoms of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the inconveniences of a ESRD patient and how we could contribute to help them.

Following the talk, we were led to the 3rd floor where we had a peek on how the dialysis centre looked like. The Tay Choon Hye-NKF Dialysis Centre was elaborately designed and equipped with aquarium tanks. All but one of the NKF dialysis centres are sponsored by organisations and individuals.

Before I left, I could somewhat feel that volunteers are much needed to help out.

I look set to join the Befriender's programme. As NKF CEO puts it, LOVE is spelt T.I.M.E

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is Jolly Shandy Non-Alcoholic?

I remember drinking Jolly Shandy when I was in my Secondary schooldays. A can of Jolly Shandy turned my face slightly reddish. My peers thought it was an exaggerated reaction. Their thinking was justified since the alcohol content of Jolly Shandy is below 1%.

On my way home, I saw an advertisement of Jolly Shandy on a bus. What caught my eye was the claim that Jolly Shandy belonged to the non-alcoholic category. I was stunned for a moment.

What happens to the innocent young children who see Jolly Shandy as a soft drink. What happens if Muslims were to unknowingly consume Jolly Shandy? Isn't it inaccurate to label it non-alcoholic when there is alcoholic content within the drink?

Anyway, I boarded the bus. At a traffic light junction, the light turned green for the bus and a drunkard was taking his own sweet time strolling in front of the bus. The bus driver pressed the horn slightly and this angered the drunkard.

The drunkard mumbled some words and pointed fingers, challenging the driver to go out for a fight. The driver ignored him and he spat at the windscreen in the direction of the driver. Tough life for a bus driver, isn't it?

I find this incident rather ironic. Here was a man who just enjoyed his alcohol and now spitting at a bus with an alcoholic (non-alcoholic category) drink advertisement.

Image Source:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sometimes More Could be Less, Less Could be More

It doesn't take a genius to say that to reduce weight, one should eat less. On the surface, it might look like a good advice. However, with considerable analysis, the advice wouldn't stand absolutely true. Because...

Sometimes More Could be Less & Less Could be More

While dieting may help to a certain extent, reducing the intake of carbohydrates would certainly not be helpful. By consuming less of carbohydrates such as rice and noodles, the body would receive less blood sugar. With a long day of work, the body could go into hibernation mode as blood sugar level turns low. During this period, the body would begin to get a false signal and reduce its metabolism and start storing fats. = Increase in weight...

Alternatively, to reduce weight you should eat carbohydrates in moderation. This way, you are more energetic (and thus will be more willing to exercise) and reducing weight becomes more possible.

Let's turn to the case of money. The most usual advice when we come to money is to SAVE MONEY. While being thrifty is a good value that one should embrace, it might not necessarily translate into accumulation of wealth. Just look at how many people actually become millionaires because they save prudently. People save but they spend away their savings when big discounts are given and indulge in emotional purchasing of products and services.

On the other hand, we could utilise money in such a way that we can maximise their value. By using suitable investment vehicles (based on individual risk appetite), we could make more with less.

Similarly, it doesn't mean that if you think you are a small speck of dust, then you couldn't achieve big results. Hopefully my message today expands your current boxed and limited mindset!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Business Network International (BNI) - Business Referral Revolution

Grab anyone in the street and ask him/her what's the best advertising method, and he/she will probably tell you it's word-of-mouth advertising.

Over the few decades, entrepreneurs have come up with various means and concepts to improve on sales by changing the way products are advertised. Every physical space that can contain advertisements are sought for. In the past, ads were restricted to billboards, newspapers and the interruptions to your soap opera. Now, advertisements follow where we go, for instance mobile phone, public transport, escalators, laptop lids, and the list just adds on. Advertisements are also more targetted.

One significant innovation of promoting business is the network marketing or multi-level marketing approach. It was first legalised after a lawsuit victory of Amway International. It plays on the fact that word-of-mouth referral is the most effective form of advertising. The industry has always been tainted with a bad name, not forgetting that some countries even outlaw such activities.

Today, I discovered a new concept. I learnt of this concept from a client. After hearing him out, I realised that actually I had received invitations from some other clients and a few other mailing groups.

Called the Business Network Int'l (BNI Marketing Pte Ltd), it is a platform for entrepreneurs/business owners to gain referrals for their business. The network is segregated into different chapters. Within each chapter, members come from various industries. Once the slot of a particular industry is filled, then no other parties from the same industry can join in the chapter.

The members of each network would gather every week for breakfast sessions to promote their businesses. Each member would be given a namecard holder so as to promote the businesses of other members in the chapter. There is an annual membership fee that (what I heard from my client) could be earned back easily.

This concept came fresh to me even though it had been around since 1985, an idea born out of Dr. Ivan R Misner. It seemed to be a macro-MLM to me when I first heard about it.

More ideas of promoting will surely surface from time to time. This is how the intellect of human works. But for now, I don't think I'm going to take part in this and would be enjoying breakfast at home.

Tonight won't be seeing BH... :(