Wednesday 29 July 2015

That escalated quickly: Bertha Henson's new website gets MDA's attention

Former SPH journalist Bertha Henson announced the launch of her new website The Middle Ground on her blog on June 11.

Less than two months later, she posted this on Facebook today:

I'm not sure why she says "only one month in operation" since according to her blog, The Middle Ground started on June 15.

Today is July 29. So it has been more than a month.

Also, the domain was created on May 5.

Why does the time frame matter so much?

Because according to MDA, under the 2013 Online News Licensing Scheme, online news sites will be individually licensed if they:
  • report an average of at least one article per week on Singapore’s news and current affairs 1​​ over a period of two months, and
  • are visited by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from Singapore each month over a period of two months.

So if The Middle Ground has been in operation for only less than two months, MDA seems to be jumping the gun a bit.


People seem to get confused by this, even on Henson's own Facebook page.

The same confusion happened with Henson's previous website, the Breakfast Network, in December 2013.

The Government has tried to clarify this:
Unlike Yahoo!, the Breakfast Network was never required to obtain a licence under the Online News Licensing Scheme, which was introduced in June 2013.

MDA simply required Breakfast Network to register under the Class Licence Framework.

As if the two similar-sounding regulations aren't confusing enough, the Class Licence Framework itself has two categories of class licence: automatic and via registration.

According to the Government:
Breakfast Network was already automatically class licensed.

But since Breakfast Network is a political website operated by corporate entity and therefore susceptible to foreign funding, MDA required it to register and to undertake not to receive foreign funding

In the end, Henson decided not to register the Breakfast Network. She shut down the site and explained the situation on Facebook.

But this time with The Middle Ground, she has said in her Facebook post: "Yes, we'll register."

Not "licence".


Amazing. MSM reporting is to pick up from my FB timeline. Never even try getting hold of me. Next time, I will LIE on my...

Posted by Bertha Henson on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2017 UPDATE: The Middle Ground to shut down

Rounding up The LKY Musical reviews: Adrian Pang good, Sharon Au sucks

Since The LKY Musical opened on Friday (after three nights of previews), all the reviews pretty much say same four things:
  • Adrian Pang can practically do no wrong
  • Sharon Au kinda sucks (but we all know that already)
  • Benjamin Chow is surprisingly good (surprising because no one has heard of him before)
  • Dick Lee's music is forgettable

The Straits Times
This character of Singapore's first Prime Minister rests squarely on the shoulders of an excellent Adrian Pang - and he carries the part with finesse and grace, and a deep, moving pathos that supporters will cherish and detractors will be quick to critique.

...the musical's designated anti-hero, Lim Chin Siong, is thankfully not relegated to the ranks of villainy and one-note declarations. Recent Lasalle College of the Arts graduate Benjamin Chow does an incredible job in portraying the charismatic left-wing leader, with his compelling oratory and rapport with the common man.

He and Pang share a chemistry sadly not shared by Pang and onstage wife Sharon Au, playing a mild, entreating Madam Kwa Geok Choo.

The thick dialogue, so lithe and easy in the mouths of Chow and Pang, feels clumsy and unwieldy in hers. She is a shadow of her character, struggling with musical segments and quickly fading into the background.

The musical score by Dick Lee was charming but largely vanilla, with no particularly memorable tunes that might, as Madam Kwa tells Mr Lee about their war-time glue-making efforts, "stick fast".

Adrian Pang carries the show as Lee, capturing the man’s fears, frustrations and unwavering tenacity in pushing for change. While Pang catches Lee’s distinctive inflections and gait, there is a sense that he is dutifully performing a role rather than truly inhabiting it; this is a good performance but perhaps not a great one.

It is a shame that Lee’s wife, the formidable Kwa Geok Choo (Sharon Au), is but a footnote in the narrative instead of being central to the story; she is mostly huddled by a table listening to the radio. Au also proves to be the cast’s weakest link, with brittle delivery and pitiful singing skills.

There are standout performances by newcomer Benjamin Chow as charismatic trade unionist Lim Chin Siong...

Dick Lee disappoints with a score that is vast and varied but ultimately vapid; one would be hard pressed to recall a single distinctive refrain. The melodies in the second half almost blur into a mix.

Ever the consummate performer, like Lee, Pang cuts a commanding presence on stage, and yet also evincing love, fear, frustation and other qualities we don’t normally associate with him.

Sadly, Au does not impress. Although she tries to act the hell out of the role, she falls flat when it comes to singing and delivery.

What was impressive though, were the other male leads, namely Benjamin Chow playing antogonist Lim Chin Siong. It takes chutzpah to step into those shoes, and Chow has it to spare. The recent Lasalle College of the Arts graduate nails the role of the the charismatic politician and orator...
Dick Lee's music is so forgettable that this review forgot to mention it.

The Online Citizen
Adrian Pang flawlessly performs each scene involving Lee, but there’s simply too little time to get immersed in the place and time or examine events and choices with any depth.

Sharon Au, who plays Mrs Lee (affectionately referred to as “Choo” throughout the show), is somewhat miscast: her singing is often drowned out by the orchestra or other characters, her dialogue clunky.

Benjamin Chow’s portrayal of Lim is so charged with passion and zeal that Lim often becomes the most interesting character onstage...

The LKY Musical provides an entertaining night with a solid cast, beautiful production design and pleasant-although-forgettable music.

Six-Six News
If we didn’t have the original to compare with, Pang’s would have been a strong performance. And well matched by newcomer Benjamin Chow’s interpretation of Lim Chin Siong. As not much is known about the latter, Chow had free rein to project the part with fervour.

The music, while effective at following the plot and adding mood to the drama unfolding onstage, didn’t quite stick around after its work was done. It evaporated as soon as you left the hall, which is a bit unfortunate.

Something else that will be remembered would be Sharon Au’s performance as the girl who won over Lee Kuan Yew. While trying to bravely keep up with the pace of the play on her strapped ankle (injured after a fall), she was always limping to keep up. As the only woman of significance in the cast, and someone who influenced the pivotal decision making of the LKY character, it was a role that required passion, confidence and the ability to convince the audience that she had what was needed to quietly change the course of history. None of that surfaced during the play, and begged the question: Are we that lacking in female talent?

EARLIER: Twisted ankle? Racist incident? Nothing will stop Sharon Au from playing Mrs LKY

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Running gag reflex: S'poreans react to New Nation copying The Onion

Three thoughts that must have went past your mind at some point.

For a while now, local satirical news site New Nation has been publishing this running gag about how "S'poreans react" to different news items.

The format is always the same: a recap of the news, the recycling of three photos of "S'poreans" with three made-up quotes, three made-up names and three made-up occupations.

It bears striking resemblance to a running gag called American Voices in the US satirical news site The Onion, which is clearly the inspiration for New Nation.

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:

"All these Ah Tiongs all the same. They only know how to copycat."
- Xena Poh, 23, freelance protest sign inker

"How do we know New Nation copy The Onion? Maybe The Onion copy New Nation."
- Alvin Singh, 48, unemployed social media editor

"New Nation still around? I thought the newspaper closed down in the 80s."
- Jerry Mun, 67, part-time electoral boundary redrawer

EARLIER: Believing The Onion is like believing The Noose

Sunday 26 July 2015

Twisted ankle? Racist incident? Nothing will stop Sharon Au from playing Mrs LKY

What is Au?

That’s the name of the actress starring as Mrs Lee Kuan Yew in The LKY Musical.

It was also probably what she said when she twisted her ankle backstage during the musical’s first preview performance on Tuesday night.

“Au! I twisted my ankle!”

That’s so convenient, to have a name you can shout out whenever you’re in pain. Jeanette Aw can do the same too.

But Aw isn’t in The LKY Musical. It’s Au, as in Sharon Au.

She told The New Paper what happened:
“A technical glitch caused a delay so we were all rushing backstage to change our clothes, which we only had three or four minutes to do.

“Let me tell you the irony: As I have a big fear of heights, (co-star) Adrian (Pang) has always carried me down those three flights of stairs that lead to our backstage changing rooms.

“Last night, adrenaline took over and I just ran ahead of him. He was shocked when I missed my step... and I twisted my right ankle.”

And that was how she ended up in a wheelchair after the show being pushed by Pang.

A photo posted by Sharon Au (@negitateno13) on

By all accounts, a prince among men, Pang plays the late former Prime Minister whose name is in the title of the musical, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

This, of course, is not the first time Pang has acted as a great ruler. In 2004, he was the title character in the TV sitcom, Durian King.

So in 11 years, Pang has gone from playing the king of the king of fruit to playing a leader whose death was cheered by a teenager who went to court eating a banana.

What a fruitful career.

Now at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands until Aug 16, The LKY Musical is the second musical in three months about “the tumultuous times of pre-independence Singapore”.

Actually, it’s more like “the tumultuous times of pre-Singapore getting kicked out of Malaysia”, but hey, you say tomato, I say ang mo kio.

The first musical was Singapura: The Musical, which was reportedly shut down “abruptly” earlier this month after announcing that it would extend its run.

Cast and crew members told The Straits Times that attendance was dismal with the actors performing at times to an almost-empty Capitol Theatre.

I suspect there was some resistance to a musical about Singapore directed by an American and written by a Filipino.

But The LKY Musical should do better because it’s a musical about Singapore directed by a Brit with a book by an American and lyrics by another Brit.

Wait, what? You mean even The LKY Musical must rely on foreign talent too?

Relak lah. It's not all FT. The music is by a Singaporean, Dick Lee. He composed the “This is home, truly” song that everyone loves so much that any new National Day song he writes after that sucks in comparison.

And the actors in The LKY Musical are Singaporean, so there should be no danger of “Singaporeans” speaking with a Filipino accent.

Although there could be a danger of Au lapsing into an Indian accent.

Last month, she co-hosted the SEA Games opening ceremony and someone complained on Facebook that Au spoke to an Indian girl in the stands and put on an Indian accent. The post went viral and Au was accused of being racist.

Before that, she was accused of just being an annoying host with a shrieking voice that made your ears vomit.

Au quickly apologised on Facebook, but not for making people’s ears vomit.

She wrote:
“Some of you may have watched the pre-show and heard my attempt at mimicking an Indian accent. It was intended to be comic, but in hindsight, I realise how insensitive it was. I sincerely apologise to those whom I’ve inadvertently offended.”

Which was all well and good until she revealed to The Business Times later the real reason she apologised:
“It was a painful incident, an unintended joke, and I was very, very concerned about what impact it might have on The LKY Musical. I didn’t want anything to tarnish this because it is such a special project, and it was foremost on my mind when I made that online apology.”

So it seems she cared less about whether she was being racist than about protecting her precious musical.

Hence it was little surprise that after twisting her ankle last week, Au insisted on carrying on with the show.

If she won’t let a racist incident stop her, what’s a minor ankle injury?

She’s such a trooper.

After all, the show must go on.

Just nobody say, “Break a leg.”

- Published in The New Paper, 26 July 2015

UPDATE: Should I watch LKY in The LKY Musical or LKY in 1965 movie?

Friday 24 July 2015

Singapore Blog Award winners not as popular as I thought

Last night, the winners of the annual Singapore Blog Awards were announced.

I used to think that you had to be a really popular blogger with lots of traffic to win these awards.

Remember Alvinology's top 25 bloggers and blog sites based on SimilarWeb's monthly visit count that I blogged about yesterday?

Well, none of the award winners are in the top 25.

Does that mean that there's something wrong with the Blog Awards or something wrong with Alvinology's list? (Or both?)

So I went to SimilarWeb to check out the award-winners' stats. As it turns out, apart from Little Miss Bento, all the winners had fewer visits than I did last month.

Not only that, several winners have so little traffic that SimilarWeb can't even provide a number.

Best Topical Blog

Best Health & Wellness Blog

Best Food Blog

Best Travel Blog

Best Lifestyle Blog

Best Fashion Blog

Best Individual Blog

Best Family Blog

Best New Blog

I get it that the Blog Awards are supposed to be like the Oscars for blogs. In the sense that the Oscar doesn't usually go to the most popular movies. Just like how despite being the biggest money-maker of the year, Jurassic World is unlikely to get even a nomination for Best Picture.

It's not a popularity contest. It's about quality over stats, which aren't all that accurate anyway.

But still, to give awards to blogs that don't even have enough traffic to show on SimilarWeb, I'm sorry but that's just fucked up.


Fiona Seah wrote me on Facebook:
Best doesn't mean Most Popular as they were chosen by the judges. There's another category for the top 10 most popular blogs.

Yes, I'm aware of the "10 most popular blogs".

Only Johor Kaki is in Alvinology's top 25.

As for the rest:

So it's a very loose definition of the term "most popular".

By the way, also won last night for Best Beauty Blog.

There's also a category for Most Popular Beauty Blog won by

True enough, the Most Popular Beauty Blog has more traffic than the Best Beauty Blog.

It's interesting that the Singapore Blog Awards makes a distinction between "best" and "most popular", suggesting that being good doesn't necessarily make you popular and being popular doesn't necessarily make you good.

But then the Best Cooking Blog and the Most Popular Cooking Blog is the same blog, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

So it seems being "most popular" can mean many things, including "not enough data".


EARLIER: Alvinology's top 25 Singapore bloggers and blog sites re-ranked

Thursday 23 July 2015

Alvinology's top 25 Singapore bloggers and blog sites re-ranked

UPDATE: The most popular Singapore blogs by monthly visits (July 2016)

Three months ago, Alvinology published this list of The Top Bloggers and Blog Sites in Singapore:
1. The Smart Local – 1.1m
2. Lady Iron Chef – 690k
3. Daniel Food Diary – 651k
4. Seth Lui – 453k
5. Alvinology – 412k
6. – 390k
7. Parka Blogs – 360k
8. Xiaxue – 295k (added .sg and .com)
9. Mr Brown – 170k
9. Dr Leslie Tay ( – 170k
10. – 140k
11. QiuQiu – 130k
12. Tammy Tay (ohsofickle) – 120k
13. Viva Woman – 110k
14. – 107k
15. Working with Grace – 95k
15. Limpeh Is Foreign Talent – 95k
16. Miss Tam Chiak – 90k
17. PassportChop – 80k
18. Superadrianme – 75k
18. Aspirantsg – 75k
18. Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow – 75k
19. Rachel Wong – 70k
20. Naomi Neo – 65k
21. Techie Lobang – 60k
22. Mitsueki – 50k
23. Lester Chan – 49k
24. Sophie Willocq – 45k
24. Andrea Chong – 45k
25. Cheekie Monkies – 40k
25. Johor Kaki – 40k
25. Camemberu – 40k
25. Yan Kay Kay – 40k

The figures are the number of visits each site got in March 2015 according to a website called SimilarWeb.

The thing is, in April, SimilarWeb changed its algorithm "to improve and enhance our data accuracy even more".

This dramatically changed the visitor count for a number of sites.

Here is my ranking of the same sites using the latest stats from SimilarWeb.

1 = 1. The Smart Local – 1.1m ^ 1.2m
2 ^ 3. Daniel Food Diary – 651k ^ 846.7k
3 ^ 4. Seth Lui – 453k ^ 658.1k
4 v 2. Lady Iron Chef – 690k v 410k
5 ^ 17. PassportChop – 80k ^ 372.3k
6 = 6. – 390k v 210K
6 ^ 7. Parka Blogs – 360k v 210k
7 ^ 13. Viva Woman – 110k ^ 150.2k
8 ^ 18. Aspirantsg – 75k ^ 142.4k
9 ^ 25. Cheekie Monkies – 40k ^ 105.4k
10 v 9. Dr Leslie Tay – 170k v 90k
11 ^ 18. Superadrianme – 75k ^ 83.6k
12 v 5. Alvinology – 412k v 80.9k
13 ^ 16. Miss Tam Chiak – 90k v 75k
14 v 10. – 140k v 60k
15 = 15. Working with Grace – 95k v 60k
16 v 8. Xiaxue – 295k (added .sg and .com) v 25K+30k=55k
17 ^ 23. Lester Chan – 49k ^ 49.2k
18 v 14. – 107k v 42.7k
19 v 11. QiuQiu – 130k v 40k
19 v 9. Mr Brown – 170k v 40k
19 v 18. RubbishEatRubbishGrow – 75k v 40k
20 ^ 22. Mitsueki – 50k v 30k
21 ^ 24. Andrea Chong – 45k v 25k
22 v 19. Rachel Wong – 70k v 20k
22 v 20. Naomi Neo – 65k v 20k
22 v 21. Techie Lobang – 60k v 20k
23 ^ 25. Camemberu – 40k v 15k
24 ^ 25. Yan Kay Kay – 40k v 9k
25 v 12. Tammy Tay ( – 120k v 8k
26 v 15. Limpeh Is Foreign Talent – 95k v 7k
26 v 24. Sophie Willocq – 45k v 7k
27 v 25. Johor Kaki – 40k v 2k

A few things to note about the new ranking.

The Smart Local is still No. 1 over all.

The top three food bloggers have switched places with Daniel Food Diary taking over Lady Iron Chef as the top food blogger with more than double the latter's June visits. Seth Lui also went up a notch.

Passport Chop more than quadrupled its numbers, vaulting it to the top 5. Cheekie Monkies more than doubled its numbers to leap from the bottom into the top 10.

Alvinology, which did the original ranking, had its number of monthly visits shrank by more than 500 per cent.

So did Xiaxue and her pal Sophie Willocq.

They are still better off than Limpeh Is Foreign Talent whose numbers plunged by more than 1,300 per cent.

I'm not sure how Alvinology selected which "bloggers and blog sites" to be on its list. Left out are well-known bloggers like Roy Ngerng (85k in March, 25k in June) and Bertha Henson (170k in March, 3k in June).

It seems that SimilarWeb measures only desktop engagements, so mobile visits may not be included in the stats. There are also inconsistencies because some numbers are "estimated" while others are "verified".

Another complication is blogs using the blogspot subdoman name. If you're visiting such a blog from the US, the URL ends with If you're in Singapore, you get The trouble is SimilarWeb counts the different country domains separately.

That's why Alvinology had to add the numbers for and But it didn't do the same for others on blogspot such as Tammy Tay, Qiu Qiu, Johor Kaki and Limpeh Is Foreign Talent. Understandably so since it can get rather unwieldy, but then you sacrifice accuracy.

Tay's 8k June visits for may seem embarrassingly low for a so-called "influencer", but then she also gets 35k for

More astoundingly, may have only 2k visits, but has a staggering 250.3k. So Johor Kaki should be in the top 10 rather than at the bottom of the list.

I had 13.4k verified visits last month for

That's just enough to get me into the top 25.

I verified my SimilarWeb data by linking it to my Google Analytics.

Why do all these numbers matter?

Because Xiaxue-Gushcloud saga.

UPDATE: Singapore Blog Award winners not as popular as I thought

Sunday 19 July 2015

Sartorial satire: Media Development Authority should start censoring T-shirts

Dear Media Development Authority (MDA),

“You are dumb.”

No, no, I’m not calling you dumb. That’s just what it says on my T-shirt.

I bought it more than two decades ago in the US. The shirt is from The Onion, the Peabody Award-winning American satirical newspaper that has fooled a number of readers with its parody of news reports, including the Chinese Communist Party and former minister Lim Hwee Hua.

Despite having the shirt for so many years, I have worn it out maybe once. Why? Because I don’t want to get beaten up.

My feeling is that not many people appreciate or care that the shirt is from an award-winning satirical newspaper.

Or that the shirt itself is a parody of shirts.

Or that by wearing the shirt, I am satirising dumb guys who wear dumb shirts.

As far as most people are concerned when they see my shirt, I’m just calling them dumb.

If I wear it on the train, another passenger could get offended and ask me whether I want to fight.

Since I’m a lover and not a fighter, I would avoid eye contact and shake my head in response.

Then the passenger would say something like “Oh, shake your head. Shake your head enough, it could come off.”

He would then offer to beat the shirt out of me.

When the train stops at Ang Mo Kio station, he would threaten: “Are you going to get off or am I going to throw you off?”

And because Mr Muhammad Hanafie isn’t there to come to my rescue, I would be shoved out of the train and the other passengers would cheer because the shouting would finally stop and they could go back to sleep or looking at their phones in peace.

Oh, you know who Mr Hanafie is, right? That’s the muscle-bound guy who was lauded by Law Minister K. Shanmugam for standing up to a “bully” who threatened to beat up a train passenger wearing an obscene T-shirt in a viral video.

Came across this video. Unacceptable bullying conduct. People like this are sick in their mind. And try and take it out...
Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What is it with trains nowadays? They’re either breaking down or someone is threatening to break you on one.

In this case, it started with a shirt.

You just can’t win. You don’t wear clothes, you could be arrested for public nudity. You wear the wrong clothes, you could be thrown off the train.

But is it illegal?

My embattled New Paper colleague, Mr Melvin Singh, has pointed out that “it is an offence to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person through the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or make any threatening, abusive or insulting communication”.

That could include wearing a T-shirt that says “You are dumb”.

But the only time I could think of that anyone in Singapore has actually gone to jail for his sartorial choice was in 2008. Three Singaporeans were sentenced to between seven and 15 days in jail for wearing T-shirts with a picture of a kangaroo dressed as a judge near a court building.

A kangaroo wearing clothes? So cuuuuuute!

I believe it was satire. It was also contempt of court.

Which brings me to why I’m writing to you, dear MDA.

So far, you’ve done a bang-up job shielding us from obscenities in newspapers and on TV and radio.

But I think it’s about time MDA also recognises the T-shirt as a mass medium.

At least we can choose not to read the papers, or turn on the TV or radio.

But we could be sitting on the train, minding our own business, and suddenly, some guy boards the train wearing a shirt that says “I’m fucking special.”

A photo posted by Temasek Clothings (@temasekclothings) on

So what if it’s a reference to a Radiohead lyric?

We’re not given the choice not to see it. Shirt happens.

What if children are on board?

No child should be exposed to Radiohead references without parental guidance.

That’s why people shouldn’t be allowed to wear whatever they want in public where the masses can read what they’re wearing.

Commuters shouldn’t be allowed to wear shirts with F words on them.

Runners shouldn’t be allowed to wear the Standard Chartered Marathon finisher’s tee when they took a shortcut.

Amos Yee’s mother shouldn’t have been allowed to wear the #FreeAmosYee banana shirt because she has ruined the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine for me forever.

I know you don’t hear this very often, but we need more censorship and regulation.

You have to protect us from ourselves since Mr Hanafie won’t always be there to save us.

Otherwise, we will never stop wearing dumb shirts.


Because we are dumb.

S M Ong

- Published in The New Paper, 19 July 2015

Yes, indeed we are Mr Ong!

We are so afraid in speaking up to challenge the Establishment. In everything we embark on, we have to be so cautious.

Is this what Life is all about?

It is time to take stock and to protest in Silence by wearing T Shirts which speaks our thoughts, empathy, feelings highlighting our trials and tribulations on life in Singapore.

Dumb as it may sound, let us not be dumber by speaking up through the Icons on our T Shirts.

To The Mother of Amos, thank you for the Yellow Submarine which symbolizes the Banana depicting Amos's Struggle with the Establishment!

Yes we are dumb!

Derek without Prejudice.

To SM Ong

If the F word is obscene and a criminal offence, a lot of people uttering it every day should be sued when used on others.

Stand outside a secondary school, and you can hear the f word used by some students on each other. Go to the wet market. Go to cyber cafes.And that t-shirt user was using it on himself even if the f****** can be interpreted as that obscene word.

And how is Section 4 applicable to the case of the f****** t-shirt. Could f****** means 'funnily' even if Section 4 treats displaying f****** as a cause of probable offence?

What is clear is that threatening others with serious injury and hurt is an offence. Is madly scolding others for no reason an offence?

I get scolded by other motorists and motorcyclists, sometimes with obscene words and gestures, local or foreigner when there was no clear fault on my part. What to do? This does not happen often because the vast majority of people are not 'ragers' who rage on the slightest 'cue'.

I personally hate the f word which my dad used frequently on me (in teochew) when i was a boy .I have often told my grandsons not to use the f word, heard frequently when they play computer games with their friends or sometimes with strangers.

The two situations of the t-shirt and the other cause for rage are different. Let us not read too much into things based on misplaced sympathy.

If the two rages are offences, journalists should ask the police why they are not prosecuting. And if they are rascist in nature why is the law silent.

It is always easy to sound smart and elegant.


Dear Mr Ong

I would like to inform you that you have missed out an incident one evening in early June in the KFC at Sun Plaza, Sembawang when I objected to a T-shirt worn by a young lady which had the words "(F**K YOU)" in large letters below a line of script that appeared to be Japanese where FU was the translation.

I said to the lady that I was offended by the words on the T-shirt and proceeded to have an argument with her. She was accompanied by an older man who said he was her father.

I replied that he should be ashamed of himself for going out with her wearing that T-shirt. It is probable that he was not her father.

After they had been served take away and left I spoke to the KFC manager and expressed my opinion that the couple should not have been served with that T-shirt giving offence to his counter staff.

Normally outlets of all types serving the public display signs that staff should not be abused or harassed in any way. In this case the lady was sending a message of offense to the entire population of Singapore let alone the KFC staff and myself.

I doubt if the KFC Manager involved would deny the incident since it was witnessed by his staff and the customers in the queues. He may also have reported it to his Management.

I suggest that broadcasting F**K YOU to all of Singapore is far more offensive than "I am F*****G SPECIAL" both demonstrating the deterioration of standards in what appears to be the pro Amos Yee crowd of young Singaporeans.

Singapore with zero tolerance for graffiti and drugs has a remarkable tolerance for obscenity on tee shirts which this affair has broadcast to the world. The display of these words on T-shirts gives the wrong impression to children that it is permissible to use them among friends, at home and in school.

Friends of mine in the UK, Norway and Finland have seen the postings independently. As far as I know the UK papers have not picked it up yet.

I know the person involved in the "I am F*****G Special" incident. I note that letters in the Emeritus Website are apparently inciting threats to gang violence and to burn down the apartment of his wife who is Singaporean.

The person deliberately intimidating the person on the MRT does not work in Singapore.

Regarding Mr Shanmugam Law Minister comments that he was sick in the head the below incidents show the police can be out of order. He has had two brushes with the law.

In the first in 2000 he was accused by a plain clothed CID policeman of Voluntarily Causing Hurt and using Abusive Language against Public Servant (The CID man). He was detained for 15 hours. The CID officer had phoned a friend to act as a witness to the event that he had not witnessed. CID man was caught out because the call to the witness was on his phone. The person was issued a warning, case closed and was thanked by the police. What happened to the CID man and the witness can only be guessed at unless the case number is followed up.

The Second incident in 2005 was when he warned police of a car abandoned in the bus bay behind Shuttle buses taking Americans assembling at Sembawang MRT Station to the Terror Club for an American Independence Day Party. He was later detained by the police for making a bomb THREAT. He was detained until 3pm next day (18 hours) and his passport was retained by the Attorney Generals Chamber for some six weeks and was only released after pressure from his MP, the USA Embassy, the UK Embassy and Keppel Shipyard Security (ex senior police retired) since he was required to travel to Vietnam for Commissioning Support on an FPSO which was an engineering disaster partly made in Singapore.

Name Withheld

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Why is Cathay giving out 'condoms' to moviegoers?

So yesterday, I went with my wife to see Magic Mike XXL at Jem, which is owned by Cathay Organisation.

As I was buying the tickets, the woman reminded me that the movie was rated M18. She warned me in all seriousness that the ushers could ask me to produce proof that I was 18 or above.

I'm 49 years old, but I do look young for my age, especially with my new haircut.

She then gave me the tickets along with two small shiny packages with something round inside:

I swear I thought they were condoms at first.

Maybe it was because of all that talk about being over 18 and Magic Mike XXL is about male strippers.

Maybe Cathay figured the condoms would come in handy in case my wife becomes "excited" after watching all the hot male bods in the movie and I have to perform my husbandly duty with my own hot male bod.

How thoughtful of Cathay. It should have provided a pair of 50 Shades Of Grey handcuffs as well.

I didn't know Singapore had become so sexually progressive.

Looking puzzled, I half-jokingly asked the woman: "Are they condoms?"

She didn't even crack a smile. "We don't give out such things," she said.

"They're pins."


I left the ticket counter and opened the packages. This is what is inside:

Just promotional items for the new local movie Our Sister Mambo opening this week. Written by Michael Chiang of Army Daze fame, the movie stars Michelle Chong and Moses Lim.

How disappointing.

Now I kinda wish they were condoms.

Or handcuffs.

Monday 13 July 2015

Sweating out the Pocari Sweat Run (with a surprise appearance by my sister)

So I completed the Pocari Sweat Run yesterday.

It was advertised as 10km but was actually more than 11km (which was mentioned in the race pack, though some runners complained they weren't informed early enough).

I wore my brand new size 13 red Nike Flyknit Free 4.0 for the first time. The fit was okay, but I could've used more cushioning.

Here I am waiting for the race to start at 6:30am:


I was surprised to bump into my sister running the opposite way because she wasn't part of the race. She called the Pocari Sweat runners "stupid" for paying to run whereas she got to run for free. I couldn't believe she drove all the way from Jurong so early in the morning just to run there.

Finish line:

My only big complaint abut the run was the ridiculously long line for the large 10km finisher's T-shirt. So I got the medium instead as there was no queue. It fits surprisingly well.

For more, read my wife's blog post about the race.