• Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Politics is a dirty business, elections even more so. It’s hardly surprising that a poison pen about a candidate was sent to the press; whether it’s to make an opponent look bad or stoke up more public sympathy and support, there is no shortage of people with agendas when the stakes are high.

    What’s more disappointing, though, is the way the mainstream media took the bait when they received allegations that Workers’ Party candidate Dr Daniel Goh had had an affair with a former student. The letter, sent to newsrooms as well as the Workers’ Party, was signed off by a “Max Chan” and also alleged that the former student’s boyfriend had found out about the affair.

    The media ran the story. It was, in my opinion, a shockingly bad editorial

    Read More »from GE2015: A poison pen letter against WP’s Daniel Goh, but the media looks the worst
  • Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Even before the National Day Rally began we knew we were in for a triple whammy: held in the year of not just Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, but also of Lee Kuan Yew’s passing and an upcoming election, we could expect nothing less than a speech in which the three threads would intertwine. 

    It wasn’t all rhetoric, of course. Positive social policies were announced, such as schemes to help lower-income families afford their own homes, and the extension of paternity leave to two weeks. The cynical would call them election goodies, but carrots or not, these schemes will likely turn out to be a boon for families in need of support. 

    When seen as a whole, though, this year’s National Day Rally was pretty much Lee Hsien Loong’s first big election

    Read More »from Acknowledging PAP leaders’ good work doesn’t mean you must automatically vote its candidates
  • Singapore Democratic Party's Pappy Washing Powder video. (YouTube screengrab)Singapore Democratic Party's Pappy Washing Powder video. (YouTube screengrab)

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Would you buy Pappy Washing Powder? According to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), who made an ad for it, it’s unrivalled in its ability to make everything white, erasing transparency and democracy off a T-shirt.

    The Media Development Authority (MDA), though, is less amused by the YouTube video, deeming it a party political film disallowed by the Films Act.

    That the film is party political is not in question – the SDP clearly has something to say about their rival party. But these videos by the People’s Action Party (PAP) have not been deemed to be disallowed party political films. 

    It’s a strange decision: the PAP videos introducing their new faces for the upcoming election is no less political – and for partisan purposes – than the

    Read More »from GE2015 COMMENT: Should we really ban party political films?
  • PM Lee unveils PAP's Ang Mo Kio GRC teamPM Lee unveils PAP's Ang Mo Kio GRC team

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Elections are looming – we know this for sure because the police have already come out to warn against mixing Hungry Ghost Festival events with political rallies. It’s the biggest democratic exercise that Singaporeans get to participate in, yet once again there are somewhat depressing and even alarming comments being made about elections in Singapore.

    First, we have candidates talking, as usual, about things like covered walkways, lifts and swimming complexes, as well as comments on the running of town councils – doubtless a swipe at the Workers’ Party over the never-ending Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) saga.

    Then we have the People’s Action Party (PAP) talking about “leadership renewal”, trying to position this

    Read More »from GE2015 COMMENT: Elections a time for big issues and big ideals
  • At first glance, it looks just like a ball pit for kids, something you’d expect to see at your local Chuck E. Cheese’s. But a closer look reveals it’s not a ball pit at all.

    Over the last couple of months, Los Angeles city officials have been unleashing ‘shade balls’ into the local reservoirs in an effort to fight California’s record-breaking drought, USA Today reports.

    California is entering its fourth consecutive year of severe droughts, which is “creating an extremely parched landscape.” Los Angeles city officials declared a state of emergency earlier this year and issued “strict conservation measures statewide.”

    Facing an environmental crisis, L.A. has turned to an unusual method in order to conserve the city’s drinking water, and they’re the first to do so in the U.S. 

    Black plastic shade balls are useful for protecting drinking water by blocking out the sunlight. It’s actually “a clever water-cleaning device” too, according to Gizmodo.  

    Each ball prevents the chlorine in the

    Read More »from California is using ‘shade balls’ to fight record-breaking drought
  • It appears as though the mystery surrounding these photos will not abate (Photo: Facebook/Geoff Brooks)It appears as though the mystery surrounding these photos will not abate (Photo: Facebook/Geoff Brooks)

    Shocking photos of a massive six-metre long Tiger shark, reportedly caught off the eastern coast of Australia, have raised questions about when and how this monstrous creature was captured.

    The monstrous catch began to buzz online when a man named Geoff Brooks shared the photos on his Facebook page, stating that the shark was caught sometime last week off 7 Mile Beach near Lennox Head, on the northern New South Wales coast.

    “As far as I’m aware, it was a kill order on a shark here on the far north coast that was identified as being responsible for a local attack,” Brooks told The Daily Mail. He also made sure to mention that the photographs are not his.

    But Brooks’ claims seemed to stand in contrast with a Northern Star report published after Brooks had uploaded his photos. The Star reports the four-metre shark was actually caught “a while ago” by a fisherman named Matthew in the waters off Tweed Head. 

    Matthew told the Star he was actually trying to catch a six-foot Hammerhead shark

    Read More »from Questions abound after monstrous tiger shark is caught off the coast of Australia
  • A couple share content on their mobile devices.A couple share content on their mobile devices.Success.

    Everyone wants it. And some who have already achieved it hunger for even more.

    But what does success mean? How do you ensure that your success is enduring, not just temporary?

    These are hard questions, and I don’t claim to have all the answers.

    But since completing my formal education and entering the “real world”, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to find long-term success.

    My mission is to empower youths to become both happy and successful. So these are my four words of advice to young people who want to succeed in life:

    1. Focus on contribution, not achievement.

    Society tends to emphasise achievement rather than contribution.

    But real success isn’t determined by how much you’ve achieved. It’s determined by how much you’ve contributed.

    And the size of your contribution isn’t limited by your job title. As Harry Beckwith once said, “There is no such thing as an ordinary job. There are only people who choose to perform them in ordinary ways.”

    Your contributions have less to do with

    Read More »from 4 words of advice for young people who want to succeed in life
  • We’ve all been there. 

    A drunk text to an ex, photos posted to Facebook, blurry and fuzzy with only a hint of memory. Whether it’s an impulsive and uninhibited phone call or an embarrassing video on your Instagram feed, it’s safe to say that alcohol and technology don’t mix.

    Student Patrick Davidson took to his email after a night of drinking, sending his professor, Mr. Martin, a note filled with drunken slang, an apology for Martin’s less-than-luscious head of hair, and a request for an extension on an assignment.

    Mensaje de Patrick Davidson a su profesor. Foto tomada de Reddit.Mensaje de Patrick Davidson a su profesor. Foto tomada de Reddit.

    The email was uploaded to Reddit, and Martin’s response has also gone viral.

    Mensaje de respuesta del profesor Martin a su alumno Patrick Davidson. Foto tomada de Reddit.Mensaje de respuesta del profesor Martin a su alumno Patrick Davidson. Foto tomada de Reddit.

    A few Redditors added their own tipsy texts and emails, most of which did not have quite the same response.

    [–]DMann420 posted: “I sent my university a really angry and partially drunk message about cancelling my University program 1 week after accepting me into it. Instead of likes and shares.. I got an Academic Warning.”

    CuriousKumquat added:

    “I once drunkenly texted a professor to ask an

    Read More »from Student drunkenly emails professor, wakes up to the best response
  • Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    The Electoral Boundary Review Committee’s report dropped last Friday, followed swiftly by the tide of accusations of gerrymandering.

    Without any explanation or justification from the committee – indeed, without any transparency in the process at all – the boundaries certainly look a little suspect. What, after all, was the justification for removing Joo Chiat SMC? Why does Holland-Bukit Timah GRC go all the way from Ghim Moh to Mandai Zoo? How is it that someone living by East Coast Park shares a constituency with someone by Lorong Chuan MRT?

    This is not a geography that the average Singaporean can understand in his or her daily life travelling around the island.

    There are many reasons why an average Singapore might come to the conclusion

    Read More »from The electoral system will never be an election issue
  • Giosis raises $112M in funding

    Singapore-based Giosis Pte Ltd (Giosis), the parent company of Pan-Asian e-commerce platform Qoo10, has raised $112 million (US$82.1 million) in a Series A funding round. It was led by SGX-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH), along with eBay, Saban Capital Group, UVM 2 Venture Investments LP, Brookside Capital and Oak Investment Partners.

    Qoo10 operates six online e-commerce marketplaces across Asia - Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China - and has17.6 million registered users. In 2014 it saw a combined total of $558 million (US$408 million) in GMV. 

    “Qoo10 is the number one ranked e-commerce website in Singapore and its parent company Giosis has established itself as a market leader in the region’s e-commerce space. The investment in Qoo10 will enhance our portfolio of digital assets and open up opportunities for future marketing collaborations. With the region’s e-commerce market poised to grow, this investment puts us in a good position to tap on the

    Read More »from Giosis raises $112M in funding

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