• 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.

    Before the Budget speech was delivered there was some speculation about a Jubilee Budget of angpows to sweeten the population before the inevitable election. I suppose one could say that Singaporeans are still getting “angpows” in various forms, but it’s thankfully a little more holistic than that.

    2015’s Budget has shown a willingness – albeit not a whole-hearted plunge – to move towards more redistributive policies. High income earners will have to pay more income tax, but low- and middle-income families will be receiving more support in the form of concessionary levies for foreign domestic workers, childcare subsidies, and the Silver Support Scheme that will help provide for low income earners who may not have substantial amounts of CPF

    Read More »from COMMENT: Budget 2015 provides safety net for those who need it most
  • The more than two-hour long speech delivered by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday attracted a wide array of social media reactions, ranging from the witty to the wacky.

    The minister tabled the country’s budget for 2015 in Parliament during which he spoke about various revisions made to several areas such as petrol duties, personal income tax rates for top earners as well as CPF contribution rates.

    Tharman also announced the introduction of various schemes, such as the Skills Future scheme, which aims to support Singaporeans in their lifelong learning, and the Silver Support Scheme, which aims to support the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above. You may also visit our live blog for more information on the speech.

    So what do some Singaporeans think of this year’s budget? Well, it really depends on what parts stood out for them.

    Here are some that we’ve handpicked for you:

    1. Silver Surfer Scheme you say?

    While DPM

    Read More »from ‘Silver Surfer', you say? Singaporeans react to Budget 2015 on social media
  • You drop a S$50 note down the escalator of an MRT station. What are the odds of getting it back?

    For commuter Nishal John Vethanayagam, it was a mere two hours before the note he considered lost was handed back to him.

    According to his Facebook post, the note slipped through his hands while riding the escalator and went between the gaps of the escalator steps and the metal wall on the side.

    He decided to lodge a report at the station anyway, but didn't think much of it after getting a non-commital response.

    "They noted my name, phone number and my IC, and gave me a very non-committal ‘Can’t make any promises - if we find it, we’ll let you know’."

    Very unexpectedly, he received a call upon the retrieval of his note two hours later.

    "Now just so we’re all clear on how big a deal this is: to retrieve the $50, they had to stop the escalator, open up each and every stair (in case it was stuck inside any of them), and when they couldn’t find it, then go down to the bottom inside and fetch

    Read More »from Commuter 'dazed' by helpful SMRT staff
  • At 40 weeks pregnant, Bonnie Northsea was ready to meet her baby boy. So she learned a few moves and started dancing, hoping to induce labour.

    She had no idea a video of her routine to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” would go viral.

    Northsea, 32, originally intended to share the video with just family and friends on Facebook.

    “Someone told me Thriller would induce labor,” Northsea wrote on Facebook. “Here I am on my due date 40 weeks looking like a fool. I’m so awesome!”

    "I had no idea this would happen," the Gainesville, Florida, mom told TODAY.com of the viral success of her pregnant dancing. “It was just something funny that I did. I’m ready for the baby to come out, and somebody told me to exercise a little bit. I’ve always been a huge Michael Jackson fan!”

    She told TODAY.com that the video has been a pick-me-up for her family, as her husband is currently undergoing chemotherapy for testicular cancer and they’re struggling financially.

    “It’s been a really hard month, but I did this

    Read More »from Pregnant woman tries to induce labour with 'Thriller' dance
  • Tips on preventing prostate cancer (Getty Images photo)Tips on preventing prostate cancer (Getty Images photo)

    Prevention is better than cure. There may not be any scientifically proven sure-fire ways to prevent prostate cancer, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of prostate cancer such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips based on information from the Mayo Clinic.

    Eat healthy
    A healthy diet full of greens may help reduce risk of prostate cancer. Although this hasn’t been proven scientifically, males who want to prevent prostate cancer can consider trying to have a healthy diet by:

    Choosing a low-fat diet
    Males who eat the highest amount of fat per day increases the risk of getting prostate cancer, according to some studies. Although it hasn’t been proven that too much fat can cause prostate cancer, eating a smaller amount of fat per day has other benefits, such as controlling your weight. It also helps keep a healthy heart.

    Eating more plant-based fat than animal fat
    Some studies on fat consumption and prostate cancer risk show that fats from animals had the

    Read More »from Tips on preventing prostate cancer
  • Prostate cancer occurs four times more frequently compared to 30 years ago, and is now the fifth most common cancer in Singapore, according to a SingHealth report.

    Here are ten things that you need to know about the cancer, based on a booklet on prostate cancer by the National Cancer Institute.

    1. What is the prostate?

    It is part of a male’s reproductive system that is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the urinary tract.

    For a healthy male, the size of a healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. If it grows too big, it will squeeze the urethra, which may cause slowness or stopping of the normal flow of urine.

    The prostate is also an important part during sexual intercourse. As the prostate is a gland, it makes up part of the seminal fluid, which, during orgasm, helps carry sperm out of the man’s body as part of semen.

    2. Cancer cells in the prostate

    Growth in the prostate can be benign, which means it’s not cancer.

    Benign

    Read More »from 10 things to know about prostate cancer
  • Singapore police's video to combat shop theft goes viral (Photo screengrab from Singapore Police Force Facebook post)Singapore police's video to combat shop theft goes viral (Photo screengrab from Singapore Police Force Facebook post)

    “You’ve seen him in stores and maybe on the streets.”

    Teasing with the line above is how the Singapore Police Force introduced on its Facebook page on Sunday a stop shop theft video that has gone viral with over 5,000 likes and more than 4,000 shares as at Monday morning.

    “Now, the island’s most recognised cardboard standee is here to tell you that even during this Year of the Goat, you just can’t bleat the law!” the page added, pun fully intended.

    The video starts off with a shoplifter walking into a shop shiftily and just as he is about to steal something, a vigilant passerby goes up to him and stops him in the now recognisable “stop” position of the standee with the right hand up.

    The same scenario is repeated three more times with the same shoplifter but with different passers-by.

    Finally, in the last scene, the handsome police officer of the cardboard standee appears in real life, surprising the shoplifter.

    The shoplifter is then handcuffed and taken away, while the vigilant

    Read More »from Singapore police's video to combat shop theft goes viral
  • 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.

    I wasn’t intending to follow the parliamentary goings-on, but they found me anyway, poking into my daily routine on Twitter and Facebook. People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs), one after another, struck by the urge to express the depth of disappointment, anger and betrayal they felt over the Workers’ Party’s management of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

    It was two days of back-and-forth. Judging by my social media feeds, I wasn’t the only person getting tired of all the accusations and – as Heng Swee Keat put it – wayang.

    There is plenty that WP should be open about. But so should all the other town councils. And who – apart from the mainstream media – has really forgotten about the whole Action

    Read More »from COMMENT: Municipal arguments shouldn't come at expense of bigger discussions
  • For a while, European Tour fans had to look out for two Lawries: the Scottish one Paul, who won the 1999 Open Championship with a 10-shot comeback in the final round, and the Irishman Peter, who had become a staple on the circuit.

    However, in the last two years, Peter Lawrie has fallen off the map, dropping from 161st in the world two years ago to about 900th in the Official World Golf Ranking to start 2015.

    There are a lot of reasons a player can lose their game, but Lawrie's reason is unique: He says he became addicted to soda.

    “I was addicted to it and I tried to stop it,” Lawrie said to Irish-based Newstalk and its “Golf Weekly” podcast. “I was drinking liters of the stuff. Even in the hottest countries, like Malaysia, I would have Coke on the golf course, because I was addicted to it.”

    The 40-year-old cut Coke from his diet as part of a fitness push in 2013 -- an approach Lawrie was killing his career.

    “I went from such a high on sugar to a dramatic low,” he continued. “And I

    Read More »from Euro Tour golfer Lawrie blames soda addiction for rapid game decline
  • Selfies are so 2014.

    Enter the dronie: The answer to your sore-armed prayers.

    Instead of limiting your self portraits to outstretched-arm static images — selfie sticks help a little, but only for those in the market for Inspector Gadget-like arms — why not let a camera drone give that solo or group shot a little more height and drama?

    All you need is a drone and a GoPro camera. It’s a little pricier than an iPhone, but worth it — if you value one-upping your buddies’ weekend selfies.

    Videographer Alex Chacón recently demonstrated the aesthetic superiority of the dronie with a video of his trip to the Mexican Gulf Coast state of Veracruz.

    Matt Benedetto shot a dronie with his GoPro camera at Lake Champlain in Vermont late last fall.

    Amit Gupta’s beautiful dronie makes us consider jumping on board the trend.

    Bernal Hill selfie from Amit Gupta on Vimeo.

    See another impressive dronie featuring Gupta and Team Photojojo here.

    Tourism New Zealand is even offering dronies to snowboarders so

    Read More »from Dronies: The new selfies

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