• The app market is saturated with all kinds of apps that are supposed to entertain or help us in some way. But with so many apps in the market, there are bound to be a few that raise eyebrows.

    Marauder’s Map

    The Chrome extension, dubbed “Marauder’s Map” in a tongue-in-cheek nod to Harry Potter, harvests your friends’ location data to map a history of their movements over time.The Chrome extension, dubbed “Marauder’s Map” in a tongue-in-cheek nod to Harry Potter, harvests your friends’ location data to map a history of their movements over time.

    Although not quite a mobile app, this Google Chrome extension has been causing a stir in the Facebook community. The extension, named after Harry Potter’s magical map, has the ability to track your Facebook friend’s past and present location.

    Marauders Map pulls up the most recent location of a Facebook user via Facebook Messenger. Any messages sent with a location attached is added to the map – yes, that includes locations sent from your Facebook Messenger mobile app.

    It definitely sounds like the perfect tool for a stalker, but why was the extension made in the first place?

    According to the mastermind, who is actually an intern at Facebook, the extension was meant to highlight just how much information we are revealing on popular apps such as Facebook Messenger.

    “We are constantly

    Read More »from 3 controversial apps that probably should not exist
  • For the past three years at least, the rise of Korean pop in the music industry has led to the advent of K-pop role-playing.

    Yes, not only are die-hard fans spending heaps of money on expensive concert tickets and queuing long hours for meet-and-greet opportunities, some of them are also pretending to be their idols.

    These K-pop role-players set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr using avatars showing images of K-pop idols and adding bio details that are the same as the actual celebrities. 

    Here are examples of role-players from Singapore. These Facebook users are also members of K-pop role-player groups created on the platform.

    A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. 

     

    A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. 

     

    A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. A Facebook screen grab of an account by a Singapore K-pop role-player. 

     

    According to Roleplayers Diary, a website dedicated to “International Roleplayers on Twitter”, role-players are people who “portray their idols” through the social accounts.

    They are often misunderstood as fakes or posers of celebrity accounts, even though some of them state clearly that they are only role-playing and do not tell viewers that

    Read More »from K-pop role-playing: Why some Singaporeans are pretending to be their idols
  • Sally Hansen launching interactive manicure appSally Hansen launching interactive manicure app

    Most of us already know that the chemicals used to make nail polish are bad for our health. Yet, nail therapists work day and night providing a service many of us consider a treat, and they breathe the toxic fumes for hours each day. 

    In Singapore, a quick survey by Yahoo Singapore found that manicurists are aware of some of the potential health risks from the chemicals used during treatments, but they aren't too concerned -- they are more worried about physical injuries related to the job.

    Owner of Nail Lodge in Serangoon Garden, Margaret Tan, 31, worked as manicurist for six years before starting her own salon. While she knows fumes from nail polish and removers can be harmful, a bigger concern she says, is lower back pain. "Because they (manicurists) are sitting down all day, their posture is quite bad," Tan says.

    A recent article by the New York Times exposed the poor working conditions and health risks faced by manicurists in New York City. Workers complained of breathing

    Read More »from Are Singapore nail salons safe for workers?
  • She lives in New York City, while her mother lives in China. So Singaporean Jacintha Phua decided to create an unusual birthday card for her mother’s birthday. 

    Phua walked 30,905 steps over two and a half hours to form the words “Happy”, “55″ and the Chinese characters for “birthday” across the streets of Manhattan as a birthday greeting. She then posted it on social media.

    “I wanted to do something thoughtful which doesn’t cost money - she doesn’t like it if I spend money on her,” said Phua, 28, to Yahoo Singapore.

    She sketched out the route on a map, then used the app Map My Run to track the route as she walked. “I planed each letter as generally two avenues in height and two streets in width, with one street space in between,” she said. The entire route covered 20.84km, said Phua who works in an investment bank.

    And how did Phua’s mother react? “She says it’s nice and her colleagues and friends think it’s very cool,” said Phua. “She also asked how are my legs. And to be honest,

    Read More »from Singaporean woman’s 20 km ‘walk of love’ for mother’s birthday in New York City
  • Malaysia Airlines love story video attempts to reposition the brand


    Malaysia Airlines (MAS) released a new promotional video this week called #lundangtonewcastle. Reeling from twin disasters that severely damaged the brand, MAS is honing in on a touching love story to reposition itself as the airline that gets people home.

    Lundang to Newcastle is a love story between a UK-born Malaysian in London and a girl from Kota Bharu, Kelantan. It’s an 8-minute short story narrated through interviews with their friends and family who tell the story about their love across thousands of miles.

    “Each day, Malaysia Airlines flies an average of 45,000 guests, many of whom fly MH from various parts of the world to Malaysia. Most importantly, MH flies our fellow Malaysians home. With Malaysia Airlines, you're home even when you're away," the video says.

    Uploaded on 24 May, it now has close to 300,000 views on YouTube. 

    It’s the latest airline trying to cash in on a positive social media viral campaign to boost its popularity.

    Air New Zealand is probably the best at

    Read More »from Malaysia Airlines love story video attempts to reposition the brand
  • What better way is there to connect with fans than sing a duet with them?

    Currently the featured artist on singing app Sing! by Smule, British singer-songwriter Jessie J sings parts of her songs on the platform and any member of the app can join to complete the song in a duet.

    Singaporean Fairus Adam gave it a go, singing Jessie J’s latest single, Flashlight from the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack, and posted the video on his Facebook page on Sunday (24 May).

    Fairus’ soulful vocals mesmerised many locals, and his video (at the time this article was written) was viewed over 280,000 times, with more than 11,000 likes and 8,000 shares.

    In the comments section, many chimed words of encouragement with some petitioning for him to go on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

    Even local trolling extraordinaire SGAG was impressed with Fairus’ talent, sharing his video on their Facebook page on Monday (25 May).


    Here’s the video:

    Read More »from Singaporean’s duet with Jessie J goes viral
  • Participants dressed in pink perform cheerleading stunts before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. The annual Pink Dot Sg event promotes an acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, according to organizers. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: SOCIETY)Participants dressed in pink perform cheerleading stunts before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. The annual Pink Dot Sg event promotes an acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, according to organizers. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: SOCIETY)

    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.

    Ireland – a largely Catholic country which only decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 and divorce in 1995 – voted resoundingly to amend their constitution and approve same-sex marriage last weekend. They have become the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote, and at a count of 62 per cent to 38 per cent, no less.

    This piece of news stood in stark contrast to another development circulating on social media in Singapore: that the Media Development Authority (MDA) had apparently banned from radio and TV a song and music video by Jolin Tsai, presumably because its pro-gay message would encourage a push for same-sex marriage here.

    It feels a bit as if the MDA has jumped the gun; there *is* no push for same-sex marriage

    Read More »from COMMENT: Time to make Singapore a more inclusive space
  • MOM releases a list of public holidays for Singapore in 2016. (Screenshot from MOM website)MOM releases a list of public holidays for Singapore in 2016. (Screenshot from MOM website)

    Michael Y.P. Ang is a Singaporean freelance journalist. In 1999, he was among the core group of journalists who helped launch Channel NewsAsia, where he covered sports and entertainment events, crime, and the 2001 General Elections. For his commentaries on Singaporean sport, follow his Facebook page Michael Ang Sports. The views expressed are his own.

    By Michael Y.P. Ang

    In recent years, there have been loud calls to exclude religion from the public sphere in Singapore.

    Singapore is widely seen as a secular state because it has no official religion. But there's more to secularism than the absence of a state religion.

    Secularism also involves the strict separation of the state from religious institutions and the equal treatment of all citizens under the law, whatever their religion or belief.

    Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reinforced the commonly held view of a secular Singapore: "To maintain harmony in Singapore's multiracial and multi-religious society, the

    Read More »from COMMENT: Singapore a secular state? Think again
  • 6 things happy parents say ‘no’ to

    As a parent, it can sometimes feel like your to-do list is never-ending.

    You have so many responsibilities to fulfill, chores to complete, and errands to run.

    Stressful, isn’t it?

    Through my work, I interact with lots of parents. Sadly, it seems like many parents are overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of life, and have lost the joy of parenthood.

    In this article, I’ll share with you six things to say “no” to as a parent. When you say “no” to these things, I’m confident that you’ll become a happier – and better – parent.

    Here they are:

    1. Say “no” to perfection

    Do you strive for perfection?

    Some parents hold on to these ideals:

    - They should never lose their temper.

    - They should always be cheerful.

    - Their home should be neat and clean all the time.

    - They should be involved in charity work and in serving the community.

    - They should have an active social life.

    - Their children should be well-behaved.

    - Their children should perform well in school.

    - Their children should excel in

    Read More »from 6 things happy parents say ‘no’ to
  • A rescued migrant weeps upon arrival Simpang Tiga, Aceh province, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Hundreds of migrants stranded at sea for months were rescued and taken to Indonesia, officials said Wednesday, the latest in a stream of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants to reach shore in a growing crisis confronting Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)A rescued migrant weeps upon arrival Simpang Tiga, Aceh province, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Hundreds of migrants stranded at sea for months were rescued and taken to Indonesia, officials said Wednesday, the latest in a stream of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants to reach shore in a growing crisis confronting Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

    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.


    A tragedy unfolded in the seas even as Malaysia and Indonesia played a demented game of reverse tug-of-war, pushing boats full of desperate refugees away from their territories.

    Hundreds of migrants, many of them Rohingya from Myanmar, cram on to boats described as “floating coffins” in the hope of a better, safer life away from the strife and persecution they faced back home.

    It’s not a recent problem. This crisis – a genocide, even – has been in the making for years. Violent conflict in Rakhine state grabbed the international media’s attention in 2012, but the status of Rohingya in Myanmar has been problematic for decades.

    This is a problem that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has found itself unable to resolve, not

    Read More »from COMMENT: What should Singapore do to help stranded refugees?

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