Blog Posts by Elizabeth Soh

  • Singapore’s teachers worried about social media ‘skinny’ challenges

    Have you heard of the “thigh gap test”?

    Its a social media challenge that involves standing in front of the mirror and seeing if your thighs touch. If they do, you’re considered “fat” and if there’s a satisfying space of 5cm or more, you’re “fit”.

    It's just one of three or more "skinny trends" sweeping the social media-verse of young Singaporeans.
     
    These strange and disturbing tests are becoming very popular here; concerned educators are reporting that the tests are starting to take place in their classrooms, right under their noses.

    “Yes, I’ve heard my female students talking about it and it's distressing for me,” said girls-school teacher N Farhanah, 34, who caught her students trying the clavicle test while in their PE uniforms and gave them a good talking to.

    This involves stacking a row of coins along the clavicle -- the collarbone -- and the more you are able to stack, the skinnier you deemed to be.

    “It's sad that they use these trends with no real scientific basis to compare and

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  • Singapore's worst food scandals

    Cockroaches in curry puffs, deaths from eating rojak and nasi padang and rats in vegetables – Singaporeans love to eat and horrific food hygiene incidents over the years have caused rage, disgust and disenchantment on a mass scale.
     
    Since the beginning of this year, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has already conducted about 62,000 inspections on food premises and taken enforcement action a total of 1,351 times.
     
    Here are the food scandals, which rocked the nation and dominated headlines, from the most recent shoe-in-the-sink stink.

    Kopitiam employee sacked for washing shoe in sinkKopitiam employee sacked for washing shoe in sink
     
    1)    Kopitiam employee caught washing shoes in the food sink (June 2015)
     
    An employee at popular local foodcourt chain Kopitiam’s National University Hospital outlet was sacked on 23 June 2015 after she was caught on video washing her rubber clog shoes in the stall’s food preparation sink.
     
    An irate customer had spotted the dessert stall employee in action and took a video, which quickly went viral.  Kopitiam promptly terminated the offending

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  • Kopitiam employee sacked after video of shoe-washing in sink goes viral


    (Click on image to play video.)

    [UPDATED 23 June 12.35pm: Kopitiam confirms that the staff in the video has been sacked and that it is investigating the matter.]

    Kopitiam confirms that the staff caught on video washing her shoe in a food stall sink has been sacked and that it is launching a "thorough investigation" into the matter.

    In a statement to Yahoo Singapore, a spokesman apologised for the incident.

    Kopitiam said, "With regard to the incident in our food court located at NUH, we would like to apologize for this unpleasant encounter. Please be assured that we take this matter seriously. All washing equipment has been replaced and the sink disinfected. The staff in question has been terminated with immediate effect and we will be conducting a thorough investigation into this matter. In addition, our hygiene executive will be conducting a hygiene briefing for all staff working in the food court."

    A video of the employee washing a shoe in a food stall sink had earlier raised a stink

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  • Five Singapore food Instagrammers you should follow

    With power-packed handphone cameras and a whole host of photo editing apps, posting your #foodporn on Instagram has become easier to do than ever. But who wants to see yet another photo of trendy “in” foods like red velvet cupcakes, waffles or the once-hipster now-commonplace Eggs Benedict brunch dish?
     
    For the jaded Instagrammers and foodies among you, we introduce five local Instagram accounts with a fresh take on eating in Singapore. From quirky local chef Willin Low to the homey, comforting but insanely delicious looking dishes of HoneyBeeSweets, here they are for your consideration:

    A shot of a durian feast at Chong Pang Market by foodie Ellena Guan (Instagram: @cuisineparadise)A shot of a durian feast at Chong Pang Market by foodie Ellena Guan (Instagram: @cuisineparadise)
     
    1)    "The Kitchen Queen" Ellena Guan @CuisineParadise (16K followers)
     
    This local food blogger and mum also writes at www.ellenaguan.com where she shares her recipes for simple but heartwarming homemade food ranging from gluten-free Banana Bread to Wanton Spinach Noodles made from scratch. Her Instagram account, which has 16,000 followers, is an endless stream of deliciousness. Where to find 10 creamy,

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  • Five ways to get your Minion fix in Singapore

    Are you one of the many “Minions” fans who can’t get enough of the pill-shaped, tone deaf - and absolutely adorable! - yellow creatures after catching the 'Despicable Me' here?

    From fast food to high-end hairpieces, here’s our list of how to get your fix in Minion-manic Singapore.

    The fast-food chain being completely invaded by Minions – the things are plastered all over its glass walls in decals, and stills from the movie hover behind hungry diners chowing down on Minion-themed banana pies and the banana chocolate McFlurry.The fast-food chain being completely invaded by Minions – the things are plastered all over its glass walls in decals, and stills from the movie hover behind hungry diners chowing down on Minion-themed banana pies and the banana chocolate McFlurry.


    1.     The Minions invade McDonalds


    The fast-food chain being completely invaded by Minions – the things are plastered all over its glass walls in decals, and stills from the movie hover behind hungry diners chowing down on Minion-themed banana pies and the banana chocolate McFlurry.

    To complete your experience, order your food from staff members wearing Minion dungaree uniforms. Oh, and don't forget to bring home your Minion cable-tie or figurines in ten different designs.

    Minion Monopoly, T-shirts, hairbrushes and even cookies – USS’ Minion Mart is a paradise for Minion fans with bad shopping habits.Minion Monopoly, T-shirts, hairbrushes and even cookies – USS’ Minion Mart is a paradise for Minion fans with bad shopping habits.


    2.     The Minion Mart at Universal Studios Sentosa

    Minion Monopoly, T-shirts, hairbrushes and even cookies – USS’ Minion Mart is a paradise for Minion fans with bad shopping habits.

    Whether you’re a Minion fan or someone just out to make a sartorial statement, you will definitely be getting some looks wearing these Minion headpieces from milliner Piers Atkinson.Whether you’re a Minion fan or someone just out to make a sartorial statement, you will definitely be getting some looks wearing these Minion headpieces from milliner Piers Atkinson.



    3.     High-end Minion headwear

    Whether you’re a Minion fan

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  • Money changers “sold out” after mad rush for low ringgit

    Singaporeans’ mad rush to change their money for Malaysian ringgit has left several popular moneychangers completely ‘sold out’ of the currency.

    “We cannot meet demand for ringgit, and have to turn away many customers who still try their luck,” said Rafffles Place moneychanger Mr R Tang, 46, who displayed a prominent sign at his shop stating “Ringgit Sold Out” when he ran out last Friday.

    M.M Shariff Traders at The Arcade was seen turning away customers with loud announcements of “no more, no more ringgit!”

    Driven by the ringgit falling to an all-time low against the Singapore dollar, small-time speculators and holidaymakers have been rushing to take advantage of the favourable rates and are stocking up on the currency.

    The Malaysian ringgit has slumped to as low as 2.79 to the Singapore dollar this month, hurt by its 1MDB political scandals and signs of Chinese economic weakness.

    As of Tuesday, 16 June 2015, most moneychangers were trading the ringgit at 2.78 to the Singapore dollar.

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  • The Big One: More Singaporean parents throwing huge first-year birthday parties

    First-year birthday parties are usually kept intimate and to close family members only. After all, as most parents say, the baby won’t even remember the party.
     
    But a new breed of Singaporean parents is emerging – and spending – on whimsical, lavish first birthday parties which they say celebrate their own parenthood as much as their child’s first birthday.
     
    “For me, its very meaningful to celebrate the first year of being a mother to my child as well as their first birthday, so its kind of my party as much as hers,” said banking executive Flora Chew, 32, who spent $7,000 on a unicorn-themed first birthday party at a play gym for her daughter, Ellie.
     
    “After all, her 21st birthday party will be of her own choosing. I won’t have a say!”
     
    Kid’s party planners are noticing a spike in such high-end first birthday celebrations, especially in the past year.
     
    “I would say there is a generation of Singaporeans with a lot of spending power who are becoming parents,” said children’s luxury party

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  • Four forgotten places of old Singapore

    From a hidden hot spring to a HDB deity and a completely demolished theme park, these four attractions were once hugely popular with Singaporeans but have been forgotten over the years.

    Do you remember the Tang Dynasty Village, with its majestic Chinese facades and hundreds of terracotta soldiers? Or the Monkey Tree God, which drew thousands of Singaporeans to a quiet estate in Jurong West in search of divine intervention?

    Take a short trip down memory lane with us as we go in search of four forgotten places in Singapore and discover if they are gone for good.



    Sembawang Hot Spring (Sembawang)

    Bubbling quietly away in a rustic red-brick enclosure with plastic buckets placed near the well’s taps to collect water and with only a lone caretaker on most weekdays, Sembawang Hot Spring is one of Singapore’s lesser known treasures.

     Singapore’s only remaining natural hot spring is located at Gambas Avenue between Woodlands Avenue 12 and Sembawang Road.

    Tucked away in a wooded area about 100m off the

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  • Pre-peak hour MRT travel to remain free for another year

    Train commuters travelling for free during pre-peak periods will be able to continue doing so for another year.
     
    Singapore’s Land Transport Authority announced on Tuesday that it would be extending its “Free Pre-Peak Travel” programme until 30 June 2016.
     
    Currently, commuters who benefit from this programme are those who end their journey before 7.45 am on weekdays at 18 designated MRT stations in the city area.
     
    There is also a 50-cent discount on fares if commuters exit between 7.45 am and 8 am.
     
    In a media statement, LTA said that the decision to extend the pre-peak free fares came after a “sustained reduction of 7 to 8 per cent during the morning peak period” was recorded since the scheme was introduced two years ago.
     
    The spokesman said that the reduction was a sign that the free pre-peak rides had resulted in a "more evenly distributed morning rail ridership".
     

  • News of ‘misleading’ ingredients in Plum Organic, Gerber unsettles Singapore mums

    News that hugely popular baby food brands Plum Organic and Gerber were accused by a non-profit consumer watchdog of deceptive marketing over product ingredients has distressed some mothers in Singapore.
     
    “Plum Organics boasts of healthful and trendy ingredients such as kale, quinoa, blackberry and Greek yoghurt on labels of its baby food pouches, when in fact the pouches typically contain cheaper and less nutritious apple puree or even water as the first ingredients,” reads the press release from the U.S.-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) issued on May 13.
     
    The release alleged that Plum Organics, which is owned by Campbell, had "deceived" customers by "misrepresenting the presence and proportions of its baby food ingredients".
     
    As an example, the CSPI cited a pouch of Plum’s Kale, Apple and Greek Yoghurt as deceiving as the first three main ingredients, which make up the bulk of the pouch were apple puree, water, and pasteurized yoghurt with no healthy live bacteria.

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