• 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
  • 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.

    How much do we know about the cardboard collectors we see on the street, pushing along loaded trolleys, backs hunched? Recently Minister of Social and Family Development (MSF) Tan Chuan-jin accompanied a group of students to meet box collectors at Jalan Besar. Yet his findings has raised eyebrows among other volunteers.

    Reading his post reminded me of a cardboard collector I’d met last year. It was raining when we met her, and she wasn’t going to get very far walking alone pushing her trolley in that downpour, so she agreed to sit down with us at a coffeeshop for a chat.

    She’d earned just a couple of dollars that day. She said she wasn’t one of the regular ones because she couldn’t go around collecting cardboard all the time; her husband was

    Read More »from Why we shouldn’t take cardboard collectors’ comments at face value
  • Do you wish you had a better relationship with your children?

    Maybe your children don’t communicate much with you. They spend most of their time in their room, glued to their smartphone or computer.

    Maybe they also lack motivation – except when it comes to social media and gaming.

    If this describes your children, don’t despair. In this article, I’ll share with you specific ways to improve the situation.

    I’ve worked with 20,000 tweens and teens, and they’ve confessed to me why they behave this way.

    Want to know the reason?

    It’s because of the way their parents talk to them.

    Of course, the parent-child relationship is a two-way street. But if parents stopped saying certain things, children would become more communicative, respectful, and responsible.

    So here’s a list of 15 things that parents should stop saying to their children:

    1. “You always …” or “You never …”

    Have you ever said any of the following to your children?

    - “You always wake up late.”

    - “You always take the easy way out.”

    Read More »from 15 things parents should stop saying to their children
  • “You want people to stand up, not scrape and bow. But if you don’t have a certain natural aristocracy in the system, people who are respected because they have earned that and we level everything down to the lowest common denominator, then I think society will lose out.”
    -
    Lee Hsien Loong at the Singapore At 50: What Lies Ahead? conference at the Institute of Policy Studies conference

    The word “aristocracy” has triggered shock and indignation, but the sentiment Lee Hsien Loong expressed on Thursday evening was not at all new.   

    It’d be inaccurate to believe that Lee was trying to describe Singapore as a place with a hereditary nobility/monarchy - what he was talking about is simply Singapore’s system of “meritocracy”. 

    Singapore, as we are often told, is a meritocratic society where people are rewarded for the amount of work they put in. What Lee is saying is that these industrious, ambitious, brilliant people should be accorded respect because they’ve earned and therefore deserve

    Read More »from COMMENT: Of "natural aristocracy" and earning your place
  • 15 ways to overcome smartphone addiction

    Nomophobia is short for “no-mobile-phone phobia”.

    It’s the fear of being away from your smartphone or not having network coverage. And it’s on the rise.

    87% of young adults say that their smartphone never leaves their side, while 80% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up.

    Smartphone addiction is becoming a big problem. Here are some signs of addiction:

    - You frequently use your phone at mealtimes.

    - You spend more time on your phone than interacting with others in person.

    - You frequently use your phone when you know you should be doing something else more productive.

    - You frequently use your smartphone while performing tasks that require focus, e.g. completing an assignment, writing a report, driving.

    - You feel uncomfortable when your phone isn’t with you.

    - You sometimes check your phone in the middle of the night.

    Are you an addict, or do you know someone who is?

    (If you’re interested, you can take this free online smartphone addiction test designed by The

    Read More »from 15 ways to overcome smartphone addiction
  • Give yourself a pat on the back.

    Parenthood is tough, and you’re doing the best you can.

    You thought the worst was over when you no longer had to deal with dirty diapers, multiple middle-of-the-night wakings, and temper tantrums.

    But it seems like the worst isn’t over. In the blink of an eye, you now have a defiant child on your hands.

    He talks back to you. He disobeys you. He doesn’t pay attention in class. He refuses to do his homework.

    Maybe the situation is more serious than that. Maybe he’s hanging out with bad company, or maybe he’s started smoking or drinking.

    You’ve tried everything, but things haven’t improved. But rest assured that there’s hope, because the situation can get better.

    Having mentored many rebellious, defiant children, I’ve come up with a list of 10 strategies that work:

    1. When you’re angry, walk away temporarily.

    It’s reasonable to get angry when your child is rude or disrespectful. But if you’re on the brink of losing control of your emotions, walk away.

    Tell

    Read More »from How to deal with a defiant child: 10 strategies that work
  • 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 want to pray that we will continue to wear white as long as there is pink, and we will wear white until the pink is gone, and even if the pink is gone we will continue to wear white.”

    The above statement comes not from some sort of ill-conceived advertisement for laundry liquid, but from conservative magician-pastor Lawrence Khong of the Faith Community Baptist Church.

    Khong and his fellow anti-LGBT followers have once again revived the Wear White campaign, positioned as a counter to the annual gay rights rally Pink Dot.

    This vocal conservative group are incensed by what they see as a threat to the “Natural Family” posed by the LGBT equality movement. More than adultery, more than domestic violence and problem gambling, it is for some

    Read More »from COMMENT: The hypocrisy of the Wear White campaign
  • image

    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’ve recently done two things that I’ve rarely, if ever, done before: I watched a Jolin Tsai music video and breached my own savings plan (no more books, Kirsten, you have nowhere to put them!) to buy a graphic novel.

    I only have Singapore to thank for this widening of my horizons; it would never have occurred to me to do either of these things if various government bodies had not done what they did.

    Last weekend the news emerged that Jolin Tsai’s song and music video We’re All Different, Yet The Same could not be broadcast on television and radio. In true Singaporean fashion, this move was reported as not a ban, then as a ban, but only a little bit, because semantics.

    On Saturday, The Straits Times reported that graphic novelist Sonny

    Read More »from COMMENT: Singapore fails to understand the Streisand Effect, over and over
  • 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

Pagination

(1,191 Stories)