• 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
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    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
  • 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?
  • Alfian Sa'at is a writer, playright and poet based in Singapore. He is the resident playwright at W!LD RICE. The views expressed are his own.

    By Alfian Sa'at

    I wasn't planning on writing about Amos Yee, but I'm quite upset by the way the media is painting him—with insinuations that he might fall within the autism spectrum, that he is so psychologically disturbed that he needs psychiatric evaluation, that there is something about his behaviour that might be 'abnormal'.

    I had the pleasure of having supper with Amos and his family. The mother, Mary Yee, is a twinkly-eyed lady who would lean in to listen to you speak. She looked perpetually curious and attentive, her head craning around even as she hugged her floral tote bag close to her. One could speculate that she's passed on some of that inquisitiveness to her only child.

    "You know Amos wanted to change his name?" she told us.

    "Why?"

    "Because his full name is Amos Yee Pang Sang. And in school the kids used to tease him and called him

    Read More »from COMMENT: A conversation with Amos Yee and family
  • Photo of children in Singapore. AFP file photo.Photo of children in Singapore. AFP file photo.

    Not too long ago, my son (I’ll call him Z) turned one.

    Someone once told me that your child’s first birthday is a momentous one. Not mainly because your child has developed so much over the past year … But because you, as a parent, have survived one whole year of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and uncontrollable crying.

    So congratulations to all the parents out there who have passed this milestone!

    When I envision Z’s future, I’m hopeful. But I’m also afraid.

    Why?

    Because, through my work, I get to interact with thousands of teenagers every year. I’ve worked with teenagers who are disciplined, focused, kind, and enterprising.

    But at the other extreme, I’ve also worked with teenagers who are angry and out-of-control. Some of them even struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

    So I wonder …

    Will Z become more like the first group of teenagers described above, or the second?

    Will he use his talents in the service of society?

    Will he become a person of unwavering integrity?

    I know

    Read More »from 15 things I want my son to know by the time he’s 15

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