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  1. #1157
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New cancer centre opens

    The Straits Times
    Feb 8, 2010

    By Joan Chew


    SINGAPORE'S cancer population is set to grow at an alarming rate. Back in 1997, there were 7,000 new cancer patients. A decade later, the number rose to 9,000. By 2015, there will be an expected 13,000 new cancer patients.

    Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients, said Professor John Wong, Director of NCIS, at a media briefing on Monday.

    Presently, the National Cancer Centre is the only institute which handles about 70 per cent of the cancer population, said a spokesman.

    In contrast, NCIS sees about a quarter of the cancer population, but expects to have a seven per cent increase in patient load by 2015. NCIS will be formally inaugurated on Tuesday by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. It was renamed from The Cancer Institute in 2008.

    Besides catering to adult and child patients 'in one facility, under one holistic programme,' Prof Wong added that the Institute, located at the National University of Singapore (NUS), will focus on cancer research and education. He said: 'NCIS aims to be a leading comprehensive cancer centre dedicated to the prevention, management and cure of cancer.'

    NCIS scientists will be conducting translational clinical research in collaboration with institutions like the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS as well as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).


    Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients. -- PHOTO: NCIS
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  2. #1158
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default $4.8m grants for 5 projects

    The Straits Times
    Feb 8, 2010


    FIVE research projects have been awarded $4.8 million grants under the Environment Technology Research Programme (ETRP) to develop waste management solutions for Singapore.

    Administered by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Environment and Water Industry Development Council (EWI), the programme is an initiative to build up technological competencies in waste management and to support a growing ecosystem of companies and researchers undertaking Clean Environment Research and Development (R&D).

    The five approved projects are proposed by National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), and they were selected after a rigorous evaluation of 67 proposals received from the academia and industry at the close of the inaugural Request-For-Proposal (RFP) on Aug 31 last year.

    The projects represent a good mix of innovative research work in the field of waste management covering the key focus areas of energy recovery, resource recovery and special waste treatment.

    Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive Officer of NEA, said: 'The encouraging response for ETRP is a reflection of the growing waste management market worldwide, an area that Singapore can tap into. These five successful projects possess strong scientific merits and excellent research capabilities that will help develop sustainable and cost efficient waste management solutions for use not only in Singapore but also other countries that are facing similar waste challenges.


    Details of the 5 research projects

    1. Nanyang Polytechnic - Led by Ms Sim Gia Wen, the project will develop lower cost Cerium Dioxide (CeO2) catalyst elements to remove gaseous air pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). Presently, catalyst materials are based on the more expensive Titanium Dioxide (TiO2). This innovation could lead to further improvement in air quality and lower the cost of air pollution control solutions for waste incinerators, power stations and industrial combustion processes.

    2. National University of Singapore - Professor Kang En Tang will lead a team of researchers to improve the current practices in the e-waste industry to recover heavy and precious metals. The research project will develop electro-active polymers to efficiently recover precious and heavy metals from the acid solution instead of using the more energy intensive electrolysis process.

    This technology allows the acid solution to be recycled and little energy input is needed as the metal extraction occurs spontaneously in the polymers. It could potentially reduce the cost of operation and make e-waste companies more competitive and sustainable.

    3. Nanyang Technological University - A project led by Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan will convert mixed plastic waste into higher value biodegradable polymers known as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PHA is the basic building block for making biodegradable materials for e.g. in medical applications such as surgical threads.

    The process involves a first stage plastic-to-oil thermal conversion and second stage oil-to-PHA synthesis using PHA accumulating microbes. The research will determine and optimize the efficiency of the process in preparation for upscaling. The researchers expect PHA materials produced from waste to be much cheaper than those produced from sugar or glucose and this could bring about better environmental, economic and social benefits.

    4. Nanyang Technological University - Dr Yan Rong and her team will optimise the gasification and pyrolysis technology to maximise the production of syngas and liquid biofuel from mixed waste streams. It would lead to a conceptual design of a pilot scale thermal treatment plant to convert MSW including sludge into bio-energy.

    Such plants could potentially be scalable, achieve higher efficiency and have a lower environmental footprint. The NTU researchers are collaborating with Sembcorp in this project with a view to demonstrate and commercialise the technology.

    5. Nanyang Technological University - Professor Ng Wun Jern and his research team will develop technologies to accelerate landfill stabilisation and to tap the landfill as a source of energy by using an enhanced biological process. The researchers will also be using Incineration Bottom Ash as a material for landfill capping and liner membrane to gainfully utilise a residue and allow large structures on completed landfill sooner.

    Redevelopment of a landfill site can be in a much shorter time frame of 10 to 15 years instead of 30 to 40 years. This is the anticipated result of deploying a sequence of microbial processes for the initial conversion of complex organic matter to short fatty acids, followed by methane generation, and thereafter biogenic gases so generated will be sequestered into polymers for enhanced stabilisation and energy recovery.

    These can add benefits to a business model which includes increased revenue from sale of recovered energy and reduce landfill aftercare costs. The project's benefits also include the development of chemical binding additives with IBA for landfill lining and capping materials.

    This will not only help address the issue of IBA disposal but will reduce subsequent costs of construction during redevelopment by reducing the need for additional reinforcement on the soil foundation. It is anticipated the project will have commercial potential in regional markets as there is growing demand to rehabilitate old landfills near urban cities for higher value real estate developments.

  3. #1159
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Life savers in void decks

    The Straits Times
    Feb 8, 2010

    Bukit Merah View project aims to boost chances of survival during heart attacks

    By Melissa Sim

    RESIDENTS in Bukit Merah View now have easy access to a device installed in their void decks that can boost their neighbours' chances of survival in the event of a heart attack.

    Automated external defibrillators (AEDs), a smaller version of those used in hospitals to resuscitate patients whose hearts have stopped, are now in all 19 blocks in the housing estate.

    Two more are in the Henderson Community Club and the Bukit Merah View market. The precious life-saving devices are protected by anti-theft alarms.

    The initiative was started after figures showed that residents in the estate - of whom nearly half were aged above 50 - were more prone to heart attacks.

    Statistics from the National Resuscitation Council (NRC), which pushes the cause of life support and resuscitation in Singapore, revealed that the Bukit Merah and Redhill areas had about 150 cases per 100,000 residents of cardiac arrests happening outside the hospital.

    The national average is about 25 per 100,000 residents.


    Bukit Merah View residents undergoing training at Henderson CC on how to use the automated external defibrillator (AED) and perform CPR. About 140 grassroots leaders, teenagers and residents in the estate have gone through such sessions. -- ST PHOTOS: STEPHANIE YEOW
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  4. #1160
    Regular Member ctjcad's Avatar
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    Default Off topic-You can try..

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    How do I do this?

    If I post the pictures intact here, I will get a 'friendly' note to say that they are "oversized"!

    So everytime I have to downsize to fit the specs! And of course it has an adverse impact on the pics.
    ..if you want to keep the file's resolution as is without downsizing, you would need to use Photoshop or other image editor program (like Lightroom or GIMP or Paint.net; you can search & download them from the internet; can ask your son to help you out). Resizing/downsizing will always affect the resolution.
    Then open the file in one of those programs and just select & cut/clip the area of the picture that you want to keep. It'll keep the resolution higher but then you'll have to sacrifice the other parts of the picture. Then create a New file and paste what you clipped/cut.
    Or if it's still too big, you can try by reducing the picture first, say, 50% (once only). Then you do the select->cut/clip of the area you want to keep. Then create a New file & paste what you clipped/cut.
    For me, if you already have Photoshop, it will do the job. Good luck!
    Last edited by ctjcad; 02-08-2010 at 10:34 AM.

  5. #1161
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default RWS casino to open by CNY

    The Straits Times
    Feb 8, 2010

    By Lim Wei Chean , Jessica Lim , Tessa Wong , Chuang Bing Han and Mou Zongxiao

    THE doors to Singapore's first casino and Universal Studios theme park will be flung open by the Chinese New Year, which is widely regarded as an auspicious time.

    Tenants and staff at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) told The Straits Times that they have been gearing up for the big opening at the end of this week.

    One tenant said yesterday they had been told by the management that the theme park is targeted to open on either Feb 12 or 13, and the casino would open on Feb 13.

    'We were told this a couple of days ago. We are very excited about good business during Chinese New Year,' said Mr Zie Samad, manager of Chili's, a restaurant which is just beside the theme park entrance. Entertainment veteran Dennis Foo, who is opening a new club at the integrated resort (IR) by early May, said 'more than three people in senior management' had told him the theme park would be taking in its first guests this week.

    Mr Foo toured the IR last month and pronounced the casino '100 per cent ready'.

    Several casino staff, who spoke to The Straits Times on condition of anonymity, said they were told to be ready for the casino's opening before Chinese New Year.


    The doors to Singapore's first casino and Universal Studios theme park will be flung open by the Chinese New Year, which is widely regarded as an auspicious time. --PHOTO: REUTERS
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  6. #1162
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    The Straits Times
    Feb 8, 2010

    By Joan Chew


    SINGAPORE'S cancer population is set to grow at an alarming rate. Back in 1997, there were 7,000 new cancer patients. A decade later, the number rose to 9,000. By 2015, there will be an expected 13,000 new cancer patients.

    Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients, said Professor John Wong, Director of NCIS, at a media briefing on Monday.

    Presently, the National Cancer Centre is the only institute which handles about 70 per cent of the cancer population, said a spokesman.

    In contrast, NCIS sees about a quarter of the cancer population, but expects to have a seven per cent increase in patient load by 2015. NCIS will be formally inaugurated on Tuesday by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. It was renamed from The Cancer Institute in 2008.

    Besides catering to adult and child patients 'in one facility, under one holistic programme,' Prof Wong added that the Institute, located at the National University of Singapore (NUS), will focus on cancer research and education. He said: 'NCIS aims to be a leading comprehensive cancer centre dedicated to the prevention, management and cure of cancer.'

    NCIS scientists will be conducting translational clinical research in collaboration with institutions like the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS as well as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).


    Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients. -- PHOTO: NCIS
    This is misleading although in a way it is technically correct.
    Yes, 9,000 new cases of cancer in 2007 is higher than 1997's 7,000 cases of cancer, and the increase in a decade is 28.5%.
    But Singapore's population in 1997 was about 3.1 million; in 2007 it was 4.7 million, a far greater increase of 51.6% compared with the 28.5% cancer cases increase.
    By any measure, the cancer rate, that is cases per say 1000 population has actually come down. But that is not what the news say. Now, what is going on?

  7. #1163
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    Quote Originally Posted by taneepak View Post
    This is misleading although in a way it is technically correct.
    Yes, 9,000 new cases of cancer in 2007 is higher than 1997's 7,000 cases of cancer, and the increase in a decade is 28.5%.
    But Singapore's population in 1997 was about 3.1 million; in 2007 it was 4.7 million, a far greater increase of 51.6% compared with the 28.5% cancer cases increase.
    By any measure, the cancer rate, that is cases per say 1000 population has actually come down. But that is not what the news say. Now, what is going on?

    "Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients, said Professor John Wong, Director of NCIS, at a media briefing on Monday."

    just my hunch, to prep the public and gov't for more funding please

  8. #1164
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooler View Post
    "Singapore's newest cancer centre - the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) - will help to cater to this growing number of cancer patients, said Professor John Wong, Director of NCIS, at a media briefing on Monday."

    just my hunch, to prep the public and gov't for more funding please
    My hunch is that maybe they play around with the number of foreign workers in Spore who may not be PRs.

  9. #1165
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ctjcad View Post
    ..if you want to keep the file's resolution as is without downsizing, you would need to use Photoshop or other image editor program (like Lightroom or GIMP or Paint.net; you can search & download them from the internet; can ask your son to help you out). Resizing/downsizing will always affect the resolution.
    Then open the file in one of those programs and just select & cut/clip the area of the picture that you want to keep. It'll keep the resolution higher but then you'll have to sacrifice the other parts of the picture. Then create a New file and paste what you clipped/cut.
    Or if it's still too big, you can try by reducing the picture first, say, 50% (once only). Then you do the select->cut/clip of the area you want to keep. Then create a New file & paste what you clipped/cut.
    For me, if you already have Photoshop, it will do the job. Good luck!
    Thanks Chris but this is more than I can chew!

    I aint got no Photoshop, or the other stuff that you mentioned. Already I have to spend some time downsizing the images and posting them, and I suspect if I have to resort to the other gadgets as suggested, I may lose all interest.

    While I still have the energy, I better stick to what I know best.

  10. #1166
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Insensitive comments made

    The Straits Times
    Feb 9, 2010

    Pastor called up by ISD (Internal Security Dept)

    Leader of independent church apologises to Buddhists and Taoists

    By Yen Feng

    What ISD said

    'Pastor Tan's comments were highly inappropriate and unacceptable as they trivialised and insulted the beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists. They can also give rise to tension and conflict between the Buddhist/Taoist and Christian communities. ISD told Pastor Tan that in preaching or proselytising his faith, he must not run down other religions, and must be mindful of the sensitivities of other religions.'

    The Home Affairs Ministry, on what the Internal Security Department told Senior Pastor Rony Tan.

    What pastor said

    'I sincerely apologise for my insensitivity towards the Buddhists and Taoists, and solemnly promise that it will never happen again.'

    Senior Pastor Rony Tan, in his statement posted on his church's website last night.

    THE Government called up a Christian church leader yesterday after receiving complaints about online video clips that show him making insensitive comments about Buddhism.

    The Internal Security Department yesterday met Senior Pastor Rony Tan, founder of the Lighthouse Evangelism independent church, and told him that what he did was wrong.

    Last night, he posted an apology on the church's website, promising to respect other faiths and 'not ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion'.

    The video clips, which first appeared on the church's website two weeks ago, showed Pastor Tan questioning two church members as they recounted their past experiences as Buddhists.

    In the exchanges, some of Pastor Tan's comments - on Buddhist precepts of rebirth, karma and nirvana - drew laughter from his audience.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs said last night that his comments were 'highly inappropriate and unacceptable as they trivialised and insulted the beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists'.


    The video clips, which first appeared on the church's website two weeks ago, showed Pastor Tan questioning two church members as they recounted their past experiences as Buddhists. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE
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  11. #1167
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Call for restraint

    The Straits Times
    Feb 9, 2010

    Pastor did right thing by apologising, but Buddhist group wants to make sure there is no repeat

    By Grace Chua

    THE Singapore Buddhist Federation said Senior Pastor Rony Tan's act of apologising was the right thing to do - for a start.

    But it will still approach the authorities and have its voice heard in order to prevent similar incidents in future, it said last night.

    'It is good that the authorities have looked at this matter, but this is a matter of national concern. We want to appeal to the public and the authorities to make sure there is no second time,' said the federation's secretary-general, Venerable Kwang Phing.

    'Singapore is a multi-religious, multiracial society. There is no point arguing over who is right and who is wrong,' he added.

    Singapore Buddhist Lodge chairman Lee Bock Guan urged restraint on the part of Buddhists so that tension does not escalate. He said: 'Buddhism teaches us to forgive; everybody makes mistakes.'

    Singapore Taoist Federation chairman Tan Thiam Lye shared Mr Lee's view. 'If (Pastor Tan) is sincere, we accept his apology, and hope this sort of thing does not happen again,' he said.

    In one of the controversial video clips, Pastor Tan (right) is seen asking church member Joseph Wee about the time when the latter was a Buddhist in the 1980s. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE.COM
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  12. #1168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Channel NewsAsia
    07 February 2010 1825 hrs

    By Asha Popatlal,

    SINGAPORE : After a series of highs, the week-long Singapore Airshow has come to a close.

    Wrapping up, organisers said over 112,000 visitors had walked through its doors.

    Over 41,000 trade visitors from 122 countries and regions came to the event, while about 71,000 people showed up on the last two days, when the event was opened to the public.


    I was there last Saturday

    It was late morning and the sun was smiling happily. Without a vehicle label, I had to park my bike at a secluded spot near the beach. There were only a few mainly young people who came on their bicycles. Like me they were interested in the morning aerial displays which had just started. This is an excellent place to watch with the trees as shelter and the sea breeze cooling your face.

    The show lasted about 45 minutes and I had to walk a long way to the Changi Exhibition Centre where the action was supposed to be. The blazing sun did not relent and I had to endure the heat all of more than 2km, protected only on my head with the Badminton World Championships 2009 cap presented to me by Abedeng as souvenir.

    Local ST Engineering dominated the indoor exhibits. Rolls Royce was the star exhibitor with its turbine engines and blades. There were defence-related machines and inventions on show which attracted much attention. But the outdoor exhibits, the static aircraft displays and the afternoon air displays were the highlights.

    I wish there were more exciitng aerial displays though. Here are some of the pictures I captured:
    Wah Uncle Loh, Singapore very action ah, showing all those military hardware. I have this question, lets say la, I mean lets say ... if Malaysia goes to war with Singapore ... fight 1 on 1 la, dont go running to your sugar daddies i.e Australia, US, UK , who do you think will win?

  13. #1169
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Samsung C&T wins deal to build Singapore's first LNG terminal

    Channel NewsAsia
    08 February 2010 1710 hrs

    By May Wong/Jonathan Peeris,

    SINGAPORE: South Korea's Samsung C&T Corporation has won the tender to build Singapore's first liquefied natural gas terminal.

    Samsung C&T will handle the engineering, procurement and construction of the terminal under a contract worth about S$1 billion.

    The Singapore LNG Corporation (SLNG) announced this at a signing ceremony on Monday. SLNG was incorporated by the government's Energy Market Authority to own and develop Singapore's first LNG import terminal.

    SLNG's executive director, Neil McGregor, said: "There were many factors that led to selecting the Samsung proposal. Key to this was a very novel and efficient design, which minimised the footprint of the new terminal, thereby freeing up land within the site that SLNG can capitalise on to expand its business and the range of services it can provide in the future."

    All in, the government is investing S$1.5 billion in the LNG terminal project.

    LNG is natural gas cooled to liquid form, making the gas more practical to transport and store.

    The LNG terminal, which will occupy 30 hectares of land on the southwestern part of Jurong Island, is expected to be Asia's first open-access, multi-user terminal.

    It will not only provide capacity for Singapore to import re-gasified LNG for its own needs, but also open up opportunities for companies to make use of the terminal for LNG trading.

    The LNG terminal will have an initial capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per year, slightly above past projections of 3 million tonnes, with provisions to expand it to 6 million tonnes per year or more if needed.

    The terminal is now due to be completed in early 2013, after a deferment of one year. Foster Wheeler Asia Pacific has been named the project management consultant.

    The government said in June last year it was taking over development of the terminal to avoid more delays due to the credit crunch. The project was previously fronted by a PowerGas-led consortium, which included GDF Suez.

    Currently, 80 per cent of Singapore's electricity comes from gas-fired power plants. LNG will be an additional source to help Singapore meet increasing energy needs.

    Lawrence Wong, chief executive of Energy Market Authority, said: "From an energy security point of view, our imperative is to want to diversify our sources of gas. The terminal enables us to do that, because with the LNG terminal, we plug into the global gas market and we would have a much more diversified source of gas that we can get from all over the world.

    "Of course, through our aggregator British Gas, whom we've appointed, we would be able to access gas on a market basis, on a competitive price. So, I think, from that point of view, the LNG terminal is a critical infrastructure that will provide for our energy security and ensure that we have a more sustainable energy future."

    Artist impression of LNG terminal in Singapore
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    Quote Originally Posted by taneepak View Post
    Actually, I have worked in a few countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Australians are the laziest; Hong Kong workers are tops. I was very popular with the weaker *** in these countries but that was a long time ago.
    Hong Kong, being a laissez faire piece of "rock", is very unlike heavily regulated Singapore. Here it is free for all, a very fertile ground for entrepreneurs of all shades, from real business to show business ala the likes of Edison Chen.
    For SE Asians visiting Hong Kong the frist thing that strikes them is how fast Hong Kong people walk. Even a lady in high heels will leave a Singaporean or Malaysian young man behind when walking. This is Hong Kong's footprint of being super-competitive.
    Now, I am still surrounded by more females than males. I thought I have retired many moons ago but they still treat me as leader of the pack. The females around me are getting younger as the older ones left because they felt being ignored. That is what makes me feel young.
    Pemuda, I guess the situation in Malaysia is not so "friendly", from what I have heard from my good Malay friend in KL. I had three ex-Malay girl friends in KL (of all places, Kampong Bahru), Bentong, and Raub and would very much want to meet them, but my Malay friend advised me that it would not be wise. Even my telephone attempt to contact one was being heavily screened. Pemuda, what has changed?
    Dear taneepak,

    First of all, are your 3 ex-malay girlfriends hot looking?

    Your question posed to me is a tough one. It is a very serious question. But I will try to answer it below;

    "And as the flames climbed high into the night; To light the sacrificial rite; I saw Satan laughing with delight; The day the music died."
    American Pie - Don McLean

    And so, this is what has become of Malaysia. A nation where the music has long since died.

    We have banished our conscience at the foot of political expediency. We have long since been only moved to claim what is ours or what we believe to be ours and ours alone. We have long since been only moved to protect our rights or what we believe to be our rights. We have been indoctrinated to think and we do think that everything in this land has a proprietary right attached to it. And we draw a line. These are mine. Those are yours. And into my area you should not encroach. We are like wild dogs pissing everywhere to mark our territory. We have also been taught to differentiate fellow humans based on the colours of the skin. And the faith that we bear. And the language that we speak. And we now believe that only us and us alone are right. Everybody else is wrong. And we also now believe that only us and us alone matter. Everything else does not. And we piss and we piss, drawing lines to mark our territory. While others have gone to the moon and back.

    All that we have is anger. And our capacity to strike. We have built an impenetrable firewall to ward off any kind of tolerance or rationality. Those will be blocked and quickly booted out from our system. When we perceive a challenge - and we do that very quickly - we will strike.

    That to me is my Malaysia today.

  15. #1171
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pemuda View Post
    Wah Uncle Loh, Singapore very action ah, showing all those military hardware. I have this question, lets say la, I mean lets say ... if Malaysia goes to war with Singapore ... fight 1 on 1 la, dont go running to your sugar daddies i.e Australia, US, UK , who do you think will win?
    Where got sugar daddies lah? Spore don't wear skirts lah and now you talk about combat, it has to be more masculine lah!

    Tell me, 1 on 1, how many times will Spore be overwhelmed? I think we need Power Rangers to save our souls (SOS)! On the other hand, we have a lot of Msians (not Marsians) who are PRs and foreign workers who may want to defend their families, homes and jobs here and may want to resist foreign domination.
    Last edited by Loh; 02-08-2010 at 09:05 PM.

  16. #1172
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore Zoo lets visitors get closer to white tigers

    Channel NewsAsia
    09 February 2010 0023 hrs

    By Evelyn Choo,

    SINGAPORE: Remember the white tigers that made the headlines when a man went into their enclosure and got mauled to death at the zoo?

    One year on, the Singapore Zoo is asking visitors to get to know these very same tigers.

    For the first time to mark the Year of the Tiger, visitors will get the opportunity to go behind the scene to see how the white tigers are trained using operant conditioning to provide mental and behavioural stimulation for the animals.

    Meet Omar - a 10-year-old Bengal tiger who resides at the Singapore Zoo. He is taught to respond correctly to stimulants and gets rewarded with a meaty treat.

    Francis Lim, curator at Singapore Zoo, said: "In the past, we had to sedate the animal - that means we have to knock the animal down, let them sleep so we can do a close examination. But with this operant conditioning, we don't have to do that. It's safe for the animal, it doesn't compromise the animal's health."

    For the zookeepers, it is part of a bond that has been built over seven years.

    Mohamed Nasir, zookeeper at Singapore Zoo, said: "There was one time when Omar was really ill. He was really, really down because of his kidney. He was really sick, and you can really feel the pain.

    "He is like our family member. Omar is a bit bossy since he is the only male here. And like a typical male he has this ego in him. And he always has to be the first one."

    For S$28, visitors can witness this intimate session, but they have to stay behind the line and keep their voices down.

    For the less adventurous, visitors can take a peek at what the rest of the animal kingdom are up to this Lunar New Year season.

    A zookeeper getting close to a white tiger
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    Default Bird-ringing for a better understanding

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Feb 09, 2010

    by Ong Dai Lin

    SINGAPORE - On his round last October to check the mist nets in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), he spotted a black and yellow bird stuck in one of the nets.

    Assistant conservation officer Ramakrishnan Kolandavelu recognised the bird as a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and was thrilled.

    While female Yellow-rumped Flycatchers had been caught in the mist nets previously, that was the first time its male counterpart had been trapped since SBWR began its bird-ringing programme in 1990.

    Mr Ramakrishnan told MediaCorp that bird-ringing is a vital source of information: "Books don't teach you about how birds move and the areas that should not be disturbed in the reserve when we do pruning."

    The bird-ringing process is conducted every two weeks. It begins with staff putting up mist nets that are each 18 metres long in different parts of the reserve.

    Birds that fly into the nets are trapped in its pockets, and checks on the nets are conducted every 30 minutes.

    A ring band with an identification number is placed on the right leg of the trapped bird and information about the bird is recorded before it is released back into the wild.

    If the trapped bird has a ring on its leg, this means it had been tagged previously and updated information about it will be recorded.

    The process of checking the mist nets and tagging the birds is carried out throughout the day.

    The information collected not only helps SBWR learn about migratory birds and their behaviour, but also how the reserve contributes to the conservation of birds, said SBWR's assistant director James Gan.

    Bird-ringing has enabled SBWR to identify about nine new species of birds.

    While the number may seem small, it is significant as it helps to identify birds that would otherwise have escaped the eyes of the staff, said Mr Gan.

    Only trained staff can conduct bird-ringing as they need to know the proper techniques of handling the trapped bird to prevent traumatising it.

    Besides internal training, the staff are also trained by an instructor from the British Trust for Ornithology.


    On average, some 700 birds are ringed annually. About 12,600 birds have been ringed in the last twenty years.

    Said Mr Gan: "Singapore has quite a good bird-ringing programme with good standards. We have come up with a set methodology and have proper training for our staff. Going forward, we will work on improving the standards of bird-ringing in Singapore."
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