June 28, 2017

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Jonathan Leong

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by Jonathan Leong

MANY people may think that being deaf is a physical disability but that’s not how these people see themselves. From celebrities to the average Joe, the deaf community has been showing the world what they can get accomplished, which seems to be anything – except hear.

Here’s a round up of some deaf people making the news recently for what they’ve accomplished:

 

1. The South Korean tennis ace

lee-duck-he

Image is a screenshot from ATP’s website.

 

Mr Lee Duck Hee, 18, a South Korean junior professional tennis player was ranked at a career high of 143rd globally last month by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is also deaf but that’s not stopping him from striving to be one of the best players in his country, having already ranked second-highest in the under 18 category.

In the fast paced game, some top players say that being able to hear the ball is an important advantage. According to The Straits Times, a college tennis coach and volunteer coach for the US deaf tennis team, Mrs Katie Mancebo said: “But a deaf player doesn’t know that sound, so they have to focus more on what the other person is doing, how they’re making contact, and what the ball looks like as it’s coming over the net.”

While Mr Lee has yet to play in a main match in an ATP World Tour tournament, which has a prize award of more than $2 million for topping the Singles category, he has managed to reach the finals of an ATP Challenger event. The ATP Challenger is just one step down from the ATP World Tour.

 

2. The model who danced his way to fame 

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Image from Flickr user Maryland GovPics.

 

Mr Nyle DiMarco, 27, might have been the last winner of the TV series, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), but he was also the reality show’s first deaf contestant. He shared with Daily Mail that he felt “his journey is proof of how ‘deaf people can do anything’.”

And Mr DiMarco’s journey didn’t stop there. Along with his dance partner Peta Murgatroyd, 30, both have gone on to captivate the judges of another TV series, Dancing With The Stars, with their dance routines in May, earlier this year. They won the contest even though Mr DiMarco could not hear the rhythm of the music he was dancing to.

The dancer said he had to rely on signals and physical cues from his partner to keep him dancing in time to the music. For example, Mrs Murgatroyd would squeeze his hand to let him know that he needed to turn around.

In an interview earlier this year, Mr DiMarco told People through an interpreter that he was “ready to take the world by storm and have them look at me and say, ‘deaf people can dance'”.

 

3. NBA’s first deaf player

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Image from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Another athlete that has been inspiring people is Mr Lance Allred. He was the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first deaf player.

Mr Allred got his chance to play as an NBA player after an overseas basketball stint in Turkey and Spain. He earned his spot first, in the NBA’s Developmental League with the Idaho Stampede. He was then later signed on, in 2008, by the Cleveland Cavaliers for 14 months.

He retired from basketball last year to become a motivational speaker, sharing with people how he overcame both being bullied because of his deafness, and said bullying’s resulting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He was recently featured by Forbes earlier this year in March for creating Manestream, a tech company which aims to provide faster access to Internet resources. This system works through a network of online servers, and secured data storage providers which enable users to work on the web without the need for a hard drive.

 

4. Deaf but with a flair for acting

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Image from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Mrs Marlee Matlin, 51-year-old deaf Academy Award winner lost her hearing at a young age but chose to pursue an acting career, becoming successful and winning the award, at the age of 21, in 1987 for her role in Children of a Lesser God.

She went on to star in TV drama series Reasonable Doubts in 1991 as well as explore humorous roles in various shows such as Seinfeld and Picket Fences, in 1993. Mrs Matlin was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress for her role in both series in 1994. She has since received three more Emmy Award nominations for the same award, with the latest in 2004, for her guest appearance in TV drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

One of Mrs Matlin’s more recent performances is in a television film, Sweet Nothing in My Ear in 2008, as the mother of a deaf child. The film looks at the issues surrounding cochlear implants, a type of device that picks up sound and sends it as electric signals to the brain, giving a deaf person some sensation of hearing.

A year later, in 2009, she published a memoir, I’ll Scream Later.

 

5. The ‘not so average Joe’ deaf driver

roland-goh

Image is a screenshot from TNP’s website.

 

Among all the celebrities is a local deaf man who’s had a taste of celebrity himself. Mr Roland Goh is an UberX driver who was featured by the The New Paper (TNP) as part of a group of deaf Uber drivers who have benefited from a deaf-friendly app called Beethoven which assists the drivers with picking up passengers.

The app includes features such as flashing lights to indicate an incoming notification as well as notifying passengers that their driver is hearing impaired. Mr Goh has made over 2,900 trips since the start of the year, in March.

Mr Goh told TNP at the launch event of Beethoven on Sept 26, through an interpreter: “Some passengers who are riding with me for the first time are curious and will ask if I can drive (because of my disability) and whether I can hear cars honking.”

For easier communication with his passengers, he provides a small clipboard with paper for them to write messages for him. He also has a sign to inform passengers of his hearing impairment.

 

Featured image ASL fingerspelling: W-A-D by Flickr user daveynin. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Jonathan Leong

THERE is a new app in town for the Catholic community. Called CatholicSG and launched last Thursday (Nov 17), it’s the official Archdiocese app for Catholics in Singapore. Apart from providing information to devotees and teaching them more about the faith, the app also complements the Archdiocese’s official website and social media platforms.

You can download it for free, from Google Play Store for Android users, and Apple’s App Store for IOS users. The app has had more than 1,000 downloads since it was launched.

Some users said that features such as the directory for churches have come in handy when looking for a nearby church to attend mass. Others say that the app’s religious readings, reflections and prayer guides make learning about the faith much easier. For example, the app also has religious reflections by Archbishop William Goh, and includes a calendar that helps devotees keep track of religious events and dates.

One downside of the app is that it does not include a fully digitised version of the Bible. It is limited to daily readings for the day’s church service.

The CatholicSG app is the latest in a number of new mobile apps designed to help the faithful in Singapore practise their faith. There’s the Muslim Pro app for Muslims that was launched in 2010. It features prayer timings, locations of nearby mosques, and even halal eateries.

Then there’s The Ultimate Buddhism Library app for Buddhists which contains 50 books on Buddhism.

Here’s a list of some available apps for followers of different faiths:

 

CatholicSG

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Image is a screenshot from the CatholicSG App website

The app is an all-rounder app that includes daily reflections, readings, and information such as church services and their timings. The app however, does not include a digitised copy of the Bible. App users have said that they are happy with the information provided by the app.

The free app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here, or from the Play Store (Android) here.

 

Our Daily Bread

Image is a screenshot from the Play Store website

The app is free and offers users bible readings which they can download and read offline, making it easier for on the go use. Reviewers have said that while the monthly updates for the readings can be an issue, most enjoy the daily availability of religious readings.

The free app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here, or from the Play Store (Android) here.

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Muslim Pro

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Image is a screenshot from the iTunes website

The app has a digitised version of the Quran. Prayer timings, as well as notifications for said prayers, are also available. It also has the fasting timetable for the period of Ramadan and a compass to show the direction of Mecca for prayers. Most users that reviewed the app welcomed the multitude of functions that the app provides.

The free app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here, or from the Play Store here (Android).

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QamarDeen

Image is a screenshot from the Play Store website

The free app helps to keep track of a devotee’s religious life, from prayer to fasting and helps to provide an analysis of the user’s behaviour. Users have said that the app works as advertised and they have been able to improve their religious lives because of it.

The free app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here, or from the Play Store here (Android).

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The Ultimate Buddhism Library

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Image is a screenshot from the iTunes website

The app offers a range of 50 Buddhist books for the user. It is cited as an app that is suitable even for people that are new to the religion.

The app costs $0.99 and can only be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here.

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Buddhist Meditation Trainer

buddhist

Image is a screenshot from the Play Store website

The app features 10 levels of enlightenment accompanied with quotes to meditate on in every level. The app includes a meditation timer and audio cues to facilitate meditation. Reviewers have said that the app has helped to relieve stress.

The free app can only be downloaded from the Play Store (Android) here.

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Taoism

Image is a screenshot from the Play Store website

The app gives users quotes from classic Taoist philosophers Laozi and Zhuangzi. The app comes with a widget that allows users the option to view quotes outside of the app, on their home screen and lock screen, every day. Reviewers have said that the quotes have inspired them. A few however said that they experienced difficulty setting up the app’s widget.

The free app can only be downloaded from the Play Store (Android) here.

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Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu 

Image is a screenshot from the App Store website

This app offers users an English translation of the classical Taoist book, Tao Te Ching. Users can select their favourite excerpts and share them with family and friends via email. However, they have to pay for full access. The free version only grants access to the first 20 passages.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here and the paid version which cost $8.98 can be downloaded here.

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Hindu Gods And History

Image is a screenshot from the App Store website

The app helps people understand the different Hindu deities and festivals. It also comes with a Hindu calendar. While the app includes various videos and images to explain the religion, some reviewers felt it might be too brief to provide a comprehensive understanding of the religion.

The free app can be downloaded from the App Store (IOS) here, or from the Play Store (Android) here.

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Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Jonathan Leong

THE craze for spicy food challenges, which for many people started with the Korean spicy noodle challenge last year, doesn’t seem to have abated.

Singapore foodies – or perhaps, just daredevils – certainly love their spice. The Korean challenge – in which consumers had to eat a whole packet of the tongue numbingly hot Samyang Flaming Chicken instant noodles in the shortest time possible – was certainly partly responsible for the increase in sales of the noodles. Sales of the noodle at NTUC supermarket, for instance, doubled from January to July last year.

Many eateries here also have their own challenges, or just mega-spicy offerings on the menu. Here are four options if you’re looking to challenge your taste buds:

 

Jerry’s Insanity Buffalo Wings (Level 6)

Spicy buffalo wings originated from United States, New York, and are basically fried chicken wings coated in a spicy pepper sauce.

At Jerry’s BBQ and Grill, there are six levels of spiciness for diners to pit their taste buds against – ranging from Level 1 (Smokin’) to Level 6 (Jerry’s Insanity).

At Level 6, the buffalo wings come with a hazard warning that says: “Order Level 5 and 6 at your own risk”. The fact that the Trinidad Scorpion pepper is used in the sauce might have something to do with that, seeing as it is one of the spiciest pepper known to man.

The wings are served at four pieces for $15.95 or six pieces for $19.95

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Image is a screenshot from the Jerry’s BBQ and Grill restaurant’s webpage.

 

Location: 92 Club St, Singapore 069460

Tel: 6323 4550

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat: 12:00pm – 12:30am

Sun: 12:00pm – 12:00am

 

Magma ramen

This time-limited offer is currently on at Ramen Champion’s Great World City outlet, from now till Dec 31. Claiming to be the spiciest ramen in Singapore, it comes in four levels of spice.

The more cautious diners can try the normal level of spiciness. Others can choose to up the ante by five, 10 or 20 times the normal levels of spiciness.

The Magma Ramen is priced at $12.80 a bowl. The restaurant warns though, that level 20 is “not for the faint hearted”.

Image from Ramen Champion Singapore restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Location: Ramen Champion, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Great World City #01-22, Singapore 237994

Tel: 6235 1295

Opening hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm daily

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Spaghetti from Hell (Level 18)

With a sauce made from the Trinidad Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia peppers, which are two of the hottest peppers in the world, this gastronomical challenge is not one to be taken lightly. You even have to sign an indemnity form before you start.

The challenge, at Southwest Tavern, is to finish a plate of the extremely spicy spaghetti within 10 minutes without drinking water the entire time. Whoever can complete the challenge is entered into the restaurant’s wall of fame and gets to chose either a $100 voucher or two towers of Heineken beer to help put out the fire that will likely be raging in the mouth. 

Read how our contributor Ryan Ong survived this dish during a recent visit.

A plate of this hellish delicacy goes for $26 a plate. In case you are wondering, there are no other levels of spiciness – Southwest Tavern’s owner said that Level 18 was in reference to the deepest level of hell in Chinese beliefs. You have been warned.

Image from Southwest Tavern restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Location: 8 Boon Lay Way, Tradehub 21, #01-33, Singapore 609964

Tel: 6515 4303

Opening hours: 11:00am – 12:00am daily

 

Coco Ichibanya curry (Level 5)

The curry house’s main offering is Japanese curry, which has a slight sweetness to it. But there are customisation options and this is where it gets interesting: diners can choose among seven levels of spiciness for their curries. These are mild, original, medium hot (Level 1), hot (Level 2), extra hot (Level 3), super hot (Level 4) and crazy hot (Level 5).

Prices range from $12 to $16.

 

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Image from Coco Ichibanya restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Check out Coco Ichibanya’s six outlets here.

Opening hours:

Sun – Thur: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00am to 11:00pm

 

Featured image Kings of the Hot Pepper World by Flickr user Richard Elzey. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Jonathan Leong

WORDS, names and actions have the potential to hurt as much as physical pain. And when they have to do with a person’s racial, religious, or even cultural identities, it’s hard not to take it personally.

We saw this play out during the recent Deepavali holiday – when netizens flamed a video posted by TheSmartLocal website about Indian snacks. There was also that TV episode on Toggle, where a Chinese cast member painted his face black to role-play as an Indian role-playing as an African. Both videos have been taken offline.

Such culturally insensitive incidents happen more often than you might think. Here are some other examples we saw in the news this past month:

 

1.  A beef mistake

On Monday (Oct 31), a junior member from supermarket chain Cold Storage put up a 38 per cent discount for certain beef products. Problem? He had labelled the discount a “Deepavali Promotion”.

A photo of the promotion was uploaded by Twitter user @AdamFlinter.

 


As Hindus regard the cow as sacred, they would normally not consume beef.

Cold Storage, in a statement to The Straits Times, apologised for the “insensitive” nature of the price promotion and said it has since educated its staff members on cultural sensitivities. It also said that the staff member that had made the mistake has been briefed on the matter and had not intended any disrespect.

 

2. Doggone it 

In October this year, a popular American pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s had commented that they had been unable to attain a halal certification in Malaysia, among other reason, for selling “pretzel dogs“.

The reasoning behind the denial of the halal certification? The Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (JAKIM) wanted the name to be changed to something more appropriate.

JAKIM’s Halal Hub director Sirajuddin Suhaimee had said that the name “pretzel dog” was a concern as the term “dog” referred to the animal and had suggested renaming the product, saying: “It is better if they can use ‘pretzel sausage’ instead.”

Malaysia’s Culture Minister Mr Nazri Aziz criticised the denial of the halal certification over the word “hotdog”.

He told reporters: “Hot dog has always been known to be a Western food. It comes from the English language. It is a Western food. Please do not make us seem stupid and backward.”

 

3.  A pig by any other name

Uighur businessman Adil Memettur had a problem with the re-naming of Alibaba’s travel services. He said that the Chinese e-commerce giant should not have used a name that included the word “pig” in Chinese. 

He said: “But now that Alitrip has changed its name to Flying Pig, I can only uninstall it, and maybe all my Muslim friends too, because the word “pig” is taboo to Muslims all over the world. Alibaba is an international corporation, could it take Muslim taboos into consideration?”

His post on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, drew swift condemnation and ridicule from other Chinese users online. He eventually took down his post on Sunday night (Oct 30).

China’s Muslims are a minority in the country, comprising of ethnic groups such as the Huis and Uighurs.

 

4. One “Cheena” policy

Pro-independence Hong Kong lawmaker, Mr Baggio Leung, caused a stir on Oct 12, during an oath taking session in the first meeting of the first term of the Legislative Council (Legco). This was after a successful citywide vote for more autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.

Lawmakers were required to recite an oath before taking on their official positions. The oath had repeatedly stated that Hong Kong is a “special administrative region” of China.

The government had forewarned lawmakers that they risked losing their positions if they failed to properly recite the oaths. Mr Leung is one of three lawmakers who did not have his oath “administered” by Legco as he had modified it.

He had displayed a flag with the words: “Hong Kong is not China”. He had taken the oath in English and refused to pronounce “China” properly. Instead, he said “Cheena”.

 

5. The German Trump

European commissioner from Germany, Mr Günther H. Oettinger was criticised last week for describing Chinese people as “slit-eyes” and “sly dogs,” in a speech to business leaders in Hamburg, Germany.

A German member of the European Parliament, Mr Jan Philipp Albrecht, likened the nature of Mr Oettinger’s comments to those of United States presidential election candidate, Donald Trump, who has made racially disparaging remarks of his own.

Mr Oettinger released a statement on Wednesday (Nov 02), to express remorse for his comments, saying: “I had time to reflect on my speech, and I can now see that the words I used have created bad feelings and may even have hurt people,”. He added “This was not my intention and I would like to apologize for any remark that was not as respectful as it should have been.”

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Jonathan Leong

NETIZENS are wielding their axes and baying for blood again on social media – this time, over a Facebook post by Ms Lixin Tan, a volunteer from Animal Lovers League (ALL) about a hit and run incident last Sunday (Oct 23). The case involved one of the shelter’s dogs who was ran over, and the response of the person who drove the car: “F*** you. It’s only a dog,”.

The owner of the vehicle has since been identified by netizens as a real estate agent from Huttons Asia and they posted her personal details online. In just a few days, they also went to the company’s Facebook page and gave it over 600 one-star ratings.

 

But it’s now becoming clear they got the wrong person.

In an update from ALL on their Facebook page yesterday (Oct 26), the shelter clarified that two police reports have been made. One by the owner of the car involved – stating that she was not the driver at the time of the incident. A second report has been made by a lady who has admitted to be the driver of the car on that day – but nobody knows who she is. Police investigations are still ongoing.

This is not the the first time netizens have taken matters into their own hands to dispense mob justice onto people whom they deemed deserving of their ire. In 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cautioned against this type of lynch mob mentality, in an address to university students during a dialogue session at the Nanyang Technological University.

He said: “Yes, somebody has done something wrong, repudiate it, condemn it, but do not lower ourselves to that same level to behave in a way which really makes us all so ashamed of ourselves to become abusive, hateful mobs, especially online and anonymously.”

This time, netizens got it wrong but there have been other cases where they got it right – and their furor eventually led to the people losing their jobs and in one case, leaving the country.

Do you think such actions go too far? Or do these people deserve to be named, blamed, and shamed on social media?

Here are five other examples of online vigilantism and the consequences that followed.

 

 

1. The Pokemon trainer

In July this year, Mr Sonny Truyen, then an employee of 99.co, an online Singapore property portal, lost his job after posting a derogatory remark about Singapore.

He had written on Facebook that “you can’t f***ing catch pokemon in this piece of f***ing s*** country”. Mr Truyen’s remark was in reference to the popular game Pokemon Go, which was not yet available in Singapore.

Here are some of the reactions to Mr Truyen’s posting:

 

Angered, netizens took to complaining on the company’s Facebook page which resulted in Mr Truyen’s firing. The company’s CEO, Darius Cheung was quick to issue an apology and a statement, read it here.

 

2. The LGBT incident

Earlier this year on June 30, Mr Bryan Lim, a then staff of Canon Singapore, was charged for inciting violence against the LGBT community in Singapore. His post on the Facebook group, We Are Against Pink Dot, for wanting to “open fire” on the LGBT community was picked up and circulated by social media. This was shortly after a reported shooting at a gay nightclub in the United States.

Here are some reactions to his remarks:

 

 

Canon Singapore issued a statement via Facebook saying: “At Canon Singapore, we live by our philosophy of Kyosei, which we define as all people, regardless of race, religion, or culture, harmoniously living and working together for the common good.” The original post along with Mr Lim’s Facebook account have since be taken down.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong asked that the case be adjourned to complete investigation. If convicted, Mr Lim could be jailed for up to five years and/or fined.

 

3. The Tan Tock Seng nurse 

Another person to lose their job over comments made online last year was Filipino nurse Ed Mundsel Bello Ello, who had been working at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He angered Singaporeans after writing online that Singaporeans are “losers”, and that he was “praying that disators (disasters) will strike Singapore”.

Here are some of the reactions to Mr Bello’s posting:

 

 

The hospital conducted its own investigations into the matter after being alerted by online posts. Mr Bello confirmed that he had made such comments despite claiming that he had reported to the police that his Facebook account had been hacked.  

For his inappropriate conduct, Mr Bello was sentenced to four months’ jail.  

 

4. The Briton who left Singapore

In 2014, Mr Anton Casey lost his position with wealth management firm Crossinvest Asia and left Singapore after he made derogatory remarks about Singapore’s public transport and Singaporeans, on social media.

Two of Mr Casey’s social media posts angered netizens when he first posted a picture of his son with a caption: “Daddy where is your car and who are all these poor people?”

He later posted a picture of his son in a silver Porsche with the caption: “Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me.”

Here are some of the reactions regarding Mr Casey’s post:

 

Mr Casey’s firm’s managing director, Mr Christophe Audergon, was quoted saying the company does not condone the comments and believed that they were made in poor taste.

Mr Casey, who has apologised for his remarks, was reported to have left Singapore with his family after the incident for Perth due to threats made against his family.

 

5.) The NTUC assistant director

Ms Amy Cheong, 38, lost her job as an assistant director of membership at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in 2012, after an insensitive posting on Facebook about Malays.

She commented that she felt that Malay weddings were “low-cost and lengthy” and also mocked their divorce rate. The post was quickly circulated online. NTUC’s response was swift and Miss Cheong was told to leave her job the following day.

Here are some of the reactions to Ms Cheong’s posting:

 

Secretary of the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle in Hougang, Lionel de Souza, also filed a police report against her for her Facebook post.

Ms Cheong was reported to have returned to Perth in October 2012.

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Jonathan Leong

PICTURE this: An illustration of two young boys, naked, one on top of the other. As if they’re having butt sex.

Found in a comic book titled Bro, Don’t Like That La #2, My Bad Bromance, it’s enough to raise more than a few eyebrows. But the decision by Popular Bookstore yesterday (Oct 13) to pull the book completely from its shelves has several netizens wondering if it had over-reacted.

“It’s obviously not for kids,” wrote Facebook user Deborah Tan. “If you would buy your kid a comic like this… you are the one who needs to be banned.”

Popular’s decision was a response to mounting criticism on social media after an educator took photos of the comic and posted it on Facebook on Wednesday morning (Oct 12). Over the course of a day, the post had been shared more than 400 times, with several users calling for the bookstore chain to remove it from its shelves.

A spokesman said: “Popular takes any feedback from the public seriously and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The comic, by author Ernest Ng, is based on his experiences living with housemates in Malaysia. Meant for readers above 18 years old, it was shelved under the “local interest” category in the adults section, the bookstore said.

This is not the first time that parents’ complaints about books with inappropriate material for children have led to the books being pulled from shelves.

In 2014, the National Library Board pulled three books from its children’s section: And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express, and Who’s In My Family?

The first two books were withdrawn after a complaint was posted on social media. The third had been removed earlier. All three books featured unconventional families, including same-sex parents.

As for the comic book, social media is still split on whether Popular did the right thing by taking it off its shelves. Here are some of the reactions from Facebook users on the original post:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Jonathan Leong

PROPERTY agent Mrs Angeline Neo, 35, thought she had her daughter’s birthday gift all sorted in advance.

But it nearly didn’t arrive on time.

She had bought the birthday gift from popular China shopping site Taobao, via Oops, scheduled for delivery on Sept 5. But due to Hanjin Shipping Company’s bankruptcy, her shipment was delayed until Sept 16. Oops had previously been using Hanjin’s services to ship products from China to Singapore.

Thankfully, the gift was still in time for her daughter’s birthday.

Mrs Neo is not the only one afflicted with delays in shipping goods bought from Taobao. She told TMG that a few of her friends are facing similar delays as well.

Hanjin’s bankruptcy has left some S$14 billion worth of goods stuck at sea due to many ports refusing to let its vessels berth for fears of not getting paid. The Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) has allowed Hanjin vessels to berth but all Hanjin cargo containers are being kept under PSA custody.

This means uncertain delays for Taobao forwarding agencies in Singapore, such as Ezbuy and Oops, which use Hanjin’s services. The agencies facilitate the purchase of goods from China retailers to Singapore and now have to deal with customers demanding to know when, or even whether, their goods will be delivered.

For the release of Hanjin cargo containers, these forwarding agencies will have to contact Hanjin to inform them of their intent to take charge of the delivery of the containers. Hanjin will then provide documentation to release the cargo and inform PSA of the release approval. The agencies or respective hauler companies will then have to arrange with PSA for the off-loading, storage and transport of the containers. These agencies are required to make a $5,000 deposit to PSA on each container. The deposit is refundable upon the return of the emptied Hanjin container back to PSA.

Oops has since switched over to Pacific International Line for its shipping needs. The company said on its Facebook page that it is currently the only service that has four vessels routed to Singapore weekly.

Ezbuy is still looking at alternative avenues to get its goods to Singapore while assisting customers who still have goods stuck on Hanjin ships.

Mrs Neo said that her friends who are using Ezbuy still have shipments stuck at sea and have only been told by Ezbuy that their shipment might be sent back to China, with delays ranging from one to two weeks.

Members of ‘Taobao For Those Who Don’t Know How’, a 14, 000-strong Facebook group for Taobao customers to share their experience and review products, have also been posting complaints about delivery delays or non-deliveries.

Facebook user Ms Li Ting said in a post dated Sept 8: “Mine too. I used EK and the shipper called me on Monday that delivery will take place on Wed/Thurs. Yesterday called again to say random custom check. Might be released today, delivery to take place on Fri/Sat. I asked if it has to do with it detained cause of Hanjin. Was told not.”

Another buyer, Mr Michael Chin, said on Sept 20: “Anyway still have container stuck inside”.

Meanwhile, though sales and deliveries of goods for the holiday season and electronics have possibilities of being aggravated by the bankruptcy, local retailers say they aren’t worried. Major electronics retailer Courts told TMG that their shipments have not been affected, as they don’t use Hanjin. Challenger declined to comment.

Hanjin is slated to submit a revival (get out of bankruptcy) plan to the South Korean court by Nov 25.

 

Featured image Hanjin Container Ship by Flickr user Ingrid Taylar. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Jonathan Leong

NOW you have it, now you don’t… but wait, you don’t want it?

We’re talking about the supposed leadership award which would supposedly be presented to Madam Rosmah Mansor, wife to Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sept 22 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It was supposed to be for her work with Permata, a children’s welfare group, which she founded and serves as patron.

That’s if you believe the media headlines.

In Bernama for example, it was “Rosmah Recipient of UNESCO’s ‘Lead By Example’ award”. The report quoted Education Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, who is also Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO vice president, saying that the UNESCO’s ‘Lead by Example’ award would be presented to Madam Rosmah.

Well, some people certainly didn’t buy it.

 

 

 

Turns out, the award isn’t given out by the United Nations – the ‘Lead by Example’ award was to be given out by Antiquities Coalition, an American non-profit organisation.

The award was to be presented to Madam Rosmah for her works with Permata in children development and education.

Did the media jump the gun in reporting her nomination for the award?

Perhaps the confusion started when UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova told Madam Rosmah of her nomination – or at least that is what Tengku Sariffuddin, the press secretary to the Prime Minister claims.

Anyway, it’s bad news for Madam Rosmah – the committee has now decided not to give it to her.

The award retraction comes after concerns regarding Permata’s source of funding were raised by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. This is amid corruption allegations aimed at the Prime Minister and Madam Rosmah.

Antiquities Coalition announced that it could not verify if the organisation had legitimate sources of funding. So, Antiquities Coalition has decided to drop her name from the list of honorees, pending a review.

But… media reports are saying she will “decline” it? What gives?

Mr Sariffuddin was quoted in The Straits Times saying that Madam Rosmah and the Permata group wish “to avoid any further distraction from this important work for the children of Malaysia, Permata and Datin Seri Rosmah have declined the proposed deferred award”.

Was there an award in the first place?

 

Featured image by REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad.

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