May 27, 2017

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by Najeer Yusof

INSTEAD of letting your excess food go to waste, why not place them in fridges that others can access?

Two community refrigerators were installed in the lift lobby of Block 441, Tampines Street 43, for residents in the area to donate food to needy neighbours. The two-week-old initiative by Tampines North Citizens’ Consultative Committee (TNCCC) was launched by Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng on Saturday (Jan 21).

One of the fridges was labelled with a “Halal” sticker, to cater to Muslim residents. Food donors were advised to be aware of the items they put in each fridge. Over the course of the first week, we noticed the “Halal” fridge being empty most of the time. According to the residents, the food in both fridges usually disappear within a couple of hours after replenishment. Eggs and meat were usually cleared the fastest. Although this initiative has been intended for the long term, the TNCCC is planning on monitoring the initiative for three to six months. Subsequently, it will decide on the next course of action: making improvements or stopping it entirely.

We decided to monitor the use of these fridges for a week, to see how the residents were using it and this is what we saw:

Residents of block 441 and Mr Baey Yam Keng fill both fridges with groceries on the day of launch.
DAY 1: Residents of Block 441 and Mr Baey filling both fridges with groceries on Saturday, Jan 21, the day the project was launched. The groceries, such as fresh meat, vegetables and fruits were donated by residents.

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Madam Poh Muei Giok, 73, a resident of block 441, taking an ice-cream from one of the fridge. "It is a good idea but some people are misusing it by taking a lot of the food," she said.
DAY 2: Madam Poh Muei Giok, 73, a resident of Block 441, taking an ice-cream from one of the fridges. “It is a good idea but some people are misusing it by taking a lot of the food,” she said.

 

Madam Evangeline Ang, 57, a member of the Residents' Committee, takes a photo of the contents of both fridges to update the other members on what needs restocking. "I come on alternative days to check on the stock and to see what needs restocking," she said.
DAY 3: Madam Evangeline Ang, 57, a member of the Residents’ Committee, taking a photo of the contents of both fridges to update the other members on what needs restocking. “I come on alternate days to check on the stock and to see what needs restocking,” she said.

 

Mr Michael Lim, 61, a retiree who resides in the neighbouring block checks the fridge to see which grocery requires a top up, before heading to the market to purchase them. "I heard about the initiative but I did not have time to come down to check it out till today. I bought fish cakes, meatballs, tofu, apples and oranges to fill into both fridges," he said.
DAY 4: Mr Michael Lim, 61, a retiree who resides in a neighbouring block checking the fridge to see which item requires a top up, before heading to the market to purchase them. “I heard about the initiative but I did not have time to come down to check it out till today. I bought fish cakes, meatballs, tofu, apples and oranges to fill both fridges,” he said.

 

Mr Tay, 52, a member of the Residents' Committee, stacks jars of Chinese New Year goodies on one of the fridges. The goodies were donated to the nearby Community Center by one of the residents. "Someone donated a few boxes of Chinese New Year goodies to the Community Center so I decided to bring them here for the residents to take them," he said.
DAY 5: Mr Tay, 52, a member of the Residents’ Committee, stacking jars of Chinese New Year goodies on one of the fridges. The goodies were donated to the nearby Community Centre by one of the residents. “Someone donated a few boxes of Chinese New Year goodies to the Community Centre so I decided to bring them here for the residents to take them,” he said.

 

Madam Salma Binte Ismail, 62, a resident of block 441, takes vegetables from one of the fridges. "The other day I was able to take some fish. This is a good initiative especially for residents like me who cannot afford to purchase a lot of groceries. My husband is the only one working and due to the recent heart bypass he had, he has not been working much lately. So we are not doing very well economically," she said.
DAY 6: Madam Salma Ismail, 62, a resident of Block 441, taking vegetables from one of the fridges. “The other day I was able to take some fish. This is a good initiative especially for residents like me who cannot afford to purchase a lot of groceries. My husband is the only one working and due to the recent heart bypass he had, he has not been working much lately. So we are not doing very well economically,” she said.

 

Madam Rei Tjoeng, 42, a resident from the neighbouring block, fills the fridge with mandarin oranges. "We may need to think of safeguarding the food inside such that there isn't a growth of bacteria. This can be done with proper storage and clearing any waste inside," she said.
DAY 7: Madam Rei Tjoeng, 42, a resident from a neighbouring block, filling the fridge with mandarin oranges. “We may need to think of safeguarding the food inside such that there isn’t a growth of bacteria. This can be done with proper storage and clearing of any waste inside,” she said.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

YESTERDAY, the shutters of Mustafa’s Serangoon Plaza outlet opened for the last time to a line of customers who gathered for the final day of sales. With the closure of the Serangoon Plaza branch today, Mustafa will now operate only from its main outlet, along Syed Alwi Road. Mustafa had been a tenant of Serangoon Plaza since the mid-1980s.

When we visited Mustafa in its final hours, the second and third floors were already emptied and sealed off. Customers were restricted to the first floor, where clearance sales were being held. The store became crowded by noon and the lines to the cashiers grew. Customers were generally nonchalant as many came for the clearance sales which had promotions on items such as clothes, toiletries and home appliances. Some items such as blankets had huge price cuts of up to 50 percent. Although most of the customers we spoke to did not feel sad about the outlet’s closure since Mustafa’s main outlet is just around the corner, some had a sentimental connection to Serangoon Plaza as they had been always shopping there.

Here is a look at the final day of operations of Mustafa at Serangoon Plaza:

 

CUTTING TIES: The overhead pedestrian bridge that linked Mustafa's Serangoon Plaza outlet to the main outlet was removed earlier this month. The opening to the bridges on both sides were either cemented or sealed off.
CUTTING TIES: The overhead pedestrian bridge that linked Mustafa’s Serangoon Plaza outlet to the main outlet was removed earlier this month. The openings to the bridge from both sides have either been cemented or sealed off.

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RESTRICTED ACCESS: The second and third floors of Mustafa's Serangoon Plaza outlet were cleared and sealed off by the second week of January. Red tapes and and cardboard boxes were used to seal off access routes such as escalators and stairs, to the upper floors. The customers were only allowed on the first floor.
RESTRICTED ACCESS: The second and third floors of Mustafa’s Serangoon Plaza outlet were cleared and sealed off by the second week of January. Red tapes and and cardboard boxes were used to seal off access routes, such as escalators and stairs, to the upper floors. Customers were only allowed on the first floor.

 

WAITING LINE: Customers gathered outside the store, awaiting the opening. Although the store opened at 10.30 am, some began gathering outside as early as 10.
WAITING IN LINE: Customers gathered outside the store, awaiting the opening yesterday morning. Although the store opened at 10.30 am, some began gathering outside as early as 10 am.

 

STEEP CUTS: Items such as home appliances, blankets, clothing and even toiletries were on sale. Some had huge price cuts and irresistible promotions. There were 3 separate store spaces for the customers to browse the various items on sale.
STEEP CUTS: Items such as home appliances, blankets, clothing and even toiletries were on sale. Some had huge price cuts and irresistible promotions. There were three separate store spaces for customers to browse the various items on sale.

 

VALUED CUSTOMER: Madam Chandravalli, 42, rummages through a pile of blankets. "I heard about the closure yesterday on the news so I decided to come down today to check out the sale. It is sad that this outlet is closing as I have been shopping here for 15 years. With only one outlet now, I do not know how are they are going to manage the crowd," she said.
VALUED CUSTOMER: Madam Chandravalli, 42, rummages through a pile of blankets. “I heard about the closure yesterday on the news so I decided to come down today to check out the sale. It is sad that this outlet is closing as I have been shopping here for 15 years. With only one outlet now, I do not know how are they are going to manage the crowd,” she said.

 

OFF THE RACK AND PACKED: Some items were already cleared by the final day of sales, while others that were not on sale were moved over to the main outlet.
OFF THE RACKS AND PACKED: Some items were already cleared by the final day of sales, while others that were not on sale had been moved over to the main outlet.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof 

IT’S been a year since Saint Bernadette Lifestyle Village began operations, and the elderly folks are there to celebrate by having a Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner with a nine-course meal.

St Bernadette is one of Singapore’s few assisted living facilities where the eight residents, who are all above 70 years old, lease private bedrooms over a six-month period. Residents retain their independence and are mostly able to perform basic chores, such as feed and dress themselves. A nurse is available to care for the residents 24/7.

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Here’s how the residents at St Bernadette spend their time there:

 

MORNING WORKOUT: Every morning, the elderly residents from Saint Bernadette Lifestyle Village gather at the common room at Good Shepherd Loft (GSL) to do their morning exercise with the elderly from GSL. The workout is led by one of the nurses and the exercises are focused on strength training and motor skills. In the evenings, they have a physiotherapy session too.
MORNING WORKOUT: Every morning, the elderly from St Bernadette Lifestyle Village join the residents at the neighbouring Good Shepherd Loft Nursing Home (GSL) for their morning exercise at GSL’s common room. The workout, led by one of the nurses, is focused on strength training and motor skills. There is a physiotherapy session in the evenings too.

 

 

PERSONALISED CRIB: A nurse cleaning the room of one of the elderly residents. All the rooms come with a hospital bed, a television and a set of drawers. The elderly are encouraged to personalise their own rooms. Most of the elderly have pictures of their family and other decorative items such as flowers in their rooms.
PERSONAL CRIB: A nurse cleans the room of one of St Bernadette’s residents, Madam Lisa Lai, 85. All rooms come with a hospital bed, a television, a set of drawers, and an attached toilet. Residents are encouraged to personalise their own rooms and most of the residents, like Madam Lai, have pictures of their family and other decorative items such as flowers.

 

SHARED SPACE: The common room where the elderly residents gather for meals and activities such as watching tv. They also do engage in spontaneous activities such as dancing or even cooking.
SHARED SPACE: At the centre of all the bedrooms is the common room, where the residents have their meals together and engage in other activities. This is where some of the residents broke out in a spontaneous dance session just last week at the suggestion of one of them. A pantry at one side of the common room stores snacks and hot beverages such as milo and tea. To keep the residents active, nurses encourage them to join in exercises and do arts and craft. Seniors also go on frequent outings, such as durian trips to Batu Pahat, Malaysia.

 

BEAUTY QUEEN: The beauty care products of Mdm Joy Low, 94, one of the elderly residents of St Bernadette Lifestyle Village. "I have been collecting make up products since I was young. Before I had lipsticks, I used red Chinese paper to colour my lips," she said. She also added: "I used to be very vain."
VANITY FAIR: Madam Joy Lo, 94, keeps a ready supply of beauty care products neatly arranged in her medicinal cabinet. Her collection includes toner, moisturiser, perfume and lipstick, which she proudly showed us. Her favourite brands: Elizabeth Arden and Estée Lauder. “I have been collecting makeup products since I was young. Before I had lipsticks, I used red Chinese paper to colour my lips,” she said. She added: “I used to be very vain.”

 

PONG!:The elderly residents playing mahjong in the living room. They usually play every evening. Instead of using real money they use chips.
PONG!: Residents gather around for their favourite afternoon activity daily: mahjong, where they use chips instead of actual money. In St Bernadette’s small community, mahjong is a popular activity among residents, including Madam Petronilla Gonzales (upper left corner), 92, who used to be a dental nurse. Madam Lo said that mahjong helps to keep them “mentally alert”.

 

DAY TO DAY: The notice board detailing the daily activity schedule, instructions and reminders for the nurses at the facility. The nurses are tasked with cooking, cleaning and tending to the needs of the elderly, such as administering medication.
DAY TO DAY: The notice board in the common room details the residents’ daily activity schedule, and has instructions and reminders for nurses at the facility. Nurses are tasked with cooking, cleaning and tending to the needs of the elderly, such as administering medication. One nurse is always present at any time in the home. “The staff is more than a nurse,” said Dr Belinda Wee, co-founder of St Bernadette.

 

HUAT AH: The elderly residents of St Bernadette tossing the lo hei during the Chinese New Year dinner as Dr Joseph Lee, the founder of St Bernadette, joins them. This was the first time that both GSL and St Bernadette held a reunion dinner jointly for the elderly residents.
HUAT AH: The residents of St Bernadette tossing lo hei during the Chinese New Year dinner as Dr Joseph Lee, the co-founder of St Bernadette, joins them. A makeshift shelter was placed in the driveway between GSL and St Bernadette and the party was underway by 5:30pm. This was the first time that both GSL and St Bernadette held a joint reunion dinner for their residents. Residents enjoyed performances from external groups such as Ukelele group, Ukewaves, from Siglap Community Centre.

 

Additional reporting by Wan Ting Koh. 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

THE pineapple tart is an iconic pastry that is found in many Chinese homes during the Lunar New Year. The term for pineapple in several Chinese dialects, such as ong lai in Hokkien and wong lai in Cantonese, sounds similar to the arrival of prosperity. Making the buttery pastry, which comes with a dollop of pineapple jam on top, has been a part of Mr Wei Chan’s family business for 33 years.

The 45-year-old is the current owner of Pine Garden Bakery, a heartland bakery that specialises in handmade cakes and baked goods. He is from the second generation of a line of family members who ran the bakery before him. His mother, a former seamstress, decided to open the bakery with a few relatives after realising that her tailoring business was not doing well. The recipe of pineapple tarts was passed down from her mother, Mr Chan’s grandmother. Although Mr Chan has made minor alterations to the recipe to make the tarts softer, he has retained the gist of it and still has the tarts handmade.

The pineapple tarts are made only during the Chinese New Year period and the preparations begin about a month and a half in advance. Here’s how the tarts are made:

MAKING THE PASTE: Mr Chan sources the pineapples from dealers in Malaysia. He obtains samples from them and decides on the best one before placing his order. The pineapples used to make the tarts have to be half-ripped and must not be sweet. They are skinned, grated and made into paste. The homemade paste are then stored in a refrigerator until it is time to make the tarts.
MAKING THE PASTE: Mr Chan sources pineapples from dealers in Malaysia. He obtains samples from them and decides on the best one before placing his order. The pineapples used to make the tarts have to be half ripe and must not be too sweet. They are skinned, grated and made into a paste. The homemade jam is then stored in a refrigerator until it is time to make the tarts.

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ROLL AND CUT: The base of tart is made from a mixture of butter, plain flour and salt. The batter is rolled out using a roller, to ensure even thickness. Subsequently, the base of the tart is shaped out from the flattened batter, using a cutter.
ROLL AND CUT: The base of the tart is made from a mixture of butter, plain flour and salt. The dough is rolled out using a roller, to ensure even thickness. Subsequently, a cutter is used to cut out the tart base from the flattened dough.

 

IDEAL WEIGHT: The pineapple fillings are weighed on a scale to exactly eight grams. They are then hand moulded into round shapes and placed onto the tart. The portion of the filling has to be exact, to ensure the best taste.
IDEAL WEIGHT: The pineapple fillings are weighed on a scale to obtain a weight of 8g. They are then hand-moulded into balls and placed onto the tart. The portion of the filling has to be exact, to ensure the best taste.

 

NEAT AND TIDY: After the pineapple filling is placed onto the tart, the filling is pressed to ensure that the tarts have a smooth top. Since fresh pineapples are used, the fillings contain pineapple fibers. Pressing the fillings helps to prevent these fibers from sticking out.
NEAT AND TIDY: After the pineapple filling is placed onto the tart, the filling is pressed to ensure that the tarts have a smooth top. Since fresh pineapples are used, the fillings contain pineapple fibres. Pressing the fillings helps to prevent these fibres from sticking out.

 

SEE AND SWITCH: A worker inserts a tray of pineapple tarts into the oven for baking. This is a 40-year-old oven and it has four decks. Each can fit four trays. The trays in each deck are switched among one another during baking, to ensure even baking. The worker has to observe the colour of the tarts to know if they are baked proper.
SEE AND SWITCH: A worker inserts a tray of pineapple tarts into the oven for baking. The oven is 40 years old and has four decks. Each deck can fit four trays. The trays in each deck are switched around during baking, to ensure even baking. The worker has to observe the colour of the tarts to know if they are baked properly.

 

WORKING TEMPERATURE: The tarts are made in a enclosed room with a room temperature between 19 to 20 degrees celsius. Since the batter is made with butter, a cool temperature is needed to prevent the butter from melting and making the batter too soft.
WORKING TEMPERATURE: The tarts are made in an enclosed room with a room temperature that is between 19 and 20 deg C. Since the dough is made of butter, a cool temperature is needed to prevent the butter from melting and making the dough too soft.

 

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A journalist records a video from screen as Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTSPL0F

REUTERS

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks at a mask of himself as he speaks during a campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2SEPF
TWO FACE: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks at a mask of himself as he speaks during a campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. November 7, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSIYH1
POLITICAL COUPLE: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (left) greets vice presidential candidate Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Mike Segar

 

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds babies at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSKBQJ
NANNY-IN-CHIEF: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds babies at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., July 29, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

 

Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is seen after it was vandalized in Los Angeles, California U.S., October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2QL52
RAISING STAR?: Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as seen after it was vandalised in Los Angeles, California U.S., October 26, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

 

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump hugs a U.S. flag as he comes onstage to rally with supporters in Tampa, Florida, U.S. October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2QA5N
I LOVE AMERICA: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs a U.S. flag as he comes onstage to rally with supporters in Tampa, Florida, U.S. October 24, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

A journalist records a video from screen as Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTSPL0F
MOUTHING OFF: A journalist records a video from a screen as Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Carlos Barria

 

A young boy high-fives Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump as his wife Melania watches as the candidate waits at the Seven Flags Event Center in Clive, Iowa February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES - TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX250R5
HI-FIVE: A young boy high-fives Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump as his wife Melania watches as the candidate waits at the Seven Flags Event Center in Clive, Iowa February 1, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Jim Bourg

 

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New York, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2SKR2
COPYCAT: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New York, New York, U.S. November 8, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

 

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2T2GN
PASSING THE BATON: U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

Audience member Robin Roy (C) reacts as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets her at a campaign rally in Lowell, Massachusetts January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX211IR
SHOCK WIN: Audience member Robin Roy (Centre) reacts as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets her at a campaign rally in Lowell, Massachusetts January 4, 2016. Photo By: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

 

 

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U.S. President elect Donald Trump speaks at election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

by REUTERS

 

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by Najeer Yusof

FROM remote control helicopters to aerial drones used for photography and now: Racing drones.

Locally, there are a number of drone hobbyist shops, such as RP innovations Singapore (RPiSG) and Drone Matters, that cater to drone hobbyists and also provide commercial services such as aerial photography. On weekends, local drone hobbyists take their drones to open fields to test their flying skills.

Owner of RPiSG, Mr Roy Pwee, 42, said: “The evolution from remote control helicopters to first-person view (FPV) racing drones has been a rapid one. Starting with remote control cars and helicopters 20 years ago, I became involved in drone racing since 2014. I started the business of commercialising drones here in 2006, after seeing its market potential.”

Drone racing’s popularity has been growing ever since Dubai’s World Drone Prix early this year, which saw the winner, 15-year-old Luke Bannister, bring home $250,000. FPV drone racing first began as an amateur sport in Australia. To date, FPV drone races have been held on an international scale, in the United States, and in Dubai. With these large-scale races and ESPN, an American based cable, and television sports news, airing these races live, FPV drone racing also has the potential in becoming a recognised sport.

“There are racing drones which can be bought off the shelves and also those that can be built from scratch. Customising and building your own drone allows you to choose the type of parts to use and it also allows you to fix your drone easily if it malfunctions. This is not the case for the off-the-shelf one,” said Mr Xu Zhouhua, 28, manager of Drone Matters.

As these drones are becoming more affordable, FPV drone racing is gaining more enthusiasts both overseas and locally. Here, the FPV drone racing scene has been growing since 2014.

EQUIPMENT: An analog video receiver setup beside the pilots. This receiver is used to connect with the drone's camera and obtain live footage while it is flying. The problem with analog transmitters are the interference due to anyone being able to tap on the feed just by dialing in the right frequency. This will then make flying troublesome for the pilots. There are digital video receivers available in the market, which restricts who can tap in on the feed. However, it is more costly.
EQUIPMENT: An analog video receiver setup beside the pilots. This receiver is used to connect with the drone’s camera and obtain live footage while it is flying. The problem with analog transmitters is that anyone can tap into the feed with the right frequency, creating interference. This makes flying troublesome for the pilots. There are digital video receivers available in the market, that can restrict others from tapping into the feed. However, they cost more.

 

SPARES: A drone pilot fixing his drone, on top of his tool box. The toolbox is the healing pack for drone racers. It contains spare parts to every component of the drone. Since each drone is built according to the pilot's customizations, only the pilot knows how to fix his drone and the items in each toolbox varies. However, the standard essentials tend to be props, batteries, electronic flight controllers, transmitters, spanners and screw drivers.
SPARES: A drone pilot fixing his drone, on top of his tool box. The toolbox is the “healing pack” for drone racers. It contains spare parts to every component of the drone. Since each drone is built according to the pilot’s customisations, only the pilot knows how to fix his drone and the items in each toolbox vary. However, the standard essentials tend to be props, batteries, electronic flight controllers, transmitters, spanners, and screwdrivers.

 

BUDDY SYSTEM: Drone pilots and "spotters", racing in a monthly drone race sponsored by Drone Matters, a local drone shop. Hobbyist pilots and pilots from other drone shops take part in these monthly friendly races. Each pilot is paired with a "spotter", who taps into the pilot's video feed, and watches it via their own FPV goggle. The role of the "spotter" is to monitor if the pilot has completed the obstacles in the course and to also ensure if the pilot flies safely.
BUDDY SYSTEM: Drone pilots and “spotters”, racing in a monthly drone race sponsored by Drone Matters, a local drone shop. Hobbyist pilots and pilots from other drone shops take part in these monthly friendly races. Each pilot is paired with a “spotter”, who taps into the pilot’s video feed, and watches it via their own FPV goggle. The role of the “spotter” is to monitor if the pilot has completed the obstacles in the course and to ensure that the pilot flies safely.

 

RACE TRACK: Cones and gates that are part of the drone racing course. The cones dictate the course route, while the gates and flags serve as obstacles for the pilots to maneuver through and perform turns such as the slalom, hairpin, sweeper and tight radius.
RACE TRACK: Cones and gates that are part of the drone racing course. The cones dictate the course route, while the gates and flags serve as obstacles for the pilots to manoeuvre through and perform turns such as the slalom, hairpin, sweeper and tight radius. The drones are also flown below the height of the trees, for safety purposes. The races are won based on timing and completing the obstacles in the circuit.

 

CLOSE CONTACT: Two drones flying through a gate. Flying from first-person view is a challenge of its own. The pilot has to be alert and skillful in avoiding obstacles and flying through space constraints, all while flying at an average speed between 50 to 70 km/h. It is common for them to experience crashes and let a lone close shaves, by shaving off grass blades or leave, while flying the course. The unlucky few crash into obstacles or even other drones and end up with severe damage to their drones.
CLOSE CONTACT: Two drones flying through a gate. Flying with FPV is a challenge of its own. The pilot has to be alert and skillful to avoid obstacles while flying through space constraints, at an average speed between 50 to 70 km/h. It is common for drones to crash or to have close-shaves with the track terrain like trees and tall grasses while flying the course. The unlucky few crash into obstacles or even other drones and end up with severe damage.

 

MY GOGGLE IS COOLER: A pilot wearing his first-person view (FPV) google. The pilots fly their drones using the live feed from the camera attached to their drones. Their goggles pick up the feed that is transmitted from their drones, via an antenna. Flying with the FPV goggle, creates an illusion of flying in the drone and this is one of the main attractive nature of FPV drone racing.
LIVE VIEW: Mr Zacky Abdul Razak, 36, wearing his FPV goggle. The pilots fly their drones using the live feed from the camera attached to their drones. Their goggles pick up the feed that is transmitted from their drones, via an antenna. Flying with the FPV goggle creates the perception of actual flying and this is one of the main attractions of FPV drone racing.

 

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOU LIVE VIEW: A "spotter" using a screen to tap into the live feed of a pilot. Instead of using FPV goggles, one can also use screen monitors to fly the drones or monitor other pilots' feeds.
SPOT ME: A “spotter” using a screen to tap into the live feed of a pilot. Instead of using FPV goggles, one can also use screen monitors to fly the drones or monitor other pilots’ feeds.

 

QUAD-WHAT: A quadcoptor with LED lights attached to it. Quadcopters are drones which have four propellers. The average quadcopter is made up of a frame which holds the electrical speed controller, battery, camera and transmitters. Each propeller is attached to a motor and connected to a circuit board, on the frame. The entire setup can be customised, to the preference of the pilot. Some might even include LED lights. However, the more power consuming items you have on a drone, the shorter your flight time. The average flight time tends to hover between two to three minutes.
FLYING MACHINES: A quadcopter with LED lights attached to it. Quadcopters are drones which have four propellers. The average quadcopter is made up of a frame which holds the electrical speed controller, battery, camera, and transmitters. Each propeller is attached to a motor and connected to a circuit board, on the frame. The entire setup can be customised, to the preference of the pilot. Some might even include LED lights. However, the more power-consuming items you have on a drone, the shorter your flight time. The average flight time tends to hover between two and three minutes.

 

DRONE RACING: A racing drone hovering beside Mr Lai Choon How, 45. Drone pilots control the drone based on the live feed from the drone camera's, instead of looking directly at the drone's location. This creates the perception of actual flying for the pilot. "First-person view makes you feel like you are really flying and that's exciting. it is also safe as the drone is the only one crashing," said: Mr How. The commercial photographer has spent about $7000 in total on racing drones and has participated in about 3 local competitions thus far.
IN THE PILOT SEAT: A racing drone hovering beside Mr Lai Choon How, 45. Drone pilots control the drone based on the live feed from the drone cameras, instead of looking directly at the drone’s location. This creates the perception of actual flying for the pilot. “The first-person view makes you feel like you are really flying and that’s exciting. It is also safe as the drone is the only one crashing,” said Mr Lai. The commercial photographer has spent about $7,000 in total on racing drones and has participated in about three local competitions thus far.

 

CARPARKS FLYING:Drones flying by in a multi story carpark. Pilots from Roy Ph (RPiSG), have weekly recreational flies, at a multi story carpark, at night. "I find flying in carparks more interesting as requires more skillful flying, with greater flight restrictions, such as the high and even sharper turns," said: Mr Yi Ming, 37, one of the pilots from RPiSG.
RECREATIONAL FLIGHT TIME: Drones flying by in a multistorey carpark. Drone pilots from RPiSG, meet weekly to fly their drones, at a multistorey carpark, at night. “I find flying in carparks more interesting as it requires more skillful flying, with greater flight restrictions, such as the height and even sharper turns,” said Mr Yi Ming, 37, a drone pilot from RPiSG.

 

COOL DADS: Pilots from RPiSG, flying their drones in a multistory carpark. (From left): Mr Dave Tang, 34, Mr Lai Choon How, 45, Mr Yi Ming, 37, and Mr Ryu Goh, 33 met via facebook as drone flying enthusiasts and have been flying on a weekly basis. "We are dads and have full time jobs. So can only fly at night after our children have gone to bed and this place gives us the opportunity to do so," said: Mr Tang. Mr Tang was inspired to pick up drone racing after watching youtube videos of drone racing in carparks, overseas. He posted his videos on facebook and was contacted by the others. So he gathered them and organised weekly drone flies.
PILOT DADS: Drone pilots from RPiSG, flying their drones in a multistorey carpark. (From left): Mr Ryu Goh, 34, Mr Lai, Mr Yi, and Mr Dave Tang, 33, met via Facebook as drone enthusiasts and have been flying on a weekly basis. “We are all dads and have full-time jobs. So can only fly at night after our children have gone to bed and this place gives us the opportunity to do so,” said Mr Tang. Mr Tang was inspired to pick up drone racing after watching Youtube videos of drone racing in carparks, overseas. He posted his videos on Facebook and was contacted by the others. So he gathered them and organised weekly drone meets.

 

Featured image and other images by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

FOR the past four years Muslim foreign workers from the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue have been gathering along the pavements to pray the Eid Adha prayers. Since the nearest mosque is quite a distance from their dormitories, they have decided to organise their own prayers, just outside their dormitories.

There are about 2,000 Muslim foreign workers and a total of three different groups organising the prayers. Each group prays at a different time slot to cater to the population. TMG observed the group that conducted their prayers along Kian Teck Cresent. They began laying the canvas and setting up the sound system at around 6.30am and the prayers commenced at 7.30am.

 

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SERMON: The sermon for Eid Adha prayers are read from this book. They are in Arabic and come with Bengali translations. Two sermons were read out for the Eid Adha prayers. These sermons are similar to those read in all the mosques in Bangladesh.

 

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SOUND SYSTEM: A speaker secured to the trunk of a tree using raffia string. The Imam, who leads the prayers, wears a microphone set around his neck, as he delivers the sermon and the prayer commands. There are two speakers placed along the street to magnify the Imam’s dictation for the huge turnout of foreign workers. About 1,000 Muslim workers joined the prayers today and that has been the average turnout.

 

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NEW CLOTHES: A fellow worker ties a turban around the cap of his friend before heading for prayers. The wearing of the turban around the cap was a practice of Prophet Muhammad. Turbans have been worn by the Arabs even before Islam was adopted and the turban is worn in a reversed manner, with excess cloth hanging at the back of the turban for shielding’s one’s face during sandstorms.

 

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THE IMAM: Mr Mohammad Botchan, 26, has led both the Eid Adha and Eid Fitr prayers for four years. He has memorised the entire Quran, as part of his Islamic Studies in Bangladesh. After his parents passed away, he had to support his siblings and decided to come to Singapore to work as the pay was better. Since Islamic Studies would not land him a job in Singapore, he acquired the skills of piping and welding in Bangladesh. He came to Singapore in 2009 and has been working for Alpha Engineering Private Limited, in Keppel Shipyard, for seven years. “Anyone can come and pray. The police watch us every day, as we conduct our daily prayers here too, but there is no problem. The Singapore Government also understands that we are only conducting prayers and not misleading anyone. We just want to encourage our fellow men to continue practising the teachings of Islam and not be misled,” said Mr Botchan. Mr Botchan was able to get his siblings married off after coming to work in Singapore and plans to get married in Bangladesh after his work permit expires in July.

 

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ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS: Muslim foreign workers crying as they ask for forgiveness. After the prayer, the Imam leads the rest with asking for forgiveness and seeking blessings. This portion is done with the cupping of both hands as a symbol, and one can ask God for anything he wishes.

 

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‘EID MUBARAK’: Muslim foreign workers from the first group embracing one another after the prayers and wishing each other a blessed Eid Adha, as the second group, also about 1,000 strong, prepares for their prayers. There were two groups led by different Imams and they led their prayers at different time slots, one at 7.30am and another at 8am. The different time slots were to cater for the huge population of Muslim foreign workers from all the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue.

 

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MEALTIME: Muslim foreign workers from the first group enjoying a meal together after the prayers. One of the fellow workers prepared the meal in the morning before the prayers. The meal was served in huge round plates and the workers sat in groups of fives, around each plate.

 

All images by Najeer Yusof.

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Chiara Micheletti helps her mother Marisa Vesco take a shower in Cossato, Italy, June 7, 2015. Marisa suffered from incurable liver cancer and in the last months of her life she was not able to bathe herself. Her daughter Chiara cherished the time she was able to help her mother. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSMMRJ

GAIA SQUARCI/ REUTERS

Marisa Vesco eats ice cream in her bed in Cossato, Italy, June 30, 2015. Marisa suffered from liver cancer and a loss of appetite during the last months of her life; eating ice cream was one of her few pleasures. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMRF
LIFE PLEASURES: Marisa Vesco eats ice cream in her bed in Cossato, Italy, June 30, 2015. Marisa suffered from liver cancer and a loss of appetite during the last months of her life; eating ice cream was one of her few pleasures. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

MY GRANDMOTHER’S life and mine overlapped for 27 years. I always called her “Nonna.”

Our age difference and profoundly contrasting values and way of thinking did not prevent us from developing a strong bond and a relationship punctuated by mischievous games and moments of tenderness and humour. We were amused by our differences.

“You know, I was still young when you were born,” she told me a few weeks before she died. “It’s a little like we grew up together.”

At a lunch table a few months earlier in Milan, I learned from my mother, her daughter, that Nonna, 85, suffered from incurable liver cancer. Years before, she had already survived two bouts of breast cancer.

 

Old family photographs are seen on Marisa VescoÕs bed as she works on creating a family album with her granddaughter, the photographer Gaia Squarci in Cossato, Italy, July 1, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSMMSH
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY: Old family photographs are seen on Marisa Vesco’s bed as she works on creating a family album with her granddaughter, the photographer. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

Nonna would tell me time and time again that the news of my birth had given her the strength to fight.

When I learned that she was sick again, I had just landed in Italy, where I would be for only three days before flying back to New York.

Even more heartbreaking than the fear of saying goodbye to her was the fact that my grandmother did not know how sick she was. My mother and aunt believed she could not bear the thought of a third bout with cancer, this time, affecting her liver. Nonna was told by family members that her liver was ill.

 

Chiara Micheletti helps to bathe her mother Marisa Vesco in Milan, Italy May 21, 2015. Marisa suffered from incurable liver cancer and in the last months of her life needed assistance. Her daughter Chiara cherished the time she was able to help her mother. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMS3
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER: Chiara Micheletti helps to bathe her mother Marisa Vesco in Milan, Italy May 21, 2015. Marisa suffered from incurable liver cancer and in the last months of her life needed assistance. Her daughter Chiara cherished the time she was able to help her mother. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

No one ever mentioned the word “cancer.”

Because of this, one question haunted us until the day she died: Did we have the right to know the truth about her condition when she did not?

Nonna spent most of her last months at home, surrounded by family. She reconciled with the idea of death and said she could slowly feel it coming.

Doctors felt that surgery and chemotherapy would be pointless.

 

Marisa VescoÕs perfume bottles, almost all of which were empty, sit on the edge of the bath at her home in Cossato, Italy, February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMSD
A WHIFF OF THE PAST: Marisa Vesco’s perfume bottles, almost all of which were empty, sit on the edge of the bath at her home in Cossato, Italy, February 5, 2015. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

In the midst of all this, I realised my mother was losing her mother.

After moving back to Italy for a few months, I witnessed the range of my mother’s emotions and the energy she devoted to the time they had left together.

Nonna’s world shrank to a few walls and fewer streets. In this narrow existence, every detail and daily act took on deeper meaning.

 

The pills taken by Marisa Vesco to alleviate the symptoms of liver cancer are photographed on her bed in Cossato, Italy, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMSF
DAILY SUSTENANCE: The pills taken by Marisa Vesco to alleviate the symptoms of liver cancer. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

One of the things my mother treasured most was giving her mother a bath. She did not hesitate to touch her old body, and she did not want others to do it on her behalf.

I joined my mother and grandmother in the bathroom to quietly observe them with my camera.

 

Marisa Vesco reaches for a magazine in a bedroom of her apartment in Cossato, Italy, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSMMR1
REQUIRED READING: Marisa Vesco reaches for a magazine in a bedroom of her apartment. She joked about the photos taken by the photographer appearing on the magazine covers. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

As I experienced those precious moments, I imagined myself at an older age and thought about how time changes one’s perspective on being a woman.

As my grandmother faced my lens, completely naked, her body bearing the signs of past and present illnesses, she did not show the slightest bit of shame – only trust and pride.

 

Marisa Vesco embraces her nephew Luca Squarci during a visit to Cossato, Italy, June 22, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSMMSQ
HUGS: Marisa Vesco embraces her nephew Luca Squarci during a visit to Cossato, Italy. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

If you spoke with people in Nonna’s town they would say she never left the house without being enveloped in a cloud of perfume, her white hair perfectly coiffed and her face tinged with makeup.

I was surprised by the way she confronted being ill without losing her femininity. She was able to poke fun at herself. More than once she asked me, “Am I going to end up on Vogue or Marie Claire?”

 

Chiara Micheletti embraces her mother Marisa Vesco in her room at a hospice where she stayed for a month and a half before her death in Biella, Italy, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMR5
BY HER SIDE: Chiara Micheletti embraces her mother Marisa Vesco in her room at a hospice where she stayed for a month and a half before her death in Biella, Italy, August 21, 2015. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

On October 11, 2015, the day Nonna died in Biella, Italy, I was across the world in Brooklyn, New York. I had spent five months with her, celebrating her life instead of mourning her death.

I remember taking a walk through the Greenpoint neighbourhood of Brooklyn and staring for a while at kids competing in a race. I was unable to come to terms with the fact she was no longer a part of the world around me.

I struggled with the concept of death and the abstract emotion we call grief. I found peace only when I returned to Italy to spread Nonna’s ashes.

 

Marisa VescoÕs ashes are spread by her nephew Luca Squarci at her favourite location where she grew up near Cossato, Italy, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RTSMMRC
FAREWELL: Marisa Vesco’s ashes are spread by her nephew Luca Squarci at her favourite location where she grew up near Cossato, Italy, December 16, 2015. (Photo by REUTERS/Gaia Squarci)

 

My family and I walked to Nonna’s favourite place in the mountains not far from Cossato in northwestern Italy, the town in which she had grown up.

Her ashes felt heavy in my hands. I threw them far up into the air, and they fell all over the grass, and all over me. My mother, brother and aunt did the same, again and again.

In the end, we were covered in Nonna’s ashes and so was the field around us.

Months later, my mother sent me a photograph of that field. It was completely covered in flowers.

 

Featured image by Gaia Squarci/ REUTERS.

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A tapestry depicting Mother Teresa of Calcutta is seen in the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica during a mass, celebrated by Pope Francis, for her canonisation in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini - RTX2O1TQ

REUTERS

POPE Francis proclaimed Mother Teresa of Calcutta a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday (September 4), 19 years after her death.

Thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square applauded as the diminutive nun known as the “Saint of the Gutters” in her lifetime was officially elevated to join the Church’s more than 10,000 saints.

Francis’ predecessor Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to fast-track Mother Teresa to sainthood two years after she died in 1997.

The process usually does not start until at least five years after the candidate’s death.

Pilgrims streamed into St Peter’s Square at the Vatican from the early morning ahead of a service to honour the Nobel peace laureate, who worked among the world’s neediest in the slums of the Indian city now known as Kolkata.

Her legacy complements Pope Francis’ vision of a humble church that strives to serve the poor, and the festivities are a highlight of his Holy Year of Mercy, which runs until November 8.

 

Featured image by REUTERS.

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