June 25, 2017

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Child Abuse
Illustration by Sean Chong

by Sean Chong

IT’S a billion-dollar industry in the Philippines, and growing. Live-streaming child porn is enabled by a nation with good Internet access, smartphone penetration, English proficiency and a well-developed network for international money transfers, but which at the same time also suffers from the desperation of poverty and a weakness in laws and controls. Live-streamed child pornography is even harder to detect and punish – the process leaves no trace of pornography on the abuser’s computers, which makes gathering evidence much more difficult. Tens of thousands of children are estimated to be involved in this flesh trade, many of whom are pressed into what amounts to slavery by their own parents for between US$5 and 200 a “show” – just another way to keep the family fed. It becomes the new normal for children, who then tell their friends and neighbours. Soon, whole neighbourhoods get in on the idea to make ends meet. Some rescued children see nothing wrong with what they do and are even resentful of authorities who rescue them and lock their parents away. Can the Philippines put an end to such a deep-rooted problem?

Featured image by Sean Chong. 

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by Natassya Diana

 

Featured Image by Natassya Diana.

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by Natassya Diana

PEK Kio Market and Food Centre was closed temporarily on Wednesday (May 25) and Thursday (May 26), for thorough cleaning and disinfection after more than 180 cases of gastroenteritis had been reported in the Owen Road Area over the past week. Samples collected from the food outlets and the stool samples from those affected tested positive for Rotavirus, or gastric flu. However, the cause of the virus outbreak has yet to be discovered. Hawkers hoped the source of the outbreak could be identified to avoid business being affected.

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Featured Image by Natassya Diana.

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Blue Men Group
Illustration by Sean Chong

by Sean Chong

IF YOU’RE thinking of heading to New Zealand for the school holidays, you might want to check out the Blue Men Group, which will be performing in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch for the month of June. The group was recently in Singapore to launch their World Tour, as part of celebrating their 25 years in the entertainment business. The group is also recruiting – so good luck if you’re thinking of joining them. Auditions, however, are held only in Los Angeles, New York, and London.

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Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Ernest Goh & Sean Chong

MR DONALD Trump has said that he has “no problem” speaking to North Korea despot Kim Jong Un. He’d like to get Mr Kim to stop the country’s nuclear programme, and would do so by exerting pressure on China if he’s elected President of the United States. It’s not the most original idea, but at least the two can talk about other things. Fun times.

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Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Natassya Diana

IT’S clear, crunchy, and totally counterfeit. A tonne of fake “jellyfish” was recently seized by Chinese authorities in Huzhou, in the coastal province of Zhejiang. Apparently, these are created using an aluminium concentrate, which in high doses can lead to bone and nerve damage, and mental decline, including memory loss. Jellyfish is a popular side dish in China – and you can find it in Singapore too. So the next time you see a plate of it at your table, you may want to think twice about eating it – unless you don’t mind a serving of aluminium with your dinner.

 

Featured Image by Natassya Diana.

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Stop it Trump
Illustration by Sean Chong

by Sean Chong

USING people’s artistic works without their permission is seriously offensive. After insulting women and Hispanics and other minorities, Mr Donald Trump is now angering artists by using their songs without their permission in his political campaigns. Surely the billionaire can afford to pay? Some of the music he’s used include music from R.E.M., Adele, and – just few days ago – The Rolling Stones. The singers have asked that Mr Trump stop using their music at his rallies.

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Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Natassya Diana

MARKING the last 100 days to the opening of the 2016 Olympic Games, the torch was passed on to the Brazilian authorities in a handover ceremony held on Wednesday (April 27) in Athens, Greece. It was carried around Greece for seven days, then to Switzerland, before taking another tour in Brazil, where the Games will officially begin on August 5. Mr Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of Rio 2016, said: “We in Brazil understand our responsibility as guardians of this Olympic Flame. We promise to deliver, to stage Games that will unite and inspire the world.”

 

Featured Image by Natassya Diana. Video by Reuters. 

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No toilet for you, shoppers!
Illustration by Sean Chong

By Sean Chong

WISMA Atria shoppers were divided last week when the Orchard Road shopping mall put up notices barring construction workers from using the toilets inside the mall, which it said was meant only for customers. Some were indignant, others said it was nothing unusual. What if it had been the other way round? 

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Natassya Diana

THE candidates are ready; the date is set. SDP and PAP are already neck deep in campaigning and ready to go!

In today’s SMACK IN THE MIDDLE, we envision the by-election race between PAP’s Murali Pillai and SDP’s Chee Soon Juan as a swimming competition through the heartlands, through the thronging crowds, in a bid for the hearts and minds of residents. Who will feel the sinking pull of defeat? Will one guy torpedo the other? Will everything go swimmingly?

 

Featured Image by Natassya Diana.

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