Sunday, July 31, 2005

About Face: Mom's Story - Final Chapter

Yesterday afternoon I interviewed a mom with a little girl who has Apert Syndrome: it's a genetic disorder in which the face appears to be sunken in the middle (so the forehead protrudes and looks too big). The little girl is bright, cheerful and so beautiful a person -- I can say she's much better behaved than a lot of normal kids I've met (including my own!).

Tonight as I researched further about Apert Syndrome I came across this beautiful blog by a girl Vicki who has Apert too, and here she shares a story her mother wrote about having her.

I'm in tears -- our God is a great God. Hard to fathom at times but He never makes a mistake. No one, no matter how disfigured to our fleshly eye, is a mistake.

About Face: Mom's Story - Final Chapter

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


My son's tuition teacher (GORGEOUS woman in her 40s, looks 22, has 3 kids including 2 teenagers) soundly chastised me for not speaking Mandarin to my children.

Gorgeous Tuition Teacher: “你应该跟他们讲!”
Me: "Huh?! Jialat! 我的华语每次讲错的。。。"
Georgeous Tuition Teacher: "You must try!"
Me: "They will fail!" (read: "I pay you for what?!")

End of conversation. I pay the Georgeous Tuition Teacher.

I would dearly love to speak Mandarin. I was a good student you know. I tried very hard you know. But in my household my parents spoke English (to us) and Teochew (to each other when they were complaining about us). We played Beatles and Abba in our cassette tape recorders, not Fei Yu Qing or what's that lewlian lewlian lewlian guy's name? Anyway, what I mean to say is that my bro and I did not have an ice-cube's chance in hell of learning Mandarin.

I only started having Chinese tuition when I was in primary 3. My tuition teacher was a Taiwanese lady, lovely, but the lessons were so booooorrrrrinnnnngggg ... I sat through every Wednesday and Friday just so I could go and play with her daughter after that.

My Chinese aural test marks from P1 to Sec4 was a fabulous row of F's, except for the D I got in Primary 5 that totally ruined the landscape.

(This is why my kids are having tuition at 6 and 4 years of age, so that they hopefully won't get a row of F but maybe B's or C's. I can live with that)

Anyway, my whole point really was that every time I speak Mandarin I feel like a Singaporean. Especially with the lehs and the lahs and the hors. I used to love travelling with my friend Grace, the 6" tall editor of Nuyou, who is effectively bilingual. We would speak Mandarin in the cabs and restaurants of Paris: ”臭男人!" (referring to the taxi driver who would take us up every rue and boulevard to get to one spot 50 yards away) “很难吃!” (referring to the half-cooked lamb served at some chichi restaurant)

So thanks to Grace I practised my vocabulary of Mandarin complaints. I could open a complaints department.

So even today, when I do speak Mandarin to make people laugh, I am reminded of the fact that Singaporeans have a very crude patois of Mandarin that always spells home.

Ondine was just commenting yesterday about her friend's American fiance who loves our new National Day song. I have yet to meet a Singaporean who loves our new National Day song.

To be honest I have not heard it but the complaints range from "Wah lau who is that charbor on the MTV? Her face make me want to slap her." (from my bitchy gay friend who is on Atkins, which is turning up his Bitchery Level to 15 out of a possible 10), to Packrat's rant about the DANCE: "It's the dance that they created for it. Reminiscent of the great Singapore workout, it is officially called, and I kid you not, Dance No. 40 (which comes with it's own instructional video). So much mocking to do, so little time/bandwidth."

(I fear to say it but I'm gonna: my mother did the Great Singapore Workout in her bedroom for many many many many years. She was in great shape -- except she died of cancer 2 years ago. But she was beautiful to the last)

I feel proud when tourists come to Singapore and join in our parades! I love it when they stop me at the traffic lights and ask what must-see part of Singapore they must go to before they head back to the airport.

I love the way my to-be-sister-in-law, who is a strawberry blonde from Melbourne, looks in the turquoise kebaya I gave her before she and my bro returned to Melly.

I feel proud that we have Singaporeans in Hollywood (Nixon Fong who's in all those bank advertisements drawing animated geckos, who did the animated opening for the IOC recently). I feel proud when my friends abroad ask me for recipes for laksa, hokkien mee and chicken rice which they tried while they were here.

I think our government is for the most part, wise and kind. Just talking to my maid yesterday made me realise you may have a country with so many resources like the Philippines, but with poor and corrupt government you have nothing. Can you imagine if your husband was shot and killed on the street, and your village code of conduct is that the police close one eye if the murderer pays off the family of the murdered?

I believe God loves Singapore. We may be going through some growing pains (40 is always a tough one to face, haha) and we may make mistakes along the way, but we have been spared so many of the disasters of our neighbouring countries that it makes me wonder if it's all a coincidence or has Singapore been lifted up for such a time as this?

I believe this country is and will be more and more a shining beacon in Southeast Asia. We will have the will and the means to help those countries around us.

That's how I feel about WMD's role in this — we Singaporean women have so much to be thankful for. We have a safe country, we have no lack of work, our children don't have to be sold off or sent to work in a factory or overseas in goodness-knows-what places. So just looking at our neighbours and the troubles they go through, we have the means to help them. We only need to activate the will.

So bring on the cheesy dance, the corny lyrics, the flypast (which I LURVE!), the fireworks, the procession, the mistake-making commentators!


Sunday, July 24, 2005

My first school presentation

I've never actually spoken in front of students before.

Staff members yes. Public yes. But young minds that are in the process of being moulded, no.

When Siti from Unifem's Youth Wing called me early last week to "say a few words about gender stereotypes in the media" to a class of media students at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I thought why not? I like young people, but I've had some bad experiences mentoring a few who fell to the cliche that in order to look smart they gotta give the teacher lip.

Then again I was not the nurturing type till I turned 31 anyway.

A speaker from Unifem went up to the podium first to present a video (made in the hilarious late 80s, the days of Duran Duran and Miami Vice, so there were short skirts, high heel pumps and cheesy big hair all around), and then discuss why the Evil Mass Media are responsible for brainwashing people from a tender young age so that boys learn to beat up girls, and girls learn to take it.

While I can appreciate the angry sentiments (haha) behind it, I am not a feminist in any way, and do not agree that Man Bad, Woman Good. If not for Woman, Man would still be in the garden of Eden.

Anyway, that's a discussion for another post. My Unifem counterpart took to admonishing the noisy students and then to calling them out by name to answer questions. I don't think it went down well. Then again I've never been a teacher and I wouldn't be try to discipline a bunch of near-adults.

My section was representing the Evil Mass Media. As a former editor of 2 women's magazines, I took the liberty to reveal a bunch of insider secrets to these young people. I guess I thought entertainment might cut it -- these people had hauled ass to school on a SATURDAY and were being tested on the topic (or so I gathered), so the least I could do was provide a coupla laffs.

It went down well, particularly the beautiful pictures of Gisele Bundchen who is the only authentic supermodel of this modern time, who has had no plastic surgery and who eats burgers and not cigarettes and coffee for lunch.

I also revealed the wonders of Photoshop, which can shrink thighs, waistlines, cheeks, remove wrinkles, cellulite, underarm dingle-dangle and many other faults. Who needs Marie France when you've got Photoshop?

Women's magazines DO do some harm to the mindset of women. I was just watching an episode of Madeleine on the Disney channel about how her schoolmates wept at night because they did not own clothes that carried the designer label of Madame Cliche. Girls ARE at a young age encouraged to dress pretty (it's a privilege, really), and I am guilty as anyone of putting my babies in Dior, DKNY, Ralph Lauren and other designer labels (but not anymore, it's Bossini for the uns now!).

But above that, there is a value women ascribe to looks: sleek straight hair, flat stomachs and curvy hips, bigger boobs, whiter skin ... and it's actively encouraged by women's magazines.

Does it mean women shouldn't care about their looks? NO! What I mean to say is that women here need more of a unique style. I see very few women who instinctively know what to wear, who wear not what is trendy but actually start trends with what they wear. Their items aren't expensive, but it's the way they put it together.

It is a bit tiring to see, in a sea of people, long, gold-streaked locks, hipster jeans, jeweled thongs and an empire-cut top every 3 degrees you move your head.

But I digress: things ARE changing. Women ARE getting tired of traditional women's magazines. The spiralling circulation figures prove the market just ain't big enough for too many mags, and that women DO have half a brain in Singapore, and they DO look for things that feed the soul as much as the skin.

Oprah Winfrey's magazine O is the best-seller among women's mags in the US (and I read once, the world, but I need to verify that). Her magazine does not have a lot of skinny grumpy women with too much makeup on. Her magazine features her: a not-skinny, black woman on the cover. It is the antithesis of everything women have grown up expecting of women's magazines, but it is sincere, genuine and it touches a cord in women's hearts.

Locally DARE magazine (which I write for but this is not a plug, promise) set out to achieve that, to create a magazine for women with soul, and they've hit upon the highest natural subscription I've ever seen in my 16 years in magazine journalism in Singapore.

All this I shared in the lecture. Last night I bumped into one of the NAP students at church and she said I made her laugh.

That made my day (yesterday AND today). I look forward to the next opportunity I get to speak and hopefullly bust more myths.

Friday, July 22, 2005


I know this has nothing to do with saving children from prostitution, but I need some help and I'm hoping all you kind people reading this will pass it on.

I am doing something I never thought I would: I am selling off my Neil Gaiman library.

I started reading The Sandman in 1988, when my cousin from San Francisco dragged me to the comic shops across all of Singapore looking for the first edition of #8, which is legendary of course because it's the first time Death appears.

Anyway, I am now a mother and a Christian and need to clear the house of any unsuitable material that my precocious 6-year-old Scrabble-mad son can get his sticky hands on. And The Sandman falls under that category next to the Poppy Z Brite, Anais Nin, Lolita and "gender study" material.

My collection is quite valuable lah, because they are all first editions (mostly hardcover trades, well kept, not read -- as comic collectors know, we buy the HC to keep and the trades to read) bought from the superior comic libraire Comics Mart at Serene Centre where I spent many of my formative years.

Here's the list (they are ALL Hardcover First Printings)
1. Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes
2. Sandman Dream Country
3. Sandman Season Of Mists
4. Sandman A Game Of You
5. Sandman Fables and Reflections
6. Sandman Doll's House
7. Sandman The Kindly Ones
8. Sandman World's End
9. Brief Lives
10 Endless Nights
11. Sandman The Wake
12. Sandman The Dream Hunters (Gaiman with Yoshitaka Amano, Jap legend illustrator) -- this one is a bit discolored on the cover due to humidity
13. Death The Time Of Your Life
14. Death High Cost Of Living (this one has humidity spots on the inside pages and a 2" tear on the back of the dust cover)
15. Sandman Book of Dreams (prose), Gaiman with Ed Cramer
16. Angels + Visitations (prose)
17. Sandman Companion by Hy Bender
18. Mr Punch, first print of 15,000 copies
19. The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish
20. Murder Mysteries, adapted from a Gaiman radio play, illustrated by P Craig Russell

The HC collection above cost me well over $1000. THEN.

I also have Signal to Noise, Black Orchid, single issues 1-8 and more, statues, T-shirts, a very very rare magazine that was produced (more like stencilled) by this crazy comic shop owner in San Francisco who owns the most amazing comicbook shop and who had an exclusive interview with Gaiman, Death tattoos etc etc.

Sigh the life of the DINK.

I hope someone who can appreciate the value of these first prints would take ALL of them off my hands. Price is negotiable — I know some of them are worth many many times what they first sold for.

Please pass the word along, and interested parties please email me at I will give a portion of sale amount to the shelter that WMD/UNIFEM is supporting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Film on children of prostitutes in Calcutta

Thanks to SGFILM on Tomorrow, I found this link to a Sundance award winner about Calcutta kids born into brothels by murraystreet.

Screening of this film Born Into Brothels are on Saturday 23rd and 30th July, 5 pm at Singapore History Museum. Tickets are available at $10 from The Substation Box Office (Mon-Fri 12-830pm).

Many of these children are actually born into brothels. Their moms are teen prostitutes that get pregnant (because their clients often won't bother with condoms). Some of these teens make it to full term, and then quite often their babies are harvested to be prostitutes also — that's like breeding babies for food if you ask me.

Some of these child mothers do not make it. They die in mid-term pregnancy because their little bodies cannot biologically cope with carrying a baby to full term.

This film, however is not about child prostitutes but the children of prostitutes (thanks Davester).

I know I said that I won't say anymore about NKF but when I look at situations like these, I wish I could take some of the peanuts TT Durai had and use it to help children like these.

Thank you Digital Life

DL6_19July2005, originally uploaded by gigi_lala.

WMD wishes to thank Melissa Lwee of Digital Life for being such a cool reporter.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

What we learned from NKF

What a week.

I know we have all had our two cents' worth to say about TT Durai, Mrs Goh Chok Tong and the mass change of staff at NKF.

Emotions still run high, but they will die down, hopefully, and when the dust settles, I hope NKF will rise up again strong and now even more dedicated to being a beacon of good and service to patients.

I had some serious lessons taught to me by this incident:

1. Pride really comes before a fall
The saying may be old, but it's no less true. TT Durai was a brilliant man who set up a world-class kidney dialysis service at affordable rates for those suffering this chronic illness. I've spoken to a number of people this week who were either involved before in NKF shows or have given large sums to NKF: they respect TT Durai, even now. They cannot discount the good he has done. However, one common observation is that he is an extremely proud man. It was probably his pride that led him to believe he was going to win a retraction from SPH. I am very sure his lawyers would have counselled him otherwise -- or should have at least. Pride killed his career.

I pray for all volunteer workers and NGOs that should we get success in our endeavours to help the needy, that we will not let Pride gain a foothold in our good work. Humility can't be overrated.

2. Don't mess with SPH.

3. Watch what I say.
Mrs Goh Chok Tong's peanuts remark will remain in the annals of infamy, next to Imelda Marcos' 3000 pairs of shoes. Careless words can hurt a nation, as we can now see. Anything that can be quoted out of context, will. So I also pray for anyone in the public eye to have wisdom to measure their words before letting them out the door. Particularly me, famous for foot-in-mouth utterances.

4. Forgive.
Forgiveness is really hard. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt and disappointment felt by thousands of people who had little yet gave hard-earned money to NKF. It seems a mountainous task to ask them to forgive NKF but I'm going to do it anyway. The longer you hold on to the hurt, the longer you let it hurt you. The money is spent, the board and CEO have stepped down, LET'S MOVE ON. Let it go. For me, I have not personally given much to NKF (relative to what I used to earn, that is). I consider all that I sowed into NKF to be good seed, because I have seen patients helped by their dialysis centres.

Our pastor explained last night that for all the "evil" that has been unearthed this week, TT Durai did more than 2 decades of GREAT WORK. He asked us to put ourselves in Durai's shoes: how would you feel if you were him today? Lower than low. In fact, you know the tiny pebbles that fall through the cracks of the road? Lower than that. To have your whole life's work go up in flames because of a seemingly small thing, is a very painful experience we would not wish to experience ourselves. Public hantaming? Let's not do it because we wouldn't want people to do it to us.

So personally, as someone who knows Jesus, I have to do as He would do, which is to forgive, forget, move on, and pray for TT Durai. I pray for him a fresh start, precious lessons learned, and courage to continue on, and humility to grow a new attitude. Bible says, if you pray for your enemies you will heap burning coals upon their heads (not to kill them but to fire up a change in them, is how I read it).

Okay, so ... on to next week!

Friday, July 15, 2005


Ho Yeow Sun, one of WMD's pink ladies, has very kindly declared today, Friday 15 July, PINK T-SHIRT DAY at her store Skin (02-332E Marina Square).

All her staff will be wearing pink T-shirts and encouraging shoppers to buy one to raise funds for our fight against child sex tourism and trafficking.

If you work in the area or are heading down to Carl Jr's or see show at GV i hope you will make a quick stop at SKIN and pick up a T-shirt. Tomorrow.Sg editors wandering in the vicinity are very welcome also to support!!!

SKIN exclusively stocks the MEN's t-shirt ($38) as well as the KID's t-shirt ($25), and of course the WOMEN's one ($38).

Sun sold one to Kym Ng on Wednesday when she and Fiona Xie were shooting at the store! *high five*

Thursday, July 14, 2005

FLAMING! The NKF Responsibility Petition

A friend just sent me the NKF Responsibility Petition and I clicked on just one of the petitions (there are like 200) and it's about 1000 people expressing their views (all right, scolding NKF, TT Durai and Mrs "Peanuts" Goh, and demanding the resignation of Durai and the board of directors.

Boy these people are furious!

I wonder if the government is going to step in at any point and stem this outrage. It is pretty bad. Mostly the outrage surrounds the issue of trust. It's true: once trust is broken it'll take twice the work to build it back.


Taking any newspaper to court in Singapore is usually an exercise in futility; the move of an addled brain, of one so drunk with conceit he cannot see past the apparent slight made by the accused reporter, to the giant momma of a maneating machine poised behind her, waiting to grind him to pieces with newsprint.

The pen/laptop is mightier than the sword.

Mr TT Durai, you picked the wrong fight, mate.

The battle isn't over yet. In fact it's just begun. The first cut has been made, now everyone's going to step back and watch the bleeding. Once you whack ST, that'll be the end of you. That's the fun part about having only one print news body. You cannot win, if you still want to live on our isle.

If you want to take them on you better make sure you are Mama Lemon Squeaky Clean, which unfortunately Mr Durai is not, if Page 3 of ST today is accurate.

Mr Brown makes a great point: what about the board of directors that let him spend thusly? Was he not accountable to them? Will they stand up for him? It remains to be seen...

I know from my experience in the corporate jungle it's most likely Mr Durai will be asked to step down or relocate to another country (by business class) to live this down. Anyone recall President Devan Nair, who reportedly pinched bottoms in mid air and chugged heady fluids?

Actually I don't care that
* NKF has reserves for decades (in fact that's good)
* there may only have been 2000 patients, not 3000 as claimed by NKF
* He had a private car maintained by NKF that his wife drove
* He held directorships not revealed to NKF
* the list goes on

The man's career is over. He has been Glenn Knighted. I hope he saved some of that $1.8m he earned in the last 3 years. It should last quite a while, seeing that whole families live on $1000 a month. He's a clever man, he will come up with another business.

But my real concern is how the beneficiaries of NKF are going to be affected. Already it says that each year it costs NKF $31.6 milllion to treat its dialysis patients, but the patients pay about 75% of the bill, leaving NKF only $7.2m to take care of.

So with $189m in reserves, that could last 26 and a quarter years.

(It's GREAT business. But bad PR.)

But what about the patients? Without NKF, can they survive? Kidney failure is a lifelong problem. So say NKF has ZERO funds coming in after this. The $189m in reserves will be needed to help 2000 patients for the next 26 years (and I'm not counting inflation), and we can't count the new cases that are discovered every month.

Worst case scenario, NKF suffers a fatal blow, and patients have limited help. They seek other sources of dialysis, which may be more costly. Or they can't afford it, stop going, and die.

Best case scenario: NKF comes clean, changes CEO for an honest man/woman (how about a business-savvy doctor whose heart is with the patient?), and continues to champion aid for kidney patients. Of course, if fundraising continues on, it would also be good PR to up the current subsidy to 50% from a mere 25%.

Oh the thorny road of the social enterprise, the for-profit Do-Gooder. Makes my knees shake to ponder WMD's future. Only by God's wisdom can this job be done effectively and free from corruption. It's a tough road to take.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Don't leave long copy near a Subeditor


This is the last time I'm going to do an interesting interview (Straits Times Mind Your Body, Faith Hope and Mr Brown) When I have too much to write, I write too much and leave too much in the hands of the sub.

Who doesn't have time for the Internet.

Who writes that Mr Brown's blog is at (when my original text was

I paiseh man, that's my name up there you know.

But it's my fault, all my fault. I should deliver clean, to-the-word-count copy. EARLY. So I'm sorry.

Anyway there IS one glaring mistake that I made because I didn't call to check:

AWWA Special School is now at 9 Lorong Napiri.

not Kwong Ave anymore.

But I do like that photo. Faith is a cutie, and she is blessed with one pair of happening parents. God is good.

Shopping with Eunice Olsen at Sun Ho's new shop

I don't want to lose any credibility but I just need to have one bimbo moment and say that I really had fun today!

I've been not shopping for so long that I think my shopping hymen grew back. The last 10 items I bought were groceries from Cold Storage (including 5 packets of Holly Farm almond jelly that does not gel -- PLEASE DON'T BUY) and a Chinese zi dian for my son.

Today, because Sun has been such an awesome supporter of WMD, I brought Eunice Olsen and my buddy J to go and do some damage at her new store, SKIN (#02-332E, Marine Square, near the Suntec entrance where Metro used to be).

I'm not a streetwear chick, not say I dowan but my body is just made for the boring stuff (MaxMara, DKNY -- the most exciting thing I have in my wardrobe is my collection of Blumarine fur-trim cardigans).

But the store makes you want to shop, and I mean it, coming from someone who used to do all her shopping in NYC, Paris and Milan. It's really well laid-out, the changing rooms are mighty funky, and the labels are hip LA brands that you see in InStyle. Sun also has the exclusive distributorship to VON DUTCH (the REAL Von Dutch), as well as Ed Hardy, the original VD designer.

Being 8kg heavier than I should, I of course looked like Mrs Hippo next to Eunice Olsen, who is the Supermodel Who Was Too Smart To Become One. The woman is a pole with boobs and luscious hips. Can't stand it! This is the sort of situation where you must be smart enough NOT TO TRY THE SAME OUTFIT if you do not want to bolt for the nearest Marie France (which is just 5 minutes dash away, in case).

Eunice tried on a grey tank with lace and beads. Awesome, it's a winner. I wish whoever stole my camera phone didn't.
Then she tried on white jeans with pink trimming from True Religion. WHITE JEANS! Who can wear white jeans beside Paris Hilton and she looks like a staff member of Tarts R Us. Eunice looks awesome.
There was virtually NOTHING she tried on that didn't look great.
I felt physically nauseous!!

It got so bad that Eunice, Sun and my bud J said to me, "IF WE HEAR THE F-A-T WORD COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH ONE MORE TIME IT'S $15! THAT'S $5 FOR EACH OF US!"

I'd gladly pay if each $15 got rid of one kg!!!

Anyway, I stealthily tried on like, TWENTY pieces, each one more bak chang than the last. The only piece that made me look vaguely hip and comfortable was this beautiful shirt from Raw 7, which also appeared on the cover of ELLE US in Feb this year.

I don't look anything like Uma either but at least I don't look like a nonya chang hanging from a red raffia string, waiting for someone to pull it and put me out of my misery.

It was really really fun... After my next 2 paychecks from my slim stream of writing income, I'll hazard another visit ... or else I'll just bring Eunice again and shop vicariously.

PS I also met Mr Brown accidentally today and accidentally bought him cake and then discovered it was his birthday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Today's front page of the Straits Times carries the "dirt" on the NKF-SPH fight.

NKF's CEO TT Durai flies first class (upgrading his business class tickets) and has gold-plated fittings in his private bathroom in the NKF office.

SPH's lawyer Davinder Singh is one kind of Tekan King. He asks TT Durai if $990 for a tap is expensive. TT Durai says depends on the place. Singh asks For the man who earns $1000 who give $50 to NKF, is it expensive?

One kind of happening tekan. Sure win all the debate championships type.

But the true question in this whole "lawsuit turned inquest" is: do organisations that set out to do good, as NKF doubtlessly had many years ago, have any right to run themselves like a business entity/corporation?

One of my buddies worked for Mr Durai for 3 years. She had nothing but good things to say about him as a visionary and a boss. The idea of running a body that solicits public funds to help the less fortunate, but running it to make profits, sounds good to a businessperson, and lowest-of-the-low to the rest of mankind.

She said it was tough to get into his vision, because it went against what she grew up believing, that if you do good, there should be nothing in it for you. But to understudy his thinking, to create money as a business, she learned a lot.

It must be said that NKF doesn't get all its money from the $1000-earner in the street. Other business deals, investments etc, I'm sure that would make the bulk of their earnings, hence the reserve. (So, you and I ask, why beg for money from those who have little? And why do an NKF Charity show?)

However, I wonder if it would not be ideal if do-gooders were able to make a decent (okay, not $25,000 + 12 months bonus) income from running a tight ship that got things done. Looking at NKF, for all the $189 million they have in reserves, have they done a lot for those suffering from kidney failure? I think they did a more than decent job with all the dialysis centres they set up, awareness campaigns that they run.

(I do not agree with them encroaching on the cancer turf, though.)

My belief is that fundraising must go hand in hand with business smarts, in any NGO. While WMD is very young and the money we want to give away is completely from the public, the startup was self-funded. It's not an ideal situation — if as the founders we had proper funding we could do a lot more. If we could provide a service or a product for other businesses to take up, it would help to fund our good works.

But I also believe in staying transparent and accountable, so once the T-shirt drive is over our supporters will be able to see how much we collected, how much we spent on what, and how much reached the shelters.

I don't think NKF set out to be a villain. I still believe that they have done a lot for the less fortunate. I hope that this Slap on the Wrist will help them to get back on track. Restitution must be made after this to assuage public outrage. But I hope the fallout's not so great that we destroy what is otherwise a great model for charities to follow.

PS While we were trying to get stars to endorse our pink WMD T-shirt, I tried to get Fann Wong (whom I like very much and think is a great flagbearer for our country). Her management said they would give me a discounted rate of


for her to appear in our T-shirt in a poster that would only go out online and in the shops.

I said for $7000 I would have to stand in the street corner and hawk 200 T-shirts just to pay these bloodthirsty sharks. None of that money would go to the shelter.

The reply was, "You know how many charities ask her to do this kind of thing or not?" My guess is a lot. So they must have made a lot of money by now.

As if charging charities is going to help the situation. Oh maybe it did, because I just said thank you and hung up. Her management either didn't get what I was saying, or they didn't give a flying pig's arse.

THAT to me, is far worse than NKF's first class tickets to anywhere.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London Blasts: the devil strikes again

The Bible teacher AR Bernard once said of the September 11 attacks, that what we see in the natural realm (ie this world) is a reflection of what is happening in the spirit realm.

Something huge happened then. Something huge happened today in London and in the spirit world.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

As a Christian I believe that the End is near, that's why the devil is panicking, in a rage because he knows his time is short. So he will start using evil weapons like terrorism to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

This may have been a deed claimed by the Al-Qaeda but this is not a religious war. This is a war between good and evil. satan is using Islam as a tool to try to hit the Christian world, but Islam is not the enemy — the devil is.

Let's help in every way we can in the natural: send supplies, aid, encouragement.
But more importantly, for all believers reading this, let's PRAY. The powers and principalities of the spirit realm are destroyed by the power of God's word. If we destroy them in the spirit, they will not manifest in our world.

Put on the full armour of God as spelled out in Ephesians 6:10-18, so you can take your stand against the devil's schemes, not just in your life and in Singapore, but in all the world:
1. The belt of truth
2. The breastplate of righteousness
3. Feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
4. The shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
5. The helmet of salvation
6. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."

The ending has already been written: the battle is already won. But the devil is counting on the world not to have read the Book. Read it, so he can't fool you.

I pray for the families of those killed in the blasts, and for the comfort of the Lord to flood London and the nation. We must pick up our efforts, heat up our prayers and FIGHT. Terrorism doesn't get to win.

Yes, we DO have WMD Men's T-shirts!

Have been getting quite a lot of guys asking whether we have a pink T-shirt for them: YES WE DO! They look like this!

Only available in one size but fits all I have met, including Lim Yu Beng, Ian Adamson (World #1 Adventure Racer dude) and national bowler Andrew Fang! (Also Rod Monteiro and Mark Zee but I need to go and dig out my photos)

Please do support. These are $38 each and can be bought by mail order. Cheques made payable to Women Make A Difference (WMD) International. Mail with your address, mobile and email details to:
WMD T-shirt Order
20 Eastwood Road
Singapore 486442


Wednesday, July 06, 2005


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Okay, this is IT!

Our fundraiser T-shirts, these lovely pink ones that say "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" will be sold at 77th Street at #01-31/35 Far East Plaza, as well as #05-03/04 Heeren.

They cost $39.90 and the first 400 buyers (of various sizes) will get a free bag.

All net proceeds go to UNIFEM Singapore, which will distribute the funds to shelters that house and rehab women and children who have been forced or sold into prostitution.

If anyone wants T-shirts for MEN or KIDS, we have very nice ones ($38 for men, $25 for kids) in very limited quantities, by mail order. Please email me!

Thanks and tell EVERYONE! We need to sell 900 T-shirts in three months!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Support Bertrand Lee!

Bertrand Lee directed one of my plays, Dirty Laundry, adapted for TV by Lionel Chok and Juan Foo. We have only said "hi, bye" one time. But I loved what he did with it (really pathetic story -- definitely not one of my own favourites but in case you are reading, Lionel and Juan, I am forever grateful that you saw potential in it!!). He is bold, visionary and has a great style that is modern yet I feel, distinctly Asian.

Bertrand had a leg amputated following a nasty accident in Mumbai (he was run over by a 20-ton truck - I will reserve comment right now on the upside down traffic rules of India where to shake your head means Yes and Red Man means Walk Across The Street Now)

I do not believe that Bertrand's career has "ended" in any way. He is currently still in hospital and requires a series of operations, following which he will need to be rehabilitated to move again. He will need more resources than ever now to pursue his vocation — as we all know, Singapore is not exactly the most handicap-friendly place in the world.

He needs all the help we can give. $750,000 is being sought to help him. There is a Bertrand Lee Appeal Film Screening tomorrow night at GV Grand at 9pm. They are screening a retrospective of Bertrand's movies at $8. I believe you can get tickets at the door.

If you wish to give directly, go here for details.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Plight Of The NGO: "Sometimes I feel like the maid!"

Me, my sweet WMD volunteer Yvonne and about 8 other women volunteers from UNIFEM Singapore spent Saturday afternoon (yesterday) packing hundreds of pink T-shirts for selling.

I very tired.

If we succeed in selling all 900 T-shirts we will raise something like $25,000.
I am trying not to think that this will only fund ONE shelter for HALF a year.

BUT this needs to get done. One shelter for half a year still means we will help 30+ women/children to have a chance to be physically, emotionally restored, and hopefully trained for an alternative career to prostitution.

Today I also had the extreme privilege of meeting Mr Brown (more on that tomorrow) in person and having a long talk about why our country doesn't do enough for special needs. His beautiful daughter Faith has autism (his son Isaac is so cute I nearly packed him in my haversack and brought him home. Somemore can feed him luncheon meat!)

Sometimes, I look around me and feel really jia lat. There are so many things that need to be fixed. Here is an abridged list:

1. A governmental special needs body. It is not a problem of the NGOs that 1 in 250 children in Singapore have autism. Something is not right. As a country trying to be a bio-medical centre of excellence, we should be the country that finds the cause and cure for autism, which is affecting children around the world at a really alarming rate. Someone told me last week if things continue like this without active measures to stem the root cause, one in every 125 children will have autism within 10 years. It will affect MOE. It will cause brain drains as the more affluent parents of autistic children move to the US or Australia to seek medical help because it's insufficient here. Poor families with autistic children will leave them at home because care will escalate in price if left to private bodies, as the cheap, good ones are already OVERFLOWING and UNDERSTAFFED today!

Okay okay, I need to breathe.

I meet the parents of special needs children in Singapore quite often. I am constantly saddened by the same complaints that come up week after week: it's nearly impossible to get these children into normal schools, medication is so expensive, good teachers in places like Rainbow Centre get totally burned out and quit and it's hard to find replacements ...

Something needs to be done.

2. The upcoming IRs will cause a lot of social problems in Singapore. Is it really worth it for 35,000 jobs in the first year (probably halved by the 2nd or 3rd year as the more pathetic IR discovers it's not worth competing and pulls out of Singapore, causing a wave of unemployment -- wait, haven't we been through this with MediaWorks and MediaCorp)? Meanwhile, every accident-hounding 4D, Toto, mahjong addict will be permanent fixtures at the IR (so the IRs will just collect a hefty entrance fee from Singaporeans -- if $11 for a pack of Marlboros won't stop people from smoking, what's a fee to go and gamble?), families will be neglected, life savings will be lost, increase in suicide attempts, depression, drinking problems, divorces, juvenile delinquency ... all costing the government a LOT of taxpayers' money to fix, overworking the family courts and social workers/counsellors as if they are sitting around twiddling thumbs right now. It's like ngeh ngeh inviting trouble then spending a lot of time and energy and money trying to contain trouble -- your standard horror movie script.

I don't know whether to stay and fight or not. honestly it's things like this that make me want to move to Perth and fish for marron. Sheer stupidity. I got time to plan this escape.

But if I stay then I must fix this somehow, with the help of hopefully a few hundred thousand people. Any ideas are welcome.

PS If you say "Shut down STB and fire all the staff and use the money to hire counsellors and set up counselling centres since STB has failed so miserably to do its job", sorry that idea has already been taken. But if you have an idea on HOW to fire all the staff of STB then please post it.

3. We need to stop our men from going to Batam and Thailand and other poor countries for virgin or underaged sex. It's disgusting, they'll come back with diseases which WILL spread, and they are destroying the lives of children in another country. I definitely welcome ideas for this!

PS Potong is not possible. I heard all the junior guillotines are sold out, bought up by desperate housewives who suspect their husbands of having China mistresses.

There are many more problems around us that need fixing. We can choose to stay and fight, or we can pack and go.

By myself I know I do not have an ice-cube's chance in hell. But with God, nothing is impossible. Maybe with Mr Brown's influence we can rally for gahmen to do something concrete for those who need their help the most: the ones who cannot look after themselves, the handicapped, the sick.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Singapore: A Nation Of Child Sex Offenders?

Yesterday I had breakfast with Eunice Olsen.

She was our resident politician in the WMD shoot (which came out in URBAN yesterday! Thank you URBAN).

She is one beautiful, smart, sassy girl. Totally into bettering the state of humanity in this world. I find it rare in young people, who either say PC things so that Lao Jiao like me won't give them flak for not caring, or who really really don't care and can't wait to change the subject.

Eunice can talk about helping kids, women, the poor all day long.

One point we agreed on, and it disturbs me, is that even tragedies are faddish in Singapore. People get tired of bad news fast -- except maybe when they live in close proximity to the danger, like SARS.

The issue of child sex tourism will be a long term one. Men in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and other affluent Asian countries are not going to stop visiting child prostitutes overnight. That is why our battle needs to be a long one also. The more education, the more outcry, the more we fight to protect our own family units, the more results we will have, but these things take time.

Will we stop till the men stop? The answer is no.

But we need soldiers, a moral and tireless army to fight this injustice. We need the next generation to rise up already, and make a stand. We love our country and we are proud of it. Anything that taints the name of Singapore needs to be eradicated.

I do not want my country to be called a nation of child sex offenders.

But if that's how Batam sees us now, I don't blame them.


As National Day draws near, I am thinking of this country that our forefathers painstakingly built from scratch. There are more good things about our country than bad, but that doesn't mean we should not work hard to cut out as many of the bad things as possible. I do believe that God has a special purpose for this island state, or we would not have prospered so remarkably in such a short time (not even 50 years!), and we would not have been spared from the ravages of natural disasters like the Boxing Day tsunami. The "close call" still makes me shudder when I think about it -- we were so near to the disaster but yet God's hand lifted us so far from it.

So I believe, whatever opportunity we get to do good now, particularly saving the lives of the innocents, we should do it, while we still have a chance.