Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tomorrow.Sg: My Favourite Newspaper

It's Sunday and finally I have some breathing time to catch up on reading. I know I said that I started buying the Straits Times again to look for things to comment about (also to keep track of what progress we're making in the child sex tourism fight -- which ain't much ... more on that later).

BUT I find despite the wide array of dailies before me, I still find the freshest, most honest reporting in Tomorrow.Sg (true or not, must ownself investigate — see, interactive news!) and also it has the biggest section of Laughs.

My favourite stories browsed today:

Inexplicably illegal storage of durians by unauthorised consumer in white fridge
My fridge also looking mighty empty ... feel like some durians ...

Filmmaker made to surrender film made about Chee Soon Juan
This kind of CBL thing the police can get involved in. Catching men who rape children in Batam, they can't be bothered. Can we have some justice here please?

Taking driving lessons and how to choose a private instructor
Close to my heart because I have given in to the "system" and registered with Comfort Driving Centre (yes yes, the shame is out: I cannot drive — yet!). Last lesson I only drove up the kerb TWO TIMES. I can fly!.

Clever commentary on the blatantly distrustable nature of corporate blogs
"Hi, I'm the boss of IPOS and I'm really a very nice guy. Just to show you how nice I am, I am providing a download of Madonna's latest single 'I Ate My Horse' at a low low price of US$109.99. Remember, putting songs from your CD into your iPod is ILLEGAL. Love, from your friendly IPOS friend, XYZ"

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Looking for travel writers who surf and dive!

surf, originally uploaded by nirav1.

I'm working on a new magazine yet to be revealed -- and I am looking for good writers who are seasoned travellers, don't mind travelling and who can surf, dive and take photos.

Email me if you are interested, and if you have a blog or website with your writing and pictures that would be ideal.

Oh, and you'll get paid too!

Pass this message on, okay?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Excuse, Ricky Martin fights my cause hor!

You know ah, a long time ago I think I really had my nose stuck in my Prada bag.

Life was a long series of:
"Who am I lunching with today, Dior or Chanel?"
"Isn't it time for my friend to be back in Singapore from Milan with my Sergio Rossi snakeskin shoes that are illegal here because it's made from a nearly-extinct species of snake from the jungles of Brazil?"
"Ack -- don't show me another SKII ad!"
"Hmm, I think my middle is too thick. Time to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee."

Life beyond my material goods, bubble of fashion friends and skinniness was inconceivable.

Now that I am a convert to activism, some people make it like I really downgraded. "You're an activist now?" Like, please don't bring your smelly cause anywhere near my Gucci slippers.

I think in fact I have definitely upgraded. My attitude is up, my life is up, my joy is up, the number of people I make a difference to is up ... definitely more ups than I used to have. In fact, it took a new lipstick or a $1200 new bag to give me an up last time.

I sold much of my material possessions on eBay (and made money to live off for quite a while, actually — in fact eBay sales gave me my iPod. I sold a Gucci dress that made me look like a hairy lollipop to a girl in the UK, and bought meself a $680 iPod way back in 2002 — yes you may grovel at my shrine of divine coolness. Denise Keller bowed to me because mine's a G1 and hers is a G2.)

Anyway, back to activism. To be honest God changed my heart. He made me hurt for kids that have been abused, so badly abused they are sold by their own parents to be beaten up, starved and made to give their little bodies up for sex to feed their pimps. I think back at my extravagance before and it really kills me to think that if I had not spent all that money on clothes, shoes and countless issues of Vogue, I would already have been able to open and sustain a shelter in Batam for a year!!

Is it so unglamorous to be an activist? I'm not anti-fur, and that's the last glam campaign I've really seen the fashion people handle. After which all of them wore fur (Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda E ...) Breast cancer sort of is quite glamour, being the Estee Lauder choice of social cause, but you don't get the REALLY A-list people supporting it — though Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren etc have given their design talents to the cause.

A good friend of mine who is a show producer pointed out to me last week that RICKY "Shake Your Bon Bon" MARTIN fights exactly the same cause as WMD! He has a Ricky Martin Foundation and he has been travelling the world for years to speak out against child sex tourism and trafficking! Isn't that just very cool?!

Suddenly, I feel quite glam today. I also decide I will buy every Ricky Martin CD there is (since RIAS is being so strict about music sharing, which is plain silly). Oh and yes I promise not to upload to my (nearly empty) iPod. Right.

So here I am wearing my Dior T-shirt (4 years old) and my Export Shop cargos ($20), not worried anymore that the people formerly known as my friends think of me as a downgraded social cause fighter. I can now say I am Ricky Martin's comrade, and that's more than anyone I used to know can say.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kids Tug The Darndest Strings

Two Saturdays ago I had the privilege of checking out Mr Miyagi's gymnastics for disabled children, for a story I was writing for the papers.

I didn't quite know what to expect, and honestly thought it might be a little more than stressful to observe autistic children freaking out with freedom ("fun" for them, stress for the teachers and parents).

What I saw instead were 7 brilliantly happy kids and 7 parents who were having (suspiciously MORE) fun than their kids I think!

I've been writing a column on disabled children for a while now, and it's just opened up an amazing world for me. It is so humbling to meet parents who have more courage than I could ever summon, and so joyful to meet special needs children who are thriving on the love of their mothers (mostly mothers, apart from Papa Extraordinaire Mr Brown ).

To get a high five from a little girl whose hands are webbed due to Apert Syndrome, to get a cookie from an autistic boy ... these moments make my heart soar with joy and my eyes fill with tears. I've been writing a long time, but this is the best job I've ever had the honour to do.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


This is for the sweet people who emailed me to volunteer with WMD after reading this post!

You guys are amazing. Let's have fun doing this!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I'm really bummed out.

After one month of sales at 77th Street we only moved 71 T-shirts (no fault of 77th Street's). Over at Skin I think we moved about 20 in 2 weeks with no promotion.

Like this how to save the children? The shelter can't even afford to keep its doors open at the rate we're going!!

I sent press releases to ALL the major media.
- URBAN gave us a nice coloured listing -- thank you URBAN
- Her World gave us a little blurb with a picture of Denise Keller, Sun Ho and Eunice Olsen - thank you HER WORLD
- Style is coming up with an interview with Kit -- thank you Style.

Other than that we have pretty much been .... quiet.

Anyone with any ideas on how we can hit our target of 900 T-shirts? (Now 809 T-shirts to be exact)

I wish there were 100 women's groups or women CEOs with a heart to take 8 pieces each. It's not a lot, is it?

Each day I think about these kids that are thinking about running away from the brothel.
Each day I think about how the poor NGOs and shelter managers are struggling to cope with housing, feeding and counselling them.
Then I walk down Orchard Road and our kids are dressed in fine clothes, eating Haagen Daaz and going home in their Mommy's MPV ...

There MUST be a way to help. There's just gotta be ...

Monday, August 08, 2005

What's Worth Queuing For?

Over the weekend I invited Mr, Mrs & Faith Brown to the Festival of Praise at the Indoor Stadium.

The queues started at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. Many were turned away -- WE NEED A BIGGER STADIUM! Next year maybe they can play at National Stadium! The sound wouldn't be as good but they could make a lot more people happy.

Mr Brown blogged live from the Festival while we were bopping to Delirious - what a magnificent band!

I read some of the comments on that post and it actually surprised me that Christians weren't prepared to queue for the worship event of the year. I mean, people are willing to queue for mere autographs by a group named after a mountain (okay, one digit short of a mountain) -- K One, as posted on this hilarious Haro Singapore blog.

I'm always astonished at the kind of things that Singaporeans queue for: $20 iPods (definitely worth it) and $10 gift bag with every purchase of some women's magazine at those road shows (hurray, no longer part of my existence!). Of course there are those that queue for NDP tickets and then those that queue for their kids' primary one registration...

I think the longest I ever queued for anything was 3 hours at a Bruce Springsteen concert in Chicago. They let the first 50 into the pit. I think my hubby and I were #64. But still we were 10 metres from The Boss so it was still worth the 3 hour wait.

Queuing 6 hours to worship the Lord with 10,999 other on-fire Singaporeans is definitely more worthwhile than that. I think now that I'm a believer I wouldn't queue so long for Springsteen but I would if it meant I could be in the presence of the Lord for a few hours -- there's nothing quite like the spinetingling sensation of being in a room where there is an actual body of Christ with one voice. The weekend felt almost like what I imagined being in heaven would be like -- all day worship, all hearts focused on just one person: the Lord Jesus.

Amazing. Queue on!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bloggers On The Isle of Wankin

I don't know about you but I'm tired of all this Press Vs Bloggers rubbish that's filled both column inches as well as precious bandwidth.

The Press will always keep Bloggers at arm's length because they will always be a little scared of the unfamiliar.

The Bloggers will always hantam the Press because that's what intelligent people with opinions are wont to do.

And then there will always be a symbiotic relationship as both media get story ideas from each other. I find myself now buying the Straits Times every day to see what I can comment on! So they got a new customer (previously I only bothered to read what scraps were lying around at Coffee Bean/McDonald's/my husband's briefcase).

Okay, so topic over, let's talk about something else: Are Bloggers Winkers (I cannot say the word because it's against my religion but I didn't have a better word)

In my opinion all writers are Winkers. We like to show off and we like people to laugh at our jokes or cry at our turns of phrases. Come on, you know it's true. I admit, I love it when people read My Special Child (every alternate Wednesday in Mind Your Body) and feel like breaking open their piggy banks and giving all their money to the poor kid and mom.

Is being a Winker necessarily bad? I don't think so. We only call it Winking because we don't have a POSITIVE term for it. When someone is given a talent, the worst thing for that person to do is bury it. He will be frustrated and the world won't be benefit from it. Can you imagine if Oscar Wilde decided it was immodest to quip as incessantly as he did?

Neither can I. Who else could have said the immortal words: "Either this wallpaper goes or I do"?

So Bloggers should Wink away. So should journalists, if they're gifted (not all are, as not all Bloggers are). But everyone has a right to express themselves. If you don't like what you read, just don't go back to the page. It's not like it's being SMS'd to you every minute.

Okay so we're all good? Good.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mail Order Brides: Human Trafficking

There's a link on about the questionable practice of Vietnamese mailorder brides. Is this a business of human trafficking, squeezing in via a loophole?

I'm sure there are genuine cases of men who fall in love with the person whose picture they picked out of a book. I'm sure in some cases language barriers are broken and these men actually treasure and look after their foreign wives.

But there will be cases where these women are brought in under the pretext of marriage, are rejected, and find themselves in a brothel because they have nowhere else to go as they are technically "overstayers" and can be arrested.

In the US there have been a number of documented cases of Filipino women who go to the US as mail order brides only to be hacked to pieces by the men that bought them.

This is part of the fight Women Make A Difference has taken on -- sex trafficking and tourism. Trafficking is when women and children are smuggled to affluent countries and traded like meat for usually sexual purposes. Tourism is when sickos come to their country to abuse the women and children. Either way it's WRONG and should be punishable.

Human life is so precious. Yes circumstances may be so bleak that prostitution might even appear to be a good option vs doing nothing and starving to death. But the price you pay is human dignity — once lost, it's lost for generations.

Depressing stuff to sleep on...


A list for Cowboy Caleb to prove once and for all that I am NOT Ms Preparation H.

1. Sumiko Tan is single and hating it.
Theresa Tan is married and loving it. With children. One maid. And parents-in-law she loves.

2. Sumiko Tan helped to write Lee Kuan Yew: The Man And His Ideas.
Theresa Tan bought it. I think.

3. Sumiko Tan used to get on planes with former PM Goh Chok Tong to cover political stories, and was reportedly his absolute favouritest reporter.
Theresa Tan used to get on planes to interview Sting, stalk David Duchovny, chat with Gabriel Be-Still-My-Heart Byrne, and stare at Madonna five feet away from her.

4. Sumiko Tan has a niece.
Theresa Tan has two knees.

5. Sumiko Tan has hemorrhoids.
Theresa Tan has sympathy. For Sumiko Tan. Even after 2 kids I have never had hemorrhoids, praise the Lord.

6. Sumiko Tan is the product of a Japanese mother and a Chinese father.
Theresa Tan is the product of a Teochew mother and a Teochew father and a psycho grandmother who claims to be Peranakan.

7. Sumiko Tan has a column that talks about her.
Theresa Tan has a column that talks about disabled children.

8. Sumiko Tan is insomniac and tries to sleep by licking sleeping pills.
Theresa Tan can sleep through an earthquake, no pill licking required.

9. Sumiko Tan's dog died. It ended a chapter in her life.
Theresa Tan's mom died. It started a chapter in her life.

10. Sumiko Tan is hot.
Theresa Tan is mostly warm.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"Blogs Are Like, Hot And Funky!"

I'm busting a gut reading Mr Miyagi's post on Sumiko Tan today!!!

Sumiko is a right babe. Has been since I first saw her when I was interning at the Straits Times and she was cooing pet names into the phone, pet names that rewrote the dictionary on "shame". So I can imagine Mr Miyagi's disappointment at being unable to engage the luscious Sumiko (keep trying dude, and write nice things about her in your blog).

Sumiko's petrified of the Blogosphere because it represents chaos vs the orderly world of journalism, yet it has so many of the elements of journalism. Someone commented that perhaps traditional press is afraid blogs will take over -- well, I doubt it will happen soon, because Singaporeans still prefer news that they can touch and see. Still, blogs offer what the newspapers can't-- people's true feelings and opinions, without fear that they will be judged or worse, EDITED, or taken out of context.

Is it masturbation? Maybe.
Is it free speech? Mostly.
Is it a bunch of lies and vicious rumours? Only if we're having PMS. And if it's about Sumiko (hahaha -- KIDDING)

It's really funny how the parallel universes of the Blogosphere and Newspaper Journalism exist in a totally codependent relationship — they're totally into each other one day, and totally p*ssing on each other the next but they can't live without each other.

What really makes me laugh is Mr Miyagi's comment about the New Paper's feature on blogs: "I think because there wasn't enough soccer to cover, the nation's top tabloid decided, hey, you know what? I have a brilliant idea, let's talk about blogs! No one has done it before! Blogs are so, like, you know, new and hot and funky, like, new and hot and funky, like?"

(I laugh because that's EXACTLY what they think!!! We used to have like, a tank of "ideas" where we tossed story ideas for "later", and I guess TNP pulled out "Blogs" a year later than most ...)

URBAN, which I mostly like reading, does a silly chart every thursday where it's supposed to give the lowdown on what's in and what's out (such charts by the way, are waaaaaaay out).

Here's mine:

URBANE: Mr Miyagi
URBANE: Blogging
URBANE: Freedom Of Speeh
SUBURBANE: Fear Of Free Speech
URBANE: Real Men
SUBURBANE: Pretty Boys
URBANE: Cowboy Caleb's Almost Daily Audiorama
SUBURBANE: URBAN's Urban-Suburban Chart!