Friday, February 27, 2009

Magic on the Air Waves

Magic is a visual art. Can it be performed over radio?

This was the challenge I posed to my guests, mega illusionist JC Sum and 'Magic Babe' Ning, Singapore's only professional female magician, today.

Creating magic on the air waves: JC Sum & 'Magic Babe' Ning

I've never known this magic duo to step down from a challenge, so magic over the air waves was what we got, right here on 938LIVE!

JC had listeners prep 3 coins, any coins. Then giving clear, step-by-step instructions over the airwaves, he & Ning made us choose which coins we wanted to flip over. This happened several times. Until right at the end, we had one coin left on the table, and Ning had to guess whether that was Heads or Tails facing up.

"Magic is not just a visual art, it's also a psychological art," explains JC. And after a pregnant pause, Ning declares that our coin facing up was Heads. Was she right? Was she right?! Please let me know because this ditzy DJ got lost halfway! *lol*

Well, after our interview, I asked if they could perform some visual magic for me so that I can upload a video on the blog. Also, I also wanted to see if they could really impress me with something spectacular - on the spot - and in the ordinary surroundings of our studio.

I must say what they did with a $50 note really blew my mind. Seriously. Check this out:

We also had 6 pairs of tickets for Ultimate Magic @ The Arena to give away. Each ticket is worth $55, but for the first 6 listeners who called in, they each won a pair of tickets, worth $110. And the phone lines never stopped buzzing...

So if you're one of the many listeners who called in, a big Thank You to you. And as promised, here are the results:

1. Ang Chuan Khai / IC: XXX5204
2. Lum Fook / IC: XXX5971
3. Lim Geok Kheng / IC: XXX2663
4. Teo Neng Hee / IC: XXX9912
5. Thio Giok Lan / IC: XXX6622
6. Peter Liew / IC: XXX2943

Congrats! We'll be contacting you soon about how to collect your tickets.

And if you want to meet JC & Ning in person, why not head down to Magic Day @ The Arena, tomorrow Sat 28 Feb. It's open to the public from 1.30pm to 8.30pm, and admission is FREE. It's presented by Ning's online magic shop, Magic Boutique, and boasts stage & close-up performances, original magic products etc. To find out more, click here.

Or catch them performing their brand of urban illusions on Five Stars Carnival every Sunday at 9pm (for the next 4 weeks) on MediaCorp Ch 8. Click here for a sneak peak!

Well, the weekend is here. Have a m a g i c a l one!

... And they lived happily ever after

... that is how all love stories end in fairy tales, isn't it? But in reality, things aren't that simple. Love stories can pan out in different ways, and couples - whom the world may deem as "perfect" - can fall out of love. 

Well, Happily Ever After is an Okto original English drama serial that is produced and in-part directed by one of Singapore's best filmmakers, Jack Neo. Yes, you heard me right! This is Jack's first foray into English drama serials in his 30-year career, and for this reason alone, you should catch this 8-parter which debuts on Sunday. 

Well, I had the pleasure to chat with three of the cast members today. They were Randall Tan, who plays womaniser 'Vincent' on the show, Adele Wong, his sweet girlfriend 'Annie' and Ng Hui, the ambitious magazine editor 'Mary' who is disenchanted by her unambitious husband, played by Ix Shen. 

Happily Ever After cast members: Randall Tan, Adele Wong & Ng Hui

These beautiful people had a natural chemistry between them. They were bantering, teasing each other and laughing together, and it was lovely to watch. They also shared their experience working with the Jack Neo, and I must say Randall was quite awestruck! *chuckle*

Joining them was Joshua Lim, Commissioning Editor at Okto, who was with this project since Day One. He shared that Happily Ever After is aired on 8 consecutive nights because the number '8' is special for Okto. After all, the channel is named after it (in Greek)!

So don't miss this Jack Neo English drama serial which debuts this Sun 1 March 9pm. The channel to lock? Okto

My lovely guests from Jack Neo's new English drama serial.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hell Rider in The House

If not for the daredevil stunts he performs on two wheels, he'd just be an ordinary motorcyclist. But he isn't. His stunts have stunned many and has been his passport to travelling around the world and garnering the 'oohs' and 'whoas' from adrenalin-starved audiences.

(above: A signed postcard from Oliver)

German motorbike artist and stunt and fun rider Oliver Ronzheimer took off his helmet and gloves to answer our questions in The Living Room today. Like many guests we've hosted who've excelled in a certain sport, career or activity, they started young.

For Oliver, he was on a motorbike at 8 years old - an age most kids are struggling to learn to ride a bicycle (with training wheels still attached)! Though exposed to soccer and tennis at a young age, the golf enthusiast says he chose to pursue the smell of burnt rubber, much to the dismay of his grandfather who was a footballer. But had he pursued a sporting career on the pitch, that wouldn't have guaranteed he'd be as well-spoken of as Oliver Kahn. As least, "Oliver Ronzheimer" is a name that's listed in the Guinness Book of Records. That was for bynny hopping about 10 metres over 38 people without a ramp! I wonder if it'd be more harrowing for Oliver on the bike or one of the brave souls on the ground.

(above: Airborne in front of the Pit Building.)

Turning professional in 1992, Oliver sees himself as a 'performing sportsman' and athlete when asked if he saw himself as more a sportsman or performer. To be good at what he does require discipline, he says, adding that having one goal or a single mission will also propel and inspire you towards achieving something amazing. When asked what was a unfulfilled dream of his, he chuckled and said that it would be to perform at Singapore's F1 Night Race. We have strong suspicions he doesn't just thrive on stunts, but speed.

When quizzed what most fascinates him about Singapore now that he's visiting for the fourth time, he remarked, "I'm German. I like discipline. I like rules. I feel quite comfortable here, safe, clean...". When reminded that we didn't have the autobahn here like he had back in his country, he quipped that that was something we could work on.

Motorcycle stunt man Oliver Ronheimer shares his passion.

With an honest liking for the people and the place, will he be the next professional sports celebrity to leave his wheels behind in his hometown of Cologne and set up a ramp at Clementi?

Only time will tell for this stuntman.

Event Highlight:
Oliver performs at
BikeAsia from Fri, 27th Feb - Sun, 1st March
at Singapore Expo Hall 3.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oui! Oui! We Lurve Chocolat!

He is French. He creates gourmet chocolates. And he has lived and worked around the world ~ from France to London, where he worked at the prestigious Waldorf Hotel and Harrods. Then off to Israel, where he took up the post of Executive Pastry Chef at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, one of the leading hotels in the world.

From the Middle-East, he moved to the US where he worked onboard luxury liner, Celebrity Cruise Line Inc. before heading to Bermuda to helm the pastry kitchen in a 5* resort.

In 2003, he finally arrives in Asia and joins the Meritus Mandarin Singapore as Executive Pastry Chef. But the Business Bug bit this chocolatier, and he took the plunge to start his very own chocolate bar at The Pier @ Robertson in 2006. Initially called The Chocolate Factory, it now caters to more discerning chocolate connoisseurs, and has since been renamed Laurent Bernard Cafe & Chocolate Bar.

And who is this Frenchman who was our guest in The Living Room today? No brownie points for guessing his name. Oui! It's chocolatier extraordinaire, Laurent Bernard.

Laurent proudly explains his chocolate creations to us during the show.

Stan & I can vouch that his chocolates are oo-la-la! They almost make you want to break out in French. Oui! Unfortunately for us, Stan did. The whole darn day... *groan*

It's clear how passionate Laurent is about his creations. When we asked him to introduce the chocolates he brought us, he did so almost gleefully. He rose to his feet, made us rise to ours as well, and explained each creation like a proud father.

And we picked up a thing or two about chocolate-pairing: Never pair chocolates with cold beverage, always warm. Coffee and tea is good, whiskey too. And to make the perfect cup of cafe mocha, start with a latte base, then add chocolate shavings. Milk chocolate is better than dark chocolate, he says. The best is 40% cocoa. And forget about cocoa powder, please.

If you want to treat your palate to Laurent's chocolates, head down to The Pier @ Robertson, or his second outlet at Portsdown Road (opposite Colbar). Although a tad pricey, we promise you there will be no regrets. After all, chocolate is a balm for the soul.

As the framed postcard on my desk puts it so succinctly: "Chocolate is the Answer. And I don't give a damn about the question".

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eyes in Focus

I've contemplated having LASIK for some time, but my sister scared me once long ago when she told me that most LASIK surgeons wear spectacles! She was then very serious about undergoing the procedure, but she changed her mind. 

So that was one of the first questions I posed to Dr Natasha Lim, consultant ophthalmic surgeon with the Singapore National Eye Centre

What she shared was interesting: In an overseas study on the proportion of ophthalmologists who choose LASIK for themselves, it was found that about 25% chose it. This is significantly higher than the general population. 

Risks? Sure there are, but it's very small. And because it's mainly bacterial infections we're talking about, the risks are not much greater than infections we get from wearing contact lenses!

I had actually prepared a long list of talking points for Natasha, including different types of LASIK currently available, ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) which is touted to be safer, the latest trends in corrective surgery etc. She would know because she spent the last 14 years in the UK, and worked in the prestigious Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, the largest specialist eye hospital in the world.

Unfortunately, we didn't get through even half the list because so many listeners called in with questions for her! The phone was ringing non-stop.  

So I've decided to invite Dr Natasha Lim back for another session, specifically to talk about LASIK and other corrective methods. It's likely to be in mid-March, so do keep posted at our Living Room website where we update you weekly on the conversations we've planned.

A little behind-the-scenes info: Natasha and I were classmates in Sec 1 & 2, and we used to be on the 4 x 100m relay team together and tennis as well. It's good to be in touch again after so many years. But good grief, to think it's because of work! *grimace* Workaholics Anonymous

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Hard Pursuit

Guys, how hard is your erection? 
Don't laugh! How turgid or flaccid your penis is can determine your sexual satisfaction, your partner's, and your overall satisfaction with life. 

But just how hard is hard? Apparently, we can start by using common foods for comparison. *raises eyebrow in amusement*  I'm guessing the rationale is that we've all touched food with our hands, so here goes:

Score 1 = tofu.  Score 2 = peeled banana.  Score 3 = unpeeled banana. So, do they make the cut? For a change, we've asked two of our colleagues to play testers and give us their verdict. 

According to our colleagues Cassandra Rudge & Evelyn Hon
the verdict is "Cannot make it lah!" 

Optimum erection hardness would mean Score 4. And how does that feel? Go find a cucumber now - GO! - then squeeze it hard. There, you get the idea. OK, let's check with the girls...  

AH! Cassandra & Evelyn give the thumbs up for Mr Cucumber. 

According to the Asia-Pacific Sexual Health & Overall Wellness Survey, more than half of men and two-thirds of women in Singapore are not satisfied with sex. And this is strongly linked to erection hardness, says Dr Rosie King, our guest in The Living Room today.  

Dr Rosie King is a renowned sex therapist and relationship counsellor who is based in Sydney, but currently travelling across Asia-Pacific to share the findings of this survey. Rosie is warm, maternal and very down-to-earth. She made talking about Sex, on national radio, anything but awkward. 

To us, Sex is more than just a physical act. It's an expression of Love. And I think we must make it our priority to know our partner better than anyone else, and to go the extra mile to please him or her. As Rosie puts it, sex within a committed relationship is always the best sex. And when there's intimacy & emotional connection, Life just can't help but seem brighter and rosier. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who Are You Calling "Geeks"?!

How exciting can the lives of engineers get? Seriously. All they do is sit in front of the computer doing their own thing. Alright. Give them credit for being meticulous, methodological and efficiently mathematical. But who wants to be called a 'geek' or 'nerd'?

Eat your words!!!

Eight engineers in the private sector are standing up and fighting back. They've not only launched an uber cool portal complete with cool and snazzy Manga animation to make a statement about how chic and creative engineers can be, but decided to come on air to debunk damaging perceptions to the masses from our living room.

(from l-r: Pam, Terence, Khai, Justin & Stan)

Our three guests yesterday (two engineers and an engineering undergrad) broke every stereotypical convention and impression one ever had of engineers.

One is an Ironman and finds it thrilling hiking up active volcanoes, another plays the electric and acoustic guitar, and the youngest among them has not only started a club where wannabe deejays are turn-tabling, but was also a Cleo Bachelor last year! They are Terence Swee (Founder & CEO of muvee Technologies), Justin Chiam (Engineering Executive at SIA Engineering) and Mohd Khairudeen (Chemical Engineering Undergrad at NUS) respectively.

If Terence, Justin & Khai decided to take it up one notch, they'd be able to assemble a band in the quickest time. I can almost visualise the concert emcee announcing, "And that's Terence on the keyboard (Editor's note: we forgot to tell you his fingers glide over the ivory on the piano like a hot knife through butter!), Justin on bass and Khai on the effects board!"

Before the guys left us after a most hearty Friday chat, Prisita from Ogilvy turned to me and asked, "Hey, you sing right?" I do, but...that's another story. Almost immediately, they proclaimed me the lead singer of the band. [Thanks guys, but you haven't even heard me sing! If you did, you might have even more stinging remarks than Simon's spewed in all the seasons of AI put together.]

What an utterly wacky bunch of engineers!

From henceforth, let it be decreed that engineers shall be stripped of geekhood and be celebrated among the pride of this land!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frances Yip on our couch!

Today, there was quite a mayhem outside our 938LIVE studio. People were milling around the radio building lobby, where our "fish tank" of a studio is located. And when our guest was done with her interview an hour later, they surrounded her to request for photos. 

It's been a while since we've had such a crowd. Even with Miami Ink's Chris Garver in the house, there weren't as many fans loitering about. It surprised me a little that veteran songstress Frances Yip still has such an amazing pull ~ even after 40 years in showbiz. And it also pleasantly surprised me that so many people within MediaCorp tune in to The Living Room! *laugh*

Pam is secretly thrilled to meet the iconic Frances Yip 

I must admit that when MediaCorp VizPro - who brought Frances in to Singapore for a Valentine's Day concert - contacted us about a possible interview with her, I was secretly thrilled. I immediately SMS-ed my parents: "Mum! Dad! I'm going to interview Frances Yip!" *sheepish* 

Frances started singing in 1969, and has released over 80 albums, and performed in more then 30 countries across 5 continents. Stan remarked that she must have done millions of interviews, and we wondered if there were indeed any questions she had not been asked! 

Despite the fact, Frances was the most amiable, warm and attentive interviewee we've had in a long while. She came across as being fully present with us, very engaged in conversation, and so nurturing. 

At one point, I ran into difficulty with a word while reading the news bulletin. Frances, who was at the time taking a break between interview segments, overheard me asking Stan how to pronounce the word 'Mea Culpa', and she volunteered, "It's pronounced 'mia koo-par'. It's a Latin word. We use it at Mass [church service] to say we're sorry or repentent," she explains, adding that she's Catholic. 

Her simple gesture spoke volumes to me. I mean, she needn't have bothered. But she did ~ out of a spontaneous, genuine willingness to help. And you know what? Pamela Ho will never, ever forget how to pronounce 'Mea Culpa' ~ because Frances Yip taught it to her! *grin*

And it's not surprising that Frances is so nurturing. She's a mother of a grown son, who is now living & working in Sydney, and a grandmother of a one-year-old grand-daughter! It didn't take her long to bring up the subject of her grand-daughter. And when I asked her if she had a picture of the little girl, Frances dug into her wallet and pulled our 2 photos of the cutie. Here's a photo Frances carries in her wallet... 

Frances Yip is a doting Grandma! 

Can you believe Frances is 61? I definitely can't. She looks 45! And we found out that she bikes everywhere in Sydney, goes to the gym several times a week, and eats very healthily. All this, after a breast cancer scare that became a turning-point in her life. 

Well, as Frances is set to woo the crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Saturday night, we wish her all the very best. And yes, 3 of our lucky listeners won a pair of tickets each to catch her 'live' in concert. Congrats Anthony, John & Liz! *applause*

Our phone lines were busy from the moment Stan mentioned he had free concert tickets in hand. I practically missed the entire second-half of the interview because I was picking up phone calls! *sob* But it warms my heart that Frances still draws such a fanatic response from Singaporeans after 4 decades ~ and the good news is that she has no plans to retire! 

Friday, February 06, 2009

Heart for the Arts

I read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis many moons ago, and I must say it remains one of the most powerful & enlightening books I've ever read. 

It's basically a collection of 30-odd letters written by a senior devil called Screwtape (who's a master of deception) to his nephew Wormwood. In his letters, Screwtape instructs the youngster on the finer points of tempting his human.

What's eerie to me is that I recognised from the book the many ways I've been toyed with, and how I've inadvertently tumbled into temptation. It's usually in the small & subtle ways; and always in areas that are "grey". 

So when Stan told me that The Parables Company, a new theatre group founded by 3 passionate young people (pictured below), was staging 'The Screwtape Letters', I was thrilled. It's not an easy story to script for stage, so it will be interesting to see how they've managed to retain the literary flair of C.S. Lewis, yet make the story come alive. Catch them on 27 & 28 Feb @ Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel. Tickets available via Sistic

Bringing parables to life: Ethel Yap, Ronald Wong & Matthew Crawshaw.

Also in The Living Room today were some talented artists who live & work in the quiet, charming estate of Wessex, off Portsdown Road. That's where the iconic Colbar is, but recently, more yuppie F&B outlets have sprung up in the vicinity, including a chocolate bar & Italian restaurant. 

But Wessex is known also for its colony of independent artists. And it's really a case of the United Colours of Benetton here ~ with artists from Europe, Asia, the Americas & Middle-East, living & working alongside each other as neighbours.  

Well, just two months ago, a few of them who meet occasionally for afternoon beer, thought it might be a cool idea to get together and put up an arts festival ~ complete with art, music and good food. And from passing the word from one neighbour to the next, An Arts Affair @ Wessex was born!

Here to tell us more about this very unique event were our 4 very unique & culturally-diverse guests: Singaporean ceramist Zech Goh, Middle-Eastern illustrator Rasha Eleyan, American artist Kelly Reedy & Romanian painter-designer Sepi Velariu

Awesome artists from Wessex neighbourhood: Rasha, Zech, Kelly & Sepi.

So if you're looking for something to do this weekend, why not head down to Portsdown Road and check out the works of this cultural potpourri of artists? Tip: Begin at the Village Square (where Colbar is). There's an exhibition there, plus some 'live' performances. Then from there, take a stroll to the various independent studios. 

And if you're not big on walking, we're told there are golf buggies to take you around the estate! For more details, click here. Well, the weekend is here ~ have a wonderful one.  

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Enthused & Ignited

Hope you didn't miss our chat with our guests in The Living Room today! If you need to be reinvigorated for life and reignited to love, both our guests today were the perfect people for the job!

One is the sort of person who would come alongside you and hear you out and help you help yourself figure your way out of your predicament. The other has the capacity to create within you a fiery passion for life (a healthy risk-appetite is needed!).

The Living Room's Aunt Agony, Wendy Chua K. Wand, took her rightful place on our couch once again to help us relook at what love is all about. Wendy who's a trained psychologist and life coach put love under the microscope and like cheese on a grater, slowly shaved off the cake till you saw the innards of love and what festers inside. Pretty as the picture may be as the movies and Valentine's Day commercials paint it, love is tricky and you've got to know your capacity to love and be loved.

Pam chimed in brilliantly how we shouldn't say we can't love our partner/spouse because of our differences, rather, to say we love that person BECAUSE of our differences! What a refreshing way of looking at relationships when they hit a bump.

After a lovely chat with Wendy, our doorbell rang. It was Landy! Landy Eng, Executive Director of Youth Challenge Singapore. I'd read a short note about him in NVPC's bi-monthly magazine SALT recently and was bowled over by his eclectic experiences in work, life and contributions to the community. If a paragraph in a magazine about this guy could inspire me, I thought to myself, "Gosh! How many more people could he inspire with his story on a radio talkshow like ours?!" So there he was on our couch today.

The New Yorker who'd worked in more than 30 cities across 3 continents, had climbed the corporate ladder to quite a height before becoming an entrepreneur and a business angel. Passionate about sports, enthusiastic about the Arts (especially Broadway musicals) and with a healthy appetite for food, he's aware of leading one life to his fullest. That last bit explains his blog and why his many entries are food-centric.

Don't miss more inspiring personalities visiting The Living Room!

Our door bell never stops ringing!!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Didgeridoos & Menopause Blues

"Singapore Has Talent!" ~ that's what I'm tempted to exclaim each time I meet local musicians who take a leap of faith and do bold new things like these. That's how I felt today when I sat there listening to Jamal Nasser play the didgeridoo.

Well, if you just went "huh?", join the club. The didgeridoo is a wind instrument from the aborigines of northern Australia. And Jamal is part of a home-grown ethnic instrumental band called Earth Modes Sanskrit. The other band members who joined him were darbuka player Bryan Lucas, and composer-lead guitarist Eddie Ibanez.

Earth Modes Sanskrit share their unique music: 
(L to R) Jamal Nasser, Eddie Ibanez, Bryan Lucas. 

They'll be performing their very unique brand of World Music at the upcoming Heartlands CLAP! this Sat 7 Feb, 7.30pm @ Toa Payoh Hub. And CLAP! is an initiative of the Central Singapore CDC to make the arts accessible to the masses. In 2006 alone, they managed to reach out to 58,000 people in the heartlands. I think that's mighty commendable! 

What's captivating for me is not so much that Earth Modes Sanskrit uses rarely seen & heard instruments such as the didgeridoo, darbuka (goblet-shaped Egyptian hand drum) & djembe (percussion from Ghana, West Africa), but that they're bringing them together to create a new fusion sound through original compositions. I don't think it's like anything you've ever heard in Singapore before, so do check 'em out!

But local talents weren't all we had in The Living Room this morning. We had some imported from the US of A as well. And Stan & I had a roaring good time chatting with two cast members of Menopause The Musical, which will begin its run this Friday 6 Feb @ DBS Arts Centre.  

From Menopause the Musical, Megan Cavanagh & Christopher Callen.

If Megan looks familiar, it could be because you've seen her on the big screen with Madonna, Geena Davis & Tom Hanks in the hugely-successful 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. Remember the one about the all-girls professional baseball league during the World War? Gosh, that movie made me cry so hard I just had to take a pix with Megan! 

It's a curious thing that women don't talk openly about menopause. It's almost like we see it as a disease. So while this musical is funny & light-hearted, to me it also serves to throw open the doors for women to talk candidly about this biological inevitability. It's like The Vagina Monologues in some ways, isn't it? A topic that's taboo, but which a play was able to bring to society's dinner table as a conversation piece.

And if you're a man, you'll love it more than the women ~ so say Chris & Megan. "The musical cracks men up even more because they recognise these characters in their mothers, wives, sisters," Chris explains with a chuckle. So men, no pause! (no pun intended) Grab your tix at Sistic

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

This BINGO's not a Game!

Being part of BINGO can set the stage for bigger things. Bigger things in the form of:
- business partners who were merely coursemates at university
- a business where you're called the boss
- a spouse (*optional and secondary)

(from l-r: Chew Gui Liang, Wayne Chia, Anderson Lim, Yang Shu Wen and Stanley)

Our guests today weren't talking about the game, but the society that unites them all. Anderson Lim founded NUS BINGO - the society bent on breeding entrepreneurs during his undergrad days in 2002. BINGO is the acronym for 'Business INcubation of Global Organisations). Since its establishment, it's helped to put undergrads on the path of 'entrepreneur-hood'. There aren't many uni-based societies that thrust their students into the real world before they graduate, so I see this to be something special for students predisposed to charting their own course in the open waters of career choices.

The world of opportunities that its members are exposed to through the business trips that are organised is tremendous! You can't quite ask for more after spending almost an entire month city-hopping, meeting top-notch academics and rubbing noses with inspiring business leaders real life entrepreneurs.

More than just the business lessons he took way from his trip to India in 2007, NUS BINGO alumnus-turned-entrepreneur Wayne Chia says he's most impressed and heartened to see how ethnic Indians, no matter how long they'd lived and worked outside India, will give back to their motherland through business and investments.

NUS BINGO comprises students with big dreams and many of these dreams become reality!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Meeting Needs Beyond Our Own

The world is so self-absorbed. This sad fact shines even brighter during times like these where we in the developed world are plunged into the deep dark pit of a worldwide recession. The one thing on many people's minds would be about how they can come out of the economic doldrums. When you clamour and strive for things beyond your basic needs, you stand to lose so much more when the hard times hit. We're seeing that right now with investments valued next to nothing.

Despite the 'economic tsunami' that continues to unleash extensive damage, our interviewees today reminded us to go beyond ourselves, to look at meeting many other needs of whose are not our own. They may not even be needs found on our shores. Beautiful People is a wonderful local initiative aimed at matching adult mentors (primarily women) with teen girls. Girls who've fallen off the main road just slightly and who could do with some help steering back on course. We salute our guests Melissa Kwee and Phyllis Ng who're volunteers with this project. If you love to work with teens and feel you can contribute an hour or two a week to coming alongside young lives and lend them a listening ear, a shoulder and a leg up on life, this initiative could do with your help.

We also chatted with Radion International volunteer Lee Min Wei and founder and director of Cafe Diplo, Jonathan How this morning. How Jonathan's established a humanitarian organisation and hooked up with Radio International to send a mission team to Thailand this month is amazing! Looking to assemble a team of 10 volunteers (singles, couples or groups) for the trip to work, Jonathan says volunteers will be working amongst the Lao Hmong community and destitute locals there.

This could well be the most meaningful humanitarian trip across Valentine's Day. If you're willing and available to commit time, talent and resources for the needy (medical expertise is most helpful!), the trip takes place from 11th - 16th February. Interested parties can send an email to Jonathan.