Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Congrats if you live in Upper Bukit Timah or Bukit Batok! Two new Udders outlets will be sprouting out in May at Lorong Kilat & West Mall respectively!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
There's good reason to be concerned with staggering figures indicating that about one in two marriages in the West end up in divorce. In Singapore, we're not too far behind with one in three marriages breaking down. If it's so easy to fall into love, it looks like it's just as easy falling out of love! No wonder there are some among us who'd rather play it safe. Even celebrity couples (who many an impressionable mind look to as people they aspire to become or are simply bowled over by) are parting ways. Not exactly the role models we want for keeping the family unit intact.
Listeners today needed a reminder that perfect marriages don't exist. If they did, you'd be suspicious if these unions were between human beings rather than robots. We're emotional beings; we're reactive, we're inconsistent with own selves, what more our relations with others! Just like a steaming mug of coffee in the morning, we don't stay hot all day long.
What takeaway is there for couples in love but standing along the aisle rather than walking on it? That marriage is a journey. It's WIP (work-in-progress) rather than a destination or state like an RIP (rest-in-peace). There is still purpose and place for marriage and much benefits to be reaped for the individual and the couple who've sworn their lives to each other.
Co-habitation is for those who live in fear of commitment, who live with a myopic view of taking each step as it comes into view rather than a long-term vision of paving the road to an amazing journey like no other.
Marriage needs work and there are seasons according to Mitch's wife Rhonda. It needs patience. It needs respect. It needs to be given a chance to prove that marriage can indeed be sustained and enduring.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Meet Russel Neu Wee Teck - a secondary school teacher at East Spring Secondary in Tampines who's transplanted himself to teach English to Laotian government officials in Vientiane. He's a volunteer staff at Lao's Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) under their Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
His one-year stint will come to an end in the middle of this year, but he harbours hopes to have his stay extended by six months. This driven young man expresses his desire to stay on(subject to MOE's approval) due to how he's introduced curriculum changes to the course which equips the locals with English.
His supervisor at IFA, Ms Phimpa only had a glowing report card for Wee Teck and his dedication to his adult charges. She remarked how he not only made time to help his students outside of classroom hours, but how he even chipped in to help fill sandbags when the Mekong River threatened to break the banks last year.
Wee Teck's proactivity was also evident in his recommendations to tweak the current curriculum and the way he conducted his lessons in very creative ways, such as through music and movies.
Rural and rustic, some compare the city to the Singapore of the 60s. Landing at their airport, only three conveyor belts conveyed passenger baggage. The air was heavy, yet it wasn't so for the heart; there was an unhurried charm in the city. No metred taxis ply the roads, only three-wheelers or what resembled 'tuks-tuks' of Thailand.
The city's compact. No high-rise building attempted to pierce the sky. Apparently, there is a historical monument there of which no other building can surpass its height. However. work's begun in erecting the tallest building in the area - an eight storey shopping mall presently being built by Singapore investors, of which would be three quarters complete by the time Laos hosts the SEA Games at the end of the year.
In fact, high-level state visits between the leaders of Singapore and Laos have intensified in recent years, suggesting that bilateral ties are surely improving. At the KuaLao Restaurant where I had local fare, there was a framed photograph of our President and the first lady atop a wine cabinet. What tickled my palate at dinner was the deep-fried Luang Prabang riverweed sprinkled with sesame seed and mak nam nom, or the 'milk' fruit - a name given to it due to the colour of the meat and juice. The peach-size fruit that looks purple or green on the outside, tastes like a cross between the mangosteen and duku langsat.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
(above: Touty, Keat Loon, Aik Chuan, Naresh & Ruby who's Mgr of Youth Challenge S'pore)
The tie that binds these young adults is a programme initiated by Aik Chuan under the Youth Challenge Singapore umbrella called "Consulting for Cause". Its aim is to bring business solutions to non-profit organisations and their social enterprises. The idea was hatched one and a half years ago and barely two weeks earlier, the group had touched base with the social enterprise in Laos. There, the team members pooled their training and knowledge together to present solutions to their 'client' after extensive research of the needs and issues that needed to be worked out. It was a rojak of expertise each brought to the table, but what looked at face-value disparate was in fact a potpourri of valuable skills. The students were pursuing degrees in Economics, Marketing, Business, Information Systems and Digital Film-making.
The first project has come and gone and we hear a follow-up trip is being planned down the road. Also in the pipeline are three more potential consulting assignments - a second one in Laos, another in Cambodia and one right here in Singapore. The call goes out to tertiary students equipped and able to contribute towards such causes. There's so much that our education system has bestowed on students here and the young people of today are the next best minds (apart from professional business consultants) we can share with communities where consultants are grossly lacking.
If you are keen to be a contributing business consultant or a student (especially in Engineering) who is confident and big-hearted to devote time to consulting for a cause, get in touch with Youth Challenge Singapore today at 6336-3434!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
But these were the professions that ranked 'Very High' in the Job Fit Index (JFI) after I sat for a personality profiling test at Career Fair 2009 yesterday. The JFI provides general estimates on one's natural personality-driven propensity to excel in various professional domains.
Perhaps I'd really be good at those jobs had I had relevant training in those fields, but the fact that I don't strongly suggests I don't have the slightest interest in those areas, much less, an ambition to chart a career in them. But to my relief, "Media" was also 'High' on the JFI, so that's affirmation I'm not off course.
Yesterday, Pam & I conducted The Living Room interview live from the expansive halls of Suntec Convention Centre - home to Career Fair 2009. There, we chatted with our guests David Blakely and Lydia Lim about Research Communication International's PEAKS profiling system. This psychometric profile is a validated prediction of one's natural disposition based on the well-researched Five-Factor personality model and resilience studies. The profile's meant to help one gain a better understanding of oneself and how you can perform at your peak in your personal and professional pursuits.
PEAKS is the acronym for 'Purpose', 'Energy', 'Affirmation', 'Knowledge' and 'Sustainability'.
We're going to be transparent about our results here (only a peek from our PEAKS report), and here's how they read for Pamela and myself. Here goes....
Snapshot of Stan's Results
High Purpose (COMPELLING)
Tends to be focused in every endeavour. Willing to give what it takes to get there. Clear minded and determined to succeed.
Medium Energy (READY)
Tends to be dynamic at times but at other times reserved and quiet. Moderately paced most of the time.
Affirmation Facets for 'Other Centredness'
You are a people-focused person who helps others sacrificially and enjoys seeing them grow to the fullest of their potential.
Knowledge Facets for 'Open Mindedness'
You are keen on exploring broad and innovative alternatives, usually energised by change and thinking 'out of the box'.
Sustainability Facets for 'Embarrassment Bridling'
You value the habit of presenting yourself well before others in social occasions because you are highly mindful that others are watching.
Snapshots of Pam's Results
Affirmation: You desire to see & bring out the best in people around you, preferring to give others the benefit of the doubt. Honesty to you is very good policy. You are responsive & readily moved by the condition of the disadvantaged & especially invigorated by performing acts of compassion & kindness.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
He's worked with some of Hollywood's biggest names including Academy Award-winning Canadian-American director, producer and screenwriter, James Cameron (behind Terminator 2) and is in town to conduct a 2-day Screenwriting Masterclass. Syd sets the record straight that it's not for film students or budding script writers but anyone who wants to learn how to appreciate movies better.
So if you're keen, book yourself a seat online or call 6100-2005 now. You'll never watch movies the same way again after you hear Syd out.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
We don't get many lawyers who leave a smile on our face hours after an interview, much less someone from government. But Indranee Rajah did all that and more and it was wonderful catching up with her again. Indranee who's MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC was last in The Living Room in June 2003. Things were much different then, though in some peculiar coincidence, similar. Back then, it was the height of the SARS epidemic in Singapore and Indranee and two other colleagues of hers from government (Amy Khor & Ho Geok Choo) were on our programme to allay fears and to re-assure listeners that the government agencies and healthcare workers were doing their utmost to contain the spread of the virus. Those were crazy desperate times. Fast forward to March 2009 and we ARE in crazy desperate times once again with the economic gloom, whose dark clouds aren't about to dispel any time soon.
We were amazed to learn how Indranee gets by with four hours of sleep per day and who's still able to effectively contribute in so many high-powered capacities. I can barely get by a day with under 7 hours sleep without feeling lethargic and moody. Maybe for Indranee, it comes down to a mind that's heavily engaged with her myriad of obligations and a body that's driven by her heart's passions to serve others to the best of her abilities.
Yet she admits to being somewhat a solitary being when it comes to staying in shape and keep her fitness leverl up. She's into jogs and runs (brilliant choice since she lives near the beach) but gave up on social dancing some time ago due to a lack of time to keep in step with it. Having said that, Youtube has proof that she still has the moves to do the salsa and the guts to land a death drop.
In every way, Indranee didn't come across as just an interviewee. Had Pamela and I been in Marymount Covenant (okay, maybe Pam), we'd have been great friends. It's rare to feel you have that special connection with an interviewee - the kind that bosom friends have.
And I garnered enough courage (as any dear friend would not be embarrased to ask) to ask Indranee why she'd kept her signature bob hair-do from when I first remembered her entering politics. She leaked that her type of hair wasn't like the types seen in shampoo advertisements - long, silky and that blow out straight when the wind blows. She confessed to having thick hair that would have made the world's strongest rope! And since it was that way, keeping it short would be the easiest for maintenance purposes.
Pamela had described Indranee as 'spunky' on air, but she quickly picked up on the adjective and replaced it with 'funky'. She chipped, "Sorry, there's a lawyer in me and there's a distinction between the two". It was laughs all around the coffee table. We like this MP and hope to see and hear more of her around.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
It was only through writing a 20-page feature story on IWD for Vanilla magazine a year ago that I did some research on its history, and I came to understand that there were historical circumstances that led to the establishment of IWD.
As part of the Wonder Women in The Living Room series, I felt we had to include a segment on the history & background of International Women's Day because it forms the foundation of WHY we celebrate it.
To help shed some light on the matter, we invited Saleemah Ismail, President of UNIFEM Singapore (United Nations Development Fund for Women), to be our guest today. Saleemah shared that the first women's movement arose in 1909 when female garment workers took to the streets of New York City to demand for better wages.
That was exactly 100 years ago. It was very much an isolated event at the time, a response to unjust circumstances. But what was significant was that it was the first time women - who had no status or voice - banded together and stood up for their rights.
It was only in 1975 that the United Nations declared a Year of the Woman. And in 1977, the 8th of March was set aside each year to celebrate the contribution of women around the world. That marked the birth of IWD, as we know it.
To catch more of that conversation, tune in tonight at 11.10pm. It's a "palatable" history lesson for you, I promise.