Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm Racin' A Boeing Jetplane...

That's what our guest today can claim.

This Saturday, Yuey Tan will be in a Porsche Carrera Cup race car, zipping down the tarmac at Changi Airport, in an attempt to beat a Boeing 747!

Porsche vs. Plane: Yuey Tan says he's racing to win!

Speaking with an Aussie twang, this 27-year-old lad (who lived Down Under for a period) is back in Singapore to pursue his passion for fast cars. While he does exude a brash confidence, he also knows his place.

"I won't dare call myself a race car driver," he chuckles, when I asked him before going on-air if I can introduce him as such. "I'm just breaking in!"

Yuey recalls being captivated by fast cars back when he was a kid growing up in Australia. "I would sit in a tree overlooking the race track and watch the races," he confides. "I always wanted to be one of them."

Well, he will be making history this Saturday at the Changi GP Festival when he races an aircraft - a first in Asia. Is he confident of winning? "It can go either way," he shrugs. "I can't really say... but I do want to win!"

We found out Yuey drove to the studio in his Porsche (yes, he owns one), and we couldn't pass up on the opportunity of checking it out upclose & personal.

Stan was thrilled to learn that the boot is actually infront. The little boy in him couldn't resist climbing in!

In fact, it's such a little-known fact that Yuey wasn't checked by the security guards at MediaCorp because the guard opened the back of his car, saw the engine, and waved him through! *gasp*

Well, this isn't the actual car he'll be racing. The Carrera Cup race car is a bare-bones shell: no passenger seats, no aircon, no CD player. And at 4,200cc, we're expecting it to fly down the runway!

All the best, Yuey! The Living Room is rootin' for ya!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

'Live' Updates from Border X's Via Ferrata Wall

Stan & I are at Border X's Via Ferrata wall now @ Orchard Central, joining listeners as they scale the tallest indoor Via Ferrata wall in the world. And we're posting 'live' updates right here!

If you didn't know, The Living Room organises regular events for listeners and our Event Parter for August is Border X. They've been great - especially our pals Poh Yu Seung & Rosalind Ng, who were guests on our show last October for their Enduro Africa trip. Read it here.

Stay tuned to our blog for 'live' updates. I'll be uploading videos as we progress through the day. So keep it right here!

To find out more about Border X, click here.

We have already firmed up plans for our September event. Listen out for the trailers on 938LIVE real soon.......

Friday, August 28, 2009

Xtreme Xperience!

We chatted with 2 professional Extreme Sports athletes today in The Living Room. They're both Australians, and currently in town for this weekend's Singapore X Championship 2009.

Well, their names are Tim Wood (pro BMX Freestyle rider) and Trevor Ward (pro skateboarder), and we had a blast chatting with these Aussie dudes about their crafts & what it's like going pro in extreme sports. Gosh, they get to travel the world doing this! Is this a dream job or what?

Well after the interview, we brought them to the open lobby area outside our studio to show off some of their stunts. We made Stan & Trev lie down while Tim jumped over them on his BMX. Check this out:

And here's more of Tim showing off what he can do on his bike!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hokkien on 938live... Courtesy of Irene Ang!

If you didn't catch Irene Ang doing the Singapore pledge in Hokkien today... man, you missed something very rare on 938LIVE! Not often do we hear dialect on Singapore's only English news radio station!

We were actually both a little apprehensive. "Can ah?" she asks, a little tentatively. To be honest, I wasn't sure! *LOL* But hey, what the heck! For Irene Ang, we will make an exception! [Note: I haven't been called to my boss' office, so I think we're OK!]

Anyway, I believe in 2nd chances. So here's a trailer of her upcoming production, The Extraordinary V Conference. Irene resumes her hugely popular role as Guan Yin Ma, where she spews her native dialect.

Irene shares that she was brought up by her Granny (who passed away in '96) - hence the Hokkien - but who still anchors her when she has tough decisions to make. In my hour with her, I discovered a very down-to-earth side of Irene Ang - a woman wise and compassionate. That's not a side of her we often see, for sure.

I love this woman! She's engaging to talk to, amazing in the way she juggles so many things & still walks around with a smile. And also, she's just someone who's game for anything!

And talking about being game, Irene Ang will be dancing at the upcoming The Extraordinary V Conference. "It's worth all $48 you'll be paying," she quips.

The Extraordinary V Conference
4 - 13 Sep
8pm @ Zirca (Clark Quay)
$48 (incl. one Tiger beer!)

For more info, click here or book your tickets here!

Lookin' Good: A caffeine-infused Irene Ang in The Living Room.

I've watched Irene for years on Phua Chu Kang, read about her establishing FLY Entertainment (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year!), and just been amazed at how she is always "up to something".

She has never fallen off our radar all these years - a local Hokkien version of Madonna if you like.

And of course, I must add I'm so envious of how slim & toned she looks these days... Wah piang, if Irene can do it, I oso can lor!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Mother of All Trail Races

I felt I was part of the send-off party today as I wrapped up my chat with today's guests. They're pretty much regular blokes like you and me - one's a hedge fund manager and the other's a safety advisor with an MNC. Yet both gentlemen who're in their thirties are just about to attempt, in the words of one of my guests Bernard, the 'mother of all trail races'.

Despite the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMC) being only a 166-kilometre trail, it's not a stroll in the park. Based on last year's footrace, only 53% of runners who were at the starting line completed the race. The feat is neither for the faint-hearted nor flat-footed. Runners have to carefully navigate a variety of off-road terrain, some rough, narrow and jagged, some icy smooth, damp and moss-encroached. The entire race would require runners to ascend a cumulative height of 9,400 metres and complete it in under 46 hours. That means goodbye to sleep, hot meals and a glass of warm milk before bedtime. Temperatures in the day can be pleasant but it can dip to minus 10 degress Celsius in icy conditions as the racers plough through the mountainous Mont Blanc range that eats into France, Switzerland and Italy.

Worth a mention would be that Leow Kah Shin and Bernard Lew aren't professional nor full-time adventure racers. They don't make a living out of running for miles on end without sleep. Secondly, they haven't been training for years to get where they are today. For Bernard, he only started participating in triathlons since 2005. For his compatriot Kah Shin, it was only about three years ago that the adventure bug bit. Both of them met last year at the 250-kilometre Gobi Desert March and this year, they're jointly competing in this gruelling adventure together with a third Singaporean, Steven Wong who's in his fifties.

Bukit Timah Hill has been their training ground, where they run up and down the hill. They've been training for what's ahead, but to give you a clearer idea of the demands of the adventure to come, it is equivalent to ascending Singapore's tallest hill 94 times!

Despite the training and determination on the faces of both men, Bernard has you know that there is a real fear of muscle cramps setting in and his legs giving up. But they will find consolation and encouragement in each other. It will be a very quiet race, Bernard reveals, but the cheering and bidding to push ahead will come from "the physical presence of your friends just beside you".

How reassuring the ties that bind and bid you towards the finishing line.

Bernard, Kah Shin & Steven, we're backing you on your adventure. Go forth and conquer the trail...and don't forget to take some wonderful photos between the starting point and the finish!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Travel Green!

Being the sort who would drive out to the supermarket 5 mins away, I was prepared to have my conscience pricked by Howard Shaw, Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council, when he dropped by to talk about greener transport alternatives.

But what I took away was that it's OK to own a car (preferably a fuel-efficient or hybrid one), but be conscious that there are other options available to us. If the destination is nearby, walk. Or take an MRT or bus to town once in a while. After all, we all know how crazy traffic & parking can be!

In Singapore, there's a whole array of options available to us. We just need to factor the environment into our daily decisions and make greener choices to reduce our carbon footprint.

Howard himself owns a car, but when the weather is nice & traffic isn't too heavy, he opts to cycle to his appointments. When I met him recently at Borders Cafe, he had walked over from Ion Orchard where he was attending an event. He plans his daily schedule smart, so that travel is minimised (it accounts for 30% of carbon emissions!).

Now that I can do. I felt empowered after chatting with Howard as well as Dawn Low, Director of Corporate Marketing & Communication at SMRT, and Chairperson of SMRT's Green Committee. All this ahead of Green Transport Week 2009 (22-26 Aug).

Howard Shaw & Dawn Low appeal to our Green Souls.

Dawn shared SMRT's move to greener alternatives, including importing more fuel-efficient buses, turning to CNG-fuelled cabs, and embarking on a Join the Green Revolution campaign. In fact, if you make a pledge to go green with SMRT, you stand to win a whole year's free travel on the MRT for the family. To take part, click here.

Green Transport Week kicks off this Sat 22 Aug, 6pm with Formula Green Concert @ SMU Campus Green. Kumar, Jack & Rai, Dawn Ho, Alemay Fernandez & many more will be spreading the message of travelling green, so don't miss it! Also, the latest hybrid concept cars not yet on the market will be displayed.

And hey, if you're planning to head down for the concert on Saturday, do try to take a bus or MRT there! *wink*

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Event: Border X's Via Ferrata!

The Living Room is organising a special event for our listeners, and we'd love for you to join us!!!

Stan & Pam @ Border X's Via Ferrata wall.

If you've heard the trailers on 938LIVE, you'll know that we're getting our butts off the Living Room couch and doing something different.

We're climbing the tallest indoor Via Ferrata wall in the world!!!

Sat 29 Aug
11am - 4pm
(climb is abt 2hrs, so pick your slot!)
Border X's Via Ferrata wall @ Orchard Central
$30 per pax / $50 for 2 pax

Sat 29 Aug
11am - 4pm
(climb is abt 2hrs, so pick your time slot!)
Border X's Via Ferrata Wall @ Orchard Central
$30 per pax / $50 for 2 pax

For more info, visit 938LIVE or Border X websites.
Or call 6359-7314 to register now!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How Do You Start A Chain Reaction?

And that's what these four spunky girls did.

"We want to find a cause, and have an effect. And from there, grow our initiative to cause others to effect change together with us," the girls explain. And from this premise, the Chain Reaction Project was born.

Over 5 days, they will mountain-bike 450km across Timor Leste for a good cause. This is part of Tour de Timor, an initiative of Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Hota.

"Recently, we had the privilege of meeting President Hota who shared with us the needs and the progress of his nation, along with the hopes he has for it. With President Hota's blessings, TCRP will be working alongside his office on a project to build homes and sources of water supply for the nation's poorest," the girls tell us.

Girls from The Chain Reaction Project in the Living Room: [L to R] Tingjun, Jasmine, Alexandra & Anina.

And who are they? Zhang Tingjun (if she looks familiar, she represented Singapore in netball!), Jasmine Wong, Alexandra Toh & Anina Boshoff. They are such a chatty, spontaneous & engaging bunch, and the one hour we had with them just flew by!

They not only exude a spirit of adventure but also boasts big, big hearts. And such natural poster girls!

The girls are pleasantly surprised by the amount of support they're receiving from individuals & companies who have jumped on the bandwagon to sponsor them stuff from camping tents, nutrition bars to airline tickets!

"It's really a chain reaction happening," Tingjun remarks. "Everyday we see the number of fans on our Facebook page increasing, people approaching us to sponsor stuff, media support... it's amazing."

Talking about Facebook, the girls will be uploading photos & updating fans during their 5-day ride (24-28 Aug). So if you'd like to follow their adventure, join them now on Facebook!

TJ, Jas, Alex & Anina: The Living Room wishes you all the best in your endeavour! And as promised, we'll be having you girls back on our couch when you return. We're already looking forward to hearing your stories!!!

In the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles

If you enjoyed our chat with Dr Nigel Barley, author of In the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles, and would like to find out more about the life & times of our Founding Father, we have 3 copies of the book to give away ~ compliments of Monsoon Books.

Nigel is actually very tall! He's squatting here to accommodate me!

To get a copy, drop us a Comment and leave your name, address & contact number. All winners will be contacted soon, and a copy will be heading your way!


Seraphina Teow

Lai Chie Kai

Patrick Ho

Michael Ho

Kelvin Lim Teck Boon

CONGRATS!!! Monsoon Books will be contacting you soon...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Overseer of Residents, Patients & Family

Forty thousand residents, clinic patients in multiples of hundred, three children and one wife. Don't ask me how he manages the needs and meets the expectations of so many, he just does. This is the life of Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, Dr Lim Wee Kiak. Ophthalmologist by day (and sometimes night), he meets his residents regularly in the evenings and on weekends and also works around parliamentary sessions and other governmental level meetings he has to attend. While most of us grapple with being able to pack as many things as we can into 24 hours, Dr Lim has you know his primary philosophy for life, "Take it as if you are living the last month of your life, but plan as if you'll live forever."

When asked which group of people would be the toughest to meet the expecations of, this was his answer, "It is intuitive for people to think that being an MP is tougher, but if you ask me, being a father is tougher. The direct responsibility, one-to-one, and all parents want the best for their children. The best gift a parent can give to the child is memories (of) when they are young".

The former medical officer in the navy who counts gardening among his hobbies is the CEO of Eagle Eye Centre. Seeing how dentists are always expected to have a good set of teeth, we asked if his vision were as sharp as an eagle's. To this, he confessed that while in primary school, he adored his classmates who wore glasses because "they looked so studious and smart". He added that he even tried to cheat at an eye test by mis-reading some of the letters and numbers. Looks like this MP was once a cheeky little boy, but Dr Lim puts it down to good genes. No contact lenses and no Lasik for Dr Lim! Those genes somehow were never inherited by his three children who all wear glasses. With a teasing look, he says his wife has something to do with it.

Multi-tasker Extraordinaire: Dr Lim Wee Kiak, MP for Sembawang GRC.

On a more serious note, we probed about his role as an MP and a voice representing his constituents in parliament. This was his reply:
All policies, just like medicine, will have side effects. Even the best medicine will have some side effects. The big question is - How do you deal with these side effects and can you predict these side effects in advance so that you can help this group of people? For all bils and policies that are forumalted, as far as I'm concerned, they have to pass what I call 'three tests'.
Number 1 - Does it benefit the majority?
Number 2 - What does the policy mean to my children? How dies it affect their future? Some policies are very short-term; it sounds good at this point but in time, it may be adversely affecting my children.
Number 3 - Who are the one that are affected and what are the mitigating factors? What measures are you introducing to lessen the pain? If the medicine is bitter, how do you sweeten it?

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Milestone for Human Rights Here

I'm indignant that detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is treated this way. She is supposed to be the Prime Minister of Myanmar. Her party, the National League of Democracy, won by a landslide victory in the 1990 general elections. Fair & square.

But she was never allowed to assume that role. The military junta ignored the results and put her under house arrest without trial. Right now, just as the elections are around the corner, she's again put on trial and on the verge of being sentenced to prison.

Where is the justice in all this? How can the Burmese people & the world put up with what the military junta is doing in Myanmar? It's ridiculous.

But we learnt today that the whole process of restoring justice, of promoting & protecting rights, is not a straightforward one. The international community can't just step in and take over. The sovereignty of a nation has to be respected, and non-interference in the internal affairs of the state is still the way to go.

But I'm glad for one thing, and this is a historic milestone for Southeast Asia. At the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phuket last month, we took a step closer to regional cooperation on human rights. The 10 members states agreed to certain terms of reference and established the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

This is a move that took 16 years in the making. The wheels of change were set in motion back in 1993, according to our guests today: Braema Mathi and Peter Low, both founding members of MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism).

Shedding light on ASEAN's new human rights Commission:
Peter Low & Braema Mathi.

Braema was a former Nominated Member of Parliament & former President of AWARE. Peter is a lawyer & former President of the Law Society. They gave precious insights on the likely role of this new Commission and how it will impact citizens in the region.

Right now, a national representative for each member state is being selected - in time for the ASEAN Summit in October. The danger is that if these representatives are not properly selected, if they are not strong advocates of human rights, then this Commission becomes nothing but a white elephant.

We all need to play a part, seriously. My suggestion is to find out all you can about this Commission, and to have a say in the selection process. Whether we like it or not, it will affect all of us. For more information, visit the ASEAN Secretariat website here. Or better yet, participate in the upcoming consultation workshop by MARUAH:

ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights
22 Aug (Sat)
8.30am - 3.45pm
Novotel @ Clark Quay

To register, click here.

My hope is that this Commission will be a force to be reckoned with - that it will be that united voice of conscience for all levels of government, and truly stand for human rights advancement here.

In a fragile region like ours (with Myanmar being part of ASEAN, and Cambodia, Thailand & Indonesia, where child-sex trafficking is so rampant), this is so, so needed.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

We're Modern Day Lumberjacks

I love trees! I love lying on my back and looking at the arching branches above, seeing the sunlight dance through the foliage.

But today, I was reminded by an unwelcome, jarring sound that each time I click on 'Print' on my computer, and print something I may not need, that I'm contributing to the felling of one of these.

How many times have we printed an email and not deleted all the previous responses tagged to it? What could've been on 1 page ends up being 4 pages long!

Well, there's now a brilliant way to remind ourselves each time we click on 'Print' that trees are being felled to make that piece of paper. By downloading i.Saw, clicking 'Print' triggers the jarring sound of a chainsaw & a falling tree!

I know, sometimes Ignorance is Bliss. But seriously, are we really ignorant? Do we really want to pretend the problem is not there when it's our environment we're talking about?

i.Saw is the brainchild of advertising firm BBH Asia Pacific, and we had the pleasure of chatting with its digital creative directors, Shawn Loo and Noel Yeo in The Living Room today to find out about the inspiration behind this environmental campaign.

Well, if you'd like to download that chainsaw sound, click here. Spread the word!