Forum Posts

Ah Sam Boi Boi
Oct 30, 2022
In Chillin' In The Lounge
Famed for sex and violence, Orchard Towers is one of the spiciest parts of Singapore. It's even more surprising that it's located in the very heart of Orchard Road; and it begs the question: Would you put up with the seedy bits, to live in such a prime area? This week we asked A, who once resided in the (in)famous Orchard Towers: The appeal of Orchard Towers If you can ignore the sleaze and reputation, Orchard Towers has some strong points going for it. A, for instance, lived in a massive 3,789 sq ft penthouse unit in Orchard Towers – a size that is almost unheard of among newer residential projects today. A says that the locale at Orchard Towers is also an attractive one, even though he has since moved to Queenstown. He says that Orchard Towers did offer a lot more convenience, even if Queenstown is a lot more peaceful. "For food, there was the food court in the commercial block opposite, and some standalone eateries like Isle House that serves delicious local fare," he says, "As well as an Indian restaurant where I can get a quick teh peng from. "There are some really good eateries on the upper floors too, such as the famous Thai restaurant. Sometimes, I'll head over to Forum to take out McDonalds, and I also really like the ramen at Uma Uma Ramen. There's also a revamped Starbucks at Delfi Orchard to chill in. "Right next door, there's Claymore Connect, a local mall that houses a California Pizza Kitchen among other F&Bs, and now it has a really decent Cold Storage with a salad bar." *California Pizza has now been replaced with a Japanese restaurant. As for retail, we probably don't need to explain this location is as good as it gets – for A, the "neighbourhood mall" was nothing less than the ritzy ION Orchard. An interesting point raised by A is that, while Orchard Towers is in the heart of the concrete jungle, it still has its unique outdoor appeal. He notes that going for a late-night run along Orchard Road is surprisingly nice, when the malls are closed and the crowds have vanished. It's certainly not an experience many have had (and we imagine it's especially nice with Christmas lights). That said, A also reminds us that Orchard Towers is a pure apartment complex, not a condo. That means no common facilities like pools, gyms, etc. Even the car park isn't included. How visible is the vice at Orchard Towers? A says that the vice is contained in the building itself; you won't see any spillover even in immediate neighbouring buildings, like Palais Renaissance, Forum, or Delfi Orchard. The area where the vice is visible would be the front of Orchard Tower's commercial segment (the residential component is located further back). A says that: "At the front of the commercial blocks, you'll see women standing around, and some people smoking (there's now a designated smoking zone next to the taxi stand). "The vice is also limited up to the zebra crossing between both blocks. Once you enter the residential block, there really isn't much shady stuff going on there. There's a hardware shop on the right, and a bar on the left…but there are no vice activities going on as far as I can see. "When I was there, there was a Guardian and a Jasons supermarket, though they've been gone for a while now (interestingly, the Jasons supermarket is replaced by a classy French restaurant, but you can only enter via the back of the residential block). "I can really appreciate the good work of the security guards at Orchard Towers. They always ensure that suspicious people do not enter the residential lift lobby, which does require card access – not just for the entrance, but to even activate the lift." A also points out the residential component has been renamed, to protect its image. It is now known as One Claymore instead of Orchard Towers (as its address is 1 Claymore Drive). However, A opines that they should remove the neon nightclub signage on the front of the residential block, to help with the overhaul. There are also ways for residents to avoid the vice spots if they don't feel comfortable walking through them. "The fastest path home from the MRT is to walk past the Thai Embassy, so you would have to cut through the commercial block to get back," A says, "You could also walk through Palais Renaissance, or take the walkway between Palais Renaissance and the Thai Embassy instead of the commercial block which is less crowded. If you really want to avoid any element of the crowd, you'd have to go through Claymore Road on the north side of the residential block, then take the back entrance. It's a much longer journey though, and an uphill one at that; so it's not worth bypassing the commercial block area altogether." The vice crowds may be less troubling if you're a guy "I've read an article in the Straits Times about how someone didn't wish to visit their mother staying at Orchard Towers because they don't like being solicited for business by women there," A says. "Never happened to me, and I am a guy – if you're looking straight and uninterested, the women there generally wouldn't bother with you. So, unless you're a Caucasian (because you're likely a tourist), smiling at them, or dressed in work attire with a flustered face and looking interested, you're pretty much left alone. I can't say the same if you're female though, my mother mentioned being hugged randomly once by a stranger." The appearance is worst in the early mornings and evenings when the vice starts A says that before the pandemic in the early mornings – before 8am – Orchard Towers "looks like it had a hangover". You may see some people lying on the steps, or wandering about in a daze. Between 8am and 6pm, Orchard Towers looks like any older strata title mall. However, even then, the vice trade doesn't fully stop – during the day, there are still sleazy massage shops that are open, and some of the workers do solicit. It's around 6pm or after, however, before the vice activities spill out to the front of the commercial block, and the pubs roar to life. A says that Orchard Towers is "definitely noisier" at night: "In the commercial block, certain bars have loud bass playing which adds a lot of life to the area. People are seen touting visitors into the bars (women in particular stand at the escalators to talk you into a bar establishment). "There are a lot of tourists that come visit too, so they're just walking around, visiting the bars for a drink or there to partake in said vice activities (usually it's a mixture). It's very lively but not unwelcoming at all." More at https://www.asiaone.com/lifestyle/ex-orchard-towers-resident-shares-what-its-really-live-shady-part-town
Ex-Orchard Towers resident shares what it's really like to live in the 'shady' part of town content media
1
7
181
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Oct 22, 2022
In Chillin' In The Lounge
If there is one industry that should know everything about protecting their employees and customers from dangerous viruses, it would definitely be porn. Enter Soft On Demand, or SOD, a Japanese group of adult video companies that you might remember from earlier this year when they made hundreds of their X-rated titles available for free to help people get through the Covid pandemic. This October, they opened SOD Land, a multistory “adult theme park” staffed with a rotating roster of (fully dressed) adult film actresses who have appeared in SOD productions. This way, guests can get close and personal with the people they’ve met up until now on their computers or smartphones. It’s a genius idea but what’s equally impressive are all the steps that SOD has taken to make SOD Land a safe, coronavirus-free environment. Fully protected Located in the Tokyo red-light district of Kabukicho, SOD Land is made up of six floors, starting with the reception area where the staff will explain the rules of the establishment. You can also kick off your visit here with some souvenir photos of yourself with genuine porn actresses. The reception also sells the SOD BASARA THE CUP AIR FIT, which are masturbatory aids disguised as plastic bottles. Before you can proceed up the stairs to the next floor, you’ll first have to face “Sense Thunder.” It’s an AI thermo camera that measures the guests’ temperatures and can even detect if they’re wearing a mask. Next, you’re going to take a shower. To enter the establishment properly, you’ll have to pass through the “Three of Defence,” a vertical system that sprays you from top to bottom with disinfectant. Don’t worry, it’s nonalcoholic, so if someone catches you exiting the porn theme park, they won’t think less of you because you smell like booze. The Chat Room The “Fuzoku Kenkyujo Kakubutsu Salon” takes up the second floor. Fuzoku is a Japanese umbrella term for the sex industry, including everything from escorting to some hostess bars and erotic massage parlors. The salon is where you can drink and talk with people working in the fuzoku industry. Talk about what? You name it. These are people to whom sex is work so ask them sex-related questions that’s always been on your mind. Talk to them about fetishes. Ask them for recommendations of massage parlors. The salon does resemble an elegant salon, although the staff here don’t lounge around on davenports. Instead, they are located at their own circular table stations, safe inside plastic cylinders to help curb the spread of viruses. It also makes them look a bit as if they were stuck in test tubes, which someone must be into. The guests sitting around the salon staff are also separated by plastic screens, just like at the third-floor SOD “Syain Bar Kabukicho,” which is staffed with porn actresses from SOD movies. You will see a lot of plastic at this establishment. Even the little toy megaphones that the staff use to play around with the guests now have plastic wraps all over them. These precautions may seem like much at first glance but they not only help the guests socially distance and stay healthy, they also offer a level of protection for the staff, making them feel safer. They’ll still gladly drink with you, only you will have to toast through the plastic screens. But that’s not all. SOD Land also uses a Lafuado Filter in its ventilation system and a device that uses UV light to kill all viruses. This is necessary because SOD Land is essentially a bar that serves food, so safety has to be their primary concern. The fourth-floor “Silent Bar” takes it one step beyond plastic screens by having their bikini staff stay inside a cage of two-way mirrors so that you can see them but they can’t see you. Also, true to the name, there is no talking in the Silent Bar. You only communicate with signs. Suggestive drawings might also be acceptable as long as you don’t overdo it. Now might not be the best time to go out to bars, but if you do, you probably would like to see the same kind of precautions that you’ll find at SOD Land. Whether that’s enough to put you at ease or not is ultimately up to you. https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2020/12/sod-land-japan-new-porn-actress-theme-park-shinjuku-safety/

Inside SOD Land, Japan’s New Porn Actress Theme Park That Prioritizes Customer Safety  content media
3
7
343
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Oct 17, 2022
In Current Affairs
In the pocket of Melbourne’s CBD around RMIT, where a smack in the mouth after a skinful at the Oxford would once have been a more common prospect, you can now buy authentic Xing Fu Tang “boba” bubble tea just like in Taipei. Busy Singapore-style kopitiams have sprouted up and young mainland Chinese, in a triumph of cash over culture, are running sushi trains. With its influx of foreign students, this one-time urban wasteland — like its counterparts in other Australian cities — projects something of the dynamism of downtown Seoul or Kuala Lumpur. Few of those foreign students spend more liberally than the 6000-odd Singaporeans who study in Australia each year, arriving from one of Asia’s wealthiest nations. In splashing their cash, they’ve contributed to the $40 billion bounty enjoyed by Australian colleges and universities in return for educating some of Asia’s brightest. Curiously, these Singaporeans are unlikely to have been such good earners for Optus, the Australian telco they ultimately part-own. Like citizens and taxpayers back home, they help buttress the state-owned corporate colossus known as “Singapore Inc.,” which owns Singtel, Singapore’s dominant telco and Optus’s parent. No, they haven’t suddenly joined Australia’s horror at Optus’s mishandling of its customers’ intimate information: the company appears to have been cancelled by Singaporeans long before embattled chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin became a household name. These Singaporeans come to Australia knowing their leaders back home in Singapore are champion snoopers and might like to keep an eye on them even when they go abroad. For many Singaporeans, studying in Australia gives access to the intellectual liberties fundamental to our centres of learning: open debate, pluralism, privacy, an untrammelled internet and freedom of speech, some of the stuff Singaporeans don’t get profound experience of back home. With its Singapore Inc. ownership, though, Optus’s reach creates a Hotel California for some Singaporeans. They might be able to check out of the island state any time they like, but if they choose Optus for their digital needs they may never really leave official Singapore’s reach. There’s never been any evidence of Optus snooping for Singapore, but its critics take no chances, choosing anyone-but-Optus for their SIM cards in case the tentacles of the regime catch them doing, saying, reading or studying something self-preservation dictates they don’t risk back home. Surveillance has helped keep Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party in uninterrupted power for sixty-three years, and being monitored is presumed a part of daily life in the highly wired city-state. Singaporeans have normalised this intrusion, assuming their autocratic government tracks their movements, their contacts and calls simply because it can, in a circular system that advances efficiency and suppresses dissent because it sees dissent coming. This widespread belief gives rise to a curious tic common to many Singaporeans, which I came to call the Singapore Swivel when I was based there as a foreign correspondent through the 2000s. It occurs when small talk advances to an opinion and the interlocutor whispers “off the record” as his or her head pivots left-to-right-to-centre, scanning to see who’s in earshot. Singaporean authorities don’t mind their citizens thinking they are monitoring them, even as they strenuously deny it happens; it’s all part of the machinery. One memorable TV ad promoting Singapore’s navy even showed a submarine crew busily going about tasks onboard before raising the periscope to monitor Singaporeans on land going about theirs. Control is everything, and Singapore is so skilled at it that snooping has turned into a good little earner for Singapore Inc., generating millions from the sale of surveillance expertise, equipment and systems to despotic regimes like Myanmar’s military junta. But sometimes controllers slip up and get exposed, like when Singtel and Singapore’s home ministry were discovered sifting through the computers of 200,000 SingNet subscribers, their clumsy intrusion detected by a subscriber operating basic anti-hacker software. Investigators of the Optus leak might wish to note Singtel-Optus’s argument with Canberra about how sophisticated — or not — that breach was. Singapore’s snooping instinct also extends to surveilling its own citizens abroad. One of the world’s leading authorities on Singapore, Australian academic Garry Rodan, knows this concern all too well. “If I was a Singaporean critic of the PAP who was an international student in Australia, and I’ve met quite a few of them over the years, then taking out an Optus account would not have been a natural choice,” he told me last week. “Many students probably headed straight for Telstra or someone else because, even before the advent of sophisticated media and surveillance, these students suspected plants in tutorials reporting to offices and agencies about their criticisms of the Singapore government whilst in Australia. Against this background, signing up with Optus was perceived by some as potentially amplifying the risk of surveillance.” For years, Singapore’s behaviour in Australia was an open secret that didn’t much stir anyone except its targets. Singaporeans might wonder who ratted on them if they get pulled aside for “random” drug testing upon returning home. But when Singapore’s snooping gets too egregious, Canberra quietly tells it to cut it out. Diplomatically, it does so also knowing that Singapore’s patriarchal philosopher-king Lee Kuan Yew was Australia’s most reliable friend in an often-peevish region dominated by corrupt Suhartos, recalcitrant Mahathirs and their wobbly successors. Singapore is hardly a democracy (only the ruling parties of China, North Korea and Cuba have been in power longer than the Lees’ People’s Action Party) but it doesn’t kill its own dissidents like China, Burma and Thailand have. A pivotal ASEAN member, it didn’t arc up at Australia’s intervention in East Timor after 1999 either, risking its own interests in a resentful Indonesia. And though a red-for-Chinese dot in a green-for-Islam archipelago, nor did it wobble after 9/11 and Bali in the war on terror. Yes, the nannyish PAP runs what is effectively a one-party state with a carefully cultivated facade of democracy (traceable ballots anyone?) and a separate legal system, but it has been a benevolent dictatorship in the main, even as its leaders sue domestic critics and opponents into oblivion. And, besides, there’s the food, the hotels and the shopping that makes oh-so-clean Singapore such an easy, cordial place to visit. How can it possibly be sinister? Singapore Inc. — the expression of Singapore’s state-as-corporation governance model — centres on two state-owned enterprises, Temasek Holdings and the Government Investment Corporation, or GIC. Since 1959, the island has been a Lee family fiefdom, led for decades by Lee Kuan Yew himself and, since 2004, by his eldest son Lee Hsien Loong. During its decades in power, the PAP has largely delivered for Singapore, economically at least. With no natural resources apart from an energetic population and its strategic location where the Indian and Pacific oceans meet, this tiny island is hailed internationally as a swamp-through-semiconductor-to-skyscraper success. LKY, who died in 2015, was much admired internationally, and his leadership model imitated by authoritarian regimes around the world. It’s evident in Putin’s Russia, Modi’s India, Xi’s China, Duterte’s and now Marcos Jnr’s Philippines, across Africa and among the central Asian ’stans, among the many who’ve beaten a path to Singapore for tips. The Lee model has many Western admirers, too, particularly among chief executives of the Fortune Global 500. Britain’s apprentice prime minister Liz Truss has her own low-tax Singapore-on-Thames aspirations, though they became more like Harare-on-Thames on delivery in late September. The Singapore model holds that a citizenry is best served by an appointed elite in charge of a smooth-running corporate state, and that sustained economic success can be achieved without meaningful political liberalisation. Democracy doesn’t feature much. If that elite happens to include members of the ruling family then so be it; Singapore Inc.’s boosters insist it’s a meritocracy, and will threaten legal action against anyone who says otherwise. By that measure, current PM Lee Hsien Loong’s wife Ho Ching — who ran Temasek for almost twenty years and one of its major offshoots, the arms-maker Singapore Technologies, for five years before that — was clearly the best person for both those jobs. Just as Hsien Loong’s brother Hsien Yang was the right man to run Singtel for twelve years — he presided over the Optus deal in 2001 — before he fell out with his PM brother and became a dissident of sorts. And obviously, PM Lee himself is the best person to also chair the GIC, the world’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund with more than $25 billion invested in Australian shares, infrastructure and property alone, just as his father was before him. Profits are maximised, and dissent minimised, if trusted aides run things without their rule being challenged or even questioned. When Singapore Inc. spinners insist their empire is run according to world’s best practice, Singaporeans are obliged to believe that, and the markets are too. No matter that GIC director and Singapore Inc. lion Koh Boon Hwee once sat on forty-seven boards, including the state governance outfit that made recommendations about how many boards people like him should be allowed to sit on. Singaporeans get little chance to decide or even debate who will manage their national nest eggs, or how, or call them to account if required. But don’t suggest Singapore Inc. is nepotistic or cronified, or that the country’s politics and business are interconnected or dynastic, lest it draw a libel lawsuit that history suggests, if it’s tried in Singapore, the defendant is sure to lose. A dependable legal system is another cornerstone of Singapore Inc. When I reported from Singapore, an anonymous samizdat document would often be exchanged among diplomats, correspondents, academics and the tiny band of locals who would bravely question how the national finances were being managed. Entitled “Why It Might Be Difficult for the Government to Withdraw from Business,” it listed the hundreds of senior posts in Singapore Inc. enterprises held by members of the ruling family, by current and former government officials, by members of parliament, and by past and present military commanders. Well-researched and cross-referenced, it became a handbook of Singapore Inc. That who’s who of the island state’s corporate elite might inform the Australian regulators probing Optus that Singapore Inc.’s clubbishness is evident at Optus’ parent Singtel too, where members can’t help but bump into each other. Singtel’s chairman is local lawyer Lee Theng Kiat, a long-time colleague of Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong’s wife Ho Ching at another Temasek offshoot, Singapore Technologies. Lee Theng Kiat is also a director at Temasek, which owns Singtel and Optus. The lead “independent” director on Singtel’s board is Gautam Banerjee, investment giant Blackstone’s chairman in Singapore. Banerjee also sits on Singtel’s risk committee, the one with the Optus headache. Blackstone is 4 per cent owned by Temasek, and the two companies co-own and run a $1 billion investment fund. Like Koh Boon Hwee, who was chairman of Singtel when it did the Optus deal, Banerjee is a director of the GIC sovereign fund that’s chaired by Singapore’s PM Lee, whose wife now chairs the Temasek Trust. A fellow director of Lee and Banerjee and Koh’s on the GIC’s board is Loh Boon Chye, the chief executive of SGX, Singapore’s stock exchange. Koh is also on the SGX board, and will become chairman in January. SGX’s major shareholder is — you guessed it — Temasek, along with Banerjee’s Blackstone. Singtel is the SGX’s second-biggest listed company after another Temasek satellite, DBS, one of Asia’s biggest banks, chaired by Peter Seah Lim Huat. Seah is a former chairman of Temasek-controlled Singapore Technologies, which PM Lee’s wife Ho Ching also chaired. And Seah is yet another director of the GIC’s state sovereign fund with Koh, Banerjee and Loh, with PM Lee serving as chair. Conflicts of interest? Nothing to see here. Singtel’s Optus deal in 2001 attracted much concern. Critics feared an authoritarian foreign regime was buying a strategic Australian communication asset that had defence contracts. Seven Network owner Kerry Stokes said then that if Canberra’s Foreign Investment Review Board allowed the deal, it would demonstrate a “naive approach to national security.” Australia’s communications minister of the day, Richard Alston, was disquieted about the role the Singaporean government might play in managing Optus. Ross Babbage, a former defence secretary and now an international security consultant, articulated the view of many in Australian defence circles concerned about Singapore’s “congenital” inclination to secretly collect and pass on information. But Coalition treasurer Peter Costello’s FIRB jogged on. Costello had turned down Royal Dutch Shell’s bid for Woodside on national interest grounds months earlier, and some within the Howard government were worried another FIRB refusal might affect Australia’s reputation as being open for foreign investment. It also helped Canberra thinking that Optus’s vendor was already foreign, the British company Cable & Wireless. (Melbourne Liberal Party stalwart Charles Goode, then the chairman of ANZ Bank, was also Woodside chairman at the time and had been on Temasek’s Singapore Airlines board for two years, a power network that suggests it’s not only the Singapore corporate elite that get cosy.) Singapore got its Australian asset, and two decades later Singtel controls an Asia-Pacific regional communications network that includes an Australian military satellite. Australian commentators noted in 2001 that this was Singapore Inc.’s first major deal in a robust Western democracy and that Singapore might learn from Australia’s corporate culture, with its mandated transparency reporting procedures, its open media and its shareholder activism. All that might lead tightly wound Singapore into loosening up, they hoped. On the evidence of its initial instinct to turn inward during the data leak drama, holding back information and trying to shift blame, the opposite appears to have happened. Quickly lawyering up in Singapore, Singtel implored its shareholders to ignore media commentary on the Optus scandal as “speculative,” insisting a class action would be “vigorously defended” even as it was announcing an “independent” review to determine what actually happened. Also revealingly, Singapore’s state-controlled press has tended to publish straight international wire reports on the scandal instead of reports from its own reporters and commentators — as Singapore’s editors tend to do when they’re unsure about where their government masters will land. So much of Singapore Inc. is about control. We won’t know for some time how the Optus leak will be resolved, but Singapore’s elite will be discomfited that it has a huge asset it can’t fully control. And that it has shone an unwelcome spotlight on Singapore Inc. that might, just might, throw more light on how it operates. https://insidestory.org.au/singapore-swivel/
Optus’s troubles shine a light on the company’s ultimate controller, the hydra-headed Singapore Inc. content media
0
7
91
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Sep 03, 2022
Food King has officially shut down, all NOC videos on Youtube removed content media
1
13
269
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Aug 24, 2022
In Current Affairs
A standing Datuk Seri Najib Razak fell into his seat in the dock upon hearing the Federal Court’s that the High Court judge did not err in sentencing him to 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million in relations to the embezzlement case of SRC International Sdn Bhd. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor meanwhile was seen wiping hear tears as she held back her emotions; full of sadness and sorrow. The court’s atmosphere, filled with Najib’s family and staff turned even more gloomy when Rosmah sat next to him accompanied by their children Norashaman and Nooryana Najwa. These were their final moments with their loved one, before he - Najib - was taken to away in a black SUV that had been on standby mode behind the Palace of Justice in Presint 2, Putrajaya. However, the irony here was the fact that not far from the the Palace of Justice was the beautiful Seri Perdana and Perdana Putra, Najib’s home and office when he was the country’s number one for about nine years. These were also the places - fated to be historical events including the SRC International and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, the biggest money heist in the world. An hour has past since the ruling, Najib’s family, friends and supporters continued to stay in the court grounds. They could only calm the Pekan Member of Parliament down as sadness engulfed him. Despite losing all his rights and freedom as a free man, he was remained cool and composed at the time. At 5.30pm when this commentary was being written, 69-year old Najib was present in court in black suit did not move from the dock. What was certain, however, was the fact that a former Prime Minister would be sent to Kajang Prison. There, Najib will have serve a 12-year prison sentence. Additionally, if he fails to settle the RM210 fine, he would need to face another five years of incarceration. Many believe Najib’s family and hardcore supporters including those who had gone out to the court grounds to cry their hearts out publicly after the decision would try their best to settle the fine. Also present in the courtroom was his strongest and loyal supporter Umno President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He sat at the public gallery and watched the ruling. The Umno President can now imagine a similar atmosphere once his turn comes, if he too were to be found guilty at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for his charges. Zahid is currently on trial for 12 charges of abuse of power, eight bribery charges and 27 money laundering charges involving ten of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi, a charity foundation he established. On Jan 24, the court made the ruling after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against Zahid and ordered him to enter defence. Amidst all the chaos that was happening, Najib’s daughter nicknamed Yana wrote “I’m sorry daddy... Maybe we didn’t fight hard enough. Maybe we placed our fullest trust in our justice system...” The Federal Court on Tuesday stated that Najib’s defence were inconsistent and failed to raise reasonable doubt. While reading the verdict, Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had considered the defence’s explanation in detail and carried out an analysis on the case. She said the court could not conclude anywhere that Mohd Nazlan and the Court of Appeal were wrong. She, who chaired a five-man panel, said the defendant's defence was completely inconsistent and diametrically opposed to one another. https://www.sinardaily.my/article/178869/malaysia/national/najib-fell-to-his-chair-rosmah-in-tears-as-federal-court-upholds-ex-pms-src-conviction
Najib fell into his chair, Rosmah in tears as Federal Court upholds ex-PM's SRC conviction content media
5
33
794
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Aug 11, 2022
Sinkie claims his UOB debit card was compromised. content media
0
6
312
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Aug 11, 2022
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King 豚骨王 slaps on 10% surcharge for takeaway orders content media
0
6
168
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Aug 05, 2022
In Current Affairs
https://www.facebook.com/KesihatanPersekitaranMBSA
DISGUSTING: Some Malaysian poultry farmers are breeding chickens in toilets content media
0
5
224
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Aug 04, 2022
In Current Affairs
China could invade Taiwan within the next 18 months, current and former officials familiar with U.S. and allied intelligence told Fox News, suggesting a particularly "dangerous" window between the meeting of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party this November and the next U.S. presidential election in 2024. Two former senior officials told Fox News that the intelligence suggests China sees the potential opportunity for an amphibious assault and military invasion of Taiwan in that time frame. "We have always had and always been aware that China has an ever-present, ever-evolving plan for an amphibious assault and military invasion of Taiwan. If they are not successful in reunifying politically, then they will do so with force," one former senior intelligence official familiar with U.S. intelligence, and who has discussed intelligence belonging to a U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific, told Fox News. "What is different now is, we have intelligence that this has gone from an indefinite, nebulous scenario, to a belief that there is a window of opportunity in the next 18 months," the official continued. "I don’t think that’s a coincidence that window of opportunity is within a Biden administration." A former senior Trump administration official told Fox News House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is being used as a "pretext" for increased Chinese aggression around Taiwan, but said it is "not the real cause of it," and warned that the "Davidson Window" is "closing." Former commander of American forces in the Indo-Pacific Adm. Philip Davison testified last year that China could invade Taiwan within the next six years—by 2027. "The window is now between the Party Congress and the next U.S. presidential election," the official said noting that window could close by January 2025—at the end of the presidential transition period. "I think we are in a very dangerous two-year window right now." The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is expected to take place in November, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to be re-elected. A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told Fox News that the United States "will not seek and does not want a crisis." "We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do. We will not engage in saber-rattling, and we're not looking to escalate," the NSC spokesperson told Fox News. "At the same time, we're going to be steady and resolute. We will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific as we have done for decades." The spokesperson added that the United States "will continue to support Taiwan, consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific." "We're communicating closely with our allies and partners. And we are maintaining open lines of communication Beijing," the spokesperson said. "We will keep doing what we are doing -- supporting cross-Strait peace and stability." However, the former senior Trump administration official told Fox News that "the likelihood of invasion has increased dramatically with China perceiving the United States is in a weakened position," pointing to the Biden administration’s "surrender" of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August 2021 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted "in only half-measure sanctions being put on the Russian Federation." The official also said Xi has been emboldened by U.S. "domestic problems," including crime in cities across the nation, "the lack of control" at the Southern border, and the "failures" of the Biden administration’s energy policy. The official stressed that the invasion could happen before the inauguration of the next president in 2025, saying China fears the election of "another leader that could return to a more robust, ‘peace through strength’ foreign policy and stronger domestic policies." With regard to criticisms of the current administration's foreign policy and its withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Biden administration official told Fox News that China "would love nothing more than for the U.S. government to still be bogged down in a 20-year war, still committing billions of dollars, U.S. troops, and have our military focused on another country's civil war. "By being able to withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, we have been able to reposition them and refocus our efforts to other areas of the world," the official said. The official added that the Biden administration "freed up resources" and said leaving Afghanistan put the United States "in a much better position on the geopolitical stage when it comes to our strategic competition with China or with any other important issues around the world." However, during an interview with Fox News Wednesday, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck said the United States "has failed to deter adversaries within the last 18 months." "If anything, the United States has been deterred from forcefully supporting its partners and allies worldwide," Klinck said, adding that he has viewed 2024 as a "particularly dangerous year." "The reason is because it is not only the election in the United States, but it is also the presidential election in Taiwan," Klinck said, stressing that he believes the People’s Liberation Army "will move against Taiwan when the Chinese Communist Party tells it to, regardless of timing." "I view 2024 as being dangerous because I believe the CCP, particularly President Xi Jinping, will see it as a potential window of opportunity because of the U.S. election, and the fact that he probably perceives that the United States is going to shy away from an international crisis during a presidential election," he told Fox News. A lot more at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/china-could-invade-taiwan-within-next-18-months-before-next-us-presidential-election-sources
China could invade Taiwan before the 2024 US presidential election: sources content media
0
15
200
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Jun 14, 2022
In Chillin' In The Lounge
Another fight breaks out at Geylang content media
0
8
421
Ah Sam Boi Boi
May 12, 2022
Bullshit: The Game Show (starring real-life clowns from the PAP) content media
2
9
253
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Mar 20, 2022
In Current Affairs
Guess when there's no major agenda to fix the opposition, let's all just play truant eh?
[SHAMEFUL] Near empty parliament in session content media
0
9
415
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Feb 20, 2022
In Current Affairs
QuaDream was founded in 2016 by Ilan Dabelstein, a former Israeli military official, and by two former NSO employees, Guy Geva and Nimrod Reznik, according to Israeli corporate records and two people familiar with the business. Reuters could not reach the three executives for comment. Like NSO's Pegasus spyware, QuaDream's flagship product - called REIGN - could take control of a smartphone, scooping up instant messages from services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, as well as emails, photos, texts and contacts, according to two product brochures from 2019 and 2020 which were reviewed by Reuters. REIGN's “Premium Collection” capabilities included the "real time call recordings", "camera activation - front and back" and "microphone activation", one brochure said. Prices appeared to vary. One QuaDream system, which would have given customers the ability to launch 50 smartphone break-ins per year, was being offered for $2.2 million exclusive of maintenance costs, according to the 2019 brochure. Two people familiar with the software's sales said the price for REIGN was typically higher. Over the years, QuaDream and NSO Group employed some of the same engineering talent, according to three people familiar with the matter. Two of those sources said the companies did not collaborate on their iPhone hacks, coming up with their own ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Several of QuaDream's buyers have also overlapped with NSO's, four of the sources said, including Saudi Arabia and Mexico - both of whom have been accused of misusing spy software to target political opponents. One of QuaDream's first clients was the Singaporean government, two of the sources said, and documentation reviewed by Reuters shows the company's surveillance technology was pitched to the Indonesian government as well. Reuters couldn't determine if Indonesia became a client. Mexican, Singaporean, Indonesian and Saudi officials did not return messages seeking comment about QuaDream. https://www.reuters.com/technology/exclusive-iphone-flaw-exploited-by-second-israeli-spy-firm-sources-2022-02-03/
The Singapore Govt is a client of Israeli spyware company QuaDream content media
0
14
869
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Jan 16, 2022
Victim of OCBC phishing scam recounts nightmarish experience content media
6
41
790
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Dec 15, 2021
In Current Affairs
A snowballing controversy involving a lawmaker who resigned after lying in parliament is threatening the Singaporean opposition leader, Pritam Singh, less than 18 months after his party made historic electoral gains with the backing of the city state’s younger generation. The saga initially seemed to only involve Raeesah Khan – a darling among Gen Z and millennial voters – but an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into the case has dragged Singh and other high-ranking leaders of the Workers’ Party (WP) into the picture. In a nine-hour testimony last Friday before the parliamentary Committee of Privileges, Singh repeatedly denied suggestions that he acted improperly by failing to take Raeesah to task even though he and two other top party leaders knew within days that her August 3 speech about the police mishandling a sexual assault case contained falsehoods. Apart from scrutinising Raeesah’s breach of parliamentary rules, the committee – made up primarily of MPs from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) – has also been probing the WP’s seemingly lackadaisical internal handling of the matter. Edwin Tong, a legally-trained cabinet minister and member of the panel, had suggested to witnesses including Singh that the WP leadership might have initially sought to suppress Raeesah’s transgression as it would put them and the party in a negative light. A consensus view among local political analysts interviewed by This Week in Asia was that it was almost certain that the scandal took the shine off the WP’s achievement last July in the country’s most contested elections since independence. At the same time, some of these observers cautioned against viewing the scandal as an “existential crisis” for the party. WP’s integrity under scrutiny WP chief Singh’s high levels of popularity among supporters and a perception among opposition loyalists that the parliamentary probe was a partisan exercise were factors that benefited the embattled WP, said Bilveer Singh, a political-science professor at the National University of Singapore. “The key [in the deliberations of the Committee of Privileges] is proportionality – if someone has done something wrong then that person should be punished,” said Singh, a veteran observer of local politics. It would be “overkill” if the committee recommended punishments for Singh and other top WP leaders, he said. In the polls in July last year, the WP party took 10 out of 93 seats – a major coup given that no opposition party has held double digit seats in the island nation since the 1960s. The result – widely attributed to a clinical campaign run by Singh – raised hopes that the WP would continue its ascendance as a formidable check against the dominance of the PAP, which has been in power since 1959. “Depending on how public opinion is shaped by the Committee of Privileges’ finding and recommendations, the matter could be a body blow to the WP,” said Tan, a Singapore Management University law professor. Nydia Ngiow, the managing director of the BowerGroupAsia strategic consultancy in Singapore, said revelations thus far had raised “serious questions” over the WP leadership’s “inability and lack of appetite towards tackling the issue”. “The recent saga threatens to undo the [WP’s] good work in recent years, and it remains to be seen if the party is able to move past this crisis with its credibility intact,” she said. Lying saga takes centre stage Since Raeesah’s speech in August, when she initially lied to parliament, the issue has been in the national spotlight. The first-time MP had said during a debate on empowering women that she accompanied a sexual assault survivor to a police station only to have an officer make insensitive comments towards the complainant. Subsequently pressed for details by senior officials, including the law and home affairs minister K. Shanmugam, Raeesah said she was not able to divulge further information due to confidentiality. But in a bombshell turn of events on November 1, she admitted that the anecdote had been fabricated. She did not in fact follow the victim to the police station, but had heard the account in a sexual assault survivors support group that she was part of. The lawmaker said she herself had been sexually assaulted at the age of 18 while studying overseas, which is why she had attended the group session. Raeesah suggested that this experience influenced the way she narrated the episode, saying in a tearful speech that she did not have the courage to report her own assault. On November 30, she resigned from the WP before its top decision-making body was to decide on whether to sack her. The saga has dominated local headlines since December 1, when the Committee of Privileges proceedings began. The panel is continuing to interview witnesses, but has thus far issued four interim reports following the testimonies it has heard so far. It also released footage of the depositions. A lot more at https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3159812/can-singapores-opposition-workers-party-ride-out-scandal-its
Can Singapore’s opposition Workers’ Party ride out scandal of its lying lawmaker Raeesah Khan?  content media
0
17
637
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Dec 01, 2021
In Current Affairs
The South African scientists tracking the new coronavirus variant believe it probably evolved in a patient with HIV/Aids with a chronic Covid-19 infection. If so, it will not be the first time a variant has emerged in a patient with a long-running Covid infection, scientists told the The Telegraph. In fact, many experts believe it could be how some of the other variants sprang up, including alpha, the first global "variant of concern", which emerged in Kent last autumn. Across the world, scientists have traced the virus evolving in immunocompromised patients with months-long Covid infections. Patients with untreated HIV or other conditions that weaken the immune system - such as cancer, for example - can struggle to see off Covid, leaving their body fighting the virus for prolonged periods. They effectively act as an evolutionary training gym for the virus to mutate to find new ways around their immune responses. The difference in South Africa is the sheer numbers of people this potentially covers: 8.2 million South Africans are infected with HIV and only around 71 per cent of adults, and 45 per cent of children, are on treatment, leaving a large pool of people vulnerable. Professor Richard Lessells, an infectious diseases expert at the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP), part of the team that first alerted the world about the spread of the new B.1.1.529 variant, said it is likely that the new variant was incubated in an untreated HIV/Aids patient. "It doesn't seem to have emerged from a normal evolutionary process," Prof Lessells told The Telegraph. "There's been an evolutionary jump. This hasn't evolved from the delta variant." Prof Sharon Peacock, Director of COG-UK Genomics UK Consortium, and Professor of Public Health and Microbiology, University of Cambridge, said this genetic difference was the clue - as it had also been with alpha. “The genetic difference of B.1.1.529 has led to the hypothesis that this may have evolved in someone who was infected but could then not clear the virus, giving the virus the chance to genetically evolve (the equivalent of an evolutionary gym)," she said. "The same hypothesis was proposed for the alpha variant, and studies have been done in individual immunocompromised patients that show changes occur in the virus over time, and in response to antibody therapy." However, she added: "But the index (original) case of alpha was not determined – and trying to pinpoint the index case of a variant of concern does not aid the pandemic response, could be counterproductive by looking back rather than putting all efforts into looking forward, and is to be avoided." Others said it was "certainly plausible" that this was how B.1.1.529 developed, although some scientists suggested that the gap between the existing virus and the new variant may instead represent a gap in sequencing data in countries lacking surveillance capabilities. Professor Stuart Neil, a virologist at King's College London, told The Telegraph: "It's speculative, but it's something that has certainly been worrying people for a while, that persistent infection in immunocompromised people could be driving certain levels of viral diversity." He said this route of viral evolution has been theorised before, for example for influenza. The concern for many global health experts is that this has not fed into global vaccination strategies for Covid. It also shines a fresh light on the risks of the long-running inequality in HIV prevention, treatment and diagnosis globally. In South Africa, only 24 per cent of people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19; although the gap seems to be more about hesitancy than supply. However, this is not the case in other African countries which also have high burdens of HIV. Scientists pointed out that it is feasible that B.1.1.529 came from one of these countries and was simply spotted in South Africa, which has strong viral surveillance networks. "What we're seeing is exactly what we've warned about for the last year," said Prof Lessells in South Africa. "If we leave parts of the world behind... then the disease will continue to evolve. We could have reduced the risk of this happening and we still can if we deal with the vaccine apartheid." https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/scientists-think-new-variant-may-have-emerged-hiv-patient/
The new Omicron variant may have originated from an HIV patient! content media
0
11
1k
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Nov 10, 2021
In Current Affairs
Singapore – After being let go from his part-time job as a waiter last year during the pandemic, Danny Goh hit rock bottom. For eight months, he struggled to find work to support his wife and four young children. The family survived on instant noodles, bread dipped in coffee, and biscuits, getting by on the goodwill of relatives and church friends. While Goh has found a new commission-based job getting people to sign up for government skills upgrading and training courses, his income fluctuates between 800 Singapore dollars ($594) and 2,800 Singapore dollars ($2,078), which is barely enough for their large family. He perpetually finds himself cash-strapped. To save money, the family has started eating only two meals a day – simple dishes like chicken soup with rice or potatoes. Goh often skips meals or eats once a day so that his children can have a bigger share. Where their fridge used to be stuffed with fresh fruit, chicken, pork and beef, soft drinks and snacks, all of this is now a luxury, and eating out is out of the question. “It’s a huge pay cut, and honestly it’s one of the hardest and most demoralising periods of my life. Times are really tough,” said the 61-year-old who rents a two-room public housing flat in the northern part of the island. In a food paradise and wealthy city-state like Singapore, food insecurity is a phenomenon that exists primarily behind closed doors. But as elsewhere in the world, COVID-19 has hit the disadvantaged the hardest, typically the lowest earners in precarious jobs, who have few safety nets and insufficient wage and labour protections. Earlier this year, a six-month study by local charity Beyond Social Services found that the median household income of families who sought the group’s help had plunged from 1,600 Singapore dollars ($1,187) before the COVID-19 pandemic to just 500 Singapore dollars ($371). More worryingly, a second study, which detailed the effect of the pandemic on people renting government-owned flats between July and December 2020, found food insecurity was increasingly prolonged. Residents told Beyond that they sometimes coped with the lack of food by filling themselves up with liquids or starches, buying cheap and filling items, and making choices based on financial considerations rather than nutritional value. For instance, some families would eat only one meal a day or give their children coffee creamer in hot water because they could not afford formula milk. The report warned the issue could escalate into a serious public health matter, with links to increased mental stress and the development of chronic health conditions. In 2019, Singapore ranked as the world’s most food-secure nation in the Global Food Security Index. However, one in 10 Singaporeans experienced food insecurity at least once over 12 months, reported a study by the Singapore Management University’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation. Out of this, two in five experienced food insecurity at least once a month and many of these households did not seek food support, citing embarrassment, being unaware of what was available and the belief that others needed it more than themselves. “To a regular Singaporean, food is a national pastime,” said Beyond’s Deputy Executive Director Ranganayaki Thangavelu. “But we may not realise how poorly others are eating, how they have to make difficult choices for each meal, and how food is just a necessity to sustain them. When they are confronted by this inequality daily, it wears them down over time.” Barely ‘staying afloat’ Before COVID-19, eating out used to be a regular affair for 35-year-old Joshua (not his real name), his homemaker wife and their 6-year-old daughter. But all that changed when the former studio technician was abruptly let go due to massive cost-cutting measures during the pandemic last March. He took on a contract job as a security guard, clocking 12-hour night shifts four times a week, earning 1,400 Singapore dollars ($1,039) a month – half his previous salary. These days, every time Joshua gets his pay, the couple sits down to figure out how to stretch their monthly food budget of 400 Singapore dollars ($297). Usually, that means buying frozen chicken rather than fresh, looking out for value buys and discounts, buying in bulk and switching to cheaper brands. The remaining money goes to paying rent for their flat, utilities, phone and internet bills and other day-to-day expenses, with little to no buffer of savings. For a treat, they take their daughter out for a fast food meal once a month. Joshua says that so far, they have been able to get by, helped by rations of dried food, fruit and vegetables from a local charity. Despite the uncertainty, he is sanguine about the situation, saying that he is lucky he is still young and able to find work. “We manage to stay afloat. For now, this is enough for my family and me to manage,” he said. “The pandemic has taught us a lesson about resilience and fighting on.” Charities that Al Jazeera spoke to say that new sectors of society have been seeking food aid because of the pandemic, including younger “gig” workers whose projects have dried up and even middle-income families living in bigger public housing flats or private homes. About 85 percent of Singaporeans live in government-subsidised apartment blocks. “On the outside, the house looks cushy and polished, but then the kids tell us that their mother hasn’t eaten for two days,” said The Food Bank Singapore co-founder, Nichol Ng. “For the food to be impacted, it means they are scraping the very bottom of the pot.” Each time the government’s multi-ministry task force handling COVID-19 announces new restrictions, the charity is flooded by requests from people writing in to ask for food. Singapore recently announced that its COVID-19 restrictions would be extended until November 21, after registering thousands of new COVID-19 cases daily. “This means we have a lot of people who are super vulnerable and who can’t feed themselves. To know they are literally a paycheque away from not eating, it’s really scary and worrying,” Ng said. Offering a Lifeline Under its Feed the City initiative last year, The Food Bank Singapore distributed one million meals. Driven by a belief in giving beneficiaries the “autonomy of choice and dignity”, it also rolled out more neighbourhood vending machines stocked with anything from frozen bento meals to drinks, snacks and rice. The group says the machines, which the residents access with special cards, reduce the risk of the food going bad when left outside someone’s house in the tropical heat. The charity has also rolled out other innovations, including a bank card programme that allows beneficiaries to redeem meals from food establishments. Food from the Heart, another charity, has also seen demand surge and is now delivering 10,000 ration packs a month compared with 5,000 before COVID-19 hit. They have also enlarged the size of their food packs after families ran out of supplies during coronavirus-related lockdowns. “With more conversations about food insecurity, there’s less stigma of people admitting they get food support, especially those more able-bodied who have lost a job,” said chief executive Sim Bee Hia. “We expect the pandemic’s impact to be prolonged and we just have to react and be nimble to make sure we keep the food going to those who need it as long as they need it.” Despite the proliferation of initiatives and the rising volume of food aid, the Beyond report notes that efforts remain patchy and ad hoc, with some getting too much assistance and others not knowing how to get the help they need. Ng said: “There’s too many ground-up initiatives and corporations with big hearts but they assume it is these few places that need help. As a result, there’s duplicated food efforts in certain neighbourhoods, while others fall through the cracks.” To solve this, her team plans to create an online database – or “feeding directory” – detailing the range of food aid initiatives by neighbourhood. It is also working on a food-banking app where beneficiaries can submit real-time food requests to donors, while donors share the type and quantity of food they have on hand. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) says it “recognises” that there is food insecurity in Singapore and has introduced a series of measures to address the issue since the pandemic, including grants and income relief as well as grocery and food vouchers for the less well-off. These measures come on top of the existing ComCare programme, which provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families. “In terms of food insecurity, Singapore has fared relatively well internationally, with rates remaining consistently low, due to our economic and social policies and collective community efforts to support those in need,” an MSF spokesperson said in an email response to Al Jazeera. The ministry noted that about 4.5 percent of the population in Singapore was estimated to face moderate to severe food insecurity, according to the 2021 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This was lower than in other developed economies such as the United States (8 percent), New Zealand (14 percent), Australia (12.3 percent) and South Korea (5.1 percent), it added. But as the pandemic rages on and businesses continue to bleed, Goh is fearful of the prolonged economic impact on families like his. “I never imagined that the situation would become worse,” he said. “There seems to be no end in sight.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/10/as-covid-19-rages-more-in-singapore-go-hungry
As COVID-19 rages, more in Singapore go hungry content media
0
5
542
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Nov 05, 2021
Indian family playing with sparklers had an egg thrown at them..... content media
5
17
1k
Ah Sam Boi Boi
Oct 11, 2021
In Current Affairs
https://www.change.org/p/lee-hsien-loong-ong-ye-kun-allow-unvaccinated-people-to-enter-malls-in-singapore
Allow unvaccinated people to enter malls in Singapore! content media
4
6
751