Friday, September 30, 2011

Naptime at this nursery

Source Website:
The Telegraph, 27 September 2011

PHOTO: Nap time at a nursery at the research base of the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu
Picture: AFP/Getty Images, Pictures of the day: 27 September 2011

A group of giant panda cubs nap at a nursery at the research base of the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province.

China has launched its once-a-decade panda census, trying to determine how many of the endangered animals live in the wild amid efforts to boost numbers.

The census - the fourth since it was first launched in the 1970s - is also expected to ascertain pandas' living conditions, ages and any change in habitat.

According to the count a decade ago, there were 1,596 pandas left in the wild in China, with 1,206 of them living in Sichuan.
By The Telegraph, 27 September 2011

PHOTO: Nap Time
René Milot Images - children's Cute digital painting


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Strangers on a plane

Today on sunday, Sunday, September 25, 2011, Page 10, COLUMN
Source Website:
Phin Wong, features editor,, 04:46 AM Sep 25, 2011

PHOTO: Talk is tyranny when you're stuck next to a motormouth in the sky
Art by Yen Yok, Copyright © MediaCorp Press Ltd

Today on sunday, Sunday, September 25, 2011, Page 10, COLUMN

I could feel his shifty little eyes darting back and forth in my direction before the man in the seat next to me actually turned and spoke. It was not unlike a little ferret (a domesticated mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo) peeking out from behind a bush, too shy to say hello but accustomed enough to humans not to run away.

"Are you ... visiting Singapore?" he finally asked, rather shakily, clearing his throat between "you" and "visiting" as if "Singapore" were a suggestive word.

"No, I live there," I answered, fighting the urge to feed the little fella a handful of pellets from my pocket.

"Ah," he nodded vigorously before pausing long enough, I'm guessing, to recite his favourite Shakespearean soliloquy in his bald head. "That's nice."

PHOTO: 12-hour-long scintillating conversation 40,000ft up in the air

And so began our 12-hour-long scintillating conversation 40,000ft up in the air. ("I like noodles," he offered at one point. "Singapore has good noodles.") I was hoping for a sudden drop in altitude to lose consciousness.

No such luck. I was, however, treated to an enthralling story of how he got a discount on his hotel room - and so did his father-in-law on a trip to Atlanta. Twice.

Air travel is, for some curious creatures, a lovely way to make lifelong friends you'll never see again. They go from hellos on the tarmac to wives, husbands and lovers upon take-off, to haemorrhoids (Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus) somewhere over Tehran.

PHOTO: Strangers In the Plane

It's honourable, this demented determination to bare their flabby souls to perfect strangers without fear of judgment. Heart-warming, even, when you consider how it is a rare form of interpersonal communication across cultural divides in this faceless Facebook digital age. But mainly it's really annoying when all the other person wants to do is watch the 26 movies he missed because he was inhumanely chained to his office desk.

("Satay. Oh, I like satay, too.")

PHOTO: Giving the space to be free, and the time to be calm

I didn't always use to be the people-hating air-traveller I am today. In fact, I didn't at all mind shooting the breeze with my neighbour in the sky. Okay, that was a lie. I longed for conversation with someone new. I would cross my fingers and wish really hard that the person seated next to me would turn out to be a wonderful conversationalist, realise I'm the one thing that's been missing in life and suggest we run away together to start a new life selling potentially toxic seashell necklaces on some beach paradise - only for me to heartbreakingly decline because who would feed my cat?

But it never worked out. Ever.

("I love chicken rice. Can you make it?")

PHOTO: Stuck next to a woman who sweetly fell asleep with her head on his shoulder

One time I was stuck next to a woman who sweetly fell asleep with her head on my shoulder and dispensed a steady supply of drool onto my sweater at approximately two drops a minute. Another time a dude sobbed uncontrollably watching the riveting in-flight entertainment, causing the flight attendants to eye me suspiciously. Then there was the obliviously racist hag ("Your people are so hardworking!"). And that's only the tip of the Economy iceberg.

PHOTO: Watching the riveting in-flight entertainment

Over in Business Class, there was the clearly inebriated older white man who insisted on chatting my ear off about shopping centre real estate in New Zealand. The stewardesses were more than happy to ply the drunk with more champagne - while ignoring sober me because I clearly had to be just his low-grade Asian toy boy getting a free ride. While this is, technically, more a story about terrible service and discrimination, I consider that man to be the worst sort of seat companion - the type that causes one to be without champagne. I hope real estate in Auckland has gone down the toilet.

PHOTO: In clouds

Like Elizabeth Taylor towards the end, I have simply had too many bad relationships to believe the dream will ever work out. I now see mile-high conversation for what it really is: Compulsive talkers preying on an innocent captive audience. I'm getting married, I've watched the movie you're watching now and it's really awful, I quit smoking three months ago, I work out five times a week, I have four cats, two dogs and a pet pig named Ludwig. Monologues on a plane are a dream scenario for these narcissists because the only escape hatch leads to certain death via plummeting.

PHOTO: Like Elizabeth Taylor towards the end, I have simply had too many bad relationships to believe the dream will ever work out.

"I like those little dumplings you have in soups," the ferret next to me droned on. "I like soup."

As with any form of tyranny, there comes to a point where one just has to fight back. That time had come. I put my hand next to his on the armrest. I brushed my fingers against his. And then I smiled.

PHOTO: There comes to a point where one just has to fight back

Within minutes the ferret had his headphones on, watching Sylvester Stallone shoot the entire population of a tiny island nation with new-found interest.

Victory was mine.

PHOTO: “I thought it would be an insult to the men who are fighting, to think that a fictional character could come and change everything.”

I tapped him on the shoulder. "I've seen this movie," I smiled. "And it's really awful."
By Phin Wong, features editor,, 04:46 AM Sep 25, 2011

PHOTO: 首页 › 个性图库 › 经典油画 › 人物 › 威廉·阿道夫·布格罗 - Bouguereau, William-Adolphe, Psyche and Cupid.jpg


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Need inspiration? go out and seek it

Source Website: -

By Geoff Tan,

PHOTO: This stunning phenomena is known as the 'smile in the sky'.
Rare upside-down rainbow spotted in the UK, 17th September 2008

The writer is a senior vice-president of Singapore Press Holdings' marketing division.

The word "inspiration" is defined on as "the stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity".

For the late scientist Isaac Newton, this stimulation is a physical one - legend has it that he was sitting below a tree when a falling apple hit him on his head, and, in a stroke of brilliant insight, he suddenly came up with his theory of gravity.

PHOTO: Isaac Newton, researching scientist who made an important contribution to science

Sometimes, the most phenomenal successes arise from the most basic origins. At other times, they stem from stepping out of one's comfort zone into the new and unknown.

PHOTO: 天之虹 (tiān zhī hóng) - Rainbow days

Take the case of Apple founder Steve Jobs. He took the bold step of hiring people from outside the computing profession. He learnt calligraphy after dropping out from college, which had no practical use to him at that time; it later influenced the typographic features of the first Apple Macintosh.

He studied European cars and appliances for product ideas, and evaluated The Four Seasons hotel chain as he developed the customer-service model for Apple stores.


Ideas are never entirely new. Locking yourself away and staring into blank space is certainly not the way to be innovative. The right stimulus can usher our minds into elevated realms of thought and this provides insights that can enhance our lives in many ways.

Besides leading to commercial success, inspiration can also enthuse (to cause to become enthusiastic) us to be the best we can be.

lt was not until I joined a gym that I discovered the benefit of going to one. lt is not the state-of-the-art machines, the membership status that I could flaunt or the hot babes who strut (to display in order to impress others) their stuff there, but the fact that gym classes inspire me to physically achieve so much more, to push myself past my limits.

PHOTO: Nothing is Impossible

Recently, my sister told me that her musically talented son, Jonas, wanted to take a year off university to live on his own and work.

Apparently, he feels so sheltered and comfortable living at home - there are no new experiences in his life to provide inspiration - that his songwriting had stagnated to a plateau.

I told her I could understand that as some of the best songs out there tackle real-life issues that the songwriters faced personally.

PHOTO: Go ahead, seek out your inspirations and you are on your way to create your perfect home...
Photo by Edyta Czajkowska
Posted by EDYTA and CO. INTERIOR DESIGN at 9:12 PM

So, if there is a business you are thinking of setting up, a sport you are interested to take up, a lifestyle change you want to embark on, a diet you are determined to try out - all these will turn out better if you seek inspiration to hinge your pursuits on.

PHOTO: Romantic Night !!!

Believe me - it makes the journey so much more exciting!
By Geoff Tan,
The writer is a senior vice-president of Singapore Press Holdings' marketing division.

PHOTO: New Beginning All we have to do is be willing to work hard and to shine our light in a very dark world.
Posted at 06:23 AM in Picture of the Week

我的字典: Wǒ de zì diǎn

Insight: 领悟 - lǐng wù
Typographic: 印刷的 - yìn shuā de
Flaunt: 炫耀 - xuàn yào
Stagnated: 停滞 - tíng zhì

PHOTO: Romantic Night !!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Early risers get ahead of the game

Today, Tuesday ,September 20, 2011, Page 8, Health
Source Website:
The DailyTelegraph, 04:45 AM Sep 20, 2011

PHOTO: People who get up early in the morning are slimmer, happier and healthier than those who lie in, say researchers
GETTY IMAGES, Copyright © MediaCorp Press Ltd

Those who fight the urge to ignore the alarm clock complete morning chores faster, pack their children off to school earlier and thrive in the workplace, researchers concluded.

But people who can't resist a lie in have a higher chance of feeling depressed or stressed and becoming overweight.

Researchers questioned 1,068 adults about their levels of happiness and anxiety, their physical health and their eating and sleeping habits in an online survey.

PHOTO: A Sunrise

They found that "morning people" were out of bed by 6.58am on average, while "evening people" waited until 8.54am to start their day.

During weekends, both groups enjoyed about an extra hour under the covers, with early risers waiting until 7.47am to get up and night owls lying in until 10.09am.

Dr Joerg Huber of Roehampton University said: "There are morning people and evening people, and morning people tend to be healthier and happier as well as having lower body mass indices."

PHOTO: Early risers do better in life could be due to the fact the chores are getting out of the way

The reason early risers do better in life could be down to the fact that getting the chores out of the way and the children out of bed in good time helps people fit in better with hectic modern life, he told a British Psychological Society conference.

"Maybe morning types are just better suited to this industrial world we are in than late risers", he said.

The differences between the two groups are small and there can be certain advantages to being an evening person, for example in jobs that require you to work late, he added.

PHOTO: A serious night owl - Plan to your strengths, accepting your weaknesses Being A successful Night Owl, the antithesis of how to be an early riser

The survey also found that people who watch a lot of television are more likely to skip breakfast.

This could be because they snack more while spending their evening on the sofa and are less hungry in the morning as a result, Dr Huber said.
By The DailyTelegraph, 04:45 AM Sep 20, 2011

PHOTO: Good morning starts with a cuppa good coffee

PHOTO: Start your world, naturally


Sunday, September 18, 2011

I like you too much as a friend

Today on Sunday, Sunday, September 18, 2011, Page 9, Speakeasy
Source Website:
By Georgina Chang, 09:01 AM Sep 18, 2011

PHOTO: Fallen in love at first sight

PHOTO: Georgina Chang
Georgina Chang is the senior creative director for Lush and 987FM, and the co-host for Lush Mornings on Thursdays 7-10am.

I have ... several times.

Yes, I realise now that it's actually lust and not love but I do know within the first 30 seconds if I'm attracted or not. Then I choose if I want to get to know him on a "potential" life-partner basis or on a purely platonic-forever (Speculative or theoretical) basis. It's usually one or the other. Uncomplicated.

So I could never fathom it when people relate stories of how they weren't interested in each other at all when they first met but became best friends and then fell in love.

According to a survey by 49 per cent of singles were not attracted to the person but, after they became best friends, they hooked up.

PHOTO: For those who fell in love at first sight it was like meeting someone’s eyes and telling yourself he or she is the person meant for you.

If you were not physically attracted in the beginning, how do you suddenly change your mind and want to get sexually intimate? I understand that, for most women, foreplay begins in the mind. So she could eventually be drawn to his stability, humour or generosity.

What about guys though? They are generally visual creatures. If you didn't find her hot at first, how did you later decide you want to ravish her? And since I think a lot like a guy, I can't quite make that mental leap either.

PHOTO: If you didn't find her hot at first, how did you later decide you want to ravish her?
Picture of Meet Joe Black

I also wonder if it's awkward to recalibrate your demeanour (the way a person behaves towards others; conduct) to each other. Don't you feel the urge to giggle if you start feeling up your best friend's bits?

Also, one day you're confiding about that strange wound that never heals (stuff you only tell best friends about) and the next, you're making out furiously? How do you block out unsavoury thoughts about that noxious wound?

PHOTO: Do we choose our mates by smell?

Like that wound, it's all about the deep dark secret(s) you've shared as best friends. I would tell my nearest and dearest friends my worst thoughts and things I've done. Yes, they chastise or counsel me but they don't have to live with that day and night.

As a couple, you do have to put up with it. So how does one ignore those flaws and embarrassing personal skeletons? Likewise, you can fart, burp, pick your nose and not wash your hair for days in front of your best buddy with little fear of reprisal.

PHOTO: Known as "autumn sakura," for the Japanese, it was love at first sight.

But when it's romantic, surely there has to be a period of time where you're on your best behaviour? How do you suddenly stop these basal (basic) human tendencies, only to start again when you're supposedly comfortable with each other?

Then what if you realise that you love hanging out but it's just not so fun under the sheets? How does one revert to being platonic friends when you've seen each other naked? It sounds far too complicated to me.

I agree that it's wonderful to marry your best friend. I just prefer to develop that bond of trust and intimacy during the courtship and not before when there wasn't any initial attraction.

PHOTO: Heartsong Connection
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes." Psalm 118:8-9

I do like the uncertainty, discovery and sexual tension of the wooing period. With the best friend that you've been hanging out with in an old T-shirt, torn bermudas and slippers, you can't suddenly insist that he put on a pressed shirt and take you to a place where they use real cutlery instead of disposable ones.

It's so delicious to slowly get to know the person you feel attraction for and such joy to realise he has qualities you respect and admire. It's great to be able to spend quality time together as you build your friendship and physical compatibility.

PHOTO: Sheep Love at First Sight

Now this is where my greatest worry lies: If the relationship doesn't work out, you'll quite likely lose the friendship forever too. Even if you remain on friendly terms, both your future partners won't be enthusiastic about you continuing as best friends.

Then there's the tussle for the mutual friends before the relationship started. Who will they invite to their birthday parties without making things awkward for the other? It's so harrowing.

PHOTO: Love-at-first-sight

I'd love to have a life partner, someone to hold my hand and tell me that everything will be okay. But it's more important for me to have the people I love and trust to be in my life forever. I'm not willing to jeopardise a great friendship for a physical romantic interlude that may not pan out.

I have several male friends that I've known for years and I love dearly, and they love me for the extroverted, vivacious and outspoken woman that I am. They are attractive men, but we've never crossed that line and I believe that's why we're still such dear friends now, and I know that they are my friends forever.

I don't want to risk what it is now, for what it could be.

By Georgina Chang, 09:01 AM Sep 18, 2011
Georgina Chang is the senior creative director for Lush and 987FM, and the co-host for Lush Mornings on Thursdays 7-10am.

PHOTO: The concept of love at first sight’ is thought to have originated in the classical world, where it meant an intense, passionate love delivered by the mythological character Cupid and his arrows when a person beheld the object of their affections for the first time. The Greeks described it as ‘madness from the gods’, and also came up with the idea of ‘love sickness’, a feeling of overwhelming longing and desire, arising when one of Cupid’s arrows pierces the heart.