Articles on this Page
- 09/24/17--21:41: _Photos: NSF who die...
- 09/24/17--21:44: _Chinese embassy in ...
- 09/24/17--23:59: _Plastic bags: To pa...
- 09/25/17--00:35: _Singaporean worker ...
- 09/25/17--01:32: _Longer immigration ...
- 09/25/17--05:14: _Elderly woman falls...
- 09/25/17--17:21: _Smoky 'chemical' sm...
- 09/25/17--18:37: _ONE Championship CE...
- 09/25/17--18:41: _ISIS posts video of...
- 09/25/17--19:44: _Look what's lurking...
- 09/25/17--21:37: _Singaporean doctor ...
- 09/25/17--23:10: _How to dispose tras...
- 09/26/17--01:26: _Man jailed 7 years ...
- 09/26/17--03:03: _Doctor fined $30,00...
- 09/26/17--17:44: _Smoking ban expande...
- 09/26/17--17:51: _Elderly widow found...
- 09/26/17--18:05: _Amos Yee freed afte...
- 09/26/17--18:47: _Singapore has world...
- 09/26/17--18:54: _Uber driver who got...
- 09/26/17--20:39: _Over $700,000 worth...
- 09/24/17--21:41: Photos: NSF who died in Australia gets military funeral
- 09/25/17--00:35: Singaporean worker dies in Kranji Loop workplace incident
- 09/25/17--17:21: Smoky 'chemical' smell detected in various parts of Singapore
- 09/25/17--19:44: Look what's lurking in toilet bowl at Upper Thomson office
- 09/26/17--17:51: Elderly widow found injured in Bedok church
- 09/26/17--18:47: Singapore has world's 3rd most competitive economy
It's fairly normal for friends and family to welcome visitors from abroad at the arrival terminal in airports.
Imagine being greeted by embassy officials instead - with pamphlets on how to behave, no less.
That's what happened to Chinese tourists arriving at Singapore's Changi Airport on Friday afternoon, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Embassy staff reportedly waited at Terminal 3 to hand out flyers listing do's and don'ts.
Said the SCMP report, some of these tips include a reminder to pay tips in cash and not via mobile payment, which is commonplace in China.
Another piece of sound advice from the embassy is that airline goods such as blankets must not be removed from the plane.
The flyer also reminds Chinese visitors to refrain from taking durian with them when using public transportation because of the fruit's pungent smell.
The embassy also made sure to caution its citizens against jaywalking, whistling during a show at the theatre as well as cutting in line when standing in queue.
Chinese tourists make up the second-largest source of visitors in Singapore last year, following closely behind Indonesian tourists, according to estimates by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
However, Chinese tourists came out tops in terms of expenditure. They were the biggest spenders for the second consecutive year in 2016 with a 36 per cent increase in visitor arrivals.
The measures taken by the Chinese embassy mirrors that of Thai authorities when they released an etiquette manual for Chinese tourists back in 2015.
Meant for visitors travelling to Thailand for Chinese New Year, the manual touched on topics such as museum etiquette, proper driving behaviour, and warned them against using "public property as lavatory facilities", The Telegraph reported.
This isn't the first time that the Chinese authorities have taken it upon themselves to guide their own citizens on how to avoid being terrible tourists while abroad.
In 2013, the Chinese government published a 64-page guidebook teaching travellers how to maintain decorum when overseas.
Plastic bags have been a bane for many an environmentalist, and there's no denying the issues we face with them floating around. But there's also no denying their usefulness in many industries.
Over the years, many countries have been trying to reduce the need for plastics especially in supermarket usage, and Singapore is no exception.
Just this weekend, it was reported that four main supermarket chains - FairPrice, Dairy Farm Group (whose supermarkets include Cold Storage and Giant), Prime Supermarket and Sheng Siong - are in talks to roll out an industry-wide surcharge on plastic bags.
In June last year, environmental group Zero Waste Singapore proposed that the Government and local businesses introduce a levy as a disincentive to shoppers to use them.
Singapore reportedly used 2.5 billion bags each year, which generated 824,600 tonnes of plastic waste in 2015. But only 7 per cent of it was recycled.
If a possible charge of 10 or 20 cents for a plastic bag sits uncomfortable with some of us, perhaps we should look at what other countries have done to phase plastic bags out or reduce its usage dramatically.
It became the first country in the world to ban the thinner plastic bag in 2002.
Severe flooding from 1988 to 1998 that submerged two-thirds of the country was traced to littered plastic bags clogging drains.
The country banned the production of the thin plastic bags in 2002 to prevent plastic bags from clogging drainage systems and prevent cows from ingesting the bags, confusing it for food. However, enforcement remains an issue.
The government banned all polythene bags of less than 50 microns in March 2016. But poor implementation has pushed the buck to regional authorities to enforce the ban.
The country imposed a total ban in June 2008, prohibiting shops, supermarkets, and other sales outlets from providing free plastic bags that are less than 0.025 millimeters thick.
The authorities have had enough of rampant littering of plastic bags which were also commonly found in waterways and on beaches, and dumped illegally all over China.
Consumers, especially those in cities, are now used to bringing along their own shopping bags and reusing plastic bags. And there has been no negative impact on the sales at supermarkets.
3. HONG KONG
The Special Administrative Region of China forbids retailers from giving plastic bags under a certain thickness and for free.
After a HK50 cents (S$0.10) plastic bag levy was implemented in April 2015, its use reportedly plunged 90 per cent. There are signs showing Hong Kong is phasing out the use of plastic bags at a dramatic rate.
In 2002, Taiwan (above) started restricting their distribution in private schools, government organisations, department stores, retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and fastfood restaurants. This helped them cut back on 20 million bags each year.
And from Jan 1, 2018, beverage shops, bookstores, pharmacies, and other types of business will no longer hand out plastic bags with every purchase. Yes, no more plastic bag for your cup of bubble tea when in Taiwan.
Ireland introduced a €0.15 (S$0.25) tax in 2002. Levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90 per cent of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007.
The revenue goes to a government-managed environment fund.
England was the last region in the United Kingdom to start charging 5 pence (S$0.10) for every plastic bag given out at supermarkets and large stores from October 2015.
The move is expected to save 7.6 billion bags given to shoppers at major supermarkets every year. Retailers are expected to use the money raised from the charge on meaningful causes. Activists have called for the law to include all retailers and all types of bags.
This might come as a surprise to many. Widespread bans and plastic bag charges are imposed across Africa, where many of the countries are much poorer than Western and Asian countries.
South Africa, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda Botswana, Kenya and Ethiopia all have total bans in place.
8. UNITED STATES
As of July 2014, 20 states and 132 cities had either bans in place or pending. Which means some 20 million US citizens are now living in an area where plastic bags are banned.
The country alone uses 12 million barrels of oil every year to meet plastic bag demand. Every year, one hundred billion plastic bags are discarded in America.
Retired scientist Glory Jasper is glad that recycling seems to be an in-thing especially with the young in America even though supermarkets in New York and New Jersey are still giving out free plastic bags.
Recalling an embarrassing incident: "Many people brought their own bags with them. But one day, I forgot to bring my cloth bags when I went to shop at Adam Farms in Kingston, New York. So I said "plastic". The cashier who was a young man put all of my stuff into one bag and he was glaring at me all the time. So I think there's pressure from the younger set to conserve on plastic."
More aboutENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
A Singaporean worker died after he was injured while carrying out cable works at an SP Group worksite at Kranji Loop on Sunday (Sep 24).
Stomp contributor Lynnda shared photos and videos from the scene of the incident with Stomp.
According to Lynnda, the man was licenced jointer Mr John Asogan.
"He was electrocuted to death when he was doing termination work at Kranji/Sungei Kadut area," she said.
In response to Stomp's queries, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that they were alerted to the incident at around 11.30am and dispatched an ambulance and a fire bike to the scene.
A worker in his 50s was then taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital which was on standby to receive him.
Stomp understands that he later died in the hospital.
SP Group issued a media statement on Sunday night saying the man was injured while carrying out cable jointing at the worksite.
"We are saddened that the worker died and extend our deepest condolences to his family," SP Group said.
"The Singaporean worker was a sub-contractor of James Contractor - the construction company SP Group appointed to carry out cable works there. We are working closely with James Contractor to assist the family of the worker."
SP Group has halted work at the site and is investigating the cause of the incident.
Heads up if you are amongst those who regularly drive across the border to visit Malaysia - you might soon experience a longer wait time at checkpoints.
Soon, all car travellers aged six and above will need to step out of their vehicles to scan both thumbprints as they go through immigration clearance at car counters.
This will be implemented via the new BioScreen system for everyone who arrive and depart through both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a press statement on Monday (Sept 25).
The system was launched in April 2016 and is used to capture thumbprints of visitors at Singapore's checkpoints.
It has since been rolled out to various clearance zones at land checkpoints such as for train and bus travellers as well as lorries and goods vehicles, ICA said.
ICA said it will implement BioScreen at car counters progressively to allow travellers time to familiarise themselves with the new procedure.
"The BioScreen system is an important measure in this regard, as it enables ICA's verification of travellers' identities to be more robust," ICA added.
While travellers can expect to experience slightly longer immigration clearance time, ICA said it will be monitoring the expansion of the BioScreen system trial and adjust their processes accordingly.
More aboutICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority)
Industry experts and more seasoned fight promoters in Singapore have weighed in on bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian's death at the Asia Fighting Championship (AFC) on Sep 23.
The 32-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest respiratory failure episode after his fight with online personality Steven Lim, 41, and was pronounced dead at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on the same night.
Subramanian's wake was held at Block 807, Woodlands Street 81 on Sunday (Sept 24), which Stomp attended, and police are investigating the unnatural death.
The tragic incident has raised questions about how the Muay Thai event was run and if proper safety guidelines had been followed.
AFC founder and chief executive officer Sasidharan Unnithan, 38, said the event followed standards and safety protocols set by sanctioning body World Muaythai Council (WMC).
Unnithan is Subramanian's long-time friend and his former colleague at gym chain California Fitness, reported The Straits Times.
The former gym general manager also said a medical team certified the fighters fit, according to guidelines laid out by the WMC, and that Subramanian underwent a health check before the event.
When asked about how much training Subramanian had, given that he was brought in as a replacement for local singer Sylvester Sim a day before the event, Unnithan told ST that "they had both taught kickboxing classes while working together at California Fitness".
However, more experienced fight promoters have expressed reservations about how the AFC was run, with some calling it a "highly irresponsible and reckless" event.
ONE Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong told ST: "In my opinion, there was a serious breach (of safety protocols).
"How could you put two untrained civilians with no background in martial arts and have them compete in a professional bout with no protective gear?
"They wanted entertainment at the expense of a human life. It's ludicrous, if you compare it to the standards and best practices of global sports properties. It's just so tragic and easily could've been avoided."
Questioning if sufficient medical screening and preparation had been conducted before both Subramanian and Lim were cleared to enter the ring, Sityodtong added: "Just because you're a bodybuilder and you have big muscles doesn't mean you can fight.
"It takes years of training to hone your technique. Untrained civilians don't know how to protect themselves - which is the first rule of martial arts."
An Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recruitment video featuring a Singaporean fighter in Syria, who now goes by the name of Abu Uqayl, has surfaced on social media.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)'s Internal Security Department (ISD) identified the man as Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad who left Singapore in 2014 to work in the Middle East.
It is believed that the 39-year-old was radicalised there and subsequently made his way to Syria to join ISIS' ranks.
"He is believed to still be with ISIS in Syria," said MHA in a press release.
Released by Al Hayat Media Centre, ISIS' media wing, the video shows a fighter dressed in desert fatigues and identified as "Abu Uqayl from Singapore".
In the 3.5 minute clip, Abu Uqay and two other fighters load artillery rounds onto a truck in what is believed to be ISIS-held territory in the Middle East.
Abu Uqay can also be seen firing off a round on a truck-mounted artillery gun, with a caption that said "power is shooting".
Speaking to the camera in English with a Southeast Asian accent, Abu Uqayl praised fighters in "East Asia" and called on them to "sacrifice all that is precious".
He then urged extremists elsewhere to join the East Asian fighters or to travel to the Middle East to fight with ISIS fighters there, reported The Straits Times.
In addition, Abu Uqay addressed Britain's Prince Harry, who had visited Singapore earlier in June to promote social causes.
He said: "To Harry, you come to Singapore and tell such stories to gain sympathy for the London terror attacks? Why don't you come here and fight us if you are man enough? So we can send you and your Apaches to hell fire."
The MHA said security agencies have been monitoring Abu Uqay's activities.
It urged anyone who is in contact with him or knows of anyone in touch with him to report it to the authorities and added: "The Government takes a very serious view of anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or make preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how they rationalise such violence, or where the violence takes place."
In response to the "propaganda video", Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post yesterday (Sep 24) that the "ISD has been aware of Abu Uqay's activities and has talked about him to community leaders".
"We have to think of ways of dealing with radicalisation of Singaporeans, that could take place outside Singapore, particularly in countries where the possibilities of radicalisation are higher," he added.
Beware if you are going to sit on this office toilet bowl -- something wet and slimy might slither up your bum. Yikes!
Facebook user Lim Sze Hui posted a video showing a snake lurking in the toilet bowl at her father's office, which she said is located in the Upper Thomson area.
"Danger noodle invades my dad's office toilet," she wrote in the Sep 20 post.
The video shows a snake poking its head out in the toilet bowl and flicking its tongue out repeatedly, before hiding itself away again.
According to online reports, snakes actually stick their tongues out to inspect their surroundings by "tasting the air" and the action is not as threatening as it looks.
It looks like Singaporeans still want their supermarket plastic bags for free - and for a good reason.
Here in Singapore, plastic bags are mostly reused to contain the daily garbage that's discarded down high-rise rubbish chutes and some people also reuse them to carry items.
Some 30-odd Facebook users who responded to AsiaOne's article on whether major supermarkets here should follow the example of some countries to charge shoppers for the use of a bag, felt they should be given away free since many people are reusing them to dispose trash.
Facebook user Harry Yip said: "My family uses those thin plastic bags from the supermarkets as garbage bags for food waste, packaging waste, vaccum bag and sweeping floor waste, etc. One can only go to any bin centre and see that these bags are extensively used as garbage bags."
Another user, Ah Hong, is against a ban on supermarket plastic bags as the rubbish chute will be "dirtier and smelly" if people just discard rubbish without sealing them in a bag first. Those living on lower floors will suffer if this happens, he added.
Also against a ban or levy, Esther Lee said: "No doubt there are lots of plastic waste but what is the percentage contributed from supermarket plastic bags? The amount of trash may likely come from industrial waste, buildings being pulled down, food courts and hawker centres using plastic disposables. Singapore should lead by example and not always a blind follower."
We must examine our whole waste management system, and make better change. Plastic bags have been recycled in Singapore as part of our waste management so please don't make the change for the sake of changing.- Facebook user KM Chia
KM Chia agreed: "We must examine our whole waste management system, and make better change. Plastic bags have been recycled in Singapore as part of our waste management so please don't make the change for the sake of changing."
For another user, Eng Seng Lim, the problem lies in the rubbish chute system that is being used in HDB flats and apartments across Singapore.
In a comment on AsiaOne's Facebook page, he attributed the unavoidable use of bags on the rubbish chute system and the distant location of the bin centre. He added that the authorities should come up with a better way to transfer waste from a residential unit to a common bin centre more effectively.
Two Facebook users think the charging of supermarket bags will drive more people to shop online.
Another two feel that supermarkets should restrict the use of thinner plastic bags used for containing vegetables, fruits and meats instead as they are usually discarded and not recycled after use.
One user highlighted a method to dispose of compost waste in Singapore, which is currently being used in some Western countries - to install a waste food disposer at all kitchen sinks in HDB flats.
Such disposers are used to grind kitchen food waste into tiny particles so that it can be flushed down the water waste system together with the rest of the sewage.
While most highlighted the lack of feasible waste disposal methods in Singapore, some supported extreme measures of a ban and a charge on bags to make people cultivate environment friendly habits.
Said Tong Bn: "I can bring my bags."
A 67-year-old man went ballistic when he caught his neighbour's cat mating with one of his pet felines at his doorstep.
He took a carving knife and slashed the male Russian Blue cat. The attack was so severe that the intestines of the animal spilled out and it died the next day.
For his cruel act and charges of criminal intimidation and keeping stolen property, 67-year-old Tan Pwee Sin was sentenced to seven years preventive detention in court today (Sept 26).
Preventive detention is for repeat criminal offenders like Tan who has a record of committing violent crimes.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) swung into action when it was alerted to the case of animal cruelty at Spooner Road on Jan 30 this year. Its investigation pointed to Tan as the suspect.
Tan subsequently admitted to harming the cat with his knife, said AVA in a statement today (Sept 26).
He had pleaded guilty in court on Aug 29.
The court heard that Tan and his neighbour Muhammad Bakhtiyar Jaffar were not on friendly terms since last year after Tan fed one of Muhammad's pet cats with food that he didn't think was suitable.
Muhammad felt that his male Russian Blue cat named Vamp was supposed to consume nutritious "high quality cat food" only.
On Nov 2 last year, Tan bought a chef's carving knife with a 36cm blade and placed it by his main door "in case (Bakhtiyar) came to his flat".
A few months later, Tan caught Vamp mating with one of his cats one night and chased him away. But Vamp returned at around midnight to resume the mating session outside Tan's home.
The court heard that he flew into a rage, reached for his knife and sliced Vamp in the abdomen.
GENEVA - Switzerland is the world's most competitive economy for a ninth straight year, the Geneva-based World Economic Forum said on Wednesday.
Since suffering a rare blip in 2008, when it was nudged into second place by the United States, the Swiss economy has maintained an efficient but unshakeable grip on the top spot in the WEF annual ranking.
WEF economist Thierry Geiger said Switzerland had a virtuous circle of infrastructure, institutions and education, but at the heart of its success was the way it created and used talent.
"That is really the secret of Switzerland, this ability to innovate, supported by a whole range of enabling factors," he said.
However, after almost a decade at the top, Switzerland is at risk from complacency and populism.
The ageing population could undermine the innovation miracle by shutting the door to foreign talent in one of the referendums that make Swiss law, he said.
"We see a proliferation of such referendums on everything, some of them are kind of dangerous, they could really endanger and jeopardise Switzerland's prosperity," Geiger said.
The World Economic Forum, the same organisation that runs the Davos meeting of global powerbrokers each January, bases its rankings on a dozen drivers of competitiveness and a survey of business leaders.
"Global competitiveness will be more and more defined by the innovative capacity of a country," Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman, said in a statement.
Besides Switzerland, the top 10 remained the same as a year ago, although there was some shuffling of the order.
The United States climbed over Singapore into second place, and Hong Kong jumped three places to sixth, leapfrogging Japan in ninth spot Britain slipped one place to eighth.
It has not yet dropped in the rankings because of its Brexit negotiations with the European Union but it is expected to do so, the WEF said.
China inched up one place to 27th, well ahead of 38th-ranked Russia and India, which was in 40th position.
The wooden spoon went to Yemen, a poor country further devastated by civil war, economic collapse, cholera and near-famine conditions, which was in 137th place.
[Update Sept 27] Uber has confirmed that the driver who was recorded on video getting questioned by a passenger after losing his way is a permanent resident (PR) of Singapore who has been here for over 15 years.
He holds a Private Hire Car Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL), which allows him to drive on Uber's ridesharing platforms.
According to the Land Transport Authority, Singapore permanent residents and foreign work pass holders need to be employees driving for a company or business proving chauffeured services.
Said a spokesman for Uber in response to a Stomp query over the video:
"We would like to confirm that the driver in the video is driving on the Uber network and is a permanent resident in Singapore.
"The driver-partner is a PR in Singapore for the last 15 years. He is integrated into our culture and society with his family and his kids attend local schools."
"Uber believes that everyone should have the opportunity to earn and drive on the network. According to PDVL regulations, all private-hire vehicle drivers who are Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreign Work Pass holders are able to drive as long as they are employees of a company or business providing chauffeured services.
"Uber takes such incidents seriously and we will take the necessary action, including deactivating a rider's or driver-partner's account should this incident be found to contravene our community guidelines.
"We would like to reiterate that Uber does not discriminate in facilitating flexible earning opportunities. Uber also reaffirms Singapore's multicultural society."
A driver who had apparently just arrived in Singapore for a day was recorded on camera getting lost on the road while ferrying a passenger.
Stomp contributor Hadi alerted Stomp to the video of what happened that has been circulating online.
In the video, the passenger questioned the driver about his navigational skills as well as his country of origin. In their conversation, the passenger can be heard saying that the motorist is an Uber driver.
Here is their exchange:
Passenger: "Show me your PR (possibly referring to documents pertaining to permanent residence)."
Driver: "I don't need to show you."
Passenger: "You just came in to Singapore for a week?"
Driver: "At this age, I am 60 years (old). Look at me carefully, 60-year-old man."
Passenger: "You from Africa right?"
Driver: "Doesn't matter."
Passenger: "You come here for how long, one week or two weeks?"
Driver: "People come here from China, from India, from Malaysia, from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, everybody can come here."
Passenger: "Go Changi Airport direction, you go to Tuas direction."
Driver: "Doesn't matter."
Passenger: "How to use GPS?"
Driver: "This is driving, Singapore road is difficult, can make mistakes."
Passenger: "Difficult why (did) you come Singapore to drive Uber?"
Driver: "I didn't come here to drive Uber. I set up two companies here. I am already retired."
Passenger: "Now you going where? You know where you are going now? Now you go back to Bukit Batok? You need to go by Changi direction, you go (in the) wrong direction again, just now never make U-turn. You already wrong few times, come on. You keep going the wrong direction you say you come Singapore for so long. You just come for two days only I think."
Driver: "Ok, I am here yesterday."
Passenger: "You come yesterday? Ok good."
The video then ends after that.
According to Uber's website, drivers who wish to apply with the ride-hailing company must be a Singaporean or permanent resident, and must have a minimum of two years of driving experience.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA), with the help of the police, seized over $700,000 worth of illegal sexual enhancement drugs from a private residence in Geylang last Friday (Sept 22).
About 300,000 units of the drugs were undercovered in the apartment, making it the largest seizure in five years, HSA said in a media release on Wednesday (Sept 27).
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had alerted HSA to a parcel which was believed to contain a large assortment of illegal health products.
HSA subsequently arrested the parcel's intended recipient - a 26-year-old Chinese man - outside a private apartment at Lorong 32 Geylang.
He led HSA officers to his rented room where another man and more illegal health products were found.
Both men are now assisting with investigations on the importation of illegal health products.
If found guilty of importing or supplying illegal health products, a person may face a jail term of up to three years, and a fine of up to $100,000.
HSA reminded members of the public that it is dangerous to purchase health products from dubious sources such as street peddlers. These items may contain illegal, counterfeit, or undeclared ingredients that may cause serious health problems when consumed.
To report any illegal activity involving sexual enhancement products, call HSA's enforcement branch at 6866 3485 or email email@example.com.