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    The hair styling world suffered a loss when celebrity hairstylist Shunji Matsuo died on Monday from pancreatic cancer.

    As we mourn the passing of the legendary hairdresser, let's take a look at some of the best hairstylists in the business and how they got their start.

    It is truly impressive how these hairstylists made a name for themselves and developed their own celebrity following.

    If there is one thing we learnt, it would be never to underestimate the importance of hard work.


    Celebrity hairstylist Shunji Matsuo, 67, dies of pancreatic cancer

    Mr Matsuo was more than just a hairdresser. The philanthropist will always be remembered for his signature Makeover Magic Shows, an annual event he held since 2013 in Singapore and Japan, where he gave makeovers to older women and women who have gone through the ordeal of cancer.

    The late Mr Matsuo was trained in hairdressing in Japan. In 1996, the celebrity hair stylist established an eponymous salon in Singapore.

    Mr Matsuo passed away in his hometown of Kobe after battling with pancreatic cancer at the age of 67. There are currently 10 Shunji Matsuo salons in total including an outlet in Ion Orchard, Ngee Ann City and 313@ Somerset.


    This hairstyling icon needs no introduction. He has dressed the tresses of local celebrities like Zoe Tay and Fann Wong and Hollywood superstars like Zhang Ziyi. This Malaysian-born hair maestro started from humble beginnings.

    In 1982, Gan set up his first salon, Passion, in Lucky Plaza. He was soon able to build up a clientele base. Within two years, the candid hairstylist was able to expand his salon, occupying a larger floor space in Lucky Plaza.

    In 2001, Passion moved to its current location at Palais Renaissance. Aside from his larger than life personality, he is also known for his distinct fashion sense. He boasts more than 30,000 followers on Instagram.


    Photo: Facebook/Kim Robinson

    If you want to get your hair cut by Kim Robinson, you should be prepared to fork out no less than $2,000. Celebrity hairstylist Kim Robinson reopened his budget-brand salon, kr+ in Singapore last year after a six-year hiatus.

    The salon that was open from 2006 to 2009 at Millenia Walk pulled down its shutters during the financial crisis.

    When he is not busy coiffing the curls of the rich and famous in Asia, he devotes himself to grooming top hairstyling students from the Institute of Technical Education in Singapore for the workplace.


    Photo: Facebook/Addy Lee

    Addy Lee is a firm believer of taking chances in life. He left his hometown in Penang at the age of 19 to pursue his dream of being a hairdresser.

    For the next three years, Addy acquired experience and hair styling expertise from working in various hair styling establishments.

    His hard work certainly paid off. Today, he is the proud owner of the salon chain, Monsoon Group.


    Photo: Facebook/Jeric See

    Jeric See is the founder of Red Salon. Always ahead of his time, he was only 16 when he completed his studies at Vidal Sassoon in London.

    With encouragement from his parents, Jeric decided to start his own salon and as they say, the rest is history. The iconic hairdresser has come a long way.

    He learned the foundations of cutting hair from his aunt who was a hairdresser. In the mid-seventies, hairdressing was a primarily female dominated industry, it was unusual to see male hairdressers.

    Jeric revealed that it was so rare to see a male hairstylist back then that a crowd would form outside the salon just to watch him cut hair.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 17:13

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    The mother of four-year-old girl Eleanor Tan, who died after being bit by a car at Bukit Batok Central on Monday (Oct 9), had been preparing her daughter's favourite meal of steamed eggs during the accident.

    Eleanor was conveyed unconscious to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.

    A 37-year-old woman, understood to be the family's domestic helper, was also conveyed conscious to the hospital.

    Eleanor's mother, Ms Jacelyn Wong, 24, told Shin Min Daily News that she would normally pick up her daughter.

    However Eleanor told her that she wanted steamed eggs, and the domestic helper did not know how to prepare the dish, so Ms Wong stayed home to cook instead.

    Ms Wong said: "All mothers have a sixth sense.

    "The whole time while I was cooking, I felt disturbed.

    "When I received a call from the hospital, I thought initially that my daughter was just injured.

    "Only when my husband and I reached the hospital did we realise that she was gone.

    "I kept thinking to myself then that this wasn't real, and I must be dreaming."

    According to a passer-by, when the car collided with Eleanor and the domestic helper, the impact cracked the front windshield of the vehicle.

    Colourful wake with balloons, toys, for 4-year-old who died in Bukit Batok accident

    Both Eleanor and the maid were tossed into the air and hit the rear windscreen of the vehicle as they landed.

    Traces of blood were left behind at the scene after the accident.

    A witness to the accident, Low Ko Chim, 63, was sitting outside his shop at Block 644 Bukit Batok Central when he heard a crash.

    He rushed over to investigate and saw Eleanor and the maid lying on the road, a few metres apart.

    He said:

    "I went down to see if I could help because I know some first aid from when I was in the St John's Ambulance Brigade."

    Mr Low kept the domestic helper conscious by talking to her as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

    He told The Straits Times that people often jaywalked along the stretch of road where the accident happened.

    Another witness, Dr Stanley Peck, 48, was in his clinic attending to a patient when he was alerted to the incident.

    He rushed down to the scene with an emergency kit where he performed chest compressions on the unconscious Eleanor.

    Nurses from another clinic also attended to Eleanor with an oxygen mask and intravenous drip.

    According to Dr Peck, Eleanor did not have a pulse.

    Her head was also bleeding and there were bruises on her legs.

    In response to media queries, a police spokesman said that the police were alerted to the accident at 6.41pm which happened in the direction of Bukit Batok West Avenue 2.

    A 53-year-old driver was arrested for causing death by a rash act.

    Police investigations are ongoing.

    Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 08:37

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    Helicopter pilot Pete Gavitte peered through his night vision goggles late Sunday as he approached a fast-growing wildfire near the California wine country town of Napa and instantly knew there was trouble ahead.

    "We saw that it was actually really large, looked like a nuke had gone off or something," said Gavitte, an 18-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol.

    As sirens blared from his helicopter, residents were grabbing their belongings and jumping into their cars to head down Atlas Peak Road, the only way out of the rural community.

    But unbeknownst to those on the ground, flames would soon engulf the road, with downed trees and power poles blocking any exit. Over the next few days, the raging fires would kill at least 21 people and destroy 3,500 homes and businesses. Strong, dry winds are expected to fan new outbreaks in coming days.

    Gavitte, 49, and his first officer and paramedic Whitney Lowe soon landed near a vineyard to begin what would become an extraordinary seven-hour rescue operation, conducted through the night by two helicopters in winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour (113 km per hour).

    Lowe ran down a hill from the helicopter to begin corralling people, while Gavitte stayed at the helm. Those ultimately rescued ranged from a child to a 94-year-old woman that Lowe carried from car to helicopter, according to Lowe and Shaun Bouyea, a CHP air operations public information officer.

    Some of those saved had just left their homes, while others were working in the area's vineyards. Some were driving straight for the flames. Many at first resisted boarding the choppers and leaving everything behind, but were soon persuaded.

    Within hours, the area known as Atlas was in flames, with homes and vineyards incinerated. But 42 people, five dogs and a cat were saved in the aerial rescue.

    Bouyea said the helicopters made about 20 trips, which became slower and bumpier as conditions deteriorated. In one case, a husband parted with his son, wife and her parents when there was no room left on board, Lowe said. The helicopter saved the man on another trip.

    "I'd tell them, 'sit down, sit on the floor, it's going to be bumpy,'" Gavitte said.

    There was little talk otherwise.

    Gavitte had to throw the belongings of the wife off the aircraft despite her insistence, because space and safety would not allow it.

    "The conditions Sunday night were out of the ordinary," Gavitte said. "The gusts were pretty bad. That kind of tossed the helicopter around a lot."

    Atlas, an unincorporated area in Napa County, was among the most devastated. A 30-minute drive from the posh shops of the wine country capital, the area is rural, lacks cell phone service and houses many who are elderly.

    "I'm almost 70, and I was the youngster," said Ritchie Sumner, who used to live in the community. His sister's house burned down in the fire while she was safe in another town, he said.

    Even in the extreme conditions Sunday night, there were some Gavitte encountered who refused to be rescued. They said they had their own escape plans. Though it is possible the second helicopter evacuated them, Gavitte never learned their fate.

    On Monday, Gavitte finally headed home for sleep.

    "I woke up and took a Tylenol and had a bowl of comfort ice cream," he said. "It was pretty stressful."

    Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:02

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:23

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:53

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    Singapore - A baby white rhino has made his first foray into the spotlight, galloping into a public enclosure at Singapore Zoo after being given a name - Oban, which means "King" in the African Yoruba language.

    The calf had spent the first few weeks of his life bonding with his mother in private, but when he reached one-month old, zookeepers decided it was time to introduce Oban to the public enclosure, home to another six white rhinos.

    After moving in early Wednesday morning, the curious youngster frolicked around and chased birds as he got know his new surroundings.

    His mother Donsa, who is 32-years-old and has had 11 calves, kept a watchful eye.

    Initially, he will spend just two hours a day in the public eye before his time in the spotlight is gradually increased.

    Photo: AFP

    His name in the African language of Yoruba was chosen as a nod to the white rhino's roots.

    White rhinos used to be critically endangered, but conservation efforts have had some success and they are now classified as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

    South Africa is home to around 20,000 white rhinos, about 80 per cent of the worldwide population, but many have been lost to poaching in recent years.

    Its horn is highly prized in China and Vietnam for use in traditional medicine.

    Calves born in Singapore have been sent to zoos in Australia, Indonesia and Thailand as part of conservation efforts.

    Photo: AFP
    Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 17:41

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    Singapore's central bank kept its monetary policy unchanged on Friday, even as third-quarter economic growth exceeded market expectations, saying the economy could moderate next year as the global recovery enters a more mature phase.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would maintain the rate of appreciation of the Singapore dollar's policy band at zero per cent, adding that the width and the level at which it is centred will be unchanged.

    The trade-reliant economy grew 6.3 per cent in the third quarter from the previous three months on an annualised basis, data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed, much faster than the median forecast in a Reuters survey of 3.2 per cent.

    "MAS had indicated in the October 2016 (monetary policy statement) that the neutral policy stance would be appropriate for an extended period. Given the economic outlook at this stage and consistent with medium-term price stability, MAS will maintain the rate of appreciation of the (Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate) policy band at zero per cent," the central bank said in its semiannual monetary policy statement.

    The Singapore dollar slipped after the MAS policy decision, and was last down 0.1 per cent on the day at 1.3540 per US dollar.

    "This is a bit akin to the European Central Bank where growth has picked up but inflation hasn't picked up to the point where they need to pull the trigger on tightening policy. The other thing is the labour market still remains quite weak even though we have seen some improvement in the last few quarters," said Michael Wan, an economist for Credit Suisse.

    "They are giving themselves some space to tighten if needed as we move into 2018. There is no compelling reason to tighten."

    The MAS manages monetary policy through exchange rate settings, rather than interest rates, letting the Singapore dollar rise or fall against the currencies of its main trading partners within in an undisclosed policy band.

    Although Singapore's trade-reliant economy has gained this year from an improvement in global demand for electronics products and semiconductors, most economists had predicted the MAS would stand pat on Friday, given the lack of strong inflationary pressures.

    Twenty-four of 25 analysts in a Reuters survey predicted the MAS would keep monetary policy unchanged this month, while one analyst expected a tightening.

    Friday, October 13, 2017 - 09:56

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    Reddit AMAs, or "Ask Me Anything", are arguably one of the best parts of the Reddit experience.

    Acting like an interview between the community and famous personalities (Barack Obama, Elon Musk, etc) or the regular Redditor with a not-so regular job, AMAs are often treasure chests full of interesting questions and even more interesting answers.

    While /r/singapore has been relatively quiet on the AMA front, two threads that popped up recently have caught our attention. (There's also another excellent one started by a chef in a Chinese restaurant).

    Started by a cai png (economic rice) and fruits seller - both of whom are young and helping out in their family businesses, the threads helped to shed light on businesses that are, in spite of being extremely commonplace, are usually shrouded in mystery.


    Photo: Vulcan Post

    From questions we always wanted to know like "Do you scoop more (cai png dishes) for some customers?" and "Auntie got poke the fruits until you cannot sell or not", the threads were chockfull of insights.

    But apart from the ones covering various aspects of their daily operations, there were also some sobering questions about the competition these more traditional stores are facing from supermarkets and more 'hip' establishments.

    Photo: Vulcan Post

    To note, the cai png thread starter revealed that he's just helping out his parents to run the business.

    When asked if he would take over the business, he replied: "Nah, too much work. Cai Png is a life skill that you use when you're out of options."


    Reminding me of the many 'hawker-preneur' stories that we've covered, I found it refreshing that the younger, tech-savvy generation is using social media and the internet to not just promote their own stores, but to also give a voice to their usually not-so glamourous and publicised trades.

    While the more light-hearted questions induced some giggles, the parts (especially from the fruit seller thread) about them remaining competitive in an increasingly challenging landscape were rather poignant to read.

    Photo: Vulcan Post

    Personally, I'm a huge fan of these new generation hawkers and shop owners revamping more traditional businesses, and I do hope that with more attention and awareness via these channels, more Singaporeans would appreciate the hard work that these individuals are putting into these businesses.

    What other Reddit AMAs would you like to see? Let us know!

    Friday, October 13, 2017 - 10:48

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    localhawker food

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    I just wrote about the launch of GBikes a few weeks ago, and now another dockless bike-sharing service is slated to make its debut in Singapore by the end of this year.

    Backed by Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi, Baicycle will be the sixth operator here, following ofo, Mobike, oBike, SG Bike and GBikes.

    Similar to other shared bikes, users can locate, rent and unlock their Baicycles via a GPS-enabled smartphone app that helps riders navigate the city and locate nearby landmarks.

    Its name is a play on the bicycle's white colour, which means "bai" in Chinese.

    Baicycle’s classic and retro e-bicycle.
    Photo: Baicycle

    Baicycle is currently available in China and Japan, and will be brought to Singapore by Xiaobai Technology, a local firm founded by Terence Tan, who also runs Eco Biz International, a decade-old Singapore firm specialising in mobility devices.


    But will this launch prove to be a good move?

    After all, the bike-sharing market is already saturated enough as it is with at least 30,000 shared bicycles already in the market, so it might prove to be a challenge to gain a market share here.

    But Tan insisted that his business model is different from its competitors as Baicycle will offer shared electric bicycles and e-scooters, on top of regular bikes.

    "Because of the hot weather and ageing population, we want more products to serve customers," he told The Straits Times.

    Baicycle’s foldable e-scooter.Photo: Baicycle

    He added that he will roll out 2,000 traditional bicycles at launch.

    Next year, he targets to have a combined fleet of 10,000 e-bikes and e-scooters made available to riders - this number is subject to user demand.

    It is however not yet known how much the rental fees will cost, or how the e-bikes and e-scooters will be charged in between rentals.


    The firm currently already has 200 regular bicycles in Singapore, which it is using to test out its geo-fencing technology.

    This technology creates a virtual boundary that sends out an alert when a bike enters or leaves an area, and is meant to prevent indiscriminate parking.

    It was announced last week that the five other bike-sharing firms have signed an agreement with the authorities to use similar technology by the end of this year.

    Friday, October 13, 2017 - 11:00

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    Gleneagles Hospital will pay for the hospitalisation fees of a security guard who collapsed while on duty.

    The family of Thomas Lukose, 55, previously set up an appeal on crowdfunding site Give.Asia to help raise funds for the $78,000 hospitalisation bill incurred after the security guard suffered a heart attack on Sept 12 at Gleneagles Hospital.

    He was immediately warded in its emergency unit.

    His family had wanted to transfer him to the National Heart Centre Singapore the following day, as Mr Lukose's insurance only covered him for subsidised care.

    However, an immediate transfer was not possible as there was no spare bed in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the heart centre.

    Mr Lukose subsequently underwent an open-heart surgery, with three coronary artery bypass grafts at Gleneagles Hospital.

    Although the surgeon who operated on him, Dr Sriram Shankar, did not charge for the procedure, Mr Lukose was billed $78,000 by the hospital, of which $13,500 was covered by his work insurance.

    Mr Phua Tien Beng, acting chief executive officer (CEO) for the Singapore operations division of Parkway Pantai, which Gleneagles falls under, said in a letter addressed to The Straits Times that the hospital has decided to cover Mr Lukose's outstanding bills, after reviewing the case.

    Read the letter:

    "I want to thank everyone for their concern for Mr Thomas Lukose, one of our security guards at Gleneagles Hospital.

    "Thomas received timely and expert care from our doctors and staff when he suffered a heart attack at the hospital. We are very glad that he has made an excellent recovery and is now recuperating at home.

    "Ms Salma Khalik's commentary (Allow subsidised rates for patients who opt for but can't get such care; Oct 11) carried a suggestion that the hospital considers waiving the remainder of Thomas' hospital bills not covered by insurance and MediShield Life.

    "Having reviewed the case, we have decided that the hospital should cover his outstanding medical bills.

    "It is the right thing to do.

    "We regret the anxiety caused."

    The news was confirmed by relatives of Mr Lukose on the Give.Asia page.

    Said Mr Lukose's brother, Daniel in an update:

    "Dear donors, thank you so much for coming forward to help us, and we're really touched by your overwhelming generosity to help my brother Thomas.

    "We've just received a good news from Gleneagles Hospital CEO, Dr. Lee Shen Ming, that, they will be covering the medical bills for my brother Thomas, and we need not raised funds for his medical fees anymore.

    "For all the donations received, we'll be donating to the next person in need, and we'll be updating on this site for the future donations.

    "Once again, thank you very much for coming forward to help, and we're truly blessed and thankful to each and every one of you."

    Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 10:28

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    'It's the right thing to do': Gleneagles to pay security guard's medical bill

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