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    The police were alerted after a Bukit Timah household started barbecuing more than a 100kg of bak kwa, causing her neighbour to choke on the thick smoke produced.

    Madam Huang, an affected resident who lives on Tham Soong Avenue, told Shin Min Daily News that her neighbour would barbecue bak kwa in her courtyard whenever it draws close to the Chinese New Year.

    Each time, the thick smoke would cause her elderly parents to cough uncontrollably, said Madam Huang.

    "A the weekends just before each Lunar New Year, she (the neighbour) would start barbecuing more than a 100kg of bak kwa in her family courtyard.

    "There was once she started barbecuing from 8am in the morning to 12am midnight.

    "Yesterday (Jan 21) she started on it again. She started at around 7am and went on till about 2pm in the afternoon.

    "We haven't been able to rest well because of them."

    Madam Huang also said that her parents' health was affected adversely by inhaling the smoke.

    She added:

    "I tried asking her to stop barbecuing once, and she promised that she would not do it this year.

    "However, yesterday, she started doing it again."

    The holder of the house, Madam Liu, 60, explained that the barbecuing was done in preparation for the Chinese New Year, saying:

    "There are over 300 members in my family. It very expensive to buy bak kwa from shops outside, and we are unable to ensure the quality as well.

    "So we prefer to prepare our own in our home to prepare for the Lunar New Year."

     

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 14:04
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    A teenager, 17, was allegedly molested by a Nanyang Technological University graduate student after responding to a Craigslist ad which read, "to assist in research project regarding body stimulation in form of light sensation touches."

    The incident reportedly happened after the teenager met up with the student, 25, at the lobby of NTU graduate hall at around 8pm on Nov 13, 2017.

    The student was arrested for the outrage of modesty by the police on Saturday (Jan 20).

    It is understood that both the male victim and the accused are Singaporeans.

    The teenager told The Nanyang Chronicle that he had come across the ad on Gumtree and contacted the student on WhatsApp according to the number provided in the listing.

    He said that the student told him that he would be tickled to gauge his body's responsiveness to touch.

    The student also said that for each article of clothing he kept on during the experiment, there would be money deducted from the payment.

    The teenager agreed to the conditions, thinking that he had signed up for an official NTU research project which would happen in the lab.

    However, after meeting up on the day of the incident, he was then taken to a dormitory room, where he was instructed to take a shower and come out naked.

    He did so and was then blindfolded and restrained to a bed with cloth.

    The teenager was restrained for two hours and said that after the student tickled him for an hour, he began stimulating his penis.

    After that, the student offered him $55 to masturbate, saying that he had also done the same with a previous 'participant'.

    The teenager lodged a police report the day after the incident.

    When asked why he did not protest the arrangements, he said that the student was 'a big guy'.

    The teenager told The Straits Times:

    "It's like sitting on a roller-coaster ride - after it has begun, you immediately regret it but it's too late to leave.

    "Honestly, it's partly my fault for being so naive. It was my first time (participating in a study) and I thought since the student was from NTU, it was legitimate and nothing could go wrong."

    Several variations of the ad - a study involving 'light sensation touches' - were also posted on websites such as Gumtree, bestfreead and Locanto, listing the contact details of the NTU student.

    Under the descriptions, the ads wrote that "light restrain(t)s" would be applied during the experiment, "in order to achieve uniformity in results collection".

    The ads have since been taken down or become expired.

    The listings also stated that participants would be promised remuneration of $25 per hour, with an addition $10 per session for subjects below 16 years old.

    The ad on Craigslist further called for male participants.

    NTU's Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is responsible for approving research studies involving human subjects conducted by staff and students, told the Chronicle that no such research was listed on their database.

    The NTU-IRB confirmed in an email that the student had denied being involved with the aforementioned research study after being contacted by them.

    The accused claimed that he did not know who put up the ads and that his number had been listed without his approval or knowledge.

    He revealed that he had received calls from interested applicants but had asked an associate chair of his faculty for help to have his number removed from the ads.

    In response to the incident, an NTU spokesperson said:

    "The University views academic and research misconduct as serious disciplinary offences. We are aware that the police is investigating this case, and we are assisting them in their investigations."

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 14:28
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    SINGAPORE - Over 100 baby turtles have hatched on a Singapore beach before being released into the sea, authorities said Tuesday, in a boost for the critically endangered creatures.

    A nest of Hawksbill turtle eggs was discovered in November on Sentosa, a popular resort island south of Singapore's main island.

    A barrier was erected to keep the nest safe from predators, and officials carried out regular checks, said Sentosa Development Corporation, which manages the island.

    On Friday 106 eggs hatched and, after officials carried out tests, the baby turtles were sent off scurrying down the beach and into the sea.

    It was the third time that Hawksbill turtle eggs had hatched on Singapore's beaches since August and the first time in eight years on Sentosa, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

    Hawksbills get their names from their narrow pointed beaks and are found throughout the world's tropical oceans, mainly around coral reefs.

    They are threatened by damage to their natural habitats by pollution and coastal developments, and are also targeted by poachers.

    Their body parts are used to make turtle soup and shells are crushed into powder for use in jelly dessert. The Hawksbill shell is also used to make products like combs and ornamental hairpins.

     

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 16:17
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    An ex-club hostess from China found herself unable to contact her Singaporean husband despite their son being ill.

    Ms Wang Jing Shu, 39, came to Singapore three years ago to work as a bar hostess and met her husband-to-be.

    The two dated for a few months before she became pregnant and had to return to her country.

    He later flew over to China and the two registered their marriage before he returned to Singapore.

    However, she found out that her husband had not been faithful, and vanished for an extended period, before filing for a divorce in 2017.

    Ms Wang told Shin Min Daily News in a phone interview that she had met her 55-year-old husband in Jan 2015 while working as a bar hostess.

    "At first, he treated me so well.

    "We dated for three and a half months and I became pregnant with his child. I eventually found myself unsuitable for the nightlife scene and planned to leave my job.

    "I wanted to spend my days happily with him, even if he wasn't rich."

    As she was in Singapore on a work pass, she had to return to China after becoming pregnant.

    Things were going well, or so it seemed.

    "After I returned to China and gave birth to our child, he (her husband) flew over to China in June and we got married, but he never visited again after that.

    "He came to visit again once our son was born, but departed after a while."

    After that, things started going downhill.

    Ms Wang said that her husband would not pick up her calls, or even if he did, would hang up after a few lines.

    Feeling dejected, she decided to file for a divorce with her husband, and he agreed to pay her a $1,000 monthly alimony fee.

    She said:

    "During the time while I was pregnant, he only gave me $5,000.

    "Between September and December 2017, he only gave me $2,900 for me and our child's daily expenses.

    "I cannot return to Singapore or get in contact with him. I'm really at the end of my ropes here."

    Reporters attempted to reach Ms Wang's husband, but he did not pick up their calls.

    Ms Wang also claimed that their two-year-old son suffered from pneumonia last year which incurred in a hefty hospitalisation bill.

    She said that after returning to China, she landed a job in a bank, but after her son fell ill, she quitted her job so she could care for him.

    However, the lack of a job meant that their finances were in jeopardy again.

    Ms Wang lamented:

    "Seeing my son like this makes my heart ache. The hospitalisation fees cost at last $8,000. My husband isn't responding to me either despite my continual pleas.

    "Even if it's $1,000 a month, at least let this arrangement continue until our son is slightly older and I can go back to work."

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 16:19

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    Your child may not be old enough for you to worry about tuition just yet, but get ready to pay all the same.

    My First Skool, the NTUC-run childcare/infantcare centre and preschool, one of Singapore biggest chains, has raised their school fees yet again, sending new parents into a panic.

    The fee increase will be between $6 and $33 a month for childcare and $5 and $20 for infantcare.

    Is this overkill when NTUC is supposed to be committed to making childcare services more, and not less, affordable?

    They have been hiking up their prices a lot over the years

    Up to $34 a month more may not sound like much at first glance.

    But take into account the fact that My First Skool has been increasing their school fees every year from 2014-2016.

    In 2013, it was announced that My First Skool would raise fees in 2014 by up to $32.10, as well as remove the sibling discount extended to parents with more than one child enrolled.

    In 2015, they once again increased childcare and infantcare fees by an average of $32 a month.

    2016 saw yet another fee hike, of an average of $34 per month for childcare and $14 for infantcare.

    This means that it now costs about $100 a month more, or over $1,200 a year, to send your kid to My First Skool than it did in 2013.

    To put things into perspective, My First Skool's monthly fees for childcare are currently $712.21 to $770.40 a month, while infantcare fees are $1,356.78 to $1,364.25 for Singaporeans.

    The fee hikes since 2013 have thus added up to a good 15 per cent. The inflation rate from 2013 to 2016 certainly doesn't justify it, while wage increases over the same period have not kept pace either.

    Pre-school is a financial commitment that spans many years

    For many parents, the pre-school years are long and expensive.

    Dual-income families who do not disrupt their careers after the arrival of their child, and who don't have maids or in-laws who can look after their children, are looking at paying for a good five or six years of infantcare and childcare before their kid is old enough to go to primary school.

    That means that any price hike has lasting repercussions on families' cash flow.

    Their fees are below the official cap, but so what?

    My First Skool has retorted that they are still below the fee cap imposed on anchor operators.

    Under the scheme, preschool operators are obliged to keep their monthly fees below certain limits, in exchange for funding.

    The goal of the scheme is to keep childcare affordable, especially for lower income and disadvantaged children.

    But this is cold comfort for parents who'll be feeling the pinch.

    As one of Singapore's two largest pre-school operators, keeping fees below the fee cap is the LEAST they should be doing. In fact, they should not be charging anywhere close to it.

    Financial assistance is not enough

    While preschool operators might protest that they're offering financial assistance to those in need, in reality it is generally only offered in very strictly defined circumstances.

    My First Skool's financial assistance programme is only extended to those with a gross monthly household income of $3,500, or $875 per capita.

    But at such income levels, these families are usually already eligible for significant Infant and Child Care Additional Subsidies, which means My First Skool won't even have to fork out much to help them.

    On the other hand, for squeezed middle class families, particularly those who are not eligible for the Additional Subsidy, the message being sent out is: don't have kids unless you are prepared to bear the costs.

    Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 09:10

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    Move aside, Daiso. The stampede of Singapore customers has moved from the famous $2 discount store to a new retailer in town-Don Quijote, better known as Don Don Donki.

    Ever since the Japanese retailer opened its first discount store at Orchard Central late last year, Singaporeans have been buying up the entire shop, while enduring the earworm that is their theme song.

    It's gotten so bad that half of their items are now sold out. If you're after any of the following products, you'll have to wait till they replenish their stock.

    CALPIS MELON FLAVOUR 470ML BOTTLE

    Price: $4.80

    Calpis is one of Japan's most popular, yet most elusive (in Singapore, anyway) drinks, usually only available at authentic Japanese restaurants and shops. While the popular diet version has recently been restocked, if you're looking for something other than regular Calpis, you'll have to wait for them to restock Calpis melon flavor.

    Where else to buy it: Redmart carries Calpis Concentrated Grape Flavor-not quite the same thing, AND more expensive at a whopping $7.50 for 470ml.

    HIKARI MISO 750G

    Price: $4.90

    Miso soup is an essential part of most Japanese home-cooked meals. And judging by the fact that virtually all the miso products at Don Don Donki, including their Hikari miso paste, are sold out, it looks like Singaporeans are eager to follow suit.

    Where else to buy it: NTUC FairPrice carries Hikari organic miso paste at $5.95 for 500g. The packaging may look different, but it is indeed from the same brand.

    NISSIN INSTANT TSUKEMEN NOODLES (SEAFOOD AND SOY SAUCE) 103G X 5 PACK

    Price: $7.90

    The Singapore economy's secret ingredient is instant noodles, without which half the nation would starve. So of course Nissin's instant ramen noodles have been a hit, with their hard-to-find tsukemen seafood and soy sauce flavour selling out.

    Where else to buy: You can find Nissin ramen noodles at most supermarkets like FairPrice and Giant. But if you want the rare flavours usually available only in Japan, your best bet would be a Japanese supermarket like Meidi-Ya.

    LOTTE KOALA'S MARCH 50G

    Price: $1.90

    This ubiquitous snack is as common as Kit Kat, but it's flown off the shelves at Don Don Donki despite being priced similarly at other supermarkets. Go figure.

    Where else to buy: You can these these koala-shaped, chocolate-filled tidbits anywhere, from ordinary supermarkets to online grocers like HonestBee (where you can buy 10x195g for just $5.60).

    BIHADA SNAIL FACE MASK (50 SHEETS)

    Price: $12.90

    This beauty product might sound bizarre, but it's actually just a peel-off moisturising face mask. Despite the fact that the words on the packaging are incomprehensible to most Singaporeans, this product has sold out, indicating Singaporeans' trust in the quality of Japanese beauty products.

    Where else to buy: While you might not be able to find the same brand elsewhere, you can buy similar face masks at Korean skincare shops like Innisfree and Etude House. For brandless Japanese masks, head to good old Daiso.

    ITO-EN GREEN TEA BAGS 2G X 20 BAGS (40G)

    Price: $3.50

    While green tea is available at just about every supermarket in Singapore, the Japanese-only text on Ito-en's packaging make it look that much more legit, which is why their green tea bags are sold out at the moment.

    Where else to buy it: Turns out regular supermarkets also carry Ito-en green tea-just that they're more expensive in comparison. FairPrice sells Ito-En matcha green tea bags at $5.95 for 20 tea bags (30g).

    HELLO KITTY FEVER COOLING GEL (6 PIECES)

    Price: $4.90

    Down with a fever? You can always call on Hello Kitty to bring down your temperature… or raise it, depending on how you see the mouthless cat. While these cutesy fever cooling gel packs have flown off the shelves, the Anpanman ones have not, even though they are way cheaper, at $5.90 for 16 sheets!

    Where else to buy it: Just buy the Anpanman ones at Don Don Donki instead!

    CARAMEL CORN ALMOND CARAMEL FLAVOUR

    Price: $1.70

    Caramel corn is every Daiso customer's favourite snack. But since Don Don Donki is selling them at 30 cents less, they keep selling out spectacularly. Fortunately, they're back in stock as of this writing, but the almond caramel flavored ones are still sold out.

    Where else to buy it: Daiso, at 30 cents more.

    SATO MOCHI (400G)

    Price: $7.90

    Mochi is yet another very distinctly Japanese snack that's flown off the shelves, and surely a more impressive tidbit to offer guests than Calbee potato chips.

    Where else to buy it: Meidi-Ya sells the exact same item for $12.30.

    JYONETSU KAKAKU DUST CLOTH (10 SHEETS)

    Price: $5.50

    With the annual haze, construction left right and centre and the air becoming heavy with incense during the hungry ghost festival, getting rid of dust is an ongoing battle in Singapore households. Which is probably why these micro-fibre dust cloths have been a hit.

    Where else to buy it: You can find similar dust cloths at Daiso.

    Japan's discount chain store Don Don Donki opens at Orchard Central

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 21:36

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    Four youths seeking thrill trespassed into a secondary school in the middle of the night, and about 10 officers were dispatched to the scene for an investigation.

    The incident happened at MacPherson Secondary School on Sunday (Jan 21) at around 9.49pm.

    A witness told Shin Min Daily News that he saw around five police cars at the scene, and at least 10 officers carrying torchlights and investigating the scene.

    Reporters who rushed down to the scene saw four youths who looked to be in their 20s seated at an empty field beside the school while being questioned by police officers.

    The questioning process lasted about two hours, and the police also cordoned off the area to prevent members of the public from coming too close.

    It is believed that the four had stood on a red road barricade and scaled the walls in order to infiltrate the school.

    One of the youths was brought on a patrol car by the officers, while the other three were released.

    There was nothing missing from the school, and the youths had trespassed purely for fun.

    The parents of the youths rushed down to the scene upon finding out what had happened to their children.

    A father to one of the youths said:

    "I was told that my son had trespassed into a school.

    "I do not understand why they did something like that."

    In response to media queries, the police have confirmed the case and said that investigations are ongoing.

    Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 11:10
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    A woman was seen crying after she came across a stray cat that she had been feeding, being strangled by a python.

    Stomp contributor Caesar alerted us to the incident which is said to have occurred at around 8.30pm on near Blocks 330 and 331 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 on Jan 23.

    In a telephone interview with Stomp, he said, "I was doing my push-ups, when a lady came up to me asking me if she has seen her cat."

    Noticing the cat looking in the direction of the bushes, Caesar told Stomp that the woman then stumbled upon the snake curling around her cat at the forest area nearby.

    She then cried out, "There's a snake there! It's my cat!"

    The cat was established to be a stray that the woman had been feeding from young.

    "I went to see for myself and was quite shocked. I don't dare to go near," said the Stomp contributor.

    However, he still managed to record a video of the snake curling around the cat.

    Passers-by were also heard in the video exclaiming how big the snake was.

    One of the passers-by then called for a pest control company.

    The pest control company arrived at the scene but said that they were waiting for the snake to finish eating as they do not want to injure the snake.

    Given that the area where the snake was spotted is near a fitness corner and a playground, the Stomp contributor said, "I hope that parents will make sure that their kids are careful because they will run around. Hope that they will stay away from the bush area."

    Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 17:12
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    Upset that she was spotted by her nephew while using drugs, a woman beat the child and even dangled him from the window of a 3rd-floor unit.

    The incident happened on Feb 4, 2017, and the 39-year-old woman was charged in court on Monday (Jan 22), reported Lianhe Wanbao.

    She pleaded guilty to one count of child intimidation and abuse and was sentenced to 10 months' jail.

    The court also noted that she had just entered a drug rehabilitation centre, and was scheduled to be released the next month.

    Her sentence would start from the day which she was charged, on Sep 22, 2017.

    The victim, a primary 4 student was living with his aunt at the time of the incident.

    Both his parents are in jail due to drug offences.

    On Feb 3, 2017, the boy saw the woman heating up a white powder and inhaling the resulting vapour.

    Afraid that he would be beaten, he ran out of the house.

    The accused managed to find the boy just after midnight and brought him back to the house.

    Enraged, she made him kneeled at the door, while she continued to use the white powdery substance.

    After that, she approached the boy and threatened to throw him down from the third-floor unit.

    She carried him into the kitchen, grabbed both his legs and dangled the boy outside the window.

    At the time, his upper body was completely out of the window.

    Afraid that she would let go, the boy held tightly to the laundry rack, and pleaded with the accused not to loosen her grip.

    The accused later pulled him in.

    However, she then hit the boy on his head with an aluminium laundry pole and a bamboo scratcher.

    She also slapped his elbow and left foot, while using a gas lighter to burn him.

    After the incident, the boy's teacher discovered the wounds on the boy and asked him how he had gotten them.

    The truth was finally revealed when the boy told her.

    According to a medical report, the boy suffered bruises on many parts of his body.

    He also bore scars on his head and neck.

    During the mitigation plea, the accused's lawyer said that the accused was deeply remorseful for her actions, and know that she must keep her emotions in check.

    The lawyer also said that the boy had been naughty and left the house, only for him to be brought to a police station by a passerby.

    The lawyer also added that the accused has seven children and was with three of her children during the time of the incident.

    As her husband was working, she had to look after the children and the house on her own.

    The lawyer also cited that two months before the incident, the accused had just given birth.

    The toil of caring for her children and the boy caused her to experience tremendous stress.

    Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:49
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