Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Giving Week - 29 Nov to 5 Dec 2016

Giving Week is a national movement that encourages everyone to give back. During this week, corporates, non-profits and individuals across Singapore come together to make a difference. Whether you choose to donate, volunteer, fundraise or head down to our events, every bit counts towards building our #CityofGood.

Giving Week is part of the global movement #GivingTuesday, where people give back during the holiday season, and ends on International Volunteer Day which falls on Dec 5.


What to eat if you have high cholesterol - in Chinese

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Exceptional people: Jazzed up for a good cause

A group of local performers are using their talent to help migrant workers.

Called beCAUSE, the concert is in aid of Healthserve, a local non-profit organisation that provides medical care for migrant workers.

It has raised more than $11,000 through ticket sales so far, exceeding the target of $10,000. All the funds will go to Healthserve.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Exceptional company: Charity Run by companies in One-North

Around 2,500 runners from more than 45 companies based in the one-north community took part in the second annual one-north Run on Sunday morning (Nov 27) which raised S$250,000 for charity.

All proceeds from the Run will go to Singapore Children’s Society, and the Community Chest, benefiting Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA), and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS).

Gum disease is a sign of erectile dysfunction as it is tied to stroke and arteries hardening

Erectile dysfunction is more common in men with gum disease, according to a new review of existing studies.

Chronic bacterial infection of the gums, or periodontitis, is common and a major cause of tooth loss for adults, which has been tied to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and general inflammation, which in turn have been tied stroke and hardening of the arteries.

Stroke and hardening of the arteries are also associated with erectile dysfunction.

"It might still be too early to suggest that men with erectile dysfunction should have their teeth checked;  however, it might be beneficial to inform patients with chronic periodontitis about its association with erectile dysfunction", Dr Zhao said.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Exceptional company: Temasek Foundation Cares funds evening care services for needy families

Temasek Foundation Cares will commit S$683,000 to fund a programme that will offer evening student care services for needy families.

It offers free evening student care services for those parents who wish to pursue short-term skills upgrading courses or for those who have to attend to family emergencies.

CareNights runs from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays for children between seven and 14 years old. Parents can enrol their children for a period of up to six months while they work on resolving the short-term commitments.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Exceptional people: Joseph Schooling helps to raise $28K for school pocket money fund

Fans queue to meet Olympic hero Schooling at book signing events
Joseph Schooling signed copies of two books published by Straits Times Press - From Kid To King and Schooling Joseph - to help raise more than $28,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

Exceptional people: Hotel 81 boss donates $2m for NUS students

Mr Choo Chong Ngen, the founder and executive chairman of budget hotel chain Hotel 81, has donated S$2 million to the National University of Singapore (NUS) to set up a bursary for financially needy students.

Called the Hotel 81-Choo Chong Ngen Bursary, it will be awarded from Academic Year 2017/2018 onwards, and will benefit up to 32 qualifying students a year enrolled in any course of study.

Exceptional people: Singapore scientists create blood from skin cells

image from Today

Researchers in Singapore have artificially generated new mouse blood and immune cells from skin cells, the A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore announced in a press release on Monday (Nov 21).

It could lead to a robust source of new blood or immune cells becoming available to treat patients with immune disorders and other such diseases, or those who require blood transfusions

Monday, 21 November 2016

New hotline launched in the fight against scammers

In the fight against increasingly sophisticated scams, the National Crime Prevention Council and the Singapore Police Force launched a new anti-scam helpline on Sunday, Nov 20, to give advice to the public on such ploys, should they suspect that they have fallen for one.

Health tip: Pessimists are more likely to die of heart disease

Pessimists have a higher risk of dying from heart disease, a new study warns.

Those who meditate on the future - certain that few good things will come - drive up their blood sugar levels and blood pressure, the Finnish researchers found.

So, if you do not want to die young, cheer up. Do not think too much into the future as what you think may not happen. Take the appropriate steps only when something bad happens, not before.


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Exceptional people: $2million raised at ChildAid 2016

More than 150 young performers took their talents to the stage and helped raise more than $2 million at the annual ChildAid children's charity concert.

By the end of the concert, which also runs tonight, $2,049,147 had been raised for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which helps needy students pay for transport and meals, and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which supports arts training for financially disadvantaged students.

1 in 10 stroke patients in Singapore aged under 50

One in 10 stroke patients in Singapore is under 50 years old.

The latest figures from the National Registry of Disease Office show that there were 6,943 cases of strokes in 2014, up from 6,642 the previous year.

They are the fourth most common cause of death in Singapore, and tend to occur among men.

The incidence rate for men aged between 35 and 44 who were admitted to public hospitals for stroke in 2014 was 58 per 100,000 people, compared with 24 per 100,000 for women in the same age group.

Last Saturday, Singaporean businesswoman Linda Koh was found unconscious in her Hong Kong hotel room. The 36-year-old died in hospital where they found that she had suffered a stroke. She had been suffering from high blood pressure and was on medication.

Why statins DO work: Cholesterol-lowering drugs cut the risk of a heart attack by 36%

image for illustration only

Statins help prevent heart attacks and strokes in adults at high risk, new research suggests.

Those with high blood pressure and cholesterol who took the daily pills were 31 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

While they were also 14 per cent less likely to die early from any other causes if they took the drugs daily, a US study found.

Unless you are having extremely bad side-effects, taking statins with some manageable side-effects are better than dying early.


You may also want to read Cholesterol drug found to 'melt away' plaques in the arteries

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Warning: Do not buy or use VIP Bio Mangosteen Complex

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Friday (Nov 18) warned the public against buying or taking weight loss product VIP Bio Mangosteen Complex as it contains very high levels of sibutramine, a banned substance in Singapore.

In a media release, HSA said the product's label states it contains only natural ingredients, including fruit and herbal extracts, but contains sibutramine as well as another undeclared western medicine, phenolphthalein.

Exceptional people: Singapore scientists in breakthrough in autism research

In a breakthrough that could pave the way for drugs to be developed to treat autism, scientists have discovered common patterns in the way DNA is “packaged” in the brains of autistic individuals that distinguish them from non-autistic people.

The latest discovery by scientists, including a team from Singapore, means that there is potential to develop drugs which could treat the majority of autistic individuals, instead of merely a tiny fraction of them, Dr Shyam Prabhakar said. He is the senior author of the study and associate director of integrative genomics at the Genome Institute of Singapore.

Children who drink full fat milk are SKINNIER

image for illustration only

Children who drink full fat milk are slimmer than those who drank semi-skimmed milk.

Researchers think that the blue cap milk left kids feeling more full so were less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.

The researchers also found that the children had higher levels of Vitamin D – the 'sunshine vitamin.'

Low levels of Vitamin D are linked to a weakened immune system, emotional ups and downs, depression, anxiety and weak bones.


You may want to read Health tip: Eat fat to lose fat

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Forum: Iris can be altered by disease, injury, treatment - Updated with reply from ICA

I read with interest the announcement of iris scanning for identification purposes by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority ("ICA to start collecting iris images for border clearance"; yesterday).

As an ophthalmologist, I have no doubt about the accuracy of iris imaging for identification purposes.

But the permanence of the human iris configuration is not a given.

The iris can be affected by eye diseases such as eye inflammation, and pigmentary and vascular disorders.

Episodes of extreme eye pressure elevation (glaucoma) can also affect iris muscles, and hence affect the appearance of the iris.

Furthermore, eye doctors often perform laser surgery on the iris for the treatment of glaucoma, effectively puncturing a hole or creating contractile scars on the iris to alleviate eye pressure.

In some unique cases, we even have to affix artificial lenses on the iris. Complications of eye surgery can also cause iris scars or defects.

Eye trauma is another instance where the iris may be altered.

Although milder cases may be imperceptible, severe injuries may require iris repair surgery, some to the extent of requiring implantation of artificial irises.

The advancement in artificial irises has been a milestone in eye reconstruction surgery.

State-of-the art artificial irises can now be matched both in colour and detail to another eye. Such artificial irises restore not only vision and visual quality, but also appearance and self-confidence, particularly in eyes with light-coloured irises.

I hope that the authorities are cognisant of the developments in the medical field with regard to eye diseases and treatments involving the iris.

When the need arises, the public may require the necessary support from their eyecare providers for certification of identity, such as in the event of eye disease, injury and treatment.

Daphne Han Chuk Yin (Dr)



Reply: Iris images to complement other forms of identification

We thank Dr Daphne Han Chuk Yin for her feedback ("Iris can be altered by disease, injury, treatment"; Nov 12).

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) recognises that different personal biometric identifiers come with their own unique characteristics, as well as inherent limitations.

For instance, fingerprints can fade over time, while a person will also look different with age.

This is why it is important for the ICA to adopt a multi-modal approach to biometrics. The use of iris images complements existing identification methods using fingerprints and facial images, and will help strengthen the identification process.

For people whose iris images cannot be effectively scanned or enrolled due to disease or surgery, the ICA will rely on these other identifiers to verify their identity.

Brenda Tham (Ms)
Deputy Head
Public and Internal Communications
Corporate Communications Division
Immigration and Checkpoints Authority

Cycling drastically lowers your risk of having a heart attack

Cycling in middle age dramatically reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack in later life, a major study reveals.

As little as 30 minutes a week has a marked effect on the chance of developing coronary heart disease over the next 20 years.

People who consistently spent 90 minutes on their bike a week were 24% less likely to develop angina or have a heart attack, where else half an hour a week has 16% reduced risk.

Therefore, the more you cycle, it is likely that you will NOT have a high chance of a heart attack.


Veganism gaining ground in Singapore

1. for better skin conditions like acne, eczema
2. for better medical conditions like asthma, chronic diseases
3. for moral or environmental reasons
4. for healthier lifestyle like unhealthy body weight or better in sports and work

Is it better for health?
The myth that you need meat to be healthy and strong is disappearing. Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that there are health advantages to a plant-based diet, such as a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and lower cholesterol.

Is it safe?
While plant protein can replace meat protein, it cannot truly be a substitute for all nutrients as certain nutrients like vitamin B12 and D have no plant-based equivalent. But of course vitamin D is available from sunlight and vitamin B12 is available as food supplement.

A vegan diet is suitable for people of all ages, including children. It has to be planned well to meet each individual’s nutritional needs. Make sure that other sources of nutrients to replace those usually found in animal foods are available or risk nutritional deficiencies.

A common deficiency is not eating enough full-protein food which causes vegans to have under-developed bones and muscles as full-protein food are found more in animals than vegetables. You have to learn to mix and match food to get full-protein benefits.

Support group
Animal Allies, an outreach project of the Vegetarian Society Singapore (VSS) that provides support to help people go vegan.


You may want to read Should your child go vegan?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Nutmeg: Benefits and Dangers

Health benefits of nutmeg
  • Relieves chronic pain
  • Induces sleep
  • Helps digestion
  • Relieves bad breath
  • Detoxifies the kidneys and liver
  • Improves the male libido
  • Fights cancer
  • Helps with diabetes
  • Controls stress and depression

Nutmeg powder (image for illustration only)

Dangers of consuming too much nutmeg
  • Nutmeg contains more than 50 chemical compounds.
  • It contains a chemical called mystricin, that in large quantities can be toxic.
  • 1 nutmeg is made into 2-3 teaspoons of nutmeg powder.
  • Best not to eat more than 2-3 teaspoons of nutmeg powder each time.
  • A small dose of nutmeg will make you relaxed, a moderate dose will give you a buzz, and a high dose will cause hallucinations.
  • Most people end up getting bad side effects. Stomach aches, heart palpitations, nausea, dizziness, and extremely bloodshot eyes and hangover that may last a few days.
  • Too much of nutmegs will damage your liver or kill you.
nutmeg medical oil - will give warmth to your cold body parts and relief of pain (image for illustration only)


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Do you believe in Reiki or Energy Healing

If you have exhausted all the channels in your search for a medical cure, maybe you would like to try Energy Healing.

Energy healing is like Reiki. Reiki always helps and has no side effects. The healing can be instant for some, but not for others. The difference is Energy healing is easy & free and can be done by anyone. Just use the supplied codes.

Please go here for the explanations and codes:


Monday, 14 November 2016

Forum: Much to learn from ex-convicts who 'don't make it'

It was inspiring to read Mr Sunny Swee's story ("Ex-convict helps others stay out of trouble"; last Sunday).

Stories like this have been published in the media from time to time. But what is not covered are stories where former offenders and addicts do not turn their lives around. As a counsellor, I believe that the public needs to read about the unsuccessful stories as well as the successful ones, as there is much to learn from the former.

There are many reasons why many "don't make it" - they may have been disowned by their families; their destructive behaviours were enabled by their families; they faced discrimination; or they were overwhelmed and unprepared for the transition from prison to society. These are issues that the public needs to know about.

The Government and voluntary welfare organisations are helping, but their efforts do not go far enough. There are too many one-size-fits-all intervention approaches. Each individual is unique and it requires tailored approaches to help such individuals to re-integrate.

Ultimately, only the former offender can rewrite his own narrative, but a supportive environment is also extremely important.

Kuharajahsingam Karalasingam


Exceptional company: M1 donated $50,000 for charity

Members of Parliament joined senior executives in M1 Corporate Netball Challenge on Saturday (Nov 12).

M1 also donated S$50,000 to charities focusing on underprivileged children and at-risk youth, in conjunction with the event.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Forum: Teach youth (and some adults) to accept defeat graciously

I watched on TV with amusement and some degree of indignation at how a large number of Mrs Hillary Clinton's supporters collectively threw their toys out of the pram when the election result went against their candidate ("Protesters take to US streets over Trump victory"; ST Online, yesterday).

A democratic vote for Mr Donald Trump prompted groups of Clinton supporters to march in protest, burn American flags and abuse anyone in their path who had the temerity to vote differently from them.

It did not escape my attention that these mobs consisted largely of entitled millennials. I can only hope and pray that this deluded mentality does not pervade our shores.

The level of discord created over an election result that went sour for them is no excuse to behave like hoodlums.

It is of the utmost importance to educate our young (and some adults) that in life, you cannot always get what you want, and to impart to them the importance of taking defeat graciously.

Bradley Christopher Boon


Extended leave benefits for dads, unwed mums

From Jan 1, 2017:

New fathers
Will get two weeks of Government-paid paternity leave.

Unwed mothers/unwed men
Unwed mothers will get 16 weeks of maternity leave. Unwed men adopting a child will be eligible for paternity leave.

From July 1, 2017:

Adoptive mothers/Unwed adoptive mothers
Will get adoption leave of 12 weeks

Shared parental leave
To be increased to four weeks.
This refers to leave taken from the spouse’s maternity leave, if she opts to share it.

Including the six days of childcare leave and one week of unpaid infant care leave that fathers are currently entitled to, the changes bring the number of leave days fathers can take in their child’s first year to up to two months.

How many calories do YOU burn keeping your home tidy?


Friday, 11 November 2016

Exceptional company: Google getting young Singaporeans excited about coding

Google announces that it will roll out a new programme, Code in the Community, in Singapore next January. The multi-year computer science and computational thinking course will provide training for about 3,000 young Singaporeans from less well-to-do backgrounds over the next three years.

Mr Sengupta said the new programme is part of Google's aim to help inspire young Singaporeans and get them excited about technology and engineering.

Google will be partnering self-help groups such as the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Singapore Indian Development Association, Mendaki and the Eurasian Association to hold weekend classes for kids aged eight to 15, with an equal mix of boys and girls.

Signs you are holding on to anger and how to let it go

Signs you are holding on to anger:
1. Depression
2. Being triggered by little things
3. Feeling stuck
4. Cutting yourself off
5. You keep telling the same stories

What you can do to let go of anger:
1. Stop guilt-tripping yourself
2. Empower yourself
3. Express your anger


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Colorectal cancer most common cancer in Singapore

5 Singaporeans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and two die of it everyday. It is the top cancer here for both male and female.

Experts say not enough people are using the available screening tools to detect the cancer in the early stages as the numbers are far too high.

Generally, colorectal cancer develops from polyps inside walls of large intestines and rectum and usually takes more than a decade to become tumour. Therefore, there is a large window of time for it to be dealt with.

Why bad breath (为何会口臭)? - in Chinese

Ask the Experts: Hand tremors that shake, rattle and spill (TCM and Doc)

I am a 52-year-old woman and I have trembling hands.

This problem runs in my family, affecting a few of my sisters and my two sons. We have tested negative for thyroid disorder.

The trembling is very frustrating, especially when I hold a cup and saucer or use a laser pointer when giving presentations.

Can traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) help?

Trembling hands are commonly referred to as hand tremors.

Besides hyperthyroidism, the condition can be caused by essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis as well as other diseases.

It can also be a side effect of medications or lifestyle habits like drinking too much caffeine or alcohol.

Essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, is the most common cause of abnormal trembling, primarily of the hands.

It runs in families and is most common among those aged 40 and above. It tends to worsen over time, though it is usually not dangerous.

If the tremors become severe, you might find it hard to eat normally, put on make-up or write legibly. If the voice box or tongue is affected, you may also have trouble with speech.

Read the full article @

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Who are not suitable to drink cooling tea frequently (哪些人不适合常喝凉茶) - in Chinese

Exceptional people: Winter gear for underprivileged Thai children

A group of underprivileged children from a town in northern Thailand were "ecstatic" to receive 2,500 hand-knitted beanies, scarves and socks from hobbyists in Singapore.

The volunteers who knitted the two car loads of winter gear call themselves Yarns Spree, and have about 500 members. For this project, 150 members, including a 9-year-old boy, helped produce the clothing.

"We were so happy to find out about what Radion, a non-profit organisation, does and that we can give to those in need."

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

$20m KidStart scheme to help disadvantaged children

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin shared details of the KidStart scheme

KidStart, a government scheme which started in July to help children from disadvantaged families to get a leg-up in life.

The three-year pilot scheme is led by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and $20 million has been set aside for it will benefit 1,000 children aged up to six years and living in Bukit Merah, Kreta Ayer, Boon Lay, Taman Jurong and Geylang Serai in the first three years.

KidStart has 3 components - KidStart Group for playgroup session for children up to 3-year-old and their parents to learn parenting skills and how to strengthen the bond with their children.

The other two components of KidStart are regular home visits and enhanced pre-school support.

Health tip: Why broccoli and cabbage could reverse the signs of ageing

Physical signs of ageing could be slowed down by a compound called Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) found in broccoli, cabbage and avocado, scientists claim.

It slowed down the deterioration of liver and eye function, bone density and the metabolism, a new study found.


Monday, 7 November 2016

Health tip: Incredible ways you can improve your metabolism and burn DOUBLE the calories

Three nutritionists have shared 10 ways you can boost your metabolism:

  • Stop dieting
  • Eat little and often
  • Do not skip breakfast
  • Eliminate or reduce all added sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Add protein to each meal
  • Eat essential fats
  • Add in some key nutrients like vitamins and minerals supplement
  • Exercise
  • Stay full with salmon
  • Create more body fuel than fat, with coconut oil


Health tip: Eat fat to lose fat

Coconut oil is made up of unique fats called medium chain triglycerides, which have been shown to boost metabolism.

They are utilised by the body as an instant source of fuel in favour of being stored as fat.

Great reasons to eat more fat to lose fat.  Like the Chinese saying: 以毒攻毒

Coconut Oil can be used within cooking or even topically as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent.

If you do not want to eat coconut oil, you may try drinking coconut water.

Food arts