Friday, 30 November 2018

Mexican fish that can repair its OWN HEART

Zebrafish

A Mexican fish that can repair its own heart offers clues for future treatments in humans, according to new research.

Scientists discovered a gene that may hold the key to the fish's ability to regenerate its heart tissue.

The same gene, called Irrc10, is present in humans, and researchers at Oxford University say their new findings hold potential to change the lives of heart attacks patients. 

Over half a million people in the UK are living with heart failure, often as a result of a heart attack, according to the British Heart Foundation, who funded the research.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6413399/Mexican-fish-repair-HEART-hold-hope-millions-patients.html

You may want to read Why Use Zebrafish to Study Human Diseases?

How turmeric could offer hope for millions with glaucoma


Turmeric could offer hope for millions of people battling the common eye condition glaucoma, researchers believe.

Scientists have found a derivative of the spice used in curry - curcumin - can be used in eye drops to halt vision loss.

Trials showed eye drops containing curcumin, responsible for turmeric's yellow colour, slashed the loss of crucial retinal cells in rats.

Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness, mainly involves the loss of retinal ganglion cells, located near the surface of the retina.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5990175/How-turmeric-offer-hope-millions-glaucoma.html

My photo - bamboo


a public domain photo by me

You are eating microplastics in ways you do not even realise


We are increasingly aware of how plastic is polluting our environment. Much recent attention has focused on how microplastics – tiny pieces ranging from 5 millimetres down to 100 nanometres in diameter – are filling the seas and working their way into the creatures that live in them. That means these ocean microplastics are entering the food chain and, ultimately, our bodies.

But fish and shellfish are not our only food sources that can contain microplastics.

A portion of consumer-grade mussels in Europe could contain about 90 microplastics. Consumption is likely to vary greatly between nations and generations, but avid mussel eaters might eat up to 11,000 microplastics a year.

Another marine food source of microplastics is sea salt. One kilogram can contain over 600 microplastics. If you eat the maximum daily intake of 5 grams of salt, this would mean you would typically consume three microplastics a day (although many people eat much more than the recommended amount).

Ref: http://theconversation.com/youre-eating-microplastics-in-ways-you-dont-even-realise-97649

Most popular baby names of 2018 revealed

Top 10 baby names for girls in 2018, for the full list see Babycentre

1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Amelia
4. Lily
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Ella
8. Isla
9. Mia
10. Aria


Top 10 baby names for boys in 2018, for the full list see Babycentre

1. Muhammad
2. Oliver
3. Noah
4. Harry
5. Leo
6. George
7. Jack
8. Charlie
9. Freddie
10. Arthur

Ref: https://sg.style.yahoo.com/popular-baby-names-2018-revealed-104109971.html

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

New community healthcare centre in Yishun to provide free massages for seniors and caregivers


Nestled under Block 838 at Yishun Street 81, the GoodLife!@Yishun centre was officially opened on Sunday (Nov 25) by Nee Soon GRC Members of Parliament Dr Lee Bee Wah and Mr K Shanmugam.

Situated just across Khatib MRT station, the centre is run by volunteer welfare organisation Montfort Care and supported by the community.

It is touted as the first in Singapore to offer aromatherapy services for seniors and their caregivers. GoodLife! is the eldercare arm of Montfort Care.

“At this centre, professionals from Montfort Care will help the elderly stay healthy physically and mentally and help to reduce caregivers’ burdens,” said Dr Lee.

Ref: 
1) https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/first-community-healthcare-centre-yishun-provide-free-massages-seniors-and-caregivers
2) http://www.montfortcare.org.sg/

Exceptional people: Two praised for nabbing man who looked up woman’s skirt

Mr Chow Jin Jun (left) and Mr Wong Jing Hao (right) were presented with the Public Spiritedness Award by Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Chong Zunjie.
PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
On Nov 1 at about 9.40pm, Mr Chow Jin Jun, 23, saw a 36-year-old man looking up a woman's skirt on the escalator at Braddell MRT station.

Mr Chow quickly alerted the victim, who called the police.

But the man then tried to flee.

With the help of Mr Wong Jing Hao, 25, who was also at the station at the time, Mr Chow was able to detain the man until the police arrived.

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/two-praised-nabbing-man-who-looked-womans-skirt

Automatic mahjong table

Too much caffeine may stress the heart, cause anxiety and lead to weight gain


In moderate doses caffeine has mainly positive effects for most people. It is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness, relieves fatigue and improves concentration and focus. For sports participants, it can enhance endurance. It may even boost weight loss by temporarily suppressing appetite and prompting the body to produce heat and energy when digesting food. Consumed in moderation, coffee has even been linked to a reduced risk of several kinds of cancer.

Caffeine increases secretion of the body’s main stress hormone, cortisol, best known for fuelling a fight-or-flight response to a perceived threat or crisis. Produced by the adrenal glands when stimulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, cortisol diverts other bodily functions to permit a quick, effective response to stress or danger.

A constant outpouring of too much cortisol can result in a number of health problems, including anxiety, depression, problems with memory and concentration, trouble sleeping, weight gain and yes, heart disease.

Ref: https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/wellness/too-much-caffeine-may-stress-the-heart-10943942

Hot coffee has higher levels of antioxidants than cold brew


For devout hot coffee drinkers who cannot stand cold brew: you have been vindicated.

Scientists have declared hot-brewed coffee is better for you than iced because it has higher levels of antioxidants.

After comparing the two, chemists at Philadelphia and Thomas Jefferson Universities say the quick heating-up process for hot coffee creates more total titratable acids, which help pump oxygen around the body.

The fact that cold brew is brewed over hours using room temperature water deprives it of that extra health kick.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6343473/Hot-coffee-BETTER-cold-brew-higher-levels-antioxidants.html

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Forum: Don't let social media rule our lives


Social media brings about benefits, but we often overlook its hidden complications.

There are many reasons to use social media - fear of missing out and seeking validation. It has bred in us a strong need to update the world about everything - where we are, what we are doing and whom we are meeting.

However, we must realise that it can also make us feel jealous of being left out. It can even lower self-esteem and lead to depression.

With social media, we neglect making meaningful connections in the real world. We focus so much on building our online selves that we forget our true selves.

Ironically, social media is not bringing us closer. We might know more people, but less about each of them. Most importantly, social media is not an accurate portrayal of reality, so we should not let the highlight reel of those whose lives do not even concern us affect us. The problem is not with using social media, but with how we let it influence us.

Yang Yizhen, 16

Ref: http://str.sg/oXMY

Add more plants, and less meat to your meals. Here is why


Animal agriculture, is incredibly inefficient. You need nine calories of feed to produce just one calorie of meat, even for the most efficient animal. Using animals to produce food is a form of food waste.

The treatment of animals constitutes another reason some people are increasing their consumption of plant foods.

As important as environment and animal welfare issues are, health may be the primary motivation driving this shift towards plant-based foods.

Research demonstrates how eating plants can boost our health by raising antioxidant levels, lowering weight and cholesterol, and reducing risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and dementia.

Whatever the reason, it is encouraging to see people around the world taking steps on this path to healthier living and a greener planet. But more should consider changing to a more plant-based and less meat diet, as it could also help them fulfil their roles as responsible citizens of the world.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/why-you-should-add-more-plants-and-less-meat-to-your-meals-10925952

Should parents worry if their child is too short?

Dr Andrew Sng, an associate consultant specialising in child development at the National University Hospital’s Division of Paediatric Endocrinology, has seen an increase of about 20% in the number of referrals for height-related issues since last year.

This could be because when parents compare their children with others and find that theirs is the shortest in class, they would consult a doctor to find out if anything is wrong, said Dr Sng.

But how many of them have a genuine medical issue? “From my experience, it’s very rare,” he said.

Factors such as genetics, poor nutrition and a deficiency in certain hormones can affect a child’s growth, said senior consultant Loke Kah Yin, the head of paediatric endocrinology at the NUH, in a TODAY report last year.

But generally, if a child is growing at least 4cm to 6cm a year, there should be little cause for concern, explained Dr Sng.

Read more on ways to help a child grow @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/parents-worry-child-short-growth-hormone-treatment-10964470

My 2 cents:
The older generations believed in pregnant women eating tonic food to have strong babies. Maybe they were right. Nutrients are important for a child's growth, and it could tie to the height of the baby.

Regular exercisers have the hearts and muscles of people decades younger than them


Physically fit pensioners have almost identical muscles to 25-year-olds, a study has found.

Experts from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, studied 28 people over 70 who have been exercising consistently since the 1970s to determine how staying active can offset the physical decline associated with ageing.

The results, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, also noted those who work-out regularly shave 30 years of their body's 'biological' age compared to their peers.

Interestingly, the subjects were not athletes, but people who adopted fitness into their lifestyle during the exercise boom of the 1970s.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6417443/Regular-exercisers-hearts-muscles-people-decades-younger-them.html

Tidy teenagers live longer if they are also orderly, mature and calm

Tidy teenagers live longer, research suggests.

neat and tidy desk

In a study of more than 26,000 secondary-school students spanning 48 years, scientists discovered orderly adolescents who are mature, calm and empathetic are more likely to live into their 60s.

Immaturity and impulsiveness as a teenager may set bad 'health habits' that 'wear and tear' on a person's immune system and heart over time, according to the US researchers.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6413143/Tidy-teenagers-live-longer-study-finds.html

Monday, 26 November 2018

Even when families have issues, eating together can improve teen diets

Image for illustration only

Teens whose families eat dinner together are more likely to make healthy food choices, even when kids and parents have issues with communicating and connecting emotionally, a new study finds.

More frequent family dinners were associated with more healthful eating among teens and young adults, even when families were not especially close and had trouble managing daily routines, researchers report in JAMA Network Open.

"The big thing is that over and beyond family functioning, family meals still matter when you're thinking about dietary intake for adolescents," said the study's lead author Kathryn Walton, who was a doctoral student at the University of Guelph, Canada, when she did the research.

"Many, many studies have looked at the benefit of family meals, and over and over they have found that this leads to adolescents eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages," said Walton, now a research fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/even-when-families-have-issues--eating-together-can-improve-teen-diets-10964426

Keeping cholesterol levels low could reduce Alzheimer's risks


The same genetic risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to high cholesterol may raise Alzheimer's risks, too, a new study suggests.

With the causes of Alzheimer's still unknown, scientists at the Washington University, St Louis, and the University of California, San Francisco are conducting the largest DNA study to date in search of pre-programmed risk factors.

We had already known that one gene linked to Alzheimer's risks codes for a molecule involved in the movement of cholesterol through the body.

The link between cholesterol and Alzheimer's may be even stronger than previously thought, however.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6422105/Keeping-cholesterol-low-reduce-Alzheimers-risks-study-suggests.html

Animation: Amazing dust drawing

Forum: Singaporeans eating healthy? Not really

I was surprised by the report on Singaporeans' eating habits (S'poreans adopting better diets, easing up on calories: Survey; Nov 20).

The report stated that Singaporeans have a mean intake of 2,470 calories a day. This is way above the recommendation of 2,200 calories for men and 1,800 calories for women.

It is also alarming to read that "the trend of worsening diet has been arrested" when there has been only a very small increase in the intake of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.

There are no details on how this survey was carried out except that it was based on 1,000 participants.

We should be careful not to send the wrong signal or allude to Singaporeans having healthier diets.

I feel there is insufficient data to demonstrate that there has been a sustained change of a healthier diet.

Reducing salt and sugar intake is an important aspect of healthy eating, but salt and sugar are not the root causes of the metabolic disorder faced by our nation.

Please note 1 servicing is about the size of your fist

We should take the opportunity to present the Ministry of Health's My Healthy Plate guideline to the public. This is a very visual illustration which, in a very simple way, tells people what healthy eating is.

Following this guideline daily as much as possible will lead to a sustained healthy eating habit.

Rebecca Lian Hwee Peng (Dr)

Ref: http://str.sg/oXiP

Sunday, 25 November 2018

More people becoming foster parents


The number of foster parents registered under the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) fostering scheme has almost doubled from 243 in 2013 to about 470 as of September this year.

More vulnerable children and young people have also been placed into foster families compared with institutions like care homes.

In 2013, there were 1,058 vulnerable children and those below 18 placed in out-of-home care. Of these, about 29%, were fostered.

As of September, 46% of 1,180 individuals were under foster care.

As part of Foster Care Week 2018, MSF and its four fostering agencies have been conducting roadshows and setting up outreach booths across the island. The week-long drive ends on Sunday.

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/more-people-becoming-foster-parents

Exceptional people: Amita Berthier wins second Junior World Cup


Singapore fencer Amita Berthier believes improved mental strength was key to her winning a second Junior World Cup title on Sunday.

The teenager, who started school at the University of Notre Dame in September, beat Belarus' Hanna Andreyenka 15-3 in the women's foil final of the Guatemala leg. She was second last year.

Her first title came in the Havana leg in Cuba in December last year.

Ref: http://str.sg/o8Ha

Samsung Electronics apologises for factory cancer cases


Samsung Electronics apologised Friday (Nov 23) to workers who developed cancer after working at its semiconductor factories, ending a decade-long dispute at the world's top chipmaker.

"We sincerely apologise to the workers who suffered from illness and their families," said Samsung co-president Kim Ki-nam.

"We have failed to properly manage health risks at our semiconductor and LCD factories."

Campaign groups say that about 240 people have suffered from work-related illnesses after working at Samsung semiconductor and display factories, with around 80 of them dying.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/samsung-electronics-apologises-for-factory-cancer-cases-10960742

Thailand’s monks battle weight problems

Monks on their alms round

Followers have been showering monks - respected in the kingdom - with food loaded with sugar, fat and oil, contributing to a health crisis.

"Before I dieted, I could barely walk 100m without getting tired," Mr Pipit, 63, said during a check-up at a hospital for monks in Bangkok, adding that he used to weigh 180kg.

Thai health and religious officials last December published a Monk Health Charter, instructing members of the clergy to watch what they eat.

Thais boast some of the highest rates of obesity in Asia, according to the Asian Development Bank. Monks are among the worst hit - a 2016 survey by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok found obesity rates as high as 48%, with 42% suffering from high blood pressure.

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/world/thailands-monks-battle-weight-problems

My photo - motorcycle


a public domain photo by me

Friday, 23 November 2018

Warning: More than 50 DBS customers fell for phishing SMSes in last two months


In the last two months, more than 50 people have reported falling victim to the scam, said the police and DBS Bank in a joint news release.

In the phishing SMSes that looked like they were sent by the bank, victims were told that suspicious activity had been detected in their account.

Those who clicked on the link in the SMS were then directed to fraudulent websites where they were deceived into providing their Internet banking details.

The victims later found out that a new payee had been added to their bank accounts and unauthorised transactions were made.

The banks' actual Web addresses are: www.dbs.com.sg and www.posb.com.sg.

Ref: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/more-50-dbs-customers-fell-phishing-smses-last-two-months

Teen obesity tied to increased risk of pancreatic cancer


Teen obesity has been linked with many health problems later in life, and a large Israeli study suggests increased risk for deadly pancreatic cancer is one of them.

Researchers followed nearly 2 million men and women for more than 20 years. Compared to participants with normal weight as teens, men who were obese as adolescents had more than three times the risk of pancreatic cancer in adulthood, and obese teen girls had more than four times the risk.

While obesity has long been considered a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, the strength of this association and the underlying causes for the connection are less clear. The current study doesn't prove obesity causes these tumors, or that weight early in life impacts the development of cancer decades later, but it does add to the lengthy list of potential health benefits of avoiding excess weight during childhood and adolescence, said Dr Chanan Meydan of the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, Israel.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/teen-obesity-tied-to-increased-risk-of-pancreatic-cancer-10956488

Be more grateful at work


Source: TheNewPaper, 22 Nov, 2018

You may want to read Company founder surprises employees with $20 million: 'I wanted to show some gratitude'

Public domain photos by US Department of Defense

181119-F-WJ663-0025


181114-Z-IX958-0002


181101-F-LX370-1523

public domain photos by US Department of Defense

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Abstain from romaine lettuce - updated with advice from AVA


Public health officials in the United States and Canada on Tuesday (Nov 20) warned against eating romaine lettuce while they investigate an outbreak of E coli that has sickened 50 people in the two countries, including 13 who were hospitalised.

The alerts, issued as millions of Americans plan their Thanksgiving Day menus, covered all forms of romaine, including whole heads, hearts, bags, mixes and Caesar salad.

Officials were uncertain of the source of the tainted lettuce.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/abstain-from-romaine-us-canada-warn-on-e-coli-in-lettuce-10952288

You may want to read Unsure about source of your romaine lettuce? Throw it away, says AVA amid US E coli outbreak


My 2 cents:
I would normally not eat salad from eateries. The reason being the workers normally would just dip the vegetables into the water and that was it.

Vegetable leaves are unlike fruit-vegetables. Fruit-vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers have a smoother skin and can be washed easily off pesticide and other dirt. But leafy vegetables are harder to wash and they must be done correctly or the dirt will still be on the leaves.

Exceptional people: Six praised for nabbing four sex predators at MRT stations

(From left) Mr Edwin Khoo, Mr Lum Hui, Mr Jay Liu, Mr Eric Tan, Mr Thng Kay Beng and Mr Colin Toh. Photo: TheNewPaper
Six people who were presented with the Public Spiritedness Award at the Public Transport Security Command yesterday for stopping four sex predators at four MRT stations recently.

Read the full article @ https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/six-praised-nabbing-four-sex-predators-mrt-stations

Reduce food wastage


Source: TheNewPaper, 21 Nov, 2018

Singaporeans starting to eat healthier now


While they eat more wholegrain, fruit and vegetables, they still eat take in a lot of sugar and salt.

Nine in 10 people here are eating more than the recommended 5g of salt a day.

Sugar intake went up from 59g a day in 2010 to 60g, or about 12 teaspoons, this year. The World Health Organisation's recommendation is 25g a day.

The HPB said: "Singaporeans are consuming less sugar from drinks, but more from food, for example, confectionery and desserts. Nonetheless, pre-packaged sugar-sweetened drinks remain the single largest source of sugar in the diet, and more needs to be done to reduce sugar consumption from this source."

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/singaporeans-starting-eat-healthier-now-survey

Forum: Accept that differences will always exist

It is human nature to form groups and fight for dominance; we see this in animals as well (To give hope for the future, 'escalator' must keep moving up: PM; Nov 12).

Human beings long to be part of a higher social standing, and use this mentality to motivate themselves to work harder in life.

Inevitably, this causes differences among people.

They could be biological or cognitive, but there exists a basic similarity in everyone - the fact that we are all different.

As we are different, how can we be expected to be treated equally?

Social classes exist because we recognise this fact.

When there are two people, there will always be some form of social classification.

Some people will always be better than others, and it is just human nature to separate and classify things.

Even if we got rid of a money-driven society, people would still be divided based on their occupations. There will always be jobs considered more distinguished and important than others.

True, there needs to be a change in mindsets and society has to evolve.

However, we should not forget that everyone has a specific place and role to play in society.

Hence, differences are to be expected and we should accept it.

Cheng Choon Fei

Ref: http://str.sg/o8DZ

My photo - flowers


a public domain photo by me

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Ask the expert: How is lung cancer different in non-smokers?


Source: ST

Technology: If you downloaded any of these 13 games from the Google Play store, your device is infected with malware


Lukas Stefanko, a security researcher at ESET, tweeted details of 13 gaming apps, all made by the same developer, and available to download on Google Play. Two of the apps were even trending on the store. Combined, there were more than 560,000 installations before Google pulled the plug on them.

Ref: https://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/tech-news-psa-if-you-downloaded-any-these-13-games-google-play-store-your-device-infected-malware

My photo - Firefly turboprop aircraft


Turboprop aircraft operated by Malaysia's Firefly will have to move to the new Seletar Airport by December 2018.

a public domain photo by me

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Meditation eases PTSD in veterans suffering from flashbacks, nightmares and insomnia

Image for illustration only

Meditation eases post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans suffering from flashbacks, nightmares and insomnia, research suggests.

Scientists found nearly two thirds of ex-soldiers battling PTSD saw their symptoms improve after just three months of transcendental meditation (TM).

In comparison, only two in five reported any benefit from traditional prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, which involves recalling traumatic events and confronting distressing memories.

TM on the other hand involves thinking of a mantra or sound that settles the mind, which may allow veterans to gradually release painful memories.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6395821/Meditation-helps-vets-post-traumatic-stress-disorder.html

Strengthen bones with easy exercises

Weight-bearing exercises put just the right amount of pressure on your body, encouraging bone growth due to osteoblast (bone cells in charge of bone growth) stimulation.

You can do low intensity or high intensity moves to strengthen bones, as long as you use your body weight and adjust your workout to suit your fitness level.

Last but not least, if your bones are already thinning, check in with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.


  • Take a walk - the longer the distance, the more protection you get. Try hiking for better results.
  • Do bodyweight squats - the exercise helps increase flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles too.
  • Taiji - can slow down bone loss in women who have passed menopause by up to 3.5 times.
  • Yoga - is a full body workout that can strengthen bones and muscles in the whole body.
  • HIIT - high-intensity interval training will be a power trip for your bones as you work through jumps and squats within the routine.
Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/lifestyle/health/strengthen-bones-easy-exercises

Scientists discover a never-before-seen nasal defence system against germs


A never-before-seen defence system against germs that enter the nose has been uncovered by scientists.

Cells in the nostrils release billions of tiny bug-killing sacs into mucus when they sense dangerous bacteria have been inhaled.

Not only do these sacs, called exosomes, kill bacteria, they also warn surrounding cells to protect themselves against invading pathogens.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6388521/The-fight-against-germs-right-noses.html

Technology: NETS payment now available for Singapore shoppers in Malaysia and Thailand


The next time you are headed for Malaysia, be sure to bring your NETS ATM card with you.

There are now 4,500 NETS acceptance points across Malaysia, according to a spokesperson for NETS in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Nov 19).

In Johor Bahru, NETS-enabled cards issued by Singapore banks can be used at popular shopping haunts including Johor Bahru City Square, KSL City and Sutera Mall.

In reciprocal, Malaysia's PayNet cards will be accepted on Nets' network here next year, said the Nets spokesman.

On Nov 12, NETS Group signed an agreement with Thailand's National ITMX Company to allow those from Singapore to use NETSPay app in Thailand, and Thais to use their mobile banking service in Singapore through scanning of QR codes.

Ref:  
1) https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/nets-payment-now-available-for-singapore-shoppers-in-malaysia-10945456
2) https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/singaporeans-can-now-pay-nets-jb

Monday, 19 November 2018

Walking backwards can boost your short-term memory


via GIPHY


People who walk backwards perform better in a memory test than those who stand still or walk forward, a study has found.

Researchers asked 114 volunteers to watch a video in which a woman had her bag stolen and then answer a questionnaire about what they could recall.

After watching the video, participants were split into groups - one was told to walk forwards or backwards 30 feet (10m) while a control group stood in one place.

They were then asked twenty questions about the events in the video and it was found that the backward-walking group got two more answers correct on average than the forward-walkers and the non-walkers.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6398085/Walking-backwards-boost-short-term-memory.html

Why you should SUCK your baby's dummy to clean it

Mothers may get funny looks for picking a baby's dummy up off the dirty ground and popping it in their own mouth to clean it.

But germophobe parents who would rather sterilise their child's pacifier or put it in the dishwasher may be raising their child's risk of allergies.

Mothers who suck a dummy clean after it gets dirty have children with fewer antibodies linked to asthma, food and dust allergies, a study found.

That may be because parents transfer their own bacteria to their child's mouth, helping to boost their immune system.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6394229/Why-SUCK-babys-dummy-clean-it.html

Forum: All we want for Christmas is proper decor


I have great memories of Disney, but we should let the true meaning of Christmas shine, just like we do for the other religious or ethnic holidays (Orchard Road lights up with Disney magic for Christmas; Nov 11).

What is so valuable about the Christmas tradition? Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. That is its authentic, historical value.

So, the question is: Should we change our traditions to entertain our children or tourists? Or would soaking in those deeper traditions give substance to celebrations?

The Christmas tree is an ancient custom and a traditional Christian symbol of the "tree of life" in the Book of Genesis. Similarly, many other Christmas decorations have symbolic meaning.

Of course people may celebrate Christmas the way they want. The question I ask myself is: Would I want Disney-themed decorations in Little India for Deepavali, in Geylang Serai for Hari Raya, or in Chinatown for Chinese New Year? What happens to the significance of that festival?

Trisha A. Tan (Ms)

Ref: http://str.sg/o8Bv

My photo - Air stewardesses


a public domain photo by me

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Forum: The poor do not care about income inequality

While Professor Linda Lim offered interesting insights in her commentary, I cannot help but wonder if all the focus on indicators like the Gini coefficient is missing the point (Psychological factors may explain resistance to more redistribution; Nov 6).

Indeed, could income inequality be a red herring?

The poor do not care about income inequality. They care about affording basic necessities and having a chance to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has put it very well. What we need to ensure is that everyone is on an ever-ascending escalator (To tackle inequality, ensure everyone is progressing: Tharman; Oct 26). So long as lives are substantially improving, no one really cares about inequality.

In fact, inequality is beneficial in that it motivates one to work harder to achieve higher incomes.

It is all right if someone else can skip a step up the escalator as that also creates more room for others to ascend.

Yet some have fallen off the escalator while others have remained stationary. These are the real problems we need to focus on.

Globalisation brings about winners and losers. We need to do more to help the losers and, in fact, avoid having anyone lose out.

I suggest that we should regularly review and tweak our foreign worker and immigration policies. While they have helped to speed up the escalator, they have also resulted in a far more crowded escalator.

Where training and education are concerned, we also need to be more aggressive in giving a leg-up to those from low-income families.

It is not just direct training and education costs but also the opportunity costs - for example, in terms of loss of income - that can be a major hindrance in improving skills and education.

The Government should pledge that no Singaporean who is willing and able to improve his skills will be denied the opportunity to do so as a result of socio-economic circumstances. Community development councils should also play a role to ensure this.

Kelvin Hong

Ref: http://str.sg/o8we

Is it OK to hold your pee

How your kidneys work

Your urine is more than the drink you had a few hours ago. Sure, the yellowish liquid has excess water that your body does not need but it also contains waste that your kidneys filter from the blood, such as urochrome, a pigmented blood product that gives urine its colour, as well as urea (a waste product when protein gets broken down), creatinine (another waste product but from the normal breakdown of muscle), the by-products of bile from the liver, ammonia, and salts.

When the bladder fills up with urine, it sends a signal to the brain that it is time to pee. The brain creates the urge to urinate, and at the same time, instructs the bladder to hold on. That usually works out fine while you go in search of a bathroom. But with age, hormonal changes, pregnancy and muscle laxity, especially in the pelvic floor muscles, leakages can sometimes happen despite your best effort to hold it in.

In short, if you are healthy, not pregnant, and do not have diabetes, you should not worry if you have to hold it in once in a while. If you have to, do not do it for more than three hours in the day. At night, your body secretes a hormone that pauses the kidneys’ production of urine when you sleep.

Holding your pee too long 
  • Will not burst the bladder but may stretch it in long term. This may make it difficult or impossible for the bladder to contract and release pee normally.
  • No evidence to say you cannot hold your pee. In fact, pee training is used by patients who have been diagnosed with overactive bladders by releasing the pee at a certain schedule.
  • There may be an increase in urinary tract infections (UTI).
  • Not holding your pee may cause urinary incontinence if you often go to the bathroom before you feel the urge to urinate. Over time, your body learns that even with less volume in the bladder, you feel the urge to go, leading to more frequent visits to the toilet.
  • Diabetics may encounter diabetic cystopathy, where the affected nerves to the bladder do not let the bladder contract well, leading to incomplete emptying.

Ref: https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/wellness/if-you-hold-in-your-pee-too-long-what-happens-uti-kidney-stones-10922602

Dishwashing subsidy extended to stallholders at new hawker centres: NEA

Image for illustration only

A subsidy for dishwashing service will be extended to stallholders at the seven new hawker centres from next year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Nov 16). They are
  • Ci Yuan in Hougang, 
  • Bukit Panjang, 
  • Kampung Admiralty, 
  • Yishun Park, 
  • Jurong West, 
  • Pasir Ris Central and 
  • Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub 

Starting Jan 1, 2019, NEA will co-fund the cost of a centralised dishwashing service with stallholders at these hawker centres, at 50% for the first year and 30% for the second year, it said in a media release.

Currently, only stallholders at older hawker centres that have adopted a centralised dishwashing service get the subsidy under the Productive Hawker Centres programme.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/dishwashing-subsidy-new-hawker-centres-stallholders-10938030

Higher fees for students enrolling in polytechnics, ITE Nitec courses in 2019

Students enrolling in polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) will have to pay higher school fees, according to the schools' websites.


Polytechnics
1. Singapore citizens to pay $2,900 - a S$100 increase
2. Permanent residents (PR) to pay S$5,800, an increase of S$200
3. International students will have to pay S$10,400, an increase of S$400.


ITE

a) Full-time Nitec courses

1. Singapore citizens to pay S$426, up by S$20
2. PRs to pay S$5,328 - a S$305 increase
3. International students to pay S$14,370, up by S$888.

b) Full-time Higher Nitec courses

1. Singapore citizens to pay S$626
2. PR to pay S$7,838, S$5 more
3. International students to pay S$20,480

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/polytechnic-nie-fees-2019-higher-increase-10937752

My photo - London cab


a public domain photo by me

PSLE results to be released on Nov 22, 2018


The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results for 2018 will be released on Nov 22, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said.

Students may obtain their results from their respective primary schools from 11am, MOE said in a press release on Thursday (Nov 15).

Eligible students will receive option forms to select secondary schools when they collect their result slips. The forms can be submitted through the student's primary school.

Alternately, students can use the unique S1 Personal Identification Number (S1 PIN) on the form to submit their school options online from 11am next Thursday to 3pm on Nov 28 through MOE's website.

Ref: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/psle-results-to-be-released-on-nov-22-10932682

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Fee guidelines for private surgeries - chart

Source: ST

The Last Artisan Trailer - Haw Par Villa's last pioneer craftsman


Ref: https://sg.yahoo.com/style/last-artisan-expat-film-makers-love-letter-haw-par-villas-last-pioneer-craftsman-023417165.html

Forum: Be understanding about stringent checks

There are many things that some Singaporeans have taken for granted (Airport-like checks at MRT stations an overreaction, by Mr Seah Yam Meng; Nov 9).

To some people, such airport-like security checks at MRT stations may be an inconvenience, especially during rush hours; they do not seem to realise that there could be serious consequences if something were to happen.

The world today is fraught with uncertainties and threats, and the least expected can happen at any time and anywhere.

Hence, we must not consider it an overreaction on the part of the Land Transport Authority if these airport-like preventive measures are introduced as they would prevent the loss of many lives.

Nobody can predict or confirm where terrorists may strike, so it is better to always be alert and vigilant than to be caught unawares.

Many people may not know that members of a terrorist network had planned to bomb targets near Yishun MRT station in the past (Security at train and bus stations stepped up; Jan 17, 2015).

This is ample proof that MRT stations are sensitive locations, and all of us should be prepared to bear the inconvenience of being delayed due to stringent screenings.

We should place supreme importance on our country's security, and this requires our full understanding and support.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

Ref: http://str.sg/o8qq

My photo - Ng Teng Fong General Hospital


a public domain photo by me

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Obituary: 'Under One Roof' actor Zaibo died, aged 62

Image captured from show

Malaysian comedian Zaibo, best known in Singapore for his role as Yusof in the popular sitcom Under One Roof, died from cancer on Wednesday (14 November).

Malaysian media reported that the 62-year-old, whose real name is Zainal Ariffin Abdul Hamid, died at home at 1.30pm after a battle with stage 4 oesophageal cancer.

Zaibo played Yusof, a hen-pecked mee rebus stall owner, in Under One Roof which ran on Channel 5 from 1995 to 2003.

Obituary: Jin Yong 金庸 died, aged 94

VCD cover art

Jin Yong, was a Chinese wuxia ("martial arts and chivalry") novelist and essayist who co-founded the Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao in 1959 and served as its first editor-in-chief. He was Hong Kong's most famous writer.

His wuxia novels have a widespread following in Chinese communities worldwide. His 15 works written between 1955 and 1972 earned him a reputation as one of the greatest and most popular wuxia writers ever. By the time of his death he was the best-selling Chinese author, and over 100 million copies of his works have been sold worldwide (not including an unknown number of pirated copies).

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_Yong

You may want to read Gu Long 古龙 died aged 47.


Obituary: Stan Lee died, aged 95


Spider-man, Ironman, Black Panther, the Hulk, X-man and many other superheroes.

If all that entertainment product can be traced to one person, it would be Stan Lee, who died in Los Angeles on Monday at 95. From a cluttered office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan in the 1960s, he helped conjure a lineup of pulp-fiction heroes that has come to define much of popular culture in the early 21st century.

Mr. Lee was a central player in the creation of those characters and more, all properties of Marvel Comics. Indeed, he was for many the embodiment of Marvel, if not comic books in general, overseeing the company’s emergence as an international media behemoth. A writer, editor, publisher, Hollywood executive and tireless promoter (of Marvel and of himself), he played a critical role in what comics fans call the medium’s silver age.

Ref: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/obituaries/stan-lee-dead.html

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Pressure on girls for perfect body worse than ever


Girls and young women are under more pressure than ever to achieve the perfect body in an oppressive social media-driven world that could never have been imagined by 1970s feminists, said psychoanalyst and best-selling author Susie Orbach.

Forty years after the publication of her seminal book Fat Is A Feminist Issue, the British writer - who was once Princess Diana's therapist - said women were commodifying their bodies as they tried to conform to false images peddled by online beauty influencers.

Girls as young as six were being conditioned to think about cosmetic surgery, she added, with a host of industries fuelling and profiting from body insecurity.

Faced with the reality of modern life, many women were turning inward, obsessed with diet and fitness or embracing being overweight as a sign of rebellion.

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/world/author-pressure-girls-perfect-body-worse-ever