28/01/2021

Thaipusam 2021

Thaipusam festival to proceed in January with COVID-19 restrictions; no kavadis, foot procession
Hindu devotees make their way along a 4km route during a Thaipusam festival procession in Singapore on Jan 31, 2018. (File photo: AFP/Roslan RAHMAN)

Thaipusam festival on Jan 28 will go ahead but COVID-19 restrictions mean some of its more distinct elements will be missing.

Among the key changes next year - there will be no foot procession between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road. Devotees will also not be allowed to carry any form of kavadis.

COVID-19 restrictions are “expected to continue for some time to come since the world is experiencing new waves of infections”, festival organisers Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the Hindu Endowments Board said in a media release on Thursday (Dec 10).


Thaipusam festival to take place with strict measures; kavadis not allowed
The Thaipusam procession on Feb 8, 2020. Unlike previous years, there will be no foot procession in the Thaipusam festival next month. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Hindu devotees who wish to participate in the Thaipusam festival next month will have to abide by a host of stringent measures, including pre-booking time slots to enter the temple, and using only pre-prepared offerings.

Unlike previous years, there will be no foot procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road during the festival on Jan 28 and activities will only be conducted in and around the latter temple, announced the two temples and the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) on Thursday (Nov 10).

They said in a joint statement that these restrictions are necessary in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the decision to continue holding the festival was taken because of its historical significance.


Guide to Thaipusam 2021 in Singapore

The Thaipusam Festival will be different in 2021 with no procession nor kavadis this year due to safe distancing measures. Thursday, 28 January 2021 marks the start of Thaipusam in 2021 for Hindu devotees however if you normally get excited to observe Thaipusam, there are many changes this year.

What is Thaipusam? Thaipusam is a sacred Tamil thanksgiving festival involving asceticism and control over one’s senses. According to Tamil folklore, Thaipusam and the foot procession is celebrated in honour of Lord Murugan (also known as Lord Subrahmanya), who represents virtue, youth and power, and is the destroyer of evil.

During non-COVID years, Thaipusam in Singapore attracted thousands of Hindu devotees who fulfil their vows over a 3km walk from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (SSPT) at Serangoon Road to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (STT) at Tank Road carrying either a Paal Kudam (milk pot) or Kavadi (wooden or metal structure with milk offerings). In keeping with an old tradition that was revived in 2016, musicians used to line the procession route, a wonderful addition to the already festive atmosphere. This year however there will be no procession, kavadis nor music to stop crowds forming.


What is Thaipusam?

Early morning prayers. Piercings. Pots of milk. A long procession. To those who aren’t familiar with the Hindu ritual of Thaipusam, it may seem a strange mix. It is, however, one of the more beautiful and spiritual religious rituals celebrated in Singapore – a festival steeped in ancient tradition.

The two-day event is a thanksgiving festival celebrated by the Tamil people that involves asceticism and control over one’s senses. It’s held to honour Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war who represents virtue, youth and power – a deity revered for defeating a particularly nasty demon. Devotees seek blessings, fulfil vows and give thanks.

The first day of Thaipusam, also known as the eve, sees a chariot procession starting from Tank Road at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan himself with 48 intricately etched glass panels angled to catch the light. The chariot takes Lord Murugan for a day’s visit to his brother Lord Vinayagar at Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple on Keong Saik Road. Along the route, he stops at several places, including Sri Mariamman temple on South Bridge Road (Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, dating back to 1827). Here, he greets the goddess within, a manifestation of his mother. He then continues on to see his brother.

read more

COVID-19: The B117 Strain

What we know about the COVID-19 cases in Singapore that tested positive for the B117 strain

Four COVID-19 cases in Singapore have so far tested positive for the more virulent B117 strain of the coronavirus.

Three of these cases were reported as community infections earlier this month, and MOH confirmed on Tuesday (Jan 26) night they had tested positive for the new variant. The other case confirmed to have tested positive for the B117 strain is an imported case from December last year.

Besides the four confirmed cases, another 14 cases in Singapore have tested “preliminarily positive” for the new strain. The health ministry has yet to provide an update on their status.

3 more cases in S'pore later confirmed to have UK COVID-19 variant, all in community

Singapore has confirmed three more cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variant identified in the UK. The cases, all community infections that were previously reported, tested positive for the new B.1.1.7 strain based on whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release on Tuesday (26 January).

They include a 24-year-old Korean man, a work permit holder who works at Azur at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, who was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 5 January and had tested preliminarily positive for the B.1.1.7 strain. His job entails delivering pre-packed meals to aircrew and hotel guests. He does not interact with diners at Azur.

The other two cases are a 39-year-old Singaporean man, a worker at Singapore Scouts Association, who was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 15 January, and his 39-year-old Singaporean spouse, an administrative officer at OCBC Tampines Centre One, who was confirmed to be infected on the same day


Annual vaccination against Covid-19 a possibility as coronavirus mutates: Lawrence Wong
Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the pandemic could last four to five years

Singaporeans may have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 yearly, just like how it is for influenza, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said. This is because new vaccines may need to be developed to combat more virulent strains of the coronavirus, given the uncertainties surrounding how the virus could mutate.

In the worst-case scenario, the world could find itself one step behind viral transmissions once again, he said on Monday (Jan 25) during a dialogue hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies. The dialogue was the final event at the think tank’s four-day-long Singapore Perspectives conference titled Reset, which centred around a post-pandemic Singapore.

Early studies suggest that the South African variant of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus can evade the defences that vaccines build in our bodies, Mr Wong said. The co-chair of the Government’s Covid-19 task force added: “The bottom line is that we live in a shared world and no one is safe until everyone is safe. It could take four to five years before we finally see the end of the pandemic and the start of a post-pandemic normal.”


related:
COVID-19: The B117 Strain
Singapore urges calm after panic buying hits supermarkets
Singapore reports its first cases of local COVID-19 transmission
Singapore confirms cases of COVID-19 Virus

27/01/2021

9 Homeware and Kitchenware Ideas


Getting the keys to your first home means a flurry of mixed emotions. Having a place to call your own is a joyous occasion, but it can also be super daunting to fill up an entirely blank space. Sky-high costs aside, an endless chase from one unsatisfactory place to another will do nothing but drain the energy out of you and your partner.

Here are 9 one-stop shops that specialise in wholesale homeware, allowing you to transform your fresh new abode for a fraction of the price:
  • Home First Lighting
  • Born In Colour
  • The Mattress Centre
  • Bathroom Warehouse
  • The Reject Shop
  • Sembawang Lighting House
  • Thrift House Marketing
  • Mega Furniture
  • AHT Carpet & Flooring

26/01/2021

Singapore’s 50th Richest man

Provided by Vulcan Post From Lee Hwa To Maxi-Cash: How He Revamped His Family Biz And Became S'pore's 50th Richest

Multimillionaire Koh Wee Seng holds a net worth of US$540 million and ranks just shy of Forbes’ richest list as Singapore’s 50th richest man.

Despite being the founder and driver behind one of Singapore’s largest business empires, the low-profile magnate has been kept largely out of the public eye.

The man behind household brand names like Lee Hwa Jewellery and Maxi-Cash, Koh was barely an adult when he took over the reins of his family’s half-a-century-old jewellery business. The enterprising youth quickly turned his mother’s shop into an international conglomerate spanning the jewellery, financial, property and hospitality services in just two decades.

25/01/2021

Unsanitary pads: Soiled high-rise litter

Bothers Punggol residents for months

How does one explain to their kid the presence of soiled sanitary pads strewn across the foot of their residential block?

"It's not just clear discharge, it's red," one frustrated mother told CNA. "I've got kids who ask me 'Mum, what's that?'"

Since the circuit breaker period last year, residents of Punggol Sapphire have been plagued by a menstruating litterbug.


Punggol housing block residents plagued by sanitary pad litterbug
Discarded sanitary pads on the ledges of units in a housing block. (Photo: Cheryl Lin)

Over the past few months, residents at a Housing Board block in Punggol Sapphire estate have grappled with high-rise litter in the form of used sanitary pads – strewn across the ground floor or even stuck to their window ledges.

Residents at Block 268C Punggol Field told CNA that the problem surfaced around the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" period last year, when they began finding stained sanitary pads at the first floor of the housing block.

“When walking back from the multi-storey car park, I was so shocked to see this thing lying on the grass patch and drain covers,” said Ms Sue. The residents CNA spoke to did not want to reveal their full names as that would make known their address.

“Then when I was working from home, I was putting up some blinds and I saw some (of the pads) stuck on other neighbours’ window ledges … I was very shocked,” she said.



“It’s not just clear discharge, it’s red … I’ve got kids who ask me, ‘Mum what’s that?’” says a Punggol resident.


Resident horrified after neighbour's soiled sanitary pad lands on kitchen window ledge

Facebook user Gail Siow-Sethi took to group Complaint Singapore to share a horrifying finding she had noticed at her window ledge. Siow-Sethi also claimed that it was the "second time" that day this had happened.

The soiled sanitary pad had apparently been flung out of a kitchen window, landing on the ledge near the laundry poles where she had hung some "clean clothes" out to dry.

In the comments, she also said she subsequently wrote a "nasty note" and stuck posters regarding the incident outside the lift lobby.


Gail Siow-Sethi 23 Oct 2020

Disgusting asshole(s) throwing soiled pads out of kitchen window. 2nd time today. My clean clothes are hanging out there.


Sembawang resident horrified to find ground littered with soiled sanitary pads

Sembawang Town Council has responded to a case of soiled sanitary pads allegedly thrown from a unit at Sembawang Crescent.

Stomper Hing Yen alerted Stomp to the situation and said it has been a "recurring problem".

She shared photos of soiled sanitary pads she found near Block 363 Sembawang Crescent on July 12 and said she believes the pads were thrown from the block.


Soiled sanitary pad, pizza boxes thrown from Woodlands block

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has installed high-rise littering cameras at Block 626 Woodlands Avenue 6 after several incidents of littering.

Most recently, a Stomper alerted Stomp to a used sanitary pad and pizza boxes that were tossed from a window on Apr 24 at about 3.21pm.

"These people are truly disgusting and inconsiderate," she said.


Residents disgusted by several soiled sanitary pads thrown from toilet window at Yishun block

Of all the things people have thrown out of their windows, nothing is quite as unhygienic or disgusting as soiled sanitary pads.

A Stomper told Stomp that a resident at Block 439 Yishun Avenue 11 has been throwing pads from her unit for about a year now.

Bloody and used pads have been a common sight at the foot of the block but until now, the Stomper has been unable to trace who has been doing this. "On Saturday (Aug 24), we saw a pad stuck to the wall outside a window on the third floor," she said.


It's raining sanitary pads on roof of sheltered walkway in Clementi

A Stomper saw sanitary pads on the roof of a sheltered walkway in front of Block 440C Clementi Avenue 3, on Sunday (Sep 30) at 4.30pm.

The Stomper, a resident of the block, said that the pads have been there for more than a week. "I just moved into this flat five months ago and it is quite unsightly to be seeing people's private items near your home," she said.

"Some of them are also found on the air conditioning compressor boxes outside the window. The pads can be seen from the second floor and it is really inappropriate."


Several soiled sanitary pads thrown from kitchen window at Blk 313 Hougang Ave 5

We have seen items like rice cookers and chairs being thrown out of windows before, but what this woman throws out of her kitchen window may leave you feeling a little bit ... disgusted.

Stomper J alerted us to a woman staying in his block who he often sees throwing sanitary pads out of her kitchen window.

The incidents took place at the Stomper's block, Block 313 Hougang Avenue 5.


Nee Soon Town Council steps up fight against sanitary pad litterbugs in Yishun
There have been complaints of sanitary pads thrown down from Block 841, Yishun Street 81 (Photo: Aqil Haziq Mahmud)

Nee Soon Town Council is ramping up its battle against high-rise litterbugs at a housing block in Yishun, putting up notices in lifts and urging residents to report offenders to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

"The town council has received feedback on high-rise littering at this block," read a notice dated Wednesday (Sep 4) at Block 841 Yishun Street 81, adding that the most "prevalent article" being disposed of indiscriminately were sanitary pads.

"These inconsiderate acts dirty and damage the property of residents living at the lower floors and could endanger the lives of passers-by below," the notice stated.


There’s no stopping Yishun’s sanitary pad litterbug

The issue of high-rise littering stirred up a lively exchange in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3), with Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) throwing light on a peculiar form of high-rise litter that has been a persistent issue in the past few years: soiled sanitary pads.

Ms Lee, who does monthly litter-picking with residents in her constituency, was among a handful of MPs who expressed concern about enforcement actions taken by the National Environment Agency against high-rise litterbugs.

She pointed out that deploying surveillance cameras for a short period of time hardly addresses the problem.


Yishun Sanitary Pad Litterbug May Only Stop After Menopause Hits
MP Lee Bee Wah Proposes DNA Testing To Catch Yishun Sanitary Pad Litterbug

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah is frustrated, and understandably so. Out of all residential issues she’s had to deal with over the years, socially inconsiderate people at Block 841 Yishun Street 81 has been giving her much grief.

Over what, you ask? A womanly problem that comes in the form of soiled sanitary pads.

TODAY Online reports that the unsightly and unhygienic problem of used sanitary pads thrown from the block have plagued the neighbourhood for years.


MP raises sanitary pad littering problem at Yishun HDB block 'which will go away only when litterbug reaches menopause'

Retiree Lee Thian Hock, 68, said that the surveillance cameras installed around Block 841 on Yishun Street 81 were of no use. Litter that he sees in the lift could be left there for up to four days.

For years, passers-by and residents at Block 841 on Yishun Street 81 have had to deal with the periodic unhygienic problem of used sanitary pads thrown from one of the flats there, and it has stymied investigators and frustrated their Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah.In a lively parliamentary exchange with Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, the MP of Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC) said that the authorities’ efforts to nab the culprit have not paid off, despite repeated stakeouts by investigators from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Evoking laughter from other MPs, Ms Lee said: “If you had the ambition to catch the culprit, you will be able to catch (her). Otherwise, looks like this problem will disappear only when the litterbug (reaches) menopause.”


Everything About Yishun’s Sanitary Pad Litterbug

Ah, another news about Yishun again. Besides the crazy cat murderers and white rabbit candy smoothie sweetening up that area, what more can Yishun house? Another case of animal abuse again? Or a new good food popping up soon?

None of the above. This time around, it’s about litterbugs at a housing block in Yishun. Specifically, sanitary pad litterbugs.

Yup. I had the same reaction too. Ew.


Woman fined $1,600 for repeatedly throwing used sanitary pads out of Toa Payoh flat
Image of the used sanitary pad (circled) thrown out of the window. PHOTO: NEA

A 28-year old woman was fined $1,600 and sentenced to three hours of Corrective Work Order (CWO) for repeatedly throwing used sanitary pads out of her home at Block 111, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh between Sept 29 and Oct 1, 2016.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement on Friday (June 30) that it had received 10 complaints about high-rise littering at the block between January and September 2016. Despite repeated rounds of educational outreach conducted by the town council and stake-outs by NEA officers at the block, the problem persisted.

A surveillance camera deployed by the NEA revealed that the28-year-old was behind three acts of high-rise littering over three days.


Tin Pei Ling goes after resident who threw sanitary pad

A case of high-rise littering raised the ire of the ward's MP - so much so that she decided to hunt the errant resident down.

When the MP for Marine Parade GRC Ms Tin Pei-Ling discovered that a resident had been disposing tampons out of the window, she spared no effort to look for the culprit - even though it meant combing through 7 floors worth of households.

Last week, the Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that residents had complained of 'diapers' being frequently found at the foot of Blk 444 at Tampines Street 42. The final straw came when their MP, Mr Baey Yam Keng recovered a diaper that was still 'warm', prompting him to search over 12 floors to catch the diaper-throwing culprit.


related: