Hari Raya Haji 2020

Happy Eid Al Adha
Festival of Sacrifice

Hari Raya Haji

Muslims in Singapore remember their faith with prayer and reflection during Hari Raya Haji, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice.

Lasting four days, Hari Raya Haji commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham's) complete faith and trust in God.

This is recounted in the story of God commanding Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael), a commandment that Ibrahim responded to with obedience. God stopped him, and provided him with a sheep to substitute as a sacrifice, instead of his son.

Prayer and sacrifice - During this period, the faithful dress in their finest clothes and congregate in mosques to listen to sermons and offer their prayers.

But the most important ritual observed here is that of 'korban' (sacrifice). Worshippers contribute live sheep, lambs, goats and cows, which are slaughtered by a quick slit to the jugular as prayers are recited.

This act reminds worshippers of the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to offer up even his own flesh and blood to God. The animal is then cleaned and the meat carved up and distributed.

Sharing and caring - The tradition is that the person who paid for the animal gets one-third of the meat and one-third goes to family and friends. As this festival is about compassion, sharing wealth and remembering blessings, the last third is usually distributed to the poor and the needy.

After this, Muslims pay social visits to parents, families and friends, and relax over a meal together.

There is little overt feasting or merrymaking – this is one festival that is more about spiritual needs than physical ones.

Pilgrims’ progress - Hari Raya Haji also marks the end of 'hajj', which is the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This arduous journey retraces the steps of the Prophet Muhammed and concludes with a series of symbolic rituals once the faithful have reached the holy city. The 'hajj' is considered the fifth pillar of Islam, and every able-bodied Muslim with financial means is expected to complete it at least once in his or her life.

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Cases of abandoned babies in Singapore

In the past 10 years, there have been 17 cases of abandoned babies in Singapore, according to statistics from the MSF.

Last year, the ministry handled one case of an abandoned baby. There were no reported cases in 2017 and 2018.

In 2016, two abandoned babies were found alive. One was abandoned at a hospital, and the other was left at the staircase of an HDB block.

related: In rare cases of abandoned babies here, one mum left newborn infant in hospital, another on staircase

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The Straits Times 8 January

17 abandoned babies were found in Singapore over the past 10 years.

Despite all the help services, there are the few who fall through the cracks, said social

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Cases of abandoned babies rare in Singapore
Retiree Tay Kim Sia showing how he found a newborn boy buried with a plastic bag around his neck in a roof-top garden in Eunos in 2011.SHIN MIN FILE PHOTO

Cases of abandoned babies remain relatively rare in Singapore, with just 21 babies found dumped by their parents between 2006 and 2015.

There were no cases last year, and just two such cases each year in 2013 and 2014, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) told The Sunday Times.

The issue resurfaced after an 18-year-old was sentenced to two years of probation on Feb 4 for leaving his newborn son in an SG50 bag outside his parents' flat last year. In quite a number of cases of abandoned babies reported in the media, investigations found that the mothers were working in Singapore as maids.

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Abandoned baby was 'weak and ants were biting him'
Mr Lew (left) recounting what happened when they found the infant in the bin outside his home. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

An Indonesian woman has been arrested for allegedly abandoning her newborn baby in a recycling bin. The baby boy was found on Monday night by residents in Tai Keng Gardens, a private estate near Upper Paya Lebar. The 29-year-old suspect, who is believed to be the mother of the child, is expected to be charged today.

Fewer than 20 babies were found abandoned in Singapore in the last decade, The Straits Times previously reported. The abandonment of babies here is rare, with none reported to MSF in 2015, two in 2016, none in 2017 and 2018, and one in 2019, said its spokesman.

The Tai Keng Gardens baby is already the third abandoned baby found so far this year, said MSF. Only one of the other two abandoned babies was reported in the media. The male infant was found in a wet and bloody supermarket plastic bag inside a rubbish bin by two cleaners at Block 543 Bedok North Street 3 on Jan 7.

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Indonesian woman, 29, arrested for abandoning newborn baby in bin at private estate near Upper Paya Lebar

A 29-year-old Indonesian woman has been arrested for her suspected involvement in abandoning her newborn baby inside a recycling bin along Tai Keng Gardens, in a private estate near Upper Paya Lebar Road.

The police said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon (July 29) that they were alerted to the incident on Monday (July 27) at about 7.47pm. Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division established the identity of the woman and arrested her on Wednesday.

The woman is believed to be the mother of the child and the police are looking into the identity of the child's father.

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Indonesian woman arrested for allegedly abandoning her newborn in private estate near Upper Paya Lebar
The baby boy was found outside a semi-detached home in Tai Keng Gardens near Upper Paya Lebar Road.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

A 29-year-old Indonesian woman who is believed to have abandoned her newborn baby was arrested by the police on Wednesday (July 29). The baby boy was found outside a semi-detached home in Tai Keng Gardens near Upper Paya Lebar Road on Monday night.

He was then taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital. The police had said he had no visible injuries and his condition was stable. On Wednesday, the police said in a statement that officers from the Ang Mo Kio Police Division were able to establish the identity of the woman through "extensive ground investigations" and with the help of CCTV footage from residents.

She is expected to be charged in court on Thursday with exposure and abandonment of a child under 12 years old, under Section 317 of the Penal Code. If convicted, she may be jailed up to seven years, or fined, or both. In the last 10 years, 17 babies have been found abandoned in Singapore.

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29-year-old woman arrested after newborn baby found in recycling bin at residential estate

A 29-year-old Indonesian woman was arrested on Wednesday (Jul 29) for allegedly abandoning her newborn baby inside a recycling bin at a private residential estate near Upper Payar Lebar Road.

The woman is believed to be the baby's mother, the police said in a news release on Wednesday.

The arrest comes two days after a baby boy was found at 7 Tai Keng Gardens on Monday night.

related: Baby boy found at Tai Keng Gardens at night, police investigating

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Baby boy found alive in Singapore after being stuffed into trash bin
Police officers and cleaners inspect the contents of trash bin after a baby was found alive inside it Tuesday in Singapore. (Reuters)

A baby boy was found alive Tuesday after being stuffed into a trash bin outside an apartment building in Singapore – and police are now looking for his parents. The newborn was discovered inside a blood-stained plastic bag by a town cleaner in the Bedok neighborhood, according to The Straits Times. Police reported him to be in stable condition with no visible injuries.

"Had the worker not found the blessed child, he could have been crushed by the compactor where all rubbish is centrally disposed in the precinct," Pritam Singh, the leader of the local Workers' Party political group, wrote in a Facebook post.

And he’s not the first infant to be left behind in Singapore over the past few years. The Straits Times reports that between 2009 and 2018, a total of 16 abandoned babies have been found in the city-state.

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Baby wrapped in plastic bag found alive in Singapore rubbish bin
An abandoned baby was found alive in a trash bin in Singapore. Photo: Reuters/The Straits Times

Refuse workers found the baby in a bloody plastic bag while clearing the rubbish chute, The Straits Times said, quoting one who said the baby was crying when discovered. Pictures showed a man cradling a baby, cleaners inspecting a bin and police cordons at the block.

In a statement, police said the child, found in stable condition with no visible injuries, had been taken to hospital. They did not identify the area where he was found, and said they were investigating the matter.

Over the past decade, there have been 16 cases of abandoned babies in Singapore, The Straits Times said.

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Mother accused of abandoning baby in rubbish chute has been remanded for 3 months, judge urges haste
A baby was found alive in a rubbish chute in Bedok North. (Photo: Cindy Co)

A woman accused of abandoning her baby in a rubbish chute in Bedok North in January has been remanded three months, with the judge urging the prosecution to expedite investigations.

The 26-year-old woman, who cannot be named in order to protect the child's identity, has been remanded since Feb 15.

She was charged then with exposing her son with the intention of abandoning him by throwing him down the chute at about 6.15am on Jan 7.

related: Mother charged with abandoning baby in Bedok North rubbish chute

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Abandoned baby boy found alive in bin chute at Bedok North HDB block
Authorities are seen at a neighbourhood in Bedok North. (Photo: Cindy Co)

An abandoned baby boy was found alive in a bin chute at an HDB block in Bedok North on Tuesday (Jan 7). The police told CNA it received a call for assistance at about 9.10am at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3.

“A baby boy was found at the said location. Paramedics attended to the baby at scene,” the police said. There were no visible injuries on the baby, who is in a stable condition, said the police.

Cases of baby abandonment in Singapore are rare, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development, in response to CNA's queries. "There were two abandoned babies in 2016, none in 2017 and 2018, and one in 2019," the ministry added.

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Woman accused of throwing baby into rubbish chute expected to plead guilty
The Singaporean is said to have committed the offence at a Housing Board block in Bedok North on Jan 7.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A woman accused of throwing her baby into a rubbish chute is expected to plead guilty on July 30, a district court heard on Thursday (July 2)

The 26-year-old Singaporean is said to have committed the offence at a Housing Board block in Bedok North on Jan 7. She was later caught and charged on Feb 15 with exposure and abandonment of a child under 12 years old.

Over the past decade, from 2009 to 2018, 16 abandoned babies were found in Singapore.

related: Police searching for parents of baby found alive in rubbish chute; looking at in-car cameras

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Pritam Singh says to not jump to conclusions after baby boy was found alive in Bedok North rubbish chute bin
The WP chief said that despite the distressing situation people should not draw any conclusions “... let’s not rush to judge the parents or whoever dumped the child. I hope they get help they need even as they will have to face up to what was done"

Earlier this morning (Jan 7), a baby was found alive inside a rubbish chute bin at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3. The baby was found in a plastic bag stained with blood by cleaners who were clearing the bin between 8am and 9am.

Pritam Singh, Workers’ Party (WP) chief shared on social media that he received a message this morning and some pictures on his Aljunied-Hougang Town Council MPs chat group when the baby boy was found.

He wrote: “A million thoughts crossed my head when I saw the pictures and you can imagine the thoughts expressed through words and emoticons by the other MPs, feelings I am sure many would Singaporeans share (sic)”.

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Six-month-old baby left abandoned at SGH; Police arrest mother, searching for her boyfriend
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is searching for a man who escaped from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after leaving the baby of his girlfriend

Reports stated that the man left the hospital premises soon after giving the six-month-old baby to a nurse at the hospital. As per police, they were informed about the case at the hospital at around 1.40 pm on Saturday, August 24.

After the police arrived at the hospital, they immediately started their search operation. They also inspected the car of the 28-year-old man at Jalan Bukit Merah towards Lower Delta Road. Reports claimed that the man left his car and fled on foot. However, when the officials searched the vehicle, suspected drug-related paraphernalia was found.

It should be noted that even though the police could not find the man who left the six-month-old infant, they identified the mother of the baby and arrested the 28-year-old woman. She was taken under custody for suspected child abuse and drug-related offences.

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Body of newborn baby found in Tampines MRT station toilet
Police officers were seen carrying a body bag out of the toilet at about 4pm yesterday (June 3). PHOTO: SHIN MIN

Cleaner Jumiati Amat was doing her regular clean-up yesterday at a women's toilet at Tampines MRT station when she discovered, wrapped in a plastic bag in a bin, the tiny body of a newborn baby.

The 75-year-old found the baby boy in a rubbish bin inside a toilet cubicle at around 1.30pm. "I saw the baby in the red plastic bag. I took it out and put it on the table," she told The Straits Times. The baby was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

This is the first known case of an abandoned baby here this year. Between 2006 and last year, there were 21 babies dumped in Singapore, the Ministry of Social and Family Development told The Straits Times earlier this year. There were no cases last year, and just two such cases each year in 2013 and 2014. Most recently, an 18-year-old was sentenced to two years' probation on Feb 4 for leaving his newborn son in an SG50 bag outside his parents' flat last year.

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Baby 'dumped' by S'pore couple in Taiwan: Forensic test finds child was born alive, sources say

A baby girl allegedly dumped by a Singaporean couple in central Taipei was alive at birth, Taiwanese media reported on Monday (March 25). However, according to Taiwanese newspaper China Times, forensic researchers are still investigating the cause of the baby's death and their report has not been released.

The Taiwanese authorities may approach Singapore for help with the investigations upon receiving the report, the newspaper said. The body, with the placenta and umbilical cord still intact, was found on Feb 26 wrapped in a garbage bag by a recycling company employee, who had been sorting through the trash.

A 24-year-old woman and her 23-year-old boyfriend from Singapore were identified as key suspects by Taiwanese police.

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What Can You Do If You Don’t Want Your Baby – Fostering & Adoption In Singapore
Give the baby up for adoption—A permanent solution

On 7th January 2020, a baby was found in a rubbish chute bin in Bedok North.

Growing up, my mother used to joke that my siblings and I were picked up from the rubbish bin. This joke would be funny, until it hits too close to home. Just like how the government deals with things that are hard to regulate, a desperate mother decided to do the same and rid their baby in true Singaporean fashion. The new-born was found by two Bangladeshi workers who heard soft cries coming from the rubbish chute bin, and thought it was from a discarded toy doll. After opening the bin, the two men were taken aback as they saw a moist and bloody plastic bag moving.

Like everyone who has learned of this incident, my heart goes out to the abandoned baby boy. It’s comforting to know that there are offers to adopt this baby. In what I like to call The Singaporean Condition, a handful of Singaporeans have thoroughly condemned the baby’s biological mother negatively. Of course, there’s no denying that leaving a newborn in a bin is not the best place to abandon a baby. But until the police reveal the information of the birth mother, we can only speculate the circumstances behind the abandonment.

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A newborn baby found in a garbage bin
Cleaners and police officers at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, on Jan 7, 2020, where a baby boy was found abandoned in a rubbish chute

The Singaporean woman believed to be the mother of the baby boy abandoned in a Bedok North rubbish chute in January was charged in court on Saturday (Feb 15).

The 26-year-old, whose identity cannot be revealed because of a gag order, was charged with exposure and abandonment of a child under 12 years old.

If found guilty, she faces a jail term of up to seven years, a fine, or both.

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Sculpt your body with a non-invasive treatment

Besides adopting a regular exercise routine, there are treatments that may help with fat reduction. Photo: Shutterstock

As you probably know by now, body fat is an impartial thing. Because of factors like a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, a slowdown in metabolism and even genes, fat cells can develop almost anywhere – from the tummy and the hips to your arms, thighs, back and chin.

While you can – and should – adopt a regular exercise routine coupled with a sensible diet, there are treatments that may also help with fat reduction. According to Dr Sim Kwang Chuor, medical director of Aesthetic Works, non-invasive fat reduction procedures have become increasingly popular here because compared to traditional liposuction, for instance, they are safer, have minimal downtime and usually involve little or no pain.

There are various fat reduction machines on the market that help to target stubborn fat with radio frequency, ultrasound or even “freezing” technology.

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Top Tips To Lose Weight

12 Nutritionists Share To Their Clients

Nutritionists have a lot of advice to give, especially when it comes to weight loss. But what are the number one tips they tell people trying to drop pounds?

We tapped 12 nutritionists for the answers—you might be surprised by what they said. (Lose up to 15 pounds in just 30 days with this revolutionary superfood plan from the publisher of Prevention!)

Be nice to yourself:
"Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. All too often we revert to negative self-talk, especially when it comes to our bodies. 'You look so fat in that' might pop into your head when you talk to yourself, but you would never use such harsh words to someone dear to you. Try to be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy. That negative talk could lead to apathy, overeating, and dietary sabotage." –Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It

Ask yourself if you're really hungry:
"Learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Traditional diets cut calories, which can seem like a drastic change if you're used to eating more food than your body needs. When you feel deprived, it's hard to find the motivation to continue, which is why most traditional diets fail. Instead, focus on fueling your body when you are hungry with healthy, nourishing foods. When you reach for a snack at 2 p.m. because you 'always' do, ask yourself if you're really hungry or just bored, tired, or stressed. If you're hungry, have a healthy snack. If you're not, figure out what emotion is really going on and address that. Shifting the focus to this mindset makes weight loss so much easier." –Alexandra Caspero, RD, founder of Delicious Knowledge

Stop dwelling on what you shouldn't eat:
"Focus on the foods and drinks you should be saying 'yes' to, rather than focusing on ones you should cut. If your mantra is 'no junk food,' it's likely that junk food—the very thing you are trying to avoid—is top-of-mind. Focusing on eating the healthy foods you love, like roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, or Sriracha hummus, makes you think about how to include them in your daily or weekly meals. That will help your unhealthy choices fall to the wayside." –Tori Holthaus, RD, founder of YES! Nutrition.

Eat whole, not "health" foods:
"Weight loss will happen as a side effect of choosing whole foods that provide the nutrients you need. New research demonstrates that foods labeled as 'healthy,' like 'healthy cookies,' may be contributing to the obesity epidemic because people are more likely to overeat them." –Brigid Titgemeier, RD, nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine.

Move more:
"Of course we have to watch our calories consumed, but how about focusing on calories expended? According to the Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. I recommend trying a combination of things such as strength training, cardiovascular training, and core work to increase activity and lose weight. Keep a journal of your active minutes each week, or use an app, to stay accountable and hit your minute goals." –Jim White, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia.

Don't ditch the fat:
"It's a common misconception that you need to cut fat out of the diet to lose weight; however, omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon and monounsaturated fatty acids in foods such as avocado and olive oil have been linked to healthier waistlines. Eat these healthy fats to increase satiety and lose weight more easily." –Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University.

Make a plan:
"Planning is the key to weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, and living a healthy lifestyle. Plan out your meals and snacks in advance, grocery shop based on those meals and snacks, prep food ahead of time, and think through the ways you can incorporate your favorite unhealthy foods in moderation. In my experience the people who plan are the ones that succeed." –Wesley Delbridge, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rework your favorite meals:
"Don't eliminate the foods you love. Instead, learn how to eat them in a healthier way. For example, don't stop eating pasta. Add lots of veggies and lean protein, like shrimp, chicken, or beans to your pasta bowl and avoid heavy, creamed sauces. Remember, the real win in weight loss is keeping the weight off, not just losing it quickly." –Keri Gans, RD, author of  The Small Change Diet.

Make changes you can stick with:
"Find a diet that is a lifestyle change you can embrace forever. Studies show that 'diets' don't work because people don't stay on them. A diet shouldn't be something you go 'on' and 'off.' It should be something sustainable. It should be a way of eating for life—an eating pattern that doesn't make you feel hungry, deprived, or obsessed with food." –Sharon Palmer, RD, author of Plant-Powered for Life.

Follow your own path:
"There is no one meal plan that will lead to sustainable weight loss in everyone. People have to find what works for them, based on their own needs and preferences." –Maria Elena Rodriguez, RD, program manager of The Mount Sinai Health System's Diabetes Alliance.

Don't forget calories:
"No matter what plan you're following, if you take in too much energy, it will get stored. When you're aware of roughly how many calories you've eaten for breakfast and lunch, you'll know if you can have some dessert after dinner. It's kind of like a budget." –Holly Herrington, RD, dietitian at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medicine.

Take things slow:
"Don't try to change everything about your diet at once. Start by making one improvement in what you're eating or one improvement in how much you're eating, but don't try to change both at once. Ease into it, and you'll find that the healthy changes you make become much more doable." –Georgie Fear, RD, author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss.

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New appointments in Singapore's Cabinet

Singapore swears in Cabinet and political office holders
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Halimah Yacob and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon pose for a photo with the newly sworn-in Ministers of State at the Istana, on Jul 27, 2020. (Photo: -Jeremy Long)

In usual times, they would stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the Istana staircase, but on Monday evening (Jul 27), members of Singapore's new Cabinet stood at arm's length from each other on the front entrance steps to pose for a family photo.

This was part of the safe-distancing measures at the swearing-in ceremony, which saw 33 political office holders split into two groups as they took their oaths of allegiance to serve Singapore.

Proceedings at the Istana, including speeches by President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were broadcast to Parliament House via video link.

Photos go viral — WP MPs-elect at Istana and in Parliament

They are going viral. The two photos here of the 10 Workers’ Party members who were elected in the recent General Election. The MPs-elect were at the 2020 Cabinet Swearing-In Ceremony yesterday, which was held simultaneously at the Istana and in Parliament as part safe-distancing measures.

Published online by WP Secretary-General Pritam Singh, show the 10 MPs-elect wearing masks and observing social distance at the Istana and in Parliament. There were five of them at each venue.

The photos drew nearly 9,000 likes in a span of only two hours. Those commenting on the photos spurred the opposition MPs-elect  on as they prepare to take part in the latest term of Parliament alongside a sea of 83 PAP MPs.

Pritam Singh to allocate 50% of Leader of the Opposition remuneration to low-income residents, other causes
Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh talking to media after a walkabout at Bedok North Street 4 on July 1, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh detailed on Tuesday (Jul 28) how he would allocate half of his allowance as Leader of the Opposition towards helping low-income residents, various needs of the party and other causes.

Earlier in the day, the authorities had announced that Mr Singh would be accorded additional privileges in his role as the Leader of the Opposition, and would also receive double the allowance of an elected Member of Parliament.

This means that Mr Singh will receive an annual package of S$385,000.

There are lots of folks who donated and continue to donate quietly, without making any public announcement.

Some folks make public announcement of part of their donations, and still maintain privacy on the rest of their regular donations.

Other continue to donate anonymously.

Yet others put their donations into their wills.

But of course, not all are angels.

There are folks who will scheme to get money from others in their families, or friends, some by stealth, others by outright manipulation and cheating.

Take all kinds - and only some may be caught by law.

Everyone has to answer to their conscience, the Almighty, and their karma in time to come.

Ho Ching and Calvin Cheng take on Pritam Singh's donation declaration; netizens respond

Getting appointed as the Leader of Opposition (LO) comes with bigger responsibilities and with that, better perks — like having one’s salary as an elected MP doubled

As such Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh announced on Tuesday (July 28) that he will be contributing 50 per cent of his additional salary (which works out to about $96,000 a year) to his party, community funds, programmes, as well as worthy charitable causes. 

Donating funds to the community would generally be considered an upstanding gesture, but two high-profile individuals — Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching and former NMP Calvin Cheng — have publicly expressed suspicion over Singh’s intentions with his public announcement. 

It is a sad day indeed when authorities turn a good deed into a bad one by attacking Pritam Singh’s annoucement to donate 50% of LO salary

One would have thought that a public figure donating a part of his salary to good causes would be a laudable thing. Yet in Singapore, it seems to have ruffled a few establishment feathers. This phenomenon is curious. Could it be jealousy or fear that motivated such negative social media posts on the part of the powers be? A touch of sour grapes perhaps

For those unaware, Leader of the Opposition (LO), Pritam Singh from the Workers’ Party (WP) has announced on Facebook that he will be donating 50% of his LO salary (after taxes) to the following causes:
  • To assist low-income residents in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC and Sengkang GRC through the WP Community Fund (WPCF) and/or the WP Grassroots Committee; or
  • Community programs in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC, Sengkang GRC; or
  • Charitable or worthy causes; or
  • Workers’ Party specific needs.

While netizens have generally reacted to this announcement positively, it is noteworthy that CEO of Temasek and wife of the Prime Minister, Ho Ching has implied that Singh may have had nefarious intents by making his intentions public.

Parliament sets out duties and privileges of Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh
Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh with Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin on July 28, 2020.PHOTO: TAN CHUAN-JIN/FACEBOOK

As the official Leader of the Opposition (LO), Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh will be given certain parliamentary privileges like the right of first response among MPs.

He will also have the right to ask the lead question to ministers on policies, Bills and motions, subject to existing speaking conventions, the offices of the Speaker of Parliament and the Leader of the House said in a joint statement on Tuesday (July 28).

The statement set out the duties of the new role, as well as the parliamentary privileges and resources accorded to Mr Singh, who is an MP for Aljunied GRC.

Singapore PM Lee Announces New Cabinet; Swearing-in On July 27
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong walks at the National Palace in Mexico City. Lee is calling for new elections to seek a new mandate during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday announced his new Cabinet, 15 days after his ruling People's Action Party bagged 61.24 per cent of the votes in the 2020 general election. The swearing-in ceremony for the Cabinet and other office holders will take place on Monday at the Istana — the official residence and office of the President of Singapore — and Parliament House. Lee's PAP party has retained power with a "clear mandate" in the general election held on July 10 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The PAP, in power since 1965, won 83 of the 93 parliamentary seats or 61.24 per cent of the vote.

The election was widely seen as a referendum on the prime minister's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Singapore is currently facing the city state's worst recession with economy projected to shrink between 7 and 4 per cent. Singapore is only a handful of countries to have held an election during the pandemic.

The new Cabinet will have 37 political office holders, the same as the previous one. Lee said the new Cabinet seeks to balance continuity, exposure and renewal, and be a team that leads Singapore through the current public health and economic crisis and into the future, the Channel News Asia reported. Heng Swee Keat remains in his posts as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. However, he has also been named as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies in the new Cabinet. Teo Chee Hean retains his post as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, while Indian-origin Tharman Shanmugaratnam stays as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies. Both the ministers will also serve in the Prime Ministers' Office.

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PM Lee’s latest Cabinet: No change in prominent ministerial positions
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet on Saturday afternoon (July 25). While there are changes within the Executive branch of the Government, many prominent positions remain intact

Mr Lee will continue to be head of government while his presumptive successor, Mr Heng Swee Keat, will continue as the Cabinet’s sole Deputy Prime Minister and also as Finance Minister with an additional role as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies. Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Mr Teo Chee Hean will remain as Senior Ministers.

Mr K Shanmugam will continue helming two key ministries: Law and Home Affairs. Mr Chan Chun Sing, Mr S Iswaran and Mr Gan Kim Yong will continue leading the ministries of Trade and Industry, Communications and Information, and Health respectively. Mrs Josephine Teo will continue as Minister of Manpower despite widespread criticism of how she handled the Covid-19 outbreak among migrant workers.

In his announcement, that came 15 days after the 2020 elections — which saw the People’s Action Party draw its second-worst result in history, Mr Lee said that he is retaining these key positions to promote continuity. He is, however, making some changes to give the 4G ministers more exposure handling different portfolios.

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New Cabinet appointments: Changes at a glance
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiling the new Cabinet line-up during a press conference at the Istana on July 25, 2020.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (July 25) unveiled the new Cabinet line-up and other political appointments.

There will be seven new political office-holders, three office-holders will retire and six will be promoted. The new appointment holders will be sworn in at the Istana and Parliament House on Monday.

Here are the changes at a glance:


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Cabinet reshuffle: New top appointments at 5 ministries including Lawrence Wong as Education Minister, Ong Ye Kung as Transport Minister
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, flanked by seven political office holders, during a briefing on Saturday (July 25) to unveil the latest Cabinet line-up

Two weeks after the People’s Action Party returned to power after the General Election (GE), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (July 25) unveiled Singapore’s new Cabinet line-up.

There will be new top appointments at five of the ministries, while the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has been renamed the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment. Mr Ong Ye Kung will head the Ministry of Transport, taking over from Mr Khaw Boon Wan who has retired from politics. Mr Ong was previously Education Minister. Mr Lawrence Wong, previously the National Development Minister, will take over the education portfolio.

Mr Desmond Lee will be the new National Development Minister, while retaining a role in the Ministry of Social and Family Development as Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration. Mr Masagos Zulkifli will be the new Minister for Social and Family Development, relinquishing his environment portfolio, which will be taken up by Ms Grace Fu.

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PM Lee announces new Cabinet; 6 office holders promoted, 3 retirements
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre) announces Singapore's new Cabinet on Jul 25, 2020. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Singapore's new Cabinet on Saturday (Jul 25), 15 days after the People's Action Party (PAP) took 61.24 per cent of the votes in the 2020 General Election.

Three office holders will retire and six office holders will be promoted. In addition, there will be seven new political office holders. These changes take effect from next Monday unless stated otherwise.

Mr Lee continues as Prime Minister, saying that he intends to see Singapore through the COVID-19 pandemic as its leader and that the timeline for succession depends on the situation.

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PM Lee Hsien Loong announces new Cabinet, with new MP Tan See Leng in line-up
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet line-up during a live telecast on Saturday (25 July)

During his announcement, PM Lee said that the new Cabinet seeks to balance continuity, exposure and renewal, and be a team that leads Singapore through the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis and into the future. “First, continuity. In normal times, we need experienced ministers to provide steady hands, and also to mentor the younger ministers. And in this crisis, this need is even greater,” he said.

"Secondly, I'm rotating the ministers, especially the younger ones to gain exposure and experience. We regularly do this during Cabinet reshuffles, and the intent is to expose the office holders to different portfolios, to gain both breadth and depth, to understand the intricacies of the issues and to see things from different perspectives. And ultimately from a national perspective.

"Thirdly, I'm renewing the line-up and bringing in fresh blood and promoting several junior office holders and backbenchers who have performed well. I'm also bringing in fresh faces from the newly elected Members of Parliament, including several from the private sector, and one of whom as a full minister. They will reinforce my team and offer new ideas and perspectives.”

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Singapore PM hints at delayed exit
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives at a People’s Action Party office as ballots are counted following the general election on July 10. (Reuters Photo)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has hinted that he might delay his plan to step down as he wants to ensure the coronavirus outbreak and recovery are managed successfully.

He made the comment on Saturday after announcing a new cabinet that is largely unchanged from before the July 10 general election. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Lee’s expected successor, was kept in his post overseeing the finance ministry, as were senior ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean.

“We are in a crisis of a generation … therefore I have kept on many of my older colleagues who are all participating in this fight against Covid-19,” said Lee, whose People’s Action Party (PAP) has ruled Singapore since its independence in 1965. Lee, 68, said he may have to delay his plans to hand off to a successor by the time he is 70 because of the pandemic.

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4G leaders in 'complete unity' behind Heng Swee Keat's leadership: Vivian Balakrishnan
Dr Balakrishnan said the 4G team backs the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The fourth-generation leadership team is in "complete unity" behind Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's leadership, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Sunday.

Asked about the implications of the new Cabinet line-up, which was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul 25), Dr Balakrishnan reiterated PM Lee's points that the reshuffle "reflects the need for continuity, the need for rotation, and the need for renewal".

"And if you look carefully at the composition and in fact at the moves that the Prime Minister has made, it reflects all these three priorities," he added.

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Cabinet changes show Singapore’s political succession is faltering

There was an opportunity to erase the doubts about succession when the PM announced his new Cabinet line-up on Saturday (25 July). But when Lee was asked about Heng’s position as his designated successor, the Prime Minister deflected the question to Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, the man said to be third in line.

Chan seemed a little taken aback, but managed to regain his composure somewhat and said that the 4G team’s focus is on helping the country overcome economic challenges and save jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We have no plans to do otherwise, and we have no plans, no discussion, on any change in plan.”

What an opportunity lost. He could have easily said that the 4G leadership was fully behind Heng but he didn’t and the gossip mill went into overdrive. It had to be left to a 3G leader, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, to do damage control the next day when he said at a doorstop that the new leaders were in “complete unity” behind the leadership of the DPM.

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Cabinet reshuffle: Chan Chun Sing gives cryptic reply about DPM Heng

And the most significant question posed at the press conference elicited a very telling answer. When asked whether the 4G leaders had reviewed their plans about backing DPM Heng, PM Lee very quickly deflected the question to Chan Chun Sing, who looked a bit surprised.

The Trade and Industry Minister regained his composure and gave this cryptic reply:
“We are entirely focused on helping the country in overcoming the economic challenges and saving the jobs at this point of time. We have no plans to do otherwise and we have no plans, no discussions on any change in plan.”
For the time being, perhaps.

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How to brighten your eyes

Tired of having red, puffy eyes? Achieving sparkling eyes which radiate excitement and energy is actually relatively easy if you have the right know-how.

Why is having bright eyes important? Having eyes with sparkling whites is a great indicator of health and general vitality. Ideally, your irises (the coloured part of your eyes) should contrast sharply with your whites, and your eyes shouldn’t look sore or bloodshot. It might be impossible to have sparkling eyes all the time, like the people you see in adverts and films, but there are ways you can ensure your eyes look and feel as healthy as possible.

Methods and products to brighten your eyes - There’s no magical way of immediately achieving sparkling eyes, however there are several methods you might want to test out to make them, and the skin around them, appear brighter and healthier. How to brighten eyes:
  • Try using eye drops
  • Cool them with cucumber
  • Eat plenty of omega-3
  • Get your beauty sleep
  • Protect them from the sun
  • Use an eye cream

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