Anesthesia is too BIZARRE for words

What Shirley sees after waking up

One hospital’s mistake ruins Shirley’s life.

The 25-year-old Shirley Mélendez from Peru wanted to have her kidney stones surgically removed, but after waking up from the anesthesia she found herself in a horrible nightmare.

In January of this year, Shirley had surgery to remove her kidney stones for the first time. One operation didn’t appear to be enough and she needed to undergo a second surgery. After the last surgery things seemed to be going well for her and she could move on with life. But after a while she started experiencing pain again while peeing and had to go to the hospital for a third time. The third surgery, hoever, doesn’t go quite as planned.


Are You Really Ready To Keep One Of These As A Pet?

We say first ah, keeping one of these is about a 20-year commitment.

Sold at pet stores for a relatively low price, this familiar terrapin is called a Red-Eared Slider. It’s a small creature, and that’s why many who want to keep a Red-Eared Slider as a pet often underestimate how much it costs for an initial aquarium set-up, not to mention the time and effort it takes to keep your turtle happy and healthy.

If you think you’re ready for – get this – a couple of decades of commitment, then use this as a checklist to see whether you’ve got it all covered before you start a relationship and a life with a shelled friend.


Yuán Xiāo Jié 元宵節 Chap Goh Mei 2021

Rediscovering the romance of Chap Goh Mei

Chap Goh Meh in Teochew simply means "the 15th night of Chinese New Year". Aside from being tagged as the last day of the festival, Chap Goh Meh is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. On a celebratory point of view, this night sees the gathering of family members as they sit down to a meal together.

Just like Chinese New Year, Chap Goh Meh used to be celebrated with lots of fireworks and firecrackers which are now banned from use. Many homes gaily decorated with red lanterns and bright lights to mark the end of an auspicious occasion. Thanksgivings are held while many people would pray for success and wealth for the coming year.

Chap Goh Meh is also regarded as the Chinese Valentine's Day, bringing forth lots of fun and gaiety. Chap Goh Meh used to be a night of courtship and was a forerunner in promoting match-making. On this night, many young ladies would make their way to the Esplanade, dressed in their best, with hope of finding prospective suitors.

One of the fun activities that take place on this auspicious night includes the throwing of tangerines into the sea off the Esplanade by these young maidens. It is without a doubt, the most popular and colorful moment in the celebration of Chap Goh Meh. It is believed that by throwing tangerines into the sea, these young girls would find themselves a good husband. For many, the act of throwing tangerines into the sea also signifies that these ladies are available for marriage. It is also said that if someone else who sees the floating tangerine in the water and picked it up, that generally means that the single who threw it would be able to find a good spouse.

These are Memories of "The Good Old Days".

Chap Goh Mei: Not Just A Name On A Mandarin Orange
As the Chinese New Year festivities come to an end, let's take a look at this equally-as-celebrated festival

Today, the Chinese will observe Chap Goh Mei (or Chap Goh Meh), a festival that’s celebrated just as heartily as Chinese New Year. While this year’s event will be a little subdued, much like Chinese New Year celebrations, owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese community is still enthusiastic about upholding its age-old traditions with much joy and festivity.

Let's take a look at the origins of Chap Goh Mei and the different ways it's celebrated:
  • Chap Goh Mei literally means the 15th night of Chinese New Year in Hokkien, a dialect originating from Southeastern China. However, it’s not only celebrated by the Hokkiens.
  • In some parts of the world, such as China, Chap Goh Mei is also recognised as Yuan Xiao Jie (Lantern Festival). In China and other Asian countries that observe this festival, the day signifies the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • While major activities for people in China include eating tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) over a grand meal, solving riddles written on beautiful lanterns, and visiting temples to pray for their family for the coming year, Chap Goh Mei in Malaysia and Singapore is celebrated with a modern twist.
  • Not only is Chap Goh Mei the last day that families can toss yee sang together, a symbol of all things auspicious, it’s also often considered the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. On this night, young unmarried ladies throw Mandarin oranges marked with their names and telephone numbers into lakes and rivers in hopes of finding love, and optimistic men will be tasked to scoop them up and make contact. Think of it as the Tinder of yesteryear.

The 15-Day Celebration of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year starts with the New moon on the first day of the first lunar month and ends on the Full moon 15 days later:
  • First day - zhengyue 1, ’Birthday of Chicken’
  • Second day - zhengyue 2, ‘Birthday of Dog’
  • Third day - zhengyue 3, ‘Birthday of Pig’
  • Fourth Day - zhengyue 4, ‘Birthday of Sheep’
  • Fifth day - zhengyue 5, ‘Birthday of Ox, Cattle’
  • SIxth day - zhengyue 6, ‘Birthday of Horse’
  • Seventh day - zhengyue 7, ‘Birthday of Men’
  • Eighth day - The Completion Day
  • Ninth day - The birthday of the Jade Emperor
  • Tenth to the Twelfth Day - More feasting with friends and family
  • Thirteenth day - A time to diet a bit after so much rich food
  • Fourteenth day, The Lantern Decoration Day
  • Fifteenth day, Lantern Festival


3 signs you probably grind your teeth in your sleep

This is how you find out you probably grind your teeth when you sleep

We don’t have a lot of control over our bodies when we’re asleep. We roll this way and that, have weird twitches and we snore or babble away. Another thing you might be doing in your sleep is grinding your teeth. Dentists will often notice if you do so when they examine your teeth, but sometimes they don’t spot it. These are the three symptoms that can reveal to you if you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep.

This can tell you whether or not you grind your teeth:
  • What happens when you grind your teeth? When you grind your teeth, this usually happens with quite some force. Most teeth grinders do it subconsciously in their sleep. Someone who is sleeping next to a teeth grinder will hear a very unpleasant grinding noise. People who grind their teeth during the day often don’t make noise while doing it but are more likely to clench their teeth. Grinding means there’s motion involved; clenching happens without it.
  • Cause - There can be multiple different reasons why you’re grinding your teeth at night. Genetics is the cause behind it 40 to 60 per cent of the time. However, other causes can be stress, unresolved trauma, smoking and alcohol use. Teeth grinding happens twice as often in smokers than in non-smokers. Besides this, medicine and drug use can also be responsible.


How to get over fear of intimacy

Be open, patient and build trust over time to truly deepen your
It’s impossible to truly love someone without understanding them on a deeper level. True intimacy occurs when two people can reach deep into each other’s heart and soul. Photo: Shutterstock

True intimacy occurs when two people can reach deep into each other's heart and soul, live with no pretence, and be sincerely vulnerable with each other.

But what if one person is holding back and refusing to open up and share? When one person holds back, then the relationship is unable to move forward.

So how do you get your partner to open up and unblock their emotions? Or even encourage them to confront old wounds with you?


Got a growling or grumbling stomach?

This is what it means
This is what a growling, grumbling or bubbling stomach tells you

You’ve plopped down on the sofa after dinner to relax and then you hear all kinds of strange noises coming from your stomach. Grumbling, growling, bubbling … What do these noises mean? There are many different things that might be causing this noise. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognise the kind of noise your stomach is making, where it comes from and what the reason behind it is. We’ll explain it all in this article!

Your stomach can make an awful lot of noise sometimes:
  • Gasses - The most common and obvious cause behind abdominal noises is the movement of abdominal and/or stomach gasses. Your digestive system (meaning your stomach and bowel) shrinks and expands. Because of this, the gasses that are in there become stuck, which causes them to make a sound. That’s the grumbling that you hear. The contents of your bowel, part of which is gas, is propelled forward by the small intestine and this movement can cause bubbling or grumbling noises. You’re basically passing wind, but inside your body.
  • Troubled tummy - Healthy, normal digestion shouldn’t make any sounds. Is your belly making strange noises after dinner every single day? Then it might very well be that you regularly eat something you’re actually allergic too, or that you have digestion problems. Take a good look at your diet and scratch what you think might be the culprit from your dishes. Your troubled tummy might also be a sign that you have a food allergy or gluten or lactose intolerance. Do you never have a noisy stomach, but you do now? You might have eaten something that has passed its expiration date, or you might have diarrhoea or the stomach flu.
  • Growling stomach - Did you eat and drink enough today? A growling stomach can be a clear sign of hunger. If you eat at regular times, your stomach starts to prepare beforehand by producing stomach juices and contracting certain muscles. Gobbling up your food can also cause a growling stomach. By not chewing on your food properly, a lot of air is trapped in your stomach, which can cause it to start growling.
  • Not enough fibres - If you have a fibre deficit in your diet, you get a bubbling stomach. This might be because your diet is too one-sided and you don’t eat enough fibres because of this. Excesses of fat, protein or carbs (sugar) can cause it as well.


Bai Tian Gong 拜天宫 2021

Hokkiens’ New Year 福建人的新年 The 9th day of Chinese New Year

The History Of Hokkien 'Bai Tian Gong'
Tonight was the 8th day of the first month of lunar calendar. On the 9th day, it would be the celebration known to the Hokkiens as ‘Bai Tian Gong’, which literally means ‘praying the Heaven God’

During a Chinese New year of the Ming Dynasty, there was a bandit raid in the province of Hokkien. These intruders however robbed and burned down villages, attacked and killed the villagers. The people of the villages were in fear and escaped from their burnt villages during the night. Some of the villagers then hid themselves among the sugarcane fields. Needless to say, those villagers prayed to Heaven God (Tian Gong) for salvation during their hideout. The pursuing intruders spent many days trying to locate and hunt them but to no avail. On the ninth day of that Chinese New Year, they finally gave up and returned to their region.

The Hokkiens then happily emerged from the sugar cane fields, and praising the blessings of the celestial deities and owing gratitude to the sugarcane plants for saving them from destruction. Thus, in all Hokkien celebrations, the sugarcane plant is given prominence. Realizing that it was also the 9th Day of the Chinese New Year and coincidentally the birthday of Heaven God, they decided to make votive offerings and prayers to the Jade Emperor for their salvation. There are many version ofthe Hokkiens’ Bai Tian Gong stories. Whichever it is, the hokkiens believe that our life and prosperity are granted by the Heaven God.

On the eve of the 9th day, a pair of sugarcane plants are used by the Hokkiens usually placed one on each side of the offering table orthe front door of the house. The pair of the sugarcane symbolises unity, cooperation and strength. The sugarcane itself is a symbol of harmony and a token which can bring good and ’sweet’ results. The very straightness of the sugarcane stem also ensures that the Hokkiens can become a clan of honest and sincere people.


The 12 chinese zodiac signs

In the Chinese astrology are 12 Chinese zodiac animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) used to represent years and five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water).

The same chinese animal sign and element combinations recur only every 60 years.

According to the chinese horoscope, the animal ruling a person birth year has a great influence on personality, and destiny. China and other many Chinese communities around the world use the Chinese calendar , a lunisolar calendar for determine important festival dates, such as Chinese New Year.

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Renri 人日 or Yan Yat 2021

CNY dish: 七样菜 Stir Fried 7 Vegetables

Every 7th day of Chinese New Year (also called ‘Ren Ri’ ; 人日), Ah-mm will tell me to go and buy 7 types of vegetables for her to cook 七样菜. 人日 is literally ‘human day’. According to Chinese legend, 女媧 created different animals on different days. Humans were created on the 7th day after she created the world, so Ren Ri is also known as everyone’s birthday. Don’t be surprised if a Chinese wishes you ‘Happy Birthday’ on this day!

Some markets will pre-pack the 7 assorted vegetables for you so you don’t end up with big bunches of everything. Ah-mm says there’s no hard and fast rule as to which vegetables go into the dish, but she insists on having Chinese leeks (大蒜), pronounced ‘da suan’, which sounds like calculating (money).She also always got some 春菜 (mustard greens) but it’s kinda hard to find. My 7 types of vegetables this year:

1. Chinese leeks (red leeks)
2. Spring onions
3. Chives
4. Celery
5. Cabbage
6. Puay Leng (Chinese spinach)
7. Xiao Bai Cai

You can add in some meat slices like lean pork, but I added bak gwa this year hehe. Slice the bak gwa into strips and fry them together with the leeks, chives and celery in the beginning, so that the entire wok has the smokey fragrance of bak gwa. But watch the fire to prevent burning. I like them a bit charred though!

CNY dish: 七样菜 Stir Fried 7 Vegetables (budgetpantry.com)
Serves: 4-6 as part of a Chinese meal
What you need:

6 stalks Chinese leek
2 sprigs spring onion
4-5 stalks chives
4 stalks celery
8 leaves napa cabbage
Handful of Chinese spinach
3 bunches xiao bai cai
1.5 slice bak kwa, cut into strips
5 cloves sliced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tablespoon mushroom seasoning

(note: above is agaration. you can simply use a handful of each type of vegetable)


Chop the vegetables into 1-inch length thereabouts.

Heat the oil in a wok. Fry the garlic, leeks, chives, celery and bak kwa for a few minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables on high heat.

Sprinkle in the mushroom seasoning, mix well and dish up. If you have some fried garlic, you can also sprinkle some on top before serving.

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Lo Hei 捞起 Yúshēng 魚生

The Chinese Lunar New Year is an annual festival where many traditions culminate from exchanging of oranges to the receiving of red packets and more. Still, as far as the Chinese New Year goes, the iconic yu sheng toss remains at the helm of all things festive. Yu Sheng, otherwise known as lo-hei or prosperity toss, is something that we’ve grown terribly fond of. A vibrant centrepiece dish comprising various elements, each boasting its own unique flavour and meaning behind it, the yu sheng is always the first order of business at any family gathering. Yet, as we find ourselves going through the motion of this tradition year in year out, how many of us millennials can actually say that we truly understand this practice and its significance? To a season dedicated to good fortune, family reunion and feasting, here is our guide on lo hei, what it is and what it represents.

Since its origins as a simple raw fish dish back in the 1930s, the recipe has undergone a series of transformations, and even until today, people are still finding innovative ways to present this dish. The dish was brought to Singapore in the late 19th century by the migration of Cantonese and Teochew migrants from China. “Lo Hei”, in Cantonese literally translates to “tossing up good fortune”, and it refers to the ritual adopted in Singapore that involves a group of people gathered around a massive plate, tossing its contents violently while saying out auspicious phrases before eating it—it is popularly believed that the higher the toss, the better your prospects and fortune in the year ahead.

At the very beginning, the salad itself consisted merely of raw fish slices, some vegetables and seasoning to taste. It was only much later on in 1964, where a quartet of chefs—known affectionately as the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’—reinvented the dish and served it at the then, newly opened Lai Wah restaurant. The new salad saw an improvement in texture, colour, and flavour. Key ingredients & what they represent:
  • Carrots – Represents good luck.
  • Green Radish – Represents eternal youth.
  • White Radish – Represents good job opportunities in the coming year.
  • Raw Fish – symbolises abundance and prosperity.
  • Pomelo – Represents luck.
  • Crushed Peanuts – Is a sign that your home will be filled with many valuable possessions.
  • Sesame Seeds – Represent the hope that your business will flourish.
  • Golden Crackers – Symbolises wealth.
  • Plum Sauce – A key component that binds the salad together, it represents stronger ties among family and friends.
  • Pepper & Cinnamon Powder – signify the wish for wealth
  • Oil – Often drizzled onto the salad in a circular motion rather than poured over. This is to symbolise that money will come from all directions.

Nián Nián Yǒu Yú 2024

Rabbitfish 白肚鱼 for Chinese New Year
Rabbitfish as a symbolic dish in Chinese New Year (CNY)

Rabbitfish is one of the must-buy food during Chinese New Year (CNY). The species commonly eaten is White-Spotted Rabbitfish. Its stomach region is usually bitter. CNY period coincides with their mating season, as a result, the fish taste great. Rabbitfish contains fish roe and milt (fish semen) during this time. Rabbitfish Milt tastes like soft tofu and with a tinge of seafood flavour. This is viewed as an abundance by the Chinese and will also buy it for its taste.

Fish is one of the most eaten food during the Chinese New Year (CNY). The word Fish (鱼yú) has the same pronunciation(余yú) as Chinese idiom 年年有余 (nián nián yǒu yú). Traditional Chinese idiom represents surplus all year round. It is one of the popular auspicious blessings during CNY festive season. Chinese choose Rabbitfish as one of the preferred fish even calling it “发财鱼” prosperous fish. Thus, it is common to buy Rabbitfish as a custom is to wish their loved ones prosperity and living in abundance during reunion dinner.  There will often be some leftover fish to symbolise surplus that matches the idiom. Most importantly, CNY reunion dinner is once a year, Chinese will definitely buy it during CNY.

White-Spotted Rabbitfish is also known as Spinefoots and they belong to the Siganidae family. Rabbitfish is a diurnal animal (active during the day). At night, it often hides in between rocks and corals. Younger rabbitfish form large schools, while the adults are usually seen in smaller schools. Some species can reach up to a length of 40 cm. White-spotted Rabbitfish is more commonly found up to 15cm. The rabbitfish elevated spines contain poison glands on its fins. These spines can be found on their fins. As Rabbitfish have venomous spines on their fins, you must act with caution when handling rabbitfish. Although not lethal, its sting can inflict great pain to people. While rabbitfish are not aggressive in nature, however, they do not hesitate to sting predators in self-defence. Rabbitfish is mainly herbivorous. Its diet is based mostly on algae. Some species of rabbitfish eat zooplankton, seaweed and corals.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Do you know what should we follow and the meaning of traditional customs and cultures for Chinese New Year celebration? Let’s us look at following tips, they help your celebration easier and have a Happy Chinese New Year:
  • Spring Cleaning: All family members will clean-up the house together on the 28th day (of the last month) of the (old) year. Spring Cleaning symbolizes that sweeping all misfortune or bad luck away from the house. Plum blossom symbolizes lucky and representing people are resilient, even in a harsh environment.
  • House Decoration: Red lanterns and red banners will be hung beside the door to keep in good luck and longevity.
  • Reunion Dinner: In New Year Eve, the whole family members will gather together and have a sumptuous dinner. If a family member could not come for the dinner, his or her presence is usually symbolized by placing an empty seat at the banquet.
  • Symbolic dishes: In the reunion dinner, some dishes are mostly being served as they hold a symbolic good meaning. For instance, prawn featuring smile always and fish featuring prosperity.
  • Shou Sui (守岁): People stay awake all night for increase longevity of the elderly family members.
  • Angpau: Angpau with lucky money or sweet inside were distributed to the young by elders. The red color of the angpau symbolizes good luck and also ward off evil spirits. 
  • Ancestor Worshiping: Chinese believe that deceased family members have a continued existence and they will look after the family.
  • New Cloth: New cloth especially in red colour will be worn during Chinese New Year as it symbolize a new start and monster Nian scared about this colour. Black and white is avoided during Chinese New Year because they represent mourning.
  • New Year Visits (Bai Nian): Chinese travels back to their home town to meet their family and also to visit relatives and friends.
  • Firecrackers: To scare away any traces of monster Nian, because it is afraid of noise.
  • Lion Dances: The loud beats of the drum and cymbals together with the face of the lion dancing can evict bad or evil spirits. Lion dance are popular for visiting houses and shops to perform the traditional custom of "Cai Ching" (采青) as people believed it can brings prosperity to people.
  • Sticky Cake (Nian Gao): To appeasing the appetite of the Kitchen God and also sticking his mouth to prevent him from speaking ill about the family. 
  • Yu Sheng (鱼生): To achieve prosperity and vigor, normally having Yu Sheng on renri (day 7).
  • Jade Emperor Ritual (Bai Tian Gong): The Hokkiens will have another family reunion dinner, and they pray to the Jade Emperor at midnight (day8). 
  • Lantern Festival: Children will go out at night carrying lanterns which symbolic of hope and good luck. People will eat Tang Yuan (汤圆) as it considered to family reunion.


Make This Vegan Scrambled Tofu Your Very Own

Tofu is a block of soybean curd. But it's also a canvas for creativity, body benefits, and the origins of plant-based innovation. Before challenging myself to switch to a vegan lifestyle in 2014, I wildly under-appreciated and underestimated tofu. It was just the tiny cubes floating around in my occasional bowl of miso soup. The "weird" thing I heard vegetarians ate instead of chicken. Nothing I was too excited about. But as I embarked on my vegan journey, I discovered that tofu is far more interesting than what I'd experienced or heard before.

I soon found myself learning the right preparation techniques and experimenting with chocolate puddings, smoked tofu steaks, and scrambles (more on this shortly), all made with tofu! Experiencing such versatility in one ingredient was eye-opening. It inspired me to be more open to trying other plant-based foods that I wasn't so familiar with. Yet, what I'd discovered about tofu has been known across the globe for thousands of years. Since being invented in China over 2,000 years ago, tofu has traveled through different countries and eras, with countless remixes and recipes designed to celebrate this unique soy food. Varying in firmness and texture (extra-firm, medium, silken, fresh, etc.), variations of tofu have truly created the foundation for meat-alternatives. Many plant-based products on the shelves list soy as their first ingredient. Which means tofu is the ultimate ancestor of today's newest vegan foods.

The journey of tofu gives us a glimpse at our deep culinary interconnectedness and that the emerging, more plant-forward food culture wouldn't be the same without it. So, the next time you question how modern food sorcery is possible (like vegan burgers that taste like meat), remember that the history of plant-based techniques and traditions birthed over two millennia ago is very much connected with the food technology we're witnessing today. Plus, it's a great lesson on culinary curiosity! Legend has it that if it weren't for a Chinese cook accidentally curdling soymilk, we wouldn't have tofu! And millions of others, myself included, wouldn't be cooking some of their favorite recipes using it.

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Valentine’s Day 2021

What to Do With Your Special Someone in Singapore

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day comes around every year and is meant to be a celebration of love. While there are plenty among us who choose to not make February 14 any more different from a regular day, there are other couples who enjoy making the most out of this day.

In Singapore, there are various V-Day offerings every year—from dining specials to staycation packages at luxury hotels—making it tough for celebrants to decide on what to do to make their date more memorable.

We’ve rounded up a variety of activities to partake in with your loved one this year that will sure to make Cupid proud.

7 Ideas To Make Your ‘Love Lockdown’ A Little Extra
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be less fun or romantic in the Covid-19 era

With the lockdown and semi-lockdown still in place for many parts of the world, February 14 is going to look a little unconventional for many this year. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do something a little different to show some appreciation for your loved one.

Plus, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year so the question is: Why not?

Whether you're together or apart this Valentine’s Day, or if you want to do a little something special for yourself (because self-love is equally as important and Singles Awareness Day is the day after anyway), here are some stay-at-home ideas to break the monotony of lockdown and have something to look forward to:
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Finders Keepers
  • Vlog your Valentine's Day
  • Let There Be Music
  • A Day of Firsts
  • Fine Dine In
  • Set Up Camp

Amazing Ideas to Celebrate a Virtual and Quarantine Valentine’s Day 2021

Valentine's Day 2020 was probably not very well-prepared when the COVID-19 outbroke suddenly. However, having spent more than a year dealing with covid, perhaps we should get some experience to prepare a meaningful virtual Valentine's Day 2021 with your lover when social distancing continues to be tightly restricted. Below are 24 ideal suggestions for you:
  • Make breakfast in bed
  • Have an indoor picnic
  • Become mixology masters
  • Decorate
  • Make a charcuterie board
  • Dip everything in chocolate
  • Cook a romantic dinner


Fú Dào Le 福到了2021

Those Chinese Characters on the Door

It's a homophone, a play on words. The character that is hung upside down is Fú - 福, pronounced “foo”. It means fortune or luck.

The pun - In Mandarin, saying Fú Dào Le means "luck or fortune has arrived". But the word "Dào" can also imply to fall down or turn upside-down. So, literally turning the character 福, Fú, upside-down is a play on words implying fortune has arrived.

On the door - You'll see the character, usually written in gold on a red background, hung on doors across the country by Chinese hoping for good fortune for the new year. The decorations are often left up all year so you may see it at any time. And why not? Everyone needs a little fortune heading their way.


A Great Friday today

Good morning, today is a wonderful Friday. You read the date from frontward (12-02-2021) and backward (1202-20-21) they read the same numbers. Have a great day!

Year of the Metal Ox 2021

8 visitors a day and no shouting while tossing yusheng
8 ways CNY will be different this year

The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the formation of clusters over the last few weeks are a cause for concern, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Jan 22).

This could indicate that there is wider, as yet undetected, community transmission, warned MOH as it announced new restrictions to prevent a resurgence in virus transmission.

Here are eight things to note, especially during the Chinese New Year period:
  • Keep to groups of eight
  • Avoid physical visits as much as possible
  • Keep masks on when not eating or drinking
  • No shouting or cheering while tossing yusheng
  • No Chinese New Year gatherings for companies
  • Follow other prevailing rules when dining out
  • Lions banished, dragons banned
  • Give e-hongbao

牛年 Niú Nián

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the Year of the Ox. The new Chinese year will start on February 12th, and it will last until January 31st of 2022. The Ox is the second out of the twelve zodiac signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Year of the Metal Ox comes right after the Year of the Metal Rat (2020) and before the Year of the Water Tiger (2022)! The years of the Ox in the Chinese Horoscope are: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021.

This year is going to be lucky and also perfect to focus on relationships, whether we are talking about friendships or love. In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical. 2021 is going to be a year when work will get rewarded, and those zodiac signs who are lucky in terms of money this year will be the ones that will make a considerable effort. The Yin energy, specific to the Chinese zodiac sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all.

The Yin energy, specific to the Chinese zodiac sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all. Since this is a Metal year, for the second successive year, the color of 2021 is going to be white. Besides white, we have the lucky colors of the OX: yellow and green, colors that, in Feng Shui, attract prosperity and success. To increase your luck, wear metal accessories. This year, no explosive or catastrophic events will occur, so it is a favorable year for economic recovery or consolidation, a year of long-term investments (especially for creating a reserve stock for the coming unproductive years). The Metal Ox year is also great for making order in the family life. After all, if the family life is peaceful, everything gets solved! Thus, 2021 is a year when all the problems get solved with discipline. A lot of discipline! Obviously, with an extra effort from us in organizing our time. Is 2021 your lucky year? Perhaps your zodiac sign is at the top of the list of the lucky signs of this special year.

Lucky Colors for each Chinese Zodiac signs according to Feng Shui in year of OX

Based on the Chinese Almanac calendar, the year of the Metal Ox (the second Chinese Zodiac sign) start from 12 February 2021 to 31 January 2022. Each year comes with a unique combination of lucky colors for every Chinese Zodiac animal sign. People believed that wearing the lucky color can boost your personal energy. It also helps to bring success and good luck throughout the year, as cited by Feng Shui Beginner.

If white and blue have been the lucky colors of the Year of the Rat 2020, in the Year of the Ox 2021, the lucky colors are metallic gray and aqua blue. It has a beneficial effect and also eliminates feelings of loneliness. If you want to feel calm and reinvigorated, you can look at a wall or a clothing item of this color.

Aqua blue is the kind of color that charges us with positive energy when we suffer from chronic stress or fatigue. The five elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth) go together with five colors (White/Silver, Black, Green, Red, and Brown). So, the Chinese people use the color animal name to count the year.

Year of the Ox coins
The 2021 Year of the Ox Chinese Almanac coins feature an ox against a backdrop of Coney Island Park. (Image: MAS)

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Nov 19) unveiled the 2021 Year of the Ox Chinese Almanac coins, marking the fifth issue in the Singapore Fourth Chinese Almanac Coin Series which began in 2017.

In keeping with the park and natural landscape theme of the coin series, the 2021 coins will feature an ox against a backdrop of Coney Island Park.

This follows on from Kampong Buangkok for the Year of the Rooster, the Singapore Botanic Gardens for the Year of the Dog, Pulau Ubin for the Year of the Boar and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for the Year of the Rat.


Nián Yè Fàn 年夜飯 Reunion Dinner 2021

Rules on visiting and tossing yusheng
7 things to note this Chinese New Year amid COVID-19

Eight visitors a day in a household and no shouting while tossing yusheng - this Chinese New Year will be a much quieter affair given new COVID-19 restrictions announced on Friday (Jan 22). The tighter measures come amid a recent rise in community cases and the possible risk of transmission during the festive period.

“Let us be mentally prepared that Chinese New Year this year will not be the same as before," said Education Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 task force Lawrence Wong at a press conference. "It will be quieter, it will be more subdued. And we will have to be more disciplined in how we go about our daily activities and interactions.”

Here’s what you need to take note of before welcoming the Year of the Ox:

Nián Yè Fàn 年夜飯

A reunion dinner "Nián Yè Fàn" 年夜飯 (also known as Tuán Nián 團年 or Wéi Lú, 圍爐 meaning "gathering around the family hearth") is traditionally held on Chinese New Year's Eve during which family members gather for celebration. It is considered to be the most important part of the celebration and every family member is expected to return to their families. Traditionally, married couples will go the the man’s parental homes (and to the woman's parents on the second day of the festivities).

Reunion dinner is supposed to bring everyone in the family harmoniously together, but for some reasons or other, not following the tradition, is causing tensions among families. This is especially so if one is celebrating his/her reunion with his/her parents as well as with the in-laws. It is therefore not surprising that one would have reunion dinners on a different earlier dates and nowadays, some hold it a week or two before the actual day. By doing so, the traditionalists believe that the Chinese New Year's Eve Reunion Dinner is losing or has even lost its meaning and significance.

To keep up with the tradition that Chinese New Year's Eve Reunion Dinner should be held on its actual date, and that married couples should return to man's parental homes, many families are compromising in order to make everybody happy:
  • Eating reunion dinner twice, which means having the first dinner early, and then rushing off to do a second dinner by a certain time on the same actual day.
  • Alternating the dinners yearly, one year with parent and following year with in-laws.


    River Hongbao 2021

    Four days added to River Hongbao 2021

    The popular River Hongbao event, which this year limited crowd sizes, has been extended by four days with a final show on Saturday (Feb 20).

    The free event, held at Gardens by the Bay from Feb 10, features 24 giant lanterns, pre-recorded performances and a lion dance exhibition with artefacts from private collectors and organisations, some dating as far back as the 1950s.

    Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, who was there on its first two nights, said: "Many Singaporeans enjoy River Hongbao each Chinese New Year.


    Sleep Hygiene Doesn’t Cure Insomnia

    Do This Instead
    Before you buy darker blackout curtains, try these expert tips

    If you don’t have chronic insomnia yourself, I bet you know someone who does. About one in ten adults have chronic insomnia by the strictest diagnostic criteria. But if you ask everyone visiting a primary care doctor, one in three will have it. In my own clinic, the average patient has had chronic insomnia for 15 years before finding their way to me because they didn’t know there were treatment options other than Ambien and sleep hygiene.

    That’s because most doctors’ go-to for treating insomnia are Ambien (and other prescription sleep medications) and sleep hygiene. As a psychologist and not a medical doctor, it’s not my place to talk in-depth about medications. But I can talk to you about sleep hygiene.

    I’m sure you’ve already heard some things about it. Here’s what the National Sleep Foundation recommends (slightly paraphrased): 
    • Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
    • Exercising, but not too close to bed time
    • Steering clear of food that can be disruptive right before sleep
    • Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light
    • Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine
    • Making sure that the sleep environment is comfortable by using blackout curtains, keeping it cool, and banning all screens


    Singapore's health worker received 5 doses of COVID-19 vaccine by mistake

    Update 4 Feb 2022: MOH conducting investigation of 103-year-old woman erroneously given 4th dose of COVID-19 vaccine

    The Ministry of Health (MOH) is conducting a "thorough investigation" of a 103-year-old woman who was erroneously given fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine, it said on Friday (Feb 4). The woman, a resident at ECON Healthcare – Chai Chee Nursing Home, was given the fourth dose by a mobile vaccination team from PanCare Medical Clinic in December. She died the following month.

    “The resident had previously received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and was erroneously given a fourth shot on Dec 13, 2021,” MOH said. “On Dec 16, 2021, the resident was admitted to Changi General Hospital for pneumonia and hyponatremia, and subsequently also diagnosed to have suffered a stroke.” She died on Jan 10.

    “Her death was reported to the coroner, who ordered an autopsy to be conducted. The autopsy found that the main cause of death was pneumonia, with other contributing factors being cerebral infarction (or stroke) and coronary artery disease, which are natural disease processes common in seniors. “The coroner has not determined whether these causes of death were linked to the vaccination,” MOH said.

    MOH investigating death of woman, 103, who was mistakenly given 4th COVID shot

    The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (4 February) it is concluding its investigation on the death of a 103-year-old nursing home resident who was mistakenly given a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

    The woman was a resident at ECON Healthcare – Chai Chee Nursing Home who was administered with the fourth dose by a mobile vaccination team from PanCare Medical Clinic. She had previously received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and was erroneously given a fourth shot on 13 December last year. On 16 December, she was admitted to Changi General Hospital for pneumonia and hyponatremia, and later diagnosed to have suffered a stroke. She died on 10 January, MOH said.

    The Coroner ordered for an autopsy, which found that the main cause of death was pneumonia, with other contributing factors being stroke and coronary artery disease, which are natural disease processes common in seniors. “The Coroner has not determined whether these causes of death were linked to the vaccination,” MOH said. MOH is carrying out a thorough investigation and expects the investigations to conclude later this month.

    Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 'erroneously' given to 16-year-old boy in Singapore

    A first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was erroneously administered to a 16-year-old boy on Thursday (Jun 3) at Kolam Ayer Community Club vaccination centre, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Education (MOE).

    The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorised for use in Singapore for people aged 18 and above. The vaccination centre at Kolam Ayer Community Club is run by Minmed.

    "Our investigations found that the individual’s date of birth had been erroneously entered when booking a vaccination appointment after receiving the sign-up link," the ministries said in a joint press release early Thursday morning. "This resulted in his age being incorrectly registered as above 18 years of age, making it possible for a Moderna vaccination centre to be selected.

    Boy, 16, wrongly given Moderna Covid-19 vaccine not authorised for those under 18 in S'pore

    A 16-year-old boy was wrongly given the first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday (June 3), but he is not expected to suffer any safety issues.

    The mistake was discovered at Kolam Ayer Community Club vaccination centre when its staff identified that the boy was under 18 years of age after he had been given the shot.

    In a joint statement, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that vaccination centre staff should have checked his age during registration, and apologised for the inconvenience and anxiety caused.

    Migrant worker who tested positive for COVID-19 completed vaccination

    The sole dormitory case in Singapore on Sunday (Apr 11) had completed the full COVID-19 vaccination regimen and the case is a reminder that "it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected", said MOH.

    The man, who is asymptomatic, was detected when he was tested on Apr 7 as part of rostered routine testing. The man's pooled rostered routine testing result came back positive for COVID-19 on Apr 8 and he was immediately isolated, said MOH. An individual test was done on Apr 9 and it came back positive the following day. He was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases by ambulance. "His serology test result has come back positive but we have assessed that this is likely a current infection," said MOH.

    The man received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 25 and the second dose on Feb 17.

    S'pore National Eye Centre issues apology after staff mistakenly given 5 doses of Covid-19 vaccine

    The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has apologised after a staff member was mistakenly administered five doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, both CNA and The Straits Times reported. The error had occurred on Jan. 14, during a vaccination exercise at the eye centre for SNEC staff, according to the centre.

    It had been the result of human error arising from a "lapse in communication among the vaccination team," SNEC elaborated.

    A staff member of the vaccination team, who was in charge of diluting the vaccine, had been called away to attend to other matters while preparing the vaccine. A second staff member then mistook the undiluted dose in the vial as ready for administration, SNEC added.

    Ho Ching appears to defend SNEC mistake while Lawrence Wong and Gan Kim Yong remain silent

    In the wake of reports over the weekend that the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has given a member of staff the equivalent to 5 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine due to human error, it is notable that none of the senior members of Government has addressed this mistake publicly.

    In addition, the error was apparently made on 14 Jan which begs the question of why it took so long for the public to be informed? To make matters, worse, it seems like the wife of our Prime Minister, Madam Ho Ching (Madam Ho) has attempted to defend such mistakes on her Facebook page.

    Among other things, Madam Ho has said “When you have mass exercises like vaccination, it is easy to make mistakes. We are human after all.”  While mistakes are understandable and sometimes unavoidable, it seems completely tone-deaf to dismiss this error when the various relevant ministers have not even spoken up on the issue.

    When you have mass exercises like vaccination, it is easy to make mistakes.

    We are human after all.

    Hence, it is important to have protocols in place which help to reduce the inevitable human errors.

    Singapore National Eye Centre staff received 5 doses of COVID-19 vaccine due to human error
    A general view of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). (Photo: Google Street View)

    An employee at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) was wrongly administered the equivalent of five doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine due to a human error, the public healthcare institution said on Saturday (Feb 6).

    The error happened on Jan 14 during a vaccination exercise conducted at SNEC for its staff members. “The error was discovered within minutes of the vaccination when the staff was resting in a designated area after vaccination,” said SNEC in a press release.

    “Senior doctors were alerted immediately and the staff was assessed and found to be well, with no adverse reaction or side effects.”

    Eye centre employee given 5 doses of vaccine by mistake
    The Singapore National Eye Centre said it has been following up closely with the worker, who remains well.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

    A staff member at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has been mistakenly given the equivalent of five doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

    This occurred during a vaccination exercise on Jan 14, and was due to human error resulting from a lapse in communication among members of the vaccination team, said SNEC on Saturday (Feb 6).  It said it has been following up closely with the staff member, who remains well.

    SNEC said the worker in charge of diluting the vaccine had been called away to attend to other matters before it was done.

    Singapore Health Worker Administered 5 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine by Mistake

    A staffer of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has received the equivalent of five doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine due to a human error, but suffered no side effects, media reported on Saturday.

    According to The Straits Times, the incident occurred on January 14 during a vaccination exercise. A worker in charge of diluting the vaccine had been called away during the preparation of the vaccine, while a second staff member had mistaken the undiluted dose in the vial for the one ready for use. The error was discovered within minutes after the vaccination.

    “Senior doctors were alerted immediately and the staff (member) was assessed and found to be well, with no adverse reaction or side effects,” SNEC said as quoted by the media outlet. The vaccine was monitored at a hospital and discharged two days later. The Centre continues to monitor the health of the employee, and currently, he feels well.

    Singapore National Eye Centre worker accidentally given 5 doses of Covid-19 vaccine due to human error

    A staff member at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has been erroneously administered the equivalent of five doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. This occurred during a vaccination exercise on Jan 14, said the SNEC on Saturday (Feb 6).
    The error was discovered within minutes of the vaccination, when the staff member was resting in a designated area.

    As a safety measure, the vaccination exercise at the SNEC was stopped immediately upon detection of the error. The rest of the SNEC staff were vaccinated at SGH. "Our investigations showed that it was human error resulting from a lapse in communication among the vaccination team, who had been preparing and administering the injections at that time," said the centre.

    It said the worker in charge of diluting the vaccine had been called away to attend to other matters during the preparation of the vaccine. A second staff member had mistaken the undiluted dose in the vial to be ready for administering. The SNEC has apologised to the affected staff member and the worker's family, said Professor Wong Tien Yin, who is medical director of the centre.

    Getting more than recommended dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to be harmful: MOH
    File photo of a healthcare worker preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

    Receiving more than the recommended dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to be harmful, said Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (Feb 6), citing clinical trial data from the two pharmaceutical companies.

    This comes after an employee from the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) was wrongly administered the equivalent of five doses of the vaccine due to a human error.

    The recommended schedule for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is two doses, 21 days apart.
    “Clinical trial data from Pfizer-BioNTech has indicated that receiving more than the recommended dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to be harmful,” said MOH in response to CNA’s queries. “The affected staff is well, and did not have any adverse reaction or side effects.”

    Migrant worker in dormitory is first case of Covid-19 reinfection detected in S’pore
    A 28-year-old Bangladeshi worker who resides in a dormitory has been detected as Singapore's first case of Covid-19 reinfection

    Singapore has detected its first case of likely Covid-19 reinfection, a 28-year-old work permit holder who resides in a dormitory, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Saturday (Feb 6).

    MOH said it had identified the reinfection in consultation with an expert panel after a rostered monitoring testing of recovered workers to monitor their post-infection immunity. The case, a Bangladeshi, resides at 43 Tech Park Crescent and had been confirmed to have Covid-19 on April 12 last year.

    He subsequently recovered, and consistently tested negative for the coronavirus from June 2020 onwards.But on Jan 25 this year, his test result came back positive for Covid-19 infection, and he was isolated. Numerous repeat tests conducted subsequently were also positive for the virus.

    What we know so far about COVID-19 reinfection
    A migrant worker undergoes a swab test in Singapore on Apr 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported Singapore’s first likely case of reinfection, a Bangladeshi migrant worker who had tested positive for COVID-19 again after recovering from the disease last year. The 28-year-old work permit holder, who lives in a dormitory at 43 Tech Park Crescent, first tested positive on Apr 12 last year as part of the cluster of infections there.

    He recovered and tested negative for COVID-19 but on Jan 25, the man was confirmed to have COVID-19 again after being detected through rostered routine testing. MOH said that the virus detected in his samples taken in January this year was "genetically distinct from that associated with the dormitories outbreak in 2020, suggesting that this is likely a different and new infection", adding that reinfection is "rare".

    Singapore now joins a list of places that have reported cases of reinfection, with the first documented case involving a 33-year-old man in Hong Kong in August last year.

    Coronavirus vaccine: your questions answered

    Information for people with heart conditions:
    • Is the vaccine safe for people with heart conditions?
    • Is the vaccine safe for people taking blood thinners like warfarin and other anticoagulants?
    • Is the vaccine safe for people taking blood thinners like clopidogrel and other antiplatelet drugs?
    • Is the vaccine safe for people taking heart medications?
    • I have a heart or circulatory condition - when will I get the vaccine?
    • I am in the shielding group, how soon will I get the vaccine?
    • Why are people with heart conditions not a higher priority?

    Singapore approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
    Coronavirus vaccine: in Singapore, 432 report side effects but experts ‘reassured

    Health experts in Singapore say the relatively high rate of adverse effects from the initial Covid-19 vaccinations delivered by the island nation is not alarming, and is in fact reassuring.

    Singapore has given more than 113,000 people the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, after which 432 suffered common side effects, including three people who had anaphylaxis, which is a rapid onset of severe allergic reactions. The data was released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday night as the country embarked on inoculating the general population, with those aged 70 and above getting their first shot on Wednesday. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is one of the 50 who has received their second shot of the vaccine.

    The ministry said the three cases of anaphylaxis were “quickly resolved” by health care professionals, and had happened to individuals in their 20s and 30s who had a history of allergies, including allergic rhinitis and food allergies such as to shellfish. None had a history of anaphylaxis, which would have precluded them from the vaccine, and all have been discharged from hospital after a day’s observation or treatment. This puts Singapore’s incidence rate of anaphylaxis at about 2.7 per 100,000 doses administered, compared with other jurisdictions’ one to two per 100,000 doses administered. The ministry said initial variations in the incidence rate were expected given the numbers vaccinated in the island nation were relatively small.

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