How Age may Affect Your Love for Food

Food is a universal language that sparks romance, brings loved ones together and creates new friendships. From festive feasts to buffet celebrations and big steak dinners, to catching up with friends over a late night supper session at the coffeeshop, the prospect of indulging in your favourite food stirs excitement in the hearts (and bellies) of both the young and old.

However, as you approach a new year and ponder upon the past, one gradual change you may realise is that you may not be able to enjoy food as much as you previously could.

Gone were the days where you would pile up your plate at a buffet line, indulge in laksa, hot pot, and multiple servings of other local favourites, enjoy roti prata at 2 in the morning. Instead, doing so now may lead to some form of physical discomfort.


How To Identify And Deal With Depression

It is normal to feel sad when we lose a loved one, fail an exam, or even end a relationship.

However, when feelings of sadness is prolonged and affects our daily lives, it is symptomatic of depression.

Other signs of depression include:
  • A loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Weight loss or weight gain; or decrease or increase in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; or sleeping excessively
  • Feeling agitated or restless
  • Feeling tired and lacking the energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or having trouble thinking
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

How following a daily routine can help manage emotional well-being
Vivian Cheng at her home in West Kowloon. Cheng suffers from depression but finds a healthy daily routine helps her manage her symptoms.
South China Morning Post

In 2011, Vivian Cheng was diagnosed with depression after the collapse of a long-term relationship. Since then, she has been regularly seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and taking antidepressant medication.

The Hongkonger, who is in her 40s, also joined a support group for people with depression and says that their meetings have been instrumental in her recovery. "I learnt a lot about this complex and misunderstood condition, including the fact that it's a mental illness and that it's normal," she says. "Being in that healing, non-judgmental space also taught me how others deal with their symptoms. Knowing that there are others like me reassures me that I'm not alone in this struggle."

Following a routine has also helped Cheng manage her emotional well-being. She says that making certain activities central to her daily life keeps her feeling grounded and more positive about her future.


10 Restroom Etiquette Rules

People Are Constantly Breaking

The throne. The john. The loo. The big white telephone. There are seemingly endless ways to describe the most important fixture in any home, office or public space. There's also a similar number of colorful ways to describe how people use that fixture, from answering the call of nature to making the bladder gladder and going to see a man about a horse.

Yet for all the creative ways that humans have come up with to talk about bathrooms and what happens in them, many of us have shown an impressive inability to handle our business properly and with respect for other users. Unless you're a hermit who lives in a remote mountain cave, you're going to have to share a bathroom with others from time to time. Proper bathroom etiquette is a part of being a member of society. By following some simple rules, you can make the experience of relieving yourself easy and even pleasant.

Or at least a little less gross for everyone involved:
  • Leaving the Toilet Seat Up
  • Dripping on the Seat
  • Talking, Part I
  • Talking, Part II
  • No Courtesy Flush
  • Bringing a Shared Book or Magazine
  • Not Replacing the Toilet Paper
  • Not Stocking the Bathroom
  • Assuming a Stall Is Unoccupied
  • Taking Too Much Time at the Sink


COVID-19: Singapore enters Stabilisation Phase on 27 Sep 2021

Update 21 Nov 2021: Singapore enters Transition Phase from 22 Nov 2021

From Monday (Nov 22), fully vaccinated people can dine together in groups of up to five, even if they are not from the same household. The two-person cap on social gatherings will also be raised to five persons, and households may take in up to five distinct visitors a day from Monday.

The changes came after the Government announced that the Covid-19 "stabilisation phase" will end on Sunday. In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that Singapore will move into the “transition phase” of its reopening plan, bringing the country back on track on its four-stage roadmap to live with Covid-19.

Right now, fully vaccinated people are allowed to dine at food establishments in groups of up to five only if they are from the same household. If they are from different households, they may only dine in pairs. The easing of measures were in view of the Covid-19 situation having improved since the stabilisation phase was extended for a month in October.


On 20 October 2021, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced the extension of the Stabilisation Phase for four weeks, through to 21 November 2021. With the efforts and cooperation of everyone, our overall infection numbers and hospital situation have largely stabilised and improved. In the coming weeks, a significant proportion of the population would have had or will be receiving their vaccination boosters. Overall, we are in a better position to proceed with further easing of our community Safe Management Measures (SMMs), in a careful and calibrated manner, and exit the Stabilisation Phase into a Transition Phase.

From 22 November 2021, we will increase group sizes for dine-in and social gatherings from 2 to 5 persons, irrespective of whether the group members are from the same household or not. We will also extend our Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) to protect the unvaccinated from getting infected and becoming severely ill. In-person visits to hospitals and residential care homes will also resume with VDS in place. To enhance protection for our population as we ease community measures, we will also accelerate our booster vaccination programme.

Even with these moves, it is important that we remain disciplined and vigilant. While the local situation is stabilising and our healthcare system is still able to manage the current caseload, we must not let our guard down. We should not seek to push the limits, but should continue to exercise restraint in our social interactions even as we approach the year-end period. All of us need to continue to play our part to prevent another wave of infection which could put pressure on our healthcare system.

Tapering down support measures as Singapore exits Stabilisation Phase

As Singapore exits the Stabilisation Phase, the Government will correspondingly taper down support measures to $90m to help affected businesses and those self-employed:
  • Extension of Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) - 10% Jobs Support Scheme support from 22 November to 19 December 2021 for F&B, retail, cinemas, museums, art galleries, historical sites, family entertainment, tourism, gyms and fitness studios, and performing arts and arts education. Please refer to the table below for more information.
  • Rental waiter for stallholders - 0.5 month rental waiver for the cooked food and market stallholders in centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators.
  • COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund payout for taxi and private hire car drivers - Dec 2021: $10*/vehicle/day - Jan 2022: $5/vehicle/day

COVID-19 restrictions extended to Nov 21; more time needed to stabilise situation

Singapore will extend its current COVID-19 restrictions for another month as more time is needed to stabilise the situation, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Oct 20).

The restrictions under the Stabilisation Phase, which started on Sep 27 and was originally scheduled to last until Oct 24, was implemented to reduce the strain on the country's healthcare system. It has now been extended to Nov 21.

Social gatherings were capped to a maximum of two while work-from-home became the default arrangement, among other measures. “Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise,” said MOH in a media release.

Stabilisation Phase extended by a month until Nov 21
The current Stabilisation Phase, which began on Sep 27 and includes measures such as the two-person cap on social gatherings and dining at food and beverage (F&B) establishments, will be extended for a month. PHOTO: SPH

SINGAPORE'S Stabilisation Phase, originally meant to end after Oct 24, will be extended by four weeks until Nov 21, with an additional S$640 million support package on the way to help companies and individuals, the multi-ministry taskforce on Covid-19 announced on Wednesday (Oct 20).

"We have explained earlier that we can relax the restrictions only if the pressure eases off on the healthcare system," said taskforce co-chair and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

While the government is beefing up manpower and capacity, it will take time for these reinforcements to come in, and in the meantime, Singapore faces "considerable risk of the healthcare system being overwhelmed", he said.

Lawrence Wong on "stabilisation phase" in Singapore

Singapore should not “get too carried away” or be “too anxious or fearful” about daily COVID-19 case numbers, said co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong, as he asked the public for patience amid the pandemic. 

Speaking at a multi-ministry task force press conference on Saturday (Oct 2), Mr Wong addressed the two different reactions emerging as the number of daily cases spike:
  • “Of course, when we see such surge of cases during these few days, several thousand a day, I know it can be quite worrying and you have two sort of very sharp reactions from different people,” he noted.
  • “One group says ‘Look, it's so high, let's quickly lock down and bring cases down'. Another group says, ‘Well, this is completely to be expected, after all we talked about living with COVID, so move forward'.”
Responding to the first group calling for restrictions to be tightened further, Mr Wong noted that Singapore has “gone beyond that point”.

Cautious moves towards Covid-19 resilience

The past few weeks, since Singapore's Covid-19 stabilisation phase kicked in on Sept 27, have shown some encouraging signs that the current strategy of fighting the coronavirus pandemic is working. The feared possibility that Singapore could see 5,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October - to say nothing of cases peaking at 10,000 a day - has not come to pass. Admittedly, the number of cases is still worrying, having crossed the 3,000 mark, but the reproduction rate of the disease does not appear close to overwhelming the healthcare system and causing a massive rise in the number of fatalities. Instead, making home recovery the default programme for all, except for certain groups, has allowed the authorities to better prioritise resources to tend to the severely ill or vulnerable patients without compromising care for all. Initial hitches in the home recovery programme have been addressed so that those on it do not feel that confused and at a loss as to the protocols they have to follow.

At the same time, differentiation between those who are vaccinated and the unvaccinated has been sharpened by the imposition of some social restrictions on the latter. This is only right because the vast majority, the vaccinated, should not be held hostage by the choices of those who refuse inoculation even in the face of overwhelming evidence of the benefits of vaccines. A balance is being struck between the social rights of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in the absence of rules that make inoculation compulsory.

Meanwhile, the institution of a scheme which allows travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 to fly to several countries and return without having to quarantine has been complemented by making travel to Singapore easier for visitors through the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme. These initiatives attest to Singapore's need to preserve its status as an international aviation and communications hub even as it shores up its defences against Covid-19 at home through calibrated restrictions and safe management measures. Singapore has been careful in its opening up and closely assesses the risks and implications of doing so.

What you can and cannot do in Singapore during the Stabilisation Phase

Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has implemented measures to lower transmission risks and slow down the increase in infections. This means that social gatherings will have to scale back a bit. The new wave of restrictions may dampen Singapore's reopening plans but we're not going to let it dampen our moods. Here's what you need to know:
  • This phase has a name?
  • How long will this last? 
  • Can I still dine in at my favourite spots?
  • Can I visit my family and friends?
  • Will I be able to do my groceries and go shopping?
  • So can I see Dune or the new Bond film in the cinema?
  • How can I still get fit?
  • What is the office situation?
  • I'm so stressed, can I go for a massage or facial?
  • Can I go on dates?

Singapore enters the Stabilisation Phase on 27 September 2021

During this stabilisation period, safe management measures will be tightened to slow down the number of COVID-19 cases. 

From 27 Sep - 24 Oct, social gatherings will be reduced to a maximum of 2 persons. Work-from-home will be the default and home-based learning for Primary and Special Education schools will be extended till 7 Oct. Seniors are also strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible. 

Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong was speaking at the Multi-Ministry Taskforce press conference on 24 Sept 2021.

COVID-19: Singapore abandoning ‘Zero COVID’ strategy

Singapore reported 1,931 new COVID-19 cases and 13 more deaths linked to the coronavirus as of noon on Saturday (Nov 20). The fatalities were aged between 62 and 98. All of them, except for an unvaccinated case, had various underlying medical conditions. Singapore's death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 654.

The daily case count on Saturday is up from the 1,734 infections reported on Friday. Among the new cases, 1,925 are locally transmitted, comprising 1,867 infections in the community and 58 cases in migrant workers' dormitories. The remaining six are imported cases, MOH said in its daily update released to the media at about 11.30pm.

As of Saturday, Singapore has reported 250,518 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Singapore Back to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 22 Jul 2021

Singapore reported 3,163 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Sunday (Oct 31) as 13 more people died from complications due to the virus. The fatalities were aged between 57 and 89. All of them had various underlying medical conditions, except for two unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals who had no known medical conditions. The Ministry of Health (MOH) did not specify what these conditions were. This brings Singapore's death toll from the coronavirus to 407.

Among Sunday's cases, 3,159 infections are locally transmitted, comprising 2,745 in the community and 414 in migrant workers' dormitories. Four are imported cases, MOH said in its daily update released to media at about 11.05pm. The weekly infection growth rate is 1.12 as of . This refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before.

As of Sunday, Singapore has reported a total of 198,374 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 infections in Singapore:
Singapore reports deaths from COVID-19

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


The real deal on air-frying

Is it that much healthier than deep-frying food?
Can you have fried food without feeling guilty, knowing that it is unhealthy?

This is what manufacturers of air fryers promise — great-tasting food with minimal fat. Some even claim a fat reduction of up to 90 per cent as air-frying does not require oil.

And people are buying into it. The global air fryer market is expected to reach US$1.18 billion (S$1.56 billion) in size by 2026, up from US$680 million in 2019, according to brand and consulting firm KBV Research.

Air-frying involves creating and circulating hot air to “quickly cook the surface layer” of food and “quickly dry it out” for that fried, crunchy texture, noted food scientist Zhou Weibiao.


4 common posture problems and how to fix them

Because working from home can be a real pain the neck

Without question, you think about a lot of things during the average workday… but your posture may not be one of them. Then comes that dull ache, a kink in your neck, a twitch in your back and all the other common posture problems.

Respected chiropractor Dr. Neil Stakes explains that our bodies are designed for movement, and being able to get into or out of positions is a sign of flexibility, mobility and good health. So common posture problems can arise in periods of inactivity. “Bad posture is related to the body’s maladaptation to positions assumed for a very long period of time,” says Dr. Stakes. “The body gradually adapts to the posture and lays down fibrous tissues to support that posture over time.”

Hands raised if this sounds like you working from home! Yep, that’s about everyone. Left untreated, these poor habits can compound into bigger issues such as arthritis, spinal and joint degeneration and loss of mobility.


Anti-bullying activist Lizze Velasquez

Challenges meme culture in brave Instagram post
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Lizzie Velasquez and Sara Hirsh Bordo attend AOL Build to discuss 'A Brave Heart:: The Lizzie Velasquez Story' at AOL Studios on September 24, 2015 in New York City

Lizzie Velasquez knows a thing or two about appearance-based hate, but she knows more about putting up a fight against this hate.

The anti-bullying activist spoke out against memes featuring herself and real people. The 27-year-old woman, who lives with a neonatal progeroid syndrome which prevents her from accumulating body fat, bravely posted a meme featuring herself and subtext that suggests she is undesirable because of how she looks.

In response, the Austin-native fights back against the harmful words in the meme with a challenge to the meme creators and community.

read more

Neonatal progeroid syndrome

Neonatal progeroid syndrome is a rare genetic syndrome characterized by an aged appearance at birth. Other signs and symptoms include intrauterine growth restriction, feeding difficulties, distinctive craniofacial features, hypotonia, developmental delay and mild to severe intellectual disability. In most cases, affected infants pass away before age 7 months, but rare reports exist of survival into the teens or early 20s. Although the exact underlying cause of neonatal progeroid syndrome is unknown, it is likely a genetic condition that is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

The signs and symptoms of neonatal progeroid syndrome vary but may include:
  • Subcutaneous lipoatrophy (deficiency or absence of the fat layer beneath the skin) which gives infants an aged appearance at birth
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Failure to thrive
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Distinctive craniofacial features such as a triangular face; large skull with wide anterior (front) fontanelle; small, underdeveloped facial bones; natal teeth; low-set, posteriorly (towards the back) rotated ears, ectropion; and/or unusually sparse scalp hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes
  • Thin arms and legs with disproportionately large hands and feet
  • Small fingers and toes with underdeveloped nails
  • Osteopenia (low bone density)
  • Horizontal nystagmus
  • Developmental delay
  • Mild to severe intellectual disability
read more

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
Lizzie Velasquez has a rare congenital disease that impedes her from accumulating body fat. Foto: Thao Doan

Nine years ago, an anonymous person posted a video of Lizzie Velasquez at age 13 and titled it, “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” It went viral. This is her response.

There is one question I’ve been asked many times: “If you could talk to the person who posted that awful video about you, what would you say?” My answers have ranged from wanting to scream “WHY ME?!” all the way to saying I would give you the biggest hug and thank you for one of the biggest blessings in my life. To have to process what I would say after that is leaving me at a loss for words.

I believe with every fiber in my being that you and I were meant to be in each other’s lives. Mind you, I don’t know your sex, I don’t know your age and I don’t know where you’re from. At the end of the day, those are just facts. What I do know is that you have changed my life and the lives of people around the world.

read more

A Motivational Speaker
'World's ugliest woman' becomes motivational speaker

She has been given a title no woman will ever want to have.

She was labelled the world's ugliest woman by heartless netizens.

But that did not stop Ms Lizzie Velasquez, 24, from channelling the hatred into motivation and spreading the message of acceptance.

read more



What is blood pressure?

Understanding Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure

When people talk about "taking your blood pressure," it means they want to check two numbers that represent the force of the blood that your heart pumps through your body.

These two numbers are called the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure. They are measured by using a cuff with an attached gauge so that the numbers can be read by a machine, or by a person hearing the pressure rise and fall through a stethoscope. Both numbers are important but not always for the same reasons. This article looks at how blood pressure is taken, what levels are normal, and what some of the results can mean.

Blood Pressure Overview:
  • When the heart beats, blood pulses through the arteries to travel throughout the body. It is not the steady stream you might see from a garden hose or water faucet.
  • The pulse of the the blood flow and the pressure it exerts change from moment to moment. It's highest during the heartbeat (this is the systolic pressure) and lowest between beats (diastolic). A blood pressure reading includes both these measurements.
  • Doctors measure blood pressure in these numbers so that there is a standard way of describing the force of the pulsing blood. Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are important.
  • If the readings are too high, it may mean a person has high blood pressure.1 If the readings are too low, there may not be enough blood flowing to the brain and other critical organs. If there are changes in the difference between the two numbers, it's a clue that there may be a heart condition or other problem

What Is the Normal Blood Pressure Range?
If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), without any complications, the first thing to do is to calm down and lie flat

If you face any complications of high blood pressure such as a stroke or heart attack, contact your physician without any delay. Do not attempt home remedies in such grave situations. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), without any complications, the first thing to do is to calm down and lie flat. Leave aside the task you were engaged in and slowly start taking deep breaths. This stress-relieving technique helps to bring down the blood pressure to a certain extent. If calming techniques don’t help, then consult a physician immediately. Additionally, do not forget to take your antihypertensive medications for blood pressure that is uncontrolled by lifestyle changes and diet.

Medication is the main option for treating high blood pressure. As blood pressure improves with lifestyle modifications, medications can be withdrawn gradually. Medications in combination with a healthy diet reduce the risk of a stroke, a heart attack, and other complications.

What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood to the inner walls of the arteries. It shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.

What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges by Age For Men and Women?
Men's average BP ranges vary by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading is men age 31-35 (114.5/75.5). The age group with the highest normal blood pressure reading is men ages 61-65 (143.5/76.5)
As with men, women's average BP ranges also vary by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading is different between the systolic and diastolic reading. Women ages 21-25 have the lowest normal diastolic reading (115.5-70.5), while women age 31-35 have the lowest normal systolic reading (110.5/72.5). The age group with the highest normal blood pressure reading is women ages 56-60 (132.5/78.5)

Your blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure your blood applies across your artery walls. Your blood pressure changes a little throughout the day; when you relax, your blood pressure lowers, and when you move around or feel stress, your blood pressure increases. But high blood pressure over a long term is associated with serious health risks, including heart, brain, and eye damage. Likewise, chronic low blood pressure sometimes comes with health risks. Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage both high and low blood pressure.

Your blood pressure reading comes with two numbers. The first number refers to your systolic blood pressure. The second number refers to your diastolic blood pressure.

"Systolic" refers to "contraction" in Latin. Your systolic blood pressure is the highest blood pressure exerted when your heart beats (contracts), and puts pressure on blood vessels. "Diastolic" is related to the Latin word for "dilate." Your diastolic blood pressure is the lowest blood pressure put on your blood vessels, with your heart at rest between beats, when it dilates (expands). Systolic and diastolic blood pressures are usually easy to record with measurements done with a blood pressure cuff. Blood pressure measurements are recorded as systolic pressure/diastolic pressure in mm Hg; for example, 120/80 mm Hg.

What Is Abnormal Blood Pressure?

Abnormal blood pressure puts you at risk of several serious health problems including heart attack and stroke. Your blood pressure is a measurement of the force of your blood as it moves through the arteries in your body. It's made up of two numbers: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.

High blood pressure is generally of greater concern when talking about risks. It's also called hypertension. Low blood pressure is called hypotension.

This article discusses how normal blood pressure is measured, what it means when your blood pressure is too low or too high, how blood pressure conditions are treated, and when to see a healthcare provider.

What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types include normal, elevated, hypertension stage I, hypertension stage II, and hypertensive crisis

Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.

Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.

High blood pressure is more likely to cause:
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • heart failure
  • vision loss
  • kidney failure
  • dementia
  • erectile dysfunction