The Singaporean Identity Needs TLC

Photo Credit: Epigram Books

SINGAPORE is sometimes referred to as a nanny state, particularly by the Western media. The epithet is not particularly flattering, but there is some truth to it.

The country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, was, after all, a man who was tough on corruption and litter, a visionary who steered Singapore from a third world country to a first world oasis. His love for the country and his no-nonsense approach to nation-building can be summed up in that one line he delivered in a speech—if ever anything were to befall Singapore even if he were dead and gone, he would crawl out of his grave to set it right. Continue reading

When It Comes To Looks, Women Are Fussier

IT is a truth universally acknowledged that women are more concerned about their looks than men. It is equally fair to say that women are more predisposed to be vain, more so than men. Put the blame on their physiological makeup: they have breasts, they can’t not have hair (unlike men), they are a gender that gives them more options to accessorize—from hair ornaments to hair extensions, necklaces to earrings, and the infinite possibilities of nail art and even more extensions. Women, in short, are fussy and high-maintenance. Continue reading

Happy Year of the Rooster

roosterCHINESE New Year is the most loathsome festive season, where everything is over-the-top from food to decorations and even wishes. Decorations are, for the most part, loud and kitsch. The fake firecrackers dangling by the door, the hanging paper pineapples, all prosperously plump, and the cheesy smiling boy-and-girl twins with their hands clasped together in a gongxi gongxi, we-wish-you-good-fortune-and-good-luck stance. Even the wishes are dripping with hyperboles: huangjin mandi (may the ground be filled with ingots of gold) and madao chenggong (may success arrive like a horse). Continue reading

A Pentatonix Christmas


CHRISTMAS is just too irresistible a time of year. Some of the happiest moments of my life always return to me when December draws near, such as the one when I played babysitter to my little cousin, Paxton. I was ten then, he was four. At one point in the afternoon when we had exhausted all the fun things we could do, and he had refused to take a nap, I ended up playing a random Christmas CD from my parents’ music collection. It was so ancient and foul with carols sung by young children who must have been taught that shouting the melody is the height of beautiful singing.
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The Afternoon I Was Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

I’VE never been cheated on by any guy before. I don’t even have a boyfriend for crying out loud. But I sure know that feeling. That’s because I’ve been at it, singing Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats day and night, for a good two weeks, in preparation for R-Factor, my school’s version of Britain’s Got Talent, held on October 16. And “R,” surprise, surprise, stands for “Raffles.” Continue reading