Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas and the Winter Solstic

Yule , or the Winter Solstice to give it its correct title was around long before Christianity emerged. It was celebrated by those that followed the old ways or as they are referred to today, Pagans.

In fact many Christmas festivals are held on dates that cover-up Pagan festivals in what was a blatant attempt to eradicate them completely by the Christian church. Christmas as the Christian community refer to this time in the calendar is just one such example.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) which is celebrated between Dec 23-25th is when ....

....the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy.

On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not "die" thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life.

Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit the residents. Mistletoe was also hung as decoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it. Many of this has been carried over into the Christian celebration of Christmas.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose).

The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice. Today we still have the 12 days before and after Christmas, again a carry over from the Pagan Winter Solstice celebration.

In fact many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree (Christmas tree), holly or candles, you are following them even if you don’t know it. Even Santa Claus otherwise known as Kris Kringle isn’t something new, he was in fact the Germanic pagan God of Yule.

As you celebrate Christmas this year take a little time out to understand what that celebration is really about and where many of the symbols and traditions have really come from.

Some More Information

Deities of Yule:
All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.

Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bangkok the New Atlantis

The Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking and the floods currently besieging Bangkok could be merely a foretaste of a grim future as climate change makes its impact felt, experts say ….

…. The low-lying metropolis lies just 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the Gulf of Thailand, where various experts forecast sea level will rise by 19 to 29 centimeters (7 to 11 inches) by 2050 as a result of global warming.

Water levels would also increase in Bangkok's main Chao Phraya river, which already overflows regularly.

If no action is taken to protect the city, "in 50 years... most of Bangkok will be below sea level," said Anond Snidvongs, a climate change expert at the capital's Chulalongkorn University. But global warming is not the only threat. The capital's gradual sinking has also been blamed on years of aggressive groundwater extraction to meet the growing needs of the city's factories and its 12 million inhabitants.

As a result Bangkok was sinking by 10 centimeters a year in the late 1970s, according to a study published last year by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

That rate has since dropped to less than one centimeter annually, they said, thanks to government measures to control groundwater pumping.

If those efforts continued, the report authors said, they hoped the subsidence rate could slow by another 10 percent each year.
But Anond disputed their projections, saying Bangkok was still sinking at "an alarming rate" of one to three centimeters per year.

While scientists may argue over the exact figures, they agree about what lies in store for the sprawling mega-city.

"There is no going back. The city is not going to rise again," said the ADB's lead climate change specialist David McCauley.
Faced with the combined threats of land subsidence and rising temperatures and sea levels, the World Bank has predicted that Bangkok's flood risk will increase four-fold from now by 2050.

And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has classified the Thai capital among the 10 cities in the world facing the biggest potential impact from coastal flooding by 2070 (Singapore was 79th on the list just in case you may have been wondering).

For now, Bangkok is relying on a complex system of dykes, canals, locks and pumping stations to keep the rising waters at bay.
The flood protection efforts, however, failed to prevent an onslaught of run-off water from the north from swamping at least one-fifth of the capital and according to the experts things are only going to get worse.

I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that they are wrong since I happen to love the City of Bangkok, but I guess over the coming years we will start to see for ourselves if their predications are correct.

Until then, I guess its a case of wait and see if Bangkok will become the new Atlantis or not.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Herman Cain Scares Me

The US Presidential race is on already and there's no shortage of candidates popping out of the woodwork. And as the race progresses we get to know them a little more as a result of the usual mud raking that is ever present in US politics. So far one candidate in particular scares me, the republican candidate Herman Cain. You see he's been in the news recently with ….

…. allegations of sexual abuse hurled against him and fighting mounting accusations of sexual harassment now involving four women. That's not the scary part of course, wether its true or not time will tell. No, I can easily put that to one side after all there's never any shortage of sexual scandal when it comes to politicians in the US as history can prove.

No the scary part is a story published in iToday here in Singapore which goes something like this.

Republican Herman Cain has said that God convinced him to enter the race for President, comparing himself to Moses.

After battling sexual harassment allegations by four women, Mr Cain played up his faith on Saturday, trying to shift the conversation to religion, an issue vital to conservative Republicans.

In a speech to a national meeting of Republicans, he said: "I'm a man of faith - I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I've ever done before in my life. And when I finally realised that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. 'You've got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?',"

Now imagine if you will an American President who has not only compared himself to Moses but openly stated the reason he has entered the Presidential race is because God told him to. I don't know about the rest of you but that scares the hell of out of me. And having this man at the head of one of the most powerful nations on earth is something that doesn't even bare thinking about. What amazes me is that so many Americans lap-up this kind of crap which in itself is an equally scary testimony as to the sanity of America as a nation.

I wonder if by any chance Herman Cain and Harold Camping know each other?

Of course it seems that God has been busy. Not only has he had a word with Herman Cain but he's also allegedly let Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum know one way or another that he supports them too.

Nothing like hedging your bets in today's economy, way to go God!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Comet Elenin

It would appear that good old planet Earth is about to go through a major shakeup. Comet Elenin is almost upon us and if the stories are to be believed this celestial visitor will not leave us unscathed. At the very least planet Earth will pass through the debris tail of the comet with all that that implies. Other sites claim we can expect major earthquakes, tsunamis and more as a result of the magnetic field alignment of the Earth, Sun and Comet Elenin. And at the very worst end of the scale.....

..... we can expect the Comet to discharge its electric store through the EM ropes that connect all planets and ravage the planet to such an extent as to wipe out virtually all life.

The comet is real although NASA have a completely different view on what it means. Then again they have also stated that they would never release any information that could cause wide spread panic. Given that it’s not surprising there are many who don’t believe NASA and the number of conspiracy theories are growing as this Comet edges closer to our solar system.

Two key dates seem to be emerging through all the noise. They are September 25th-27th when there is a planetary alignment, expectations are for some major earthquakes around this time. Interestingly the US President will be visiting the largest underground bunker in Denver on these dates. It will be interesting to see what other nations leaders are doing around these dates as well. The second is around October the 16th with more of the same although on a much larger scale.

You can do a search on “Comet Elenin” and find out more information and key dates to watch out for, although you can expect to have to wade through a lot of noise on the subject.

My personal favorite is below, Enjoy!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Impiana KLCC

I recently stayed at the 4 star Impiana KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as a group of us were going there for the weekend and wanted to stay in the same hotel. I'd read a number of reviews before hand and it seemed ok although I have to admit that afterwards it won't be a hotel that I'll be revisiting and here's why ....

....I guess I should start off with the room itself. I stayed in the junior suite and I have to admit that the room was pretty good. Spacious and well laid out with a decent sized bathroom and good amenities. For me that was the really the only good thing about the hotel.

The swimming pool was under renovation which had I been informed about beforehand would have had me looking for a different hotel. Although the hotel have made arrangements for guests to use a pool at a nearby hotel, if I wanted to use a swimming pool in a different hotel I would have stayed there. I really think the hotel should have warned people about this while making their booking and been honest about their available services upfront on their website.

They should also have warned their guests about the renovation to the building next door that had jack hammers going at 8am in the morning. Those of our group unlucky to be in rooms nearest to these sound effects where later moved, but the fact that a hotel thinks its ok for guests to be placed in those rooms in the first place, knowing that they will not have a good experience is simply bad service.

Next we'll move onto their internet service. For me that's an absolute must for any hotel and I don't even mind paying for it. But I must have internet service. Luckily the hotel does provide that, and free, but its probably the worst service I've encountered in a hotel. The first day it was painfully slow but bearable. The second it was out of action as their technical staff made some changes server side. When I rang down to check when the internet would be back online I got an "I don't know because our technical team haven't told us".

No gold stars for service there.

I politely informed them that as the guest service department don't they think they should know and that they should probably call their technical team and push them for an answer since I would probably not be the only guest calling. Anyway 12 hours later the internet was back although for some reason my room connection wasn't working. Many visits to my room later by people not really qualified to address the problem and after they failed to find their technical person to help (he was on the other side of the city trapped by traffic apparently) I was moved to a different room. I had asked them to be sure the internet was working in that room before I moved. Despite assurances that is was needless to say once I moved I found it wasn't. In this day and age a hotel with crap internet is just simply not acceptable.

Now to the food. There was plenty of variety it has to be said, a wide selection. The problem was that it just wasn't any good. It was "ok" food, not good, not great and as far away from delicious as it could possibly be. On the first morning for breakfast one of the items took me totally by surprise. Instant mashed potatoes. Now what 4 star hotel in the world would even think that serving instant mashed potatoes is an good option. The very fact that this was on offer totally shocked me. I expect that type of food from your local cheap burger joint but NOT from a 4 star hotel. If there was nothing else wrong with our stay that item alone on the menu would be enough for me never to visit this hotel again. That item alone tells me everything I need to know about what this hotel thinks about catering for its guests.

So bottom line, if you're only criteria is a nice room in a good location (both of which get a thumbs up from me) then this is a good choice. If you have any additional criteria then this hotel may well just disappoint you as it did us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Solar Flares or Worse to come?

It seems that NASA has taken steps to give out a warning in relation to solar flares. In a direct quote "Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation space storm, Nasa has warned". And these warning are being taken seriously since its an almost certainty that solar flares are coming although at this stage no one can say how bad they may be.

But there's something much worse about to happen ......

....... assuming of course you believe in all the natter around the web. There is a comet fast approaching our region of space called Elenin. It's not going to hit planet earth so no fears there but it's magnetic influence on our sun is being blamed for the increase in solar activity.

And of course there's more. Behind that planet by approx 1 year or more is another planet on a similar trajectory, a planet referred to as Nibrui. And this is the one that we all need to worry about. Again its not going to hit us but the effect of its magentic field on our planet is going to be disastrous. We can expect earthquakes and Tsunami's on a scale not before seen, wide spread climate changes, shift in the poles and the axis of the earth itself. It's going to be so bad that 2/3 of the world's population will not survive, assuming you believe of course.

Of course it may all be rubbish and you can make up your own mind on that score. As for me I'll be watching this one closely to see what happens. And "if" we start to see Solar Flares in August as predicted, things could get very interesting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Supertrees in Singapore

I must admit to being very excited by the Gardens by the Bay project here in Singapore. It's a 3 phased project that aims to create three distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central, spanning a total of 101 hectares. These gardens are set in the heart of Singapore’s new downtown Marina Bay, encircling the Marina Reservoir.

Gardens by the Bay is an integral part of a strategy by the Singapore government that further transforms Singapore from a ‘Garden City’ to a ‘City in a Garden'. Bay South is the largest of the three gardens at 54 hectares and aims to showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry. Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens landscape with heights that range between 25 and 50 meters. They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.

The basic design of each super-tree consists of a concrete tower as the main trunk part, with metals rods unfurling in an expansive ‘canopy’ (at the top) to denote the branching out of twigs and leaves. This artificial branching system will actually be filled with real plants and leaves to have an enthralling effect of a real giant tree with copious foliage. The natural canopy of green materials (including plants, vegetations and leaves) will weigh at a whopping 20 to 85 tonnes per tree, additionally, dark shaded steel frames would be incorporated on the side facades for naturalistic look of brownish bark.

But the naturalism doesn’t end here; designers have also looked forth to install solar panels to seven such trees. The resultant clean electricity will be used to power the ground lighting system during various exhibitions. Other than that, there would be rainwater collecting systems and even a 22m high broad walkway connecting two canopies. This spatial element will provide enticing views for tourists all over the metal garden.

It's a brilliant concept, and the supertrees themselves are really awe inspiring, futuristic and functional. To watch the city skyline change to encompass this concept is just simply amazing and I really can't wait to get up close and personal when this phase of the project opens to the public 2012.

I'm amazed how much more this has made me fall in love with Singapore. While other cities stagnate and remain frozen in time barely changing and locked in past architectural glories Singapore moves forward merging the past with the present while ever looking to the future.

To be here to witness change on such scale with such commitment and passion is truly breath taking.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

What were they thinking!

As Singapore counts down to its annual National Day Parade on August the 9th and jets scream across the sky in multiple rehearsals for the big event a new controversy rages in the background. It's one that Yahoo has picked up and has netcitzens cringing and with very good reason. And what is it you wonder ....

.... well it would seem one of the songs for this years event is a hacked up version of Lady GaGa's track Bad Romance. They've taken the music and changed all the lyrics to sing about about else, this years Goody bag, a bag of cheap and cheerful items that's handed out to those attending the event. It's so bad that when I heard it I couldn't even bring myself to laugh, and I pride myself on having a great sense of humor.

Seriously ... what were the organizers thinking. Why would anyone think this hack job would be considered anything other than trash. The chairman of the NDP show segment Colonel Ong Tze-Ch'in is reported to have said in a media statement, "We did not realise that the rights obtained (to perform the song in public) did not include rights to modify the lyrics of the song. We are currently working to rectify this." .... and the only appropriate comment at this point is .... Duh!

Many here in Singapore are hoping that it means this piece of absolute rubbish will be cut from the final National Day celebrations. And lets hope that the people responsible are also removed from any level of further involvement since its pretty obvious from this effort that they are severally lacking in any artistic capability.

But hey, feel free to make up your own mind. The YouTube link is HERE, and just in case you wanted to sing along (yes I really am joking) here's the revised lyrics.

Lyrics of "Fun Pack Song"
By: Haresh Sharma

Oh o o o o o o o o
Time for the fun pack song
Oh o o o o o o o o
We like the fun pack song

Let's start with the bag
That's right, grab your bag
It's the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack


Hold up your flag, don't you forget
You can wave it if you feel like it
Let's wave the flag
Wave wave wave
Let's wave the flag
Take out your light stick, it's two of a kind
It's interactive, means you can join
Just pretend
Oh oh oh... It's a disco


You know that I want you
And you know that I need you
I want a wet, wet tissue
I want Newater and I want a cold drink

You and me, let's share a bit
I want a biscuit and I want a sweet
You and me, let's share this treat
Kopi-O o o o o o o o o

Time for the fun pack song
Kopi-O o o o o o o o o
We like the fun pack song
Let's start with the bag

That's right, grab your bag
It's the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack
I want Newater and I want a cold drink

You and me, let's share a bit
I want a biscuit and I want a sweet
You and me, let's share this treat
Kopi-O o o o o o o o o

Time for the fun pack song
Kopi-O o o o o o o o o
We like the fun pack song
Let's start with the bag

That's right, grab your bag
It's the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Harold Camping - Doomsday Take 2!

And just when you thought all the noise about the supposed rapture had dwindled into obscurity (where lets face it it should never have even made an appearance if not for the mad deluded ravings of Harold Camping) it would seem that Camping has had yet another revelation. That's right people, Harold is going off the deep end once again.

Camping, who made a special appearance before the press at the Oakland headquarters of the media empire Monday evening, apologized for not having the dates "worked out as accurately as I could have." I guess that's as close to an admission that he hadn't a clue what he was talking about as we'll ever get.

Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, the light dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a "spiritual" Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ's judgment, he said.

In other words you have already been silently judged and didn't even know. Yes, that's right when the rapture does come .... eventually .... you're place in it has already been assigned and that happened on the 21st of May. I can totally understand how he could have mistaken what was going to happen on that day but I'm happy that he's corrected himself and set the record straight.

And what's next I hear you ask. Well it would now appear that the globe will be completely destroyed in five months, according to Camping's revised predication, when the apocalypse comes on the 21st of October.

So mark that date on your calendar people and start counting down those shopping days, after all one must look ones best for the apocalypse.

Of course in the background Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" novels about the end times, recently called Camping's prediction "not only bizarre but 100 percent wrong!" He cited the Bible verse Matthew 24:36, "but about that day or hour no one knows" except God.

Skipped that section in your reading did you eh Harold?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Planking in Singapore

And on to the new craze currently starting to sweep Singapore. It's called Planking and involves ... well ... lying down on your stomach with your arms by your sides and keeping your body stiff like a plank and capturing a photo of yourself doing so in unusual places. Obviously the name of this new craze involved a lot of imagination. It's already appeared on the news and in the papers here with the tagline of (if you can believe it) a form of photographic art.

Well I laughed my ass off looking at these idiots acting like planks as I'm sure many others have done as well. I mean seriously what are people thinking. And photographic art? I means seriously .... art? ... and yes I know that art is in the eye of the beholder but in this case I'll admit to be not some much blinded by art as art blind.

It's just plain stupid, but I guess that's part of the appeal. After all we've all done stupid things in our time (although in my case thankfully there's no surviving photos).

It even has its own facebook page here in Singapore with a stack of photo's on there for those that want to have a look. In fact there's quiet a few pages on the subject.

Of course it comes with a warning too after the fatal fall of a 20-year-old Aussie who fell seven stories while planking on a high-rise balcony.

The concept has been around for at least a decade, according to an English duo which takes credit for its invention and was profiled in a 2009 column in the Toronto Star. Then, it was called the Lying Down Game, obviously much thought has gone into the name since then.

As one person put it, its the most fun you can have lying still.

Obvious the term star fish is unknown to many.

Minsters Pay Review

Well well, after much publicity during the recent general election here in Singapore it would seem that the ministerial salaries are up for review. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has acknowledged Singaporeans' concern about Ministers' salaries (some of the highest in the world), and has formed a committee to review them.

The Prime Minister's current salary is estimated to be over S$3 million while ministerial-grade officers are paid more than S$1.5 million.

The PM is quoted as saying "salaries must reflect the values and ethos of public service. That means that whatever we work out, the final answer must include a substantial discount on comparable salaries in the private sector and people looking at it will say, these people are serving and making a sacrifice".

Of course that was tempered by "But ministers should also be paid properly in order that Singapore can have honest, competent leadership over the long term."

We will have to wait and see what the review brings although many believe its a step in the right direction, and hope that it is the first of many such steps.

PM Lee added in his speech that he promised to engage all segments of society - offline and online, "I pledge to work together with all Singaporeans to create a just and fair society, which gives all citizens the best start in life, and leaves no one behind. A Singapore which is open to the world yet puts Singaporeans first. A Singapore which excites our young and respects our old. A society that nurtures and inspires the human spirit, beyond material success", he said.

Of course it remains to be seen what that exactly means and if "ALL" means just that or if there's a silent "except" in there that no one heard.

On the plus side though the Government has taken stock of the mood of Singaporeans although only time will tell if they have managed to gauge it correctly.

But ..... its a start.

For the full Yahoo story, click here

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Harold Camping - Doomsday 21st May 2011

As I'm sure many noticed the 21st May came and with without so much as a ripple. It was a day of expectation for many who were dumb/naive enough to believe Harold Camping's much publicized end of the world message.

In my personal opinion the guy is already mad as a hatter. I mean seriously who of sane mind would ever believe such a predication, you would have to have a screw if not several lose to swallow that rubbish. Don't get me wrong I've nothing against God, in fact I'm a huge fan.

It would appear now however that Camping has called God a liar for the failure on his part to end the world on schedule. How can you argue with that logic. Anyway ....

.... Mr Camping, who makes programmes in 48 languages, boasts tens of thousands of followers across the globe, with radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey. After 70 years of studying the Bible, he claims to have developed a system (feel free to laugh out loud at this point) that uses mathematics to interpret prophesies hidden in it.

He says the world would end on 21 May, because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice. "When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind," he said.

The eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist's prophecy said the Rapture will begin with powerful earthquakes at 6:00 pm local time in each of the world's regions, after which the good will be beamed up to heaven. The not-so-good will suffer through hell on earth until October 21, when God will pull the plug on the planet once and for all. In the United States, where Camping's evangelizing organization is based, some people have been quitting their jobs and hitting the road to urge others to repent before it's too late. Bet they feel a tad stupid round about now.

He spread his prophecy around the world through broadcasts on his Family Radio network in 84 languages, on RV caravans and on 1,200 billboards around the country. Trumpeting the apocalypse doesn't come cheap. Family Radio spent as much as $1 million on the billboard campaign. It can afford to. Camping's radio network was worth about $22 million in 2002 -- by 2008 it was valued at more than $117 million.

Of course it's worth pointing out that this is Camping's second attempt at predicting the end of the world. No prizes for guessing that he also got his first attempt in 1994 wrong as well. Obviously he hadn't quiet perfected his mathematical formula by then.

Looks like it still needs some work eh Harold.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pink Dot 2011

On 18 June 2011, Singaporeans will, for the third year running, gather at Hong Lim Park to form a human pink dot in support of the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love and the belief that diversity is a cornerstone of a civil society. Like it or not, LGBT individuals exist. Many people harbour much hatred towards the LGBT community. That is why such events are important. It serves to foster understanding, and through that, there is hope for trust and social cohesion.

Organised by a pool of Singaporean volunteers, Pink Dot campaigns for diversity, inclusiveness, and works to foster understanding for the basic human need to love and be loved, regardless of one╩╝s sexual orientation.

This year, Pink Dot 2011 is fronted by the DIM SUM DOLLIES, the comedy trio comprising Emma Yong, Pam Oei and Selena Tan. Festivities begin at 4.30pm with a dynamic line-up including performances by Dave Tan of local indie band Electrico, Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan and dance group Voguelicious.

Just show up, mingle, have fun and smile for our cameras - an aerial photograph has been planned to commemorate this symbolic event. Bring water, food, family and friends.

And of course dress up in as much pink as your wardrobe will allow.

See you there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thaipusam Muted

For 45 years since Singapores independence Thaipusam has always been celebrated with loud music, gongs and drums. In all these years, did anyone complain?


But now, suddenly, for the first time ever since independence, someone complained - and complained so much - that the authorities decided to give in to them and chose to mute one of Singapores local traditional celebrations.

And who are the residents of new homes along the Thaipusam’s 4km procession route from Serangoon Road to Tank Road that have done all the moaning, are they native Singaporeans or others unfamiliar and/or unwilling to appreciate what is not only a part of the local culture, but part of Singapores cultural heritage. It’s the one thing that I love about Singapore, the diversity of the cultural identity here and that very same diversity is firmly embedded as a part of Singapores Cultural Heritage. To mute it is to mute that very heritage.

Lets hope that these guidelines are not enforced because this is a spectaular festival for the Hindu community

Here’s the article from the Straits Times.

The Straits Times
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thaipusam set to turn down volume
New guidelines ban traditional loud music and drumming from the annual procession
By Yen Feng

This year’s Thaipusam celebrations will be a quieter affair if guidelines made public for the first time on Thursday by the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) are enforced.

Those participating in the procession on Jan 19 and 20 are barred from playing recorded music or sounding gongs or drums.

Traditionally, the music – often played at a deafening volume – is seen as encouragement for those who pierce their bodies as an act of faith. Now, only the singing of hymns will be permitted.

Other rules include no shouting, and no paint or makeup to be used on either the devotees’ faces or bodies. Those who flout the rules may be barred from future processions – or face a fine of up to $5,000 under the Public Order Act.

And for the first time, spike or chariot kavadi bearers are required to nominate a representative who will be responsible for their conduct.

The HEB said the rules mirrored guidelines set by the police for permits to hold Thaipusam celebrations. But they were put together for the first time this year for the public to address long-standing issues of crowd and noise control, officials from the two temples organising the procession said.

The temples are the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road, and the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road. Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple chairman K. Rajandeeran said the move would not compromise the procession’s religious nature, and would “ensure public safety and that it takes place in an orderly manner”.

Every year, tens of thousands of Hindus take to the streets to give their thanks to Lord Murugan, an important Hindu deity. Sometimes, expatriates unfamiliar with HEB guidelines have joined in.

Last year a 10-year-old visitor from India was seen carrying a spiked kavadi – wood or metal structures fied onto devotees’ bodies – when only those above 16 are allowed to pierce their bodies.

Mr K. Kannappan, trustee of the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, said residents of new homes along the procession’s 4km route from Serangoon Road to Tank Road complained about the noise last year“So this year, we will be better neighbours,” he added.

The rules evoked mixed reactions among devotees, with Mr Raj Kumra, 34, who walked in last year’s procession, saying they are a dampener. “The music, the sounds, all that is part of celebrating Thaipusam. It’s our way of giving thanks for our blessings,” he said.

But they will not mean much to Mr Sankar Suppiah, 40, a devotee who has carried a kavadi for the last 20 years. He said: “This is a powerful religious experience for me. I do it for myself, for my family. Rules do not change that.”