Daily Archives: October 31, 2007

Clannies monthly stats (Oct 07)

In accordance with Tracking – TNRM Reimbursement from CWS:

No. Remarks
Total number of cats 21
  • 5 in Area 3: Marty, Hannah, Martin, Marcus, Mary
  • 9 in Area 2: Benji, Benny, Sally, Kenji, Stanley, Scottie, Saba, Sumie, Sunny (2 newly sighted 6 month-old kittens, housemates with Saba)
  • 7 in Area 1: Ian, Baby, Chica, Isam (free-ranging pet cats), Ivan, Cara, Iggy
Total sterilised 14
  • 5 in Area 3: Marty, Hannah, Martin, Marcus, Mary
  • 3 in Area 2: Sally, Benji, Kenji
  • 6 in Area 1: Ian, Baby, Chica, Ivan, Cara, Isam
Newly sterilised this month 0
Still unsterilised 7
  • 6 in Area 2: 4 males – Benny, Stanley, Scottie, Sunny. 2 female – Saba, Sumie
  • 1 in Area 1: 1 male – Iggy
Newly abandoned this month 2
  • 2 in Area 2: Sumie and Sunny
Newly killed or missing this month 1
  • 1 in Area 1: Salvi (not sighted since April)
Number of complaints this month 0
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TODAY 20071031: Will NMP sue poet for defamation?

This mostly another sidetrack into the Gay Debate saga. What’s more interesting is the bit on public sharing opinions – good bit of legalese for blogging minions to know.

Actually, I rather prefer this article: MP’s Grave To Be NEWater Plant.

(emphasis mine)

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Will NMP sue poet for defamation?

Wednesday • October 31, 2007

Leong Wee Keat
weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg

HE thought she had made the police report which led to the cancellation of the “Pink Picnic”, a public event that had been planned by gay activists.

In his “flash of anger”, poet and playwright Alfian Sa’at shot off an angry email to Nominated Member of Parliament Professor Thio Li-ann early one morning in August.

Yesterday, Professor Thio denied that she was the person behind the August police report. In an email to the media, she said: “I have only made one police report in my lifetime and that was in relation to the hate email I received … This fact can be verified by the relevant authorities.”

Mr Alfian told Today that he “had heard and saw on a few blogs” alleging that it was Prof Thio who had called the police. He “shot off” the email after returning home from a night of clubbing. “If it was not her, I had done her great wrong and I offer my public apology,” he said.

Prof Thio said: “Perhaps Mr Sa’at was over-zealous in relying on a misleading and unreliable information source, but he remains responsible for the abusive manner of his communication. However, as he has publicly apologised, I think we can all move ahead by learning to argue on substantive public issues in a civil fashion.”

The email was cited by Prof Thio in her speech in Parliament last week against the repealing of Section 377A of the Penal Code. She had described the email as being “full of vile and obscene invective”.

The 63-word email started off stating, “this is a personal note to you”. It then contained one four-letter word, accusations of “hate-mongering”, vows to urinate “on her grave” and was signed off “With love, Alfian”. The email has since been removed from Mr Alfian’s personal blog but has resurfaced on at least two other websites.

Mr Alfian, 29, said he removed the email last week “on the advice from friends”.

Yesterday, Prof Thio raised “the issue of possible defamation” in her letter to the media. The National University of Singapore law professor said: “As his first email to me was prefaced, ‘This is a personal note to you’, no issue of libel arose then. However, as he has reproduced his email of Aug 12, 2007, addressed to me in the public forum of his blog, the issue of possible defamation now arises.”

Lawyers told Today that they have seen an increasing number of cases involving defamatory statements made in blogs.

In this case, Harry Elias Partnership consultant Doris Chia said the email could lower Prof Thio’s reputation. Ms Chia noted, however, that the words were “phrased like an angry tirade. The question is whether how many people will take his sayings seriously”.

Then, there is also the defence of fair comment.

Mr Adrian Tan, a partner at Drew and Napier, said: “The law allows everyone to express their views on public matters, even if those views involve strong language. All honestly-held views are protected, even views which the general public might find offensive.”

Defamation could also be considered a criminal matter under the Penal Code, where anyone guilty of criminal defamation may be jailed for two years, or with fine, or with both.

Yesterday, Prof Thio said she noted Mr Alfian’s public apology and how he had urged others not to follow his “reckless example”.

“His current rejection of using hate-mail tactics containing four-letter words and abusive language to intimidate people is to be welcomed,” she said.

Mr Alfian told Today: “For me, this matter is closed. I have taken down the post, apologised and it would not be productive to take this any further.”

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Don’t Worry… I Fix What You Did To Your Computer

A moment for smiles. From Itcmo.com

Special kitties

Can you see Hope? He’s a special kitty lingcat rescued and is looking for a home.

Go to this blog entry on Dawn’s blog and see how active and lively this kitten is. You can also see all of lingcat’s posts on him here.

I do believe what Dawn observed about the special ones.

Look at Max, Born Without Eyes And Teeth

max-catnoeyesnoteeth.jpg

Max, an orange tabby, looks and acts like any normal cat. He grooms himself, tries to get attention from humans, and in general, is a curious cat. And he rules the roost at the Best Friends Animal Clinic in Oregon.

But up close, people who meet Max see that this cat is a bit different. He was born without eyes and teeth.

He was first discovered on a ranch two years ago. He was skittish and ran into inanimate objects.

… The staff tried to find his owners, but no one stepped up. Dr. Shannon Sierra, the veterinarian who was caring for Max, fell in love with the cat and decided to adopt him.

Sierra said: “At first, I figured he’d survive if he was cared for, but I didn’t know what his quality of life would be like. Then I spent some time with him and realized how well he gets around. He doesn’t know he’s handicapped. He just does what he needs to do and he does it really well. I figured out pretty quickly that I was the only one who was really having any issues.”

(Full post at itchmo.com)

There are so many examples overseas: Poppet the Deafblind Kitten, Lola, Faith.

But in Singapore, besides Hope, there are also special kitties who do not let their disabilities get in their way, like these troopers under Foster Mum’s TLC: Karma (RIP Aug 07), Kobe, Gabbie (aka Debbie) and Andie (RIP Jul 07). And this guy – Blessing.

He looks like Max, but he’s not toothless, just born with eyes that were covered by membrane. He looks sightless, but is able to see somwwhat, ever since Foster Mum got the membrane trimmed away.

Blessing_20071006_01x

He’s perched on high here, happy as can be.

TODAY 20071031: The generosity trap

As the saying goes, there is a difference between providing a man a fish vs a fishing rod… or as we prefer, a square of beancurd vs the tofu-making manual.

This story was printed from TODAYonline

The generosity trap

‘Single-minded’ giving does nothing to help the needy

Wednesday • October 31, 2007

Sheralyn Tay
sheralyn@mediacorp.com.sg

IT SEEMS natural: When someone is in need, you give him or her money. But can the act of giving cause even more problems, trapping the poor in their poverty?

Tackling this question yesterday at the second National Volunteerism and Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference, keynote speaker Charles Hampden-Turner asked: “If giving is presumably the road to paradise, then is taking the stairway to hell?”

The Cambridge University senior research associate and veteran of America’s “war on poverty” has spent 40 years studying such dilemmas. He has found one of the main problems for charitable organisations is “single-minded” giving, which breeds passivity and single-minded taking.

“Are we not rewarding, after a fashion, their very failure, when most of us get rewarded for our successes?” he asked.

One example is the welfare system where one must prove total incapacity and be a “100-per-cent certified slob” in order to qualify for handouts, he said. Instead of penalising welfare-takers for finding jobs, allow them to pool their welfare money to start a small business or give something back to the community.

And one dilemma is that the race for aid engenders an “upside down world” where people “race to the bottom” to “prove more wretchedness than anyone else” to garner sympathy. There is also the issue of organisations overlooking basic and less glamorous projects like sanitation.

The act of giving should be coupled with the expectation of reciprocity — a principle that will reconcile these dilemmas, and return dignity to the people at the receiving end, said Professor Hampden-Turner.

“Whatever is given to the poor should enable them to give back in some way or give to others,” he said.

Micro-financing, for example, through the highly successful Grameen Bank, empowers village women in Bangladesh by offering them small loans to start businesses.

“(It) even makes those struck by earthquake, wind and fire repay. The bank will ease and extend the terms of loan, but not to repay means that the money cannot be lent to others,” he said.

This fosters a sense of resilience and community.

The bank requires that clients borrow in groups of five as a form of mild social pressure to repay. This has resulted in an amazing 97-per- cent repayment rate, said Prof Hampden-Turner.

Speaking to Today he said: “This relationship of reciprocity and mutuality is much more effective than any other type of relationship.”

Non-government organisations (NGOs) too, should take the same collective approach, he said. They can go into areas banks cannot, so they should cooperate.

“Why don’t they look for reliable people in poor towns or villages and introduce them to banks? And why shouldn’t the bank give the NGO money for every satisfactory client they locate?” he asked.

“We should be trying many more experiments. Seventy-five per cent of all new start-ups fail, but people still go on. The same should apply to social entrepreneurship and innovation. If three out of 10 work, we’re still better off.”

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

TODAY 20071031: Going clean and green

Wow, finally the act is starting to gel… or is it? As with all things authority-related, I’ll adopt a wait-and-see view. But I do note another cosmic case of parallelism, chiefly the formation of a dedicated taskforce with a nerve centre. Exactly what our pet and homeless animals need vis-a-vis the current pet dog problem… will we see it only in our wildest dreams?

Meantime, think about what YOU can do as an individual for our environment, starting with your kitties if you have no idea how. Don’t mind what the doddling characters are only now scrambling to do – it’s not for them we do anything about climate change, it’s for the planet – Gaia, for the non-humans dragged along into the maelstrom we created, for ourselves.. or rather YOU and YOURS.

(emphasis mine)

This story was printed from TODAYonline
Going clean and green

Wednesday • October 31, 2007

Lin Yanqin
yanqin@mediacorp.com.sg

SINGAPORE’S famous penchant for efficiency is about to take on a green twist.

It could mean that any electricity-guzzling household appliances that do not meet certain standards could one day disappear from shop shelves here.

When you next shop for a car, it might come with a mandatory fuel economy label.

And that chilly office building you’re now working in could, from next year, be forced to meet certain environment-friendly standards.

From encouraging industrial investors to build energy-efficient features into their facilities, to launching a $50-million research programme to boost growth in the clean energy industry here, the Government yesterday emphasised its intention to make energy efficiency the way to go.

A taskforce has been set up to coordinate efforts on all fronts. Led by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) will comprise agencies representing the major sectors of energy use: Power generation, industries, transportation, buildings, and households.

“Energy efficiency is a practical approach to meeting our energy needs, while satisfying both our environmental and economic goals,” said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

This contribution by Singapore to tackling climate change is necessary, he said — ignoring the problem “will ultimately undermine economic growth”.

And going energy-efficient would not only cut down on the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve businesses’ cost competitiveness through less energy consumption, and curb reliance on imported fossil fuels as well.

The latest initiatives are in addition to a slew of other moves by the Government over the past year to promote energy efficiency.

Last month, it was announced in Parliament that all new buildings would have to meet the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark standards — which rates a building’s environmental impact and performance by looking at its energy and water efficiency, among other things — from next year.

This requirement, said Dr Yaacob yesterday, would now be extended to existing buildings with a gross floor area of more than 2,000 square metres.

Another possibility being studied is that of mandating fuel economy labelling for all passenger cars. This comes after it was announced in March that the Green Vehicle Rebate would be extended for another two years to 2009, to encourage Singaporeans to buy fuel-efficient hybrid cars.

The average consumer will also be waiting to see the results of the NEA’s study on possibly setting standards that will remove inefficient washing machines, irons and other such appliances from the market.

Already, the voluntary Energy Labelling Scheme has been made mandatory for certain appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners from this year.

“The electricity consumed by households in Singapore has increased 32 per cent over the last 10 years, even though the population grew by only 18 per cent,” noted Dr Yaacob.

Meanwhile, the E2PO will keep track of national progress towards becoming more energy efficient and facilitate the exchange of information across agencies.

For example, said Dr Yaacob, cogeneration and trigeneration technologies — systems that can generate a combination of electricity, heat or chilled water — are out there on the market, but currently “this information is not available somewhere centrally where agencies can tap”.

Also making up the E2PO are the BCA, the Energy Market Authority, the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Land Transport Authority, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Professor Lee Siew Eang, head of the National University of Singapore’s Energy Sustainability Unit, said there has been a growing need for such a “nerve centre”.

Such a central database would help ensure policies are aligned, funding doesn’t overlap and there are no conflicts of interest that hinder results, he said.

And while Singapore’s push for energy efficiency should involve all levels, from industry to consumer, Prof Lee stressed that limited resources mean a need to prioritise – starting with areas that have the most energy wastage.

Announced separately by the EDB yesterday was the launch of the Clean Energy Research Programme. It comes under the Clean Energy Programme Office (Cepo), which was set up by the Government to coordinate research and development and the test-bedding of projects in clean energy.

Specifically, the research programme will have $50 million over the next five years to fund interdisciplinary and commercially-relevant research, and local and foreign organisations are encouraged to bid for such funding.

The Cepo will make two calls each year for proposals in specific areas, beginning with solar energy this Friday. Other focus areas that could come up in the future include fuel cells, wind and hydro-related systems.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

(Click here for the pdf version, where you can see an illustrated sidebar with the pertinent points)