Thursday, December 30, 2004

More top 10

Top Hangout Searches
1. Wild Wild Wet
2. Sentosa
3. Cineleisure
4. National Library
5. Esplanade
6. Borders
7. Kinokuniya
8. Takashimaya
9. NTUC Chalets
10. Downtown East

Heh 2 bookstores(yay!), 1 cinema, 1 library (yay!)and a load of crap.

Top Current Event Searches
1. National Day Parade
2. Olympics 2004
3. Huang Na
4. Great Singapore Sale
5. FHM Bikini Heaven
6. Subaru Challenge
7. Sasser Worm
8. Singapore Fireworks Festival
9. ERS
10. Comex 2004

This passes for current event searches? Bikini heaven? GSS? Comex? Oh save our collective souls please.

Top TV Show Searches
1. Singapore Idol
2. American Idol
3. America's Next Top Model
4. The Champion
5. Amazing Race
6. Survivor
7. Summer Scent
8. NKF Charity Show
9. Miss Singapore Universe 2004
10. Charmed

Good to see one original Singapore show there (#8), the rest are all trash. Come to think of it #8 you're trash too. Sigh... Coupled with our current event searches, we are doomed.

Top People Searches
1. Paris Hilton
2. Sylvester Sim
3. Fiona Xie
4. Taufik Batisah
5. William Hung
6. Janet Jackson
7. Anita Mui
8. Carina Lau
9. Bae Yong Jun
10. Rebecca Loos

Oh God! Save me! Not a single important person on here! Does no one care about the scandal around Kofi Annan or that Bush got reelected? Or that Tom Daschle is in trouble? Or that the EU just changed it's Commission? Or that there was a big ruckus over the Italian candidate for the Justice Commissioner job? Or that half of Bush's cabinet is gone? Sigh...

Top Queries by Month
January Anita Mui
February Janet Jackson
March Miss Singapore Universe 2004
April Miss Singapore Universe 2004
May Valuair
June Wild Wild Wet
July Singapore Pools
August Singapore Idol
September Tiger Airways
October Singapore Idol
November Singapore Idol


Top 10 Singapore searches on Yahoo

That's right ladies and gentlemen, here's Vox Leo's (thanks to Yahoo) top 10 list:

1. Friendster
So we can keep in touch with one another. I mean only 90% of all Singaporeans have cellphones, think of the 10%.

2. Singapore Idol
American Idol ala Singapore. Geez... Get a life people!

3. CPF
Better check on your retirement savings folk. Otherwise later on retire got no money to Batam and keep a mistress.

4. DBS
Da Bane of Singapore. Better stock up on Khong Guan tins, safer than a DBS safe deposit box.

5. Singapore Pools
What better way to spend your hard earned savings than on horses and 4D. But why do you need to find them online? They're the bookie that won't run away (or so we punters hope).

6. M1
90% Cellphone. Need I say more. But funny how M1 is 6th... Singtel 8th and StarHub 9th. Maybe M1 got better deals.

7. Street Directory
Makes sense. Got to find our way around Singapore.

8. SingTel
Cellphone Zombies... Everywhere... Oh wait... That's just Uniquely Singaporean.

9. StarHub
Nuff' Said.

10. Golden Village
Movies. Better than the new TV monster. Which is like the old TV monster now that I,U,5 and 8 are all one big happy family. Except I. That one has to die! (cue evil laughter). So much for media competition.

For more info go to

A reply to Xeno Boy

Recently Xeno Boy posted an article on the SDP, and here's my reply that I posted on his site:

Dear Xeno Boy, i think the accusations that can be levelled against the SDP is that they play too much to a foreign audience.

Dr Chee and his gang tend to travel alot more and go about seeking support from foreign left wing parties. He basically panders to the foreign press and dances for the peanut gallery.

In my opinion I think the Workers' Party does a better job of holding down the local scene and really trying to get things done. They don't necessarily pander to any foreign press and they don't go out often. I also see them more often than I see SDP folk, which leads me to the conclusion that the SDP may only be as useful as a minor party sniping at the edges. It has not proved to me that it can become a government, like the WP. Somewhat like the Liberal Democrats in the old days before the Tories started sucking like hell.

That said I think the National Solidarity Party can recover from its leader's failings and move on up the scale of importance in Singapore's Opposition scene. They are possibly the most hard working, most motivated party i've ever seen in Singapore. They do walkabouts even in non-election years. They're building a solid foundation for becoming a good party.

The SDP has failed in my opinion and learning from the best elsewhere does little if not properly applied. I can learn from the best teachers, but if I don't act on what I learn, I'm as good as toast. Furthermore the Swedes have a longer tradition of democracy, what we don't need is some ultra-left party in Singapore urging for full democracy at once. Too unbalancing. I subscribe to the slow and steady approach of moving towards freedom.

I'm not a revolutionary, but a reformer.

New Singapore Blog

Yay! One more. Added into the blog section, but for all you lazy kids it's

Monday, December 27, 2004

Short Shorts 27 Dec 2004


Gay marriage wins: Canada’s Supreme Court ruled this week that gay marriage did not violate the country’s constitution, clearing the way for legislators who want to make it legal nationwide. Gwendolyn Landolt of Real Women of Canada, a conservative group, said voters would throw liberals out of power if they went ahead with their plans. But polls say Canadians overwhelmingly support gay marriage. While 11 American states recently banned the same-sex unions, courts in six of Canada’s 10 provinces have ruled that outlawing gay marriage is unconstitutional. “It’s hard to believe,” said Toronto lawyer Douglas Elliott, “that just a river separates us from the United States.”

Voxleo: So it seems like Canada and the US are worlds apart when it comes to recognition of gay rights. Don't get me wrong, I personally am not a fan of the gay lifestyle, but I think gays should be accorded the full protection of the law and also from each other. If "normal" couples can get into huge ugly divorces, so can gays, and we all know the only people who stand to profit are those dirty lawyers.

Unalaska Island, Alaska

Disaster at sea: Alaskan rescuers this week stopped searching for six shipwrecked sailors who were pitched into icy waters when a helicopter crashed trying to save them. The men had been aboard the Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu, which ran aground and split in two off Unalaska Island, in the Bering Sea. The Coast Guard helicopter crew survived, and 20 other sailors were rescued. At least 40,000 gallons of the 738-foot vessel’s 500,000 gallons of oil and fuel quickly leaked out near a wildlife refuge full of endangered sea lions and birds. Salvage crews battled violent seas trying to contain the spill, which threatened to become the worst in Alaska since the Exxon Valdez lost 11 million gallons, in 1989.

Voxleo: The Malaysians got into some trouble. A pity 6 lives had to be lost.


U.S. spied on IAEA: The Bush administration intercepted telephone calls from the head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to Iranian diplomats, The Washington Post reported this week. Administration officials are combing transcripts of the calls to look for evidence of wrongdoing by Mohamed ElBaradei, secretary-general of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the paper said, quoting unnamed administration sources. The Bush administration has been critical of ElBaradei since he questioned American evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program; now some officials suspect that he is coddling Iran. The IAEA took the reports of spying in stride. “We’ve always assumed that this kind of thing goes on,” IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said. “We wish it were otherwise, but we know the reality.”

Voxleo: What's suprising is not that the US government spied on the IAEA (not a big deal really), but rather that a US newspaper reported it. Talk about free press. Too often the Singaporean government's excuse for not allowing a free press is that it might stir up racial hatred and such. Yet in a multi-racial country like the US, where desegregation is still ongoing, newspapers are allowed to go on and on about anything they want. I've had flyers from right wing Christian groups, to having to endure left wing anti-war protesters outside of my room. Talk about free speech and free press. Too bad out Straits Times, or should i say Straight Jacket, would most probably spy for the government, and not be a whistle blower.


Bogus bones: Japan threatened economic sanctions against North Korea this week after the totalitarian country tried to pass off random bones and ashes as the remains of a Japanese prisoner. The North Korean government kidnapped Megumi Yokota in 1977, when she was 13, and used her as a language instructor for North Korean spies. In what was supposed to be a goodwill gesture, the regime presented Japanese diplomats last week with a box of remains said to be those of Yokota, but tests showed they belonged to several different people. The Japanese, who venerate their dead, were appalled. “We are so stunned at this development,” said Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbun in an editorial, “that we cannot adequately express our indignation.”

Voxleo: North Korea is up to its old tricks again. C'mon guys, play fair and nice. I really don't need a flare up in the neighbourhood.

Kampala, Uganda

U.S. AIDS drug flawed: The National Institutes of Health admitted this week that it withheld potentially damaging results of research into an AIDS drug that the U.S. donated to Africa. In 2002, President Bush announced a $500 million program to provide African countries with stocks of nevirapine, a drug that helps prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies during birth. Since then, thousands of African women have received the drug. But the NIH did not tell the White House that some of its research, particularly a study in Uganda, suggested a high level of adverse, even lethal, reactions to the drug. African doctors shrugged off the news, saying the drug had already saved thousands of lives. “What you may call a serious side effect in the U.S. is not a serious side effect in Kampala,” said Francis Mmiro, a lead doctor in the Uganda study.

Voxleo: To all those bleeding left wingers out there, read what the good doctor said. Sometimes by being a compassionate left-winger we forget that flawed solutions are better than no solutions. Sure the drugs have flaws, but it saves lots of lives too. Think about that the next time you get the urge to go wave a banner.

General Santos, Philippines

Christmas market horror: A bomb exploded in an outdoor market in the southern Philippines last week, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens. The market, in the city of General Santos, was especially crowded because extra kiosks selling Christmas ornaments and gifts had just been set up. No group claimed responsibility for the blast, but Islamic and communist separatist rebels have attacked in the region before. The Philippines has been an active ally in the U.S. war on terror, sharing intelligence and troops and allowing U.S. forces to use its territory. Christmas is a major holiday in the mostly Catholic country.

Voxleo: Isn't it nice that Singapore foils such plans, maybe the ISD isn't so bad afterall. Then again we don't need to hold people without trial indefinetely, especially if they're terrorists.

The origins of Santa Claus

The origins of Santa Claus

The origins of Santa Claus
Santa Claus is the most widely recognized figure in the Western world. How did he come to be so beloved?

Where did Santa come from?
The Middle East. The original Santa Claus was St. Nicholas, an early Christian bishop who was born in 270, in what is now Turkey. His parents died when he was young, leaving him a fortune. After he became bishop of Myra, he gave away his riches, freely but anonymously. In perhaps his best-known act of kindness, he secretly tossed bags of gold through a poor family’s window, to provide dowries so the household’s three daughters could find husbands instead of being sold into slavery. At least one of the bags landed in a stocking hung up to dry by the fireplace, which is why children still hang up stockings on Christmas Eve to be filled with gifts.

How did he become such an icon?
Despite his efforts at anonymity, Nicholas soon became famous for his kindness and generosity—especially toward the young. When he died, on Dec. 6, 343, he was declared a saint by popular demand. Early admirers, mainly children, celebrated the anniversary of his passing by leaving out gifts for his white horse before they went to bed on Dec. 5. When they woke up, they were rewarded with sweets that the kindly saint had left behind.

How did his fame spread west?
Sailors carried stories about St. Nicholas over the Mediterranean Sea to distant lands. In 1087, an expedition set out from Italy to find the saint’s bones and bring them back to be enshrined in a church in a town called Bari, where they rest to this day. Two centuries later, crusaders on their way back from the Holy Land visited Bari. They returned to homes all over Europe telling tales of the life and miracles of St. Nicholas.

What did Nicholas have to do with Christmas?
Initially, nothing. For centuries, his life was celebrated on Dec. 6, the anniversary of his death and his official Roman Catholic feast day. But after the Reformation, the Protestants said that Christmas celebrations, which included pagan traditions of exchanging gifts and raucous merrymaking, exhibited “an extraeme forgetfulnesse of Christ, giving liberty to carnall and sensual delights.” The English Parliament banned Christmas observances in 1644, and the Puritans in Massachusetts did the same. Christmas devotees kept the holiday alive by celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas instead, and over time, the two celebrations merged.

How did St. Nick become Santa?
That was an American innovation. Early Dutch settlers of New York called the holiday hero Sint Herr Nikolaas, later shortened to Sinterklaas. The name morphed into Santa Claus over the 17th and 18th centuries. Back then, Santa looked a little different. He was often depicted as a gaunt old-timer, like the English Father Christmas, who is believed to have been modeled after a pagan spirit who wore holly sprigs in his white hair. The American Santa wore traditional bishop’s garb—a pointed hat, or miter, and a staff hooked at the top like a shepherd’s crook (hence the shape of the peppermint candy canes that we have at Christmas).

Was Santa always big in America?
No. After the Puritans nearly did him in, it took an organized effort to restore his popularity. In the early 19th century, a small number of influential New Yorkers rekindled interest in St. Nicholas, as the focal point of a wholesome, home-centered tradition quite unlike the rowdy, pagan celebrations of old. They declared Nicholas the patron saint of their city. In 1809, Washington Irving wrote a history of New York in which he introduced “Sinter Klaas” to America as a kindly saint who arrived at people’s homes on horseback on the eve of his feast day.

When did Santa get his reindeer?
The image of St. Nick as “a jolly old elf” towed around by flying reindeer really began taking shape in 1822, with the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas”—also known by its opening line, “’Twas the night before Christmas.” It was written by Clement Moore (a biblical studies professor) for his children. Forty years later, political cartoonist Thomas Nast refined Santa’s image with a series of drawings in Harper’s Weekly. Nast’s Santa dropped the bishop’s garb, and wore instead a brown coat trimmed with white fur. He also got a new address: Nast depicted St. Nick sitting on a box marked “Christmas box 1882, St. Nicholas, North Pole.”

Did Santa always bring children gifts?
Yes, but nothing like the loot kids expect these days. Centuries ago, children awoke to find nuts, sweets, and maybe clay figurines in their stockings. Sometimes the toes of their stockings would be filled with an orange, which represented the gold that St. Nicholas gave the poor. But in the late 19th century, merchants started looking for a way to get rid of their inventory at the end of the year. In 1867, Macy’s department store in New York City broke sales records by staying open late on Christmas Eve, and in the 1870s, it lured even more shoppers with elaborate Christmas window displays, and by bringing Santa Claus, alive and in person, into the store. Santa’s commercialization had begun.

Where did Santa get his red suit?
That is a controversial issue. “The jolly old St. Nick we know from countless images did not come from Western European folklore,” James Twitchell wrote in Adcult USA: The Triumph of Advertising in American Culture. “He came from yearly advertisements of the Coca-Cola Co.” In 1931, Coke hired a Swedish illustrator named Haddon Sundblom to draw a series of Santas for an ad campaign to boost sales of its soft drink in winter. Sundblom chose as his model a portly retired Coke salesman and dressed him in the company colors—red and white. But according to Gerry Bowler, author of The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, the image of a plump Santa decked out in red was already quite common before the 1930s. “What those Coke ads do,” he says, “is just put the final touch on it.”

So who’s Kriss Kringle?
Kriss Kringle is another foreign Christmas character whose name was twisted to suit the American tongue. German immigrants taught their children that it wasn’t St. Nicholas who brought them gifts, but the Christ child, or Christkindl. The child was often accompanied by an elfin helper, known in some places as Pelznickel, or “Nicholas with fur.” Adults in the German communities of Pennsylvania, where the tradition was strong, dressed up as Pelznickel by donning furry disguises and false beards. This memorable character visited before bedtime, whereas Christkindl only arrived to leave gifts while the children were sleeping. Since the recipients never saw their real benefactor, Kriss Kringle (as the name came to be pronounced) became confused with his whiskery assistant—and eventually with the gift-bearing Santa Claus.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hot off the Press

Hello brudders and sistas,

Sorry. I have been really busy lately and I have neglected my friends and comrades. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Too make it up I have news hot off the press from my buddy who was approached to do this. Our beloved ST wants to do series where young people write for other young people. Yup. So I wonder what ideas will get axed and what will stay in. My fly on the wall will be updating me and see which of his ideas will kena axed and which will stay. Let me know what ideas you have for articles and I'll bounce it off my pal.

Also another interesting thing, Psychologists have tested and proven that women are faster drivers. Yes you heard it right, women are faster drivers. This proves that women are the lousy drivers we always suspected them to be. You hear that? That's half my audience walking out. Anyway, the tests also porve that men are the more aggressive drivers of the sexes. So that also proves what every women thought about men: we're bad drivers. Let's put two and two together... Women are bad drivers and men are bad drivers... So... That means we're all likely to get into a car accident some time in our life. STAY AWAY FROM YOUR CAR!

Ha Ha... Yup... Sorry for not replying. It's not that the police came knocking on my door (I successfully snuck in and out of Singapore last week), but I've just been so busy with work. Sigh... Makes you want to get in your car and drive.

Ok folks. Will keep giving you juicy updates.