Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Super Tianwei!

I watched in real-time on TV how our gutsy Feng Tianwei gave as good as she got, facing China's World No1 Ding Ning in the women's singles semi. She's already a Singaporean hero, whether she subsequently clinches the bronze or not...

Olympics: Feng Tianwei loses to China's Ding, will compete for bronze

 By May Chen
LONDON: Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei may have been defeated in the table tennis women's singles semi-finals, but the Republic's hopes for a medal in the singles event is still alive.

Feng, the world No. 8, went down 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 6-11 to China's world No. 1 Ding Ning. Ding is also the reigning world champion.

The Singaporean will play for the bronze medal on Wednesday at the ExCel Arena, where she will meet either China's Li Xiaoxia or Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa.

The table tennis team, which is aiming to defend it's silver in the women's team event, has targeted two medals for this Olympics.



Meanwhile, it's good to see that "eye sores" have been corrected.

I had much earlier spotted and posted this example of mangled English...

I happened to pass by the same place today and, whoa, that banner is no longer an embarrassment...

Likewise, I had recently put here this bad example of a print ad ("unique" is an absolute adjective; it cannot be modified)...

Just before the actual event, a career fair, the organisers corrected their ad...


Giving a new meaning to the word 'backfire'...

Finally, yet another weird story:


Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic sidetracks...

AFP has this interesting story, carried by xin.msn...

Humans would be also-rans in all-species Olympics: study

Human beings would be made to look decidedly unimpressive were animals allowed to compete in the Olympics -- outperformed by the likes of kangaroos, gorillas and ostriches, a science paper said.

Usain Bolt, currently the world's fastest man, may just be able to outrun a Dromedary camel but would trail the cheetah, greyhound and ostrich in a sprint race, said a feature in the Veterinary Record journal.

"'Citius, Altius, Fortius' (faster, higher, stronger) is the Olympic motto, but if we allowed the rest of the animal kingdom into the Games ... we could not offer much competition!" wrote author Craig Sharp.

Jamaican track star Bolt holds the 100m-record of 9.58 seconds, which translates into a speed of 37.6 kilometres per hour.

The world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, can reach speeds of 104 kph, a thoroughbred racehorse 70 kph, a greyhound 69 kph and an ostrich 64 kph, said Sharp of the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in London. The camel comes in just behind Bolt at 35.3 kph.

When it comes to marathon running, the human athlete could not hold a candle to endurance animals like camels or sled dogs, and he would also be beaten in the long jump by the kangaroo (12.8 meters compared to the human record of 8.95 m).

The high jump record of 2.45 m would be smashed by the springbok gazelle, which can bound over three metres into the air, and the snakehead fish which can leap over four metres out of water.

When it comes to strength, human weight lifters would see themselves far outperformed by elephants, grizzly bears and gorillas, said the document.
"In pure physical events like running, jumping, swimming ... we wouldn't win anything," Sharp told AFP -- to the exclusion of technically-aided sports like tennis.

We humans have one advantage, though, in that no other animal is more of a Jack of all sports.

"What we are good at is being really versatile; we can sprint, we can run long distances, we can jump, we can swim, we can lift weights." Pitted against the animal kingdom, "what we would do well at is a sort of decathlon of swimming, running, jumping, lifting," said Sharp.



From Readers' Digest, some facts and some trivia...




Finally, gaffes over anthems and flags, past and present. You won't know what you're missing if you don't click on the link...


Sunday, July 29, 2012

True Olympic spirit... a must-see video!

I watched this video on something that happened at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and decided it will be the only item I will post today:


Do watch it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

If you have not eaten prata, you haven't lived!

Roti prata, free gifts, Bukit Timah Hill, double confirm, etc, etc...

Singaporeans are consummate foodies, but we don't seem to care much about how we call our food dishes. Roti prata, a type of flatbread usually eaten with a curry dip, is one of favourite tummy yummies. I am also fussy about proper word usage -- one of the reasons why I started this blog (apart from a compulsion to share corny jokes).

So, this letter below by someone named Gorain Jagadish Chandra to ST (28 July) -- a response to an earlier commentary piece -- piqued my interest:

I CAN understand the feelings of Mr Asad Latif when he describes roti prata as an unbearable tautology because prata is a kind of roti (“Confessions of a former foreign misfit”; July 13).

As a native of the Indian state of West Bengal, I too felt very much the same when I was new here.

I arrived in Singapore in 1992, went on to obtain my permanent residence and, finally, citizenship.

What is called roti prata in Singapore is known as prata in West Bengal.

Roti in India means Indian handmade bread as well, and is also called “chapati”.
So, initially, I used to wonder about the sense in calling it roti prata when roti and prata mean one and the same thing; I could not grasp the redundancy.

The “bread-bread”(roti prata) handle favoured by Singaporeans started making sense when I became familiar with things Singapore, that is, when I picked up the rudiments of Malay.

Whereas I refer to my mother tongue as “Bengali” and not as “Bengali language” (which it would be in Malay), Malays usually refer to theirs as Bahasa Melayu (Malay language); that is to say, what something is, followed by what type of something it is.

Prata being a roti, should therefore be roti prata in Malay. I do not know if this is indeed the reason for calling what is known simply as prata, roti prata, or whether it is, as Mr Latif, preferred to describe it, a tautology.

But it started making sense to me and once that happens, acceptance comes next, which is, in my view, the basic principle behind integration.


I am not so sure if one can extend the argument above to societal integration, something that is certainly fraught with more complexity. But at least I now know that roti prata = bread-bread! 

But I do agree that there is a penchant for perpetuating or inventing redundant labels here: witness the plethora of ads offering "free gifts". Hossan Leong is famous for his "double confirm" (confirm, confirm?) and one of our landmarks is Bukit Timah Hill (bukit = hill in Malay). I am sure there are other examples, etc, etc.

Three more points. One is that across the Causeway, the Malaysians call this dish "roti canai" (pronounced "chanai"). There is some debate over this labelling too. Some say the "canai" part derived from the dish's home source in south India, the city of Chennai. Others say it is from the Malay word for "to stretch", which brings me to my second point.

The lump of flour used for making prata has first to be flipped, expertly, of course. How fluffy that prata that you eat is depends on the skill of the "flipper".

Third point: that picture above used by ST is actually a murtabak -- essentially, a bulkier version of prata that has filling such as minced chicken, mutton, sardines or whatever one wants to creatively put into the murtabak skin.

To find out more about roti prata aka roti canai, see this entry by one well-known food blogger:


Do check out the videos that show how the prata dough might be flipped.

[Liane, go for it! Next time I'm in Sydney, homemade prata for breakfast, hor!]


Prata footnote:
I think I know why I am so besotted with prata. When I was growing up as a little boy in Pulau Bukom, come Sundays, my father would bicycle to the shops and bring back freshly made prata for all of us. Before I was allowed as an older child to eat it with curry, I ate it with sprinkled sugar as a toddler. Maybe that explains why I needed to visit the dentist since childhood!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Why you should take a good look at your car's petrol gauge...

Funny Bone

Ah, Friday, chill-out day. Someone called Joel Choo posted this very funny one on Facebook:


Here's A Useful Tip

On our recent holiday trip, my nephew was the driver of the car we all hired. Then, as we neared the first petrol stop, he realised he did not check where the fuel tank was. Should he go to the left side or the right side?

"No problemo," I told him. Look at the petrol pump symbol. Here's a couple of images I took from the Web:

In the upper pic, the filler cap is on the left side of the car. The arrow says so! In the lower pic, it is on the right side. Puzzle solved, huh? But don't be confused by the symbol itself, with the fuel hose always on the right. Ignore that. It's the arrowhead.

I have known this "secret" for a long time. Amazingly, one British motoring writer confessed he only knew about it after his mum-in-law had told him...



Oh no, Singaporeans fail when it comes to passwords!

Yesterday, I had fun posting some password security jokes here. Today, there are stories in the local media about Singaporeans' bad habits on this issue. This story below is from my paper, as found in the AsiaOne site:

S'poreans lax with Net passwords
Only 10 per cent change their passwords every quarter as recommended

Lisa Oon (my paper)
Fri, Jul 27, 2012, my paper

Arts manager Jacquelyn Soo never changes the passwords for her online accounts, such as for online banking, even though she is aware that doing so regularly is a good habit.

The reason? She is too used to the existing passwords. And with so many passwords to commit to memory, having to remember new ones is a chore for her.

Many Singaporeans do not change their passwords, too, going by the findings of a survey released yesterday.

The findings showed that 52 per cent of Singaporeans who use online-banking services never change their passwords, while only 10 per cent change their passwords every quarter as recommended.

The survey also found that online banking was one of the most popular online activities at home for Singaporeans, with 72 per cent of them doing so.

When it came to filing tax returns online, 60 per cent of Singaporeans said they did not change their passwords. For those who use other government services, 59 per cent never change their passwords.

The poll was done by Assurity Trusted Solutions, an Infocomm Development Authority subsidiary which runs the national two-factor authentication system. Assurity surveyed 346 Singaporeans in April.

Ms Maria Cruz, a technical- communications specialist at IT security firm Trend Micro's TrendLabs, said of the findings: "Password security has always been a trade-off between what people can remember and what's difficult for attackers to guess."

She said that since passwords have to be remembered, people tend to pick ones that are easy, and simple to recall. "Once we have internalised this password, it becomes difficult to change," she said. But Ms Cruz added that changing passwords often helps to keep hackers guessing, should they want to hack into an account.

Mr Ethan Wang, a research director of banking and investment at research firm Gartner, said many people do not change their passwords often as "there is no urgency" to do so, unless they are alerted to fraud cases. He said some banks do not require customers to change online-banking passwords regularly if the banks have taken other security measures.

For Mr Gary Quek, 34, who works in the finance sector, this means using a security token to generate a second, one-time-use password for online banking. A two-factor authentication system like this is safer than relying on one password, he said.

Mr Chai Chin Loon, chief operating officer of Assurity, said: "Whenever possible, the public should activate two-factor authentication as it reduces the risk of online fraud and identity theft."


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The long and short of secure passwords...

Someone shared this joke today...

During a recent password audit of a major corporation, one employee stood out -- for having the longest password in the entire office. This was the password:

When asked about it, the staff member said, "Hey, that was the instruction given to us... a secure password needs to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital."

Then there's this one...
Computer: Please type in a new password
Smart aleck alpha male: mypenis
Computer: Sorry, it's not long enough.

Or this one...
Goondu: I've found the best password. This one I don't even need to remember!
Gong Kia: Wah, so clever. What is it?
Goondu: "Invalid"!
Gong Kia: How so?
Goondu: Every time I forget my password, I just anyhow enter something. Then the computer will tell me, "Your password is invalid".
[Think about it... there's reason in madness. How do you fault the logic above?]

One last one, funny, but also a serious reminder about having a secure password...

Finally, more on the amazing things that happen on our public transport...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amazing Singaporeans!

Has Singapore gone to the dogs... hotdogs? Actually, yes, but it's burgers we are talking here, In-N-Out Burgers.

Yesterday, I had highlighted the fun piece by insing.com's food writers on the crazy people queueing up for hours to purchase just a measly 300 items. At 11 am, queue-numbered wristbands were issued up to the 300-quota -- they were all given out within five minutes.

One would have thought the rest of the queue would then go home, go back to work, etc. But no, they lingered. And consoled themselves with buying the burger chain's tee-shirts. Some desperados were even offering up to $50 for a wristband, so they could get their hands on burgers that cost $4 to $6. Amazing!

Then there are the comments, both from the lucky and unlucky ones, culled from this ST/Asia News Network story...


Student Tyron Tjong, 15, was one of the first in line at 9:30am. He roped in his parents to get one each of the three burgers: Double Double, Animal-style and Protein-style burgers.
He said: "It's just one day and I really wanted to eat the burger after trying it in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. The meat is just so juicy and it's a really good burger."

Similarly, housewife Selena Freese, 42, headed straight to the eatery after her husband read about the pop-up store in the Life! section of The Straits Times in the morning.
The Los Angeles native, who heads to an In-N-Out outlet every time she goes home, said: "I'm in love with the burger and I just had to have it. The one here tastes just as good as the burgers in America."

Some fans, such as Abhishek Radhakrishnan, 26, were not as lucky and were turned away after all the wristbands were given out. The game developer arrived at 11:l5am, only to find himself at the tail-end of the line. He said: "I thought that coming here earlier was a bit of an overkill as I didn't expect so many people to turn up. I learnt my lesson, but I'm pretty bummed that I didn't get a burger."

Lydia Pok, 22, who was there with two friends, said: "It is the best burger I have ever eaten, especially the last bite, where all the flavours of the cheese, sauce and meat come together." The recent university graduate, who had her first In-N-Out burger five years ago, added: "I just wanted to remember the taste of how good it was. Now that I've had it, I feel like a champ."


Wow! Reminds me of Maria Antoinette's famous quote: "If the people have no bread, let them eat cake."


Latest on the amazing NParks/Brompton foldable bikes saga: CPIB steps in



Amazing sights you'll see on our public transport...

Everyone in Singapore "owns" a BMW ie, bus, MRT, walk. And you get to see amazing sights too.

I once saw a woman board a crowded bus, plonked herself on a seat, and in full view of everyone else, went on to extract booger (Hokkien: phee sai)! I kid you not.

On a crowded train, someone released "German gas" (I'll research at another time this phrase's origin). It was funny because everyone was looking at each other and no one was owning up.

And just today, on another crowded train, a seated young woman took out her compact beauty case cum mirror (or whatever it's called) and unhurriedly did her eyes, powdered her face, etc. Then, with exquisite timing, she calmly got up at the next stop.

So, this ST cartoon below is entirely plausible, given Singaporeans' famously notorious unwillingness to move to the back of a crowded bus...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mind over matter? And a sizzling 'in N out in 5 minutes' quickie!

So, did you try to get the spinning woman to go clockwise as well as anti-clockwise at will (yesterday's brain teaser)?...

If you then smugly thought you were in the "brainy" league -- able to use both left- and right-brain at will -- sorry, it's all just an optical illusion trick. All you need is focused practice (not IQ)...



Here's proof that your brain's not in your head but at your fingertips!

Now get ready for this "left brain-right brain" challenge...

First, sit down comfortably on a suitable chair, ie a desk chair or a kopitiam chair. Lift your right foot off the floor and draw clockwise circles with it. Get into a rhythm (but don't tire your foot!).

Now, using your right hand, draw the numeral "6" in the air.

What happened? For most of us, something weird happened, right?

But some people claimed they could continue circling their foot in the original clockwise pattern. I could not but won't dispute such a claim. Again, I think it simply shows an ability to stay focused.

I guess you can also try other matrices around your left/righ foor and left/right hand. Have fun!


The classic left/right brain joke

There's this really great joke. Just fill in the blank with, say, your favourite politician. So, for Americans, if you are Democrat...

Mitt Romney goes to see the doctor to get the results of his brain scan. The doctor says: "Mr Romney, I have some bad news for you. First, we have discovered that your brain has two sides: the left side and the right side."

Romney interrupts, "Well, that's normal, isn't it? I thought everybody had two sides to their brain?"

The doctor replies, "That's true. But your brain is very unusual because on the left side there isn't anything right, while on the right side there isn't anything left."

And if you are Republican...

Barack Obama goes to see the doctor to get the results of his brain scan. The doctor says: "Mr. President, I have some bad news for you. First, we have discovered that your brain has two sides: the left side and the right side."

Obama interrupts, "Well, that's normal, isn't it? I thought everybody had two sides to their brain?"

The doctor replies, "That's true, Mr. President. But your brain is very unusual because on the left side there isn't anything right, while on the right side there isn't anything left."


A funny thing happened at the In-N-Out Burger promo

If you have a burger brand called In-N-Out, expect some foodie journalists to have fun writing up their copy...

In-N-Out in 5 minutes
by Wei Wen Sng and Priyanka Chand Agarwal
inSing.com - 24 July 2012

What an anti-climax! We got all worked up, stood in queue, and didn’t even get a t-shirt for our efforts.

If we -- as women -- knew what premature ejaculation felt like, it would probably feel a little like how we felt at 11.05am today (24 July).

Yes, we were one of the many who joined the snaking queue along Boat Quay in hopes of sinking our chops into a juicy In-N-Out Burger at its one day pop-up store at Golden Grill.

Sadly, the Californian cult burger chain's rumoured 300 patties were sold out in five minutes.

But boy was it a loaded five minutes, filled with anticipation as the smell of fast food and excitement wafted through the air, and the queue that snaked behind the restaurant, down an alley off Circular Road, stretching a good distance down the Singapore River.

Like an ardent lover in waiting, the long line did not waver, even under the hot noon sun.

It was a mixed crowd, made up of students, families and office workers, many of them expats. Many had already given In-N-Out Burger a whirl in Los Angeles and were keen for another round. Others having heard rave reviews from their friends, wanted to give it a try.

Good old Facebook and its knack for making the popular viral was cited as the main reason for many – too many in this case – learning about this one-day event.

With more than 500 people lining up to purchase the much sought-after burgers, we knew our chances were limp. And it didn’t even matter if we had exact change – for possible future reference these are the prices: a Double Double ($6), Cheeseburger ($5), Hamburger ($4), potato chips ($1) and drinks ($1) – we weren’t one of the lucky few handed a special wristband to enter the burger paradise of In-N-Out.

Only a very few lucky ones who had been queuing since the early morning were able to lay their hands on those juicy buns, but would one have been enough to appease the satisfaction? Today it was either that or nothing.

While In-N-Out Burger was rumoured to bring in 300 patties, when asked for a confirmation, the management declined to comment.

At 11.05am, many hungry, disgruntled, sweaty individuals saw their hopes dashed when they were turned away by a surly store manager. As a last ditched effort, a reluctant few made do with In-N-Out Burger T-shirts ($5).


To the disappointed ones, maybe just listen to The Beatles' Hey Jude, hor...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Brave men, a no-brainer, and a brain teaser...

I hope, if ever I find myself in the same situation as these heroes (below) who died or were wounded in the Aurora (Colorado) cinema shooting carnage, that I would act with similar alacrity and courage:

Matthew Robert McQuinn, 27

He threw his body in front of his longtime girlfriend, Ms Samantha Yowler, and her brother Nick, shielding them from the bullets that took his life.

Ex-serviceman Jon Blunk, 26

He pushed his girlfriend, Ms Jansen Young, 21, to the floor after recognising the gravity of the situation. Ms Young said he was shot to death while protecting her.

Jarell Brooks, 19

He stepped forward to help Ms Patricia Legarreta, 25, and her two children escape after they got separated from her boyfriend during the shooting. Both Mr Brooks and Ms Legarreta were shot but survived.

Alex Teves, 24

He pushed his girlfriend, Ms Amanda Lindgren, to the floor to shield her when bullets began flying in the theatre. "He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it," said his aunt.

(TODAY, 23 July, page 8, "Real superheroes in life and death".)


Hey LTA, it's a no-brainer: Get rid of the all-red buffer!

I had earlier concurred with TODAY letter-writer Michael Loh on the inadvisability of having right-turning motorists "pause" before the right-turn green arrow comes on at road junctions (my blog entry on 17 July). We saw it as a dangerous practice.

I am glad someone else has the same view (TODAY, 23 July, page 15). He goes further in explaining why those few seconds of "pause" may actually encourage oncoming drivers to jump the red light...

Traffic lights: Flashing amber, timer help motorists
From Henry Tan Seng Lee

I refer to the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) letter "Sign alerts motorists to change in traffic light timing" (July 10).

Speeding to beat the red light when the lights turn amber is already common among motorists. Countdown timers that come on, say, three seconds before the red light would not make matters worse.

In fact, it should improve motorists' reactions, as a timer is more consistent than a sudden change of lights.

Humans generally act better with better information, and it is hard to understand why a timer cannot be synchronised with a dynamic traffic system.

Another method which seems to work well for relatively long stretches of road is the advance flashing amber light used along a stretch of Holland Road.

It has been so cleverly set that a motorist passing the light inevitably meets a red light at the junction ahead. Motorists soon learn that it is futile to beat the red light once the advance amber light starts flashing.

The LTA should consider this for other roads.

The all-red buffer, though, is misplaced. Holding traffic for a few more seconds to permit safe passage for motorists who jump traffic lights only emboldens such acts.

These offenders have the mistaken belief that it is safe, though illegal, to do so.

Eventually, this bad habit will take up these few seconds and we will be back to square one. The increasing number who beat the red light may well be a consequence of the all-red buffer.

The LTA should instead use methods that discourage this bad habit.

Giving motorists ample information and time to act when they approach a junction, backed by strong enforcement, is the best way forward.

A combination of the countdown timer and the advance flashing light should improve our motoring experience.


Try this brain teaser...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blog stars, sports stars, and... Stardust!

They are known as "Dr Jia Jia and Big Bro" and the cheeky Chua siblings -- Jin Sen, 7, and his "big bro" Jin Chou, 12, wearing their now-famous T-shirt with the legend "Kee Chiew" (Hokkien: Raise your hands!... in reference to the public lampooning of a certain politician's public speaking habit) -- have won a blogging award:


They lampoon, in Singlish, a host of Singaporean issues, mostly political. Here are their website and two samples of the YouTube videos they made which have endeared the duo to many Singaporeans:


Singlish Minister


Study like xiao



Olympic Quiz

Who was Singapore's first Olympian?

The answer can be found here...


But this portion of the write-up above initially puzzled me...

In 1948, as Singapore’s sole representative in the Olympic Games in London, Lloyd qualified for the high jump final. He was eventually placed 14th.

This is what I didn't get: In 1948, there was no such country as Singapore. There was the British Crown Colony of Singapore, so he would have competed as a British subject ie one among many others, not as "Singapore's sole representative". If he had bagged a medal and had stood on the podium, the anthem played would have been "God Save The King" (GStK)!

Then, another Internet check uncovered yet another name:

Chua Boon Lay, [is] regarded as the first athlete from Singapore to take part in the Olympic Games, when he represented China in the 1936 Berlin Olympics...
...Because Chua was present at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he is considered the first athlete from Singapore to take part in the Olympic Games, but Lloyd Valberg is considered Singapore’s first Olympian under the Singapore Olympic and Sports Council established in 1947.

So, okay, I'm satisfied, even though Valberg would still have had to stand to attention to "GStK". Here's the link...



Okay, second quiz question:
How is Singapore swimming sensation Joseph Schooling, 17 (who will be taking part in the 2012 London Olympics) related to this gentleman (Valberg)?

Again, here's the link to the answer...



Last item. I heard this old-time Nat King Cole evergreen "Stardust" on the radio this afternoon and just can't get it out of my head...


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Playful yet tasteful ads...

Serious fun -- a contradiction, or what?

I like this ad for the Mini:

Serious fun may seem like a contradiction in terms (say, like military intelligence) but this label seems apt for the Mini (today's reincarnation, not the original working-class one). After all, it is a fun, funky car but the Ah Bengs are unlikely to buy it. Instead, it is the English-educated yuppies -- maybe hotshot bankers and doctors perhaps -- who go for the Mini.

But I wonder if the copy writer knew that his choice of words is not original. Many years ago, when George Yeo was the Minister for Information and the Arts (1991-1999), he coined the term: "It may seem odd but we have to pursue the subject of fun very seriously if we want to stay competitive in the 21st century."


Here are a couple more ads that I like (for their play on words):


But this one is bad, language-wise...

There is no such thing as "most unique". Something is unique, period. For that matter, you can't say a woman is "quite pregnant". Again, she is pregnant, period.

People who write copy for ads should mind their language well. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Upsizing! Indeed, literally so...

It's Friday, and there's always amazing but true stories for chilling out. One that I would definitely say "stands out" is this (very well-penned) AFP story which many newspapers have gleefully picked up...

US man with huge penis stopped at airport


Not to be outdone by the "upsized" story above is this recent ST pic and headline...

Bao-note: If you are clueless as to who Amy Yip is, go Google her name!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dog Philosophy 101

This article below (extract) by Nicole Breanne, titled "Why You Should Live Like Your Dog", is from Cesar Milan's website:


1. Be Loyal: Dogs are faithful, reliable, loyal, and they love unconditionally.

2. See the People in Your Life with New Eyes: After a long day at the office on the drive home what do you look forward to seeing? Is it that wagging tail and grinning smile? Do you prepare to be kissed and jumped on the minute you walk through the door? Of course you do, and isn’t it a great feeling? Every time your dog sees you it’s like they’re seeing you for the first time in years. They’re always excited to see you. Try greeting the people in your life with the same excitement.

3. Forgive and Forget: Have you ever accidentally stepped on your pup’s tail and heard that awful yelp? Or how about having to discipline them and getting those puppy dog eyes in return? Five minutes later they’re right back to playing and loving you, aren’t they? Dogs don’t hold grudges. It’s not that they can’t hold a grudge they just choose to forgive you instead. So, take a cue from your dog and choose to forgive, forget, and move on.

4. Live Life to the Fullest: Watch as your dog goes through his daily routine. Every scent is new, every person is special and every bit of food is delicious. Not a bad way to live.

5. Take a Hike: What dog doesn’t love being outside? They love going for walks and hikes and we should too. exercise is good for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Walking with your dog is also a great way for the two of you to bond!

6. Take a Nap: Dogs can sleep anywhere, they just plop down and they are out. While your options aren’t as open as your dog’s it is important to nap like them. Studies show that taking a 15-30 minute nap reenergizes us makes us feel more creative and alert. So if you can, try and set aside 15 minutes a day to curl up with your pup and catch a few zzz’s.


Proof of Pointer No 3 ("Forgive and Forget")...

I'm not promoting Seagate products here but this pooch's guilty look is so adorable, you can't help but forgive him (or her) and forget that it ever happened. But, in human affairs, it's often easier said than done. I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Don't spin, please, unless it's the bicycle wheels that are doing that...

Phrase of the Day: Spin doctors


Just what are spin doctors? Does the term originate from "spinning a yarn"? The link above gives a good explanation. Here's an extract:

So, why 'spin'? For the derivation of that we need to go back to yarn. We know that sailors and other storytellers have a reputation for spinning yarns. Given a phrase in the language like 'spin a yarn', we might expect to assume that a yarn was a tall tale and that the tellers spun it out. That's not quite right though.

Until the phrase was coined, yarn was just thread. The phrase was coined as an entity, just meaning 'tell a tale'. That came about in the early 19th century and was first written down in James Hardy Vaux's A new and comprehensive vocabulary of the flash language, in 1812:
"Yarning or spinning a yarn, signifying to relate their various adventures, exploits, and escapes to each other."
So, spin became associated with telling a story. It began to be used in a political and promotional context in the late 1980s; for example, in the Guardian Weekly, January 1978:
"The CIA can be an excellent source [of information], though, like every other, its offerings must be weighed for factuality and spin."
From there it is a small step for the people employed to weave reports of factual events into palatable stories to be called 'spin doctors'.


I think many people will agree that NParks did not come out looking good after it was recently revealed that it had bought 26 British-made foldable bicycles at $2,200 each, or $57,200 in total. Many netizens swung into action, comparing the chosen brand/model to others on the market at much lower prices.

Here's an extract from a New Paper story (1 July) on the issue...

"The National Parks Board (NParks) has bought 26 bicycles for its officers to use on patrols.

But the purchase has raised some eyebrows.

Some Singaporeans, including netizens, are asking if the chosen bikes - foldable Brompton bicycles costing $2,200 each - are too expensive.

The British-brand bikes - which cost $57,200 altogether - were bought after a tender was issued in January.

The purchase has attracted much attention in online forums, with some netizens comparing the Brompton bikes to the $575 Herman Miller chairs bought by the Ministry of Manpower last year which caused a stir."

Here's one online thread on the issue...



In contrast, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) deserves kudos for the way it eschewed spin in its response to a well-meant chiding from a TODAY reader. Mr Stefan Lim had written this letter, published on 16 July...

Promote Gardens by the Bay better
Jul 16, 2012
From Stefan Lim

I am touched by the splendour of the Gardens by the Bay and proud of our Government's decision to build a mega park right in the city. I hope the space will be enjoyed by both Singaporeans and visitors.

I am disturbed, though, by the Singapore Tourism Board's description and marketing of it on yourSingapore.com: "You've been to gardens before, but have you ever stepped into a garden costing more than a billion dollars?

"That's the cost of Singapore's newest icon, a 101 hectare-superpark, where you'll see more than a quarter of a million rare plants in huge domed conservatories ..."

To associate the rationale for visiting an attraction with its cost is to create an impression of a mercenary Singapore. This distorts the promotion of a park filled with nature, built for the enjoyment of young and old.

It may even be condescending to suggest that our visitors, local or foreign, have not visited expensive gardens and therefore should.

The park's appeal lies in its greenery, conservation efforts and Singaporeans' will to have nature right on our doorstep, not in how much we spend to create an expensive infrastructure.

The right intent should be communicated to visitors to create the right impression, not only of our "hardware" but also of how we genuinely want to have a green space for ourselves and our visitors.


STB's response was published today...

Gardens' website introduction amended
Jul 18, 2012
From Norman Tan Deputy Director, Marketing Activation and Innovation, Singapore Tourism Board

We refer to Mr Stefan Lim's letter "Promote Gardens by the Bay better" (July 16).

The Singapore Tourism Board thanks him for pointing out that the opening description of Gardens by the Bay in our destination website YourSingapore might have unintentionally presented a less favourable impression. We have amended the introduction and description of Gardens by the Bay to focus on the key attributes of this wonderful park.

We thank Mr Lim again for his valuable feedback and continued support of yoursingapore.com


General news from out of North Korea...

A well-known general has been booted out.
A little-known general has been promoted to take his place.
The known little general has promoted himself, and is now a Marshal.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wah, now I'm 'uber patriotic'; and a couple of spot-on letters...

I toyed with buying them last year but did not. I have now done it, ahead of this year's National Day. My little red car now has them...

Looks good, huh? But there's a problem... this diminutive red car has oversized wing mirrors (a "problem" perhaps shared by Dolly Parton?). This view below shows how much the skimpy material is in danger of having a "wardrobe malfunction"...


Sometimes it takes a good analogy to drive home one's point. This letter in today's ST's Forum pages (17 July, below) has done that...

Polyclinic queues and $1 chicken rice
Not long ago, some stalls began selling chicken rice at $1 per plate, compared with the $2 to $3 charged by other stalls.

The queues for the $1 chicken rice were always long, to the extent of turning off some customers, who decided to patronise the other stalls that charged more.

However, once the queues for the $1 chicken rice became shorter, fresh customers joined in as they could then buy the cheaper dish without having to queue longer than previously.

In short, the queues were always long because the chicken rice was priced lower than the going rate.

It is the same with the queues in government polyclinics (“Polyclinics should offer treatment for mental illness” by Mr M. Lukshumayeh, July 3; “Don’t burden polyclinics over mental illness” by Mr Rajasegaran Ramasamy, July 4; and “Why polyclinics should have mental health-care facilities” by Dr Leong Choon Kit, last Thursday).

Building more polyclinics and staffing them with more doctors and nurses will not solve the overcrowding.

As with the $1 chicken rice, when the queues get shorter, more patients who are currently consulting private general practitioners will opt for the polyclinics because their fees are lower.

The Health Ministry’s Community Health Assist Scheme is one strategy to ease polyclinic queues, by offering alternative subsidised health care to needy citizens at clinics run by general practitioners.

But as long as the fees at government polyclinics remain lower than those in the private sector, there will always be long queues, just like the ones at $1 chicken rice stalls.
Associate Professor Virginia Goh
Dr Teoh Yee Leong


This letter in yesterday's TODAY (16 July) likewise makes a very pertinent point about the "right-turn traffic light arrow" at road junctions in Singapore...

Variable right turn arrows are risky and unpredictable
Jul 16, 2012
From Michael Loh Yik Ming
I refer to the Land Transport Authority's letter "Sign alerts motorists to change in traffic light timing" (July 10), which refers to Singapore's traffic light system as dynamic.

Sometimes, I would call it mad, particularly the variable green arrow turns.
Often, when I approach such a turn, the lights turn red, so I slow to a near stop.

Then, the green arrow appears. I speed up, but as I am not near enough to the sensors, the arrow blinks three times at most and goes off, leaving me just entering the junction.

I either have to slam my brakes, which may hurt someone in the car or cause a collision with the car behind, or speed up suddenly to clear the junction.

This type of right arrow turns should either be removed or better timed, as this happens too often.


Finally, I keep hearing this on the radio...

"For your own safety, please wait until the green man is flashing before you cross the road".

My camera's all set and ready to snap a pic of such an amazing occurrence. But I'm still waiting for the appearance of a green man who's also a flasher.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just a load of horse-sh*t?

We came across lots of statues during our recent Baltic trip, including those of men astride their horse, like this one...

Notice that one hoof lifted high up, off the ground. Here's another pic...

This one has two hooves high off the ground. You must be mad if you think the next pic will show a horse with three hooves off the ground. Maybe inside a museum of circus animals. These are warhorses, man! This next pic shows a horse with three hooves firmly planted on terra firma and the fourth one almost touching the ground...

Finally, this pic has all four of the horse's hooves on the ground...


So, what's my point? Have I developed a fetish about horses' hooves?

Actually, I was reminded of a previous trip elsewhere, when a tour guide very authoritively declared that:

* If both front hooves are up in the air, the rider died in battle
* If one front hoof is up, the rider was wounded in battle or died of battle wounds
* If all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died outside battle.

From my own checks on the Internet, this is a load of horsesh*t. So, don't just swallow all the stuff a tour guide tells you unless you can, as Hossan Leong would say, "double confirm"!

Here's some links on this myth about what Wikipedia labels "hoof-position symbolism":



(check out the funny cartoon for this one!)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

'Rounding' off the weekend...

My wife found this on Facebook:

And God Promised Men...

And God promised men
that good and obedient wives would be found
in all corners of the world...

Then He made the earth round, and laughed and laughed!!


Then there's this Far Side cartoon...


If you are a hi-fi enthusiast, here's how you can add more oomph to your audio sound system...


Last one for a happy, wacky weekend...

Hey, Mr Romney, we have MITT awards here in Singapore!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Of bleak reality and of uplifting inspiration...

I wrote an assessment of ASEAN in 2003, and was rather pessimistic then about the future of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), whose credibility was badly damaged at this week's series of ASEAN-led meetings in Cambodia -- because ASEAN members, at their ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), could not cobble a common position over the South China Sea disputes. This is what I wrote in 2003:


ASEAN: Looking ahead to new relevance
By Khoo How San (AsiaTimes Online, 22 March, 2003)

Not unexpectedly, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers could not cobble together a unified position on Iraq at their recent two-day retreat in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. When agreeing to disagree itself poses problems, just ducking the issue seems to work.

Moreover, ASEAN is still grappling with its relevance. ASEAN needs to get its priorities right to stay relevant, and two recent reminders of this came in the form of a visit to a "new" member by a leader from an "old" member, and remarks by the leaders of a "wanna-be" member.

Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's working visit to Vietnam early this month may be seen as a reminder to fellow ASEAN members that the economic rationale for the soon-to-be-36-year-old grouping is now even more critical. The agenda for his trip was trade, investments and stepping up the pace of ASEAN integration.

At about the same time, President Xanana Gusmao and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor Leste (the official Portuguese name of East Timor) unequivocally rejected playing to populist sentiments when they criticized a United Nations-financed judicial unit's indictments against eight Indonesians, including ex-general Wiranto, for alleged involvement in atrocities against East Timorese before and after the 1999 independence vote.

Gusmao, himself a victim of past Indonesian injustice, spoke with measured statesmanship when he said that peace and stability "greatly depend on the relationship we will forge" with Indonesia. He has made reconciliation a priority since his election as president last year. Ramos-Horta, on a visit to Jakarta, similarly said his newly independent country's ties with Indonesia were too important to be undermined by issues such as the indictments. He felt justice could be pursued without creating misunderstandings with Indonesia.

Put simply, both Goh and the Timor Leste leaders reminded ASEAN that in the still-evolving geopolitics and geoeconomics of the post-post-Cold War era, members of the grouping had no choice but to hang together - or hang separately.

There is one more act of painful pragmatism that ASEAN must do: while its creation of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 was diplomatically useful at the time, it must stop pretending that the ARF has not become outmoded. The ARF has degenerated into a mere talk-shop and ASEAN should acknowledge the reality that the major powers with a stake in East Asia's security have become more proactive in shaping a new security architecture.

To return to Goh's visit to Hanoi, his call for renewed economic cooperation and especially his pledge to help the newer ASEAN members - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar - integrate, and thus avert their lapsing into a "second tier" status, is nothing short of timely. At the time of ASEAN's creation in 1967, the grouping's economic purpose was modest. Globalization had not reached today's level, intra-ASEAN trade was not yet significant or an imperative, and China was not yet a competitor for trade and investments.

Since becoming ASEAN-10 (that is, a community of 10 members), the grouping has initiated a slew of economic cooperation cum integration measures: the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), the Hanoi Action Plan (HAP), etc. Moreover, ASEAN collectively has renewed efforts to reach out to key economic partners, especially the United States, China, Japan, and the European Union.

But for every ASEAN economic initiative cited, less than satisfactory intra-ASEAN unity of purpose lurks nearby. AFTA, for example, faced members' demands for special concessions. The "growth triangle" idea was stymied from perceptions of unequal benefits to its participants.
ASEAN has to face the reality that its core economic purpose now is to generate a momentum of trade and investments to ensure an expanding pie for all. Not all slices of this pie may be equal, because of differing comparative advantages, but every slice that is enlarged ensures jobs or provides room for restructuring.

Can ASEAN members put aside economic nationalism for this community goal?

The Timor Leste leaders, in their gesture of reconciliation with Indonesia, reminded ASEAN of its core political purpose - indeed, the raison d'etre for its existence and continued relevance. In 1967, ASEAN was created primarily to reconciliate the non-communist countries of Southeast Asia (against a backdrop of belligerent and externally supported communist Southeast Asian countries).

Despite many a "one step forward and two steps back", the "old" ASEAN members managed to reconcile reasonably well, and even look out for each other along the lines of what I would describe as a "neighborhood watch group".

Today, the real estate of the expanded neighborhood (ASEAN-10) should command a higher value than in 1967, provided the entire area does not become a slum and neighbors don't throw stones at one another's houses. Sometimes stones do get thrown, as occurred recently in the row between Thailand and Cambodia over a Thai starlet's allegedly disparaging remarks. The row has dissipated, but observers will be watching to see if the two neighbors can resolve the matter in the "spirit of ASEAN".

For sure, Timor Leste will need to be assured that its prospective membership will see it welcomed as "one of us". Can ASEAN members put aside the baggage of historical differences?

Finally, the creation of the ARF in 1994 saw ASEAN play the crucial role of matchmaker in getting the United States, China, Japan and Russia to "dialogue" when post-Cold War East Asia was still in flux. Today, these major powers are in the process of working out a security mechanism for East Asia among themselves and it is painful to see ASEAN's prestige diminished by its insistence on driving the so-called "ARF process".

Can ASEAN reinvent its role within this emerging mechanism so that its members' interests are taken into account? One is reminded that whether elephants make war or make love, it is the grass that must learn to avoid being trampled on.


This page one lead story below in TODAY (14 July 2012) is a sorry but not unexpected vindication of my point that the ARF has outlived its usefulness and indeed, may become an embarrassment to ASEAN with the passage of time...


'Severe dent on ASEAN's credibility'
Foreign Minister Shanmugam regrets bloc's inability to agree on common statement on South China Sea dispute
04:46 AM Jul 14, 2012
PHNOM PENH - The Association of South-east Asian Nations' (ASEAN) failure to reach consensus and issue a joint communique at the end of its meetings in Cambodia this week - a first in the bloc's 45-year history - has put "a severe dent" on its credibility, said Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam.

The failure underscores deep divisions within the 10-member bloc amid conflicting territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea involving four of its members plus China and Taiwan.

Some members have traded blame on the failure while several officials have expressed disappointment with the outcome, which has cast doubt on plans to establish a regional economic community by 2015.

"To put it bluntly, it is a severe dent on ASEAN's credibility. We talk about issues in the world in past communiques, but we are unable to deal with something that's happening right here in the neighbourhood and say something about it," said Mr Shanmugam.

"It is absolutely clear to all of us that we ought not to take any sides on any disputes. That is out of the question.

"The question is whether we can come up with a consensus or form of reflecting a desire to move forward on these issues in a way that is win-win for everyone. … It is sad that we are not even able to agree on that. We talk about ASEAN centrality, ASEAN neutrality, ASEAN connectivity, ASEAN community in 2015, but before all of that, is the central issue of credibility."

The bloc's inability to agree on a communique is unprecedented, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said. "This is strange territory for me," he told reporters. "It's very, very disappointing that, at this 11th hour, ASEAN is not able to rally around a certain common language on the South China Sea. We've gone through so many problems in the past, but we've never failed to speak as one."

The ministerial summit broke down on Thursday. Participants had earlier agreed on key aspects of a draft maritime Code of Conduct but talks foundered after China insisted the ASEAN forum was not the appropriate place to discuss the matter. An emergency meeting called for early yesterday morning failed to break the deadlock.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said the Philippines and Vietnam wanted the communique to include a reference to a recent standoff between China and the Philippines at a shoal in the South China Sea claimed by both countries.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement yesterday lambasting host Cambodia - a close ally of China - for "consistently opposing any mention of the Scarborough Shoal".

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said his government does not support any side in the disputes, adding that the failure to issue a statement lies with all ASEAN members, not just Cambodia. "I have told my colleagues that the meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers is not a court, a place to give a verdict about the dispute," he said.

However, Mr Yang Razali Kassim, Senior Fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: "Cambodia has to take responsibility for this debacle, which has crucial lessons for ASEAN unity going forward."

He added: "This failure to display a united ASEAN stand on strategic issues when under pressure reflects Cambodia's leanings towards China, which Phnom Penh seemed to favour, over solidarity with fellow ASEAN members over the territorial dispute. In so doing, Cambodia as the ASEAN chair shows its lack of experience and diplomatic skill as chair to preserve ASEAN solidarity."

Associate Professor Antonio Rappa, Head of Management and Security Studies at SIM University's School of Business, said that in the next few weeks, "it will be important for ASEAN to reassert its position" and "come together".

The differences represent a learning experience for ASEAN, said Mr Surin, who added that the failure to issue a communique - which serves as a record of decisions at the summit - means that ASEAN will not be able to proceed on some of the action points it agreed to, such as a joint institute for peace and reconciliation to be located in Jakarta.

Mr Shanmugam also elaborated on the implications to Singapore. "I have previously remarked the international political environment is one where the rules are often unclear between big and small countries. We are a small country and, for us, the more rules of engagement and a structured framework within countries particularly in the region have to operate, the better it is for us. Otherwise, the smallest country on the totem pole would be left without rules." Agencies.


I would like to wrap up this blog entry on a more uplifting note. My former pastor, Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon, sent this link...

Someone who cares

"We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.
You made a difference!"


Friday, July 13, 2012

The magic food that's a bad-cholesterol buster?

Ah Swan sent this a while back. As usual, caveat emptor for all health advisory articles:

Apples Work Magic on Bad Cholesterol   Tom Valeo, Tampa Bay Times Chicago Daily Herald

It raises good cholesterol, lowers bad cholesterol and contributes to weight loss. So what is this miracle substance? An apple.
"I consider apples a magic food," said Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., director for the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Ageing at Florida State University. "Apples are not my favorite food, but I buy a bag a week and try to eat two per day. I am convinced this is what I should do if I want to remain healthy."
According to Arjmandi, apple pectin -- the white stuff under the skin -- binds to cholesterol in the gut and ferries it out of the body. This is well-known, but what surprised Arjmandi is how much cholesterol a couple of apples can remove from the body.
In one recent study, he divided 160 women between the ages of 45 and 65 into two groups. One group ate 75 grams of dried apple per day -- about 2 1/2 ounces -- while the other ate the same amount of dried prunes. To his amazement, the women who ate apples experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL "bad" cholesterol, and increased their HDL "good" cholesterol by 3 percent to 4 percent -- a boost difficult to achieve with drugs or exercise.
The women who ate the dried prunes experienced no such effects on their cholesterol, although another study found that women who ate 10 prunes per day, while taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, had higher bone density in their forearms and spine than women who ate apples.
Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver. Statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Crestor, reduce cholesterol very effectively by blocking an enzyme needed to make it. The problem is that statins can be hard on the liver, which is why people who take them must have a blood test periodically to make sure their liver is not becoming irritated and inflamed.
"The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and it can remain pretty functional if only 50 percent of it stays healthy," said Arjmandi. "You do not see an abnormality in the blood unless you do substantial damage to the liver. Drugs have their place, but if you have to check your liver enzymes, that means the drug is doing something not so good for you, and I don't understand why we would go for drug therapies when eating two apples a day reduces LDL cholesterol so effectively. Eat apples and you not only don't harm your liver, but you substantially benefit your health."
So why aren't apples prescribed for high cholesterol as avidly as statin drugs?
Statins account for about 6.5 percent of all drug sales in the U.S., according to Forbes magazine, and earn drug companies about $26 billion per year.
"You'd have to sell a lot of apples to make that kind of money," Arjmandi said. "If the drugs earn that kind of money, why would a business bother with apple pectin?"

 This article below is from Great Eastern's online newsletter:

Back-to-basics: Know Your Cholesterol

Do you know your ‘good’ cholesterol from your ‘bad’ cholesterol? One increases the risk of stroke and heart disease and the other lowers the risk. Some natural ways to control cholesterol include taking fish oils and plant sterols.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that exists in the blood steam that plays an important role in maintaining cell membranes. In the right amounts, cholesterol is a normal and essential component required for good health. But if blood cholesterol levels are too high, it can increase your risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol comes in two forms of proteins known as ‘lipoproteins‘: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). High levels of LDL-cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in the artery walls that cause them to harden and narrow, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis consequently increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. This form of cholesterol is sometimes referred to as "bad" cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol however, is "good" cholesterol that helps remove excess cholesterol from the arteries and other parts of the body, reducing the risk of heart disease.

How do I know that I have high cholesterol?

It is not always possible to tell from physical signs that your cholesterol levels are too high. Instead, a simple blood test can be done to determine your cholesterol health. This is usually done together with other measurements of your cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure testing.

In some cases, someone with undetected or poorly managed high cholesterol levels may suffer from chest pain (angina) or leg pain during exercise due to the narrowing of the arteries. High cholesterol levels may also cause symptoms related to gallstones such as episodic abdominal and back pain, especially after eating fatty foods.

What causes high cholesterol?

  • Cholesterol levels are determined by diet and the amount of cholesterol naturally produced by the body. High consumption of saturated fat, trans fats and high-cholesterol foods may make raise your cholesterol levels rise.
  • Genetics also plays a role. Your genes will partly determine how much cholesterol you naturally produce. Familial hypercholesterolaemia is more likely to be present in people who experience a heart attack at an early age or who have a family member who had a heart attack at an early age.
  • Being overweight contributes to increased LDL-cholesterol.

What are some natural therapies for high cholesterol?

  • Plant sterols (also known as phytosterols) may help to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels and assist in improving the LDL:HDL ratio. They work by lowering cholesterol absorption and reabsorption. The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends a daily dose of 2-3 grams of plant sterols per day. Choose a formula that also supplies a healthy dose of betacarotene, which may become depleted when taking plant sterols.
  • Coenzyme Q10 helps maintain heart and artery health and inhibits the oxidation of LDL–cholesterol. Coenzyme Q10 is often taken with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oil, which help decrease fat in the blood (triglycerides) in healthy people. Omega-3s also help to maintain the flexibility of the blood vessels, help maintain healthy heart rates and help maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E help reduce the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. These can be taken with folic acid and the vitamins B6 and B12.
  • If you’re overweight, achieving a healthy body weight may aid the management of healthy cholesterol levels.

Healthy living to manage high cholesterol

Having high cholesterol is an important indicator of your risk of developing heart disease. Thus, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essential to prevent a serious health problem.
  • Avoid animal fat in meat, full-fat dairy products and other fatty foods
  • Increase the amount of steamed, raw or grilled fish in your diet
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, oats and psyllium for healthful doses of soluble and insoluble fibre
  • Include sources of monounsaturated fats (nuts, seeds and olive oil) in moderate amounts
  • Include garlic and onions for their cholesterol-lowering properties
  • Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 standard drinks per day, and avoid binge drinking
  • Quit smoking. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other health problems, and can exacerbate the negative effects of high cholesterol levels
  • Engage in regular aerobic exercise, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking per day. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional before commencing an exercise programme
  • If you are overweight, talk to your healthcare professional about ways to lose weight