Mongkok Caustic Attack

Booze Queen… better not hang out in Mongkok next time you go to HK…

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Dec 15, 2008

46 hurt in HK acid attack

HONG KONG – POLICE here were investigating yesterday after dozens of Christmas shoppers were burned by bottles of acid hurled from a high-rise building onto one of the city’s busiest streets, a report said.

Police said 46 people were injured in a deliberate attack as two large plastic bottles of caustic liquid crashed to the ground in the teeming Mong Kok district at about 5pm on Saturday, said the Sunday Morning Post.

Witnesses said the victims, mostly youngsters, screamed out and rushed to find water to wash off the liquid, which burned holes in their clothes and damaged their skin. Some men simply stripped.

‘A bottle came down,’ one man told the paper. ‘It looked like an ordinary bottle of water, and the crowd began to disperse. Then I saw people with red faces and eyes in pain.’

The victims, including 26 women and girls, were scalded in their limbs, eyes, face or body, according to the Chinese-language Wen Wei Po. All the victims had been released from hospital by the end of Saturday, the report said.

Police said they searched the building from which the 750ml bottles appeared to have been thrown, but had not arrested any suspects.

Police superintendent Annie Fonda told the newspaper: ‘Judging by the traces and the positions of the two bottles, this is not an accident. We believe someone intentionally hurled them from a height.’

The liquid has been sent to a laboratory, and the police have not yet determined what it is, said police spokesman Leona Leung.

Witnesses suspect the liquid is acid drain cleaner, one of the most hazardous household products available to the public.

The thrower, if convicted of attempting harm on the lives of others, could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, Supt Fonda said.

Mong Kok has often been a site of random attacks, the other famous case being the brick-throwing incident four years ago, the Wen Wei Po pointed out. The brick thrower was sentenced to 21/2 years in jail, it added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

Kiss of Deaf

I’m not gloating over the lady’s misfortune but the thought that kissing can lead to loss of hearing tickles me.

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Woman turns deaf after kiss

SHANGHAI – A PASSIONATE kiss ruptured a young woman’s eardrum in southern China, state media reported on Monday, in what has been dubbed the ‘kiss of deaf’.

The 20-something girl from Zhuhai city in Guangdong province was treated by hospital doctors after completely losing the hearing in her left ear, the China Daily reported, citing the Guangzhou Daily.

‘The kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear,’ the treating doctor, surnamed Li, was quoted as saying, adding the woman’s hearing would likely recover in about two months.

The incident prompted newspapers to dispense kissing safety advice.

While kissing is normally very safe, doctors urge people to proceed with caution, the China Daily reported.

‘A strong kiss may cause an imbalance in air pressure between the two inner ears and lead to a broken ear drum,’ said the English-language Shanghai Daily in a story headlined ‘Kiss of deaf’. – AFP

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Don’t Say Govt Stingy…

Saw in the news today that PM Lee said: "In a big economy, you can boost consumption. The government gives money, people spend it and it’s spent within the economy. Most of it stays in, a little bit of it leaks out. You get a multiplier and the economic activity goes up.

In Singapore if people spend money, most of the money goes overseas because we are so open and most of the demand is abroad. Most of the money we spend is spent on things which come from abroad so it’s not possible for us to pump- prime the economy in the same way that other governments do. But there are other things we can do (such as) reducing costs and helping citizens directly.”

Hmm… is the government tracking my Coach and Kate Spade purchases?

Poor President-Elect, Obama

This never really crossed my mind before – that those in office might not be allowed to use e-mail or other similar forms of online communication.  I feel Obama’s pain…

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November 16, 2008

Lose the BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe

By JEFF ZELENY

WASHINGTON — Sorry, Mr. President. Please surrender your BlackBerry.

Those are seven words President-elect Barack Obama is dreading but expecting to hear, friends and advisers say, when he takes office in 65 days.

For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side — on most days, it was fastened to his belt — to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

For all the perquisites and power afforded the president, the chief executive of the United States is essentially deprived by law and by culture of some of the very tools that other chief executives depend on to survive and to thrive. Mr. Obama, however, seems intent on pulling the office at least partly into the 21st century on that score; aides said he hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first American president to do so.

Mr. Obama has not sent a farewell dispatch from the personal e-mail account he uses — he has not changed his address in years — but friends say the frequency of correspondence has diminished. In recent days, though, he has been seen typing his thoughts on transition matters and other items on his BlackBerry, bypassing, at least temporarily, the bureaucracy that is quickly encircling him.

A year ago, when many Democratic contributors and other observers were worried about his prospects against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, they reached out to him directly. Mr. Obama had changed his cellphone number, so e-mail remained the most reliable way of communicating directly with him.

“His BlackBerry was constantly crackling with e-mails,” said David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist. “People were generous with their advice — much of it conflicting.”

Mr. Obama is the second president to grapple with the idea of this self-imposed isolation. Three days before his first inauguration, George W. Bush sent a message to 42 friends and relatives that explained his predicament.

“Since I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass, the only course of action is not to correspond in cyberspace,” Mr. Bush wrote from his old address, G94B@aol.com. “This saddens me. I have enjoyed conversing with each of you.”

But in the interceding eight years, as BlackBerrys have become ubiquitous — and often less intrusive than a telephone, the volume of e-mail has multiplied and the role of technology has matured. Mr. Obama used e-mail to stay in constant touch with friends from the lonely confines of the road, often sending messages like “Sox!” when the Chicago White Sox won a game. He also relied on e-mail to keep abreast of the rapid whirl of events on a given campaign day.

Mr. Obama’s memorandums and briefing books were seldom printed out and delivered to his house or hotel room, aides said. They were simply sent to his BlackBerry for his review. If a document was too long, he would read and respond from his laptop computer, often putting his editing changes in red type.

His messages to advisers and friends, they say, are generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons. The time stamps provided a window into how much he was sleeping on a given night, with messages often being sent to staff members at 1 a.m. or as late as 3 a.m. if he was working on an important speech.

He received a scaled-down list of news clippings, with his advisers wanting to keep him from reading blogs and news updates all day long, yet aides said he still seemed to hear about nearly everything in real time. A network of friends — some from college, others from Chicago and various chapters in his life — promised to keep him plugged in.

Not having such a ready line to that network, staff members who spent countless hours with him say, is likely to be a challenge.

“Given how important it is for him to get unfiltered information from as many sources as possible, I can imagine he will miss that freedom,” said Linda Douglass, a senior adviser who traveled with the campaign.

Mr. Obama has, for at least brief moments, been forced offline. As he sat down with a small circle of advisers to prepare for debates with Senator John McCain, one rule was quickly established: No BlackBerrys. Mr. Axelrod ordered everyone to put their devices in the center of a table during work sessions. Mr. Obama, who was known to sneak a peek at his, was no exception.

In the closing stages of the campaign, as exhaustion set in and the workload increased, aides said Mr. Obama spent more time reading than responding to messages. As his team prepares a final judgment on whether he can keep using e-mail, perhaps even in a read-only fashion, several authorities in presidential communication said they believed it was highly unlikely that he would be able to do so.

Diana Owen, who leads the American Studies program at Georgetown University, said presidents were not advised to use e-mail because of security risks and fear that messages could be intercepted.

“They could come up with some bulletproof way of protecting his e-mail and digital correspondence, but anything can be hacked,” said Ms. Owen, who has studied how presidents communicate in the Internet era. “The nature of the president’s job is that others can use e-mail for him.”

She added: “It’s a time burner. It might be easier for him to say, ‘I can’t be on e-mail.’ ”

Should Mr. Obama want to break ground and become the first president to fire off e-mail messages from the West Wing and wherever he travels, he could turn to Al Gore as a model. In the later years of his vice presidency, Democrats said, Mr. Gore used a government e-mail address and a campaign address in his race against Mr. Bush.

The president, though, faces far greater public scrutiny. And even if he does not wear a BlackBerry on his belt or carry a cellphone in his pocket, he almost certainly will not lack from a variety of new communication.

On Saturday, as Mr. Obama broadcast the weekly Democratic radio address, it came with a twist. For the first time, it was also videotaped and will be archived on YouTube.

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The Noose

     The second season of the Channel 5 satirical variety show The Noose just ended its run last week.  I loved watching The Noose… I thought the first weatherman of season 2, the "Tomorrow’s weather?  Hot… humid… what did you expect?  Snow ah?" guy was simply hilarious. 

     Anyway, I decided to create a new category in my blog titled – yep, you guessed it – The Noose!  Funny news stories I come across will be archived here.  🙂

     Was watching Channel 5’s 9pm news while blogging and this particular piece of news jumped out at me.  In order to prevent beggars from being exploited by criminal gangs (who make them beg and then rob them of their money), Bangkok is considering setting up a registry for beggars to register and obtain a licence to beg!  Wow.  James Bond has a licence to kill and Bangkok beggars have… a licence to beg?! 

     I know the intention is good – to try to prevent exploitation of beggars who are often physically or mentally handicapped but to create a registry for beggars?  Sounds a little lucridous doesn’t it?

     Oh and did anyone read the article in Sun’s Life! about how young Singaporeans view the current global recession?  There was this particular NUS undergrad… I forgot her name… but she said things like she doesn’t see what’s the big deal ‘cos every time she runs out of money, she just asks her parents for more?  This same rich brat also carries a S$2000 Louis Vuitton bag to school.  I think the most quote-worthy thing she said was how she doesn’t understand why some of her friends want to take on part-time jobs to get more pocket money.  She said, "Can’t they just ask their parents for more?". 

     Wah lau!  That girl must be a journalist’s dream come true.  I mean, how often do you get a spoilt rich bimbo shooting her mouth off?  And in case you’re wondering… her dad runs his own company… selling plastic bags or something.  That’s it man. I’m stepping up on my efforts to save the environment by cutting down on plastic bags.  Sheesh… I carry a plastic bag possibly made by her dad, and she carries a LV bag bought with my money.