does anyone know the name & address/location of the Bakery featured in Life Transformers 2 last night (28dec09) on Ch8?
last night was one of those rare days i managed to catch the show & was caught up in the situation the family faced that i missed taking note of the Bakery name. =(
Very few employers in Singapore are willing to go that extra mile to hirer someone with disabilities, mental illness or learning difficulties. Too many employers are settling for the cheapest foreign labour they can get.
So when we come across one of these rare employers, it’s very heartwarming. I think the least we could do to encourage such “big hearts” is to patrionise their business and give them words of encouragement.
Hopefully this way, we can build up a culture of corporate social responsibility, and a brighter future for everyone in our society!
Good people should be appreciated! = )
Short synopsis for those who didn’t manage to catch the show : A family of 3 in a 1-room flat was featured. The mother passed on when the boys were 10. The father suffers from multiple health conditions, including schizophrenia. The 2 sons are now about 20, and suffer from episodes of schizophrenia too. They were unemployed at the time of the filming, as employers turn away people with schizophrenia and learning difficulties. The family shares 1 single packed meal (donated & delivered) for each meal, and on $360 welfare a month. To combat their hunger, the boys stock lots of water in the fridge to fill their stomach.
The show got the elder boy employed in a Bakery at Raffles Place area (stupidly i forgot to get the name). The younger is undergoing training to be able to work.
I really think this show is wonderful in showing us what goes on in a country with sufficient GDP that no one should have to live in such conditions. It’s wonderful too in showing us the everyday-heros in our society who help these people in need instead of shunning them.
One thing that struck me in particular was how the boy took 2 days before he managed to report to work successfully! The TV show had someone go down to help him, but discovered he left on his own, during the 1st day he was to report for work. Apparently he didn’t have the $4 he needed for transport on the bus, so he came home.
The only thing I would have liked better was how they handled his difficulty in just getting to work.
The hosts and staff from the TV prog were constantly giving him instructions, in that concerned-scolding way that many of us are so familiar with in our Chinese – Confucian culture. “Ma shi teng” (to scold is to love). It’s all out of concern for the good of the boy, I know.
However, for people with learning difficulties or some mental illnesses, even this can prove really stressful, because you don’t really know what to do, and you’re afraid you’re gonna make mistakes again and disappoint other people.
These TV prog people were great with him, but I thought they’ll be perfect if they had looked for the areas where he showed initiative in trying to get to work, and praised him for it. On the 3rd day when he successfully arrived, I thought they should have heaped huge praises and encouragement on him. It really helps in getting him less stressed, builds positive esteem, and gives him the next social reward (praise) to be motivated to work towards.
Perhaps they did, but didn’t feature on TV. It would have been nice if they did, then the public can also be educated on how to interact better with people with learning difficulties.
Overall, though, I think Life Transformers is the best show Ch 8 has every produced. Well done!
Stamp out killer litter
One thing about being in the scientific research business is that you always try to think of technological solutions to solve problems, before anything other solution — legislative, education, marketing whatever……
I remeber once reading about a particular medieval castle ledge design — the guy used walls with rounded ledges rather than flat ledges. This way, it made it harder for intruders to climb over those huge walls.
What if we used the same technology to reduce the number of idiots who put flower pots on their ledges? If the ledge was rounded, it would not be possible at all to put pot plants there.
You can’t stop crazy people from flinging furniture and diamond rings out the window in the middle of a quarrel of course, but at least there’ll be less falling pot plants???
I had to add the longkang in below, because I figured there’ll be idiots like me who’ll try to balance my wallet and handphone on the rounded ledge while tying my shoelaces. So the longkang is there to catch such falling objects. Ath the base of the parapet, we need to have gaps of course, for people to retrieve fallen items…..
And if the longkang is slopped all the way to the end, it can collect rainwater and channel it to some reservoir/watertank too! Helps increase our water supply!
disclaimer: I’m no architech. But yeh, this is the random sort of things i think of reading the papers on the morning MRT ride…..
(This article is reproduced from sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1210/1?etoc.
Sox9′s the gene I’m working on in mice embryos for my thesis, btw ; ) )
Sex change. A normal mouse ovary (left), and one lacking Foxl2.
Credit: © M. Treier/EMBL
A Delicate Balance of Sexual Identity
By Gretchen Vogel
ScienceNOW Daily News
10 December 2009
The difference between male and female is smaller than one might think–at least on a cellular level. Researchers have found that they can change ovary cells into testicular cells in mice by turning off a single gene. The discovery provides new insights into the evolution of sex differences, and it may help doctors better understand sexual identity disorders and why some women go through early menopause.Scientists knew that the gene responsible for the fate switch, called Foxl2, was important to ovarian cells. But experiments with the gene had led to confusing results, says developmental biologist Mathias Treier of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Female mice lacking the gene developed perfectly normal ovaries. After birth, however, the animals’ ovaries started to deteriorate. But it was not clear what was going wrong.
To learn more, Treier and his colleagues genetically engineered a mouse in which they could selectively turn off the Foxl2 gene in adult ovaries. With the gene inactive, a dramatic change took place in the female mice. Within 3 weeks, their ovaries were full of tubelike structures usually found in testicle tissue. Upon closer inspection, the researchers found that the ovarian cells had become cellular cross-dressers, displaying all the characteristics of several types of testicle cells, some of which produced levels of testosterone typical of an adult male. (There were no sperm present, however.)
Foxl2, it seems, is part of a larger genetic pathway that controls the identity of cells in the ovaries and testis. The researchers found that the protein made by the gene suppresses the activity of another gene called Sox9, which prompts the development of testicular cells. When Foxl2 is turned off, Sox9 is free to take over–and turn the ovary cells into testis cells, the team reports in today’s issue of Cell. The work shows that the adult gonad has “remarkable plasticity,” says developmental biologist Andrew Sinclair of the University of Melbourne in Australia, who was not involved in the research.
During embryonic development, there are several mutually reinforcing gene pathways that keep an organism either male or female. Indeed, says developmental biologist Robin Lovell-Badge of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London, who worked with Treier on the study, there are so many overlapping mechanisms that keep the sexes developing in their own direction, “you would have thought that by the time you get to the adult, everything would be so hard-wired you couldn’t change it.” But the new work shows that by adulthood, the backup reinforcements are no longer active, so that a change in the levels of a single protein is enough to trigger a dramatic switch.
Mammals, fish, and birds have all evolved different systems of sex chromosomes that determine whether an organism is male or female, but the Foxl2 and Sox9 genes are conserved in all vertebrates. So Treier says that the yin-yang balance between the two is probably active in maintaining sex in a wide variety of animals. Several species of fish are known to be able to change their gender in adulthood, and Sinclair says the new results may explain how that happens. The pathway is also interesting for researchers studying early ovarian failure, which causes some women to undergo early menopause. And it may also help explain why some children develop sexual characteristics that don’t match their chromosomal gender.
Lovell-Badge says he and his colleagues are now looking for whether a similar genetic trick can change male cells into female cells. In any case, he says, the findings disprove the idea, long held by developmental biologists, that female characteristics are a default setting that is overwritten by male genes–a bit of gender equality at the cellular level.
Besides treating depression, the antidepressant Paxil may affect personality traits in positive ways, a new study suggests…….patients in the Paxil group became more extraverted, meaning they became more open to new experiences, calmer, less self-conscious, and more even-tempered.
Which of our actions lie beyond our control? Which of our choices are we truly responsible for?
Would there come a day when most of the crimes, that we know of today, would no longer be considered crimes, but simply mental/personality disorders?
When, if a person gets into a public fight, it is the State/society/healthcare-service at fault for not providing appropriate treatment and drugs, rather than the individual for being unable to control his anger and violent behavior?
There is no clear evidence that Roche’s widely used drug Tamiflu prevents complications such as pneumonia in people with flu, a group of medical experts said on Tuesday.
Has Tamiflu and the whole Swine Flu business been a tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, driven by the pharmas?
Social networking sites are keeping half the youths in Singapore glued to the Internet for three hours each day. …(Some 800 Singaporeans between the ages of 15 and 34 took part in the survey.)
One in five have dated a stranger they met through a social networking site, and one in 10 have been sexually harassed on such sites.”
When I used to teach CSE, I would usually pose this question to the girls “How many of you have ever been out with someone you didn’t know, or only knew very little about?”
About 80% of the class would raise their hands (I taught 14 – 17 year olds mainly; this survey includes respondents up to 34yrs old)
I would ask, how many of them actually ever thought about their safety or were ever worried about their safety. Most ofthem raised up their hands, once again.
Then I’ll ask, so what can we do to keep ourselves safe?
And here’s the very thing. Most of them said “Don’t go out with strangers”
That’s the advice that we’re usually taught, and continue to teach. Very effective advice, but seriously, very impractical in todays world. What tends to happen, is that teens HIDE from their parents, these outings with strangers, and INCREASE the danger they face.
I mean, let’s all just think about our own experiences. We didn’t all end up dating only that classmate we have been going to school with for years, did we? Surely at some point, our husbands and wives were near strangers to us, sometime during our first dates?
So rather than give our teens impractical advice like “don”t go out with strangers” , it would make them alot safer by
1. Giving useful advice on how to increase their safety on a date
2. Letting them know that you’re not gonna get pissed with them for going out on a date, so that they can confide in you, and you can help watch out for them.
So how do we increase our safety on a date?
I’m sure most of you already know, or if not, the info is pretty much out there:
- go out in groups
- stay only in public places
- insist that you can make your way to the date and back home on your own, rather than accepting a ride with him alone in his car. Or else, he can accompany you on public transport.
- letting someone, preferably your parents, know who you are going out with, and their details/contact no.s
- letting your date know that someone knows about him, and is watching out for you
What I find is that, while in an ideal world, the parents serve as the teen’s guardians, often, the teens do not dare to tell their parents anything, which hugely compromises their safety.
In order to get around this, I stress the importance of at least letting SOMEONE else know. Your classmate, or your best friend for example.
You need to give this friend DETAILS
Your date needs to know your friend has his details; that’s a deterrant
You need to tell your friend “I intend to be home by 10pm tonight. So if I don’t call you by 11pm, I might be in trouble and you need to get help”
Your friend has to be reliable and trustworthy enough to actually try to call you, if you don’t call her/him, and reliable and trustworthy enough to contact your parents/the police, if you actually might be in trouble.
And by the way, this applies to boys too. = )
I think perhaps, as a society, we also need to think about what these words mean
Just because I UNDERSTAND the injustice a terrorist feels, doesn’t mean I CONDONE the act
Just because I UNDERSTAND greed, doesn’t mean I APPROVE of it
Just because I ACCEPT a smoker for who he is, doesn’t mean I APPROVE of his smoking
Just because I APPROVE of homosexual relationships doesn’t mean I PROMOTE it (it’s not like a product you buy! it’s how you were born! )
Just because I AGREE to abortions doesn’t mean I ENCOURAGE it
Sophie’s no longer an embryo!!! Sophie celebrates her first night out in this world today, after, what is hopefully, the most dangerous journey she’ll ever have to make
She’s my 1st god-daughter & I hope she will forever & ever have her loving, super – extended, traditional family….. = )
The other day, my best friend (yep, the one with my long-awaited god-child!!! =D ) looked at me in great frustration.
“What are you doing all this for? What’s the point? I don’t see why you have to offend half of Singapore, why can’t you just be normal and watch TV?! All these things that you activists do are just useless yelling — at the end of the day, the poor still remain poor, and you still go home to your air-con room!”
I gave her words serious thought, because this was someone who said this to me out of genuine concern rather than spite.
And because I gave it thought, I realised that all our yelling & offending, was NOT useless at the end of the day. It might take a lot longer to see results, than say, a teacher’s job or a doctor’s job. But there are results. The feminist movement that started in the 1800s offended lots of people too, and even today, it continues to. Yet the results 200 years after the feminist movement began is so stark and apparent.
Women today get to study and work, because of these feminists yellings 200 years ago. Think about your family (or the average family). Think about how much your family income comes from your mother, or daughter or sister. If you’re a working woman, think about how you can decide on how you want to spend your money and when, rather than how you need to beg your husband for money. It might have taken 200 years, but all that yelling was necessary, and useful.
Looking closer, at what we’re yelling about today, in Singapore, we also see the effectiveness of our yelling.
I’m talking in particular about activists for HIV Awareness and fair treatment, today being World AIDS Day.
In Singapore, we’ve come from a place where no subsidised treatment is given to HIV patients, to today, where MOH is deliberating which drugs to subsidise.http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_308873.html
We’ve come from a place of ignorance and prejudice, from moralistic uprighteousness, to today, where HPB is addressing the myths and misconceptions. Where even HPB, a public non-religious agency, recognises the need for love and compassion http://www.loveamp.sg/default.aspx#/home
We’ve come from a place of riducule and voyeurism in the media, to a positive dignified campaign on Singapore Idol http://idol.mediacorptv.sg/loveamp.htm
We’re not 100% there yet, but we’re moving forward, our yelling is being heard, and we need to continue and perservere in our efforts. We need to aim for that 100%
In the words of my friend who, together with his wife, are infected with HIV and travel to Bangkok to get more affordable treatment
“ I am living a very good life now with the cheaper Anti Viral drugs,
I could actually forget about that I am even a sufferer but even that
I practiced safe sex with my wife.
I hope one day the government in Singapore consider us sufferers who work
and pay taxes to them and they in turn help us the way Thai Government do
and it is only a small percentage of us here compared in Thailand they have
over a Million sufferers and still the government was able to assist some way
or another to prevent many from dieing because they could not get the
PS. For people who need help with HIV treatment, subsidies are not yet available. However, there are financial support schemes made possible by generous individuals, so hope is not lost. The medical social workers at hospitals here are quite understanding and will help you. You can approach Action for Aids too www.afa.org.sg Or you can write to me anonymously and I’ll try to link you up to people who can help.
Perhaps I was a little harsh & did not explain myself clearly in my previous post on the 2 points I disagreed with Dr Chew about (nothing against him, I’m sure he’s a nice man, but he’s human too, with 2 views I disagree with) . So now i’ve taken sometime to elaborate, in reply to a couple of comments. Thought I’ll post it up here too.
On speaking up on disturbing teachings
Indeed, I think the listeners need to listen & discern & think critically. I think in reality, the church is made up of a great diversity of people. People who enjoy thinking and researching and questioning. People who have great amounts of respect and trust in their church leaders who have spent years at theological school. People who are incredibly psychologically and emotionally vulnerable and searching for salvation. People who are deeply insecure and looking for someone to love and accept them, and finding that in God. Because of this diversity, there will always be people who will be receptive to any message at all. Thus the responsibility of the person who teaches (James 3:1)
That said, every teacher, no matter how good, will not be perfect. Sometimes we don’t realise it until someone points it out to us. And so I think it is equally important for us to voice out teachings we are disturbed by, while of course, being aware we could ourselves be wrong too.
This was also why I was deeply impressed with Dr Gwee’s writing during the AWARE saga, when he pointed out to everyone, what he perceived was right and wrong, and how so many of us benefited from his writing as a result.
Martin Luther started the Reformation , not by staying silent or simply moving to another church. He wrote and spoke. He had no blog, but he nailed his 95 Theses to the door.
Jesus did not stay silent; He spoke up when he felt the leaders were teaching things outside of what the Scripture talked about.
I think all of us need to do the same, because a lot of times, many others have the same doubts but fear to voice out. When one person starts the conversation going, we may find that we are carrying burdens we don’t have to.
On non-traditional families, and on procreation
Indeed I believe the Bible affirms our desire to have children & considers it a blessing to have children, through it’s oft-qouted Genesis teachings.
I would applaud any preacher who quotes those verses, and affirms the listener’s desire for having a family. However, “the danger is that the mainstream population, its socio-cultural norms and ethos, will dwindle and diminish down the generations.” is not a Biblical principle. It’s all fine only if a preacher makes clear when he is presenting his own views, and when he is speaking from the Bible. It’s easy for listeners to be confused, if it is all said while he stands in the pulpit.
It would be even more wonderful, if the preacher also called on Christians to support each other through encouragement, through helping one another with family needs, through helping poor families provide better for their families. Because families are a blessing from God.
But to ignore Paul’s affirmation of singlehood, and to use those verses to make people feel less worthy or contributive because they are single/divorced parents, or choose to be childless, is unacceptable, IMO.
Think about how a woman who has an accidental pregnancy, decided to heed the Church’s teachings & keep the baby instead of aborting it, and doing her best to then raise this child, despite the prejudice and lack of govt support. How would she feel, after heeding the teachings of the church, to have the country’s Church leader then tell her that people like her are causing the decline of morals in the West?
Think about how a man who desperately tried to save his marriage but who’s unfaithful wife walked out anyway, abandoning his children, and how he tries his best to raise them not to hate their mother, only to have the Church leader turn around and tell him that divorce people like him are causing the moral decline?
Think about the woman who decides to remain single and childless because she has 2 aged parents and 4 grandparents still alive, to take care of, so that her brother can have more for his own children. How would she feel to have people tell her that she is disobeying Biblical commands to have children and that she was sinning because the decline in birth rate is going to erode social norms?
Think of the homosexual person, who decided that his pastor’s Biblical interpretation was right and homosexuality wrong, and so decided to remain single his whole life, rather than being in a gay relationship — which would piss off God supposedly, or being in a straight relationship — which would piss off his wife. How would he feel, after making this decision for the love of God, to have the church leader imply that people like him were contributing to “the danger that the mainstream population, its socio-cultural norms and ethos, will dwindle and diminish down the generations.”
These people may be in the minority, they may be in the fringe, they may often be overlooked
But I hope people remember also that the Bible talks about how God values even a singular person.
8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”