My Interview with "Lianhe Zaobao"

Below is a English translation of my interview with Singapore’s Chinese Daily Newspaper “Lianhe Zaobao” published on 11 July 2011. Click on the thumbnail below for the original scanned version.

Leaving computing for concert production

In 2007, having just graduated from the School of Computing, Nipuna Perera entered an IT company.  Recalling his first job four years ago, a humourous and cheerful Perera shakes his head saying: “Those were the three longest months of my life.”

He thought of resigning every day, but where could he go? “At that time, I felt there were only those few choices – if it is not marketing, it is banking.”

Hailing from Sri Lanka, 28-year-old Perera’s father is a banker and his mother a financial accountant. In secondary school, he studied mathematics, accountings, finance and computing, studying e-commerce computing (in NUS) in 2003. Due to his love for rock music, Perera volunteered at the NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA , in short), helping to organise student art activities/events. Formed in 1993, CFA’s purpose is to raise the cultural vibrancy on campus, and manage many student arts groups. He says: “Although it was a lot of fun, I saw this only as an interest and never thought this could ever be a job.”

Recalling his work at the IT company after his graduation, Perera said: “During that time, I was constantly frustrated, yet I didn’t know what suited me. One day, I returned to NUS for dinner and, while queuing, unexpectedly bumped into the CFA staff member who was in charge of my volunteer group. Hearing my situation, this staff suggested I apply for his job from which he was leaving.  At that time I thought, why not?”

Although it seemed late in hindsight, it was actually happened quickly. Despite a lack of relevant experience, having to start at the bottom, plus a lower salary than his IT job at the time, Perera was past caring about these. Returning home, he sent in the relevant materials, made it through the interview and entered CFA, continuing to stay on for three whole years, leaving last September.   

Compared to the three long months at his IT job, these three years seemed to pass in a flash. This February, Perera launched his artist management company “The Fallez”, aimed at finding and promoting local music talents in Singapore. Despite having left CFA, Perera still reminiscences fondly about it: “I was very happy during those three years. I got to helped out at the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts, NUS Arts Festival, and the ChildAid concert. My colleagues at CFA taught me a lot about management and I met many who shared my passions and values. To me, these experiences made up for the differences in my background. I am grateful to CFA, and especially that day when I decided to have dinner at NUS and meeting up with my senior there.”

Doing what he loves

Seeing their son’s happiness in his work, Perera’s parents did not oppose the change in his career at all. He said: “My family and relatives are mainly doctors, lawyers and engineers. That year, I was the first to go into computing, and now I am again the first to venture into the arts. In Sri Lanka, many parents expect their children to take on traditional careers. It is the same for virtually all of my friends. I am grateful to my parents for this freedom. I also want to prove to them, that besides being happy at this job, I will also strive to make it sustainable.

A friend of Perera’s who went into the IT line three years ago would now be earning two to three times what he is earning now. However, Perera feels that to do a job that one loves is invaluable. His namecard carries the symbol of a fallen angel.  He said: “The “Z” in “Fallez” is actually a fallen “N”, and a link to my name. This symbol is designed by a Malaysian friend of mine. She draws well, but is actually a dentist!”

Perera pointed out that among the many in life who are searching for their passions and interests, he is lucky to find the point which balances it all for him. What is his aim next? A PR since 2007, Perera says, “If you asked me this question five years before, I would not have been able to answer you. Now I can tell you my dream. I want to become a well known producer, and I am now working towards that.”

Pritam Singh: Reply to letter in Lianhe Zaobao on Humanitarian support for Gaza

Original letter sent to Lianhe Zaobao  and published (see below) on 8 Sep 2014

I refer to the article published on 3 Sep 2014 and thank Mr Ye for his letter. Mr Ye would know that PAP MPs who participated in last month’s parliamentary debate on the Israel-Palestinian conflict on 5 Aug 2014, like me, also enquired about the prospects of Singapore taking a stronger position in the matter. Hence, I am puzzled by the title of the article, “MP should take into account national interest when taking a stand on international conflict”.

I would like to clarify that insofar as my support for Palestine is concerned, I support all initiatives that lead to a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict resulting in a just and internationally recognised settlement which creates a sovereign homeland not just for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, but one which ensures the right of Israel’s existence as well. Until a final settlement is reached, I also support all humanitarian efforts to assist all those affected by the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

In a Facebook post on 23 July 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also called on Singaporeans to keep the victims of the conflict in Gaza in our “thoughts and prayers”. The Prime Minister also encouraged Singaporeans to donate towards humanitarian assistance efforts in Gaza. Since then, many Singaporeans of all races and religions have contributed generously. Singaporean Malay-Muslims contributed more than $1.2 million through all the 68 mosques in the country.

Mercy Relief, a secular and well-known Singaporean organization only last weekend organized ‘Pause for a Cause’ in Orchard Road, to raise money towards the humanitarian fund raising efforts in Gaza. Mercy Relief also organized a charity playdate at Northstar@AMK and collaborated with a well-know yoga operator, Sadhna Sanctuary to raise funds for the same purpose.

At its recent Hari Raya celebration for Aljunied GRC residents held at Jalan Damai, Workers’ Party MPs and members who had also joined the call to raise funds for the humanitarian effort in Gaza, handed over a cheque to the Badan Agama Dan Pelajaran Radin Mas (BAPA) or Religious & Educational League Of Radin Mas, a non-profit social organization which was first formed in Singapore in 1957.

Mr Yap would appreciate that Singapore is an open society and because of our international trade connections and a more interconnected world today, Singaporeans, including younger Singaporeans, are likely to be much more engaged in international affairs in future, not less. This is also part and parcel of citizen participation in a parliamentary democracy.

I believe that as a people living together in a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious society for close to 50 years, we can understand each others’ sentiments and concerns, and even emotional responses to different events within our region and around the world. We should continue to respect each others’ views and allow one another the space to express views and feelings of happenings around us and the world, while being mindful of the sensitivities, and exercise self-restrain and tolerance towards each others as Singaporeans.

Pritam Singh
MP for Aljunied GRC

Original Letter by Mr Ye dated 3 September 2014

Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh recently called upon the government to take a stronger position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and had earlier openly expressed support for the “Save Palestine” movement

(I am not sure what ‘Save Palestine’ movement Mr Ye is referring to in this case. I assume it is for the letter of support I gave one of my resident’s who sought to hold a charity fundraising concert on HDB land in Eunos in aid of the humanitarian effort in Gaza, with proceeds from the concert going to Mercy Relief).

From my position of as an ordinary citizen, I am very curious to know in what capacity MP Pritam Singh is expressing his support. Is it in his personal capacity? Or does he represent all Aljunied MPs to do so?

According to press reports, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides had used firepower / aggressive methods to inflict casualties on their opponents.

Foreign Minister Shanmugam, in answering an oral parliamentary question in Parliament in August filed by Chua Chu Kang MP Zaqy Mohamad, emphasised that Singapore supports following international law will support sanctions/punishments in accordance with international law.

In the current complex situation, both Israelis and Palestinians are blaming each other. Frankly, they should be accountable to the blameless dead and injured civilians, and in seeking to achieve their political aims, they should not sacrifice the safety and lives of civilians.

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Currently, despite the international community’s hard efforts through various channels, the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities continue, showing the limitations of the international community. Whoever is in the wrong, we should leave it from the UN Human Rights Council to investigate. Singapore has already publicly stated its neutrality, and supported an international resolution, but is more realistic about her own ability to influence the conflict, since neither Israel nor Hamas is dependent on Singapore.

I am worried about MP’s intention being misunderstood and misinterpreted in our multi racial and religions Singapore society. This might serve as a negative demonstration can cause social polarisation.

Reflecting further, if communities take sides in international conflicts which have yet to stabilise, will this cause tension among the different communities here? What purpose will be achieved by openly stating such positions? As a small country, what right does Singapore have to state its view in this conflict?

I hope when taking stand/s on foreign affairs, the MP can consider the impact it will have on our multi racial and religion society, and to consider carefully the message that is being sent out/conveyed when openly supporting any movements.

Mr Ye

Useful links:

MFA Press Release: Transcript of Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam’s reply to the Parliamentary Question and Supplementary Questions, 5 Aug 2014: http://bit.ly/YNZ8mi

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territory: http://bit.ly/1u0uHlP

*Article first appeared on http://bit.ly/YNZ8Cz…

 

Watch on baeyyamkeng.tumblr.com

Joined Seah Kian Peng as he sang 《月亮代表我的心》。This was a prelude to the Chinese-dialect briefing session on Pioneer Generation Package organised by CDAC and Lianhe Wanbao. The hall was packed with our PG members!

I think I should just stick to the briefing next time. 😊 (at Braddell Heights CC)

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Guangzhou Lianhe Cosmetics Machinery  can supply single-layer, dual-layer and three-layer stainless steel mixing tanks with or without agitation to blend product. These tanks are widely applied in the beverage, food, dairy, pharmaceutical, chemical and process industries used as blender tank, buffer tank and storage tank, which cleanable to sanitary standards (e.g. FDA, USDA  standards).

Applicable range:

Used as liquid storage tank,liquid mixing tank, ect. Apply to fields such as foods, dairy products, fruit juice beverages.

Structure Characteristics:

1.Mixing tank adopts structure of intermal and external cladding with PU insulation nside and is made of single-layer stainless steel structure.

2.Materials are all sanitary stainless steel.

3.Humanized structure design and easy to operate.

4. Transition area of interior wall on tank adopts arc for transition to ensure no dead corner of sanitation.

Configuration of tank: 

1) Manhole
2) CIP cleaner
3) Adjustable triangle bracket
4) Ladder
5) Thermometer
6) Liquid lever meter and controller
7) Eddy-proof board
8) Dismountable Inlet assembly
9) Sanitary breathing cover

10) mixer: paddle, anchor, or spiral mixer

11)three-layer, PU insulation or single-layer

12reducer

13)motor:ABB, Siemens, SEW

14)Inverter to control the Agitator

We can make the mixing tanks according to your special requirements.

Man gets punched in the face for speaking up for wheelchair-bound man at Woodlands

A man was recently punched when he defended a wheelchair-bound man from two youths who were picking on him. 

The incident occurred outside a fast food restaurant at Woodlands avenue 6, block 768, Woodlands Mart according to Lianhe Wanbao

The man, Mr Wong, said the incident arose when the wheelchair-bound man attempted to talk sense into one of the two youths, who had prior to the assault, knocked down a counter tag.

This led to one of them hurling explicit comments at the wheelchair-bound man instead, and Wong, upon seeing the situation decided to stand up for the him.

“I told him not to bully the disabled,” said Wong.

Unfortunately, the youth did not take kindly to his words.

“He asked me stay out of their business and even challenged me to a fight,” recounted Wong.

Wong ignored them and left promptly, together with the wheelchair-bound man, but just as he was about to reach his vehicle, he felt a sharp pain on his head.

Apparently, the two had followed him, and the guy who he had told off earlier had allegedly punched him twice on the head,

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They had also brought  four other companions with them.

According to Wong, the other four companions tried persuading the assailant to stop but he did not budge.

Wong attempted to call the police, but his phone was snatched away by one of the companions.

At this point, the assailant ran off, only to return five minutes later and punch Wong in the face before running off yet again.

In the meantime, Wong prevented his other friends from leaving.

The incident is currently under investigation and Wong has commented that he will definitely pursue the incident. 

Plainclothes officers arrest 1 man and 3 women from Jurong West flat for prostitution-related activity

One man and three women were arrested for their involvement in prostitution at Block 669B, Jurong West Street 64 on Tuesday night (Sep 2).

According to a report on Lianhe Wanbao, the new tenants had moved into the unit for only two days before it was heard that activities involving prostitution were taking place there.

When reporters arrived at the scene, they saw that the fifth storey unit had been cordoned off. Police including plainclothes officers were seen walking in and out of the flat.

At 12.40am, a man with a Chinese accent was seen being taken away in handcuffs.

Three women were also taken away in a police car half an hour later. They tried to avoid being photographed by keeping their heads down.

They were arrested for violating Chapter 353 of the Women’s Charter.

All three suspects are between the ages of 20 and 30. They are working at a factory on work permits and had rented the flat for a year, at a rate of over $3,000 per month.

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18-year-old girl who fell in the nude from Bukit Panjang flat dies

Background Story: The mysterious case of a naked 18 year old falling from the sky 

An 18-year-old girl, who was found naked when she fell from her 7th-storey apartment in Bukit Panjang, has died, after 16 days in a hospital intensive care ward.

The girl, Miss Chen, was first discovered, critically injured, at the foot of Bukit Panjang Block 431 on August 19.

The plunge had damaged most of her organs and caused her body and face to swell, causing her to fall into a comma.

“It’s a miracle that she survived the fall and I hope she recovers soon,“ her mother had said during an interview by the Lianhe Wanbao.

She even placed offerings at the site where her daughter fell, to pray for a speedy recovery. 

However, things took a turn for the worse yesterday, and Miss Chen passed away yesterday (Sept 4) evening.

Her parents and a female relative arrived to identify the body today 8.30am this morning (Sept 5).

According to the deceased’s mother, Mrs Chen, her daughter had once confided in her that she was seeing “unclean things’.

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She thinks that her daughter may have been possessed.

“She had been acting weird since the beginning of the seventh lunar month,” said the heartbroken mother.

The deceased’s father, Mr Chen also revealed that his daughter had once bid him farewell, two weeks before her jump.

Miss Chen had enrolled in a polytechnic for two months before transferring to a private university to study criminology, citing ‘the huge pressure’ as her reason for the transfer.

She is survived by an older brother and her parents. 

 

Workers discover corpse in Clementi manhole 18 hours after residents heard a loud bang

The body of a man in his 60s was found in a manhole in Clementi West after workers detected a stench coming from below, and made the shocking discovery.

According to a report in Omy.sg via Lianhe Wanbao, the man is suspected of falling from a tall building and landing right into the manhole near Block 724, Clementi West Street 2.

Stomper Bert had first reported the incident to Stomp, when he spotted the death tent, with SCDF personnel and police officers cordoning off the area.

Talk of how the victim could have fallen directly into the manhole is rife among residents in the neighbourhood.

A resident in his 60s told The New Paper: “The manhole is not very big (about 40cm by 30cm). How could he have landed exactly inside the manhole if he had jumped from the block?

The Lianhe Wanbao report said residents had initially heard a loud bang the night before at about 7pm.

They did not think much about it until the body was found by workers repairing the damaged manhole almost 18 hours later.

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The body is believed to be that of 61-year-old Lee Ming Quan, who is reportedly a Bukit Panjang resident.

His Bukit Panjang neighbours, however, said they have not seen him for years.

Police are currently investigating the unnatural death.

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