Poppy seeds are banned?

‘There’s no more poppy seeds in any bakery in Singapore because the police will investigate… you know? You know what poppy is used for?’

So the fella behind the counter at the Orchard Towers’ Jason’s Supermarket’s Hiestand Swiss Bakery’s (hooray for Apostrophy Man!) kiosk told me when I asked for buns with poppy seeds on them.

Is that true? How many poppy seeds do you need to eat to get stoned?

Apparently the poppy seed ban has been around for ages, and I just didn’t realise it because I seldom have a strong craving for poppy seeds on baked goods.

So there you have it, poppy seeds are contraband, and to think I actually asked for them over the counter!

Singapore Customs’ (yay, apostrophe!) tradenet website, a.k.a. ‘the banned wagon’, has poppy seeds at number 41 on their list of controlled items (‘Toy walkie talkie’ is at number 53). The population of our fair country is banned from importing or purchasing poppy seeds from places like supermarkets, as one expatriate pundit puts it:

“as they may be inclined (being illiterates as they are and mindlessly bowing to mindless rules) to abuse poppy seeds and cultivate a cash crop of opium and revert to days of yore when opium dens proliferated and the mindless populace wasted away on their backs in a drug induced coma….”

These ain’t poppies (pictures of poppies are banned too, I reckon), but we used to consume the sweet nectar from these ixoras

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Mr Miyagi puts it rather squarely

Bloggers are self-serving, unless of course there’s a greater community need where it will serve the blogger himself to actually help out, I don’t think bloggers will go out of their way unless they have a real altruistic nature about them lah.

Yes, I said that to Jermyn Chow, the Straits Times Interactive reporter who had to file his story podcast. And what about that term again – the ‘glass houses’ one? Thank you, Alex Au, for the gift that keeps on giving.

mrbrown and I were interviewed on the phone this afternoon for the follow-up stories on the stolen handphone sex video clip saga. Why, you may well ask? Especially since neither of us has ever stolen a phone or made a sex video clip (no, honest)?

Well, the story angle (and there always has to be one with these tree-based media type publications) links the saga to the what reporter Jermyn Chow calls ‘the power of blogging’. Well, since mrbrown’s and my blogs are (ahem) quite ‘power’, I supposed that’s what makes us the voices of authority on matters like this. The same applies to when they do stories on electoral laws and any other thing you could poke a stick at and say ‘hey, I think global warming’s caused by blogs, I better call mrbrown and Mr Miyagi and ask them what they think’.

‘And what about the war in Iraq? Damn those bloggers!’

But apart from that, Jermyn and I had a good chat about the whole thing, and he expressed his frustration in trying to get hold of the source of the story.

Well, is liddat one lah, hor? But I did assure him that blogs and bloggers were not ‘out to get mainstream media’, and that he’d still keep his job, except for if he takes a blogger’s word for the truth and publishes something he takes to be fact without actually corroborating it.

It could happen. There’s no law against lying to a reporter. You just have to sift out the bad from the credible ones, dude.

Podcast: STI: Spin-offs from home-made sex video?

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Bursting at the seams

If you were to check the statistics for your own blog or website, and depending on whether you had written about the latest thing on the internet, you might find something like this:

Picture 32.png

Which may lead to your hosting provider writing you something like this:

Hello I am writing to let you know that I had to disable your site or
service on your account. I did this by renaming it with a _1 at the end,
you have been using more then your fare shar of cpu minutes and that is
impacting other customers sites. you are cuurently using


when only 60cp perday are allowed, please look over your site or service
to try to lower your cpu usage before renaming it back.

And you replying to them:


You cannot be serious!

At least have the decency to write to me first before disabling it! I

have no idea what is going on or how to bring down the cpu minute

usage besides taking down large media files.

I’ve taken down some largish media files (.mov) and installations

like joomla and wiki. I don’t think there are any other installations

that contribute to the cpu minutes. But what you have done is

terrible. You suck!

And you remove some files, and they write back:


If you would like more cpu usage you can always upgrade. Feel free to
email with any other questions,


Heather 🙂

Things seem normal for a few days, and then they write again:

Hi Ben,

sorry about this but were going to have to suck again because we had to
disable your site because of cpu usage… Thank you for trying to lower
your usage but it appears it was all for not as you are using more now,
you are currently using


Please read what we have on the wiki about cpu usage, it has some
information that can help you lower your cpu usage,

Oh and one more thing if we really sucked we would turn the sites off and
make you contact us before you were able to turn them back up so again
try and be a little more polite as we are trying to be helpful here



And then I write back:

Thanks for that, what do I do now?

No, seriously, what can I do to bring down CPU usage? What?

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Rainbow Connection

Rainbow Connection: Secret Video taken near NYP
Secret Video taken near NYP

I really don’t mind buskers. But in a country where you have to audition before some National Arts Council panel in order to get a licence to busk, you’d sometimes wonder who sits on that panel, and whether, as part of the National Environmental Agency’s charter, if the use of amplifiers would automatically disqualify you from getting a licence.

Or maybe I’m just a little ol’ skool in thinking that buskers are supposed to be all accoustic/unplugged.

Video podcast: Rainbow Connection: Secret video taken near NYP

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