Bite me!

Bite me!

I’m inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit featured in the Sunday papers last week. There was this really, really interesting story about three outlets in Singapore which offer alternative skin treatment in the form of fish eating your dead skin off your live body.

“Get prettier feet by allowing fish to nibble your dead skin”, said the Sunday Times. You can say goodbye to callouses and corns on your feet and hands by letting the fish do the work. According to what’s said in the paper, it’s also good for skin conditions like psoriasis, for which there is no current cure.

The fish they use are called Turkish spa fish, and are toothless, so they sorta nibble with their gums or something. This treatment is apparently becoming popular in “Japan, Korea and Europe”, says the report.

It doesn’t say where it originates, and I doubt it’s a Singaporean innovation, because then we’d have a package deal where you let the fish eat you, and then you eat the fish. With a choice of sauce. And a healthy herbal tonic on the side. 15% discount with selected credit cards.

Also, the three outlets that offer the service in Singapore are probably the only three places you can walk in the door and and yell, “Bite Me!” and no one would get offended.

I’m so inspired I’ve an idea for a start up offering a similar service, but that goes even further. In place of the Turkish spa fish, I’d opt for the Amazonian variety:

Fancy that Kate Moss or Calista Flockhart look?

Why stop at just pretty feet and hands, how about instant, massive weight loss?”

Our fish are bigger:

Photo by Brandon Cirillo

And have sharper teeth:

Photo by eschipul

And are hungrier:

Photo by wednesday181

Before and After Photos Prove The Difference:


Photo by Megapixel Eyes

Photo by morethanreal

Say goodbye to diets!

And everything else!

Visit us for our money back^ weight loss guaranteed* treatment:


Photo by ricardo.martins

*cash in advance only

^Severe blood loss and death are a common side effect of weight loss treatment, but you’ll be so amazed with your new figure! So, never mind!

But seriously though, if you’re not queasy about it and want to have an alternative fish dip, check out Yeo Yann Yann and Dollei Seah’s outlet at Thomson:

Kampong Fish Therapy
275 Thomson Road #01-06 Novena Ville
Tel: 62580106

I don’t think they charge by weight.

Free Rice

free riceAfter gorging on Cha Kua Teow (sic) yesterday, sick it so happened that we stumbled upon freerice.com, where we spent a couple of hours sparing a thought, several hundred words and grains of rice for the needy:

Frequently Asked Questions
How does playing the vocabulary game at FreeRice help me?

Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits. It can help you:

* Formulate your ideas better
* Write better papers, emails and business letters
* Speak more precisely and persuasively
* Comprehend more of what you read
* Read faster because you comprehend better
* Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
* Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
* Perform better at job interviews and conferences
* Sell yourself, your services, and your products better
* Be more effective and successful at your job

After you have done FreeRice for a couple of days, you may notice an odd phenomenon. Words that you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You will feel yourself using and knowing more words.
How does the FreeRice vocabulary program work?

FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people… everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48.
How is the difficulty level for each word determined?

The program keeps track of how many people get each word right or wrong, and then adjusts each word’s difficulty level accordingly. So the words at the easiest levels are the ones that people most often get right. The words at the hardest levels are the ones that people most often get wrong. As more and more people have played the game, these levels have become increasingly more accurate.
What happens if my computer suddenly loses power while I am in the middle of playing? Does my donation still count?

Yes, once your screen says that you have donated a certain amount of rice, that means our server has registered it. For example, suppose your screen says that you have donated 120 grains of rice. If your computer then suddenly loses power, or you close your browser, or you click to go somewhere else, your donation has already been counted.
Who pays for the donated rice?

The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen. This is regular advertising for these companies, but it is also something more. Through their advertising at FreeRice, these companies support both learning (free vocabulary for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). We commend these companies for their participation at FreeRice.
If FreeRice has the rice to give, why not give it all away right now?

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.
Who distributes the donated rice?

The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.
Will the rice I donate make a difference?

The rice you donate makes a huge difference to the person who receives it. To a mother or father watching a loved child die in their arms from hunger, the rice you donate is more precious than anything in the world.
What is being done to end world hunger?

There is great progress being made to end world hunger. Many organizations across the globe are involved in this struggle. Each day, hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and women work for these organizations. Through their efforts, millions of impoverished people have food to eat, learn skills and find hope for the future.
What else can I do to help end hunger?

Here are two key things you can do to help end hunger. Both are free and easy to do.

1. Add your name to the One Campaign, where several million people have already joined together “as One” to end hunger and extreme poverty. If enough people join, dreams for a better world can be made into reality very quickly.
2. The United Nations estimates that the cost to end world hunger completely, along with diseases related to hunger and poverty, is about $195 billion a year. Twenty-two countries have joined together to raise this money by each contributing 0.7% (less than 1%) of national income. Some of the countries have already met this goal. Others are being a little slow, but this can be fixed. You can see how the countries are doing here. You can print a letter to support your country’s participation here.

Where can I learn more about hunger?

One last important thing you can do to help end hunger is to become knowledgeable about it. A good way to do this is to visit our sister site Poverty.com (designed so that busy people can learn quickly about hunger and poverty) or one of the many excellent sites listed here. We believe that when enough people around the world become knowledgeable about hunger, it will no longer be tolerated.

Saturday

Hai Kee Teochew Cha Kua Teow (sic)

You know it’s a good plate of greasy, lardy goodness when the queue’s already twenty long when you get there, and there are people in line in front of you who know how long it’s gonna take, and have taken the trouble of bringing a book along to read.

It’s not that long, really, the wait. Barring family representatives who order by bulk, usually just before it’s your turn, you usually get your plate / packet before you figure out how much money Mr Hai Kee Cha Kua (sic) Teow makes in a day.

The law is an ass* that is not permitted to sleep in a bathtub^


The alternative to ERP. Photo by NutsyFagan

Yes, I am trivialising important matters. But there are things that are so trivial they can’t be ignored further.

I read in the Sydney Morning Herald about a British tv station that claims to have done a survey about absurd laws in the UK that have never been repealed. Among the laws voted for is one which states that it is illegal to die in parliament. You are also not allowed to enter Parliament in a suit of armour.

I don’t know if any of my Welsh cousins have ever been in the city of Chester at night, because “if you catch a Welshman within the City Walls after midnight then you are allowed to hang them and you can shoot a Welshman from the Walls with a long bow.”

And if you think doing your taxes is confusing enough, “it is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing”.

I think we could use some of the laws to solve some of our ails. Wanna fix traffic bottlenecks on our road? Forget the ERP! Do it the Pennsylvania way: “Automobiles travelling on country roads at night must send up an rocket every mile, then wait ten minutes for the road to clear”.

There’s more from around the world.

*Coverture
^But your honor, my donkey was just resting in the bathtub with his eyes closed

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Horsburgh Lighthouse and other significant old buildings

Horsburgh Lighthouse was erected in 1851, and is probably one of the oldest structures (or the oldest) in Singapore that hasn’t been demolished, or converted for a purpose other than that for which it was built. That is, to house an Ah Beng who likes to high beam passing ships.

Oops. Did I say “in Singapore”? We’ll know in a few days.

As for other old buildings in Singapore which have retained their original purposes, I can think of St Andrews Cathedral, built in 1861, the Istana, built in 1867, Raffles Hotel, built in 1899, and City Hall, completed in 1929 (but which will be converted into a museum by 2012).

I’d like to have added the Armenian Church on Hill Street, built in 1832, a.k.a. the Apostolic Church of St Gregory the Illuminator, but it’s purpose as an Armenian Orthodox Church ceased when the last ordained Armenian-Singaporean priest retired in the 1930s. Apparently, no further Armenian Orthodox services were held there due to the dwindling Armenian population, which never numbered over 830 anyway.

If you’ve been hiding under Pedra Branca, then you might not also know that the Armenians were really influential back in the day: they founded The Straits Times, opened the Raffles Hotel, and discovered the national flower.

But what I really like about the Armenian Church building is that the Chinese populace knew it as “Seng Poh Sin Chu Au”, or “The Back Of Seng Poh’s New Building”. (It is typical of the Chinese to completely ignore actual names, or even the fact that not every Caucasian has red hair.)

I tried looking up “Seng Poh’s Building”, and managed to enlighten myself about a Tan Seng Poh, for whom Seng Poh Road and Seng Poh Lane are named. From the information I found about him, I could garner that “Seng Poh’s new building” must have been quite grand, because Mr Tan co-ran the monopolistic Singapore & Johore Opium & Spirit Farms. (But that’s ok because he later became a Municipal Commissioner, a Justice of Peace, an honorary magistrate, and was quite the philanthropist).


What’s blocking the back of Seng Poh’s new building


What really went down at the back of Seng Poh’s new building

Other sources: can.com.sg: Red & White Buildings in Singapore.
I’ve also used the NLB’s “Ask A Librarian” service to ask a librarian about Seng Poh’s house on Loke Yew Street, and I’ll post an update here.

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