Singapore, fearing cyberattacks -- especially ones related to the ongoing South China Sea cold war -- will, as of next May, disconnect its entire civil service from the internet, airgapping the whole government. Read the rest
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle sell lunch dishes for less than USD2.00, but that's not a predictor of the food's quality, as both restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars for their cuisine. Read the rest
In 2007, Singaporean blogfather Mr Brown discovered this video, which is literally the most best thing you will ever see, this week: middle-aged Singaporean government officials rapping(ish) about the nation's public-private partnership strategy, with fresh rhymes like "They call me CEO, hear me out everyone/My aim, a vibrant media-hub for the city/Singapore-made content can be number one/Media choice and jobs for everyone." Read the rest
Singaporeans are the most prolific speculators on UK commercial property, and the United Overseas Bank is the most prolific lender to Singaporeans who want to speculate in that market -- and now they're turning off the faucet. Read the rest
Singaporean toymaker Michael Sng made Boudicca, a T1 Training Colossus -- a 3D-printed robot tank with 400 custom parts and servos controlled by an Arduino. Read the rest
Singapore's National Library Board will pulp three LGBT-friendly children's picture books that it earlier removed from its collections. Read the rest
Bren, a self-confessed "noodle fanatic," has written a guide to the delights of Singapore's Changi airport, which he calls "Disneyland for backpackers." It is certainly a nice airport, the best airport ever built on the site of a notorious death-camp, but Bren misses its best feature: the outdoor rooftop pool. I always try make Singapore my stopover when I fly to Australia, and do an hour's worth of nighttime lengths in the pool before re-boarding. I like his play on William Gibson's classic moniker for S'pore, too: Disneyland With the Death Penalty."
Changi really does rock: butterfly gardens, cheap amazing food, great electronics, cheap massage, free Playstations, and free movie-theaters! Read the rest
Singaporean macrofocus photographer Nicky Bay produces wonderful portraits of insects in their natural setting. Particularly fascinating are the photos of bugs eating each other, particularly the shot above of an assassin bug (Acanthaspis sp.) which "decorate themselves with the corpses of their consumed prey," forming a protective "meat-shield" as well as offering olfactory and visual camouflage to help it infiltrate ant-nests.
IZ Reloaded sez, "Spotted at Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2013! Using discarded plastic bottles, bits of old toys, disassembled computers and other recycled unwanted items, David Liew of the Sleeping Iron foundry has created an armada of steampunk inspired spaceships known as the Bottle Fleet. Each model has been sculpted and painted to the level similar to that of movie production models and miniatures." Read the rest
McDonald's Singapore is selling a "Durian Crunch McFlurry" that combines soft-serve ice-cream with everyone's favorite stinkily delicious T-Rex-testicle-looking fruit. It sells for S$2.80 or about USD2.23. Singapore sports many spectacular shave-ice dessert places that combine durian with things like kidney beans, sweet corn and candied fruit (serving durian cold suppresses some of the eye-watering perfume), and I'd have one of those over anything McHorrible's produces any day.
A reader writes, "The Singapore government just announced an intention to begin regulating websites that report on the country, requiring a S$50,000 'performance bond' and compliance with any takedown notices from the government within 24 hours. The reason for this is apparently to regulate content which solicits for prostitution, undermines racial and religious harmony, or 'goes against good taste'. Seems legit."
Dr Yaacob said: "It's about making sure that our regulatory framework is consistent -- that's the most important thing. At the moment, whether we like it or not, Singaporeans are receiving news both from mainstream media and online sites.
"Our mainstream media are subjected to rules, you know... Why shouldn't the online media be part of that regulatory framework?
"I don't see this as a clamping down, if anything, it is regularising what is already happening on the Internet and (making sure) that they are on par with our mainstream media."
The regulation will extend to foreign-hosted sites that report on Singapore, though it's not clear what the Singaporean government will do if, for example, the New York Times declines to obey.
It was a pleasure and an absolute honor to be allowed to watch and follow the Thaipusam festival here in Singapore. Everyone was polite, kind and welcoming to me as I attempted to document the experience with my camera, I am very grateful. Needless to say, I did my best to keep out of the way and to lend a helping hand when needed. This definitely ranks as one of the greatest experiences I have had so far in Singapore, if not in all my travels. A deeply spiritual experience affecting all senses, from the beautiful chanting and music, to the smell of the burning incense and ash, every aspect powerful and poetic.
On Play This Thing, Greg Costikyan reviews The Snowfield, a game developed as a student project at the Singapore MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. It sounds like a very odd and compelling experience: in The Snowfield, you're tasked with gathering up the survivors of a brutal battle on the eastern front in WWII and coaxing them to gather at a ruined house where a fire will keep them from freezing to death. Greg calls it "a game of small mercies."
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You begin on what was clearly a battlefield not long ago, strewn with corpses, barbed wire, and broken fences, covered in snow. You are huddled and obviously freezing. There are some other soldiers in the area, mostly standing in a daze, shell-shocked; they speak to you (a handful of catch-phrases repeated), in German; evidently, this is the Eastern Front in World War II, though none of the corpses are wearing Russian uniforms. The setting is stark, and emotionally impactful.
Movement is via WASD; some items can be picked up, though only one at a time, and handed to others. In a ruined house nearby is a fire; if you spend too much time away from it, you freeze to death, the view becoming blurry about the edges and what seem like ice cracks appearing in your vision as warning. It's easy to lose your bearings in the snow and freeze to death; the controls are also a bit awkward and you cannot climb even a fairly shallow slope, so you sometimes find it hard to extricate yourself from your current position.