Category Archives: oddity

Why Darren Woo is Worse than Trinetta Chong

Who you support?
Who you support?

Darren Woo Hon Fai is the valedictorian this year from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

He made headlines for his controversial valedictorian speech where he poked fun of his fellow graduates from the Chinese Division,  commenting that that they may not be able to understand English.

Here is a full video of his speech. Watch from the 8:00 minute mark for the highlight:

After reminding everyone to honour thy parents, Darren went on to add these hurtful words: “This is especially so for the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten what I just said in English, 所谓望子成龙,望女成凤, I can speak Mandarin too.”

Trinetta Chong, on the other hand, was a valedictorian in 2011 from my alma mater, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, also from NTU.

At the end of her valedictorian speech, she blurted out the f-word: “We f***ing did it!”

If I am an employer, I will hire Trinetta, but not Darren.

The way I see it, one committed a slip of the tongue in her moment of excitement. Yes, she was wrong, but I can still be friend and work with someone like that. Her biggest mistake was immaturity and not watching her language for vulgarity.

The other one claimed his offending words were not in his original speech, but added on the spot to lighten the mood. To me, this shows this guy has deep-seated discriminatory issues. I cannot imagine myself being a friend with someone like this or working with him.

Potty-mouthed girl, I can accept.

Discriminating boy, I cannot accept.

Both my parents are Chinese-educated and my sister and I grew up speaking Mandarin at home. I only learn the English language when I entered primary one.

My English was not good in primary school and I have to endure the abuse of some really bad English teachers who will take every opportunity to shame and humiliate a group of us by calling us names like “Cheena Biang” and “Sons of Stinky Pau Seller” (I kid you not).

Even up to my ‘O’ levels, my English was still pretty sucky. I was always one of the top student in all my other subjects, scoring As for everything else, except English which totally pulled down my L1R5 score as English is the almighty “L1” that cannot be substituted.

It it with much perseverance that I pushed my language ability to where I am now and I am proud to say that I am effectively bilingual in both Chinese and English, written and spoken. The same goes for my wife, Rachel, who have worked in both Chinese and English newsrooms. We hope to do the same for my son, Asher.

Do you know how hard it is to be proficient in both English and Chinese in Singapore where English tend to be the more common language of use?

I am quite sure many of Darren’s schoolmates from the Chinese division in HSS will be able to speak and write fluently in both Chinese and English, while conversely, many from the other divisions, might encounter some difficulty with the Chinese language or their respective second languages.

Currently, I work in the Chinese newsroom in my day job and I admire my Chinese journalist colleagues who are able to switch easily between Chinese and English for their job requirement.

Does Darren think my Chinese newsroom colleagues cannot understand English too?

Somehow, I think many young people today hold the same attitude as Darren – that Chinese is a “low-class” language that is cool to poke fun at.

A few months earlier, a youngster emailed me to ask about my alma mater, WKWSCI and wrote in the email asking if I know the school environment was “cheena” as the person was from ACJC and was worried that she might not be able to adjust.

I replied her with a long email on how rude it was for her to presume she knows my language preference and use a derogatory word like “cheena” on someone she is seeking advice from. The person apologised profusely after that, but the damage is done.

What about you? What do you think of this whole saga?


China’s self-billed top environmentalist and philanthropist, multimillionaire entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao (陈光标) is coming to Singapore

Move aside Richard Branson and Donald Trump, China’s self-billed top environmentalist and philanthropist, multimillionaire entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao (陈光标) is here to take over all the media limelight. 

Move aside Donald Trump and Richard Branson, here comes Chen Guangbiao!
Move aside Donald Trump and Richard Branson, here comes Chen Guangbiao!

If you do not know who he is, this post will provide a short introduction.

Via China wiki:

Chen Guangbiao is the guy who rushed to the scene of the tragic Sichuan earthquake in 2008 with a fleet of 60 cranes and trucks in 36 hours, rescuing survivors and handing out cash to the homeless villagers. He spent 54 days in the quake-hit zone and donated more than 100 million yuan (US$15 million) for post-quake construction.

Chen Guangbiao rendering help at the Sichuan earthquake site
Chen Guangbiao rendering help at the Sichuan earthquake site

This is the same man who took out a half-page advertisement in the New York Times on August 31, 2012, saying, in both Chinese and English, that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China.

This is also the same person who gave away thousands of tins of air in China to raise awareness of China’s worsening air pollution.

Chen Guangbiao giving away canned air
Chen Guangbiao giving away canned air

In an open letter to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, he pledged to donate all his fortune to charity after his death. The duo made a trip to Beijing to talk about their Giving Pledge campaign, during which they asked the U.S.’s richest to pledge half their wealth to charity either during or after their lifetime, and help China start its own philanthropy community. Chen wrote to Buffet and Gates that it would be a shame to hoard his wealth, and he was pleased to accept the invitation.

Chen Guangbiao giving away money, but also making sure the media captures it
Chen Guangbiao giving away money, but also making sure the media captures it

Born in July 1968 into a family long inured in poverty, Chen witnessed the death of his brother and sister in his childhood. After the tragedy, the Jiangsu native decided to change his destiny. Chen garnered his gold nugget with his keen business sense after several setbacks and started prominent charity drives after his success. Chen is now the chairman of Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Co., Ltd., and is estimated to be worth US$510 million, according to Hurun Report’s 2010 speculation.

Chen Guangbiao is really intriguing isn’t he? 

His life story reads like a graphic novel. 

Other than being incredibly wealthy and ostentatious with his charitable acts, this guy also knows Shaolin kungfu (seriously)! Via a Guardian news article:

Chen makes Kim Kardashian look like Howard Hughes. The back cover of his book, Chen Guangbiao: As He Tells It, depicts him cradling a baby, fending off a media scrum and, for reasons less immediately obvious, serenading a herd of beribboned goats.

“I want to record the name of Chen Guangbiao in Chinese history,” he says.

He has the apparently unsinkable self-belief of Donald Trump, the publicity flair of Richard Branson and teeth as strong as the Bond villain Jaws: his party trick, demonstrated this morning, is to lift a bike using his teeth and spin it around in the air. The crowd grins. The cyclist looks furious.

Chen Guangbiao the Shaolin master
Chen Guangbiao the Shaolin master

It is, says Chen, all down to kungfu training at the famous Shaolin temple.

“If you put a brick on my head and break it, I will be fine,” he assures us.

Chen Guangbiao has his fair share of detractors and critics for his showy ways of doing charity, with some questioning his motivation and antics. 

Chen Guangbiao showboating
Chen Guangbiao showboating

I support him though. After all, he is giving back to society. It is much better than many of the rich who hoards wealth.

The man will be in Singapore this week and I will have the rare opportunity to meet him in-person this Sunday. If you have any questions you would like to pose to Chen, email them to me and I will try my best to ask it for you. 🙂 

Pic of the Day: Which is Real? Left or Right?

These two pictures of a guy wearing a pair of compression tights in a MRT train surfaced online recently.

I have censored the guy’s face to prevent him from unnecessary embarrassment.

Can you spot the difference between the two images?

Which do you think is the real deal?

The Real Reason for a 6.9 million population in Singapore in 2030


In 2012, we have a population of 5.3 million people.

2030 – 2012 = 18 years

6.9m – 5.3m = 1.6m

Now, take 1,600,000 divide by 18 and check the magic number.

The real reason is for all Singaporeans to Huat Ah!

Huat Ah Singapore!
Huat Ah Singapore!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. 🙂

Obviously, this post is tongue-in-cheek. If you are interested to understand more on the Population White Paper, please visit

[Book Review] Uncle John’s 24 Karat Gold Bathroom Reader by the Bathroom Readers’ Institute

Uncle John's 24 Karat Gold Bathroom ReaderI picked up this brilliantly titled book, Uncle John’s 24 Karat Gold Bathroom Reader by the Bathroom Readers’ Institute (24th edition) at the library a few weeks ago.

The book is part of a series of books called Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers. The series has sold 4.5 million copies. Amazing.

Via Wikipedia: Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers are a series of books containing trivia and short essays on miscellaneous topics, ostensibly for reading in the bathroom. The books are credited to the Bathroom Readers’ Institute, though Uncle John is a real person, and are published by Portable Press, an imprint of Baker & Taylor. The introductions in the books, as well as brief notes in some articles, provide small pieces of information about Uncle John. The first book was published in 1988, and in 2011, the series reached its 24th release, The 24-Karat Gold Bathroom Reader.

I think the book is a superb idea! Every household should have one of this book tucked into their toilets as compulsory reading material.

Here are some fun facts I learnt from the book over the past weeks:

1. The term “action figure” was coined by Hasbro Toys to sell their range of military boys’ dolls – G.I. Joe

2. 300 years ago, a fad erupted among wealthy Brits to buy people – not to make them servants, but to have them simply wander around their hermitage as “pet hermits”

3. Shel Silverstein, the author of the children’s classic, The Giving Tree was a full-time cartoonist for Playboy magazine before he became a children’s book writer.

4. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, missed it by one letter on his business card when he called himself “Chariman of the Executive Committee”

5. Michael Jackson wrote the hit song, “Bad”, planning to sing it as a duet with Prince. Prince backed out over lyrical content. He was reportedly uncomfortable with the song’s first line, “Your butt is mine.”

If you know of someone who loves to read in the bathroom, this book will make a perfect gift. 🙂