Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Story Of Radin Mas

One day, during a special occasion, the Raja of Java invited a troupe of dancers into the palace for a performance. His brother, a well-respected warrior named Pangeran Adipat, was also present.

As the evening progressed, the young man became enthralled with the beauty of one of the dancers. His heart pounded madly in his chest and he found himself falling in love with the beautiful lady.

Even after the performance, he could not stop thinking about her. So, he sought her out and eventually found her at the balcony. Apparently, the dancer felt the same way about him.

Before long, they married and Pangeran Adipat built a hut in the woods for his new wife. All this was done in secret as he knew his brother would never consent to his marrying a commoner.

After the couple had been together for some time, Pangeran Adipat's wife gave birth to a baby girl. The warrior named her 'Radin Mas', which means 'golden princess'.

One day, the Raja summoned his brother into his private quarters and demanded to know about the woman, a commoner, his brother had taken for his wife. Pengaran Adipat admitted to the fact and even told the Raja that his wife had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl.

The Raja was not at all joyful at the news and chided his brother for bringing disgrace to the throne. He demanded that Pangeran Adipat renounce the marriage at once.

"You may be the ruler of this land but you have no claim over my heart", Pangeran Adipat retorted.

Having grown up together, the Raja knew that his brother was an honourable man and would never abandon his family. Secretly, he devised a plan to rid himself of this problem. He commanded his brother to move against their enemies and to lead the attack.

Pengaran Adipat was reluctant to leave his wife and child, but as a warrior, it was his duty to obey the Raja's orders. Even his wife was supportive of his decision. As expected, Pangeran Adipat emerged victorious.

Immediately, he rushed off to see his wife and child. He had missed them so much. But he found only charred ruins! Devastated, he yelled for his wife. Suddenly, the bushes nearby parted and his wife's attendant appeared.

"My lord, it was terrible! The fire was everywhere. I carried your daughter and ran out of the house! Then the roof collapsed before I could save the poor girl's mother …", the attendant lamented.

Pangeran Adipat was told that the Raja had sent some men to the hut and without a word, set fire to it. He was devastated to learn that his brother was responsible for it. They both got into a heated argument and Pangeran Adipat swore never to set foot in the palace again.

Together with his faithful attendant and his daughter, Pangeran Adipat set sail for Singapura. He led a simple farmer's life where no one knew of his true lineage..

One day, some pirates invaded Singapura and many people were murdered. When Pangeran Adipat heard this, he immediately went to the village to confront the pirates and with the training he had received, he easily defeated the pirates.

The next day, while an envoy from Java was paying a courtesy call on the Raja of Singapura, Pangeran Adipat arrived at the palace because the Raja of Singapura had wanted to meet the warrior who defeated the pirates.

When the Javanese envoy saw Pangeran, he immediately stood up and greeted him. The Raja of Singapura was wondering what was going on when the Javanese envoy explained that Pangeran was in fact the brother of the Raja of Java.

The Raja offered the hand of his daughter in marriage to Pangeran but told the Raja that he would like to seek the approval of his daughter first. Soon they were married.

The Raja's daughter gave birth to a baby boy and named him Tengku Chik. Life was perfect for the couple but not for Radin Mas. The Princess would often ill-treat her when her father was at work.

One day, Radin Mas accidentally dropped a plate. Tengku Chik stepped on the broken pieces and injured his feet. The Princess immediately accuse Radin Mas of deliberately harming her child.

Pangeran refused to believe the Princess when she related the accusation to him later that evening. This angered his wife who headed straight for her nephew's house. She had an idea that would get Radin Mas out of her life.

The next day, The Princess invited Pangeran over to her nephew's house, presumably to discuss the event sof the previous night. Unknown to him, his drink was drugged and the old warrior was soon bundled up and lowered into a well.

The princess's nephew sought out Radin Mas and forced her to agree to marry him or else her father would die. She complied and was forced to tell the guests that her father was not at her wedding because he had passed away.

Suddenly, her step-brother interjected and disclosed that her father was still alive and was tied up in an old well. Armed with the information, they rushed to the well and rescued Pangeran Adipat, who was weak but still alive.

A fearful Tengku Bagus was not far away and he swept forward with his weapon in hand. He lunged toward Pangeran Adipat but before he could reach him, Radin Mas quickly moved in front of her father. The weapon struck Radin Mas and she fell lifeless into her father's arms. The angry guests took Tengku Bagus away and the commotion enabled the Princess to sneak away but the heavens opened up and a fierce lightning bolt struck at her.

With deep grief, the people buried their beloved and virtuous princess at the foot of the hill.

About Radin Mas

According to traditions, Radin Mas settled in Telok Blangah when she and her father first set foot on Singapore.

Today, Radin Mas' grave can be found at the foot of Mount Faber. A small shrine had been built in her memory.

In 1926, the place where she lived was converted into a school and named after her, Radin Mas Primary School, where our dear Mr Lim Beng Soon studied in. It subsequently moved into her new premises at Bukit Purmei Avenue in 1984.

There is also a constituency named after her.

(Note: I have been receiving comments that some of the faces featured here look familiar and similar to some people in the department. Well, what can I say? Surely, in a world of billions, there ought to be some who look similar here and there).

The legend of Kusu Island

In the early days of Singapura, the people made their living practicing various trades. There were many who were fishermen. Life for them was not easy and the daily catch often unpredictable. Bad weather even prevented them from heading out to sea. Yet, in order to put food on the table, they had to face insurmountable uncertainties, leaving their families to pray for their safe return.

One day, two fishermen - a Chinese and a Malay - had been out the whole day and their catch had not been plentiful. The others had already gone back. The two fishermen decided to stay out a little longer seeing that the breeze had become stronger, and thought perhaps their luck would change.

Soon, the wind started to pick up, and the little boats were being tossed about. The sky opened up with vengeance and both men struggled to keep their boats afloat. The weather was so bad that everyone on the mainland took cover. All except the families of the two men, who feared for their safety.

Back at sea, the boats of the two men were smashed into bits and they were struggling to hold on to whatever bits of remains left from the wrecked boats. Unknown to them, something was lurking below the violent waves. Something was watching them.

The two men were soon too exhausted to remain afloat and were beginning to lose hope of surviving their ordeal. Suddenly, in the distance, they noticed something approaching them. It had a rough texture.

A giant turtle was headed straight for them. They feared even more and tried to swim away from it. The water moved even faster and all of a sudden, the two men found themselves on top of the turtle.

Slowly the storm began to subside and as it did so, the turtle began to grow bigger and bigger. At their feet, the turtle shell changed, turning into a grainy material that felt like sand. The men realized that the turtle was changing into a small island.

With the skies now clear, the two families on the mainland saw the island and knew that the two men were safe.

Despite their exhaustion, the men rejoiced at having survived the storm and started to explore the new island, where there were lots of trees and plants. In no time, the two men became very close friends and continued to live on the island until they died many years later.

This legacy of racial harmony continues to this day with the establishment of a Chinese temple and a Malay shrine. The temple was built in honour of Tua Pek Kong, the god of prosperity, while the shrine commemorates a hermit, his mother and sister.

KUSU Island

Originally two outcrops on a reef, legend has it a magical tortoise turned itself into an island to save a Malay and a Chinese shipwrecked sailor (hence kusu, Chinese for tortoise).
During the ninth lunar month, the island is swarmed with devotees headed for the Tua Pek Kong Temple to pray for prosperity, good luck and fertility. You can see pieces of cloth tied around trees by children and couples.

You can visit the Malay shrine by walking up 122 steps up a steep hill. Kusu Island is also known as Pulau Sakjiang Pelepah and used to be the island where immigrants who had died in quarantine on St. John's and Lazarus Islands were buried.

More recently, it is also known as Pulau Tembakul (Peak Island) because it has been in-filled and expanded to form an 8.5 hectare island and included three kramats (Malay shrines) that commemorate a 19th-century pious family.

During the quieter months of the year, Kusu Island is a peaceful isle with breathtaking views of the mainland, lagoons for swimming and ideal picnic spots.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How April Fool's Day Came About

Tomorrow, 1st April 2009, is April Fool's Day.

Truth be told, no one is totally clear how April Fool's Day came about. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France.

Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.

However, back in those days, news had to travel by foot, and many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1.

These backward folks were labelled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes. AFDThis harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French.

April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humour at the expense of their friends and families.

In Mexico, April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.

Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's alarm clock back an hour is a common gag. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"
AFD Practical jokes are a common practice on April Fool's Day. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day.

The news media even gets involved. For instance, a British short film once shown on April Fool's Day was a fairly detailed documentary about "spaghetti farmers" and how they harvest their crop from the spaghetti trees.

April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April Fool!

AFD You Know What They Say About Fools...

It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt. --Mark Twain

However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. -- Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. -- Elizabeth Gaskell

Looking foolish does the spirit good. -- John Updike

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. -- Mark Twain

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. -- William Blake

A fool must now and then be right by chance. -- Cowper

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. -- Mark Twain

Birth Stars In The Month Of April

Well Folks! We are near the end of another month and how time really fly these days. Our focus now turn toward those whose birthdays fall in the month of April. On record, at least my own record anyway, I have three names. Here they are.

Here's wishing each of you a very Happy Birthday! Hope you guys have lots and lots of fun. Apologies to Damini for the blur blur photo, only one I have. Will try to capture you again one of these days, so look out!

Anyone else whose birthday is in April that I have left out? Do let me know so that I can include you in.

April is:'Holocaust Month' and the 1st day of April is 'April Fools Day'.

Some prominent birthdays: Hans Christian Anderson, Thomas Jefferson, Eddy Murphy, Alec Baldwin, Doris Day, Marlon Brando, David Blaine, Colin Powell, Russell Crowe, Kofi Annan, Hugh Hefner, David Letterman, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pope Benedict, Maria Sharapova, Adolf Hitler, Queen Elizabeth II, Jack Nicholson, Jet Li,

To celebrate the first three months of the year that have just flown by, I am going to create a contest with $50 being the top prize! Yes, $50 in cash!

This is how it is going to be. Soon, in the coming weeks, I am going to release a series of 10 questions. The answers to these questions can all be found in this blogsite. Your task is to find the answers from the many articles that are featured here, up till 31st March 2009.

If the response and participation of this contest are good, I may consider a quarterly one for one of you to walk away with $50 cash each time. Sounds good? Start reading then as I go prepare the rules and regulations and how the contest is going to be conducted. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Roll Call on Thursday 26 March 2009

We had our second roll call for the month of March, and as with the first one, there were some important messages that needed to be conveyed to the department.

Fist off was the Fire and Emergency Evacuation Exercise scheduled to be carried out of Friday 27 March. We were told to familiarize ourselves with the evacuation procedures.

Secondly, there is going to be an IQEHS conversion and accreditation audit on May 22nd. We are to start preparing for the audit by getting ourselves acquainted with the safety and security policies of the department and institution.

Dress code was the next topic on Christopher’s agenda. We were told to adhere to the proper dress code as laid down by the hospital. Some of the key points to note are reproduced here.

Guiding Principles
• Attire must be clean and neat;
• Attire must be decent and not offending.

Non-Uniformed Staff
•Non-uniformed staff should dress to project a smart and professional image
•Females staff are allowed to wear formal or tailored pants during weekdays;
•Male staff of job grades 11 & above must wear tie during office hours, unless
•it obstructs the carrying out of one’s duties and is approved by the HOD
•Dress down on Fridays allowed – smart casual

Guidelines for ‘dressing down” on Fridays:
•No jeans and ¾ pants;
•No sports/running shoes;
•No T-shirts. Male staff should wear shirts worn tucked-in at all times;
•Male staff may dispense with wearing ties.

Guidelines for casual attire on Saturdays:
•Male staff may wear T-shirts with collars and worn tucked in;
•Jeans are allowed;
•Sports/running shoes are allowed;
•¾ pants are allowed for female staff only.

Identification / Name Tag
•To be worn on the top left of the staff’s clothing.

6 Steps (Physical Grooming)

Step 1: Keep your hair neat and tidy
Step 2: Keep your face clean and pleasant
Step 3: Keep your hands clean
Step 4: Keep your uniform smart and clean
Step 5: Keep your shoes comfortable and smart
Step 6: Keep your jewellery to the minimal

1. Long hair should be bunned or tied up
2. Hair that is rebonded must be clipped
3. No bold highlighted colours
4. Hair accessories must be kept minimal and blend well with the attire
5. Fringe should be above eye level
6. Hair should be preferably away from face

1. If makeup is used, simple and natural make-up colours for females.
2. One plain bindi. (don’t ask me what ‘bindi’ is).
3. Male staff must always wear a fresh and neat shave.
4. Beard and moustache must be neatly trimmed.
1. Nails must be clean and neat.
2. Nails must not exceed 1mm, except in OT (nails must be short).
3. No bright nail polish for ward clerks. If nail polish is used, only neutral colours or gross.

1. Must be clean, neat and well-ironed
2. Name tag must be worn on the upper left side of uniform, 12cm from the shoulders

1. A chain when worn must be concealed under the uniform
2. No chokers
3. Only one set of earrings is allowed
4. Only one wedding ring is allowed
5. No bracelets or friendship bands. No ankle bracelet
6. No tinted glasses
7. No visible tattoos

5 Steps (Carriage)
Step 1: Maintain friendliness and confidence
Step 2: Maintain attentiveness
Step 3: Maintain poise
Step 4: Maintain hygiene
Step 5: Maintain professionalism

How Tanjong Pagar And Redhill Got Their Names

Tanjong Pagar
When Paduka Sri Maharaja ascended the throne, the people of Singapura soon learnt that he had a quick temper.

There was an incident that involved a renown magician from Pasai. His name was Tun Jana Khatib. Accompanied by two friends, he arrived in Singapura one fateful day. He was eager to explore the island after hearing so much about it.

The Queen happened to look out the window just as the magician was passing by and she caught his eye. Noticing a betel palm beside the palace gave him an idea. The Queen watched in amazement as a bolt of lightning struck the betel palm, neatly splitting it into two.

The noise brought the Raja into the Queen's quarters. His concern disappeared when he saw the amusement on the Queen's face. He angrily demanded an explanation, "Who is this man and what is he to you?"

Although the Queen tried to explain that the magician was just an inconsequential traveler passing by, it was no use. The Raja ordered the arrest and immediate execution of the hapless magician.

As the magician's blood spilled onto the ground, his body suddenly vanished. No one was able to explain this strange occurrence. Many believed that the body was magically whisked away to Langkawi.

Some time later, an unusual phenomenon occurred when swordfish started terrorizing the entire village. They were killing the villagers with their sharp snouts. No one went out to sea that morning. The Raja thought this ridiculous and concluded that the fishermen must be spreading this rumours so that they won't have to work. But the villagers were not exaggerating.

The situation became desperate and a village representative pleaded with the Raja to take immediate action. Still unconvinced, the Raja nevertheless made his way to the village that afternoon.

As he urged his elephant towards the shore with his brave bodyguards, the swordfish struck. The Raja was left astounded, as his bodyguards lay dead before his eyes. Suddenly, one of the creatures leapt high and tore at his sleeve!

His men swiftly brought the Raja to higher and safer grounds. He commanded that the villagers must be protected at all costs. He ordered a human barricade along the shore. The men obeyed but suffered terribly. Soon, hundreds lay dead along the shore.

He ordered a retreat and that everyone should stay inside his home until he came up with a better solution.

Back at the palace, the Raja racked his brains without success. His mind kept replaying the terrible scene he witnessed earlier.

Desperate for answers, he returned to the beach. Suddenly, a small little boy said to him, "Your Majesty, I know how to deal with this problem".

Humouring the little boy, the Raja stooped down and listened. The boy suggested they make a barricade using banana stems. When the fish attack, their sharp snouts will get stuck on the stems. Then, the people can go into the waters and kill them.

The Raja was impressed and thought it might just work. He ordered his men to start chopping down the banana trees and line their trunks up along the shore.

The little boy became an instant celebrity and as a result of this, the area became known as Tanjong Pagar (translates as 'Cape of Stakes').

Unfortunately, the Raja became jealous of the boy's popularity. That night, he called a special meeting with some of his most trusted guards. He feared that the boy might be too smart for his own good and he might grow into a powerful wizard and destroy him.

He told his guards to kill the boy secretly, displaying a grave concern at the same time. If the men discovered his hidden motive, he would surely be ousted from his position.

Under the cover of darkness, the guards made their way to the little boy's hut, where he stayed with his grandmother. Deeply troubled, they nevertheless set out to carry out their mission.

Soon the walls of the hut were covered with blood.

The next morning . . . . . . . . . .

Strangely, the boy and his grandmother could not be found anywhere. Even the Raja was mystified, as the three guards were also missing.

As the day progressed, the hill turned a strange blood-red colour. Because of this, the villagers called it 'Redhill'.
As for Paduka Sri Maharaja, it was said that he passed away several years later, after ruling Singapura for 12 and a half years.

What You Shared In March 2009

We are nearing the end of another month and as usual, here are some articles shared by some of you. As much as I would like to feature all the wonderful articles that arrive in my mail box each week, I hope you do understand that it is quite impossible to do so. There are just too many and it will take me too much time to work on them.

So then, here is one that I think sends us a good message that we should always know who we are and not to play with fire, even thoung the fire may seem harmless. Enjoy this video clip sent in by Asiah. It's titled: 'Don't test my patience!'

Next up is an interesting question posed by Juliana. She asks: "What is the hardest thing to break?". Diamonds are hard to find but not hard to break.

What is the hardest thing to break then?
The answer is: HABIT

If you break the H, you still have A BIT. If you break the A, you still have BIT. If you break the B, you still have IT!!!

Hey, after you break the T in IT, there is still the 'I'.

The person at the end of the day, is the root of all the problems. Cute???

Now, I know why HABIT is so hard to break. Its destiny is in its name. The word itself.

Also, one should never, never ASSUME . Because it makes an 'ASS' out of 'U' and 'ME'....

Take a look at this picture and tell yourself what do you see?

You think it's a frog, but I see a horse.

Interesting isn't it? The moral of the story is not to jump to conclusion even though you clearly see what you see.

Take some time to allow others to tell you what they see.

Now, something along the same line which I am sure the ladies out there might want use on their husbands and boyfriends. The article is contributed by Ritta and she swears that her husband got the message, so much so, that he is now insisting that she makes time for social drinking, visit the beauty salon regularly and most of all, to spend time shopping. You people may have noticed that Ritta seems to have a new wardrode in recent times as well as better hairdos that make her look prettier and younger these days.

"If it works for me, it will work for you", she says.

Giving Up Wine
I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, 'If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?'

'No, I had to stop drinking years ago', the homeless woman told me.

'Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?' I asked.
'No, I don't waste time shopping,' the homeless woman said. 'I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.'
'Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?' I asked.
'Are you NUTS!' replied the homeless woman. I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!'

'Well, I said, 'I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight.'

The homeless Woman was shocked. 'Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.'

I said, 'That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine.'

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cough Into Your Elbow

It's the time of the year when the climate change brings about a new bout of pandemic flu outbreak. Every corner you turn this week sees someone either coughing or sneezing away. No matter how well we think we can prevent these germs from getting to us, the fact is we cannot fully avoid them.

Here are some simple but important pointers to help us keep germs at bay and do whatever little we can to stop the spread of germs, whether we have already caught them or not.

We all know that it’s more than polite to cover our mouths when we cough; it makes good public-health sense. Oh, I can still hear my father’s voice ringing in my ears because he must have said the phrase 20 times a day while I was a skinny teeny boy.

One good habit I learnt was that I should really aim my cough into the crook of my elbow or my shoulder, and away from my hands. That way if I am contagious (and it is really hard to know if I am not), the germs coming out of my mouth don’t make it onto my hands, which interact with the world by touching. Since I am less likely to touch things with my elbow or shoulder, the germs won’t spread. This isn't just for coughing. I have often heard the catchy phrase "Sneeze into your sleeve", and it does make sense too!

So do it the way we were taught and cover our mouths when you cough — just do it with our elbows.

See Video here.
See this link to Germy Wormy Website.

For those of us with kids, we ought to take the trouble to inculcate good health hygiene habits that will arm our children for the rest of their lives.

Consider that a young child can touch over 300 surfaces in half-an-hour the worst place for them to cough and sneeze into is their hands. This is a guarantee that the germs will spread faster than light and soon get everyone around the child sick

Next time you see a young child cough and sneeze into their hands, watch where the hands go next. It is an eye opening experience.

But, when a kid needs to cough and sneeze, what are their options?

A tissue? Great for blowing and wiping noses but not always available for germ spreading sudden coughs and sneezes. And think about it, does your child consistently stop and get a tissue?

The air? Infects everything in their path at 90+ miles an hour!

Doctors recommend teaching children to cough and sneeze into their elbow.
Why? Unlike the tissue, the elbow is always there. Unlike like their hand, the elbow doesn't touch everything. But don't take our word for it.