Category: Entertainment

“You never wear bra how you know right! I don’t know, so I just try, try, try. Then after that I realise the bra got size one, then got number, then got alphabet one. Then I realise ohh, this one is my size.”

It was at Mustafa Centre that Daniel Lee found the bras he often sports in his streams, as well as most of the ensembles you would see him in when he goes live on The Ladyboy Marketplace

As the founder and the face of the Facebook page, Daniel is known for his live auctions. More accurately, people follow him to catch him in bras, stockings and even lacy lingerie, complete with ladies’ accessories, wigs, and makeup. 

He auctions items on the livestream, but for the layperson who isn’t there for the sale, his antics make for live entertainment. It’s a striking visual: A ‘ladyboy’ dancing unabashedly to Thai disco music, and it is exactly for this reason that Daniel started cross-dressing—“I wanted to portray a visual that will catch people’s attention the moment they see the stream.” 

He had been running his own live bidding business on another Facebook page, but after more than two years in the trade, he saw the need to be more creative. He did a trial run with the Ladyboy persona and it was surprisingly well-received. The next day, he launched The Ladyboy Marketplace. 

The Birth Of A ‘Xia Suay’ Livestream Personality

Anybody can play dress-up, but viewers will still switch off if someone is inherently boring. Thankfully, Daniel’s natural sense of humour helped. He would spice up his streams with comical dances and often switched personas. Some of his old videos shows him in looks inspired by iconic Singaporean characters like Liang Po Po and Phua Chu Kang. 

One of the many personas he has taken up on his Live videos
Screen capture taken from The Ladyboy Marketplace

His videos were entertaining, and the news of this Ladyboy Auctioneer spread fast. When his friends and family first saw his ludicrous on-screen personalities, they were shocked. But Daniel has always been known as a joker amongst people who knew him, and they quickly understood that this is just Daniel working. 

Nonetheless, there were criticisms, and they came from strangers who would leave nasty comments on his streams. Some throw jabs at Daniel for prancing around in women’s underwear as a man, calling him xia suay (embarrassing and disgraceful).

I asked if he ever felt paiseh about the things he has had to do for his Ladyboy image. Up to that point, he had given me the impression of a tough, ballsy ah beng who is too focused and driven to be bothered about how people perceived him. Instead, he flat out admitted to feeling paiseh, especially when he had to buy bras at Mustafa alone while seeing the staff staring and laughing at him.

However, he explained that paiseh is just a barrier to be overcome.

“A lot of things will paiseh. But paiseh is just a feeling. Don't because of a feeling, then you don't go and achieve what you want to achieve.

“If it’s just because you’re paiseh then you [don’t fulfill your potential], isn’t that such a waste?”

With that said, there are many other problems he has to deal with as someone who makes a living off selling products on Facebook Live. 

He was once banned from streaming for two weeks after someone reported his page for nudity, presumably by someone who found his videos (or him) offensive. For someone whose livelihood depended on livestreaming, that meant he had no income for two weeks. For fear that something like this happens again, Daniel has since toned down his Ladyboy antics in his streams. 

Even without the problems that came with cross-dressing, the job of a live auctioneer is tough. Unlike most of us, there are no weekdays or weekends for Daniel.

“My routine is no routine, I get the job done and the rest are my rest hours.”

We only see what happens on the stream, but a lot of an online auctioneer’s or work goes behind the screen. 

A promoter with a seafood wholesaler today, Daniel’s days start in the late afternoon, where he will be knee-deep in backend preparations with his logistics team and fine-tuning the order, processing, and payment systems before he goes live at night. 

Then, after streaming for two to three hours, where he would be constantly talking, Daniel would spend another few hours sending out invoices and coordinating with the logistics team for the deliveries. It’s usually around 3am by the time he gets home. 

Beneath the fancy get-ups is an ah beng who knows how to hook you in for a sale
Screen capture taken from The Ladyboy Marketplace

On the days that he isn’t selling for the seafood wholesaler, Daniel would check in on his valet business which his business partner is managing, and the occasional consignment jobs.

Despite the long hours, Daniel tells me that the only challenge to him is the high chance of losing his voice after every stream, “Long hours and everything else is okay, because when you got the motivation, working is nothing.”

Hustler By Circumstance

It became really clear that this ‘ah beng’ is a hustler. And his drive to make money, or to succeed, was a result of growing up underprivileged. 

His family wasn’t well-to-do. His mum was a housewife and his dad didn’t earn a lot as a stall supervisor. Circumstances forced him to be independent from a young age and at 14, he was already selling vegetables at the neighbourhood market for pocket money. He didn’t earn a lot, but to him, it was still money. 

“One day, maybe eight hours, I only earn $20 or $30. Very jialat. But nevermind, try lor, because anyway one day earn $20, five days earn $100. That time I only Sec. 2, $100 is a lot already.”

He was a defiant kid and picked up several bad habits like smoking, but it was also right around that period that he found the drive to work hard for money through (ironically) the legendary Sunshine Empire. He was amazed by how his friend could afford tuxedos and LV bags, and he soon found himself spiralling into the Ponzi scheme. 

“I was so brainwashed because very young ma, [but] that’s how I wanted to do sales more and more. So [on hindsight], I need to thanks [sic] the Sunshine Empire, because that’s how I came to where I am now.”

At 16, he started working for Jose Eber, where he was promoting premium hair straighteners at a pushcart at Vivocity. He was even recognised for being a top salesperson there. It was then that he realised he had this natural ability to draw in crowds and to sell, he understood the ways to appeal to different customers. 

He continued doing sales after he graduated from Temasek Polytechnic. Along the way, he also dabbled in all sorts of work, which helped him learn more about the world: “I’ve worked at McDonalds, I cut vegetables before, bike shops, mechanic, everything I also do before.”

He also started several businesses, which he continued after completing his National Service. At one point, he even had several employees to help with his live bidding business. However, he admitted that he had made many mistakes, and have had to deal with many tricky situations like faulty products, malicious customers, and people management. 

For example, he was too lax and didn’t bother to have a proper management system when he hired employees, and ended up having to face the consequences himself when there were issues with orders. 

“I'm not paiseh to admit that I did wrong for that part. I tried and I failed because I thought that it's very simple. This one is I really misjudge.”

Success Comes From The Drive To Succeed

There’s a lot to joke about when we see Daniel as Ladyboy. Most of us would make fun of him, wondering if there’s even any future for him to be doing this. However, behind that facade is someone who has so much drive, and dedication to his work. 

Despite the many ‘stupid’ things he does on his live videos, or the ah beng image he seems to portray in person, this 27-year-old Singaporean is an innovative salesman who isn’t afraid to do what it takes to succeed ethically.

It is his fearless drive that has got him to where he is today: A highly sought-after salesperson in the industry, and who runs a stable valet business on the side. 

At the end of the day, this ‘ladyboy ah beng’ is one person who is simply very real with what he wants and how he will get there. He is driven by money. But, it comes with a strong sense of ethics and the genuine wish to be a good salesperson and the bridge between suppliers and customers. 

He’s not afraid to experiment, fail, and try again, not ashamed of being shamed or mocked, as long as he’s able to achieve his goals. And his resolve to succeed is something that a lot of us lack, and probably can learn from. 

Also read: We Know Him As The ‘Hunky Hawker’, But Walter Tay Shares A Past He’s Not Proud Of.

(Images used in header taken from The Ladyboy Marketplace’s Facebook Page)

“Eh bump bump bump!” One of the guys in the group exclaimed as they all reached for their phones and started shaking it up and down vigorously.   It’s a ludicrous sight — A bunch of guys sitting at a corner at a birthday party, ‘bumping away’ with each other on the app, Zenly. The sexual innuendo of both the term and action are unquestionable, but bumping with your current friends on Zenly is loosely similar to taking stories for your Instagram. It’s a way to “tag” each other and where the app will notify your mutual friends know that you are hanging out together. “If you’re at a gathering and bump the flame animation changes into something spectacular! Have fun bumping but remember, not too hard!”

What the heck is Zenly?

If you are wondering what the purpose of this app is, that was exactly us when we first knew about it. Bought over by Snapchat’s parent company, Zenly is a social networking app that lets you track your friends location 24/7 and vice versa. We turned down the invitation to join Zenly at the party that day — why would we want to be on an app that centers around people knowing our location 24/7? That’s just creepy. Imagine heading out at night, to meet a friend perhaps, only to get a text from someone asking us what we are doing going out at 10pm.   Although, this does not seem to be the concern of that group of guys and other friends who are on Zenly. For many of them (mostly in their teens or early twenties), Zenly is quickly becoming their go-to social app because “a lot of my friends are on it” and “it’s the hype now”. Curiosity got the better of us and we decided to download the app to find out what the rage over this app is all about.

Is it that fun to stalk, or be stalked?

Even before we got to use the app, there was already a one-star review warning us about its potential dangers.

Zenly App Review

Reading that made us fear for our life, but for journalism sake, we clicked download. For the first couple of minutes, we started bumping each other. In the middle of the office, we looked like three idiots, shaking our phones like our lives depended on it and laughing at how ridiculous this whole thing is.
Bumping on Zenly
Bumping on Zenly
Bumping on Zenly
Oh, We Bumped
Navigating our way through the app, we could already foresee getting bored of it quickly. Besides its GPS tracking function, bumping, and letting you see your friends’ battery life, the other functions are nothing that your other messenger apps can’t do — chat and send photos. There are also sets of emojis that you can use to send to your friends. It works a little like MSN Messenger’s Winks, where the emojis would up pop on your friends’ screen when it is send to them. For the rest of the day and the next, we found ourselves spamming each other with these emojis, and being amused by it because of how stupidly entertaining it was. We began to see why our friends are hooked on the app. With our short attention span and our desire to always stay connected, the features on Zenly acts as some sort of brainless, no-frills entertainment for us whenever we feel restless. There’s just this fascination to want to see where our friends are hanging out at, and Zenly was sort of like a modern day Marauder’s Map for that. This novelty wore out quickly however. By the third day, we were on the app just to familiar ourselves with all its features. Like us, one of our friends YJ, was initially reluctant to get the app because of safety concerns. She joined in the end because her friend kept bugging her to, and she continued using the app as it helps her stay connected with friends. “I think [with the app] it’s just easier to see where your friends are at and whether it’s convenient to meet and all.” For another friend, who has been on Zenly for a few months, it was to assure his loved one: “Wife use [Zenly] to spam me. And stalk me.” He added: “I good boy”
Spamming Emojis on Zenly
One of the highlights of the app: Spamming emojis
Primarily a social app, the main function of Zenly — location-tracking — can be especially useful to keep our loved ones updated of our live location should for safety reasons. There is even a function that allows you to send a link to someone to allow them to view your location on a map on their browser for a few hours. Admittedly, the app is not as freaky as we thought as there are safety features that allows us to decide how precisely each friend can track our location. Only friends you accept can see your location, and there are options for us to privatise our account and block users. Though you have to set your location access to be always on for the app to work.
Zenly Location Tracking
Zenly will prompt you to allow location access even when your app is inactive

Younger Singaporeans May Not Know The Danger

Many of us are aware of the potential danger of revealing information that is so private and personal as our physical location, but the group this app appeals the most to may not be as shrewd when it comes to protecting their personal data. Currently, Zenly seems to be especially popular amongst Singaporean teenagers, with at least two colleagues telling us how their 15 and 16-year-old siblings are on it, and so are a lot of their peers.

Zenly Friends

In just two days, one of us has gotten a handful of requests from acquaintances that we have not spoken to in years. And it is amusing how unbothered they are with sharing their ongoing location with people like me - an acquaintance who hardly know them - and 50 over friends on Zenly. Let alone these 15 and 16-year-olds, who are most likely just beginning to enjoy more freedom at that age. Their “Best Friends Only” tagline is a friendly reminder to use the app with caution, but it is easy to get caught up with adding more friends to unlock exclusive sets of emojis.
Zenly Emojis
An exclusive set of emojis that needs to be unlocked - the rainbow poop takes the cake.
For some of our active Zenly friends, what started off as just two friends very quickly multiplied to four, eight, and so on. Over time, they tend to become more and more lenient with who they let in on their location, adding and accepting most friend requests that came their way — even if it means accepting requests from friends of their friends, or even strangers. It’s worrying because Zenly automatically detects your home, workplace and school, taking account your everyday routine and then updating your friends about it with little icons attached to their names.

Zenly Location

The scariest function of all is the ability to use the app to call your Zenly friends. Not just through the app, but via your actual mobile phone number. This means that the strangers or friends of friends you add to Zenly will be able to call you and get your mobile phone number.

Fun To 'Stalk' Friends, But Still Very Creepy

Most of us know the amount of data social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram have been collecting from us, but it’s important for us to remember that Zenly is a whole new ball game. Our privacy and safety is at stake here, but a lot of the users who are hooked on the app may not realise the severity of it. Even within our social circles, there are young Singaporean users out there who are accepting friend requests from strangers, oblivious to the kind of dangers they have opened themselves up to. Anyone who is your friend on the app can view your whole life schedule, your usual hangout place, where you stay, where you work, and also where you study. They will know if you’re out clubbing on a Wednesday night, and when you are on the way home at 3am. We can only imagine the kind of people who would start using this app to stalk or prey on the young, or even friends that they are unhealthily obsessed with. Knowing what our friends' are up to or where they are hanging out at is gratifying. Annoying them with 100 over poop face emojis is fun. It’s a seemingly harmless social networking app if used with caution, but for us, it is still scary to know that the data of our physical locations and daily habits are being fed to the app and saved in their data storage, somewhere out there.What with so many cases of major data leaks happening in recent years. Call it paranoia, but we, for sure, don’t want to head home after a late night only to have a strange stalker waiting for us at our void deck. Besides, we value the beauty of being able to say we are ‘on the way’ when we are damn late for work, to meet our friends, or for any other work or social obligations really. With that, we tapped on the Zenly app for the very last time, and clicked on the X to delete - not before we Googled and realised the importance of manually deleting our account (all our data) before deleting the app. This is not a sponsored post. But if you want to annoy your friends on Zenly, you are more than welcome to try it. Also read: What Goes On Behind Closed Doors? Uni Students Share The ‘Juicy’ Stuff That Happens In Hall.
Not all of us can relate to the classic Halloween traditions of dressing up, the Jack-O’-Lanterns, the haunted houses, and the trick-or-treating, but in Singapore, we’ve got our fair share of scares. From heart-attack-inducing data surcharges to surprise train breakdowns, we have came up with some truly Singaporean ‘horror’ stories. Six words too, to appease the devils. These stories aren’t the slightest bit paranormal, but you’ll find them equally horrible and horrifying. So, tread on with caution.

When you think it’s a steal

  1. “GST and Service Charge not included.”

When all you wanted was a relaxing lunch break

  1. Bought food already, no empty tables
  2. Open dabao-ed food packet, wrong order

When they just want ‘5 minutes of your time’

Robot Avoiding GIF GIF from GIPHY

  1. Don’t worry I'm not selling anything.

The Public Transport Woes

  1. “Bus is arriving in 18 minutes.”
  2. Booked cab already, need to poop
Situation Constipation GIF GIF from GIPHY Cue: Anxiety
  1. Queuing up, mum says: wait here.

A really shitty situation

  1. Surprise pangsai, no more toilet roll

Makes you wonder if you should switch to Circles.Life, every time

  1. "You have exceeded your monthly data."

Can you hear all the foodies’ heart breaking?

  1. McDonald’s discontinues curry sauce in Singapore.
  2. Bubble tea finish, still got pearls

The Awkward Wishes

  1. "Happy Birthday!" "Hey thanks, you too"
Awkward Donald Trump GIF GIF from GIPHY

The Priority Seat Conundrum

  1. Gives up seat, lady not pregnant
  2. Not pregnant, someone offers their seat

When you know it’s ‘’

  1. Queuing at customs, cannot find passport
  2. Late for flight. Peak hour jam.

Scare us with your own spooky stories

We hope these six-word horror stories have brought you to the depths of darkness as much as they have with us at Millennials of Singapore. What are other truly Singaporean experiences that terrifies you? Share your six-word horror story with us in the comments below! * This post is not sponsored by Circles.Life or McDonald's. Also read, 9 Damn Rabak Things Millennials Did When They Were Drunk. (Top Image Credit: The Bangalore Blog)
Knock knock, it’s me, Grim. Acknowledged by only the greatest devils in history, the special Netherworldly guest from the USS’ Halloween Horror Nights 8 is none other than Gideon Grim. Having made his first appearance in HHN8 after thousands of years hunting down people who attempt to flee from death, the Grim Reaper turned Motivational Death Coach is dubbed the ‘Scariest Man Alive’.

With Halloween around the corner and us being too chicken busy for HHN8, we invited Gideon Grim himself to visit us in office. Because what other way to get a taste of HHN8 within the safety confines of our office than to meet the one man from the annual scarefest whom Satan reviewed “The only man I fear”?

MOSG x Gideon Grim
‘Twas a wonderful afternoon
Contrary to popular belief, Gideon does not encourage or teach people about death as a Motivational Death Coach. Rather the leading expert on death works to pass on his invaluable skills of the trade through his DEAD Talks seminars, where he motivates people to bring back the BOO. After Gideon showed us how he channels his inner darkness to bring out the BOO, which gave some of us a much-needed wake-me-up from the dreaded afternoon food coma, we had a chat with him to learn more about life as a Motivational Death Coach.
MOSG x Gideon Grim
Our writer smiling, but feeling nervous as hell deep inside
Who inspires you? Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and taxi uncles. How can we bring back our BOO? I won’t reveal too much about the four keys to highly effective scaring as you’ll have to attend my seminar to learn about that. But first, you have to have the passion to scare. Find what gives you that adrenaline rush of scaring people to discover your own scare tactics. You also have to be spontaneous, have a heart of darkness, and love cats. How about the evil laughter? How can we we cackle like you? Well, I was born into this world cackling so it's in my blood. But thinking about dark thoughts helps. For me, I think about puppies dying.   Can I scare my boss into giving me a raise? It’s a good idea but I haven’t seen anyone done that. You can definitely try but with caution, because it’s a fine line between getting the raise and getting fired. Do you get paid? I get paid in tortured screams. It’s somewhat the currency in my trade, sort of like bitcoins. Based on your experience as an ex-Grim Reaper, what scares Singaporeans the most? Not having the aircon on, MRT delays, and the general election - don’t ask me why. Do you still have your Grim Reaper getup? Yes. I still don my cloak once in awhile and the scythe makes for a good back scratcher sometimes. Will we see more of Gideon Grim around after HHN8? I do hope to hold my seminars around Singapore and around the world, to motivate more people to embrace darkness. To get people on their feet and slaughter the competition. Because we’re all big on those inspirational quotes, we we got Gideon to leave us with four pieces of inspiration for life (and death). We leave you with these four alternative motivational posters. Gideon Grim Motivational Poster Gideon Grim Motivational Poster Gideon Grim Motivational Poster Gideon Grim Motivational Poster Such words of wisdom. And what a gift it was from Gideon to grace us with his presence amidst his busy schedule, which involves feeding his cat, Muffin the Murderer, watching the news to get his daily inspiration from scary things like global warming, and scaring people.
MOSG x Gideon Grim

If do wish to frighten yourself and catch Gideon in action and the myriad of other scares HHN8 has in store for you, good luck, have fun, and brace yourself for “infinite fear”. Get your tickets here while you still can!

Also read, Infamous Ghost Stories In Singapore’s Polytechnics And Universities – As Told By Students.
Remember when Ninja Warrior and Wipe Out were your favourite shows? I was always obsessed with how fun the entire obstacle course looked. Seeing contestants in crazy costumes was definitely a bonus. It was basically a playground for adults. When I first knew about the Battle Bay Extreme (BBE) that's happening at Marina Regatta this year, my inner child was awoken. My favourite television series is being recreated and brought to life on our own home ground. However, my excitement was short lived. Despite my adamant objection, my bosses assumed I was expressing interest in trying the course - all because I found these obstacle courses cool. I was literally sabo-ed as tribute to conquer Singapore’s equivalent of Ninja Warrior – Battle Bay Extreme (BBE). The most extreme thing I’ve ever done during my time on Earth was finish half a bottle of whisky at 15 years old, but as a measly intern, it had to be me. (Lol jk, I love my job.) I was sent to TripleFit Singapore, where I met with Coach Faz to train for the obstacle course ahead of time. It’ll be an interesting article, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

"Are you ready?"

When Coach Faz asked if I was ready, I nodded. If only he (and my bosses) knew that I was only mentally prepared. And if only they knew I almost failed my NAPFA test 5 years ago. Even then, I was way more prepared for NAPFA than this training with Faz. For a moment, I considered feigning a stomachache, but I remembered I needed my job. We started with what was supposed to be a simple warm-up/cardio session, but by the end of it I was breathless, swaying, and had slight tunnel vision. I could see Faz looking concerned at whether I could keep up. He also had a look of satisfaction – this trainer was determined not to short change me of the ‘full experience’. I knew I wasn’t going to get any sympathy. Then again, what did I expect from a man with biceps the size of my thighs; how could he understand what weakness meant?
Once I caught my breath, Faz ran me through various exercises in preparation for level 2 of BBE’s obstacle course. We started with the 4-foot hurdle and a 6-foot wall. As a self-proclaimed tiny person, I have climbed many walls and jumped high enough to reach the top shelf at supermarkets. The approximately 1.2m high hurdle and 1.8m wall had nothing on me. In fact, my 1.55m stature was also beneficial for the Crawl Under. The actual set up is a little higher and wider, but Faz lives by the saying, “prepare for the worst”. I wiggled through the mini metal hurdles like a pro – it was a wiggle I dare say Jason Derulo would be proud of.
Crawl Under
I think the periodic sprints for the last bus on Friday nights seemed to have helped with my fitness levels. That was the only reason I had aced the stations thus far. A minute later I realised that I had spoken too soon. The easy part had just ended, and we were now entering obstacle course hell. Sure, I could have thrown in the towel but I was already too invested to quit. Also, I was worried about the potential wrath awaiting me in the office. The next 3 exercises required upper body strength which I lack. In fact, what Faz calls a triceps, I affectionately call the UADD (under arm dingle dangle). A few rounds on the Monkey Bars wore me out but it was the Farmer Walk (24kg) that would prove to be near impossible. My attempts to convince Faz that 24kg should be split between both arms were futile. It was apparent that Faz was not going to let me have my way – as always, he reminds me to prepare for the worst. I rolled my eyes.
Farmer Walk
I waddled back and forth, carrying 18kg on each side (he settled because I literally couldn’t lift 24kg with 1 arm). Every time I finished a lap, he told me to go “one last time” – lies. One water break later, I was back at it again. Sweat dripping, arms trembling and a head full of curse words – the Dips Walk was my biggest challenge. If this was the real obstacle course, I would have tapped out right there. This was my biggest failure of the day and Faz’s biggest disappointment. Clearly he was as emotionally invested in this challenge as I was.
Dips Walk
I was told with much certainty by Faz that the Tyre Flip was simple, but I doubted it. Even though TripleFit only had a 60kg tyre which is 40kg lighter than the actual one in Battle Bay Extreme, it was still much bigger and heavier than me. In fact, I could live comfortably in its large hollow centre – a safe place where I would be spared from the searing muscle aches from the countless obstacles. Though hopelessness and despair had already set in, I took a strong stand against the dreaded tyre. Much to my surprise, the Tyre Flip was one of the easiest things I did that day. In this case, size really doesn’t matter, technique is all you need.
Tyre Flip
The last task of the day wasn’t as easy, but it satisfied my morbid sense of humour. The Sandbag Throw felt like a scene from Crime Watch considering that 25kg is probably equivalent to an 8-year-old’s deadweight (don’t ask me how I know). Now my friends know they can count on me to help them get away with murder – Annalise Keating would be proud. In fact, Faz looked quite proud too. “The police are coming, get rid of the body,” I thought to myself as I hauled the sandbag over my shoulder again. My imagination spurring my aching muscles on.
Sandbag Throw
Getting rid of 5 carcasses was a great way to end this workout.

Would I survive the actual course at Marina Regatta?

Thanks to Faz, I am well and truly prepared for the worst. As a chronically unfit person, I wouldn’t survive level 2 of Battle Bay Extreme, but the Level 1 Battle Bay water course shouldn’t be a problem. You don’t have to wait for your bosses to force you into it, you can find out more about Battle Bay Extreme here. Online registrations for Battle Bay Extreme closes on 16 May but don’t worry if you miss it because you can still sign up on the spot during event days! To my fellow unfit homo sapiens, there are many activities that aren’t as physically demanding at <a href=" Marina Regatta; including sustainability and wellness workshops, as well as free yoga classes. The <a href=" Marina Regatta is happening on 26-27 May & 2-3 June at the Promontory@Marina Bay. My aching body and this post are brought to you by DBS and TripleFit. *Faz is actually a really nice guy.
Nice guy
New year, but the same desperate scamper for a university placement. After securing your spot in school, there’s an even crazier fight for a room in the hall of your choice. Staying in hall is the ultimate convenience, you are the closest you can possibly be to those dreaded morning lectures. In time to come, the late nights and endless fun with friends who literally live next door will become one of the highlights of your university life. But friends and fun aside, there're a couple of infamous hall stories that may totally change your perspective of university halls – let's just say that hall life is an eye-opening experience. We spoke to friends who've stayed in hall and here are some promiscuous stories they shared. Stories that will make outsiders go 'OMG', but are nothing but common occurrence for fellow hall residents. If you're planning to stay in hall, brace yourselves!
Image Credit: NUS

1. Splashing Good Time

You would think that the deepest conversations happen in classrooms, or when someone gets drunk. For hall residents, some of their deepest and most meaningful conversations happen in their shared bathrooms. Bathing used to be a private affair, until you live in hall, where the bathroom becomes a new social setting with it's own set of unsaid rules. Couples have also been known to 'triple date' in the men’s bathroom. Imagine this: girlfriend scrubbing her boyfriend’s back while he grumbles about the latest soccer match with his two bros in the cubicles just beside. Of course that’s as much physical intimacy that’s accepted in shared bathrooms. Don't cross the line!

2. Lost and Never Found

Hang your clothes out often enough and someone might mistake your laundry line for a pasar malam store without a tenant – free clothes up for grabs! During your stay at hall, you may notice a few of those tiny pieces of cloth you wear closest to your body go missing. Congratulations, you have attracted the attention of the residential panty thief. Keep calm and call the police, although few have been caught despite even though several reports have been made.

3. Budget Innovation

Instead of using the clothing line where your laundry is vulnerable to the unpredictable weather and an easy target for the residential panty thief, dryers are a better option. But at $1 per use, most broke university students wouldn’t use the dryer until they have accumulated a reasonable pile of laundry. Thankfully, some hall ancestors have discovered a hack that costs nothing and dries your laundry faster. Meet the microwave. Not only is it good for heating up your late night snacks, they dry your clothes efficiently too! More importantly, it's free. But in all seriousness, drying your lingerie where people heat their food probably isn’t hygienic. Can you imagine taking out your freshly-microwaved underwear only to have it smelling like chicken rice?

4. Eye Sore

One of our friends shared a horrific experience where she witnessed her hall mate masturbating through the open window of his room. Another shared how he would always avoid looking out of his room windows because girls in the opposite block would change without drawing their curtains. While everyone makes a conscious effort not to impose on someone else's privacy, let's not make it hard for other people! Let the poor dude look out his window for his 30 seconds eye break without worrying about being called a pervert. Catching a glimpse of someone naked by accident shouldn't be a norm.


Needless to say, no one wants to deal with the awkwardness that ensues witnessing one of your friends naked, or having them see you naked accidentally. So unless you enjoy baring it all to anyone and everyone, close your curtains, draw your blinds, and shut the doors before you start stripping.

5. Door-to-Door Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Just your door-to-door salesperson selling herself by the hour. According to some ex-hall students, those who live in residences with a higher population of foreign students often get offered sex at their door. As sad as it sounds, this is one of the limited ways foreign students can support themselves financially. Legally, they're not allowed to work and it's not easy finding consistent gigs that will pay cash under the table.
Image Credit: NTU

Wise Words

A word of advice from hall residents is to research on the hall’s ‘personality’ before you sign up. It’s weird how a building has a defined character, but check out their respective Facebook pages and you’ll discover the hall’s spunky personality and dominating trait – sporty, quiet, clubber siao, artsy fartsy, and more. You wouldn't want to be trapped in a sporty hall when your head gets more ball action than your hands. Here’s a tip for applicants with no inside connections: For halls that are more popular among freshmen, the committee tends to ignore applicants with a private Instagram account because they’re considered not ‘opened’ enough. While it is arguably unethical and not every hall has this practice, why risk it? Make your accounts public! Also read, What It Means To Have A University Degree In 2016.
Consider yourself a bit of a Grammar Nazi? Find out for sure with this quiz--and don't worry, it's not an English test... Or is it?
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Also read 15 S'poreans Share The Sweetest Thing Their Partner Has Done That Will Make You Say 'Spoil Market'

(Top Image Credit: Quintessential Bibliophile)

Call it a love letter to Los Angeles, an ode to starry-eyed dreamers, a revival of Golden Age Hollywood glam - La La Land checks all of those boxes and then some! The film is bursting at the seams with colour and whimsy, but at no point during the brilliantly choreographed musical numbers between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling does it feel anything short of genuine. Like all good movies, behind the dazzling screenplay is unexpected emotional heft. For something that promises a flight of fancy, the film manages to leave us with several life lessons worth unpacking. So if you haven’t seen La La Land yet, hit pause and head to the cinemas. Partly because it’s tipped for an Oscar, partly because Ryan Gosling is in it (hey girl) but mostly - MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

Lesson 1. Chasing a pipe dream...

The premise of the movie is simple - boy meets girl, and the pair hit it off in a series of meet-cutes and meaningful glances. But theirs isn’t the only love story in the film. Both know exactly what their passions are and what they want out of life - they pursue their goals with a relentless and restless energy. Boy (Sebastian) is a old school jazz musician and self professed romantic with grand plans to open his own jazz club. Girl (Mia) is an aspiring actress stuck serving lattes on a studio lot. The film is a shout out to anyone who’s ever felt like what they love to do doesn’t exactly fit the societal mold, or that they have an end goal in mind but no idea how to get there. There are few career paths more murky than being successful in the performing arts - so let Mia and Sebastian’s spunky take on Hollywood inspire you!

Lesson 2. … and knowing when (or if) to give up

La La Land celebrates the dreamers and the fantasies we spin for ourselves - but it’s not a red carpet journey the entire way. It’s easy to watch someone’s idealised scenario flash across the big screen as we often imagine it for ourselves in our own heads, being their best selves and living out their dreams unencumbered. But the movie weaves in elements of melancholy, acknowledging that some fantasies don’t play out in reality - most poignantly when Mia’s ambitions are shattered as her one-woman play is poorly received. It’s an unwelcome reminder of reality and our own shortcomings. The issue isn’t laid out in black and white; the need to be realistic and make ends meet war with the shoulda-would-couldas throughout the film. La La Land doesn’t provide the answers, but it does show that it is 100% okay to feel in doubt.

Lesson 3. Personal versus romantic love

Fasten your seatbelt folks, because this is where the real spoilers happen. In the film, viewers are fed this bittersweet grain of truth: love and career don’t always mix. Relationships are give and take, and when both parties have ambitions that involve copious amounts of time, energy and distance… well, sometimes you honestly can’t have both. It’s a low key kick in the gut for all the uber romantics lured to watch by the promise of song, dance and a little romance. La La Land has all the makings of a cosmopolitan fairy tale, and this is the one thread that grounds the film and keeps its characters genuinely relatable - a melancholic sense that as good as they are together, Mia and Sebastian may not achieve what they set out to if they remain a couple.

Lesson 4. Time and place

Many of the film’s most beautiful moments happen as brilliant choreography, charismatic leads and the twinkling lights of LA collide. But what resonates the strongest are the final 15 minutes of the movie, where we are treated to a montage of what is and what could have been - the perfect combination of whimsical and wistful. Mia and Sebastian were undeniable #couplegoals, pushing each other to fulfill their respective ambitions and providing solace when things didn’t pan out. They were instrumental to each other’s success and exactly what the other needed at that point in time. But as we all well know, times change. What made you happy once may not make you as happy now. You may have multiple great loves in your life but it doesn’t make any of them lesser. La La Land is an ode to dreamers, to the wild and fantastical plans we have for ourselves and sometimes, that we share with others. It also recognises life’s ability to knock us off course from time to time, and that’s where the movie really comes through for us. Instead of making it feel dull and tragic, it makes it all appear extraordinarily okay. <a href=" Image Credit
2016 was universally a pretty crazy year. We have exclusionary and bigoted rhetoric legitimized in the West, a controversial war on drugs in the Philippines, a staggering death toll in Syria, an impeached South Korean president, and the untimely passing of pop culture icons like Carrie Fisher. What the year did bless us with, however, apart from new Beyoncé and Gaga albums (YAAAAS), is an abundance of memes to help us grapple with the chaos 2016 relentlessly piled on our fragile minds. Yes, memes. While “studying” in my university library, I often find myself mindlessly scrolling through memes on Instagram and Facebook. For many, sifting through hordes of these posts has become as regular as checking for new WhatsApp messages. It’s about time we sit down and evaluate why memes are so addictive to begin with.

They are ridiculously relatable.

It’s safe to say that there are memes out there for everybody, whether you are a wine-chugging single mom of two or a procrastinating high school student. In particular, the latter half of 2016 gave birth to a slew of memes featuring Kermit the Frog in a face-to-face confrontation with his evil, hooded alter ego. This pair quickly became the icon for anything that has to do with giving in to our temptations, ranging from breaking a diet to sleeping with someone who’s off-limits. Kermit’s new meme depicts a literal reflection of the self, but most of the time, all memes actually aim to mirror different aspects of our lives, no matter how mundane. I often find myself chuckling at the surprising discovery that yes, I am not the only person in the world that thinks about eating pizza and mozzarella sticks in church. (Yes, that was a meme).

They bring people together.

My dictionary defines memes as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” And no, this ‘spread’ isn’t just the casual, impersonal click of a button. When I moved to Singapore from my hometown of Manila, I initially found it difficult to keep in touch with old friends from high school who likewise traveled to other corners of the globe for college—that was, until the recent explosion of memes. My close friends and I rarely keep in touch via long, thorough conversations on Skype. And yet, it’s hard to feel the distance when we’re constantly tagging each other in memes that make us nostalgic about our stupid high school days. The best ones always involve smuggling food into a classroom or being the only sober ones at a party. Ensue the comment: “LOL that’s so us”.

They keep up with the times.

One of the reasons memes will never get boring is that they constantly renew according to real-time political or social contexts. As a result, some of the most pressing moments of 2016 could momentarily be viewed in a humorous and (almost) positive light. When Donald Trump was officially announced as the President-Elect of the United States, social media outlets were flooded with memes featuring the adorable bromance between President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, where the latter would be depicted as hilariously petty and/or sentimental. Harmless jokes about Melania Trump’s infamous plagiarism also emerged, albeit alongside problematic slut-shaming judgments about her background. Netizens all across the world were soaking these up with glee—this was the Internet’s way of coping. While seemingly trivial, memes are artifacts of pop culture that can both reflect and impact the sentiments of their viewers. Memes are intricately connected to both banal and essential day-to-day happenings, packaging the otherwise neglected realm of politics (and other things that require brainwork) into bite-sized pieces for the general public to enjoy and share.

They remind you to take yourself less seriously.

Perhaps most importantly, as a combined by-product of all of the aforementioned factors, memes can heal—even if in just the most superficial ways. I find myself drawn to memes that tap into some of the most relatable flaws: being unable to finish work on time, failing to resist sending that f*ckboy another text, and sometimes, not being able to get up in the morning because life can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. These simple photo-caption bundles remind me that there are people out there who go through similar motions in life, albeit to varying degrees. It’s the solidarity endowed by all this Facebook tagging that puts a transient Band-Aid on the internal chaos. Memes provide the space for us to laugh through the pain, or at the very least, concretize the struggles that we never bothered to caption before. So as 2017 steps into the picture, I look forward to getting distracted from my study time by tags in more posts about gaining weight over the holidays and not having anyone to kiss on New Year’s Eve.

<a href=" Image Credit
2016 is the year that keeps on giving, isn’t it? And when I say giving, I mean taking repeated dumps on our collective faces. On Tuesday morning, Carrie Fisher, best known for her iconic role as Princess and General Leia Organa in four Star Wars movies, died following a heart attack. She was 60. Today, we mourn the loss of a woman many of us came to know through her iconic work, and honour all the ways her actions helped to make the world a little bit better.

Princess, General, All-Round Badass

When honouring the legacy of Carrie Fisher, is there any other way to begin than with Star Wars? It is the reason we know of her, after all. First released in 1977, Star Wars wowed moviegoers everywhere and forever changed the landscape of the film industry. Who can forget Fisher’s first appearance in that movie, as a hologram message to Obi-Wan, and Luke’s fitting response? “Who is she? She’s beautiful!” She is indeed. In a time when actresses were usually relegated to roles as damsels and love interests, Carrie Fisher’s Leia provided audiences with a refreshingly out-of-the-box take on the female protagonist. A capable leader and fighter for the Rebellion, Leia gave us a compelling female character in a film trilogy that was essentially a big-budget teenage boy's fantasy. By portraying a strong woman in power, Fisher added positively to the growing feminist movement, and shone as an inspiration to girls everywhere. Leia may have been a fictional character, but her impact on the landscape of film and gender issues was very real. And don’t lie, you squealed at least a little bit when you saw Carrie Fisher in 2015’s The Force Awakens. To know that we will never again see General Leia Organa portrayed by Carrie Fisher is a depressing thought for every Star Wars fan. Following the onscreen death of her husband Han Solo, the inevitable departure of our favourite general-princess in the ongoing saga will undoubtedly be an emotional moment for many in the theatre, especially with the added weight of the actress’s real-world passing.

Fighting Mental Illness and substance abuse

A side of Carrie Fisher many of us didn’t know about was her struggle with bipolar disorder and drug use. While those struggles themselves don’t in themselves make her special or worthy of notice, what does is the way she chose to approach them. Throughout her career and life as a public figure, Fisher had been completely open about her issues. She admitted openly to abusing cocaine and prescription drugs during the filming of Empire Strikes Back, saying in 2001, “Drugs made me feel normal.” She even starred in a solo play Wishful Drinking, chronicling her battle with addiction. Writing for The Guardian in a column titled advice from the dark side, Fisher provided candid and honest advice to readers suffering from mental illness, writing in a compassionate and self-deprecating fashion that alluded to her literary skill as an author of multiple novels. In a society where many suffer in silence from mental illness due to the stigma attached to it, the positive impact of a public figure like Fisher coming out as bipolar without shame cannot be overstated. Mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and that's it. These people aren't broken or weak. Their disorders don't indicate problems with their character, but with their health. As with any sickness, sufferers of bipolar disorder, depression, or any other psychological disorder need to realize that it's okay to seek help and treatment. With her actions, Fisher embodies the courage and determination it takes to accept and tackle mental illness in a culture determined to discriminate. With her unabashed attitude towards mental illness, Fisher championed acceptance and brought us a little closer to a world where victims of mental health issues can seek help without fear of judgment or persecution. For that, she deserves our respect. Like Leia, Carrie Fisher was strong, bold, and unapologetic. She will be missed. <a href=" Image Credit