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Paralympians Accorded Same Respect As Able-Bodied Athletes

16 Sep

SINGAPORE : The question of whether Singapore’s Paralympians should be treated any differently from its Olympic athletes came up in Parliament on Tuesday.

The country’s disabled athletes won four medals – including a gold – at the Paralympics. However, their combined cash reward is not on par with the amount given out for just one silver medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu won Singapore’s first Paralympic gold medal on Monday. She will be awarded S$100,000, just one-tenth of what an able-bodied athlete can get for a gold medal.

Explaining the disparity, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Teo Ser Luck, said that one main difference was the scale of competition between the two Games.

He added that the rewards were given out by the private sector, and that the Paralympians were only recently given this award. His comments brought a swift retort.

Nominated MP Eunice Olsen said: “I was wondering if the government would also think of topping up the reward. Why doesn’t it apply, in terms of equality of recognition, for disabled athletes?”

Recognising there had been more of a focus on able-bodied athletes in the past, Mr Teo said that going forward, there has to be a longer term plan for Paralympians, although cash rewards would still be solicited from the private sector and community.

Turning to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Mr Teo is confident that Singapore would do well in sports like sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis and badminton.

He said: “I believe we will not return empty handed. I believe that looking at how we have done (at) the Olympics and even the Paralympics, I think Singapore does have a system to produce promising young athletes (who) can be world beaters.

“And I truly have confidence in them that they will return with at least one medal – whatever is the colour.”

Still on sports, Minister for Information, Communication and The Arts Lee Boon Yang rejected the call for a free-to-air sports channel – as this had not been commercially viable previously.

However, he assured the House that key sporting events of national significance like the Youth Olympics Games would receive adequate free-to-air television coverage.

Singapore had a free-to-air sports channel – SportsCity – previously, but Dr Lee noted that the costs involved were prohibitive.

Dr Lee, who was responding to a call from MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Penny Low, explained the government’s policy: “First, for key sporting events of national significance, the Media Development Authority ensures that consumers’ interests are served by requiring these events to be made available for free-to-air television, so that everyone can watch these programmes.

“These include the recent Olympic Games and South East Asian Games. I would like to take the opportunity to assure Ms Low that the 2010 Youth Olympics will be a sports event that will receive adequate free-to-air television coverage.

“Second, for other sporting events, the needs of the consumers are better met with commercially-viable, dedicated pay-TV channels so that consumers need only pay for what they want to watch and not be burdened with the high cost of a general free-to-air sports channel.” – CNA/ms

Channel News Asia

Portal To Antarctica

5 May

A scene from National Geographic Channel's The Path To Manhood.
A scene from National Geographic Channel’s The Path To Manhood.

In conjunction with its 10th anniversary, National Geographic Channel is giving its viewers a chance to win a trip to Antarctica by voting for their favourite documentaries.

NATIONAL Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrates its 10th anniversary in Asia with a dynamic, high-profile campaign.

For the first-time, viewers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are invited to vote for their favourite documentary programmes. To top it off, a lucky viewer will win a trip to the pristine and amazing Antarctica.

Viewers will be given a unique opportunity to vote for their favourite 30 programmes which will be aired on NGC for 30 consecutive nights.

More than 20 international and Asian celebrities will host and share their insights on their favourite programmes. Joining this star-studded celebration are Ida Nerina (Malaysia), Sarimah Ibrahim (Malaysia), Azharina Azhar (Malaysia), Atilia (Malaysia), Michael Wong (Malaysia), Jim Chim (Hong Kong), Paul Wong (Hong Kong), Jaycee Fong (Hong Kong) and Lisa S (Hong Kong).

Others are Christian Bautista (Philippines), Donita Rose (Philippines), Dick Lee (Singapore), Eunice Olsen (Singapore), Allan Wu (Singapore), Tay Ping Hui (Singapore) and Tata Young (Thailand).

Since its launch in 1997, NGC’s distribution has sky-rocketed and today it is available in over 120 million homes and commercial establishments across Asia Pacific. It has also received numerous prestigious industry awards.

To provide viewers with different thematic choices, the channel has launched four complementary 24-hour pay TV channels – NGC HD, NGC VOD, Nat Geo Adventure and Nat Geo Wild.

The channel is amongst the first international broadcasters to set up a production unit in Asia to groom budding documentary filmmakers in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Korea.

Shot and produced in Asia for global audiences, some of these highly-rated, cutting-edge documentary programmes include Becoming A King, Kung Fu Killers, Hiss of Death, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed and Inside The Forbidden City.

Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed won both Best Cinematography and Best Original Score at the 2004 Asian TV Awards, while Hiss of Death won the Silver Medal at the 2006 New York Festivals.

Zubin Gandevia, managing director and executive vice-president of National Geographic Channel Asia, says: “In the last 10 years, NGC has become the world’s most recognised brand; synonymous with unsurpassed quality in documentary filmmaking. We thank our affiliates for bringing NGC and its associate channels into more than 120 million homes and establishments across Asia.”

“We look forward to continually engaging our audiences with bold visions of groundbreaking scientific explorations and stories that inspire,” he adds.

Basil Chua, marketing director, NGC Asia says: “Our viewers are thinking audiences who constantly push the boundary of our understanding.

“In celebration of our 10th year in Asia, we are excited to work with Asia’s superstars who will tell us of their favourite programmes.”

Chua explains: “Through this first-ever initiative, we hope to engage as many viewers as possible and give them the opportunity to decide what they would like to watch on National Geographic Channel.”

To vote for the favourite programme, a special video portal has been created, where viewers are able to watch 50 video clips of the most highly-rated NGC documentary programmes.

Grouped in six sub-genres, the top 30 programmes with the most votes will go on-air next month. Viewers have till May 20, to cast their votes.

Log on to to vote.


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U Are The 'sexy' One

7 Apr

What do a freelance actor, a Greek engineering manager, a storekeeper, an owner of an online store and 12 students have in common? Well, they all think they’re sexy.

In a bid to be crowned the Fresh Face of the Year in Channel U’s latest competitive show, U Are the One, which began a fortnight ago, eight girls will duke it out in tonight’s Ms Sexy Babe episode.

The show features eight guys and eight gals facing-off in weekly-themed challenges, with two sets of hosts – Quan Yifeng, Kym Ng and Fiona Xie for the male group, Guo Liang, Pornsak and Adam Chen for the female group – putting the lads and lasses through their paces.

Last week’s theme was Mr Hunk. Tonight, it’s the girls who will attempt to define the term “sexy”.

“These girls are all very new to the showbiz industry, so it should be interesting,” said Addy Lee, director of the Monsoon Hair Group. Lee is one of the resident judges on the show, along with aesthetic doctor Georgia Lee and NMP/talk-show host Eunice Olsen.

What advice does the hair guru have for the girls? “I hope they remember the theme is ‘sexy’ not ‘slutty’,” Lee cautioned. “To be sexy is to be elegant as well. Sexy is in the body language, in dressing – it isn’t just showing off your tek tek (Malay for breasts). I think half of them might get it wrong.”

And – don’t get your conservative knickers in a twist – this is not just a flesh parade: According to Addy, judges will also looking at how the girls handle the secret tasks they have to perform and how they deal with the question-and-answer segment.

In addition to the resident judges, 50 members of the public will form the other half of the judging panel, depending on the theme. Tonight’s episode will have 50 sportsmen as guest judges.

The judges’ decisions will only form 50 per cent of each contestant’s score. Public SMS voting forms the other 50 per cent. The top scorer for the week will receive additional points to their total score.

After the semi-finals, one male and one female champion will be crowned. The two will then compete against each other to be the overall champion and walk away with $25,000 in cash.

U Are the One airs every Monday at 8pm on Channel U. –

Channel News Asia

Five On Channel 5

3 Mar

SINGAPORE: Whoever said there wasn’t anything worth watching on TV obviously hasn’t, you know, been watching TV. But there’s still time to change your mind.

In fact, you’ve got a whole month to do so, as MediaCorp Channel 5 unveils five local shows this month. From the return of the smartest, smooth-talking kids in town to a new “neighbourly” drama series to a reality show featuring newlyweds, the diversity will make couch potatoes weep into their potato chips for joy.

But if the themes behind these shows still don’t seem to be much incentive to keep one glued to one’s screens, we firmly insist you still hold on to your remote.

Most of these will feature a bevy of hotties: From Andrea Fonseka and Rebecca Tan to Eunice Olsen and Jaymee Ong to Jason Chan and Utt.

So, deal or no deal?

Channel News Asia

NMP Eunice Olsen Given ASEAN Youth Award

12 Feb

SINGAPORE: Ms Eunice Olsen has been presented the ASEAN Youth Award.

The Nominated Member of Parliament received her award in Vientiane, Laos on 7 February.

In 2006, Ms Olsen won the Singapore Youth Award (Community and Youth Services).

This makes her eligible for the ASEAN Youth Award, which is given to winners of national youth awards in their respective ASEAN countries.

The ASEAN Youth Award recognises youths with outstanding contributions towards regional development and cooperation.

Last year, Ms Olsen was recognised for her work and was featured in the book “Young Southeast Asia – 40 Inspiring Youths”. – CNA/ir

Channel News Asia

"8 Days" Holds First Celebrity Flea Market To Raise Funds For Charity

3 Dec

SINGAPORE : Singapore’s top entertainment magazine “8 Days” held its first-ever “Celebrity Car Boot Flea Market” on Sunday afternoon.

Proceeds will go to one of MediaCorp’s adopted charities – the Rainbow Centre Balestier Special School.

It’s kissing for a good cause as fans of Elvin Ng and Jade Seah paid S$10 each for a chance to kiss their favourite personalities.

“I liked him (Elvin Ng) since the time he was on TV. He’s very cute. It’s for charity and for the fun of it,” said one member of the public who was at the flea market.

“I was very nervous, but it’s just a picture so it’s okay,” said another.

And it’s not just the fans who were shy.

“Actually, I’m quite (conservative) and very shy. So last year, when they came up with the idea, I’m like … I don’t want to do this. Then I thought it’s for charity, so I’ll do it,” said MediaCorp Artiste Elvin Ng.

While “8 Days” hopes to make the event an annual affair, Elvin said he will only lend his cheeks for today.

Other MediaCorp celebrities were also there to support the event.

They included Jacelyn Tay, Adam Chen, Felicia Chin and Julian Hee, as well as Front’s hosts Eunice Olsen and Debbie Wong.

Eunice Olsen, presenter of MediaCorp Central’s “Front” programme donated her golf clubs and bags worth over S$2,400.

“It’s a very interesting event, and it’s going out for a very good cause, for the Rainbow Centre Balestier School. I think everybody here is trying to raise as much (funds) as possible,” said Olsen.

While Fann Wong was not at the flea market, her two-seater sofa was put up for auction. Another MediaCorp artiste, Bryan Wong, also donated a chair for auction.

Over 300 celebrity items were put up for sale. – CNA /ls

Channel News Asia

MediaCorp Publishing's 8 Days Holds Car Boot Flea Market

26 Nov

SINGAPORE: MediaCorp Publishing entertainment magazine, 8 Days, is having its very first Car Boot Flea Mart.

Besides inviting readers to take part in the garage sale, the market will also feature more than 300 items donated by celebrities.

These items include Channel NewsAsia’s presenter Steven Chia’s wetsuit, Timothy Go’s tailored jackets worth nearly S$2,000, and Nominated Member of Parliament Eunice Olsen’s golf clubs and bag worth over S$2,400.

And for S$10, you can either kiss the cheeks of Elvin Ng or Jade Seah at the flea market.

“When I was told about it, I was quite afraid since our society is still conservative. But the organisers told me selling kisses is common in America. I expect that I’ll be blushing on that day,” said Ng.

Proceeds from the kisses and sales of celebrity items will go to one of MediaCorp’s adopted charities – Rainbow Centre Balestier Special School.

Editor-in-Chief for 8 Days, Lau Kuan Wei, said: “We’ve got lots of very nice clothes, bags, shirts and makeup. We also have a chair from Bryan Wong – he’s going to do a makeover of his chair, so we haven’t seen it yet. And Fann has generously donated a sofa from her warehouse. It’s a two-seater sofa.”

More than 300 cars are expected at the 8 Days’ Car Boot Flea Mart on Sunday, 2 December, at St James Power Station car park.

And 8 Days hopes to make this inaugural event an annual affair.

The 17-year-old magazine has seen readership increasing in the past few years – hitting 150,000 readers in 2006.

8 Days said recent surveys showed that more executives and professionals are turning to the magazine for their dose of entertainment.

– CNA/so

Channel News Asia