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Posts Tagged ‘pandas’

Just pandering to you

In News Reports on April 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

In case you didn’t know, the pandas have mated. BUT it wasn’t successful. Still, here’s the story, according to…hmmm….me.

Panda-monium reigned at the River Safari last Thursday as word leaked out to visitors that a mating session was in progress between Singapore’s foremost Chinese guests. Bamboos were broken and reeds were trampled as curiosity got the better of otherwise well-behaved humans who wanted to see some “action’’ between Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

Early birds caught the full 40-minute show although they had difficulty distinguishing between the male and the female of the species. Zookeepers helpfully pointed out that the “one on top’’ was Kai Kai, the male.

Parents tried to shield their children from the more graphic and acrobatic antics of the two giant pandas – to no avail. The screams of both children and pandas resounded. Fireworks went off. And people sang Stand up for Singapore.

The two pandas were non-plussed at the buzz which surrounded what should have been an intimate activity. Videos and cameras flashed as visitors sought to capture the historic, once-in-a-lifetime scene.

But what should have been the climax of the show proved elusive. Although Kai Kai had begun making overtures to his mate for some time before finally getting randy, he proved unequal to the job. Zookeepers had to supplement what comes naturally with artificial insemination.

Said Mr Quah See Meek, 45, a technician: “It was a bit of a let-down. How can Kai Kai fail? He’s already seven years old!’’

Zookeeper Pan Da Ling said Kai Kai was unable to rise to the occasion because of his lack of experience: “Kai Kai is young. He is interested and ready to try a lot of things. But in captivity, he did not have any older pandas as “a role model”, so he didn’t really know what to do.’’

She added that panda reproduction is a “notoriously complex process, with females ovulating once a year, in which they are fertile for only 24 to 36 hours’’.

Because Jia Jia’s hormones started falling on Friday, the zookeepers needed to move quickly to artificial insemination given the short window when female pandas are able to conceive.

The pandas’ progress has been much monitored by the international community which had worried about the suitability of Singapore’s hot and humid climate. Attempts to vary ventilation and lighting to simulate the pandas’ Sichuan home and to get them in the mood for love had been tried since November.

The duo’s 40-minute effort eclipsed that held by Lu Lu and Xi Mei, a couple from the Sichuan Bifengxia Giant Panda Research Centre in Ya’an. Two weeks ago, they had set a  marathon 18 min 3 sec session, which was broadcast on the Internet via a website that monitors pandas.

The Wildlife Reserves Singapore spokesman it will apply to the Guiness Book of World Records to enter Kai Kai and Jia Jia for accomplishing the longest sex show for pandas. The spokesman brushed off protests from private groups and parents-against-panda-porn. “They don’t realise what an achievement this is. It shows that Singapore is a good place for foreign talent.’’

Asked why the zoo had kept quiet about the feat until now, Dr Pan said: “We didn’t want to give the pandas more post-copulation stress. We also did not want to pander to voyeurs. We envisage that even more visitors will be coming to see them since they are no longer virgins.’’

She added that China had sent a congratulatory message to the Chinese couple and all eyes are now on Jia Jia. “We are pregnant with hope,’’ said Dr Pan.

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News headlines of the future

In News Reports, Politics, Society on October 16, 2012 at 1:49 am

I thought that first Singapore Conversation session threw up an interesting way of looking at what sort of country we want: by putting up newspaper headlines people would like to see. That’s good because a headline is a “bottomline’’, the chief point that encapsulates what the article is about. So rather than having to articulate the problem in our inarticulate way, discuss a million solutions and get tangled up in the whys and wherefores, let’s just get to the point of what we want.
So here’s my non-exhaustive list of headlines of the future with a brief a summary of what the news is about, with tongue only half in cheek.
HD: ITE student is President’s Scholar
Chin Jia Gou, 19, hails from the Normal (Technical) stream of Kampung Kana Secondary School, didn’t take his O levels but went on to ace the electrical and mechanical engineering examinations of the Institute of Technical Education. The only son of duck rice stall owner Chin Jia Cham is also an under-18 national soccer player who led the team into the World Cup finals for juniors. He credits his secondary school discipline master for getting him to knuckle down to study. “He shaved my head bald when I turned up for exams with tinted hair,’’ said Jia Gou who will also make history as the first President’s Scholar to opt for study at a local university. “My parents saved on a haircut but I was so psychologically scarred that I stayed at home and started studying.’’
HD: Repealed: Maintenance of Parents Act
Parliament has decided to do away with legislation that compels children to pay for their parents’ upkeep, after the watchdog tribunal reported zero applications over the past three years. MPs on both sides of the House supported the move, long considered a blot on the nation’s conscience. Minister How Hai Zhi said that the tribunal would now turn its attention to dealing with errant parents who pressure their children unreasonably to do well in school. “Too many tuition classes, enrichment programmes will rob the children of their childhood,’’ he said as he gave details of how children from the age of five can apply to have their parents reprimanded. “Caning is being considered,’’ he added.

HD: Netizen, name thyself
One million members of Singapore’s internet community have signed a pledge to be “transparent and open’’ when they post comments online. This will start with posters giving their full names instead of relying on email handles like imsexy and cannotdoit. Ms Ai Am Mee, who is spearheading the move, said that netizens should stand up and be identified or sit down and shut up. “Why be such cowards?’’ she said. “You can still be as vulgar, extreme and as racist as you want. Nobody says you have to control what you say. You just have to give your name.’’ She said one idea was to also have netizens post their ages, addresses, occupations, race, language, religion, household income, housing type, marital status and sexual orientation but thought that this was too much personal detail that could be exploited by telemarketeers.
HD: 100,000 Singaporeans return home
Singaporeans the world over have heeded the call of home and are returning in droves to power the nation’s economy and raise citizen numbers. Sources say that half of the 200,000 living and working abroad are uprooting themselves to solve the chronic manpower shortage here and solve the social problems of having too many foreigners. Drawn by housing vouchers and priority school places, they are trading their big homes, cheap cars and relaxed lifestyle to live in studio apartments, squeeze into buses and trains and join the rat race for Singapore to be No. 1. One of them, Mr Goh Bak Ken, 42, an investment banker based in Darwin, Australia, said he was going home for the food. “I mean, have you tasted the Hokkien prawn mee here?’’
HD: Housing vouchers for all
The hot property market’s lukewarm response to cooling measures have prompted the Government to propose giving every Singaporean a housing voucher once they hit 25. This one-time voucher will be distributed to all regardless of whether they are married, to appease singles who clamour for the same treatment as married couples. It will also assuage those who claim they are forced into buying private property because they do not qualify under the income criteria. A Housing Board spokesman said singles can choose to combine the vouchers and apply for a flat jointly. Those who do not want to live in public housing can also choose to donate the vouchers to those who do. Mr Tie Koon Kin, 60, a property developer , said this move signalled the death knell of the private property market unless it was matched with offers such as free renovation, furnishings and a luxury car.
HD: PM is GOH at gay function
After years of being sidelined, the gay community was finally accepted as part of the mainstream community when the Prime Minister graced its fund raising dinner last night. The PM told reporters he was glad to be part of an effort to raise money for orphaned children, including Jia Jia and Kai Kai. Clad in a long-sleeved pink shirt, he said he did not adhere to the function’s dress code as he did not own a pink V-necked tee-shirt. It was also because he did not want to encourage too many people to come out of the cabinet, he added.

Phrases for the National Conversation

In News Reports, Politics, Society, Sports on September 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

I read Linda Collins’ piece in The Sunday Times today and her contribution to the Singapore Conversation. Hers is: Move down the bus! What a great idea to have phrases embedded in the national consciousness that we would reflect what Singapore is about. So here’s my list:
Kid in a neighbourhood school: “I am NOT in a neighbourhood school. I’m in a good school.’’
Kid in a top school: “I am NOT elitist. I am special. That’s my humble opinion anyway.’’
Parents on selecting kindergartens: “PCF is good enough. They have graduation ceremonies too.’’
On welcoming foreign talent: “Sure we welcome foreigners. Look at Kai Kai and Jia Jia.’’
On feeling squeezed on the MRT: “We might not have elbow room, but we still have breathing space.’’
Lower income on raising pay: “We want both: hand-out and leg-up.’’
Higher-income on doing more: “Sure thing. It’s tax-deductible.’’
On the NIMBY syndrome: “You are welcome to use my backyard – if you can find it.’’
On the Government doing everything: “The Government is not God; it’s just demi-God.’’
The single’s mantra: “I am just single. Not hopeless.’’
The homosexual’s mantra: “I am gay…and, boy, am I happy too!’’
On having more children: “Show me the money.’’
On the LionsXII’s 0-0 draw against Johor: “Why fight? We’re neighbours.’’
On returning trays in eating places: “Bring your own maid.’’
I want to add this last phrase in case someone out there doesn’t have a sense of humour which we seem to sorely lack here: “Just joking.’’

A black-and-white conversation

In News Reports, Politics, Writing on September 5, 2012 at 6:37 am

Pandas Jia Jia, four, female and Kai Kai, five, male, before leaving Szechuan for Singapore.
Jia Jia (buffing her nails): I hear it’s going to be panda-monium when we get to Singapore tomorrow.
Kai Kai (gleeful): Who cares? We’re flying SIA! Singapore Girl…Here I come..! You think I can persuade them to give us an upgrade from cargo to First Class?
Jia Jia (still buffing her nails): You can try. I hope the SIA girls can understand your Mandarin. I don’t think our China women are wearing the kebayas – yet.
Kai Kai: Never mind that. You know SIA is dressing us as plush toys in kebayas? It’s okay for you girls to look like air stewardesses…but…. I’m a full-blooded male! (gives Panda growl..)
Jia Jia (looking at her hand mirror): Hmmmm….I just know I would look good like in a kebaya. I’m sure people will pay $20 for me. You, you only deserve to get your face stamped. Fifty cents only! My face is worth $2! By the way, I hope the stamps are in colour, not black and white…Don’t want to look washed-out…
Kai Kai : Frankly, I don’t think these Singaporeans can tell us apart. But you know how efficient they are. They might give us name tags, and put down age, sex, race and nationality…Remember to pack my electric shaver. Don’t trust them to groom me…
Jia Jia (throws shaver into suitcase): We’ll just have to grin and bear it. At least they treat foreign talent well. They spent like $8million just to build our new home. And we’re going to be the first ones in, even before TOP.
Kai Kai (flexing his muscles): You think it’s going to be a shoebox apartment? I hope not. I need more than 50sqm of space to live well.
Jia Jia (throws her dinner gown into suitcase): I think it’s going to be bigger. These Singaporeans have been panda-ring to us all this while. I just hope they serve some really good bamboo shoots. You think they’ll bring us to Crystal Jade or Tung Lok to eat?
Kai Kai: Stop thinking food! You already sound like one of them! But we better know where the Chinese embassy is, in case we get abused and need to go there and hide. You have the telephone number?
Jia Jai (packing iPhone) : You’re silly. Their Prime Minister already said we’ll be well-treated. He even took a look around our new place…and said he was satisfied….
Kai Kai: Well you never know…These Singaporeans, especially those on the Internet, don’t like foreigners. I won’t put it past them to mistake us for wild boars and shoot us.
Jia Jia (pushes spear into suitcase): Look at it this way. We’re only going to be there for 10 years, then our work permit runs out. It’s not like we’re going to take up space on the MRT. In fact, I think we’re bringing in money for them. Remember last time An An and Xin Xing went there in 1990? More than 400,000 visitors in just 100 days!
Kai Kai: Yeah. They made enough money to pay the snake head and the agent and even sent money home. I heard they built a new house in Szechuan.
Jia Jia: Well, they spent only 100 days in that hot place. It will be like 10 years jail for us…You think we can survive?
Kai Kai: Maybe we should apply for PR, and later become citizens. Then our children can get into a good school and we can get more housing and health benefits.
Jia Jia (snaps suitcase shut): I am NOT letting my son do National Service!
Kai Kai: Okay. Okay. We just make money – and then go home.

Panda-monium again

In News Reports, Politics on September 3, 2012 at 3:22 am

Now look here…I KNOW the pandas are important. That the Chinese don’t anyhow give them away. That Singapore is among dunno how few countries to have got them. That it symbolises deep, wide, broad, long ties between China and Singapore. That we spent a lot of money to make sure they can survive well here. But, hey, do we need to turn the Prime Minister into some kind of zookeeper?? Page One lead on the national newspaper? And so many pars on how we seem to waiting with bated breath for their arrival?
All I can think of is, it must be a dry news day.
In any case, if we really want the Chinese to feel good, there must be other ways to make the point and still keep pandas somewhere….
Like: China’s gift of pandas signify the strong ties between Singapore and the Chinese province of Szechuan, with trade between the two jumping to US$908 million last year, up 22 per cent from just two years ago.
PM Lee yesterday told his Chinese hosts that Kai Kai and Jia Jia will receive a royal welcome, on the first day of his visit to tour Singapore investments in Szechuan, such as blah blah.
Singapore’s investments climbed 60 per cent to US$652 million last year, making it Szechuan’s fourth largest investor.
Methinks that would be much better….
Actually, the better story would be on what PM said about PCF. Provided that there was some more work done to his general comments. I wonder why no one asked him or PCF head Lawrence Wong about the PCF concerts that are so expensive (which was on Home page 1). After all, the pledge was that PCF would remain affordable. More could also be asked about the SPARKS accreditation, criteria in teacher training etc – 39 of 330 PCF kindergartens have this.
Anyway, I can’t wait for the next panda-monium – when the pandas arrive.