Coffee Affairs Comfort Life

Coffee Affairs Comfort Life

43% of Malaysians reflected that they would lose their core forces in carry out daily life with the absence of coffee. Are you a coffee lover? As a dedicated coffee lover, I am excited in pouring forth my affairs on coffee. Mocha is always my first choice, the mixed taste of bitter with slightly sweetness of the chocolate and creamy milk within the coffee shot, reflects the little gratefulness in overcoming every obstacles in life. To a coffee amateur, the advantages of coffee intake are surpassing its drawbacks by far.

A cup of coffee lightens a day

A cup of morning coffee is a need to kick start the day. A cup of steaming black coffee on the dining table early morning is the inevitable scene ongoing in daily ritual for every coffee lovers to kick-start their day. The exotic aroma of coffee will make you feel fresh and intoxicated to carry out daily activities. According to Dr Gary L. Wenk, increasing level of dopamine due to intake of caffeine can make us feel good and motivated. In addition, you can also enjoy visiting cafe to fix caffeine-driven need in an immaculate environment with your sprawling companies. The simple pleasure obtained from gulping a cup of decent coffee and having healthy conversation with friends made your day.

Coffee as an alertness aide

Coffee drives away the feelings of tired or sleepy in a nippy weather, thus increases awareness level in a person. Have a tin coffee before entering lecture or starting work to keep you focus. You will feel energetic and can stay awake for whole day after sipping a cup of coffee. Based on the study by Lovallo, Whitsett, Mustafa al’Absi, Sung, Vincent and Wilson, caffeine raises adrenaline level and cortisol release from adrenal glands, thus increases blood flow to muscles and builds alertness in the person. Coffee can give us the strength to face all the challenges in life, no matter in bad mood or under stressed. After taking a cup of coffee, you will feel rejuvenated and motivated to accomplish all the tasks of the day.

Coffee enhances cognitive performances

Coffee puts coffee drinkers on to a fine train of thought. My thoughts are clear and ideas are coming in a steady stream when I am completing my tasks with the lovely companion, coffee. Here’s a fun fact you might not know: a short nap followed by intake of coffee can reboot brain. I noticed that I can recall better after a short nap as I used to take a cup of coffee during my revisions in university life. In addition, coffee intake enables you to react faster than others who didn’t take any coffee in many circumstances. Coffee enhances reaction time of a person is proven in the research on sprint ability in athletes in 2006.

“In the right amount, coffee is actually a health food,” mentioned by Dawn Jackson Blatner R.D., author of The Flexitarian Diet.

In a nutshell, coffee enhances mood, improves alertness and enhances cognitive performances. However, moderate coffee consumption is just right for human health. Let’s your coffee affection helps you instead of hurting you.

Adventures in Wonderland— In the midst of a city

Located in the midst of the city, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee pride itself with building that has been there through Johor Bahru’s decades of growth. It’s not an ordinary street that you could see anywhere– identical buildings, signage, trees, and few people walking, maybe with their dogs. It used to be a bustling street in the 1870s as it is near Sungei Segget, which used to be a very important river to the economy of Johor back in the agricultural society days, but as we don’t really need rivers for economy growth nowadays, it’s quite normal even if someone told you that it’s currently one of the many historic monument or even being abandoned by the society’s pace.

The street was named after the most prominent businessman in the 1870s’- Major Tan Hiok Nee who forged glistening moments of Johor. Using the ownership of his first river, he began the cultivation of pepper and gambier, bringing tremendous wealth to Johor, and this is only a beginning of him becoming the largest holder of kangchu concession, having a vast holding of 9 more rivers. He is instead the wealthiest and most influential Chinese in Johor back then, as he transformed the rural settlements of Johor into an organisation of kapitans. kangchus, and revenue farmers.

Under Major Tan Hiok Nee’s influence, this area was once a thriving metropolis where banks, lawyers, and traders like restaurants, coffee shops, fabric merchants, barbers and other service operated. As time passed, many shops either moved to suburbs or closed down, leaving only a few of the traditional traders. Things started to be better in year 2009, after the Johor Menteri Besar officially declared Jalan Tan Hiok Nee as a heritage walk at the opening of Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum, the street has since gradually transformed into a destination popular among local and foreign visitors.

The old heritage buildings with tiny cracks on walls and paints scrapping off do not only represent history. Young and creative minds have been contributing to the advancement of the area, as they settle with their unconventional business ideas, opening up stores with creative expressions. The streets have seen so many transition, from its rural days, to when it was so vibrant the area is bustling with traders and farmers, to the time when a lot of the shops closed down, leaving the lonely streets left with a few shops. Till now, it is a street with the perfect mixture of nostalgic historical buildings and vibrant graffiti on the walls along the pathways, the heritage and creative minds have somehow found a way to survive together, and better yet, this makes the street a very unique mix of nostalgia and modern creativity.

EHHE art cafe, now renamed as Culture Street cafe, is located at the entrance of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee. It might not catch attention at first, but with its old wooden windows on the second floor and eye catching paintings on the ground floor, people could not help but to go inside and take a look for themselves.

Exhibition on the second floor of Café
Art pieces made out of newspapers

As a modern cafe that doubles up as an art gallery and frequently holding events such as workshop, local musicians’ performance, and photo contest, the owner of Culture Street Café is very supportive towards local artist. Occupying the upstairs of the art café is a space that homegrown artist can showcase their art piece.

Festive drum performance in a café could have scared people while they try to eat. Don’t expect performance here.

The presence of young entrepreneurs can be seen everywhere, from a doll maker shop to café with the 24 festive drum theme- a national cultural heritage originated from Johor Bahru, to an art gallery which second floor of it is a cafe that claims to be the smallest coffee shop in JB, to unique clothing shops and a café at the same time. These have actually been great additions to the heritage walk, as they contributed to revitalising the area. With all kinds of shops around, the street catered to young and old, and people have been visiting despite the presence of modern shopping centre that is not far away.

Even there was once a time that the street was left with only a few vendors and barely any customers, the old Jalan Tan Hiok Nee that was almost dead found its way to prosper once again. When younger minds bring all these new ideas into Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, they also has been bringing life and shaping the heritage walk to become a spectacular location.

However, there are shops that have been here since the very beginning and have endured the good and the bad times, proving that they are able to sustain through their adherence and devotedness. Hiap Joo bakery, a proof of living history, is one of the oldest in the area. They have been baking using fire wood in their kiln like oven since they started business. Through generations, their commitment in making bread has been resulting in a taste that attract queue of regular customers at their doorsteps daily. Involving three generations of the family in their business, every customer that came in for their bread will not be unfamiliar with the heartwarming scene of members in the family chipping in for the business. As you walk past the shop, it is hard to not notice that they are very famous in the area as the queue is always the longest out of all other shops. One would have to agree that the smell of their baked goods fresh from the oven could make someone that never heard of their shop to stop by and try. Once you get your hands on their spongy fluffy cakes, you’ll understand the queue at their doors, as how could these people even bear the heat and the mugginess at the street as they stand there waiting for the batch of oven fresh breads. Every local and foreigner that visits the heritage walk could never just pass by the shop and not be tempted to buy anything from Hiap Joo.

Kin Hua Restaurant is always crowded, especially during breakfast and tea time.

Kin Hua restaurant that is famous for their breakfast should ring a bell as we speak of old restaurants loved by locals. Being well known among locals, anyone looking for a decent cup of coffee must visit Kin Hua. It has been operating for decades, and their fresh brewed coffee, kaya toast, half boiled egg are must try for every first time visitors. Their menu might seem to be not fancy enough amongst the street that is filled with lavishly decorated cafes that offers extensive choice of coffee and food, however, they did beat the competition and their shop is always crowded. With the perfect balance of sugar and milk in their coffee, people has been loyal customers of Kin Hua restaurant through generations. Aromatic coffee accompanied with their crispy toasted bread with generous spread of kaya, enveloping a slice of cold butter, melting as you hold the warm toast, and the moment that your teeth sinks into the bread, the kaya spread and butter come oozing out of the bread- what’s the better way to kick start your day other than such pleasure?

Pampered with choice of food at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, a lot of the visitor will hope that they have a bigger stomach to fit in all the good stuff at the street, as there’s too much good food and no one can eat everything at once! People coming over for lunch would probably appreciate IT roo that has been famous for its chicken chop, they are even proud enough to claim that they have the best chicken chop in town. During lunch hours, people would crowd the cosy shop adorned with old photographs and newspaper clipping on their walls. Regardless of their extensive menu, people would always opt for their best seller, which is of course their chicken chop. The nostalgic and simple taste of their chicken chops are memories of many locals as well as new discoveries for a lot of the visitors, while their ingredient remain simple, their chicken chops are either grilled or fried to perfection, tender and flavorful, topped with their savoury mushroom sauce as the best accompaniment to bring out the “craftsmanship” of the chicken chop.

It’s not very unusual to see hole-in-the-wall shops hidden amongst lavishly contemporary cafes in the area, at here, you could still find traditional grocery stores that sells biscuit from big tins, old Indian barber shop that has been there for 17 years, rubber stamp shop, and even an Indian bakery selling crispy curry puffs since 1937! The striking red house that used to be only a cultural heritage only attracting tourist is now a café that serves local dishes with nostalgic ambience while showing people a glimpse of Johor Bahru’s former glory, attracting eyes of every people that passes by.

The heritage red house which is now also a café that serves Malaysia local dishes.

 

They still make rubber stamps, and it could be done in 90 minutes

At Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, we were able to see how people could immerse themselves in inheritance of the old times as well as adventurous creativity, families are seen everywhere as elderly and youngster could all appreciate the mixture of their favourite places. Walking into Jalan Tan Hiok Nee could probably the closest experience with Alice who went to Wonderland through falling into a rabbit hole in the midst of the busy city.

How Millennials are shaping the hiring process

How Millennials are shaping the hiring process.

With millennials making up an estimated 75% of the work force by 2025, its no surprise that the new generation of workers are changing the landscape of the hiring process.

The article tackles the idea that millennials come with their own views and leverage that are forcing companies to reshape the traditional process.

While it depends on the company and type of business, the two most common complaints are the extensive length and lack of feedback returned during the process. People simply do not wish to be shackled with the wait for an acknowledgement that may never come. This concept reflects in the local context as well, with most millennials being impatient and pickier with their future job environment.

This desire to find the best offer there is thus fuels the culture for applicants to apply for multiple sources and pick from the pool of positive returns. As smaller firms usually have quicker response times, they have a higher chance to scoop up the better applicants. It now becomes imperative for larger organisations to understand the change in attitude and adapt lest they lose the race.

As the article states: one can be choosy, but still must be decisive to seize the opportunity that sits at your door, over waiting for one that may never come.

New innovations are constantly arising that give way to better fields of work. It no longer becomes just a matter of picking the best paying jobs. Millennials value their freedom and work-life balance now even more so over previous generations.

The article argues that in the past, companies held all the cards during the hiring process. This fact still stands true even till today, but the nature in how the hand is dealt has changed. In order to attract the shorter attention spans of the new generation, organisations must be more creative in ‘selling and tailoring’ themselves to attract new blood. Millennials scrutinize presented benefits and pay more attention towards finding a place that grants them certain levels of freedom which they desire.

New innovations have also granted more opportunities for like-minded parties to find each other. Companies now have a large variety of online avenues to indicate their availability, while potential applicants are now able to better advertise themselves to recruiters.

These new channels have created a need to seek out talent as opposed to previously just waiting to be sought. Furthermore, it has allowed people to advertise their unique skillsets better, improving the exchange between talent and recruiter.

Recruiters are thus forced to be more ‘tech-savvy’ and must become more accommodating to a highly mobile generation when casting their net.

The accounting firm, Goldman Sachs, aims to rid first round face-to-face interviews in favor of video interviews. While the idea would greatly speed up the process, one needs to be weary as there is a certain loss of connection between interviewer and interviewee once its done digitally.

Millennials have indeed become a contributor towards the changing job hiring landscape. With advances in society, the younger generation have become accustomed to a world where efficiency is demanded and quick responses are expected. Call it impatience, or simply a better focus on what they seek, the younger generation have asserted and pushed their way into the new era of the workforce.

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahlandrum/2017/07/07/how-millennials-are-shaping-the-hiring-process/#2dca77c3d8ed

One baby, order up!

If you could grow your own baby without becoming pregnant, would you?

That’s the future the Product Design students from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, Arnhem envisioned as they gave birth to the Par-tu-ri-ent project. The project is focused on the future of childbearing, with, as they put it, the possibility “to grow and design your child in an external pod”. Scared of labor? No problem. Afraid of those unseemly stretch marks? No problem. Not a fan of the morning sickness? No problems there, the Partu-ri-ent project renders these problems and more mere worries of the past.

Not to make light of the project, which in itself is a fascinating idea. The Partu-ri-ent Pod is an artificial womb, where the baby will be fed and nurtured. After 9 months, the baby will be ready to be delivered. The project also discusses a Portable care bag, to be used remotely. By switching it on, you can feel the baby moving and kicking from its pod, and in return the baby would be able to feel the movement of its parents as they carry and rock the care bag. The baby will get its food and nutrition through a feeding device on the Pod, which keeps track of what the baby has eaten and what it needs to stay healthy.There is even a device installed in the Pod that allows the parents to record and communicate with the baby.

For someone unable to carry her own children, this would be an alternative to current available childbearing methods such as surrogacy, which comes with the worries of legalities, or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which involves a complex series of procedures and treatments that may be too costly for some families. It also solves the problems mothers may face with high-risk pregnancies, thus giving them a chance to choose both their child and their own well-being. The parents are able to personally monitor the growth of their baby, and even connect with it to some extent, all the while not being limited to their own body limitations.

However, the angle that the ArtEZ students appear to be selling in their video is that couples can have the Pod sitting in their home and growing their child, while the parents will be able to “live their lives normally”, and watch the foetus grow in the Pod. While it is true that the parents would  have access to their developing child and even be able to see clearly how their child grows, in giving the childbearing role to a pod, the bonds forged during childbearing would change significantly. Not just the bond between the child and the woman who has commited to the carrying him or her for the past 9 months, but also the bonds that grow between the expecting couple, or even the family and friends with the couple. Like the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, it is not only the parents who are involved in childbearing, but their entire community. Having the pod at home changes the role of the parent significantly, and in turn, the bonds that could have been forged will cease to exist. The use of the Pod invites a sense of detachment between the child being raised in a pod and the parents watching, quite literally, outside a glass cocooon.

Has science gone too far that we’re actually trying to find more efficient ways to create life while we “go on with our normal lives”? The main gripe most audiences have while watching this video is not with the idea, which could potentially be a glimmer of hope for families who are unable to have children. The problem is the motivation behind this idea. If a perfectly healthy couple were to decide that they want children, yet are not keen on making the commitment to carry the child and decide to use the pod, who’s to say they will not simply pull the plug if they decide to abort? Having the Pod “in the comforts of your home” also invites a lot of ethical problems as compared to having the baby grow under professional medical supervision.

Of course, the Par-tu-ri-ent Pod is simply a brainchild of a couple of students, not a concrete product on the market. If it actually does come to fruitation, the Pod would be a amazing invention for families who want children but are unable to bear them. However, the selling angle of the video leads one to wonder about the direction science is developing, and what it says about the priorities of our society.

Project Homepage: http://www.parturient.artez.nl/index.html

A non-profit Monkey Business

At an organization called Helping Hands, Capuchin monkeys are trained to help disabled patients with everyday physical tasks, such as opening doorknobs, getting the remote, even turn the page of a book they’re reading. Much like how a guide dog guides the blind,  these primates become an extension of the patient, thus giving them the confidence to live a more normal life.

Why the capuchin monkey? Due to the primate’s advanced motor skills and dexterous hands, the species was a prime choice for Helping Hands to train. Originally an experiment, the organization has now changed the lives of 8 recipients and counting. These monkeys are born into the programme and undergo training for 3 to 5 years at monkey college, before they are matched with patients who suffer from mobility impairment. The monkeys become both their helper and their friend. Being an extremely intelligent species, the capuchin monkey is able to feed off the emotions of their patients and by being paired up, the couple undergoes a bonding experience through companionship over the years.

A prime case study is Ned Sullivan and his monkey, Casey, who have been together for over 10 years. After a car accident in 2005, Ned, then a college student, was left with a spinal cord injury that changed his life. He couldn’t move or talk. Casey helped Ned with various physical tasks and provided the emotional support Ned needed to slowly regain his mobility. Celebrating their 10-year anniversary, the two are now inseperable.

As amazing as it is that these monkeys are giving their recipients another chance at life, with all animal experiments there is the question if this is fair to the animal. Capuchin monkeys are a social species by nature and usually live in groups. Unlike dogs or cats, which have been domesticated over thousands of years, monkeys are wild animals and considered illegal exotic pets in many countries. Major animal organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, do not support monkey ownership as these monkeys have needs that cannot necessarily be met if kept in captivity. Among many other reasons, these primates can also transmit infectious diseases. These monkeys are born into the programme and do not know life outside their captivity, but they are still a species meant to be living in the wild with their own kind. Some pet monkeys also have their teeth removed for safety to their owners, much like how many cat owners declaw their feline friends. Is being trained to aid patients rediscover their lives a fair trade-off for the natural wild life they could have led, especially if they would never know the difference?

Organization link: https://monkeyhelpers.org/

Hidden Illnesses

First formed in 1996 Linkin Park quickly rose to fame in the early 2000s. Named by MTV2 as the sixth-greatest band of the music video era and the third-best of the new millennium Linkin Park stayed in the media’s limelight for many years. Famous for his heart wrenching and soul bearing lyrics Chester Bennington, front man of Linkin Park was well beloved by many. Shortly after Linkin Park’s seventh album was launched, Chester was found in his home having hung himself. Chester’s death sent all media platforms into an uproar with how sudden it seemed.

“He was so young, it’s tragic!” many have said. What’s truly tragic is that his lyrics have shown signs of his depression for years and yet he wasn’t given the help and support he needed. Some have gone on to rant angry posts about how a person who has achieved so much could just be so selfish and kill himself without care for his fan, friends and family. The thing about suicide in depression isn’t that they plan to be selfish, quite the opposite. Often they’re thinking that their loved ones are better off without them or that they wouldn’t be missed.

So if it’s not selfishness then what you may ask is the reason for suicide? Perhaps it could be the lack of knowledge about depression by the public or the resulting lack of support they get. Last year, Singapore saw the highest number of teen suicides in 15 years. There are many factors in a society like ours that leads to suicide in depression becoming more commonplace and comments like “You have it all, what’s there to be depressed about?” and “Just smile and you’ll feel better” aren’t going to change anything.

 

Lack of knowledge

Imagine telling a cancer patient, “What do you mean you have a blood disease? You look fine stop being such an attention seeker.” Here’s the thing, you wouldn’t do that. The reason is simple, cancer has fast become common knowledge and with that more tolerance and even empathy has come from society because of it. Mental diseases on the other hand are still largely unknown and many still don’t believe in its existence.

According to the Ministry of Health 5.8% of Singaporeans suffer from depression, that means close to 3 in every 50 people are depressed. This isn’t a small number so why isn’t depression more prevalent in education and talks? It would be difficult to get an ailment treated if one does not know the symptoms to look out for. Like many other illnesses, early detection of symptoms could potentially save a life.

 

Acceptance and Validation

Another possible reason why so many go undiagnosed could be due to the lack of acceptance that mental illnesses are valid illness. “You have depression? You just need to stop being sad and look at things from a different perspective!” This is a phrase so commonly thrown around because people don’t know or rather they don’t believe in depression being “an actual illness”. It seems rather ridiculous that many health professionals in Singapore still readily reject the idea of depression being a valid illness.

Due to the lack of validation of depression being an actual condition, there is an abysmally small amount of research on the condition and possible treatments. Only in recent years has the scientific community decide to research further into the cause of depression and developed medications such as antidepressants. There are many possible causes of depression but recent studies believe that the cause is an imbalance of chemicals in the sufferer’s brain.

 

Societal Stigma

Depression is so rarely reported in places like Singapore because it still holds a stigma and people don’t believe in it because they haven’t been educated in the subject.  There are more societies and help lines created for those who suffer from depression but very few reach out for help due to the stigma of it being a sign of weakness. Society is basically shaming a sick person for getting help and being sick, doesn’t that seem rather ironic? We need to throw away this stigma of depression being a sign of a mentally weak person, they aren’t just being “overly sensitive” they need help balancing the chemicals in their brains.

With a better educated and more accepting society this stigma should be reduced and more people can go get a diagnosis and professional treatment. It can be hard for someone who suffers from depression to reach out and ask for help so it is our duty as a society to help them once we notice they’re suffering.

We have to break the stereotype of a depressed person and be aware that a person who smiles and is fairly active could still be depressed. A rich and successful person can also be depressed because it’s an actual condition that requires medication and treatment from professionals. A great way to increase awareness is simple, just talk. Talk to your friends, talk to your family – with more people understanding and accepting depression (as well as other mental illnesses) the more people will get help when they need it. How should we spot depression? A simple way to remember is the acronym: SAD CASE.

S –Sleep disturbances

A – Appetite change

D – Depressed mood or feelings of sadness over a sustained period of time

C – Concentration problems

A – Anhedonia: Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

G – Guilt or shame

E – Energy and enthusiasm are low

S – Suicidal thoughts due to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

Some are tough to spot and others are slightly simpler: change of appetite, lack of sleep, low energy/enthusiasm for things, unfocused and no longer enjoying activities they used to love. These are signs that you could look out for in family, friends and maybe even your colleagues. If you spot someone showing symptoms, reach out to them.

Show them that you care and if possible, guide them into getting professional help. Even if you don’t know someone that faces these problems, make it a point to be nice and smile at everyone you meet. We meet so many people in a day it’s hard to tell if one of them may be depressed and suicidal. A smile doesn’t cost much but a smile could save a life.

TLDR: Depression and other mental illnesses are valid so learn to be accepting and raise awareness on this issue. Lives could be saved if only more people knew how to deal with it.

Feminism, Misandry and Misogyny: A common confusion

Feminism, Misandry and Misogyny: A common confusion

Out of these three terms: feminism, misandry and misogyny only two are widely recognised. One is commonly mistaken as another and has been perpetuated into our societal norms in everyday situations without many realizing it. Let’s dive into the confusion of feminism and misandry vs. misogyny.

 

Feminism. More commonly known in the western world, it’s the movement that gave women their right to vote, work and own their person. This series of political campaigns ran through three waves, the first wave was based around the stations of upper and middle class women as well as gaining the rights to vote. The second wave brought up the issues of social and cultural inequalities such as domestic violence, marital rape, divorce and custody of the children. The third wave started in the early 1990s and some would argue that it’s ongoing even in the present day. The third wave brought about talks of abolishing gender stereotypes and gender norms. Unlike the second wave feminists, the new wave of feminism saw pornography not as a degrading job but one that could empower women in their sexuality should they consent to it. Through all three waves of feminism one belief held true, that women are of equal status as men.

 

Misogyny on the other hand is the opposite and is exactly what feminists try so hard to fight. Misogyny believes in men being the superior gender of the race and that as such they deserve better treatment in life. Over the years the lines between trying to fight misogyny with equality and the instinctual reflex to argue back “no we’re better” led to the birth of a third term: Misandry.

 

Misandry is commonly confused with feminism and many have come to believe that misandry is what feminism is about. Misandry comes from the hordes of angry women who’ve had time to accumulate hate towards misogyny and men as a whole. Misandry is when a girl argues they should be treated as an equal and yet expect men to pay for the meal. It’s a group of angry and confused women that enjoy the preferential treatment of gentlemen and yet get angry when they feel that they aren’t being treated the same. Misandry as a whole is an angry confused mess and yet it has become so common that many mistake it for feminism causing a backlash.

 

Present Day Feminism

Men argue that feminism doesn’t make any sense and that it isn’t true equality, well yeah that’s because what they perceive as feminism is simply misandry. Feminism is going on a date and expecting to split the bill equally. It’s expecting a man to hold the door, not because you’re a lady, but because it is common courtesy and you would have done the same for him as well. Many girls these days expect boyfriends/husbands to pay for them and buy things for them as though that’s a norm. It’s become a running joke that a man in a relationship is financially worse for wear than a bachelor. But if what you want is to be spoilt and pampered without giving anything back, then what you’re looking for is a sugar daddy/mommy not an actual relationship.

Feminism is about equality and that means both the good and bad parts of it. It’s holding your own bags when you’re out shopping because a boyfriend/husband isn’t a bellboy, no “a gentlemen would hold my bag for me because I’m a lady” excuses. To be treated as an equal one must act like an equal, and true equality is feminism but not all of us have gotten to that point yet. Feminism doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy feminine hobbies like getting your hair done or cooking, but it also means you could enjoy fixing a car and other “masculine” hobbies.

Feminism tries so hard to break down gender norms because true equality means both gender can take part in any hobby they like and hobbies aren’t restricted to a single gender. A hobby is an activity, why does society take something neutral like an activity and assign a gender to it? A man that cooks is a chef and yet a woman that cooks are just “learning to be a wife”, why is that?

A man that is sexually promiscuous gets a pat on the back and told they’re “a stud” or that they’re simply “sowing their wild oats”, all these hold only positive connotations. A woman that is sexually promiscuous on the other hand is “a slut” and “brings disgrace”, they’re frowned upon by society. Much of these preconceived notions were born of cultural and societal expectations which the second wave of feminism tried to fight. In the past men were the head of the household in many cultures be it Western or Asian whereas the women were to stay at home and look after the household and family. This is where the ideology that cooking and looking after the household is a feminine job. (Interestingly peranakans are one of the few cultures in which the matriarch is the head of the household rather than the patriarch). Feminism is the ability to have either a stay-home mom or a stay-home dad because both are equally in charge and responsible for the household.

If we want to see a society of equality than first we must change all these preconceived notions drilled into us since birth, of gender norms and societal expectations. Only then can we experience true equality.

 

Building on Graves

As of 17 July 2017 an expected 80,000 graves will be exhumed at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery in order to expand Tengah Air Base. While some call the joint statement made by the Ministry of National Development (MND), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on Tuesday a surprise, this is actually phase five of the Chua Chu Kang cemetery exhumation.

According to NEA’s official website, phase one of the exhumation has actually ended in September 2009 with all unclaimed ashes scattered in the sea. Some of the graves to be exhumed were buried are as recent as only three years ago, with families now facing the need to dig up and rebury their loved ones  into a shared burial plot with another deceased relative.

Chua Chu Kang MP Yee Chia Hsing was quoted as saying, “That is why those who accept it will have their loved ones cremated, while those who bury their relatives know full well it cannot be for forever.”

Does this mean that in the future Singaporeans should only consider cremation and not burial? It seems to be the smarter choice as the years tick by with almost all of Singapore’s cemeteries having faced exhumation over the years for further expansion. Chua Chu Kang Cemetery is Singapore’s largest and last remaining active cemetery where families can bury their loved ones (for only a maximum of 15 years per plot).

With an ever increasing population and the scarcity of land it comes to no surprise that most of Singapore has been a cemetery at one point or another. Our prime shopping district Orchard was once upon a time part of cemetery grounds. Ngee Ann City, big and gleaming with its luxury shops, marks what used to be the largest teochew cemetery in Singapore years back.  Activists argue that cemeteries hold heritage and a link with our past especially in the fast urbanizing Singapore. One must consider however, that the tradition of grave visitations has fast been dying out. If the point of a cemetery is to give loved ones a place to visit the deceased, but rarely do people go for such visitations anymore, then does that not make cemeteries a waste of space in our land scarce Singapore?

A growing number of families contacted about the exhumation of the graves are not even interested in retrieving the remains of ancestors from many generations ago. The anguish of loss does not plague them and with the loss of the tradition for grave visitations, not many feel much of a connection with the ancestors from many generations long past. Other than those bound by religious text perhaps it is time for people to simply come to accept that cremation is the logical choice when our land is so scarce that graves have to be dug up for a school to be built.

According to reports a growing number of families contacted about the exhumation of the graves are not even interested in retrieving the remains of ancestors from many generations ago. The anguish of loss does not plague them and with the loss of the tradition for grave visitations, not many feel much of a connection with the ancestors from many generations long past. Other than those bound by religious text perhaps it is time for people to simply come to accept that cremation is the logical choice when our land is so scarce that graves have to be dug up for a school to be built.

How Hiking Boosts Brain Power

How Hiking Boosts Brain Power

Hiking becomes the trending outdoor workout that brings a lot of benefits. Hiking builds body strength and multiple components of fitness simultaneously. The physical improvements gained by hiking are obvious, but do hiking make changes in our brain?

Hiking reduces negative thoughts and improve mental well-being

Hikers find contentment and peace of mind by escaping from the hectic urban life. Embrace of the nature is found to reduce rumination and improve mental well-being in the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Negative thoughts and self-relational emotions engulf us most of the time in the hustle and bustle of city life.  This repetitive and maladaptive attention focused on one’s distress is associated with increased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC) which eventually will leads to depression and other mental illness. This study shows that a 90-min of hiking in nature decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the sgPFC as compared with walking in urban setting. Hiking allows us to indulge in the beauty of nature and get rid of obsessive thoughts in the calm surrounding.

Hiking encourages creative problem solving

Psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Straye discovered that hiking boosts creativity and problem solving skills in their research. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that the nature has specific restorative power on the depleted or overused prefrontal cortex-mediated executive attentional system.  Prefrontal cortex is the brain region that involved in higher-order cognitive functions including critical thinking, selective attention, multi-tasking and problem solving. Constant demand of workload and stressful lifestyle distract our attention and apply heavy burden on our prefrontal cortex and cause us become cognitively fatigued. Therefore, we always cannot stay focus and more difficult to generate new and interesting ideas when in stressful situation. Atchley and Straye conducted experiment with the participants immerse in the wilderness with the absent of technology devices for four days which results in significant enhancements in creative problem solving. The prefrontal cortex is less active and have the time to rejuvenate when people are immersed in natural environment and disconnected from electronic gadgets. This relaxation enables discovering of flexible ways of thinking that enhance creativity and wider the range of cognitive resources can bear in solving complex problems.

Hiking Enhances memory

Hiking is an excellent aerobic exercise which burns around 400–700 calories per hour. A study conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia stated that aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume of the brain which associated with spatial and episodic memories in women aged 70-80 years. Hippocampus is a major part of brain that plays important role in memory consolidation. Hiking improves brain structure and function, thus prevents cognitive decline like memory loss due to aging. Expansion of hippocampal volume improves the efficiency of neural networks that support memory processes. Hiking also builds cardiovascular health, where you work out your brain in the meantime as your heart. Thomas Crook, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and memory researcher stated that cardiovascular health is crucial in maintaining and enhances learning and memory. A 30-minute hiking session can pump extra blood to the brain while delivering oxygen and nutrients needed for maximum cognitive performances.

 

Bugging out on meals

When food supplies are low, what would you turn to? If insects come to mind then you’re belong to a group of 2 billion like-minded people in the world. Imagine it, a world where any other type of food source is running low and the population has turned to eating insects to deal with their hunger. Well it seems that might soon be a reality. In the past couple of years the UN has been urging people to eat insects to fight world hunger.

Food resources are slowly running out if the alarming rate at which global warming has progressed isn’t clear enough. Sure governments around the world have pledge to try to reduce greenhouse gases through more plantations, less deforestation, less CO2 being emitted – we’ve heard it all. This unfortunately has been making slow progress and our world is not that patient to be restored into balance. The great barrier reef has officially been proclaimed “unlikely to be saved” by australian experts and the permafrost outside of the seedbank defrosting leading to a minor flood of what was supposed to be a backup plan should our crops be wiped out.

What does this mean for us? As global warming progresses our crops and food sources will reduce so perhaps it is time for us to consider other options like insects. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), “insects can offer the same protein and mineral content as regular meat or fish – but at far less cost”. Scorpions and grasshoppers can now be found on the menus of upscale French restaurants but the French aren’t the only ones.

A fair number of countries around the word see entomophagy (also known as the act of eating insects) as a fairly common part of their staple diet. Entomophagy isn’t exactly new either, it’s old and part of many cultures where food have become scarce, be it due to loss of habitat or other reasons.

So with the increasing world population making food even harder to come by, doesn’t that make eating insects as a perfect alternative? Perhaps someday as our society progresses, we might just find cans of insects on our supermarket shelves.