Cloud Seeding in Malaysia

Several areas in the Klang Valley, an area in Malaysia comprising Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs and adjoining cities and towns in the state of Selangor, received much-needed rainfall yesterday, thanks to the success of a cloud seeding operation by the Meteorological Department (MMD) and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
Cloud seeding is a technique whereby it’s possible to induce rain and snow after which clouds can break up and disappear, suppress hail, and clear up patches of fog usually by dropping suitable particles into clouds containing cooled water in an attempt to cause them to dissipate, modify their structure, or alter the intensity of associated phenomena, such as wind speed or hail.
Here’s how it works: Rain starts as tiny droplets of water suspended in clouds. Then the droplets clump together into bigger drops, or freeze together into bigger crystals. Once the drops or crystals are big and heavy enough, they fall out of the sky. The frozen drops can melt on the way down, becoming rain, or they can fall to the ground as snow. Cloud seeding aims to speed up this process by helping droplets to clump or freeze together when they otherwise wouldn’t.
The operation in Malaysia was led by the department’s atmospheric science and cloud seeding division, with a TUDM aircraft used to transport four 1,000-litre tanks of water containing 150kg of salt each. The salt solution was then sprayed at the base of the identified clouds, and the salt particles in the solution were carried upwards by upward currents of warm air called thermals.
“Through cloud seeding, we are actually accelerating the process of rainfall production as well as increasing the amount of rainfall. We estimate it will take 15 minutes to half an hour for rain to fall after the solution is sprayed,” Meteorological Department national weather centre director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said.
Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said the cloud seeding operation focused on areas that had a suitable formation of cumulus clouds in the Klang Valley and not just near catchment areas.
“We hope residents in the affected areas will be pleased with the results, as the rainfall amount is forecast to be about 15 per cent more than the usual amount we get in March,” he said.
Results were seen as quickly as 30 minutes after the operation as, luckily for the Malaysians, rain fell in parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur just hours after the Malaysian authorities carried out cloud seeding, with residents welcoming the opening up of the heavens. The rain finally came after several weeks of dry weather, which led to water rationing for two million people. Not only did the rain help to improve visibility from the haze, but it also helped to ease the water rationing woes and troubles in Malaysia.
This incident has greatly emphasised our need to save water. We have not been hit with the crisis of having to ration water yet, but who knows when our taps will run dry? Maybe in 2061, when the Singapore and Malaysia agreement expires? Who knows what might happen in the near future? Who knows when all four of Singapore’s National Taps are unable to supply us with any water one day? What will happen then?
Hence, I feel that we should do our part to help to conserve water, which is a precious resource, so that everyone can enjoy the water supply for all uses, whether it be for industry, for living, or for survival. Water is life, after all.

Germaine Lee-1T

65-year-old crashes through barrier at Woodlands Checkpoint

The 65-year-old Malaysian driver who allegedly crashed through the security barrier at Woodlands Checkpoint and entered Singapore on Saturday is facing two charges.
Tan Chu Seng, who is also a Singapore permanent resident, is accused of committing two offences — one count of acting rashly and another of vandalism. Both were said to be committed on March 8 at about 4.03pm when he arrived from Malaysia.
He “travels almost daily” between Malaysia and Singapore, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Director Operations, Lau Peet Meng said at a joint media briefing conducted by the Singapore Police Force and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
At 4.05pm on 8 March, Tan, who was driving a gold-coloured, Singapore-registered Mercedes Benz deliberately drove off while undergoing customs boot check, thus injuring an officer, who tried to stop him from leaving, in the process. Although a security barrier was subsequently activated, he managed to crash his vehicle through the barrier, which was the first time this has ever happened, and entered Singapore.
The Mercedes Benz was found later at 8.30pm, while the Malaysian national was arrested at 9.15pm to assist in police investigations. However, authorities declined to comment where the car was found and where he was arrested.
On 10 March, Monday, when he arrived at the State Courts, Tan was all smiles as he greeted the media from the police car. He was arrested on Saturday some five hours after he allegedly breached security at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Tan was charged with one count of acting rashly, by driving his Singapore-registered car SKM 1396 through the barrier at Arrival Car Green Channel at Woodlands Checkpoint on March 8, according to court documents. He is also accused of recklessly causing injury to auxiliary police officer Safie Mahrom. For trying to escape vehicle inspection, Tan is also looking at a maximum penalty of a jail term of one year and S$5,000 fine.
Tan faces a second charge of vandalism for allegedly damaging government property when he drove his car onto the cat-claw security barrier, which had malfunctioned, just before he entered Singapore. If convicted of vandalism, he can be jailed up to three years or fined a maximum of S$2,000.
During the speedy court session, the prosecution asked for Tan to be further remanded in jail for one week to assist with police investigations. However, Tan requested to be remanded for only four days, citing health reasons including diabetes and hypertension.
His case will be mentioned again on March 17.

Germaine Lee-1T

Eighteen Chefs

There are countless restaurants that we all think about when “favourite restaurant” is mentioned. But did you ever realize that food can save another person’s life? One man did, and he succeeded.
He is no other than Benny Se Teo, an ex-convict that had been under the influence of heroin. After being through prison many times, he decided that it was enough. He tried to get his convict friends to start a proper business with him that was meaningful, but they decided that they wanted no share in it. Benny, refusing to relent, approached NTUC for help. He soon discovered the Inclusive Growth Programme. It enabled low wage workers better pay along with easier, smarter and safer jobs from productivity initiatives.
So what exactly is this special business of his? Benny opened a restaurant by the name of Eighteen Chefs, which focused on helping ex-convicts see the light again. Being a convict previously, he related to them and gave them a platform to stand up after their mistakes.
Benny decided to make use of food technology based machines to whip up delicious meals. Despite receiving no or minimal education, these ex-convicts were able to make use of these machines to keep the food standards at their best.
Benny also opened up his restaurant as a training centre to potential food and beverage workers. He allowed many criminals who passed the test to be recruited by many local restaurants.
Of course, Benny still has his set of loyal students who do not flock to other food stalls. Once a hard core drug addict, but now a head chef. Once a single mum dishwasher, but now an assistant manager of the restaurant.
You can easily find three branches of the restaurant in Singapore, at 8 Grange Road,302 Tiong Bahru Road and at No.2 Handy Road.
So why not make a trip down there one day to try out some food with meaning? You will just be supporting a man who believes in helping others out of their sticky situation and who has experienced the grace of God.



-Nicolette Kum

Pray For MH370 and Hope For the Best

Have you heard of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370? It disappeared on 7 March 2014 carrying 200 over passengers. I feel very sad for all those on board, but it is not yet confirmed the location of the plane. Many countries are helping the search for the plane. Including Singapore. Our country continued to help search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 for the fourth day (March 11).
It is said that two military aircrafts left Paya Lebar Airbase in the morning of the 11 of March to help out with the search. The team of people on board the aircarfts combed an area more than 100 nautical miles off the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, they joined three of the country’s Navy vessels already out at sea. In hope of finding the missing airplane.
Singapore Air Force’s C130 aircraft which was helping out with the search, was said to be loaded with more than 30 marine markers which will be dropped to identify a spot if something promising is discovered. The plane also contained life rafts which will be deployed if any survivors are found, and survival kits, including items like blankets, mirrors and radios. But the close to 20 airmen on board found no chance to drop them as they gazed intently at the sea empty sea below.
While the C130 typically flies above 20,000ft (6,096m), the search mission that day took place just 1,000ft (305m) above sea level, covering an area several times Singapore’s size. I heard that a team of 12 “scanners” took 20-minute shifts in looking for the missing plane. After seven hours of searching, they found nothing. It was a extremely tiring search. I am sure that the team must be filled with fatigue. Some say the search mission took about 10 hours.
I am sure that the military will set out again, flying over the ocean filled with the hope that clues can be found to shed light on the mystery of the missing flight. We can only hope for the best and pray. Pray for MH370, pray for those who were on board, pray for the relatives friends and families of those on board and pray for the solving of this mystery.

Guan Xin Stephanie (1P)


Did you hear about the guy they found dead with his head in his cornflakes?
A: The police thought it was a cereal killer.
2) A husband and wife go to a restaurant. The waiter approaches the table to take their order.
“I’ll have your biggest, juiciest steak,” says the husband.
But sir, what about the mad cow?” asks the waiter.
“Oh,” says the husband, “she’ll order for herself.”
3) Q: how do you make seven an even number?
A: take the s out!
4) Q: Why did the boy take a pencil to bed?
A: to draw the curtains!
5) teacher: Name two animals that live in a cold region?
student: A polar bear and his wife
6) Joker: Wanna hear a construction joke?
Person: Sure, I’d love to hear a construction joke!
Joker: Sorry, I’m still working on it!
7) Q: What has a head, a tail, and no body?
A: A coin!
8) What did the plant do in math class?
Answer: It grew square roots!
9) Have you heard the story of the germ?
Never mind, it’ll spread.
10) Q: What is a bears favorite phone?
A: a blackberry!

-Fiona Goh

Ice Kachang


Feeling tired on a long day? Fret not! Rush to the nearest coffee shop to get your fresh and cooling ice kachang that will never fail to make you feel more energetic and chilled!
The ice kachang is a modern, more elaborate update of the ice ball–comprising jelly, red beans (kachang means beans in the Malay language), sweet corn and attap chee (palm seeds) as its base, and topped off with a mound of shaved ice, psychedelically coloured syrups and condensed milk, and it’s served in either a bowl or a tall glass.
Ice kachang can also be served with fruit cocktail, aloe vera jelly and novelty toppings such as chocolate and durian. Mix and match any way you like to satisfy your cravings! This popular dessert can be found anywhere across Singapore, any coffee shops that you know of!
Ice kachangs also have good and bad ones. A good ice kachang is one where the ice is cleanly shaven to very small bits; it should just melt in your mouth together with the sweet tasting syrup. As for ingredients, the more variety, the better. There is nothing like feeling the multiple textures every time you take a mouthful.
Innovative dessert shops have also created their self-designed ice kachang, attracting tons of customers as well. You would have never thought that a simple dish can be served and eaten in such a creative way! There are also many choices of flavours, if you do not want to stick to the original, mainstream ones sold in coffee shops. Who knows, maybe someday you could create your own type of ice kachang and it would be the next popular dish in Singapore!

-Chevonne Law(2 Hope)


Music is in our lives all the time, from listening to pop songs to playing instruments.
Think about the last time a song really moved you, or meant something to you. Music is calming for the mind, helping one to relax or get over something. Most professional artists are able to entice the audience’s mood and emotions with their music.
Why are we humans so connected to music? From working adults to school children, especially teenagers, everyone has their personal taste of music.
Music is a universal way of communication. Even without words, music can make us joyful or sorrowful, energized or sleepy. However, various artists implement incorrect ideas about certain topics. On the other side of the coin, many talented individuals also teach us moral values. Hence, we have to be selective with the songs we listen to.
Often, we can’t trust anybody enough to share our own problems, or to heal our pain and broken hearts. Music can. We don’t really know the artist. But we can feel the melodies. The sounds encourage us. It soothes us. It tells us that everything will be alright so we can face the world and make good decisions for everyone again.
After a success or during a joyous celebration, what could be better than blasting catchy pop songs!
When we are desolate and lonely or bored, music lifts our hearts while filling our time!
Can you imagine living without music?

-Genevieve Sim(1 Purity)

Bath and Body Works


Bath and Body Works, is a favourite fragrance destination for everyone. The Bath and Body Works PocketBac hand sanitizer is now a recent growing trend. In fact, some of us (including myself) are also guilty of lugging back bags of Bath & Body Works products home every time we come back from the United States.
The PocketBac hand santizer, is, as you can tell from the name, pocket-sized. It is useful and sweet-smelling as well. It can be used before and after eating and also after playing with pets and toys to cleanse your hands.

I, too, got influenced by a friend and begged my father, who was on a business trip in the United States, to buy me two bottles of each type at the store there as Bath and Body Works outlet had yet to open in Singapore. Also, it is cheaper to buy it in America compared to buying it in Singapore as one bottle in America costs half the price.

There are also other popular products at Bath and Body Works, they also sell body lotions, body wash and shower gel, scented candles, wallflowers and many more. For now, you can buy Bath and Body Works products online if you would like any, but, when the new Bath and Body Works outlet opens at Marina Bay Sands, people from all over Singapore will be flocking over to buy it there instead.
The outlet that’s planning to open at Marina Bay is 3,000 square feet will carry a huge range of products from hand and body care, to perfumes and home fragrance collections.
However, let us hope that, although the location of the outlet is at Marina Bay Sands, the items will not be overpriced in Singapore. If it is overpriced, I think I might as well order online or just buy some more when I travel to America or when my father is on a business trip again.

Laura Zheng~1L

Is Change a Good Thing?

Is change a good thing? Sometimes, it depends on what do we change for. If we change for the better, then that is good. However, if we change for the worse, then I will rather not have changed at all.
I remember that I use to tell lies to people and other things as such, but I changed after getting scolded by my parents for those. I changed. It was a change for the better, and now I do not lie as much anymore. This is an instance of a good change.
I remember watching the television once and the show talked about a person who committed a small crime but even after receiving punishment, he continued to commit worse and worse crimes. He changed for the worse and not for the better. This is a bad change.
There are also different types of changes, like maybe a change of house, car or school that may affect our everyday lives. Examples are that if we change to a new house at a new location, the positive aspect is that we get a new house. But after a while, there may be negative aspects, maybe you would miss your friends in the old area and might just possibly prefer the old house, maybe it is bigger, have more rooms, more space to relax, maybe you would miss the first floor gardens etc. So this type of change can be melancholic and might or might not results in positive or negative affect.
I remember that when I was little, my dad sold the car we had for a long time. I cried and cried at the moment, but afterwards, I began getting used to the new car and no longer felt sad about the old car. I started to think about the positive aspects of the new car and what it can do for me, maybe not for me, but at least I would be able to benefit from it.
There is also a third type of change. This type of change is the physical change, like changing our looks and physical condition as we grow up. I look very different now from how I used to look like. I will describe it later, anyway, this type of change, whether it was a good or bad change, all depends on how we think we look. It is up to us to decide.
When I was little, only about one or two years old, I used to have very short and few hair, and was rather plump. When I was three or four, I still had very short hair that was only a few centimeters long in length, was rather short and small for my age. When I was five or six, my hair grew out to my shoulders, I grew a little bit taller and all that. When I was in the second year of kindergarten, nothing much changed and my hair was still that length. When I entered primary school, I had my hair cut shorter, stopping at the bottom of my ears according to my school rules. From then onwards, nothing much changed except that I grew taller and a little fatter as my appetite got a little larger than before. Growing up is a consistent change.
Our physical conditions change too when we get sick and all that. Such changes cannot be stopped and cannot be controlled. We cannot change falling sick and cannot change what the illness does to us.
So, is change a good thing? I think, it all depends on the situation. Every situation is different, so change can be both good and bad for us. If we are in a bad situation, we are in need of change, the type of change needed is the type where the situation changes for the better. But if we are in a good situation, I believe that we can do better and change for the better, but no matter what we do we should always change for the better and not for the worse. We should strive to change for the better, when we are better, we are also happier, when we are better, we are safer. Just remember, change is rather unpredictable.

Guan Xin Stephanie (1P)

Ben Underwood


We see with our eyes and we hear with our ears. That is a basic thing we have learnt since young. However, Ben Underwood is a totally different case. Blind since the age of two, Ben has been seeing with his ears ever since.
Ben developed a tumour in his eyes when he was young, and the doctors took out his eyes to prevent the cancer cells from spreading to the brain. He had tried chemotherapy earlier, but unfortunately, the cancer cells refused to give up in the battle.
Ben’s mother supported Ben a lot during his sightless journey. One day, when they were on the road driving, Ben suddenly raised a question and asked his mother if she could see the huge building by the roadside. To Ben’s mother’s surprise, Ben could actually see.
Of course, without a doubt, many of you might suspectthe truth of Ben’s story, but Ben is definitely not a person with stored magic or superpowers. The method Ben uses to see is called echolocation. Ben would make clicking sounds when he is moving about. The clicking sounds will bounce back from objects and into Ben’s ears. His brain will then translate that sound into some sort of an image. Since the start of the usage of this method, Ben is able to cycle, rollerblade and avoid any potential obstacles.
Ben’s mother gets Ben to join an association where the blind leads the blind. The teacher of the group, who is also blind, tries to encourage Ben to use a cane as echolocation may not be able to locate some danger such as holes. However, Ben’s stubborn attitude gets the better of him. He refuses to use the cane as he feels that the cane equates to a disability device and he strongly believes that he is not disabled.
We should definitely learn from Ben’s optimism and dignity, but sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. When danger is involved, we should conform to what is best for us and not be insistent about what we think is better.
Sadly, Ben did not live long to tell his tale. The monster of cancer got the better of him and crept to his brain and spine. At the age of 16,in 2009, he passed away, having seen the world with his heart.

Nicolette Kum (1U)