'Pimping' tuk tuks in Sri Lanka for charity

40 men plan to drive tuk-tuks 1,000km in eight days for charity

PLAYTIME: Children at one of the Indian orphanges play in one of the tuk-tuks during Pimp My Tuk Tuk Challenge 2013.

Two years ago, they drove through India in tuk-tuks and raised more than US$80,000 (S$107,000) for charity.

This year, an all-male group of 39 expatriates and one Singaporean will drive through Sri Lanka in eight days, again in the three-wheeled taxis.

This time, they hope to raise US$137,000 with the journey, named the Pimp My Tuk Tuk Challenge.

The idea for the first trip began as a 50th birthday celebration for Mr Nick Sutcliffe, who has worked in Singapore for five years as the managing director of a global think-tank.

"I wanted to do something that didn't include the usual weekend getaway and I wanted to create something to give back," said Mr Sutcliffe, 51.

When those around him expressed interest in going on the trip, he spent 10 months organising the 2013 trip.

As a result, 21 expatriates decorated 11 tuk-tuks and drove six days across India.

They visited orphanages and homes to donate notebooks, sports balls and food to needy children.


Said one of the drivers, Mr Michael Phelps, 41, who works in an international money broker: "Meeting the children was just mind blowing.

"At (one of the) orphanages (we visited), all of the children were carrying HIV and it was sad to see them so happy and to know their lives are going to be so short."

Another driver, Mr Alex Longman, 42, who also met the children, said: "We were all in tears. I think it's a moment that every driver will never forget."

Before embarking on the ride, friends and family of the riders donated US$80,000 to the drivers and the money went to the Round Table India, which is an organisation aimed at building schools for children, and the Singapore Children's Society.

With the money, Round Table India built a school in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The drivers' expenses came from their own pockets, said Mr Longman, who is one of three organisers of this year's challenge.

For the Pimp My Tuk Tuk Challenge slated to begin in September, the number of drivers travelling across Sri Lanka nearly doubled from 21 to 40.

Drivers will drive five to eight hours a day to travel over 1,000km in eight days, from Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka, to Colombo, in the south-west.

The men are hoping to raise US$100,000 from corporate sponsorships of the tuk-tuks for Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka, which supports rural communities, and $50,000 for a local charity, Food From The Heart.

They have raised about half the amount.

Mr Anson Quek, executive director of Food From the Heart, which distributes food to the needy, said: "What has encouraged us most is the fact that we have 40 like-minded individuals coming together, giving both their time and money by taking up this challenge.

"This initiative is a wonderful display of love and unrivalled passion to help those in need."

I wanted to do something that didn't include the usual weekend getaway, and I wanted to create something to give back.

- Mr Nick Sutcliffe

'They suffered a great loss'

Reader calls TNP hotline to rally help for children whose parents were killed in PIE crash

HEARTBREAKING: Mr Najib Siddik, 33 and his son Aadam, two. He read a hearbreaking Facebook post about an accident and called the TNP hotline.

Mr Najib Siddik, 33, who works in the education industry, saw a Facebook post about a heartbreaking accident last week.

A couple had died in a motorcycle accident on the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) , leaving behind their two young children, aged nine and 10.

The father of three, aged six, two and two months, decided to call The New Paper hotline to share the news.

He said: "The children have suffered a great loss right before fasting month.

"I was hoping that by sharing the news, the community can be rallied to help these children."

The report was published last Monday.


Another hotline caller, logistics officer Phillips Ivan Andrew, 36, was on his way to meet a friend in Bishan last Wednesday when he heard people shouting: "Fire! Fire!"

He went closer and saw thick black smoke coming from the top storey of a flat at Bishan Street 12.

He called the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the TNP hotline to report the incident.

No one was injured in the fire and its cause is being investigated.

The loyal TNP reader, who has being reading the paper for 20 years, said: "I wanted to share the news so that others can learn about the importance of fire safety."

The report was published last Thursday.

For their tip-offs, these readers will each receive a $100 KFC voucher.

We value your calls and e-mails, so keep them coming. You can call us at 1800-733-4455,SMS or MMS 9477-8899 or e-mail us at tnp@sph.com.sg.

Tags: TNP readers and help

'Indiana Jones' team to help save relics

Britain to fund 'rescue archaeologists' to save historic sites from ISIS

RUINED: ISIS fighters destroying an artifact at a museum in Mosul, Iraq.
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Tweets, YouTube videos show ISIS' plans

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Najib to Umno: Safeguard our image

M'sian PM says criticism by Umno leaders could destroy country's international standing

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Shamans hold second ritual at Mt Kinabalu

APPEASING THE SPIRITS: A buffalo being slaughtered at the ritual at Kinabalu Park.
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Suu Kyi: NLD must not be complacent

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Wrestling Diva was born into the sport

Wrestling star Paige's mother unknowingly performed in the ring while she was pregnant with the future WWE Diva

LIVE: Professional wrestler Saraya-Jade Bevis, 22, better known by her stage name Paige, will be coming here next month.
LIVE: Professional wrestler Saraya-Jade Bevis, 22, better known by her stage name Paige, will be coming here next month.
LIVE: Professional wrestler Saraya-Jade Bevis, 22, better known by her stage name Paige, will be coming here next month.

She was born to wrestle and even had a taste of it in utero, when her mother wrestled when she was seven months pregnant.

She did not know that she was pregnant at the time and quit the ring as soon as the pregnancy was confirmed.

Of course the connection has been made that her mother's performances had some bearing on Paige's career.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Diva Paige grew up in a family of professional wrestlers, so it seemed natural for her to choose it as a career.

Her parents are better known by their ring names, Sweet Saraya and Ricky Knight, and her older brothers are Zak Zodiac and Roy Bevis. The term "diva" refers to female WWE performers.

Born and raised in Norfolk, England, she was 13 when she officially entered the ring and went on to hold several championships on independent circuits within Europe.

In 2011, she signed a contract with WWE and debuted on its main roster in April last year.

She holds the title of being the inaugural NXT Women's Champion and was the youngest ever WWE Divas Champion at the age of 21.

"Wrestling is all I've ever wanted to do," said 22-year-old Paige, whose real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis, in a phone interview with The New Paper from Buffalo, New York.

"All I've ever known is wrestling. Plus my mum was pretty much pregnant with me when she realised. So I've basically been wrestling since I was a foetus."

Paige will be in town for the first time for the WWE Live Singapore event next month, alongside other WWE Superstars including John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Kane and fellow female wrestler Nikki Bella.

No matter how unorthodox a wrestling career sounded to most people, it never fazed her.

She loved travelling the world with her family and meeting new people at such a young age, while balancing work with school.

Paige said she would tell her teachers she would be at "Norway one week or Germany and they would just hand me my homework and I'd do it on the plane or car".

But it was not always a bed of roses.

She recalled how when she was around 15, she would get into fights with boys just to "prove" herself.

Schoolmates were not particularly nice to her because back then, they thought wrestling was not cool. That was when she hit the lowest point of her career.

"When I was 15, I was wrestling all the time. I travelled every weekend and wrestled during the week," she said.

"I never got time to be a teenager or to be just a kid. I found my life consumed by wrestling."

However, Paige overcame her anxiety and steeled her resolve because she knew she never wanted to miss out on any of the experiences.


As a female wrestler, she also set out to change gender perceptions.

The tomboyish brunette babe said: "Obviously, people don't take female wrestling too seriously. So trying to prove yourself constantly was always tough.

"My obstacle was always trying to show others that (women) belong in the ring with the men."

As more people got to hear of her and as she wrestled more with her male peers, she said the respect grew. She now has fans from all over the world who turn up at meet-and-greet sessions and comic conventions.

Of her most memorable encounters, Paige said with a laugh: "There was one time where people were lining up to see (the WWE stars) and to get a picture. One guy had come up to the table just as I had scratched my nose and was adamant about shaking that hand.

"I've also had marriage proposals, which was nice. I could have been married about 50 times already. It's sweet because I think it shows how much they love me."



WWE Live Singapore


July 2, 7.30pm


Singapore Indoor Stadium


$88, $108 and $148 from www.sportshubtix.sg

Time for tougher laws to crack down on 'killer drivers'

Driver who kills 4 in CTE crash while high on drugs gets maximum sentence but netizens say he got off lightly

TRAGIC: The scene of the tragic accident at the CTE exit to Yio Chu Kang that killed four. The driver, Toh Cheng Yang, had been under the influence of drugs and had also been speeding.

While high on drugs, Toh Cheng Yang drove dangerously at high speed on the Central Expressway (CTE) and killed four people in an accident.

Last Friday, District Judge Low Wee Ping had harsh words for Toh, 36, when sentencing him to the maximum five years in jail and 20-year ban from driving for dangerous driving causing death.

By losing full control of his faculties after consuming excessive amounts of a prescribed-only tranquiliser as well as alcohol, Toh had turned his vehicle into a killing machine.

And four innocent lives paid for his irresponsible, even cruel, actions.

Is it time then for our law-makers to relook the penalties for severe cases of road accidents where offenders were culpable for the deaths of other road-users through such dangerous actions as drug-taking, road rage, excessive consumption of alcohol and speeding?

Read the full report in our print edition on June 22.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop

How laws in other countries compare

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