She keeps a sharp eye out for pirates

Her father died while she was out at sea, but Navy woman has no regrets about putting her duties first

VIGILANT: ME3 Lim Jia Yee has taken part in international counter-piracy efforts, including a three-month stint in the Gulf of Aden.
VIGILANT: ME3 Lim Jia Yee has taken part in international counter-piracy efforts, including a three-month stint in the Gulf of Aden.

Today, you may see her as just a tour guide at the Navy@Vivo exhibition at VivoCity.

But at sea, Military Expert 3 (ME3) Lim Jia Yee, 36, is an eagle eye who watches out for the bad guys.

She may be tucked away in an operational room without a view, but she oversees the expanse of the sea on her monitors, looking out for potential threats in the vicinity of the ship.

Two years ago, ME3 Lim was sailing on board the RSS Tenacious in pirate-infested waters in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, monitoring the movements of suspicious vessels.

The stealth frigate was part of Operation Blue Sapphire, a 31-nation effort to support international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, and it responded to 21 calls for help.

ME3 Lim worked eight hours a day, but on two four-hour shifts, with 12 hours of rest between shifts, so that she could maintain a high level of concentration every day during the three-month mission.

She spent her rest time catching up on sleep and helping to keep the spirits of the crew up.

Even though there were no major encounters with pirates, there was an incident that affected the crew.

They were supposed to dock at the port at Djibouti, the capital of Republic of Djibouti, but there was an explosion just days before their arrival.

"We couldn't replenish our supplies ashore, but we managed to meet our replenishment needs shortly after," she said.

"We were thankful we weren't at the danger zone where it occurred."


Of her stint, she remembers the blazing hot sun that beat down mercilessly on the crew.

"It was definitely hot," she said.

Despite the temperatures, which reached up to 42 deg C on deck, there was no respite from the constant vigilance the mission needed.

The 2014 stint was one of the biggest missions ME3 Lim has been on.

She said she would not have given away such a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, despite the sacrifices she had to make.

"I wouldn't want a 9-to-5 job even though it can mean weeks or months out at sea," she said.

While she was out on a training mission in the South China Sea in preparation for Operation Blue Sapphire, she received news that her father had died.

She returned to Singapore after the mission and went ahead with Operation Blue Sapphire after settling her father's affairs.

She said matter-of-factly: "After all the training, I didn't want to let it go to waste."

Yesterday, ME3 Lim hosted 29 beneficiaries from the Children's Cancer Foundation and Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home on a sail in the seas off VivoCity.

It is part of the Navy@Vivo exhibition where people can find out more about the capabilities and technology the Navy possesses.

"If you want to find out about the Navy, talk to someone who is in this line," she advised any potential recruit.

ME3 Lim also shared some anecdotes about life at sea, including how younger inexperienced colleagues vomited on duty as they had yet to find their sea legs.

After 16 years, she hardly feels the pitching of the boat any more, she said with a laugh.

Student jailed for molesting flatmate

Feeling aroused after hearing a fellow tenant having sex in the next bedroom, he snuck into another female tenant's room and molested her.

Yesterday, Zhang Tao, 27, a Chinese national who was studying here, was jailed seven months for outraging the woman's modesty.

Zhang, who was an undergraduate at Singapore Accountancy Academy, rented a bedroom at a condominium in the eastern part of Singapore.

The victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity, rented another bedroom in the same apartment with her husband.

On April 25, the couple went out for supper and returned to their room at about 3.20am.

But the husband was unable to sleep so he went out for coffee 10 minutes later.

His wife went to sleep in a T-shirt and underwear, and left her room door closed but unlocked.

At about 4.20am, Zhang sneaked into her room and stroked her inner thigh and private parts.

The woman woke up shocked and demanded to know what he was doing in her room. Zhang kept quiet and left her room after she ordered him to do so.

The woman then phoned her husband, who rushed back and confronted Zhang. The police were called.


Zhang later told the authorities he had become aroused after overhearing another tenant having sex in another room.

He said he knew the victim was alone in her room, having seen her husband leave the apartment.

Yesterday, he admitted to one count of molest, with a charge of criminal trespass taken into consideration for sentencing.

Zhang's lawyer, Mr Teo Choo Kee, said in mitigation that his client had been studying here for about four years.

He added that Zhang was feeling lonely and had succumbed to a moment of weakness, and was not in control of his senses or impulses.

Zhang, whose sentence was backdated to April 26, could have been jailed up to two years, with a fine and caning.

Ex-TNP journalist's book looks at China's one-child policy

Former The New Paper reporter's book on China's one-child policy earns praise

ACHIEVER: Ms Fong Foong Mei (above), author of One Child (below), is currently a fellow with a think-tank in the US.

Ask her where home is, and she will be hard-pressed to give an answer.

Ms Fong Foong Mei is now based in Washington, DC, where she is a fellow in a think-tank that focuses on public policy issues in the US.

But the former Singaporean permanent resident had called many places home in the past - from her home town in Malaysia to Singapore during her undergraduate years.

After a 2½-year stint as a reporter with The New Paper, she moved to New York to join The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in 2001 - the year the 9/11 tragedy happened.

In 2006, she left for China to be the newspaper's Beijing correspondent.

"For a long time, I was a snail. I carried my home on my back," she told TNP in a phone interview.

While she has settled down in the US with an American writer and is the mother of two children, the 43-year-old vividly remembers her heyday in the journalism world.

Her work in China earned her in 2007 journalism's most prestigious award - the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting as part of a WSJ team.

She also had a rare insight into China's transformative years as the nation grappled in 2008 with both the Sichuan earthquake and hosting the Beijing Olympics.

Her experience in China formed the theme of her book, which was published in January this year.


Titled One Child, it documents China's infamous population planning policy, which she called the world's largest social experiment.

It looks at how the "one-child policy" affected society, which was abandoned by the Chinese Communist Party in favour of a "two-child policy" late last year.

Ms Fong, who goes by the pen name Mei Fong, said: "What the Chinese are finding out now is that many of them still want to have only one child, thanks to more than three decades of the 'one-child policy'.

"Many of them have reasons that I had in the past too. They want freedom in their careers, and they want to juggle work and family on their own terms."

She pointed out that it was her own personal experience with her miscarriage while covering the deadly Sichuan earthquake that led her to write the book.

At the time, Ms Fong had followed a group of Sichuan migrants as they travelled home on boats, trains and buses to find their families devastated by the disaster.

During the trip, she found out that she was pregnant.

"It was a strange time to be happy for myself while also writing about all these people who had lost their children.

"Then when I hit my first trimester, I had a miscarriage. I tried to suppress it, telling myself that the kind of grief I felt could not compare with what I was seeing."

Through that, she developed a connection with the victims of the disaster, many of whom had lost their only child due to the policy and could not have another.

China wanted to suppress news of the disaster as the Beijing Olympics was looming, she added.

"It came into the national awareness that there was a fragility to the family when there is only one child.

"It made me realise that the desire for children and parenthood are powerful and potent forces.

"The kind of feelings that parents feel when this desire is thwarted and pushed aside, as it is in China, can be overwhelming," she said.

The book has received praise from notable reviewers and China watchers since its publication.

The Los Angeles Review of Books said: "(One Child) takes us behind the scenes of the Sichuan earthquake, the Olympic stadium in Beijing, the dancing grannies, the migrant workers, the orphanages, the transnational adoption of Chinese baby girls, birth tourism and surrogacy.

"She fills in the background to these familiar subjects with impressive research and interviews conducted over many years."

But Ms Fong maintained that she is not an expert on China.

"It was just me learning on the job. I was sent there to report, and I had to learn from people who knew what was going on."

Ms Fong will be giving a talk on her book at Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City at 3.30pm on July 16.

Split over Brexit

UK celebrities share their views on today's European Union referendum

Britain votes on European Union (EU) membership today.

With the “Leave” and “Remain” camps locked in an epic battle, celebrities give their take on which way they are leaning.

Opinion polls showed that 51 per cent want to remain in the EU and 49 per cent wants to leave. More than 46 million people are eligible to vote, BBC reported.


Sir Michael Caine

The much-decorated star insisted that a major shift would have to happen for him to embrace remaining in the EU.

John Cleese

The Fawlty Towers star took to Twitter to voice his opinion, and is pro-Brexit.

He said: “If I thought there was any chance of major reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad.

“Give up the euro, introduce accountability.”

Elizabeth Hurley

She is joining “Brexit” for sure.

“If it means we can go back to usingdecent light bulbs and choose high-powered hairdryers and vacuum cleaners if we so wish, I’m joining Brexit for sure.”

Joan Collins

The Dynasty star made her choice clear.

She posted on Twitter pictures of Union Jacks and a thumbs-up, and wrote: “Brexit”

Julian Assange

In an interview with British TV channel ITV, the Wikileaks founder branded the EU undemocratic.

He said: “The UK is bad for the EU, but also the EU is bad for the UK.”

He said EU legislation permits a lack of democratic accountability.


Benedict Cumberbatch

The Sherlock Holmes star was among 250 celebrities who signed a letter calling for Britain to stay in the EU, The Mirror reported.

It read: “Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”

J. K. Rowling

The author of the Harry Potter series of books wants her fans to vote “Remain”, and compared campaigners to main antagonist Lord Voldemort in her plea.

She said: “The research demonstrates that we don’t know what we’ve got. Ignorant of what it gives us, we take the benefits for EU membership for granted.”

Simon Cowell

The music mogul said he is with the “Remain” camp, explaining that leaving EU would be like being isolated as an island.

He said: “My gut feeling is I don’t think at this time — because it is a tricky time — you would want to be on your own on a tiny island.”

Jeremy Clarkson and James May

The former Top Gear stars backed “Remain”, the International Business Times reported.

They argued that a vote to leave EU will have a detrimental impact on their new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour.

Said Clarkson: “Britain, on its own, has little influence on the world stage. I think we are all agreed on that.”

Idris Elba

The Hollywood star made his pro-EU views clear on Twitter.

The Luther actor posted: “My parents immigrated to the UK, worked hard and made a contribution... me... on that basis vote in.”

Goldblum's special Independence Day

Jeff Goldblum will never forget Independence Day, but it's not because he starred in movie.
SERIOUS: Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day: Resurgence

Jeff Goldblum, who became a father while shooting Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR), admitted he finds children more interesting these days.

This is good because the 63-year-old US actor, who reprised his role as scientist-environmentalist David Levinson, is surrounded by children in the sequel.

In the movie's nail-biting finale, which was his own idea, Goldblum's character rescues a group of schoolchildren from an alien.

He referenced his softer side to M in a separate interview: "I'm always looking at kids and saying to my wife, 'Look at them'. And I'm asking people, 'how old are your (kids)'... And the kids in the movie are cute as Christmas."

Goldblum married former Olympic gymnast Emilie Livingston, 33, in 2014 and the couple welcomed their son Charlie last year - on July 4, Independence Day, or America's national day.

The hands-on dad said he misses his son all the time.



#rubadubdub #youmakebathtimelotsoffun

A photo posted by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on


"We use (the app) Facetime and it helps a lot. I change his diapers every morning and feed the bottle. (I'm) at the bathtub every night. I miss him and right now every day he's learning something else," he gushed.

Before IDR, Goldblum - whose last blockbuster was The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and who will star in another big franchise, Thor: Ragnarok next year as the eccentric Grandmaster - seemed to shying away from the genre.

But he shared that a sequel for Independence Day had been in the works for a long time and he had kept in touch with the film-makers over the years.

"They said people wanted another one... but we wanted to wait to do something special. Finally hearing (it was going to happen) was a lovely surprise," he said.

Goldblum also raved about the cast.

Bill Pullman, who played the US President in the first film, and Brent Spiner, who played an unkempt and excitable scientist, also reprised their roles.


Goldblum added: "There will be a American female president (Sela Ward), which was a good idea. Liam Hemsworth is a wonderful guy and Charlotte Gainsbourg (as David's associate), I have scenes with her and I love her... she's great."

He even hinted at a third instalment.

Giving his thoughts on its possible plot, which would involve less destruction this time, he said: "It may play out in a third one, where earthlings will be bonded on a precious, fragile and beautiful place... Who knows?"

SWEET: Actor Jeff Goldblum and his wife Emilie Livingston. PHOTO: REUTERS

Iceland through to knockout stages with Austria win

Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson celebrates with fans after their win over Austria.
Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson celebrates with fans after their win over Austria.


(Jon Dadi Bodvarsson 18, Arnor Ingvi Traustason 90+4)


(Alessandro Schopf 60)

Iceland, the smallest country to ever grace a major tournament, will face England in the Euro 2016 last-16 after securing a remarkable late win against Austria on Thursday morning (June 23, Singapore time).

Hailing from a tiny island of just 330,000 inhabitants and unable to play outside for large chunks of the year to due to the freezing conditions, it was remarkable that the North Atlantic nation even made it to the finals.

Iceland have upset the apple cart once again, though, securing a last-gasp 2-1 win against Austria, ranked 10th in the world, thanks to Arnor Ingvi Traustason's stoppage-time effort in Paris.

Their first-ever win at a major tournament sets up a fascinating last-16 clash on Monday in Nice against England - a country approximately 165 times the size of Iceland.

The minnows threatened from the outset as Johann Gudmundsson's thunderous early effort hit the goal frame, with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson opening the scoring smartly after 18 minutes after officials missed Aron Gunnarsson stepping across the line when providing the mammoth throw that led to the opener.

Aleksandar Dragovic wasted the chance for Austria to go in level after hitting a penalty against the post, but an improved second-half display brought a goal as substitute Alessandro Schopf scored a smart solo effort.

Marcel Koller's side peppered the Iceland goal for the remaining 30 minutes yet not only failed to get the win they required but suffered a late defeat, with substitute Traustason finishing a stoppage-time break.


Ronaldo finds his magic to get Portugal through with Hungary draw

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring for Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring for Portugal.


(Zoltan Gera 19 Balazs Dzsudzsak 47, 55)


(Luis Nani 42, Cristiano Ronaldo 50, 62)

If ever Cristiano Ronaldo found the captain's armband stifling, this was the day.

As Portugal surprisingly laboured to draws in their opening two Euro 2016 matches, the Portuguese ace bore the brunt of the criticism.

But at the Stade de Lyon on Thursday morning (June 23, Singapore time), Ronaldo suddenly got into the mood.

One assist and two goals by him did the trick, as Portugal fought back from going behind thrice to draw 3-3 with Hungary.

The result saw them finish third in Group F to narrowly clinch a spot in the Round of 16 as one of the tournament's four best third-placed teams.

He is back in the groove, although it didn't looked like it was shaping up to be a memorable day for him.

Stress was beginning to tell on the pitch, and off it.

Before the crunch match with Hungary, Ronaldo snatched a microphone from a Portuguese journalist and threw it into an adjacent lake when asked if he was prepared.

Things certainly looked like they were going pear-shaped for them when Hungary took the lead.

Zoltan Gera, the former Fulham and West Bromwich Albion midfielder, smashed in the opening goal from outside the penalty box in the 19th minute after a corner kick was only half-cleared.

Just when it seemed Portugal would go into the break 1-0 down, Ronaldo rediscovered his long-missing Midas touch.

Sensing the opposing defenders drifting out of position, he sliced them apart with a beautifully weighted through-ball for Nani to fire a shot in at the near post three minutes before half-time.

The dramatic end to the first period was only a teaser.

Just two minutes into the second half, Balazs Dzsudzsak blasted a deflected free-kick into the net to restore Hungary's lead.

But didn't last long.

Ronaldo's equaliser came just three minutes later. Joao Mario was the provider, supplying the cross from the right flank for him to execute a beautiful flick to make it 2-2.

In the 55th minute, Dzsudzsak put Hungary back ahead with another deflected shot, just outside of the box.

But Ronaldo wasn't done yet as a thumping 62nd-minute header made it 3-3 as he almost single-handedly dragged his team out from disaster.

In the end, Portugal made it through to the knockout phase, but only just.

Fortunately for them, Ronaldo stirred to life just in time as the Portuguese miraculously find themselves in the next round without a win under their belt.

Croatia, conquerors of Spain, are next.

Portugal will keep their fingers crossed that Ronaldo's sizzling form doesn't end here.

Albirex the team to beat in The New Paper League Cup

Defending champions Albirex Niigata will be the team to beat in next month's The New Paper League Cup as the White Swans aim to carry over their superb S.League form in their quest to win an unprecedented quadruple.

The draw was held at the Singapore Press Holdings auditorium yesterday in the presence of Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin, S.League CEO Lim Chin, TNP Editor Dominic Nathan, Sports Editor Lim Han Ming and representatives of the eight S.League clubs involved in the competition.

The Garena Young Lions will not be participating in the competition as they will be away for an overseas stint next month.

Albirex have been drawn into Group B alongside Geylang International, Home United and Balestier Khalsa, while an equally competitive Group A pits 2014 champions Brunei DPMM FC against Warriors FC, Hougang United and Tampines Rovers.

The New Paper League Cup champions will receive $30,000 while the runners-up will take home $15,000.

TNP readers and football fans can also stand a chance to win attractive cash prizes if they correctly predict the champions, runners-up and plate final winners.

TNP will randomly pick a winner for the grand prize of $2,000 and four other consolation prizes worth $500.



Warriors FC

Hougang United

Brunei DPMM FC

Tampines Rovers


Geylang International

Albirex Niigata

Balestier Khalsa

Home United

Movie Review: Apprentice (M18)

Kudos to local director Boo Junfeng for handling a touchy subject with dignity.

There is nothing macabre about this drama, which focuses on correctional officer 

Aiman's (Firdaus Rahman) fascination with the hangman's job.

Boo cleverly leads you on as he slowly reveals Aiman's morbid curiosity.

We see how he tries to get close to the prison's chief executioner Rahim (Wan Hanafi Su) so when it is time for Rahim to pick a successor, Aiman becomes the natural choice.

Aiman initially hides his apprenticeship from his elder sister Suhaila (Mastura Ahmad).

He also withholds crucial information in his application form about his family background.

Why all the secrecy?

You'll probably be able to guess the answer but it does not matter.

This beautifully shot film lets you dwell on the relationship between Aiman and Rahim, which is well played by the two actors.

Unfortunately, the ending is quite a cop-out.

Rating: 3/5