She was in pain, unable to move. Yet she dialled my number

In The New Paper on Sunday (Oct 26), Ng Jun Sen wrote about a defiant elderly woman who would rather accept help from neighbours than from social services. This is despite the fact that she is unable to walk due to the pain in her legs. But sometimes the connection between a journalist and newsmaker lasts after the story has been submitted. On Saturday afternoon, he received a call...


Beneath her headstrong exterior is a lonely person wanting to talk to anybody who walks past her flat.

That was the impression I got of Madam Kalsom Abdullah, the 76-year-old who has to crawl around her flat after a minor stroke three years ago.

She lives alone in her rental flat since her husband died six years ago. So when I woke up this morning to a phone call from Madam Kalsom,

I thought she just wanted to chat. I was wrong.

The voice that greeted me on the other end was shaky and filled with fear.

It's a far cry from the proud woman who told me yesterday that she doesn't need help from social workers.

"Hello, you're the reporter right? I can't move. I'm just lying here. Pain, very pain," she said.

Do you need me to call someone, I asked while trying to mask my panicky voice.

"Don't call anyone, it's not an emergency...Will it be fine if I take Panadol?"

I responded that I wasn't a doctor who can prescribe medicine and told her that I would come visit her.

When she opened the door to me later, it was immediately clear that she had suffered.

Gone were the smiles from before. Instead, she hastily described the crippling pain that she felt in the morning.

"My body hurt everywhere just now, I didn't want to move. I didn't bathe. I didn't clean the floor," said the old lady.

"Oh, I took the Panadols anyway. If I die, I die lah." I was worried.

I tried to find out more about her latest condition. The Panadols helped reduce the pain but it still hurts to move her right calf, she said, pointing to the swelling on her feet.

I paused, thinking about the incredulity of the situation.

As a journalist, I'm not the one people should turn to for medical advice.

She has four sons, two daughters and many neighbours who obviously care for her.

But she dialled my number, which she copied from my name card, instead of the many other numbers already saved in her phone.

Why did she call me?

"Don't know," replied Madam Kalsom.

Clearly, this is a woman who needs help from people who are trained to give it. She's not alone.

Last week, I spoke to Madam Yap Bie Keow, the 81-year-old who for four days, unknowingly shared the same room as her daughter after she died in her sleep.

Her son, 60, lived in the same flat as them. They told me they had suspicions that something went wrong, but did not know what to do.

It's a story that mirrored one from a year ago involving a mother-and-son pair at Ghim Moh, which I wrote.

I can't help but wonder if this is a worrying trend about our elderly folk here. Do they know what to do when an emergency happens? Why are they are so stubborn to seek proper help? Don't they care about dying alone in their homes? These are not questions that I can answer.

At 25 years old, I have a long way to go, hopefully, before I can give a primary account.

I might be an old man pondering about impending death one day. But for now, my plan is to live a good life as much as I can so that I know the value of it in my old age.

Do you want a doctor, I asked Madam Kalsom again.

"No, no, no, I'm better already. Thank you for coming. My daughter may be coming soon."

I only left when I was totally satisfied that she would be fine. I reminded her again that she has a phone with a special button to alert the authorities in case of emergency.

Her neighbours know about her condition, and she told me she has informed her children.

I also left her a name card to a social service group and instructed her to call them. Then, we bade our farewells. She was smiling again. Maybe she just wanted a chat after all

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Christopher Lee wins best actor at Golden Bell Awards

Christopher Lee thanked his wife during his acceptance speech
Christopher Lee thanked his wife during his acceptance speech

Christopher Lee won best actor at  Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Bell Awards - the equivalent of their Emmys.

The 43-year-old took home the trophy for Best Actor for his role in the drama A Good Wife. 

In his acceptance speech, an exuberant Lee yelled out his thanks to his wife Fann Wong. “Thank you! Thank you for giving birth to such a cute baby!”

He concluded by telling them “I love you”.

Related report: Baby Zed (and Fann Wong) send adorable message to Christopher Lee after Golden Bell win

Suarez: Biting's harmless, shouldn't be punished as severely as for a bad tackle

Luis Suarez believes that while appalling, the damage done by his biting incidents is nothing compared to that done by a bad tackle.
Luis Suarez believes that while appalling, the damage done by his biting incidents is nothing compared to that done by a bad tackle.

Biting opponents may be appalling but it is harmless, said you-know-who.

And the deed should not be punished as severely as a bad tackle, added the controversial Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan marksmen is set to make his long-awaited Barca debut in El Clasico at Real Madrid later on Saturday - after completing a four-month ban for sinking his teeth into Italy defender Georgi Chiellini at the World Cup finals in Brazil.

It was the third time that Suarez bit an opponent. Previous incidents took place at former clubs Ajax in 2010 and Liverpool in 2013.

He received a seven and 10-match ban respectively.

The 27-year-old said he was getting help to control his "impulse" to bite. In his new book "Crossing The Line: My Story" (serialised in The Guardian newspaper), he said that the offence should not receive severe punishment.

THREE BITES: Luis Suarez bit into PSV's Otman Bakkal in 2010, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in June. PHOTOS: Screengrabs from Dailymotion, Sky Sports and TV

Double standards

"After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting (Chelsea defender) Branislav Ivanovic (for Liverpool), I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration," Suarez wrote.

"The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course, it will have if you can take someone's leg off and still not be booked...

"I know biting appals a lot of people, but it's relatively harmless... When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there," he added.

"None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield's ear. But none of this makes it right."

Premier League top-scorer Suarez netted a remarkable 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season. He moved to the Nou Camp in a deal worth 81 million euros ($130.9m) after his World Cup controversy.

Barca coach Luis Enrique said the Uruguayan will play some part in Saturday's match in the Bernabeu.


Suarez admitted that the adrenaline levels and pressure in high-profile matches caused his biting impulse to manifest itself but said there will be no repeat now that he's getting the right help.

"Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way," Suarez told the Guardian Weekend magazine in an interview on Saturday.

"There are other players who react by breaking someone's leg, or smashing someone's nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse.

"It is like an impulse, like a reaction. I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people."

- Reuters

Unhappy with Justin Bieber's choices? I'll punch him when I need to, says Usher

Singer Bieber takes his shirt off as he and model Stone introduce an act during the "Fashion Rocks 2014" concert in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Talk about tough love!

Singer-songwriter Usher definitely has that for one-time protege Justin Bieber, 20.

The "Good Kisser" singer, 36, voiced his opinions on Bieber's boundary-pushing behaviour in the latest Billboard magazine. 

"I can say I'm not happy with all the choices my friend has made, but I'm supportive of him," Usher said. "He's making his own decisions and it's important to show support."

From punching paparazzi, to dragging out a dramatic on-again off-again relationship with Selena Gomez, to his multiple arrests, Bieber has strayed from the family-friendly role model image that made him a star.

Not your typical family-friendly role model anymore? Photo: AFP 


He started his career with Usher when he was just 13 years old, auditioning for the chart-topper to score a record deal with Usher and Scooter Braun's Raymond Braun Media Group. 

"Our relationship is more man-to-man now," Usher explained.

"I try my hardest to give as much positive reinforcement as I can. I'll punch him in the f---ing chest when I need to, and give him a hug and kiss when I need to." 

Bieber's 'not a racist'

Usher previously came to Bieber's defence when a video made its way online showing the singer using the N-word. 

"As I have watched Justin Bieber navigate difficult waters as a young man, I can tell you that he hasn't always chosen the path of his greatest potential, but he is unequivocally not a racist," Usher said this past June.

"What he is now is a young man faced with an opportunity to become his best self, an example to the millions of kids that follow him to not make the same mistakes."

Usher has worked with Bieber on his studio albums, even lending his voice to Biebs' 2009 single "First Dance." 

"It's more than just mentoring," Usher told Billboard. "I love the kid."

Sources: US Weekly, Billboard magazine, Reuters, AFP

Tags: justin bieber and usher

PGA president sacked for calling Poulter a 'lil girl'

Golfer Ian Poulter in action.
Golfer Ian Poulter in action.

The PGA of America has sacked president Ted Bishop after he attacked golfer Ian Poulter on social media.

Bishop had reacted to Englishman Poulter's criticism of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson in an autobiography.

Addressing Poulter on Thursday, Bishop tweeted: "Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC (Ryder Cup) points. Yours or His? Lil Girl."

The American later followed up with a Facebook post that read: "Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!"

Both posts have since been deleted.

The jibes prompted the board of directors to act swiftly and remove Bishop. A statement said that his "insensitive gender-based statements" were "inconsistent with the policies of the PGA".


PGA vice-president Derek Sprague will replace Bishop on an interim basis.

He said: "The members and apprentices of the PGA of America must uphold the highest standards and values of the profession, as well as the manner in which we conduct ourselves at all times.

"We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident."

Bishop had just a month left on his two-year presidency before his sacking.

Shocking and disappointing

In his book entitled No Limits, Poulter revealed that Faldo had "lost a lot of respect" from players when he branded Sergio Garcia as useless during the 2008 Ryder Cup.

He also took aim at Watson - whom Bishop appointed as the 2014 US Ryder Cup captain - for his "utterly bizarre" decision-making, which gave Team Europe "a real boost".

Poulter responded to Bishop's comments in a statement issued to the Golf Channel, where he wrote: "Is being called a 'lil girl' meant to be derogatory or a put down?

"That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."

Sources: AFP, BBC

WATCH: Benedict Cumberbatch skirt round THAT penguin video

Benedict Cumberbatch (seen here with Keira Knightley) was the subject of a viral video about his inability to pronounce the word "penguin".
Benedict Cumberbatch (seen here with Keira Knightley) was the subject of a viral video on his inability to pronounce the word "penguin".

By now, you've probably heard or come across snippets of Benedict Cumberbatch fumbling over the word "penguin".

If you haven't, please take 18 seconds from your schedule.

You'll probably have a good chuckle listening to the hapless Englishman invent several different pronunciations for the flightless bird.

Here's where the laughs happen on an episode of the BBC documentary Strange Islands (about the South Pacific):

So when Cumberbatch appeared on The Graham Norton Show, he was visibly embarrassed by his inability to get "penguin" right.

The irony wasn't lost on the Sherlock actor - who lent his voice for the upcoming Penguins of Madagascar animated film, which is set to open in November.

Skirting around the word "penguin" by referring to it as the "said animal", the 38-year-old admitted: "I'm now completely terrified of the word - I don't go near it."

After re-living the horror as the scene was played once again, he tried to blame the editing team behind the documentary.

But Cumberbatch eventually got it right - with a little coaching from his host.

The penguin hijinks start from 3:21. Psst, there's also a spot-on Jar Jar Binks impression thrown in. Enjoy!



Side note to Mr Cumberbatch: You did get the word right in the Penguins of Madagascar trailer I saw, although it was Dreamworks who made the film, not Disney. Cheers, buddy!

Source: YouTube

Serena Williams beats Wozniacki to reach WTA Finals title match

Williams beats Wozniacki to reach WTA Finals title match.

Defending champion Serena Williams took a step closer to defending her WTA Finals crown.

The American beat Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) in today's semi-final match. - AFP

Related report: Serena in town to defend WTA Finals title

Related report: Serena slams Russian tennis chief for calling sister and her 'Williams brothers'

United beat Liverpool to goalie Valdes? Coach van Gaal gives a hint

Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes was photographed at Manchester United's Carrington training ground.
Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes was photographed at Manchester United's Carrington training ground.

This could be a kick in the teeth for Liverpool fans hoping for a new goalkeeper.

Manchester United look to have leapt to the front of the queue in signing Victor Valdes, 32 - after Louis van Gaal gave a cryptic hint about signing the free agent.

The Dutchman had given the ex-Barcelona player his debut in 2002 during his second spell as Nou Camp boss.

Now Valdes has linked up with the Red Devils for training in a bid to regain his fitness after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in March.

While van Gaal claims that his offer to help Valdes in his rehabilitation is "not a surprise" because of the relationships with former players, the United manager did not rule out the idea of adding the Spaniard to his playing roster.

He would be an excellent deputy. Such a move would also provide competition for first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea.


When asked about the likelihood of signing Valdes, the 63-year-old replied: "Manchester United always have their eyes open."

There were rumours that Valdes, who decided to part ways with Barcelona at the end of last season, was moving to Liverpool.

Their current No. 1 Simon Mignolet failed to inspire confidence with some dodgy displays for the Reds.

However, reports emerged that talks between the Merseysiders and Valdes' agent have broken down, paving the way for him to link up with Liverpool's fierce English rivals United instead,.

Newspaper the Mail Online claimed that a permanent agreement could be forged within the next two weeks.

Sources: Mail Online, Manchester United official website, The Guardian