Right gear, right habits, stay safe

Campaign encourages motorcyclists and delivery riders to have good riding habits

What do motorcycle stunt riders and trauma surgeons have in common?

They both have seen their share of broken bones.

Japanese stunt rider Hiroyuki Ogawa knows a lapse in concentration while riding a motorcycle can be dangerous.

Six years ago, Mr Ogawa - or Oga as he is known in the stunt-riding world - lost control of his motorcycle during a practice and broke his ankle. He was hospitalised for two months.

Dr Caroline Simon, a consultant surgeon, has treated bruised and battered riders such as Oga.

And that is why both want to remind riders to stay safe.

 

 

"The total number of (significant) motorcycle accidents we have seen from 2011 to 2015 is 865.

"That is an average of 150 to 200 each year, or roughly one every two days," Dr Simon tells The New Paper on Sunday.

The number of injured riders has been climbing.

Last year, 4,875 riders and pillions were hurt - 241 more than 2014 - according to traffic police figures.

Dr Simon (below), who is with the department of surgery at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, says significant injuries sustained by riders range from serious to severe, the latter of which can result in fatalities.

TNP PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Dr Simon says about half of rider injuries the hospital sees are chest-related, such as rib fractures and lung contusions. Fractures to the upper and lower limbs make up 48 per cent while head injuries account for 36 per cent.

Dr Simon tells TNPS that wearing proper riding apparel can reduce some of these injuries.

Yesterday, she shared her message at the launch of Singapore Ride Safe (SRS) 2016 at the Singapore Expo.

SRS 2016 is an initiative by the Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council.

The event was held in conjunction with the two-day Singapore Bike Show 2016.

While Oga is a stunt rider, he shares Dr Simon's message that riders need to suit up.

"I don't wear casual attire to do stunts because I want to avoid injuries," says Oga, 34, who began stunt riding when he was a 20-year-old university student.

Stunt performer Hiroyuki Ogawa. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAH PTE LTD

Whether riding for fun or pulling a stunt such as his signature move of a rolling stoppie with a 360-degree turn and bunny hop, Oga dons a jacket complete with shoulder, back and elbow armour.

Oga (below), who is performing at the bike show, also uses knee protectors under his riding pants.

"We (stunt riders) need to be flexible, so we cannot wear racing suits because of their stiffness," he says.

PHOTO: MAH PTE LTD

SUIT UP

All riders need to get suited up, say the organisers of SRS 2016 and its partners from the Land Transport Authority, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute.

They want delivery companies that employ riders to agree that their riders will "Wear Safe" and "Ride Safe" - this year's campaign tagline.

"We believe the awareness level may still be low. As such, the WSH Council and the WSH Institute are working with the Traffic Police to encourage delivery companies to improve on the riders' personal protective equipment," says a spokesman for the council.

It says 10 people died in work-related traffic accidents (WRTA) last year.

In 2014, there were six fatal WRTA accidents.

There are no specific figures for delivery riders hurt in traffic accidents.

What causes these accidents?

A focus group session organised by the WSH Institute in February with 40 participants from 14 delivery companies provided some insight.

Work factors: Poor fleet and delivery management, the pay-per-trip salary practice with an emphasis on sales over safety, road hazards and rider fatigue.

Road environment: Debris and oil patches as well as lane markings that become slippery when wet.

Rider's behaviour on the road: Reckless riding, being fatigued or overworked, and failure to maintain one's motorcycle.

Other road users: Lack of awareness for riders as well as speeding and failure to check blind spots.

Often, it is a combination of these factors that increases the likelihood of a traffic accident.

While additional riding courses, three-wheeled motorcycles and safety technologies such as action cameras can enhance rider safety, the WSH Council says "riders must also take personal responsibility for their own safety and health while riding".


ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

The tagline for the Singapore Ride Safe 2016 campaign is "Wear Safe. Ride Safe".

And it features The New Paper's Biker Boy in a road safety Traffic Police poster.

It is to remind riders that proper riding attire can reduce the chances of sustaining injuries.

 

 

For the poster, Biker Boy was decked in everything from an approved helmet with a clear visor and secured chin strap to a riding jacket, gloves, pants and riding boots.

They are essentially what Mr Zaihan Mohamed Yusof dons for every ride.

Biker Boy is the face of the campaign, appearing in pamphlets, posters and lamppost banners strategically placed around the island.

The Traffic Police says that apart from educating motorcyclists and their pillions on safe riding habits, the campaign aims to reach out to delivery companies to do their part.

At yesterday's launch, eight food companies and their representatives signed a pledge to have their riders ride safer, including exploring ways to dress them with personal protective gear.

- Melvin Singh

'Maybe the demon made him do it'

SHOCKING: Noor Amila's stepmother, Ms Norihan Bakar (right), with their family portrait.
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New condo residents upset over defects

Problems at Sengkang condo include cracked tiles and water seepage that damages furniture, attracts insects

ANGRY: (Above) Nearly 100 La Fiesta residents gathered to discuss their problems.

In June, they received the keys to their homes at La Fiesta, a 810-unit leasehold condominium in Sengkang.

Yesterday, nearly a hundred residents gathered at the development to attend an informal meeting to share their woes.

They claimed they have been hit with a series of problems, including water seepage. The property is built by EL Development (ELD).

Last year, the property developer was in the news as well after residents received their keys to the Trivelis flats in Clementi.

About 500 home owners hit the developer with complaints of shoddy workmanship and poor design for the Design, Build and Sell Scheme flats.

La Fiesta, a 810-unit leasehold condominium in Sengkang. TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

One buyer of La Fiesta wrote to ELD seeking assurances on May 15 last year.

That prompted the developer's managing director Lim Yew Soon to write an e-mail to the condo buyers four days later: "We can understand the concerns of the purchasers of La Fiesta after learning of what happened in Trivelis.

ANGRY: (Above) Nearly 100 La Fiesta residents gathered to discuss their problems. PHOTO: TNP READER

"We would like to assure you that we will learn from the lessons in Trivelis and not let history repeat itself in La Fiesta."

Some residents at La Fiesta feel otherwise.

PROBLEMS

The development received its temporary occupation permit in May, and by August, some residents said they were already experiencing problems.

Residents claimed their cabinets and shelves were showing signs of wear and tear. They also spoke of cracked bathroom tiles and ponding in parts of the units.

ANGRY:  (Above) They say their cabinets already show signs of wear and tear. TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Some residents claimed their units were also hit by water seepage that stained walls, damaged furniture and attracted insects to the wood rot.

Others complained that the finish was not what they had expected.

ANGRY: (Above) Water seepage found at Mr Lim Chee How's unit. TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Senior program manager Tan Swee Yong, who has been living there for a month, claimed his bed left deep indentations on the flooring.

Mr Tan, 39, said he had to climb 14 storeys to his unit as both lifts had broken down at the same time.

Residents paid between $1.1 million to $1.5 million for the units. Some said the developer provided only stopgap solutions.

IT consultant Lim Chee How, whose home is hit by water seepage, said: "The first time it happened, they patched it up and assured me it was fixed. Then water seeped through again at the same spot and in another (adjoining) room as well.

"We have been calling the developer every day to fix the problem."

The residents have gathered signatures from 120 units to petition the developer to enter a mediation session with them.

Several residents also communicate via WhatsApp groups and on Facebook.

Resident Chook Kheen Choong, 44, who is the owner of an Uber car rental, said: "Actually I see this as a happy problem because it brought the neighbours together to solve something."

Speakers Corner: Fixing vintage hi-fis since the 50s

How do some shops survive for decades? In the first of this new series, LAKEISHA LEO (tnp@sph.com.sg) learns their secrets

SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (above) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.
SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (above) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.
SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (left) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.

The shop sits on the third storey of Sim Lim Tower, a shopping mall and office building that opened in the 1980s.

Tai Cheong Radio Service is near the escalator, flanked by a variety of electronics stores.

Its owners have been fixing vintage hi-fi equipment since the 1950s, and the shop has been at its present location since 1989.

SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (above) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.TNP PHOTOS: JEREMY LONG

"It is for decoration," says Mr Lim Eng Boon, 64, who has a daughter in her 20s, of the unused speaker drivers hanging from the ceiling in the store.

"This is an old shop, so it needs to use old things as decoration."

Old men gather in the shop to chat with the two owners.

Inside, the shop is cluttered with parts in every corner. Some of the speaker drivers are so old, the metal has rusted.

SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (left) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.TNP PHOTOS: JEREMY LONG

Tai Cheong Radio Service specialises in speaker driver repairs and is owned by Mr Lim and his younger brother, Mr Lim Eng Khoon.

It was started by their father along Pasar Lane in the 1950s before it moved to Sim Lim Tower.

It caters to a niche audience and has a steady stream of customers.

There are few shops in Singapore that does what Tai Cheong Radio Service does.

If you want a vintage speaker driver fixed, this is the place to go.

The younger Mr Lim, 62, who has two sons in their 20s and a teenage daughter, tells The New Paper on Sunday that he started working in the shop when he was 17.

He says in Mandarin: "I wasn't interested in studying, so I fiddled around with the equipment in the shop because I was more interested in that."

"And so I played around until this turned into my full-time job."

The younger Mr Lim is also in charge of repairing the speaker drivers and says his hands "cannot stop working".

He was repairing a pair of vintage speaker drivers when we visited.

He says in Mandarin: "You can't find this anywhere else, and one speaker driver costs about $200."

"Here, we charge around $40 to repair it."

The shop makes enough for the brothers to earn at least $1,000 each month.

About 30 years ago, they could each take home at least $2,000 every month.

They do not have to worry about rent because their father bought the shop. Nor do they have concerns about it being sold en bloc in the future.

But they lament the fact that the shop will not be passed down to the children.

The older Mr Lim says: "They have no interest in repairing speakers.

"Even when we used to bring our children to the shop, they didn't fiddle around with speakers or audio equipment.

"After all, they are university graduates, they won't be interested in repair jobs."

SPEAKERS CORNER: Brothers Lim Eng Khoon (above) and Lim Eng Boon have been running Tai Cheong Radio Service in Sim Lim Tower since 1989.TNP PHOTOS: JEREMY LONG

Truck driver goes 'live' to kill time

S'porean's live streams are so popular that companies sponsor him and fans ask him for relationship advice

ENTERTAINING: Mr Nur JM Mohammad 'live' streams between cargo jobs as the waiting time can be long.
Ms Ava Gia Munaji Salamat (above)

Move over Chewbacca mum. Make way for Singapore's own video sensations.

One is a truck driver who is also a comedian and a "love guru". The other is a tour guide who can glam it up with the best.

LAZY MAN

Mr Nur JM Mohammad has a fan base of more than 40,000, with his Facebook Live videos hitting more than 1,200 views.

Pretty impressive considering Facebook Live was available only in April, and he started using it two months ago.

Facebook Live is a feature on Facebook that allows you to live stream videos to your followers. The videos will then be posted to your timeline when you tap "finish" to end the broadcast.

The feature has been picked up across the world, especially among long-haul truck drivers who live streamfor some company.

Mr JM or Jantan Malas (Malay for lazy man) logs onto Facebook Live between jobs.

"The waiting time between the cargo jobs can sometimes drag into long hours, so I will just walk around and talk to my fans," says the 37-year-old.

About 90 per cent of his fans are in Malaysia, he says.

He first posted videos on his Facebook page three years ago, andhe now has more than 300 videos.

Facebook Live means Mr JM is able to get closer to his fans and talk to them in real time through comments.

His fans even ask for advice on love, turning him into a "love guru" of sorts.

"People share their heartfelt feelings with me, and I hope to help them out," says Mr JM.

He has even won over some sponsorships. Fowrty, a plus-sized clothing company, and dietary supplement company Unicity have approached him.

Mr JM promotes the companies by mentioning them in his videos.

Not only is he comedic, Mr JM can also hold a note.

He usually sings Malay songs, and these videos have garnered more than 11,000 views.

"A lot of my fans ask me to sing and when they do, I'll usually look out for the song as soon as possible," says Mr JM.

"People have asked me to become a singer, but I don't think I have the looks to be one."

TOUR GUIDE

Ms Ava Gia Munaji Salamat (below) is a tour guide who started video blogging two years ago. She hosts the Suara Sexy Show, her version of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, on Facebook Live.

"I video blog about everything, about being a tour guide, about going to events and hosting events," says Ms Gia.

Her fans also listen to her opinions about current issues.

The 34-year-old has around 50,000 fans, and she is now in Colombia studying Spanish.

She was chosen with six others to become Singapore ambassadors to Colombia after reading an e-mail from the Singapore Tourism Board. The e-mail was about a Spanish Language Course offered by the Colombian government. 

A number of Ms Gia's live videos have more than 3,000 views. She has also scored big gigs including hosting the Kuala Lumpur Anugerah Pilihan Online (Online Choice Awards) in May this year.

"That was my biggest project, and I was able to meet big stars like (Malaysian actress-singer) Erra Fazira," she says.

Ms Gia also has sponsors, such as Singapore car rental company Doktor Kereta, which she promotes in her videos.

Ms Gia says: "I want people to get inspired, to dare to dream and to be determined to be a better person. When one door closes, knock on others and see if they open up for you."

"I have a strong family who has been riding with me on this journey. My parents worked very hard for me, and I am who I am today because of their hard work.

"I want to produce my own TV show, be in movies, be awarded the best video blogger award in Singapore. I want to be known for doing things that inspire."

She left fame to help people find homes

New homegrown app Ohmyhome aims to let S'poreans handle their property transactions on their own, bypassing the middleman. HARIZ BAHARUDIN (harizbah@sph.com.sg) speaks to its founders

SISTERS: Miss Race Wong (left) and Miss Rhonda Wong, the founders of Ohmyhome.

Miss Race Wong might seem familiar to some.

The 34-year-old, along with her sister Roseanne, used to be part of award-winning Cantopop duo 2R. The pair, who were active in the Hong Kong entertainment scene, gained fans, not just with their singing, but their acting chops too.

But the allure of fame did not last long.

Now the executive director of new real estate app Ohmyhome (OMH), Miss Race Wong tells The New Paper on Sunday: "While I will always be appreciative of the support I get from people, I realised that the life of fame had become stale.

"I felt like I could do more for myself and for others."

She immediately thought about her younger sister Rhonda Wong, a treasury bonds trader who started real estate agency Anthill Realtors in June 2014.

Miss Rhonda, 30, was also looking to do something different with her life.

"Anthill Realtors was a successful real estate investment business. But I wanted to do more to help people," she says.

The sisters started discussions last year and through their research, came to the conclusion that Singaporeans spend an unnecessary amount on housing agents.

Says Miss Race: "The core problem is that every year, at least $200 million is spent in commission fees when people enlist agents to help them sell or rent. This is money that could be saved."

After months of brainstorming and researching, the sisters came up with the idea to set up OMH, a real estate app that connects HDB buyers and tenants directly to potential sellers and landlords, without the need for any agents.

The app, which had its soft launch two months ago, will officially be launched in September.

EMPOWER

With the app, the sisters want to give Singaporeans the power to take charge of their property transactions.

Miss Rhonda, who is the chief executive officer of OMH, says: "What could be more important than one's own home? Wouldn't it be good to be able to make decisions by yourself, without relying on others?"

According to the sisters, the reason why so much is spent in commission fees is that people do not have enough information and are not sure how to handle the transaction.

This is the gap that OMH hopes to bridge. With the app, buyers and sellers can do their own paperwork and attend HDB appointments to transact without an agent.

For those who still need help, OMH also has its own team of agents that both buyers and sellers can hire.

YOUNGER DAYS: Miss Race Wong when she was in Cantopop group 2R. PHOTOS: UNIVERSAL MUSIC

"People spend because they do not have access to information and they lack confidence," says Miss Race.

The sisters have bigger plans for their app.

Once their database of users is large enough, they hope to rope in furniture manufacturers and electrical appliance dealers to offer attractive deals that will benefit OMH users.

There is also a plan to expand the app to include a listing of trusted home-service providers, like plumbers, repairmen and electricians.

"It's all so exciting, we're just starting out and based on the reception we've been getting, it looks very good," Miss Race says with a smile.

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