California Fitness closed... what now for its members?

A member peering through the shutters of the now-closed California Fitness' Novena Square outlet on the afternoon of July 20.

California Fitness has ceased operations in Singapore, after the last two outlets at Novena and Bugis shut down on Wednesday (July 20).

Customers could have bought gym membership packages at California Fitness up till the point of closure.

Some of these packages involved a lump-sum payment of $4,000 for a two-year membership. Others are paid through monthly instalments of about $100 each via GIRO or credit card.

Were you one of the gym's members who paid for a package you can't use anymore?

Here are some tips from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), and lawyer Rajan Supramaniam on what you can do to try to get your money back.

1. Cancel your monthly instalment

If you are subscribed to a monthly payment scheme via credit card, Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon recommends contacting your bank immediately and asking for a chargeback due to non-delivery of services.

"If the chargeback claim is valid, consumers would not be liable for that payment and any recurring payment to California Fitness," said Mr Seah.

If paying via GIRO, you should instead ask your bank to cease GIRO payment to California Fitness.

However, if the bank has already paid California Fitness in full, you may still be liable to monthly repayments.

2. Get yourself a lawyer

Mr Supramaniam recommends seeking legal advice from a lawyer, who can look at the clauses in the contract you've signed with California Fitness before informing you what you can do.

"We need to look at the terms (that were agreed upon) before seeing what further action can be taken," he said.

3. Contact the relevant authorities

Mr Supramaniam also recommends exploring options with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to see if they could render any assistance.

An online petition on for California Fitness to refund its victims has 2,024 supporters so far. Should the petition be successful, it would be sent to Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.

Mr Seah also recommends contacting Case for further assistance at their hotline number 6100-0315.

From the time the announcement was made this morning up until 5pm, Case has received 225 complaints from consumers.

Case is currently contacting the provisional liquidators and will update their advisory in due course.

Movie Review: Terraformars (PG13)

For a sci-fi fantasy epic directed by Takashi Miike, one of Japan's most critically acclaimed directors, Terraformars is disappointing.

Adapted from a manga series, the film is set in the 26th century, where Earth is overpopulated and human beings are on the search for new frontiers.

As part of a terraforming mission on Mars, shrewd scientist Kou Honda (Shun Oguri) sends out a bunch of outcasts to exterminate giant cockroach-like humanoids.

Unlike last year's Attack On Titan, which blew us away with sumptuous visuals, the CGI in Terraformars is weak. The cockroaches look cartoonish and the movie's campy fight scenes are reminiscent of old-school TV shows like Ultraman.


Rating: 2/5

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Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (PG13)

Justin Lin sure knows how to make an action movie.

The director, best known for his Fast & Furious franchise, takes over Star Trek from J.J. Abrams and delivers many dazzling sequences, making it one pretty fun summer blockbuster flick.

The story starts with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) feeling dreary about the monotonous life on board the USS Enterprise, which is on a five-year mission to explore new frontiers.

But adventure comes when the mysterious, evil Krall (Idris Elba) enters the picture and destroys the spaceship, putting Kirk and his gang's lives in peril.

Even though the plot gets boring and predictable at times, the characters continue to be interesting and their relationships gripping, particularly the budding bromance between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban).

Sofia Boutella also stands out as new alien heroine Jaylah.

Rating: 3/5


Blaze at Compassvale Road: Mischief by fire

A fire broke out early this morning (July 20) in a four-room flat at Sengkang.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were alerted at 4.15am and within five minutes, two fire engines, a Red Rhino, two ambulances and three support vehicles arrived at Block 257B Compassvale Road.

Firefighters had to force their way into the third-storey unit, and were able to extinguish the fire using two water jets within 30 minutes.

Police said that it was established that a case of mischief by fire had occurred.

As a precautionary measure, more than 20 residents were evacuated.

The New Paper understands that a 37-year-old police officer was sent to Singapore General Hospital with breathing difficulties.


When The New Paper arrived at the scene at 8am, the family who had been living in the affected unit were waiting in the corridor for SCDF to finish their inspections.

They declined to comment.

The aftermath of the fire was still evident with an acrid smell lingering in the surrounding area and debris from the scorched flat evident on the ground.

Residents told TNP that the family was not around when the fire started.

Mrs Elysha Suresh, 30, who lives in the unit above the affected flat said: "It was a scary morning and we were panicking. My family and I saw the smoke and flames, but didn't know where the fire started from."

Mrs Elvsha and her family were fortunate that there was no major smoke damage to their flat, though bedroom windows were cracked from the heat.

She added, citing the firefighters' bravery: "One of the firefighters guided us to the lift, and helped us to evacuate the building."

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.



Movie Review: Captain Fantastic (M18)

Viggo Mortensen really is one of the coolest people around, even when he's playing a father of six.

His Ben Cash raises and tutors his children in an isolated forest.

When a family tragedy forces them to return to society, he realises that his brood, while intellectually and physically superior to their peers, might not be well-prepared for the real world.

Captain Fantastic really is fantastic.

It has that rare combination of intelligence, humour and well-written characters.

Mortensen carries the film with his strong performance and we have no problem empathising with him while also questioning his methods.

It manages to be thought-provoking without being preachy, exploring the pros and cons of different forms of parenting without passing a verdict on which method is superior.

Its pacing may be slow, but it is certainly satisfying.

Rating: 4/5

Charlize Theron speaks out about Aids

South Africa actress Charlize Theron speaks during the first official press conference in Durban on July 18,2016.

South African actress Charlize Theron wants to help end the Aids epidemic by 2030.

The 40-year-old was at the 21st International Aids Conference yesterday in Durban, South Africa, to speak out about the epidemic and to address the ongoing problems in the world.

Theron, who founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, said in her speech: "I think it is time that we acknowledge that something is terribly wrong.

"Let's ask ourselves why haven't we beaten this epidemic. Could it be because we don't want to?"

Did Kanye West break law? 

Kim Kardashian leaking Kanye West's private phone call with Taylor Swift could lead to an ugly lawsuit.

The drama exploded on Monday after US reality TV star Kardashian, 35, posted video recordings of the conversation on her Snapchat, which showed Swift, 26, approving part of the controversial lyrics to Kardashian's rapper-husband West's song Famous.

According to People magazine, multiple sources said that West recorded the conversation from Los Angeles and that he did not tell Swift at the start of the conversation that he was recording.

If that is true, West may have violated California's "two-party consent" law, which makes it a felony to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication without the consent of all those involved.

Guns N' Roses detained over gun on tour bus

US rock band Guns N' Roses were detained at the Canadian border before their concert in Toronto after a gun was found on their tour bus.

Lead singer Axl Rose, 54, told the sold-out crowd last Saturday at the gig, which is part of their Not In This Lifetime reunion tour: "(The officials) were very nice. They were very understanding. You know, it happens - you can forget you had (a gun). Wasn't my gun."

A rep for Guns N' Roses confirmed the news to Billboard and said the weapon did not belong to any member of the band.



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