Grooming Miss Universe Singapore

Miss Universe Singapore 2002 winner and pageant's Singapore organiser Nuraliza Osman says she wants to raise profile of the event

Miss Universe Singapore 2002 winner Nuraliza Osman, who is now national director of the even
EXPERIENCED: Miss Universe Singapore 2002 winner Nuraliza Osman, who is now national director of the event, will be organising the annual event for the second time.
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2000: Eunice Olsen
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2001: Jamie Teo
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2002: Nuraliza Osman
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2003: Bernice Wong
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2004: Sandy Chua
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2005: Cheryl Tay
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2006: Carol Cheong
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2007: Jessica Tan
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2008: Shenise Wong
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2009: Rachel Kum
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2010: Tania Lim
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2011: Valerie Lim
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2012: Lynn Tan
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2013: Shi Lim
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2014: Rathi Menon
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE WINNERS 2015: Lisa Marie White
MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE

In 2002, lawyer Nuraliza Osman was crowned Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) and is an example of a beauty contest winner with brains.

Fourteen years on, while most past winners are leading their lives out of the public eye, the 39-year-old is still committed to keeping Singapore's most prestigious and high-profile pageant, which has been sending representatives to the international Miss Universe competition since 1966, alive.

Last year, Miss Nuraliza took over the MUS licence and franchise from Derrol Stepenny Promotions, which ran the event from 2000 to 2014.

As the national director of the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation (Muso), she leads the selection, training and mentorship of local hopefuls.

What used to be a national affair, with televised finals, media coverage and a swanky pageant, turned into a low-key, closed-door event with hardly any fuss.

Miss Lisa Marie White was eventually crowned MUS 2015 in private.

This year, the pageant is back in a big way, with new presenter Singapore Turf Club and new imaging partner Canon Singapore on board.

And for the first time, The New Paper will be MUS 2016's official media partner and co-organiser alongside Muso.

Miss Nuraliza, who has been based in Holland for the past three years as oil company Shell's in-house lawyer dealing with mergers and acquisitions, told TNP: "I've been through this experience and it would be an honour to help my country and the younger girls from the next generation to represent the country through Miss Universe. It's something I know and something I can contribute and help with.

"Aside from that, my goal is not to make money out of this whole thing. My goal is to raise the profile of MUS. We are in collaboration with (Singapore Press Holdings), which is the single biggest media provider in terms of print and periodicals in Singapore and of course in the Internet age, hopefully we can make it digital.

"My hope is just to restore the pageant and the name of MUS to what it used to be. If the girls who participate in MUS have a positive experience from it and if in some way the title helps them to achieve their dreams, whether it is to be more confident on stage or be a better public speaker or be exposed to different people, I'm happy."

Last year, Miss White, a 22-year-old freelance model of Malay-Kiwi descent, was picked from over 50 hopefuls by a judging panel led by Miss Nuraliza after a closed-door recruitment and selection.

The panel included MUS 2014 winner Rathi Menon, former Miss Universe Japan national director Ines Ligron, MUS 2005 winner Cheryl Tay, Mrs Singapore second runner-up Mona Gill and former models Wendy Jacobs and Hanis Hussey.

Miss Nuraliza, who is single, said: "I've always liked Lisa's bubbly personality, but I think instilling a competition mindset has been difficult because most people think a pageant is a really quick and easy way to get fame... you walk around in a swimsuit and if you look good enough you just win.

CHALLENGE

"But the rigours of the international competition are far greater than that, so preparing someone and motivating her was a challenge."

When she took over as national director last year, Miss Nuraliza had to micromanage everything and often flew back and forth.

She said that during that time, she was "working double duty," devoting her time to MUS preparations before or after work each day.

Why does she continue to devote so much time to MUS despite the challenges?

She said: "It's because I see potential and believe in Singapore girls who I think are beautiful and just need polishing, like diamonds in 
the rough, to allow them to shine on a global stage."

And to critics who doubt Singapore will ever place on the international stage, Miss Nuraliza stressed we need to "support our girls".

She said: "Many people say beauty pageants degrade women. We're paraded around like a piece of flesh. I don't agree with that... If you're strong, smart, fit, and if you've got what it takes to be able to compete, do it.

Look out for more stories on past MUS winners this week.

Suspect in Boat Quay murder arrested

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Tags: Singapore, Crime and arrest

Married man jailed for sex with underaged girl

Man, who had sex three times with teen, jailed one year

PUNISHMENT: Muhammad Riduwan Musa, 26, was sentenced to one year's jail for having sex with a underage girl.

A married man was jailed a year yesterday for having sex with a 15-year-old girl on three occasions.

Muhammad Riduwan Musa, 27, admitted to two of four charges of sexual penetration of a minor at his home in Champions Way, Woodlands, between April 2 and 5 last year.

A district court heard that some time in February last year, he came to know the girl through mutual friends. He knew she was under 16 years of age as she had told him her date of birth and shown him her identity card.

The following month, she ran away from home and went to stay with Riduwan.

He had sex with her in the living room under a blanket between April 2 and 5 on three occasions.

DEFERMENT

Riduwan, a former cleaner, successfully applied to defer his sentence until next Monday to make arrangements for his wife. He also told the court that he would be getting his pay this weekend.

District Judge Kessler Soh said he hoped Riduwan realised it was a very serious offence for him to have sexual intercourse with someone below 16 years old.

He told him the law takes a very stern view of this because of the need to protect those who are young and vulnerable.

Riduwan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge of sexual penetration of a person below 16 years of age.

- The Straits Times

Victim: 
'I felt like ripping my skin off'

In the prosecution's submissions, the victim's testimony in the case against ex-Sentosa lifeguard Pram Nair was included.

Here are excerpts of her response after she was asked how the rape had affected her:

SORRY TO HER PARENTS

"I've never been more sorry to my parents because they raised me up really well, and because I was disobedient and went out on that one night, that night 5th May 2012, it brought so much pain that there's a long time after that where I couldn't even lie in my bed without feeling like ripping my own skin off because I just couldn't remove myself from what happened to me..."

AFRAID OF HIV

"I was so terrified that he could have given me HIV or something because he was some disgusting stranger to me that my dad and I had to go to a medical place and ask them for HIV prevention medicine that would be really detrimental to my health."

PAINFUL, EXPENSIVE LESSON

"I just went through really 'hell time' but my family was there for me. It taught me a very expensive lesson. I was far too trusting of my environment in the past before I knew that there are people out there who think it is okay to rape someone because they are too drunk to say no. Oh well, I did say 'no' but it has taught me to be wiser for sure, but it was a painful, painful lesson that I'll never forget, sadly."

STRONGER

"Even though 3 years have passed, my life is happy, I've moved on, I have (indistinct) my studies and I just... became a stronger person but I am not going to lie, that there are still nights where I am in bed, even sometimes not alone in bed, even when I (am) next to my boyfriend that I just feel disgusted with myself, because never in a million years, whether I am sober or drunk or... would I have ever consented to sleeping with Pram. That was just a violation of my rights as a partygoer with my friends."

NO LONGER DEPRESSED

"I am just thankful that I am here today, that I'm still strong and I'm happy and I'm not in depression anymore. And when I leave the courtroom today, I will be going back to my family who loves me and a bright future, then I really just want to put this behind me and never have to see him again or think of him again or see his name again or recall all the horrible things that happened on that night."

Ex-lifeguard raped party-goer after getting her drunk

Former Sentosa lifeguard convicted of rape and sexual assault of drunk 20-year-old at beach party

It was the first time they had met.

But then-Sentosa lifeguard Pram Nair, now 26, plied the young woman with so much alcohol during a beach party on the island that she blacked out.

He then isolated her from her friend and raped her at Siloso Beach in the wee hours of May 6, 2012.

After a 15-day trial, Justice Woo Bih Li found him guilty yesterday of one count each of rape and sexual assault by penetration.

In their submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutors Bhajanvir Singh, Kavita Uthrapathy and Kenneth Chin said the victim and a friend had gone to the Wave House club and restaurant on Sentosa's Siloso beach for a girls' night out at around 11pm on May 5, 2012.

Nair started chatting with the two women while they were at a bar counter.

According to the prosecution, when he found out the victim had just turned 20, he suggested they play a game in which he would pour Cointreau - an orange-flavoured liqueur - directly from the bottle into her mouth for 20 seconds. The victim agreed and downed the liqueur while he poured it and counted to 20.

The prosecution said: "Before the accused poured the alcohol into her mouth, she was tipsy and a little bit drunk and still knew what was happening but not so in control any more.

"It was only after 20 seconds of chugging Cointreau directly from the bottle that her night started to black out."

In her testimony, the victim, who had low alcohol tolerance, admitted she had drunk a lot during the beach party.

By the time she went to the VIP section of the Wave House, she already had "pockets" of black outs in her memory.

'REALLY DRUNK'

When her friend later saw the victim, she looked "really drunk" and Nair was supporting her.

The friend recalled that the victim could not stand without support and was unable to speak in full sentences.

She decided it was time to leave and Nair asked her to go to the VIP section to retrieve the victim's bag.

But when she returned, Nair and the victim were gone. At around 2am on May 6, 2012, he took her to a quiet part of Siloso beach where he raped and sexually penetrated her.

The prosecution said: "She remembered crying and saying, 'No no no', as she tried to push the accused away but she was too weak and drunk. The accused persisted with the sexual assault."

A passer-by, Mr Kason Tan Jia Rong, saw Nair committing the offences and informed the police.

The victim's friend later found Nair and the woman on the beach. She was clad in only a tank top and was naked from the waist down.

Before walking away, he lied to the friend, claiming he had found the victim completely naked on the beach.

The friend called for an ambulance after seeing the victim foaming at the mouth and they went to the Singapore General Hospital.

Police officers also arrived at the scene and arrested Nair.

In court, he testified that the sexual encounters were consensual.

Nair, who is represented by lawyer Peter Ong, claimed the woman said she liked him and told him: "Please take me away from all the guys."

According to him, they then went to Siloso beach and started engaging in sexual activities.

He also claimed that the woman was fully aware of her surroundings throughout the night.

However, in their submission, the prosecution said: "The accused had preyed on the victim's drunken state and vulnerability in not being able to defend herself - robbing the victim of her bodily integrity."

Nair was offered bail of $60,000 and will be sentenced at a later date.

For each offence, he could be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.


The accused had preyed on the victim's drunken state and vulnerability in not being able to defend herself - robbing the victim of her bodily integrity.

- The prosecution in its written submission

OCBC reports spike in phone scams impersonating them

BEWARE: OCBC received 1,081 calls about scams in early July from customers and the public, compared to 16 for the whole of April.

OCBC Bank has advised customers and the public to be on the lookout after a sharp rise in phone scams impersonating the bank in recent weeks.

In a media release yesterday, OCBC said it received 1,081 calls from July 1 to 17 from customers and the public, compared to 16 for the whole of April.

To date, more than 1,200 calls have been received on the issue, it said.

OCBC said the scam typically begins with an individual receiving an automated voice call which prompts for a response.

These calls, it noted, have impersonated courier companies and banks.

The caller's number is either a truncated six- or seven-digit number that looks like it originated from outside Singapore or a private number (no caller ID shown).

It may even appear as OCBC's official contact number (+65 6363 3333) or some variation of it (such as 065 6363 3333).

'FUND TRANSFERS'

OCBC said the person would be transferred to a Mandarin-speaking individual with a non-local accent.

This person would ask for the individual's personal or banking information including their account number and contact details.

OCBC said it does not initiate automated voice calls that require an interactive response.

It said English is used as the primary form of communication, unless a customer has shown or indicated a preference for a different language.

While OCBC may pose questions to customers to verify their identity, they would not be related to security information such as PIN and account numbers.

OCBC said customers will not be requested to make any funds transfer to another bank account.

If in doubt over a call's authenticity, customers are advised to terminate the call and contact OCBC at 1800 363 3333 (+65 6363 3333 if overseas) to verify. - The Straits Times.

Tags: phone, Crime, Cheating and Scam

Dead fish at Lim Chu Kang Jetty

Scores of dead fish were spotted at Lim Chu Kang jetty yesterday morning.

Fish were seen either floating belly-up on the water or washed up along with water bottles and other rubbish along the shore.

A pungent smell emanated from the area, as well as from several black plastic bags at a rubbish bin nearby.

A boat belonging to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) was docked at the jetty, while a “kelong”-like structure was combing through the water for checks.

Dead fish were also discovered by The Straits Times at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Monday, but in smaller numbers than at Lim Chu Kang.

This is not the first time that mass fish deaths have happened at a park or reservoir here.

Last July, hundreds of dead fish were seen in a stream in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, believed to be due to the hot and dry weather.

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