When dandruff means more than an itchy scalp

In the second of a two-part special on hair health, CATHERINE ROBERT (crobert@sph.com.sg) explores the issue of dandruff

Dandruff is a common problem among Singaporeans.

But who knew that really severe skin problems, which causes dandruff, could end up being terminal.

Malassezia — the constant that causes seborrheic dermatitis, eczema and dandruff — is also the "sixth most common cancer in males and the seventh in females in Singapore" says experts.

Get the full story in our print edition on Apr 24.

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'Blue cheese of fruit'? Jessica Chastain dissing durian just made our April worse

Durian dissed by Jessica Chastain & Jimmy Kimmel 
on US TV

April has been the cruellest month for durian lovers and Choa Chu Kang residents.

Just my luck. I love durian and live in Choa Chu Kang.

You know how the weather has been hotter than usual lately?

It's so hot that you sort of understand why Felicia Chin looked almost nude at last Sunday's Star Awards - to keep cool.

But while Rui En apologised that night for the "Do you know who I am" incident, some viewers would contend it was Chin who should have apologised for her see-through dress.

Who does she think she is? Ann Kok?

Blame it on the heat.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said the highest daily maximum temperature recorded in Singapore on Tuesday was 36 deg C and on Wednesday (until 3pm), it was 35.1 deg C.

Both were recorded in Choa Chu Kang.

I knew I should've moved to Bukit Batok!

At least the people there got a carnival last Sunday.

It was organised by People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai, who is campaigning for the by-election to be held on May 7 after Mr David Ong resigned as Bukit Batok MP over a "personal indiscretion".

So in a way, Bukit Batok residents should really thank Mr Ong for the carnival.

While PAP was throwing a carnival, Singapore Democratic Party candidate Chee Soon Juan seemed to be literally "running" for election at Bukit Batok Nature Park, based on a photo he posted on Facebook.

He posted: "It was like a sauna, hot and humid, but had a good morning workout."

I know Dr Chee really wants to get into Parliament, but I don't think it's worth suffering heatstroke for.

It's so hot that even our durian supply from Malaysia could be affected. A drop of up to 40 per cent is expected.

"The durian season starts in the next three months and half of my trees have failed to produce any flowers because of the weather," a durian farmer in Perak told the Malay Mail.

And as if that's not enough bad news for durian lovers, 76 cases of food poisoning related to durian pastries prepared at Goodwood Park Hotel have been reported since mid-March.

Taking time off from reminding us how hot it is, NEA has suspended the licence of the hotel bakery.

In response, the hotel posted on Facebook: "Goodwood Park Hotel would like to extend our sincere apologies to all our guests affected by the temporary cessation of sales of durian pastries and other pastries produced by the hotel's pastry kitchen."


Notice the hotel didn't apologise for the food-poisoning cases. It's apologising for the inconvenience caused by the closure of its bakery.

The hotel also had a pop-up stall at Lot One mall last week.

A spokesman said: "Guests who purchased our durian pastries at Lot One from April 18 to 21 are advised to throw them away and contact the hotel for their refunds."

Guess where Lot One mall is.

That's right - Choa Chu Kang.

See how unlucky durian lovers in Choa Chu Kang are?

And to add insult to food poisoning, on Wednesday, our favourite fruit was dissed on American national TV.

US actress Jessica Chastain, who was in Singapore three weeks ago to promote The Huntsman: Winter's War, brought out a durian on US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Or as she pronounced it, "dorian".

At first, she said it was the king of fruit in Asia.

Then she said, "They call it the blue cheese of fruit," which sounded like a demotion to me.

I mean, if someone called me "the king of writers", I would think, yeah, sure, why not?

But if someone called me "the blue cheese of writers", I would have to start counting the number of days since I last showered.

Chastain, a rare Caucasian who claims to love durian, even said: "It kind of smells like a garbage can, right?"

Calling it "foul" and "vile", talk show host Kimmel said he felt like "throwing up a little bit" after some durian was shoved into his mouth by Chastain.

He then asked his sidekick Guillermo to take the remaining fruit and "throw it into the sea or something like that".

Throw it into the sea? Doesn't he know about the possible upcoming durian shortage?

T.S. Eliot was right when he wrote that April is the cruellest month.

But I think I will read some Oscar Wilde next. Perhaps a novel - The Picture Of Durian Gray.

Fandi and Sundram to pick next national squad, but still no decision on coach

Fandi and Sundram shortlist names for next Lions squad, but neither appointed as interim coach

UNDERSTUDY: V Sundramoorthy 
(left) and Fandi Ahmad (right) have regularly assisted former national coach Bernd Stange (centre) on international assignments over the last 16 months when the German was in charge.

A new Lions team are being formed, but there is still no coach at the helm.

The New Paper understands that local football icons Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy have met and drawn up a shortlist of 30 names for the next national squad, which will play in a friendly quadrangular in Myanmar in June.

Fandi, 53, and Sundram, 50, are fans' favourites to helm the Lions, who are currently without a coach following the departure of Bernd Stange after almost three years in charge.

The two celebrated former players regularly assisted the German on international assignments over the last 16 months.

While tasked by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to help assemble a squad for the Myanmar quadrangular, neither has been appointed as the interim national coach.

In response to queries, an FAS spokesman said: "Our coaches have been constantly monitoring all eligible players playing in the S.League and overseas for the national team.

"We are also working closely with our strategic partner MP & Silva to develop a calendar of international football competitions, and we will share more information when details are confirmed."

Fandi is currently a staff coach with the FAS.

He coached the LionsXII team that competed in Malaysian domestic football competitions, in 2014 and 2015, winning the Malaysian FA Cup in the second year, before the Football Association of Malaysia unilaterally decided not to extend the franchise's participation from this year on.

The former national skipper has a contract with the FAS until November, but was reportedly on his way out of the association after the FAS was unable to find a role for him following the disbandment of the LionsXII.

Fandi declined comment yesterday, but has been carrying out his regular duties of scouting players and paying visits to clubs, as well as submitting S.League match reports to the FAS National Teams department.

He also travels regularly to Malaysia to watch Singapore internationals Hariss Harun, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin play for their respective Malaysian clubs.

Sundram, meanwhile, is in charge of Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League giants Tampines Rovers.

The man known as "The Dazzler" during his playing days famously led the LionsXII to the Malaysian Super League title in 2013, before moving to second-tier Malaysian outfit Negeri Sembilan the following season.

He left Negeri after a year, following the club's failure to earn promotion, and took charge of Tampines in 2015.

Sundram, too, declined to comment on being linked to lead the national team in the interim.

But he has made no secret of his desire to coach the Lions.

After winning the MSL title, he called the role the "ultimate test" and just last month, said in a radio interview that it is his "dream is to be national coach one day".


The quadrangular in Myanmar will take place from June 3 to 5, and will also feature Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Lions are likely to report on May 28, after the preliminary round RHB Singapore Cup matches.

They play the hosts on June 3, before facing one of the two other participating teams, in either the third-place or final match two days later.

The tournament is part of the Lions' ongoing preparations for the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup, co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines.

Singapore are record joint four-time champions, along with Thailand, but their last triumph in the biennial competition was in 2012.

Stange told TNP before he left that the national team could head to Austria for a training camp to prepare for the Suzuki Cup but, with him no longer around, it is unclear if the plans remain in place.

Said the FAS spokesman: "As per our standard practice, the National Teams department will discuss its yearly plans prior to the start of each season.

"During the course of the season, we may make slight amendments to our plans if there are changes to the competitions and international matches."


Swimming body eyes top-four ranking in Asia

Dozens of athletes and coaches took turns to go on stage to receive awards at the Singapore Swimming Association's Awards Night at the Shangri-La Hotel last night.

It told the success story last year, where the aquatic athletes contributed 26 golds to Singapore's 84-gold haul at the South-east Asia Games on home ground, while Olympic-bound Joseph Schooling scored a historic bronze in the men's 100 butterfly at the Fina World Championships.

On the back of a bumper season, SSA president Lee Kok Choy (above) announced last night an ambitious goal - to bring Singapore up to the top four nations in Asia.

In his opening speech, he said: "We have put in place five-year plans for each discipline and high performance pathways.

"For all our aquatic disciplines, we aim to be top four in Asia, as well as making a strong push towards the 2020 Olympic Games."

China ruled the pool at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon with 36 golds, while Japan were a distant second with 12 golds, and Kazakhstan had four titles to their name.

Singapore scored a gold, two silvers and three bronzes, all from the pool, and finished fourth, by virtue of the number of gold medals, although South Korea have more medals overall (seven).

Lee reckons China and Japan are in a league of their own, while the Republic are in the chasing pack which includes Kazakhstan and South Korea.

He said: "We are trying to get to a point where we are better than one or two of them... it is possible for (all four disciplines) to be clearly in the top four but, for a start, we will aim to be top four as a whole."

Of the five disciplines under SSA's purview - swimming, water polo, synchronised swimming, diving and open-water swimming - swimming is the most mature of them all, with the likes of Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen hitting Olympic "A" qualifying marks for Rio this year.

Swimming also has a high-performance team stocked with the likes of national coach Sergio Lopez, national assistant coach Gary Tan and high-performance manager Sonya Porter.

Water polo seems promising as well, with the men's team finishing fifth of seven teams at the last Asiad.

However, the synchronised swimmers displaced Malaysia as South-east Asia's top country only at last year's SEA Games, while diving is still a fairly new discipline, after it was resurrected ahead of the 2010 Youth Olympics here.

"Each discipline will have a different plan - for example for water polo, we are starting a very vibrant club-based approach for the juniors, and then sparring programmes and injection of new talent for the national squad," said Lee, who is gunning for re-election as president at the upcoming annual general meeting.

"For synchronised swimming, we are getting a top coach from Canada to come in as our consultant, and she's coached Olympic champions before.

"For some disciplines, the jump (into the top four) will be a long one."


Tags: award and swimming

Coach of the Year Tan driven by success

Former national swimmer driven to become a top coach

STARS GALORE: The swimming fraternity joining Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu for a group photo. Among the winners is Club Coach of the Year, Leonard Tan with swimmer Quah Ting Wen.
STARS GALORE: The swimming fraternity joining Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu for a group photo. Among the winners is Club Coach of the Year, Leonard Tan (left, with swimmer Quah Ting Wen). 

He had taken over the reins of Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC) last July, and has not even completed a year as their head coach.

But last night, swim coach Leonard Tan's contributions were recognised when he received the Club Coach of the Year award at the Singapore Swimming Association's Award Night at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Tan said: "It is a bonus... it started out when I nominated Richard (Chng, fellow SAC coach) and he nominated me.

"It's a milestone for me, maybe a stepping stone to bigger things to come... but I will try not to let these things dictate who I am as a coach.

"I am still purely driven by my passion and desire to see my kids do well.

"My goal is to become one of the best coaches in Singapore."

The eight-member awards selection committee selected the 30-year-old former national swimmer over five other nominees - Zhang Jianlan (Aquatic Performance Swim Club), Tatsiana Miashkova (Speediswim Aquatic Swim Club), Valeryia Dzekhtsiar (APSC), Yuri Tsimashenka (SASC) and Noel Yang (APSC).

Tan received his award from Guest of Honour Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Sport Singapore chairman Richard Seow, who chaired the awards selection committee.

Meanwhile, the Athlete of the Year awards went to Joseph Schooling and Tao Li (swimming), Lee Kai Yang and Eunice Karina Fu (water polo), Freida Lim (diving), Crystal Yap and Stephanie Chen (synchronised swimming).


In addition, a new social media category was created this year with five awards - Breakout Performance of the Year, Inspiration of the Year, Aquatic Moment of the Year, Story of the Year, Photo of the Year - were decided by public voting.

The glitzy night started off with an acknowledgement to the contributions of former swimming officials.

Former Singapore Amateur Swimming Association president Chan Chee Seng, the late Woon Sui Kut, as well as his widow, were given the Outstanding Contribution Award.

Seow said: "This year, we also wanted to recognise the efforts of pioneers who have contributed immensely to the association by presenting them with (this award).

"These awards accord the winners with the highest honour and we hope that their legacy will continue to live on."

The aquatic athletes enjoyed a stellar season last year, where they contributed 26 gold medals out of Singapore's 84 titles at the South-east Asia Games on home ground.

Also, Schooling won the Republic's first-ever swimming medal at the Fina World Championships when he took bronze in the men's 100 butterfly.

Fu said: "Beyond medals won, you have inspired many Singaporeans with your courage and resilience. You have truly become our sporting heroes.

"As we celebrate our achievements in 2015, I know our athletes are already training very hard for the upcoming Rio Olympics... Keep flying the Singapore flag high, and inspire our next generation of sporting talents."



  • Club Coach of the Year: Leonard Tan
  • Male Athlete of the Year (Swimming): Joseph Schooling
  • Female Athlete of the Year (Swimming): Tao Li
  • Male Athlete of the Year (Water Polo): Lee Kai Yang
  • Female Athlete of the Year (Water Polo): Eunice Karina Fu
  • Athlete of the Year (Diving): Freida Lim
  • Athlete of the Year (Synchronised Swimming): Crystal Yap, Stephanie Chen


  • Swimming: Sergio Lopez, Gary Tan
  • Water Polo: Lee Sai Meng, Edmund Choo
  • Diving: Xu Jie, Wan Jun
  • Synchronised Swimming: Maryna Tsimashenka, Katsiaryna Kulpo
  • SEA Games: Richard Chng, David Lim, Fang Hai Jiao, Leonard Tan,
  • Yuan Zao Yu, Zhang Jian Lan (swimming); Kuah Kar Huat, Lau Kum Weng (water polo)


  • Chan Chee Seng, Mr and Mrs Woon Sui Kut
Tags: award