Poster Poser: Independence Day: Resurgence

If a picture paints a thousand worlds, what does the poster for Independence Day: Resurgence tell us?

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

What It Looks Like:

When aliens invade the United States, the Statue Of Liberty herself joins the fray. Sadly, it turns out she's not a very good fighter, and her hand gets knocked off immediately.

What It's Really About:

Liam Hemsworth and friends fight a new extraterrestrial threat in this sequel set two decades after the first invasion of Earth.

Being offbeat is cool

Meet pop music's new breed of individualistic, on-conformist female singers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk0xkd8qs9I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw-JHuWF-MU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsCfufAp2tM

Good news for those of you out there who have had enough of the likes of Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.

A new breed of young female singers who are offbeat, non-conformist and unapologetically individualistic is poised to take the music scene by storm.

These rising stars, each armed with quirky influences, make addictive earworm-y electropop tunes that are dark, subversive, brutally honest and delightfully weird.

Meet Halsey, Grimes and Tove Lo, the trio who are proof that oddballs may get the last laugh.


GRIMES

Real name: Claire Elise Boucher

Age: 28

Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Fast fact: Influential British music magazine NME named her fourth album Art Angels 2015's Album Of The Year.Influences: Japanese anime and graphic novels, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor and Dixie Chicks

Breakout hit: Flesh Without Blood/Life In The Vivid Dream, a double-song music video that flaunts Grimes' wicked eye for visual storytelling. Kitschy and campy, it shows her playing a slew of colourful characters, including a bloodstained Marie Antoinette and a creepy angel.

Biggest collaboration: Last year, US singer Lana Del Rey recruited Grimes as the opening act for her North American summer tour. Latest project: Grimes' newest MV California is dreamy and vibrant, with cameo appearances by fellow Canadian artists Born Gold and Megan James.Weirdest moment: Up until recently, she often posted pictures of herself sporting armpit hair and unshaven legs on Instagram. The eccentric musician has even pulled off fashion shoots with fuzzy underarms.

In an interview with Teen Vogue in March, Grimes shared that she had "begun shaving her body hair for the first time" in her life.

Her reason?

"I am rebelling against my previous body hair, because now people get mad when I shave my legs. So I'm like, 'I have the right to shave my legs'. I think people policing my body either way is bizarre," she said.


HALSEY

Real name: Ashley Nicolette Frangipane

Age: 21

Birthplace: New Jersey, US

Fast fact: Halsey is unflinchingly open about her identity; she's bisexual, bipolar and biracial.

Influences: Emo and post-hardcore bands such as Brand New and Taking Back Sunday

Breakout hit: New Americana, which was dubbed by the New York Times as a "generational anthem for millennials".

Biggest collaboration: The Feeling, a duet with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. The duo performed it live on the Today show last November.

Latest project: Castle, her fourth single from her 2015 debut album Badlands (her "angry female record") which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, was chosen as the promotional song for the recent Hollywood fantasy flick The Huntsman: Winter's War.

Weirdest moment: She might look nonchalant and edgy, but she turns into a shy, insecure girl in the presence of Bieber.

In an interview with Billboard.com, Halsey called their Today show performance a "trainwreck".

"You don't know fear until it's 7am and freezing cold on live television and you're not sure if Justin Bieber is going to kiss you or not," she said.

She became slightly delusional midway through, recalling to Rolling Stone magazine:

"It was just so real, so emotive, so evocative - two people connecting in this love song. There was a moment where I think (Bieber) and I were both kind of like, 'Are we… are we… is this real?'"


TOVE LO

Real name: Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson

Age: 28Birthplace: Djursholm, Sweden

Fast fact: Lo is part of Swedish maestro Max Martin's songwriting team. Besides penning her own material, she co-wrote Hilary Duff's Sparks and Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do.

Influences: Grunge acts such as Nirvana and HoleBreakout hit: Habits (Stay High) from her 2014 debut album Queen Of The Clouds, which peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and has a hypnotic music video that features Lo downing shots, hooking up with strangers and crying in a nightclub toilet.

Biggest collaboration: Close, a duet with US singer Nick Jonas. The pair performed the sexy, sensual jam at the Billboard Music Awards last month, wowing the crowd with their chemistry.

Latest project: She provided the vocals for Say It, a new track by Australian DJ-producer Flume.Weirdest moment: Last year, Lo's breasts became a talking point on the US festival circuit after she flashed audiences at several gigs.

In an interview with MTV, she explained that exposing her nipples to thousands of people was a liberating, spontaneous move.

She said: "I should just do it if I want to and everyone gets so amped up (by it)... A lot of girls and guys are flashing me now and taking their clothes off. It gets very heated and I like that.

"I hate when someone tells me I can't do something because I'm a girl. Then I'll do it twice as much."

White ants will bite if you go sotong

If you don't understand the headline, you need to learn biker-speak

SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON: A standard front tyre (on the motorcycle) compared to an uninflated skinny tyre called sotong.

Our rides have changed a lot, and the technology behind newer motorcycles is undoubtedly different from what it was in the time of our fathers.

The way we speak has also evolved, along with the terms bikers use when communicating with each other.

And if you don't have a clue what bikers mean when they use words such as SQUID or Sotong in a text message, here is a quick guide to some local and foreign terms:

SOTONG

These are illegally installed skinny tyres. They are light and great for straight line acceleration but corner poorly due to their tiny contact patches.

SQUID

Means "Stupidly Quick Under-dressed Imminently Dead". Picture a speeding biker wearing shorts, sneakers and no helmet.

CARB

Nothing to do with white rice. It's short for carburetor, the device where fuel and air is mixed and then sucked into the combustion chamber to be ignited. Modern bikes use electronic fuel injection or EFI.

CLEARING CARBON

This is not the act of dismantling your exhaust pipe and ridding it of carbon particles. Locally, it means riding so hard and fast that stubborn carbon deposits get ejected from exhaust pipes.

JACKPOT

Totally unrelated to casinos. Jackpot is an illegal and highly dangerous race usually conducted in Johor, Malaysia. The organisers collect a pool of money, and first to the finish line wins the jackpot.

SEMUT PUTIH

Malay for white ants. A local term for traffic cops. Maybe because like ants, they're hard to spot until it's too late.

SISSY BAR

A pillion back rest. Highly popular in the chopper genre where extreme sissy bars can extend 1m above the rear bumper.

ONE PER CENTER OR 1%ER

The term refers to outlaw bikers. As opposed to the majority, or 99 per cent, of the biking community who are law-abiding.

FTW

Short for Forever Two Wheels. Similar to ATM - All Things Motorcycle.

SCRUB

Made famous by American motocross rider James Stewart Jr. His "Bubba Scrub" is a jump technique which puts an MX bike just inches off the ground but in a horizontal fashion. A scrub saves time over curved jumps.

MONKEY BUTT

An ailment that plagues dirt bikers. Sliding up and down the surface of a motorcycle seat causes abrasion on the buttocks. Cures include wearing padded underwear and using lotion before riding.

BIG FOUR

Traditionally used to refer to the four main Japanese motorcycle manufacturers - Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki.

TANK SLAPPER

Also known as wobbles. Your handle bar shakes violently from left to right, slapping your fuel tank.

APES

Apes or ape hangers refer to handle bars that extend beyond a rider's shoulder.

HILL 265

A steep hill in Lorong Asrama near Mandai, formerly popular among local trail riders. It's also within a military training area.

Other famous riding spots are Widow Maker and Stairway to Heaven.

But my lips are sealed as to their locations. Go find out on your own.

Orchard Road event glamorises prison food

Orange Is The New Black author says Netflix promotion is 'repulsive'

Dear Singapore Police Force,

Sorry to bother you.

I know you must be busy dealing with parcel scams, police reports about Facebook posts and clarifying that the guy who posted on Facebook (where else?) about wanting permission to "open fire" isn't a police national serviceman.

It would be helpful, though, if you also explained why the guy was photographed wearing what looks like a police uniform and it doesn't say "NPCC" on the epaulet.

I would also like someone to explain to me what the guy meant when he wrote: "I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes."

What are these "£@€$^*s" he is referring to?

How do you even pronounce it?

Why would anyone want to see "pound at euro dollar caret asterisks" die for their causes?

Did the keyboard of the guy who is not a police national serviceman suddenly go haywire when he typed "£@€$^*s"?

Or does he have something against foreign currencies?

Many say he was referring to the LGBT community.

Or he could just be very frustrated about the Brexit situation.

Hey, aren't we all?

But I'm not writing to you about Britain's referendum on exiting or staying in the European Union because that would be strange.

Or about the guy who is not a police national serviceman even though he wore something that looks a lot like a police uniform.

No, I'm writing to warn you about an impending crime wave.

On Thursday and Friday, a restaurant at Liat Towers was turned into a US prison-style cafeteria to promote the new season of Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, which is set in a US women's prison called Litchfield Penitentiary and has more same-sex kissing than Les Miserables.

To quote the Chope website where you can make reservations: "Welcome to the Litchfield Penitentiary Cafeteria, where the bad (but totally innocent) women of Orange is the New Black congregate to eat, hang and get mouthy.

"For TWO DAYS ONLY on June 16 and 17, get your COMPLIMENTARY fill of Litchfield grub for the very first time in Singapore.

"Come meet your fellow inmates, wait in line and stay hydrated with a tall plastic cup of our refreshing house beverage: water."

WE LIKE QUEUEING

Netflix even produced a video with one of the show's stars, Lea DeLaria, saying: "You have to queue if you want to eat. Oh, wait a minute. You guys like queueing in Singapore."

Then she winked and said "You're gonna fit right in."

Just because we like to queue in Singapore, we would fit in a US women's prison cafeteria?

And what would we be queuing for anyway?

On the menu was water, corn, gravy, gruel and Nutraloaf.

You may remember gruel as something Oliver Twist used to eat.

And Nutraloaf is apparently something served to US prisoners as punishment.

No, you wouldn't want some more.

But local chef Bjorn Shen, who created the menu for the occasion, said: "Since this is not real prison, I've made this dish look and feel like a Nutraloaf, but taste much better. Mine's made of mushrooms, cheddar, quinoa, pumpkin and nori."

Which raises the question, why isn't this a real prison?

While I agree that some sort of detention facility on Orchard Road is needed to incarcerate shoppers convicted of fashion crimes like visible panty lines and wearing Crocs, I found this Orange Is The New Black promotion to be a little off-colour.

The US website Jezebel called it "a bad idea".

Author Piper Kerman, who wrote the autobiographical book that the series is based on, called it "repulsive".

Remember the uproar over Singapore Island Country Club offering a "poverty simulation" class for its members four months ago?

As politically-incorrect as it sounded, that was actually for a good cause - to educate and promote empathy for the poor.

And now we have a prison cafeteria simulation with the noble cause of promoting a TV show.

But that's not even the worst of it.

My fear is that the Netflix event glamorises prison life and would encourage people to commit crime just to get into prison where the food is prepared by the 2013 Chef Of The Year and Hossan Leong is one of the prison guards.

That's the impending crime wave I want to warn you about.

Please stay alert.

Now excuse me, I have to go transfer money to someone in China to take care of some parcel I deposited there and forgot about.

Good thing someone called to tell me.

So lucky.

Confessions of a window inspector

'One fallen window is one too many'

DEDICATED: Mr Lee Koon Peng will be happy only if there are zero cases of fallen windows.

When windows fall, they can injure like a fragmentation grenade.

"They don't need a direct hit to injure because they shatter. A window is sharp, heavy and made of glass," says Mr Lee Koon Peng.

He emphasises: "And if it does hit a person directly, the consequences will be very, very bad."

Mr Lee, 55, knows his windows well. He is a senior associate engineer at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and has seen it all in the over 12 years of inspecting windows.

He recalls a case from 2010, when he attended to an incident involving a coffee shop cleaner.

She was injured after an upper-storey window hit a parapet on the second storey even though it landed away from her.

The glass shattered and the shards cut her leg, but thankfully, the injuries were minor.

In 2013, a falling window hit a parked car and smashed its rear window. The car was unoccupied.

In both cases, the home owners were not around.

Even office buildings and skyscrapers are not spared from poor window maintenance.

In 2009, a large window panel fell from one of the upper storeys of AIA Tower, crashing into the crowded CBD street below during office hours.

Again, thanks to pure luck, no one was seriously hurt.

Mr Lee reads out this list of incidents with a sense of familiarity.

He had attended to all these cases as it is his job to find out why it happened and how to stop it from happening again.

If necessary, the authorities can mete out severe penalties to homeowners whose windows fall due to the lack of maintenance - up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Each memory is a reminder that dangers are aplenty in high-rise Singapore and why there are lives that depend on him to do his job well.

Mr Lee says: "Even when I visit my relatives' and friends' homes during Chinese New Year, I will be checking their windows to see if they are okay. It has become a habit."

SMALL TEAM

He and his small team of seven engineers in BCA's Special Functions Group have responded to more than 600 incidents of falling windows in Singapore since 2005.

On average, Mr Lee visits about 20 units in a day.

This involves safety inspections and blitz operations on entire blocks to check for windows that are not up to code, often acting on feedback from the public, the police and HDB.

Under the Building Control (Retrofitting of Casement Window) Order 2004, homeowners are required to engage an approved window contractor to retrofit the aluminium rivets of casement windows with stainless steel rivets or screws.

This applies to windows in all residential units except for those in landed properties and the ground floor of buildings.

But while most homeowners cooperate, Mr Lee confesses that it can be difficult trying to convince some to change.

Last year, he encountered a casement window that was dangling.

"The homeowner was an old lady who lived alone and did not want to speak to us. Her town council cordoned off the common area below, while social services officers and the woman's relatives were called in to convince her," he says, adding that it took a month before she complied.

He has even seen "creative" solutions, such as a Pasir Ris home owner who duct-taped a corroded window, claiming that it was always closed.

Laughing at the recollection, Mr Lee says it took a while to remove the tape.

"There is no guarantee that someone may not open the window in future," he explains.

But there is a positive spin at least. Ten years ago, there were over 100 cases of falling windows yearly. That number dropped to 34 last year. In the first five months of this year, there were 16 - 11 were casement windows and five were sliding ones.

Mr Lee says: "While there have not been any cases of injury due to fallen windows in the past five years, just one fallen window is one too many and it's an accident waiting to happen.

"I will only feel happy when there are zero cases."


SECRETS OF THE TRADE

1 There is no shortcut to the job. Be sure to check every rivet and screw as a single loose part can lead to terrible consequences.

2 Always carry your tools around. This includes an extendable mirror to help you peek around hard-to-reach corners of a window, and a brush to remove dust that may obscure a corroded screw.

3 When you encounter an angry or uncooperative home owner, do not lose your cool. Explain why you have to do the checks and know that the law will back you up too.

Prom fires 65 for two-shot lead

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Australia's polo boys upbeat about Olympic hopes

Aussies lose to Greece in friendly but remain confident

LEADING THE WAY: Australia captain Rhys Howden (with ball) in action against Greece at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

He has been part of the last two Olympic campaigns and returned empty-handed on both occasions, but Rhys Howden believes that things are a little different this time out.

Australia's water polo team have never won an Olympic medal, but Sharks' skipper Howden believes there is a confidence surging through the camp, a feeling that could see the Aussies make history in Rio de Janeiro this August.

Not even a 6-4 loss to Greece - also Olympic contenders - in a tightly contested friendly encounter at the OCBC Aquatic Centre last night could douse his optimism.  

"We've got a good balance this time around. A couple of players left after the London Olympics (in 2012), and we've got a couple of young guys coming in, and people in key positions playing really well," said the 29-year-old utility player.

Australia and Greece were in Singapore for a five-day training camp ahead of the Fina World League Super Finals in Huizhou, China, from Tuesday to Sunday. Both teams leave for China today.

"We're feeling confident that we can win an Olympic medal, definitely," Howden added, asserting that the Sharks have built on their London experience where they finished in seventh spot.

"In matches since then, we've had really, really good chances, and lost to our opponents by a goal or two - and now that we've got Elvis on board, we've got more confidence. I guess he's got us believing that we can."

Croatian Elvis Fatovic was part of the coaching staff as his countrymen struck Olympic gold in 2012 and took the reins of the Sharks the following year.

He was quietly confident that his Aussie charges could pull something off in Rio. This despite the fact that he believes the competition is a lot tighter this time.

COMPETITIVE

"For the first time, I think 10 national teams have a chance (to win Olympic gold). Usually there are one or two weaker teams, usually the hosts, but Brazil are very competitive," said Fatovic, pointing to their appointment of Ratko Rudic, believed to be the greatest coach in the sport, and the recruitment of a couple of top naturalised players, including the likes of Felippe Perrone who turned out for Spain at two Olympics.  

Twelve teams will compete for Olympic glory, starting with a two-group round-robin stage.  

Fatcovic's counterpart last night, Greece's Theodoros Vlachos, shared similar sentiments.

"I haven't counted, but there are many competitive teams (at the Olympics). Serbia are better than all others, but it will be the small details that separate teams," he said, asserting that Brazil's home advantage will make them dangerous opponents.

Australia will face Greece in both sides' final Group A encounter at the Olympics, but neither coach believes that last night's encounter was any reflection of how things will turn out in Rio, with Fatovic asserting that the World League Super Finals similarly is not be a dress rehearsal for the Olympics.

"It is a tournament that many teams will use as preparation for the Olympics. Some will surely try to hide some things (about their teams) but, at the same time, nobody wants to lose," he said.

Both Greece and Australia faced the Republic's water polo men during their stay here, and there is a feeling that there is much potential in Singapore.

"Singapore has a fantastic facility here and, if the federation (Singapore Swimming Association) and the country continue to make things improve, there will be better results," said Vlachos, who was grateful to the SSA for its hospitality here.  

"(Physical) size is not a problem… Japanese players are not very strong, even our guys are not very strong compared to players from Serbia and Croatia, but you can find other ways to play - with cleverness, with speed."

Johnson makes short work of long day

American power hitter seizes clubhouse lead after 36 holes

SEEKING REDEMPTION: Dustin Johnson (above), who tied for second at last year's US Open, is yet to win a Major title.

Dustin Johnson powered through two punishing rounds at Oakmont yesterday morning (Singapore time) to seize a share of the lead at the weather-disrupted US Open.

World No. 6 Johnson carded the first bogey-free round of the tournament with a first-round three-under 67 that put him one shot behind unlikely first-round leader Andrew Landry.

He grabbed a share of the lead on four under with a second-round 69, as half the field tackled 36 holes on the demanding Oakmont course thanks to weather delays that knocked the tournament off schedule on Thursday.

"I'm in pretty good shape, so the physical part's no problem," Johnson said of the long day.

"But, definitely mentally, you've got to make sure you stay sharp all day, because you can't go to sleep on any shot out here."

His 136 total had him atop the leaderboard on four under with Landry, who hit just one shot on Friday but made it count.

Landry was standing over a 10-foot birdie putt at his final hole, the ninth, when play was halted for the day on Thursday.

The 28-year-old Texan, ranked 624th in the world, calmly knocked it in then took the rest of Friday off, and waited for his second.

But for Oakmont's fiendish greens, firming up despite the torrential rains on Thursday, Johnson could well have supplanted Landry.

He missed a string of birdie attempts from the 10-foot range, but said he couldn't be unhappy with two birdies and a bogey in the second round.

"They're so hard to putt," Johnson said. "No matter how close you are to the hole, they're tough to putt.

"I hit so many good putts today that I thought were going in, and burned the edge or lipped out. That's just how it goes. I mean, these greens are tough."

Certainly, he said, he wasn't haunted by memories of last year's US Open, where he three-putted the 72nd hole to finish tied for second behind Jordan Spieth.

The leaders were chased by England's Lee Westwood, who was three under after one round.

Scott Piercy and Spain's Sergio Garcia were in the clubhouse on 138, both carding even-par second rounds, while Ireland's Shane Lowry was two under through his first 18.

REMARKABLE

American Daniel Summerhays notched a remarkable seven birdies in a 65 that put him in the clubhouse on 139, leading a group of seven on one under.

World No. 1 Jason Day and third-ranked Rory McIlroy, both touted as title contenders, will instead be keeping an eye on the cut line.

McIlroy, the 2011 US Open champion, bogeyed the last three holes of his first round for a 77 that left him 11 shots off the pace.

Day didn't start the first round until Friday but, once he did, his misery lasted twice as long as McIlroy's.

The Australian's first-round 76 included a double-bogey at the par-four seventh, where he was in two bunkers and needed two attempts to get out of one of them.

Spieth, aiming to become the first to successfully defend the US Open title since Curtis Strange in 1989, was two over after one round. - AFP.

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