SCDF officer at chlorine gas leak: 'It felt like a movie'

On Sunday, seven people were taken to hospital after a chlorine gas leak in Tuas. CYNTHIA CHOO ( speaks to the SCDF team which plugged the leak, and tries on a Hazmat suit

PRECAUTION: Hazmat specialists simulate plugging the gas leak.

When Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) second warrant officer (2WO) Zul Faizal, 34, entered the warehouse where the leak had occurred, he felt as if he had walked into a movie.

Speaking to The New Paper on Wednesday at the Civil Defence Academy in Jalan Bahar off Lim Chu Kang Road, he said: "I thought I was on a movie set.

"The only source of light shone through the shutters of the windows."

Yellow chlorine fumes engulfed the side door entrance and carpeted the floor.

2WO Faizal was part of a four-man hazardous materials (Hazmat) team deployed to plug a chlorine gas leak on Sunday at about 9.20am.

As he was wearing a chemical protective suit, the only sound 2WO Faizal could hear was his breathing.


He said: "Visibility was low, which made the task even more challenging."

His vision was also blurred as he had to wear an oxygen mask underneath the suit's visor.

If not for the suit, 2WO Faizal and his men could have suffered breathing difficulties, eye irritation and blisters on their skin.

The toxic chlorine gas could also cause fluid to build up in their lungs when exposed to it for prolonged periods.

The chlorine gas leak happened in Chemical Industries (Far East) at Jalan Samulun.

Seven people, including two SCDF officers, were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in three ambulances.

The Hazmat specialists were able to plug the leaking valve in under 20 minutes.

With the help of suppression jets that diffused the chlorine gas, the team spotted a stream of gas gushing out of a leaking valve among some 100 cylinders in the warehouse.

2WO Faizal and his team got to work.

First, they screwed on a replacement cylinder cap over the cracked valve and secured it with duct tape.

Then, they sealed the valve with putty paste.

The specialists were not always so nimble.

Sergeant Syukri Johari, 25, who was part of the team, said: "When I first started training, the stiff rubber gloves on the suit made holding even a pen difficult."

The specialists had to go through a three-week course to understand the risks of chemical hazards. They also have to pass a certification test every six months.

Major Huang Weikang, 33, commander of Tuas View Fire Station, who was at the scene on Sunday, said: "People may not understand the risks of dealing with hazardous materials because often, these chemicals are gaseous and cannot be seen.

"They understand fire is dangerous because they can see the flames and the smoke.

"But chemical hazards can be equally, if not more, dangerous."

People may not understand the risks of dealing with hazardous materials because often, these chemicals are gaseous and cannot be seen.

- Major Huang Weikang, commander of Tuas View Fire Station

The man who made Captain America a villain is in town

US comic book writer became fans' most hated man after plot twist involving Marvel superhero

GUEST: US comic book writer Nick Spencer is in town for this weekend's Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention.

Non-comic book fans might not have heard of him before.

But US comic book writer Nick Spencer became the most notorious guy in the Marvel Universe more than three months ago, when he essentially turned Marvel superhero Captain America into a villain in the first issue of the comic book Captain America: Steve Rogers, which was published on May 25.

It ended with the revelation that the character is actually an undercover agent for evil fictional terrorist organisation Hydra, with him saying: "Hail Hydra".

It was a move that shocked many fanboys, who started tweeting hateful comments and sending Spencer death threats on social media.

The 38-year-old is in town as a guest for this weekend's Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC).

At yesterday's STGCC media preview, he told The New Paper: "It's been a whirlwind couple of months, (but) it's really nice when stories have this kind of an impact on the audience.

"I think I'm generally able to take (the hate) with a grain of salt and recognise that people say things on the Internet that they wouldn't necessarily say in person.

"When it comes to social media, people let their passion get the best out of them."

But the threats died down after the second issue of the comic book was released in June, and people started to see the bigger picture and understand that it was part of a story that Spencer and his team had been building for a while, which was that Captain America's memories have been tampered with by Kobik - the sentient Cosmic Cube that assumed the shape of a four-year-old girl - who is under the control of the superhero's enemy Red Skull.


Spencer said: "For the most part, I'm able to enjoy (my time of being infamous). It's just a reflection of how passionate these people are about the characters (that they love), and people want to see the characters do well. So when someone does something bad to one of the characters, people get protective and defensive, and that's okay, that's a good thing."

He added: "There was a whole month before people could get any answers, but it's my job to keep readers on the edge of their seats and excited for the next issue, so we couldn't just come out and say what people wanted to hear, which is that everything's going to be okay."

Spencer, who has been with Marvel since 2011 and is a New York Times best-selling writer, is also currently writing for other Marvel comic books such as The Astonishing Ant-Man and Captain America: Sam Wilson.

And nothing would make him "happier" than to see his work adapted for the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although it's something writers like him "don't have any say over".

He cited how his peer Ed Brubaker revived the character of Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in the Captain America (vol. 5) story arc taken from Out Of Time #6, which was published in 2005, and it "very quickly got turned into" the 2014 superhero blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

"What we try to do is just tell the best story that we can, and if (Marvel) decide that's something they can use, that would be amazing... fingers crossed," he said.

Spencer is naturally a big fan of the Marvel movies and the latest offering, this year's Captain America: Civil War, is probably his favourite.

For him, the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely trumps the DC Extended Universe.

"I've not been a big fan of the DC movies so far. Out of the three (Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad), I felt that Suicide Squad was the best, but I'm not saying that I liked it," he said with a laugh.

"I like the DC TV shows (such as The Flash) though - those are really well done."

It's really nice when stories have this kind of an impact on the audience.

- Mr Nick Spencer


WHAT: Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention 2016

When: Tomorrow and Sunday, 10am to 8pm

Where: Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level B2, Halls E & F

Tickets: $19, $28 and $120 from, authorised retail outlets Action City and Superheroes Galaxy and on site

FAS wants Fandi Ahmad to stay

National football body working overtime to find role for former national skipper

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is working overtime to make local football icon Fandi Ahmad a concrete offer, in the hope he will stay.

The 54-year-old former national skipper, whose contract is up in three months, met two FAS senior management officials yesterday to discuss his future with the national football body.

When contacted by The New Paper, Fandi (above) confirmed the meeting, but declined to go into detail.

But sources told TNP that the FAS is now rushing to thrash out an offer for him, in light of interest by Malaysian Super League side Pahang FA.

TNP reported on Wednesday that Pahang, for whom Fandi played in the early 1990s, were keen on roping their former star back in a technical role.

Before the recent developments, the FAS' only offer to Fandi was last December, for him to be head coach of the Under-21 Garena Young Lions team in the S.League.

But Fandi turned down the post as he was not involved in the initial squad selection process.

TNP understands he was also not given assurances on the signing of senior players he had hoped could guide the youngsters, who are currently rock bottom in the S.League with nine points from 20 games, and just four more to go this season.

Since then, he has met the FAS senior management numerous times over the last nine months - it is believed Fandi pitched a role in youth development, with the focus on forming a team for the 2019 SEA Games and qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - but both parties were not able to come to an agreement.

With Pahang's reported interest in securing Fandi, though, the FAS has to act fast.

It is understood Fandi suggested a different role he could take up, in yesterday's meeting, which the FAS is considering.

In response to queries about the meeting, an FAS spokesman said it was "premature" to comment on details.

"We will make an announcement once there is something conclusive," added the spokesman.

Fandi, arguably Singapore's greatest footballer, was an instant hit as coach after hanging up his boots in 1999, leading SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC) to the 2000 and 2002 S.League titles. He was also named the 2000 S.League Coach of the Year.

After a stint coaching the Young Lions - guiding them to their best finish of third twice, in 2004 and 2006 - where he also doubled up as assistant to then-national coach Raddy Avramovic, he moved abroad to coach Pelita Jaya in Indonesia, and then at Johor FA (now Johor Darul Ta'zim) in Malaysia.

He returned to Singapore in 2014 to coach the LionsXII team that competed in the MSL, guiding them to the 2015 Malaysian FA Cup, before the team were kicked out of Malaysian domestic football competitions at the end of last year.

Fandi was also considered for the post of national coach after Bernd Stange's contract ran out in April, but the job went to his former national strike partner V Sundramoorthy instead.

Sundram roped Fandi in to assist him with the Lions and is keen to have him as lieutenant for November's Suzuki Cup assignment, but recent developments have put a question mark over that arrangement.

Tags: Football

Chia still ahead, Slorach in second

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Tiger plans comeback next month

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Putra Cup hosts in individual and team lead

Ho plays key role with 67 in helping Republic's Putra Cup team dream alive

ON FIRE: Joshua Ho’s three-under 67 moved him up to fifth in the individual tournament.

Almost apologetically, Joshua Ho asked if his post-game interview could be conducted by the 18th green so that he could watch his Putra Cup teammates complete their rounds.

This was the strong unity and camaraderie Team Singapore have been displaying throughout the first three days of the South-east Asian Amateur Golf Team Championships at the Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden course as they aim to regain the team title the Republic last won in 2011.

After combining for a total of six under yesterday, the quartet of Gregory Foo, Marc Ong, Joshua Shou and Ho have expanded their lead over closest rivals Thailand from one stroke to five.

Ho shot five birdies against two bogeys to register a solid three-under 67 and a three-round, one-under total of 209 as the 22-year-old vaulted into contention for the individual title as well. He sits in fifth place, four strokes behind leader Foo.

"I've been playing solid for the first two days, hitting good shots but just not converting," said Ho.

RIVALS: Individual competition leader Gregory Foo (left) with Malaysia's Chan Tuck Soon and Thai Kammalas Namuangruk (right). TNP PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

"It was the same for my front nine today in which I played one over, but I finally got my putter going on the back nine and I hope to carry this form over to the final round.

"We are in a good position and it's all about confidence and momentum now. As much as possible, we want to watch each other play because when you see your teammates hole out or make a good shot, it just gets you pumped up."

The local lads are definitely in the zone as Foo revealed his team have been dreaming about lifting the Putra Cup "for weeks, even months before Tuesday's tee-off".

After shooting a 69 for a three-round, five-under total of 205 to pull one clear of Thailand's Kammalas Namuangruk, he said: "We have been talking about winning the team title during training and even over dinner.


"We are not surprised that we are in the lead. Sure, Thailand are the favourites because they have a good tradition of winning the Putra Cup, but that just motivates us more."

Singapore's third player in the top five is 20-year-old Marc Ong, who made arguably the best shot of the day when he eagled the par-four 15th hole.

"I hit a good knockdown wedge from 104 metres, the ball took one hop before it went down the hole," he said after his 68 lifted him to fourth with a of 208.

"Overall, it's one of my better rounds. I struck the ball really good, made all the greens and didn't have to chip even once. I was bogey-free until the last hole when I felt the nerves.

"It wasn't the way I wanted to finish but I'm happy with the way I played and how my teammates are playing well.

"If we keep this up and continue shooting good numbers, we will get there. As for the individual title, it feels good to be in contention, and I hope it's a Singaporean who wins it."

Singapore coach Andrew Welsford believes complacency will not be an issue as his team aim to complete a wire-to-wire victory.


The 44-year-old Australian added: "A lead of five strokes is not much in a team event, but we would rather be five ahead than five behind.

"We have a great team environment, mature and seasoned players who have shared the responsibilities of scoring. We believe we are the team to beat and we have just got to go out there and look after ourselves in the final round."

Despite falling behind Singapore in the Putra Cup team event, Thailand are leading by considerable margins in the Santi Cup, Lion City Cup and Kartini Cup.

Team Singapore are third in the Santi Cup, 14 strokes behind the Thais, as Amanda Tan lies second on the individual leaderboard with her three-day, three-over total of 213, eight strokes behind Pajaree Anannarukarn, the only other golfer besides Foo to register three consecutive rounds under par.

A lead of five strokes is not much in a team event, but we would rather be five ahead than five behind.

— Singapore coach Andrew Welsford



Individual (Top 3)

  • 205: Gregory Foo (Sin) 67-69-69
  • 206: Kammalas Namuangruk (Tha) 65-71-70
  • 207: Ruperto Zaragosa III (Phi) 71-71-65


  • 619: Singapore (203-212-204)
  • 624: Thailand (205-211-208)
  • 639: Malaysia (213-214-212)


Individual (Top 3)

  • 205: Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha) 68-68-69
  • 213: Amanda Tan (Sin) 66-76-71
  • 214: Nur Durriyah Damian (Mas) 69-74-71, Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (Tha) 73-68 73


  • 419: Thailand (141-136-142)
  • 429: Philippines (142-139-148)
  • 433: Singapore (137-151-145)

LION CITY CUP (Male Juniors)

Individual (Top 3)

  • 206: Ekpharit Wu (Tha) 71-65-70
  • 208: Kousuke Hamamoto (Tha) 69-70-69
  • 211: Ira Alido (Phi) 69-71-71


  • 413: Thailand (140-134-139)
  • 429: Philippines (143-142-144)
  • l31: Indonesia (146-147-138)

KARTINI CUP (Female Juniors)

Individual (Top 3)

  • 214: Geraldine Wong (Mas) 74- 70-70
  • 216: Virunpat Olankitkunchai (Tha) 74-70-72
  • 217: Nicole Abelar (Phi) 70-75-72


  • 433: Thailand (148-142-143)
  • 439: Malaysia (154-141-144)
  • 444: Philippines (146-152-146).
Tags: Golf

Pre-academy for kid goalkeepers

Seven months after launching the Goalkeeper Academy of Singapore (GAS) for budding shot-stoppers aged between 10 and 16, the Football Association of Singapore is trying to tap even younger talent.

It will launch a pre-academy tomorrow, catering to boys aged seven to 10, and aims to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills through games and fun sessions.

Sessions for the pre-academy will be held every Saturday from 8am to 9am at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

All goalkeepers aged seven to 10 are invited, but must be Singapore citizens and be registered beforehand via e-mail, at

On-the-spot registration is not allowed due to planning requirements.

Said national goalkeeper coach Frederic de Boever: "Response to the GAS has been very positive, and we are already seeing many players improving tremendously under this programme.

"We therefore felt it would be even better to start developing them from a younger age, so that they are absorbing the ideas and concepts of proactive goalkeeping and putting them into practice."


Tags: Football

Hassan, Izwan good enough for Europe: de Boever

Goalkeeper coach de Boever says Hassan and Izwan good enough for Europe, confident of bright future

National goalkeepers Hassan Sunny and Izwan Mahbud have enough talent to play for top clubs in Belgium and Holland. Their big challenge, though, is getting noticed.

That's the assessment of Football Association of Singapore (FAS) goalkeeper coach Frederic de Boever, who sat down with The New Paper recently to explain how he plans to groom local goalkeeping talents.

The 35-year-old previously ran his own goalkeeping academy in his native Belgium and assisted Guy Marten, the man who produced current Chelsea and Belgium No. 1 Thibaut Courtois, at RKC Genk.

De Boever started work in Singapore in January, and now coaches the national team's goalkeepers.

"Realistically, I think Hassan and Izwan are able to compete for a spot at a club in Belgium or Holland," he said.

"If you see Hassan's current levels playing in the Thai league with Army United, and if you see how Izwan played against Japan last year, those boys can compete in European teams.

"But having the quality is one thing, the other is your contacts and the people you know.

"There are not many scouts of European clubs who are in the stands to watch S.League games.

"So they must play on the international level. And, if you can deliver in big moments, like in the Suzuki Cup, or qualification matches with big names like Japan, maybe you get noticed."

De Boever admitted while Singapore are blessed with two "exceptional" goalkeepers, there is no standout youngster with the potential of matching them.

But the father of two boys, aged seven and nine, said there is raw talent among young local boys to be hopeful.

"Behind them, there's a gap, yes, and everybody realises that," he said.

"But you never know when a young goalkeeper, who may not be at the level people want him to be, suddenly improves and goes one or two levels up."

In any case, he added, it is his job to solve the problem and why he travelled halfway across the world, despite not knowing where Singapore was on the map.

"I'm here to do three things," he said. "First, to push the current goalkeepers to their highest possible level, that's the immediate thing.

"The medium-term is to reduce the gap between the current goalkeepers and the ones who have to catch up. It's a challenge for us but I love big challenges.

"And the long-term is the Goalkeeper Academy of Singapore (GAS). That must be the legacy."

The GAS is what the towering de Boever, who was a semi-pro goalkeeper in Belgium but retired at 22, is most proud of.

Launched in January, it aims to equip aspiring shot-stoppers with the right tools, using what he calls a "modern methodology".

He wants Singapore's future goalkeepers to be able to read the game, make decisions quickly and prevent goal opportunities before they present themselves.

He insists the lack of height is not an insurmountable disadvantage.

Hassan stands at 1.84m and Izwan at 1.80m, while the world's top goalkeepers like Manuel Neuer (1.93m), David de Gea (1.92m) and Courtois (1.99m) are taller.

He pointed to Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, who is the same height as Hassan but excelled in international matches, earned a move to Club Brugges and continued to shine in Europe.

Ryan was linked with Liverpool before Valencia snapped him up.

De Boever said he and Martens scouted Ryan for Genk before he moved to Brugges, but Genk's then-technical director felt the Aussie was too short.

But Ryan's rise has given de Boever vindication and he is confident Singapore will reap the rewards of the GAS and his methods in "four or five years".

"If we start working on this methodology and make our goalkeepers deal with everything, then they have a chance of going abroad," he said.

"Of course there are variables. But, if the talent is there and mindset is right, I'm very confident we have a very big chance of achieving something with Singapore goalkeepers."

Tags: Football

Russia launches own games

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Tags: Paralympics and Russia

Games for 'superhumans' opens

AIRBORNE: Aaron Wheelz extreme wheelchair athlete makes a spectacular entrance at the start of the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro
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