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Addict drank more than 3,800 bottles of cough syrup, which he got from doctor

"They wanted to disown me. I lost count of the number of chances my parents gave me. My father even knelt on the floor and begged me to stop my addiction." - Mr Brian Tan (above)

He counts himself lucky to break away from his cough syrup addiction.

For eight years - from 2002 to 2010 - Mr Brian Tan, 30, survived on just one meal a day, preferring instead to drink at least 120ml of cough mixture, containing codeine, a painkiller.

In total, over the eight years, he drank 345 litres of cough syrup, most of which he bought from errant doctors.

His addiction would have continued if not for his decision in July 2010 to seek help at The New Charis Mission, a halfway house.

 "I thought since clinics sell cough syrup, then it's no big deal, it's harmless. But I was wrong."

Doctors TNP spoke to warned of the dangers of such excessive consumption.

"Taking 120ml of cough syrup a day for one month is already excessive, let alone eight years," said Dr Khoo Yong Hak, a doctor in private practice.

"Codeine is a milder form of opium. Any prolonged use of painkillers can damage your organs and cause mental changes."

Mr Tan was 18 when curiosity drove him to down a 60ml bottle of cough syrup his friend had bought for $6 at Geylang.

Mr Tan's love for the sweet, brown liquid robbed him of a career. After completing his national service, he became a loan shark runner.


Read the full report in our print edition on Feb 23.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Your cheat sheet to the 2015 Oscars: All you need to know to pretend you watched all the nominated movies

Take a look at our 2015 Oscar cheat sheet to prepare yourself for the ceremony tomorrow.

With the 2015 Oscars just around the corner, expect your social media feeds to be filled with amateur analyses from self-proclaimed film buffs discussing why one film should win over another.

If you're fretting over the fact that you haven't watched all of the nominated movies, don't. 

You can still take part in the Oscar conversations - with the help of our 2015 Oscar cheat sheet. You'll be able to pretend you've seen them, so you can still impress those film buffs.

Birdman (The Unexpected VIrtue of Ignorance)

Plot: Birdman (you don't have to say the full title) is about washed up Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton, who was once famous for his role as superhero Birdman. Thomson tries to revive his career by producing, writing and starring in a Broadway show. 

To pretend you've watched it, say this:: "Wow, director Alejandro González Iñárritu flawless pulled off that single-take look throughout the movie." Bonus: Tell everyone it's likely going to win big at the Oscars, because it is. 


Plot: A young jazz drummer enrolls at a music school where he is mentored by a fearsome teacher who resorts to physical and emotional abuse to achieve greatness.

How to pretend you've watched the movie: Remember that discipline mistress who terrorised you when you were late for school? Channel those feelings while talking about this movie but exaggerate it at least tenfold when talking about the movie. 

American Sniper

Plot: A biographical film about Chris Kyle, one of America's most prolific snipers.

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "This seems to be a glorification of the Iraq War, don't you think?"

The Theory of Everything

Plot: Based on the autobiography of physicist Stephen Hawking's first wife, Jane, the movie explores the marriage between the pair after Hawking is diagnosed with ALS.

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "Even geniuses have trouble navigating their love life. And it's possible to have sex with ALS (in case you were wondering)."

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Plot: The movie recounts the adventures of a concierge, Gustave H, at a famous European hotel and his friendship with Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy.

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "Ah, Wes Anderson has done it again." 


Plot: A coming-of-age drama filmed over 12 years depicts how a young boy struggles to overcome puberty and its challenges amid a turbulent family life. 

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "I felt like I was watching my life flash by. Director Richard Linklater really captured the sentiment of growing up."

The Imitation Game

Plot: The story behind one of the world's most forgotten geniuses - a Mathematician who helped solved the code that eventually won World War 2.

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "Now I wish I paid more attention during Math lessons."


Plot: The movie depicts the journey of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights with a march from Selma to Montgomery. 

To pretend you've watched it, say this: "How could David Oyelowo be snubbed for Best actor?"

WATCH: Hummingbirds snore too! And this is what they sound like...

Scientists in Peru have discovered that hummingbirds are capable of snoring - just like humans.
Scientists in Peru have discovered that hummingbirds are capable of snoring - just like humans.

With their ability to hover like a helicopter and dart about the air like a tiny missile, hummingbirds are some of nature's most agile and superb flying creatures.

But a day of zipping about the air while beating their wings at an insane rate takes its toll on those tiny little frames and it certainly shows in their sleep.

While they're miniscule compared to humans, hummingbirds have one thing in common with us - they snore.

The phenomenon was discovered by scientists in Peru and captured on camera by BBC One for a television programme called Super Cute Animals.

Here's what it sounds like:


Even though it sounds like the whistling made by a falling bomb or mortar shell, there's no doubt that the snore adds to the cuteness of the hummingbird.

It definitely beats the sound of my snoring!

Source: Facebook

Continue celebrating CNY at these spots in S'pore and around the region

A man writing Chinese calligraphy in preparation for the Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong.

If the long weekend wasn't enough for all your Chinese New Year celebrating, there's still a month's worth of festive activities to look forward to, both in Singapore and around the region. 

Here are some places you can visit in Singapore and across the region this Chinese New Year.


What: ​Underwater dragon dancea 
Where: S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa
​When: Until March 1, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Photo: Reuters



What: Chingay 2015
Where: F1 Pit building
When: Feb 27 and 28

Photo: NP File


What: Chinese New Year light-up
Where: Chinatown
When: Now till March 19

Photo: NP File



What: Chinese New Year light display
Where: Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple in Jenjarom, outside Kuala Lumpur

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters



What: Re-enactment of ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony, in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune
Where: Ditan Park, also known as the Temple of Earth, in Beijing

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters


Hong Kong

What: Chinese New Year couplets
Where: Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Photo: Reuters


What: Light show
Where: Skyline of the financial central district

Photo: Reuters

Source: Reuters

Watch: Professional female stunt driver pranks men during blind dates

How would you like to try speed dating with a twist?

In its latest advertisement, carmaker Ford got a professional female stunt driver to go on blind dates with unsuspecting guys.

During each date, she would offer the dude a ride in her cool Mustang.

Some of the men condescendingly suggested she would not be able to drive "stick" (or what we here in Singapore call 'manual' driving). 

Others kept talking about all the cool things they do in their free time. 

But all of them shut up once she put the car into high gear, and.took them on the ride of their lives. 

Now, if only all first dates could be like that ...