Iran hangs woman convicted of killing alleged rapist

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Join the SG50 party, President Tan tells overseas S'poreans

President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his state visit to the UK.

Singaporeans living overseas have been asked to join celebrations marking the country's 50th year of independence.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said during his state visit to the UK: "As we celebrate SG50, I hope that all Singaporeans, whether at home or overseas, will jointly commemorate our nation's growth and journey."

He was speaking on Friday at a reception in London attended by more than 200 Singaporeans.

More than 210,000 Singaporeans live overseas and the community in the UK is one of the largest in any country, Dr Tan said.

He was looking forward to hearing more about ground-up ways of celebrating SG50 next year, such as the Imperial College Singapore Society's plan to hold a show in February.

The musical will examine questions of national identity and brotherhood between Singaporeans, said the society's president, Mr Clive Aw, 22, a second-year physics student.

The Singapore-UK Association also hopes to organise a garden party next year with stalls serving hawker food from back home.

Dr Tan asked Singaporeans in Britain to "continue to build on the strong links you have with one another and back home with Singapore".

He also visited the Imperial College campus in central London on Friday and received a warm welcome from the hundreds of Singaporeans studying there.

Reclusive mum slowly accepting help

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She has to crawl around after losing use of legs, but says she doesn't need social services to step in

GOOD NEIGHBOURS: Madam Kalsom Abdullah in a wheelchair being pushed by a neighbour, Mr Tan See Bah. Mrs Joyce Ho (right) occasionally helps her with her baths.

Ever since Madam Kalsom Abdullah, 76, lost the use of her legs three years ago, moving about her two-room Toa Payoh rental flat means crawling on the floor.

The wiry woman lives alone in her flat, which she shared with her husband until he died six years ago.

"It's hard to move around," says Madam Kalsom.

But despite this, she refuses help from social workers. She would rather rely on the generosity of her neighbours for help.

Social workers say they regularly meet people who do not want assistance.

Read the full report in our print edition on Oct 26. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at

Tags: Singapore

Getting our heads out of the sand

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She was in pain, unable to move. Yet she dialled my number

In The New Paper on Sunday (Oct 26), Ng Jun Sen wrote about a defiant elderly woman who would rather accept help from neighbours than from social services. This is despite the fact that she is unable to walk due to the pain in her legs. But sometimes the connection between a journalist and newsmaker lasts after the story has been submitted. On Saturday afternoon, he received a call...


Beneath her headstrong exterior is a lonely person wanting to talk to anybody who walks past her flat.

That was the impression I got of Madam Kalsom Abdullah, the 76-year-old who has to crawl around her flat after a minor stroke three years ago.

She lives alone in her rental flat since her husband died six years ago. So when I woke up this morning to a phone call from Madam Kalsom,

I thought she just wanted to chat. I was wrong.

The voice that greeted me on the other end was shaky and filled with fear.

It's a far cry from the proud woman who told me yesterday that she doesn't need help from social workers.

"Hello, you're the reporter right? I can't move. I'm just lying here. Pain, very pain," she said.

Do you need me to call someone, I asked while trying to mask my panicky voice.

"Don't call anyone, it's not an emergency...Will it be fine if I take Panadol?"

I responded that I wasn't a doctor who can prescribe medicine and told her that I would come visit her.

When she opened the door to me later, it was immediately clear that she had suffered.

Gone were the smiles from before. Instead, she hastily described the crippling pain that she felt in the morning.

"My body hurt everywhere just now, I didn't want to move. I didn't bathe. I didn't clean the floor," said the old lady.

"Oh, I took the Panadols anyway. If I die, I die lah." I was worried.

I tried to find out more about her latest condition. The Panadols helped reduce the pain but it still hurts to move her right calf, she said, pointing to the swelling on her feet.

I paused, thinking about the incredulity of the situation.

As a journalist, I'm not the one people should turn to for medical advice.

She has four sons, two daughters and many neighbours who obviously care for her.

But she dialled my number, which she copied from my name card, instead of the many other numbers already saved in her phone.

Why did she call me?

"Don't know," replied Madam Kalsom.

Clearly, this is a woman who needs help from people who are trained to give it. She's not alone.

Last week, I spoke to Madam Yap Bie Keow, the 81-year-old who for four days, unknowingly shared the same room as her daughter after she died in her sleep.

Her son, 60, lived in the same flat as them. They told me they had suspicions that something went wrong, but did not know what to do.

It's a story that mirrored one from a year ago involving a mother-and-son pair at Ghim Moh, which I wrote.

I can't help but wonder if this is a worrying trend about our elderly folk here. Do they know what to do when an emergency happens? Why are they are so stubborn to seek proper help? Don't they care about dying alone in their homes? These are not questions that I can answer.

At 25 years old, I have a long way to go, hopefully, before I can give a primary account.

I might be an old man pondering about impending death one day. But for now, my plan is to live a good life as much as I can so that I know the value of it in my old age.

Do you want a doctor, I asked Madam Kalsom again.

"No, no, no, I'm better already. Thank you for coming. My daughter may be coming soon."

I only left when I was totally satisfied that she would be fine. I reminded her again that she has a phone with a special button to alert the authorities in case of emergency.

Her neighbours know about her condition, and she told me she has informed her children.

I also left her a name card to a social service group and instructed her to call them. Then, we bade our farewells. She was smiling again. Maybe she just wanted a chat after all

Mario’s firing blanks

Off-colour Reds are held at home by brave Tigers

HELPING HAND: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has some words of advice for misfiring striker Mario Balotelli.
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Goal hero Sadio the Mane man for Saints

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Christopher Lee wins best actor at Golden Bell Awards

Christopher Lee thanked his wife during his acceptance speech
Christopher Lee thanked his wife during his acceptance speech

Christopher Lee wins best actor at  Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Bell Awards - the equivalent of their Emmys.

In his acceptance speech, an exuberant Lee yells out that his thanks to his wife Fann Wong. “Thank you! Thank you for giving birth to such a cute baby!”

He concludes by telling them “I love you”.

Suarez: Biting's harmless, shouldn't be punished as severely as for a bad tackle

Luis Suarez believes that while appalling, the damage done by his biting incidents is nothing compared to that done by a bad tackle.
Luis Suarez believes that while appalling, the damage done by his biting incidents is nothing compared to that done by a bad tackle.

Biting opponents may be appalling but it is harmless, said you-know-who.

And the deed should not be punished as severely as a bad tackle, added the controversial Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan marksmen is set to make his long-awaited Barca debut in El Clasico at Real Madrid later on Saturday - after completing a four-month ban for sinking his teeth into Italy defender Georgi Chiellini at the World Cup finals in Brazil.

It was the third time that Suarez bit an opponent. Previous incidents took place at former clubs Ajax in 2010 and Liverpool in 2013.

He received a seven and 10-match ban respectively.

The 27-year-old said he was getting help to control his "impulse" to bite. In his new book "Crossing The Line: My Story" (serialised in The Guardian newspaper), he said that the offence should not receive severe punishment.

THREE BITES: Luis Suarez bit into PSV's Otman Bakkal in 2010, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in June. PHOTOS: Screengrabs from Dailymotion, Sky Sports and TV

Double standards

"After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting (Chelsea defender) Branislav Ivanovic (for Liverpool), I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration," Suarez wrote.

"The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course, it will have if you can take someone's leg off and still not be booked...

"I know biting appals a lot of people, but it's relatively harmless... When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there," he added.

"None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield's ear. But none of this makes it right."

Premier League top-scorer Suarez netted a remarkable 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season. He moved to the Nou Camp in a deal worth 81 million euros ($130.9m) after his World Cup controversy.

Barca coach Luis Enrique said the Uruguayan will play some part in Saturday's match in the Bernabeu.


Suarez admitted that the adrenaline levels and pressure in high-profile matches caused his biting impulse to manifest itself but said there will be no repeat now that he's getting the right help.

"Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way," Suarez told the Guardian Weekend magazine in an interview on Saturday.

"There are other players who react by breaking someone's leg, or smashing someone's nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse.

"It is like an impulse, like a reaction. I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people."

- Reuters