Dream comes true for Abang as he meets LionsXII idols

Dream comes true for Abang, the 12-year-old father figure, carer and cook for his family, as he gets to meet his idols LionsXII, courtesy of TNP

DREAM COME TRUE: A blindfolded Abang walks onto the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch unaware that his idols - the LionsXII - are waiting to greet him.
GETTING A KICK: Abang enjoying a kick-about with some of the LionsXII - (from left) Faris Ramli, Sahil Suhaimi and Faritz Hameed.
GETTING A KICK: The icing on the cake came when he was presented with a signed LionsXII jersey and football by team captain Izwan Mahbud (above).

The boy who touched the hearts of many a Singaporean had just one dream - having a kick-about with the LionsXII.

All he wanted was to play with his footballing heroes, so The New Paper helped make his dream come true on Wednesday evening.

The story of Abang's (Malay for older brother) hardships was reported in The New Paper on Sunday.

The 12-year-old was thrown into extraordinary circumstances.

With a mother who says she cannot work due to a bad shoulder and mismanaged diabetes and a stepfather who is absent due to a slew of unpaid debts, Abang (we are not revealing his name) took on the role of father, carer and cook for his younger siblings.

The story went viral with over 17,000 shares and close to 7,000 likes on TNP's Facebook.

The only thing the Primary 6 boy - who sheepishly admitted to failing mathematics in school while "I pass most things" - would allow himself to dream about? Kicking a football with the LionsXII.

But he had said to this reporter then: "It is probably impossible."

On Wednesday, TNP worked with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and surprised Abang at his two-room rental flat in Woodlands.

We bundled him and his family into a car, blindfolded him and drove him to the LionsXII's training ground at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Abang, who had submitted gamely, thought he was in for a treat - an outing at Causeway Point.

A visit to the McDonald's restaurant at the mall just minutes away from his home is an exceptional day for the young boy, who has never been beyond the confines of Singapore, explained his mother, Madam Nora.

When his blindfold was eventually taken off, Abang was stunned at the sight that greeted him.

WATCH: Abang meets the LionsXII


It was the LionsXII football team, who stood in a semi-circle around the boy.

Abang received a standing ovation from the players he was used to only seeing on TV - if he had the time to watch, that is.

The team's captain and goalkeeper, Izwan Mahbud, told Abang that they "were proud to have him as a supporter" and that they were "inspired by his story".

The goalkeeper then introduced the star-struck Abang to his idols, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri and Sahil Suhaimi, before meeting the rest of the team.

Winger Gabriel Quak put a pair of new football boots on his feet before he and his four other siblings - aged 11, nine, seven and 30 months - enjoyed a kick-about with the players.


Forward Khairul, 30, asked if he could keep in touch with the family.

He told Madam Nora that he and his family would like to pay them a visit after reading the story and being inspired by the perseverance Abang continues to show despite their plight.

When Madam Nora later told Abang about the planned visit, he looked at her with wide eyes and a big smile and said: "Betul (really in Malay)?"

After two hours on the pitch, as Abang and his family headed home, he turned to his mother and asked in Malay: "Mama, did that really just happen?

"I really never thought it would ever happen. I cannot believe it, mama. Is this a dream?"

During the team's training session, Abang was also presented with a signed LionsXII jersey and ball.

"I cannot believe this," he told TNP later.

"They talked to me like I was their friend, like they knew me. I never thought I would be able to watch them play live, let alone meet them face to face."

Winger Faris, 22, told TNP: "He is such a strong boy.

"I looked after my siblings when I was younger too but not to the extent that this boy is doing. He really has taken it to a whole new level.

"His story is just amazing and I'm honoured to have a fan like him".

When asked if he was happy that he finally got the opportunity he never thought was possible, Abang said: "My wildest dream just came true".

Tags: abang, family, care and lionsxii

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Teen falls 30m off cliff, gets bitten by venomous snake while climbing up

File photo of adders.

Misfortune comes in droves.

A UK teenager fell off a cliff and fractured his pelvis. While trying to climb to safety, he was bitten by a venomous snake.

Brock Leach, 14, and his brother Josh Leach, 16, were heading to the sea for a swim when Brock slipped and fell off a cliff in Cornwall.

Swollen arm

Fortunately, he landed on a ledge about 30m below.

Brock fractured his pelvis and was severely bruised, reported Mirror. 

He tried to climb back up the cliff as the tide was rising. But as he reached for some rocks, he was bitten by an adder, the only venomous snake native to Britain.

His arm swelled to three times its normal size and he was unable to climb further, reported Metro.

'In pain'

Josh, who had climbed down to help his brother, scaled back up the cliff to get help.

Said Josh: "Brock was already in pain from his pelvis. But his hand started swelling up. He said it was hurting him.

"I had to leave him at a ledge and said to stay there, but he wanted to go with me.

"With help from passers-by, we managed to get him up to the top of the cliff and then Brock was flown to hospital."

'He didn’t panic'

The boys' mother, Tracey, said: "They were both very, very scared. Josh saw his brother disappear and heard him scream as he went over the ledge. He didn’t panic.

"He scrambled down and he made sure he told the people who came to help that it was an adder bite.

"It could have been a lot worse."

Sources: Mirror, Metro, Mail Online

Illiterate drunk tries to rob bookies, but ends up in fish and chips shop

Illiterate drunk Derek Carr tried to rob a bookies but ended up trying to hold up a fish and chips store instead.
Illiterate drunk Derek Carr tried to rob a bookies but ended up trying to hold up a fish and chips store instead.

One thing is sure, he will never be a criminal mastermind.

A drunk man, who is illiterate, botched his robbery of a betting shop after he entered a fish and chips store instead.

Derek Carr had set his sights on holding up a Corals bookie shop in West Lothian, Scotland, after getting his friend to help him write a threatening note on the back of a betting slip.

But the 49-year-old was so inebriated that he wound up in a neighbouring fish and chips stall instead and had to be directed to his intended destination next door by one of the diner's rather helpful employees.



After attracting the attention of witnesses who described him as "clearly under the influence of something", the bumbling Carr eventually walked into the branch that he had targeted at around 6pm.

He approached manager Karen Jamieson and handed her the note, which read: Put the money in the bag or someone will die.

Prosecutor Lewis Crosby told Livingston Sheriff Court that after clarifying Carr's demands, Ms Jamieson stood her ground and refused his request, to which Carr replied with a smirk: "I was only joking."

He then left the store with his carrier bag and note.

Friend acquitted

Carr admitted to his failed caper in April and is awaiting sentencing while Greg Tod, his friend who wrote the note for him, pleaded not guilty and was acquitted.

In his defence, Carr's lawyer Darryl Lovie said: "The chip shop attendant noticed he had a betting slip in his hand and inquired if he could help him.

"He then realised Mr Carr was in the wrong shop and told him he was in a chip shop not the bookies next door.

"He didn't write the note...Because Mr Carr is illiterate...he didn't know what was on the note, but he was aware of his actions.

"He appreciates the seriousness of his position and has the record of a man who has had a drink and drug problem for a significant period of time."

Carr is due to be sentenced on July 30. 

In the meantime, perhaps he should learn from this 100-year-old great grandma from China and give illiteracy the boot...

Sources: Edinburgh Evening News, Mirror Online

Bentos, burgers and 'bad' dads: The best Singapore blogs this year

Fresh. Creative. Engaging. These are the characteristics of the blogs that came out on top at the Singapore Blog Awards.

Organised by omy.sg, Singapore's first bilingual (English and Mandarin) web portal, it honours the top blogs in Singapore as well as favourite influencers.

This year's edition of the Singapore Blog Awards, held at F. Club Singapore on Thursday (July 23), saw bloggers vie for 27 coveted awards including Best Cooking Blog and Best Family Blog.

Here are five unique ones that caught our attention.

The Domestic Goddess Wannabe


Type: Food

Owner: Diana Gale

Food lover Diana Gale deservedly took home the awards for Best Cooking Blog and Most Popular Cooking Blog. 

With a plethora of recipes, ranging from breakfast food to cakes and dessert, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe is unrivalled in terms of variety.

It features Ms Gale's own spins on bold dishes such as Guinness Beef Stew (yes, with actual stout), common desserts like cheesecake, as well as timeless local favourites such as Otah Bread.

Her goal is to "demystify some of the myths that people have about cooking and baking" and to do so, she makes her recipes as easy to follow as possible.

Visit her here if you'd like to whip up something new in your kitchen.


Little Miss Bento


Type: Topical

Owner: Shirley Wong

This is quite possibly one of the most adorable — or as the Japanese say, "kawaii"— blogs on the Internet right now.

Little Miss Bento, the winner of Best Topical Blog, is your one-stop destination for just about anything Japanese.

As a huge fan of Japanese culture, blogger Shirley Wong writes passionately about her adventures in the Land of The Rising Sun and shares creative Japanese snack recipes with readers.

Ms Wong, who also happens to be an award-winning bento artist, has filled her blog with photos of her stunning creations and posted step-by-step guides to help fellow bento lovers create their own bento sets.

Want to learn how to make a Baymax bento set? Visit her here.


McDonald's Around The World


Type: Food/Travel

Owner: TravellingMcDs

Since its inception, McDonald's has expanded into more than 100 countries around the world, meaning there are likely hundreds of variations to its menu.

The exclusivity of each country's McDonald's menu means that items such as the Super Spicy Red Hot Chicken with Rice and Red Tea Sundae can only be found in Thailand and Taiwan respectively.

So if you ever find yourself in a dilemma over what to eat while on holiday or have the urge to go McDonald's hopping, then TravellingMcDs is the blogger you should turn to.

The McDonald's guru has spent years tasting and reviewing items from McDonald's outlets and is always on the lookout for new burgers, fries or sundaes to try. 

Visit him here.


Pohtecktoes - Traveling In The Moment


Type: Travel

Owner: Hendric Tay

"Life is too short not to live in the now and travel in the moment," says travel blogger Hendric Tay, who took home Best Travel Blog. 

With a GoPro and a craving for adventure, the travel enthusiast left his job to pursue his dream of travelling the world two years ago. 

His experiences in countries such as Brazil, Turkey, Mongolia and Australia are chronicled in Pohtecktoes.

At this point, you may be asking: "How does he fund his trips?" 

Although his priority is seeing the world, Mr Tay still does freelance media work. He also looks for ways to save money without having to compromise on the quality of his trips.

He spent a total of 76 days in four South American countries for just S$6,700. Visit him here to find out how he did it.


Rascal Dads


Type: Family

Owners: Victor Lai and Darren How

Follow the escapades of two father and son pairs in a blog that's hilarious but at the same time very relatable.

Bloggers and dads Victor Lai and Darren How aren't ashamed to admit that they "completely suck" at giving their children the best childhood possible, and their unique collection of stories bagged them the award for Best Family Blog. 

They blog in both English and Mandarin. 

In one of Mr How's stories, his son Pangzi deals with a couple of IKEA Smaland bullies, though not quite in the way he had in mind.

It's like reading an Asian version of hit TV show Modern Family. 

Visit them here.

Drug bust: $101,000 of Ice seized in Marine Parade

The Central Narcotics Bureau seized 560g of Ice during an operation on Wednesday.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) arrested two men and seized drugs worth more than $101,000 during an operation on Wednesday (July 22).

CNB officers arrested a 25-year-old man in a unit at Marine Terrace, off Marine Parade Road.

The suspected drug trafficker was led to his motorcycle, which was parked nearby.

Officers searched the vehicle and found 560g of Ice (methamphetamine) in two bundles in a hidden compartment under the seat.

CNB officers later arrested the suspect's accomplice, a 28-year-old man, around Kallang Avenue.

Investigations into the drug trafficking activities of both men are ongoing. 

The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of methamphetamine trafficked exceeds 250g. 

That amount can feed the addiction of about 185 abusers for a week.

Foolish robber asks victim: 'Do you know who I am?'

A foolish criminal in the UK revealed his name and former address to his victim while robbing him.

The man proclaimed, "Do you know who I am. I’m Carl Harrison," to the shop keeper before making off with legal intoxicants worth about £1,000 (S$2,100).

Harrison, 30, was jailed for three years and four months after admitting to two charges of robbery, having a knife and possessing drugs, Birmingham Mail reported on Tuesday (July 22).

No smoking

The Birmingham Crown Court heard that Harrison entered the store shortly after 3pm on Feb 10.

Shop keeper William Lee told Harrison to leave the store because he was smoking.

This angered Harrison, who became aggressive.

Harrison threw his cigarette outside before demanding that Mr Lee hand over some drugs, reported Mirror.

The intimidated shop keeper did as he was told, but Harrison was not satisfied.

He left the store, only to return 10 minutes later with a knife to force Mr Lee to give him more.

Hard to find

Despite disclosing his personal details, he was arrested only four months later after getting embroiled in an incident at a bar, Birmingham Mail reported.

Police said Harrison often moved around, making it difficult for authorities to find him.

Harrison's lawyer told the court that Harrison was clearly not "thinking properly" when he robbed Mr Lee.

"There are some bizarre features, perhaps the highlight was to say who he was and, unless there be any doubt, where he used to live, that show that he can not have been thinking properly when the offences were committed."

Sources: Birmingham Mail, Mirror

Michael Learns To Rock: Our songs rock because they are in simple English

Michael Learns To Rock meeting the media in Singapore at their press conference today (July 23). (L-R) Mikkel Lentz, Jascha Richter, host Jean Danker and Kare Wanscher.

Thankful would be the word to describe Danish pop band Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR).

In the 90s, they became a worldwide phenomenon with their catchy songs like Sleeping Child, 25 Minutes and Out Of The Blue.

Almost three decades later, they are still as popular in Singapore.

Mikkel Lentz, 47, Jascha Richter, 52, and Kare Wanscher, 46, are here once again since their last trip here last year.

Tickets to their concert tomorrow (July 24) at The Star Performing Arts Centre sold out fast, just like their previous one that was held at the Max Pavilion.

Wanscher said that they were very happy to hear that the tickets to their concerts have been snapped up and were thankful that they had such supportive fans.

But what do they think is the secret to their success?


Lentz said that the lyrics to their songs are in simple English which makes them easier for people to comprehend.

"We don't speak English back home so when we compose the songs, our lyrics are very simple.

"Not only can people understand them, our songs are good for karaoke too.

"This is the reason why we are still here."

From the heart

Richter, on the other hand, felt that the band's success is due to the fact that MLTR's songs "come from the heart and not the brains".

"We draw inspiration from many things.

"Travelling in Asia, we see all these beautiful people.

"But to be honest, my capacity for writing love songs is reaching its limit."

What's in a name? Michael Learns To Rock explains. 


Lyrics aside, the spotlight was next turned to their rather unique band name.

Lentz admitted that their moniker was confusing on a few levels.

Firstly, they sang pop songs.

Secondly, who's Michael?

He explained that back in the 80s when they first formed their band, they were in a hurry to submit a cassette of their songs for a music competition.

Michael Learns To Rock was a line that was inspired by a sentence that he had read from a book.

And this Michael in question refers to the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson.

He said: "Everyone thought we were a rock band so they got even more confused.

"But since we became successful with this name, it was too late to change it."

On the topic of "confusing" band names, the guys were asked to give examples of their own.

Lentz said that he thought The Beatles was strange especially if they had named themselves after a bug.

Wanscher shared that in Denmark, he once met a band from Myanmar called The Idiots.

"They are good singers but I just didn't understand why.

"Why would they call themselves idiots?"


And the jokes kept coming, as the laid back pop stars showed why they continue to thrill fans.

MLTR doesn't get why we have air-conditioning.

Richter appeared bemused when he talked about the cold winters in Denmark and how having the chance to travel to Asia was a wonderful experience for them.

He said: "It's always so nice to get some sunshine.

"I cannot understand air-conditioning and why everyone here just likes to stay in air-conditioned rooms.

"When we come to Asia, all we want is to stay outside in the sun all the time."