Tag Archive | "diplomacy"

4 koalas donated to S’pore for SG50 as goodwill gifts turn out to be drop bears

4 koalas donated to S’pore for SG50 as goodwill gifts turn out to be drop bears

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Drop bears are genetically different, more vicious variety of koalas that attack non-Australians.


Four koalas donated to Singapore as goodwill gifts have turned out to be drop bears.

Housed in the Singapore Zoo and prior to revealing their true identities, Paddle (aged eight), Pellita (aged six), Chan (aged five) and Idalia (aged two) were perceived to be docile, eucalyptus leaves-chewing marsupials, that help to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between Australia and Singapore, and to celebrate SG50 year.

Before showing true colours:

After showing true colours:

Drop bears are a genetically-deviant version of the koala, which makes them vicious, carnivorous marsupials related to koalas only in superficial looks. Instead of having herbivorous biological traits, drop bears have fangs for teeth and sharp claws for tearing flesh.

They are known to drop from trees on tourists in Australia, which is unlike the irresistible charms of its real koala cousin with its large insipid-looking nose that is often used to break the ice and melt hearts and seal diplomatic treaties of peace.

The Singapore Zoo has pledged to continue to house the drop bears out of goodwill and to contain the attacks on non-Australian visitors. Immunisation shots to tourists have been made available to lessen the risk of unwanted drop bear encounters when in the zoo.

This is similar to the immunisation programme offered by Australia to tourists who go on bush trails and run the risk of encountering drop bears in the wild.

Attempts to track the drop bear population in native Australian territory have proved futile, as their aggressive nature deters the use of satellite trackers tagged to them.

Researchers have been relying on tracking the drop bears’ prey, usually made up of dead people and dingoes, in order to map their population in a particular area.


Animals in S’pore struggle to keep up:

High cost of living in S’pore kills giant 400kg crocodile

High resale flat price deters monitor lizard from taking up S’porean citizenship






PM Lee Facebook pokes Indonesia President SBY, gets ignored

PM Lee Facebook pokes Indonesia President SBY, gets ignored

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However, international relations experts say playing hard-to-get is first step towards reconciliation.


Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was poked over Facebook by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the early hours of Thursday, as media in both countries closely watched and analysed how both sides continue to relate to each other over social media following Tuesday’s unprecedented unfriending episode that sent waves throughout the region.

The coy early morning interaction was confirmed by many media watchers but the poke by PM Lee was not reciprocated immediately.

Self-styled political pundit and international relations expert, Eric de Yaya, interpreted this move as part and parcel of how this new era of Facebook diplomacy operates: “For this courtship ritual to be played out in full, both sides would have to accept that the back-and-forth will be prolonged.”

“Chances are that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will Facebook poke PM Lee back only when Indonesia sends its haze over. PM Lee will be heartened by the acknowledgement and this will cushion the impact of the haze.”

At press time, weather watchers said they are anticipating the Facebook poke by the Indonesian president to be reciprocated as early as next week.

Ear on the ground: Perspectives on Wikileaks

Ear on the ground: Perspectives on Wikileaks

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New Nation updates you on a hotly-debated issue.

Saturday Night Live, a popular American sketch comedy and variety show, pokes fun at Assange.

TIME MAGAZINE and the Bank of America are just the latest groups to snub Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.

Although Assange was the reader’s choice to be TIME’s magazine’s Person of the Year, its editors picked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg instead, even though he was ranked a distant 10th.

Bank of America, facing threats that Wikileaks will release confidential files pertaining the bank next year, have decided to stop all payments funneled to the organisation, according to this Financial Times report.

While Assange is undeterred about releasing more documents, claiming to possess a “thermal-nuclear device” that will be released if he feels threatened, he got a taste of his own medicine when court papers detailing how he molested two Swedish girls were leaked.

In Singapore, bloggers, politicians, and writers have been furiously debating about Wikileaks, especially when it came to the effects of its disclosures on international diplomacy:

“I find Wikileaks very interesting because I used to be the foreign service officer writing those notes. I would hate to have some of the notes I wrote released to the public – not because they are bad notes, but because it’s important for diplomats to have confidential discussions with each other… If we come to a stage ewhere we cannot speak frankly, that is when we lose a bit of our edge over other countries; we lose the ability to punch above our weight. But now that it is out, I encourage you to read it because it’s good education on Singapore’s foreign policy.” — Gerald Giam, Executive Council member of the Worker’s Party, at Face to Face

“From an ethics standpoint, do governments and the military have the right to hold information secret? I’m inclined to say ‘yes’ , purely for security reasons. Yet I’m completely aware that the very same mechanisms are also being used to keep other information that ought to be disclosed, secret. Which is why we all love WikiLeaks.” — Marthia Lee, in her personal blog

“Unless governments and higher-level authorities begin conducting their affairs in honest and direct ways, Wikileaks and similarly styled ‘leaks’ via mobile phones, instant camera videos, iPhone scanners and photos will continue exposing ‘truths’, and continue causing upset.” — Lee Wei Fen, on Kent Ridge Common