OB markers and sacred cows in the Straits Times

The phrase “OB marker” cannot be found in the Oxford Online Dictionary. Nor can it be found in OxfordDictionaries.com, which updates much faster and just added new words such amazeballs and douchebaggery to its list.

Wikipedia says:

An OB marker, short for ‘out of bounds marker’ is a term used in Singapore to denote what topics are permissible for public discussion. The full form of the word is rarely used.

The term is adopted from golf, where an out of bounds marker denotes the area beyond which playing is not allowed… The term “OB markers” was first used in 1991 by the then-Minister for Information and the Arts George Yeo to describe the boundaries of acceptable political discourse.

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Douchebaggery! Amazeballs! Oxford Dictionaries’ latest words

Doncha go cray over this listicle of new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com. It’s trying to be uber cool, updating every month. Plugged into pop culture, seriously hyperconnected, this lexical hip cat has been soaking up new words faster than a former boozer who just fell off the wagon can order refills.


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The importance of Dead Poets Society

The death of Robin Williams brought tears to my eyes as I watched these scenes from Dead Poets Society showing him playing the English teacher, John Keating. He inspires his students through his teaching of poetry. “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world,” he says.

Yes, Keating was right. It is poetry, love and romance that lift our lives. [Read more...]

When PM Lee didn’t seek a correction in Straits Times

PM Lee Hsien Loong

PM Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today completes 10 years in office, reports the Straits Times. So what was being reported in the press when he became prime minister on August 12, 2004? I couldn’t penetrate the walls guarding the archives of the Straits Times — but came across a story which said he not seek a correction when the newspaper published a report suggesting his father was a  better marksman than him.

I found the story in the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) of all places – the magazine that had its share of troubles  with Singapore’s leaders before finally closing down in 2009 after 63 years of publication. [Read more...]

Singapore new media and rock

Unlike last year, I won’t be at the National Day parade this time. Having just got back to Singapore after a long time, I don’t have tickets for the show. But I am reading all about it as I catch up with the news. And trawling through the net, what strikes me is how the new media here rocks — like rock.

Yes, rock as in Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rock and Roll Music, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It). Loud, brash, lively, it was never music for all ears. The new media is just as noisy, rambunctious, often crossing the line, hard to control, raising as many hackles as getting Facebook likes. [Read more...]