EXPERT BLOGS


Introducing Callum Pip Ernest White

Introducing Callum Pip Ernest White, born 16/08/2011Well he’s finally here! In fact, our baby boy arrived two weeks ago - but I haven’t had the chance to let you all know until now. Being a mum is hard work!

Callum Pip Ernest White arrived 16th August 2011 at 3:30pm weighing 3.36kg/7lb 4oz and measuring 53cm. Thanks to Dr Christine Yap of Women’s Health and Fertility Clinic and the exceptional delivery suite nurses at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, we had a great - although long - birth. It took 31.5 hours! Master Pip had no intention of making it into the world on his own so an induction was required and that took some time. But in the end he made his way, the birth was manageable and we welcomed him into the world exactly how we wanted. Minus the stitches - ouch, they’re something I could have done without!

Being a mum is full on, in every way - emotionally, physically and mentally. But it’s an absolute gift and one I’m truly grateful for. My folks and sister are in town at present so between them and this beautiful (well I think so) boy there isn’t a lot of time for posting blog entries, but I will be back in force soon.

This pic of the Pipster showcases a favoured expression. I don’t know about you, but I think he’s definitely a keeper

 

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Posted by Michelle Wed, 31 Aug 2011 06:47:00 GMT


Brilliant nail biting entertainment

Last night I was on the edge of my seat throughout the performance of The Imperial Ice stars: Swan Lake on Ice at Marina Bay Sands. With Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, exhilarating new choreography and dazzling costumes, this innovative portrayal of the classic love story will take your breath away. What an experience! The show was rehearsed on an Olympic sized rink before being reduced to almost a quarter of the size to allow for travelling. You only need to imagine the excitement of the audience in the front few rows. The performances were extraordinary. Many non-standard executions never before attempted by skaters on such a small area thrilled the full house. This is a must see. The applause went on for quite some time after the curtain fell. Excellent production. Highly recommended.

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Posted by SPH The Finder Wed, 31 Aug 2011 03:57:00 GMT


What happens when you don’t lodge an Aussie income tax return?

STEVE DOUGLAS advises on the importance and relevance of lodging an Aussie income tax return.

Q I received a penalty notice from the Australian Tax Office for not lodging my tax return. What should I do?
 
A It’s a legal requirement to lodge an Australian Income Tax Return if you are receiving taxable income in Australia. When living out of Australia, this income is usually from a rental property as overseas income is non-taxable. Many are under the impression that if expenses such as interest costs are greater than your income, you’re not required to lodge a return. This is not the case. You’ll be required to lodge a tax return and report income even when you generate as little as A$1.
For many years the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) didn’t have resources to adequately police non-lodging taxpayers and in turn taxpayers were not contacted. Subsequently taxpayers felt no need to lodge their tax returns. The general taxation policy in the past was if no tax was payable then no fine would be imposed. In 2000 the ATO changed this ruling and taxpayer’s were fined for not lodging a return even where no tax was payable.
If you are lodging your own tax return and received Australian sourced income in the year prior to June 30, you must declare the income and claim expenses by October 31 this year. If you engage a Tax Agent you’ll be granted a lodgement extension until April 2012. If you didn’t receive Australian income to June 30 2011, but lodged an Australian tax return in the past, it’s important to advise the ATO so you don’t get penalised. A fine of up to A$550 may be imposed if you do not alert the ATO.
If you’ve been charged with a late lodgement fine, it’s possible a remittance in part or full may be considered by making a request to the ATO. You will be asked to explain why the tax return was late and also promise to lodge returns promptly in the future. There’s no guarantee the penalty will be reduced although in the past the ATO has been reasonable with rulings. However, expect tougher enforcement in the future. A penalty reduction will not be considered until outstanding tax returns have been completed and lodged. If tax is payable, a late payment penalty may also be enforced.
Lodging a tax return is not a complicated matter, so don’t procrastinate. If you have outstanding tax returns contact the ATO or an Australian Registered Tax Agent from Australasian Taxation Services to discuss your situation and confirm lodgement of your returns. This will ensure you keep up to date with your requirements and hopefully have a minimum of penalties imposed.
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Posted by smats Wed, 31 Aug 2011 02:09:00 GMT


Your handy travel innoculation check-list

IMC’s Dr Michael Rodger educates and recommends inoculation against deadly infections for safe and healthy holiday travel.  

In 1796 Gloucestershire doctor Edward Jenner noticed those who contracted cowpox – the cow’s equivalent of smallpox – rarely caught the deadly human version. To test his theory, Jenner deliberately infected an eight year-old boy with the pus from a cowpox sore. The boy became ill but recovered. He then infected him with smallpox and as suspected, the previous cowpox infection protected the boy from smallpox. This gave birth to modern vaccinations.
Pathogens are microbes that cause diseases. When a small amount of the weakened or inactive microbe is introduced into your body it stimulates the immune system, producing antibodies to fight off disease. Your immune system remembers the microbe and defends your body against future infection – effectively immunising you against the disease. 
Although Singapore is relatively free of tropical diseases, neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are not so fortunate. Here are a core group of essential vaccinations that are almost universally recommended for the South East Asian region.
Hepatitis A is contracted from contaminated food or water and causes viral inflammation of the liver. Two vaccines are given six to 12 months apart and immunity lasts over 20 years.
Hepatitis B usually transmitted by dirty needles, blood transfusions and sexual contact, is a highly infections viral inflammation of the liver contracted through blood, blood products or bodily fluids. A course of three vaccines over six months is required followed by a blood test to check for life-long immunity. A combined vaccine with hepatitis A is also available.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection transmitted via contaminated food and drink. The vaccine lasts up to three years.
Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis are bacterial infections requiring a combination vaccine which can last up to a decade. 
Polio is a viral infection causing paralysis. Adult booster vaccinations are advised if no booster was administered in the last 10 years.
Rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera have appropriate vaccinations for long-term travel or when you travelling to more remote locations within the South East Asian region.
Yellow fever is present primarily in Africa and South America. Be aware you may require proof of vaccination against yellow fever when re-entering Singapore.
No vaccine is currently available for Malaria. It’s a fatal disease prevalent in many inland areas of South East Asia and prevention can be managed with medication, mosquito nets and repellents. Consult your doctor four to six weeks before travelling within the region and discuss your vaccination requirements, travel medications, food and water hygiene, mosquito repellents and preventative prescription medications. If you’re embarking on an extended trip, allow six months for inoculation. Rest assured most vaccinations are fully effective after two weeks.
 
Dr Michael Rodger MBChB MRCGP (UK)
Dr Michael Rodger worked in the UK before relocating to Singapore in January 2011 and now works at the International Medical Clinic at Camden Medical Centre.

 

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Posted by International Medical Clinic Mon, 29 Aug 2011 09:24:00 GMT


Ways to maintain a healthy client-lawyer relationship

Lawyer-mediator RAJAN CHETTIAR advises on the importance of a healthy client-lawyer relationship.  

After specialising in family law for over eight years, I’m constantly reminded of the vital role a lawyer plays in a client’s divorce proceedings. You and your family lawyer quickly build rapport and establish a personal relationship and this is why it’s important to choose a knowledgeable, competent and compassionate lawyer who understands you and your case. A typical professional relationship should take into account the following:
 
Lawyer’s duties:
• Understands and addresses your concerns
• Be a confidante, counsellor and friend
• Provide support, especially when you’re vulnerable
• Show patience, empathy and compassion
• Treat your problems with sincerity and sensitivity
• Give sound advice and act professionally
• Clearly explain the pros and cons of all legal instructions
 
Client’s duties:
• Outline your objectives and desired outcome
• Trust in your lawyer’s advice and good intentions
• Clarify any doubts and understand legal advice being given
• Allow space and time for your lawyer to develop your case
• Recognise the value of the legal services and don’t attempt to obtain a discount.
• Don’t impose your negative emotions on your lawyer.
• Listen to your lawyer, not your friends and relatives.
 
Divorce proceedings are usually stressful and emotional.You will experience apprehension, worry and fear – some real, others perceived. This is why trusting your lawyer’s experience is paramount. More often than not, fears will be fuelled by ad-hoc comments from family and friends who may or may not have experienced similar scenarios. As no two cases are the same it’s best to take heed and listen to an expert.
An experienced lawyer will also be able to handle extreme behaviour or bullish tactics from your spouse and provide reassurance if you become impatient over the inevitability of slow court proceedings. So, in essence a healthy client-lawyer relationship is one which allows both parties to work on the case effectively and efficiently while respecting each other’s space, boundaries, wisdom and professionalism.

 
Rajan Chettiar

Commissioner for Oaths, Mediator LLB (Honours), Barrister-at-law (Middle Temple), UK

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Posted by Rajan Chettiar & Co Mon, 29 Aug 2011 09:09:00 GMT


Oral cancer and ways to detect & treat it

Dr Myles Holt of SMILEFOCUS gives an in-depth explanation of oral cancer and ways to detect and help prevent the disease.

It’s common knowledge regular visits to your dentist are important in maintaining good oral health. However, did you know part of a routine dental examination involves your dentist screening for signs of oral cancer? 
     Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or a sore anywhere in the mouth. It can affect any area of your oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue and hard or soft palate. During your visit, the dentist examines the inside of your mouth and tongue to look for these often flat, painless, tell-tale signs. Since both cancerous and non-cancerous sores look alike it’s best to conduct tests to differentiate the two.
     In the past, men were more prone to oral cancers than women with a ratio of 6:1. However with a shift in lifestyle choices, this ratio is now 2:1. And although oral cancers were more common in those over the age of 40, the disease is now detected more frequently among younger people. The human papilloma virus – in particular version 16, (HPV16) – is conclusively implicated in the increasing incidence of oral cancer in young, non-smoking people. Research suggests HPV16 may be significantly replacing tobacco as the primary causative agent of oral cancers in those under the age of 50 years. Here are some signs to look for:

A sore in the mouth which bleeds easily or does not heal
A change in colour of the oral tissues
A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area in the mouth
Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
A lump or mass felt inside the mouth or neck
Long-term hoarseness
Numbness in the oral or facial region.
A change in the way teeth fit together
 
     Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of lip cancer – another common oral cancer. Prevent oral cancer by avoiding cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Tobacco coupled with alcohol can also greatly increase your risk of oral cancer. Prevent potentially cancerous lesions with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
     Because there are so many benign tissue changes that occur normally in your mouth, and some of these changes may mimic the look of a dangerous tissue change, it’s important to have any sore or discoloured area of your mouth looked at by your dentist – especially if it doesn’t heal within 14 days. However, oral cancer can also occur in people who don’t smoke and have no other known risk factors. A regular oral examination is essential and will aid in the early detection and containment of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.
 
Dr Myles Holt
B.D.S. (Sydney)
Dr. Myles Holt is from Melbourne, Australia and has more than 10 years of international experience spanning Australia, UK, Europe and the Middle East. His passion and expertise lies in Cosmetic Dentistry and Facial Aesthetic procedures.
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Posted by smilefocus Mon, 29 Aug 2011 02:59:00 GMT


Argentine beef experience in Singapore

I just had to share this extraordinary experience with you. SALTA Argentine Parrilla + Grocer serves up premium Argentine beef - free range grass-fed and imported directly from Argentina. Sounds expensive, no not at all. The rib eye I enjoyed today was prepared in the five-metre long charcoal fired grill called a Parrilla. This is a hot find for Singapore especially if you are a meat eater. My lunch guest enjoyed Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon so its clear, all can enjoy no matter your flavour.

SALTA is located in Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street, #01-56

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Posted by SPH The Finder Wed, 24 Aug 2011 07:18:00 GMT


Q. Whats your weakness? A. House of Mini cupcakes.

For a big guy like me it may seem a little odd but I have to admit, I don’t mind a cupcake now and again. And to my delight I’ve discovered House of Mini in Singapore. You can customise your own cupcake requirements so your limited only by your own imagination. Try the Micro Cupcakes. They are about the size of a 50 cent Singapore coin. Go the Chocoholic or alternatively Mango Tango. A real treat for the kid at heart. What’s your weakness?

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Posted by SPH The Finder Thu, 18 Aug 2011 06:56:00 GMT


Working Girl to Lady of Leisure in four (relatively) easy weeks

After working full-time for 21 years I must say I was filled with trepidation about commencing my 12 months maternity leave six weeks before my due date. What would I do with myself? Would I sloth about on the sofa watching Oprah all day long? Would I get bored? How would I find the motivation to complete all the things I had to do before my baby’s arrival? Turns out I needn’t have worried and six weeks was the perfect amount of time to adjust. With two weeks to go – and a funny feeling our baby will arrive sooner rather than later – here’s how my first four weeks have panned out:

WEEK 1 Overcome with the excitement of being “off” work I schedule something in my diary for every single day and become completely exhausted. Who knew ladies lunches could be so demanding?! Feeling like I’m on holiday, haven’t thought about work AT ALL!
LESSON Schedule no more than two to three external appointments per week so you have enough time to chill out at home. With enough “relaxation” time, the motivation to do the tasks you need to complete at home starts to emerge.

WEEK 2 Try to get out of bed before 10am and just. can’t. do. it. Would rather sloth about and surf Facebook all morning long posting inane updates than do anything remotely productive. Husband has passed me the responsibility of bills – seeing as I now have ample time on my hands. Realise I quite like being in control of the household finances and start e-banking and filing in earnest. Suddenly I’m struck with the urge to clear clutter and shred everything in sight. 16 hours and 8 bags of recycling later – hubby and I celebrate with cheese on toast. My new domestic goddess status is in question…
LESSON A little sloth time leads to greater productivity when you do get motivated.

With my oldest friend CasWEEK 3 Meltdown time. I hear it hits all “parents-to-be” at some stage. For us it was a scary birthing class with way too much detail on forceps and episiotomies followed by a stressful scan where due to our son’s increasing size it’s getting harder to locate certain body parts for accurate measurements. The result? Trying to survive on 2 to 4 hours of sleep each night leads to a tearful phonecall to my mother, who assures me I will be a good mum and yes of course my son will love me – most of the time. A visit from my oldest friend who I’ve known since I was five ­– and can send me into fits of giggles with a look – also lightens my mood.
LESSON Help is there if you ask for it and a phonecall is sometimes just as good as a hug. Having friends and family all over the world means someone is always awake for advice or a reassuring chat.

WEEK 4 I am truly hitting my groove. Hospital bag is half-packed and each day brings another domestic challenge to soothe my Type A personality. Who knew scrubbing kitchen cupboards could be so satisfying?! Host a coffee morning where everyone comes to me! And each person brings something to eat! One friend even brought the coffee filters! Realise this is definitely the way forward rather than running around having loads of lunches etc. We all bring books to swap/give away and some of us end up with more than we started with… Leftovers are being donated to the New2U Thrift Shop at SCWO. So pleased we can share our love of the written word with other women and hopefully generate some funding in the process.
           Hire three men to help shift furniture throughout the house (contact Nigel: 9270 9182). Baby’s room starts to take shape and hubby finishes Pip’s cradle, which we then set up in our room (toys will be removed upon occupance). With somewhere for him to sleep, milk (hopefully) and love on tap – we’re ready and waiting…
LESSON Hiring help is worth it! Pip's cradle - toys will be removed upon occupance of courseWhat would have taken my husband and four of his mates hours of grumbling about, three guys moved in one hour with smiles on their faces. They didn’t even complain when I said, "Actually, I’ve changed my mind - I want ‘it’ there." Rising early and getting busy in the mornings leaves me time to relax in the afternoons: read, watch what I really want to see on TV (thanks to Starhub’s HubStation – fab invention) and fall asleep to a hypnobirthing CD.

Now if I only I could sleep through the birth…oh yes, that could be why drugs are an option!

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Posted by Michelle Mon, 01 Aug 2011 04:20:00 GMT