Another proud week.

Another week, another set of bizzaro news in Singapore. This time, it was all about our ban-happy policies, our (lack of) emotions, rampant sexual harrassment during the NUS freshmen orientation and other heartwarming stuff.

Bans, bans, bans

The long grace period did little to prepare us for the islandwide shisha ban that finally went into effect as the clock struck midnight this past Sunday. We were in the Arab Street area and watched as waiters refilled shishas for the last time, before carrying the hookahs away forever once the clock struck midnight. That was not the only kill-joy this week, though. The Liquor Control Act, which went into effect last year and which, among other things, bans public drinking in Little India (and Geylang) from Saturdays 7am to Mondays 7am (and the sale of takeaway alcohol after 7pm on weekends), added another restriction: starting today, stallowners at Tekka Food Centre will only be able to sell alcohol until 6pm on Sundays, not midnight. Stallowners have vowed to appeal.

Singaporeans and their feelings

According to advertising firm Unruly's study of 750,000 respondents from around Southeast Asia, Singaporeans have the least emotional reactions to video ads. A story today by Mumbrella reported: "Happiness was the most prevalent emotional response to video ads in Singapore, but was recorded at a rate 36% lower than the global average." So congrats, Singaporeans. You have no feelingsat least not when it comes to emotionally manipulative advertising.

Uncollected parking fines

If you've ever had undue anxiety over lawful parking, turns out your worries were all for naught. The Auditor General's annual report, released last Tuesday, cited poor oversight by several ministries, including MOE's lack of punishment for bond-breakers, a new $432,000 IT system left unused by the MOM andthe one that made us smileHDB's failture to collect over $159,000 in parking fees.

Much ado about Mandai

We're taking another semi-wild piece of land, disturbing the natural environment with the construction of giant buildings and then turning the place into an eco-tourism and conservation zone. On the chopping block this time is Mandai. After initial plans to build two new attractions and a big hotel that lets people stay at the zoo overnight came under scrunity by an environmental impact assessment report, plans have been tweaked (though not really downsized).

The world's most expensive dinner

Our fascination with stratospheric price tags hit a new high last week when the "world's most expensive dinner" was announced as taking place at Ce La Vi. Organized by Russia-based World of Diamonds Group, thewait for it$2 million dinner involves a helicopter ride, 10,000 roses, super old vintage wines, a 2.08 carat blue diamond ring and, our favorite, diamond-encrusted chopsticks, among other lavish and old-school touches. No one loves a lavish meal and a gorgeous wine more than us, but this is possibly a bit... unnecessary?

Gross orientation games at NUS

The news has already been all over the internet, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the appallingly inappropriate sexual harrassment extravaganza that took place at the NUS freshmen orientation this year. Some of the "games" involved charming stuff like simulating rape and answering highly sexual questions. NUS has since suspended student organized orientation activities and promised an investigation and disciplinary action against those found responsible.