Women have to stand in line longer to access a public toilet partly
because they may take longer, but also because there are simply not
enough loos and sanitary facilities in Hong Kong for women, according to
a new report by the Audit Commission.
The report, released on Wednesday, detailed a range of areas in which
the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) – which managed
798 public toilets with flushing systems as of June this year – had not
met government guidelines.
This included failing to ensure that for every one public toilet compartment for men, there should be two for women. The commission’s assessment of 421 public toilets found the ratio to be one to 1.3 instead.
“The department should take measures to meet the male-to-female
toilet compartment ratio as far as practicable,” the commission
recommended in its 95-page report.
The commission found that of the 23 public toilets built in the last three years, 16 did not have adequate sanitary fitments for women – something which the FEHD said was due to “site constraints for expansion”.
But in the commission’s view, the FEHD should have consulted the
Architectural Services Department in planning for toilet facilities.
Apart from concerns about the shortfall in women’s toilets, the
report found that 138 public toilets – about two in 10 of the city’s
public toilets – had not undergone any maintenance work in the past
decade. These included 29 with high utilisation rates.
The FEHD also showed delays in repairing defects, including 150 cases defined as “minor repairs” that should have been addressed within 24 hours, but were still not fixed when the commission returned at a later date.
The commission also took aim at the time taken for toilets under a
refurbishment programme to be completed, with works for 44 public
toilets stretching on for about four to eight years.
In Yuen Long, one public toilet took seven years to be upgraded due
to issues over design, land acquisition and concerns raised from local
consultations, the report found.
The report also recommended the FEHD take steps to address concerns
by lawmakers that there were insufficient public toilets at some tourist
The FEHD said there was a lack of toilets at places frequented by tourists because such facilities were “not popular with” locals and thus they did not feel a need to support such projects.
Several Thai ladies sporting matching bulges in their underwear
roused the suspicion of security guards in Fukuoka airport when they
arrived in late September.
They found out the big black bulges on the seven women actually
contained drugs. More specifically, they were bags of ice that weighed
over one kilogram in total.
According to Television Nishinippon, the group, made up of women aged between 20 and 50, had allegedly bought their tickets from a tour guide and tried to blend in with the rest of the sightseeing tourists.
Further questioning revealed that the women were allegedly hired to transport drugs for foreigners living in Japan.
Police are currently investigating if there is a bigger drug
syndicate at work behind this incident, but for now, the seven women
have been arrested and are awaiting prosecution in court.
A Facebook user by the name of Jaisuksakuldee Thanakorn shared the news with Thai netizens on Oct 17. In his post, he shared that his friend was brought in as an interpreter for the seven suspects and will be helping to explain their case in court.
Teenager Anis Humairah Riduwan left school when she was 15, but she has not stopped learning.
From her home in Lubok Merbau, a village not far from Kuala Kangsar, Perak, the 18-year-old has become the face of her family’s business on social media.
Anis helps to market the telekung (prayer shawls) that she and her mother sew, on Facebook and Instagram by posting their new products and engaging with their audience.
But Anis’ mother, Roziah Mohd Raziki, is most proud that her daughter is also a skilled tailor – she can measure, cut and sew baju kurung, telekung and skirts. Anis is also good at needlework, especially in embroidery, applique and knitting.
She has certainly come a long way since being diagnosed with learning and hearing disabilities at the age of 10. Until then, Roziah had assumed her daughter didn’t do well in school because she was a daydreamer and a late bloomer.
Anis’ diagnosis galvanised Roziah into taking a different approach in bringing her up. She took her daughter’s challenges in her stride, and decided to make the most of the resources available to her family.
When Anis was 13, Roziah – who is a tailor – decided she would teach her daughter how to sew because it’s what she knows best.
“Anis needs an essential skill set that can help her earn a living. I am a seamstress so I felt it was a good idea to pass down this skill to my special needs child,” says 43-year-old Roziah who encouraged her daughter to complete a two-year creative sewing certification course at SM Pendidikan Khas Vokasional Merbok in Bedong, Kedah, after Form Three.
The path that Roziah helped to chart for Anis has led her to discover and develop her aptitude for needlework.
Anis’ talent was recognised when she won in the embroidery category at the Abilympics Malaysia competition this year, and she will represent the country at the International Abilympics competition in Moscow next year. It is an international skills-based competition for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). She is among 15 people with disabilities from Malaysia vying for gold at the the event, in 15 of the 30 categories, including floral arrangement, painting, embroidery, cooking and photography.
“Words cannot describe how happy I am. I never dreamed of representing Malaysia in any competition, especially with my disabilities. I thank my parents for all their support,” says Anis, who uses a hearing device but has no speech issues. She is articulate although a little shy.
To win the embroidery competition, Anis will have to beat the others in terms of speed, creativity and technical knowledge.
Anis is working hard to prepare for the competition, travelling to KL regularly for week-long embroidery training with UiTM fashion lecturer Dr Rose Dahlina Rusli since early this year. She is teaching Anis various embroidery techniques including chain stitch, satin stitch, French knot and Lazy Daisy. Dr Rose hopes to improve her speed and give her a bigger repertoire of skills.
“She’s a fast learner. She’s very capable and talented. Her skills are really good. It proves that a person’s disability should never be viewed as an obstacle to strive for greater things,” says Rose.
Anis was diagnosed as a slow learner and had never done well academically, but she has persevered and done well in needlework.
Roziah accompanies her daughter when she goes for her training as Anis is still not fully independent yet.
Building a future Training for a gold Abilympic medal is important, but her mother has a bigger dream for her. Ultimately Roziah wants Anis to be able to use her sewing skills to attain self-reliance, and that means being able to earn her own income.
“My aim is to equip Anis with a skill to be independent and take care of herself when my husband and I are older,” says Roziah, whose biggest worry about her special needs child is her future. She has three other children.
Instead of despairing, Roziah did not only start teaching Anis sewing but she is now actively involving her daughter in her home-based telekung business, which she set up seven years ago.
The business is called Telekung Hannani, named after Roziah’s fifth child who died in 2012 due to heart complications.
“I’ve always liked to sew. From young, I used to help Ibu thread the needle and sew buttons. I’m happy Ibu has given me the opportunity to help out with the business,” says Anis, who appreciates her far-sighted mother’s faith in her.
“I am thankful for Ibu’s guidance. Because I can sew, I can eventually get a job doing beadwork at a bridal shop in Kuala Kangsar,” adds Anis, who of course harbours dreams of being independent.
Anis is happy to model her telekung creations on facebook and instagram.
However, Anis is happy to model her telekung creations on facebook and instagram.her mother has reservations because she is all too aware of Anis’ vulnerability.
“Even if Anis gets a job, she can’t earn much. I’m afraid she might be bullied and have to work long hours. She has problems with balance too. What if she tripped and lost consciousness on the streets of Kuala Kangsar? For now, I can’t allow her to work anywhere far from home.”
For now, Roziah believes it is best and safest for Anis to work with her at home.
“At home, I can look after Anis and provide her with a job. Anis needs to learn that running any business isn’t easy. Thankfully, she’s a good student. She never complains and is always willing to learn, despite my constant nagging and fussing,” says the businesswoman who makes and sells cotton and polyester telekung.
The 4m prayer pieces come in four designs: classic, with lace trimmings, mini (for children) and with zippered pockets. Items are priced between RM68 and RM95.
On average, they sell anything from 40 to 60 telekung a month. Business is brisk, with high demand especially for their telekung with zipped pockets to keep mobile phones and other small items. Mother and daughter work seven days a week, between eight and 12 hours a day, depending on the amount of orders for their products.
“Sure, we enjoy our work but the hours can be long and tiring. Ibu and I joke and share stories while completing orders. I accept whatever Ibu pays me, which is about RM1,000 a month, that I keep in my savings account,” says Anis, who is also happy to be the face of their telekung business.
“These are our creations, so I am proud to wear them. So far, our telekung pieces are purchased by women who are going to perform their umrah or hajj. Hopefully, we can reach a bigger target audience via online sales,” Anis explains.
Roziah is pleased with Anis’ dedication and determination.
With a grin, Anis says: “Ibu is a strict teacher. Even though she scolds me, I know it’s for my own good.”
Roziah has noticed that her daughter’s confidence has grown in leaps and bounds as she becomes more involved in running their business.
“She is very committed and hardworking. These days, she isn’t shy to interact with customers and promote our telekung at bazaars,” says Roziah proudly.
Anis recognises that she is doing well because her mother believes in her and refuses to give up on her even though she was diagnosed as disabled.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without my mother’s support. My parents have always been my pillar of strength. They have encouraged me to be the best in everything. My advice to other disabled people is to never feel shy about your limitations. Strive for greater things in life,” concludes Anis.
Her post has since gone viral and received over 68,000 likes and 21,000 shares.
Before Lauren lost her memory, the couple had originally exchanged handwritten letters over a duration of eight months
According to the couple’s website Faganello Productions, Brayden was from South Africa while Lauren lived between Belgium and Spain.
The couple eventually met for the first time in Victoria, Canada and they tied the knot in 2016.
Nine months after their wedding, however, an accident took place that changed the couple’s life forever
The woman shared that a large pole had fallen on her head while she was setting up for an event, causing her to suffer from a brain injury that resulted in memory loss.
When she woke up from the injury, she thought she was 17 years old, and had no recollection of any events that took place beyond that.
“My memory of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Brayden was gone,” she wrote.
Over the next two years, Lauren had to relearn everything, including how to read, write, and speak coherently while also learning how to live with the short and long term memory loss
“(I had) to come to terms with the fact that I’m married to someone I don’t truly know.
“I went through a period of anger and depression; I felt like so much had been ripped away from me,” the woman wrote in her post, adding that she desperately hoped her memory would return but it has yet to happen.
Although Lauren had forgotten who Brayden really was, he was still patient with her, which led to her wanting to try to make their relationship work.
“I took off my rings, and I told him I wanted to date him. So, we started dating again,” Lauren said.
She shared that during their course of dating, Brayden became her best friend, crush, and her love
“I haven’t miraculously gotten my memory and all my old feelings for him back, but I have new feelings and new memories,” her caption read.
I’ve learned that love is a choice, and I am choosing to love Brayden.
“Today he proposed to me (again), and I said yes (again)!” she said, adding that she’s grateful for their new beginning and for their happy future ahead of them.
In response to AsiaOne’s query, a spokesperson for Booking.com replied that they are “aware” of the case and have “suspended” the property from their site.
The spokesperson said: “At Booking.com, we do not tolerate improper
behaviour from our accommodation partners and in the very rare instance
that we’re made aware of such a situation, we investigate immediately.
“We are refunding this customer in full and are
covering any extra costs related to their relocation. We have also
suspended the property in question from our site, pending the results of
a full investigation.”
Do you get the feeling that someone is watching you?
A trio of Malaysian women definitely did, after they discovered a
hidden camera in their holiday apartment, with the experience leaving
According to a Facebook post written in
Chinese on June 20 by Rubee Woo, she was spending her first night at
their apartment with two of her female travelling companions when she
found the camera.
They were having a vacation in the city of Porto in Portugal.
As reported by Portugese media, The Renaissance, Woo’s friend was about to take a shower when she felt that something was amiss with the power socket in the bathroom.
However, she was unable to tell what was wrong until she inspected
the socket with her phone’s flashlight and found the hidden camera
Woo and her friends were scared and thought about leaving to find
another place to stay for the night, but it was already past midnight
and they were afraid of alerting the owner of the apartment, who lived
one floor below.
Hence, they decided to call the police who arrived 30 minutes later and proceeded to remove the camera.
At this time, Woo and her friends decided to head to a hotel instead.
She wrote: “We quickly packed our bags, handed the apartment keys to
the police and left. By the time we reached the hotel, it was 5am.
“When we left, the owner didn’t dare to look us in the eye.”
Woo also alleged that because the owner seemed “shifty-eyed”, she was “200% sure” that the owner was guilty.
POLICE REPORT MADE
Before her departure, Woo also claimed to notice the policemen
smoking with the owner of the apartment and was unsure if any action
would be taken.
She said: “I feel like they might not take any action and I didn’t want us to be bullied just because we’re Asian. That’s why we decided to make a report with the tourist police the next morning.
“However, they informed me that there won’t be an update so soon.”
As such, they planned continue with their travels, with Woo expressing hope that the owner will be punished.
ACCOMMODATIONS MADE VIA BOOKING.COM
As the accommodations were made via travel fare aggregator website,
Booking.com, Woo confessed that this incident has made her more critical
of reviews made on the website.
After all, the apartment they booked had a score of 9.2 and the owner
even seemed “friendly” and even advised them on the traffic conditions
in the city.
She wrote: “Please, please, please, be wary of hidden cameras. I used to think that it wouldn’t happen to me and now it has.”
AsiaOne has reached out to Booking.com for a response.
Mid-life women with weak upper and lower body fitness may be more prone to depression and anxiety, a study from Singapore suggests.
In particular, poor hand-grip strength and needing a long time to stand from a chair were associated with higher depression or anxiety symptoms, the study authors reported in the journal Menopause.
“Mid-life women globally are in an incredibly difficult position: sandwiched between children, aging parents, husband and work commitments,” said senior study author Eu-Leong Yong of the National University of Singapore.
“They sacrifice themselves in face of all these demands, and sometimes neglect their own needs,” he told Reuters Health by email. “Anxiety and depression may go unrecognized.”
Yong and colleagues studied more than 1,100 women, ages 45-69, who had routine gynecology appointments at the National University Hospital in Singapore. During the appointments, the researchers measured upper body physical performance as reflected by hand-grip strength, which requires the women to squeeze a hand-held dynamo meter as hard as they could.
The researchers measured lower body physical performance through gait speed, standing balance, and a repeated chair stand test, which records the time it takes to stand up from a seated position five times without using the arms.
The research team used internationally-accepted questionnaires to assess whether and how often women experienced symptoms associated with anxiety and depression during the past week, including sadness, uncontrollable worrying, loss of interest, fatigue, sleep problems and poor appetite.
Overall, 180 women, or about 16 per cent, had depressive or anxiety symptoms. Women ages 45 to 54 were more likely to report symptoms.
Symptoms were not linked with menopause status, socio-demographic characteristics or lifestyle variables such as smoking or alcohol consumption.
Physical characteristics and physical performance did make a difference, however. Women with depressive and anxiety symptoms were more often classified as having moderate-to-low physical performance. Weak hand-grip strength was associated with a 68 per cent increased likelihood of having elevated symptoms. Taking longer on the sit-to-stand test was associated with 33 per cent increased odds of symptoms.
“Our study shows an interesting correlation between the mind and body, indicating that physical strength is closely associated with mental health,” Yong said.
Future studies should determine whether strengthening exercises that improve physical performance could help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, he added.
“While a causal association between depression and physical strength cannot be determined from this correlational study, there is strong evidence from clinical trials showing the benefits of exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, on mood in women,” said Pauline Maki of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Maki, who wasn’t involved with this study, directs the Women’s Mental Health Research programme and has researched psychological well-being in mid-life women.
Maki pointed out that rates of depression and anxiety tend to be lower in Singaporean women than in Western women. “Still,” she told Reuters Health by email, “the study is an important reminder that in addition to hot flashes, mood symptoms during the menopausal transition are very common. Clinical guidelines recommend psychotherapies, anti-depressant treatment and physical exercise for mood symptoms.”
Despite busy lives, mid-life women should prioritise muscle strengthening and resistance exercises, the study authors wrote.
“Exercise is fun and cost free. It lightens your mood,” Yong said. “Make time for it, and make it part of the family routine.”
Women who are not married and do not have children are the happiest group in the population, a prominent expert in happiness has said.
Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said unmarried and childless women are also likely to outlive their married child-rearing counterparts and are healthier than them.
Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday, Mr Dolan said the latest data demonstrated that long-established, traditional symbols of success did not necessarily correlate with happiness levels.
The best-selling author, who carries out original research into the measurement of happiness and its causes and consequences, noted men in comparison benefited from marriage as they “calm down”.
He said: “You take less risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer. She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and she dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children”.
Mr Dolan added: “Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they are asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present, it’s miserable.
“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that academic science and just say: if you are a man, you should probably get married; if you are a woman, don’t bother.”
Mr Dolan’s latest book, Happy Ever After, cites evidence from the American Time Use Survey, which compared levels of pleasure and unhappiness in unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed individuals. The study discovered levels of happiness reported by those who were married was higher than those who do not have spouses, but only when their husband or wife was in the room.
People who were not married reported lower levels of misery than married individuals who were asked when their spouse was not present.
Other studies have measured some financial and health benefits in being married for both men and women on average, which Mr Dolan said could be ascribed to higher incomes and emotional support, allowing married people to take risks and seek medical help.
While Mr Dolan pointed to men displaying more health benefits from getting married due to them taking less risks, women’s health was mainly unaffected by marriage. But middle-aged married women were at higher risk of physical and mental conditions than their single peers.
In spite of the advantages of an unmarried childless existence for women, Mr Dolan said the fact marriage and children were seen to be traditional, established emblems of success meant the stigma could cause some single women to feel unhappy.
He said: “You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children – ‘Bless, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Maybe one day you’ll meet the right guy and that’ll change.’ No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change. Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.”
Mr Dolan said that having children can be harmful to people’s wellbeing – saying many parents might secretly agree with a famous academic colleague who “said that he liked the existence of his children but not their presence”.
“It would be categorically awful if anything happened to them, but the experiences we have with children are largely miserable,” he added.
Mr Dolan said that having children is “an amazing experience” for some, but added that “for a lot of people it isn’t, and the idea that we can’t talk openly about why that might be is a problem.”
New research has explained why women employees bring jackets, blankets, or scarves to the office – their brains work better in warmer temperatures.
Published on 22 May in academic journal PLOS One, a study looked at the differences in the effect of temperature on cognitive performance by gender.
“People invest a lot in making sure their workers are comfortable and highly productive,” lead author of the study Tom Chang said in a press statement by the University of Southern California.
“This study is saying even if you care only about money, or the performance of your workers, you may want to crank up the temperature in your office buildings,” he added.
In the lab experiment, 543 students in Berlin, Germany were tested on a set of math, verbal, and cognitive reflection problems
The math test involved calculating additions without a calculator, the verbal test required coming up with as many German words as possible from ten given letters, and the cognitive reflection test was made up of questions.
The study took place in rooms at various temperatures between 16.19 degrees Celsius (roughly 61 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32.57 degrees Celsius (roughly 91 degrees Fahrenheit).
As temperatures increased, so did the women’s performance on math and verbal tasks.When temperatures were lowered, the men performed better.
“Upping the temperature by just one-degree Celsius was linked with an 1.76% increase in the number of math questions solved correctly by women,” study co-author Agne Kajackaite told CNN.
Meanwhile, men saw the opposite results as they submitted 0.63% fewer correct answers at this temperature.
While men didn’t perform as well when the room was warmer, the impact was not as great as cold temperatures on women.
Test outcomes for both sexes on cognitive reflection were not affected by temperature.
“It’s been documented that women like warmer indoor temperatures than men, but the idea until now has been that it’s a matter of personal preference,” Chang said
“What we found is it’s not just whether you feel comfortable or not, but that your performance on things that matter – in math and verbal dimensions, and how hard you try – is affected by temperature,” he added.
Facial hair for men is becoming the norm. Some choose to sport closely-cropped stubble, while others go for hipster beards or even something Dumbledore-inspired.
Love it or hate it, facial hair certainly has a polarising effect on your desirability.
Some simply adore the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Jamie Dornan, and Jack Gyllenhaal; whilst some others prefer BTS, BTS, and BTS lookalikes.
So if you are thinking of emulating K-Pop stars by shaving your stub, you might want to chuck your razor into the bin as researchers found that women are more attracted to men sporting full beards than those who are clean shaven.
In research published by the Journal of Evolutionary Biology titled “the masculinity paradox: facial masculinity and beardedness interact to determine women’s ratings of men’s facial attractiveness”, researchers asked 8,500 women to evaluate the attractiveness of men of three categories – bearded, fully bearded or sporting a goatee.
They used photographs of men as they grew their beards over a period of four weeks, from bare-faced to fully-bearded.
The women were asked to evaluate the men’s attractiveness, with a majority of them rating the clean-shaven men as the least attractive!
The researchers concluded that, “Those sporting full beards are seen as men who are mature, masculine, socially dominant and aggressive.”
They added that beards are a trait that women would consider when choosing a short- or long-term partner.
It is hard to imagine that beards are also a factor in relationships!
Ultimately, the decision of whether a man should grow a beard or not will depend on his own relationship goals (or those preferred by his partner – or if you can even grow one).
At the very least, what this research has done is simply help men make more informed grooming choices.