Over 1,500 Singaporeans and Malaysians who invested $87 million in Australian property may never see that money again

More than 1,500 Singaporean and Malaysian investors could have lost over $87 million to an alleged Ponzi scheme. The scheme reportedly run by Macro Realty Developments was heavily marketed in Singapore and Malaysia from as early as 2014, encouraging investors to put money into property developments in Western Australia's Pilbara. According to The Straits Times, 981 investors in the scheme were from Singapore while 651 were from Malaysia. A smaller number of investors from Britain, continental Europe and Australia also put money in the scheme. Australia's ABC News reported that overseas investors were shown "slick" marketing material that depicted Pilbara as having a strong economy. Macro's boss, 37-year-old Australian Veronica Macpherson, is being accused of running the scheme which promised returns as high as 18 per cent. In reality, the places investors put their money in were not developed fully or at all, The Straits Times reported. Some investors trusted the scheme because they saw a video in which Macpherson can be seen chatting with former Western Australia Nationals leader Brendon Grylls in the Western Australia Parliament building. A source told ABC that many of the Malaysian investors were not wealthy or highly educated and had lost their life savings to the scheme. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed in court documents that the Singapore police have also started investigations into Macro, ABC News said. [caption id="attachment_356543" align="alignnone" width="600"] Veronica Macpherson/ Facebook[/caption] In August last year, Australia's Federal Court ordered a freeze on her assets, and those of companies associated with the schemes, The West reported. A report in June this year by the same news website said that auditors found “a real prospect there will be insufficient recoveries to allow for any return to unsecured creditors”. ASIC has estimated that a group of companies Macpherson runs owes as much as $199 million. Court documents state that the alleged Ponzi scheme collapsed when Macro did not have enough new investors to meet its expenses, forcing it to stop payments to investors. Despite these accusations, Macpherson has denied running a Ponzi scheme. Before her legal woes, she was believed to have owned a $140,000 Maserati and lived in a New York apartment which cost $6,750 a month. ASIC is also investigating Macpherson over potential offences of stealing, fraud and forgery, ABC reported.

Joseph Schooling’s hopes dashed for 50m fly gold – but he’s far from done

Joseph Schooling competing in the Men's 50m butterfly semi-final on Sunday at the Fina World Championships in Budapest.
Reuters
Joseph Schooling's attempt for gold at the Fina World Championship in Budapest, Hungary, was dashed after he settled for fifth place at the finals of the 50m butterfly event on Monday (July 24). The 22-year-old clocked 22.95 seconds but it was not enough to trump Britain's Benjamin Proud (22.75), Brazil's Nicholas Santos (22.79), Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (22.84) and American Caeleb Dressel (22.89), reported The Straits Times. Staying optimistic, the Olympic champion said: "Obviously disappointed with the positioning, time was fine. That sets me up to have a really good 100m fly." "I learnt that my first 50m for my 100m fly is going to be good. My going out speed is going to be fine. Not to worry about that. This result has spurred me on to achieve better results for my next two events." On Sunday (July 23), Schooling clocked a new Asian and Singapore national record of 22.93 seconds, finishing third in the semi-final behind Govorov and Santos. Schooling had withdrawn from the 200m fly which starts today in order to focus on his remaining events - the 100m free and 100m fly. Earlier in the day, fellow Singapore swimmer Quah Zheng Wen, 20, failed to qualify for the 100m backstroke finals, finishing 18th overall in the heats. Quah, who holds the Singapore national record of 54.03 seconds set at the 2015 Fina World Cup in Moscow, had clocked 54.68 seconds in Heat 4.  

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Scoot rolled out its first A320 aircraft repainted with a new livery
Scoot
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5 ways you can dine at fancy Singapore restaurants for half the price

[caption id="attachment_354314" align="alignnone" width="1002"] Open Door Policy, a restaurant at Tiong Bahru.[/caption]
The Straits Times
Eating out in Singapore can be very expensive. A simple bowl of congee in a Chinese restaurant in town can cost as much as $12 if you include GST and service charge. On average, you can expect to spend between $20 to $30 per person when dining out in Singapore. But this is Singapore after all, where we always hope to get more bang for the buck. The good news is that businesses are well aware of that, and have come up with all sorts of ways for kiasu Singaporeans to get the best deals - you just have to know where to look. 1) On your mobile Using mobile apps to score discounts is so common now that there is no longer any excuse for you to be paying full price for your meals outside. One of the most widely-used apps is The Entertainer, which offers 1-for-1 deals on a large number of participating restaurants including Peperoni Pizzeria, Open Door Policy, Kith Cafe and a whole lot more. This year, the fee for a one-year sign-up is $125, but those who purchased the product in 2016 managed to snag it at an early-bird price. Its sister app, Cheers, also offers 1-for-1 deals on drinks at bars and restaurants across Singapore. Another highly-rated app called Eatigo offers discounts at popular restaurants like Paul and Crystal Jade. Unlike The Entertainer, there is no prerequisite fee you have to pay, but the discounts offered can range from 10% to 50% depending on the restaurant and time slot you choose. 2) On food websites If you’re already using websites like Chope and HungryGoWhere to make reservations for your dinner dates, you should also utilise their exclusive promotions pages for dining offers. Some of these restaurants are newcomers but many are also highly-rated establishments. [caption id="attachment_354316" align="alignnone" width="808"] Screengrab of HungryDeals[/caption] Food reservation sites also offer discounts for special events like wine tastings and champagne brunches, as well as special occasion meal packages such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day set meals. So you see, there really is no need to break the bank to impress someone you like. It’s the quality of the date that makes the experience. 3) Through reward programmes The next time you’re at your favourite restaurant, check with service staff if the restaurant is a participant in any rewards or deals programmes. Many Japanese restaurants, for example, are enrolled in the J Passport programme. Members of J Passport are offered sign-up promotions and have access to regular discounts at participating restaurants. If you frequent a certain mall or area, you can also sign up for memberships specific to that place. For instance, Ion Orchard’s Ion+ Rewards programme and Suntec City’s Suntec Rewards programme both offer exclusive discounts on shopping and dining via their respective mobile apps. You can also earn points with dollars spent, and redeem these points for prizes or other privileges at the malls. 4) Via credit card promotions Credit cards in Singapore offer a wide range of perks, and if you dine out often, you should consider signing up for a card with restaurant-related benefits. If you opt to have the latest promotions emailed to you, you will receive regular updates on the latest deals offered by your credit card company. Many times, these discounts can go up to 50% with 1-for-1 offers at high-end restaurants. While you may not utilise these deals for every meal, such promotions can come in handy when you want to have a nice meal for special occasions like a family gathering or a big birthday celebration. 5) On coupon sites Coupon websites may have gotten some flak previously, but if you are careful with your purchases, the deals can still be pretty sweet. Fave, which was previously known as Groupon, received a fresh makeover in recent months and is now easier to navigate than before. Some of the deals offered in the last couple of months include a 55% discount for a Peranakan buffet dinner at Hotel Grand Pacific, and 78% off the usual price of a lobster and sushi meal at Amara Hotel’s Santaro By Gion. And if you are an online shopper, you may have realised that online mall Qoo10 also has a deals section where you can buy restaurant vouchers at cheaper rates. On this site, you can read real user reviews of the deals offered before deciding whether or not to buy it. So if you find a deal is not as good as it seems, you can take your money somewhere else.

Your approach to yoga may have been wrong all along – here’s why

The point of stillness in your own posture is the goal, not what the posture looks like in the mirror. Source: Maria Lourdes Chan
The popularity of yoga is experiencing a boom, just 40 years or so since it was introduced commercially to the Western world. But modern-day yoga and how it’s run is slightly off-track. Today’s yoga model is a business. Yoga is, by and large, sold as a fitness regime, with studios running on a gym or club model – that is, on a “membership” scheme. You buy class packages, and are encouraged to look at facilities as part of your decision-making process on where you practice. The truth of yoga is that it is an education that doesn’t just make better bodies, it makes the practitioner better at dealing with life. But because the “gym model” is so prevalent in yoga, students are approaching the practice in a skewed way and it’s time for the dynamic to change. Here are 5 tips on how to create a mind-shift that will affect the way you view yoga, and how you practice. Don’t let your GuavaPass determine where you practice. Choose your studio based on who’s teaching, not on how much a class costs. Look first and foremost at the quality of the teachers and programme, just like you would a university. The questions to ask are: Who are the teachers? Who did they study with, and what lineage does the yoga they teach come from? If you’re new, just finding a style you enjoy is the goal, and that’s where cheap classes, trial sessions and GuavaPasses come in handy. But as someone moving into more regular practice, ask who, ultimately, you would be learning from. Yes, how much you can afford will be a consideration, and that’s fine. But the idea here is, don’t chase the price tag – make quality the priority. Don’t relate to your yoga teachers like they’re a gym trainer. Many students – whether they know it or not – relate to their teacher as they would their gym trainer. It’s not their fault, it’s again because yoga is perceived as “fitness”. Yoga, traditionally, is not “gym training” or simply “exercise”. Yoga, beyond the physical, is a meditation technique. Meditation is defined as “concentration”. Each posture or pose allows you to focus very deeply on the part of the body you’re working. You also are given the opportunity to look at how you are approaching the pose, and how you relate to your body. Over time, the effect is that you know your own mind. So, relate to your teacher as a sinsei, one who can Show You The Way. Your teacher is not just a physical trainer. They are someone who is helping you open the door to deeper self-realisation. Select one yoga to practice. There’s a “buffet” approach to yoga, thanks to yoga centres “diversifying”.  In order to appeal to the masses, many commercial centres will offer everything from Hatha to Yin. The result is confusion. One moment, you’re doing Vinyasa. The next, you’re checked into a Bikram class. The following week, you’re signing yourself up for an Ashtanga session. This approach leads to a focus on what “entertains” you, and distracts you from actually learning. So, pick one discipline to follow. If you love Ashtanga, find out who the foremost authority is in your area, and learn from the teachers there. If you’re into Iyengar, go to the centre in your country. Be a seeker. Get as close to the original source of the yoga as you can, and absorb. The point is not the posture. Often, questions arise when a posture is taught in class. Questions like “how do I do Crow?” and “how do I improve my hand stand?” show a curious mind that is interested in progress. But the definition of yoga “asana”, which means “posture”, is actually: “Posture holding still, breathing always normal”. When one holds posture in perfect stillness with ease of breath, is where yoga actually happens. Yoga champions have a say that it’s not about getting into the posture, it’s about what you do there. The point of stillness in your own posture – whatever it may be at this moment – is the goal, not what the posture looks like in the mirror.  Understand that yoga is actually therapy. In the system of Ayurveda, which yoga comes from, postures were used to help with diseases and chronic health issues, from heart issues and hypertension to diabetes. Traditionally, specific postures were “prescribed” by Ayurvedic doctors to individuals, based on the health needs of each person. How does this relate to you? Save this information for when you need it. If you’re young and in reasonable health, know that yoga is an option for you when you’re old and infirm. Yoga, when you’re 80 and can no longer run, will be waiting patiently for you to discover it, and for your journey to begin. Jill Alphonso is a writer and has been a yoga practitioner of 15 years. She has taught Bikram yoga since 2013, and has participated in the International Yoga Asana Championships.