WHEN it comes to toning your abs, Straits Times readers have a whole range of suggestions on how best to get those six-packs.
Suggestions came fast and furious from readers, after I wrote a light-hearted piece in The Sunday Times on my struggle to keep my weight under control, and my hopes of getting flatter abs.
Try using a fitball, said one fitness trainer. Vibrating plate machines are the answer, swore another reader, saying these machines' gyrations intensify the toning effect of any exercise you do. Come for a free trial, she coaxed. I haven't taken her up on her offer.
Try crystals, said another reader, who has a blog shop selling jewellery. I browsed her shop. Seraphinite crystal, worn as a pendant or bracelet, has helped some people lose weight. New Age-sucker that I am, that was the one thing I was tempted to try. What, wear a pretty bracelet and lose weight at the same time? It seemed like a no-brainer.
"Should I get that?" I mused to a friend. He stared at me like I had gone crazy. "You believe that stuff?" he asked. "Do I look fat?" I pouted. Smart man that he is, he dead-panned back: "You're gorgeous." We're still best of friends.
No bracelet, no fitball, no new gadget to lose weight.
You just need will power, said one reader. No short cut, eat less and exercise more, said another, sternly – if one can discern tone of voice via email. Those Ab roller thingys didn't do a thing for me, even when I did 300 reps a day, said another.
Others asked me where I bought those Ab Rollers. For the record: Aibi store, Plaza Singapura, $99. But one huge caveat: I haven't tried it much, so I can't tell you if it will work. And I'm not endorsing them.
One of the really fun things about being a newspaper columnist, especially with e-mail, is that you get all kinds of responses from readers.
After 18 years of writing columns – don't ask how old I am, you have to read past issues of The Straits Times to find out – I've found that readers respond most to personal columns.
I got many more responses to my column on my Unambiguous Losing of the Battle against the Bulge, than I did for a serious political commentary I wrote on the Ambiguous Legacy of 1959.
Reader Low Kok Soon commended me for an excellent, balanced piece on 1959, that reminded Singaporeans that independence was thrust upon Singapore. He took issue with other media reports which had suggested that Singapore leaders sought Independence.
One reader blogged about that article of mine. In his Singapore Social Activist blog, Ravi Philemon took issue with a sentence in my commentary that 1959 was important because "it was in that year that Singapore became a state of its own, with the right to confer citizenship".
He thought I needed to get my facts right, and went on to point out that a citizenship ordinance was passed in 1957. This gave Singapore citizenship to residents born here, but they were still British subjects.
In my article published on June 12, Friday, I mentioned both significant dates: "In 1957, citizenship rules were changed to give citizenship to local residents."
I then went on to say that 1959 was important because Singapore became a state in its own right in that year, with the right to confer citizenship of its own accord.
I wish readers like him would read ST articles more carefully before accusing us of getting things wrong. And I wish Ravi had used some other photo that didn’t make my face look so fat. It’s a weighty issue with me, okay?