38 S'pore authors issue joint statement on BooksActually like as though they are important

Sep 29, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

A sizeable army of 38 Singaporean writers have issued a joint statement on the BooksActually saga.

The authors - all of whom have published works by Math Paper Press, BooksActually's publishing arm - released a statement on Monday (Sep 27) saying they were "angry and disheartened" to read past employees' accounts and did not condone non-consensual or exploitative behaviour.

"We also acknowledge that our writing community should do better, and that scarce resources should never be an excuse for unacceptable behaviour," they added.

Joint statement a "face saving exercise"

One author Catherine R. Chung whose works were published by Math Paper Press "deeply disagree" with the joint letter.

She felt that an author "should not be answerable or feel that they should make public statements about their publisher's morality" the same way that "people who publish on Amazon Kindle don't make statements about Jeff Bezos's morality."

Singapore's literary community aware of BooksActually's debauchery

Catherine alleged that many people - presumably in the Singapore literary community - "(a few writers) knew that Kenny was involved romantically with his staff..."

Artist Cheryl Charli Tan, 23, who worked in marketing at BooksActually from August 2017 to January 2019 in a Facebook post said she was hurt to read online comments from writers that they had heard rumours about the allegations or found them unsurprising.

“You knew, and some of you knew to a greater degree than others, but no one did anything about it because you could benefit from this system."

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.