The frenzy for Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel dolls that has left patrons in Singapore injured from shattered glass and bloodied noses in short-tempered crowds is prompting concern all the way to the halls of parliament.
McDonald's is selling sets of its limited edition feline-faced stuffed toys in traditional wedding costumes on Thursdays until Feb. 3.
To try to control the mad rush, McDonald's has enlisted a private security force, slapped a cap on the number of dolls each customer can purchase and stopped sales at five locations where traffic congestion has been particularly heavy.
Numerous arguments have erupted in the lines of customers waiting for the dolls. One dispute resulted in a fist fight between a doctor and the family of a truck driver.
Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan-sang has assured members of parliament that although "rage" is not a specific offense in the city-state's laws, provisions against the consequences of such misbehavior such as voluntarily causing injury or rioting "are adequate," with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment and caning.
Michael Ong, the 23-year-owner of a store specializing in collectibles, said he has gone to a McDonald's franchise each Thursday by 3am and has been paying five runners to go to other outlets.
Orders for the Hello Kitty dolls are streaming in from Hello Kitty enthusiasts in Taiwan and the US.
Newspaper pundits say people of all ages are apparently drawn to the cuddly feline.
Hello Kitty fans say the dolls are very "cute" and remind them of a time when today's more sophisticated electronic diversions did not exist, a time when a teddy bear was an Asian child's most cherished toy.
Psychiatrist Kkok Lee-peng said the Hello Kitty toys evoke warm memories of childhood and that there is nothing wrong with such nostalgia.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did