When next you hear someone observe how spoiled American youths are, here's the perfect riposte: a survey of 104 teen-age students by the Sunday Straits Times newspaper in Singapore. It found 2 in 5 respondents freely admitting that they're all but unable to function without maid service - or, in the maid's absence, mom. Clueless, that is, about preparing food, doing dishes, using a vacuum cleaner, operating a washing machine, or making a bed. Said one teen: "I don't feel guilty.... I can pick up such skills later."
On the other hand, 64 college students in Singapore spent almost 11 hours on their knees last Saturday shredding waste paper, soaking and kneading it, and pressing the pulp into a single sheet almost 16-1/2 feet on a side. Why? As a conservation project. The result is being submitted for consideration by the Guinness Book of World Records. The old mark: 11 by 16 - also by Singaporeans. It's not known whether any of the students come from homes with maids.
Not counting the hundreds of millions of dollars donated anonymously in the US, the most generous givers in 2001, according to an annual report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, were Intel cofounder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty. The top 10, their hometowns, and amounts bestowed last year (in millions unless otherwise noted):
Gordon and Betty Moore, Woodside, Calif. $6.1 billion
Bill and Melinda Gates, Redmond, Wash. 2.0 billion
James and Virginia Stowers, Kansas City, Mo. 1.1 billion
John Hollingsworth Jr. (deceased), Greenville, S.C. 400.0
Eli and Edythe Broad, Brentwood, Calif. 387.8
Ted Turner, Atlanta 330.5
Sidney Kimmel, Philadelphia 260.5
Lucille Beeson (deceased), Birmingham, Ala. 161.0
Peter Lewis, Beachwood, Ohio 118.0
Alberto Vilar, New York 116.4