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Thread: Singapore Also Can
06-23-2009, 10:14 AM #154
I think we have not reached the point that we are 'overdependent' on expatriates and foreigners in the better paying jobs. Singapore's emphasis on quality education and the increase in the number of universities here have helped in filling the gaps. More highly qualified locals can take over the jobs of expatriates and our local polytechnics are also complementing the middle management/technician job market. Indeed, many CEOs of MNCs have often cited that they chose Singapore because of the availability of an educated workforce.
Those industries, such as ship building and repair, manufacturing, etc, that require workers from neighbouring countries will have to juggle with their own requirements depending on their order book. During this downturn, despite government help with cash grants for retaining workers and upgrading them with further training, there is still job attrition and unemployment will continue to rise until the world economy stabilizes and demand returns to the Singapore market.
Currently, the more difficult problems are more social in nature. Our well-educated mothers cannot devote more time for their children as they are more needed in the work place in building up the Singapore economy. So we have to import maids or helpers from countries which may have a social system and culture quite different from ours and they will be the ones who will inevitably influence our young ones. Therefore whenever possible the grand parents will be enlisted to supervise.
And foreign workers on the lower-end of the employment market may bring with them social habits which may contradict local practices. Some may resort to crime if they need more money or are temporary out of job.
But so far our government agencies including the police, have been doing a good job as crime rate here is relatively low and problems with maids are still manageable. Expatriate problems are very rare. Educating foreigners on good social habits has been ongoing. And the law is fair to both locals and foreigners.
I guess it goes back to how our governement officials and civil servants are being paid to do their job. If their salaries are adequate, they tend to do a better job. Our law enforcement agencies must be strong if the foreign population should grow further. But right now, Singapore is lucky not to have experienced that kind of demonstrations and riots that some countries are undergoing.
And recent discussions on an optimal population size for Singapore stand at around 6 million. We have about 1 million more to go!
Last edited by Loh; 06-23-2009 at 10:20 AM.
06-23-2009, 10:37 PM #155
Singapore is more liveable
The Straits Times
June 19, 2009
By Tessa Wong
SINGAPORE has been ranked the 18th most liveable city in the world in an annual survey by international affairs magazine Monocle, up from last year's 22nd position.
The survey, which lists the top 25 liveable cities in the world, attributes the bump-up to the lowering cost of living in the republic.
"A compact city-state that is reliant on global trade, Singapore has been hit by the worldwide economic slowdown. But falling prices, from property to cars and electricity, are making the city more affordable," said the magazine in its July/August issue, which hit the newstands today.
The magazine also gave a thumbs-up to Singapore's F1 night race, the upcoming casinos, green spaces, nightlife, airport and flight connections, "world-beating" medical facilities, all which make it "a pleasant home for people of all backgrounds." For a better ranking, Monocle suggested that the republic encourage more media freedom.
Singapore is the third Asian city in the list, after Tokyo (no. 3) and Fukuoka (no. 16). It is also the only South-east Asian city mentioned. Zurich topped the list this year, followed by Copenhagen.
Monocle measures cities based on factors like public transport, education, cultural outlets, crime, hours of sunshine and global flight connections.
This year it also takes into account the ease of opening a business, major infrastructure improvements currently underway, and "chain store pollution", or the prevalence of international brands such as Zara and Starbucks.
Singapore had ranked 17 when the survey first came out in 2007, but slipped in the Monocle rankings last year thanks to a lack of tolerance, said its editor Tyler Brule.
He had remarked in a Straits Times interview last year: 'If Singapore wants to push itself from a creativity perspective and wants to build a greater design community, you don't have to read Richard Florida's book on the creative class to know that cities need to be much more tolerant of other lifestyles, be they gay or otherwise.'
The slippage prompted the government to invite him to Singapore last year to share ideas on how Singapore could improve. In another liveable cities survey announced earlier this month, Singapore was ranked 54th in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the best among Southeast Asia.
06-23-2009, 11:12 PM #156
Most Liveable Cities Ranking and Comments
More information from this link:
Zurich, Copenhagen Lead 25 Most Livable Cities List
Monocle magazine released it's ranking of the 25 Most Livable Cities of the world. European cities are leading. Surprisingly Tokyo is arguably the third best livable city after Zurich and Copenhagen. Few years ago a survey showed that Danes are the happiest people in the world. Therefore, it's not a surprise that Copenhagen is the second most livable city in the world after Zurich.
We've been around the globe putting cities to the Monocle metrics test, writes the Monocle magazine's editor ranking the 25 most livable cities based on quality of life. Monocle's researchers have spent the past months putting the world's leading cities to the test to find the best places for you to make your base.
For a third year running, Italian cities failed to make our list.
Zürich leaps into the winning spot with its extraordinary urban plans.
Our 2008 winner is pipped at the post but is a city we still admire Metropolitan life coupled with intimacy, Scandinavian welfare, low crime rates and a relaxed atmosphere - an ideal combination, right?
Tokyo runs like clockwork and its service culture beats any competition.
Quality of life: Getting interactive
Increasingly, how cities are run is evolving to include grass roots organisations - particularly when elected officials fail in their civic mission.
Our 2007 winner slips as others up their game.
Defying its small size, Helsinki continues to advance eastwards
Living in the European Green Capital of 2010 has its major plus points
A city with big ambitions, Vienna has high hopes for its hub status.
If Paris improves its suburbs, it's on its way to offering the full package.
Melbourne holds its position but must do more about its urban sprawl.
Berlin is the home of start-ups. Shame it's not more connected.
Honolulu is more than a pretty face, and is our top (and only) US city.
We can make it
City halls need a new focus on helping small businesses.
Its strength is its adaptability, which is why Madrid's risen up the ranks.
Progress is a little unforthcoming but the Sydney lifestyle is enviable.
Canada's sharp-looking outpost gets ready to take its Olympic bow.
So far, changes have been cosmetic and the routine is getting tired.
Fukuoka edges ahead because of its great connections and easy living.
Oslo bursts in this year thanks to the wise use of its oil wealth.
Singapore is adding a softer side to its reputation as a business city.
Quality of life is uneven in Montréal but its liberalism is admirable.
Re-formed Auckland re-enters our Top 25 after a year's absence.
Amsterdam is green-thinking but may be a bit too relaxed.
Kyoto has a sense of its own identity and a commitment to craftsmanship.
Hamburg's economic and educational reforms get top marks.
Geneva lacks the oomph of a big city but that's also its beauty.
Lisbon comes last but we're looking forward to seeing how plans develop
Last edited by Loh; 06-23-2009 at 11:23 PM.
06-23-2009, 11:47 PM #157
Key step to water adequacy
The Straits Times
June 24, 2009
Changi water treatment complex plays a role in sustainable development
By Clarissa Oon
PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled a massive water treatment complex on Tuesday that symbolises Singapore's green policy, land-use approach and drive towards water self-sufficiency.
The $3.65 billion plant in Changi, connected to an underground tunnel system, will free up nearly 1,000ha of land now occupied by older plants in places such as Bedok and Seletar.
This land, to be developed for other purposes, is roughly three times the size of the Central Business District.
The Changi building will have a Newater plant built on its rooftop to turn the treated used water into water safe enough to drink.
When ready next year, the Newater plant, with the existing four, can double Newater capacity to meet one-third of Singapore's water needs.
These benefits were highlighted by Mr Lee at the opening ceremony of the Changi Water Reclamation Plant.
It was a main attraction of the Singapore International Water Week, attended by some 10,0000 policy-makers and industry leaders from around the world.
Through the five-day annual conference, now in its second year, Singapore also hopes to promote an international exchange of ideas on innovative water solutions, Mr Lee said.
With rapid urbanisation and population growth draining the world's natural resources, "cities will require a combination of far-sighted planning, sustained investment in infrastructure and break-throughs in technology", he added.
In Singapore, the approach involves a network of underground tunnels that will pipe waste water from all over the island to two centralised treatment plants.
The Changi plant is the first in this deep tunnel sewerage system. A second plant in Tuas will be built over the next 10 to 20 years. The Changi plant can treat 800,000 cu m of used water, piped daily from the northern and eastern parts of Singapore. This will form a vital feedstock for the Newater factory.
The ultimate goal is to have an adequate supply of water for Singaporeans for years to come, he said.
Singapore imports 40 per cent of its water from Malaysia under two international agreements, one expiring in 2011 and the other in 2061. The rest of its supply comes from Newater, rainwater capture and desalination.
The plant is part of Singapore's overall strategy for sustainable development, showing that environmental sustainability is not incompatible with economic development.
Although the population has soared from 1.6 million in 1959 to 4.8 million today (based on 2008 survey), the environment has not suferred but improved.
Said Mr Lee: "Singaporeans enjoy fresh air, clean water and good public health and almost half the island is covered with greenery, parks and nature areas."
But a challenge awaits Singapore: sustaining the environment as the city grow and gets denser.
An inter-ministerial committee made it first recommendations in April on how Singapore can develop sustainably.
The water industry is a key plank of this green policy, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.
He pointed out to the Changi plant as a good showcase of cutting-edge water technology, involving about 350 local and overseas contractors, consultants and suppliers.
Visitors touring the facility yesterday were keen to find out more about it.
India's S. R. Roop Kumar, a chief engineer of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, said he is planning for an underground waste water reclamation plant in the southern Indian city.
Last edited by Loh; 06-23-2009 at 11:57 PM.
06-27-2009, 03:00 AM #158
Well, here is one Singapore Also Can event that speaks volumes:
Singapore has just promoted a Malay to be the republic's first Malay General in the Armed Forces. Ishak Ismail. Ishak Ismail is 46, and is a Colonel until the new promotion. He has served in the SAF for the last 28 years. Here is real meritocracy based on 28 years of excellence, and is certainly not an example of a "parachute drop" promotion.
Loh, how could you have missed this?
06-27-2009, 10:15 AM #159
Granted, in the early years of Singapore's independence, race relations had been very sensitive, it still is and from time to time, we have been reminded not to take it for granted but to take all necessary steps to promote better understanding and cohesion among the races.
I think we have made improvements, especially after the terrorists attack in the US where even innocent Muslims were killed. Muslims in Singapore understand that it is essential for citizens to protect their families and the country and to fight terrorism together. As a matter of fact, Singapore has a special way to deal with JI detainees and to slowly bring them back to society with the help of their Muslim families and proper Muslim teachings.
As regards Brig Gen Ishak Ismail's promotion, I thought I should let some others take the initiative to break the news first. I have no doubt his promotion was based on meritocracy and he truly deserves it.
Last edited by Loh; 06-27-2009 at 10:24 AM.
06-27-2009, 11:10 AM #160
I'm surprise there are 180,000 Singaporeans living and working overseas as reported by Channel News Asia.
That's a very high percentage out of 4 million plus population roughly~4%.
The news never mentioned are they station overseas or immigrated? I guess, given the high education and wealth, many Singaporeans are able to go anywhere in the world.
Last edited by Badmintan; 06-27-2009 at 11:15 AM.
06-27-2009, 11:34 AM #161
I think Singapore should choose a Malay as its next president. The position of president should ideally be filled by a member from the minority community, among them Indians, Eurasians, Malays, others. If not president, then at least a deputy prime minister. Surely, there are many qualified candidates from the minorities. This is to bring in more checks and balance.
At one time even Thailand, a Bhuddist country, had a muslim as its head of the armed forces.
Singapore Malays are quite well off now and many are well educated. I used to have an assistant, a Malay from Singapore, assigned to assist me for 6 months in Hong Kong many years ago. He was a pretty smart chap and would go far in life. He was an ex army captain or major and had an assignment with the Israeli army in Israel prior to joining me. Frankly I was surprised that Singapore would allow a Malay to train in Israel at that time. So even at that time (twenty 29 years ago) Sngapore had many capable Malays it could depend on.
06-28-2009, 01:52 AM #162
Just a brief note from Wikipedia on our Presidents since independence:
"The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, which Singapore possesses, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial.
Before 1993, the President of Singapore was chosen by Parliament. Following amendments to the constitution enacted in 1991, the Presidency became a popularly-elected office. The first President elected by the people was Ong Teng Cheong, who served from 1 September 1993 to 31 August 1999. The current President of Singapore is Sellapan Ramanathan (S.R. Nathan), who first became head of state in 18 August 1999 and is presently serving his second term of office.
The President of the Republic of Singapore is a ceremonial head of state broadly analogous to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, but the 1991 constitutional amendments gave the President certain reserve powers over government expenditure of financial reserves and appointments to key public offices. The President's official residence is the Istana.
The office of President was created in 1965 after Singapore became a republic upon its secession from the Federation of Malaysia that year. It replaced the office of Yang di-Pertuan Negara, which had been created when Singapore attained self-government in 1959. The last Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof bin Ishak, became the first President. He was replaced by Benjamin Sheares after his death, who served as President until his death in 1981, when he was succeeded by Chengara Veetil Devan Nair. Owing to personal problems, Nair stepped down in 1985 and was replaced by Wee Kim Wee, who served as President until 1993.
So Singapore has been served by Presidents who came from the various races:
1 Malay (Yusof Ishak)
1 Eurasian (Benjamin Sheares)
2 Indians (Devan Nair, SR Nathan)
1 Chinese (Ong Teng Cheong)
Now that the President is an elected office, the candidate must be pre-qualified and meet the exacting standards required under the rules before he could be nominated.
As for the Prime Minister, so far only three Chinese have been chosen, Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong and Lee Hsien Loong.
But there were Malays and Indians who became Ministers.
Being a meritocracy, Singapore can eventually choose a Malay or Indian to be the PM. But this candidate must be highly qualified and can win the respect and votes of both the people and party members.
06-28-2009, 02:11 AM #163
And I think that was one "not too big" a price Singapore has to pay to sponsor some of our talented young people to study overseas and to be the best they can. Because these talents may return to serve Singapore one of these fine days.
Other developed countries can offer better prospects and high pay to retain talented foreign students from Asia as Singapore itself tries to entice the best brains from other countries with attractive offers. So long as we have a net positive trade-off, Singapore is still okay I guess.
But Singaporeans who have migrated or are working overseas are not a total loss so long as we can re-connect with them and update them with activities and news happening in Singapore. So "Singapore Day" organized annually in a foreign city where Singaporeans can be found in large numbers there and in the vicinity is a good idea. And through the internet, our ministries make themselves available for such Singaporeans. They can also be our ambassadors of sorts, our link and our middle-men in transactions concerning Singapore.
And in this regard, I think Channel News Asia is making a valuable contribution as well.
Last edited by Loh; 06-28-2009 at 02:19 AM.
06-28-2009, 02:40 AM #164
I thought the Singapore government is very concerned about losing its talent. A high percentage of top graduates emigrated, from 1 out of 6 among the very top bonded graduates to one third among the very top and brightest non-bonded graduates. I think this loss is not due to a lack of patriotism. Maybe, it is due to a lack of space in a tiny island. At the end of the day, size does count-in land, population, etc.
06-28-2009, 03:20 AM #165
It is always a dilemna for a global city like Singapore to be abreast of the world's developments and be ahead of some if possible. One of the best ways is to send its impressionable talented young overseas to learn the latest so that they can be developed further overseas and to return home to contribute.
But the young has a mind of his own and breaking bonds is now considered a normal event. After all, the prospective employer can pay for his bond. And maybe some bond conditions are too restrictive and do not give sufficient room for the bondholder to want to upgrade himself further, like studying for a higher degree or gaining more experience, etc.
I suppose there are other reasons why bondholders or the talented young are not keen to return home so soon or not at all. Space constraints at home could be one of the reasons, but a resourceful person and the government can think of alternatives.
While Singapore is small in size, the neighbouring countries are much bigger and can offer much attractions. It takes a relatively short time to visit and even in far away places like Europe and the Americas, it is still bearable.
The government can make travel more attractive, say with lower taxes and within its own country to develop more attractions that suit the young and the family.
That's one reason why Singapore is developing its tourist attractions like the Integrated Resorts in both the Marina Bay and Sentosa island, making Singapore a Sports Hub and convention centre, organising world class events like the F1, Asian Youth Games, Youth Olympics, Aviva Singapore Open, Singapore Air Show, bringing in some of the world's best artists to perform at the Esplande-Theatres on the Bay, celebrating the annual National Day Parade when the entire family can watch together at the venue or on TV, upgrading of our housing estates, providing more and varied recreational venues that include the parks, forest reserves, beaches and the reserviors, making the Singapore environment more liveable with more greenry and plants and cleaner, improving our iconic tourists attractions such as our Singapore Zoo, our Jurong Bird Park, our Botanic Gardens, our museums, our heritage sites, etc, etc.
This will hopefully induce Singaporeans to stay or to return home from overseas in due course.
06-28-2009, 08:23 AM #166
Singapore's achilles heel is its small size. Its 655 + sq km land area is not large enough for its population now and in the future. Without real estate to expand in the future, Singaporeans are forced to live to work instead of work to live, which whilst generating more productivity gain, cries out for more space and time instead of a feeling of being in a working office 24 hours a day. I believe this is the main reason for the brain drain. It needs a big hinterland, initially with a more permanent tie-up with Malaysia and later Indonesia to form an EURO type of union. Without a hinterland it is fast becoming a place only to work and make money, nothing much else.
This may be an over simplification but it does make some sense.
06-28-2009, 09:48 PM #167
06-28-2009, 10:44 PM #168
With a much higher standard of living and higher earnings, Singaporeans can travel the world literally and not be confined to country's geographical boundaries. With a first class airport and so many international airlines available here, Singaporeans enjoy the flexibility of travelling to any country of choice at a moment's notice. The good infrastructure and communications are available for Singaporeans to make use of. The world is at Singapore's feet and isn't that a size bigger than the world's individual countries? So size is not so vital in this sense. It could be a relief as one has to look elsewhere for a change.
Basic housing needs have been taken care of by the Government and the ongoing upgrading of housing estates has made living conditions much more pleasant. I have posted a thread on how even the UN has recognized Singapore as a model for urban planning and public housing development. Singaporeans who aspire for private housing can work towards earning more money through hard work.
Singaporeans work hard because they know with a much higher income they can buy things they want - travel, real estate (in other countries as well), luxury goods, including the lastest car, golf clubs not only in Singapore but elsewhere in the region including Hong Kong, Australia, UK, etc. They could also send their children to the best universities in the world and visit them once a while.
So does working hard in the office even for longer hours if required mean one has no time for other things? Of course not! A good worker can manage his time well and have goals and time frames for whatever he wants to do.
So is Singapore's small size its Achilles heel? Then why are some bigger countries still undeveloped and relatively less people visit them? Why do more tourists visit Singapore? In fact why must tourists visit other countries if their own country is many, many more times bigger than Singapore? What is it that Singapore attracts them? Do these things attract locals as well? It may take more time for Singaporeans to get used to its small size but one often gets the feeling that Singaporeans are normally very happy to come home from a trip overseas. It is family, relatives, friends and the familiar things in the country that make them long to return. I have heard quite a few of these comments as described in my thread on "Singapore Day".
The many recent developments and activities that I have mentioned previously and others that will be carried out in due course are meant to keep locals more occupied at home. They also attract visitors to our shores. Now Orchard Road, our tourist shopping belt, is being transformed into a more attractive place with three more new modern shopping malls, wider pavements, new street furniture, more events and activities, etc.
A big hinterland helps but may not necessarily be the only reason for one's survival and success as Singapore has proven. As I have mentioned, being a global city, the world is Singapore's hinterland now.
Have not Switzerland and Hong Kong (even before its return to China) whose size are relatively small, though bigger than Singapore's, proven to the world that they are successful and attractive in their own way?
06-28-2009, 11:14 PM #169
If I may just refer you to the background of your own PM now, what better right you have to criticize Singapore on this point? Why don't you mention the USA as well? Why single out Singapore? What do you have against Singapore?
As far as Singapore is concerned, the PM must first be elected as an MP and then he must be chosen from within the cabinet. The cabinet comprise of other duly elected and highly qualified MPs from the same party. By your remarks you are demeaning the standards, independence and quality of the other cabinet members.
06-29-2009, 08:41 AM #170
Loh, Switzerland is not such a small country. It may be small when compared with bigger countries but Switzerland is 65 times larger than Singapore and it has almost double the population, almost all of them Swiss.
Hong Kong was like Singapore before 1997 and HK lost many talented people. But HK gets an endless supply of new talents from China and China is a real hinterland for HK now. Almost all the post graduates in HK are mainland Chinese. HK has an unbiblical cord to China. Singapore has no such neighbourly tie-up or embrace. Instead, her neighbours want any link to be a long and winding road with a crooked bridge at every bend. There is an invisible barrier. How do we go about to love thy neighbours and be loved by them?
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