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  1. #324
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default All abuzz for F1 show

    The Straits Times
    Sep 25, 2009

    Frenzy builds up even though Crashgate has hurt perception of F1

    By Leonard Lim

    FROM curious passers-by taking photographs of Marina Bay's lit-up streets, to Fairmont Singapore's pit-stop uniform for its 450 front-line staff, and the hysterical crowds showing up to catch a glimpse of heart-throb Lewis Hamilton whenever he appears in public, Formula One fever has clearly gripped Singapore.

    It is evident especially in the city centre, where red Ferraris and scarlet McLarens will take to the streets for the first time this evening for practice.

    Trackside hotels like Pan Pacific Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford have seen a progressive increase in rooms being taken up for the race weekend the last two weeks.

    With occupancy rates mostly exceeding 80 per cent, the numbers are almost similar to last year's inaugural night race, most of them say.

    Malls in the Marina Bay area are also cashing in on the fever. Suntec City is hosting a Renault exhibition, while Marina Square is showcasing products of Puma and Bridgestone - along with a replica Ferrari car.

    But the trickle-down effects of the Renault Crashgate scandal, it seems, has afflicted Singapore.

    Organisers Singapore GP had hoped to sell all 83,000 passes for each day of the weekend. But it is understood a more realistic figure now is about 95 per cent, with the most expensive $1,488 seats at the Pit Grandstand, in particular, not moving well.

    Some fans, cheesed off by Nelson Piquet Jr's deliberate crash that helped teammate Fernando Alonso win last year, have decided to stay away.

    On the other hand, the scandal has raised awareness of the sport among non-F1 followers. Cal Ng, a supervisor at Marina Square's Kenny Rogers Roasters outlet, said: 'I have never followed any sport but this has suddenly brought F1 to my attention.'

    But the 22-year-old is also among those who are lamenting the arrival of F1. His workplace, among those affected by the road closures which began on Wednesday in the area, is seeing a 30 to 40 per cent drop in its typical weekday dinner crowd of about 100 people.

    Fans were out in force at Ion Orchard on Thursday, as Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella took a ferrari out for a spin. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

    I also leave with you some images I just took of the F1 Marina Bay street circuit, notable landmarks and icon buildings around the civic district, as well as the first Chinatown settlement area around the Singapore River at Boat Quay. While Boat Quay was the first river location to be developed, now new developments and attractions have since move up river to Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. The entire river area has be rejuvenated and private condos have been built to take advantage of the water front and the nearby hill at Fort Canning Park.

    This beautiful location has been a tremendous source of inspiration and activity for me for many years but my office will soon move away nearer to Newton. Maybe nearby Orchard Road will be a good substitute. I'm looking forward to it.
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  2. #325
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    OMG, those pics. BW killer. My oldie PC is crying.

  3. #326
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagdpanther View Post
    OMG, those pics. BW killer. My oldie PC is crying.
    Why? why? why?

    Tak faham lah!

  4. #327
    Regular Member george@chongwei's Avatar
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    my pc is also crying too

  5. #328
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by george@chongwei View Post
    my pc is also crying too
    You mean you can't see the colours? It's like black and white? Can't blame you for these pics were taken quite late and through a thick glass plate window that darkens the images further. I wish I can see them like B&W too to give that 'old' feeling!

  6. #329
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    You mean you can't see the colours? It's like black and white? Can't blame you for these pics were taken quite late and through a thick glass plate window that darkens the images further. I wish I can see them like B&W too to give that 'old' feeling!
    Uncle, your pics ler. Too many pics with quite huge resolution in a single page.
    My PC got hang all of a sudden.
    Mine is not supercomputer lah. Grandpa-type PC. Never upgraded.

  7. #330
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagdpanther View Post
    Uncle, your pics ler. Too many pics with quite huge resolution in a single page.
    My PC got hang all of a sudden.
    Mine is not supercomputer lah. Grandpa-type PC. Never upgraded.
    Alamak! sorry lah. Next time I try to reduce the resolution but I will also have a problem when I resize to about 30% of my original to attach here.

    How come young man use grandpa pc? I thought I should be using your pc instead, hahaha .....

  8. #331
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 5 awards for Changi Airport

    The Straits Times
    Sep 27, 2009

    By Nicholas Yong

    CHANGI Airport has clinched five awards from major international travel publications and websites this month, including four 'Best Airport' titles.

    Readers of the United Kingdom edition of the renowned Business Traveller magazine have voted Singapore's airport as the best in the world for the 22nd year running.

    The Asia-Pacific edition of the same magazine, which prints 10 issues a year, has given Changi Airport the same accolade - for the 18th consecutive year.

    Other awards this month ranked Changi Airport as the best in terms of duty-free shopping and eating.

    Changi's reputation took a hit several months ago when a global survey of 190 airports pegged it as only the third best, behind Seoul and Hong Kong.

    There were also concerns among industry observers that the recent corporatisation of airport operations here, which led to the creation of the Changi Airport Group, might lead to an emphasis on the bottom line at the expense of customer service.
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  9. #332
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore population hits 5 million

    The Straits Times
    Sep 28, 2009

    By Melissa Pang

    IF YOU feel that Singapore seems to be more crowded these days, it's because the population here has hit almost five million.

    The Population Trends 2009 report released by the Department of Statistics on Monday, revealed that the Republic's total population as at end June was 4,987,600.

    About 75 per cent are Singapore citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), otherwise known as Singapore residents, and the remaining 25 per cent are non-residents.

    The latest figures indicate a 3.1 per cent growth over the previous year, with the resident population registering a 2.5 per cent jump.

    Singapore citizens contributed to this growth with a 1.1 per cent increase to 3.2 million in 2009. This group stood at 3.16 million last year.

    Singapore PRs grew to 0.53 million in June, up from 0.48 million in 2008.

    The report also showed that the 1.25 million non-resident population grew at a slower rate of 4.8 per cent, compared to growths of more than 10 per cent in the last two years.

    The number of resident households has also gone up at the same rate - by 1.7 per cent to an estimated 1,093,100 in 2008.

    The average household size was 3.5 persons in 2008, lower than the average household size of 3.7 persons in 2000 and 4.2 persons in 1990.

    The proportion of households with two to three persons rose from 28 per cent in 1990 to 40 per cent in 2008, while the proportion of persons living alone has also increased from 5.2 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent in 2008.
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  10. #333
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School opens

    The Straits Times
    Sep 29, 2009

    Campus to turn out doctors also trained to find cures for illnesses

    By Sue-Ann Chia

    SINGAPORE'S first graduate medical school was officially opened on Monday, at the same site that produced the country's first doctors more than a century ago.

    However, the Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical School, next to Singapore General Hospital in Outram, will produce doctors with a difference.

    Its students, who would already have bachelor's degrees - not necessarily in medicine - will be trained as researchers to find cures for ailments, as well as medical practitioners to treat patients.

    Their added role is part of Singapore's aim to be a biomedical hub and to improve its health-care system.

    Speaking at the launch of the school's new building at College Road on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: 'Duke-NUS is an important piece in our long-term plan to develop Singapore's health-care system.'

    It will produce 50 doctors annually, increasing the pool of new doctors to 350 a year.

    But this will still not be enough, said Mr Lee.

    'We will need even more doctors to cope with a growing and ageing population. We are continuing to study options to expand the supply of local doctors.'

    Singapore is looking at setting up a third medical school, with the Nanyang Technological University exploring a tie-up with London's Imperial College.

    The Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School is Singapore's second medical school. Its students - who hold at least a first degree in science-based subjects - will graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree after four years.
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  11. #334
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore a 'home for talent'

    The Straits Times
    Sep 29, 2009

    By Diana Othman

    SINGAPORE is well-placed to be a Home for Talent and is creating programmes of value to companies and talent, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday.

    To take it futher, it will cluster research, practice and teaching institutions from the region and world.

    Among the new initiatives, the Economic Development Board (EDB) is spearheading the Singapore Leadership Initiative for building Networks and Knowledge (Link) at One-North.

    This institute will bring together business schools, corporate universities and professional services firm in a single campus.

    PM Lee announced this the Singapore Human Capital Summit opening on Tuesday morning.

    He said the clustering will strengthen the links between research, management and training, encourage corporations and academia to work together on real challenges and adopt new best practices.

    Separately, he said the Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Management University will set up a Human Capital Leadership Institute to conduct pan-Asian research on key human resource challenges.

    On such course will be the Singapore Business Leaders' programme for senior executives who are taking on regional or global roles.

    'What Singapore can do, and tries to do, is to make ourselves stand out as an exciting and inviting corner of the world. In other words, we want to be a Home for Talent,' said Mr Lee in his opening address.

    'To be a Home for Talent, we must provide exciting job opportunities and a high quality of life. We must also be at the forefront of human capital development, so that people see this as a place to stretch and achieve their potential.'

    He added that Singapore should develop human talent for Asia as well as the Republic is at the 'cross-roads' of Asia.

    'If we can help the Asian economies to gain talent and grow, we ourselves will in turn grow with them.'

  12. #335
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default GIC claws back losses

    The Straits Times
    Sep 29, 2009

    Sale of some shares before market crash mitigated portfolio's fall

    By Alvin Foo

    THE Government of Singapore Investment Corp's (GIC) portfolio sank by more than a fifth in the wake of last year's financial crisis, but it has since erased a large part of the red ink thanks to the recent global stock market rally.

    According to GIC's latest annual report, its investments - valued at well over US$100 billion (S$141 billion) - slumped more than 20 per cent in Singapore dollar terms for the year ended March 31.

    But the loss would have been more severe had the investment agency not taken steps to reduce its stakes in stocks before the markets' collapse in September last year.

    For this reason, GIC has weathered the financial crisis well, said its deputy chairman and executive director Tony Tan yesterday.

    'We had anticipated the crisis and taken precautionary action which mitigated losses in the ensuing bear markets,' he added.

    Starting as early as July 2007, GIC steadily sold equities in its portfolio until the onset of the crisis last September.

    As a result, it reduced its exposure to public equities by over 10 percentage points of its overall portfolio, converting these investments to cash.

    Dr Tan said yesterday that this was the first time GIC had timed the market in such a significant way since its inception in 1981. The agency usually takes a long-term view of investments.

    Still, it could not fully avoid taking a hit.

    The loss dragged down its 20-year nominal annual rate of return in Singdollar terms from 5.8 per cent to 4.4 per cent.
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  13. #336
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Top accolades for scientists

    Sep 28, 2009

    By April Chong

    EIGHT scientists received the nation's highest honours for their work in the R&D scene here at the Istana on Monday night.

    The top award - the President's Science and Technology Medal - went to Professor Miranda Yap, who leads A*Star's Bioprocessing technology Institute and Graduate Academy.

    Said Mr Ravi Menon, Second Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry Ministry, who chaired the awards selection committee: 'She has laid the cornerstone required for the growth of the biotechnology and the biologics sector in Singapore.

    'Her efforts have been instrumental in attracting five leading multi-national biologics manufacturing companies, and they've set up six commercial scale biologics manufacturing plants here in singapore.'

    The other awardees received the President's Science Award and the President's Technology Award.

    Three young scientists below the age of 35 also received the Young Scientist Award.
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  14. #337
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singaporeans living longer

    The Straits Times
    Sep 28, 2009

    By Diana Othman

    SINGAPOREANS are living longer.

    According to the Populations Trend 2009 report released by the Department of Statistics on Monday, a new-born here could expect to live up to 80.9 years, compared to 79.1 years in 2003.

    Women could expect to live longer than men - up to 83.2 years versus 78.4 years for the latter.

    Life expectancy for 65 year-olds has also improved.

    The average 65-year-old Singaporean men and women can expect to live an average of 17.4 and 20.8 more years respectively, compared with 16.2 and 19.6 more years in 2003.

    On the mortality trend, the report found while the total number of deaths in Singapore has risen, the crude death rate actually continues to decline.

    There were 17,222 deaths in 2008, up from 17,140 in 2007.

    The crude death rate has been slowly declining over the years, which reflects the growing middle-age population and increasing life-expetency of the elderly.

    The crude death rate declined from 4.9 deaths per 1,000 residents in 1988 to 4.4 in 2008.

    Fewer women from all age groups died between 1988 and 2008, compared to men.

    Infant mortality rates in Singapore remain unchanged, with more baby girls surviving their first years than boys.

    The infant mortality rate for females was 1.7 per 1,000 residents and 2.6 per for boys.
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  15. #338
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default It's Hamilton's night

    The Straits Times
    Sep 28, 2009

    By Leonard Lim & Marc Lim

    THE Formula One world championship picture cleared a little last night, after McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the race under the stars and current table-topper Jenson Button grabbed precious points with his fifth-place finish at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.

    The result puts Button a little closer to winning the championship - he has a 15-point lead with three races to go - but the title race is by no means over, and will likely go down to the wire.

    But though the question of who will succeed Hamilton as world champion remains unanswered, another - whether the Singapore race could top last year's event, despite dwindling interest, Crashgate and other scandals, plus a global recession - was answered with a resounding yes.

    As images of the Singapore skyline were once again beamed to an international television audience estimated at 100million, Formula One bigwigs, Singaporeans, tourists, and business owners all gave an unqualified two thumbs up to this year's race and festival events, saying the buzz was far more electric this time around.

    The estimated 240,000 fans who thronged the Marina Bay street circuit over the past three days also attested to the success of the event - barely a month ago, only 72per cent of tickets had been sold, but a late rush saw all but the most expensive seats snapped up.

    The attendance figures are in line with races elsewhere, which usually see a 20per cent drop after the first year. Last year, about 300,000 people attended the three-day event here.

    F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who last year called the Singapore GP the 'jewel in F1's crown', was equally effusive yesterday, telling The Straits Times that the country once again put on a great show.

    'Fantastic job, no complaints. Every year is a big improvement, and next year it'll be better,' he said.

    BMW team principal Mario Theissen said: 'It's been a flawless weekend, the people of Singapore have had to deal with some inconveniences, but it's a great event, very unique.'

    Business owners also smacked their lips at the prospect of counting the weekend's takings.
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  16. #339
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    The Straits Times
    Sep 29, 2009

    Sale of some shares before market crash mitigated portfolio's fall

    By Alvin Foo

    THE Government of Singapore Investment Corp's (GIC) portfolio sank by more than a fifth in the wake of last year's financial crisis, but it has since erased a large part of the red ink thanks to the recent global stock market rally....

    The Straits Times
    Sep 30, 2009

    GIC's well-timed moves

    Despite agency's huge portfolio, it has regained over half of recent losses

    By Alvin Foo

    THE Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) has done well in the timing of its stock market moves given the size of its portfolio, said fund managers and analysts on Tuesday.

    GIC steadily sold some of its equities from July 2007 until the onset of the global financial crisis last September, thereby cutting its exposure to public equities by over 10 percentage points of its total portfolio and boosting its cash holdings.

    The agency then began to buy back early this year the equities it had sold, and has since restored the equity proportion of its portfolio to pre-crisis levels.

    Making these adjustments in such a short time was more demanding given the huge size of GIC's investments, valued at well over US$100 billion (S$141 billion) but estimated by analysts to be worth between US$200 billion and US$300 billion.

    Mr Wong Kok Hoi, chief investment officer of APS Asset Management, said: 'Timing is always a tricky and tough thing. They got it right at their first attempt and saved themselves a few dollars.

    'For their size, I guess they can do it only once every few years.'

    Mr David Cohen, an economist at Action Economics, agreed: 'When you have a huge portfolio, it's much harder to make adjustments. It worked reasonably well - they moved in the right direction and avoided sharper losses.'

    Mr David Lee, managing director of hedge fund Ferrell Asset Management, said GIC showed conviction and courage in investing its cash at a time when some were predicting a second Great Depression.

    And CIMB-GK regional economist Song Seng Wun believed GIC's move reflected its conservative nature.

    'With hindsight, the timing was good. The move was not a huge surprise given their conservative and defensive mindset.'
    Last edited by Loh; 09-29-2009 at 09:01 PM.

  17. #340
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore-made puzzle a hit

    The Straits Times
    Oct 1, 2009

    SINGAPORE entrepreneurs have discovered an unexpected growing business: made-in-Singapore logic puzzles.

    In the last 10 months, at least four different types of puzzles made here have appeared on the market.

    And at least one, the Rubik's Cube-like Cubedron, is a hit overseas. To solve the puzzle, players align puzzle pieces of the same colour inside a sphere.

    Since May, home-grown start-up Mindstrat Puzzles has sold thousands of its proprietary Cubedron puzzle and a variant called Cybedron.

    About 95 per cent of them were sold to foreign countries, such as the United States, Germany, Greece, Brazil, Britain, Japan and Brunei.

    The response to other recent made-in-Singapore logic puzzles has been positive as well.

    The LogicMills School of Thinking has sold 1,700 books featuring a number puzzle called Shady Puzzle since last December.

    Retired NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian's books of logic puzzles have been flying off the shelves: 1,000 copies of Intelligence Quiz have been sold since January, and more than 500 copies of Shape Quiz since June.

    Since 2006, he has sold 50,000 copies of an earlier series of books featuring a Sudokulike number puzzle that he developed called Logic9.

    A free Singapore-made Internet-based logic puzzle called The Wicked, devised by Singapore Management University student Tay Wei Kiat, 21, has garnered close to 150,000 views since 2006, of which 20 per cent are from overseas.

    Mindstrat Puzzles co-founder Siva Subramaniam hopes to show the world that quality puzzles can be made here.

    'We hope to make Singapore a puzzle hub where many puzzle inventors can come to make their own products,' he said. -- MYPAPER
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    Last edited by Loh; 10-01-2009 at 12:04 AM.

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