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  1. #3741
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    Default US university offers aviation degree here

    The Straits Times
    Jan 13, 2011

    By Lester Kok

    BY THE second half of this year, students here can enrol in the first aviation business degree offered by one of the largest aviation universities in the world.

    Currently, most aerospace degrees offered here are engineering-focused.

    But students now have a new option: They can enrol in the three-year diploma course in Aviation Management and Services (AMS) at Temasek Polytechnic (TP), and get direct admission to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Erau) after graduation.

    The United States-based institution is one of the largest aviation universities in the world, with about 40,000 students and 35 degree programmes.

    AMS students from TP will enrol in the third year of a four-year degree course, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Business Administration.

    Mr Paul Yap, 39, course manager of the AMS programme at TP, said this is the first aviation business degree offered here, and TP students can enjoy course exemption by applying for the tie-up degree programme.

  2. #3742
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore education profile improves significantly

    The Straits Times
    Jan 13, 2011

    SINGAPOREANS are now a better educated bunch, according to the Census of Population 2010 released by the Singapore Department of Statistics on Wednesday.

    Overall, 49 per cent of the non-student residents aged 15 years and over in 2010 had at least post-secondary qualifications, up from 33 per cent in 2000. The share of university graduates also increased significantly from 12 per cent in 2000 to 23 per cent in 2010.

    The proportion of university graduates among residents aged 25 to 34 years rose from 24 per cent in 2000 to 47 per cent in 2010.

    Literacy rates in residents 15 and above moved up from 93 per cent in 2000 to 96 per cent last year.

    The number of Singaporeans proficient in two or more languages jumped from 56 per cent ten years ago to 71 per cent in 2010.

    The use of English at home is also more prevalent, especially among the younger age groups. Among residents aged five to 14 years old, English was the home language for 52 per cent of Chinese and 50 per cent of Indians. Twenty-six per cent of Malays in the same age group now speak English at home, a spike from 9.4 per cent in 2000.


    The proportion of university graduates among residents aged 25 to 34 years rose from 24 per cent in 2000 to 47 per cent in 2010. -- ST PHOTO: GEORGE GASCON
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  3. #3743
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore Budget surplus could hit $6 billion

    The Straits Times
    Jan 13, 2011

    By Aaron Low

    THE Government is set to record a whopping $6 billion Budget surplus after a buoyant economy boosted tax collections last year, private economists say.

    Solid wage growth, strong corporate profits and a sizzling property market all point to record revenues, which could hit nearly $50 billion, up from $38 billion in 2009, they said yesterday.

    Broadly speaking, a surplus is what is left over from state revenues after taking into account all government spending. A deficit is where there is a shortfall.

    This means that this year, the Government could have a considerable war chest for helping people - especially lower-income earners - cope with the effects of an expected rise in consumer prices, as reflected in the inflation rate, they said.

    Both Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin and DBS economist Irvin Seah expect the Budget surplus to hit a bumper $6 billion.

    This is a dramatic reversal from an official government estimate of a $3 billion deficit, made in February last year.
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    Default Long queues form ahead of Sengkang's exec condo launch

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 January 2011 1157 hrs

    By Joanne Chan

    SINGAPORE: More than 100 prospective home buyers formed a line outside Austville Residences before doors opened on Thursday morning.

    The Executive Condominium (EC) in Sengkang uses a first-come-first-serve system to allocate units unlike the last three EC projects which used balloting.

    The first couple in line, who declined to be interviewed, said they arrived at 3pm on Wednesday.

    Austville has a total of 540 units, with an average price of S$680 per square foot.

    ECs are available to households with a maximum income of S$10,000.

    Such developments serve home buyers who are not eligible for HDB new flats which has an income cap of S$8,000.


    Artist's impression of Austville Residences
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  5. #3745
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    Default Grilling the Minister Mentor

    The Straits Times
    Jan 14, 2011

    A book based on interviews that probe Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on his core beliefs will hit bookstores from next Friday. Elgin Toh speaks to the team of Straits Times journalists involved to piece together the story behind the book, Hard Truths.

    HOW TO GET THE BOOK

    'Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going' will be available at leading bookstores for $39.90 (including GST) from Jan 21, 2011.

    Copies may also be ordered from stpressbooks@sph.com.sg or from 6319-8347 (May) and 6319-8341 (Jasmine).

    The book can also be purchased online from the Straits Times Press Online Bookstore: www.stpressbooks.com.sg from Jan 22.

    Thirty copies of a limited edition of the book in hard cover, with MM Lee's signature, are available at $10,000 each, with the proceeds going to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. Those interested in the signed copies can email Wee Ngiap Hiang at weenh@sph.com.sg.


    DEC 22, 2008.

    Seven journalists met in The Straits Times newsroom for a last-minute powwow on battle plans.

    They were fine-tuning questions for an interview on the issues of leadership, talent recruitment and ministerial salaries. They discussed interview techniques. Mr Han Fook Kwang, 57, the editor of ST who led the team, would sit across the table from the interview subject. He would be flanked by deputy editor Zuraidah Ibrahim, 46, on one side, and on the other, by the writer tasked to write the chapter, deputy political editor Lydia Lim, 39.

    Mr Han would be direct in the line of fire in case of verbal ripostes. 'We'll be right behind you,' quipped deputy review editor Chua Mui Hoong, 42.

    The team had spent over four months preparing for this encounter with their interview subject: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, now 87, Singapore's founding prime minister.

    The encounter would be the beginning of 16 interviews for a book project. The format was deliberately adversarial. The ST team would pose hard questions and challenge Mr Lee's assumptions on core issues on Singapore and the world, and Mr Lee would answer and rebut them.

    The ST team knew they faced a formidable opponent. The towering figure in Singapore's development had everything a politician could possibly ask for: oratorical skill, cerebral prowess and unflagging popular support. He had more than 50 years of experience and insight leading a country. And he had a reputation not only for speaking his mind, but also for not suffering fools gladly - and was known to tear to shreds not only arguments put to him, but also occasionally, the person who happened to be making them.

    It had taken four months of painstaking work to prepare for the series of interviews which stretched from December 2008 to October 2009. Reporters Rachel Lin, 25, and Robin Chan, 27, pored through books and articles on Singapore and Mr Lee. Together with the other writers, they organised focus-group discussions and interviewed more than 200 Singaporeans.

    Among them were academics and economists. News editor and former Money desk editor Ignatius Low, 38, and Mr Chan spoke separately with five leading economists here. Recalled Mr Chan: 'They helped us break down the fundamental structure of the Singapore economy and analyse alternative growth models.'

    Some big themes that cropped up: Were the poor getting left behind? How many foreigners would be enough? Is Singapore overly dependent on multinational corporations?

    'We gathered all their arguments and drafted 10 pages of questions just on the economy,' said Mr Chan.

    Good, pertinent questions came not just from the experts. The authors made it a point to meet, in focus groups, ordinary, young Singaporeans.

    Said Ms Lim: 'We asked them what questions they would ask Mr Lee if they had the chance, no matter how trivial or stupid they thought the questions were.'

    In hindsight, these were the exchanges that churned out many pointed questions, said Ms Lin. 'The young Singaporeans were less willing to take political assumptions at their face value. They were a bit more brash in the way they stated their opposition.'

    Said Ms Zuraidah: 'From all these varied discussions, we came up with a strong mix of questions, reflective of the dilemmas our society finds itself confronting.

    'Of course, as reporters, we also wanted scoops and so we added questions that would unearth new stories and revelations from MM.'

    The team arrived at the Istana in the late afternoon. They were taken to a waiting room, where Mr Lee's principal private secretary Chee Hong Tat and press secretary Yeong Yoon Ying joined them. A uniformed butler poured a round of piping hot fragrant Chinese tea. Nervous banter ensued.

    Like troops girding for battle, each prepared in his or her personal way for the coming two-hour verbal joust.

    Mr Han braced himself mentally. Ms Lim flipped through her notes. Ms Zuraidah checked her tape recorder and lined up two pens, black for writing and red to underline quotable quotes. She hoped there would be a lot of red used. Ms Chua practised diaphragmatic breathing. Mr Low remembered the advice he had been given by folk who had dealt with the mercurial interviewee: Count to five after he finishes speaking, before asking the next question.

    The younger ones tried not to think of apocryphal stories they had heard - of people who quailed in front of Mr Lee, or worse, stood up to him and were rumoured to be doomed to lacklustre careers ever after.

    The team went into the wood-panelled Cabinet room, so called because it was where Cabinet meetings are usually held. A long, oval table dominated the space. Mr Lee would sit across the team, with Mr Chee and Madam Yeong around him.

    A lift took Mr Lee from his office straight into the Cabinet room. He walked in, steady and slow, puffing out his cheeks in his trademark manner. He sat down and settled himself.

    Mr Han leaned forward and started.

    'The interviews did not get off to a good start,' said Ms Stephanie Yeow.

    The 39-year-old deputy picture editor of ST was the photographer present at all 16 interviews.

    'The air was tense, especially at the first interview,' she said. 'Mr Lee was a bit impatient. But as the interviews got on, he warmed up to us.'

    Ms Yeow was accompanied by her colleagues who shot the video footage of the interviews: Mr Kemburaju Thangarajan, 52, and Mr T. Kumar, 47. The three would always arrive at the Cabinet room - or the Sheares room depending on where the interview was held - two hours ahead of time to set up the equipment.

    The project had actually begun in August 2008, when Mr Lee rang Mr Han one evening to say he had written drafts of chapters for a third volume of his memoirs, after The Singapore Story (1998), and From Third World To First (2000).

    Mr Lee wanted a new book - a platform to convince younger Singaporeans of the country's quintessentially unique qualities, of its inherent vulnerability despite its successful present, and of the need to remain 'sturdy and robust' both economically and militarily, to avoid jeopardy.

    He asked for Mr Han's opinion on the draft chapters. Mr Han went over them and consulted his colleagues at ST before reverting to him.

    Speaking to Insight via e-mail, Mr Lee said: 'They told me that in this format young Singaporeans will not read it. They suggested that I answer questions a team of reporters put to me that the young want to know.'

    Once he agreed, he embraced the question-and-answer format.

    'Do not fear putting hard questions,' Mr Lee told the group. The remark would later prompt them internally to codename the project 'ST Ask Anything'.

    Mr Han assembled a team from The Straits Times newsroom.

    'I wanted to field some of our best writers who could make this cut-and-thrust approach work. We needed strong interviewers and writers who could give a fresh spin to Mr Lee's views and make them come alive in the book.

    'We also wanted a book that will connect with young Singaporeans, so we selected two younger journalists, Rachel and Robin, who understood their perspectives better.'

    Then began the frenetic period of preparatory research and brainstorming of questions, ahead of the interviews. The team started with the idea of organising the interviews around '10 key questions you would want to ask LKY'.

    This quickly ballooned during brainstorming sessions into 10 broad topics. Eventually, the team settled for 11 areas of questioning: Singapore's fundamentals, leadership, politics, economics, welfare, the environment, geopolitics, foreigners, race and religion, family, and young Singaporeans.

    Mr Lee was a combative, at times testy, interviewee. He was familiar with most, if not all, of the lines of arguments, after more than five decades in politics. Sometimes, he would dismiss them out of hand. Other times, he would hit back with full argumentative force.

    Ms Lin described one particularly vigorous outburst from Mr Lee that 'left all of us shell-shocked'.

    One of the journalists tried to submit to Mr Lee that the younger generation of Singaporeans was not quite convinced that Singapore was as vulnerable militarily as Mr Lee would suggest.

    'And he just blew up,' said Ms Lin.

    'He said: 'You tell me we're not vulnerable? God! What do we spend all this money on defence for? Are we mad?''

    The sheer store of information at his disposal was also overpowering.

    'He has amassed this huge store of knowledge - from reading, experience from governing, the meetings he's had with other world leaders, and the corporate boards he has been on. And he can wield this anecdote or that factoid, just like that. So it became doubly intimidating,' said Mr Low.

    Nevertheless, the debates were free-flowing, with writers not hesitating to jump in to challenge the assumptions behind Mr Lee's remarks.

    As the book will show, the reporters often persisted politely but doggedly with pointed questions, prompting an irate Mr Lee to say, in response to probing on whether Singapore could afford to be more generous in its welfare policy: 'For 50 years, I've tried to pilot my way through. Did it succeed?

    'You won't convince me. Whether I convince you or not is irrelevant to me because I know these are the real facts. You're not going to shift me. And if the ministers believe like you would, then they are going to waste a lot of time and money, that's all.'

    Sometimes, things even got a little personal.

    Mr Lee once went round the table asking his interviewers: Where do you live? Are you married?

    He asked Mr Chan his age (26 then) and retorted that if Mr Chan still felt the same way at 46, then he would not have learnt much. He asked Mr Han if he had daughters, and how he would feel if his daughter came back to say she wanted to marry a black man. During the interviews on race and religion, he asked Ms Zuraidah, the only Malay-Muslim in the group, about her faith.

    Such personal scrutiny, and Mr Lee's piercing direct gaze as he listens to your question or answers it, is disconcerting to those unused to him, said Ms Chua.

    'But you have to realise that it is not targeted at you, but your viewpoint. And you will also have to learn to respond not to him personally, but to the substance of his argument,' she said.

    On the robust nature of his rebuttals, Mr Han said: 'That is what makes Mr Lee a very interesting person from a journalist's perspective. At the end of the day, it is never just an intellectual argument for him. It is about the welfare of millions of Singaporeans, and so it becomes a matter of life and death.'

    Quite often throughout the interviews, Mr Lee would reveal gems of previously unreported information. Putting aside views on issues and policies, the writers found most memorable the glimpses Mr Lee gave into his personal and family life.

    Said Ms Lim: 'I was struck when he said that his family and his country were the two most important things to him, and later when he said the happiest moment in his life was when he got his wife a scholarship at Cambridge so they could be together in the United Kingdom. It tells you that he brings the same determination and devotion to the two great commitments in his life.'

    In a way, the book was overtaken by events when Mrs Lee died in October last year. The interviews had ended and the book was being written up and edited. Editors decided to run excerpts from the unpublished book in The Straits Times.

    Mr Lee appeared frail during some interviews. He would be nursing a sprain from a fall or a bad throat, but would insist on going ahead as scheduled. He brought along his remedies: A heat pack for his injured thigh, a luminous strap for his aching back, and soothing mints for his sore throat.

    Said Ms Zuraidah: 'Even then, whenever a question seized him, he would go at it, sharp as ever.'

    Said Ms Lin: 'He would spray medication into his mouth, or have a heat pack tied around his thigh in front of everybody.

    'And I'm thinking, this guy doesn't have anything to prove any more.'

    'He knows it won't diminish his standing in our eyes at all.'

    He was always courteous to those around him - the butler who brought him hot tea, his security officers, his secretaries, and the writers.

    The conclusion of the 16th interview marked the start of the formal writing process. The writers pored through over 1,000 pages of transcripts. They chose the most interesting excerpts and wrote an introductory section for each chapter.

    At the outset, the team decided to videotape all the interviews. The authors were quite aware that these were rare opportunities to record Mr Lee defending his record at this late stage in his political career. A DVD bundled with the book lets readers not only read Mr Lee's words but also hear and see him in action.

    Ms Shirley Hew of The Straits Times Press - publisher of the book together with Singapore Press Holdings - and book editor Shova Lim proposed the book title Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, a reference to Mr Lee's statements that there were hard facts about Singapore that made it essential for the country to have a stable, strong government.

    Executive design artist Sally Lam, 42, designed the book cover, choosing contemporary fonts, a gentler picture of Mr Lee and a soft, olive green background.

    'We wanted the book to appeal visually to the younger generation, so they would pick it up and read it,' she said.

    The book will be launched next Friday by Mr Lee. Much of it is in racy Q&A style, with a short introductory segment per chapter. It promises a refreshing take on familiar topics such as politics, economics, race and religion, climate change and geopolitics, and also wanders into uncharted waters. Does he believe in astrology and fengshui? Or love at first sight?

    Says Mr Han: 'There hasn't been a book like this where his views are subjected to such intense questioning and scrutiny. Mr Lee's views are quite controversial, and many people have issues with them. But whether you agree with him or not, you can't argue with the force of his conviction.

    'I hope even his critics will read the book and judge for themselves whether those views make sense for Singapore.'

    Would it become lost in the sea of existing literature on Mr Lee? Prominent statesmen who were shown the book ahead of its launch seemed to think there was enough to distinguish Hard Truths.

    Said former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, in a blurb for the book: 'The 32 hours of interviews that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew gave are unprecedented in their candour and in the variety of issues discussed.'

    President Lee Myung Bak of South Korea said: 'Lee speaks out his mind with clear, candid and forceful words that will surely have a strong and lasting impact on the readers.'

    The two younger writers found plenty to disagree with: Ms Lin was put off by his almost radical views on genetics and Mr Chan was unconvinced by the need to keep political activism out of university campuses. But as Mr Chan said: 'If you want to improve things in Singapore, you really need to understand its founding philosophies, the principles that have taken us to where we are today. That's what the book will give you.'

    Added Mr Low: 'I always believe that people have a grand theory on life, a worldview that holds everything together. This book is the Lee Kuan Yew grand theory on life and politics and love and government and everything. It is the most systematic collection of his views to date.'

    As for the MM's own take on the book: His instruction to the ST team was to leave everything uncensored.

    'Write it as you think is bearable.'

    He added: 'I wanted to write a few chapters. You say no, no, nobody will read me because they know my stand. All right. We do it this way. They will read you. Then they will read me to know what I say, either summing you up or contradicting you, that's all. But I want them to know that these are hard truths.'

    He had this parting shot for the writers:

    'If I don't agree with you, I'll rebut it.'


    Seven journalists met in The Straits Times newsroom for a last-minute powwow on battle plans. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
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  6. #3746
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Rare insights into the mind of MM Lee

    The Straits Times
    Jan 14, 2011

    By Elgin Toh

    A NEW book to be launched next week will offer a rare glimpse into the mind and life of the most influential man in Singapore's history.

    Titled Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, it is based on 16 interviews the Minister Mentor gave to seven journalists from The Straits Times between December 2008 and October 2009.

    It will hit the bookstores next Friday, after a launch event at The St Regis Singapore hotel.

    The 458-page book, which comes with a DVD of scenes from the interview, is a comprehensive examination of Mr Lee's beliefs. It covers in 11 chapters weighty topics such as Singapore's political system, climate change and international relations, and also lighter ones, like his views on tattoos, fengshui and movies.

    One distinctive feature is its extensive use of the question-and-answer format, which the authors hope will engage younger readers and capture unvarnished the robust exchanges between Mr Lee and his interviewers.

    'There hasn't been a book like this where his views are subjected to such intense questioning and scrutiny in 32 hours of interviews,' said The Straits Times editor Han Fook Kwang, 57, who led the team of seven writers.

    'He gave us unprecedented access and time because he wanted to reach out especially to younger Singaporeans who may be unconvinced whether his views are still relevant in this day and age.'

    The other ST writers involved are: deputy editor Zuraidah Ibrahim, 46; deputy review editor Chua Mui Hoong, 42; deputy political editor Lydia Lim, 39; news editor Ignatius Low, 38; and reporters Rachel Lin, 25; and Robin Chan, 27.

    The project began in August 2008, when Mr Lee called Mr Han to seek his opinion on draft chapters he had written for a possible third volume to his memoirs, after The Singapore Story (1998) and From Third World To First (2000).

    He wanted to remind the young about the harsh realities facing Singapore, as he points out in his foreword to the book:

    'My abiding concern for Singapore arises from my belief that the younger generation, especially those below 35, had never seen the harsh economic conditions. They therefore do not know the threats we face from neighbouring countries.' Or as he stressed several times in the interviews, there were hard truths about Singapore that the younger generation needed to understand.

    Mr Han consulted his colleagues and reverted to Mr Lee with an alternative proposal. Why not have journalists confront him with the hard questions his critics and young people would ask him? A spirited debate, published in Mr Lee's own words, would make for a better read.

    Mr Lee accepted.

    The ST team began its research. They also conducted focus group discussions and interviews with more than 200 Singaporeans, from young professionals to academics and economists, to come up with a list of compelling questions for Mr Lee.

    The 16 two-hour interviews took place at the Istana - where Mr Lee has his office - either in the Cabinet room or the Sheares room. There were tense moments, and emotional ones when Mr Lee spoke about his personal life. Excerpts of how he spent his last months with his wife were published in The Straits Times after Mrs Lee died in October last year.

    The book has drawn praise from those given access to its content ahead of its launch. Said former United States President Bill Clinton: 'It offers rare and compelling access into the mind of a remarkable leader and statesman.'

    Singapore Management University law lecturer Eugene Tan said: 'The book distils the knowledge, experience and wisdom of MM Lee in governance, and challenges the reader to think deeper and harder about important issues.'

    Assistant human resource manager Julia Chan-Lee, 30, liked the Q&A style: 'The dialogue made me feel a part of the conversation. MM makes a sincere attempt to share the truth of his life with us - this generation for whom he is more icon than man.'


    'Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going' will be launched on Jan 21. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
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  7. #3747
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Signed copies of new book on MM Lee sold out

    The Straits Times
    Jan 14, 2011

    By Robin Chan

    ALL 30 signed copies of a new book on Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew have been snapped up within 15 hours.

    Published by Singapore Press Holdings, the book - Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going which will be launched on Jan 21 - was sold for a minimum of $10,000 per autographed copy, with proceeds going to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

    It otherwise will be available at leading bookstores for $39.90 (including GST) from Jan 21. The book is based on 32 hours of interviews MM Lee had conducted with seven journalists from The Straits Times on a wide ranging list of issues.

    The first buyer sent in a purchase form at 5.59 pm on Thursday evening and by 9.30am on Friday morning, all 30 had been sold. One of the first buyers, Mr Cheo Ming Shen, 27, co-founder of Nuffnang, said he had heard about the book through a friend, and once it was up for sale, he did not hesitate to buy a copy.

    'There is nobody bigger than MM in Singapore,' said Mr Cheo, who has read and owns both of Mr Lee's previous memoirs.

    On the question and answer (Q & A) style of the new book, he said: 'I am very interested to see how how he reacts to being interviewed by different generations of reporters and to all the different questions.'

  8. #3748
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    The Straits Times
    Jan 15, 2011

    S'pore NGO wins Chinese philanthropy award

    By Vanessa Jalleh

    LIEN Aid, the international development body founded by Lien Foundation and Nanyang Technological University, received the Global Charity Award for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China's Ministry of Civil Affairs.

    The ceremony took place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday.

    The award recognised Lien Aid's efforts in bringing water and sanitation to China's drought-hit regions of Yunnan, Sichuan and Shanxi, helping 30,000 people from 14 projects.

    Global Charity, a well respected Chinese philanthropic publication and the magazine arm of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, organised the awards.

    The nominees, comprising of individuals, enterprises and organisations, are selected based on their philanthropic efforts and contributions to Chinese society.

    Lien Aid was the only Singapore organisation to be awarded.


    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 06:58 AM.

  9. #3749
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    The Straits Times
    Jan 15, 2011

    From dialect to Mandarin and English

    By Cai Haoxiang

    THE use of Chinese dialects has dropped sharply in one generation.

    The share of Chinese living here who speak mainly dialect at home has fallen to fewer than one in five.

    Just 30 years ago, the figure was close to four in five.

    Over the same period, the use of Mandarin and English has shot up.

    Mandarin is today the language most frequently spoken at home for one in two Chinese residents. That places it in top spot, followed by English, which is the main language at home for one in three Chinese, according to just-released data from Census 2010.

    But while growth in the share of English-speaking households has accelerated in the last decade, the growth of Mandarin-speaking households has slowed.

  10. #3750
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    Gateway to East Coast
    By S Ramesh and Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 15 January 2011 1423 hrs
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    East Coast area makeover
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    SINGAPORE : Plans for the "Gateway to the East Coast" were unveiled on Saturday as part of the S$1 billion Remaking Our Heartlands (ROH) programmes for three areas announced a week ago by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

    Senior Minister S Jayakumar, who is an MP for East Coast GRC, said the plans once realised, will benefit not only those living in the East Coast but other Singaporeans too.

    Plans to remake the area will focus on improving homes, revitalising the town centre and providing more recreational choices.

    "Much of East Coast is an ageing estate. Therefore to make people feel that it is an exciting place to live and work in, you have to have constant upgrading. But this is not ad hoc upgrading. We are pulling all the pieces together, and many agencies have come forward. In five to six years time, when you come here, it will be completely transformed, it is exciting," said Professor Jayakumar.

    Over the next five years, the Bedok Town centre will be transformed into a vibrant new hub with a new air-conditioned bus interchange.

    Stallholders at the food centre at Block 207 Upper Changi Road have been very much concerned about the re-development plans for this area. Under the Remaking Our Heartlands plans for the East Coast , there will be a new food centre built next to their food centre and it is expected to be be ready by 2014.

    The stallholders hope that the new food centre would continue to be managed by the HDB or the National Environment Agency, to keep rentals low.

    To preserve the history of the East Coast, a Heritage Corner will be built at the new Town Plaza in 2015.

    HDB will create a physical heritage foot trail, which traces the early road network of the East Coast area.

    And for the first time, Bedok Reservoir and the East Coast Park will be directly linked by a corridor.

    The new green spine will enable cyclists and pedestrians to get across from both areas.

    A comprehensive cycling network will be introduced within the East Coast area to enhance cycling connectivity to MRT stations, major employment areas, parks, schools and neighbourhood centres.

    Sports enthusiasts can also look forward to a new integrated sports facility located within the town centre.

    It will house a swimming complex, sports hall, tennis centre and a community centre.

    The ROH plans for East Coast were announced a week after plans for Hougang have been made public.

    Plans for the Jurong Lake area will be launched next weekend.

    - CNA /ls

  11. #3751
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Channel NewsAsiA
    15 Jan 2011

    GATEWAY TO THE EAST COAST

    By S Ramesh and Mustafa Shafawi

    SINGAPORE : Plans for the "Gateway to the East Coast" were unveiled on Saturday as part of the S$1 billion Remaking Our Heartlands (ROH) programmes for three areas announced a week ago by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

    Senior Minister S Jayakumar, who is an MP for East Coast GRC, said the plans once realised, will benefit not only those living in the East Coast but other Singaporeans too.

    Plans to remake the area will focus on improving homes, revitalising the town centre and providing more recreational choices.

    "Much of East Coast is an ageing estate. Therefore to make people feel that it is an exciting place to live and work in, you have to have constant upgrading. But this is not ad hoc upgrading. We are pulling all the pieces together, and many agencies have come forward. In five to six years time, when you come here, it will be completely transformed, it is exciting," said Professor Jayakumar.

    Over the next five years, the Bedok Town centre will be transformed into a vibrant new hub with a new air-conditioned bus interchange.

    Stallholders at the food centre at Block 207 Upper Changi Road have been very much concerned about the re-development plans for this area. Under the Remaking Our Heartlands plans for the East Coast , there will be a new food centre built next to their food centre and it is expected to be be ready by 2014.

    The stallholders hope that the new food centre would continue to be managed by the HDB or the National Environment Agency, to keep rentals low.

    To preserve the history of the East Coast, a Heritage Corner will be built at the new Town Plaza in 2015.

    HDB will create a physical heritage foot trail, which traces the early road network of the East Coast area.

    And for the first time, Bedok Reservoir and the East Coast Park will be directly linked by a corridor.

    The new green spine will enable cyclists and pedestrians to get across from both areas.

    A comprehensive cycling network will be introduced within the East Coast area to enhance cycling connectivity to MRT stations, major employment areas, parks, schools and neighbourhood centres.

    Sports enthusiasts can also look forward to a new integrated sports facility located within the town centre.

    It will house a swimming complex, sports hall, tennis centre and a community centre.

    The ROH plans for East Coast were announced a week after plans for Hougang have been made public.

    Plans for the Jurong Lake area will be launched next weekend.

    - CNA /ls

  12. #3752
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Channel NewsAsia
    14 Jan 2011

    Singapore national badminton team being revamped

    By Jason Tan

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's national badminton team is being revamped, with the final line-up to be announced next month.

    Five of 16 members in Team 2 have been promoted to Team 1. Three members have been asked to join the National Intermediate Squad, which mostly caters to those aged 13 to 17. Meanwhile the rest have been released.

    Some of those who were released were caught by surprise and they were unhappy.

    Responding, Singapore Badminton Association president Lee Yi Shyan said the situation could have been handled better.

    "I think given that they are still of a very young age, we should have mentioned to them earlier. Nevertheless, we still make our best effort to talk to each of them individually, and we also discuss with them what they want to do.

    "So we would offer them help as best as we can, for instance, to be an assistance coach in certain training centres or in certain schools.

    "Some of them are going into National Service, so it's kind of a natural progression because once you go into NS you don't have much time to do any training. That's our experience.

    "So I think all in all I see that they are making the adjustment, and we are still available to help them."
    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 07:55 AM.

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    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Channel NewsAsia
    15 Jan 2011

    PM Lee says S'pore aims to be high-tech society


    SINGAPORE : Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore is aiming to be a high tech, high performance society.

    It operates at what he called "high clock rates" to produce breakthrough solutions.

    Speaking at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital's annual retreat, Mr Lee said Singapore and the firm shared a common purpose of creating value by identifying and seizing opportunities.

    He said it was precisely such an environment in Singapore that has attracted high tech companies like Facebook and Groupon here.

    Giving his outlook for the region, Mr Lee added that he sees Asia as a "bright spark in a world recovering from turbulence and recession", with China and India acting as twin engines of strong growth.

    But there are challenges such as possible risks of overheating economies and inflation.

    Mr Lee felt solutions were possible if economies band together. He said transformation in Asia will continue for decades and that talent will be vital.

    He cited how Singapore has managed to attract very talented people to study and work here.

    Mr Lee noted Shanghai's top rating for talent in a recent international survey. India did not participate in that survey, but he said it too had a population that is young and bright.

    In his speech, he welcomed Sequoia Capital's portfolio companies to help develop Singapore into a vibrant and distinctive global city.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 08:07 AM.

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    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Channel NewsAsia

    Education should inculcate values like love for family, community & country: SM Goh

    By Evelyn Choo
    15 January 2011 1559 hrs

    SINGAPORE : Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said education should inculcate values like love for the family, community and country.

    He was speaking at his constituency's 16th Edusave Scholarship and Merit Bursary Awards Presentation Ceremony held at Tao Nan School in Marine Parade on Saturday afternoon.

    Congratulating the students, Mr Goh said they should not become too self-absorbed in their quest for personal achievement and fortune, forgetting about the people around them.

    "Parents work hard and long hours. Children spend long hours in school, and attend tuition classes and CCAs. Young people nowadays also spend more time online playing computer games and on social networking sites than actually physically interacting and talking to their brothers, sisters and parents. It is important for students and parents alike, to constantly make time for each other, to have meaningful face-to-face conversations," he said.

    He also encouraged students to join Residents' Committees, saying it is an example of how they could help strengthen community bonds. He cited two additional challenges in the area of community bonding - the widening income gap and the recent influx of immigrants.

    SM Goh said: "Economic growth must benefit all members of the community. Otherwise, our community may be divided by differences in income levels within it. Secondly, there is a need to welcome newcomers to our community. With our low birth rates and fast ageing population, we have to supplement our workforce with newcomers from other countries.

    "We should be welcoming of new citizens and new members to our community because we need them, and they help grow our economy and make Singapore a better place."

    Lastly, Mr Goh touched on nation-building.

    He said: "One day, it will be your turn to build Singapore. You must try your best to make it better. When you do so, you will acquire a sense of ownership. You will love Singapore even more because you are a part of it."

    A total of 52 students from the primary, secondary, and pre-university level received bursaries valued between $200 and $400.

    Another 96 students were awarded scholarships valued from $350 to $650.

    The ceremony was jointly organised by the South East Community Development Council (CDC) and the Marine Parade Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC).

    As the students received their prized cheques and certificates, parents like Myrna Sundermann couldn't help but share the joy.

    Myrna Sundermann is the proud mother of two bursary winners. The Singaporean and her German husband moved to Singapore from Scotland just two years ago.

    Her son, 14-year-old Kai Sean Sundermann, is a first-year student at the School of the Arts. He received a $350 bursary award. The 14-year-old said: "Well, I was planning to go to Edinborough in winter. So maybe I could save the money to spend on something there or for the airline fare."

    The Edusave bursary scheme is granted to the top 25 percent of students, whose gross monthly household income is capped at $4,000.

    The scholarship scheme is awarded to the top 10 percent of students in primary and secondary schools.

    And out of the 96 scholars, some already have a good idea of how to use their money.

    12-year-old Gurdain Singh Madan, a Secondary One student from Tanjong Katong Secondary School, received a $350 award. He said: "I can use it for school activities, and if we have to buy newspapers, we can use it for that."



    *
    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 08:26 AM.

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    The Straits Times
    Jan 15, 2011

    Singaporeans welcome new retirement age of 65

    By Shivali Nayak, Multimedia Journalist, RazorTV

    EVERYONE looks forward to retirement, but many Singaporeans still feel capable of working beyond the age of 62, so many rejoiced at the government's recent announcement of lifting the retirement age to 65.

    Ramesh Prakash Sharma, 66, is so good at his job that when he turned 62, he was given a promotion instead of being asked to retire. His company Qioptiq, an optics manufacturing company, made him a Technical Mentor to show younger employees the ropes. He says: 'I love my job. Optic is in my blood.'
    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 08:38 AM.

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    The Straits Times
    Jan 15, 2011

    TOC will register if its appeal fails

    The Online Citizen asks PM to reverse decision or to explain gazette move

    By Jeremy Au Yong

    SOCIO-POLITICAL blog The Online Citizen (TOC) said on Friday that it will comply with recent government requests to register, but only if it fails in its appeal to the Prime Minister.

    It has written to Mr Lee Hsien Loong to ask that the decision to gazette the site as a political association be reversed, or if not, for the decision to be explained.

    A statement put up on the site yesterday evening announced that it will submit the particulars of its editorial team to the Registry of Political Donations and Media Development Authority (MDA) if that is the only way to continue existing.

    'If registering is what it'll take to continue our contribution to Singapore, we'll do it and send a clear message that we will not be intimidated into exiting the arena of public discourse,' it said in a statement signed by its acting chief editor Joshua Chiang, 35, and co-founders Choo Zheng Xi, 25, and Andrew Loh, 43.

    TOC indicated it would be willing to submit the names of up to four members.

    But first, it intends to wait for the Prime Minister's response.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-15-2011 at 08:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    ...It would seem repetitive to some, especially to those not concerned with Singapore happenings, but the fact remains that quite a number still find this thread useful judging by the number of 'hits'.
    ..uncle Loh, like i mentioned before, the reason why this thread is still getting 'hits' is because this is the only non-badminton related thread which is constantly being updated and filled with S'pore related news almost daily (except weekends), thus more views. In essence, we can't really judge whether a thread is 'useful' or not by the number of 'hits' if that particular thread gets updated or being filled with posts daily.
    If that keeps happening, of course the 'hits' will still keep on coming. Also, members do click on the threads (all over the forum), whether they're interested to read/follow what's happening or just for the sake of clicking just to take a peek.
    The best way to see if this thread is still getting 'hits' or is 'useful' is to leave it as is and not post any more news (by you or mr.t) for say, 1 month. Then come back in a month and see how many 'hits' it has received (of course, one could go in this thread & keep on pressing the F5 key to refresh and add more 'hits' to the thread). Then compare it with the number of 'hits' when there are constant news article being posted (like now). That's how we can tell if this thread is 'useful' or not.
    Last edited by ctjcad; 01-15-2011 at 07:27 PM.

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