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Thread: Singapore Also Can
02-22-2011, 09:41 PM #3979
"Inspiration to S'pore workers" works while studying at special needs school
By Roslinda Rahmat | Posted: 22 February 2011 2240 hrs
Muhammad Ramadhan Selamat (R)
SINGAPORE: In his recent Budget speech, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced more help for special needs students from low-income families. They will get full subsidy for school fees, uniform and text books.
Channel NewsAsia caught up with the young man the minister described as an "inspiration" to Singapore workers.
"He is actually working in the industry whilst being enrolled in school. His pay has gone up from S$900 to S$1,200 in 3 years. He starts off with a difficulty and a challenge like many Singaporeans, addresses it with diligence, determination, moved up, improved continuously and raised the game for all of us," said Mr Tharman during his budget speech.
The young man is Muhammad Ramadhan Selamat, a student from Delta Senior School.
He has a below average IQ of 50 to 70 and is the youngest of five siblings, three of whom have learning disabilities.
Coming from a low-income family, Ramadhan will soon be able to get the full subsidy for his special education. However, he is not waiting for the handouts.
The 21-year-old works full-time as a landscape technician with horticultural firm Plantz Singapore.
Victoria Lamb, owner of Plantz Singapore, said: "Ramadhan shows great potential. He's a role model for young boys wanting to join the industry. He often works in a small group and he's shown signs of leadership where there's not always a supervisor available. So, he'll take control of a small group and lead them...towards the end of the year, we hope to embark him on the WSQ Supervisor's programme."
Ramadhan himself is eager to learn new skills.
"I plan to take up more courses and learn new skills, if the company gives me the opportunity to do so, I will take it up," he said.
02-23-2011, 01:26 AM #3980
I am now reading "Lee Kuan Yew - Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going" and this is what he has to say in answer to a Question by the panel on pp 26-27::
"Are we really vulnerable as you (LKY) suggest? Critics would say you make things seem so dire that so many things practised elsewhere, including in small countries, such as political competition, will not be available here."
"No, we are not preventing competition. What we are preventing is duds goetting into Parliament and government. Any person of quality, we welcome him but we don't want duds...They're not going to build the country. But if any serious man turns up and forms an alternative equal to us, I say, "Good." Then we are getting a proper alternative. But look at the candidates they put up.
Now, are we not vulnerable? If we are not vulnerable, why do we spend 5 to 6 per cent of GDP year after year on defence? Are we mad? This is a frugal government, you know that well.
We dug a deep tunnel for the sewers at the cost of $3.65 billion in order to use the sewage water for NEWater, to be independent.
We are not vulnerable? They can besiege you. You'll be dead. Your sea lanes are cut off and your business comes to a halt. What is our reply? Security Council, plus defence capabilities of our own, plus the Security Framework Agreement with the Americans.
They stopped sand(1). Why? To conscribe us. As Mahathir(2) says, "Even at their present size they are trouble, you let them grow some more they will be more trouble." We've got friendly neighbours? Grow up.
Why would we put a strong Minister in Defence if it's not important? He's the strongest Minister in the Cabinet next to the PM, toughest, most capable. We have always put a strong man there. Do we parade our vulnerabilities? We are living in an adult world. Why do we have peace? Because it is not cost-free if you hit us. If you hit us we will hit you and the damage may be more on your side."
(1) Malaysia banned all sand exports to Singapore in 1997, saying that it needed to conserve resources and protect sea and river beds. Indonesia banned sand exports to Singapore in 2007, citing environmental concerns. Singapore uses sand in construction and land reclamation; Indonesia's ban caused construction activities to grind to a halt as sand prices trebled in 2007. Singapore now buys sand from further afield.
(2) Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.
(Hope this helps in understanding why Singapore needs a strong military.)
Last edited by Loh; 02-23-2011 at 01:40 AM.
02-23-2011, 01:53 AM #3981
Singapore Navy appoints new chief
Posted: 22 February 2011 1629 hrs
Rear Admiral Ng Chee Peng
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Navy will have a new chief next month.
The Defence Ministry (Mindef) said Rear Admiral Ng Chee Peng will take over from Rear Admiral Chew Men Leong on March 29, as part of the continuing process of leadership renewal in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
44-year-old Rear Admiral Chew will be returning to the Administrative Service.
Rear Admiral Ng, who is 41, is currently the Chief of Staff - Joint Staff.
02-23-2011, 06:13 PM #3982
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) should be commended for the increase in funding forty nine sports and its wish for the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to groom young athletes for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
However, it is regretted that the star performers of Singapore in badminton and table tennis are still ‘imported players’ from China and Indonesia. Until Singapore produces its own ‘home-grown’ athletes who excel in the world stage, Singapore cannot lay claim to the achievements of the ‘imports’ as its own.
In saying this, no disrespect is intended to the achievements of the ‘imports’ nor to the efforts of the SSC. It would be that better that Singapore’s achievements were indeed ‘Singaporean’ as understood by all and sundry.
02-23-2011, 08:49 PM #3983
For one, we can't import as many as before since we have limited resources and our athletes are improving, in part thanks to the example shown by foreign talents.
In the past, Singapore Sports has approached this problem of low local standards by importing FTs who are not required by their own countries for whatever reason so that Singapore can continue to participate in the international mainstream and not be left out of the sporting arena. For example, despite our weakness in badminton, we continue to organise the Singapore Open so that we remain exposed to the top players in the world and as a form of entertainment and experience for our people.
The hope is that when certain sports become more popular and sponsorships and prize moneys increase, more talented locals may be attracted to become sports professionals.
The question of recognition is a divisive one, but in Singapore's unique case, it should not be viewed negatively. Remember FTs who represent us in international competitions are already Singapore citizens bearing the Singapore passport, donning Singapore colours and flying the Singapore flag when they win. Without our women Table Tennis foreign imports from China, which country can beat China as world champions last year and cause a major "earthquake" in the sporting world? Singapore should not be pleased with this achievement because they are foreign imports? Singapore must be mad!
To begin with, many of Singapore's early leaders in politics and business were born in Malaysia and elsewhere. They can be considered as Singapore's pioneer FTs. Should we embrace them or disclaim them?
Obama has to be considered as a FT in the US. Being coloured his forefathers were largely slaves in America's early days but he rose to become the first coloured President of the United States of America! Why didn't the Americans disclaim him but accepted his talent and leadership qualities to place him as the top American in the land? Americans in your view should feel no pride in his achievement let alone accept him as President.
Coming back to badminton. Now that we have or had foreign coaches in top badminton powerhouses like INA, MAS, DEN and KOR, can we say that the achievements of their athletes are meaninglness because they were not coached by local coaches but by "imported" ones? Or are you going to suggest double standards in MAS' case if
KKK/TBH should win the London Olympics MD crown?
02-23-2011, 09:14 PM #3984
SAF's 116-man team assists in Christchurch
The Straits Times
Feb 24, 2011
By Vanessa Jalleh
SAF ASSISTS NZDF IN CHRISTCHURCH
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed a 116-man team to aid with rescue operations in New Zealand. -- PHOTO: MINDEF
TO HELP New Zealand recover from the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch on Tuesday, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed a 116-man team to aid with rescue operations.
Since Wednesday morning, the SAF team has been assisting the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and local authorities with rescue operations and providing humanitarian aid to victims of the earthquake.
Major Xu Youfeng, Operations Officer Headquarters Guards, said: 'We have been working closely with the NZDF and other New Zealand authorities to assist in the conducting of earthquake relief operations since this morning.
'The NZDF and the locals have been warm and hospitable during our stay here and we are very appreciative of their friendship. We will do the very best we can to help the victims of the earthquake.'
When the earthquake happened, the SAF servicemen were participating in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise, codenamed Lion Walk, with the NZDF.
02-23-2011, 09:24 PM #3985
Budget measures aimed at the future: Tharman
By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 23 February 2011 1701 hrs
SINGAPORE : Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said there are measures in this year's Budget to help Singaporeans cope and called on them to focus on the future.
He was responding to concerns ranging from costs to competition brought up at a dialogue session involving union representatives.
Right from the start, Mr Tharman said the foreign worker levy increase was not aimed at protecting jobs.
He said: "There are some industries that we know of in Singapore - construction, marine, certain other industries - where it is very hard for us to imagine those industries 10 years from now, having significantly more local workers and significantly fewer foreign workers. When we raise the foreign worker levy and we take other steps...It is not simply to substitute a foreign worker for a local worker. The principal objective is to have fewer workers but more output or more results or better quality service."
A unionist had suggested imposing a levy on employment pass holders to restrict the number of skilled foreigners in Singapore.
Wilfred Thiang from the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union, said: "For a Singaporean PMET like myself, the question would be, what is the quota? Are we going to bring in too many foreigners that our Singaporeans become unemployed?
"Or do we have the right balance, the right mix...to make sure that our Singaporeans are employed and at the same time, able to benefit from the knowledge base that the foreign talents are bringing into Singapore."
But the panel comprising Mr Tharman and labour chief Lim Swee Say disagreed.
Mr Tharman ruled out the idea, saying that this would drive away the multinational companies that help make Singapore globally competitive.
Mr Lim said: "Did we grow to where we are today by hoping to live in a world of less competition? Or did we grow to where we are today by making sure we are more competitive? I think the answer is very obvious."
Budget 2011 is widely seen as one of the most generous ever, whether in terms of benefits to households, or incentives to companies to raise their productivity. And it has led many to ask, including at the dialogue, if this was due to an impending general election.
In all, households and businesses will get goodies worth S$13 billion.
Mr Tharman said: "It is rare for governments, on the eve or during an election year, to be putting aside money, first to pay back past reserves; second, putting it for results that will only show up five, 10, 15 years from now, and in some cases, even further down the road.
"So if it is an election budget, it is because it is a Budget of a government that is thinking in the long-term interests of its people. And that is the flag we are nailing to our mast."
Mr Tharman added that of the S$6.6 billion for households, more than half (S$3.4 billion) is to invest in long-term social support.
02-23-2011, 10:12 PM #3986
Singapore Finance Minister may be next head of IMF advisory body
>> ASIAONE / BUSINESS
Wed, Feb 23, 2011
SINGAPORE - Singapore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former central banker, could become chairman of the International Monetary Fund's top advisory body, the city-state's government said on Wednesday.
"Tharman Shanmugaratnam is being considered for the position of chairperson of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC)," a finance ministry spokeswoman said, confirming media reports.
Singapore's Straits Times said the IMFC chair is not a full-time post, enabling incumbents to continue in other roles. The committee gives advice on shaping the global monetary and financial system to the IMF Board of Governors.
Tharman, 53, who became finance minister in December 2007, spent much of his earlier professional life at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore's central bank and financial regulator, where he rose to become chief executive.
He was admitted to the Group of Thirty, also known as "The Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs", in 2008. The group has 30 members, with Paul Volcker as chairman of its Board of Trustees.
Tharman graduated in economics from the London School of Economics and completed his masters degree at Cambridge University. He later studied Public Administration at Harvard University.
The Singapore politician would replace Youseef Boutros-Ghali, who resigned from the IMFC post after he was replaced as Egypt's finance minister following a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.
(More details on Tharman Shanmugaratnam can be found here:
Last edited by Loh; 02-23-2011 at 10:18 PM.
02-23-2011, 11:05 PM #3987
No one is picking up a quarrel with you so why be irrational.
If you are talking about say, the EPL, then go ahead and bring in the imports.
But not so for competitions in the OG and AG. The players or athletes should be local-bred for a meaningful representation of that country. That country’s win in the OG and AG would not be tainted and would be truly ‘national’.
Hiring foreign coaches to train national teams is not analogous to having imported players playing for a country and winning honors for that country. So please don’t look at things with jaundiced eyes.
However, I must applaud you for your patriotism and I wish others are also like-minded.
Last edited by skchen; 02-23-2011 at 11:07 PM.
02-24-2011, 12:30 AM #3988
And I think your views are narrow, myopic and irrational in today's world of globalization and nations without borders.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary describes "irrational" as "not logical or reasonable" and I believe my views and replies are both logical and reasonable, not yours. And I have given a number of arguments to support them.
If you feel so strongly about it, why don't you write to the OG and AG that "only local-breds are allowed to represent the country"?
You may be a local-bred, but can you claim that your forefathers are also indigenous people of Sarawak? If they are not, then by extension your position is not so tenable because you are not one of the "sons of the soil".
Whereas our foreign talents who went on to become citizens of Singapore enjoy every benefit that local-born citizens enjoy. In some countries, even though you are local-born, you are still being discriminated against as second-class citizens because you are not considered a "son of the soil". So what's so good and special being local-born?
IMO our women table tennis foreign talents who brought Singapore world recognition and glory are much, much more special and valuable to us than local borns who contributed nothing! Mind you they sacrificed to become Singapore citizens!
Since you so strongly differentiate between local and foreign, why do you treat foreign coaches as different from local players, if the foreign coaches play an important part in helping their local players to perform well and win competitions? Isn't this hypocritical and discriminatory? If Rexy is able to transform KKK/TBH as Olympic champions, wouldn't he be considered great as well and why should he be discriminated against because he is a foreigner?
Our foreign talents help us to achieve so many great things, and it is the outside "jaundiced and red eyes" who are simply jealous that a tiny nation like Singapore Also Can achieve.
Last edited by Loh; 02-24-2011 at 12:42 AM.
02-24-2011, 12:56 AM #3989
PUB to increase production of NeWater
The Straits Times
Feb 24, 2011
A technician doing his checks on a reverse osmosis system at the Changi Water Reclamation Plant. -- PICTURE: ST PHOTO
PUB will be expanding the Changi Water Reclamation Plant to treat an additional 60,000 cubic meters of water per day (cmd), Singapore's water agency announced on Thursday.
That's equivalent to 24 Olympic sized swimming pools of reclaimed water, or NeWater.
The expansion comprises the installation of a plant that utilises membrane technology on top of the existing treatment facility.
Wah Yuen Long, Director of PUB's water reclamation plants said the state-of-the-art technology will 'collect, treat, reclaim and dispose of Singapore's used water efficiently and cost effectively.'
A tender will be called for the construction and installation works for the expansion in the second half of this year.
When completed in mid 2013, Changi Water Reclamation Plant will produce up to 860,000 cmd daily, or 344 Olympic sized swimming pools.
02-24-2011, 01:02 AM #3990
New training programme for maritime careers
By S Ramesh | Posted: 24 February 2011 1221 hrs
SINGAPORE: Aspiring seafarers can now look forward to a new opportunity to up-skill in areas such as navigation, operation of bunker tankers, and passenger vessels.
The new Certificate of Competency (Special Limits) programme was launched by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in collaboration with the National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
The programme will not only prepare seafarers to perform the required tasks on board ships, but also help them secure placement with potential employers even before they embark on training.
Seafarers can now look forward to serve on board ships operating up to the "Special Limits" and as the ships ply near Singapore, seafarers can minimise having to engage in long international voyages, thereby reducing the time spent apart from their families.
The 21-month programme will cover hands-on training for practical seamanship, boat handling and survival techniques.
The three training phases under this programme include a pre-sea induction - where trainees will be equipped with basic knowledge of seamanship and shipboard operations like navigation, lifesaving, fire fighting, first aid, operation of bunker tankers, tug boats and passenger vessels.
Trainees will then undergo on-the-job training where they will be attached to ships to apply the skills they have learnt through training.
Towards the end, they will attend an exam preparatory course which will summarise the experience and knowledge obtained by the trainees and prepare them for assessment.
The programme has been developed in close consultation with industry players like the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union, to help create awareness and increase the skill and manpower needs within the maritime industry. This new programme will see 60 trainees over the next two years.
The Singapore Maritime Academy will be the training provider and the first intake will commence in April 2011.
MPA in partnership with e2i, WDA and SSA's affiliated bunkering companies will collectively contribute over S$2.3 million in support for the programme.
The funds will support the course fees and training allowances of the candidates.
02-24-2011, 01:34 AM #3991
02-24-2011, 02:19 AM #3992
Challenger store to go 24 hours from March 1
The Straits Times
Feb 24, 2011
Along with making its selection of IT gadgets available after dark, Challenger said it will also provide 24-hour customer service for late night tech support needs. -- PHOTO: CHALLENGER
GADGET junkies, rejoice: IT retailer Challenger will be open around the clock on March 1, starting with its megastore at Funan's DigitaLife Mall.
Challenger will be the first dedicated IT retailer to open its doors 24 hours a day, it said in a statement on Thursday.
Along with making its selection of IT gadgets available after dark, Challenger said it will also provide 24-hour customer service for late night tech support needs.
Challenger recorded a 24 per cent growth in net profit in 2010, while its revenue grew 26 per cent. The IT retailer said the move to 24-hour operations was a bid to push its benchmarks further for the fiscal year of 2011.
'We have the infrastructure and capabilities to bring more value and offer more convenience to each and every customer. We are constantly finding new ways to make things easier and more accessible for them,' Ms Loo Pei Fen, Director of Marketing and Ecommerce at Challenger, said.
02-24-2011, 02:37 AM #3993
02-24-2011, 07:52 PM #3994
S'pore moves up 28 places in gender gap ranking
By Alvina Soh | Posted: 24 February 2011 1921 hrs
The financial district in Singapore.
SINGAPORE : Singapore has made significant improvements in closing the gender gap.
The latest Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum ranks Singapore in 56th place, up 28 places from last year.
The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health based criteria of 134 countries.
Second Finance Minister Lim Hwee Hua said women here have much to cheer about.
Speaking at an SMU conference, she said achievements include a 95 per cent literacy rate among women, and an almost equal representation of females and males in universities here.
At the second annual "Women in the Community: Sustaining Change" conference, she also said about one-in-four members of parliament is a woman.
However, she added that there is more that can still be done.
Many women still leave the workforce for family reasons. This has led to calls for more flexibility in the workforce for women.
Claire Chiang, chairperson, Shirin Fozdar Trust Fund, said: "Work can be re-organised if women choose to do part time work or flexible projects - so that she could at one time take care of a young family, (and) she could still work to gain financial independence."
02-24-2011, 08:06 PM #3995
Lee Yi Shyan ready for coming GE
This is what our SBA President has to say on the forthcoming elections:
By Sharon See | Posted: 24 February 2011 2101 hrs
Lee Yi Shyan
SINGAPORE: Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Manpower Lee Yi Shyan said the changes to the boundaries are reasonable as they are drawn based on population changes.
Mr Lee noted that he has not seen any opposition activity in Joo Chiat, currently helmed by MP Chan Soo Sen.
He is second adviser to Joo Chiat SMC.
Mr Lee, who is MP for East Coast GRC, also said that the People's Action Party has already decided where he will contest.
He added that he will go wherever the party asks, be it an SMC or GRC.
"We are a party that does our work all the time, consistently. And what we have promised in our GRC, we have fulfilled them, and all the changes and improvements, they're very visible, and can be seen. So I think these are the kinds of preparations that we do. So we go in to the GE with, I believe, a strong track record," said Mr Lee.
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