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Thread: Singapore Also Can
03-17-2011, 12:26 PM #4200
Woman donates S$1m to Japan quake victims
By Sara Grosse | Posted: 16 March 2011 1620 hrs
SINGAPORE : A 24-year-old Singaporean woman has donated S$1 million to the victims of the earthquake in Japan.
The Japanese Embassy in Singapore said this is the largest donation it has received so far.
The S$1 million cheque was presented to the Japanese Ambassador at the Embassy.
Accompanying Elaine Low was her father, who heads the company she works for - PT Bayan Resources.
The company has long business ties with Japan and imports heavy equipment from the country.
The Bayan Group owns and operates one of the largest coal terminals in Indonesia.
The Low family also has friends and relatives who visit Japan often.
Ms Low said she and her family felt the earthquake in Japan was unfortunate and wanted to donate as soon as possible.
Ms Low, who is head of business development at PT Bayan Resources, said: "We wanted to make a donation during the weekend, but during that time, the Japanese Association was not in touch with the Red Cross Society yet. So we made a phone call to them after that."
The family has previously donated to crises in China and Indonesia, but said this is their largest donation yet.
Yoichi Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan, said: "We have been receiving so many expressions of support from all over Singapore - the people, the government, different organisations - but this is, as a single act of support, the strongest expression...of supporting our people.
"And we were very grateful. This would be a tremendous boost of morale for all the people back in Japan who are affected by this terrible disaster."
The Japanese Ambassador said the money will be channelled to the Red Cross Society in Japan.
It will either be used to support the rescue and recovery operations or be directed to victims themselves.
The Singapore Red Cross has also received other donations for the Japan disaster.
To date, it says it has received a total of S$235,000 for its first two days of collection.
Singaporeans may make a cash, cheque or SMS donation to the Singapore Red Cross for victims of this disaster.
For walk-in donations, the Singapore Red Cross is open from 9.30am to 9pm from Mondays to Fridays, and from 9.30am to 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
For cheque donations, cheques should be made payable to the "Singapore Red Cross Society".
Donors may also donate via their mobile phones to 75772. For every SMS, S$50 will be donated to the "Japan Disaster" fund.
The Straits Times
Mar 17, 2011
Singaporean donates $1m towards relief efforts
Gift by tycoon's daughter is largest received by embassy
By Melissa Lin
Ms Elaine Low presented a cheque for $1 million to Japanese Ambassador Yoichi Suzuki for tsunami victims. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
MOVED by the news about Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster, Singaporean Elaine Low, 24, decided she wanted to help.
On Wednesday, she handed a cheque for $1 million to Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Yoichi Suzuki.
Ms Low is the daughter of Datuk Low Tuck Kwong, 63, founder of Bayan Resources, an Indonesia-based coal mining company.
She is in charge of business development at the company.
All she would say was: 'My family and I feel that it's an unfortunate disaster and wanted to offer our help.'
She is leaving it to the Japanese to decide how best to use her donation to help victims.
Last edited by Loh; 03-17-2011 at 12:40 PM.
03-17-2011, 12:31 PM #4201
Teacher-student team wins top prize in film competition
By Alvina Soh | Posted: 16 March 2011 1940 hrs
SINGAPORE : A teacher-student team has clinched the top spot in a film competition about organ donation.
The "Live On" Short Film Competition, organised by the Health Ministry, was launched in May last year to increase understanding of organ donation among youths.
The winning film, "Boy", is about the friendship between two boys, one of whom is waiting for a heart transplant.
It was selected from more than 60 entries from secondary schools, junior colleges and universities.
The duo behind it, National Institute of Education trainee teacher Ginny Chua and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student Ng Yiqin, said the story reflects the reality of the situation.
Ms Ng said: "(The film explores) the impact on these people who are waiting for organ transplant, what is the waiting process for them and what is the consequence they have to face when nobody wants to help them."
The Health Ministry said the competition was a creative way to engage youths on organ donation.
Dr Claire Tan, deputy director for marketing communications at the Health Ministry, said: "The youths are actually very informed...on this. And they are very supportive of the whole organ donation movement, and I think this just furthers their interest as well as furthers their understanding."
03-17-2011, 12:36 PM #4202
Singapore celebrates a century of flight
The Straits Times
Mar 17, 2011
By Goh Shi Ting, Multimedia Journalist, RazorTV
ON 16 MARCH 1911, the first flight took off from Singapore by aviator Joseph Christiaens on his Bristol Boxkite biplane during a flight demonstration at Farrer Park.
Exactly a hundred years later, the industry reflects the milestones in aviation history at the Singapore Aviation Centennial Celebrations Evening graced by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
The year-long celebrations includes an exhibition at the Philatelic Museum that traces aviation history and a lecture series by aviation experts.
For the full story, watch the RazorTV video.
Channel News Asia
Aviation industry must continue to push boundaries: SM Goh
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid | Posted: 16 March 2011 2055 hrs
Goh Chok Tong
SINGAPORE : Singapore needs to continue to push boundaries to compete in the aviation industry, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Wednesday.
Speaking at a dinner to start year-long celebrations to mark 100 years of aviation in Singapore, he said this means continuing with an open skies strategy and to pursue links with as many cities as it can.
He said the republic has made great strides in aviation and it is now a thriving, well-connected air hub for both full-service and low cost carriers.
But it could not have become the global city it is today without a good airport with superior air connectivity.
He said such connectivity has enhanced Singapore's position in attracting investments and tourists.
But since many countries have taken similar steps to invest in aviation infrastructure and liberalise policies, Singapore must be mindful of the challenges ahead.
Mr Goh said: "Everyone wants to be a hub; nobody wants to be the spokes. Singapore had a head start as an aviation hub, but other countries and new hubs are fast catching up.
"We therefore cannot afford to rest on our laurels, but will have to constantly innovate, stay nimble and push the boundaries.
"We also need to continue with our strategy of open skies and pursuing links with as many cities as we can. A liberal air services framework will allow carriers to respond to changing consumer demands as and when they arise."
To date, Singapore has air services agreements with more than 100 countries, of which more than a third are Open Skies Agreements. Changi Airport itself is linked to over 200 cities.
Mr Goh said Singapore must also develop a core of aviation professionals who can address future challenges in air traffic management and aviation security.
Last edited by Loh; 03-17-2011 at 12:49 PM.
03-17-2011, 09:26 PM #4203
S$3.5m plan for low-income, better integration
By S Ramesh | Posted: 17 March 2011 1911 hrs
An elderly in Singapore
SINGAPORE: The South West Community Development Council (CDC) has announced a S$3.5 million plan for lower-income families and to foster deeper ties within the community.
The money includes a S$2 million "Caring Community Plan" which will target assistance over three years for 2,000 low-income families and the elderly to help them cope with rising cost of living.
The CDC said its programmes will complement the government's national ComCare schemes, Workfare Income Supplement and other schemes which are also targeted at the low-income.
South West CDC Mayor Dr Amy Khor said the "Community Caring Plan had been specially designed to uplift and empower the needy residents in the district".
Another S$1.5 million has also been set for the "Community Engagement Plan" for regular and deeper engagement among residents.
There will be more support for ground-up community initiatives and more encouragement for the formation of interest groups.
In a news release on Thursday, the South West CDC said the "Caring Community Plan" and the "Community Engagement Plan" form part of its resolution for 2011 and that is: "To build a caring, engaged and vibrant community".
The CDC said it saw a 33 percent drop in the number of jobseekers in 2010 compared to 2009 when Singapore was going through a recession.
There has also been a 22 percent drop of people seeking social assistance - from 11,699 applications in 2009 to 9,138 applications in 2010.
Dr Khor added: "It is encouraging to note that the economy has rebounded. However, the disasters in Japan and the current conflicts in the Middle East remind us yet again how fraught with uncertainties the world is."
Another initiative in 2011 is the SAFE and Bright Homes @ South West.
This programme evolved from the South West CDC's "Safe Home For Senior Citizens" initiative which has reached out to 2,500 vulnerable elderly in the district through the free installation of safety gadgets, energy efficient bulbs and water conservation devices at their homes since its inception in 2000.
With the strong support from ITE College West and Philips Singapore, this revamped programme has been extended to needy and vulnerable families residing in 3-room flats.
The South West CDC also plans to engage more than 10,000 volunteers in at least 35 community projects in 2011.
Each volunteer will reach out to an average of 25 residents in the district.
03-17-2011, 09:59 PM #4204
March 17th, 2011
Singapore Table Tennis Association announces programme for athletes to pursure tertiary education in Republic Polytechnic
By Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports
(L-R) Principal of Singapore Sports School Mrs Deborah Tan, Youth paddlers Isabelle Li and Pang Xue Jie, STTA President Er Lee Be Wah, Principal of Republic Polytechnic Mr Yeo Li Pheow. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Singapore Table Tennis Association, Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), Republic Polytechnic (RP) and Singapore Sports School (SSP) are pooling efforts to create a specially-tailored programme that will meet the educational and training needs of athletes like Pang Xue Jie and Isabelle Li. This exclusive programme will meet the demands of the professional sport and allow the athletes to concurrently pursue the Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management.
This partnership creates an exceptional programme that allows Xue Jie and Isabelle to train with the National Team at the STTA training grounds under the guidance of coach Zhou Shusen and Jing Jun Hong in the morning (9am-12pm), before pursuing their studies back at SSP in the afternoon (1pm-3pm) and at night (7.30pm-9.30pm). Academic staff from RP will conduct lessons at SSP, with private make-up lessons available when the athletes return from overseas tournaments. The specially created schedule for the athletes will allow them to further their table tennis careers without it being at the expense of their studies. The STTA will also pick up the tab for all the costs involved in extra tutoring and make-up lessons for the athletes.
Currently, a series of world class competitions have been lined up for both athletes, with the World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands in May being first on the list, followed by the SEA Junior Championships and Asian Junior Championships in June. They will then participate in a series of competitions before culminating in the November SEA Games. Isabelle will subsequently participate in the World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Manama, Bahrain, while Xue Jie will head for overseas training.
President of STTA and Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio Er Lee Bee Wah said, “STTA believes in the holistic development of our local sporting talents in table tennis and we are committed to providing the best opportunities for our athletes. STTA, RP and SSP have put in special efforts to develop this programme as we understand how critical it is to provide our youth paddlers the support and resources they need to compete and succeed in table tennis and in life.”
She added, “We want to show that there is also a way to get a degree [despite focusing on table tennis]. Parents would probably want them to go for an academic paper at the expense of table tennis. But we want to prove them otherwise. We want to allow our athletes to pursue their dream of becoming world class table tennis players and we want them to be able to play table tennis full time.”
The STTA had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nanyang Technological University and the Beijing Sports University. This means that after the paddlers attain their diploma from RP, there is a seamless path for them to progress into either university of their choice.
This idea was first mooted out after the Youth Olympic Games when the STTA hoped that their athletes could intensively continue their passion for table tennis. There were four athletes under the STTA Endowment Fund, namely Zena Sim, Clarence Chew, Xue Jie and Isabelle. As Zena had already been enrolled in the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) while Clarence was still studying at SSP, Xue Jie and Isabelle were shortlisted for this programme.
Principal of Republic Polytechnic Mr Yeo Li Pheow also elaborated on how the diploma which Xue Jie and Isabelle which is pursuing will be of no difference in standards from others in their cohort. As RP is only a stone’s throw away from SSP, should there be a need for the athletes to attend lab sessions, it can be arranged for these sessions to be held in RP. There will only be a separate exam schedule for the players only if there is a need, otherwise, they will join the main cohort. The duration of the programme will be between 3-5 years, which will include 24 modules, an Industry Immersion Programme and Creative Engagement. The only key difference is that Xue Jie and Isabelle’s timetable is specifically tailor-made to meet their schedule. This programme will also be made available to outstanding athletes who are able to enrol in RP based on academic merit. Currently, only students from SSP are able to bypass the GCE O-Level examinations into RP under the RP-SSP Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management.
In the long run, the STTA will evaluate the programme and open it up to additional athletes if it proves successful. Er Lee shared, “We hope that they will eventually win medals for Singapore, then we will all be very proud.”
Members representing the various institutions at the press conference earlier today. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
03-17-2011, 10:13 PM #4205
Are S'poreans prepared for crises?
By Wayne Chan | Posted: 17 March 2011 2347 hrs
Screen shot of "Ready Bag" essential items.
SINGAPORE: If a crisis were to hit Singapore, would you know what to do?
Do you keep a "Ready Bag" in case of emergencies?
Some of the basic items that should be put in a "Ready Bag" include a radio, a torchlight, photocopies of identification, essential contact numbers and the Civil Defence Emergency handbook.
But it seems not all Singaporeans have such "Ready Bags".
One Singaporean said: "Well, if you come across something like that, then you will know of it".
Another said: "I'll just grab my kids out, along with some supplies of water and food".
Grassroots leaders such as Rajendran Pavadai are especially concerned about the elderly who are most at risk.
He's been getting senior citizens in his Pasir Ris East constituency to register with his committee, so they can be contacted should disaster strike.
Five hundred of these residents have been given an improvised "Ready Bag" that also has a special medical card with their emergency contact details.
Mr Rajendran said building social capital and social responsibility among residents is important, especially after recent cases in floods-hit Australia and quake-hit Japan.
"Peacetime is the best time to build these community ties," he said.
Mr Rajendran also keeps a list of the 33 bomb shelters in his Pasir Ris East area on hand, and can activate a special Community Emergency Response Team of residents trained in first aid and fire-fighting skills, during a crisis in the neighbourhood.
03-17-2011, 11:00 PM #4206
Jurong Bird Park Facade
Some pictures to show the location, entrance and facade of the Park and a general description of its activities.
03-18-2011, 12:23 AM #4207
Jurong Bird Park Penguin Coast
This is the new exhibit which I came specially to see.
The Penguin Coast is fully airconditioned to house the many species of penguin, from the smallest to the largest. It was a delightful educational tour especially for the kids.
Last edited by Loh; 03-18-2011 at 12:27 AM.
03-18-2011, 12:49 AM #4208
Small nation, big hearts
The Straits Times
Mar 18, 2011
Donations pour in as Singaporeans do their bit to help victims of disaster
By Melissa Lin & Jessica Lim
Workers at Singapore Red Cross moving donation tins yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
WHEN Mr Toh Soon Huat was 17, he worked as a machine operator in a Japanese company.
Even though he left school after completing only Secondary 3, the company offered to send him to Japan for further training. He turned down the offer, but still remembers the kindness of his former employers.
On Thursday, he rallied 11 of his friends and together they donated $220,000 to the Singapore Red Cross Society to help the victims of the Japanese earthquake.
Mr Toh, 51, the executive chairman of investment company Novena Foundation, contributed $50,000 to the sum.
This was not his first donation to disaster victims. In 2008, he helped produce a charity show here that raised $10.8 million for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.
Donations for victims of the Japanese tragedy have been overwhelming, said Mr Christopher Chua, secretary-general of the Singapore Red Cross. As of 4.30pm on Thursday, it has collected $803,982. This excludes the $500,000 earlier pledged by the Singapore government, and the $220,000 donated by Mr Toh and his friends.
03-18-2011, 01:20 AM #4209
Jurong Bird Park Lory Aviary
This giant net enclosure for the Lory aviary is a happy place to be in.
The colourful small birds have a big place to fly and move around in natural tree-top forest setting within the enclosure. Visitors put on their best smiles when they are able to feed the lories at close quarters and even to touch them. Naturally many pictures were taken and the kids enjoyed playing around on the suspension bridge as well. You don't feel you are being enclosed!
Last edited by Loh; 03-18-2011 at 01:22 AM.
03-18-2011, 03:11 AM #4210
Jurong Bird Park Small Bird Show
The open air Pools Amphiteatre is a favourite place for showing off bird brain power.
Here the smaller birds are put through a number of tests and tasks like raising a flag, solving a jig-saw puzzle, throwing away thrash the right way and flying to a hanging pail to get their incentives. In the end they all succeeded with flying colours and no small bird brain!
Last edited by Loh; 03-18-2011 at 03:17 AM.
03-18-2011, 04:27 AM #4211
Jurong Bird Park White Cuckatoo Display
The bigger white cockatoo entrances the spectators with its wide spread wings in flight and obeying its trainer's instructions to the hilt. A girl and a boy were thrilled when chosen to be part of the show. The white cockatoo carried a tiny toy penguin on its beak and dropped it into the kid's plastic container to the loud applause of the admirers.
Another spectacular show by the feather friend using bird brain.
03-18-2011, 05:15 AM #4212
Jurong Bird Park - Australia's beautiful Cockatiels
I was enchanted by this lovely bird which is found only in Australia.
The Cockatiel has soft feathers and a cultured crown. It is adorable!
03-20-2011, 09:35 PM #4213
Singapore needs a sports club culture
A little over two years after SCC's recommendations, Teo won't give high marks yet in his progress report
by Tan Yo-Hinn
04:45 AM Mar 18, 2011
SINGAPORE - In 2004, the sports industry contributed S$696 million to the Republic's GDP and that figure rose to around S$1 billion two years later.
Teo Ser Luck, chairman of Singapore's Sporting Culture Committee (SCC), is satisfied with the progress sports has made in the country.
The SCC was formed in September 2006 and they unveiled 23 recommendations 17 months later to help unite the nation through sport, nurture heroes and develop a vibrant industry. Almost all the recommendations have either been addressed, or are currently being worked on.
Two recommendations - growing a vibrant sports club scene and setting up a National Sports Association (NSA) Advisory Council - have yet to get off the mark and it rankles Teo somewhat.
Speaking to MediaCorp earlier in the week, Teo, Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: "Have we done our best in the process of starting it (SCC's recommendations)? Yes and I'd give a good score for the process of starting it. But in terms of outcome, it won't rate very high right now. But, given time, we'll do well."
The SCC want to see at least 66 per cent of the population participating in sports by 2015 (in 2005 it was 48 per cent), with two out of three Singaporeans taking part in a sports activity at least once a week.
Other goals were increased spectatorship at "live" sports events, attracting more volunteers into sports - at least 10 per cent of the population regularly involved - and developing a pipeline that will produce a regular supply of world-class athletes.
The SCC - made up of 28 members, including Singapore National Olympic Council vice-presidents Ng Ser Miang and Low Teo Ping, national swimming coach Ang Peng Siong, Ministry of Education director (Education Programmes Division) Sum Chee Wah and Singapore Sports Council's former chairman and CEO, Alex Chan and Oon Jin Teik, respectively - also set the sports industry's contribution to GDP at S$2 billion by 2015.
Besides the growth of the sports industry, other inroads made include the increased pool of certified coaches and the number of marquee events and public sports facilities in Singapore.
But the growth of a vibrant club scene, crucial if the country aims to develop a sports culture, has still to be addressed.
For sports like football and swimming, it is a work in progress. At one time, the athletics and hockey club scene was thriving.
Swift and Achilles were fierce rivals in track and field, and a hockey match between the Singapore Recreation Club and Singapore Cricket Club at the Padang could easily attract 6,000 fans. Today, there is very little to stir the imagination in either discipline.
Tennis and squash are two other sports that are struggling.
Said Teo: "For the club culture scene, the People's Association have done their part but the NSAs must do their part. The objectives haven't been met yet but there's still a long way to go."
He feels next year's inaugural Singapore National Games, which will feature around 6,000 participants in 10 sports, will help.
"It allows clubs to come together and create a certain sports culture through such competition. It will help create a momentum at club level."
As for a new NSA Advisory Council - a platform for NSAs to discuss issues and strategise solutions - Teo said: "We need to talk to stakeholders (for them) to gain acceptance of the idea."
Some of the positives in the local sports scene include the increase in the number of coaches with at least Level 1 National Coaching Accreditation Programme certification - from 3,771 in 2006 to 7,295 today.
The SingTel Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, golf's Barclays Singapore Open, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, Li Ning Singapore Badminton Open and the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup series are some of the marquee events on the annual calendar. There are now 21 Sports and Recreation Centres run by the SSC, three more than in 2006.
In the next three years, up to 50 more school sports facilities will be opened for public use on weekends, up from 135 school fields and 45 indoor sports halls now.
The SCC estimates around S$36.6 million is needed from now till 2015 to implement all their recommendations and Teo hopes some of them will bear fruit by the time the next tranche of Government funding for sports - at least S$800 million was invested in sports here over the last decade - is finalised, believed to be next year.
Last edited by Loh; 03-20-2011 at 09:41 PM.
03-20-2011, 09:56 PM #4214
S'pore will have enough water even without new agreement: SM Goh
Channel News Asia
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid | Posted: 20 March 2011 1452 hrs
Photos 2 of 3
S'pore will have enough water even without new agreement
SINGAPORE : Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has said Singapore will have enough water even if there is no new deal when its second agreement with Malaysia expires in 2061.
He said investments in technology and infrastructure will enable the country's drive towards water self-sufficiency.
Mr Goh said this as Singapore celebrated World Water Day on a bigger scale this year on Sunday.
It was still dawn, and participants were already at the Kolam Ayer waterfront to kayak some five kilometres to the Marina Barrage.
The event was made possible because of Singapore's investments in enhancing its waterways and its emphasis on preserving the precious resource - water.
Environment and Water Resources Minister, Yaacob Ibrahim, said: "It is a responsibility for all of us as Singaporeans to keep this strategic resource not only clean but also not to waste it. Use it wisely, use it judiciously, because we have to pass this to the next generation."
Making sure water management is sustainable is also crucial, given the limited supply.
At Marina Barrage, Mr Goh was optimistic in his speech about meeting future needs.
He said: "When Singapore gained independence, we were almost totally dependent on imported water from Malaysia. Today, we are much less dependent. And come 2061, we will have enough water for ourselves if there is no new water agreement, when the second Water Agreement runs out.
"Besides imported water from Malaysia, we have water from local catchments, NEWater and desalinated water."
Under the second Water Agreement that was signed in 1962, Singapore is allowed to draw up to 250 million gallons from the Johor River.
Mr Goh said the country will continue to expand the water supply to meet the needs of the population and growing economy.
The plan to have Singapore's second desalination plant is on track. To be completed by 2013, the plant is expected to boost the water supply by another 70 million gallons per day.
This year's World Water Day is held in conjunction with the Inter-Religious Organisation Day.
A minute's silence was held to remember the earthquake and tsunami victims of Japan.
Mr Goh and the religious leaders also flew a 24-square metre kite at the Green Roof to launch the Inter-Religious Organisation's kite festival.
Kites representing the different faiths were distributed for donations, which will be channelled to Mercy Relief for their operations in Japan.
World Water Day was also celebrated in several locations islandwide, with ministers and MPs giving support.
They included an exercise session at Lower Seletar Reservoir - with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam taking part - a run at Jurong Lake - flagged off by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam - and a clean-up session at Bedok Reservoir, where Foreign Minister George Yeo was Guest of Honour.
The first Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Learning Trail was also launched to let students discover the 130-year old MacRitchie nature reserve.
The educational programme was launched by Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education, Grace Fu.
03-20-2011, 10:03 PM #4215
PAP set to unveil new faces 'quickly'
The Straits Times
Mar 21, 2011
Party sources say up to 3 batches likely to be introduced this week
By Jeremy Au Yong, Political Correspondent
DPM Teo Chee Hean using a fire extinguisher to put out flames in an emergency preparedness event in Serangoon yesterday. He said the new PAP line-up was representative of Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
THE new candidates of the People's Action Party (PAP) for the upcoming general election are likely to be introduced in 'quick succession' and probably with up to three batches unveiled this week, said party sources on Sunday.
At this rate, the schedule could match that of the 2006 election when 24 candidates were unveiled over the course of 22 days.
The speed of the introductions is regarded by some as a possible indicator of when Polling Day may be. The faster the PAP introduces candidates, the sooner the polls.
Five years ago, the first batch of PAP candidates was introduced on March 23, six weeks before the election.
Ahead of the impending announcements, PAP ministers on Sunday weighed in on the party's new slate.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Sunday the new line-up was representative of Singapore, adding the newcomers have lived the Singapore story.
03-20-2011, 10:16 PM #4216
GE: Electoral competition heats up as parties eye SMCs
By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 20 March 2011 2157 hrs
Low Thia Khiang
Electoral competition heats up as parties eye SMCsSpecial Report •GE Countdown
SINGAPORE : Single-member constituencies (SMCs) are set to see strong competition in the General Election, with three or even four-cornered fights possible in some places.
While some political parties have made their candidates known, others are choosing to remain mum, for now.
The Workers' Party was at the new Sengkang West SMC for a walkabout.
During the walkabout, they met the incumbent MP. The People's Action Party's Dr Lam Pin Min had heard the Workers' Party would be there, and decided to say hello.
Dr Lam, who is MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, told MediaCorp: "We had our sources telling us that the Workers' Party would be at Fernvale Point, so we actually garnered some of our activists as well as our supporters to show that we are ready for them."
At least two opposition parties - the Workers' Party and the Singapore Democratic Alliance - have expressed their interest in the ward.
Ooi Boon Ewe of the People's Liberal Democratic Party has also indicated his interest.
Dr Lam said: "We should not take them lightly, all of them are credible. But I think the choice would have to be left to residents to decide, and our track record speaks for itself."
Dr Lam notes that the neighbourhoods in Sengkang West are relatively new, and that over two in five residents are below 50.
This means that new media tools will be more important for him, but he added that "we should continue to build on the infrastructural developments here, and over the last five years, we have seen a lot of developments in Anchorvale and Fernvale".
Asked if he would be the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate here, Dr Lam said: "I think as the incumbent MP here, I would assume I would be staying in Sengkang West, so all the preparations will still have to be made," noting that the decision lay with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Some residents are looking forward to the opposition presence.
One Sengkang West resident said: "Competition makes it exciting. If you have no competition, your sense of achievement is less."
Another resident of Sengkang West said: "If they manage to win in this ward, it really can prove to the people that they are really capable. Because to be able to take this ward away from PAP, it must be very difficult."
The Workers' Party said the stakes are higher this General Election, as it will throw up Singapore's next generation of leaders. And that is why Singaporeans must be careful who they vote for.
Singapore's leaders had previously said that the General Election will be a watershed one, and one in which the next prime minister may likely emerge.
Low Thia Khiang, secretary-general of the Workers' Party, and MP for Hougang, said: "The voters will have to understand that without knowing who is the future PM, are we really so trusting as to have one government, one elite group of people, managing the country's affairs without electing any opposition at all?"
Mr Low added that the stakes are higher this General Election, and so people should pay more attention to the candidates being fielded.
He added that whoever the PAP earmarks as the potential prime minister should contest in a single seat ward rather than be part of a GRC team.
He said: "So there would be a straight fight, and he can secure the mandate from the single ward straightaway from this election, and from there, he moves on"
Punggol East and Sengkang West are two new SMCs and they are facing a high chance of seeing a three or even four-cornered fight.
But Mr Low thinks the Workers' Party has a strong chance here, because many residents were formerly from Hougang, where he enjoys considerable support as MP. But he remained tight-lipped when asked who he would field, saying all would be revealed on Nomination Day.
However, the National Solidarity Party (NSP) is taking the opposite tack.
It said 47-year-old lawyer Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss will be its candidate for Mountbatten SMC.
She wants to address the issue of rising costs.
She was, however, short on specifics on what she plans to do, or how she intends to reach out to residents.
"I do not really want to go into specifics at the moment, but I will also open channels to hear more from residents, and to gain an accurate understanding of what can be done here," said Ms Chong, citing email as one avenue she plans to use.
She added: "Voters (here) have not voted for 20 years, since 1991. So I hope I can now give them a choice."
NSP's man in Radin Mas will be Yip Yew Weng, a 60-year-old business investment consultant, who previously contested in Yio Chu Kang SMC in 2006.
Mr Yip, who joined the party in 1992, has been walking in the area since February when the new electoral boundaries were announced, but said he has been involved in the NSP's activities in the Radin Mas area for many years.
But the Reform Party is also keen on Radin Mas.
Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam said the party will likely field Alec Tok, while he would go to Pioneer SMC.
Mr Jeyaretnam had previously said he would stand in Radin Mas SMC.
Still, speaking to reporters at the walkabout in the ward on Sunday, he noted that "everything is provisional till Nomination Day".
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