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  1. #4506
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    Default Artistic activities for children

    The Straits Times

    May 19, 2011

    By Neo Wen Tong




    Architect Chaw Chih Wen, 33 (centre), and his team - Ho Shok Wan, 31 (right), and Lin Zihao, 30. He is the creator of the playdome of the national museum's children's season. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


    BACK for its fourth run this June school holiday, Children's Season 2011 is set to be the largest since its inception in 2008.

    This year's Season, jointly organised by the National Heritage Board and the Museum Roundtable, will take place from May 14 to July 31. More than 20 museums are participating, with over 80 activities offered to engage and educate children.

    Featuring two anchor events at the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the exhibits and installations have been developed to inculcate an appreciation of heritage among the young, while facilitating bonding among participating families.

    One highlight is The Playdome at the National Museum, where kids can create their own artistic works while learning more about Singapore's heritage through activities inspired by the Museum's iconic Dome and collection in its Singapore Living Galleries. The Museum will also feature the international debut of Museum of Dreams, a performance that promises to transport the young on flights of fantasy.

    As for SAM, it will transform its grounds into an Art Garden, with more installations compared to last year. From June onwards, visitors to SAM will be able to explore a range of interactive contemporary artworks specially created for children by local and international artists. Kids can look forward to Walter, the curious colossal bunny, or shop at Fruits, a lively paper fruit market.

    For the first time, the Season will have a Hub @ Orchard Road, offering visitors information about participating museums and their programmes, as well as children's workshops and activities. Both free and ticketed activities are available during this Children's Season. For more information, visit www.museums.com.sg/cs11.

  2. #4507
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    Default iFly Singapore officially opens

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Dylan Loh | Posted: 18 May 2011 2138 hrs


    Visitors at the iFly facility in Sentosa.


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's first skydiving simulator, iFly, has officially opened after getting its Public Entertainment License as required by law.

    The S$25 million attraction on Sentosa island was supposed to open last year, but faced delays.

    Visitors can experience the skydiving thrill, indoors, starting from S$89 per adult.

    This entitles visitors to two 45-second sessions of suspension in thin air.

    Instructors are at hand to ensure the safety of all participants.

    Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo was at the opening of the facility.

    He joked: "A few months ago they said 'Well, it's ready, would you like to try it, come down for a practise session.' So I thought, 'Okay, would make a nice picture for my election brochure.' But as it turned out, the facility was not ready in time, and that changed the outcome of the election."

  3. #4508
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Fandi Ahmad Academy hopes to send youth abroad to turn professional

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Raj Kumar | Posted: 18 May 2011 1418 hrs


    Fandi Ahmad
    SINGAPORE: Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad has just signed a deal which will allow him to identify talented local players and then send them to Europe for a chance to play on a professional basis.

    The former national captain is talent-scouting for Singaporeans aged 17 and upwards.

    As the Director of his own training academy, Fandi has signed a deal with the Genova International School of Soccer and Italy's Serie B club, Vicenza.

    Players who are talent-spotted here by Fandi, will be sent to the Genova School for a short training programme. If a player proves himself worthy, he will be offered as a candidate to Vicenza.

    However, if Vincenza does not require his services, that makes him available to sign with any other professional club in Europe.

    17-year-old Luis Lim, who has just started on his first year programme with Singapore Polytechnic, is one of the candidates who will be sent to Italy for a training stint.

    "I hope to impress the scouts in Italy and maybe bring me to greater heights, while letting my football do the talking on the field," said Luis.

    When asked about the kind of players he was looking for, Fandi said: "They must be very intelligent, smart players and know how to play real football."

    He said that technical skills are important in the sport, but also added that he values strength in character.

    "He can be very good. But without character, I don't think he can achieve anything."



    (Well said and this applies to other sports as well, including badminton.)

  4. #4509
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    Default IMDEX Asia opens in Singapore

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Satish Cheney | Posted: 18 May 2011 1544 hrs


    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (file picture)


    SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean has spoken of the global ramifications of piracy at the opening of the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) Asia.

    The three -day event kicked off Wednesday morning in Singapore.

    Highlighting how threats to just one region can have global ramifications, Singapore's defence minister highlighted the economic impact as well.

    "For example, Maersk Lines, one of the largest global shipping lines recently estimated that its piracy related costs will double from US$100 million to US$200 million in 2011," said Mr Teo.

    Mr Teo added that dialogues on maritime defence need to continue and that multilateral frameworks and groupings need to be built on. He said the usefulness of such groupings can be seen in the Gulf of Aden, where an international counter-piracy task force is operating.

    Piracy and bigger defence budgets are paving the way for the region's navies to expand.

    Analysts said Asia-Pacific countries plan to acquire over 100 new submarines by 2030, spending some US$57 billion.

    Naval defence analysts, AMI International said most of the submarine buying will come from Japan, China, India, Australia, Korea.

    China and India are also upgrading their navies.

    "It's hard to get a reasonably accurate figure on what China is spending. Clearly China is investing tremendous amounts of energy and resources in their navy. Our database has a more accurate picture of what India intends to spend over the next 20 years and that number comes out higher than what we forecast for China," said Mr Bob Nugen, vice-president of Advisory Services at AMI International.

    Oganisers said the amount of deals made at IMDEX Asia could be worth several million US dollars.

    "Most of these hopefully will get our Singapore companies involved as well (because) more companies are looking for, at least the navies are looking for local offsets, so it's vital for Singapore companies to get involved as early as possible to penetrate the regional markets," said Mr Jimmy Lau, managing director of Experia Events.

    Imdex Asia has grown in size and importance over the years. When it first began in 1997 - there were only five navies taking part - but this year, there're some 45 international navies participating with 160 exhibitors.

    In conjunction with the event, the Republic of Singapore Navy will host two naval exercises with other countries.

  5. #4510
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    Default Stem cell research breakthrough could aid treatment development for diseases

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 18 May 2011 1240 hrs


    A researcher manipulates drops of stem cells in a laboratory.
    SINGAPORE: A team of scientists from A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore has discovered a switch to speed up stem cell production to facilitate development of treatments for diseases.

    This discovery, published in the journal Stem Cells, has implications for generating stem cells more efficiently for biomedical applications.

    The institute said it could help facilitate the development of treatments for diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease.

  6. #4511
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    Default Unmanned systems make a splash at maritime show

    May 19, 2011

    IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY
    They can collect data without having to put troops in harm's way

    By Jermyn Chow, Defence Correspondent




    Singapore's Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong, stepping from a helicopter on board the British navy ship, HMS Richmond, at Changi Naval Base. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM



    WARSHIPS and naval aircraft may cause the biggest ripples but unmanned systems are also making waves at the region's largest naval exhibition, Imdex Asia, which opened on Wednesday

    One of them is the Skyblade IV, an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by home-grown firm ST Aerospace and DSO National Laboratories, the national defence research body.

    A camera on the locally made mini spy plane provides video images of things beyond a soldier's line of vision.

    Some army troops have started using the Skyblade III, which has a range of about 8km and can stay in the air for up to an hour.

    The newer Skyblade model is more powerful than its predecessor which was launched last November, said ST Aerospace Advanced Systems' vice-president Milly Tay. It can travel up to 100km and can be airborne for up to 12 hours.

    Final technical flight tests are being run before testing by army troops at the end of this year, said Mr Lim Kok Yong, a senior DSO researcher.

  7. #4512
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Significance of 'Green Corridor'

    TODAY

    Heritage should be understood and protected in making redevelopment plans



    by Jon Cooper The Adam Park Project Project Manager
    Updated 10:52 AM May 19, 2011

    I READ with interest the enlightening letter "A green corridor down memory lane" by Mr Lee Seow Ser (May 17) on the fight to save the heritage and nature along the abandoned railway lines in Singapore .

    I would like to add another round to the arsenal of good reasons for the protection of the "Green Corridor". The stretch of line at the west end of Bukit Timah Road which includes the Bukit Timah railway station and girder bridge is perhaps the most iconic and best preserved section of the World War II battlefield in the area.

    The railway line, embankments, rail bridge and station marked the furthest point of advance of the only British counter-attack during the seven-day fight for Singapore.

    The officers and men of three British battalions (also known as Tomforce) under Lieutenant-Colonel Lionel Thomas advanced up Bukit Timah road on the Japanese dug around Bukit Timah village on Feb 11, 1942, in an attempt to arrest the Japanese advance on the city.

    The Loyals Battalion (18th Reconnaissance Corps) in the centre, astride the main road, made it as far as the railway station and were forced to take shelter along the railway embankment around the girder bridge. Elements of the force did manage to get into the village and onto Bukit Tinggi but most of the men hunkered down along the railway and braved the Japanese bombardment.

    Finally, after a morning of fierce fighting, The Loyals, along with their compatriots in the 4th Norfolks and the 1/5th Sherwood Foresters, were ordered back down the road and into new positions within General Arthur Percival's last line of defence along Farrer and Adam Road. Gen Percival's one and only counter-attack of the campaign had floundered along the line of the railway.

    Recent archaeological surveys on the battlefield at Adam Park (http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/bat...rewwiiproject/) just off Adam Road have ably demonstrated that, where sites have remained relatively untouched by modern development, such as the old black and white estates and the railway lands, World War II heritage may well be remarkably preserved just a few centimetres under the surface.

    It is, therefore, essential that before any further decisions are made in the redevelopment of the "Green Corridor", full historical significance of the construction is understood and Singapore's industrial and military heritage is duly protected and shared with the people.
    Last edited by Loh; 05-19-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  8. #4513
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A green corridor down memory lane

    Preserve heritage and nature by turning railway lands into eco-tourism spot


    Letter from Lee Seow Ser
    04:46 AM May 17, 2011



    On a recent Saturday, a handful of enthusiastic nature and heritage lovers like myself participated in a guided walk along the tracks of the rustic Bukit Timah Railway Station. This was followed by an insightful sharing session - "The Green Corridor" forum - organised by the National Library Board and Nature Society of Singapore (NSS).

    In a proposal titled "The Green Corridor - A Proposal to Keep the Railway Lands as a Continuous Green Corridor" submitted by NSS last year to the authorities, representations were made to preserve the railway lands which brim with historical value and biodiversity in flora and fauna, after the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station ceases to operate on July 1.

    In land-scarce Singapore, there is perennial pressure for commercial development to unlock the economic value of land parcels. Many people, myself included, yearn not for yet another mall tenanted to franchise outlets but a link to roots, authenticity and space.

    With creative and sensible urban planning, the two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, a balanced co-existence is feasible and may even generate eco-tourism, enhancing Singapore's standing as a model urban garden city. For example, there could be funicular rides - like the popular Alishan tramways in Taiwan - powered by clean energy sources. Artistic enclaves could be nurtured in the surrounding environs for sketching, painting, sculpture or pottery.

    Let hikers and cyclists ramble along the vertical corridor from south to north, and stretches of tracks can be adapted for use as a wheelchair-friendly system of trolleys. The National Parks Board's island-wide park connector systems would get a boost, as would the Community-in-Bloom gardening projects in the heartland and private estates nearby.

    The Green Corridor is economically viable if points of interests are integrated in an eco-friendly manner to attract local and overseas visitors to enjoy the old cast-iron railway bridges; the black-and-white colonial bungalows in the Portsdown area; or a locomotive museum showcasing yesteryear's mechanical switchboard technology of rail tracks, to name but a few possible attractions.

    I was disturbed that public tenders have apparently been called for the removal of rail tracks in some parts. Policy-makers should deliberate carefully and consult interest groups and individuals, particularly where the decision will greatly impact the collective memory of citizens.





    The tracks along Bukit Timah Railway Station. TODAY FILE PHOTO
    Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd
    Last edited by Loh; 05-19-2011 at 03:14 AM.

  9. #4514
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default

    May 20, 2011

    IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY
    Singapore teen tops world English examination

    By Amelia Tan


    Ren Chun (right), with his (from left) brother Ren Hua, 29; father Ho Kwon Ping, 59; mother Claire Chiang, 60; and sister Ren Yung, 26. The teen, who is active in drama and debate in school, plans to publish 50 of his own poems this year. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF HO REN CHUN


    SINGAPOREAN student Ho Ren Chun beat students from 127 countries to emerge in top spot in an English examination.

    The 17-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (International) student made his mark in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) English exam, which is designed for students whose first language is English.

    Students who took the exam came from countries including Britain, India, New Zealand and the United States.

    ACS (International) offers the IGCSE instead of O levels, unlike most other secondary schools here.

    Edexcel, the global qualifications quality standards body which administers the IGCSE, told The Straits Times that tens of thousands of students took the English exam and it is the first time a Singaporean has topped it.

    Ren Chun said half of the exam's final grade was based on his performance in essays and poems which he did as part of course work.

    The other half came from the written paper, which included comprehension and essay-writing exercises that test skills such as critical and analytical thinking.

    The teen knew had had full marks for his course work before he took the written exam in November last year.

    Still, he was surprised when he learnt earlier this week from his teachers that he had excelled in the exam.

    "I didn't expect to achieve this but I am happy because it is a recognition of my talent and passion for the English language."

    Ren Chun, the youngest of three children, comes from a family of writers. His grandmother Li Lienfung and aunt Ho Minfong are both acclaimed writers.

    His parents - Mr Ho Kwon Ping and Ms Claiare Chiang, who head hospitality group Banyan Tree - encouraged him to read widely and bought him books.

    The teen, who is active in drama and debate in school, said he loved reading comics as well as science-fiction and fantasy books when he was younger.

    In recent years, he developed a keen interest in poetry, such as those by American poet Billy Collins. He plans to publish 50 of his own poems this year.

    "Poetry appeals to me because I think it is a beautiful way of condensing many emotions and images in a few words. It takes a lot of thought and craft to master," he said.

    The student, who will take the International Baccalaureate exams next year, is thinking of going to the US to study economics and history, or pursuing a business degree at the Singapore Management University.

    Ms Eniko Kiss, who taught him English for two years at ACS (International), said: "Ren Chun's creativity and talent make his stand out from other students. He is good in poetry, a skill that not many have, and has excellent critical thinking skills."

  10. #4515
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    Default MediaCorp to manage Bugis Street screens

    Channel NewsAsia By Wayne Chan | Posted: 19 May 2011 2114 hrs


    A part of Bugis Street
    SINGAPORE: MediaCorp has been appointed the exclusive media partner to market and manage eight media screens in Bugis Street, Singapore's largest street shopping location.

    The screens at Queen Street and Victoria Street will add to MediaCorp's existing retail digital screen network in ION Orchard and Orchard Central shopping malls.

    Four will be located outdoors with two at Queen Street and one each at Victoria Street and Cheng Yan Place.

    The screens will feature MediaCorp's news and entertainment content, and live broadcast of national events such as The National Day Parade.

    The exclusive media partner appointment comes a month after MediaCorp's outdoor advertising arm, OOH Media, was awarded a contract by the Singapore Land Transport Authority to operate the advertisement panels of some 1,300 bus stops island-wide.

    Bugis Street, which is managed and developed by Bugis Street Development Pte Ltd, has undergone an extensive upgrading project which includes refreshing its facade with large LED screens and new LED signages in response to Urban Redevelopment Authority's plan to inject vibrancy into the Bugis Street precinct.

    Mr Thomas Ang, head of MediaCorp OOH Media, said: "We are very happy to work with Bugis Street Development. We look forward to bringing a whole new dimension to the vibrant street shopping experience here.

    Bugis Street Development chairman and CEO Terentius Loh said: "MediaCorp's wide network of contacts with potential advertisers has given us confidence in the prospect of a very successful collaboration.

    "Our extremely high foot traffic will provide value-for-money advertising to advertisers".

  11. #4516
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    Default Taiwan, Singapore launch satellite

    The Straits Times

    May 21, 2011

    TAIPEI - TAIWAN'S leading telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom has launched its second commercial communications satellite in a joint venture with Singapore Telecommunications, local media said on Saturday.

    The launch of the ST-2 satellite took place from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana late on Friday local time, Taiwan's state-funded Central News Agency reported.

    The satellite will have a life span of 15 years and will replace the ageing ST-1 satellite that Chunghwa Telecom and Singapore Telecommunications put into orbit in 1998, according to the agency.

    The two companies announced in 2008 that they had agreed to build the ST-2 to continue servicing existing customers and to facilitate expansion into international telecommunications markets.

    It will offer customers wider coverage in Asia and the Middle East when it reaches its orbit slot within the next 10 days, the news agency said. -- AFP

  12. #4517
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    Default A drum beat to officially open Clementi Mall

    The Straits Times

    May 21, 2011



    By Ng Huiwen




    At 2.30pm on Saturday, Mr Lim Swee Say and Dr Tony Tan beat a drum to officially open The Clementi Mall. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    AT 2.30pm on Saturday, Mr Lim Swee Say and Dr Tony Tan beat a drum to officially open The Clementi Mall.

    The five-storey retail mall is a joint venture between Times Properties, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH); NTUC Fairprice Co-operative; and NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative.

    Mr Lim - Minister in the Prime Minister's Office - is also NTUC secretary-general while Dr Tan is chairman of SPH.

    Dr Tan struck a drum to officiate the opening of The Clementi Mall in the presence of mall visitors and more than 120 guests.

    The 290,000 sq ft mall - with two basements - is the first full-fledged mall to open in the Clementi area and is part of the first mixed-use development built by the Housing Board.
    Besides the retail podium, it also houses two residential blocks of 388 units and the West Coast Town Council (Clementi Office). The mall has 135 shops, including 16 restaurants and cafes, and boasts anchor tenants such as FairPrice Finest, Popular Bookstore and Clementi Public Library.
    Photo gallery

    Compiled By K Chen


  13. #4518
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    Default USVs a big hit at IMDEX Asia

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Satish Cheney | Posted: 21 May 2011 1653 hrs


    A model of a Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) at IMDEX Asia.
    SINGAPORE: Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) attracted much attention at this year's International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX Asia) show in Singapore which ended on May 20.

    With its many capabilities which includes spying, these vehicles are also making waves in regional navies.

    One of the USVs is the Piranha USV. It is made out of advanced carbon fibre and is one of a kind.

    The Piranha USV at IMDEX is garnering much interest from various government agencies as well as commercial enterprises. It weighs about 4,000kg. That is one quarter the weight of a normal boat of a similar size.

    Singapore company ZyCraft is bringing in a new USV called the Vigilant from the United States to modify and test in Singapore waters around early August. It is also said to be more fuel efficient.

    Jim Von Ehr, Managing Director of ZyCraft, said: "We can send it out on a mission, we can send it out to sea for a month. It's got satellite links so we control it from a base station and we're putting our base station here in Singapore, so we'll be controlling it by pilots sitting in a nice air-conditioned office but they will be viewing things as if they were on the boat at sea."

    The company refused to comment if it is intending to sell this model to regional navies.

    Another Singapore company, ST Engineering, said unmanned platforms are an important aspect of business and that there will be more research and development in this area.

    Seah Moon Ming, Deputy CEO and President of Defence Business at ST Engineering, said: "We don't want to risk people's lives. That's one aspect. The other aspect is that engineering is always looking for economical solutions. Because if you put into the unmanned platform, you can put more payload in a more economical manner."

    With new technology, analysts said more missions can take place. The USVs can also deliver supplies to offshore rigs at a cost cheaper than using a helicopter.

  14. #4519
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    Default Bioresorbable heart stent surgery performed successfully in S'pore

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Sabrina Chan | Posted: 20 May 2011 2017 hrs
    Photos 1 of 1
    Bioresorbable stent


    SINGAPORE : Patients who suffer from coronary artery disease are usually implanted with drug-coated metal stents.

    For the first time in Singapore, two heart disease patients have been successfully treated with a bioresorbable stents which eventually dissolve and are absorbed into the body.

    The new technology is on clinical trial at the National University Heart Centre.

    The device is inserted into a constricted artery, then blown outwards using a small balloon which forces the narrowed artery to open up and helps to restore blood flow.

    Once the vessel remains open, the scaffold is then slowly metabolised and eventually dissolved by the body.

    Dr Tan Huay Cheem, director, Cardiac Department, National University Heart Centre, said: "It includes no material that is permanently left within the heart artery wall, (and) it does not provoke chronic inflammatory process which may potentially cause problems such as heart attacks in later times.

    "And because there is no material left in the long term, the artery is able to recover itself - in terms of restoring its normal functional state as well as normal vessel movement."

    According to the World Health Organisation, about 15 people in Singapore die from cardiovascular disease every day.

    This new technology, if made available outside a clinical trial setting, could potentially improve the quality of life for many who suffer from coronary artery disease.

    Dr Tan said: "Current drug coated stent re-narrowing rate requiring a repeat procedure is less than 5 per cent. And we are hoping that this biodegradable stent will be able to have the same sort of advantage in terms of the long-term patency of the artery as a metallic stent.

    "And hopefully, (an) even lower rate of a blood clot formation and causing a heart attack compared to a metallic stent."

    Over a thousand patients worldwide underwent the procedure in a global clinical trial over the last year or so.

    The device has already been approved for use in Europe and is earmarked for a full launch in early 2012.

    If all goes well, the device could be commercially available here within a year or two.

  15. #4520
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    Default Commander of People's Liberation Army (Navy) visits Singapore

    Channel NewsAsia

    Posted: 20 May 2011 1950 hrs


    Commander of the People's Liberation Army (Navy) Admiral Wu Shengli (left) meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean (MINDEF photo)


    SINGAPORE : Member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People's Republic of China and Commander of the People's Liberation Army (Navy), Admiral (ADM) Wu Shengli, met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean during his official visit to Singapore.

    The meeting took place on May 18, as part of his visit from May 17 to 21.

    ADM Wu met Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Neo Kian Hong at the Ministry of Defence on Friday afternoon.

    He also met Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Ng Chee Peng and attended the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia 2011.

    As part of his programme, ADM Wu visited Changi Naval Base on Friday.

    Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said ADM Wu's visit highlights the warm and friendly defence relations between Singapore and China, as well as the progress made in defence ties following the signing of the Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation in January 2008.

    The Singapore Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army interact regularly through the exchange of visits, courses and seminars, and between both navies through port calls.

    MINDEF said Singapore and China also share a good exchange of high-level bilateral visits which include Member of the CMC, State Councilor and Minister of National Defence General (GEN) Liang Guanglie, who made an official visit to Singapore earlier this week.

  16. #4521
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    Default Ministerial salaries review committee to adopt very different model: Gerard Ee

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Hetty Musfirah | Posted: 22 May 2011 1417 hrs


    Mr Gerard Ee.


    SINGAPORE: The Chairman of the committee that's undertaking a review of ministerial salaries in Singapore, Mr Gerard Ee said his committee will adopt a very different model to assess how much ministers should be paid.

    It will use job specifications of ministers as a starting point.

    Currently, the salaries are benchmarked to two thirds of the median income of the top eight earners from six professions such as lawyers, in the private sector.

    Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Ee said there should also be other points of reference, such as a general wage level.

    This means when the economy goes up or down, the salaries should also have a mechanism to reflect this.

    "The big difference is that this (model), you look at the work and you say 'for this work, for this skill, for this knowledge in the private sector, how much will you have to pay to have someone perform such a work?'," said Mr Ee.

    "It's a very different model altogether."

    Mr Ee said he accepted the role after he was approached by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam less than a week ago.

    The 61-year-old, who's a familiar face in the charity sector, is Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation and Changi General Hospital.

    He was also a former Nominated MP.

    He said his committee will comprise of independent-minded people, who are known to speak their minds.

    He added that they also have the intellect to tackle such a major task.

    Mr Ee said the committee will need to collect a lot of data involving experts in human resource.

    It will come up with recommendations that still need to be robustly debated in Parliament.

    Mr Ee added that the committee will not rush matters.

    However, any changes to the salary scales will take effect retrospectively from the day the ministers were sworn in.

    "You can expect, that in all probability it will be a cut," added Mr Ee.

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    Default His vision for sports

    TODAY


    Incoming MCYS chief Chan plans to take sports to the 'next higher plane', with help from stakeholders



    by Ian De Cotta
    04:47 AM May 20, 2011

    SINGAPORE - The Republic's hopes of hosting the 2015 SEA Games and seeing to the completion of the Sports Hub in 2014 will occupy quite a bit of Major-General (NS) Chan Chun Sing's time when he helms the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

    Equally important is lifting sport to another level and allowing it to flourish unabated.

    But before taking action, he wants to lend his ear to every stakeholder. Their input, Chan told MediaCorp yesterday, is critical if plans and ideas are to bear fruit.

    The Tanjong Pagar GRC Member of Parliament will be sworn in as part of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's new Cabinet at the Istana tomorrow.

    He takes over from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who moves on to the Environment and Water Resources Ministry.

    Chan said he wants to hear "from all the stakeholders" first before making any in-depth comment on how to take sports forward, adding that it was crucial that their aspirations and plans for sports are developed and owned by them.

    "Then, even if I disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow, our sports aspirations and goals will continue to flourish because we have buy-in from the stakeholders," said the former Chief of Army.

    On the other hand, even the most brilliant plan will come to naught if it has no buy-in from the stakeholders, he added.

    "Hence, I look forward to listening with a careful ear and open mind to what the stakeholders aspire, then together, we can work something out to bring Singapore sport to the next higher plane," he said.

    Chan's appointment as Acting MCYS Minister and his offer to get stakeholders' input to improve local sport were welcomed by national sports association (NSA) chiefs MediaCorp spoke to.

    Many are hoping the Acting Minister will give greater impetus to the push for a sporting culture, and find ways to allow young talent here to continue flourishing without disruption to their National Service (NS) obligations.

    "I want to work with the Minister and MCYS to find ways to revive the passion for local football," said Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin.

    "But from our perspective, we also want to see how we can help our sports culture grow as well.

    "The Sports Hub will play a central role in this, but we need the software, all-year round content, to make sure Singapore sport flies," he added.

    Singapore Weightlifting Federation president Tom Liaw hopes there will be more help for struggling and smaller NSAs under Chan's stewardship.

    "We need a new perspective, fresh ideas and direction to raise the profile of less developed sports like weightlifting, and get them adopted by schools," said Liaw.

    Many NSAs are also hoping that Chan's connections with the Singapore Armed Forces will lead to better solutions in the development of talented young sportsmen.

    "I hope the Minister can look into this because there is no question that every Singaporean male must serve NS fully," said Tang Weng Fei, president of the Singapore Athletic Association.

    "The crucial stage of an athlete's physical development is when he is between 18 and 21 years old, so perhaps we can find a way for sportsmen to meet their NS obligations just after this period."

    While he hopes to broach the NS issue with Chan as well, Singapore Swimming Association president Jeffrey Leow said sports infrastructure also needs to be reviewed.

    "At the moment for swimming, we only have one Olympic-class competition pool at the Singapore Sports School," he said.

    "We have pools that we share with others for recreational use, but we do need three or four pools solely dedicated to training swimmers."





    TODAY FILE PHOTO
    Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd
    Last edited by Loh; 05-22-2011 at 01:56 AM.

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