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Thread: Singapore Also Can
05-22-2011, 08:28 PM #4523
All aboard for that last ride from Tg Pagar train station
The Straits Times
May 23, 2011
IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY
Tickets being snapped up before rail service at heritage site ends on July 1
By Jamie Ee Wen Wei & Poon Chian Hui
'We wanted to relive the memory before they stopped the service. We thought we'd better take one last trip.'
Semi-retired nurse Yap Sew King, 62, on her five-hour train ride to Malacca
A DIFFERENT VIEW
'I have seen the train tracks before but this is the first time I'm looking out from inside the train. It's like looking at Singapore through a different lens.'
Student Melissa Lee, 18, on her maiden rail trip
Security officer Md Yusof Zain, 58, taking photos at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station last Friday. He said the site was his playground when he was a child. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
BUSINESS is brisk at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station as Singaporeans hop on the last trains pulling out of the station before it closes on July 1.
Travel agents said demand for tickets has picked up steam in the past few months, fuelled by travellers who want to experience the soon-to-be historic ride
05-22-2011, 10:36 PM #4524
Richard Rogers exhibition in Singapore
By Qiuyi Tan | Posted: 22 May 2011 2353 hrs
SINGAPORE: Prize-winning British architect Richard Rogers is in town to present over 40 years of his best works and collaborations in an exhibition at the URA Centre.
One of the most influential architects of our time, he is known for his quest to create public spaces that capture the diversity and complexity of the contemporary world.
His best known works include the Lloyd's building in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Built in the 70s and 80s, both feature his "inside-out" trademark of exposing structural elements like stairs, water pipes and ventilation ducts on the outside.
Controversial in their time, both works have become landmarks in their own right.
Flexibility is a keyword in Richard Rogers' vocabulary, and a key dynamic is interaction with the client.
He said: "Architects don't work on a blank piece of paper, we're not artists in the sense of painter, or even a writer... We can't start until we meet the client. The role of the client is critical to the success of the building. That's what I call ping pong backwards and forwards between the team: engineers, urban sociologists, economists..."
For instance, flexibility was a major success of the Pompidou project, he said.
The veteran architect told reporters how the contemporary art centre changed its focus as it was being built.
He said: "It (was) discussed in great detail: library books. But by the time we finished Pompidou, books were secondary to info-technology. So the whole thing changed during that part and that happens all the time. Art has changed, spaces have had to change, we have had to adapt."
Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see some 57 projects around the world, with more than 500 models, films and photographs.
They include early projects like the eco-friendly "Zip-Up House" from the 60s and Terminal 4 of Barajas Airport in Madrid completed in 2006.
Since its premiere in Paris in 2007, the exhibition has travelled to London, Barcelona, Madrid and Taipei.
Singapore is its first Southeast Asian stop.
For his latest project, Rogers and his team will be working on a residential development in Shanghai for Singapore property company UOL.
05-22-2011, 10:41 PM #4525
Shift from top-down to pilot-centric method to transform Singapore's airforce
By Dylan Loh | Posted: 22 May 2011 2331 hrs
SINGAPORE: Shifting from a top-down to trainee-centric approach is a key part of taking Singapore's airforce into the third generation.
To do this, much has been invested into training transformation since 2006 using new equipment and methods.
And visitors can learn more about this from the Republic of Singapore Air Force
(RSAF) Open House at the Paya Lebar Air Base from 28-29 May.
Training to be an airforce pilot can be tough.
A ride in the Human Training Centrifuge to get used to nine times the normal pull of gravity.
And, a go at the Ejection Seat Trainer to experience popping out of a jet plane.
These are all part of training to be a pilot, said Major Timothy Teoh, Head of the Certification and Standards Branch at the Air Force Aeromedical Centre.
"In the past, they had to just visualise and imagine what was going to happen in the aircraft. But now, with these equipment which is more realistic in nature, they actually will be able to, when they go back to the aircraft, say that 'I've experienced this before, this looks familiar'," he said.
But flying can give unfamiliar sensations.
And that's where the Spatial Disorientation Trainer comes in, said Major Desmond Too, a fighter jet pilot.
"It actually help us to recognise when we are disorientated and to help us get back to orientated flight as soon as possible to continue with the mission," he said.
Major Too said to be a good pilot, one must have determination and the will to fight.
05-23-2011, 08:11 AM #4526
More than 6,000 students graduate from SP
By Sharon See | Posted: 23 May 2011 1744 hrs
SINGAPORE: Kang Kok Wei was a few points short of getting into the Normal Academic stream in secondary school. But through sheer hard work, the Clean Energy major is now one of seven top students at Singapore Polytechnic.
He said: "When I received my PSLE results, which was 149, I felt really sad because I just needed to have another two more points so that I can go for Normal [Academic].
"But I didn't regret after that because in secondary school, I learnt a lot of things from scratch, especially my teacher, who encouraged me to do better. I went into ITE and did very well there, and scored a perfect GPA of 4.0 to enter Singapore Polytechnic as my first choice."
Another top student Lim Hui Yin was just months away from taking her GCE 'A' Level examinations when she decided to call it quits to pursue her passion in Aerospace Electronics. And she too never looked back.
She said: "After studying there for about one year and four months, I feel that junior colleges are a bit too theoretical for me in which there's not many opportunities for me to apply what I have learnt.
"Polytechnic is more practical. So when I came here, what I've learnt from the theories from junior college, some actually can be applied here and indeed here, they have the facilities here to let me have my hands-on and to see how my theory applies (in practice)."
Lim may have topped her course with a perfect GPA score of 4.0, but she is in no hurry to enter university. She said she will be taking a gap year to do community work and practise Wushu.
This year, a total of 6,011 students are graduating from SP. Among them are pioneer batches from six courses - Applied Drama & Psychology, Clean Energy, Financial Informatics, Food Science & Technology, Human Resource Management with Psychology and Resort Facilities Services & Management.
Ms Sim Ann, who is the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, commended Singapore Polytechnic for providing a caring community with mentorship and peer support for its students.
She also outlined the government's commitment to polytechnic education.
She said: "MOE had announced the expansion and renewal of our polytechnics' facilities, including SP, founded in 1954. These plans will enhance the teaching and learning environment for staff and students, and ensure that students are work-ready when they graduate."
She said while polytechnic education provides a foundation for a successful career, she urged the graduates to continue upgrading themselves to stay relevant to the industry.
05-23-2011, 08:51 PM #4527
After beating Malaysia, bigger tests for netballers
by Tan Yo-Hinn
04:47 AM May 23, 2011
SINGAPORE - The scoreline was a lot closer, but Singapore netball coach Kate Carpenter was still happy with her side's performance in their second test against Malaysia at the Jurong East Sports Hall yesterday.
Despite fielding several reserves, world No 19 Singapore, who had beaten the visitors 51-29 on Saturday, managed to edge their rivals 43-39 to maintain their seven-year unbeaten run against their Causeway rivals, with goal shooter Cassandra Soh accounting for 33 of the hosts' points.
The two friendlies were part of preparations for both teams for the upcoming 13th Mission Foods World Netball Championship, which will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from July 3 to 10.
Singapore, who have targeted a top-12 finish in the tournament, are in Pool C with Jamaica, South Africa and Botswana, while Malaysia complete Pool D with England, Malawi and Barbados.
Last month, Singapore lost to South Africa (62-32) and Botswana (57-39) in a Tri-Nations Series in Botswana.
In a bid to be in tip-top shape for the world championships, Netball Singapore have arranged for the team from the Australian Institute of Sport to be here for a month - from June 17 to July 11 - to train and spar with the national squad.
Friendlies against world No 1 New Zealand and Northern Ireland (world No 12) have also been lined up on June 30 and July 1, respectively.
"If you want to test yourself against a successful style of play, they're the ones to do it with," said Carpenter.
Singapore's 12-strong squad will be decided early next month, although key goal shooter Tan Hui Yan remains doubtful with a knee injury.
While describing Pool C as the "toughest" of the four groups, coach Carpenter said: "We understand the international game and know what we're up against.
"We have a playing style that can compete against that.
"Our game is quick and sharp which works well against opponents who are bigger."
Despite fielding several reserves, Singapore (in purple) comfortably beat Malaysia yesterday. PHOTO BY WEE TECK HIAN
05-24-2011, 12:20 AM #4528
Walking alongside the Malayan Railway track to Bukit Timah station
Like many others in Singapore I want to experience this historical and politically contentious railway line for the last time before it's demise on July 1, 2011.
But I want to do it differently - on foot.
So last Saturday afternoon I took a short cut at Commonwealth Drive via Tanglin Halt opposite Wessex Estate and started trekking northward alongside the railway tracks towards Bukit Timah. I have taken the train on numerous occasions to KL for badminton tournaments, mainly at night and could barely enjoy the scenery. Walking in broad daylight gives a different experience altogether.
It was an arduous trek most of the way as I had to balance myself on the loose granite pebble stones strewn all along the narrow track. I tried to take an easier way by walking in the middle of the railway track and on the concrete sleepers that protrude from the sides of the iron rails.
But I had all the time in the world to stop whenever necessary to take pictures. However the sun was unrelenting this past week and apart from spoiling my photos, I was also thoroughly drenched.
I almost got in the way of the first approaching train which appeared suddenly round the bend but I was quick enough to scramble to the side next to the telegraph post to capture the 'monster' as it whisked past me. The train driver was kind enough to warn me by sounding his familiar "tooo-tooo'" siren. It took me about four hours to reach the much-talked-about Bukit Timah station which seemed isolated in the quiet afternoon.
In all, I was sufficiently rewarded as I got to see three trains moving at very close range, one of which was a cargo train with empty trailers. When I reached the station, I was able to see the operations room with very archaic instruments. It is perhaps about time that they retire and are laid to rest.
Some precious memories of my afternoon venture:
05-24-2011, 12:31 AM #4529
Malayan Railway 2
Here come the trains to awake the afternoon slumber.
05-24-2011, 12:46 AM #4530
Malayan Railway 3
My target was the Bukit Timah station, the humble branch station which pales in beauty and stature against the majestic terminal station at Tanjong Pagar.
About 100 metres farther is the structure of the facmous black bridge that carries the trains above Bukit Timah/Dunearn Roads. This bridge is dated 1871 and will surely be retained for its historic heritage.
Last edited by Loh; 05-24-2011 at 12:52 AM.
05-24-2011, 04:12 AM #4531
Int'l students compete in Singapore's science challenge
The Straits Times
May 24, 2011
By Goh Kai Shi
MORE than 100 students and educators from 27 institutions around the world took up the challenge of using science to create a greener future at the Singapore International Science Challenge (SISC) 2011.
Organised by the National Junior College (NJC), the SISC is a biennial event which brings together science students between the ages of 15 to 18 from all over the world to Singapore. They compete in three challenges: the research challenge, the future problem challenge, and the design and build challenge.
'Green issues require the involvement of everyone, require them to evolve their mindsets, and revolves around them,' said Ms Vivien Chua, 18, who is the head of the SISC 2011 head of the student organising committee.
The event was launched by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Information, Communication and The Arts and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. She also launched Yours Naturally, a book detailing 40 of the more than 75 species of birds found on NJC's campus.
Yours Naturally is meant to show that biodiversity exists not only in nature parks or the Amazon forest, but also in our urban surroundings, said Mr Yong Dingli, an NJC teacher who wrote the book along with four other students.
'Hopefully, we can trigger a greater interest in the rich biodiversity in our urban environment,' he added.
05-24-2011, 04:14 AM #4532
Taking longer route to the top via ITE and poly
The Straits Times
May 24, 2011
By Jane Ng
WHEN Diana Cheong received 33 points for her O levels, she realised she could not make it to a junior college or a polytechnic.
She decided to take the longer route via the Institute of Technical Education and on Tuesday, the 23-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduand was among the top students at the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
She has also received an offer from the National University of Singapore to pursue an accountancy degree.
The guest of honour at the event was Mr Heng Swee Keat, the new Minister for Education attending his first public event as minister.
Speaking to an audience of some 320 students and their parents and teachers, Mr Heng noted that the polytechnic system has come a long way. He said the percentage of Primary 1 cohort admitted to polytechnics in 1980 was about 5 per cent, and has grown to 42 per cent today.
Going forward, he said there were three things polytechnics must do to preserve the strength of the system: hire committed lecturers who will also serve as role models to students; build strong industry linkages and prepare students for the future but equip them with 'soft' skills.
05-25-2011, 12:39 AM #4533
Aussie varsity to grow presence here
The Straits Times
May 25, 2011
James Cook University S'pore charts expansion after buying out minority shareholder
By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer
Industry watchers attribute JCU's success in drawing students from here and abroad to its emphasis on quality. Its 30 degree courses, ranging from business to psychology, are the same as those run at JCU's two home campuses in Townsville and Cairns in Australia's state of Queensland; its students here sit the same examinations.
Students in a study room at James Cook University Singapore. It has grown from 50 students in 2003 to 2,500 students, and has recently secured a second campus in Ang Mo Kio. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
JAMES Cook University (JCU) Singapore has bought out its minority shareholder, German standards testing and certification company TUV SUD.
The Australia-based university said having sole ownership means it now has a freer hand in charting its own expansion path here.
05-25-2011, 02:03 AM #4534
Nursing students gear up for elder care
The Straits Times
May 25, 2011
By Amelia Tan
Ms Rachel Chua, 20, who became NYP's 10,000th nursing diploma graduate yesterday, working on a computer-programmed mannequin, which responds like a real patient and helps the polytechnic's nursing students gain realistic hands-on experience. -- PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
THE polytechnic that has produced more than half the pool of 16,000 registered nurses here is gearing up its students to handle the challenges of a rapidly greying population.
Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) has expanded the focus of its nursing diploma programme to cover long-term care for elderly patients. A new module on integrated care was introduced to its final-year nursing students this year.
05-25-2011, 09:00 AM #4535
SIA to set up new no-frills airline
Channel News Asia
By Timothy Ouyang | Posted: 25 May 2011 1737 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has announced its intention to establish a new no-frills, low-fare airline which will operate wide-body aircraft on medium and long-haul routes.
It said the new airline is being established following extensive review and analysis.
SIA joins a growing number of low-cost carriers, such as Singapore-based Jetstar Asia and Malaysia's AirAsia, in introducing low-fare flights to medium and long-haul routes.
Such routes are typically to destinations further than five hours' flight from Singapore.
SIA said it will enable the group to serve a largely untapped new market and cater to the growing demand among consumers for low-fare travel. Operations are expected to begin within one year.
The airline will be wholly-owned by Singapore Airlines, but will be operated independently and managed separately.
SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong said there is a new market segment being created and this will provide another growth opportunity for the group.
He said: "As we have observed on short-haul routes within Asia, low-fare airlines help stimulate demand for travel, and we expect this will also prove true for longer flights."
No further details were given as to whether the group plans to purchase new aircraft or use the existing ones in its fleet.
A new management team is expected to be set up for the new airline.
More details will be announced by the management team in due course, including its branding, products and services, and route network.
05-25-2011, 08:41 PM #4536
$969m bid for suburban site in Jurong
May 26, 2011
IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY
$200m above forecast - reflecting confidence in land outside city centre
By Esther Teo, Property Reporter
-- PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO
A PRIME mixed-use site in the Jurong Lake District has shattered price records with a top bid of just under $1 billion - almost $200 million more than the market expected.
The huge offer stunned analysts and dramatically underscored demand for well-located land in the up-and-coming area.
The knockout bid of $969 million - or $1,012 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr) - came from heavyweights CapitaMalls Asia, CapitaMall Trust and CapitaLand.
It is easily the highest offer for any mixed-use site outside the city centre and reflects confidence in the suburban office market, the remaking of Jurong and the value that developers see in choice locations near MRT stations, say experts.
The second highest bid - $917 million lodged jointly by United Engineers and Singapore Press Holdings - was also far ahead of market expectations.
A Keppel Land-led joint venture with Perennial Real Estate offered $785 million. Frasers Centrepoint and private fund Phoenix trailed the field of five with a joint bid of $640 million, 34 per cent lower than the top offer.
05-25-2011, 10:37 PM #4537
Beefing up the Little Red Dot
The Straits Times
May 26, 2011
IN THE ST NEWSPAPER TODAY
DSO National Laboratories' cutting-edge research gives the SAF a technological edge
By Jermyn Chow, Defence Correspondent
Besides developing game-changing technology in warfare, DSO researchers also look into improving the combat performance of SAF servicemen. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE
Look Who's Watching
IN AN AGEING, nondescript, four-storey building in Buona Vista, more than 1,000 scientists and engineers are at work, designing hardware and software for Singapore's defence arsenal.
These men and women of the DSO National Laboratories neither don army fatigues nor get sent outfield. They wear white lab coats and shuffle along air-conditioned corridors that give few clues about what they do for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
It started as a three-man outfit called the Electronic Test Centre (ETC) in 1972, and has since grown into a defence-science research body that works with global-research outfits like the United States Air Force Research Laboratory and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
Its mission, baldly stated, is to develop game-changing technology that creates - or snuffs out - the element of surprise in battle, giving the SAF a technological edge.
While electronic warfare remains it s top priority, DSO's researchers have branched out to specialities ranging from radar, sonar and infra-red sensor systems to guided weapons, biological and chemical security, and, more recently, unmanned systems and surveillance gadgets.
DSO declined to reveal how many of its innovations - many considered "black box" or top-secret - have been put in use by the SAF, but its land, sea and air troops have all benefited from DSO's work.
In the high seas, for example, the Republic of Singapore Navy's stealth frigates are manned by about 70 sailors, roughly half the number it takes to man a similar-sized American frigate. The tight ship is a result of DSO-designed surveillance systems and tools that can do more with fewer hands on deck.
In the air, the most recent achievement was the Skyblade III mini-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a portable pilotless surveillance systems plane that can beam real-time video images beyond a soldier's line of vision. The army battalions here are using it.
Outside Singapore, the military world is also taking notice. Asia-Pacific militaries, for example, registered interest in the Skyblade III UAV at the recently concluded International Maritime Defence Exhibition (Imdex) Asia; its newer, more powerful cousin, which can travel up to 100km and can stay aloft for up to 12 hours, also garnered attention.
In surveillance technology, a piece of DSO is out in space in the form of microsatellite X-Sat; anticipation also surrounds the brand-new Pixel-X camera, which can track real-time movements in up to eight different places, reducing the number of cameras - and cost - of scanning large areas.
But beyond circuit boards and optic fibre, DSO researchers are also looking into improving the combat fitness and performance of SAF servicemen.
Projects include curbing heat disorders that can hit in blisteringly hot training areas and correcting the near-sightedness found in eight in 10 enlistees, which promises to widen the pool of pilots, commandos and naval divers.
The Defence Ministry now commits about 4 per cent of the nation's annual budget to R&D. This amounts to more than $500 million this financial year, with the DSO taking up about half that sum; the other half is shared among Mindef's other research and development entities like the Defence Science & Technology Agency.
Where a soldier's personality matters
A STUDY done here into soldiers' personality traits and how they think has shed light on the types who work well together and the ways they can be turned into better combatants.
Such information on 'human factors' can thus be applied when the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) needs to figure out how to lighten a soldier's mental and physical burden so he stays sharp on duty, said DSO National Laboratories.
The human factors study looked into, among other things, whether people are talkative, are introverts or extroverts and how well they work in teams.
Getting these elements right can maximise performance and reduce errors, said Dr Frederick Tey from DSO's Cognition and Human Factors Research Laboratory.
The study was done on 90 soldiers on guard duty in an army division in May 2009. They were asked to fill up questionnaires on personality aspects such as whether they were conscientious, agreeable, open to new experiences and interested in people.
The data collected enabled defence psychologists to develop a simulation model last December, which determined how soldiers could best be deployed for patrol duties based on their personality traits.
It found out, for example, that:
Extroverts are most alert at night and work best with introverts;
Soldiers are weariest between 2am and 6am; and that
Those with negative emotional states tend to commit more lapses.
DSO conducted a similar human factors study for the Ministry of Home Affairs the year before to examine operational fatigue in the Home Team.
Dr Tey declined to say when the SAF would start using personality tests to deploy soldiers within operational units, but said commanders need to have a platoon of soldiers who can be most effective on the battlefield.
To illustrate his point, Dr Tey cited how weary soldiers failed to spot a dummy weapon that was left unattended when patrolling the camp.
'We're talking about the real thing... an SAF that's operational and ready 24/7.'
05-25-2011, 10:44 PM #4538
New site to match Singapore investors with inventors
The Straits Times
May 26, 2011
By Chua Hian Hou
Ipos director-general Liew Woon Yin, said the idea was born out of discussions between many 'man in the street' inventors and its officers during its events. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
LAUNCHED by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) on Wednesday, the Ideas2IP portal will link those with bright ideas with seasoned investors, in hopes that the meeting will spark off new, profitable ventures here.
Ipos director-general Liew Woon Yin, said the idea was born out of discussions between many 'man in the street' inventors and its officers during its events. While many of these inventors have interesting ideas, most 'do not know who to turn to' to turn that idea into a commercial product, she said.
This prompted the agency charged with fostering innovation and respect for intellectual property (IP) here to see how it could best help them, and it came up with the idea of the matchmaking portal.
After inventors sign up online, they will be able to submit their ideas to Ipos staff who would then vet it to check if there are already similar products and services in the market.
If the idea is a genuinely groundbreaking and offers commercial promise, Ipos will then try to matchmake the inventor with an investor looking to plonk money into such an area, said Ms Liew.
So far, Ipos has signed up one interested investor, Invention Capital, which specialises in high-tech sectors like artificial intelligence and cryptography, and is in the final stages of inking a deal with a investor keen on design and engineering inventions. Ipos is also in talks with other potential investors specialising in other areas, said Ms Liew, although she declined to say how many such investors Ipos was expecting to sign up over the year-long trial.
05-25-2011, 10:46 PM #4539
Check out RSAF's air power at Open House
The Straits Times
May 26, 2011
Air Force Open House at Paya Lebar Airbase. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
TIME will seem to fly by quickly when you check out the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Open House at Paya Lebar Air Base this weekend.
Its many highlights include a rare glimpse of the Republic's aerial firepower, including recent acquisitions such as the S-70B naval helicopter and the Spyder SR, a ground-based air defence system that can take on multiple aerial targets at the same time.
Another high-flier is the latest F-15SG fighter jet, which will be among the more than 36 aircraft and weapon systems on display.
The F-15SG will also show its agility in an aerial display that will feature a series of simulated missions, including one that shows fighter jets scrambling to intercept an aircraft threat.
The programme will also include a joint operation between the air force and army to demonstrate Singapore's integrated defence network.
The chairman of the Open House organising committee, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Foo Young Ge, said this year's event was brought forward from September to coincide with the June school holidays.
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