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Thread: Singapore Also Can
01-17-2012, 09:00 PM #5594
Right pay will help ensure quality leaders in future: PM Lee
S'pore can't stake future on assumption that pay doesn't matter
Published on Jan 18, 2012
'Can a future PM continue to get the best and most committed people to serve as his ministers?... How can our pay system support this important goal? And if we have a pay system which supports this, how can we get Singaporeans to accept that?' -- ST FILE PHOTO
By Li Xueying, Assistant Political Editor
The Prime Minister on Tuesday sought Singaporeans' support for the new ministerial pay proposals, saying Singapore could not stake its future on the assumption that salaries do not matter in getting the best people to lead.
Getting the pay system right was vital, he said, and it was not only about how much money ministers would get.
Rather, it was about ensuring that Singapore would always have a good government with leaders who care, with the abilities to shoulder the necessary responsibilities, the character to handle pressure, and the mettle to provide steady leadership in a crisis.
'Governing a country is not a matter for technocrats,' said Mr Lee. 'It's a matter for political leaders who will decide, who will persuade, who will carry the ground, set the direction and make things happen.'
It cannot be that the entire Cabinet comprises people in their 50s, Mr Lee said. 'We want people who are younger, vigorous, for whom this is not just something you do after you've done other things in your life but the main commitment for the prime years of your working life.'
EXCERPTS OF PM LEE'S SPEECH: Prime
MORE PARLIAMENT REPORTS
'And if we can get that right, then we can protect what we have achieved and build better lives for all,' he said. 'If not, the little red dot will become the black spot.'
He said his bigger concern was for future Cabinets.
He asked: 'Can a future PM continue to get the best and most committed people to serve as his ministers? In fact, can we get the best possible future PM for Singapore?
How can our pay system support this important goal? And if we have a pay system which supports this, how can we get Singaporeans to accept that?'
Given Singapore's circumstances, he said, 'our survival and success will always be based on our ability to be extraordinary'.
Speaking during the ongoing parliamentary debate on the recommendations of the Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries, he said he respected the view that a sense of public spirit alone was enough to drive capable and committed people to step forward, bigger pay cuts notwithstanding.
But 'though in our hearts we would wish and hope that that were true, in reality we know it's not so simple', he said. 'Our own experience and the experience in other political systems provide a reality check.'
He acknowledged there would always be some able Singaporeans willing to serve regardless of the terms.
'But will there be enough of them to produce a whole team of ministers, a whole Cabinet equal to the task and with the standards which we have come to expect?' he asked. 'Paying people correctly is part of that answer - not the whole part but part of the answer.'
Framing the issue as one pitting the idealistic against the pragmatic, he called the committee's report 'well-judged'.
In his 75-minute speech, Mr Lee went beyond technical details to spell out the high stakes in establishing a ministerial pay system that worked for Singapore.
He drew on lessons from other countries as well as his own experience - first as a young MP, then Deputy Prime Minister, and now Prime Minister - in three decades of debate over the 'very difficult and very emotional' issue.
PM admits it's hard to recruit talent from private sector
Recalling the 1985 parliamentary debate that saw then PM Lee Kuan Yew in a face-off with opposition MPs, he said with a smile: 'Even (former) MM (Minister Mentor), after three hours of a bravura performance, couldn't settle the matter permanently.'
And so, many Singaporeans continue to harbour reservations over the issue. 'All this came to a head in the general election in 2011.'
Mr Lee did not believe that salaries were a make-or-break issue for his Cabinet but added he had 'no doubt proper salaries have made it easier for me to build the team which I have today and to provide the best service which we can to Singaporeans in governing the country'.
Yet, others had turned him down. Even if they were not worrying about themselves, they must have considered the financial impact on their families.
Referring to a controversial Facebook post by Minister of State Grace Fu, he added: 'Grace Fu was completely right on this point when she posted to say that this salary revision is okay but if you go too far I think that's going to be a problem for many Singaporeans. She got flamed online but she was right, and she was honest to point this out.'
Some have cited Workers' Party (WP) MP Chen Show Mao as someone willing to enter politics without the compensation. But Mr Lee noted that Mr Chen joined at age 50, after a successful career as a lawyer. 'Now he is ready to do public service.'
But it cannot be that the entire Cabinet comprises people in their 50s, he said. 'We want people who are younger, vigorous, for whom this is not just something you do after you've done other things in your life but the main commitment for the prime years of your working life.'
It also could not be that only wealthy Singaporeans - who could afford the financial sacrifice - took the plunge.
Mr Lee said he was already not as successful in persuading private sector talents compared to those from the public sector. Among the factors: civil service pay, while competitive, is not quite as high as private sector pay. He said ruefully: 'I wish I could find more of them.'
Mr Lee also said he was 'encouraged' that the WP had also accepted the committee's principles - salaries should be competitive; reflect a public service ethos; and be based on a clean wage system. And though it proposes a different formula, the amount is in the same ballpark - 'but of course slightly lower because having looked at the committee's report, they decided that as the opposition party, surely they must recommend something a bit less'.
Underscoring the contentious nature of the topic, Mr Lee said he does not expect his speech to be the last word on ministerial salaries. 'But it is my responsibility as PM to tackle this very difficult issue, to find and prepare the best possible team of ministers... and the best next team to take Singapore forward.
'To do that it's not just a matter of drinking more tea or meeting more people but putting in place the right system... the pay structure to help the next team succeed and to find more people.'
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is expected to wrap up the three-day debate today.
'Foreign leaders often privately admit to us that they wish they could have followed us. Unfortunately, their politics does not allow them to.' - PM Lee
By Rachel Chang
SINGAPORE has deliberately avoided following other countries' approaches to determining political pay, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday. And in so doing, it has avoided many of their problems.
In using political pay systems with hidden perks and no link to the private sector, other countries are plagued with financial scandals, frequent political resignations and unstable governments, he said in Parliament.
Speaking on the second day of debate over a new benchmark to derive political pay, Mr Lee reiterated the Government's reluctance to follow the way other governments set pay, and said that it is actually Singapore that foreign leaders want to emulate.
'Foreign leaders often privately admit to us that they wish they could have followed us. Unfortunately, their politics does not allow them to.'
In countries where official pay is low, but hidden perks and post-politics earning potential is high, negative side-effects abound.
In the United States, there is a 'revolving door system' between the public and private sectors for politicians and government officials, he said.
People serve for a short while in government, then leave for the private sector to become lobbyists and consultants on the very policies they passed while in office.
In Britain, MPs justify expenses like housing allowances because they must maintain a residence in London to attend Parliament.
Mr Lee had his own take on the rationale, saying: 'That's the explanation. The reality is they're given these benefits because they could not be given the pay.
'This is just a way to work the system so that you can be paid what you really truly need to be paid.'
He also pointed out that British MPs took this literally, exploiting their claims system until a 2009 scandal put an end to it.
He said: 'They submitted claims for maintaining their swans in their pond, for cleaning up the moat of their castle. Somebody submitted a claim because he was watching some exciting movie in his home.'
He was referring to the case of former home secretary Jacqui Smith, who claimed as an expense her broadband and television package - including two pornographic movies her husband had purchased.
'So other countries are different,' he summed up. 'We have deliberately not followed that model (and) I think we should not follow that model.'
Singapore's way, he argued, has served it well. Good government is not just critical in the country's 'take-off phase', he said, adding that 'Singapore must not go on autopilot'.
Japan, where a dysfunctional political leadership hamstrings a top civil service, has gone down this route.
'Governing a country is not a matter for technocrats,' said Mr Lee. 'It's a matter for political leaders who will decide, who will persuade, who will carry the ground, set the direction and make things happen.'
Singapore will become a mediocre country if this happens to it, he said, and Singaporeans will no longer be able to reap a 'Singapore dividend'.
By virtue of being citizens of this 'exceptional' country, Singaporeans have gone up in value: 'You're in demand, people want to hire you. Opportunities are open. When you go places, your standing is there.'
He told the House about a meeting he had with a young Singaporean at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Honolulu last year, who told him that she had never before realised how high Singapore's standing was in international circles.
'I can't send all our bright young students to Honolulu,' he concluded. 'But I think we need to know that, while we have reasons to be dissatisfied and to want to do better, in fact, we have not done badly. And we should be careful not to lose what we have already gained.'
01-17-2012, 09:50 PM #5595
SAP sets up regional headquarters for research in Singapore
By Pamela Koh | Posted: 16 January 2012 2051 hrs
SINGAPORE: The shipping and logistics sectors are set to benefit from a new research centre that's being established in Singapore.
It's one of the largest research centres in Singapore and it's jointly set up by global IT services firm SAP and the Economic Development Board.
The new facility, which will spearhead research work in the region, aims to develop solutions to help the logistics sector become more efficient and competitive.
SAP said the centre will be staffed by 100 researchers and scientists, the majority of whom are Singaporeans.
Launching the research centre, SAP said it has also decided to make Singapore its Asia Pacific Headquarters for research.
Moving forward, the centre will link up with Singapore-based universities to develop a healthy pipeline of research talent.
Initiatives like this are in line with the government's push to boost R&D investment in Singapore.
Previously, the government has announced that it hopes to increase national R&D expenditure to 3.5 per cent of GDP by 2015.
In 2010, private sector expenditure on R&D hit S$3.9 billion - representing a 6 per cent growth to the previous corresponding period.
Meanwhile, public expenditure on R&D also grew by 9.6 per cent on-year to a new high of S$2.5 billion in 2010.
01-17-2012, 10:08 PM #5596
Orchard Road world’s top shopping street?
By Yahoo! Singapore
- By Yahoo! Singapore Tue, Jan 10, 2012 2:38 PM SGT
Orchard Road ranks first in a global shopping survey. (Getty Images)
Singapore is home to the world's best shopping street -- seriously?
Better than Champs Elysees (Paris), Bond Street (London), Fifth Avenue (New York) orShinjuku (Tokyo)?
Apparently so, according to a survey by French market consultancy Presence Mystery Shopping, reports The Straits Times.
In its recent survey, 90 mystery shoppers spread out over 30 cities were asked to rate shopping districts along four main categories: cleanliness of streets and retail outlets, quality of the service staff and friendliness of passers-by.
Orchard Road reportedly received a total of 89 points out of 100.
Luxembourg's Avenue de la Liberte came in second with 85 points and PC Hoofstraat in Amsterdam, was third with 83 points.
According to an online check, Presence Mystery Shopping has been conducting Mystery Shopping for French and international brands since 1986. It claims to have clocked in over 100,000 mystery visits per year in different sectors.
Shopping in Singapore is better than Paris
Secret shoppers rate the prettiest, most welcoming, most customer-friendly retail streets -- which is your no. 1?
6 January, 2012
Mystery shoppers suss out the surroundings to rate the appearance of luxury stores.
How many shopping trips truly turn out to to be the idyllic experiences your friends promised they would be?
Presence Mystery Shopping, a Paris-based market consulting company, thinks it has found 30 places that really truly can offer shopping heaven. It has published a report ranking the welcome and service for the world’s most famous shopping streets.
“We surveyed the quality of retail service on iconic shopping streets that tourists are told they just need to visit,” says Presence Business Development Manager, Leslie Kambourian.
Over 30 main avenues were visited, and nearly 400 individual retail outlets were observed, including perfume shops, restaurants, ready-to-wear outlets and showrooms.
Orchard Road in Singapore came out in first place, Avenue de la Liberté in Luxembourg followed in second and PC Hooftstraat in Amsterdam took third spot.
The “mystery shoppers” ranked their experiences based on observations in four categories:
- Appearance (cleanliness, lighting)
- Welcome (staff greetings, courtesy, availability)
- Atmosphere (garbage cans available, open space, clean pavement)
- Contact with passers-by (friendliness, helpfulness to people passing through the store)
6 January, 2012
World's top 10 shopping avenues and their scores out of 100
This is what happens to shoppers who attempt all 22 malls on Orchard Road in Singapore.
1. Orchard Road, Singapore: 89
According to mystery shoppers, Orchard Road led with the best atmosphere because of its “wide and clean pavements and diversity of shops.”
But tourists won’t be able to sweep every shop in one day; the whopping 22 shopping malls and six department stores on the Road might wipe them out.
Last edited by Loh; 01-17-2012 at 10:21 PM.
- By Yahoo! Singapore Tue, Jan 10, 2012 2:38 PM SGT
01-18-2012, 07:42 PM #5597
A new era for S'pore cycling
World governing body grants OCBC S'pore team licence to race in continental events
by Low Lin Fhoong
Updated 12:30 PM Jan 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - Riding on a wave of renewed interest in cycling, the OCBC Singapore Cycling team was formed in December 2008 to groom athletes for success at regional events.
At last November's SEA Games in Indonesia, the Republic's 12-strong cycling squad returned with one silver and two bronze medals. Now, the sport is eyeing an even bigger stage.
In a watershed moment for cycling here, the Singapore Cycling Federation and OCBC Bank announced yesterday that the 12-man outfit have been granted the Continental Team licence for 2012 by world governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
It means the team can now compete in UCI-sanctioned races in Asia like the prestigious Tour de Langkawi and Tour of Qinghai Lake - the highest rated events on the UCI Asia Tour.
The local outfit will now be known as the OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team, and includes six full-time cyclists - Singaporeans Ho Jun Rong, Goh Choon Huat and Vincent Ang, Australian Nick Squillari, and Malaysians Loh Sea Keong and Ahmad Haidar Anuawar. They will be based at the team's training camp in Chiangmai.
Describing the development as a "defining milestone" for Singapore cycling, team manager Justin Cheong said: "This is instrumental to Singapore, especially when we want to compete at the regional level and we need people exposed to that level of racing."
Financial support and sponsorship will be vital for the team, who are pencilled in for 14 races this season. It will start with the Tour de Langkawi next month and the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2012. While team riders are not paid a salary, the cost of equipment, allowances and other expenses will cost approximately S$400,000 a year.
Team principal Daniel Loy is hopeful OCBC Bank will continue to support the team after its four-year deal expires at the end of 2012. This year, the bank has invested a total of S$1.6 million in the team and the OCBC Cycle Singapore event.
Said Mr Loy: "Without their support these four years, we would not have achieved our first silver medal in road racing at the SEA Games. A five-year deal is a good number to work on, but we will be equally happy with a three-year renewal."
Singapore's biggest cycling star Kenneth Tan, who won three silvers and three bronze medals at the SEA Games and also a silver at the 1989 Asian Championship, has already come on board and will provide 15 Opera racing bicycles and equipment worth approximately S$100,000.
Mr Tan said: "I'm also providing technical support to help them set up and modify the bikes. Racing in UCI-sanctioned events will be good exposure for them and getting the licence is the first step to becoming more organised and hopefully they will get better. Some of them are still new, and a couple of the locals and Malaysians like Loh Sea Keong have potential."
Team cyclist Ho Jun Rong, who recovered from two road accidents in 2009 and 2010 to win last year's OCBC Cycle Singapore Criterium Open, is looking forward to taking on the continent's best riders. He said: "The long-term goal is definitely to get on the podium and our objective is to win as many races as possible."
Photo by ERNEST CHUA
01-18-2012, 08:30 PM #5598
Former MM Lee on political salaries
Updated 10:55 PM Jan 18, 2012
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has sent a letter to the Singapore media on the issue of ministerial salaries. Here is Mr Lee's letter in full:
I listened to several of the speeches in Parliament on ministerial salaries and read the rest in the newspapers. With a different generation, political attitudes change. But for Singapore, the basic challenge remains unchanged: That unless we have a steady stream of high quality men and women to serve as PM and ministers, Singapore as a little red dot will become a little black spot.
I was PM from 1959 to 1990 and Senior Minister in PM Goh Chok Tong's cabinet from 1990 to 2004.
To find able and committed men and women of integrity, willing to spend the prime of their lives, and going through the risky process of elections, we cannot underpay our ministers and argue that their sole reward should be their contribution to the public good. Every family wants to provide the best for their children, to go to a good university. We were pragmatic and also paid competitive salaries in order to have a continuous stream of high calibre people to become MPs, and then ministers. They put their careers at risk and undergo an uncertain and unpredictable election process.
A PM and his ministers carry heavy responsibilities for the nation. If they make a serious mistake, the damage to Singapore will be incalculable and permanent. Their macroeconomic policies will decide the GDP of the country, which was more than S$300 billion in 2010, with per capita GDP of S$59,000.
We did not get Singapore from the Third to the First World by head-hunting ministers willing to sacrifice their children's future when undertaking a public service duty. We took a pragmatic course that does not require people of calibre to give up too much for the public good. We must not reduce Singapore to another ordinary country in the Third World by dodging the issue of competitive ministerial remuneration.
01-18-2012, 08:48 PM #5599
Sony launches its first global uni campus in Singapore
Published on Jan 19, 2012
EDB's Mr Tan Choon Shian and Sony Corporation's Mr Tsugie Miyashita in the observation room of Sony's first international university campus here. The observation room allows the study of consumers' behaviour. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Japanese giant Sony on Wednesday launched a leadership training centre in Singapore, its first outside Japan.
Located in Jurong's International Business Park, the 3,362 sq ft facility will train middle and senior executives for positions in Asia-Pacific and emerging markets such as India, China, Vietnam and the Middle East.
'The business in Asia-Pacific and emerging economic zones is very, very important for Sony's success,' said senior vice-president and corporate executive for Sony Corporation, Mr Tsugie Miyashita.
The Sony Singapore university campus launch is one evidence 'of our focus' on this region.
01-18-2012, 08:53 PM #5600
PUB designs safety device for drains to prevent drowning
Aim to prevent drowning but effectiveness still to be proven, say experts
Published on Jan 19, 2012
-- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
By Kezia Toh
National water agency PUB has designed a safety device to prevent people from being swept away in drains, but experts said it remained to be seen how effective it would be.
When a drain fills up during a heavy storm, this safety line - made up of a non-absorbent material and wrapped in a layer of PVC canvas - will bob on the water surface, and provide something for a person in distress to hold on to.
Its bright-orange colour and reflective strips will also serve to catch the person's attention, especially at night.
HOW THE LINE WORKS
- When the drain fills up during a heavy storm, this safety line - made up of a non-absorbent material and wrapped in a layer of PVC canvas - will bob on the water surface, and provide something for a person in distress to hold on to.
- Strung from two metal hooks, it is placed 3m from the closed part of the 1.5m-deep outlet drain.
- Its bright-orange colour and reflective strips are meant to catch attention, especially at night.
01-18-2012, 09:16 PM #5601
Education Minister on identifying top students by ethnic groups
Posted: 16 January 2012 1533 hrs
SINGAPORE: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said identifying top students by their ethnic groups allows the different communities in Singapore to recognise and celebrate their achievements.
He said in Parliament on Monday that in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Singapore, it is important to give space to each community to celebrate its heritage.
Dr Janil Puthucheary, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, had asked whether the practice of categorising PSLE top scorers by ethnic groups is still relevant given the increasing number of inter-ethnic marriages.
Mr Heng said: "The increase in inter-ethnic marriages in recent years has indeed led to the need to recognise more diversity among our students. Parents can choose to identify their children using a single or hyphenated race classification.
"Top students will then be identified by the race classifications chosen by their parents. As Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society, it continues to be relevant for individuals to identify themselves with their own heritage."
Heng Swee Keat
01-18-2012, 09:26 PM #5602
Progressive system ensures the poor get more support: Tharman
By Hetty Musfirah | Posted: 16 January 2012 2144 hrs
SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said Singapore has to retain a progressive slant in policies to ensure the bulk of benefits are delivered to those at the lower end of the social ladder.
Singapore must also avoid the stagnation of median wages, improve opportunities for social mobility and place more intervention strategies upstream.
He was speaking on the topic of "Governing for an Inclusive Society" at a forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies.
Mr Tharman, who is also the Finance Minister, said Singapore has developed a progressive system where more support is now channelled to the lower end of society.
This despite the lowering of income tax rates and higher tax on goods and services.
And this is a direction that should be maintained.
Mr Tharman said: "If you look at what has happened in the past decade, despite the lower income tax rates and our higher GST rate, our fiscal system has become more progressive, not less.
"In other words, if you look at those at the bottom end of the ladder, they now receive more transfers from the government, compared to the taxes they pay compared to 10 years ago.
"More transfers, more net transfers to the lower income group now, compared to 10 years ago, and we have been able to achieve it without a significant increase.
"In fact with a minimal increase in net taxes paid by the middle class, and that has to remain I feel a distinctive feature of our fiscal system, try to avoid to increase the burden on the middle class."
Mr Tharman added that in building a more inclusive society, ensuring social mobility is important.
He said: "There is still a fair degree of mobility in the education system, but it will get more difficult as we go forward, social backgrounds are becoming more well-defined, they tend to matter more over time and we got to work more against it."
Singapore also needs to arrest any potential worrying trends early, particularly for children from troubled homes.
He said: "Get them engaged in school, give them activities, CCA, informal activities, give them responsibilities, to keep them not just in school for the duration of the day, but to keep their minds engaged.
"And to give them some sense of satisfaction in staying in school, much better that way, than dealing with the problems of drugs and gangsterism much further down the road."
More can also be done for the retired elderly and facing higher costs of living.
He said: "We have a significant group of our elderly who have worked hard but for much of their lives, they have had relatively low wages and now when they retire, face living costs, that determined by today's wages."
Mr Tharman said there is scope to help them unlock the savings of their homes, by helping them downgrade or monetise the value of their homes.
To maintain the social compact, there were also calls to encourage for more donations from those who are better off, so that in addressing the issue of inequality, it is not just about government intervention but also realising a society where people care for each other.
01-18-2012, 09:35 PM #5603
Doctor honoured for contributions in infectious diseases training
by Ng Jing Yng
04:45 AM Jan 19, 2012
SINGAPORE - For all his contributions in laying the groundwork for Singapore's infectious diseases training programme, Dr David Allen (picture) was awarded the inaugural Monteiro Award last Sunday.
The award, given out by the Singapore Society of Infectious Diseases, was named after the late Professor Ernest Monteiro, who used vaccination to help stop the 1950s polio outbreak in Singapore.
Dr Allen, a pioneer in this field, headed the infectious diseases department at Singapore's Communicable Disease Centre in the early 1990s.
Besides training many first-generation infectious diseases physicians, the 54-year-old American also started weekly sessions bringing together experts across all hospitals to discuss emerging and current issues.
Even after he left Singapore in 1994, the Texas-based physician returned regularly over the years to visit and teach.
The infectious diseases landscape here has grown in both "breadth and depth", said Dr Allen in an interview yesterday.
Faced with limited resources in the past, focus was placed on patient care, he recounted. But he is now heartened to see the incorporation of research today.
And while infections caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), also called the "superbug", used to plague hospitals and cause deaths, there are now "state-of-the art techniques" used as prevention methods, he noted.
Dr Allen added that systems in public hospitals here are on par with those in developed countries.
Recalling his early days in Singapore, he said: "Infectious diseases was still a relative new concept then, so there was a need to explain to people what it was all about, but it was quickly accepted within six months."
As Dr Allen applauded moves to train a new breed of doctors in infectious diseases and to generate research to back medical expertise, he also stressed the importance of public education.
"Awareness is important, keeping the people informed will remove the fear and, when something happens, they will not be alarmed and (will) know what to do," said Dr Allen.
Dr David Allen, a Texas-based physician in infectious diseases, helped to lay the groundwork on infectious diseases foundation here during the 1990s. He was awarded the inaugural Monteiro award given out by the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore) last Sunday. Photo by NG JING YNG
01-19-2012, 07:56 PM #5604
Integrated Programme students shine in scientific research
Papers by Integrated Programme students published in international journals
Published on Jan 20, 2012
(From left) Raffles Institution alumni Murali Adithyavairavan and Alan Aw, both 18, have put Singapore schools on the world map. Mr Murali co-wrote a paper with a Nanyang Technological University professor that appeared in Surface And Coatings Technology last year, while Mr Aw's paper will be published in the American Mathematical Monthly this year. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI
By Lin Zhaowei
Mathematics whizz Alan Aw, 18, was working through questions in a graduate- level textbook last year when he discovered a new way of solving a classic maths problem.
Realising the elegance of his solution, the Raffles Institution (RI) alumnus wrote a paper and submitted it to the American Mathematical Monthly, an international peer-reviewed journal. To his delight, it was accepted for publication.
Mr Aw is among an elite group of students in the Integrated Programme in top schools who are producing papers worthy of publication in international journals. Leading the charge is the NUS High School of Mathematics, with 16 student publications since 2007 - including seven published last year.
Some papers by students
The Turan Number And Probabilistic Combinatorics, to be published in the American Mathematical Monthly this year
- Written by Raffles Institution (RI) alumnus Alan Aw, 18, who plans to study mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- He used a mathematical tool called the probabilistic method to prove a classic theorem about the Turan number, which is simpler than the previous known approach.
- Written by RI alumnus Murali Adithyavairavan, 18, and a professor from Nanyang Technological University. The teenager plans to study engineering at Caltech, MIT or Cambridge University.
- The pair re-created the water-repellent properties of lotus leaves on engineered surfaces. Their methods can potentially be used on ships' hulls, vehicle windshields and buildings.
- Written by Hwa Chong Institution alumnus Looi Qin En, 18, who plans to read computer science at Stanford University.
- He created a simple framework for educators to develop relevant teaching tools, such as animations and games.
RI has had five papers written by students published in the last two years, and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) has had five so far. The schools help their students by giving them guidance through mentors - some of whom hold PhDs - and even setting up research facilities on campus.
01-19-2012, 08:02 PM #5605
Wide range of issues discussed at 'strategic partners dialogue'
Singapore, US formalise strategic talks
Published on Jan 20, 2012
WASHINGTON - Senior diplomats from the United States and Singapore met here on Wednesday for their first-ever 'strategic partners dialogue'.
The two countries said in a joint statement that the meeting helped deepen bilateral ties and 'marked a new development in the countries' strategic partnership'.
The Singapore delegation was headed by Mr Bilahari Kausikan, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They met their US counterparts led by Dr Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
01-19-2012, 08:15 PM #5606
Showcase of Portuguese roots
04:46 AM Jan 20, 2012
SINGAPORE - In collaboration with the National Heritage Board, the Eurasian Association is hosting an exhibition to trace the Eurasian community's Portuguese roots which go back half a millennium.
Entitled "Roots of Our Community - The Portuguese in Southeast Asia", the exhibition aims to showcase the key aspects of Eurasian heritage while promoting understanding and appreciation of Eurasian identity and its rich hybrid culture.
Held at the Eurasian Community House on Ceylon Road till March 16, the exhibition will trace the journey of the Portuguese to Asia, explore the origins of the Eurasian community and showcase key aspects of Portuguese influences on Eurasian culture, such as the Catholic religion, cuisine and the Portuguese creole dialect, Kristang.
Photo by DON WONG
Last edited by Loh; 01-19-2012 at 08:18 PM.
01-19-2012, 08:22 PM #5607
New Woodsville Tunnel to open on Jan 28
Updated 03:55 PM Jan 19, 2012
SINGAPORE - The new Woodsville Tunnel will open to traffic at 9am on Saturday, Jan 28.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it has completed the construction of Woodsville Tunnel, which comprises three new road tunnels.
They link Upper Serangoon Road to Bendemeer Road, Serangoon Road to Upper Serangoon Road, and MacPherson Road to Bendemeer Road.
The tunnel's opening will improve overall traffic flow at the heavily-utilised interchange, said LTA. Motorists can now use it as a direct link, bypassing the signalised junction at the surface.
LTA said as a significant amount of traffic will use the new road tunnels, motorists using the signalised junction to travel to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) will also benefit from the improved traffic flow.
The improved traffic flow will save travelling time for motorists, particularly during peak hours.
For example, a motorist travelling from Upper Serangoon Road to Bendemeer Road will have his travel time cut from 10 minutes currently, to four minutes.
The new Woodsville Tunnel is part of the upgrading project for the Woodsville Interchange. Works for the S$130 million upgrading project started in 2008.
Besides construction of the three tunnels, the project includes a 400-metre flyover from Jalan Toa Payoh to Jalan Kolam Ayer leading to Kallang Way and the PIE (Changi), which was opened in July last year. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
01-19-2012, 08:30 PM #5608
Big names set to grace OCBC Cycle Singapore
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:46 AM Jan 20, 2012
SINGAPORE - It is going to be a supercharged sprint to the finish at the 2012 OCBC Cycle Singapore, to be held from March 2 to 4, with some big names expected in the professional criterium event at the F1 Pit Building.
Heading this year's 18-strong team list is newly-formed Australian outfit GreenEDGE which kicked off their 2012 season with victories from cyclists Simon Gerrans and 2011 World Championships winner (U-23 time trial) Luke Durbridge at the Australia Road Race Championships and Time Trial Championships respectively.
Other teams also expected to feature include British side Rapha Condor Sharp, Kelly Benefit Strategies of the United States and Italy's Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, who claimed the top prize last year with racer Omar Bertazzo.
Former OCBC Cycle Singapore champions David Pell and Ben Kersten will also return to battle for podium places.
The Republic will be represented by the OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling team, which was recently granted the Continental Team licence.
"The field continues to strengthen each year, so it is set to be another racing spectacular on the F1 circuit," said Alan Rushton, technical director of the 2012 OCBC Cycle Singapore.
"With so many strong teams battling for the podium places, I expect we could well see another new champion this year but who that will be is anyone's guess."
Touted as Singapore's largest cycling event, the fourth edition of the OCBC Cycle Singapore will feature seven categories - Junior Challenge, 19km Community Ride, 39km Challenge, 61km Super Challenge, Criterium events (men's open, women's open, masters), Mighty Savers Kids Ride, and Tricycle Ride.
Registration for the 2012 OCBC Cycle Singapore ends on Feb 19. Visit www.ocbc.cyclesingapore.com.sg for more information.
Elite cyclists in action at the 2011 OCBC Cycle Singapore at the F1 Pit Building. PHOTO COURTESY SPECTRUM WORLDWIDE
Last edited by Loh; 01-19-2012 at 08:32 PM.
01-19-2012, 08:40 PM #5609
Govt moves urgently to expand aged care services
By Claire Huang | Posted: 20 January 2012 0947 hrs
SINGAPORE: The government is moving with urgency to expand aged care services to cope with an expected surge in demand when the pace of ageing in the population starts to accelerate.
By 2020, it wants to at least double the outreach of home-based healthcare services - from the current 4,000.
Home-based social care will also be beefed up from the existing 2,000 to 7,500.
The Health Ministry will expand the number of day social and rehabilitative care places - from 2,100 to about 6,200.
It'll also increase manpower and resources to Seniors Activity Centres to serve up to 48,000 - from the 18,000 seniors served today.
The government wants to build more Seniors Activity Centres, so that they can reach out to the growing number of vulnerable seniors.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced these plans at a Ministerial Committee on Ageing dialogue session with stakeholders Friday morning.
He said the government has to act now.
This, as the first cohort of Baby Boomers turns 65 years old this year.
By 2020, some 600,000 people will be above the age of 65, and from there, the pace of ageing will start to accelerate.
This means 15 per cent of the population will be above 65 years.
"2020 is less than 10 years away. We must be ready when rapid ageing sets in. Now is the time to gear up and plan ahead - our services, our infrastructure facilities and our capabilities - to better support the evolving needs of our growing population of seniors," said Mr Gan.
On its part, the government will not only plan, but act ahead to prepare for an ageing population.
So the ministry will expand new care services, including stronger transition care post discharge from hospitals, as well as further develop transitional convalescence facilities, to rehabilitate seniors.
Mr Gan also announced plans to ramp up the number of nursing home beds by some 70 per cent, to 15,600.
He said there will also be a stronger push for home palliative care services.
On its part, the Ministerial Committee on Ageing will review aged care financing schemes to make aged care more affordable.
The government is also thinking of developing more aged care facilities like day centres and nursing homes, under a Build-Own-Lease model.
Mr Gan said the ministry will aggregate demand and develop manpower for the sector.
To help raise productivity, he's also prepared to work with stakeholders to study how IT can be maximised.
The Ministerial Committee on Ageing was set up in 2007 to promote active ageing as Singapore's population rapidly ages.
01-19-2012, 08:47 PM #5610
Analysts, MPs share thoughts on political pay debate
By Evelyn Choo | Posted: 19 January 2012 0949 hrs
SINGAPORE: Discussions on political pay didn't stop at Parliament on Wednesday.
Analysts and two members of the House shared their thoughts in a post-debate forum hosted by Channel NewsAsia.
The forum sought to garner reactions to the debate, and addressed concerns moving forward.
Both parliamentarians also agreed that it was time to move on.
Mr Gerald Giam, Non-Constituency MP, said: "I think this whole salary issue is a work-in-progress and it will be revisited in time to come. I think it's also time for us to move on to other important issues."
Mr Inderjit Singh, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: "This is a very important signal to Singaporeans that today we have agreed on a level of salary which encompasses the three principles, and it's something that's going to work for us."
Human resource expert Declan O'Sullivan noted that the government's ability to avoid financial crises is largely attributable to its level of accountability - something he has not seen elsewhere in the world.
Mr Declan O'Sullivan, managing director of Kerry Consulting, said: "I think they're (the Cabinet) being underpaid as it is. Really, genuinely. So in that sense, this huge amount of focus on whether somebody gets three or five months bonus, I think it's energy mis-spent. This country has huge potential challenges facing it."
Political analyst Eugene Tan then concluded that there is a need to engage Singaporeans at the heart, not just the mind.
Assistant Professor Eugene Tan, from the School of Law at the Singapore Management University, said: "I think the debate was important, but there was too much quibbling about the figures and all. I felt, for example, the debate could have focused on what is fair pay. What is it that would be fair for the talent, for the commitment that ministers are paying."
And that's where he hopes public discourse would strive towards.
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