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Thread: Singapore Also Can
02-05-2012, 08:55 PM #5662
PAP founding chairman Toh Chin Chye dies
Ex-DPM Toh Chin Chye succumbs to failing health at age 90
Published on Feb 4, 2012
Dr Toh struggled for Singapore's independence and served as deputy prime minister. But he would later become a critic of the People's Action Party he helped found. -- SPH FILE PHOTO
By Li Xueying, Assistant Political Editor
For much of independent Singapore's history, Dr Toh Chin Chye captured Singaporeans' imagination as a pugnacious fighter - one who struggled for Singapore's independence, manoeuvred against the communists and, later, criticised the People's Action Party (PAP) that he helped found.
On Friday, the old political warrior breathed his last at 9.30am.
The founding chairman of the PAP and former deputy prime minister died at his home in Hillcrest Estate.
He was 90. He is survived by his son-in-law Johnny Ng Kim Kiat, 41, a property developer, and four grandchildren aged four to 15. They live next door to Dr Toh Chin Chye, who lived alone, aided by a maid.
Dr Toh Chin Chye's wife Florence Yeap died in 2004 at the age of 77. Their only child Toh Ai Chu, who was adopted, died three years ago of breast cancer at the age of 41.
It was then that Dr Toh Chin Chye's health started faltering, said those close to him. But he derived comfort from spending time with his grandchildren.
At the wake last night, his eldest grandson Matthew, 15, said that Dr Toh Chin Chye was always concerned about the teenager's studies. 'He would always tell me, 'Stop playing, learn your spelling'.'
Dr Toh Chin Chye's wake is open to the public, who can pay their respects at 23, Greenview Crescent.
In accordance with his wishes, he will have a private funeral. It will be held at Mandai Crematorium next Tuesday. The Government is helping the family with the funeral arrangements.
As a mark of respect to one of Singapore's founding fathers, Dr Toh Chin Chye will be accorded the honour of being borne on the ceremonial gun carriage to the crematorium.
In addition, the state flag on all government buildings will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.
On Friday, Dr Toh Chin Chye's former comrade-in-arms and sometime opponent, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, paid tribute to him - 'a historic figure in our fight for justice and independence'.
In a statement, Singapore's first prime minister wrote: 'I will confine myself to my recollection of him as a man of strong character.
'He was a redoubtable fighter for equality for all peoples, regardless of race, language or religion. He was tenacious in his beliefs. Once his honour is challenged, he was like a bulldog never letting go of the offender.'
Friends and former colleagues turned up in a steady stream at his home on Friday.
Leaders pay tribute to Dr Toh Chin Chye's contributions
There were high-level visitors, including President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and former foreign minister George Yeo.
There were also his loyal grassroots leaders from Rochor, where he was MP for 29 years from 1959 to 1988, when he retired from politics.
Born in Taiping, Malaysia, the son of a bicycle shop owner came to Singapore in 1939 after he was awarded a scholarship to Raffles College.
He later studied physiology in London, where he took over the reins of Malayan independence group Malayan Forum from Dr Goh Keng Swee.
On his return, he pushed for the 'basement crowd' - a group of anti-colonials who gathered at Mr Lee's home basement in Oxley Road - to be registered as a political party.
'Why don't we start a political circle? We can call it the Action Party,' he recounted in an interview for the book Leaders Of Singapore.
Thus the PAP was born, and Dr Toh Chin Chye became its founding chairman.
Tough and politically astute, he fought off its enemies, riding roughshod over leftist trade union activists and keeping a tight rein on the party branches.
According to the book Lee's Lieutenants, Dr Toh Chin Chye's name was even floated as an alternative to Mr Lee as prime minister on two occasions. Mr Lee had offered to resign after the PAP lost the 1961 by-election in Anson and in 1964 after the race riots, but this was rejected by the central executive committee.
But as the PAP consolidated its power, and attention turned to Singapore's development, Dr Toh Chin Chye - who served stints as deputy prime minister, health minister and science and technology minister - found himself sidelined in favour of technocrats.
In 1981, he was dropped from the Cabinet, much to his dismay.
As a backbencher, he clashed with his own party on - among other issues - the pace of its leadership renewal, the Medisave scheme and the elected presidency.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong remembers one of those occasions: The 1985 Budget debate, during which Dr Toh Chin Chye passionately criticised the Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution - then 50 per cent of wages - as a heavy imposition on employers.
PM Lee said in a condolence letter to Mr Ng: 'I had just entered politics, and as a minister of state in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, I stood up and rebutted him vigorously.
'But as it turned out, Dr Toh was right. The economy soon went into a steep recession, and by the end of the year, the Government had concluded the CPF rates were too high and indeed needed to be cut.'
There were other times when Dr Toh Chin Chye's work was less controversial.
President Tan noted that Dr Toh Chin Chye was assigned to helm a committee to design a new flag for Singapore in 1959.
That year, the red-and-white flag replaced the Union Jack, which had flown over Singapore for 140 years since 1819. On Singapore's independence in 1965, it was adopted as Singapore's national flag.
President Tan said: 'He has left lasting contributions to Singapore, and all of us will miss him and the role that he played in the political development and progress of Singapore, to bring Singapore to what it is today.
'Singapore has lost a great man.'
Many Singaporeans stream in to pay their last respects
by Teo Xuanwei
04:45 AM Feb 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - Mr David Phung knew former Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye only from textbooks and the news as a young man, but the 51-year-old foot masseur was determined to pay his last respects to one of Singapore's founding fathers yesterday.
"Even if I have to take a cab by myself, I have to come," said Mr Phung, who is blind and was accompanied by a volunteer.
He added: "(In those days), there was no economy, no army, all nothing, so it was quite hard to start (a country).
"(So) as citizens, we must remember those who have contributed to the country."
Mr Phung was one of many ordinary Singaporeans who streamed in to Dr Toh's Greenview Crescent residence to pay their respects on the third day of the wake.
Another was insurance agent Tan Soo Hiok, 38, who said all she knew about Dr Toh came from her mother.
"My mother was not educated but she told me Dr Toh had done a lot for Singapore," she said.
Mdm Lian Kon Moi, 78, became a grassroots activist in Rochor under Dr Toh 50 years ago. Choking back tears, she told Today: "He (was) a good person ... Whenever we needed help with anything, he would definitely help us."
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who was also at the wake, said in "sad moments" like the passing of another member of the Old Guard, it was important to reflect on the Republic's future.
"(The) important thing is for us to reflect on the values, contributions of their generation of leaders. Because when we do so, then we would know that they have done a lot for us, and the question then is how do we carry on in future?" he said.
Recalling Dr Toh as someone who was never afraid to challenge the Government's position, even against then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Goh said: "He was critical of policies ... but never actively went out to campaign against the party.
"Whatever he said, even if they were critical comments, were actually meant, from his point of view, for the good of the country and the party."
Photo by OOI BOON KEONG
02-05-2012, 09:02 PM #5663
Ex-teachers headhunted ... for S$1,000 a day
by Ng Jing Yng
04:45 AM Feb 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - For the past 18 months, former teachers have been headhunted for a S$1,000-a-day job - plus free air tickets and accommodation - which takes them to places such as the United States, Saudi Arabia and Chile. Their job brief? To school overseas educators on Singapore's education system, including courses on professional development and the teaching of specific subjects such as mathematics.
Such is the premium for the education system here that private companies are also banking on the Singapore education brand to make a mark overseas.
With publishers selling textbooks based on the Singapore curriculum enjoying brisk business overseas, one of them - Marshall Cavendish - has spotted a business opportunity: In September 2010, it set up a professional development arm - the Marshall Cavendish Institute - to hire experienced former Singapore teachers to conduct courses for their counterparts in other countries.
But only a selected few are on the institute's books, its principal Yeap Ban Har, 44, told Today. Currently, the team comprises 20 adjunct lecturers including former teachers, a retired vice-principal and National Institute of Education (NIE) lecturers. The recruitment process is "by invitation rather than application", added Dr Yeap, who is a former maths and science teacher himself.
These adjunct lecturers are assigned to conduct courses both overseas and in Singapore. They are paid S$1,000 daily for projects that can last between a day and more than a week. The number of projects vary from month to month. Overseas projects so far this year included trips to the Philippines, the US, Chile, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.
However, the job, while lucrative, might not be suitable for all former teachers. Apart from frequent travelling, Dr Yeap noted that it involves the teaching of adults, rather than children.
While the business has provided an interesting option for former teachers, Dr Yeap noted that it was unlikely that current teachers would be making a beeline to join his team - notwithstanding the fact that it headhunts potential recruits.
Dr Yeap said: "Teaching is very much a cultural activity and given that the teachers here are well-paid and they have a good working environment, I don't think that it will be case of them leaving their jobs to teach overseas."
While teachers Today spoke to welcomed the prospect of such lucrative overseas stints, some noted the ad hoc nature and the requisite level of experience as potential drawbacks.
NIE director Lee Sing Kong pointed out that the achievements of Singaporean students have been noticed internationally. "There must be something right in the way our teachers are prepared," said Professor Lee.
According to worldwide ranking systems such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Programme for International Student Assessment, Singapore has emerged within the top five countries.
Responding to Today's queries, a Ministry of Education spokesperson noted that the NIE - through its NIE International arm - has provided teacher training and school leaders' development courses to overseas educators.
The South-east Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Regional Language Centre (RELC), which is based here, also conducts courses in the teaching of languages for overseas educators mainly from the region.
The spokesperson added that Singapore's universities, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education also provide "consultancy and transfer of technical knowledge to their overseas counterparts through their respective international arms".
The MOE shares its experience with counterparts from other countries through formal bilateral meetings or study visits made by overseas delegations to Singapore.
"Such information exchanges are mutually beneficial," the MOE spokesperson said. However, the ministry recognises that the "context in each country is different". Which is why it "does not actively help other countries to adapt our practices", the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson reiterated that Singapore is also seeking to continually improve its education system. "In a globalised and fast-changing world, we want our students to better develop critical and inventive thinking skills, information and communication skills, civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills," she said.
The spokesperson added: "While our education system has developed strengths in certain areas over time, the MOE constantly seeks to find ways to improve our education system. Even as other countries look to learn from the areas that we have done well in, we seek to learn from their experiences as well."
Marshall Cavendish Institute Singapore Math Trainers Programme in Chile for 16 educators who work with teachers. PHOTO COURTESY MARSHALL CAVENDISH INSTITUTE
02-05-2012, 09:12 PM #5664
Paddlers Li Jiawei and Zhan Jian qualify for Olympics
Published on Feb 6, 2012
Singapore paddlers Li Jiawei (left) and Zhan Jian (right) have earned their tickets to the London Olympics after smashing their way to victory at the South-east Asian qualification tournament in Bangkok on Sunday. -- ST PHOTOS: LIM WUI LIANG AND NURIA LING
By Terrence Voon
Singapore paddlers Li Jiawei and Zhan Jian have earned their tickets to the London Olympics after smashing their way to victory at the South-east Asian qualification tournament in Bangkok on Sunday.
Li, 30, defeated home favourite Nanthana Komwong 4-1 in the women's final to join compatriots Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu in London, where they will attempt to retain the team silver medal they won in Beijing four years ago.
In the men's final, Zhan cruised to a 4-0 win over Indonesia's Ficky Supit Santoso to earn his first trip to the Olympics. Fellow male paddlers Gao Ning and Yang Zi have already qualified for the quadrennial Games.
'We know that the upcoming London Olympics Games will be much tougher than the one in Beijing,' said Singapore Table Tennis Association chief Lee Bee Wah. 'However, we have great faith in them that they will do their best and I hope that Singaporeans will lend them their support and cheer the team on.'
02-05-2012, 09:14 PM #5665
Stage set for biggest-ever Singapore Airshow
This year's show will take up 25 per cent more space than last one in 2010
Published on Feb 6, 2012
Workers setting up a scale model of an airplane at an exhibitor's booth last Saturday. About 10,000 workers will be involved in setting up the exhibition. -- ST PHOTOS: JOYCE FANG
By Royston Sim
The stage is nearly set for the biggest-ever Singapore Airshow, as preparations for the event move into the final stages.
Exhibitors have moved in to set up their respective booths within the 50,000 sq m exhibition space at the Changi Exhibition Centre.
The show, organised by Experia Events, takes up 25 per cent more space than the previous show held in 2010.
Home-grown defence manufacturer Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering is the biggest exhibitor once again, taking up more than 3,000 sq m of space.
02-05-2012, 09:17 PM #5666
Doctors can now access national e-record system
First batch started using electronic medical data system last month
Published on Feb 6, 2012
By Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent
Doctors have started using the National Electronic Health Records - a system which gives every person just one medical record accessible to all the health-care professionals treating him, whether in a hospital or GP clinic.
The system currently pulls together the medical information of anyone who has ever been a patient at public-sector health-care facilities like hospitals, polyclinics and specialist centres.
It includes details like his medical problems, medications, allergies and results of laboratory tests. The plan is to also mine information from private hospitals and clinics, as well as step-down facilities like nursing homes and community hospitals, to make the electronic records more comprehensive.
The system, once fully implemented - likely to be after 2015 - will mean just one medical record for each patient, no matter if he is treated in a public- or private-sector hospital, clinic, nursing home or even in the army.
02-05-2012, 09:23 PM #5667
Relive a World War II battle at Adam Park
Finds, stories from first battlefield archaeological dig here to go on display
Published on Feb 6, 2012
Volunteers working at the World War II battle site at Adam Park last year. The quiet 8ha site off Bukit Timah Road was where four days of fierce fighting between the British and Japanese troops took place in February 1942, just before the fall of Singapore on Feb 15 that year. -- PHOTO: JON COOPER
By Grace Chua
Bullet by bullet, badge by badge, archaeologists and heritage enthusiasts have spent a year unearthing the secrets of a key World War II battle at Adam Park.
Now, the finds and stories from the first battlefield archaeological dig in Singapore will be on display at an exhibition at the National Library Building from Wednesday.
It will be accompanied by another on works of art by prisoner of war (POW) William Haxworth, who later became Chief Superintendent of Traffic in colonial Singapore's police force. The events are among several to mark the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, on Feb 15.
The quiet 8ha site off Bukit Timah Road was where four days of fierce fighting between British and Japanese troops took place in February 1942, just before the fall of Singapore on Feb 15 that year.
02-05-2012, 09:31 PM #5668
Singapore the right climate for green groups
More global bodies being drawn here by resources, govt support and prospect of generous funding
Published on Feb 6, 2012
WWF Singapore chief executive Elaine Tan at the NGO's office in Tanglin. More green groups are sinking their roots in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
By Grace Chua
A host of international non-governmental organisations, whose work involves the environment, are setting up shop here. More of these NGOs are moving to town, drawn by the space, resources and prospect of generous funding available.
In the coming months, conservation groups BirdLife International and Fauna & Flora International will be opening offices here.
Others, like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International (CI) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have already done so.
But challenges remain, namely raising environmental awareness - and therefore funding - among Singapore residents and Asian companies. Still, one major factor in bringing NGOs here has been government support.
02-05-2012, 09:38 PM #5669
Arts for all, and what it would take
Steering committee unveils recommendations to boost arts, culture
by Neo Chai Chin
04:46 AM Feb 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - The aim is for Singapore to be a nation of cultured and gracious people at home with their heritage by 2025.
And in order to get there, key players from the arts, education and commercial sectors have drawn up a massive blueprint with more than 100 recommendations, some more radical than others, to promote greater participation and to boost capabilities of arts practitioners.
The recommendations of the Arts and Culture Strategic Review (ACSR) were made in a 110-page report, which was made public yesterday.
The report was produced after seven months of public consultation. Among the more significant proposals: The Government play a facilitative rather than a top-down role and that it should relook the organisational structure of arts and cultural agencies at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).
Other recommendations include a call to relax rules and regulations at selected areas to encourage spontaneity - at suitable precincts, there could even be "no censorship zones" - as well as improving the quality of arts and culture programmes at schools.
Said ACSR steering committee chairman Lee Tzu Yang: "While the Government has been spearheading the earlier phases of Singapore's cultural development, the time is ripe for our people, our businesses and our arts and culture community to play a more active role in driving our next phase of growth, from the ground up."
MICA's key agencies - the National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and National Library Board - were formed more than 20 years ago, and Singapore's cultural scene has "grown significantly", the report said. "It is timely to re-examine the efficacy of the roles and structures of these agencies, so as to maximise the impact of our future investment in the sector."
Former Nominated Member of Parliament Audrey Wong, who is a member of the steering committee, said the rationale behind the recommendation was "very simple: The agencies need to be more coordinated and to see where a partnership may work, where there is duplication".
Ms Wong pointed out that an interdisciplinary work involving heritage, literature and film could mean involving the NHB, the NAC and the Media Development Authority for film. And "if you trying to start a project at community level, very often, the experience is that people have to talk to a number of different agencies", she added.
Singapore Management University literature don Kirpal Singh felt there are merits to the current structures. Nevertheless, he cited the recent series of concerts held at the National Museum's Dreams and Reality exhibition of works from Paris' Musee d'Orsay as a "clear way the NHB and NAC can come together to work in new and exciting ways". "I can see wonderful ways in which a merger or fusion of these two broad organisations can actually benefit arts and culture," he added.
On how the Government could become more of a facilitator, Ms Wong said this could mean the Government still funding or showing in-kind support of an arts festival but handing the reins over to a non-Government player.
The transition to a more facilitative role will be exciting but it will not be easy as there would be sensitive areas to be judiciously negotiated - both for the Government and the public themselves, said Dr Singh.
Under the recommendations, the Singapore Conference Hall could become the Nanyang Centre for the Arts to promote Nanyang-style music and culture, while the Singapore Art Museum could be re-invented as a Museum of Contemporary Art.
The report also proposed setting up professional employer organisations that would accept jobs and negotiate contracts for freelancers, as well as a Freelancers' Association in the longer term.
For audiences, the report suggested "Arts Culture 101" programmes to get more people acquainted with, for instance, Peranakan culture, line dancing or poetry. A one-stop portal called ArtsCultureSG could also be set up with consolidated information on arts and culture activities.
Said Mr Lee: "First thing we want to drive forth is arts everyday everywhere for everyone. We cannot achieve that only with world class performances in the central district ... we want people who live in Singapore, wherever they live, to access arts and culture as well."
The report was submitted to MICA last Tuesday. A MICA spokesperson said that it "will consider all of the recommendations contained in the report holistically, and will respond in due time".
The full report can be viewed at www.acsr.sg/download.aspx
02-05-2012, 09:45 PM #5670
Grow the arts from the ground up: Review panel
Published on Feb 6, 2012
A new 'bottom-up' approach to growing the arts, led by artists, corporations and the general public, with the Government playing the role of facilitator. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
By Clarissa Oon, Senior Writer
A new 'bottom-up' approach to growing the arts, led by artists, corporations and the general public, with the Government playing the role of facilitator.
That is what a high-level committee of public- and private-sector individuals, tasked to map the development of the cultural landscape up to 2025, is recommending.
The Arts and Culture Strategic Review, which released its report on Sunday, wants to give Singaporeans of all ages more opportunities to enjoy the arts. This is to debunk the myth that it is an 'elitist' activity, as well as to provide a much broader base of support for arts and culture than currently exists.
Some key recommendations
TO REACH UNTAPPED AUDIENCES:
•An Arts and Culture Day where audiences can go behind the scenes of major arts productions and exhibitions;
•A portal ArtsCultureSG on everything to do with the arts;
•A seamless, downtown arts and lifestyle precinct.
TO SUSTAIN LIFELONG INTEREST:
•Neighbourhood cultural centres to be set up in schools, where hobbyists can rent affordable arts facilities;
•'Cultural concierges' in public libraries as information points on the arts and culture.
DEVELOP CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AND COMPANIES:
•Develop mid-sized performance spaces currently lacking at the Esplanade;
•Reinvent the Singapore Art Museum as a Museum of Contemporary Art for cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary works;
•Scale up funding to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO);
•Develop Singapore Conference Hall - the SCO's home - into a Nanyang Centre for the Arts for South-east Asian music.
SUPPORT ARTS TALENT:
•Boost curricula and profile of Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and look at turning them into full-fledged arts and design universities;
•Explore 'no censorship zones' at designated areas, similar to Speakers' Corner.
BOOST CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS:
•Waive goods and services tax on donations and loans to national museums;
•Establish a Museum of Private Collections for private collectors to show works to the public;
IMPROVE COORDINATION ACROSS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:
•Rethink roles of National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and National Library Board.
It wants to give hobbyists and amateur artists access to better, more affordable facilities in the heartland, improve arts education in schools, and have arts activities in the workplace co-funded by the Government.
02-05-2012, 09:49 PM #5671
1st satellite hockey training centre in Singapore at St Hilda's Secondary
Published on Feb 6, 2012
Dutch hockey star Taeke Taekema teaching the students how to do a drag flick. Mr Taeke Taekema launches the first-ever Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) satellite training centre. -- ST PHOTO: TERRENCE LImBy Sanjay Nair
The Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) launched its first satellite training centre at St. Hilda's Secondary on Sunday.
This is part of the SHF's concerted effort to get more youth involved in the sport and increase the talent pool for its youth development programmes. A further three centres, which are targeted at youngsters between the ages of 8 and 16, are expected to be up and running by the end of this year.
SHF President Annabel Pennefather said: 'We're taking youth development very seriously. Besides scouting for young talent, we want to give opportunities to kids who don't get a chance to play hockey at their schools.'
Dutch star Taeke Taekema, considered the world's best drag flicker, was on hand at St. Hilda's to showcase his skills to a wide-eyed group of 60 students. The 2010 World Cup top scorer is in town this week to coach the Singapore team ahead of the Olympic qualifiers in India, starting on Feb 18.
02-05-2012, 09:54 PM #5672
Heritage society 'disappointed' with Govt's Bukit Brown decision
Published on Feb 6, 2012
The Singapore Heritage Society wants Bukit Brown Cemetery to be fully documented, and its heritage and environment value taken into account, before any road or housing decisions are made, it said in a position paper released late on Saturday night. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
By Grace Chua
THE Singapore Heritage Society wants Bukit Brown Cemetery to be fully documented, and its heritage and environmental value taken into account, before any road or housing decisions are made, it said in a position paper.
It added it was 'deeply disappointed' with the Government's decision to continue with a road through part of the historical burial ground, adding it regretted there was no public consultation before zoning and road-building decisions were made.
The position paper, released on Saturday night, comes after a Facebook post on Friday by Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who described the ongoing work to document some 5,000 of the graves there.
In his post, Mr Tan - who is the Government's de facto point man on Bukit Brown public engagement - said a controversial road through the cemetery would be adjusted to reduce the impact on the graves, based on the documentation exercise.
02-05-2012, 10:03 PM #5673
Asia expected to do better than rest of the world: Ng Eng Hen
By S Ramesh | Posted: 05 February 2012 1037 hrs
(From left) US Senator John McCain, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd.
SINGAPORE: Singapore's Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen said Asia's expected to do better than the rest of the world and will increase in strategic weight.
He made the point during a panel discussion at the 48th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany, held from February 3-5.
The conference is a high-level meeting attended by heads of government, defence and foreign ministers, parliamentarians, military leaders and security experts.
"According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), by 2015, Asia will be comparable in size to the economies of the US and Europe combined. By 2030, Asia with its growing middle class will account for more than 40 per cent of global output, exceeding the size of the G-7 economies combined. Developing Asia alone will account for 43 per cent of world consumption at that time," said Dr Ng.
At the meeting, Dr Ng reiterated the importance of an inclusive security architecture, which he said was needed to accommodate rising aspirations and interests of individual countries in the Asia-Pacific.
He said many countries within Asia are still "young" compared to the European Union and the US, and their states and institutions are still evolving.
So, Dr Ng said it is important that the US and Europe continue this strategic engagement in Asia to build cooperation and constructive partnerships so nations can continue to address pressing global problems together.
The topics discussed during the three-day conference included European security developments, new security parameters such as energy, resources and the environment, the implications of the financial crisis for international security, developments in the Middle East and cybersecurity.
02-05-2012, 10:10 PM #5674
US and China central to stability, progress in Asia: Ng Eng Hen
04:46 AM Feb 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - The relationship between the United States and China is central to continuing stability and progress in Asia, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said at the 48th Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Speaking at a panel discussion on Saturday on "America, Europe and the Rise of Asia", he noted that "for over 60 years, the US has provided the security that underpins the stability and remarkable economic progress that all countries from Asia-Pacific have enjoyed".
With China now becoming the leading trading partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as Australia, Japan and South Korea, how the US and China relate with member states of North-east Asia and ASEAN will affect the regional dynamic, Dr Ng said.
"Former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates says that the US is a resident power in Asia-Pacific and will continue to be so. Going forward, the US-China relationship is central to continuing regional stability and progress in this region," he said.
Dr Ng urged the US and Europe to continue their strategic engagement in Asia - a continent which by 2015 will be comparable in size to the economies of the US and Europe combined, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"Economically, Asia is expected to do better than the rest of the world, and increase in its strategic weight," he said. "It is, therefore, important that the US and Europe continue this strategic engagement in Asia to build cooperation and constructive partnerships so that we can continue to address pressing global problems together."
Dr Ng noted that compared to the European Union and the US, many countries in Asia are relatively "young" as their states and institutions are still evolving because they gained independence only in the second half of the last century.
He reiterated the importance of an inclusive security architecture, which was needed to accommodate rising aspirations and interests of individual countries in the Asia-Pacific.
The high-level conference, held on Feb 3-5, was attended by heads of government, defence and foreign ministers, parliamentarians, military leaders and security experts.
02-05-2012, 10:22 PM #5675
S'pore, US to collaborate in education sector
By S Ramesh | Posted: 05 February 2012 1138 hrs
Mr Heng Swee Keat (TODAY/FILE)
SINGAPORE: Singapore and the United States will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration in the education sector.
This will be done during Education Minister Heng Swee Keat's visit to Washington DC on Monday.
The signing ceremony will take place during his meeting with US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
Singapore's Education Ministry said the agreement will build on the first US-Singapore MOU on education signed in 2002.
It will extend the scope of collaborations between the two countries.
While in Washington, Mr Heng will hold meetings with Mr Duncan and Special Advisor to the President on Education, Roberto Rodriguez.
He will also attend the Singapore Conference (on February 8), organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies where he will deliver the keynote address during the education segment.
02-05-2012, 10:32 PM #5676
Dr Toh made "great contributions" to S'pore: Lee Kuan Yew
By S Ramesh / Claire Huang | Posted: 03 February 2012 1932 hrs
SINGAPORE: Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has described the death of Dr Toh Chin Chye as the passing of an old guard.
In his condolence letter, Mr Lee said Dr Toh had made great contributions to Singapore.
He said both he and Dr Toh were comrades for many years, from their student days at the Malayan Forum in London in 1950, till Dr Toh's retirement in 1981.
Describing Dr Toh as a man of strong character, Mr Lee said he was a redoubtable fighter for equality for all peoples, regardless of race, language or religion.
Brought up in Taiping, Malaysia, he was determined that there should be no discrimination against anyone because of his or her race.
Dr Toh was also tenacious in his beliefs. Mr Lee highlighted that once his honour was challenged, Dr Toh was like a bulldog, never letting go of the offender.
With his passing, Mr Lee said Singapore has lost a historic figure in the country's fight for justice and independence.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who remembers his first meeting with Dr Toh in 1976 during the former's selection interview, said Dr Toh had some reservations about the way the People's Action Party (PAP) carried out its political self-renewal.
He felt the party should recruit candidates from its branches, instead of parachuting technocrats into government positions.
Mr Goh believed Dr Toh was more against the pace of appointing newly-elected technocrats without political experience into ministerial positions than the principle of self-renewal itself.
Today, besides identifying candidates from the public and private sectors, the PAP makes it a point to actively recruit candidates from its branches.
Mr Goh said: "I respected Dr Toh Chin Chye as a key member of a small group of founding fathers of independent Singapore. We refer to this group as the Old Guard.
"His historical contribution as the PAP's founder chairman and his leadership of the party for 27 years, during a trying period when the party had to battle enemies within and outside its ranks, is well-acknowledged."
Mr Goh stressed that Dr Toh gave the best years of his life to Singapore, serving in several Cabinet positions and as deputy prime minister.
He retired from active politics in 1988 and has been out of the limelight for more than two decades.
Mr Goh said he still saw Dr Toh from time to time at dinner functions and made it a point to keep track of his well-being.
Robin Lim, a former grassroots leader in Rochor, described Dr Toh as "very direct and straightforward".
He said: "Dr Toh is very much a very direct and straightforward person. He does not take nonsense. In spite of that, he's very willing to correct you.
"He'll correct you if you're deviating from the point. When he listens to you, he will know that you're going out of the point so he would always bring you back to the question he was asking you.
"Sometimes the way he does it, he will get irritated and he will sometimes lose his temper. But we understand that because he has such a sharp and analytical mind that sometimes he can see that you're talking nonsense, which sometimes we agree."
Dr Toh retired from politics in 1988. A year later, the Rochor Citizens Consultative Committee set up the Toh Chin Chye Benevolent Fund for the Aged, in appreciation of his 29 years of service as its MP.
John Teo, chairman of the Toh Chin Chye Benevolent Fund for the Aged, said: "The late Dr Toh had a special interest in elderly residents in the constituency. Over the years, we have continued with many programmes, initiatives targeted at this special group and we have been doing this even till today."
Tay Kerk Khong, a grassroots leader in the Kampong Glam division, said: "I was born in the Rochor area and in 1982, when we were told to volunteer as an RC member to set up the Rochor Centre Resident Committee, we come forward to volunteer.
"Our main aim at that time was to give the feedback on government policies from the ground and also to help facilitate the link between the government and residents...
"Dr Toh is very caring to our residents and he has set up a Rochor Kongsi in Rochor Centre to take care of the sick and old residents who need help and need medical care."
02-06-2012, 08:55 PM #5677
'He hoped to excite and educate young Singaporeans about politics'
Published on Feb 7, 2012
By Lam Peng Er
I was a trainee bank officer at the Rochor branch of DBS Bank when I fortuitously met Dr Toh Chin Chye at his constituency's National Day dinner in August 1984.
Shortly after, he invited me to his weekly Sunday forum of activists (both young and old) on geopolitics, history and public policy. It was held at the Prinsep Street community centre of his Rochor constituency, where he was the MP until 1988.
In his last seven years as an MP, Dr Toh had embraced the gadfly role of a backbencher who scrutinises and criticises legislation which he deems to be poorly formulated.
At his informal forum, he adopted a Socratic style of dialogue, questioning and challenging the participants' assumptions of history, politics and public policy.
He struck me as an old warhorse - very sharp, analytical, bold, candid, passionate and feisty. Through these discussions, he hoped to interest, excite and educate young Singaporeans about politics.
These dialogues provided insights that were invaluable when I later edited, with constitutional lawyer Kevin Tan, the book Lee's Lieutenants: Singapore's Old Guard, published in 1999.
It was evident at the Sunday forums that Dr Toh was concerned that most Singaporeans had become politically apathetic, which would not be healthy for Singapore's development, nation-building and democracy.
But at the same time, he was very aware that Singapore in the 1980s was very different from the turbulent 1950s and 1960s.
The country had weathered political and economic storms, enjoyed political stability and affluence, and its key institutions were firmly in place.
Therefore, he felt, the Government should accommodate a more educated and pluralistic citizenry with greater political participation.
I recall Dr Toh was most delighted at one Sunday session in 1985, when he read in the local newspapers that I, with a few young activists from Rochor, had questioned then-PAP chairman and Second Deputy Prime Minister Ong Teng Cheong on the logic of the Elected President. Dr Toh complimented us: 'You have iron and not butterflies in your stomachs.'
As a People's Action Party backbencher from 1984-88, he foresaw the silver tsunami that now confronts Singapore. True to his Fabian socialist roots, he argued that the state should provide greater financial subsidies for the health care of its citizens.
He also had the faith and conviction that affluent and stable Singapore could become more democratic underpinned by social justice and equality.
It remains to be seen whether Dr Toh's vision will become a reality.
Dr Lam Peng Er, 52, is a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. He was in the committee that managed the community centre in Dr Toh's Rochor constituency
02-06-2012, 09:10 PM #5678
NUS, national flag Dr Toh Chin Chye's most notable legacies
His fighting spirit and straight talk won him admirers and critics
Published on Feb 4, 2012
Having muscled his way - and his party's - to famous victories at the polls, Dr Toh Chin Chye would take every ounce of the relentless fighter in him into his government roles.
His career as a Cabinet minister spanned more than two decades - including nine years as Deputy Prime Minister - with many lasting legacies, the most notable of which are the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Kent Ridge campus and the Singapore flag.
He is remembered as a minister who preferred to call a spade a spade than to repeat crowd-pleasing platitudes - a quality that would attract as many admirers as critics. But he never allowed the naysayers to distract him from the task at hand, and would face them down if he had to.
The 'Iron Chancellor', as he was known during his time overseeing the University of Singapore, once told students who disagreed with him that one who was given power had to 'have the will to to assume the responsibilities which go with power' - a personal motto that seems to have characterised his tenure in all the positions he held.
From 1959 to 1968, he was Deputy Prime Minister, performing the role of Acting Prime Minister when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was overseas.
He was also asked to head efforts to design a new flag for the fledgling nation. He studied closely the flags of other states before opting for something distinctive. 'I didn't want any conflict, I wanted a clear-cut Singapore flag, unique to us only,' he later explained.
Within two months, he settled on five stars, which stood for democracy, peace, progress, equality and justice, and a crescent, which symbolised the emergence of a new nation.
'This flag has become an enduring symbol of the spirit and unity of all Singaporeans,' noted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his condolence letter on Friday.
In the three years after separation with Malaysia in 1965, Dr Toh Chin Chye focused his energies on diplomacy, as the new Republic needed to win recognition and support from other states.
He led the Singapore delegation to New York in September 1965 to apply for entry to the United Nations, winning unanimous approval from the UN General Assembly. This would be the first of many overseas trips to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, where he strove to win friends for the country.
In 1968, he relinquished the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Lee Kuan Yew later recalled in the book Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going that he made the change because of Dr Toh Chin Chye's nervous handling of a racial riot in 1964 as Acting Prime Minister.
He was appointed Minister for Science and Technology and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Singapore.
But for the doctorate holder who originally intended to enter academia, not politics, it was far from a return to the peace and quiet of campus life.
Instead, he fought some of the hardest battles in his government career over the next seven years.
Against staunch opposition from some activist students and lecturers in a politically charged university atmosphere, he pushed through changes he believed in, including university fee hikes and the merging of the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences.
He also came under fire for his emphasis on a university geared towards nation-building and one that therefore produced degrees and research relevant to economic development.
He is best remembered for gathering the university - previously scattered in four locations - into one campus at Kent Ridge and establishing the faculties of engineering and architecture and the National University Hospital.
In its tribute to him on Friday, NUS, which succeeded the University of Singapore, said he laid a 'strong foundation' for the university and contributed to the transformation of higher education in Singapore.
For two weeks in 1975, Dr Toh Chin Chye was appointed Education and Health Minister, but he later asked to relinquish the Education portfolio when Mr Lee wanted to appoint a Senior Minister of State to assist him. 'Either I am in charge or I am not,' he reportedly told Mr Lee.
It was one of a number of disagreements between the two that would eventually culminate in his retirement from the Cabinet after he disagreed with the pace of Cabinet self-renewal.
As Health Minister, he oversaw the strengthening of specialist care in government hospitals and often showed special concern for the elderly and the poor in coping with medical bills.
'He was always thinking of the welfare of the down and out. If there was a limitation in terms of provision, his tendency was to share more with those who were poor,' said Dr Andrew Chew, who served as Dr Toh Chin Chye's permanent secretary.
But he also drew flak from some quarters for defending the policy of limiting female medical students at NUS and for advocating that the mentally ill should not have children.
In Hard Truths, Mr Lee singled him out as the Cabinet minister who 'challenged me ideologically'.
Said former PAP MP Chin Harn Tong: 'Dr Toh spoke up because he was a man of conviction, but also because he was not beholden to anybody. He was in the party from the start, with everyone else.'
Additional reporting by Phua Mei Pin
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