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Thread: Singapore Also Can
04-10-2012, 03:53 AM #5934
New secondary school to offer students ITE certification
by Sumita Sreedharan
Updated 01:25 PM Apr 10, 2012
SINGAPORE - Students who enrol at the new specialised Normal Technical school will leave with not just an GCE N(T) level certificate but an ITE Skills Certification as well.
The school will offer students taster modules of ITE courses in lower secondary. Upper secondary students will then specialise in one of four areas, facilities services, mechanical servicing, retail services or hospitality services, to receive their ISC.
The new school, Crest Secondary School, will begin operation next year with an intake of 200 students. Places at the school will increase in subseqeunt years to accomodate students who may wish to transfer from mainstream schools.
The four year curriculum will include N(T) English and Mathematics and will have a focus on Ctizenship and Character Education.
04-10-2012, 11:44 PM #5935
National Skin Centre patients can access records online
National Skin Centre's new portal cuts need for visits over minor ailments
Published on Apr 11, 2012
Ms Lee (above), one of the first to use the portal, says the feature enabling patients to interact directly with their doctors is the most useful function for her. Mr Chan, from the National Skin Centre which helped to develop the system, says patients' details are kept secure with features such as data encryption and multiple firewalls. -- PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO
By Poon Chian Hui
Patients at the National Skin Centre can now access their medical records and view treatment details without having to leave their homes.
A new Web portal, which the centre launched on Tuesday, will also allow them to direct questions to their doctors about their condition and medication.
This will cut the need for extra appointments to address non-urgent concerns, said consultant dermatologist Steven Thng, who led the project.
He said some patients take time off work to visit the centre just to ask a few questions.
04-11-2012, 12:06 AM #5936
Ideas from youths lead to 'win-win' situation
by Amanda Lee
04:45 AM Apr 11, 2012
SINGAPORE - Public transport commuters behaviour, prices of cars and safety of fellow road users. These were some of the topics raised by a new community of youth leaders during a dialogue session on land transport with Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing last night.
The group, INSPIRIT, comprises 120 young working adults aged between 28 and 35, who are nominated by their employers or organisations. They will advocate for youth interest on national and community issues and champion youth causes. Eighty of them took part in last night's discussions, which were set in an SMRT train in Bishan Depot.
Mr Chan, who is also chairman of the National Youth Council, said such dialogues would be organised about once every two months, in partnership with corporate organisations. When good ideas surface from the group, they will be passed on to the relevant ministry.
"At the end of the day, it's a win-win situation for everyone, even if we have no idea that can immediately fix all the problems we face today," said Mr Chan. "The fact that we can all walk away with a common language of the common understanding of our challenges, I think that's invaluable."
Addressing the participants' concerns on land transport, Mr Chan stressed that the challenges faced in the transport system would "take time to solve in the long term".
In addressing the short-term challenges facing land transport, Mr Chan felt "is not just buying more buses or buying more hardware". Instead, these efforts need to be complemented by demand management measures, as well as cultural and societal changes.
He added that it is only with "this holistic perspective, that we can have a more holistic solution, a comprehensive solution to our transport challenges".
Launch of community of youth leaders, in partnership with SNEF President Stephen Lee, NYC Chairman Chan Chun Sing engages young leaders in discussion on land transport at SMRT Bishan Depot on 10 April 2012. Its NYC's fresh new directions in developing a vibrant youth sector & nurturing youth leaders. Also announced the formation of a community of young leaders, between 28 & 35 years old, to push for youth interests on national & community issues & champion youth causes. Photo by ERNEST CHUA
04-11-2012, 12:10 AM #5937
ArtScience Museum marks 100 years since Titanic's maiden voyage
Updated 10:14 PM Apr 10, 2012
SINGAPORE - It has been exactly 100 years since the Titanic made its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to America.
To mark the occasion, Singapore's ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands lit exactly 2,228 "Kong Ming" or sky lanterns.
That is the total number of passengers the ship carried in its first voyage.
The lanterns were originally used in China for signalling, but they now carry the wishes of visitors to the Titanic exhibition, currently on at the museum.
Visitors were invited to pen their wishes since April 1.
Over 11,000 visited Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum during the three-day Easter weekend.
Throughout the month of April, visitors can also enjoy Titanic-themed fringe activities such as Irish dances, caricatures, paper cutting portraits, interactive dance performances and a choral concert by PsalmiDeo Chorale.
Visitors can also dress up in Edwardian-themed costumes and have their photos taken at the Grand Staircase. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
The ArtScience Museum. Photo by ERNEST CHUA
04-11-2012, 12:17 AM #5938
Medals galore for Hwa Chong athletes
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Apr 11, 2012
SINGAPORE - Rain and lightning proved to be the biggest hurdle at the 53rd National Inter-School Track and Field Championships at Choa Chu Kang yesterday, with the final event day plagued by two lightning-induced delays that saw the meet finishing under floodlights at 9.30pm.
But there was no stopping athletics giant Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) from claiming a clean sweep of the Boys 'A', 'B', and 'C' Division titles in a repeat of their feat from last year. It was also the eighth time that HCI's track and field athletes had won all three Division championship trophies since 1988.
Topping the medal tally for HCI was sprinter Donovan Chan, who won three gold (Boys 'A' Division 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) and one silver in the 4x400m relay. But the blue riband 100m event proved to be the race of the day for the 17-year-old, who blitzed the field in 10.70sec to break the 11-year record set by Poh Seng Song in 2001 (10.80sec).
Team-mate Tan Zong Yang finished second in 10.92sec, while Raffles Institution's Ezra Toh was third in 11.14sec.
Said 2010 Youth Olympic Games representative Donovan: "I feel good about the win and was really satisfied with my time. and I think I could have gone faster if not for the bad weather and delays."
Middle distance runner Zachary Devaraj of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was also unbeatable on the track yesterday, winning his second gold medal of the season in the Boys 'A' Division 1,500m final to take his six-year medal tally to 11 gold in the 800m and 1,500m.
Singapore Sports School's Eugenia Tan was the championships' most bemedalled athlete yesterday, sweeping four gold medals in the Girls 'B' Divison 100m , 200m, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay and setting two championship records along the way in the 100m (12.39sec) and 200m (25.64sec).
Weather delays could be soon be a thing of the past for the meet, with a proposal to host the annual schools championships at the S$1.33billion Sports Hub's 55,000-capacity National Stadium - which will be fitted with a retractable roof - when it is completed in April 2014.
Speaking to Today on the sidelines of the schools meet yesterday, Singapore Athletic Association president Tang Weng Fei said: "I think it's a very good idea if we do it at the Sports Hub in 2014.
"It will be an excellent opening event for the Sports Hub ... other than football, I don't think any local event is bigger than this."
Donovan blitzed the 100m field in 10.70s to clinch gold. Photo by OOI BOON KEONG
04-11-2012, 11:17 PM #5939
School Sports: Good old times at the Padang
TODAY senior reporter Tan Yo-Hinn remembers what it felt like to troop down to the rugby battlefield
by Tan Yo-Hinn
Updated 11:26 PM Mar 23, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Padang will always remind me of the many National Schools Rugby Championship finals my alma mater, Saint Andrew's School, had, mostly with traditional rivals Raffles Institution.
On such occasions, school would finish early so we could make our way to the Padang, where we usually occupied the section in front of the City Hall steps.
I don't recall any spectator stands, food and beverage stalls, portable toilets found at most sports events today.
But the cacophonous atmosphere generated by about 2,000 students - roughly half from each school and pressed against the touchline - was enough to forget the heat and humidity, and send adrenaline levels racing.
For internal sports activities, we were grouped according to our school's Houses - Gomes, Hose, Loy Fatt, Romanis or Venn - and sometimes, it got pretty intense.
But on the occasion of a National Schools Rugby Championship final such as the Goh Keng Swee Challenge Shield - the national under-14 title - all that was put aside in a common display of unity through the school's rugby team.
Some with enough "cojones" would venture deep into enemy territory and wave their own school flags in front of the other school. It's like Wayne Rooney celebrating in front of the Kop.
If we won, the team would be feted like mini-celebrities, and a feel-good atmosphere permeated throughout the school grounds.
Earlier this year, I was at Saint Andrew's Village, where we were playing Raffles Institution again, this time for the Kiwi Cup, which we won 8-7.
Physically, the place changed so much from when I was a student almost 20 years ago. The current cohort talk about the iPhone, iPad and iPod, compared to the video cassette recorder, cassette tape and Walkman generation of mine.
Yet, former students, many in their office clothes, still turned up and showed that same passion and intensity when cheering on the school rugby team. It was as if nothing had changed.
(It is good to note that TODAY is encouraging students to report on school sports as seen in today's column:
Other School Sports headlines
Other School Sports headlines
- School Sports: Table tennis delivers the thrills
- School Sports: SJI bolts to 4x400m victory
- School Sports: Medals galore for Hwa Chong athletes
- School Sports: Singapore Sports School above par
- School Sports: The Saints triumph!
- School Sports: The battle for gold
- School Sports: Victory for the Victorians
- School Sports: A Rafflesian victory to savour
- School Sports: Hwa Chong judokas reign on the mat
- School Sports: St Andrew's have the gold medal in their sights
- School Sports: Underdogs Raffles Defeat Powerhouse ACS(I)
- School Sports: Ten questions with rugby captain Samuel Koh
- School Sports: ACS(I) crowned waterpolo champions again
- School Sports: Something old, something new
- School Sports: Victoria School's aiming for the top
Last edited by Loh; 04-11-2012 at 11:23 PM.
04-11-2012, 11:34 PM #5940
Healthcare subsidies for PRs to be revised
by Tan Weizhen
04:45 AM Apr 12, 2012
SINGAPORE - Come April next year, most permanent residents will only get half the healthcare subsidies that citizens receive, announced the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday, as the Government continues to sharpen the distinction between citizens and PRs.
The Government had earlier indicated that subsidy rates for PRs would be adjusted when it announced enhancements to healthcare subsidies during the Budget debate last month. Yesterday's announcement comes two weeks after the Ministry of Education gave citizens absolute priority over PRs in Primary 1 registration.
The changes will apply to inpatient services, day surgery and specialist outpatient clinics in the public hospitals, as well as intermediate and long-term care services.
To mitigate the impact on PRs, the changes in the public hospitals will be implemented in two phases - in October this year and April next year. By April 2013, PRs will see their subsidy levels at the public hospitals and national centres drop by between 5 percentage points and 19.5 percentage points, depending on income level.
For instance, a patient in the Class C ward, earning a monthly average income of between S$3,201 and S$3,350, will get a 39.5-per-cent subsidy next year, down from the current 59 per cent. In comparision, a citizen gets a 79-per-cent subsidy.
Adjustments for the intermediate and long-term care sector will be implemented in the third quarter this year. PRs will get a subsidy of up to 55 per cent, while citizens will get up to 80 per cent.
"For lower-income PRs, some of whom may be members of citizen households, the Ministry is mindful of the impact of the subsidy adjustments on their bills," said the MOH. It has moderated the adjustments to the subsidy framework for this group.
PRs told Today they were disappointed but understood the Government's actions.
Marketing manager Irene, who goes by only one legal name, said: "There is indeed some level of disappointment as I've been PR for many years, paying the same taxes as Singaporeans. As a PR, I haven't been contributing any less than Singaporeans. However, I still feel it is a good move as there must be a difference between citizens and PRs, or people will become unhappy," said the 32-year old.
IT consultant Calvin Boo, 42, felt the Government is reacting to citizens' unhappiness.
"It may hurt the PRs who may be your average earners. If the hospital bill size is large, a 20-percentage-point cut can mean a lot," he added.
Members of Parliament said more help should be given to low-income PRs.
Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency) suggested hospitals look at helping this group on a case-by-case basis, while MP Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC) called for more social safety nets for PRs.
Both, however, agreed that the changes to create a sharper distinction between citizens and PRs are necessary.
Dr Fatimah said: "If it's too minor and just a token difference, then it makes no sense. Such differentiation is common all over the world, so we are not unique."
"It is not being anti-PR, but why should anyone be a citizen if he doesn't get much more perks? It is not being punitive, but rather a nudge in a certain direction, and to remind PRs if they apply for citizenship, they get quite a bit more," said Dr Chia.
Subsidy level for PRs at Public Hospitals and National Centres
04-12-2012, 12:19 AM #5941
Cheer for NTU student leaders as alumni raise funds for development
by Woo Sian Boon
04:45 AM Apr 12, 2012
Singapore - Student leaders at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have received a boost as a group of NTU alumni are now raising funds to aid their development.
The pioneer batch of NTU's engineering graduates have set a target of S$500,000 for the fund, which will provide financial support for the development of NTU student leaders with a specific emphasis on engineering graduates.
The NTU Student Leadership fund can be used, for instance, to send student leaders to leadership development programmes and finance community projects initiated by these students.
The class of '85 have raised about S$250,000 so far and have approached companies and individuals for donations. If they reach, or exceed, the S$500,000 target, they will receive a matching grant from the Government.
"We want to help in the development of student leaders, with a focus on engineering students, as, with the rigours of their education, they usually go on to become leaders in their industry," said NTU Alumni Club President Mr R Sinnakaruppan.
This announcement was made yesterday at a media preview of a book co-published by the NTU Alumni Club and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Titled One Degree Many Choices, it chronicles the achievements of pioneer graduates in various industries and aims to inspire the younger generation to study engineering.
Royalties from the book, which will be launched on May 2, will go into organising activities to promote engineering studies in Singapore.
Some 10,000 copies of the book have been printed. It can be found in Kinokuniya and Times bookstores.
According to NTU, its alumni give between S$2 million and S$2.5 million each year. NTU has also previously received gifts of S$1 million and more from individual alumni. These went towards scholarships and bursaries.
04-12-2012, 12:23 AM #5942
New NTU training course for Chinese officials
Updated 10:28 PM Apr 11, 2012
SINGAPORE - Thirty-five high-ranking government officials from China will undergo a new training course - called the Mayors' Programme by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - next month.
The announcement came as the university celebrated its 20th anniversary of training senior Chinese officials at a gala dinner today evening.
The short-term course will focus on the themes of social management, urban management and economic restructuring.
NTU has groomed more than 12,000 officials from almost all provinces in China, under its current executive and postgraduate programmes.
Guest-of-Honour, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, showed his support, saying the programmes are effective platforms for the two countries to learn from each other.
NTU has access to past and present leaders to share their best practices in public administration.
They included former transport minister, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, and former defence minister, Dr Yeo Ning Hong.
Mr Heng said: "Not all of Singapore's development experience will be applicable to China but perhaps our story can stimulate further ideas that would be relevant to you; and given the fast pace of development in China, Singaporeans and local academics can also learn a great deal from their interactions with the participants in the Mayors' Class." CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat
04-12-2012, 12:31 AM #5943
Wage revamp could be risky for S'pore: Experts
09:36 PM Apr 11, 2012
SINGAPORE - Some recruitment experts have said the proposed wage shake-up by Professor Lim Chong Yah earlier this week could blunt Singapore's competitiveness, if implemented.
Professor Lim, who had chaired the National Wages Council between the 1970s to 2001, said there is a need to restructure wages to address the issue of growing income inequality in Singapore.
Among his suggestions are to progressively raise the pay of those earning below S$1,500 a month by 50 per cent over the next three years, and freezing the pay of those earning S$15,000 or more a month for the same number of years.
Experts said these ideas bear good intentions but they are also risky.
Mr Tim Hird, managing director (Asia) at Robert Half International, said: "The country's ability to attract, retain and compensate its top individuals is going to be very important, and the primary reason for that is we do not want that talent leaving Singapore, going overseas to other countries. I think it is a lot harder practically to implement."
Mr Ernest Kan, president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore, said: "As a result, you may have no choice but to move one or two persons below him to that S$15,000 category because that talent has left. By doing so, if the person is not ready, then that will affect productivity, because if he is not ready, it will take time to learn to do that job." CHANNEL NEWSASIA
04-12-2012, 09:54 PM #5944
Singapore curator to work with Guggenheim Museum New York
Published on Apr 12, 2012
The exterior of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Curator June Yap, 38, has been appointed to scout the region to acquire artworks for the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which is planning to stage a wide-ranging exhibition featuring art from South and South-east Asia. -- PHOTO: Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, NY
By Corrie Tan
The iconic Guggenheim Museum in New York is going to stage a wide-ranging exhibition of Asian art, and has appointed a Singaporean to scout the region to acquire artworks in a new initiative involving tens of millions of dollars in funding.
Curator June Yap, 38, will take part in a two-year residency in New York, where she will help to curate the exhibition, featuring art from South and South-east Asia.
The move is a landmark one as it gives a new direction to the Guggenheim's western-centric collection, with Ms Yap travelling to various parts of Asia to acquire artworks.
At the moment, the Guggenheim's New York collection boasts more than 6,800 artworks, but only 12 are from South and South-east Asia. None are from Singapore.
04-12-2012, 10:12 PM #5945
Singapore economy registers modest growth in Q1 2012
Published on Apr 13, 2012
The central bank has raised its inflation forecast for the year citing a stronger economy and rising cost pressures. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAO BIN
By Aaron Low
The central bank has raised its inflation forecast for the year citing a stronger economy and rising cost pressures.
It said that it now expects inflation to range between and 3.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent, much higher than the earlier forecast of between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent.
The economy quicked to a strong 9.9 per cent growth in the first three months of the year, compared to the last three months of 2011, noted the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
On a year-on-year basis, the economy grew by 1.6 per cent, compared to 3.6 per cent in the previous quarter
04-12-2012, 10:28 PM #5946
'Be mindful' of wage increase without increase in productivity
by Olivia Siong
04:45 AM Apr 13, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Republic must be careful about raising wages without a corresponding increase in productivity, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a community event, Mr Lee was responding to economics professor Lim Chong Yah's recent proposals on wage restructuring.
Prof Lim, who had chaired the National Wages Council between the 1970s to 2001, had said a wage revamp is needed to address the issue of growing income inequality.
His proposals included progressively raising the pay of low income workers and freezing the wages of top earners.
Prof Lim suggested that those earning below S$1,500 a month should have their pay increased by 50 per cent over the next three years, while those earning S$15,000 or more a month should have wages frozen for the same period.
But Mr Lee said: "In a free market system, for it to work well, we have to be very mindful of the interventions we introduce and if you artificially raise it too much ... there are consequences and some of these consequences are not what you want to see."
"Prof Lim's proposal, if I understand him correctly ... is a very drastic way of raising the wages without corresponding increase in productivity and that will have a wide impact on the economy," he added.
04-12-2012, 10:35 PM #5947
This kit lets you grow your greens in a small space
by Olivia Siong
04:45 AM Apr 13, 2012
SINGAPORE - Singaporeans now have more ways to grow their own vegetables within a small space, with the introduction of a new vegetable home-growing kit yesterday.
All that is needed are some water pipes, soil and seedlings.
Known as the "Veggie Pipe". this DIY vertical system developed by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) is assembled by connecting PVC pipes. It can be mounted onto walls or other structural supports.
The pipe, which holds the planting pot, is tilted at 45° so that the plants receive sufficient sunlight. A drip irrigation system can also be installed.
According to the AVA, the water pipes cost about S$5 to S$7, and the seedlings about four cents each.
Some of the vegetables that can be grown include mint, basil and Chinese cabbages.
AVA assistant director of the horticulture technology division Poh Bee Ling said: "We are looking at systems for growing (vegetables) in confined spaces, so if you look at it, this is stackable. So we can plant vertically, and it uses a smaller space to grow your vegetables."
This is part of a move to encourage more Singaporeans to grow vegetables at home, and also part of Minister of State (National Development and Trade and Industry) Lee Yi Shyan's "Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living" initiative.
Since February, Mr Lee has experimented with growing vegetables at home. This system was also piloted at the Urban Redevelopment Authority's rooftop community garden in February.
The AVA and National Parks Board (NParks) will educate residents' committees on how to grow certain plants in their own gardens, said Mr Lee.
Information on how to grow vegetables at home will also be made available on the AVA and NParks website. Other commercial solutions will be introduced later on, he added.
Commercially available vegetable home-growing kits include the Minigarden and the Planter-Cell Wall.
A guide on how to set up the "Veggie Pipe" will be available from today on the AVA's website and Facebook page.
Mr Lee Yi Shyan with the AVA's 'Veggie Pipe'. PHOTO COURTESY AVA
04-12-2012, 10:48 PM #5948
The Yale-NUS controversy in perspective
by Michael Montesano
04:45 AM Apr 13, 2012
There has been understandable concern here in Singapore over the tone and content of last week's Yale College faculty resolution on the proposed Yale-NUS liberal arts college.
Many Singaporeans found that resolution condescending and even insulting to Singapore. They wondered, too, how well the Yale faculty who voted to support the resolution really understood this country and the texture of its daily life, including the life of its universities.
In fact, the resolution and the vote in its support say far more about Yale than they do about Singapore. They reflect the approach that Yale's current leadership has taken to the university's partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS).
They represent the Yale faculty's uneasiness with that approach and its recourse to the only means available to make that uneasiness plain. The resolution was, that is, a clear vote of no confidence in Yale's leadership, rather than a vote of no confidence in Singapore.
Simply put, when Yale's current leadership entered into its agreement to help establish a wholly Singapore-funded college in partnership with NUS, it may have promised more than it could deliver.
Need to build support
Yale's leadership entered into an arrangement with the Government of Singapore and into a partnership with NUS without adequately considering the need to build support for its Singapore adventure among stakeholders at Yale. This has proved a grave mistake.
Knowing very little about Singapore and choosing to expose only very few members of the Yale faculty to very short visits to this country, Yale's leadership and its allies on campus made no serious effort to articulate either Yale's or Singapore's rationale for establishing a liberal arts college here.
They did not explain the Singapore Government's vision of the education sector as a crucial part of its economy of the future and its hope that Yale would join other institutions in advancing that sector. They were not candid about the full implications of Yale's proposed partnership with NUS.
Yale's leadership also adopted a defensive and even smug tone when asked to explain those implications to stakeholders at Yale.
These choices on the part of Yale's leadership meant that it forfeited much of its credibility with those stakeholders.
When, in appointing Yale-affiliated members of the governing board of the proposed liberal arts college, that leadership failed to select any Singaporean or South-east Asian alumni of Yale, it missed an important opportunity to regain credibility.
Those alumni, who include one of the Singaporeans who originally proposed creating a liberal arts college in Singapore as long ago as 2004, could have helped Yale's leadership convincingly explain the venture to stakeholders at Yale. They could also have helped oversee the new college to ensure its academic integrity in a context unfamiliar to those stake-holders.
CRISIS OF GOVERNANCE
Yale's leadership has every formal right to enter into its partnership with NUS. But in disregarding the need to bring other interested parties at Yale along, it has nevertheless pitched the university into a deep crisis of governance and imperilled Yale's ability to be a reliable partner for Singapore over the long run.
In the weeks ahead, as media attention to these errors leads Yale alumni to understand the magnitude of the commitments to Singapore that the university has made with so little explanation, this crisis may well grow even more serious.
Already, some Yale alumni are sharing with one another the thought that his mishandling of the NUS tie-up should cost Yale's president his job. This outcome would only further undercut Yale's ability to serve as a reliable partner for Singapore.
The heavy seas that the proposed Yale-NUS liberal arts college has encountered suggest general lessons for Singapore, as it pursues its goal of making the Republic an educational and academic hub.
These lessons have less to do with issues like the nature and scope of academic freedom than with truly nuts-and-bolt concerns.
A balancing act
To date, work towards making Singapore an academic hub has brought many more successes than setbacks.
One needs only to visit Singapore's universities, polytechnics, private schools and labs; to look at the faces of the students and scholars; and to hear the range of languages spoken at these institutions in order to sample those successes.
No one ever said that pushing Singapore's academic hub towards even greater successes was going to be easy.
Not least, that effort will continue to encounter the need to balance the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans with the country's ambitions to emerge as a leading academic centre of international stature.
Singapore and Singaporeans will negotiate such challenges according to their own best judgement.
And, whether the proposed Yale-NUS college comes to fruition or not, its case makes clear the need for Singapore to understand the internal dynamics of the institutions with which it would collaborate and to scrutinise the undertakings offered by the leadership of those institutions in the light of those dynamics.
Using Singapore's valuable resources wisely to invest in the education sector demands no less.
Michael Montesano graduated from Yale in 1983 and taught in NUS' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences during 1999-2008. In 2009, he was an inaugural recipient of the NUS Alumni Advisory Board's Inspiring Mentor Award.
04-12-2012, 10:55 PM #5949
Yacht charter business in Singapore set to grow
10:41 PM Apr 12, 2012
SINGAPORE - Birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries and corporate retreats are now heading to the high seas as more of such events are being held onboard luxury yachts.
The rising demand has also buoyed business prospects in the yacht chartering scene.
Experts said they expect the industry to grow by at least 30 per cent this year.
Yacht charters have grown to about 24 a year now, compared to just half a dozen in 2008.
There are also more charter companies in the market now as they aim to get a bigger share of the chartering pie.
The number of charter companies have grown to about 10 now compared to just a handful in 2008.
Mr Herman Ho, managing director, TMX Show Productions, said: "I expect the charter to continue to do well because we are still very much in an infancy stage for our charter business, so I expect it to grow 20 to 30 per cent this year."
Yacht charters cost between S$1,000 to S$3,000 for a four-hour block.
Market players said the demand now is for bigger vessels.
Formerly owned by American golfer Jack Nicklaus, the 40 metre yacht "Sea Bear" is now available for charter to fill in the growing demand.
Ultra wealthy clients are also willing to fork out over S$20,000 for a four-hour day cruise on the "Sea Bear".
Mr Anton Kilayko, senior vice president, KOP Hotels and Resorts, said: "Sea Bear is a very unique product. It is going to be very popular with people celebrating birthdays, weddings, or companies that would like to do dock side events. It's also going to be very popular with families who would like to go cruising maybe for a week or two in and around the region."
Still, the charter business has its limitations.
Experts said the lack of berthing facilities and availability of well-trained crew may hamper future growth.
Mr Christopher Lloyd, director of Lloyd Marine, said: "For the moment, it's possibly holding the industry back. The yacht charter companies can't actually grow right now, there's no avenue to put up any boat."
Despite these teething problems, market players are upbeat that the yacht charter scene in Singapore has potential to be an exciting tourism draw-card. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Yachts of various sizes anchored at the One Degree 15 Marina Club at Sentosa Cove. BLOOMBERG
04-12-2012, 11:02 PM #5950
Record number of First Class UOL graduates at SIM Global Education
By Sharon See | Posted: 12 April 2012 1947 hrs
SINGAPORE: 117 Singapore students obtained First Class Honours in 2012 from the University of London (UOL) International Programme, making SIM Global Education the overseas centre with the largest number of first class UOL graduates.
This year, about 2,170 students are graduating from 11 degree programmes offered under the SIM-University of London partnership. Of these, 117 obtained first class honours.
The University of London said Singapore's strong educational culture has a part to play.
Professor Geoffrey Crossick, vice-chancellor of UOL, said: "What we find in Singapore that makes it a special place is a real determination to succeed.
"I know that there's a sense, a competitive career environment in Singapore, there's a determination to learn and to be successful. So I think what makes Singapore students particularly special is not just that they are bright students, but they have a determination to succeed in a way that one sees maybe less in some parts of the world."
SIM Global Education said it believes building a supportive environment is key in helping students do well.
Adjunct Professor Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO of SIM Global Education, said: "Many of those are people who, on their first try, may not get into the top universities. But when we give them a supportive environment, they actually can do very well. There are many opportunities (for them to excel).
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