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  1. #6325
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Former CNN veteran appointed Channel NewsAsia's Chief Editor


    by Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid
    04:45 AM Jul 20, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Channel NewsAsia has appointed veteran journalist and award-winning programme maker Lian Pek (picture) as its Chief Editor.

    Her appointment, effective this month, comes as the channel is aggressively expanding with plans to go "live" 24 hours a day from January next year.

    "I'm really delighted to be joining the channel as it sets its sights on getting bigger and better. There's never been a better time to step up coverage than now, because Asia is probably one of the rare growth stories in the global economy today," said Ms Pek.

    Managing Director of Channel NewsAsia, Ms Debra Soon, added: "The media landscape is extremely dynamic and Lian Pek is bringing with her a wealth of experience which will certainly benefit the journalists and the channel as a whole."

    As Chief Editor, Ms Pek sets the editorial direction and oversees production of English news for Channel NewsAsia and Channel 5. She joins Channel NewsAsia after a distinguished career in news and current affairs, having held leading editorial and anchor positions in international news organisations such as CNN International, Bloomberg Financial News and Aljazeera English.

    Ms Pek started her career at MediaCorp, where she launched and anchored its first daily business news bulletin.





    Channel NewsAsia has appointed veteran journalist and award-winning programme maker Lian Pek as its chief editor. PHOTO COURTESY CNA

  2. #6326
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NTUC Club, SAFRA to undergo revamps

    Multi-million-dollar projects to meet changing needs of both members and the public

    04:45 AM Jul 20, 2012

    Singapore - Two clubs here are set to undergo multi-million-dollar revamps to meet the changing needs of their members and the public.

    NTUC Club announced yesterday that it would spend S$200 million over the next five years to revamp Downtown East. SAFRA, or the Singapore Armed Forces Reservists Association, meanwhile, said it would be adding a six-storey multi-entertainment centre in the city and a new club in Punggol over the next three years.

    At Downtown East in Pasir Ris, the former Escape Theme Park site will be making way for a bigger Costa Sands Resort. The resort will be expanded from three hectares to 3.8 hectares - approximately about the size of five football fields - and will house 400 rooms. A meeting and conference facility which includes a multi-purpose hall that can host up to 3,000 people will also be built.

    Work at Downtown East is expected to start in the last quarter of the year, with the entire project slated for completion in the latter half of 2017.

    To attract more NSmen to its network of clubs, SAFRA will build a new club in Punggol, which will be completed in 2015. The club, which will be developed with an estimated budget of S$50 million, will be built on a one-hectare plot of land with a waterfront pedestrian promenade near the Punggol MRT Station.

    By 2016, SAFRA's club in Tampines will also undergo major upgrading to strengthen its position as a hub for sporting activities.

    SAFRA's plans come as a review committee, headed by Minister of State for Defence Lawrence Wong, mapped out new strategies to provide better benefits for NSmen over the next five years.

    Besides upgrading clubs to provide for better programmes, SAFRA will also enhance its programmes in cohesion-building and enhance benefits for its more than 200,000 members.

  3. #6327
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A little green dot? It's on the cards

    Polytechnic student serves up a new card game to educate S'poreans about local flora

    by Alvin Chong
    04:45 AM Jul 20, 2012



    SINGAPORE - If you cannot tell one tree from another, a new "environmental bonding" card game, GREENERDot, could help kickstart your education on Singapore's diverse flora.

    GREENERDot is "a game to educate all Singaporeans about environmental issues in Singapore", according to its designer, Nanyang Polytechnic student Pang Yu Han.

    The 18-year-old came up with the game after signing up for the Bayer Young Environmental Programme 2012, a programme for tertiary students that aims to help ease environmental issues in Singapore.


    "I thought this would be a good chance for me to really help the earth," she said. "I wanted a game - I think games help people learn better."

    The name GREENERDot is a play on words, explained Yu Han: "By being a green nerd, you can make our little red dot, Singapore, a greener dot."

    The game features a deck of 50 cards and gameplay involves collecting sets of "Green Spaces" and growing plants on them. The Green Spaces feature popular parks in Singapore, such as the recently launched Gardens By The Bay, and each contains a description of the park's history.

    Trees are grown using "Sapling", "Compost" and "Adult Tree" cards, each with a description for players to learn more about growing a plant. Some of Singapore's common trees are also featured with descriptions.

    The game also has "Impact Cards" that can affect the growing process, with positives such as "Reforestation" and negatives such as "Pollution". Players can defeat the negatives by playing a "Change Agent" card.

    "The real Change Agents are humans. If we do our part, we can get rid of negative impacts on the environment and save the earth," she said.


    Yu Han designed all the cards herself, which took a whole week with barely any sleep. Before she designed the game, Yu Han was "not very concerned about the environment". But since starting on the game, she has become an active member of the Nanyang Polytechnic Geo Council, a CCA that helps equip students with environmental knowledge.

    While she said that the current environmental situation in Singapore is "quite healthy", she feels that awareness has to be raised to prevent things from deteriorating. For Yu Han, GREENERDot is just the first step towards a green future. "My long-term aim is to do something different from others and to help the world," she said.



    GREENERDot is in its initial launch and those interested in getting a pack can email GEO_Council_NYP@yahoo.com.sg. Limited sets are available. Go to facebook.com/GreenerDot for more.






    Nanyang Polytechnic student Pang Yu Han. Photo by ALVIN CHONG



    Nanyang Polytechnic students playing the GREENERDot card game. Photo by ALVIN CHONG
    Last edited by Loh; 07-19-2012 at 09:37 PM.

  4. #6328
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    Default S'pore appoints new ambassadors to Germany and Vietnam

    Posted: 19 July 2012 1617 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's next Ambassador to Germany is Mr Jai S Sohan while its new Ambassador to Vietnam is Mr Ng Teck Hean.


    Mr Jai S Sohan
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    Mr Ng Teck Hean


    Mr Sohan, who will assume his appointment on August 13, has held several key appointments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) since he joined the Foreign Service in 1985.

    He served as Director of ASEAN Directorate and as Director of Consular Directorate.

    He also served as Singapore's Consul-General in San Francisco, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuala Lumpur and Deputy Chief of Mission in Jakarta.

    He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) in 2001, the Long Service Medal in 2008 and the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2011.

    Mr Ng, who will be the new Ambassador to Vietnam from August 20, has held several key appointments in MFA since he joined the Foreign Service in July 1992.

    He served as Director of Southeast Asia Directorate and Director of Americas Directorate.

    He was also the deputy high commissioner in Kuala Lumpur and Special Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    Mr Ng was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) in 2003.

    - CNA/cc

  5. #6329
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Rubin is Singapore's new ambassador to Hungary

    Posted: 19 July 2012 1627 hrs


    Justice (Ret.) MPH Rubin.


    SINGAPORE: The government has appointed Justice (Ret.) MPH Rubin as Singapore's next ambassador to Hungary from 20 July.

    He was Singapore's High Commissioner to South Africa from October 2005 to February 2009, with concurrent accreditation to Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland.

    He then served as Singapore's High Commissioner to New Zealand from April 2009 to June 2012 and was concurrently accredited to the Fiji Islands from August 2010 to January 2012.

    Justice (Ret.) Rubin, who will be residing in Singapore, is currently an Ambassador-at-Large in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

    MFA said Justice (Ret.) Rubin had a distinguished legal career before joining the Singapore Foreign Service in 2005.

    He was called to the Singapore Bar in 1974.

    He served in the Straits Times Group and was in private law practice before he was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court in 1991 as a Judicial Commissioner.

    He was then made a Supreme Court Judge in 1994.

    Justice (Ret.) Rubin retired from the Singapore Judiciary in February 2005.

    He was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal in 2005 for his distinguished contributions to the Singapore Judiciary.

    - CNA/ck
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  6. #6330
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore appoints diplomats to head US, New Zealand missions

    SINGAPORE: The Singapore government on Thursday appointed two diplomats to head its missions in New Zealand and the United States of America.

    Peter Chan Jer Hing was appointed as the country's next High Commissioner to New Zealand and Ashok Kumar Mirpuri was appointed as the next Ambassador to the US.

    Mr Chan will assume his appointment on 2 July, while Mr Mirpuri will do so on 23 July.

    Mr Chan joined the Singapore Administrative Service in 1970 as a cadet officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    He has served as Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Permanent Secretary for National Development and CEO of the Housing and Development Board.

    Mr Chan last served as Singapore's Ambassador to Thailand from November 2005 to March 2012.

    He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore Government in 1990.

    Mr Mirpuri joined the Singapore Administrative Service in 1984.

    He was Singapore's Ambassador to the Indonesia from July 2006 to June 2012, Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2002 to 2006 and Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia from 2000 to 2002.

    Mr Mirpuri was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2010.

    - CNA/wm
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  7. #6331
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    Default More private firms allow local employees to work beyond 62

    Published on Jul 20, 2012


    More employees are working beyond the retirement age of 62, amid the tight labour market and tripartite efforts at promoting re-employment. Madam Lim Wee Pan, 67, (above) is the oldest worker at medicated oil manufacturer Haw Par. -- PHOTO: FRANCIS ONG



    More employees are working beyond the retirement age of 62, amid the tight labour market and tripartite efforts at promoting re-employment.

    In a statement issued on Friday morning by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), its spokesman pointed to the findings from a survey conducted by its Research and Statistics Department in the last quarter of 2011. The survey effectively covered 3,200 private establishments, each with at least 25 employees.

    Nearly eight in 10 (79 per cent) private establishments reported they had implemented measures to allow their local employees to work beyond 62 in 2011, up from 77 per cent in 2010.

    The survey showed that larger companies were more likely to offer re-employment than smaller ones. Nearly nine in 10 (89 per cent) private companies offering re-employment indicated 12 months as the minimum duration of the re-employment contracts. The MOM spokesman said that In line with tripartite guidelines, almost all (95 per cent) reported that the re-employment contracts were renewable up till the age of 65, as long as the employee continued to meet the medical fitness and work performance requirements.
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  8. #6332
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Cancer centre to build $100 million cancer therapy machine

    Published on Jul 20, 2012


    The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) announced on Thursday that it will start building the most expensive cancer therapy machine in South-east Asia in 2014. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO


    By Melody Zaccheus

    The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) announced on Thursday that it will start building the most expensive cancer therapy machine in South-east Asia in 2014.

    The $100 million proton therapy machine, which is about half the size of a football field, will benefit children with cancer and individuals with tumours, such as those located in the brain, spinal cord and eye.

    Proton therapy, which is a form of radiation therapy, destroys cancer cells using positively charged subatomic particles or protons, instead of the x-rays used in standard radiation therapy. The energy of proton beams can be controlled to precisely release cell-killing energy directly in the tumour with minimal exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

    Patients who qualify for government subsidies will have to pay about $13,000 for sessions, each between 15 and 30 minutes, over the course of six weeks. This costs the same as conventional X-ray radiation therapy.
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  9. #6333
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Estates dress up for National Day celebrations

    Published on Jul 20, 2012


    Less than a month to National Day, and RCs, CDCs and town councils have revved up efforts to decorate the heartlands with flags, banners and lights. At Kim Tian West RC, a two-storey high control tower and a fireworks mural have been erected using recycled material. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


    Iconic attractions like the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands and the Art Science Museum have descended upon heartland Yew Tee, while over in Tiong Bahru the Changi Airport control tower is taking shape.

    With National Day three weeks away, these models of structures that define the country's skyline have made their way into neighbourhoods to mark Singapore's 47th birthday.

    Every year, Residents' Committee (RC) members spare no effort in dressing up their estates with a different look.

    Yew Tee RC Zone 12, which won the local estate best National Day decoration contest the last three years, started conceptualising the decorations back in February.
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  10. #6334
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Estates dress up for National Day celebrations

    Published on Jul 20, 2012

    Less than a month to National Day, and RCs, CDCs and town councils have revved up efforts to decorate the heartlands with flags, banners and lights. At Kim Tian West RC, a two-storey high control tower and a fireworks mural have been erected using recycled material. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


    Iconic attractions like the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands and the Art Science Museum have descended upon heartland Yew Tee, while over in Tiong Bahru the Changi Airport control tower is taking shape.

    With National Day three weeks away, these models of structures that define the country's skyline have made their way into neighbourhoods to mark Singapore's 47th birthday.

    Every year, Residents' Committee (RC) members spare no effort in dressing up their estates with a different look.

    Yew Tee RC Zone 12, which won the local estate best National Day decoration contest the last three years, started conceptualising the decorations back in February.
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  11. #6335
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    Default Yale defends itself over restrictions on Singapore campus

    Updated 10:37 PM Jul 20, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Yale University has defended itself over restrictions on protests and political parties on its Singapore campus, after concerns over political freedoms resurfaced earlier this week.

    In a statement on Thursday, Yale University president Richard Levin said it entered its partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) "in full awareness that national laws concerning freedom of expression would place constraints on the civic and political behavior of students and faculty".

    "We negotiated language protecting academic freedom and open inquiry on the Yale-NUS campus, as well as the freedom to publish the results of scholarly inquiry in the academic literature," he said. "But we indicated in the Prospectus circulated in September 2010 that freedom of assembly was constrained in Singapore, and that students and faculty would have to observe national laws, as do students and faculty in Yale programs from London to Beijing."

    Noting that Yale undertook a partnership to advance in Asia both the development of liberal arts curriculum and pedagogy encouraging critical inquiry, Prof Levin added, "We should not expect that our presence in Singapore would instantly transform the nation's policies or culture. Instead, we have worked in fruitful partnership with colleagues at the National University of Singapore to design what is a thoroughly imaginative and exciting new college. The result will speak for itself."

    Yale-NUS, which is Singapore's first liberal arts college, will start classes in August next year. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal had quoted Yale-NUS president Pericles Lewis as saying political parties and political protests will not be allowed on campus, which was criticised by New-York based Human Rights Watch.

    In a statement, Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said "any college or university must obey the laws of the countries where it operates". He noted how students at NUS have "substantial opportunity for political debate and engagement". "The new College will have opportunities as extensive," added Professor Lewis.

  12. #6336
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    Default New fault lines between old, new citizens: PM Lee

    Updated 11:19 PM Jul 21, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has cautioned Singaporeans to pay attention to new fault lines that have appeared between new citizens and native Singaporeans.

    Speaking at Teck Ghee Community Club's racial harmony celebrations, Mr Lee said new citizens may be ethnically similar, but fault lines may develop as the new citizens have different norms, habits and attitudes.

    So he said Singaporeans must watch out for instances of social friction, especially online.

    Mr Lee said new citizens and those born in Singapore must work together to ensure that differences do not affect social stability.

    "The new arrivals - to embrace the Singapore values and norms and try and fit in as Singaporeans. And Singaporeans - to encourage the new ones to integrate, to help the new ones to fit in."

    In his speech, PM Lee reminded Singaporeans of the reason for racial harmony celebrations. He cited the two racial riots of 1964 when Singapore was part of the Federation of Malaysia. The riots left more than 30 dead, 500 injured and thousands arrested.

    Looking back, Mr Lee said Singapore has come a long way but challenges remain. He pointed out that the ease of joining online communities amplifies intolerant views as people are less restrained in cyberspace.

    Mr Lee said the peace that Singapore now enjoys did not happen by chance, but by pure effort and deliberate policies.

    These include ensuring equality, meritocracy and setting up institutions like the Presidential Council for Minority Rights and the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony to protect those groups' interests.

    And it is important to continue to do so. PM Lee said: "In normal times, we get along well together, but when there's a crisis for example, if there's a terrorist attack, then even though we're under pressure, stay together and we don't pull apart."

    So as the population becomes more diverse, Singaporeans will have to work harder at keeping social cohesion.

    Mr Lee added that perhaps Singaporeans can start now. "Today of course, is the first day of Ramadan, and we wish our Muslim friends a happy fasting month and I hope you'll accept your Muslim friends' invitation to visit them during the month of Ramadan. If they invite you to break fast with them, take the opportunity to invite them for dinner the next time if you can," he said.

    And bit-by-bit, he said, this will keep Singapore society harmonious. - Channel NewsAsia

  13. #6337
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Rousing send-off for Team Singapore


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:45 AM Jul 23, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Friends and family members of Team Singapore athletes Helena Wong (weightlifting), Gary Yeo and Dipna Lim-Prasad (athletics) turned out in full force at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 last night to send their well-wishes to the London Games-bound contingent.

    Cheered on by 200 supporters, which included sports officials, the trio embarked for London with Team Singapore Chef-de-Mission Jessie Phua, who is also President of the Singapore Bowling Federation.

    Addressing the media, Phua was keen to draw a line under two issues - that of paddler Feng Tianwei's delayed departure to London due to a personal sponsorship commitment, and a supposed media blackout imposed by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

    "The blackout was an advisory which we left to the NSAs (National Sports Associations) to interpret. Nobody knows the athletes better than the NSAs," said Phua.

    "As for Tianwei leaving a day later, are we in the SNOC a better judge of that? Table tennis think they have it right, so we will let it be. I guess time will tell us whether the right or wrong call was made. It's behind us."

    Phua also gave the paddlers her vote of confidence, as she said: "If the stars are in alignment, we will bring home medals. So what we are No 3 or No 4, very little separates these teams." LOW LIN FHOONG





    SNOC Secretary-General Chris Chan, lifter Helena Wong and coach Wu Chuanfu, sprinters Lim-Prasad and Gary Yeo, and Team Singapore Chef-de-Mission Jessie Phua. Photos WEE TECK HIAN




    A guard of honour for sprinter Dipna Lim-Prasad.

  14. #6338
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default The men could surprise


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:45 AM Jul 23, 2012



    SINGAPORE - While the Republic's women paddlers are the ones who in recent years have had major wins on the international stage, it could well be the men who will steal the headlines at the London Olympic Games (July 27 to Aug 12).

    Seeded fifth in the team event behind China, South Korea, Japan and Germany, the trio of world No 15 Gao Ning (picture), Zhan Jian (25) and Yang Zi (54) have been climbing steadily up the team rankings with their performances on the ITTF Pro Tour and other major tournaments.

    In February this year, 29-year-old Gao and team-mate Li Hu clinched the men's doubles title at the Kuwait Open. Gao then partnered Yang Zi to win the doubles title at the Asian Championships in Macau, Singapore's first title at the regional meet in 58 years.

    In terms of seeding, the men's team are up two spots from seventh at the 2008 Games in Beijing, although head coach Yuan Chuan Ning prefers to stay cautious about their medal chances in London.

    "In the last two years, the men's team have improved a lot and they are now among the top eight teams. But there is still a gap in standard between us and the top teams," said Yuan.

    "There is no doubt that it is going to be very challenging in sports there are a lot of uncertainties but we believe that when you aim, you must aim high. The doubles match will be the one that is crucial for us, especially if we want to beat the stronger teams."

    The inclusion of newcomer Zhan Jian, 31 - a doubles specialist who was formerly a national paddler for China - has given the team a boost ahead of the Games.

    Said Gao: "With Zhan Jian, we are much stronger now. Last time it was just me and Yang Zi who were the key players in the team."

    (Singapore's other male paddler in 2008 was Cai Xiaoli who has retired to become a coach.)

    Singapore's top male player also feels that he has become mentally stronger since his Beijing Games debacle, when he lost to a lower-ranked opponent in the third round of the men's singles event, and complained of not having a coach in his corner during competition.

    The incident sparked off a nation-wide outcry, with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports having to step in to mediate matters within the team.

    "That happened four years ago and I was competing in my first Olympic Games," said Gao.

    "That incident doesn't affect me at all now, and I feel I am better mentally and psychologically this time."

    S'pore's paddlers at the Olympics

    Atlanta 1996
    Seeded fourth, Jing Junhong finished in the top 16 in the women's singles, one of the best performances by a female Singaporean athlete.

    Sydney 2000 Jing scored her best Olympics performance by qualifying for the semi-finals but lost 3-1 to China's Li Ju. She suffered another heartbreaking loss in the bronze medal match, going down 3-1 to Chen Jing of Taiwan to finish in fourth place. Team-mate Li Jiawei finished in the top 16 of the women's singles.

    Athens 2004 Jing got as far as the third round of the singles in her Olympic swansong, as Li took over the mantle as Singapore's top paddler by reaching the semi-finals. There her medal dreams were derailed by a pair of Koreans - losing 4-3 to North Korea's Kim Hyang Mi in the semi-finals, then beaten 4-1 by South Korea's Kim Kyung Ah in the bronze medal playoff.

    Beijing 2008 Singapore's women's team finally broke their duck by winning silver, beating South Korea in the semi-finals before losing to China in the gold medal match. It was also the Republic's first Olympic medal in 48 years. Debutant Feng Tianwei was ousted by Chinese superstar Zhang Yining in the quarterfinals, while Li finished fourth yet again, losing the semi-finals 4-1 to Zhang, and the bronze medal playoff 4-2 to Guo Yue.




    National table tennis player Gao Ning. Today File Photo

  15. #6339
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    Default Feng eyeing solo medal

    S'pore's highest ranked paddler is playing with greater confidence


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:45 AM Jul 23, 2012



    SINGAPORE - Can Singapore's paddlers really make good on their promise to deliver a historic two medals at the London Olympics?

    While a medal from Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Li Jiawei in the women's team event still seems possible - despite their No 3 seeding that may cause them to meet China in the semi-final - a bigger hoodoo remains to be broken for Singaporean women in the singles.

    No Singapore paddler has won an individual medal at the Olympic Games since the sport was introduced in Seoul in 1988.

    At the 2000 Sydney Games, Jing Junhong finished fourth after losses to China's Li Ju and Chen Jing of Taiwan in the semi-finals and bronze medal match, respectively.

    The 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games proved a case of deja vu for team-mate Li, who finished fourth on both occasions after heartbreaking losses in the semis and bronze medal play-offs.

    In London, it is Feng who will be Singapore's best hope for an individual medal. And while she is well aware of the hoodoo, Jing - now the deputy head coach for the women - believes Feng can shine.

    Jing thinks the streak can be snapped because the national paddlers today are better prepared for high-level competition than she was in 2000.

    "I still remember what happened in Sydney in 2000," she said.

    "The conditions during that time were not as good as now, especially in terms of preparations and team spirit. I felt that if I had better pre-tournament preparations and received better support, maybe I could have won the match (and a medal).

    "The opponents and situation are different now - Tianwei's ranking is higher than mine was at the time.

    "In Sydney, I was considered an underdog but when it comes to the bronze medal battle, or any battle for medals, the attitude and psyche must still be the same - you must play with a normal state of mind and self-belief. With some added confidence, I feel Tianwei has a good chance."

    Feng, 25, is seeded sixth for the women's singles but has been in poor form this season.

    Losses to lower-ranked opponents on the ITTF Pro Tour have caused her world rankings to slip from a high of world No 2 last August to No 8 this month.

    Nevertheless, her achievements in the past two years make her a genuine medal prospect in London.

    She led the team to a historic title victory over China at the 2010 world championships in Moscow, and also clinched the prestigious ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals title in 2010 to add to her collection of ITTF tournaments victories in 2010 and 2011.

    The STTA have also provided her with intensive daily sparring sessions against "choppers" to help her overcome her inability to beat defensive players such as South Korea's Kim Kyung Ah.

    Indeed, there has been so much work on Feng that Jing has faith that her young charge can go one better than she and Li did.

    "Under this special targeted training with choppers, she has made some improvements and we have to see how she does during actual competition," said Jing.

    "More importantly, her confidence has increased because some parts of her technique and skill have improved in this area."







    Feng (centre), flanked by Li (left) and Wang, is ready to win Singapore's first singles medal in table tennis at the Olympics. Photo WEE TECK HIAN

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    Default Flood prevention plans need to evolve: Environment Minister

    By Karen Ng | Posted: 22 July 2012 1857 hrs


    Dr Vivian Balakrishnan


    SINGAPORE: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore has to "build in buffers", and be prepared to adjust its flood prevention plans as new climate data emerges.

    Earlier this week, national water agency PUB announced plans to build a detention water tank and diversion canal at the Stamford Canal catchment to better deal with intense storms and flash floods.

    Asked if such measures would also be considered for other canals, Dr Balakrishnan said as far as the climate is concerned, Singapore has to prepare for a more uncertain future.

    "In the future that comes, we expect greater volatility and greater intensity of rain... We will have to upgrade our infrastructure accordingly," he said.

    "There's a fair amount of uncertainty because you cannot predict the future... But you have to be prepared, you have to be ready to evolve as needs evolve accordingly," he added.

    Dr Balakrishnan was speaking at the National Environment Agency's 10th anniversary charity run.

    Some 2,100 people took part in the event, which included a 10 kilometre run and 1 kilometre fun walk.

    Held at the Gardens by the Bay, the event also raised over S$460,000 for the Children's Cancer Foundation.

    Another feature of the charity run was a terrarium display, which set a new entry in the Singapore Book of Records with over 1,400 terrariums on show.

    Every terrarium will be given to a child suffering from cancer as it symbolises hope and will allow the children to cherish nature.

    - CNA/cc
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    Default Fingerstyle guitarist set to rock local music scene

    By Saifulbahri Ismail | Posted: 22 July 2012 1914 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Fingerstyle is probably one of the more difficult techniques in playing the guitar.

    It involves plucking the strings directly with the fingertips or fingernails.

    However, one musician here has made it into an art.

    Shun Ng creates a style of playing that incorporates percussion, horn lines, and funk bass.

    The one-man band thrives in making improvisations to his music.

    Shun Ng picked up his first guitar when he was 15.

    His guitar skills were mostly self-taught, with much of his learning done through listening.

    The 23-year-old describes his musical journey as nothing short of a discovery.

    "I started to have this sound in my head, and with this sound in my head I knew what I wanted to do. I knew what I wanted the guitar to be. I never really let any preconceived ideas about what the guitar should be to stop me," he said.

    Shun Ng's talents have also been noted overseas. Last year, he participated at the Montreal Guitar Show.

    Earlier this year, Shun released his debut album 'Funky Thumb Stuff' and he has a favourite song in the album about helping children in Asia.

    "My second song is called 'Slam!'. It's about these kids I do work with in northern Thailand. One thing which I'm passionate about is social injustice," he said.

    Even though recording albums is fun, Shun really wants to be a performer.

    "I like to perform live because that's when you feel the connection with the audience and that's when you create something on the spot. It's quite a magical thing, and to me that's when the real music happens," he said.

    Shun Ng will be performing his album live for the first time on Friday and Saturday (August 27-28) at the Goh Ewe Kheng Auditorium.

    This will also be his last public performance before leaving for Berkeley University in the US to study music.

    - CNA/cc
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