Thread: Singapore Also Can
09-04-2012, 10:27 PM #6478
Work first, complete degree later?
Singapore's sixth university could adopt a new model to give its students more flexibility
by Ng Jing Yng
04:46 AM Sep 05, 2012
SINGAPORE - Should a student decide to extend his internship or work full-time instead of returning to school, he could choose to put off graduation to pursue such opportunities.
SIM University (UniSIM) President Cheong Hee Kiat floated this idea yesterday as a way of injecting more flexibility into the local education landscape, as he laid out how the private institute is gearing up to become the sixth local university to offer publicly-funded full-time programmes.
For instance, a student on a work attachment programme may discover that the employer is a good match and extend his internship, or choose to suspend his studies to work full-time and return to complete his degree later - even if it stretches slightly beyond the current seven years allowed for completing a degree in publicly-funded full-time programmes.
"It gives the student a choice where he doesn't need to (stay on) when he finds a good match between him and the employer or family circumstances may change, there is no compulsion to finish the degree now ... there is full flexibility for the students," said Prof Cheong.
It also allows for the "interlacing of work and study ... which some may find equally fulfilling", he added.
And, in the long term, such an approach to studying could create a paradigm shift in mindsets to one that sees work and study as a continuum - including life-long learning and learning on the job, Prof Cheong said.
Even if some eventually choose to not resume their studies at all, he said: "If they found a niche and they can be successful … I won't say that it is a waste as he has undergone some education and discovered what his passion is … later on he might want to come back and study and by that time things could have changed."
Meanwhile, details on UniSIM's future intake numbers and programmes are currently being worked out with the Ministry of Education.
Prof Cheong revealed that faculty recruitment has already started, with plans to hire five to 10 more teaching staff by the end of this year.
The university hopes to work with more government agencies to provide a good mix of private and public work exposure for students.
As for how it would differentiate its programme offerings, Prof Cheong mooted possibilities such as courses in psychology and languages, some of which it already offers as part-time programmes.
While UniSIM will see greater government involvement, he stressed the value of retaining its private status, which allows it to respond swiftly with new programmes according to industry needs.
Noting that the Government has for the first time tapped on a private player to diversify and broaden its higher education landscape, Prof Cheong said: "The private sector is a large sector … surely some of this can be harnessed for the national good."
"I think it is a good experiment to have, if it works ... there could be a little bit more of this?" he added.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SIM University. Photo by DON WONG
09-04-2012, 10:34 PM #6479
Singapore, China working together in line with needs
Singapore will continue to benefit from China as both countries progress: PM Lee
by CHANNEL NEWSASIA, AGENCIES
04:46 AM Sep 05, 2012
TIANJIN - As China President Hu Jintao reiterated that his country's development is inseparable from Asia's, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that the Republic and China are working together in line with their needs, as seen from the various levels of cooperation.
Speaking to the Singapore media after a meeting with Mr Hu, Mr Lee said the Republic will continue to benefit from China as both countries progress further.
During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed the progress made in bilateral projects, including the Suzhou Industrial Park, which was started in 1994. Mr Lee said the industrial park was doing well and has exceeded the expectations of both countries.
Other bilateral projects include the Tianjin Eco City, the Guangzhou Knowledge City and the new high-tech innovation park in Chengdu.
On the development of the Tianjin Eco City, Mr Lee said: "It is an ambitious project. They want to develop it as a good living environment, green environment. They also want to develop clean industries in it ... The physical development has begun.
"But I think to see its full fruition will take a few years more. At the same time, it has to be commercially viable, and I am sure that is something which the partners are very conscious of."
According to the Xinhua news agency, Mr Hu told Mr Lee during the meeting that China's development cannot be separated from Asia, while Asia's development cannot advance without China.
"China has pursued a policy of building good relations with neighbouring countries," he said.
Mr Hu said that China and Singapore "should understand and support each other on issues concerning our core interests and major concerns".
He added: "We should combine bilateral cooperation with our respective development strategies and expand it."
Singapore is China's third-largest trading partner among ASEAN member states. According to Xinhua, bilateral trade volume last year reached more than US$63 billion (S$79 billion), up 11.2 per cent compared to 2010.
Mr Lee said it was a good step forward for China to express its interest in participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an ASEAN initiative. But Mr Lee noted that cooperation between both sides of the Pacific has to progress too.
He cited the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Singapore is participating in, but not China.
Said Mr Lee: "If you take a longer term perspective, at some point China may consider whether that makes sense - not on the immediate agenda but something for the longer term."
China's President Hu Jintao (right) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reviewed the progress made in bilateral projects during the meeting in Beijing. REUTERS
09-04-2012, 10:39 PM #6480
China to have 8 Raffles City projects by 2017
Chengdu development is CapLand's third after Beijing and Shanghai
Published on Sep 05, 2012
The $1-billion Raffles City Chengdu comprises a shopping mall, offices, a hotel, serviced residences and premium apartments. -- PHOTO: CAPITALAND
By Melissa Tan
Property developer CapitaLand's latest $1-billion Raffles City development in Chengdu is one of eight Raffles City projects the Singapore company will have in China by 2017.
CapitaLand said that the eight projects on the mainland will be worth about $12 billion when completed.
In total, its international portfolio of nine Raffles City developments, including the one in Singapore, will be worth about $14.8 billion.
Raffles City Chengdu, which opened on Monday, is CapitaLand's third Raffles City project in China after Beijing and Shanghai. The company began building it in January 2008.
09-04-2012, 10:45 PM #6481
S'pore scientists discover potential drug for brain cancer
Posted: 04 September 2012 1348 hrs
SINGAPORE: Scientists in Singapore have identified a biomarker of the most lethal form of brain tumours in adults.
This discovery could potentially prevent the progression and relapse of the brain tumour.
The biomarker (called glioblastoma multiforme) is found in cancer stem cells. A*STAR Scientists found that when they depleted the biomarker with a potential drug, the cancer cells were completely destroyed.
A*STAR said this is an important breakthrough as current therapies such as gamma radiation and surgical methods proved to be inadequate in treating these brain tumours, which tend to re-grow from cancer stem cells and become extremely lethal.
Chief Scientist at A*STAR, Prof Sir David Lane, added: "These findings will facilitate the translation of basic research into clinical applications such as targeted drug design to treat brain cancer."
This research was conducted by scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology in collaboration with A*STAR's Bioinformatics Institute (BII), and clinical collaborators from Medical University of Graz, Austria, and National University of Singapore.
The research findings were published last month in the scientific journal, Cell Reports from Cell Press.
09-06-2012, 12:45 AM #6482
Giant pandas Kai Kai & Jia Jia arrive in Singapore
Updated 11:53 AM Sep 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - Singapore welcomed two new residents, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia from Chengdu, China this morning.
The pandas are in Singapore on a 10-year loan from the Chinese government to mark two decades of strong ties between China and Singapore.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia boarded a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 cargo freighter at 3.45am this morning, arriving at Singapore Changi Airport about four and a half hours later along with a team of five keepers and vets from both China and Singapore who were also on board to ensure the pandas' well-being.
"Singapore Airlines is pleased to have transported Kai Kai and Jia Jia to Singapore," said the chief executive of Singapore Airlines Goh Choon Phong.
"We warmly welcome them to their new home at the River Safari and are privileged to be playing our part in this significant conservation initiative."
It was the pandas' first time away from home, and extra care was taken to minimise stress for the animals.
The departure and arrival times were scheduled to reduce climate-related discomfort for the pandas.
The cabin temperature was kept between 18 to 22 degrees celsius, consistent to their native habitat in Sichuan, China.
Fruits, water and about 90kg of bamboo were also carried on board for the pandas' meals.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore also brought along bamboo from Guangzhou, in case the pandas need time to adjust to the taste of locally-grown bamboo.
The pandas travelled in custom-made crates which offer ample ventilation and space to move about.
A welcome ceremony was held at the JetQuay Terminal at Changi Airport, and the pair were brought to their new home at River Safari in a temperature-controlled vehicle.
At Mandai, groups of eager panda-spotters lined up to welcome the pair.
For those who can't get enough of the pandas, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched the 2012 Giant Panda Commemorative Coins, with the Silver Proof coin fashioned for the first time in a unique oval shape.
The coins issued to mark the arrival of Kai Kai and Jia Jia also help highlight the threat of extinction faced by giant pandas today and the importance of wildlife conservation said the MAS.
The coins come in three different versions bearing the pandas' names engraved in Chinese characters and feature Kai Kai and Jia Jia in their natural habitat. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
The pandas are in Singapore on a 10-year loan from the Chinese government. Photo by Nicholas Yeo
Last edited by Loh; 09-06-2012 at 12:48 AM.
09-06-2012, 12:52 AM #6483
Singapore remains 2nd most competitive economy in the world
Published on Sep 05, 2012
The Singapore Skyline is seen reflected in a puddle of water at the Esplanade's outdoor theatre on a rainy evening on April 3, 2010. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE
GENEVA (REUTERS) -Singapore has maintained its position as the world's second most competitive economy, missing out on top spot to Switzerland which kept the title for the fourth year running, the World Economic Forum (WEF)said in its annual survey on Wednesday.
The study by the WEF, best known for running the annual meeting of world business leaders at the ski resort of Davos, ranks 144 countries by examining 113 indicators culled from official data sources and a poll of 15,000 executives who opine on the country where they do business.
Switzerland pipped Singapore to the top spot thanks to strong scores in areas such as innovation, labour market effiency and effective public institutions. The United States fell from fifth spot to seventh because of political and economic problems that detracted from its status as a global powerhouse of innovation, the study said.
"We see this development as a result of the growing macroeconomic imbalances in the country but also due to the political deadlock that has been augmenting the problem of macroeconomic imbalances," said Ms Margareta Drzeniek, a senior economist at the Geneva-based organisation.
09-06-2012, 12:57 AM #6484
S'pore Memory Project to roll out 3 new initiatives
04:46 AM Sep 06, 2012
SINGAPORE - To reach out to more Singaporeans, the Singapore Memory Project (SMP) team will be rolling out three new initiatives.
From the second half of next year, there will be an exhibition called The Singapore Story: My Heart, My Hope, My Home. It will feature the 300,000 contributions collected so far from the community on significant happenings.
From this month, SMP has also introduced a new service to tap the wealth of memories from senior citizens who are unable to do so online.
Singaporeans can now nominate their parents, grandparents or elderly relatives to share their treasured moments. SMP volunteers will interview them and document their memories, uploading them on to the SingaporeMemory.SG web portal.
Also from this month, memory collection points have been set up at the National Library Board's 24 public libraries islandwide.
"Every individual's memory and story come together to contribute towards the Singapore Story," said Mr Gene Tan, Director of the Singapore Memory Project. "By opening an avenue for nominations and offering new memory collection points at public libraries, we hope to reach out to even more Singaporeans and make it more accessible for them to share their personal recollections."
The public can share their memories or submit their nominations via email to email@example.com or through the SMP's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/irememberSG). CHANNEL NEWSASIA
09-06-2012, 01:10 AM #6485
Haze returns as air quality dips to 'moderate' in Singapore
Published on Sep 06, 2012
The National Environment Agency (NEA) reported that air quality in northern Singapore has dipped to 'moderate quality' at 8am on Thursday. -- PHOTO: MELISSA HENG
The National Environment Agency (NEA) reported that air quality in northern Singapore has dipped to 'moderate quality' at 8am on Thursday.
The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading in stood at 55 in the northern Singapore, 53 in the south, 56 in the east and 43 in the west and central.
The NEA attributed the hazy conditions to an escalation of hotspot activities in Sumatra, leading to smoke being blown over from the south-east or south-west.
Singapore is expected to experience brief periods of slight hazy conditions should the fires in the region persist.
09-06-2012, 01:13 AM #6486
Mid-Autumn Festival by the river goes bigger
Published on Sep 05, 2012
A passer-by photographs the completed lanterns laid out all over Hong Lim Park while a fish lantern lays on the ground next to him. An 8m waterfall, a lovers' bridge and giant pandas. These are some of the lantern displays that will be found at this year's Mid-Autumn Festival by the river. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM
By Lua Jia Min
An 8m waterfall, a lovers' bridge and giant pandas. These are some of the lantern displays that will be found at this year's Mid-Autumn Festival by the river.
In its fifth year running, the event will take place at the Singapore river promenade and the nearby Hong Lim Park for the first time.
The 16-day celebrations is jointly organised by Singapore Press Holdings' three Chinese newspapers. It costs $1.5 million.
From Sept 15 to 30, lantern displays will depict the different Chinese festivals such as the Lunar New Year, Hungry Ghost Festival and Chinese Valentines' Day.
09-06-2012, 11:45 PM #6487
Singapore's 'critical interests' at stake
PM Lee calls on parties involved to manage South China Sea dispute responsibly
04:45 AM Sep 07, 2012
BEIJING - Even though Singapore has no claims to any of the disputed territories in the South China Sea, the way the competing claims play out would have a profound impact on the Republic, with issues such as its security and very survival at stake.
After all, the South China Sea is "strategically important" for the Republic's survival and development, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday pointed out in a speech at the Central Party School in Beijing.
"Singapore has taken a clear and consistent position on the South China Sea issue. We are not a claimant country, take no sides in any of the territorial disputes nor can we judge the merits of the various claims. However, Singapore does have certain critical interests at stake," said Mr Lee on the penultimate day of an official six-day visit to China.
Calling on the involved parties to "manage the disputes responsibly", Mr Lee reiterated: "All sides should avoid escalating tensions or precipitating confrontations that will affect the international standing of the region."
Sovereignty disputes are "complex and hard to resolve", and the "many overlapping claims by multiple claimants" were unlikely to be resolved any time soon, Mr Lee said. He added: "No side can easily abandon their claims without high political costs."
As a "very small country", Singapore has a "fundamental interest in the peaceful settlement of international disputes in accordance with international law", said Mr Lee.
With trade as the "lifeblood" of the Republic's economy - its foreign trade is three times its gross domestic product - freedom of navigation is "a fundamental interest, especially along our sea lanes of communications".
Said Mr Lee: "We have only two: the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea. Therefore the South China Sea is strategically important for our survival and development. However the South China Sea disputes play out, freedom of navigation must be maintained. Ships of many nations use the South China Sea, so I am sure these countries would share Singapore's concern on this point."
The South China Sea disputes have divided ASEAN: In July, its members failed to issue a joint communique on the issue at a summit, the first time this had happened in the 10-member bloc's 45-year history.
Mr Lee reiterated that Singapore's security "depends on a peaceful and stable South-east Asia, which in turn depends on a cohesive ASEAN".
"ASEAN must remain united to be able to exercise influence on the international stage, to have our voices heard, and to secure and advance our common interests. If ASEAN is weakened, Singapore's security and influence will be diminished," Mr Lee said.
Mr Lee reiterated that ASEAN's credibility would be "severely" damaged if it does not address the issue.
"ASEAN must not take sides on the various claims, but it has to take and state a position which is neutral, forward-looking, and encourages the peaceful resolution of issues. The six-point principles on the South China Sea recently proposed by Indonesia does that. ASEAN has accepted these principles. This is a positive development. We also hope that ASEAN and China will start talks on a Code of Conduct soon," he said.
Mr Lee pointed out that apart from sovereignty and maritime rights, ASEAN and China also have wider interests at stake in the South China Sea issue. "Many countries are watching us closely. They will read how China deals with difficult bilateral problems with its neighbours as a sign of what China's rise means for the world. They will scrutinise ASEAN to see if it can deal with difficult issues effectively," said Mr Lee.
"ASEAN and China must not allow this isolated issue to affect their overall positive relationship. The account between China and ASEAN is large and overwhelmingly positive, and should remain so."
US, China 'have to strengthen mutual trust and confidence'
Calling on the United States and China to "develop a new modus vivendi that reflects current realities and benefits both sides", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the two countries have to manage the shift in their relationship "wisely and prudently".
"They have to strengthen mutual trust and confidence, so that they do not misread the other side's intentions and make missteps," Mr Lee said in his speech at the Central Party School.
He noted that, although the US is facing "some very difficult problems", it is not a nation in decline. "The US is an enormously resilient and creative society, which attracts and absorbs talent from all over the world, including many from China and the rest of Asia," said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee reiterated that the US "cannot hold China back without hurting itself at the same time".
"Neither would European or Asian countries join such a misguided effort to contain China," he said.
09-07-2012, 12:31 AM #6488
No longer the isolated Middle Kingdom
by Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore's Prime Minister
04:46 AM Sep 07, 2012
China is now at a critical juncture.
China needs to upgrade its economy to continue improving people's lives. It has to restructure from an export-led economy to a more sustainable, demand-driven one. It must prepare for a rapidly ageing population, strengthen social safety nets and address rising income inequality.
It must also undertake political reforms to meet rising public expectations for accountability, while maintaining social order and stability. How to implement such reforms, and how quickly, are vigorously debated.
These are serious and complex challenges for any country, let alone one the size of China. It is, therefore, natural that China's leaders are preoccupied with these domestic priorities.
However, China's external interests are equally important. China has become a major player in the global system, highly interdependent with the rest of the world. China's growing weight means that its every action is scrutinised internationally, and its foreign and domestic policies invariably affect other countries.
For example, China's demand for natural resources moves global markets; China's trade balance affects the international financial system; China's security policies influence other countries' strategic calculations. Hence, it is in China's own interests to take into account the impact of its policies on other countries.
A MAJOR FORCE FOR PEACE, PROSPERITY
China is no longer an isolated, self-sufficient Middle Kingdom. It is the world's second-largest economy and a major trading nation.
It depends on an open, inclusive and fair global trade system to thrive. It needs a stable external environment and good relations with other countries, so that it can focus on economic development. It is such a major player that no global issue can be resolved without China's participation, be it climate change, the Doha Round or nuclear non-proliferation.
China's integration into the international system has been smooth, considering how large China's impact has been. China has benefited greatly from a stable and peaceful global environment.
It is in China's interests to uphold this international order, in particular the international rule of law, and a global system that is relevant and fair to all nations, big and small. China has done so, for example, by joining the World Trade Organisation and abiding by its rulings in trade disputes. This reinforces what China has repeatedly affirmed - that it will not seek hegemony and wishes for amicable, equal, win-win relations with others.
That is why Singapore believes that China's peaceful development will benefit Singapore and the world, and has supported China's development in tangible ways. A prosperous, stable China, well integrated into the world community, is a major force for peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the world.
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES
Among China's external relationships, none is more important than that with the US. This is the most important bilateral relationship for both parties, and for the entire world.
The US will remain the dominant superpower for the foreseeable future. It is currently facing some very difficult problems, but it is not a nation in decline.
The US is an enormously resilient and creative society, which attracts and absorbs talent from all over the world, including many from China and the rest of Asia. These new arrivals often integrate successfully into the US and make significant contributions to their society, academia or business.
All eight Nobel Prize winners in science who are of Chinese descent either were or subsequently became American citizens. We should never underestimate the US' capacity to reinvigorate and reinvent itself.
Our whole region, including Singapore, will be affected by how China-US relations develop. We hope China-US relations flourish, because we are friends of both countries. We do not wish to see their relations deteriorate, or be forced to choose one or the other. Singapore's influence is modest but we will do what we can to foster good relations, through our statements and actions.
China and the US share many interests. China relies on US markets and technology. For many US companies, China is a key export market and manufacturing base. China is the largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities and, hence, does not wish to see the US economy in trouble.
FRICTION IS INEVITABLE
While visiting China in 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that both sides are in the same boat and should, therefore, work together and avoid a clash. Singapore agrees with this view.
Nevertheless, China-US relations are multi-faceted. Although there are obvious areas for cooperation, there are also areas where the two compete. From time to time, friction is inevitable.
On human rights and democracy, the two countries have very different perspectives. Most fundamentally, China's development represents a major shift in the balance of power. History has shown that the rise of new powers often leads to uncertainty and conflict.
Furthermore, in managing their relations, both China and the US have to take into account domestic political pressures and nationalist sentiments. Some Americans are anxious about China's rise. The elite are concerned about America's influence in the world, while ordinary workers worry about their jobs and futures.
On the Chinese side, some quarters suspect the US of wanting to hold China back. Younger Chinese, having grown up after the Cultural Revolution, have benefited from China's liberalisation and are understandably proud of China's achievements.
Some of them believe that China should be less accommodating and should abandon Deng Xiaoping's dictum that China should adopt a low profile internationally. Such views are often seen online.
Therefore, both China and the US have to manage this shift in their relationship wisely and prudently. They have to strengthen mutual trust and confidence, so that they do not misread the other side's intentions and make missteps. We, therefore, welcome the expansion of dialogues at all levels between the two countries.
One important factor in US-China relations is Taiwan. Cross-strait relations have long been a potential flash point between China and the US.
Cross-strait relations have improved markedly in recent years, especially since the Kuomintang government was elected in 2008. Today, the "Three Links" have become a reality. Taiwanese voters support more stable cross-strait relations, which has, in turn, influenced the positions of Taiwanese political parties. Many Asia-Pacific countries welcome these positive developments.
RELATIONSHIP HAS MATURED
The US is and will remain an Asia-Pacific power. Chinese leaders have welcomed the US' presence in the Asia-Pacific.
Singapore believes that the US' continued presence in the region contributes to Asia's prosperity and security. The US has legitimate long-term interests in Asia and plays a role in Asia which no other country can. This is not just because of its military or economic strength, but for historical reasons. In the 60 years since the end of World War II, the US presence has created a peaceful environment which enabled the region to thrive. This is why many Asia-Pacific countries hope that the US continues to contribute to regional peace and stability.
Despite occasional tensions, the US-China relationship has matured. Both sides are maintaining the overall relationship while managing problems big and small, from de-nuclearising the Korean peninsula to the Chen Guangcheng incident.
Leaders from both sides recognise their major shared interests. The Chinese leadership is able to look beyond immediate and transient bilateral problems and take a long-term perspective. Successive US Presidents have quickly learnt the importance of maintaining a constructive relationship with China, regardless of what was said during their election campaigns. They accept that the US cannot expect to remake China in its own image, much as some Americans would like to.
Thoughtful Americans, both Democrat and Republican, also understand that any attempt to contain China is doomed to fail. US-China relations in the 21st century cannot be compared to ties between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Trade between the US and the Soviet Union was negligible and nuclear deterrence was the primary stabilising factor.
Today, China and the US are profoundly intertwined and their relationship is stabilised by mutual economic dependence. The US cannot hold China back without hurting itself at the same time.
Neither would European or Asian countries join such a misguided effort to contain China. Ultimately, both China and the US must develop a new modus vivendi that reflects current realities and benefits both sides.
CHINA AND SINGAPORE
As a small country, Singapore takes the world as it is. We pursue an independent foreign policy that is underpinned by our national interests. We value our close ties with China and other countries.
However, Singapore is in a unique geopolitical position. We have a Chinese-majority population. We are surrounded by neighbours who are majority non-Chinese, with Chinese minorities whose position is often politically delicate. This is why Singapore always needs to be seen to be acting independently on its own behalf. As an independent, objective voice, we can speak with credibility and will be most useful to our friends and partners.
I am happy that Singapore and China have had a long, productive and mutually beneficial relationship. It started long before we established formal diplomatic relations in 1990 and even before Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in 1978.
Over the last few decades, China has been completely transformed by the reform and liberalisation policy, and Singapore, too, has changed greatly. Both continue to evolve. Our partnership, too, has evolved with our needs and circumstances.
In 1994, we launched the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), adapting Singapore's experience with integrated industrial development and urban planning to China's context. I am happy that many Chinese cities and provinces have since implemented ideas from the SIP. This project has far exceeded our expectations.
When China started to focus on sustainable development, we embarked on the Tianjin Eco-city project in 2007. In more recent projects, we are emphasising the software aspects of development; for example, in the Guangzhou Knowledge City and the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-Tech Innovation Park (HTIP). I visited the Tianjin Eco-city and HTIP this week and was impressed by their progress.
This July, Singapore and China agreed to designate a Chinese bank in Singapore as a renminbi clearing bank. This will benefit companies doing business in China and help to promote international use of the RMB.
This evening, Premier Wen Jiabao and I will witness the signing of agreements to establish a Food Zone in Jilin. The Jilin Food Zone will be a premium food zone, anchored by a Food Safety System modeled after Singapore's systems and processes.
Our partnership must continue to develop. Singapore is in a new phase of development. We seek to upgrade our economy and quality of life, and adapt our society and political system for a different world. The world is in flux and we are feeling our way forward. China is similarly in transition. Some of its challenges are similar to Singapore's, albeit on a much larger scale.
One issue facing Singapore is balancing between economic growth and social development, so as to create not just a prosperous economy but also a harmonious and inclusive society. China, too, is focused on this challenge. Under the framework of the Singapore-China Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, we are broadening our cooperation into social management.
Another issue is the impact of the Internet and social media. China has hundreds of millions of netizens, while Singapore is a very wired country. The advantages of the Internet are clear, but its eventual impact on our societies and culture remains to be seen.
There are other parallels between our two countries. Singapore hopes to learn from China's approaches and ideas, and hopes that our experience can continue to be interesting and relevant to China.
President Hu Jintao with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. China's policies invariably impact other countries; its trade balance, for instance, affects the international financial system. BLOOMBERG
09-07-2012, 12:50 AM #6489
S'pore National Games: Shuttlers battle it out at quarter-finals
By Patwant Singh | Posted: 06 September 2012 2231 hrs
SINGAPORE: The Singapore National Games saw the quarter-finals of the team badminton competition played on Thursday.
Punggol beat Kebun Baru 3-1 to make it to the semi-finals.
Bedok, led by former national player Hendra Wijaya, triumphed 3-0 over Toa Payoh East in the men's doubles.
Mountbatten booked their slot in the semi-finals after thrashing Cheng San/Seletar 3-0.
Tampines North took the last semi-finals slot, with their win over Smackers Power.
Ang Mo Kio tops the latest medal tally, with 11 gold, three silver and six bronze medals.
Chua Chu Kang comes in second, with eight gold, two silver and four bronze medals.
Sembawang is at third place, with six gold, five silver, and four bronze medals.
09-09-2012, 11:23 PM #6490
Community spirit wins as 1st National Games close
Heavy rain fails to dampen 5,000 celebrating end of friendly contests
Published on Sep 10, 2012
Participants cheering wildly at the closing ceremony of the Singapore National Games at Bishan Stadium yesterday. Some twirled golden pom-poms (above) in the air, while others hoisted placards declaring "We Love SNG" and "See You At SNG 2014". -- ST PHOTOS: RAJ NADARAJAN
At the festivities last night was President Tony Tan Keng Yam. Flanking him were National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Minister in the PM's Office Lim Swee Say on his right, and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing on his left. -- ST PHOTOS: RAJ NADARAJAN
By Tessa Wong
Despite the rain, about 5,000 participants turned up at Bishan Stadium on Sunday night for the closing ceremony of the inaugural Singapore National Games.
The ceremony capped nine days of friendly competition, which saw residents from 15 clusters - or neighbourhoods - islandwide compete in 10 sports, from sepak takraw to swimming.
The initiative was organised by the Singapore Sports Council, the People's Association (PA), community sports clubs and national sports associations to promote community bonding.
Teams had to show a good mix in terms of age, race and housing type, and there were caps on the number of foreigners and national players.
09-09-2012, 11:36 PM #6491
Local a capella group nabs second place on The Sing-Off China
Published on Sep 09, 2012
Singers from MIcapella (top row, from left to right) Lee Ein Ein, 30, Eugene Yip, 30, Calin Wong, 26, Peter Huang, 30, (bottom row, left and right) Goh Junyi, 26, Ng Wei Jin, 30. Singapore group Micappella was placed 2nd in TV singing competition The Sing-Off China. -- ST PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR
By Yip Wai Yee
Homegrown a cappella group Micappella have come in second on Chinese television singing competition The Sing-Off China.
They lost the title of champions and a recording contract to Beijing’s Free Men.
As runners-up, Micappella received “a very heavy plaque with our name on it”, says Calin Wong, a member of the sextet.
The 26-year-old adds: “Well, the plaque is the tangible thing that we got. But what we really got in terms of experience and the exposure is not measurable.”
The results were announced last Saturday, when the final episode of the show – a spin-off of American TV competition The Sing-Off – was broadcast online and on Chinese TV.
The Singaporean team, which comprise four men and two women aged between 26 and 31, are “very proud” of their achievement even if they did not walk away as champions.
Goh Junyi, 26, one of the members, jokes to Life! that they “did even better than how the Singapore players did at the Olympics”, referring to two bronze medals that the Singaporean table tennis players received at the London Olympics this year.
He says: “We joined the show not even thinking that we would be in the top 10, so to get second place is a huge surprise, and better than anything we expected.”
He and his teammates add that the winning team is “very deserving”. Vocal percussionist Peter Huang, 30, says: “Free Men are a team of music professors, and in fact, they formed many of the other competing groups that we were up against. They were just really too good, so even if we had gotten first place, I think we would have thought something was wrong. Getting second place is really the best we could ever imagine.”
The Sing-Off China was filmed in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, where Micappella had stayed the last two months. Other than Goh, who is in public relations, the group comprise financial analyst Ng Wei Jin, and full-time musicians Huang, Wong, Lee Ein Ein and Eugene Yip.
At the final, they performed three songs: Circus by Britney Spears, Peter And Mary by Mayday and Princess by Jam Hsiao.
On that last number, Goh forgot the lyrics, which might have cost them some points.
He says: “We chose this song because it fits our group’s style well, but it’s not an easy one because of all the complicated lyrics.
When we told the other Chinese groups before the show we were performing it, they were like, ‘Wow, good luck.’
“Then on stage, my mind just went blank at one point and I had no choice but to mumble something up or start repeating lyrics.”
Interjecting, Huang adds: “Even though that happened, the judges all said that the song was one of our best performances, ever.”
The 11-member judging panel are Chinese-language music professionals, including Hong Kong lyricist Wyman Wong, powerhouse singer Weiwei and Heinan, a former judge of hit singing competition Super Girl.
According to Micappella, their fan base has “increased significantly”.
Huang says: “We first went to China where no one knew of us, but as the competition went on, we started seeing Chinese fans cheering for us in the audience. They would bring balloons and signs, and really showed that they cared for us.”
Lee, 31, says “even the pizza delivery guy who brought us our pizza one day, recognised us”. “And another time when we were having steamboat at a restaurant, the people at the table next to us told us that they knew who we were,” she recalls fondly.
Now that the group have returned to Singapore, they already have several private gigs lined up.
They are also busy organising Akafest, an annual a cappella festival here that will see more than 10 groups perform. The event is now in its seventh edition.
The ticketed event will be held between Sep 22 to 30 at the National University Of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre.
Huang says: “We love what we do, and we want to continue to help give other a cappella groups a platform to perform, and also give some advice and build a sense of community for a cappella groups in Singapore. It’s going to be fun.”
AKAFEST VII SINGAPORE
Where: University Cultural Centre, National University Of Singapore
When: Sep 22 - 30
Admission: $25 to $50, available from Gatecrash (call 6100-2005 or go to www.gatecrash.com.sg)
09-09-2012, 11:54 PM #6492
Gold slips away for bowlers
by Dan Guen Chin
04:46 AM Sep 10, 2012
SINGAPORE - All yesterday afternoon, the Republic's women looked over to the much-vaunted South Koreans who were putting up a tremendous chase in the second block of the women's team event at the 22nd Asian Tenpin Bowling Championship in Hong Kong.
Leading by 118 pinfalls after Saturday's first block of three games on short oil, Singapore's team of New Hui Fen, Shayna Ng, Daphne Tan, Cherie Tan and Jazreel Tan saw their lead shaved to 44 by the Koreans, then seven pins with the final game to go in the medium oil second block.
When the dust eventually settled at the East Kowloon Bowling City, Singapore's bowlers ended up with yet another silver to go with one won on Friday in the women's trios.
But it was not the Koreans who denied the Republic this time, rather a barnstorming finish by the Chinese Taipei side who started the day in fifth position but raised their game to overtake both South Korea and Singapore for the gold medal.
Trailing Singapore by 33 heading into the final game, and Korea by 26 pins, the Chinese Taipei quintet posted 1,056 for a winning total of 6,116 pinfalls.
In contrast, Singapore only managed 6,056 (963 final game), followed by the South Koreans on 6,032 (946).
While disappointed to have not seen his girls break the gold medal drought at these championships, Singapore team manager Eugene Yong was gracious in defeat.
"Well, the Chinese Taipei team bowled superbly and when you put up a performance like they did, then they deserved the gold," said Yong.
"There is no shame for Singapore either. The girls are disappointed to not win gold, but I told them they did so well only to see the Chinese Taipei girls do even better.
"For me as manager, I am happy that we are bringing home a silver medal and that's not bad a result."
Singapore's men's team finished well out of contention.
Starting the day in 12th position, they finished in 14th place with a total of 5,772 pinfalls.
Hong Kong took gold with a 6,427 total, followed by South Korea (6,360) and the United Arab Emirates (6,137).
Four of Singapore's women have made the top 16 for the Masters competition.
Sisters Cherie and Daphne Tan are currently in second and third place overall, while New lies 10th and Jazreel Tan 14th.
They will compete in two blocks of eight games today and tomorrow with the top three proceeding to the stepladder finals.
(From left) Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen, Daphne Tan and Amanda Ng form Singapore's silver medal winning team. PHOTO COURTESY SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION
09-10-2012, 01:36 AM #6493
TODAY photojournalist bags PANPA awards
04:45 AM Sep 10, 2012
SINGAPORE - TODAY Executive Photojournalist Jason Ho (inset) has won Lifestyle Photograph of the Year (Metropolitan/National) at the annual Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (PANPA) awards. He also notched up a Highly Commended Award for the same category.
Both winning entries are a series of fashion images.
A Touch of Frost (picture) - which bagged Mr Ho his maiden win in the Lifestyle category - was featured last December in TODAY's The Finer Life magazine. The jewellery shoot for the Christmas festive season featured a topless model, and Mr Ho said he wanted to create "something more visually daring and provocative" for the magazine.
"After discussing with the make-up artist on the possibility in achieving a good visual impact, we decided to experiment and turn the model into an Ice Queen," he said.
Mr Ho also took home the Highly Commended Award in the same category for Roar into the Twenties, a photo spread about 1920s fashion which was published in TODAY's T section in April.
Both photo spreads were styled by TODAY features writer Zhang Weifang.
The PANPA awards are the most prestigious newspaper awards in the region, attracting 1,070 entries from New Zealand to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
This is the fourth PANPA win for Mr Ho. He said: "I put in a lot of time and effort in every shoot and digital imaging work, it's good to see my work being recognised and appreciated."
09-10-2012, 10:02 PM #6494
NUS, NTU climb in global ranking of universities
Updated 05:04 AM Sep 11, 2012
SINGAPORE - The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have both climbed the ranks in a global survey of universities.
The NUS moved up three notches to 25th place, while the NTU leapt 11 places to be ranked 47th in the latest World University Rankings released by London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), an information provider for higher education.
"Singaporean institutions' success this year can partly be attributed to their improvement in faculty/student ratio and citations per faculty scores," said Mr Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.
The NUS was scored 81.4 in faculty/student ratio and 51.1 in citations per faculty, up from 72.2 and 43.9 respectively, while the NTU was scored 85.3 in faculty/student ratio and 26.7 in citations per faculty, up from 77.7 and 22.6 respectively.
The QS World University Rankings evaluates over 700 universities, ranking the top 400 based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty student ratio, and proportions of international students and international faculty. More than 46,000 academics and 28,000 employers were surveyed for this year's ranking.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was placed first, followed by the University of Cambridge and Harvard University.
Overall, the NUS improved in almost all the indicators. It was placed ninth for academic reputation, up from 11th place last year, and remained 14th for employer reputation.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said: "We are pleased to be ranked once again among the very best universities in the world and in Asia. We are also delighted to be recognised for our high quality education and world-class research. This is a strong indication that our bold enhancements to education and research are creating a positive impact."
Among its improvements, the NTU ranked fifth for faculty diversity, from sixth place last year, and ranked 59 in academic reputation, moving up five places. It ranked 47 for employer reputation, up by four places.
NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson attributed the university's jump in the ranking to good students and good research.
"We have successfully attracted and delivered good students and good research. NTU has always been the preferred choice of top polytechnic students. This year, NTU also significantly increased our share of top 'A'-level students by 43 per cent over the last academic year," he said.
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