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Thread: Singapore Also Can
09-12-2012, 10:56 PM #6512
MOE's aim is to make every school a good school
Awards system to be replaced, while excellence model to be cut by half, says Education Minister
by Amanda Lee
04:45 AM Sep 13, 2012
SINGAPORE - A simpler framework to recognise excellence in schools, while sharpening their focus on student development, will be rolled out by the Ministry of Education (MOE), said its minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.
Currently, there are two schemes - the Masterplan of Awards and the School Excellence Model - to encourage schools to achieve excellence. The Masterplan of Awards will be replaced in 2014, and a new way of recognising schools in, for example, student all-round development, will be introduced.
The number of performance measures covered in the School Excellence Model will also be cut by half. The two schemes have led to much administrative work for schools, and fuelled public perception that schools are chasing awards, said Mr Heng. "More importantly, the new framework helps sharpen our schools' focus on putting students at the core of their daily work, and on having educators and parents work together in this collective undertaking," he added.
To achieve the ministry's aim of getting "every school to be a good school", Mr Heng urged educators to aim for diversity among schools, each with its own niche area and peak of excellence.
Today, 191, or about half of all schools, have a niche area, such floorball, dancesport and environmental education. Going forward, the MOE will aim for every school to have a recognised niche. Over the next five years, the ministry has committed S$55 million to enable every school to build its own niche.
The MOE is also reviewing how resources are allocated to schools. Currently, schools are allocated budgets and teachers in proportion to their student enrolment. To help schools better cater to every student, a needs-based approach to resourcing is being studied by the MOE to help low progress students and low enrolment schools.
"For students with weaker foundations, more individual attention can help them," said Mr Heng. "We can give these schools the resources to pilot intervention strategies, especially for those who are weak in literacy and numeracy."
Allocating more resources to low enrolment schools will also allow students to enjoy a wider range of school programmes and co-curricular activities. Details will be announced at a later date, said Mr Heng.
To make all schools even better schools, Mr Heng felt that schools could collaborate and share best practices so that others can also improve. An online repository of good school practices will be set up by the MOE.
Principals TODAY spoke to supported the move to streamline the awards. Mr Balamurugan Krishnasamy, Principal of Tampines Secondary School, felt that awards are an "affirmation", but stressed that good work has also been carried out by schools that do not receive any awards.
Going forward, the MOE will aim for every school to have a recognised niche. TODAY FILE PHOTO
09-12-2012, 11:02 PM #6513
MOE to take firm stand against unreasonable demands on teachers
by Monica Kotwani
Updated 09:02 PM Sep 12, 2012
SINGAPORE - Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said a firm stand must be taken against unreasonable demands placed on teachers.
Speaking at the Ministry of Education's (MOE) annual Work Plan Seminar today, Mr Heng said the majority of parents are supportive partners of teachers.
But he highlighted instances of excessive demands made by parents on teachers.
Mr Heng gave the example of the mother who filed a police report upon finding out that her son's teacher had cut his hair before his PSLE oral exam. The mother claimed it ruined her son's S$60 haircut.
Mr Heng said: "The simple fact is that the son was reminded over and over again to trim his hair. And when that failed, the school sent a letter. And the mother's response was that her son was dyslexic, and therefore forgetful.
"As one writer puts it in one of our media commentaries, by raising such a hullabaloo, 'the mother did herself and her son no favours'. Now, if parents do not show graciousness to others and respect for rules, our young will not do so either. Soon, discipline will be eroded. The tone in our schools will deteriorate, and the tone in our society too," said Mr Heng.
09-12-2012, 11:17 PM #6514
Royal couple ends S'pore tour, heads to Kuala Lumpur
Published on Sep 13, 2012
Prince William and Catherine view the graves of fallen soldiers. -- ST PHOTO: JENNANI DURAI
By Melissa Pang
LATEST 9.52am - The royal couple have left Kranji War Memorial. They will head to Changi airport to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur. Singapore was the first stop in their Asia pacific Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour. After Malaysia, they will head to Solomon islands and Tuvulu.
9.49am Catherine and Prince William view the graves of fallen soldiers. 9.46am The royal couple view the graves of fallen soldiers. 9.40am Everyone scrambles to get a photo as the duke and duchess arrive at Kranji War Memorial. 9.33am A crowd of about 500 has gathered despite the heat and remote location of the war memorial. 8.49am Prince William and Catherine are expected to be at Kranji War Memorial at about 9.45am. It is the last stop in the royal couple's Singapore tour.
Prince William and his wife Catherine have reached Kranji War Memorial, their final stop in the Singapore leg of their Asia pacific tour.
The couple will lay a wreath during the short ceremony. The Last Post will be played, signalling the start of a minute's silence. At the end of the silence the Arouse will be played.
The royal couple will also speak to some war veterans.
From here, they will head to Changi Airport, where a flight to their next stop - Kuala Lumpur - awaits.
09-13-2012, 02:09 AM #6515
The Kranji War Memorial
The Kranji War Memorial.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Commonwealth of Nations
and the Netherlands
The Kranji War Memorial during the Remembrance Day Ceremony proceedings on 13 November 2005
For the dead of World War II 1946 01°
near Kranji, Singapore
On the walls of this memorial are recorded the good names of twenty-four thousand soldiers and airmen of many races united in service to the British crown who gave their lives in Malaya and neighbouring lands and seas and in the air over southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific but to whom the fortune of war denied the customary rites accorded to their comrades in death
THEY DIED FOR ALL FREE MEN
The Kranji War Memorial (Chinese: 克兰芝阵亡战士公坟; Malay: Tanah Perkuburan Perang Kranji; Tamil: கிராஞ்சி போர் நினைவு) is located at 9 Woodlands Road, in Kranji in northern Singapore. Dedicated to the men and women from United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died defending Singapore and Malaya against the invading Japanese forces during World War II, it comprises the War Graves, the Memorial Walls, the State Cemetery, and the Military Graves.
09-13-2012, 02:53 AM #6516
Royal couple visits Kranji War Memorial
More pictures of the Royal couple's visit to the Kranji War Memorial from the Straits Times Photo Gallery:
Britain's Prince William, and his wife Catherine, the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge pay their respects to war dead of both WWI and WWII at the Kranji Commonwealth War Memorial on Thursday Sept 13, 2012 in Singapore. -- PHOTO: AP
09-13-2012, 03:42 AM #6517
New Singapore stadium to host top teams
Published on Sep 13, 2012
This graphic illustration handout image made available on September 13, 2012 by SportsHub Pte Ltd shows the national stadium under construction in Singapore. Singapore's state-of-the-art new stadium will host an annual football tournament featuring top European teams as one of its cornerstone events when it opens in 2014, organisers have revealed. -- PHOTO: AFP/SportsHub Pte Ltd
SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore's state-of-the-art new stadium will host an annual football tournament featuring top European teams as one of its cornerstone events when it opens in 2014, organisers have revealed.
The 55,000-seat facility, centrepiece of a billion-dollar complex near the city centre, is also likely to hold international rugby and Twenty20 cricket, and is the confirmed venue for the 2015 South-east Asian Games, they said.
The dome-shaped National Stadium, with a retractable roof and seating cooled by ducted air, is currently under construction along with two indoor arenas, an aquatics centre and watersports facility, plus a large shopping mall.
Mr Andrew Georgiou, chief operating officer of commercial partner World Sport Group, admitted the roster of events was a "huge talking point" for the stadium, in a city with a patchy sporting calendar.
09-13-2012, 03:50 AM #6518
Singapore makes strides in making medical devices, equipment
Published on Sep 13, 2012
By Poon Chian Hui
Singapore is further boosting its strengths in making medical devices and equipment, even as manufacturing output has tripled in the past decade.
The development of business parks such as the new MedTech Park in the Jurong Lake District next year will further cement the country's reputation.
"Singapore's position as the next hot spot for medical technology creation is beginning to take shape," said Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor on Wednesday at a trade exhibition at the Suntec convention centre.
She noted that the value of medical devices and equipment made here hit $4.3 billion last year, from $1.5 billion in 2000. She said established electronics and logistics sectors are among the reasons for the growth.
09-13-2012, 10:04 PM #6519
Rochor area's diversity attracts researchers
Data will be used for planning, and comparing urban trends in region
Published on Sep 14, 2012
Researchers Zhou Ying and Edda Ostertag from the Future Cities Laboratory mapping the Rochor area. Since June, the research team has been going door to door to study the buildings and interview people who live and work in the area. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
By Feng Zengkun
Researchers have started to map part of the Rochor area to analyse its urban use and identify changes in the neighbourhood.
They began the survey in June, going door to door to study the buildings and interview people who live and work in the area.
Conducted by the Future Cities Laboratory - a research centre jointly established by Singapore's National Research Foundation and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology - the study will allow the researchers to compare urban trends and design in Singapore with other cities in the region, like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Bangkok.
The researchers said they chose to study Rochor because of its physical and social diversity. The area includes the historic Kampong Glam and Little India.
09-13-2012, 11:21 PM #6520
Singapore is once again the lucky country among the SEA country to host the mother of all Kpop concert..
09-14-2012, 03:57 AM #6521
A Shaolin grandmaster in Singapore
by Nick Hurst
04:45 AM Sep 01, 2012
He was initiated into kung fu by an opium-addicted master, expelled from school, kidnapped and nearly killed in a family feud. All by the age of 16.
Yet, it was not purely hardship that drove my kung fu grandmaster Sugong - or Quek Heng Choon -from China to the perceived riches of Singapore. It had just as much to do with his restless sense of adventure. His upbringing prepared him for the baptism of fire he arrived to, for 1950s Singapore was a very different place to now.
Without legitimate papers, he had managed to get hold of others through a distant relative. She was well-acquainted with the darker side of the city state, and insisted that he pay off his debt by couriering opium.
A street battle with a triad gang affirmed that this new country was no less ruled by the law of the fist than the parts of Fujian he had grown up in.
Seemingly on a trajectory toward prison, Sugong was lucky to find a Shaolin monk to provide an escape. His path led to Siong Lim Temple in Toa Payoh, where Sek Koh Sam was head monk.
While the tuition was of the highest order and passed on by the last remaining master of his line, it was administered by a fearsome teacher who effectively confined Sugong to the temple for seven years. Most in Singapore revered Koh Sam for his kindness and good deeds. But his students - many of whom were young men from rough backgrounds who feared very little in life - cowered before him.
He demanded utter dedication and set very high standards. Those not worthy to represent Shaolin were rebuked and dismissed. Those lucky to remain were expected to commit almost all of their waking hours to training while Koh Sam scolded them into shape.
Toa Payoh then was notorious for housing less upright members of society. If others required protecting from the thugs, Siong Lim's master expected his students to deploy their skills.
Woe betide any who came away worse from a fight: The punishment for disgracing the name of Shaolin was expulsion.
The demands of training were made no easier by the difficulties of everyday life. Sugong's job involved backbreaking work as a dock labourer, where compensation was to be found in camaraderie among fellow coolies rather than the menial pay.
Ever ambitious, he revealed the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that would make Singapore a powerhouse. Unfortunately his business acumen never quite reached the same heights. Whether it was a bike-hire business where inadequate licencing saw his vehicles impounded, or gambling shops that earned the ire of the police and his master, Sugong could never quite find his ticket to riches.
These troubles paled beside the run-ins his love-life brought. Love triangles he found himself in extended their reach to involve blood brothers, politicians and gangsters. Engagements entered into solemnly never quite seemed to last.
FROM PENANG TO LONDON
But one area where Sugong always had success was in Shaolin kung fu. He was one of the key disciples of his master and helped to set up the Singapore Sao Hua San Athletic Association in 1954, the first of Koh Sam's schools. (Today it lives on at MacPherson Road.)
So when Koh Sam went to Penang to oversee renovations at a sister temple, it was only natural that Sugong should accompany him to help start a school there. From Penang came schools in Kuala Lumpur, and from Kuala Lumpur a student, Lai Khee Choong, moved to London and opened a centre there.
Which is where I came in. In search of a way to regain the fitness my beer-drinking days at university had destroyed, I joined a friend at the kung fu classes led by Master Lai. I was hooked from the first minute.
Over 10 years, I grew weary of my London advertising job and increasingly curious about my grandmaster, whose photo on the training hall's wall had watched over my development. So when I decided to take a sabbatical from work, I headed east to train with him.
It was not an easy adventure to arrange. Master Lai wrote a letter of introduction but no reply was ever received (it turned out Sugong had been in China). I managed to find him through some of his students. And with ang pows and highly respectful requests (all translated as he spoke only Hokkien - a dialect I hadn't even heard of before), I got him to agree to take me on as a student.
Having heard that at 80 he was still breaking bricks with his iron palm and had lost none of his temper, I brought a sense of trepidation to my first class. It turned out to be fully justified.
In the first couple of months I suffered constant and caustic Hokkien dressing-downs from a grandmaster who seemed keen to encourage me to return home. But as I persevered, Sugong warmed to me, and when his nomadic instincts kicked in, I was often dragged along - whether visiting his hometown near Xiamen, traipsing around Kuala Lumpur and Penang, or visiting old haunts in Singapore.
Before I knew it, my six-month sabbatical had extended another three years. But there came a point when I had to return home. Sugong was typically brisk, never one for long goodbyes, and remained bullish, promising not to change however long it would be before we met again.
Within a year, I received a call from one of the students in Singapore, in the middle of a busy London working day, telling me of my grandmaster's passing in China. Had it been anyone else, I would have been devastated.
But Sugong had lived a life well into his 80s playing only by his own rules. He had been training in his beloved Shaolin kung fu just the day before. And if there is a heaven, I felt confident he would be causing as much havoc there as he had on earth.
Sugong doing a demonstration on the author in Malaysia.
09-16-2012, 10:06 PM #6522
NUS researchers discover new non-invasive treatment for cancer
Published on Sep 17, 2012
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers at the Faculty of Engineering's Department of Bioengineering have found a new and non-invasive way of treating cancer.
Led by Associate Professor Zhang Yong, the team has proven that their technology could inhibit tumour growth and control gene expression in mice, with the use of nanoparticles.
Genes release certain proteins in our body to ensure that the body's internal machinery works well and diseases may result and cause it to malfunction when the process goes awry.
However, by using nanoparticles, the team is able to "effectively activate the genes in the way desired - by controlling the amount of proteins expressed each time, when this should take place, as well as how long it should take place".
09-16-2012, 10:13 PM #6523
New table-tennis training centre in Hougang to nurture young talent
Published on Sep 16, 2012
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) launched a zone training centre - its seventh - on Sunday morning at Hougang. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
By May Chen
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) launched a zone training centre - its seventh - on Sunday morning at Hougang.
Trainees from the STTA-Hougang zone training centre got the chance to spar with national players like Olympic double bronze medallist Feng Tianwei and Youth Olympics silver medallist Isabelle Li, who came through the ranks in a zone training centre herself.
The zone training centres train young Singaporeans aged from 5 to 11 six times a week and is part of the STTA's efforts in grooming local talent.
STTA president Lee Bee Wah said: "The STTA strongly believes that our zone training centres provide the best training ground and are instrumental in strengthening the process of discovering and nurturing young players in a structured and sustainable manner."
09-16-2012, 10:20 PM #6524
Singapore Power to build cross-island tunnels for electrical cables
by Woo Sian Boon
Updated 10:54 AM Sep 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - To minimise public inconvenience due to road-digging works to replace or maintain electricity cables, Singapore Power is embarking on its Transmission Cable Tunnel Project, in which two cross-island tunnels will house the island's extra-high voltage electricity transmission cables.
The tunnels, which will be constructed 60 metres underground, will facilitate faster and more efficient maintenance and replacement of cables.
SP has awarded six contracts to five construction companies for the project.
The five companies are Hyundai Engineering, Nishimatsu Construction & KTC Civil Engineering and Construction, Obayashi Corporation, Samsung C & T Corporation and SK Engineering & Construction.
Construction for two 35km long tunnels - the North-South and East-West - will begin at the end of the year, and continue until 2018.
One of SP's largest infrastructure undertakings to date, the S$2 billion project will provide power to more than 1.3 million commercial, industrial and residential customers in Singapore.
The announcement was made by managing director of SP PowerGrid Sim Kwong Mian and deputy managing director of tunnel projects Michael Chin this morning.
09-16-2012, 10:24 PM #6525
Well-wishes for Lee Kuan Yew
07:06 AM Sep 17, 2012
Figurines of former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew drew gazes from curious passers-by on Orchard Rd yesterday. Mr Chris Treewizard, 54, often spotted in public toting a Mr Lee figurine on his back, made the figurines himself.
He said he was collecting signatures and well-wishes for Mr Lee's birthday and hopes to present them to him in the form of a book. PHOTO ERNEST CHUA
Photo by ERNEST CHUA
09-16-2012, 10:36 PM #6526
New technology for safe cancer treatment discovered
Posted: 17 September 2012 1125 hrs
SINGAPORE: Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a technology that paves the way for a new safe and non-invasive method of treating deep-seated cancer.
The team has proven that the technology could inhibit tumour growth and control gene expression in mice.
NUS said on Monday that the use of nanoparticles for non-invasive photodynamic therapy of deep cancer is the world's first.
The team discovered a way to control gene expression by using nanoparticles which are able to convert near-infrared (NIR) light to visible or UV light.
These nanoparticles can be introduced into target sites of the patient to do their work.
Genes release proteins in the body to ensure that its internal "machinery" works well to stay healthy.
However, sometimes, the process can go awry and cause the body to malfunction, leading to various diseases.
Doctors can put this right by manipulating the process of gene expression by using UV light.
However, UV light may cause more harm than good.
Team leader, Associate Professor Zhang Yong, said the NIR is non-toxic and can penetrate deeper into the tissues.
When NIR reaches the desired places in the body of the patient, the nanoparticles invented by the NUS researchers are able to convert the NIR back to UV light (up-conversion) to effectively activate the genes in the way desired - by controlling the amount of proteins expressed each time, as well as when and how long it should take place.
As the up-conversion nanoparticles can also be used to produce visible light, the team has extended its application to other light-based therapies.
Conventional light therapy for treating tumours uses visible light to activate light sensitive drugs that can kill cancer cells.
However, such visible light is not penetrative enough to reach deep-seated tumours.
The team's method of employing NIR is able to penetrate much deeper.
The discovery promises a wide range of applications
"By using our nanoparticles, drugs can be activated by NIR light which is safe. The light is also able to penetrate deeper into tissues to treat diseased cells," said Prof Zhang.
For example, the innovation can be used for bioimaging, where the nanoparticles can be attached to biomarkers, which will then attach to cancer cells and allow for better imaging of tumours and cancerous cells.
The six-member team comprises researchers from the faculties of Engineering and Science, as well as the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
It is now working with researchers at the National Cancer Centre Singapore on a project funded by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to assess the safety and efficacy of the technology to pave the way for pilot clinical trials.
The team's findings have been published online in Nature Medicine.
09-17-2012, 10:07 PM #6527
SIT offers 2 new arts degrees in collaboration with Glasgow School of Art
By Gerard Lim | Posted: 17 September 2012 1627 hrs
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) has sealed its first partnership with an overseas institution since the announcement that it is set to be a local university.
As part of its drive to help Singapore become a global city for creative excellence, it is working with the Glasgow School of Art to offer two new Bachelor of Arts degrees in communication design and interior design.
These courses cover areas such as photography, graphic design, illustration and design thinking.
To qualify, applicants must have background or experience in design.
This applies mainly to applicants who have completed their studies in the polytechnics or have worked in industry.
Unlike their counterparts in Glasgow who have to start in Year 1, they will start from Year 3 and graduate with Honours after two years.
Mr Frazer Hay, who is the programme director of the Glasgow School of Art Singapore, said the partnership will help Singapore become a global city for creative excellence.
"It's just as important for Glasgow as it is for Singapore for the cross-fertilisation of ideas for design creativity," he said.
"Everything nowadays is international. And by the end of two years here, both the Singapore and Glasgow students should be able to leave as a global designer."
Undergraduates will also spend time in Glasgow to exchange ideas and concepts.
Currently, about 100 undergraduates are pursuing the new degrees.
SIT hopes to double this number by 2015.
09-17-2012, 10:28 PM #6528
Singapore a tough race course but still a favourite
Drivers raring to go in night race, with steel kerbs to enhance safety
Published on Sep 18, 2012
A view of the illuminated F1 track at Marina Bay, where one minor change to the street circuit is the pit lane being resurfaced to give cars a smoother exit after their pit stops. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
Final preparations are kicking in, with (above) the new steel curbs readied at 11 of the 23 corners; the village stage being set up; and the Oriental-themed Paddock Club, where tickets cost $8,000 each. -- ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM
Singapore's fifth Formula One night race is as tough as ever, but there is no curbing the drivers' enthusiasm this year.
Steel kerbs are being used on the Marina Bay street circuit this weekend, after rubber ones came loose at last year's Friday practice sessions.
The errant kerbs caused delays and raised safety concerns, but organisers are confident they have nailed down the problem this year.
Eleven of the track's 23 corners will feature the sturdier, made-in-Singapore kerbs, and new holes have been drilled into the tarmac to secure them.
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