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  1. #7906
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Thaipusam: A family's annual walk of faith

    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    This video was first published in January 2010



    Published on Jan 17, 2014
    5:30 AM

    A Family's Faith from Through the Lens on Vimeo.

    By Desmond Lim And Samuel He


    Every year, thousands of Hindus in Singapore celebrate Thaipusam, a festival observed on the full moon day of the Tamil month, Thai.

    This year, the festival is celebrated on Friday. Devotees traditionally carry milk pots along a 4km journey from Serangoon Road to Tank Road. Many also carry spiked Kavadis weighing more than 20kg, to show their devotion to the Hindu deity, Lord Murugan.

    In 2010, Straits Times photojournalists Samuel He and Desmond Lim followed then 39-year-old Chandru Latchaman and his family as they prepared for the ceremony.

    "You'll have to have the pain. No pain, no gain," said Mr Chandru, who belongs to a family of about 40 members. The family had been observing the Thaipusam festival since 1969.


    Every year, thousands of Hindus in Singapore celebrate Thaipusam, a festival observed on the full moon day of the Tamil month, Thai. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM VIDEO


    "It's all for Him, so that small thing is not a big deal," he added. Watch Mr Chandru and his family's journey of faith in the video above.

  2. #7907
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Former president SR Nathan donates $129,000 to needy Republic Poly students

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    9:39 PM

    By Lee Jian Xuan


    Former president SR Nathan has donated $129,000 to needy Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates now studying at Republic Polytechnic (RP).

    The money will be used to set up the SR Nathan Endowment Fund to support bursary awards of $1,500 each. To qualify, students must be enrolled in a full-time diploma programme at RP, and have graduated from an ITE college.

    Mr Nathan attended a luncheon held in his honour at RP on Thursday, where he officially presented the donation to set up the fund.

    Two bursary awards had already been given out last year. This year, four awards will be given out, and this will go up to six per year from next year.

  3. #7908
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Increase employers' CPF pay-out to boost low-wage workers' pay: Prof Lim Chong Yah

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    5:51 PM



    Veteran economist Lim Chong Yah has called on the National Wages Council (NWC) to consider requiring companies to increase their Central Provident Fund (CPF) pay-outs to low-wage workers. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LUI


    By Robin Chan

    Veteran economist Lim Chong Yah has called on the National Wages Council (NWC) to consider requiring companies to increase their Central Provident Fund (CPF) pay-outs to low-wage workers.

    This, rather than a national minimum wage, could be used to raise pay across-the-board for the low-income, said the emeritus professor who two years ago had proposed "shock therapy" to raise wages at the bottom and freeze those at the very top.

    "The NWC may wish to look into this compulsory element for raising wages of the low and very low-income earners in our present day circumstances, in lieu of a compulsory national minimum wage scheme," Prof Lim told reporters at the launch of his latest book.

    He added that in the past, when the NWC wanted a comprehensive nation-wide implementation of its recommendations to increase or cut wages, it incorporated such a compulsory element. This was usually in the form of a compulsory CPF increase or cut.

  4. #7909
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    Default Public transport fare review: 8 things you should know

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    5:50 PM


    By Derrick Ho


    The Public Transport Council (PTC) has approved a fare increase of 3.2 per cent on train and bus fares from April 6 this year. At the same time, the Government has rolled out new concessions and deepened existing ones. Here's a quick glance at the changes that are coming up.

    1. FARES TO INCREASE: Overall, fares will increase by 6.6 per cent. However, the increase will be broken up into two phases. This year, fares will go up by 3.2 per cent. The remainder will be rolled over to the next fare review exercise.
    This means that from April 6 onwards, adults card fares for buses and train will cost 4 to 6 cents more per journey. Senior citizen concessionary fares will be raised by 2 to 3 cents per journey, while student concessionary fares will increase by 2 cents per journey.

    2. KIDS BELOW SEVEN YEARS: Regardless of their height, all children below the age of seven who are not yet in primary school will get to travel for free. This will come into effect on April 6.


    The Public Transport Council (PTC) has approved a fare increase of 3.2 per cent on train and bus fares from April 6 this year. At the same time, the Government has rolled out new concessions and deepened existing ones. -- ST FILE PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW


    3. POLY STUDENTS: Polytechnic students, who have long been lobbying for cheaper monthly concession passes, will pay the same concession prices as their peers in junior college and ITE starting April 6. Instead of forking out $97, polytechnic students will now pay $51 for a hybrid (train and bus) monthly concessions pass - a 47 per cent savings.

    4. NSFs: Full-time National Servicemen start paying the same fare as university students from April 6. They will now pay $85 for a hybrid monthly concession pass instead of $111.

    5. ADULT TRAVEL PASSES: For the first time, a new monthly unlimited travel pass for adult Singaporeans and permanent residents will be introduced. It will cost $120 and be made available from April 6.

    6. LOW-INCOME WORKERS: This group of commuters can expect their public transport fares to be 15 per cent cheaper than regular adult fares from July 6 onwards. This new concessionary scheme will be funded by the Government.

    7. DISABLED COMMUTERS: This group will pay 25 per cent less than regular adult fares under a new government-funded concessionary scheme. Their fares will also be capped so that they do not have to pay additional fare for distances beyond 7.2km. This will also come into effect from July 6.

    8. SENIOR CITIZENS: A new monthly unlimited travel concession pass will be available for senior citizens for $60 from April 6.


    Public Transport fare review at a glance
    The Public Transport Council has announced a slew of changes to bus and train fares and concessionary schemes that will come into effect on April 6. The council has also lifted the daily limits on train rides for train and hybrid monthly passes, which means users of these passes can take an unlimited number of rides per day.
    From April 6

    All commuters

    Fares will go up by 3.2%.
    Adult card fares will go up by 4-6 cents per trip, depending on distance.
    Children below 7

    Free travel for all.
    Currently, only those below 0.9m in height can travel for free.
    Students

    Cheaper monthly concession passes.
    Primary pupil: $42.50 → $41 for hybrid pass
    Secondary student: $52.50 → $51 for hybrid pass
    Polytechnic student: $52 → $27.50 for bus pass;
    $45 → $25 for train pass; $97.50 → $51 for hybrid pass
    University student: $97 → $85 for hybrid pass
    Full-time National Servicemen

    Cheaper monthly concession passes
    $61 → $52 for bus pass; $50 → $45 for train pass; $111 → $85 for hybrid pass
    Adults

    New hybrid concession pass available at $120 a month.
    Senior Citizens

    New hybrid concession pass available at $60 a month.
    From July 6

    Low-wage workers

    New concession of 15% off adult fares.
    Applicable to Workfare Income Supplement recipients below 60 years old.
    People with disabilities

    New concession of 25% off adult fares.
    Fares capped at that for travel under 7.2km.
    New monthly hybrid passes available at $60 a month.
    Source: Public Transport CouncilStraits Times Graphic: Lin Zhaowei

  5. #7910
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New research centre offers more targeted approach in treating cancer

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    4:18 PM

    By Linette Lai

    Cancer treatment is one step closer to becoming more personalised, with the opening of a new research centre focusing on circulating tumour cells.

    The centre is the result of a collaboration between the National Cancer Centre Singapore and local company Clearbridge BioMedics, which came up with the technology used to separate these cells from the rest of the bloodstream.

    Circulating tumour cells are cancer cells which have detached from the main tumour and are circulating in the bloodstream. By studying them, experts can get a clearer picture of the genetic makeup of an individual's cancer cells, enabling them to prescribe drugs to treat the problem more efficiently.

    The new technique may also enable doctors to quickly assess how the tumour is responding to a specific treatment, and modify it if necessary.

  6. #7911
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PM Lee opens Lucasfilm’s Sandcrawler building

    The award-winning Lucasfilm 'Sandcrawler' building officially opened in Fusionopolis today, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President of Lucasfilm, Kath...


    Company behind Star Wars aims to grow Singapore studio into a world-class digital production facility





    ByTan Weizhen

    Published: 16 January, 11:06 AM


    SINGAPORE — Film-making giant Lucasfilm Singapore opened its new regional headquarters building at Fusionopolis View this morning (Jan 16), as its president Kathleen Kennedy noted Singapore’s rapid progress in the digital media space.

    Gracing the opening, together with filmmaking legend George Lucas, Ms Kennedy said: “When we first opened our Singapore studio in 2005, the local digital production landscape looked very different. It was relatively small, with a limited talent pool and virtually no visual effects work being done. By investing in local talent, we’ve been able to significantly grow our Singapore studio into a world-class digital production facility.”

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was present to grace the opening ceremony, noted that the value add of the interactive and digital media industry in Singapore has grown by more than 1.5 times since 2008, said this industry is expected to continue growing.

    Therefore, Singapore will strengthen its position in this field, he said.

    The new facility, which will continue its animation and visual effects work to support major movies, including the upcoming Star Wars movies, will also be the regional headquarters for The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) - which owns Lucasfilm - and sports TV network ESPN Asia Pacific.

    Located at Fusionopolis View, the glass façade building spans 22,500 square metres, and has seven floors of office space, with a 100-seat theatre.

    Staff from its former quarters at Changi Business Park have all moved in, according to Lucasfilm.

    Gallery: PM Lee opens Lucasfilm’s Sandcrawler building

  7. #7912
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default George Lucas says partnership with Singapore has produced world-quality work

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    1:54 PM


    By Andrea Ong

    THE gleaming Sandcrawler building in One North is a symbol of an achievement which seemed "vaguely foolhardy" 10 years ago, Star Wars creator and Lucasfilm founder George Lucas said on Thursday at the opening of the firm's new regional headquarters.

    Recalling the great scepticism he met when he first thought of expanding out of the United States into Asia, he said: "Everybody thought I was a little crazy to try to do that." The worry was that the quality of work produced overseas would not match up to what was being done in the California headquarters.

    But the Sandcrawler - named after the towering transport structures in the Star Wars universe - "is a symbol of the people of Singapore and computer animation combining with Lucasfilm to create something that is world quality", he said. "I'm very proud of what we've accomplished. We couldn't have found a better partner anywhere in the world."

    Singapore had encouraged Lucasfilm in starting up its industry here, providing training and attracting talent from all over the world, he said. On top of that, Singapore "is a wonderful place to be".



    Filmmaker George Lucas speaking at the opening of the Lucasfilm Sandcrawler Building on Jan 16, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: GOH CHIN LIAN

  8. #7913
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Lucasfilm Singapore to work on new Avengers and Transformers movies

    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    11:08 AM


    By John Lui

    The new Lucasfilm facility here is running at "full swing" and its artists are already working on major projects, says Kathleen Kennedy, the company's president.

    The projects include the upcoming superhero movie Avengers 2, the fifth instalment in the Jurassic Park movie franchise, the sequel to 2007's Hitman action movie, the fourth movie in the Transformers series, an unnamed animated feature, as well as a movie to be screened as part of a theme park ride.

    The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Jurassic World will be released in 2015.


    The Hitman sequel, tentatively titled Agent 47, is expected to be released later this year. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, will also be released this year, during the June and July blockbuster season.

    "This will be our busiest year ever at ILM," says Kennedy. Industrial Light & Magic, or ILM, is the arm of Lucasfilm which creates digital effects for films.





    Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre, right), accompanied by filmmaker George Lucas, is greeted by people in Darth Vader and Storm Trooper costumes at the official opening of the Sandcrawler Building on Jan 16, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


    Filmmaker George Lucas speaking at the opening of the Lucasfilm Sandcrawler Building on Jan 16, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: GOH CHIN LIAN


    Ms Long Yinghan, a local talent and digital artist, describes her work to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his tour of the Sandcrawler building on 16 Jan 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre) joined by Kathleen Kennedy (right), President of Lucasfilm, and Mr George Lucas in the unveiling of Yoda during the official opening for Sandcrawler building on 16 Jan 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    Facade of the Sandcrawler building on 16 Jan 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    The workspace of digital artists in the Sandcrawler building on 16 Jan 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


    Singapore will invest more to grow vibrant creative ecosystem: PM Lee


    Published on Jan 16, 2014
    12:12 PM



    By Goh Chin Lian


    THE success of the billion-dollar interactive and digital media industry here requires a vibrant creative ecosystem which Singapore is trying to create, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday at the opening of Lucasfilm's new office.

    That means promoting a spirit of inquiry, staying abreast of global trends so that Singapore remains relevant to the world, and creating an open economy that offers exciting opportunities for Singaporeans and talent from around the world, he added.

    "The magic lies not in the equipment or processes, but in the creative spark that resides in human minds. And these can only light up in an environment which inspires people, promotes creativity and helps people to realise their dreams and to dream big. That is what we are trying to create here," he said.

    Lucasfilm, the world's largest entertainment firm, was behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. Its new eight-storey glass-and-steel facility at the Fusionopolis high-tech park is named Sandcrawler and modelled after the slow-moving fortress seen in Star Wars movies.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-16-2014 at 08:55 PM.

  9. #7914
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NTU starts food science course

    NTU starts food science course to feed growing demand from food processing sector


    Published on Jan 17, 2014
    9:45 AM


    Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is joining forces with one of the world's leading research universities in food science and technology to launch a course aimed at producing graduates for the growing food processing industry in Singapore. -- PHOTO: NTU


    By Sandra Davie, Senior Education Correspondent

    Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is joining forces with one of the world's leading research universities in food science and technology to launch a course aimed at producing graduates for the growing food processing industry in Singapore.

    The course will be taught by NTU and Holland's Wageningen University professors who will conduct lectures through video conferencing. However, the professors will fly to Singapore for the laboratory-based lessons.

    The course will be available from August this year as a second major to chemical engineering, chemistry and biology students
    . Students will be selected in their second year of study, but NTU will pick only academically strong students because of the demands of studying a second major. Upon graduation, students will receive a certificate in food science and technology bearing the name of the two universities, in addition to their degree conferred by NTU.

    While Singapore is not an agricultural country, it has the potential to become a significant food processing centre just like Holland. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry figures, the food industry here employs 127,000 workers, accounting for about 4.4 per cent of Singapore's total employment.

  10. #7915
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    Default

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecol...tyle-meltdown/

    I agree with some parts of the article and disagree with other parts.

    What I agree :
    1. Financial sector bubble. Emerging market bond bubble.
    2. Some construction bubble in Singapore. I think Gardens at the Bay is doomed. I like Botanical garden, it's free and nice. I would not pay for Gardens at the Bay and I do not think man made garden is good. If Har Par Villa, Tang dynasty unable to sustain, I highly doubt Gardens will. But then nobody will know if it is not private sector because public subsidy can be invisible.


    What I disagree :
    1. Singapore is not Iceland because the economy is more diverse. And more importantly is even with Europe recovery, many Westerners still would like to work in Asia. Many businesses still want to do business in Asia. And that is the difference with Iceland.
    2. China maybe overinvested in infrastructure but the South East Asia, except Singapore are still underinvested in infrastructure. Thailand and Malaysia maybe not so but Indonesia, Philipines, Vietnam definitely.

    I would not think that Singapore property would collapse dramatically(if it does, it will drag the banking and eventually the rest of the economy) but I would think that it might be stagnant or little growth especially with the cautious government who now realise that property bubble is dangerous.

    But then it is still possible like the author stated, if Janet Yellen maintains ZIRP for another couple of years, things might go out of hand and we are in dangerous situation at end of 2015.

  11. #7916
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Gardens By The Bay and Botanic Gardens

    I like both gardens.

    They both need the human touch to continue attracting visitors from near and far and both were created by men of talent.

    Botanic Gardens now have a museum to tell its early history as it is working towards getting approval from UNESCO as Singapore's first Heritage site. Visitors not only love its serene surroundings and the great varieties of plants, especially the orchids, but also the periodical musical performances at Palm Valley which provides spacious picnic grounds for people of all races and social standing to relax and entertain themselves with food and drink. Even dogs are allowed.

    Gardens By the Bay is an extension of the Botanic Gardens in a much more modern form and structure that seem to appeal to the young and old alike.
    It has won world accolades as a structure and also recently as an entertainment center. The Flower Dome always brings cheer to visitors with plants and colourful flowers from all over the world when such plants cannot be grown in the Tropics (and in the Botanic Gardens). This is because the Dome is air conditioned and plants can be made to flower all the year round. An engineering feat also being recognized by world bodies.

    On special ocassions like Christmas appropriate plants and decorations are added to provide a festive air. Visitors are also educated on the plants with brief stories and notes.

    It just happens that I visited GBTB today to listen to music performed by our Singapore Chinese Orchestra at the SuperTree Grove to usher in the Lunar New Year. Attendance was good and the crowd appreciative.

  12. #7917
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default My recent visit to Gardens By The Bay in pictures

    Last Saturday I was at the Gardens again to watch the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO)perform.

    Singapore has two professional orchestras - the SCO and the Singapore Symphony Ochestra (SS0). SCO's history is described by Wikipedia as follows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapo...hestra#History

    "In 1968, an amateur Chinese orchestra was established as part of the National Theatre under the auspices of the Minister of Culture, and became a performing unit of the People's Association Cultural Troupe, the People’s Association Chinese Orchestra. This became a professional orchestra in 1974. It later changed its name to Singapore Chinese Orchestra and the Orchestra was inaugurated in 1996 as a national orchestra at the initiative of the then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong."

    The highlights of Gardens By The Bay are its Flower Dome, Cloud Forest (Dome), the SuperTrees, OCBC Skyway and others.

    Called the Far East Organisation Children's Garden, a new play area will open in Gardens by the Bay on Tuesday, 21 January 2014.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_by_the_Bay
    Attached Images Attached Images                                                  
    Last edited by Loh; 01-20-2014 at 05:44 AM.

  13. #7918
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    Default

    New Children's Garden at Gardens by the Bay


    Published on Jan 21, 2014
    8:44 AM






    • http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../gbtb2105e.jpg
      Eight-year-old Sarah Tan climbs on the arch net tunnel, one of the many play structures strung along the Adventure Trail that encourage a variety of motor skills such as jumping, crossing, reaching up and over, and manoeuvring under a low branch. Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../gbtb2104e.jpg
      Rizdie Mohd Idil braces himself for the jets of water at a new children’s play area at Gardens by the Bay. Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../gbtb2103e.jpg
      One of the Gardens By The Bay staff helps a girl down a hanging rope basket at the treehouse. Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../gbtb2102e.jpg
      A group of children from the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home play on a revolving disc, one of the many play structures strung along the Adventure Trail that encourage a variety of motor skills such as jumping, crossing, reaching up and over, and manoeuvring under a low branch. Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../gbtb2101e.jpg
      Six-year-old Dana Joy Sim runs away from the Fish Fountain, a toddler water play that offers interactive water play where 17 fish sculptures of varying sizes provide the illusion of fish swimming within the play surface. Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...2_4005622e.jpg
      Children from Far East Organization’s community organisations playing at a tree house at yesterday’s launch of the new garden. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN


      By Lydia Vasko
      Families now have another reason to head to Gardens by the Bay, where the Far East Organization Children's Garden was launched yesterday, and is now open free to the public six days a week.

      The 1ha garden, located between the Cloud Forest conservatory, Satay by the Bay and the Sun Pavilion, features tree houses, climbing ropes, slides and water play areas for children aged one to 12.

      Sand and rubber bottomed play areas are woven among more than 100 species of plants, including the old man palm, yellow jade orchid tree and even a baobab tree from Madagascar. This is to give children a chance to climb trees, dodge hanging vines and swat away low-lying leaves and branches in a garden cum playground, to help them interact with nature.
      Designed by Grant Associates, which also designed Gardens by the Bay, the Children's Garden was fully funded by Far East Organization for $10 million. It is the largest donation received by the Gardens to date.

  14. #7919
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    Default Gardens by the Bay - OCBC Skyway

    It was during the Mid-Autumn or Lantern Festival period in September last year.

    I visited the Gardens to admire the lanterns and took a lift up one of the Supertrees to set foot on the OCBC Skyway. From across the swaying walkway supported by steel cables I got a bird view of the surroundings. The Skyway is one of the attractions that should be experienced by the visitor.

    Here are some pictures that I took.
    Attached Images Attached Images                                      
    Last edited by Loh; 01-21-2014 at 03:30 AM.

  15. #7920
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    Default Gardens by the Bay - Flower Dome

    The Flower Dome is an engineering feat as it is airconditioned to provide the right climate to grow plants and trees not suitable for our high temperatures in Singapore. Much thought has been given to energy conservation to ensure its sustainability.

    It is a popular building in the Gardens with its inviting cool comfort, especially on a hot day. The multi-coloured flowers in their different shapes and sizes never fail to attract visitors to use their cameras. Happy faces abound and it is a delight to see smiles all round.
    Attached Images Attached Images                                                      

  16. #7921
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    Default NTU's $7 million research lab can help cut production costs for films and games

    Published on Jan 21, 2014
    3:08 PM



    A film still from The Boy And His Robot, a science-fiction live action film by home-grown production company Richmanclub Studios. The company had used tools developed in-house by the Nanyang Technological University's Future Studios Research Lab, which was officially launched on Jan 21, 2014, to help create visual effects such as the battle scene involving robots and soldiers in the film still. The tools are estimated to cut the production costs of the film by up to 80 per cent. The film is slated to be released at the end of 2014 or early 2015. -- PHOTO: RICHMANCLUB STUDIO


    By Kenny Chee

    A $7 million research lab that could significantly cut the cost of making films, animation and games was launched on Tuesday by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

    The Future Studios Research Lab, which is sited in NTU, is already poised to help home-grown production company Richmanclub Studios reap cost savings for a movie that it is currently making at the lab. Entitled The Boy And His Robot, the science-fiction live action film is slated to be released at the end of this year or early next year.

    By using the lab's equipment and technologies to create the film's visual effects instead of traditional production methods, the movie's production costs and the number of workers needed are expected to be slashed by up to 80 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

    The lab's equipment include computer servers from HP and high end Nvidia graphics cards

  17. #7922
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    Default 250 overseas-trained Singaporeans return home as MOH ramps up health-care workforce

    Published on Jan 21, 2014
    4:58 PM


    About 250 Singaporeans who studied medicine and dentistry abroad have been attracted back home since 2010, said Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor in Parliament on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    By Andrea Ong

    About 250 Singaporeans who studied medicine and dentistry abroad have been attracted back home since 2010, said Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor in Parliament on Tuesday.

    As part of the Ministry of Health's (MOH) wider push to ramp up the health-care workforce to prepare for an ageing population and growing demand for health services, it is bringing back overseas-trained Singaporeans by offering pre-employment grants, said Dr Khor.

    The MOH projects that it will have to grow the national health-care professional workforce by 50 per cent, or 20,000 more people, from 2011 to 2020, she said.

    "While we will do what we can to grow the local manpower pool, it is unlikely to be sufficient to meet Singapore's growing healthcare needs,"
    she added.

    In addition to bringing back overseas graduates, the MOH will continue to recruit qualified foreign professionals and help them assimilate into the local working environment.

    And it aims to attract more young Singaporeans to join the health-care sector, Dr Khor said. With the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which admitted its first batch last year, the local medical intake will rise gradually to 500 a year.

    MOH is also raising the profile of nursing and allied health professions with branding campaigns and scholarships. Salaries will also be adjusted from time to time to attract and retain talent in the public health-care and intermediate and long-term care sectors, she said.

    MOH also supports mid-career professionals who wish to join the health-care sector and will help older health-care staff continue working for as long as they can. In 2012, 95 per cent of professionals in public health-care institutions who turned 62 were re-employed. MOH also helped 27 nurses return to practice last year, Dr Khor said.

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