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  1. #8535
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Parliament: DPM Tharman on why assets as investment buffer not a reserves drawdown

    Published on Aug 4, 2014 5:38 PM



    Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in Parliament on Monday, Aug 4, 2014, that the Government's net assets, which it relies on to back the interest rates paid on CPF savings, are Singapore's reserves. -- PHOTO: ST FILE


    By Tham Yuen-C

    SINGAPORE - The Government's net assets, that it relies on to back the interest rates paid on CPF savings, are Singapore's reserves, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday.

    And the bulk of it is made up of past reserves, accumulated during previous terms of government.

    But this does not mean that the Government has drawn down on past reserves as defined by the Constitution when it relies on its buffer of net assets to meet the obligations on its liabilities, including its commitments on Special Singapore Government Securities(SSGS), in years when investment returns had been weak.

    CPF savings are invested by the CPF Board in SSGS, and that is the link between SSGS and CPF interest rates.

    Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, said this in response to a question from non-constituency MP Gerald Giam, who wanted to know if the Government had tapped into past reserves to pay the guaranteed interest on Central Provident Fund savings. Approval from the President is required to use these funds.

    In eight of the past 20 years, said Mr Tharman, the GIC's investment returns had fallen below the interest guaranteed on CPF savings, and the Government has had to rely on its net assets to make up for the shortfall.

    The Government's net assets, and Singapore's reserves, had therefore reduced in these years.


    But what goes into determining whether there is a likely draw on past reserves, is whether the Government has entered into liabilities that are sustainable, and will not result in a systematic erosion of the reserves, said Mr Tharman.

    Giving an example of such a scenario erosion, he said that this would have happened if the Government had set interest rates on the Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS), issued to the CPF Board to back CPF interest rates, at "artificially high levels".

    If these levels were "above what can reasonably be expected to be earned in investment returns on the Government's funds over the long-term", it would result in the reserves being run down "systematically and deliberately".

    But a fall in the value of Singapore's reserves in the course of investing it for long-term returns, should not be mistaken for the same thing.

    Said Mr Tharman: "The scenario of entering into liabilities that will lead to a systematic and deliberate drawdown of reserves should not be confused with the fluctuation in the value of the reserves due to market volatility and cycles that happen all the time."

    He noted that any strategy of long-term investing will mean taking investment risks, and will therefore involve ups and downs in the market value of the portfolio.

    The only way to avoid such fluctuations, said Mr Tharman, is to avoid taking investment risk by choosing safer instruments.

    But this will mean accepting low returns over the long-term, which would "likely fall below" the interest rates on SSGS and even Singapore Government Securities over the long-term, he said.

    He also noted that what the Constitution guards against is "profligate spending".

    The Constitution, said Mr Tharman, allows the President to state and gazette his opinion if he considers that the Government had entered into liabilities that will likely draw down Past Reserves.

    "The President has not been put in a position where he has had to state such an opinion," said Mr Tharman, adding that CPF interest rates are pegged to market rates.

  2. #8536
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Parliament: Premature to relax property cooling measures, says Khaw

    Published on Aug 4, 2014 3:41 PM


    National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has restated the Government's stand that it is premature to relax property market cooling measures, given current market conditions. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    By Janice Heng

    National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has restated the Government's stand that it is premature to relax property market cooling measures, given current market conditions.

    "Such a move could lead to an upswing in demand, which would increase the number of transactions and raise housing prices. This would not be welcome to Singaporean home-buyers, particularly those with aspirations to upgrade," Mr Khaw told Parliament on Monday.

    Similar statements that it is too early to relax cooling measures were made at the end of June by the Ministry of National Development and late last month by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

    On Monday, Mr Khaw was replying to Ms Foo Mee Har's (West Coast GRC) call to consider relaxing some cooling measures such as those relating to Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD), so that Singaporeans can upgrade their properties while staying financially prudent.

    Foreigners buying any property have to pay an ABSD of 15 per cent, while Singapore permanent residents have to pay 5 per cent on their first property and 10 per cent on subsequent ones. Singaporeans citizens pay 7 per cent ABSD on their second property and 10 per cent on any further ones.

    Mr Khaw replied that property cooling measures are meant to keep the housing market stable and sustainable. "They aim to encourage financial prudence among home-buyers and to moderate property prices."

    He added that there are already concessions to benefit upgraders. For example, Singaporean married couples can enjoy a refund on ABSD if they sell their existing home within a stipulated period after buying their second home.

    Similarly, if an upgrader can provide documents to his bank to show that he will be selling his existing home, he can be treated as a borrower with no outstanding housing loans. This lets him qualify for the maximum loan-to-value ratio of 80 per cent for the new housing loan - in other words, his loan can cover 80 per cent of the value of the purchase.

    "The existing concessions are reasonable and sufficient," concluded Mr Khaw. "Any move to relax the cooling measures, including by broadening these concessions, is premature under current market conditions."

  3. #8537
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Former National Stadium benches preserved in 15 locations

    POSTED: 06 Aug 2014 13:38


    Competition to pick designs of how to repurpose the salvaged planks drew more than 6,000 entries, according to National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.


    The Scape Bench, made from seating planks salvaged from the former National Stadium. Photo: URA



    (The) Coil, made from seating planks salvaged from the former National Stadium. Photo: URA

    DREAM Bench, made from seating planks salvaged from the former National Stadium. Photo: URA


    SINGAPORE: If you miss the heyday of the former National Stadium, you will be able to relive it in a small way - by sitting on one of its benches, now repurposed at 15 locations around the island.

    When the stadium was demolished in 2010 to make way for the Sports Hub, some of the seating planks were salvaged, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan
    posted on his blog on Wednesday (Aug 6). "We have an idea that if the planks can be recycled into well-designed benches, it would be a meaningful way to commemorate the grand old dame of Kallang," he wrote.

    A "Pick a bench, pick a place" competition was held by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, in which the public was invited to choose how and where to place the salvaged benches. Ten designs and 15 locations were selected based on the more than 6,000 votes that were cast, Mr Khaw said.


    Click here to view the locations and designs chosen.


    Among the locations picked: Fort Canning, HortPark, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and the National Museum.



    The designers of the bench took their interpretations or memories of the stadium as their inspiration, he said.

    "My favourite is the DREAM bench," Mr Khaw wrote. "Each alphabet is a seat on its own. But together, they inspire like-minded friends to sit together to banter and share their dreams for the future. Our pioneer political leaders did just that and modern Singapore was born."


    - CNA/es

  4. #8538
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PRs who fail to serve National Service face serious consequences

    POSTED: 05 Aug 2014 20:15


    NS defaulters must answer for the offence says Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. They face a fine or jail term if convicted.

    File photo of National Service recruits at SAF Basic Military Training camp. (Photo: TODAY)


    SINGAPORE: Permanent Residents (PRs) who fail to register or enlist for National Service (NS) face serious consequences. In a written Parliamentary reply, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that these PRs have committed an offence under the Enlistment Act.

    He said they are NS defaulters and must answer for their NS offences. Upon conviction, they face a fine or a jail term. Dr Ng was responding to a question by Nominated Member of Parliament Eugene Tan. He said those who renounce their PR status before serving their NS liability face serious consequences when they apply for work and study.

    Dr Ng said that according to records, no such persons have been granted re-instatement of PR or citizenship. He added that the policy has been progressively tightened such that no NS-liable PR who renounced his PR status in the last decade has been granted approval for work or study.

    For former PRs who fail to serve NS, any immediate or future applications for renewal of their parents' and immediate family members' Re-Entry Permits may be adversely affected, including curtailment of the Re-Entry Permit.


    - CNA/ly

    (I support the decision whole-heartedly.)
    Last edited by Loh; 08-06-2014 at 03:28 AM.

  5. #8539
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Still hazy? Here are 5 things about the new haze law in Singapore

    Published on Aug 6, 2014 2:49 PM


    The Singapore skyline on June 20, 2013, as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 371 at 1pm. -- PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES FILE


    By Marissa Lee

    SINGAPORE - A new law to punish polluters who cause the haze was passed in the Singapore Parliament on Tuesday. Here are five things you should know about this law:

    1. Companies will be fined for each day that they contribute to "unhealthy" haze. Unhealthy haze is defined in the new law as air quality having a Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) value of 101 or greater for 24 hours or more.

    2. Polluting companies may be fined up to $100,000 a day, up to a maximum of $2 million.

    3. The cap on fines was first set at $300,000 when the law was drafted earlier this year. The penalty was raised following public consultation.

    4. The new law also lets people or companies sue polluters with no limit set on the amount of damages they can ask for.

    5. This legislation marks Singapore's first legal move against polluters but enforcement might be difficult as large palm-oil companies based in Indonesia are the main contributors to transboundary haze in Singapore and it would be difficult to nab firms based outside Singapore without infringing on the sovereignty of another country.

  6. #8540
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Second chance for first female Red Lion at National Day Parade

    She's back for NDP jump, after missing out due to poor weather last year


    Published on Aug 5, 2014 8:53 AM


    3WO Shirley Ng, seen here during her plunge at the NDP preview last Saturday, is ready to make history at the actual parade on Saturday. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

    By Yeo Sam Jo

    Cloudy skies last year prevented Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Shirley Ng from becoming the first female Red Lion parachutist to jump at the National Day Parade (NDP).

    But the tenacious 36-year-old is back and ready to make history at this year's parade on Saturday.

    "Of course I'm very, very honoured to be given a second shot," said 3WO Ng, who will be the eighth out of nine Red Lions to make the leap. "But I already treated last year as my first NDP. We did six great jumps last year, including the rehearsals and preview."

    A perennial crowd favourite, the Red Lions segment was called off last year due to poor weather.

    "My relatives and friends were still waiting. They thought the jump was postponed,"
    recalled 3WO Ng. "It was indeed disappointing, but then again, what's over is over. We're really focusing on this year's NDP."

    The army regular joined the Singapore Armed Forces in 1998 as a rigger, tasked with packing parachutes. A year later, she made her first jump from 305m above ground using the first parachute she packed.

  7. #8541
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default No longer in solitude



    Lewis Chua will drop to the 94kg class to increase his hopes of winning medals. Photo: WEE TECK HIAN

    Inspired by Glasgow outing, weightlifter Lewis Chua banishes thoughts of retirement, looks to feature at next Commonwealth Games


    By Philip Goh
    philipgoh@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:03 AM, August 7, 2014


    SINGAPORE — Until last October when former national discus thrower Scott Wong left track and field and started making big strides in weightlifting, Lewis Chua had been in recent years the nation’s standard bearer for the sport best known in Singapore for Tan Howe Liang’s silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

    And while Wong secured his ticket to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in May to a measure of publicity, many may have forgotten that Chua had punched his ticket to Glasgow two months earlier at the Singapore Open, with a new national record total of 316kg that received little or no fanfare.

    The rivalry between these two weightlifters in their 20s could help grow the sport that once could be counted on to deliver medals for Singapore at major Games.

    Not that 22-year-old Chua would admit to any measure of rivalry with Wong, who is a year older.

    “We get along,” said Chua. “We train, eat, travel and even stayed together in Glasgow and in training in China. It has been quite lonely being the sole male competitor in my weight class for some years, and to finally have someone else competing at this level has been refreshing.”

    If last Friday’s men’s 105kg and above competition at Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium had been a head-to-head contest between the two team-mates, it was clear who came out on top.

    Chua made four of his six lifts, posting a total of 315kg, including a new national record of 182kg for the clean and jerk, while Wong did not post a total after failing in all three of his clean and jerk attempts.

    Both men finished down the order as the eventual winner, George Kobaladze of Canada, posted a Games record total of 400kg. Even the sixth-place finisher posted 341kg — the target weight for Singapore athletes to qualify for the 2018 Games in Australia — a total that neither Chua nor Wong has come close to lifting.

    Not that either man should be too worried about the imposing target, as Chua is set to drop two weight classes down to the 94kg class while Wong is likely to compete next time in the 105kg class, to give themselves better chances of winning medals.

    Chua, who had contemplated retiring from international competitions after the Commonwealth Games, has now put aside all thoughts of retirement, inspired by his experience in Glasgow and thinking ahead to the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia where the sport will return as a medal event. After that, he is looking at another joust at the Commonwealths.

    Speaking to TODAY at the Solitude of Strength gym that he owns, Chua said: “Even if we were outclassed in Glasgow, it was good to compete with some of the best in the world.

    “And it’s on our shoulders to try to revive the sport in Singapore. We’re doing our part as athletes by getting into bigger competitions, apart from becoming the first male lifters at the Commonwealths for 24 years.

    “My hope is that by 2018, we will have a full complement of eight men and seven women competing in all the weight classes at the Commonwealth Games. With the Singapore Weightlifting Federation doing its best to encourage more schools to offer the sport, we have a chance to achieve this.”


    Solitude of Strength gym at 37, Lorong 23 Geylang, #01-04, Singapore 388371 is free to use for all national youth athletes

  8. #8542
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S’pore needs to fight odds to survive: Chun Sing



    Minister Chan Chun Sing. Today File Photo

    He says it should not be taken for granted that nation will be around for next five decades


    By Wong Wei Han

    -
    wongweihan@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:04 AM, August 8, 2014


    SINGAPORE — With the Republic in a celebratory mood, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing yesterday delivered a sobering message: It should not be taken for granted that Singapore will be around for the next five decades or more and the country will need to continue fighting against the odds to ensure its survival.

    Ahead of Singapore’s 49th birthday tomorrow and its golden jubilee anniversary next year, Mr Chan said: “I have never taken for granted that Singapore will always be around.
    While I look forward to celebrating SG50, I always challenge myself (on whether) ... we will be around to celebrate SG100.” He noted that in South-east Asia, not many countries of Singapore’s size have been able to last 100 years. “Let’s work hard … to defy the odds of history so that our children and our grandchildren will have the chance to celebrate SG100.”

    In a speech at the Economic Society of Singapore’s annual dinner, Mr Chan outlined the myriad of external and domestic challenges facing the Republic. He also recounted his despair when he heard the responses from international business leaders when he asked them — during a recent meeting — to name the country they thought would be the most successful by 2030.

    Many chose China and the United States, while some picked Indonesia and India. The top three reasons for their choices were demography, resource endowment and size of markets, he said.


    “When I heard this, my heart sank, because if resource endowment and market size determine destiny, then I’m sure not many people will give Singapore a fighting chance … We have our work cut out for us to even try to interest people to give us a chance to do business with us.”

    On external challenges, Mr Chan cited ties between the US and China, which will have a significant impact on the world, including Singapore and the region. The Republic will also have to develop a “constructive and complementary relationship” with fast-growing neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

    To stand out among regional and global cities, Singapore’s advantage lies in innovation and value-add, said Mr Chan, who stressed that Singapore has to compete against cities, not countries.

    “The challenge for us is to ensure we compete on the quality of ideas, not the quantity of input and, God help us, not on price,” he said. “We need to identify the part of a value chain where we have competitive advantages, be it production, services or sales.”

    At home, Singapore will have to continue managing the integration of immigrants, among other challenges. This will depend on whether it can forge a national identity as “a forward-looking and inclusive concept based on values, ideals and vision”, Mr Chan said.

    Noting how technological advancements may displace certain jobs, he added that issues such as income inequality and social mobility must also be addressed.

    “What we can and must do is to allow our people to have the best opportunities to realise their talents … This is why we must continue to push hard for continuous meritocracy,” he said. “Our challenge is to keep the definition of meritocracy broad and not just on academic achievements.”

    He said that as more individuals succeed, they must realise their responsibility to give back to society, in order for Singapore to avoid “a fractured social system where the winner takes all without due regard for the role society has played in his success”.

    To overcome the challenges, Singapore will need people who are rooted to the country even as they seek their fortunes elsewhere, he said.

    It must also continue to turn constraints into opportunities, he said, citing Singapore’s success in water management.

    The Republic should leverage on its brand in terms of standards, law and trust. This would enable Singapore to use its competitive advantage to stand out amid global competition, he said.

    “We can only achieve all these and more if we have the right social compact and values — leadership, innovation, openness, meritocracy , cohesion and resilience,” he added.

    During the question-and-answer session, Nanyang Technological University economics professor Ng Yew Kwang asked whether Singapore can afford the economic disadvantages that result from reducing foreign manpower.

    In response, Mr Chan said: “The fundamental thing is not the number. It’s what kind of opportunities we want to create for our young ... It’s not a given whether we can or cannot manage a six-million population — much depends on us. But (the inflow) must be at a pace that society can accept.”

    Mr Chan was also asked to comment on former Urban Redevelopment Authority chief planner Liu Thai Ker’s recent remarks that Singapore should plan for a population of 10 million.

    Noting that Mr Liu was speaking from the perspective of urban planning, he reiterated that much depends on the population size that Singaporeans can live with.

    He added: “I don’t think anyone can say that this is the number and we’ll grow towards it. Very much also depends on how people find us as a place to work and do business. We can plan for five million or six million, but people won’t come unless we can value-add and create synergies. Otherwise, it’s just a number.”

  9. #8543
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A*STAR scientists make breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research



    A mouse ovary encapsulated by a single layer of cells called ovary surface epithelium (indicated by black arrows). These cells have long been believed to be the cancer cell of origin of ovarian cancer in humans. Photo: A*STAR


    Discovery of key colony of ovarian stem cells may allow doctors to diagnose ovarian cancer earlier

    Published: 11:56 AM, August 8, 2014

    Singapore — Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and the Bioinformatics Institute (BII) have found new clues to aid in the early detection and development of personalised treatments for ovarian cancer.

    Ovarian cancer is currently one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose early due to the lack of symptoms unique to the illness. As a result, this form of cancer carries a high mortality rate.

    A*STAR’s team of scientists however recently found a previously-known molecule on the surface of human ovaries for the first time, allowing scientists to trace its source to the ovarian stem cells which produced it.

    With these key stem cells located, ovarian cancer may now be detected earlier and a more effective treatment regimen devised.


    The discovery is timely, as ovarian cancer now ranks as the fifth most common cancer in Singapore amongst women, with some 280 cases diagnosed annually and 90 deaths per year.

  10. #8544
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore economy grew 3.5% in H1; full-year growth seen at 2.5% to 3.5%

    By Imelda Saad
    POSTED: 08 Aug 2014 18:57


    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Message that growth projections for 2014 will be between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent, narrowing earlier forecasts.




    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his 2014 National Day Message


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's economy grew 3.5 per cent in the first half of the year, bringing the growth forecast for the rest of the year to between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent. That is narrower than the forecast by the Trade and Industry Ministry in February this year of between 2 and 4 per cent. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this in his National Day Message on Friday (Aug 8) ahead of Singapore's 49th birthday.

    In his message delivered from the Alexandra Park Connector, Mr Lee outlined some priorities for the country, including giving Singaporeans greater peace of mind in their retirement years and helping everyone achieve their potential, regardless of their family background or circumstances. Ahead of his National Day Rally, Mr Lee also hinted at several policy changes to come.

    In enhancing retirement adequacy, Mr Lee said his team is studying how to make it more convenient for retirees to get cash out of their flats, in a prudent and sustainable way.

    Currently there is the Lease Buy back scheme. It is a monetization option to help low-income elderly households unlock part of their housing equity, and receive a lifelong income stream to supplement their retirement income. Response to the scheme though has been somewhat lukewarm, with just over 300 households signing up for it since it was enhanced in February last year.

    The Prime Minister will also talk about ways the Central Provident Fund system could be improved at the National Day Rally in a week's time.

    "Stronger safety nets are not just to give you peace of mind, but also to build confidence to hope and dare," said Mr Lee. "Our system will help you shoot for the stars. Everyone will have full opportunities to fulfil your potential, regardless of your family background or circumstances."

    Mr Lee said education is a big part of achieving this. To that end, a committee tasked with reviewing polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education studies is expected to announce its recommendations to help young Singaporeans acquire the relevant skills, to succeed in a constantly changing, economic environment.

    "You are talented, passionate and confident. You deserve to chase your dreams and be the best you can be. The academic route is not the only way up. We will also help you upgrade yourselves while you work. We will help you master specialised skills, and earn advanced qualifications as you progress in your careers," said Mr Lee.

    But Mr Lee said this is also a matter of social values: "As Singaporeans, we must judge a person not just by his educational qualifications but also by his skills, contributions and character. This is how we keep Singapore a land of hope and opportunity for all."

    He added Singapore will succeed, only if its citizens stand together as one united people. There was a rallying call by the Prime Minister for Singaporeans to come together despite their differences and to uphold the spirit of the Pioneers who built this country. Mr Lee said Singapore has changed, so there also needs to be a reassessment of its position, direction and strategies.

    Mr Lee added that even as Singapore has made strong progress since independence, it has not reached its limit. As the country turns 50 next year, Mr Lee observed that many Singaporeans intend to embrace and mark the special occasion in their own ways.

    He said it is this collective sense of ownership and belonging, that will take this country forward, in a changing world.

    Read the transcript of the Prime Minister's National Day Message at pmo.gov.sg.


    - CNA/ly

  11. #8545
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    Default Chua Thian Poh 
receives Distinguished Service Order



    Ho Bee Investment head Chua Thian Poh was honoured for his contributions to society. Photo: Wee Teck Hian


    By Laura Elizabeth Philomin
    lauraphilomin@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 7:21 AM, August 9, 2014


    SINGAPORE — He is a property tycoon, well-known as an active Chinese community leader and philanthropist who is particularly supportive of education.

    For his contributions to society, Mr Chua Thian Poh, head of developer Ho Bee Investment, has received the Distinguished Service Order, heading the list for this year’s National Day Awards. The Order is awarded to those who have performed within Singa­pore any act or series of acts constituting distinguished conduct.

    Speaking to TODAY, Mr Chua said he was quite surprised to receive the award, but added that he could not have achieved any of what he had accomplished without the help of various teams that he had worked with in various capacities. “You need a cohesive team (that) has the same vision to work together to make things happen. So, I would like to thank them and I definitely would like to share the joy (of winning the award) with them,” he said.

    A man of many hats, Mr Chua not only is chairman of both networking group Business China and the Chinese Development Assistance Council Board of Trustees, but also leads several Chinese community organisations. These include the Singa­pore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations and the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan.

    He has also been lauded for his philanthropy, having been conferred the President’s Award for Philanthropy in 2012 and named among four Singa­poreans who have given generously by Forbes in June. In particular, Mr Chua has pitched in to boost college education.


    In his personal capacity, Mr Chua donated S$5 million to Nanyang Technological University to establish the Chua Thian Poh Entrepreneurship Education Fund. In 2011, he established the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme at NUS University Town with a gift of S$5 million to develop the next generation of community leaders.

    Having completed only secondary school education, Mr Chua stressed the importance of higher education to “nurture the young, shape them to become good people who can contribute to our society”. “Our society doesn’t just need economic stability, we also need a lot of youngsters coming forward to recognise this community work,” he said. “I think everyone has the heart (to know) how to give back to society. I would like to encourage all people, especially the younger generation, to take the first step.”

    This year, 3,197 individuals were honoured across 19 categories at the National Day Awards. Other top recipients included Professor K Satku, former director of medical services of the Ministry of Health; Mr Po’ad Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, member of the Council of Presidential Advisers; and Ms Jennie Chua, immediate past chairman of Community Chest and chairman of Alexandra Health System. They were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

    Ten Home Team front-line officers from the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force, who were among the first on the scene during the Little India riot last year, were awarded the Commendation Medal for their dedication to duty and courage. Mr Lim Nghee Huat, MediaCorp Chinese news and current affairs editor and chairman of Mountbatten Citizens’ Consultative Committee, was also among the Public Service Star recipients.

  12. #8546
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    Default Going for gold: National Gallery Singapore approaches final stages of construction

    A roof and veil of gold panels to cover the National Gallery Singapore are among its stunning features



    Published on Aug 9, 2014 1:39 PM




    An artist’s impression of the support trees and roof above the smaller Supreme Court dome (above) at the National Gallery Singapore.

    - PHOTOS: STUDIOMILOU SINGAPORE, NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE, FERNANDO JAVIER URQUIJO








    The gallery will be located at the former Supreme Court and City Hall, both of which are now undergoing renovation (above); and the architectural model of the building.



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...4B_561947e.jpg

    Principal architect Jean-Francois Milou.





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...HE_561956e.jpg

    Gallery lighting fixtures have been installed into the restored timber ceilings of the new courtroom galleries (above, before restoration).



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...RY_562165e.jpg

    Existing timber finishes in these spaces and other areas such as the lobby (above, in an artist’s impression) have been retained.



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...DY_561970e.jpg

    Temporary structural beams in the basement during construction.



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...09_561817e.jpg

    To support the roof and veil, studioMilou designed five tree-like steel structures (above) – ranging from 12m to 30m tall – which are anchored around the Supreme Court’s smaller dome and the gallery’s central atrium.





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...F1_562784e.jpg

    Artist’s impressions of the rooftop garden and reflection pools (above) at the National Gallery Singapore.





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...1V_561977e.jpg

    Highpressure blasts of water were used to clean the facade of the building (above).


    By Lydia Vasko

    Steeped in history, the former Supreme Court and City Hall along the Padang are two of Singapore's most iconic buildings.

    Come November next year, the National Gallery Singapore, which will house 19th- and 20th-century Singapore and South-east Asian art, will stand in their place.

    Its predecessors' rich heritage is precisely why those undertaking the museum's design and construction are taking a subtle and delicate approach.

    That responsibility falls on studioMilou Architecture, a Paris-based firm which specialises in museum design and the adaptive reuse of historical and heritage buildings, and its Singapore partner, CPG Consultants.

    Background story

    What you can find at the National Gallery Singapore
    [*]There are more than 10,000 artworks in Singapore's National Collection. About 1,000 pieces will be displayed in the museum at any one time.
    [*]The museum will house the largest collection of South-east Asian art in the world.
    [*]The highlights will be the two permanent galleries.

    The DBS Singapore Gallery in the City Hall Wing will feature artworks which tell the story of the development of Singaporean art from the 19th century to the present.

    The South-east Asia Gallery in the Supreme Court Wing will show the narrative and cultural context for the development of modernism in South-east Asian art from the 19th century to the present.
    [*]The museum will be home to the Keppel Centre for Art Education, the first dedicated art education facility of its kind in Singapore and the region. It will occupy more than 1,000 sq m of the ground level in the City Hall Wing.

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    Default Pinnacle of HDB flat resales soon?

    * Units widely expected to fetch high prices * Minimum occupancy period up in December



    The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar, which comprises 1,848 units in seven 50-storey blocks, received overwhelming response at its launch in 2004. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


    Published on Aug 9, 2014 7:11 AM

    By Janice Heng And Yeo Sam Jo

    The first flat from premier Housing Board project Pinnacle@Duxton has hit the market, with its owner obtaining special permission from the authorities to sell the unit.

    The four-room flat, with a floor area of 90 sq m and located "above the 20th floor", has been on the market for about a month. But it has already had more than 50 viewings, said Mr Bruce Ang, one of two agents marketing the unit. He said that several "verbal offers" have been received, the highest being $830,000.

    The unit is being sold despite the owner not having lived in the unit for five years, which is a legal requirement known as the minimum occupation period (MOP).

    Most Pinnacle@Duxton home owners will meet this MOP in December.

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    Default Little India Riot: First responders honoured on National Day

    Published on Aug 9, 2014 6:00 AM



    Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers at the aftermath of the Little India riot at Race Course Road on Dec 9, 2013. 10 Home Team frontline officers, who were among the first to respond to the riot, were honoured in this year's National Day Awards. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

    By Marissa Lee

    SINGAPORE - Among those honoured in this year's National Day Awards are 10 Home Team frontline officers who were among the first to respond to last December's Little India Riot.

    The officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were awarded the Commendation Medal for their outstanding leadership and resolve.

    Sergeant Khyrul Noor Redhza of SCDF, who was nearly crushed when he went under the bus to pull away the body of a foreign worker who had been in an accident, was among the recipients.

    Assistant Superintendent of Police Jonathan Tang, who rallied his officers to provide security cover for the SCDF officers as they extricated the body of the victim, is also an awardee.

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    Default 10 things to do on National Day weeend

    10 things to do on National Day weeend


    Published on Aug 2, 2014 7:00 AM


    The Singapore Philatelic Museum will be holding an Open House on National Day, where families can enjoy the DC Super Heroes themed programmes for free. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE PHILATELIC MUSEUM


    By Lydia Vasko And Cheryl Mui

    The National Day weekend is a great time to enjoy free heritage and cultural-themed programmes, as well as good deals on family and sporting activities around town. Here are 10 things to check out from August 8 to 10.


    CULTURE AND HERITAGE

    Our Brick Estate


    An overlooked aspect of Singapore’s heritage, the humble brick played a substantial role in Singapore’s nation building, from colonial times when kilns were first built here, through to the 1970s, when bricks were used to build many of the first HDB estates. Architectural and urban historian Dr Lai Chee Kien gives this talk for 50 people at the Library @ Esplanade.

    When: Aug 10, 3 to 3.45pm
    Where: Library @ Esplanade, 03-01,
    8 Raffles Avenue
    Admission: Free
    Info: Go to www.esplanade.com


    Singapore Char Siew Baos!



    Home-grown band Singapore Char Siew Baos! will give a pop interpretation of favourite local songs such as Chan Mali Chan, Together, Home and Five Stars Arising. The four-member band, known for their pop covers and original songs, will be joined by xinyao veteran Wu Jiaming, the original singer of Xiao Ren Wu De Xin Sheng (Voices From The Heart), who will join the band on bass for the song. The band perform their 45-minute set three times on Aug 8.


    When:Aug 8, 7.30, 8.45 and 10pm
    Where: Outdoor Theatre, Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay
    Admission: Free
    Info: Go to www.esplanade.com



    The Art Of Celebration – Palette Of Local Delights


    Singapore’s cultural diversity is best revealed through its food, a notion home-grown installation artist Angela Chong plays with in her latest gastronomic-themed work at Scotts Square.

    The three-storey, floor-to-ceiling installation in the mall’s atrium is made up of more than 60 handmade paper sculptures, each imprinted with kaleidoscopic images of kueh and local cakes. When viewed from certain angles, they reveal the number 49, in honour of Singapore’s birthday.

    At the atrium’s ground level are several “kuehleidescycles”, a series of interactive sculptures which twists and turns to reveal facets of different types of kueh and sweets that the artist photographed and digitally manipulated to reveal beautiful patterns.
    Members of the public have the chance to make their own “kuehleidescycles” at free workshops in the atrium on Aug 16 and 17, from noon to 8pm.

    When: Daily, now till Aug 31 from 10am to 10pm
    Where: Atrium, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road
    Admission: Free
    Info: Call Scotts Square on 6235-0575

    Our Folksongs, Our Tunes


    The Orchestra Collective, an independent musical ensemble based here, will perform a medley of homespun musical classics such as Rasa Sayang, Singapura, Sunny Island and Finale (The Republic), the fifth and final movement of Singaporean composer Tsao Chieh’s Singapore Symphonic Suite For Orchestra.

    The 46-member wind ensemble will perform the hour-long concert in the Esplanade’s Concert Hall, which seats 1,600 on a first-come, first-served basis.

    When:Aug 10 at 3pm
    Where: Concert Hall, Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay
    Admission: Free
    Info: Go to www.esplanade.com
    (Re)discovering Donald Moore: Singapore’s Arts pioneer


    Moore (1923-2000) was one of the country’s forgotten arts pioneers, instrumental in promoting the literary, visual and performing arts here. With the support of the National Archives, The Arts House has put together the first retrospective of Moore’s life.

    On display are more than 80 artworks, fine china pieces, books published by Moore and his wife Joanna and programme booklets of events he brought to Singapore in the 1970s. There is also an exhibition of more than 50 of Moore’s black-and-white photographs.

    When: Aug 7 to 29 daily from 10am to 8pm
    Where: Blue Room, The Arts House,
    1 Old Parliament Lane
    Admission: Free
    Info: Go to www.theartshouse.com.sg

    FAMILY


    Museum Open Houses


    The National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Philatelic Museum will be holding open houses on National Day where families can enjoy the programmes for free.


    At the National Museum, children and adults can enjoy craft activities and games reminiscent of childhood in the 1980s. At the Philatelic Museum, in conjunction with the DC Comics Super Heroes exhibition, children can pose in costumes at the Pose & Post Photobooth, or make their own superheroe stamps and buttons.

    When: Aug 9, 10am to 6pm (activities till 5pm)
    Where: National Museum, 93 Stamford Road
    Admission: Free
    Info: Go to www.nationalmuseum.sg

    When: Aug 9, 9.30am to 7pm Where: Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street
    Admission: Free
    Info: spm.org.sg

    Sentosa Celebrates


    Go back in time to relive the memories of Singapore in the old days. Take a picture wearing costumes from the 1960s or become a true kampung kid in an 1980s- inspired playground, with nostalgic games and activities such as ketupat weaving, hopscotch and chapteh.

    There will also be live performances, a photo contest and a mass line dance that will attempt to break a Singapore record.

    When: Aug 9 to 11, 11am to 7pm
    Where: Merlion Plaza & Palawan Beach, Sentosa
    Admission:Free
    Info: Go to www.sentosa.com.sg



    Singapore Cable Car Promotions

    To celebrate the nation’s 49th birthday, Singapore Cable Car is treating visitors to a 49 per cent discount on the second ticket for every full-priced adult ticket purchased. Senior citizens aged 60 years and above can ride for $4.90.

    When: Aug 8 to 11
    Where: Faber Peak Singapore
    Info: Go to www.faberpeaksingapore.com


    SPORTS AND GAMES

    Sports Hub Free Play

    The new Singapore Sports Hub is extending free usage for its world-class facilities till Aug 17. Head down for a swim at the OCBC Aquatic Centre or play a game of badminton at the OCBC Arena.

    Where: 7 Stadium Drive (OCBC Aquatic Centre) and 5 Stadium Drive (OCBC Arena)
    Info: For more information and bookings, go to www.sportshub.com.sg.

    One Fit Nation: 49er Challenge

    Safra Toa Payoh marks Singapore’s 49th birthday with the One Fit Nation 49er Challenge. Its fun fitness tests include 49 seconds planking, 49 sit-ups, 49 burpees, a 49m shuttle run and 49 jumping jacks. In addition, there will be free-for-all activities such as face painting and a temporary tattoo booth. Visitors can also watch the National Day Parade, which will be screened live.

    When: Aug 9, noon to 8pm
    Where: Safra Toa Payoh
    Admission: $5 (members), $10 (non-members)
    Info: Go to www.safra.sg
    Last edited by Loh; 08-09-2014 at 03:47 AM.

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    Default National Day 2014:

    National Day 2014: Floating platform erupts in cheers for former PM Lee Kuan Yew


    Published on Aug 9, 2014 7:01 PM



    (From left) Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck snaps a selfie with former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as MP Lee Bee Wah, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Heng Chee How and Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah (partially hidden by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean) look on. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    By Pearl Lee

    SINGAPORE - The loudest cheers on Saturday's National Day Parade were reserved for Singapore's founding father and former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

    Mr Lee, 90, was helped to his seat by security officers. Minutes before he made his appearance, it started to drizzle lightly. The 27,000 spectators rose to their feet and erupted in applause and cheers when Mr Lee stood up, waving a mini Singapore flag.

    People craned their necks as they tried to snap a picture of Mr Lee, who has not missed a single National Day celebration since the first in 1966 at the Padang.

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    Default National Day 2014:


    The show segment features a catchy electro pop remix of Dick Lee classic Big Island. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO







    The State Colours blazing the trail for the march past. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO



    Majulah Singapura, even in cloudy weather. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO



    Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng high-fives a junior Red Lion after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM - See more at:



    Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng salutes after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    Red Lions descending in a different formation during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    A Red Lion soars in the skies above the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO



    Spectators are transfixed by the Red Lions' display. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO

























    Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES



    Wishing Singapore happy birthday. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



    Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: GRACE TAN


    By Linette Lai

    SINGAPORE - This year's National Day Parade officially kicked off with a military tattoo for the first time, featuring a combined band and a precision drill squad strutting their stuff to the beat of well-loved classics like We Will Get There.

    Also performing for the first time were eight participants from Minds - the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore - on the taiko drum.

    The 35 marching contingents were made up of more than 2,000 people - the largest number ever present for this segment at the floating platform.

    Loud cheers were reserved for Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who arrived before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. As the former prime minister took his seat, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

    Some minutes later, the national anthem was sung and the flag flown past by three helicopters in one of the parade's most iconic moments.

    President Tony Tan Keng Yam then inspected the parade to a 21-gun salute, rounded off by three celebratory volleys of a feu de joie - French for "fire of joy".

    Those seated in the front rows squealed as they were soaked with jets of water from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) firefighting vehicles during the defence display - including a new remote-controlled one.

    The Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force also put up an impressive performance, showing off their capabilities and equipment in a 10-minute display.

    This year's defence display also marks 30 years of Total Defence in Singapore.

    Another highlight was the Singapore Armed Forces Red Lions. The 27,000-strong crowd cheered as the nine parachutists soared in across the bay to land safely on the floating platform.

    Among them was the first female Red Lion parachutist, Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng. Her maiden National Day Parade jump last year was called off due to cloudy weather.

    Some 580 Soka performers in neon costumes and glow-in-the-dark props kicked off the show segment.

    The mass display, representing people in five key sectors of Singapore's economy, paid homage to those who have contributed to the country's success.

    Classics like Chan Mali Chan and Munnaeru Vaalibaa formed the musical backdrop for the second act, which depicted scenes of daily life in Singapore.

    One of the most eye-catching moments came towards the middle of the act, when a line of performers whipped out sheets of cloth resembling giant roti prata and started twirling them in time with the music.

    Performers from the first three acts then mingled onstage for the grand finale, which featured cheerleaders dressed in the national colours performing acrobatics.

    To mark the end of the evening's festivities, the crowd recited the pledge and sang the national anthem again as the fireworks display began overhead.

    Earlier, parade hosts Hossan Leong, Jean Danker, Siti Khalijah, Ebi Shankara and Joakim Gomez led the 27,000-strong crowd at the Marina Bay floating platform in cheering and performing a Kallang wave.

    They also went through the items in this year's funpack, which includes a Singapore scarf, a light stick, button badges and a light-emitting diode (LED) wristband.

    This year's parade will be the last one at the bayside venue for at least a few years, as the event moves to the Padang next year and to the Sports Hub in 2016
    Last edited by Loh; 08-09-2014 at 10:25 AM.

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