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Thread: Singapore Also Can
01-22-2010, 10:07 PM #1038
01-22-2010, 10:45 PM #1039
Bigger, better River Hongbao show
The Straits Times
Jan 23, 2010
Special lanterns from Chengdu will give the wow factor at the River Hongbao this year
By lin wenjian M
More than 20,000 ceramic utensils and 1 tonne of sugar will be used to serve up stunning creations at this year's River Hongbao extravaganza.
No, they are not part of another food-meets-art avant-garde fashion show or a gargantuan banquet. They will be transformed into huge lanterns which will take centre stage at the 24-year-old Chinese New Year fiesta. It will be held from Feb 12 to 20.
Not only are they painstaking to build, they come from a part of China that has been celebrating the art of lantern-making for 1,800 years.
RIVER HONGBAO 2010
Where: The Float@Marina Bay
When: Feb 12 - 20, noon - 11.30pm (till 1am on eve of Chinese New Year)
Number of lanterns: 88
Number of lantern makers: More than 30
Number of ceramic utensils used to make the lanterns:
Number of light bulbs: More than 10,000
Amount of white sugar used to make the Sugar Dragon: 1 tonne
Number of days needed to complete the lanterns: One month in Chengdu to prepare the materials and another 30 days in Singapore for assembly
Employing a high level of thread-tying that is native to Chengdu in China, craftsmen use thousands of ceramic utensils such as spoons, ladles, dishes and cups to assemble the lanterns. -- ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
01-22-2010, 11:05 PM #1040
Tiger Airways makes debut on Singapore stock exchange
22 January 2010 1044 hrs
SINGAPORE: Tiger Airways made its debut Friday on the Singapore Exchange, becoming the first Asian carrier to be listed in five years.
Shares in the budget carrier opened at its initial public offering price (IPO) of S$1.50 (US$1.07).
They rose to S$1.58 before dropping back.
Singapore-based Tiger Airways said funds raised from the IPO would go mainly towards financing the carrier's expansion plans in Asia, which is expected to become the world's biggest travel market by 2020.
Tiger Airways raised S$247.7 million in gross proceeds from the IPO and planned to set aside S$166 million to buy new jets.
The carrier wants to expand its current fleet of 17 Airbus A320s to 68 by December 2015 as it moves to increase the number of destinations it serves.
It is also looking to establish new operating bases and airlines when the opportunities arise, as well as repay short-term loans.
Tiger, which began its first commercial flights in September 2004, flies from Singapore to destinations across Asia, including popular holiday spots such as Penang in Malaysia, and Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand.
It has also expanded into Australia where it offers domestic flights between key cities and towns across the continent.
The carrier is 33.1 per cent owned by flag carrier Singapore Airlines.
01-22-2010, 11:15 PM #1041
SIA Engineering to set up and operate Bahrain facility
22 January 2010 2014 hrs
By Jonathan Peeris,
SIA Engineering (file picture)
SINGAPORE: Mainboard-listed SIA Engineering Company has signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Gulf Technics to set up and operate a facility in Bahrain for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft.
No financial details of the deal were given.
Gulf Technics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mumtalakat Holding Company, the Bahrain government's investment arm and a sister company of Gulf Air.
With the agreement, both parties will work towards a Definitive Agreement to set up an MRO facility in Bahrain.
SIAEC's chief executive officer, William Tan, said the establishment of a maintenance base in Bahrain will serve the needs of airlines in the Middle East and act as a springboard to the MRO markets in North Africa and Europe.
01-23-2010, 12:13 AM #1042
Has S'pore been politically 'stress-tested'?
05:55 AM Jan 23, 2010
by Lin Yan Qin
SINGAPORE - Steps may have been taken recently with the aim of encouraging more political participation in Singapore, but is the political landscape truly "stress-tested" enough, and could there be greater freedom of expression?
As Education Minister Ng Eng Hen spoke of Singapore having done well in the last decade economically and socially at a National University of Singapore Society dialogue on Friday evening, such questions on the challenges Singapore could face in coming years were on the minds of the 300-strong audience.
To be politically stress-tested does not mean one has to experience turmoil such as the protests by anti-government groups in Thailand, said Dr Ng.
"My sense is sometimes we want the 'rah-rah', we want to be brought up to the heights of ecstasy by great oratory … but we don't have the depths from which to invoke those great emotions," he said.
Singaporeans, he felt, would enter politics if they felt the Government to be weak and corrupt, so should Singapore have a "cataclysmic failure" to "stress" the system for new ones to arise?
To the audience member who asked the question, he quipped: "You could engineer one."
The 70-minute long dialogue saw lively exchanges, especially when a member of the audience, invited by Dr Ng to say anything he liked for five minutes, asked: "I'd like to ask if our Minister Mentor (Lee Kuan Yew) can retire?"
Dr Ng responded: "I'm glad you got that off your chest", garnering laughs and applause. For the minister, the question was not when Mr Lee would retire, but whether he was still "adding value" to Singapore.
Likening Mr Lee's role to that of a surgeon and his apprentice, Dr Ng said Mr Lee "spots the pitfalls and tells (Singapore) what to avoid".
But in the end, it's Singaporeans who decide with their votes, he said.
Questions were also raised over whether Singapore should be concerned about religious proselytising, especially in schools.
While such proselytising is not supposed to happen, the Ministry could not tell teachers not to answer when students asked them what they thought of a particular subject, said Dr Ng.
"A more sensible strategy, (is to) establish the norms which you allow information to be shared in some ways … and not be completely threatened by people of different cultures, of different beliefs," he said.
As Singapore continued to welcome foreign talent to work and settle here, was it also sustainable given the country's space constraints, asked an audience member.
Dr Ng said Singapore had come to the stage where it was no longer necessary to keep growing at the same pace, but this did not necessarily mean shutting its doors to foreign talent.
Earlier in his address, Dr Ng called the foreign-local divide "artificial", as Singapore needed both local and foreign talent to get the "genius moments" to create growth.
"Today's locals were yesterday's foreigners," he said. That said, efforts also have to be made to keep Singapore's talent.
"The test is not only whether we can attract foreign talent, the more important test is whether you can keep your bright Singaporeans," he said, adding that Singapore will need to offer opportunities for Singaporeans to thrive.
01-23-2010, 11:31 PM #1043
URA launches public consultation exercise for Concept Plan 2011
23 January 2010 1613 hrs
By Joanne Chan,
SINGAPORE : The Singapore Government is seeking public feedback on how the country should use its land over the next 40 to 50 years.
A consultation exercise for Concept Plan 2011 was launched by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Saturday.
Four issues will be considered during the planning process, including how to enhance the quality of life and build a sense of belonging.
The other two issues deal with an ageing population and growing the nation in a sustainable way.
What does is mean to be Singaporean and how can we provide for the needs of an ageing population are just some of the questions that will be discussed by two focus groups during the public consultation exercise.
Lee Tzu Yang, co-chair, Focus Group on Sustainability and Identity, said: "In terms of identity, it is not about hardware, it is about software. It is about how people want to live in the neighbourhood.
"Once we know how people want to live in the neighbourhood, I think that will suggest to URA the kind of hardware that needs to be put in."
And in land scarce Singapore, planners need to balance different competing needs which can affect the quality of life.
Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, co-chair, Focus Group on Quality of Life and Ageing, said: "Quality of life means different things for different groups of people, and how do we bring all this together into something which will provide an optimal mix of facilities as well as amenities for a broad section of people."
The Concept Plan is reviewed every 10 years to reflect changing trends.
Elaborating on these trends, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said: "Competition from other cities, the need for us to accommodate the changing demographics in Singapore, ageing population, and of course, the need for us to grow in a more sustainable way."
Previous Concept Plans have had a major impact on Singapore's landscape. For example, when the first Concept Plan was established in 1971, plans were drawn up for major infrastructure projects such as Changi Airport, and the first MRT lines.
URA is also seeking online feedback from the public via its website.
Motorists travel over the bridge against the view of Singapore skyline.
01-24-2010, 02:09 AM #1044
Maybe Singapore should have a look at Hong Kong's town planning model. With limited land it is too easy to make a irreversible mistake by focussing on urban develpoment with urban-type of services.
Hong Kong uses only 25% of its area for both urban and agricultural development. Yes, Hong Kong has an agricultural sector too! With a population of 7 million and a "living" area of less than 25% of its total area, great care must be taken for town planning. Of the remaining 75% area 40% is gazetted as country and marine parks, a stagerring huge percent for such a small and densely populated place. But with its superb town planning Hong Kong has managed to make available large tracts of its land for its people for recreation. Its 25 country parks, 15 special terrestrial protected areas, 4 marine parks, and 1 marine reserve are designated into high intensity recreation, low-intensity recreation, and conservation zones.
These parks are home to perhaps one of the world's richest biodiversity for such a tiny place-3,100 species of vascular plants, 57 species mammals, 452 species birds, 78 reptiles, 23 aphibians, 2,300 insects, 78 species corals, and 96 fresh water fish. New records of birds and insects are being constantly added to the list.
No wonder each year there are 11 million people visitors to these parks, for hiking, picnicking, exercise, camping, diving, boating, fishing and nature study.
Perhaps unusual for other Asian countries, you can see in Hong Kong's country and marine parks foreign domestic workers visiting these parks on their days off, barbecuing, picnicking and hiking.
One sure way of having a 'helicopter" view of what Singapore would look like is to visualize how it will look like from a helicopter. If it can visualize a landscape of 60% country parks with not a building in sight and another 25% of urban development, then it should be paradise on earth.
01-24-2010, 05:24 AM #1045
Your vision for S'pore?
The Straits Times
Jan 24, 2010
By Tan Dawn Wei
IF YOU want a say on how Singapore should shape up in the next five decades, the opportunity has come.
And mind you, it comes knocking only once every 10 years.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has just launched its public consultation exercise for the review of its Concept Plan 2011.
This maps out the long-term directions for Singapore's land use and transportation game plan for the next 40 to 50 years.
Previous concept plans have given birth to major infrastructure projects like Changi Airport and the first MRT lines, which were in the 1971 plan, and the parks and waterbodies plan from the 2001 review.
Yesterday, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan launched the exercise. It includes the participation of two focus groups made up of professionals, academics and civil-society representatives.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has just launched its public consultation exercise for the review of its Concept Plan 2011. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
01-24-2010, 05:28 AM #1046
Work smarter, harder
The Straits Times
Jan 24, 2010
By Zakir Hussain
SINGAPOREANS have to work smarter and harder and pick up new skills to keep the economy growing over the next decade, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Sunday.
Given the Government's move to moderate the influx of foreign workers, the rate at which productivity is increased will have to double if economic growth is to hit 3 to 4 per cent a year, he explained.
Raising productivity is expected to be an area that the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC), convened to explore ways to grow the economy, will highlight in its recommendations on Feb 1.
The Government forecasts economic growth of 3 to 5 per cent this year and on Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tempered expectations of an overly-strong economic recovery.
Speaking on the sidelines of a community event on Sunday, SM Goh noted that average annual economic growth was 5 per cent over the past 10 years. But productivity rose just 1 per cent a year on average. This good growth came from an expanding labour force, of which foreigners constituted a large part.
But reducing reliance on foreign workers meant Singapore had to double its productivity growth to 2 per cent, he said.
He acknowledged this was not an easy task, but said it must be tackled: 'If we can achieve 2 per cent growth in productivity, then with the slowdown in growth of the foreign workforce, we think we can grow by 3 to 4 per cent a year. So we've got to be prepared for slower growth. This is a trade-off.
'If you want to grow fast, it means a larger foreign workforce, which I don't think is advisable because already, we have too huge a presence (of such workers) and we're not emphasising productivity.'
01-24-2010, 10:18 PM #1047
Youth Olympic Scholarship
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2010
Six outstanding athletes worldwide will get to study at Sports School
By Terrence Voon
TO LEAVE a lasting legacy of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), Singapore will award scholarships to outstanding young athletes from around the world to study here.
Called the Singapore Youth Olympic Scholarship, recipients will get a fully-subsidised academic and sports education at the Singapore Sports School for between four and six years.
Organisers declined to reveal how much the scholarships are worth, but unsubsidised school fees at the Sports School for foreigners cost about $25,000 a year. Singaporeans pay about $6,000 a year.
Dr Southanom Inthavong, deputy secretary-general of Laos' National Olympic Council, said this is a welcome boost for athletes from less-developed nations.
'We have plans to send our sportsmen overseas, but we are short of funding,' he said. 'A scholarship like this will help, especially for the future.'
The government-funded scholarships, which will be given out once every four years during the summer YOG, is open to all 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) worldwide.
Recipients of the Singapore Youth Olympic Scholarship will get a fully-subsidised academic and sports education at the Singapore Sports School for between four and six years. -- PHOTO: Berita Harian
01-25-2010, 01:36 AM #1048
4th uni SUTD inks pact with MIT
Jan 25, 2010
By Wendy Lim
THE Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Monday to formalise the scope of collaboration between the two universities.
The partnership, MIT's most significant education collaboration to date, will cover education and research.
Under the education component, MIT will share its expertise on faculty recruitment and development, pedagogy and curriculum development, including programmes to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. There will also be opportunities for faculty and student exchanges.
On the research front, MIT will kick-start SUTD's research capability by developing research programmes through their faculty. An International Design Centre for faculty and students from SUTD, MIT and partner institutions to collaborate in the design of devices, systems and services will also be established.
SUTD's founding President Professor Thomas Magnanti said that the collaboration 'will bring much added value to SUTD's development.' He added that 'having 'MIT within' will help ensure that SUTD achieves the highest quality, and be instrumental in attracting distinguished faculty, researchers, and practitioners and top students to the university.'
Besides MIT, SUTD will also partner China's Zhejiang University.
01-25-2010, 01:42 AM #1049
Six scholarships for world's young athletes to train & study in S'pore
Channel NewsAsia |
24 January 2010 2324 hrs
By Ian De Cotta,
SINGAPORE : Organisers of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) on Sunday revealed details of a sports scholarship programme for the world's young athletes.
The six scholarships are for study and training at the Singapore Sports School.
They will be awarded at every YOG to a deserving young athlete, aged between 13 and 15, from Singapore and each of the five continents.
The first batch of six scholarships will be awarded during the first YOG, which will be held from August 14-26.
They are fully funded by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and targeted at seven Olympic sports - aquatics, athletics, badminton, football, golf, sailing and table tennis.
Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee and vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said the first batch of successful applicants is scheduled to begin their four-year term at the Sports School in January next year.
He said it will include another two years of the school's International Baccalaureate programme for those who can go further.
Mr Ng was speaking to journalists at the Singapore Cadet Fencing World Cup 2010, which is part of the on-going Friendship Games, at the Suntec International Convention Centre.
"This is going to be one of the legacies of the games in Singapore," said Mr Ng. "The YOG is about sports, culture and education, and it is something Singapore believes in.
"So the scholarships will continue to link Singapore to the Olympic movement and the youth of the world by bringing them here to learn, train and to take part in sports."
The scholarships will cover the athletes' school fees, accommodation, training and airfare to their home countries after the first two years.
Applications, which are not restricted to YOG athletes, opened on Sunday and will close on April 16.
Singapore Sports School
01-25-2010, 02:41 AM #1050
Symposium on medical chemistry
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2010
By Wendy Lim
EXPERTS from the pharmaceutical industry and leading academic and research centres in Britain and Singapore are attending a symposium here to discuss progress and challenges in the field of medicinal chemistry.
The UK-Singapore Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry opened on Monday at the Biopolis.
British High Commissioner to Singapore HE Paul Madden said that the symposium 'provides a platform for the researchers to develop collaborations and build up scientific capacity in South East Asia.'
Some of the topics to be discussed at the symposium include the treatment of cancer, obesity and inflammatory pain, and the application of medical and drug discovery techniques.
The speakers at the symposium include experts from Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, Pfizer, Dundee University, Liverpool University and the National University of Singapore.
The symposium is jointly organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, A*STAR's Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline.
01-25-2010, 02:48 AM #1051
PM Lee maps out 3 priorities for govt: economy, population, politics
25 January 2010 1117 hrs
By S Ramesh,
SINGAPORE: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday identified three areas of priority for the government: restructuring the economy, addressing the population shortfall and updating the political system.
In a wide-ranging speech to the annual Singapore Perspective Conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, Mr Lee said Singapore's economic policies must enable the country's economy to perform to its limits and help Singaporeans thrive in the new world.
He said the Economic Strategies Committee will publish its recommendations next week and the government will respond to them in the Budget.
On the population shortfall, Mr Lee said Singapore's birth rates are not improving despite the government's best efforts.
Last year, there were about 170 fewer live births than in 2008.
This would mean that the total fertility rate would have gone down further.
PM Lee stressed that while the decline could have been due to the global economic downturn, it was still a grave trend. If left unchecked, Singapore will face not just an ageing, but a shrinking population.
Therefore, he said the government needs to encourage Singaporeans to start families with parenthood benefits and other incentives.
However, he added that the country must also top up the population and talent pool with immigration in a measured and calibrated manner.
Turning to the subject of updating the political system, Mr Lee said that while having a sound system is essential, that in itself is not enough to produce political stability and good governance.
He said that the nation is still dependent on having the right people in charge and an able and committed team coming forward to lead the country.
The Prime Minister said a key task for his predecessors and himself has always been to identify promising people to form the next team.
He said good progress has been made in this area but he does not have a complete next team lined up in Cabinet yet.
He is confident that by the next general election, the People's Action Party (PAP) will field a team which will consist the core of the next generation leadership.
Mr Lee also stressed that leadership renewal will be a major issue in the next general election.
01-25-2010, 03:01 AM #1052
Investors' 'preferred' location
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2010
MANY companies from US and Europe see Singapore as the preferred location in Asia to manage their pan-Asian operations and in some cases, their global businesses.
Asian enterprises also view Singapore as a prime platform from which to grow their businesses regionally and internationally, said the Economic Development Board, which released the investments it has secured for 2009, and the outlook for 2010.
EDB said despite the global downturn, Singapore's strong fundamentals continued to attract high quality projects in 2009 that are capital, knowledge and innovation-intensive.
There was also strong interest by companies from G3 economies as well as Asian enterprises seeking to locate business headquarters and decision-making functions in Singapore, as they look to tap into the opportunities arising from Asia's growth.
'In 2010, EDB will seek to expand the investment flows from global and Asian companies making Singapore their home for business, for innovation and for talent,' said an EDB statement.
'We will develop Singapore's capabilities to strengthen its position as the preferred location where companies orchestrate their pan-Asian or global operations, and where they innovate and create new value to grow their top line.
'With this "Home" strategy and the economic recovery, we expect investment commitments to be generally higher in 2010.'
With the economic recovery and the increasing investment focus on Asia, EDB said it is cautiously optimistic that investment commitments in 2010 will be higher than 2009, although it has yet to see a firm pick-up in major expansions of manufacturing capacity around the world due to continued weakness of consumer demand in the G3 economies.
Asian enterprises also view Singapore as a prime platform from which to grow their businesses regionally and internationally, said the Economic Development Board, which released the investments it has secured for 2009, and the outlook for 2010. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
01-25-2010, 03:07 AM #1053
Focus on productivity: PM
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2010
By Jeremy Au Yong
FOR the second time in as many days, a top government leader has spoken of the need for Singapore to focus on upping productivity.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday urged workers and businesses to upgrade and become more productive. His remarks add to those of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong who spoke on Sunday of the need to work smarter and harder, and to pick up new skills to keep the economy growing.
Delivering the keynote address at the Singapore Perspectives 2010 seminar, Mr Lee said the country needed to change its growth strategy to focus on productivity.
He made the point when he also indicated that maintaining a 5 per cent average annual growth - achieved in the past decade - would be difficult.
'There will be good years when we should go faster. There will be other years which are tough where we will do more poorly but overall, if you take it over the next decade, I think 5 per cent will be a stretch,' he said at the seminar organised by the Institute of Policy Studies. 'So the Ministry of Trade and Industry is now studying what a realistic long term growth target will be.'
Mr Lee also gave his take on the two other long term challenges the Government has to deal with: political change and the population shortfall.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday urged workers and businesses to upgrade and become more productive. -- ST FILE PHOTO
01-25-2010, 03:11 AM #1054
Study on climate change
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2010
By Grace Chua
SINGAPORE's Meteorological Service will undertake a regional climate change study, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said on Monday.
He was speaking at the opening of a meeting of Asia-Pacific countries on typhoon planning and mitigation measures.
The Typhoon Committee meeting, organised by the United Nations Econonomic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), is being held here for the first time.
In his speech, Dr Yaacob said the National Environment Agency's meteorological services division would collaborate on the regional climate-change study with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology's centre for environmental sensing and modelling.
The meteorological service is also working with institutes such as the UK Meteorological Office's Hadley Climate Centre to conduct short-term and long-term climate predictions for the region, he added.
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