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  1. #1276
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    Default Saying "thank you" to nurses with trip to Body Worlds Exhibition

    Channel NewsAsia
    26 February 2010 2338 hrs

    By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid,

    SINGAPORE: Some 300 nurses took time off to check out an exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts at the Singapore Science Centre.

    The trip was organised as part of a week-long initiative called Nurses' Day Out.

    Joining them at the Body Worlds Exhibition was Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

    The Science Centre gave away some 2,000 complimentary tickets as a gesture of appreciation to nurses in Singapore.

    It is also hoped that they will also pick up information that will be relevant to their work.


    An exhibition at Body Worlds: The Original and The Cycle of Life
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  2. #1277
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    Default In search of young badminton talent

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Feb 27, 2010

    by Low Lin Fhoong

    SINGAPORE - Young shuttler Vignesh Manivannan, 12, dreams of playing with the big boys, and the Montfort Junior School player could see his wish fulfilled soon.

    Montfort Junior and five other schools - Boon Lay Secondary School, Maris Stella High School (Primary and Secondary), Montfort Secondary School and Xinmin Secondary School - have joined the Singapore Badminton Association's (SBA) inaugural Partners in Badminton Excellence (PBE) Scheme.

    Principals from the six schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the SBA on Wednesday.

    Developed to nurture more badminton talent in Singapore, the scheme will see SBA providing 300 players coaching clinics, seminars, and sparring sessions with the national badminton team.

    Youngsters will also be able to vie for spots in the specially formed SBA-PBE selection team to compete in overseas age-group tournaments and training trips. Each school will also offer academic scholarships to a maximum of two students each.

    School teachers and coaches will get a boost via coaching and technical official workshops, and seminars organised by SBA, and receive support to attend courses on sports psychology, nutrition and sports science.

    Vignesh, who captained Montfort to the championship trophy at the North Zone Inter-Primary School Badminton Championships 2010 (Senior Boys Division), can hardly wait to meet the members of Singapore's national team.

    "I don't have a favourite player as I like all of them, and I really want to train with them and learn how to play better," Vignesh told MediaCorp.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, SBA president Lee Yi Shyan said they were looking to expand the scheme in the future.

    "This is the first in a series of collaborations, and we've chosen to partner with schools as they are so important in housing young talent," he said.

    "What we need are more initiatives for the sport. In the future, we hope to partner some of the existing training centres, commercial clubs, and other badminton groups."


    SBA chief Lee Yi Shyan hopes there will be more initiatives to nurture badminton talent. TODAY FILE PHOTO
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  3. #1278
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    Default First Singapore Diving Invitational a platform for YOG

    Channel NewsAsia
    27 February 2010 2345 hrs

    By Patwant Singh,

    SINGAPORE: After more than a decade, the sport of diving is finally making a splash again, thanks to the upcoming Youth Olympic Games.

    The Singapore Swimming Association organised the first Singapore Diving Invitational at the Toa Payoh swimming complex.

    The two-day event has attracted a total of 36 divers from four countries, including host Singapore.

    Such competitions are critical for Singapore as it gears up for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games, where up to three divers will represent the Republic.

    The association wants to move further, and has set its sights on future Summer Olympic Games.

    "The last time Singapore won a SEA Games diving gold medal was in 1965 and the last time we had a diving competition was more than 15 years ago," said Teo Ser Luck, Singapore Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry.

    "So we never really had any diving representative in any international competition since then. So I think this is a great feat and a milestone achieved by the swimming and diving fraternity and I have to thank Youth Olympic Games for actually being the catalyst for all these that is happening today."


    A diver jumps off the board at the first Singapore Diving Invitational at the Toa Payoh swimming complex.
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  4. #1279
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    Default NUHS to hire dialect interpreters for patients

    Channel NewsAsia
    27 February 2010 2340 hrs

    By Evelyn Lam/Lynda Hong,

    SINGAPORE: Doctors sometimes have difficulty understanding patients who speak only dialects.

    But those of the National University Health System (NUHS) are now getting some help from interpreters to bridge the language divide.

    Madam Chew Mui Leong is the first interpreter at NUHS.

    Besides Mandarin and English, she is also fluent in Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainanese and Teochew
    .

    NUHS plans to hire two more interpreters.

    The NUHS Emergency Medicine Department sees some 300 patients everyday, and one out of five are above 60 years old.

    "We find that quite a lot of patients, like elderly patients, were only conversant in dialect groups," said Clara Sin, deputy director of Operations at NUHS Emergency Medicine Department.

    "They are not comfortable with English or Mandarin, so when they come to the hospital, they are already very scared. Added on to the fact that they cannot find somebody that understands them well, that adds on to their fear."

    Madam Chew Mui Leong, the first interpreter at NUHS, helping a patient
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  5. #1280
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    Default Han's up for service

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Feb 27, 2010

    SINGAPORE - Back in 2006, about half of the outlets of Han's Cafe were in the red. But after implementing a scheme designed to boost service productivity, almost all of its outlets are now making good profits.

    Sales have increased by 59 per cent and net profit by 387 per cent from 2006 to last year. A more productive workforce and more efficient workflow generated a cost savings of $1.5 million last year.

    Mr Han Choon Fook, managing director of Han's Group of Companies, said: "In order to continue to stay ahead in the competitive market, it is equally important that we raise the customer service quality besides enhancing the quality of food as expectations of the customers are rising."

    Among the measures Han's adopted under the Customer-Centric Initiative (CCI) was holding regular customer service training sessions for its employees.

    Meetings are held at least once a month, and customer complaints, compliments and improvement actions shared across Han's 24 outlets.

    As a result, the compliment to complaint ratio has improved from 1:10 in 2006 to 1:1.5 last year.

    Monetary incentives have also been added as perks to the job. For example, Han's distributes 15 per cent of its group profit as staff bonus.

    At the Han's Customer-Centric Initiative ( CCI) Learning Journey on Friday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Manpower, Mr Lee Yi Shyan commended the café-cum-bakery chain for having renewed its drive towards service productivity.

    Ms Choy Sauw Kook, co-chairperson of the CCI Committee and Spring assistant chief executive said: "Han's has shown that by adopting a customer-centric approach, it can increase its productivity and net profits."

    The CCI is part of the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service movement to transform Singapore's service quality in the retail, food & beverage, hospitality, healthcare and transport sectors

  6. #1281
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    Default 'Learning by doing'

    The Straits Times
    March 1, 2010

    New centre in Boon Lay teaches through play and hands-on approach

    By Maria Almenoar

    PAP Community Foundation (PCF) is testing a new teaching method to help its youngsters get ready for primary school.

    Yesterday, it launched an experiential learning centre called Kidz Haven at its centre in Boon Lay.

    The 255 children enrolled there will be the first among children in PCF's 247 centres to experience the teaching method, which develops learning skills through play and a hands-on approach in new rooms the school has created.

    There is now a dedicated art room, gym, drama studio and kitchen, among other things.

    As part of the programme, children will, for example, discover how to make a simple meal. They will also learn how to follow instructions as part of a language class, and find out where the dish came from in a geography lesson.

    Experiential learning is already being encouraged at the primary and secondary school levels as schools move away from learning by memorisation.

    Mr Teo (centre) observing a cooking class at Kidz Haven, where children learn through play and hands-on lessons. For example, in a cooking class, they learn to follow instructions and find out about the place the dish originated from. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
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  7. #1282
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    Default School shuttlers get SBA lift

    The Straits Times
    Sat, Feb 27, 2010
    By Frankie Chee

    SIX school badminton teams are set to receive a boost.

    A pilot project by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) will allow Boon Lay Secondary, Maris Stella High (Primary and Secondary), Montfort Junior, Montfort Secondary and and Xinmin Secondary to tap the association's resources over the next two years.

    The SBA will provide coaching clinics, educate teachers-in-charge about the sport and set high performance guidelines and standards for the schools.

    It will also organise competitions between the schools, and form a selection team to allow the players to take part in overseas age-group competitions to help raise their standards.

    The schools - all badminton powerhouses - signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Partners in Badminton Excellence (PBE) Scheme yesterday.

    On their part, each will identify up to two talented shuttlers and offer an academic scholarship to these players.

    'This is important for honing young talents,' said SBA's president Lee Yi Shyan, who is also the Minister of State (Trade and Industry, and Manpower). 'If you want to reach the peak of sports, you need to start at a very young age.'

    The scheme is not limited to local students. As Mr Lee noted, there are many foreign students in schools now and they add diversity to the student population.

    Also, unlike the Centres of Excellence projects in many sports, the PBE will not reach out to pool badminton talents in the six schools. The system will instead develop whatever talents they have, which is why only schools with a track record in the sport were picked.

    After the signing, Mr Lee gave out awards for the North Zone Inter-Primary School Badminton Championships. Montfort Junior beat Maris Stella High in the senior boys' event, and Rosyth defeated North Spring Primary for the senior girls' title.


    6 school badminton teams are set to receive a boost.
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  8. #1283
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    Default Singapore table tennis gets boost in S$300,000 sponsorship

    Channel NewsAsia
    01 March 2010 2127 hrs

    By Loh Mei Mei,

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's programme to groom local talent in table tennis received a boost in the form of a S$300,000 cash sponsorship over three years.

    The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) signed the sponsorship deal with local company QT Technology.

    It is the first cash sponsorship for the national sports association.

    STTA president Lee Bee Wah said the bulk of the money will be used to develop local table tennis talent.

    Last year, the STTA launched a programme with the PAP Community Foundation in 15 constituencies to teach the sport from kindergarten level.

    It aims to expand the programme to 22 constituencies this year and will launch similar programmes for students at lower primary level from next month.

    "I am very happy that as of today, we have 15 constituencies and eventually I hope we will have PCF programmes throughout Singapore in all the 84 constituencies," said Ms Lee.

    "And besides the PCF programme, we will focus on primary schools this year... and all this programme, we need money and we are glad to have this sponsorship from QT."
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  9. #1284
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    Default February 2010 is driest month for S'pore since records began in 1869

    Channel NewsAsia
    01 March 2010 1840 hrs

    By Joanne Chan,

    SINGAPORE: February was the driest month in 140 years, since 1869, when records of rainfall first started for Singapore.

    The National Environment Agency (NEA) said 6.3 millimetres of rain fell in the month.

    1968 and 2005 had the next driest Februaries when 8.4 mm of rain fell.

    February also saw the hottest day so far this year.

    The mercury hit 35 degrees Celsius on the 26th of the month.

    NEA said February is traditionally one of the driest months, made worse this year by the El Nino effect.

    NEA said rainfall for the first half of March is expected to be below average for most parts of the island.

    Climate researcher from the National University of Singapore Matthias Roth said the El Nino effect is expected to last till May.

    Coupled with the El Nino effect, which may last for a few more months, an extended heatwave is expected.

    "Getting into March and April, those are generally drier months, or drier tail-end of the Northeast Monsoon," explained associate professor Matthias Roth, climate researcher from the National University of Singapore. "So this together with the El Nino effect, would result in relatively dry and warm conditions for the coming couple of months."
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  10. #1285
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    Default SM Goh says Budget 2010 a "transformational" Budget

    Channel NewsAsia
    02 March 2010 0003 hrs

    By S. Ramesh,


    SINGAPORE: Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has said this year's Budget may be seen as "unexciting" to some Singaporeans, but it is nonetheless strategically important because it is a "transformational" Budget.

    He said the aim of the Budget was to bring the economy to a higher level.

    Mr Goh was speaking at a dialogue at his Marine Parade constituency on Monday.

    Addressing an audience of grassroots leaders and residents, he said for incomes to go up, productivity needs to follow suit, including that of foreign workers.

    Mr Goh said the government decided against giving out too many goodies as no recession is expected this year.

    Furthermore, households will continue to get benefits from last year's policies.

    Mr Goh said: "When I read comments that the Budget has got nothing for me as a person, rather than a few of the allowances and so on, they are wrong. This Budget is for you. It is about how we can increase our productivity as a whole - you as a worker, the company as a production institution, the management as the people-in-charge.

    "If we can transform the economy through the measures introduced in the Budget, the income we have today can continue to increase."

    The dialogue saw Mr Goh and his panel, comprising MPs Lim Biow Chuan and Dr Fatimah Lateef, addressing a range of issues including tax incentives and more relief for those supporting the elderly or disabled family members.

    Mr Goh was also asked how confident the government was in achieving its stated aim of annual productivity growth of 2 to 3 percent.

    "At this stage I can't say with full confidence that we can achieve 3 percent growth per year, but it's a target which we want to aim at. If we don't achieve it, well it's bad but let's say we double it from 1 to 2 percent. That's an improvement. It means your income goes up, but much less than what we hope would be the case," he said.

    Mr Goh said one Budget statement cannot tackle all issues at one time, and this year's plan deals with the long-term.

    But many of the issues are on the government's radar screen, and details of initiatives will be released in Parliament.

    Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong
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  11. #1286
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    Default Budget debate kicks off Tues

    The Straits Times
    Mar 1, 2010

    By Rachael Chang

    PARLIAMENT sits on Tuesday to kick-start a two-week debate on proposals in the government's Budget to transform Singapore's economy and help companies and employees work smarter.

    But before MPs weigh in on it, they have a slew of questions for ministers. These range from the polytechnics' fee revision, to the elderly and how pro-family business practices impact productivity in the workplace.

    MP Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) has asked if fee hikes from next month for permanent residents and foreign students will give the impression that higher institutions of learning here no longer welcome foreign students.

    Fee hikes for PRs and foreigners at the Institute of Technical Education and five polytechnics was announced last month. 'Even as we reflect the true cost of education, we must put in place other measures to ensure that word does not get around that Singapore no longer welcomes foreigners,' she said on Monday.

    The Government need not provide more financial help but can facilitate the offering of scholarships and bursaries by private organisations, such as associations representing new immigrants.

    Nominated MP Paulin Tay Straughan is asking for data on the productivity of businesses with pro-family practices. 'I would like to see how family-friendly firms are performing,' she explained yesterday. 'Employers need to understand that pro-family practices are a win-win situation.'


    Parliament will kick-start a two-week debate from Tuesday, on proposals in the government's Budget to transform Singapore's economy and help companies and employees work smarter. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM
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  12. #1287
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    Default MPs kick off debate on Budget 2010

    Channel NewsAsia
    02 March 2010 1312 hrs

    By S Ramesh,

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Parliament has started its annual marathon Budget session with Members of Parliament (MPs) giving their views and that of their constituencies, and the business community on Budget 2010.

    Kicking off the debate, GPC Chair for Finance and Trade and Industry Jessica Tan said Budget 2010 is one of moving Singapore forward in the next decade and transforming the economy to ensure that it continues to achieve sustainable growth.

    Ms Tan told the House that reactions to the Budget have been mixed, based on feedback from channels such as REACH, online blogs and forums, as well as dialogue with business groups and grassroots leaders.

    "While many acknowledge the soundness of the approach and intent of the Budget, several felt that more may need to be done on the scope, timing and form of the initiatives to be more effective for both individuals and businesses," she said.

    One example is the move to raise the foreign worker levy.

    She stressed that if the increase is not calibrated, it may "send the wrong signal to companies looking to invest in Singapore or to foreign talents that Singapore is not open as it used to be".

    And although the rise in levy is graduated over three years, some business leaders have expressed concern that this may impede the ability of companies to leverage on and capture the opportunities of the recovery as their capacity will be impacted.

    Furthermore, productivity improvements of locals will not be immediate and it will take companies some time to innovate and achieve greater productivity.

    Ms Tan also noted that caregiving industries, Volunteer Welfare Organisations and the stepdown healthcare sector will be impacted by the increase in foreign worker levy as they are heavily dependant on foreign talent, and certain roles cannot be easily automated. This will affect costs of treatment.
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  13. #1288
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    Default F1 Singapore 3-day general admission tickets on sale

    Channel NewsAsia
    01 March 2010 1437 hrs

    By Mustafa Shafawi,

    SINGAPORE: Three-day general admission tickets for this year's Formula One Grand Prix will be available for sale from Monday.

    Early birds will get to buy the tickets at an average 15 per cent discount, till April 30.

    Prices range from S$168 for a Zone 4 Walkabout ticket to S$1,088 for a Pit or Turns Grandstand ticket.

    A new three-day Premier Walkabout ticket has also been launched. It will allow fans access to Zone 1 and the rest of the circuit park.

  14. #1289
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    Default From Vivo City across to Sentosa

    Those intending to visit Sentosa may find Vivo City (VC) shopping mall a good place to start. The MRT train will take you to Harbourfront (HF) from where you can take a short walk to reach VC. The Singapore Cruise Centre is located at HF too, so is the cable car which is now being upgraded.

    If you are a little thirsty and hungry, you can first feast at the Seah Imm hawker centre across the road from HF, linked by the overhead bridge. Here is where you can also take a bus to enter Sentosa.

    You can view Sentosa, especially Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), from the top deck of VC. This place is quite unique with almost half the area covered in shallow water for kids as well as adults to revel in. VC is designed unlike most of the other quality shopping malls here and has the added advantage of having an unobstructed view of the sea.

    I chose to walk across to Sentosa instead of taking the monorail or the bus. The travellators are not ready yet but the pleasant surroundings with trees, plants and flowers made the bridge crossing a breeze, although the heat from the afternoon sun proved a little discomforting.

    This was the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Tiger and RWS was giving a preview of its facilities, particularly of Universal Studios. The tickets at $10 were all sold out so I took the second best option of paying the entrance fee of $2 to visit some of RWS's other facilities.

    It was quite a grand showing and when RWS finally opens the theme park soon, many will be impressed and enjoy themselves with the variety of rides.

    RWS has an ideal location not only with a seafront but it is also linked to the Merlion Walk and Siloso Beach with all the attendant facilities nearby like The Luge, the mono-rail station, the aerial cable ride, the beach for swimming and beach volleyball, etc. And if one still has the energy, one could visit many other attractions on the island.

    (More pictures to come)
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  15. #1290
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    Default Resorts World Sentosa

    Although the Universal Studios was not open to us, there were quite a lot to see in the vicinity.

    Big fountains with streams and waterfalls created the lush atmosphere amid the trees and flowering plants. The two luxury hotels provided the colourful shops with beautiful things like the giant naked man and woman created by Botero and the magnificent glass sculptures in rather pleasantly designed showrooms. The drapes and other textile decorations here provided a soft touch in contrast to the hard concrete surroundings outside.

    The casino was a draw with many impatient visitors blocked from entering for whatever reason. Even here, a long-legged bronze elephant fought for attention at one corner.
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  16. #1291
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    Default The Merlion Walk

    This is the passage leading to the famous Sentosa Merlion. Whilst this Merlion is protected by the flora and fauna, the more popular one for picture taking at Marina Bay is exposed to the elements and the sea. Along the way are an assortment of sculptures and flora decorations with a Lunar New Year theme.

    Many foreign workers from India and China took the opportunity of the long holidays to visit this popular tourist resort.
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  17. #1292
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    Default Colourful Merlion Walk

    This side of the Merlion Walk is surrounded by nature in the main but the opposite side is a pathway of colourful, brilliant man-made mosiac of magical sea creatures, few familiar but mostly uncommon, only to be found in the fantasy of the human mind.

    A common bond that runs through and connects these defying creatures is the water channel that hopefully cools them down and brings back some serenity and harmony.

    A wonderful place of seemingly kids' art to amuse the photographer.
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