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  1. #137
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default National Day Parade 2009

    Channel News Asia
    05 June 2009

    Stage setup for NDP 2009 allows spectators to get closer to performers

    By Cheryl Lim

    A new stage setup at this year's National Day Parade will allow spectators to get up close and personal with performers.

    The theme of this year's National Day Parade is "Come Together, Reaching Out, Reaching Up".

    Organisers are taking the theme quite literally by moving the stage 20 metres forward and some nine storeys upwards. Performers will not be seen on the floating platform as it will be used as a holding area instead.

    The stage for the show will be moved up four metres above the original floating platform stage.

    Other changes also include a new performance grid and an LED screen. The cubic grid consists of two portions, each measuring eight cubes high and seven cubes wide. Each grid is six storeys high and will be equipped with three scene-changing screens.

    Performers can switch from scene to scene with a simple pull of the blinds. The LED screen located between the grids will project images in tandem with the performances.

    The stage structure is about 80 per cent complete. When ready, it can hold 1,500 people. Organisers said ensuring the safety of the performers is a priority.

    LTC Peter Tay, chairman, Infrastructure and Decoration, National Day Parade 2009, said: "They are equipped with a safety harness hooked on to a secured tow line. And for every two grids, there is a safety officer to look out for them."

    Organisers have also put in place several measures to deal with wet weather conditions.

    Randy Tan, architect, National Day Parade 2009, said: "As a standard operating procedure, for example like staircases, places like ramps, there is this non-slip component added to it. So that's one way we look at dealing with weather."

    The new stage will have three more entrances to allow performers to make a dramatic entrance.


    How the Floating Platform was constructed:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_...oating_Stadium

    Many considerations were taken into taken into account during the design phase for the construction of the floating platform. The Defence Science and Technology Agency, the platform's chief planner and developer, had to keep in mind not just its size and the load it could bear, but also make sure the structure can be relocated and reconfigured to meet the requirements of different events.

    As a result, the platform is made of smaller platforms of pontoons, each comprising hundreds of parts. 200 pontoons were envisioned, but a unique system of connectors allowed this number to be reduced to 15, which interlock like a jigsaw puzzle. These took one month to assemble. The connectors were designed to be light but robust.

    Six pylons fixed into the seabed act as the structure's foundation. Heavy-duty rubber rollers were used to gently guide the stage vertically to keep it from being rocked by tides and currents. Three linkways, which connect the floating platform to the land, have special integrated joints to keep them steady.

    The floating platform also had to be aesthetically pleasing to fit the scenic backdrop of the belt of hotels in Marina Centre. This limited the height of the seating gallery. The existing structures and the area's development plans capped the number of seats at 30,000.

    The platform has been equipped with numerous innovative features, like an internal drainage system, cabling structures and lightning conductors.
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  2. #138
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Temasek Outdid Key Benchmarks

    Quote Originally Posted by taneepak View Post
    Singapore suffered two major setbacks recently, both economic. Its flagship carrier SIA saw its 4Q profit dived 92%. Its state investment body Temasek incurred terrible losses from its Merrilli Lynch/Bank of America purchase and ultimate disposal...
    Just to update taneepak on Temasek's performance against key benchmarks.


    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009

    Long term, it did even better than Buffett

    By Alvin Foo

    SINGAPORE investment agency Temasek Holdings may have taken a hit recently on some of its high-profile banking investments, but over the longer term it has outperformed key global benchmarks.

    Figures obtained by The Straits Times show that over a 10-year period to March this year, Temasek outgunned several closely-watched equity indexes.

    It also beat other notable long-term investors such as Berkshire Hathaway, a top US investment company headed by billionaire Warren Buffett.

    Temasek's performance has come under scrutiny in recent months after it suffered significant losses earlier this year on investments in Western banks Barclays and Bank of America (BoA).

    The state investment house delivered an annualised total shareholder return by market value of 5.4 per cent from March 1999 to March this year, assuming the value of its portfolio remained unchanged since November last year. That is the date of the last available update of the value of its investments.

    This compares with a return of 4.5 per cent in the same period for the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan index, 3.1 per cent for the MSCI Singapore index, and -3 per cent for the MSCI World index, according to figures obtained by The Straits Times.

    MSCI indexes are key indicators commonly used by institutional investors to see how well they are doing relative to the market.

    Temasek's main investments are in stocks, with the bulk of its assets in Singapore and Asia, so these indexes are regarded as a useful gauge of its performance.

    Temasek's returns were also better than that of long-term investors like Swedish investment firm Investor AB, which delivered 3.7 per cent, and Berkshire Hathaway, which yielded 0.7 per cent.

    Last month, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Parliament that Temasek has performed 'respectably' compared to relevant market indexes and reputable institutional investors.

    He said Temasek achieved total shareholder returns by market value of slightly over 15 per cent per year on average in US dollar terms from March 2003 to November last year. This compare with 6 per cent annualised gain in the global equity market indexes (MSCI World), Mr Tharman noted.

    A weighted index of world, Asian and Singapore indexes would have "delivered more than 6 per cent", but still "significantly less" than Temasek's gains of 15 per cent a year, he said then.

    During the March 31 to Nov 30 period last year, Temasek's portfolio had plunged $58 billion - from $185 billion to $127 billion - fall of 31 per cent.

    In comparison, the MSCI Singapore index sank 44 per cent while the MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index dived 45 per cent during the same time-frame.

    According to a recent estimate made by Nomura analysts, Temasek's portfolio rebounded by nearly 13 per cent from late November to mid-May as global financial markets recovered. It bounced back to an estimated $143 billion as of May 15 - a 12.5 per cent rise from the $127 billion seen in late Novermber last year.

    However, Temasek has also suffered public criticism for losses made on its investments in Barclays and BoA.

    Temasek sold its BoA holdings in the first three months of the year, leading to estimated losses of between US$2.3 billion (S$3.3 billion) and US$4.6 billion.

    It also sold its Barclays stake in December and January, at an estimated loss of between S$1.2 million and S$1.44 million.

    Told of Temasek's 10-year returns compared to other indicators, analysts said the investment house did reasonably well.

    However, they were also quick to point out that it was not a fully indicative comparison, as their investment objectives and risk appetite may differ, and they are accountable to different parties.

    It is not strictly comparable with the MSCI indexes because the latter comprise listed stocks, while Temasek has both listed and unlisted investments.

    Temasek also takes much larger strategic stakes in companies than traditional fund managers, who benchmark themselves against MSCI indexes.
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  3. #139
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Stop maids to Malaysia?

    Quote Originally Posted by zard. View Post
    thank you for your sharing...my maid comes from indonesia...she had worked in singapore for 4 years before coming to work in hong kong

    she told me that her master in Singapore was very very very very cruel to her ...from her description, i really couldn't believe that such thing could have been happened in this world!
    I just read the following report on the treatment of maids in Malaysia and would like to hear the views of both Dato Asbullah and yourself, who seem to champion maids' causes as your previous posts have indicated.

    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009

    JAKARTA - INDONESIA is considering plans to temporarily stop sending its domestic helpers to Malaysia due to the abuse and mistreatment they sometimes suffer in the neighbouring country, a report said on Friday.

    Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno said the government would be forced to act unless the abuse stopped, amid a spate of recent cases that have shocked the country.

    'We will likely stop it temporarily. We will have a meeting on June 23 with several related ministers to conduct a preliminary evaluation,' he was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.

    In the latest case to make headlines, Indonesian maid Siti Hajar was badly scarred after allegedly being repeatedly tortured by her Malaysian female employer for three years.

    The 33-year-old maid from West Java was beaten with a cane and doused with boiling water. Her employer was charged on Thursday with causing grievous bodily harm and faces a 20-year jail term.

    A Malaysian former flight attendant was sentenced in November to 18 years in jail for using an iron and scalding water to inflict horrific wounds on her Indonesian maid.

    Malaysia has no laws governing conditions for domestic workers but the government has promised to draft legislation to protect them from sexual harassment, non-payment of wages and poor conditions.

    Mr Suparno said the government would block the flow of domestic servants 'until the Malaysian government gives us an assurance that it will protect Indonesian migrant workers there.'

    Malaysia is home to some 1.2 million documented Indonesian workers, as well as about 800,000 illegal Indonesian workers. -- AFP

    Perhaps zard can tell me whether these acts are "very very very very cruel" !
    Last edited by Loh; 06-19-2009 at 04:39 AM.

  4. #140
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Maid Abuse In Malaysia

    (A fuller account of one of the above incidents that appeared on the same day. Now what more has the Dato to say?

    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009

    Woman scalded maid, charged

    KUALA LUMPUR (Malaysia) - A WOMAN has been charged with scalding her Indonesian maid with hot water and hurting her with scissors and a hammer, a lawyer said on Friday in Malaysia's latest case of alleged maid abuse.

    Lawyer M. Manoharan said his client, Hau Yuan Tyng, 43, pleaded not guilty in a Kuala Lumpur court on Thursday to three charges of causing hurt to Siti Hajar Sadli - in one case allegedly using hot water; in another, a hammer; and in a third, a pair of scissors.

    If found guilty, the single mother of two could face a maximum of 43 years in prison and whipping, he said.

    Hau also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of failing to renew Siti Hajar's work visa, which expired in July last year, an offence that carries a jail term of up to a year, Mr Manoharan said.

    Hau, who worked part time at a maid agency, was released on bail pending the next court hearing on July 22 but has to surrender her passport to the court and report to police regularly, he said.

    Siti Hajar, 33, escaped earlier this month after working for Hau for three years in a luxury condominium. Photographs of Ms Siti's reddened, scalded body were widely publicised, sparking anger in neighbouring Indonesia, whose President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to seek justice for her.

    Some 320,000 foreigners, mostly Indonesians, work as maids in Malaysia. Indonesian diplomats estimate at least 1,500 maids seek help at their offices across Malaysia each year. Most complain of unpaid wages, but some also claimed they were physically abused.

    The Malaysian government earlier this week said it would change its labour laws to give maids a weekly rest day and other benefits such as compensation for accidents at work. They will also get a list of telephone contacts for embassy, police and welfare officials to report abuse. -- AP
    Last edited by Loh; 06-19-2009 at 04:37 AM.

  5. #141
    Regular Member ants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Just to update taneepak on Temasek's performance against key benchmarks.


    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009

    Long term, it did even better than Buffett

    By Alvin Foo

    SINGAPORE investment agency Temasek Holdings may have taken a hit recently on some of its high-profile banking investments, but over the longer term it has outperformed key global benchmarks.

    Figures obtained by The Straits Times show that over a 10-year period to March this year, Temasek outgunned several closely-watched equity indexes.

    It also beat other notable long-term investors such as Berkshire Hathaway, a top US investment company headed by billionaire Warren Buffett.

    Temasek's performance has come under scrutiny in recent months after it suffered significant losses earlier this year on investments in Western banks Barclays and Bank of America (BoA).

    The state investment house delivered an annualised total shareholder return by market value of 5.4 per cent from March 1999 to March this year, assuming the value of its portfolio remained unchanged since November last year. That is the date of the last available update of the value of its investments.

    This compares with a return of 4.5 per cent in the same period for the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan index, 3.1 per cent for the MSCI Singapore index, and -3 per cent for the MSCI World index, according to figures obtained by The Straits Times.

    MSCI indexes are key indicators commonly used by institutional investors to see how well they are doing relative to the market.

    Temasek's main investments are in stocks, with the bulk of its assets in Singapore and Asia, so these indexes are regarded as a useful gauge of its performance.

    Temasek's returns were also better than that of long-term investors like Swedish investment firm Investor AB, which delivered 3.7 per cent, and Berkshire Hathaway, which yielded 0.7 per cent.

    Last month, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Parliament that Temasek has performed 'respectably' compared to relevant market indexes and reputable institutional investors.

    He said Temasek achieved total shareholder returns by market value of slightly over 15 per cent per year on average in US dollar terms from March 2003 to November last year. This compare with 6 per cent annualised gain in the global equity market indexes (MSCI World), Mr Tharman noted.

    A weighted index of world, Asian and Singapore indexes would have "delivered more than 6 per cent", but still "significantly less" than Temasek's gains of 15 per cent a year, he said then.

    During the March 31 to Nov 30 period last year, Temasek's portfolio had plunged $58 billion - from $185 billion to $127 billion - fall of 31 per cent.

    In comparison, the MSCI Singapore index sank 44 per cent while the MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index dived 45 per cent during the same time-frame.

    According to a recent estimate made by Nomura analysts, Temasek's portfolio rebounded by nearly 13 per cent from late November to mid-May as global financial markets recovered. It bounced back to an estimated $143 billion as of May 15 - a 12.5 per cent rise from the $127 billion seen in late Novermber last year.

    However, Temasek has also suffered public criticism for losses made on its investments in Barclays and BoA.

    Temasek sold its BoA holdings in the first three months of the year, leading to estimated losses of between US$2.3 billion (S$3.3 billion) and US$4.6 billion.

    It also sold its Barclays stake in December and January, at an estimated loss of between S$1.2 million and S$1.44 million.

    Told of Temasek's 10-year returns compared to other indicators, analysts said the investment house did reasonably well.

    However, they were also quick to point out that it was not a fully indicative comparison, as their investment objectives and risk appetite may differ, and they are accountable to different parties.

    It is not strictly comparable with the MSCI indexes because the latter comprise listed stocks, while Temasek has both listed and unlisted investments.

    Temasek also takes much larger strategic stakes in companies than traditional fund managers, who benchmark themselves against MSCI indexes.
    No doubt Temasek has been working hard to where it is now. But they cant be compared to Berkshire. Warren's company has great outstanding record that cant be matched and the comparison in the media is from the duration of "short long term". In terms of Cashflow...Berkshire still tops.
    Having said that... Temasek is still a good holding company to look for.
    Last edited by ants; 06-19-2009 at 04:47 AM.

  6. #142
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ants View Post
    No doubt Temasek has been working hard to where it is now. But they cant be compared to Berkshire. Warren's company has great outstanding record that cant be matched.
    Sure his company has been a role model for the world's investment houses for a long time but still it can fail as it did recently.

    If the above report is accurate on an annualized basis for March 1999 to March 2009 in percentage terms, the total return for Temasek is 5.4% whereas that for Berkshire Hathaway is only a miserable 0.7%!

    Compare these with MSCI (Singapore) 3.1%; MSCI Asia Pac ex Japan 4.5% and MSCI World -3.0% (Negative!) and Investor AB 3.7% then Temasek has done reasonably well instead. There should be nothing much to complain about.

  7. #143
    Regular Member ants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Sure his company has been a role model for the world's investment houses for a long time but still it can fail as it did recently.

    If the above report is accurate on an annualized basis for March 1999 to March 2009 in percentage terms, the total return for Temasek is 5.4% whereas that for Berkshire Hathaway is only a miserable 0.7%!

    Compare these with MSCI (Singapore) 3.1%; MSCI Asia Pac ex Japan 4.5% and MSCI World -3.0% (Negative!) and Investor AB 3.7% then Temasek has done reasonably well instead. There should be nothing much to complain about.
    Yes, there should be nothing to complain about. Im not saying Berkshire is an ideal company. Their 0.7% total of return is because of heavy investments in commodities and metals not because of them performing badly.

  8. #144
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ants View Post
    Yes, there should be nothing to complain about. Im not saying Berkshire is an ideal company. Their 0.7% total of return is because of heavy investments in commodities and metals not because of them performing badly.
    Of course stock or commodity prices are not stagnant. Whilst 2008 has been a terrible year for most investment houses, especially those who invested largely on finance and property stocks, and this has affected their returns, it is expected that the world economy should turnaround by next year and stock prices will rise again.

    But for the assessment of performance, a time-frame has to be set and calculations of returns, etc, must of necessity be based on that period. It is unfortunate that Berkshire's valuation has been negatively affected as a result.

    However, the 10-year period that was the subject of the study is not a short-term period for it covered more than the bad years and it must therefore be quite indicative of the performance of the investment houses.

  9. #145
    Regular Member ants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    Of course stock or commodity prices are not stagnant. Whilst 2008 has been a terrible year for most investment houses, especially those who invested largely on finance and property stocks, and this has affected their returns, it is expected that the world economy should turnaround by next year and stock prices will rise again.

    But for the assessment of performance, a time-frame has to be set and calculations of returns, etc, must of necessity be based on that period. It is unfortunate that Berkshire's valuation has been negatively affected as a result.

    However, the 10-year period that was the subject of the study is not a short-term period for it covered more than the bad years and it must therefore be quite indicative of the performance of the investment houses.
    Berkshire valuation does look bad.. but shareholders are not concern about it.
    Its true that 10yr period is in fact a long time to some when comes into studies on growth and performance... hopefully many of the companies are not backed by stimulus packages which look strong on the "outside".

    Either way money can still be made when times are good and when TIMES are BAD. This is definitely the best time to make money now.

  10. #146
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore's web access ranks 2nd

    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009


    WASHINGTON - SINGAPORE, where 88 per cent of homes have broadband, South Korea and Taiwan are among the top five countries in terms of access to the high-speed Internet, according to a survey released on Thursday.

    The United States, where just 60 per cent of households had broadband as of last year, ranked 20th in the survey of 58 countries by Boston-based Strategy Analytics.

    Five of the top 10 countries or territories in the survey were in Asia and the firm predicted the broadband subscriber base in the Asia-Pacific region will grow on average by a further 15 percent a year between 2009 and 2013.

    Strategy Analytics said South Korea's highly urbanised population and its government-backed broadband policy accounted for its 95 per cent rate of broadband penetration.

    Singapore ranked second on the list with household broadband penetration of 88 per cent, followed by the Netherlands (85 per cent), Denmark (82 per cent), Taiwan (81 per cent), Hong Kong (81 per cent), Israel (77 per cent), Switzerland (76 per cent), Canada (76 per cent) and Norway (75 per cent).

    Among other Asia-Pacific nations, Australia ranked 11th with 72 per cent, Japan ranked 16th with 64 per cent, New Zealand ranked 25th with 57 per cent, China ranked 43rd with 21 per cent and Malysia ranked 44th, also with 21 per cent. Thailand ranked 51st with seven per cent, Vietnam ranked 52nd, also with seven per cent, the Philippines ranked 53rd with five per cent, India ranked 57th with two per cent and Indonesia ranked 58th with one per cent.

    Strategy Analytics acknowledged that measuring broadband penetration has been a subject of controversy with arguments being made over whether it should be measured by household or per capita.

    'Broadband rankings are often the subject of great debate and hand-wringing,' said David Mercer, vice president of Strategy Analytics.

    'Though our rankings may differ from those of other organisations, it is because we are looking at the appropriate metrics,' he said. 'In far too many cases, people are looking at the wrong things,' said Ben Piper, a Strategy Analytics analyst.

    'Residential broadband is overwhelmingly consumed on a household basis - not individually,' he said. Reporting broadband penetration on a per capita basis misses the mark, and can provide grossly misleading results.' -- AFP
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  11. #147
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    Talking about broadband connection... Malaysia has went from bad to worse... sigh...

  12. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009


    WASHINGTON - SINGAPORE, where 88 per cent of homes have broadband, South Korea and Taiwan are among the top five countries in terms of access to the high-speed Internet, according to a survey released on Thursday.
    ...
    Five of the top 10 countries or territories in the survey were in Asia and the firm predicted the broadband subscriber base in the Asia-Pacific region will grow on average by a further 15 percent a year between 2009 and 2013
    ....
    Singapore ranked second on the list with household broadband penetration of 88 per cent, followed by the Netherlands (85 per cent), Denmark (82 per cent), Taiwan (81 per cent), Hong Kong (81 per cent), Israel (77 per cent), Switzerland (76 per cent), Canada (76 per cent) and Norway (75 per cent).
    - Considering the population of each of those countries, esp. Korea, S'pore, it's not really a surprise they have a very high percentage number.
    - It mentions "5 out of the top 10 countries in the survey are in Asia". A couple of paragraphs down, i only notice 4 Asian countries: S. Korea, S'pore, Taiwan and HK. Where's the fifth country??..Typo??..
    Similar thread here:
    http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...ad.php?t=58287
    Quote Originally Posted by ants View Post
    Talking about broadband connection... Malaysia has went from bad to worse... sigh...
    ..i can say, thank goodness BadmintonCentral (its server) is based in the U.S.
    Do you guys recall this incident from nearly 3 yrs ago??..
    http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...ad.php?t=39357
    Last edited by ctjcad; 06-19-2009 at 04:02 PM.

  13. #149
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    Uncle Loh,
    What are your post talking about? What's your message to this world? Singapore also can!?

    Does Singaporian really need to put down on Malaysia in order to show that Singapore is superior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    (A fuller account of one of the above incidents that appeared on the same day. Now what more has the Dato to say?

    The Straits Times
    June 19, 2009

    Woman scalded maid, charged

    KUALA LUMPUR (Malaysia) - A WOMAN has been charged with scalding her Indonesian maid with hot water and hurting her with scissors and a hammer, a lawyer said on Friday in Malaysia's latest case of alleged maid abuse.

    Lawyer M. Manoharan said his client, Hau Yuan Tyng, 43, pleaded not guilty in a Kuala Lumpur court on Thursday to three charges of causing hurt to Siti Hajar Sadli - in one case allegedly using hot water; in another, a hammer; and in a third, a pair of scissors.

    If found guilty, the single mother of two could face a maximum of 43 years in prison and whipping, he said.

    Hau also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of failing to renew Siti Hajar's work visa, which expired in July last year, an offence that carries a jail term of up to a year, Mr Manoharan said.

    Hau, who worked part time at a maid agency, was released on bail pending the next court hearing on July 22 but has to surrender her passport to the court and report to police regularly, he said.

    Siti Hajar, 33, escaped earlier this month after working for Hau for three years in a luxury condominium. Photographs of Ms Siti's reddened, scalded body were widely publicised, sparking anger in neighbouring Indonesia, whose President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to seek justice for her.

    Some 320,000 foreigners, mostly Indonesians, work as maids in Malaysia. Indonesian diplomats estimate at least 1,500 maids seek help at their offices across Malaysia each year. Most complain of unpaid wages, but some also claimed they were physically abused.

    The Malaysian government earlier this week said it would change its labour laws to give maids a weekly rest day and other benefits such as compensation for accidents at work. They will also get a list of telephone contacts for embassy, police and welfare officials to report abuse. -- AP
    Last edited by zard.; 06-20-2009 at 05:19 AM.

  14. #150
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zard. View Post
    Uncle Loh,
    What are your post talking about? What's your message to this world? Singapore also can!?

    Does Singaporian really need to put down on Malaysia in order to show that Singapore is superior?
    I don't need to resort to this tactic which Dato used.

    My message is in answer to yours on maid abuse when you joined hands with Dato to criticise and "put down" Singapore on the maid issue. Please refer to Dato's post which I answered with post #58.

    You supported him in your post #65 when you said: "thank you for your sharing...my maid comes from indonesia...she had worked in singapore for 4 years before coming to work in hong kong.

    she told me that her master in Singapore was very very very very cruel to her ...from her description, i really couldn't believe that such thing could have been happened in this world!
    "

    I hope you now believe that such thing can happen anywhere, even in Dato's country.

    Because I know that this problem is not Singapore's alone, that was why I suggested that a separate thread be used to allow more views and not be included in my thread which is not related and which I have made clear from the onset why I named it "Singapore Also Can". It appears you are still in doubt judging from your first sentence.

    But Dato was unhappy with my suggestion and in his post #63 he even sarcastically accused me of "... Other than that, all swept under the carpet, especially under Uncle Loh house's carpet". Later events proved that this was never my intention as I was willing to discuss the subject further.

    What I'm trying to tell you is that you should not put down Singapore with your post because maid abuse is a problem that happens in many places. The latest report concerning Dato's country is to prove it is a fact.

    BTW, I find your last sentence "Does Singaporian really need to put down on Malaysia in order to show that Singapore is superior?" not only mischievious but highly provocative and I hope you will refrain from such language in future.
    Last edited by Loh; 06-20-2009 at 06:43 AM.

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    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Arts Fest a Sellout Success

    The 2009 Singapore Arts Festival remains the largest singular event in Singapore’s arts calendar, inviting artists from 22 countries, offering more than 600 activities attracting almost 800,000 attendances is a 4-week infusion of performances and events that inspire and capture the public imagination of the city.

    More information can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Arts_Festival

    and information and pics on the Esplanade Concert Hall and Theatre:

    http://www.esplanade.com/about_the_c...hall/index.jsp

    (As for myself, I managed to attend two shows out of four that I bought tickets for owing to a clash with the Singapore Open. Nevertheless I enjoyed both musicals from South Africa: "The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo" and "Ladysmith Black Mambazo" (after the SO Finals)

    The Straits Times
    June 22, 2009

    By Adeline Chia

    THIS year's Singapore Arts Festival has been the most successful one in decades, with the 26 ticketed productions garnering 92.5 per cent attendance on average.

    This makes the festival, which is in its 32nd year, the most well-attended one since 1986, which chalked up 94.6 per cent attendance.

    Fourteen out of the 26 ticketed productions were sold out this year.

    These include the classical ballet Anna Karenina by the Finnish National Ballet; Sutra, a dance production featuring Shaolin monks; Visible Cities, a play by Singaporean playwright Chay Yew; and Long Life, a play without disalogue about five elderly people living in a flat.

    Some 794,398 people attended both the ticketed shows and the 400 free outreach events. It is a jump of about 200,000 over last year's 598,478.

    Audience satisfaction was also high. In a survey of 1,500 audience members commissioned by National Arts Council (NAC), nine out of 10 people found the quality of the programmes to be 'good' and 'excellent'.

    At a press conference at the Drama Centre on Monday, NAC chief Lee Suan Hiang said: 'If you look at the actual numbers and if you look at the very positive survey results, we have had one of the most successful arts festivals in the last 20 years.'

    Festival director Goh Ching Lee added that surpassing the 90 per cent mark was like breaking a glass ceiling.

    'The last time that we got 90 per cent was 20 years ago, when we didn't have very much competition and we were the only festival around,' she said.

    'Now, achieving 90 per cent is phenomenal, given the financial crisis and the fact that there is so much more in terms of choice available to the public.'

    This year's festival, which ran from May 15 to June 14, was a stark contrast to last year's, which was dogged by criticisms that the programme was to esoteric and inaccessible. Averqge attendance was 74.2 per cent then, and seven out of 25 productions were sold out.

    What worked this year?

    Mr Lee cited a "confluence of factors", including cheaper ticket prices and the timing of the festival, which started a week earlier to catch students before they left for their mid-year holdiays.

    Another important reason was the change in direction in the programming. The festival took a more crowd-pleasing slant this year in response to feedback from last year.

    He said: "The mix (of productions) was one that allowed us to continue to maintain a very high standard in terms of the quality of the performances, the path-beating approach and the progressive nature of the festival.

    "At the same time, it allowed us to have a programme that was accessible, enjoyable and engaging to a wide cross-section of our audience."

    Students were a formidable force in pushing ticket sales. A record number of 4,724 tickets were bought by 40 schools for students attending in groups. This contributed to more than 10 per cent of total number of tickets sold.

    Ms Goh said: "I hope to cultivate a new generation of audiences not just for the festival, but for the arts.

    "This is an audience for the future. This is an audience that many of my peer in other festivals would die for, because sometimes when you go to other festivals in Europe, they have an ageing audience."

    Looking ahead, she said the festival will continue with the same winning formula next year. Audiences can expect a diverse programme mix and affordable ticket prices.

    She hinted that there would be "very big names and major works" in next year's festival, and a production with a sporting element, to tie in with the 2010 Youth Olympics.

    She said: "It took us 20 years to break this record. I hope it doesn't take another 20 years to set another record."


    June 22, 2009

    Arts Fest support up

    By Tara Tan, Arts Reporter

    IN THE face of an economic thunderstorm, support for the arts still stood strong.

    Sponsorship for the Singapore Arts Festival this year reached almost $3.7 million and drew 13 new sponsors.

    The total sponsorship in cash and in kind, from 45 corporations and foundations, increased by $1 million from last year's festival.
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    Last edited by Loh; 06-22-2009 at 10:39 PM.

  16. #152
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Pay, Talent, Government

    Singapore's high ministers' pay has always been a sensitive issue and has angered not a few Singaporeans in the past. It has been reported that our Prime Minister's pay is even higher than that of the US President and many other leaders in the developed countries. For a small country this appears to be overboard

    See these links for a comparison in 2007 and the salary formula:
    http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/arc...410/106768.htm
    http://www.salary.sg/2007/salary-ben...for-ministers/

    However, not many people can doubt that Singapore has done relatively well over the years since independence and the government has much to do with Singapore's success.

    I understand that Ghana has been independent for 51 years or about the same period that Singapore was independent, but Ghana's per capita GDP is estimated at only US$1,500 against Singapore's US$51,142 in 2008 according to IMF statistics:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...PP)_per_capita

    The first Prime Minister of Singapore has decided that in order to attract talented and committed people to join the government they must be adequately remunerated otherwise very few would risk their high paying jobs in the private sector and also having to be scrutinised in public.

    Thus a formula has been devised to benchmark the minister's pay at 2/3 the median income of all the top 8 earners in these 6 professions: lawyer, accountant, banker, MNC executive, local manufacturer and engineer in Singapore.

    Even then our ministers' pay pales in comparision with those of the CEOs of the big financial institutions and multinational corporations. Remember it was largely the US banks which recently created the financial crisis that caused the world to suffer. Recently, the Royal Bank of Scotland is reported to pay its CEO, Stephen Hester, a package worth up to S$23 million. I'm sure some CEOs in the US must be paid much more, certainly more than the US President.

    One of the strongest arguments for paying ministers well is to prevent corruption which can bleed the country's treasury and cost the country much more ultimately. At the end of the day, people will accept it provided the ministers must be able to deliver well.


    Of late reports have been made on corrupted ministers and high officials in China and elsewhere, the most recent being Taiwan's past-president Chen Shui-bian and his family.


    The following article is an interesting one by an outside observer:

    The Straits Times
    June 19 2009

    Take a look at Singapore

    By David J. Rothkopf

    MAYBE the problem in the United States isn't that we're paying our business executives too much. Perhaps it's that we pay our government officials too little.

    The Obama administration made headlines last week by appointing yet another czar, this one to ensure we don't pay too much to the executives of the financial institutions the US government has bailed out. They have also made noises about trying to tackle the broader issue of executive pay in the United States.

    The second point is idle posturing that almost certainly will amount to little constructive change. The first has already sent the companies the government bailed out scurrying for the exits of the Troubled Asset Relief Programme and it will be a while before we see whether this is a healthy step or an unhealthy one, with institutions hopping out of their hospital beds before they are fully cured. I also can't help but wonder if cutting executive pay is the best way to attract the kind of brains and efforts that will be needed to fix our busted banks.

    Meanwhile, I have arrived in Singapore, home according to one count, of the 30 highest paid government officials in the world. And trust me, given the extraordinary success this city state has enjoyed, none of the people whom I met complained that those officials were overcompensated. This country wants the best minds in the government and recognises that they have to pay to get them there, otherwise they go to work in the financial community, sell their souls and ultimately add to the overcrowding problem that is currently one of the biggest social issues facing Hell.

    Come to think of it, the overcrowding in Hell probably plays directly into the hands of management down there. I know this because I was in Mumbai airport last night. And for all my enthusiasm for India, Mumbai airport, thronged with people as the late night flights prepare to depart, hot, fetid and chaotic, would have had Beelzebub feeling right at home. In fact, I think I may actually have seen the Prince of Darkness himself there. He was manning a security line and he gave me such a thorough pat down that I think we are now engaged.

    It would have been unbearable were it not for the staff of Singapore Airlines (SIA) who met us - mere ticket holders albeit of premium tickets - at the door and whisked us through the crowds and ultimately onto the plane. And once on the plane, I knew exactly how Dante felt once he had left Virgil behind and reconnected after all those years with his old squeeze Beatrice.

    Suffice it to say that it does not appear that SIA is even in the same business as American Airlines or United. From the meticulous, exceptionally well-appointed aircraft to a seemingly enthusiastic commitment to service, the airline that was one of the first of the businesses created by the Singapore Government after it gained its independence in 1965, is achieving its strategic goal. It makes you want to travel through Singapore on every flight.

    Then you arrive at Singapore's Changi Airport and you are powerfully reminded that the excellence of the airline is not a fluke. This is the best airport in the world: spacious, efficient and attractive. It is the perfect preparation for Singapore itself, almost certainly the best run political entity on the planet.

    Admittedly, the country, led from the start by the man who is now known as its Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, has practised what I would characterise as a constrained form of democracy. But few places have ever so compellingly made the case that what is traded away in terms of the occasional citation for spitting gum on the sidewalk is more than made up for in a society that is prosperous (Asia's second richest), innovative and safe.

    It is a government that has led the way by behaving in many ways like a corporation, taking ideas like competitiveness and strategic planning seriously. (At dinner with a senior business executive who is one of the country's great entrepreneurial success stories, she said: 'In the beginning, in Singapore, the state was the entrepreneur.' And that was said with a genuine appreciation for all the state achieved in that role.) Even in the midst of a global recession, the Singapore Government has been seen as not just responsive, but creatively responsive, promoting retraining of workers and focusing on new growth industries.

    Part of the credit must go to its unique system of senior government official compensation. Ministers are paid via a formula: two-thirds of the average of the eight highest salaries in six key professions - lawyer, accountant, banker, multinational executive, local manufacturer and engineer. As a result, in recent years, the President and the Prime Minister have made in excess of US$2 million (S$3 million) a year in salary and other ministers in excess of US$1 million. The result is that many of the best minds will be found in the government and there is zero corruption.

    Want an example of innovation? The President, Prime Minister and ministers took an almost one-fifth pay cut this year because of the recession. What? Accountability among public officials? Real incentives? Imagine the loud 'gag' you would get out of the US government as they choked on these ideas.

    I could go on about innovation here, but while we're on the subject of incentives, one last thought. Yesterday, I noticed that in exchange for taking those 17 alleged Uighur terrorists, Palau was getting US$200 million from the US government. That's US$14 million or so per terrorist. And incentives being what they are, I immediately concluded that I want some of that terrorist action.

    I will take 100 of them or however many they have left. A hundred will fetch me US$1.4 billion. With this, I will spend maybe US$200 million on a small island on which to house them. Maybe I could buy Devil's Island from the French space agency - which apparently currently controls it - for about that much. Then I would set aside another US$200 million to care for the prisoners (at US$50,000 each per year for an average of 40 years). And I'll pocket the billion as my fee. US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates or his representatives can contact me at Foreign Policy to work out the details.

    The writer, the author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite And The World They Are Making, is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and President and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm Foreign Policy
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    Last edited by Loh; 06-23-2009 at 03:15 AM.

  17. #153
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    Default

    Loh, I understand that Singapore's demographics have now changed quite drastically. It is not as serious as say Qatar or Dubai where the majority of the population are expatriates, ranging from close to 90% to 83%.
    Of course Singapore is not there yet, but still one third of Singapore's population are not citizens of Singapore. Do you think that such over-dependence on expatriates and foreigners is wise and safe in the long term?

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