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Thread: Singapore Also Can
04-17-2010, 10:52 AM #1650
S'pore needs more educated immigrants to make country dynamic, says MM Lee
17 April 2010 1949 hrs
By Imelda Saad
SINGAPORE : Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has reiterated the need for Singapore to attract more educated immigrants.
Speaking at the Indian New Year celebrations in Little India on Saturday, Mr Lee said Singaporeans must recognise that with a declining population, the country needs such people, including those who have studied or worked in the US and Europe.
With the economy in a buoyant mood after the government upgraded its growth forecast for the year, Mr Lee said Singapore needs to grow as an attractive hub for international trade, investment and talent to sustain long-term growth.
"We benefited from being open to immigrants from around the world, especially China, India and the region. Throughout history, Singapore has welcomed migrants. When I first took office, we had 62,000 babies every year from a population of 2 million. Today, Singapore citizens produce only 32,000 babies in a year when we should have 60,000 just to replace our population," said MM Lee.
Little India is a glowing example of how early immigrants have flourished and taken root in the country.
Mr Lee said the government understands the concerns of Singaporeans over new immigrants and foreign workers. So it has taken steps to moderate the inflow and widen the differentiation between citizens and non-citizens.
Having educated immigrants here, said Mr Lee, makes Singapore more competitive and dynamic.
"The majority of the new PRs and citizens are skilled workers and professionals in finance, IT and R&D. They bring new skills, global connections and a strong drive to create better lives for their families," said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee gave an example of how one immigrant is making a difference.
"Shyam Srinivasan came from Chennai at age 14, and went to Geylang Methodist Secondary School and Victoria Junior College. He took up citizenship and obtained a teaching scholarship from the Public Service Commission," said the Minister Mentor.
"Last year, he graduated top of his class in Physics at Oxford University. He is now doing his Masters in Applied Physics at Columbia University. He will come back and complete his NS. He will educate and inspire the next generation of Singaporeans," he said.
Their presence has also helped to shape the Singapore landscape.
Mr Lee cited how many Indian temples today have been refurbished to look "elegant" and "colourful".
"Our immigration policies have brought in better educated and wealthy Indians who have made that qualitative difference to our lives. Their support of these temples has resulted in this transformation, reflecting the transformation that is taking place throughout Singapore," said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee said the challenge is to integrate newcomers into Singapore society and an event like this Indian New Year Celebration is a good example of how integration can be done.
The event brings together different communities, not just among the different Indian ethnic groups, but also Singaporeans of all races.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
04-17-2010, 11:06 AM #1651
Ngee Ann Poly goes big on smartphone apps for students to learn on the go
17 April 2010 1908 hrs
By Daud Yusof
SINGAPORE : Ngee Ann Polytechnic is going big on Smartphone Applications for students to learn on the go.
It is believed to be the first polytechnic to launch a slew of 25 applications (apps).
All freshmen in the nursing course will carry the iPhone or iPod touch to help them learn better.
In the devices are various apps - such as medical dictionary, drug calculator and translator of key nursing terms.
These make it easy for them to communicate with patients when they are on practical attachments.
About 70 per cent of its nursing course is tagged to the iPod.
Whether they are looking for a lecturer or direction, there are apps with the answers.
And to help them locate books is a Book Navigation apps - believed to be the first of its kind.
Illias Mohammad Iqbal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic student and apps developer said: "It allows navigation inside the library like a map. And the thing about it is, we've actually included something like Google Street View, where we go down to the ground, and you can actually see the image on specific spots.
"Besides the navigation, you can search for a book. Say you have the IB number. You key in the IB number and you will be brought down to the specific spot, (where) the image of the area is located."
It is one of 25 apps that freshmen will get to use when the new term begins on Monday.
"We are probably the first in Singapore to have the Enterprise Licence to host our own apps store which allows us to then develop apps for our students," said Shirley Williams, director of Ngee Ann Teaching & Learning Centre.
The polytechnic will continue to explore ways to enable more students to enjoy the convenience of learning on the go.
Book Navigation apps
04-18-2010, 12:37 AM #1652
View of home from afar
The Straits Times
Apr 18, 2010
PM Lee shares pictures from Singapore, good news about economy
By Chua Chin Hon, US Bureau Chief
CHICAGO - TAKING his cue from the adage 'a picture speaks a thousand words', visiting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday used a 20-photo slide show to tell Singaporeans based here just what they have been missing at home.
An audible 'wow' was heard in the audience of about 150 Singaporeans when the slide show paused at a dazzling photo of the Formula One circuit at night, where the illuminated race tracks shimmered like mercury against a backdrop of imposing buildings.
The other photos - depicting the integrated resorts at Marina Bay and Sentosa, new shopping malls in Orchard Road and designer HDB projects - similarly impressed the crowd of mostly students and young professionals.
'Many things have been happening in Singapore the last couple of years,' said Mr Lee, looking relaxed on the final day of a six-day visit to the United States.
'So I wanted to give you a slide show of some of the 'happening' things which have been going on, and give you a feel of what Singapore is like. Maybe you'll feel some nostalgia and homesickness, and you'll come back and visit.'
In many ways, the glitzy sideshow complemented the good news he shared with them: Singapore's economy is roaring again.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meets Singaporeans at a lunch reception in Chicago at the end of a six-day visit to the United States. The PM's slide show wowed them by showing dazzling photos of what they have been missing at home. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
04-18-2010, 12:53 AM #1653
More than economic benefits to trade: PM
05:55 AM Apr 17, 2010
US engagement in Asia also fosters regional security
by May Wong
CHICAGO - The United States must continue to trade actively with Asian and South-east Asian countries, or this will hurt the various economies and affect America's growth, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Speaking to over 200 members of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent organisation committed to influencing the discourse on global issues, Mr Lee said American engagement in Asia was important "not just for economic reasons, but to maintain a balance of power and foster regional security and stability".
"Promoting trade goes beyond securing markets and economic benefits. It goes to enhancing your relevance and influence, and it will complement and give substance to political and security relationships."
Noting America's concern that China's growing influence does not destabilise the world system or impinge on US interests, he added: "But it's important for both sides to manage this relationship constructively. Both have much to gain by working together and much to lose if they collide with one another ... The trade deficit notwithstanding, you gain when you export to China, like Boeing aeroplanes; consumers gain in America when you import from China, like Wal-Mart does."
China, still far from being a developed country, "needs US technology, US corporate expertise and more importantly, a non-adversarial US which will ensure a stable global environment within which China can continue to develop".
And then, there is the fact that intra-regional trade is knitting the Asian economies closer together. "All of America's allies - if you look at Australia, Japan and New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand - all your allies in the Asia-Pacific have China as either trading partner No 1 or trading partner No 2. It's the reality of an emerging economic superpower," he said.
Meanwhile, as the US reviews its approaches to strengthen its system after the financial crisis, Mr Lee called on America not to compromise on its strengths, such as maintaining openness to talent and having a cooperative international environment.
These are the factors that will help the US regain its dynamism, he said, and Asia wants to partner the US in the transformation for the new economy.
04-18-2010, 08:08 AM #1654
Some 120 flights between S'pore and Europe cancelled since Thursday
18 April 2010 1943 hrs
By Wang Eng Eng
SINGAPORE : The air travel chaos deepened at airports around the world on Sunday as the volcanic ash from Iceland continued to cloud air travel.
At Changi Airport, 120 flights between Singapore and Europe have been cancelled since Thursday, including the 38 flights that were cancelled on Sunday.
Mother and son, Janet and Joe Richardson have been camping at Changi Airport since Thursday.
They were due to fly home to Manchester in the UK on Air France after a month-long holiday in Perth.
"They (need) to get us some hotel rooms. I've managed to sleep because I've got some sleeping tablets but my mother has been awake for three days. She had 2 hours of sleep last night and that's it," said passenger Joe Richardson.
Others who are putting up in hotels are also streaming into Changi Airport, desperate for any information.
However, they did not get very far.
"We came yesterday and there was no one here at the airlines. We came here again today and this is the first time we've seen any sort of notice (being put) up," said passenger Karen Smith.
Singapore Airlines managed to book hotel rooms for all its passengers in the transit areas.
But some passengers are not taking chances; they are still queuing at the information counter hoping to catch the first available flight.
"In terms of having advance bookings - that's a challenge because it doesn't necessarily guarantee that you are able to go. But customers who have been waiting the longest in transit are the ones that are going to be re-accommodated first when we are able to restore some of our flights," said Nicholas Ionides, VP of Public Affairs at Singapore Airlines.
The gloom of passengers is also felt by taxi drivers.
Most of them have seen a dip in their takings.
"The arrival flights are not coming. (Takings are down) roughly by 10 per cent," said one taxi driver.
But food and beverage outlets like Dome cafe at Terminal One have seen an increase in business by some 15 to 20 per cent.
"Because of the flights cancellations, (and) we do accept KLM and Air France vouchers, so that boost up our sales," said Ann Yeoh, assistant manager of DOME.
Some airlines have been offering daily meal and hotel vouchers to help affected passengers.
While travellers here are trying to find a way out, some Singaporeans who were affected by the flight disruptions in Europe have found alternative routes to return home.
One of them, Ganesh Rajaram, was supposed to fly home from Cannes in France on Saturday.
Instead of waiting, he decided to drive seven hours to Rome and catch a flight back on Qatar Airways.
"It felt quite helpless actually because there's nothing anyone can do to help you. Every time we went to an airport, there were just cancellations. There were queues of people... European domestic travel was hit the worst, and domestic travel was non existent," said Ganesh Rajaram, senior VP at Fremantle Media (International Distribution).
"My colleagues are still there in Cannes without a way to go back. I've got colleagues stranded in Paris trying to get back to the US." -
Check-in counters at Changi Airport
04-18-2010, 08:16 AM #1655
MRT Circle Line's 11 new stations open to much fanfare
17 April 2010 2146 hrs
By Dylan Loh
SINGAPORE : The Circle Line's 11 new MRT stations opened on Saturday to much fanfare.
As at 8pm Saturday, SMRT had a ridership of some 220,000.
SMRT said with the new stations, travel time can be reduced by over half an hour on certain routes, and commuters can save up to 41 per cent in adult fares.
The long wait is over for self-professed train enthusiast Ong You Yuan when the train rolled in at Paya Lebar Station.
"I waited five to six years, and finally it opened, so I want to catch the first train in the morning," said the 18-year-old Ong.
Over at the Stadium Station, Taiwanese pop band SHE got in on the act.
They were there for a meet-and-greet session with some 900 fans before performing later in the evening.
SMRT prepared for this surge in traffic.
"In Stadium (Station) itself, we are expecting a large crowd for the SHE event. We are putting in some 20-plus additional station personnel there to help out in the station management, passenger flows and the crowd control (issues)," said Chia Chun Wah, deputy director of Station Operations, SMRT Trains.
Previously, concert-goers had to go to the Kallang MRT Station, transfer to a bus or walk to reach the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Now, they can take the Circle Line service and alight at the Stadium Station, which is just a stone's throw away from one of the country's most popular concert venues.
And this is making some concert-goers, very happy.
"(With the) Circle Line, I can travel to Bishan (and) use the Circle (Line route) to travel here. It's faster and easier," said one member of the public.
"It used to take about one-plus hour, now only 16 minutes," said another.
SMRT expects daily ridership of about 200,000 with the 16 Circle Line stations now open.
Fans at SHE's meet-and-greet session at Stadium Station
04-18-2010, 08:39 AM #1656
S'pore wants Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty strengthened & updated
18 April 2010 2045 hrs
By S Ramesh
SINGAPORE : Singapore has expressed concern that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime is now under stress and remains weak in enforcement.
In a statement ahead of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it is useful to reflect on where the world stands 40 years after the treaty went into force.
On disarmament, Singapore said more efforts need to be put into the issues before achieving the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
In this regard, Singapore feels that the recent conclusion of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the US and Russia is a positive development.
However, the size of the global nuclear arsenal remains large as there are about 20,000 nuclear warheads in the world.
Many of them are still on trigger-alert.
On the important pillar of non-proliferation, MFA said that while the treaty has successfully limited the number of Nuclear Weapon States, the international community continues to face serious proliferation concerns.
In fact, the risk of proliferation had increased.
Singapore stressed that three key states, which are not part of the treaty, have or are strongly believed to have nuclear weapons. They are India, Pakistan and Israel.
Moreover, a country that is part of the treaty has been suspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
Singapore is also concerned that as interest in nuclear energy grows due to the rising costs of traditional fuel as well as the concerns over climate change, nuclear technology will continue to spread without checks.
These would include activities that could be used for a nuclear weapons programme.
Non-state actors, particularly terrorists groups, are believed to be keen on acquiring nuclear material and nuclear weapons to launch terrorist attacks.
Hence, the international community faces the dilemma of seeking to strengthen the non-proliferation regime while acknowledging the right of countries to pursue nuclear energy and technology for peaceful uses.
MFA stressed that the international community must come to an understanding that while Article Four of the treaty highlighted the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, this right carried with it responsibilities and obligations.
To achieve this, Singapore said Nuclear Weapons States should be committed to their Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.
Countries must also find a mechanism to encourage those with nuclear weapon capability which are outside the treaty to abide by the same international rules and safeguards and find a way to bring them in.
North Korea should be encouraged to return to the global non-proliferation regime.
To strengthen the non-proliferation regime, a more robust global export control regime to guard against the illicit trafficking of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems should be established.
Singapore said the Non-Proliferation Treaty regime was conceived in a different time and age to deal with very different challenges.
It is important that the treaty be brought up to date and further strengthened.
Singapore hopes that all could take the opportunity of the upcoming Review Conference to begin this process.
It said the process is necessary but will not be easy.
Singapore warned that it will be disastrous if the Review Conference ends up in shambles again.
04-18-2010, 10:38 PM #1657
'Don't impose beliefs on others'
05:55 AM Apr 19, 2010
Interactions in society should be secular, says Law Minister
by Alicia Wong
SINGAPORE - Religious beliefs must remain private and should not be imposed on others - but it can be used to promote good values that all can agree on, said Law Minister K Shanmugam.
Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Second Minister for Home Affairs, was speaking to reporters after the Sree Maha Mariamman Temple's consecration ceremony yesterday, which saw over 30,000 devotees turning up for prayers from as early as 6am.
Interaction in society, he said, should be based on secular values and arguments, as it would be difficult for people to accept arguments based on another person's religious beliefs. But, Mr Shanmugam added, "if you put forward that argument on the basis it is in the best interest of the community and put it forward on a logical secular basis, then people can accept it".
His comments came after Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng spoke last week on concerns over how religious groups were increasingly holding worship events at commercial venues, being involved in business and getting more assertive in evangelising.
Mr Shanmugam said such concerns do not "quite apply to temples yet", but increasingly, religiosity is a global trend and Singapore was no exception. He added: "What is important is that there remains a personal space, and we create as large a secular space as possible for us to be able to interact with each other."
Also touching on the issue of common and private space yesterday, while celebrating the Tamil New Year with residents in Pasir Ris, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said each community must have its own space in order to practise its own culture, traditions and beliefs. "But we must also subscribe to a wider common space among all of us where we come together as Singaporeans ... And these common spaces are precious for all of us, just as each community's own space is precious for that community."
On the roles of temples, Mr Shanmugam said they see themselves as providers of religious service so people come to temples, and the temples don't usually "go out". He said they can perform a wider role, emphasising education, healthy living.
04-18-2010, 10:46 PM #1658
Singapore to start feasibility study into nuclear energy
05:55 AM Apr 19, 2010
SINGAPORE - As more countries seek to explore the use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, the international community faces a dilemma: How does it juggle a nuclear non-proliferation regime while acknowledging the right of countries pursuing nuclear energy and technology for peaceful uses?
There are still about 20,000 nuclear warheads in the world, many of them on trigger alert, Singapore noted in its statement at the International Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Conference in the Iranian capital of Tehran, which ended yesterday.
And even with the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which has limited the number of nuclear weapons states (NWS), the world faces proliferation concerns.
For example, the NPT did not stop North Korea from acquiring and testing nuclear weapons, while NPT member Iran has been suspected of pursuing nuclear weapons ambitions.
Moreover, India, Pakistan and Israel, who have or are believed to be nuclear-armed, are not part of the NPT, representing "a lacuna in the NPT regime".
"As interest in nuclear energy grows as a result of rising costs in traditional fuel as well as the concerns over climate change, nuclear technology will continue to spread without checks," the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in the statement. "These would include activities that could be used for a nuclear weapons programme (like) uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing."
"Non-state actors, particularly, terrorists groups, are believed to be keen on acquiring nuclear material and nuclear weapons to launch terrorist attacks."
Both NWS and non-NWS alike should adopt higher standards of nuclear safety and security to ensure that nuclear material and facilities under their control remain safe from theft or terrorist attack, urged the MFA, while export controls need to be tightened to prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.
A "multilateral fuel assurance mechanism" could also prevent further spread of nuclear know-how, while providing countries interested in pursuing nuclear energy and technology the means to do so.
Singapore, which has not ruled out nuclear energy, will start a feasibility study "which will entail a careful and rigorous examination of the technical, economic and safety aspects of nuclear energy".
"This process is still at a preliminary stage, but we will enhance our cooperation with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and nuclear suppliers as our study progresses," said the MFA.
04-18-2010, 10:58 PM #1659
Star Awards sees surprises
05:55 AM Apr 19, 2010
SINGAPORE - He was a hot favourite to win the Star Awards 2010 Favourite Male Character Award for his role as Lin Xiaobei in the drama serial, Together - but Dai Yangtian was trumped by Nat Ho, who won instead for his part in The Dream Catchers.
But the China-born Dai Yangtian did not go home empty-handed at Star Awards Show 1, held at the MediaCorp TV Theatre last night: He won the Male Media Darling Award.
As for the women's categories, "Caldecott princess" Jeanette Aw won the Favourite Female Character Award for her role as Yao Jianhong, Yang's love interest in Together, while Joanne Peh bagged the Female Media Darling Award.
The favourite characters awards were two of several new awards introduced this year. Another was the Most Unforgettable Villain - and this went to Jerry Yeo for his role in The Ultimatum.
In his thank-you speech, Jerry said: "I'm happy that all the bad things I've done led me to this win. If given another chance, I'll continue to play the bad role."
Housewives Holiday took home the award for Top Rated Drama Serial.
The second part of the star-studded ceremony will be held at Resorts World Sentosa this Sunday (April 25), and will be broadcast on Channel 8 from 7pm.
04-18-2010, 11:15 PM #1660
04-18-2010, 11:52 PM #1661
What are u trying to do cooler?
04-19-2010, 02:44 AM #1662
04-19-2010, 05:16 AM #1663
Making S'pore a great place
The Straits Times
Apr 19, 2010
By Koh Hui Theng
THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is seeking views at two public forums next month to shape Singapore into a great place to live, work and play in.
Focus groups will share and gather more feedback on their proposed recommendations on the review of Concept Plan 2011.
The public forums are part of URA's efforts to engage and involve Singaporeans and residents in plans to shape the country into a great city.
The first forum on 'Sustainability and Identity' will be held on May 6. The second forum on 'Quality of Life and Ageing Issues' will be held on May 10.
Discussion topics include designing the physical landscape to be more conducive for active ageing and identifying ways in which individuals, households, community groups and businesses can contribute to responsible environmental management.
Members of the public can register for the forums from now till April 26 on www.ura.gov.sg/conceptplan2011/publicforum, or call 6329 3212 for enquiries.
04-19-2010, 09:42 PM #1664
UN study on S'pore racial ties
The Straits Times
Apr 20, 2010
Human rights expert gets invitation from Govt
FOR the first time, a United Nations expert on racism and xenophobia is visiting Singapore to do a first-hand study of the situation in the country.
Mr Githu Muigai, who will look at issues relating to racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, is here at the invitation of the Singapore Government, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) yesterday.
His eight-day mission starts tomorrow and will result in the first report on Singapore by a UN Special Rapporteur.
Mr Muigai, a Kenyan national who specialises in international human rights law, is scheduled to meet Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, government leaders as well as MPs.
They include Foreign Minister George Yeo; Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister for Law K. Shanmugam; and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
The MFA statement also said Mr Muigai will be briefed by various ministries, the Courts and the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.
04-19-2010, 09:50 PM #1665
Taller, heavier and broader
The Straits Times
Apr 20, 2010
NUS study says better nutrition and higher incomes contribute to growth in body sizes
By Bryan Toh
IT IS no secret that Singaporeans have been getting fatter, along with people from most other developed countries.
But they are now also taller and broader at the shoulders than they were about two decades ago, says a new study.
The average height of the Singaporean man is now 1.74m, up 5cm from 1990; his sister now stands at 1.62m, 7cm taller.
The average Singaporean's shoulders also grew 2cm for both genders over that period. They now measure 45cm for men and 40cm for women.
A lecturer and his students from the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Engineering made the findings by measuring 315 Singaporeans, all students from their faculty, between 2005 and 2008.
The data collected for the study, a follow-up of a similar one done in 1990, has implications for a wide range of businesses and organisations producing goods and services - from garment- and furniture-makers to transport companies.
It is no secret that Singaporeans have been getting fatter, along with people from most other developed countries. -- PHOTO: HEALTH PROMOTION BOARD
04-19-2010, 10:11 PM #1666
Ng Eng Hen meets M'sian leaders in KL as part of regular exchanges
19 April 2010 2018 hrs
By S Ramesh
SINGAPORE: Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen attended the Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference 2010 (DSA10) in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur Monday.
DSA10 is a biennial international defence and security exhibition that showcases the latest developments in the defence technology industry.
Also attending DSA10 were Permanent Secretary for Defence Chiang Chie Foo, Chief of Defence Force Major-General Neo Kian Hong, Chief of Air Force Brigadier-General Ng Chee Meng and Chief of Army Brigadier-General Chan Chun Sing.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, Dr Ng called on Malaysian Minister of Defence, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He also met Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Mr Idris Jala, and Minister of Transport, Mr Ong Tee Keat.
Dr Ng will meet Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Mr Jamil Khir bin Baharom Tuesday.
Singapore's Ministry of Defence says the visit to Malaysia is part of the regular ministerial-level exchanges between Singapore and Malaysia.
"The visit underscores the long-standing defence ties between the two countries. The Singapore Armed Forces and Malaysian Armed Forces interact regularly through bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as professional exchanges," it said.
Dr Ng Eng Hen (L) meeting Malaysian Minister of Defence, Dato' Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi (R
Dr Ng Eng Hen (second from left) viewing at exhibit at one of the DSA10 booths
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