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  1. #4999
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    Default The NUS University Town (UTown)

    http://utown.nus.edu.sg/about-utown.html

    The NUS University Town (UTown), the first of its kind in Singapore’s higher learning landscape, opens its doors in August 2011. Located across the NUS Kent Ridge campus, this is where some 2,400 undergraduate students, 1,700 graduate students and 1,000 researchers will work, live, and learn in close proximity.

    Undergraduates staying in the Residential Colleges have the opportunity to combine the vibrancy of campus living with an exciting multidisciplinary academic programme. Graduate students moving into the Graduate Residence can look forward to facilities dedicated to the university’s growing graduate community. Top researchers from world-class research institutes will gather under one roof to form loci of innovation at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).

    With purposeful facilities designed to encourage an open exchange of ideas, this is where creativity, innovation and enterprise will flourish.
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  2. #5000
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    Default NUS U-TOWN - More pictures

    Some more picture of this new campus at NUS.
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  3. #5001
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    Default New requirements for marriage kicks in on Sept 1

    The Straits Times

    Published on Aug 30, 2011


    Starting Sept 1, minors who are planning to marry must undergo marriage preparation programmes before a marriage licence can be issued; and people who are remarrying have to declare their maintenance arrears.

    These new requirements follow changes made to the Women's Charter in January this year.

    The compulsory requirement for minors to attend marriage preparation programmes comes in addition to the current condition for them to obtain parental consent.

    This requirement applies where one or both of the marrying parties are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents; and where at least one party is aged below 18 years; or where both parties are 18 or older but younger than 21.

    Starting Sept 1, minors who are planning to marry must undergo marriage preparation programmes before a marriage licence can be issued; and people who are remarrying have to declare their maintenance arrears. -- ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNGBy Janice Tai
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  4. #5002
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    Default World's first Transformers theme-park ride to open in December

    The Straits Times
    Published on Aug 30, 2011


    Those on the ride will get to see Bumblebee, an Autobot which also appeared in all three Transformers films.
    -- PHOTO: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE



    Fans of Transformers will be the first in the world to try the theme-park ride tied to the movie when the attraction opens in Universal Studios here in December.

    Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), where the theme park is sited, beat Universal Studios Hollywood to operate Transformers The Ride, which will open there only in June.

    The story line of the ride revolves around the search and protection of the AllSpark, the source of life of all Transformers.

    Those on the ride are members of the human-Autobot alliance, caught in the middle of the battle between the good Autobots and the evil Decepticons.
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  5. #5003
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    Default SBS Transit appointed Downtown Line operator

    By Monica Kotwani | Posted: 29 August 2011 1826 hrs


    Artist impression of Downtown Line MRT station


    SINGAPORE: SBS Transit Limited has been appointed the new operator for Downtown Line, Singapore's fifth Mass Rapid Transit line.

    When completed by 2017, the Downtown Line's 34 stations are expected to serve about half a million commuters daily.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) says the Downtown Line is the first rail line put up for competitive tender under the new rail financing framework LTA adopted in 2010.

    Among other things, the licence period for the appointed operator is shorter - about 15 years, down from the existing 30 to 40 years.

    And the LTA will own the rail operating assets and be responsible for timely replacements and enhancements.

    In the case of the Downtown Line, the licence period is about 15 years from full completion in 2017, a few years after Downtown Line Stage One's targeted opening in 2013.

    The LTA says the shorter duration will encourage efficiency through competition, as other operators may bid at the end of the licence term.

    The appointed Downtown Line operator, SBS Transit Limited, will pay an annual licence charge over a 19-year licence period.

    This payment is expected to reach an estimated total of S$1.6 billion at the end of the 19 years.

    The payment will be placed in a Railway Sinking Fund to be managed by LTA to meet future expenditures on operating assets.

    The LTA says the two local public transport operators, SBS Transit Limited and SMRT Trains Limited, both submitted competitive proposals to operate the Downtown Line.

    It says SBS Transit Limited was picked after careful consideration.

    SBS Transit is about 75 percent-owned by Singapore's biggest bus and taxi operator, ComfortDelGro.

    The Downtown Line project was announced in 2005. It was later described as a major challenge.

    LTA's project engineer, Darren Lau, had said: "The Downtown Line is currently one of the most challenging rail projects in Singapore, as it passes through varied soil conditions along the stretch. In certain areas like Bukit Timah, we even had to resort to using explosives to break up the granite rocks."

    The Downtown Line was initially a five-station extension to the Circle Line. Known as Downtown Extension - running between Millenia Station and ending at Chinatown Station on the North East Line - it was expected to cost some S$1.4 billion and be completed by 2012.

    But in 2007, the government approved S$12 billion worth of plans to add more than 40 kilometres to the existing mass rapid system.

    The aim is to raise the number of those commuting by public transport to 70 per cent by 2020.

    The Downtown Line will now have 34 stations in all - constructed over three phases.

    Stage One involved the stations of the original Downtown Extension, running 4.3 kilometres from Chinatown to Bugis.

    Work on Stage Two started in 2009, covering 12 underground stations over 16.6 kilometres.

    When completed in 2015, Downtown Line 2 will run from Bukit Panjang, along the Bukit Timah Corridor and terminate at Rochor Station, where passengers can connect at Bugis.

    The final 21-kilometre stretch of Downtown Line 3 will link the Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition Centre in the east to Bukit Panjang, with a loop through Marina Bay.

    - CNA/ir
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    Default Swan Lake on Ice takes flight at MBS Grand Theatre

    By Sharon See | Posted: 29 August 2011 2135 hrs

    A scene from Swan Lake on Ice


    SINGAPORE: Swan Lake on Ice returns to Singapore after four years and this time, the ice dance will be performed at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre from Tuesday, where a special rink is constructed.

    Swan Lake takes flight on the frozen stage from August 30 to September 2.

    Graceful, elegant and almost beautifully tragic, Swan Lake is a well-loved fairy tale accompanied by a magnificent score by 19th century Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

    But before the show can be performed on ice, the stage needs a complete "freeze-over".

    Paul Mansfield, the Production Manager of "Swan Lake on Ice", said: "We brought everything with us here from the UK, and we installed a full ice rink...We start by putting down five tonnes of crushed ice, which has been supplied locally.

    "Then we have a person stay here overnight, all night, and every 15 minutes, they'll spray the ice rink again so that each time, it slowly builds up a layer of ice, getting thicker and thicker, until it's about 20cm thick. And then after that, it just needs to be maintained."

    Normally it takes three days to build a rink but here, the crew only has about 14 hours to do so in the lead up to the show. And when that is done, the 26 skaters are ready to wow the audience.

    Mansfield said: "Many of the elements that they are performing would normally be done on a normal ice rink that's 60m by 60m. This one behind me is only 14m wide. So you'll see some incredible feats - they can get up to speeds of 30 miles an hour as they're going around the ice."

    Mansfield said compared with its first run in Singapore, this version will feature new moves, new scenes and most of all, a surprise at the end.

    -CNA/ac
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  7. #5005
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    Default Mid-Autumn Festival by the River kicks off

    Posted: 29 August 2011 2137 hrs


    SINGAPORE : The Mid-Autumn Festival by the River officially opened at the River Promenade along Clarke Quay on Monday.

    It is the fourth edition of the annual event.

    The light-up ceremony opened with a bang at sundown, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gracing the event.

    The festival aims to promote the understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture, heritage and traditions.

    There will also be nightly performances, and a dazzling display of giant lanterns created by master craftsmen from Sichuan, China.

    Visitors have until September 12 to soak in the sights and sounds.

    Meanwhile, the annual Mid-Autumn Festival bazaar kicked off in Chinatown on Monday, with more than 300 stalls selling various goodies.

    Ten of the stalls at the bazaar were given to tertiary students rent-free.

    They were there as part of a competition for young entrepreneurs.

    One of them was selling handmade bars of soap in the shape of mooncakes.

    There were also games for the young and old, as well as photo booths to take mooncake festival-themed photos.

    The bazaar is on till September 12.

    - CNA/ms
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  8. #5006
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    Default Mountaineer Khoo Swee Chiow scales Mt Fuji

    Posted: 29 August 2011 1254 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow has conquered Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak.

    In a statement to the media, Khoo and, his sponsor budget airline, AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani scaled the 3776-metre-tall mountain on Monday morning.

    Their climb is part of a mountaineering expedition, Altitude X, launched in May this year.

    It started with a climb up the world's highest peak, Mount Everest and aims to conquer eight of the highest mountains of the world.

    It will end with a climb up Mt Cook in New Zealand this December.

    Up-and-coming schedule altitude X expeditions:
    Mt Damavand, 5671m
    Feature: Highest peak in Iran
    Location: Tehran
    Duration: 1 week
    Schedule: September 2011

    Korea, Hallasan, 1950m
    Feature: Highest peak in South Korea
    Location: Jeju Island
    Duration: 5 days
    Schedule: October 2011

    Taiwan, Yushan, 3997m
    Feature: Highest peak in Taiwan
    Location: Tainan
    Duration: 1 week
    Schedule: October 2011

    New Zealand, Mt Cook, 3754m
    Feature: Highest peak in New Zealand
    Location: Southern Alps
    Duration: 1 week
    Schedule: December 2011

    - CNA/ck
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  9. #5007
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    Default Reconstruction at Alexandra canal to prevent floods

    By Monica Kotwani | Posted: 29 August 2011 1405 hrs


    View of Alexandra canal from Zion Road (Photo by PUB)

    SINGAPORE: A 250-metre stretch of Alexandra Canal, between Zion Road and Kim Seng Road, will be reconstructed to improve drainage and prevent floods.

    The national water agency PUB said on Monday the stretch will also be transformed into a scenic waterway with recreational spaces.

    The canal will be widened and deepened from an original 27m-by-3m trapezoidal drain into a 28m-by-5.7m U-shaped drain.

    This is expected to improve drainage capacity and help alleviate flooding at nearby low-lying areas such as the junction of Alexandra Road and Lower Delta Road, and the area between Jervois Road and Prince Charles Crescent.

    PUB has awarded the public tender for the Reconstruction of Alexandra Canal project to Eng Lam Contractor Co (Pte) Ltd at S$46.8 million.

    The project starts next month and is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.

    PUB said the transformation of the waterway will bring a softer, more natural landscape to the busy urban setting.

    A rain garden will also be incorporated to help treat rainwater runoff from the promenade so cleaner water flows into the canal.

    Four cantilever viewing decks will also be constructed together with landscaping to allow visitors to enjoy views.

    - CNA/ck
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  10. #5008
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    Default Little Nyonya paves the way for Singapore dramas in China

    The Straits Times

    Twice as many local drama series sold there after success of show
    Published on Aug 31, 2011

    Singapore actress Jeanette Aw (above, with Chinese actor Huo Zhengyan) in Qian Jin, a Chinese adaptation of the popular 2008 Singapore drama The Little Nyonya. Her Little Nyonya co-star Dai Yangtian (above) also has a role in the remake. -- PHOTOS: MYCHINACHANNEL By Ho Ai Li , CHINA CORRESPONDENT


    BEIJING - The Little Nyonya has re-opened the doors for Singapore dramas in China, and more are riding on the folds of her sarong kebaya to enter the Chinese market.

    A remake of the 2008 MediaCorp drama serial starring actress Jeanette Aw will soon make its debut in China, while twice as many Singapore drama series have been sold following the success of The Little Nyonya in China.

    While MediaCorp used to sell about five drama titles to China a year, it now sells roughly 10 titles, or 200 hours of dramas, a year to the Chinese, said Ms Grace Chia, its assistant vice-president for content distribution.

    Background story
    FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

    'Why is Little Nyonya so successful? That is because the story is done very well, especially the relationship and emotional aspects. The unique culture showcased also arouses many people's interest.'

    Mr Melvin Ang, executive director of MyChinaChannel, a Singapore company which acquires, produces and distributes TV content, and has offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

    While many Chinese still recall fondly 1980s dramas like Paint A Rainbow, Singapore shows have not made much of an impression until The Little Nyonya, which was a hit when shown on several local Chinese TV stations last year
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  11. #5009
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    Default Muslims in Singapore celebrate Hari Raya

    By Monica Kotwani | Posted: 30 August 2011 2000 hrs

    An Indian-Muslim family in Singapore.


    SINGAPORE: Muslims all over Singapore celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, on Tuesday.

    For many Muslims, a visit to the mosque was the first stop on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

    Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, was at the Assyafaah Mosque in Sembawang.

    His message to the Muslim community - to heed the call of Singapore's top Islamic religious leader, Mufti Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram. It was the Mufti's first Hari Raya message since he took over at the beginning of the year.

    Dr Yaacob said the Mufti's key message was for the Malay-Muslim community to differentiate between needs and wants, especially with uncertain economic times looming.

    Dr Yaacob said: "We need to readjust our expectations and calibrate what is it that's important for our family, and he pointed out education, healthcare - these are the things we have to look after.

    "So I think the message is timely, and I hope the Malay community will take into account what has been said by the Mufti, so that we can plan our years ahead in light of the possible changes to the economic structure."

    Over at the Al-Ansar mosque, Minister of State Tan Chuan-Jin, joined staff and volunteers for a traditional meal of rice cakes or ketupat, with curry. The time spent, he said, is part of community building.

    Brigadier-General Tan said: "It's not something we take for granted. Every visit, every interaction we have is one more step towards bridging bonds, deepening mutual understanding, which goes a long way in cementing the ties and strengthening the multi-racial strength that we have."

    Also with BG Tan was Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Lee Yi Shyan.

    Throughout the day, families used the time to bond and catch up - with some making that special trip a real family affair by chartering buses. It was also a time to make a fresh start by seeking forgiveness from their elders.

    Singapore's Indian-Muslim community may be in the minority but for them, Hari Raya, better known to them as Eid, was a chance to sit together as an extended family and enjoy the bounty of food that the end of the fasting month brings.

    Sharmila Banu, an Indian-Muslim, said: "It's a very good opportunity where all of us get to mingle. Besides spending time, we also get to meet our cousins, our aunties, our uncles. It's a good time for us to spend with each other."

    Hari Raya festivities will carry on throughout the Muslim month of Shawwal.

    -CNA/ac
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    Default NTU scientists discover way to kill superbug

    By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid | Posted: 30 August 2011 2026 hrs

    A researcher at work

    SINGAPORE: Hospitals are a common breeding ground for the harmful bacteria known as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. It is known to cause upper respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal infections - especially for people who have weak immune systems, like the elderly.

    Also known as a superbug, it is resistant to a wide range of antibiotics.

    But it can be destroyed - by a modified E. Coli discovered by a team of eight professors and students from the Nanyang Technological University. The engineered bacteria generates killing molecules that destroy the superbug and help cure the infections.

    Assistant Professor Mathew Chang, who is with the School of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at NTU, said: "If you think about the current antibiotic drugs, they kill all the microbial population in our human body, including good and bad ones. Our re-engineered bacteria specifically targets the pathogen we hope to kill."

    The next phase of the research is to refine the efficiency of the killing molecules and to find other possible targets. The researchers expect to move into animal trials soon. They are also looking at how the modified E. Coli can be cultivated in the human digestive system.

    Assistant Professor Poh Chueh Loo said: "Although we have just tested this in the lab...we can actually incorporate the re-engineered bacteria into some drinks like pro-biotics drinks that we are drinking, like Yakult or yogurt, that the patient can actually ingest. Hopefully with that, it can help them from getting infected."

    The breakthrough has drawn interest from medical professional overseas.

    The researchers received funding from the Ministry of Education and the National Medical Research Council for the project.

    -CNA/ac
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    Default Chinatown food street to undergo major revamp next year

    By Ng Lian Cheong | Posted: 30 August 2011 2310 hrs


    Food Street in Chinatown.


    SINGAPORE: The famous food street at Chinatown is undergoing a major revamp next year.

    The Singapore Tourism Board and the Chinatown Business Association have called for a tender to spruce up the popular food haunt at Smith Street.

    Street hawkers have been peddling local delights at this bustling stretch known as Food Street for almost 10 years.

    Channel NewsAsia understands that the tenancy for the hawker stalls will expire early next year, which coincides with the timeline of the proposed revamp.

    Some hawkers said they hope the revamp will take place after Chinese New Year so as not to affect business. They also hope that stall rentals will not go up after the upgrading.

    And while most customers welcome the revamp, they hope the place can retain its former ambience and charm.

    -CNA/ac
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  14. #5012
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    Default Mid-autumn festivities kick off in Chinatown

    By Evelyn Choo | Posted: 30 August 2011 2255 hrs

    Mid-autumn festival celebrations in Chinatown.

    SINGAPORE: It is a myriad of activities in Chinatown, where the annual mid-autumn festival celebrations have just kicked off.

    Some 20,000 people took part in the light-up ceremony on Tuesday evening.

    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean got the party started, prompting performers from Singapore and overseas to comb the stretch of New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.

    Over the month, 600 of them will bring this area to life with songs, skits and martial arts displays.

    The festivities are organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee.

    Organisers are hoping that this event will bring in more revenue for the shopping centres nearby.

    Vincent Tan, Chairman of the organising committee for the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival, said: "We hope that (the event) will improve business by 10 to 15 per cent and hope that one million visitors will come over (during the) celebration."

    -CNA/ac
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    Default Students showcase science and engineering talents at SAMC

    By Nurul Syuhaida | Posted: 30 August 2011 1942 hrs


    One of the pencil sharpening machines at the Singapore Amazing Machine Competition.


    SINGAPORE: How many ways can you sharpen a pencil?

    Some 250 students from various schools came up with 60 different ways of doing so. The students had to design and build machines that take as many steps as possible to sharpen a pencil.

    A total of 111 teams registered for the Singapore Amazing Machine Competition, with 60 of them making it to the finals. Winners are judged according to their creativity and innovation, environmental friendliness and successful completion of the entire process.

    One of the students in the competition, Marcus Soon from Unity Primary, said: "This competition is quite meaningful because it helped us learn about science concepts. Furthermore, we learnt about the importance of teamwork so that we can cooperate with each other."

    Besides category A for upper primary students and category B for Secondary 1 to 3 students, a new category C, for Secondary 4 to Junior College year 1 students, was introduced this year.

    The judging panel was made up of representatives from NUS High School for Mathematics and Science, DSO National Laboratories, Science Centre Singapore and the School of Science and Technology.

    Lawrence Wong, Minister of State for Defence and Education, said: "The spirit of enquiry, experimentation, the desire to push the boundaries; these are all critical ingredients for education. So I think to inculcate these mindsets from young through a platform like this, will certainly help the students in the schools so they are not just bound to rote-learning."

    Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore, said: "They certainly have to learn to solve problems and that is what they have to do when they study. More significantly, I think they have learnt that there are many solutions to one task. In other words, (it helps to) open their minds when they enter the real world; there is no single solution to accomplish your task."

    The competition is now into its third year and it hopes to become a unique platform to propel students into the world of science and creativity.

    -CNA/ac
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    Default PUB to hand over Gunong Pulai Waterworks to Johor authorities

    Posted: 30 August 2011 2159 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The 1961 Water Agreement between Singapore and Johor expires on Wednesday and Singapore's national water agency PUB will hand over the Gunong Pulai Waterworks to the Johor water authorities.

    In a statement, PUB said that throughout the 50-year tenure of the 1961 Water Agreement, the working relationship between the Johor water authorities and PUB has been good and cordial.

    A signing ceremony will be held at the Gunong Pulai Waterworks on Wednesday, where PUB will officially hand over the assets to the Johor state govenment.

    The handing/taking over document will be signed by the Chairman of the PUB and the Johor State Secretary.

    The event will be graced by Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johor; Singapore's Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan; and the Chief Minister of Johor, YAB Dato' Haji Abdul Ghani bin Othman. Officials from Singapore and Malaysia will also be present.

    The PUB said the expiry of the 1961 Water Agreement will not have any impact on the water supply for both Singapore and Johor.

    -CNA/ac

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    Default A changing S'pore, a new compact?

    Letter from James Ang

    TODAY
    04:45 AM Aug 31, 2011

    THE just-concluded Presidential Election was an eye-opener. It signalled the shifts on the ground and a growing political awareness of the electorate.

    The new President-elect, Dr Tony Tan, is a blue-chip candidate by any measure, with sterling credentials and experience like no other. Unions, clans and associations endorsed him for the top job.

    He then garnered 35.19 per cent of the local votes cast and won by a razor-thin margin. This is the "new normal". The results of the recent General Election and now the Presidential Election suggest that a new social compact is required.

    In the past, one critical success factor for Singapore has been the fact that the majority of the voting populace has always been diligent, obedient and aligned to the Government.

    Policies and strategies amount to nothing without the support of the people.

    For the last 30 years, it has never been an issue with the population that the Government was credited for the country's success as long as they were living in a safe, stable and prosperous country. It was like an unwritten understanding.

    The profile of the population is changing and so is the Government. A maturing, well-educated and well-travelled population will be more discerning and more probing.

    This group is growing, a product of our success, and replacing the previous generations of voters. More of the same or mere fine-tuning of policies by the Government may not win them over, let alone unify the country.

    A mindset change might be difficult, as it was the old formulas that brought the success that Singapore enjoys today. The business establishment is familiar with it and averse to working outside this comfort zone.

    An example is the Government's drive to increase productivity since 1996, when the then Productivity and Standards Board was formed. However, the results from tried and tested principles may not equal those of the past, as we are now at a much higher base.

    It is the natural pangs of a young, developed economy and the challenge of every future incoming government.

    The new elected Government and President will be judged by their actions and how Singapore and Singaporeans benefit in the long term.

    In all fairness, we are fortunate to have a talented team in Government to make this transition and change.

    To make a real difference and unify the country is not only to be more in tune with the global economy but also this new citizenry that is slowly but surely evolving.

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