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  1. #5220
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
    Hi uncle Loh, good luck with your trip
    Thanks my young friend.

    But we will be concluding the second leg of our US east coast visit in New York with just another three nights to go. It has been an eye-opener so far.

  2. #5221
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New York dampened by rains

    With sufficient sleep, we thought today would be a good day for us to explore New York further.

    But the rains kept my plans on hold. My two other friends decided to brave the rain and went their separate ways. I decided to stay behind to wait for the rain to stop.

    At 1 pm, when the rains turned into a drizzle, I thought it was better for me to venture out. So I stopped surfing the net and took lunch at Cafe Bravo just around the corner.

    After that, with an umbrella in hand I walked towards the seafront where the Hudson River flows and ended up instead in the colonial building at Bowling Green which houses the American Indian museum. As admission was free, I decided to take a look. It was very interesting to learn about how the various Indian tribes lived in the past.

    Time was not on my side as it was already past 4 pm and despite the continuous drizzle, I then took the subway to Grand Central to try to locate the UN and Empire State buildings. The strong winds played havoc to my umbrella and I had to put on my black Yonex windbreaker with hood over my brown jacket with my pullover beneath it. But when I finally reached the UN, it was not a pretty sight with the misty showers blurring my camera lens and the entire picture.

    The weather conditions had worsen as the sky darkened further, therefore I decided to call it a day. Unknowingly I had already walked to the Grand Central Terminal (where New Hampshire Railway tracks and subways are located) and with some help from an elderly lady, I managed to top-up my Metro card and get into the right train for Rector Station near where our hotel is located. After a quick dinner at Cafe Bravo, I returned to the comfort of World Centre Hotel and away from the menacing weather.
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    Last edited by Loh; 10-19-2011 at 10:39 PM.

  3. #5222
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Hudson River, Statue Cruise and Wall Street

    I spent almost the whole of yesterday, Oct 20, at the Hudson River which is not far from our hotel.

    As I started late, I bought brunch consisting of chicken chops, yellow rice and some vegetables of sliced tomatoes, onions and lectuse, from the stainless steel mobile cart parked on the sidewalk. I also got a cup of coffee - all for a relatively cheap US$6.

    It was rather windy and cold as I walked along the river side. I had to put on another jacket to keep warm. But the many locals and joggers who frequented this place with their families and dogs showed no signs of distress or disapproval.

    I ate my meal on one of the many benches that lined the river front, shaded by trees that grew alongside them and took pictures of the buildings on the opposite island and the boats that ply on the river.

    Battery Park is a nice spot to relax at this southern tip of New York. This is also where South Ferry lies and from where I bought a ticket for the Statue Cruise ride at Clinton Castle to catch a view of the Statue of Liberty closeup and also to visit Elis Island on which the Statue was constructed.

    It was almost 5 pm when we returned to New York and I made my way to the famous financial district at Wall Street. Time to take a picture with the Bull, a massive sculpture to signify a "bull run" on the stock exchange.

    Wall Street has been in the news lately and indeed when I reached the park there, it was already inhabited by many people with the intention to "Occupy Wall Street". The protesting crowd was orderly although the place was heaped with rubbish in plastic bags. Many activities were taking place among the various groups, including the stencilling on T-shirts of the many slogans for the occasion. There was also the incessant banging of different drums that miraculously produced an uniformed and catchy sound.

    Another day went by in New York.

  4. #5223
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Last Day in New York

    Today is our last day to further explore New York.

    We woke up early and the three of us returned to George's for breakfast.

    I headed for Times Square after that and proceeded to Rockefellar Center's Observation Deck to have a bird's view of New York with its famous sky scrapers. All the prominent names could be seen from our high position.

    St Patrick's Church is located just nearby for a visit. A Friday noon prayer congregation was in session, but we nevertheless did not want to waste the opportunity to take pictures of the magnificent interior, as with most famous Catholic churches.

    I had a ticket to the nearby Museum of Modern Art that came with the Rockefellar ticket. So a good part of two hours was spent in the museum trying to figure out many of the paintings and sculptures by some very famous artists that include Picasso, Matisse, Kooning and Henry Moore.

    It was past 3 pm when I made my way on foot to the United Nations, a place that I missed on that wet and windy day. As I was about to reach the UN, I was confronted by a vocal crowd with flags, banners and placards that protested on Human Rights in Turkey.

    I crossed over to the UN and went through another vigorous security check before I managed to enter the building proper. I paid for the guided tour which started an hour later at 4.40 pm. The tour guide is a Malaysian who had just completed a course at Singapore's LKY School of Public Administration.

    We were introduced to the workings of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and UN Economic Development programs for the developing countries.

    An hour later saw me heading back to Times Square. But Friday is a very busy day for the entertainment sector. The cheaper tickets for many broadway shows were almost all sold out. The one that I wanted to watch was all gone. So I had to return to World Center Hotel empty-handed once more.

    We will be making our farewell to New York tomorrow morning.
    Last edited by Loh; 10-21-2011 at 09:35 PM.

  5. #5224
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 'Venice of Punggol' opens

    By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 23 October 2011 2135 hrs


    The Punggol Waterway was finally opened on Sunday evening


    SINGAPORE: It has been four years since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sketched out his vision for Punggol, a sleepy suburb located in the northeastern part of Singapore.

    It was an ambitious project to transform what some residents have described as a backwater town into a "Waterfront Town of the 21st Century".

    An earlier plan to remake Punggol had hit a bump, when the Asian Financial Crisis struck.

    Built at a cost of S$225 million, the new waterway by the Housing and Development Board - described as the "Venice of Punggol" - was finally opened on Sunday evening.

    Mr Lee, who was speaking at the opening of the Punggol Waterway, recounted how the waterway was originally conceived as a pipeline between Serangoon and Punggol reservoirs and credited former National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan for making the change.

    The project cements Punggol's claim as Singapore's first eco-precinct, along with other green features incorporated into the town's design.

    The town, one of the biggest in Singapore, will house some 23,000 families by the end of the year.

    In sprucing up old neighbourhoods, Mr Lee said the government will partner residents and the community in the effort.

    Mr Lee said: "Every estate that we build will have its own unique identity, its own distinct landmarks and its own particular charm. Each estate will not just be a set of block of flats or precincts, but a home for Singaporeans, a community of residents, a place where friendships are made and memories are formed."

    In designing the waterway, memories of the area have also been preserved.

    Alan Tan, Project Director, Waterway@Punggol, said: "For example at the Kelong bridge, we have some ideas of the poles and stilts, which are remnants of the fishing villages of the past in Punggol town. Also in the past, Punggol had a lot of mangroves, and now we've incorporated some mangroves into the eastern part of the waterway."

    The man-made river is expected to become the focal point of the new town.

    Mr Lee also reiterated the government's commitment to improve the amenities and conditions in older housing estates like Yishun and East Coast, even as newer ones get a facelift.

    The government had announced in February this year that it will set aside S$10 billion over the next 10 years for upgrading projects.

    - CNA/fa
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  6. #5225
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NTUC First Campus to open 50 more childcare centres

    Posted: 24 October 2011 1150 hrs


    NTUC First Campus centre

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's biggest childcare chain, NTUC First Campus (NFC), will open 50 more childcare centres over the next two years. That would mean one new centre every two weeks.

    Enrolment capacity will also increase by 50 per cent. Currently, some 9,000 children are enrolled in its centres.

    NTUC First Campus announced its expansion plans on Monday to celebrate its milestone of opening 100 childcare centres. It has doubled the size of its network from 50 to 100 in three years.

    The celebration was held at My First Skool at Bedok North Street 3 and attended by Mr Lim Boon Heng, Executive Chairman of NTUC Social Enterprise Development Council.

    NTUC First Campus said processes are in place to ensure a high quality of childcare is maintained.

    It will set aside S$2.5 million for staff training next year, more than double this year's amount of S$1.1 million.

    Chan Tee Seng, CEO of NTUC First Campus, said: "All our new teachers undergo a very structured on-boarding programme. (For) 80 hours before they're deployed, and after they're deployed, for the next six months, we have an experienced teacher to partner with them.

    "This way, we ensure that even though they're trained teachers already, they don't go in cold, and that they're able to learn and at the same time be effective as quickly as possible."

    Over 700 early childhood education professionals will also be recruited in the next two years.

    Mr Chan said: "I think getting a good supply of childcare teachers has traditionally been a problem. But I must say that in the last two years, we have been able to attract more mid-careers to come forward to join us.

    "Mid-career doesn't mean they have been working for a long time, it could have been people who have just graduated and realise that: 'Hey, marketing or IT is not my passion' and they discover a new possibility. The pay has gone up and there are more career opportunities.

    "So I'm actually quite positive and quite encouraged. There are more people coming forward to join the sector, younger and better qualified people."

    By 2013, NTUC First Campus expects all centres to have 95 per cent of its teachers holding diploma qualifications or be in the course of obtaining one. 90 per cent of principals are also expected to be degree-holders or undergraduates.

    It said new centres are being planned for Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang and Jurong, where demand is high.

    - CNA/cc/ac
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  7. #5226
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    Default Insufficient savings put the frowns on S'poreans

    By Wayne Chan | Posted: 24 October 2011 1630 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singaporeans rate their personal savings as the area they are most unhappy with, according to a study called "The Happiness Report".

    Conducted by global communications firm, Grey Group, the study found that nearly half of the respondents reported a lack of sufficient savings in the last six months.

    The second area that respondents said they were least happy with was personal expenditure over the last half year, garnering 40.5 per cent of responses.

    The next three areas that made Singaporeans unhappy were their confidence in the economy (27 per cent), job satisfaction (23 per cent), and work-life balance (21 per cent), something the government and companies should take note of.

    Subbaraju Alluri, CEO of Grey Group Singapore, said: "They need to clearly keep in mind that Singaporeans are worried about spending.

    "So try not to overpower them with lots of offers or try to influence too much of (their) purchases, because that's going to drag them down even more on the unhappy scale. Try to understand where the consumers are at today, and help them save."

    The study, designed to monitor national sentiments on issues that impact consumer behaviour, was conducted in June this year with 200 respondents aged 18 to over 60.

    The study also revealed the top five things that Singaporeans were most happy about.

    Area of residence topped the happiness index, with about 78 per cent ranking Singapore as the best place to stay in the world.

    Close family ties ranked second (74 per cent), spirituality came in third, while social support networks took fourth spot and personal time rounded off the top five on the happiness index.

    The study also discovered that baby boomers (45-49 years old) were the happiest people with an overall net happiness score of 11.4 per cent, 4.6 percentage points higher than the young adult segment (18-29 years old).

    It also found that men were happier than women at the workplace, with 46.08 per cent of men found to be happy at their jobs as compared to 37.75 per cent for women.

    27-year-old Shirley Ang, an account manager, said: "In schools these days, it's very competitive, so everyone's competing with each other, challenging each other.

    "Back during the days of baby boomers and all, it was probably an easier life in a way. Hard in terms of earning money, but easier in terms of (the amount of) stress they are feeling from society."

    -CNA/ac

  8. #5227
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    UWC's 'green' new campus



    by Esther Ng
    04:47 AM Oct 25, 2011

    ESTHER NG

    SINGAPORE - Setting cooling pipes at 45-degree angles instead of conventional right angles. Using fresh air and ceiling fans to cool the classrooms. Installing pipes before the walls were erected.

    These were among the measures taken by the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) to make its new Tampines campus "green".

    "We had a S$6 million Green Mark budget, but we didn't have to touch it," said UWCSEA director of operations and facilities Simon Thomas.

    Such green features helped the UWCSEA's Tampines campus to clinch the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Mark Platinum award in September.

    The BCA Green Mark is a green-building rating system that evaluates a building for its environmental impact and performance.

    The UWCSEA yesterday shared its experience in developing a green campus with members of the National Climate Change Secretariat's (NCCS) focus group on building efficiency.

    The campus also has air-conditioning chillers which are two times more efficient than typical commercial chillers, leading to savings of S$70,000 a month in its electricity bill, Mr Thomas said.

    The monthly bill is the same as that of the UWCSEA's Dover Road campus, which is around S$140,000, but the Tampines campus is bigger, at 76,000 sq m, compared to Dover Road's 50,000 sq m.

    Other green features at the Tampines campus include having fresh air, channelled through the air-handling unit, blowing onto a cooled coil before making its way into the classrooms.

    Two 15-watt ceiling fans spin the cooled air in the classrooms, some of which overflows into the corridor, thereby reducing the need for air-conditioning and the use of ducts in the corridor.





















































  9. #5228
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default UWC's 'green' new campus


    by Esther Ng
    04:47 AM Oct 25, 2011

    ESTHER NG

    SINGAPORE - Setting cooling pipes at 45-degree angles instead of conventional right angles. Using fresh air and ceiling fans to cool the classrooms. Installing pipes before the walls were erected.

    These were among the measures taken by the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) to make its new Tampines campus "green".

    "We had a S$6 million Green Mark budget, but we didn't have to touch it," said UWCSEA director of operations and facilities Simon Thomas.

    Such green features helped the UWCSEA's Tampines campus to clinch the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Mark Platinum award in September.

    The BCA Green Mark is a green-building rating system that evaluates a building for its environmental impact and performance.

    The UWCSEA yesterday shared its experience in developing a green campus with members of the National Climate Change Secretariat's (NCCS) focus group on building efficiency.

    The campus also has air-conditioning chillers which are two times more efficient than typical commercial chillers, leading to savings of S$70,000 a month in its electricity bill, Mr Thomas said.

    The monthly bill is the same as that of the UWCSEA's Dover Road campus, which is around S$140,000, but the Tampines campus is bigger, at 76,000 sq m, compared to Dover Road's 50,000 sq m.

    Other green features at the Tampines campus include having fresh air, channelled through the air-handling unit, blowing onto a cooled coil before making its way into the classrooms.

    Two 15-watt ceiling fans spin the cooled air in the classrooms, some of which overflows into the corridor, thereby reducing the need for air-conditioning and the use of ducts in the corridor.









  10. #5229
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default The challenge for the modern city

    Asian metropolises are, for the first time, in position to define the standards and vision of what it means to be modern


    by Misha Petrovic
    04:46 AM Oct 25, 2011

    In 2008, for the first time in history, the world population shifted from majority rural to majority urban. In 2011, the same shift occurred in China. At some point in between, another landmark was reached: More than 50 per cent of the world's urban population now lives in Asia and the proportion is expected to keep rising.

    With another 600 million newborns and migrants likely to join the ranks of Asian city dwellers in the next 15 years, there is no question that Asian metropolises will continue to dominate world rankings in terms of sheer size. Rapid economic growth in the region should also allow them to increase their economic clout and the living standards of their residents.

    This process is often seen as replaying, admittedly on a much grander scale and at a much faster pace, what already happened in the developed world. In other words, in urbanisation just as in economic growth and social development, Asia is catching up with the West.

    Such an interpretation, however, is misleading. The current urban transformation of Asia is taking place in a very different context than the 20th-century urbanisation of the developed world. Understanding this change of context is key to understanding what has been happening in Asian cities in the last 20 years, as well as what is likely to happen in the next 20.

    "Asian Cities as Centres of Global Modernity", a project I am currently leading at the National University of Singapore under the auspices of the Global Asia Institute, focuses on exploring this larger context, which we call "global modernity". Stripped of all the technical aspects and detailed data that are the mainstay of what we scholars work with, our model of global modernity emphasises three very recent trends.


    First, there is the oft-noted compression of time and space on the global scale. Seminal changes in transport, media, and communication infrastructures are the most visible components of this process.

    The world is interconnected like never before by the flows of goods, money, people and, above all, information - and large cities are the key nodes in this global network. As a result, individuals and organisations become more mobile, urban forms more fluid, and there is rapid transmission, reception and emulation of urban models and innovations.

    Second, there has been a no less dramatic shift of gravity - economic, political, cultural - away from the West. The most immediately obvious and commented-upon aspects of this process are those of geopolitics and international trade, from the rise of China as a new regional and indeed global geopolitical power, to the expansion of the Group of 7 into the Group of 20 and the fast rise of BRIC economies.

    Yet the shift away from the West is occurring on many different levels and it is misleading to conceptualise it in terms of traditional categories, such as the succession of "great powers" or the "Rise of Asia". What we experience is rather a proliferation of multiple new centres of modernity - attraction points for "global assemblages" of organised actors. As a result, the emerging global modernity is at once post-western, polycentric, and distinctly urban.


    Finally, and this might be the least recognised major aspect of the global modernity, there has been a worldwide proliferation of organisations and especially those that do not gravitate - in terms of their goals, organisational legitimacy, and inter-organisational relations - toward national governments.

    The global population of such organisations, from business enterprises to non-profits and non-government organisations has increased dramatically since 1990. Some are explicitly transnational and political in their orientation, giving currency to the notions of global governance and global civil society. The majority, however, is oriented towards specific social sectors - the economy, education, healthcare, science, religion and so on.

    Their proliferation indicates a major transformation in the role of the state, from the main representation of society and central figure of international order, into just one of many organised actors within a heterogeneous and rapidly evolving global organisational field.

    The emerging order of global modernity poses many new challenges to urban scholars and planners, municipal and national governments and all other actors that participate in shaping contemporary cities. But it also creates a new world of opportunities.

    Regarding Asian cities, many have been dealt a very good hand in this new game. They are in the most dynamic region of the world economy, benefitting from large pools of migrant labour and with fewer legacy issues to deal with than their western counterparts. There should be little surprise then that instead of catching up gradually, major Asian metropolises often seem to have leapfrogged over the competition.

    They steal the spotlight in world comparisons, not only by having the tallest skyscrapers, fastest trains, busiest airports, and longest bridges, but also the best schools and hospitals, avant-garde architecture, tourist attractions and the ability to stage spectacular events
    . Moreover, as the protagonists of the new polycentric, post-western modernity they are increasingly in position, for the first time ever, to define the standards and visions of what it means to be modern.

    Yet the position of Asian cities as new centres of global modernity is by no means assured, even in the short run, unless they develop successful mechanisms of dealing with the other two aspects of global modernity.

    Organisational proliferation and the creation of a global, compressed time-space continuum have radical consequences for the very idea of what a city is, and how it should be planned and governed.

    As individuals and organisations become more mobile and globally connected, cities shift from semi-permanent agglomerations of captive locals, to fluid ensembles of cosmopolitans, including increasing numbers of foreigners, short-term residents, and travellers.

    The number of stakeholders in the city thus increases rapidly and so do their visions of what the city is and what it should be. Freed from the constraining imperatives of national development and planning, large cities find themselves facing not only increased competition from other cities in regional and global networks, but also new demands for more sophisticated and multi-faceted governance.

    Perhaps more than anything else, it is the challenge of creating stronger incentives for various stakeholders to take ownership of the city, to become interested, active and responsible city makers, that defines modernity and the prospects of success for any and all cities today.




    Associate Professor Misha Petrovic is with the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore.






    Art by LEE YEN YOK
    Last edited by Loh; 10-24-2011 at 09:37 PM.

  11. #5230
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Affected Bukit Brown graves to be documented


    by Ong Dai Lin
    04:46 AM Oct 25, 2011


    SINGAPORE - The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have partnered the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, Peranakan Association Singapore and Singapore Heritage Society to document graves that will be affected by the new road to be built at Bukit Brown cemetery.

    In a joint press release yesterday, the two government agencies said the work and discussions, which have been going on for a few months, will also involve the input of academics and grave experts.

    The Minister of State for National Development, Brigadier-General (NS) Tan Chuan-Jin, said: "We are aware of the rich heritage of Bukit Brown and its links to the history of our country ... once the decision was taken on the road, we began discussing with key stakeholders.

    "We aim to properly capture the history and memories of the affected graves and to do this before the planned road development begins."

    It is estimated that the new road will affect about 5 per cent of the more than 100,000 graves in the cemetery.

    A working committee led by Dr Hui Yew-Foong, fellow and coordinator of the Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, will carry out the actual documentation work.

    The joint statement said the development of the cemetery, which was zoned for residential use in the Concept Plan 1991, will not be immediate and will begin south of Bukit Brown, around the old Police Academy area, in about 10 to 15 years. Ong Dai Lin

  12. #5231
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    Default Psyched up for world's best female paddlers


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Oct 25, 2011


    SINGAPORE - Kerry Tan, 16, and Cheryl Tang, 14, have little memory of the last Women's World Cup held here in 2002.

    But the duo are aiming to have a tournament to remember, when the US$150,000 (S$189,700) Volkswagen 2011 Women's World Cup returns to the Toa Payoh Sports Hall from Friday to Sunday.

    Both are part of the 60-strong student volunteer group that will take up roles in ushering, technical duties, officiating, scoring, food and beverage as well as ticketing during the three-day event.

    Raffles Institution student Kerry, who is a member of the national youth team alongside Cheryl, is already looking forward to catching his favourite paddler, Singapore's world No 4, Feng Tianwei, in action.

    The 2011 SEA Junior Championships gold medallist (boys' under-18 team event) will be involved in technical duties and officiating, and he said: "Seeing them in action is a good opportunity to learn from them and I think I can learn a lot. I've not seen Feng Tianwei play 'live' in Singapore - she's such an icon for us, an all-rounded and aggressive player."

    Cheryl, 14, had signed on as a volunteer with five of her Raffles Girls' School team-mates after learning about the opportunity on the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) website.

    The teenager is psyched up for a tournament that will feature the likes of China's world No 1 Li Xiaoxia and her compatriot Ding Ning (No 2), the reigning world champion, Japan's Ai Fukuhara and teenage sensation Kasumi Ishikawa, Among the 19-strong field. Singapore will be represented by Feng, Wang Yuegu (No 9) and Li Jiawei (No 18).

    Said Cheryl: "All the world-class players will come and play. We usually only get to watch them on television, so it's going to be exciting to be able to learn from them." LOW LIN FHOONG





    Kerry Tan (left) and Cheryl Tang. Photo by ERNEST CHUA
    Last edited by Loh; 10-24-2011 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Fencing's Olympic target gets Hungarian boost

    by Philip Goh Haw Hann
    04:47 AM Oct 25, 2011


    SINGAPORE - Dr Gabor Salamon (picture) has an impressive record training some of the world's top fencers, but the Hungarian is perhaps facing his sternest challenge in Singapore.

    The 62-year-old, who has coached Germans Arnd Schmitt and Britta Heidemann to world titles and Olympic gold, has been appointed technical director of Fencing Singapore (FS) and arrived early last month to begin work in producing a medal potential for the Republic.

    Within eight weeks, Salamon, who has also previously coached in Hungary and Canada, has identified key areas that could see a Singaporean step onto the podium at the 2016 Games.

    He has highlighted a need for a centralised national training centre and will begin planning for it when FS sets up shop at the Toa Payoh Sports Complex next month.

    The new 8,400 sq ft premises will have 10 permanent pistes to train elite fencers in three weapons groups - namely epee, sabre and foil.

    "In my short time here, I have already seen the potential of Singapore fencers, with the elites performing at a high level," Salamon told Today.

    "I would like to see up to six national coaches eventually, one for each weapon for both men and women," he added.

    There are currently three national coaches - Russians Viatcheslav Bobok and Oleg Khorvat for the women's foil and sabre, respectively, and Zhao Zhizhong of China who has both the men's and women's epee under his charge.

    "The school programmes are also good, which is important as we look to build a base of fencers," said Salamon. "I think the younger ones will need to develop with more intensity, gain more technical knowledge and tactical abilities."

    He added that with good coaches, Singapore can see success within four years from its current batch of national trainees aged 14 to 17 years old.

    "Ideally, we need young coaches who are highly motivated, hungry for results and armed with the latest technical and tactical knowledge. But there really aren't that many candidates at the moment, " he said.

    For FS president Nicholas Fang, merely having Salamon here is a major coup for his association.

    "We've never had the budget for the person of the calibre we wanted. It's taken a few years for us to prove ourselves with results to convince the Singapore Sports Council we deserve funding." said Fang, referring to Salamon's qualification.

    "With Gabor here now, we want him to look at planning for the long term, how to weave all the bits we have here to create a viable pipeline that can produce world-beaters."

    "Someone with his experience working in established fencing nations is well placed to tell us if we're going in the right direction."






    Photo by PHILIP GOH

    Last edited by Loh; 10-24-2011 at 09:56 PM.

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    Default Top 10 Highest Paid Government Leaders

    (An interesting article from Investopedia.com that I wish to share with you. Singapore is now reviewing the salaries of its ministers to bring it in line with other countries. Perhaps this article will shed some light as to why Singapore's Prime Minister is paid the highest in the world.)

    Posted: October 18, 2011 10:27AM by Brent Radcliffe
    http://financialedge.investopedia.co...#axzz1bgumtczW





    You may think that those wishing to suffer extreme public scrutiny while making decisions that affect millions of citizens would demand the big bucks, but when it comes to pay, many world leaders look like chumps compared to the CEOs of many corporations. While most salaries pale in comparison to the likes of Warren Buffett's, some are downright huge when compared to the people a leader may govern. (For more on what high level CEOs make, check out A Guide To CEO Compensation.)

    Top 10 Political Leader's Salary by Country (2010):

    1. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore): $2,183,516
    2. Donald Tsang (Hong Kong): $513,245
    3. Raila Odinga (Kenya): $427,886
    4. Barack Obama (United States): $400,000
    5. Nicolas Sarkozy (France): $302,435
    6. Stephen Harper (Canada): $296,400
    7. Mary McAleese (Ireland): $287,900
    8. Julia Gillard (Australia): $286,752
    9. Angela Merkel (Germany): $283,608
    10. Yoshihiko Noda (Japan): $273,676

    Salary Compared to GDP

    What makes a world leader's pay reasonable or outlandish? One way of making this call is by looking at pay compared to a country's GDP per person at purchasing power parity (PPP). Using PPP helps make a better estimate of just how far money goes in a country, since the cost of living will vary from country to country. Comparing each leader's salary (in international dollars) to the IMF's 2010 PPP figures shows how much more a world leader makes compared to an average joe at home.

    1. Raila Odinga (Kenya):255.30
    2. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore): 38.51
    3. Donald Tsang (Hong Kong): 11.17
    4. Nicolas Sarkozy (France): 8.92
    5. Barack Obama (United States): 8.54
    6. Yoshihiko Noda (Japan): 8.08
    7. Angela Merkel (Germany): 7.86
    8. Stephen Harper (Canada): 7.57
    9. Mary McAleese (Ireland): 7.29
    10. Julia Gillard (Australia): 7.21

    What do these numbers mean? Looking at GDP per person doesn't show how a country stacks up in terms of income inequality, a statistic that can measured using the Gini coefficient. Ranking the leaders by their country's income inequality can really show how far out of touch a leader is with those governed. The Gini coefficient changes things up (zero means perfect equality and one perfect inequality). (For more on Gini, see The Gini Index: Measuring Income Distribution.)

    1. Donald Tsang (Hong Kong): 0.434
    2. Raila Odinga (Kenya): 0.425
    3. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore): 0.425
    4. Barack Obama (United States): 0.408
    5. Julia Gillard (Australia): 0.352
    6. Mary McAleese (Ireland): 0.343
    7. Nicolas Sarkozy (France): 0.327
    8. Stephen Harper (Canada): 0.326
    9. Angela Merkel (Germany): 0.283
    10. Yoshihiko Noda (Japan): 0.249

    Base Salary Vs. Perks

    When it comes to what a leader is really paid, a distinction must be made between base salary and additional stipends. Leaders may receive free residences or residential stipends, free healthcare, free travel and other perks. They may be permitted expenses that most people would have to pay for out of pocket. Those figures are more difficult to come by, especially in the murky world of political influence.

    Less scrupulous world leaders may pad their own bank accounts with their own country's money through corruption. "Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)," first released in 1995, tracks corruption trends in 178 countries. It assigns a rank of 10 to countries deemed clean, and zero to countries considered highly corrupt. Ranking the leaders by how corrupt their countries are, the ranking shifts to the following:

    1. Raila Odinga (Kenya):2.1
    2. Nicolas Sarkozy (France): 6.8
    3. Barack Obama (United States): 7.1
    4. Yoshihiko Noda (Japan): 7.8
    5. Angela Merkel (Germany): 7.9
    6. Mary McAleese (Ireland): 8
    7. Donald Tsang (Hong Kong): 8.4
    8. Julia Gillard (Australia): 8.7
    9. Stephen Harper (Canada): 8.9
    10. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore): 9.3

    Of these countries, only three would not be considered "full democracies" by the "Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index:" Kenya, Hong Kong and Singapore.
    (I'm not sure why???)

    The Bottom Line

    What do all of these numbers tell us? Leaders of advanced economies earn very similar salaries to each other, and those countries tend to be less corrupt and more democratic. While Lee Hsien Loong may earn 38 times the average resident of Singapore, his country is considered a good place to do business even if it is not fully democratic. (Again not sure why?) On the other end of the spectrum, Raila Odinga earns an incredible amount more than the people he governs, and presides over a country thatTransparency International would consider one of the most corrupt around (ranked 154 out of 178 countries). (If you are interested in investing abroad by taking advantage of these statistics, see Investing Beyond Your Borders.)




    Read more: http://financialedge.investopedia.co...#ixzz1blFH0Uoy

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    Default Four S'pore EMBA courses in top 20 list

    The Business Times
    October 25, 2011

    Four excutive masters of business adminsration (EMBA) programmes from Singapore-based campuses landed among the world's top 20 in Financial Times' latest rankings.

    Two of these EMBAs are offered by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.

    The school's joint programme with the Univesity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) made its debut appearance at ninth place.

    NUS Business School's Asia Pacific Executive MBA (Apex MBA) rose from 27th last year to 19th place.

    The two other Singapore programmes on the FT's list were from the University of Chicago Booth in fifth, and Insead in fourth position.

    Singapore-based programmes tended to rank highly on the measures of "international course", which ranked courses on the number of classroom teaching hours conducted outside of the business school's country.

    The two NUS Business School programmes and Insead's were among the top 10 on that score. The FT list also spotlights salary growth and average salaries of alumni three years after graduation.

    Candidates from any of those four Singapore-based programmes could look forward to a post-course pay rise of between 60 per cent for Insead and 72 per cent for UCLA-NUS.

    From the four local programmes, UCLA-NUS programme alumni commanded the highest salary after three years at US$232,928.

    The other programmes followed close behind with their graduates taking home over US$219,000.

  16. #5235
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    Default S'pore, Malaysia PMs to meet in December

    By S Ramesh | Posted: 25 October 2011 1148 hrs
    Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong (R) and Malaysia's PM Najib Razak (file picture)


    SINGAPORE: In a sign of growing bilateral ties between Singapore and Malaysia, Prime Ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Najib Razak are scheduled to hold their next retreat in December in Kuala Lumpur.

    Visiting Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin revealed this to reporters after his talks with his Singapore counterpart, Mr Teo Chee Hean, on Tuesday.

    Mr Muhyiddin, who is in Singapore for a two-day visit, also met Prime Minister Lee at the Istana.

    Mr Muhyiddin expressed appreciation for Mr Lee's efforts in resolving the longstanding Points of Agreement (POA) issue on Malayan Railway Land as well as the smooth handover of the waterworks to Johor authorities free of charge and in good working condition.

    During their talks, both Mr Teo and Mr Muhyiddin expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

    They also discussed the many programmes both countries are working together on, including measures to improve the flow of people and goods between the two countries, covering immigration matters and the rapid transit link, as well as the iconic projects being undertaken by Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional and Singapore's Temasek Holdings in Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia.

    Mr Teo said these projects "send a signal of commitment of the two countries to strengthen and develop relations between us. Apart from that, we also have a whole host of things we are doing together - especially in Tan Sri (Muhyiddin)'s very important portfolio of education."

    On his part, Mr Muhyiddin revealed that Singapore is now Malaysia's largest trading partner, overtaking China.

    Hence, Malaysia hopes to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises to locate their businesses in the developing Iskandar Malaysia region.

    Malaysia also looks forward to enhancing further bilateral ties especially in areas like tourism development and Mr Muhyiddin believes the cruise industry can contribute to this development.

    He said: "I have suggested that the working group on tourism look further beyond them and get the private parties to come in and get a clear direction how this area can move forward."

    Mr Muhyiddin also spoke of projects by Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings in Singapore and Johor, adding that there is also a need to look into other projects such as in Desaru.

    "The cooperation with Singapore will continue. We do hope that the Prime Ministers will meet at a retreat in Kuala Lumpur in December. We have proposed some dates and we hope Mr Lee Hsien Loong will agree. That will provide an opportunity for the two Prime Ministers to discuss what we can do in terms of our bilateral relations," said Mr Muhyiddin.

    For Malaysia, one sector which it wants to see improvements in is vocational and technical education.

    And, Mr Muhyiddin got a deeper insight into the programmes which Singapore has in place at its ITE colleges when he visited ITE College West with Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

    He said Malaysia's need for skilled manpower is huge and it needs to transform the country's vocational education system.

    He believes Singapore has good experience in this field and some models which Malaysia could emulate.

    Earlier in the day, Mr Muhyiddin was given a briefing on Singapore's tourism development plans and he noted that 2010 was a very good year for the tourism industry in Singapore.

    - CNA/ck/fa/ir
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    Default 'To the Bhutanese we could well be Shangri-La'


    by Esther Ng
    04:47 AM Oct 20, 2011


    SINGAPORE - Happiness and Bhutan have been brought up in Parliament several times since Monday, and Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan yesterday weighed in on the debate.

    His visit to Bhutan a few years ago left him with "deep impressions". A tiny nation straddled between India and China, it was not unlike Singapore.

    "The challenges of a tiny nation are real and huge. We are not a continental economy like the United States or China. We live in a troubled and troubling region," said Mr Khaw. "Against all odds, we have done well in the last 50 years when we had so little."

    On Monday, Workers' Party MP Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) had cited Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness indicator when she questioned if the Government was too focused on gross domestic product growth, at the expense of Singaporeans' happiness.

    Yesterday, Mr Khaw said Bhutan was no "Shangri-La". When he was there, he saw "unhappy people", toiling in the fields, worried about the next harvest and whether there would be buyers for their products.

    The Bhutanese have studied Singapore because it has "successfully transited" from Third World to First, and managed to create a harmonious society.

    "In their mind, Singapore could well be the Shangri-La and they want Bhutan to emulate Singapore," he said.

    Singapore's public policies are founded on hard work, prudence and meritocracy, and while they are "not perfect", they are "not bad" either.

    "It is now incumbent on all of us, to do our best to make the lives of our people better, not through empty rhetoric, sound bites or mindless giveaways," he said. ESTHER NG
    Last edited by Loh; 10-26-2011 at 10:06 PM.

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