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Thread: Singapore Also Can
03-27-2012, 09:19 PM #5883
Regulator, enabler and provider
Govt should focus on these 3 critical roles, says DPM Teo in speech to top public officials
04:45 AM Mar 28, 2012
SINGAPORE - When it comes to addressing national issues, there will be some who expect their governments to play a bigger role, while others think the government should take a step back.
Such is the "paradox of governance" faced by governments all over the world, and rather than grapple with this, it may be more productive "to focus on doing the right things, and doing these things right", said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Mr Teo, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, was speaking at the Administrative Service Dinner and Promotion Ceremony yesterday evening. Those in the audience included the elite of Singapore's Public Service, who fill the leadership positions in the ministries, statutory boards and armed forces.
The question of what should be the appropriate level of government involvement is one that will be revisited "time and again" as new challenges come up, said Mr Teo.
Mr Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, laid out the three critical roles a government should focus on: Regulator, enabler and provider.
As the regulator or "balancer", the government acts to safeguard the interests of the people.
"At the broader level, in social policy, the government has to find the right balance in its interventions," said Mr Teo. In Singapore, he noted the Government introduced the Workfare Income Supplement scheme for low-wage workers to address widening income inequality after studying "many options and careful consultation and consideration".
And at a micro-level, a government would intervene in industries where there could be some degree of monopoly power, such as telecommunications or power generation.
As an enabler, a government can create a conducive environment so that "desirable activities can flourish". As a provider, a government will provide where there are societal needs non-government players are not able to meet, such as national security.
While there have been debates - in Singapore and elsewhere - about governments providing in areas like education, public transport, housing and healthcare, Mr Teo said the Singaporean Government has been careful to step in in "an appropriate way" and have "by and large achieved good outcomes".
This approach will be carefully reviewed and fine-tuned as new issues, such as climate change and an ageing population, emerge, he added.
To fulfil these three roles, the public service must take a long-term perspective and work on a "Whole-of-Government" basis to develop sound policies. For instance, Singapore's low fertility rate and ageing population will require a "well-coordinated response" across several government agencies.
Mr Teo, however, noted long-term planning and Whole-of-Government coordination "is not a precise science, and we will not always get it exactly right".
"We have to assess the situation, make adaptations, course corrections, and fine-tune as we go along," he said.
Also, the Public Service "does not have a monopoly on good ideas" and better policies can be made by engaging the public, Mr Teo said. But it is often not possible to satisfy everyone as there will be competing interests and demands, some of which contradict one another. "Often, there will have to be trade-offs and difficult decisions, which the Government must not shy away from," Mr Teo said. "Some Singaporeans will suffer inconvenience which cannot be fully mitigated, and come away feeling disappointed. But as we mature as a society, we should learn to accept and manage this, and not let it paralyse us from moving forward as a nation."
Hence, even as specialists will continue to be valued, public servants will be expected to have "good multi-disciplinary capabilities" - breadth of knowledge and experience across several domain areas, and the "mental agility to connect the dots across organisational boundaries and functional areas", Mr Teo said.
A salary review of the elite Administrative Officers and Judiciary and Statutory Appointment Holders, announced in Parliament earlier this month, is ongoing and is expected to be completed in six to nine months.
"Beyond intellectual ability and technical competence, there will be a high premium on the ability to work well with people, and to respect and appreciate the contributions that each person in the team can make," Mr Teo said.
DPM pays tribute to former civil servant Teo Ming Kian
His "wide-ranging" contributions to Singapore included policies such as Workfare and the Resilience Package, as well as development of the Electronic Road Pricing system.
Last night, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean paid a glowing tribute to Mr Teo Ming Kian, who retired last year after 36 years in the Public Service.
DPM Teo said he had known Mr Teo personally since he was a director in the Defence Ministry, before Mr Teo became Deputy Secretary (Technology), and later, Permanent Secretary (Defence Development).
After stints at the then-Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Finance, Mr Teo helped shape Singapore's economy by spearheading the development of new growth industries while he was executive chairman of the Economic Development Board.
He was also "a key player" in transforming Singapore into a leading science and technology hub when he assumed the role of executive chairman of the National Science and Technology Board. Programmes such as Technopreneurship 21 and "The Enterprise Challenge" were launched, to encourage experimentation and adoption of new ideas.
During his last appointment as Permanent Secretary (National Research and Development), Mr Teo introduced policies to encourage innovation and research & development, while bringing in major new research centres. While Mr Teo, who is MediaCorp chairman, could not be present at the ceremony last night - he is overseas currently, DPM Teo said: "We thank Ming Kian for his many wide-ranging contributions to Singapore."
DPM Teo Chee Hean speaks at the Administrative Service Dinner & Promotion Ceremony. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
03-27-2012, 09:28 PM #5884
NTU to house training hub for journalists of the future
by Sharon See
04:45 AM Mar 28, 2012
SINGAPORE - The journalism school at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will soon have a new S$500,000 training centre to prepare students for newsrooms of the 21st century.
Newsplex Asia, a centre dedicated to innovation, training and research for newsrooms of the future, is the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) first Newsplex in Asia.
The centre, which will be ready in September, is also the fourth centre of its kind in the world. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed yesterday between NTU and WAN-IFRA.
Newsplex Asia will span over 160 sq m within the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) building at NTU's Yunnan Garden campus.
It will have a prototype newsroom of the future to test new techniques and technologies, said NTU and WAN-IFRA. It aims to mirror editorial operations in leading global news organisations.
WAN-IFRA Deputy chief executive Thomas Jacob said: "It's a concept about how news companies have to put the consumer or the audience in the middle of the whole process. Previously, it used to be centred on the platform, whether it is print or TV, but now, those things have changed a lot.
"So (the) Newsplex philosophy is to rearrange and reorganise the workflow in newsrooms to make sure ... end consumer gets news wherever he is, in whatever format he wants, irrespective of the platform," he said.
Newsplex Asia aims to help newspapers and media companies understand and manage these changes through training, coaching and research services. "It will draw on many sources, both global and regional, to provide the latest tools and techniques to Asia's media professionals," he said.
NTU provost and deputy president Freddy Boey said Newsplex Asia reflects the university's firm commitment to excellence in training the next generation of digital-savvy journalists, while advancing Singapore's position as a media hub.
"This is a timely and welcome development in an era when news consumption is rapidly changing and increasingly defined by new technologies, as more and more people use the Internet and social networks as their primary sources of news and information," he added.
Front row (from left): WAN-IFRA deputy CEO Thomas Jacob and NTU provost Freddy Boey. Back row (from left): WKWSCI chair Benjamin Detenber, HASS dean Alan Chan and SPH English & Malay Newspapers Division editor-in-chief Patrick Daniel. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
03-27-2012, 09:38 PM #5885
Table Tennis: Drama as Wang Yuegu sees red
She argues furiously with officials over service calls Officials hit her with red card for giving teammate 'illegal advice' She slams European umpires as being arrogant and amateurish
Published on Mar 28, 2012
Wang Yuegu arguing with an official during her match against Chinese Taipei's Cheng I-ching yesterday. The Singapore No. 2 had lost the first two games but subsequently clawed her way to win the next three. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION/REMY GROS
By Terrence Voon
DORTMUND (Germany) - Defending champions Singapore trounced Chinese Taipei 3-0 in their women's Group B match at the World Team Table Tennis Championships on Tuesday. But, while the result was routine, the reaction from the winners was nothing short of explosive.
A series of controversial service calls in the second match between Wang Yuegu and Cheng I-ching prompted a furious response from the Singaporean, who was later banished to the stands.
And, even though Wang came from behind to win 3-2, the world No. 8 later accused the European umpires of being arrogant and amateurish.
- She argues furiously with officials over service calls
- She slams European umpires as being arrogant and amateurish
- Officials hit her with red card for giving teammate 'illegal advice'
Last edited by Loh; 03-27-2012 at 09:40 PM.
03-27-2012, 09:44 PM #5886
Ground stint for top government scholarship holders
Published on Mar 28, 2012
By Rachel Chang
Top government scholarship holders who once went straight from university to writing policy papers in air- conditioned offices now start their work lives sweating it out on the ground.
Mr Sim Kwang Xiong, 25, a graduate of Northwestern University, joined the Land Transport Authority's community partnership department. He visited angry residents with transport woes in their homes and mediated conflicts over parking spaces and pedestrian crossings.
He did so under a new scheme in which management associates (MAs) like him, who largely go on to enter the elite Administrative Service, must spend their first three months in the civil service at a frontline agency like the LTA or Housing Board.
Having to take 'abuse' from those who felt that government decisions dealt them short shrift was a memorable lesson in how the policies he is now crafting affect ordinary Singaporeans. Now at the Ministry of Defence, he is glad for the ground experience because young policy officers are often 'insulated' from the public by the layer of agencies once they start ministry work.
03-27-2012, 09:47 PM #5887
Cheaper TCM services for elderly residents in Bukit Panjang
Published on Mar 28, 2012
By Poon Chian Hui
Some 30,000 elderly residents in Bukit Panjang can look forward to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) care at cheaper rates.
Come July, a new TCM clinic run by the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution will open its doors, and also offer health talks to residents.
Those on the Community Health Assist Scheme - which allows people to get subsidised primary care in their neighbourhoods - will also receive subsidies at this clinic.
MP for Bukit Panjang Teo Ho Pin said he hopes the branch can 'provide good quality and low cost TCM services' to the residents.
03-27-2012, 09:53 PM #5888
New lawyers must take 8 hours of classes to renew certs
Published on Mar 28, 2012
From next month, new lawyers will have to spend at least eight hours in mandatory classes before they can renew their practising certificates.
The first batch of 1,200 lawyers to go through this Continuing Professional Development scheme will have to complete their courses by December to get their practising certificates next year. These are lawyers with less than five years' experience who were called to the Bar on or after Jan 2, 2007.
The scheme is similar to those in other professions, such as engineering, where practitioners need to clock a minimum number of hours a year on training before they can renew their practising certificates.
Its ultimate aim is to strengthen the legal industry in Singapore by keeping lawyers updated with the laws and helping them stay connected with the fraternity.
03-27-2012, 09:56 PM #5889
National Art Gallery chief to step down as part of role merger
Published on Mar 28, 2012
Chief executive Michael Koh, 51, will step down when a new director has been recruited. The hunt is on for a full-time director, who will be both the creative and administrative head of the National Art Gallery. -- ST FILE PHOTO
By Corrie Tan
There is another leadership move at the new National Art Gallery.
It was announced on Tuesday that chief executive Michael Koh, 51, will step down upon the successful recruitment of its new director.
This is because the role of the director has been revised to combine the duties of both the chief executive and the director. This emulates other museums, such as New York's Museum of Modern Art and London's group of Tate museums, where the director is both the creative and administrative head.
Mr Koh will continue as chief executive of the National Heritage Board and remain on the gallery's board.
03-27-2012, 10:15 PM #5890
Massive art display to raise awareness of Mother Nature
Posted: 27 March 2012 1457 hrs
SINGAPORE: Some 250 Singaporeans and residents from schools and community groups have created a massive land art display named "Beginnings".
They spent eight days creating the land art, which measures 70 metres by 22 metres.
Over 30 tonnes of pruned branches, dried fruits and leaves were gathered from gardens and parks around Singapore in the past month to create the display.
The land art movement will be a special display at the Singapore Botanic Gardens until the end of April, in the run-up to this year's Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) in July.
Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens, Dr Nigel Taylor, said land art can help to drive the message on the importance of optimising the use of natural gifts from Mother Nature.
He said: "Each of us has a role to play in the conservation of the environment and can also contribute to the evolution of Singapore as a 'City in a Garden'.
"The festival is one such testimony that reiterates Singapore's mission to create the best living environment through greenery and recreation, in partnership with the community."
Some of the materials used in the display will be recycled to create another land art piece for the biennial SGF at Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre from July 7 to July 15.
One of the highlights of the SGF is a new Balcony Gardens competition, where local designers transform apartment balconies into soothing retreats.
The SGF will also present a new non-competitive Floral Table Series, offering a visual treat of table floral arrangements for special occasions and dinner parties.
Dr Taylor said: "With a majority of Singaporean residents living in high-rise apartments, we believe that the new Balcony Gardens competition will be very relevant to the visitors as they get more useful ideas on how they can decorate their balconies.
"The Floral Tables Series is also another practical element which will also provide visitors with more inspiration on how to create a decorative floral piece for that special function in their homes."
This year's festival will feature gardening luminaries from countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Another attraction is the Gardener's Cup, which will showcase five unique gardens conceptualised, designed and set up by Singapore's Community in Bloom groups.
About 300,000 visitors are expected at the festival.
03-28-2012, 09:41 PM #5891
SembCorp Industries : Sembcorp sponsors 7th SEA Youth Athletics Championships
03/27/2012 | 11:26pm
With the sponsorship, SAA is using the annual meet to identify the next athletics star for SEA Games 2015
Some 400 athletes from the region will be heading to Singapore next month for the 7th Southeast Asian (SEA) Youth Athletics Championships.
Singapore may be hosting the championship for the second time, but it is still an event of several firsts: for the first time, the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) has secured close to $200,000 in sponsorship for the event.
As part of its initiatives to give back to the community and support the development of young, local sports talent, Sembcorp Industries is sponsoring $150,000 towards organising the SEA Youth Athletics Championships.
These athletes from Southeast Asia, aged 16 or 17 as of the end of this year, will be competing at Bishan Stadium from 28 to 29 April 2012.
Said Secretary General of SAA, Alex Louis, "SAA is very grateful for Sembcorp's sponsorship to help make the 7th SEA Youth Athletics Championships a successful event, following their prior efforts in other sports. It is an important event for all participating athletes who are using the competition as a platform to compete and train to succeed on bigger stages which is a dream for many of our athletes."
Said Sembcorp's Executive Vice President of Singapore and ASEAN (Utilities), Ng Meng Poh, "As a home-grown company, we are very pleased to support our national youth athletes and the 7th SEA Youth Athletics Championships. This event is all the more significant as it helps SAA identify potential athletes who will go on to make Singapore proud. We are glad that, through our sponsorship, we are contributing towards SAA's efforts to groom the future of Singapore's athletic talent. This sponsorship also marks Sembcorp's ongoing commitment to contribute to Singapore's effort in nurturing young sportsmen and sportswomen to represent the nation."
Another sponsor, Stamford Tyres, is providing an additional $30,000 for the meet.
SAA expands talent pool with biggest contingent ever for SEA Youth Athletics Championships
SAA is set to send its biggest contingent for the competition, with two male and two female athletes expected for each of the 36 events.
As part of the association's continued efforts to develop the talent pool and identify the next athletics star for SEA Games 2015, performances of all youth athletes at the SEA Youth Athletics Championships will be monitored closely.
Past medalists from junior and youth SEA sporting events such as the long jump national record holder, Matthew Goh, and the top female hurdler, Dipna Lim-Prasad, have gone on to break national records and represent the nation at the SEA Games. Goh was a two-time SEA Junior Champion in 2008 and 2009, while Lim-Prasad won three medals at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 SEA Junior meet.
Said SAA's Secretary General Alex Louis, "As the national sport association for athletics, it is important that we continue to develop our talent pool and prepare these young athletes for bigger regional meets. We are confident that there will be youth athletes who will move up the ranks like their seniors, and do Singapore proud at SEA Games 2015."
The final squad for the SEA Youth Athletics Championship will be announced in April.
03-28-2012, 09:51 PM #5892
Athletics: Youngsters set to light up Bishan
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Mar 28, 2012
SINGAPORE - Two years after it hosted the 2010 Youth Olympic Games' track and field competition, the Bishan Stadium will once again become a hotbed for young athletes from April 28 to 29 when the 7th South-east Asian (SEA) Youth Athletics Championships returns to the Republic for the second time (the Republic first hosted the event in 2007).
Around 400 athletes, aged between 16 and 17, from 11 countries will compete in this year's event, with the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) expected to field their biggest contingent of 68 male and female competitors in all 34 events.
For the first time, the SAA, who are also the event organisers, have secured a total of S$180,000 in cash sponsorship from Sembcorp Industries, who are contributing S$150,000, and Stamford Tyres (S$30,000) for the two-day meet.
According to the SAA, the SEA Youth Athletics Championships will also be used to identify talented athletes for the SEA Games in 2015. At the last championship held in Jakarta, Team Singapore returned with a haul of four golds (girls' discus, boys' 1,000m, boys' discus and shot put), three silvers and five bronze medals.
Sprinter Shanti Pereira, 16, is looking to better her bronze medal showing in the girls' 4x100m relay at last year's championship. The Singapore Sports School student, who holds the national youth record of 12.37sec in the 100m, said yesterday: "This year I'm hoping for at least a bronze in the 100m and 200m, and a silver or gold for the relay. Last year was my first time competing and it was a little scary as all the competitors were bigger than me, but I think I'll do better this year with my family and friends in the stadium supporting me."
PHOTO COURTESY SINGAPORE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
03-28-2012, 09:55 PM #5893
S'pore women top group and move into last eight
by Geoffrey Lip
04:46 AM Mar 29, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Singapore women's team are through to the quarter-finals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships.
The Singaporeans, who beat China in the final in 2010 in a stunning upset, finished top of Group B after beating Sweden 3-0 in Dortmund, Germany, yesterday.
World No 5 Feng Tianwei set the tone in the first singles with a thumping 3-0 (11-1, 11-5, 11-1) win over Jennifer Jonsson. Wang Yuegu then beat Linda Bergstrom 3-0 (11-4, 13-11, 11-4), before Li Jiawei secured the winning point for Singapore, beating Daniela Moskovits 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7).
That was the team's fifth consecutive victory, after their earlier 3-1 triumph over the European champions the Netherlands in a keenly contested group clash at the Westfalenhallen arena.
In a battle of the heavyweights, it was the Dutch who struck first with a gritty performance from world No 20 Li Jiao, as the veteran launched a comeback from two games down to stun Feng 3-2 (7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-7). Wang levelled the score at 1-1 with a gruelling 3-2 (8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3) win over Li Jie in the second singles.
Veteran paddler Li Jiawei - ranked 15th in the world - then made it 2-1 for Singapore, dispatching Linda Creemers 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-3). It was then up to Feng to make amends for her earlier loss, and the 25-year-old duly did so in the fourth singles, beating Li Jie 3-1 (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8) to secure the winning point. Geoffrey Lip
Feng (in blue) made amends in the fourth singles after losing the first match. PHOTO COURTESY CHANNEL NEWSASIA
03-28-2012, 10:06 PM #5894
Catch pure sports action, online
TODAY kicks off its coverage of 2012 schools sports scene with cub reporters
by Leonard Thomas
04:45 AM Mar 29, 2012
The fierce intensity of the occasion will almost always be captured on the many young faces by the sidelines or on the terraces. They will be the schoolmates, classmates and friends of the ones in the thick of the action out on the field, on court or in the pool. They will be desperate for the win, these student-fans display crazy passion and try their best to will victory, for pride, for school, to be No 1.
The thrill of victory in school sports is so often visceral, sometimes when I observe the celebrations of the victorious young athletes and their fans I think of Falcao or Marco Tardelli magnificently celebrating their goals in the 1982 World Cup finals.
The agony of defeat always seem like a crushing blow, tears flow among the athletes and their supporters, the sadness is beautiful because it suggests a genuine love for sport among people so young.
TODAY will now capture these moments regularly on our website. Over the last nine days, TODAY Online has been featuring our new schools sports section. From now, we will strive to deliver regular reports of football matches and rugby battles and hockey clashes between schools.
There will be interviews with school captains and youngsters singled out as possible stars of the future. There will be features and action shots from various sports disciplines. And best of all, the stories, interviews and special moments will be written about and captured on camera by the students themselves.
In the past, TODAY has covered football finals, the annual track and field and swimming championships. Now, we aim to extend our coverage and have linked up with 11 schools - Raffles Institution, ACS (Independent), St Joseph's Institution, St Gabriels' Secondary, Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Girls' School, Teck Whye Secondary, West Spring Secondary, Victoria School, St Andrew's Secondary, Singapore Sports School - who have provided a total of 26 student reporters and photographers to cover various jousts between peers and rivals.
Already, they have reported on the unique treble feat of Hwa Chong Institution's Karthic Harish Ragupathy and Victoria School's continued tradition of success at the National Schools Cross Country Championships. They have covered intense rugby matches and the "C" Divison water polo final between ACS (I) and Hwa Chong.
St Andrew's "B" Division rugby captain Samuel Koh has sat down to answer 10 questions. Tomorrow, our cub reporters will be looking for reaction and singling out stars in rhythmic gymnastics and judo events and students from Teck Whye Secondary will cover the increasingly popular floorball competition next week.
Our sports team at TODAY are already working closely with these cubs, teaching, encouraging, cajoling. We gave out tickets for the LionsXII football clash with Terengganu on Tuesday and will continue to offer prizes over the next few months.
The sporting contests in the schools scene are pure because there is no prize money on offer or huge endorsements to sign. TODAY aims to bring the stories home and if more schools want their students to participate, get in touch.
Who knows, along the way, we may unearth potential gems for newsrooms.
Visit www.todayonline.com/schoolsports to catch all the action in the Singapore schools scene
Leonard Thomas is sports editor at TODAY.
PHOTO COURTESY PARANEETHARAN PANCHANATHAN, SJI
03-28-2012, 10:10 PM #5895
NAC to spend s$8.2 million to help develop arts companies
04:45 AM Mar 29, 2012
SINGAPORE - The National Arts Council (NAC) will be committing about S$8.2 million to help develop arts companies in the financial year (FY) 2012.
This is an increase of 41 per cent from FY2011.
This targeted approach to build up each company's capacity and strengths reflects the increasing diversity and maturing of Singapore's arts scene, said the NAC yesterday.
Announcing the recipients of its grants, the NAC said a total of 31 companies will be funded through its major grant and traditional arts seed grant (organisational development) schemes for FY2012. The NAC received 35 applications this year.
The major grants are to be awarded to 26 companies, comprising five traditional arts companies, four music companies, four dance companies, one literary arts company, one multi-disciplinary/arts centre and 11 theatre companies.
They include Bhaskar's Arts Academy, Chinese Opera Institute, Dance Ensemble Singapore, Drama Box, Singapore Repertory Theatre, T'ang Quartet and Teater Ekamatra.
The amount committed to the major grant scheme has increased by 26 per cent from about S$5.2 million in FY11 to about S$6.5 million. The traditional arts seed grant will increase by 46 per cent from S$638,000 in FY11 to S$933,000.
The increase in funding signals a deeper level of support for grant recipients in three areas, said the NAC, outlining more support in boosting the capacity of promising arts companies, deepening the unique strengths of established arts companies and helping companies meet increasing operating costs while they develop more diverse sources of income.
The NAC has also set aside S$750,000 for the extension of the seed grant scheme beyond traditional arts to support new or emerging arts companies.
NAC chief executive officer Benson Puah said: "We have increased significantly our direct grant support to many companies this year.
"But we also recognise that, to ensure that our arts landscape better sustain its growth over time, the NAC's organisation-level grants need to strike a balance between nurturing the next generation and strengthening established companies to continue their contributions."
03-28-2012, 10:17 PM #5896
Baby boomers still most gracious S'poreans, but youth improve
by Hon Jing Yi
04:45 AM Mar 29, 2012
SINGAPORE - Contrary to the perception that they are selfish or spoiled, youths here have shown that they are more than capable of consideration and thoughtfulness. This is according to a survey of 1,400 residents polled by the Singapore Kindness Movement.
In its 2012 Graciousness Index, youths under the age of 30, commonly known as Gen Y, showed marked improvement in graciousness, with their rating rising from a mean of 5.9 to 6.3.
The Singapore Kindness Movement's general secretary William Wan said: "The educational level of our young people, their exposure to different people and their opportunities for travel also probably influenced the way they look at life. At the end of the day, graciousness is being aware of the people around you."
The highest overall scorers were still the baby boomers, aged above 50. Their mean rating is at 6.7, unchanged from last year. On the whole, Singapore recorded a stable level of graciousness. The index standing for 2012 is at 61, a slight increase from 60 last year.
The index surveyed residents about their own behaviour and that of others, with respect to social etiquette and standards in Singapore.
According to the index, behaviour on the road and on public transport continues to bug Singaporeans. The three areas which need improvement are making space for incoming commuters when taking public transport, giving way on the road and allowing others to alight or board first when taking public transport.
Residents, meanwhile, scored well in three areas - respect for other religions, thanking those who have helped us and saying "excuse me".
Other findings from the survey highlighted that people in middle-income households - those earning between S$3,000 and S$7,000 - now see Singapore as a more gracious society than those from the income brackets below and above them.
This partly reflects what is typically termed "middle-class values" seen in other developed societies. Findings suggest that Singapore's growing middle class do place considerable importance on graciousness whether they are working, shopping, dining or simply going about their everyday lives and interactions with one another.
03-28-2012, 10:21 PM #5897
Awards for charities with highest standards of governance
Updated 10:48 AM Mar 29, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Charity Council is extending its efforts to promote good governance in the charity sector with the launch of governance awards for charities.
The awards will recognise charities that have adopted the highest standards of governance and implemented best practices to ensure they are effective.
Launching the awards at the 7th Charity Council Governance Seminar yesterday, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing noted: "The best practices of these charities will serve to inspire others to raise their standards as well."
He pointed out that charities worldwide are "evolving very fast" with new, innovative charities and new ways of fund-raising.
"Our governance must also keep up with the latest challenges and opportunities," he said. "We will also welcome feedback on how we can help charities to further improve our governance and organisation," he added.
Mr Chan called on charities to "inspire confidence in the people coming forward, that their contributions ... will be put to good use for maximum mileage".
"To inspire confidence and encourage the giving of time, talent and money, we must have high standards of governance and organisation," he stressed.
Council chairman Fang Ai Lian said the charity sector has made much improvement in governance standards over the years and believes it will continue to do so.
In 2008, eight in 10 charities met at least 80 per cent of the guidelines of the code of governance, which was launched in 2007. In 2010, 95 per cent met at least 80 per cent of the guidelines.
Mrs Fang said the council will continue to engage charities through new and existing initiatives and urged charities keep investing in good governance practices to achieve higher public confidence.
Nominations for the governance awards will open in the coming months and more details will be announced at a later date. Winners will be presented with a trophy, a certificate and a cash award to further their charitable cause. [updated 10.41am, Mar 29]
There are about 2,000 charities in Singapore, all of which are eligible to participate.
03-28-2012, 10:26 PM #5898
Singapore to host 27th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference
Published on Mar 29, 2012
By Judith Tan
Singapore beat Canada to host the 27th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference in 2016.
Announcing this on Thursday was the Kranji Countryside Association that made the bid at the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth.
This is the first time an Asian member of the Commonwealth has been chosen to organise the event.
The conference will bring over together 300 agriculturists, environmentalists and government agencies to discus food production and food safety.
03-29-2012, 11:00 PM #5899
Teachers get new one-stop ICT centre
by Channel NewsAsia
04:45 AM Mar 30, 2012
SINGAPORE - Teachers now have a one-stop centre to collaborate on projects using Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Called the eduLab@AST, it will work with various school clusters to spread the use of innovative practices by showcasing pilot projects in schools. New technology will also be channelled to these schools to test-bed new or emerging solutions. In turn, these experiences will be shared with other schools through the lab.
eduLab@AST - located at the Academy of Singapore Teachers - was announced at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology 2012.
Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Education Ministry, said: "This centralised physical space will support the prototyping of technology-enabled innovations with potential for spreading within the system. It will offer insights into how schools can infuse innovative ICT practices into lessons and classroom activities, opening new possibilities to teaching and learning with ICT."
The eduLab programme began in 2010, and has seen three ideas involving 20 schools take shape. At eduLab@AST, teachers can find out more about school innovations as well as possibilities in the industry to experiment with.
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