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Thread: Singapore Also Can
06-05-2012, 09:14 PM #6155
Do those rankings matter?
by Tan Khay Boon
04:45 AM Jun 06, 2012
There are many reports that rank economies in various aspects of doing business and Singapore tends to rank favourably among these reports.
For example, the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (benchmarked to June 2011) ranks Singapore first in having a conducive environment in starting and operating a business. The Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) 2011 survey consistently ranked Singapore as the least corrupt country in Asia and favourably in overall country risk.
The World Economic Forum ranked Singapore second in the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 and recently IMD ranked Singapore fourth in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012.
We are naturally happy when the ranking improves (ranking by Global Competitiveness Report improves from third position in 2010-2011) but should we be worried when the ranking drops (ranking by World Competitiveness Yearbook drops from third position in 2011)?
The Ease of Doing Business Index concentrates on daily business activities such as getting electricity and getting contracts, while the PERC survey focuses more on risk factors such as corruption and labour quality.
The reports by World Economic Forum and IMD consider overall competitiveness of the economies but their methodologies are different.
The Global Competitiveness Index comprises 113 indicators, about 20,000 data points with about 12,000 drawn from the Executive Opinion Survey. The World Competitiveness Yearbook uses 329 ranking criteria over four main factors, with one-third coming from exclusive surveys of more than 4,200 international executives.
While these reports may use similar macroeconomic indicators in assessing the economies, they tend to give different weights to the indicators and have different focus in their reports. The feedback provided by the executives may also affect the ranking of some economies in the reports. Thus the overall ranking for some economies may be quite different in different reports.
RANKINGS HELP MNCs DECIDE
The table on the next page shows the comparison of the competitiveness of selected economies in the latest Global Competitiveness Index and the World Competitiveness Yearbook.
Although the ranking on Switzerland, Singapore and Sweden are quite consistent, there are wider fluctuations in the ranking of the United States and Hong Kong.
The US is ranked favourably in the World Competitiveness Yearbook because of its unique economic power, but is ranked less favourably in the Global Competitive Index due to its budget deficits and macroeconomic instability.
Hong Kong scored highly in the World Competitiveness Yearbook due to its business-friendly environment and may have the advantage in exchange rate stability over Singapore due to its fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. But it needs improvement in the areas of education and innovation as reflected in the Global Competitiveness Index.
The ranking is relevant and important to policymakers in that MNCs will consider these rankings when deciding their investment location. Countries that wish to attract foreign direct investment and foreign funds should have a favourable ranking in these reports.
If a high ranking succeeds in attracting foreign investment, the general public will also benefit from more jobs and higher income, and firms can also reap benefits from more business opportunities.
However, one should not be too obsessed with the ranking. It is more important for a country to assess its strengths and weaknesses in these reports in order to enhance its competitiveness in the global business environment.
Singapore is not cost competitive due to its scarce land, tight labour market, car population control system and strong Singapore dollar. Hence it scores relatively poorly in the World Competitiveness Yearbook in the cost criteria.
However, it scores well in the Global Competitiveness Index due to being relatively free of corruption, high government efficiency and its efficient goods, labour and financial markets. There is a limit to what the Government can do to reduce the production costs but Singapore could still compete on productivity and efficiency.
Singapore has advantages in its location, connectivity, reputation, infrastructure and efficiency to enhance its competitiveness. However, to stay competitive, it will need to boost its productivity, enhance its innovative capability and strengthen its research and development capacity.
In addition to increasing spending in research and development, more help could be extended to small and medium enterprises to adopt the latest technology to seek new export markets.
As an economy develops, the services sector will play an increasingly important role while the manufacturing sector declines and is outsourced.
The "reindustrialisation" described by Professor Stephane Garelli in the commentary "Manufacturing strikes back" (May 31), where outsourced manufacturing flows back to the original country, may not occur in Singapore due to cost disadvantages. The services sector which has competitive advantage will continue to dominate the Singapore economy.
However, services can also be outsourced and for sustainable and inclusive growth, there is an increasing need to cultivate an indigenous manufacturing sector producing middle to high end products to enhance Singapore's competitiveness.
Dr Tan Khay Boon is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Business at SIM University.
Hong Kong's business-friendly environment contributed to its No 1 ranking in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012. REUTERS
06-05-2012, 11:07 PM #6156
Singapore's Changi Airport is top in Asia
Updated 10:58 PM Jun 05, 2012
SINGAPORE - Singapore's Changi Airport has been named the Best Airport in Asia by the cargo industry.
This is the 26th consecutive year that Changi has bagged the honours.
It picked up the award at the annual Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards (AFSCA) held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai on Tuesday evening.
At the event, Changi Airport also won the Best Green Service Provider (Airport) award for its focus on sustainable practices.
This is the third time Changi has won the award since it was introduced in 2010.
Organised by freight and logistics publication Cargonews Asia, AFSCA honours companies for demonstrating outstanding leadership as well as consistency in service quality, innovation, customer relationship management and reliability.
"Cargonews Asia's readers have voted Singapore Changi Airport as the Best Airport Asia every year since the AFSCAs were first awarded in 1987, a perfect record that is testament to the network connections and efficiency of the air cargo hub," said Greg Knowler, editor and publisher of Cargonews Asia.
Changi Airport Group's assistant vice president for Cargo and Logistics Development, James Fong, said: "These awards belong to the entire cargo and logistics community in Changi Airport. They are an acknowledgement of the community's efforts and strong support.
"Together, we have overcome challenges and pushed the boundaries of growth. The continued commitment of our partners will enable Changi Airport Group to achieve its aspirations of building a world-class air cargo hub at Changi."
So far, Changi Airport has garnered 13 Best Airport awards this year.
It is the most awarded airport in the world with more than 400 Best Airport awards since 1981.
In the first four months of the year, Changi Airport handled 592,000 tonnes of cargo, 0.8 per cent lower than the corresponding period last year.
It said the turn of the year has seen growth suppressed by decreasing demand in consumer markets.
It has taken steps to manage the current downturn and to sustain the long-term growth of the air cargo sector.
In March, Changi Airport Group announced a S$15 million cargo support package which includes a 20 per cent landing fee rebate at Changi Airport for all freighter flights, partnership funding support for new cargo development initiatives, as well as up to 20 per cent rental rebates for cargo tenants leasing its cargo facilities at the Changi Airfreight Centre.
Mr Fong added: "We are actively looking out for innovative projects which can help our airline partners diversify their cargo segments and strengthen the air hub.
"Despite the economic uncertainty, we believe that there are still growth opportunities within the region and we are already exploring some of these together with our partners.
"We hope to welcome new freighter services later this year to expand Changi Airport's network connectivity." CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Changi Airport Terminal 2. TODAY FILE PHOTO
06-05-2012, 11:13 PM #6157
Winning design for new Subordinate Courts Complex selected
By TODAY | Posted: 05 June 2012 1557 hrs
The winning design. Picture courtesy of the Subordinate Courts
SINGAPORE - The winning design for the new Subordinate Courts Complex has been selected, after a competition was called last September.
Multiply Architects & Engineers LLP has been awarded the assignment, and will work with CPG Corporation to implement the submitted design for a fee of S$3 million (including winning the first prize of S$100,000).
The other shortlisted design for Stage 2 of the Open Design Competition came from Laud Architects, which was awarded the second prize.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the Subordinate Courts said the winning design by Multiply "reflects a civic building that brings order and restoration befitting of a courthouse".
At the same time, the design links itself to the adjacent historic Chinatown by adopting the colours of the clay pitched roofs of the conserved shop houses of the Chinatown area, by cladding the exterior of the courtrooms in terracotta tiles.
The design also features strategies for creating an eco-friendly building such as using high-rise gardens to filter the afternoon sun, naturally-ventilated corridors and bringing daylight into the interaction areas.
The two firms that made it to the final stage of the competition were shortlisted from the 19 designs received in Stage One of the competition launched last year on September 15. The two shortlisted firms then submitted concept/schematic designs for the project.
A public viewing was held between March 26-31 to invite views on the two shortlisted designs.
Construction work on the new Subordinate Courts Complex is expected to start next year.
06-05-2012, 11:18 PM #6158
Table Tennis: S'pore's paddlers win 5 gold at regional junior meet
Posted: 05 June 2012 2243 hrs
Isabelle Li (TODAY file picture)
SINGAPORE: Singapore have won a total of five gold, three silver and five bronze medals at the 18th SEA Junior Table Tennis Championships in Yogyakarta City, Indonesia.
A total of 80 players from seven countries took part in 11 events from June 1 to June 5.
The gold medals came from Isabelle Li Siyun in the girls' singles and Yin Jing Yuan in the boys' singles.
The girls' team of Isabelle, Ng Xue Qi, Lim Yi Xuan, Ang Wan Qi and Cheryl Tang Jiawen also won the gold.
The other two gold medals came from the girls' doubles pairs of Ang Wan Qi and Yee Herng Hwee, as well as Isabelle Li and Cheryl Tang in their age group events.
06-05-2012, 11:38 PM #6159
Targeted elder care boosts operation recovery
KTPH programme for colorectal cancer patients showing results
Published on Jun 6, 2012
Colorectal surgeon Tan Kok Yang (fourth from left) and his multi-disciplinary team at KTPH. The team has introduced several measures to improve the chances of survival of patients age 75 years and older. -- PHOTO: KHOO TECK PUAT HOSPITAL
By Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent
A group of health-care professionals at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) say they are seeing promising results with a care programme they designed for older patients with colorectal cancer.
These patients, all 75 years and older, do not always fare well, even if they survive surgery.
So, for the last five years, the KTPH team has done things big and small to improve their chances of survival.
For example, they are covered with warming blankets throughout surgery to ward off the chills, and fluids are also warmed before they are infused.
06-06-2012, 03:34 AM #6160
Come onboard the Taj Express
By Hanna Begam | Posted: 05 June 2012 2049 hrs
SINGAPORE: Now you can take a train ride through the many colours of India via the musical Taj Express, which is making its world premier in Singapore.
The Taj Express musical promises to bring elements of Bollywood and pop culture to the stage.
The love story will unravel along the train ride from Mumbai to Agra so expect snippets of romance, controversy, and the whole "Masala" enchilada, along the way.
Pallavi Sharda, who stars as "Meera" in Taj Express, said: "Meera is a very romantic girl, who grew up in a very priviledged, normal house in Bombay, but she wants to reject all that has been given to her, and the worldly pleasures, and seek her dreams. So it's about the journey, metaphorical and physical journey that Meera goes on, and how she meets a man named Vasu along the way."
"Vasu", played by Pulkit Samrat in Taj Express, said: "He's a thief, and he's in love with a girl, since his childhood, he's been chasing her for twelve to fourteen years, and finally he meets her again. And how the journey takes him forward from there."
And much like high-grossing Bollywood films, costumes and props also play a huge part in the success of the production.
The musical's executive producer Khayti Bhinde said: "We have about a thousand costumes and accessories that go into the show. But they actually imbibe India in them, it's full of the culture, it's full of the ornateness of the Indian culture."
Taj Express runs from the 6 to 10 June at the Esplanade Theatres by the Bay.
06-06-2012, 09:17 PM #6161
Bucharest court sees final pieces of video evidence for Ionescu case
Updated 08:54 PM Jun 06, 2012
BUCHAREST - The trial of former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu continued today in Bucharest.
Ionescu is on trial for two hit-and-run accidents that killed one and injured two others on December 15, 2009.
Romanian Ambassador with special attributions to Spain, Maria Gligor, testified that she did not recall Ionescu's request to be moved from Singapore to Spain as Vice-Consul.
"I do not recall having such a conversation with Silviu Ionescu," she said.
"We had an unofficial discussion at an ambassadors' reunion, but I do not recall the topic."
The court also saw final pieces of the prosecution's video evidence from the day of the accident.
Taken from a parking lot and the interiors of several buildings, the footage showed Ionescu walking hand in hand with Korean opera singer Jeong Ae Ree.
The court, however, rejected video material from Romanian tabloid network OTV, saying it was not relevant to the trial.
Also rejected was the request to hear OTV owner and presenter Dan Diaconescu, from the defence side.
A second witness, Mr Ovidiu Hada, Mayor of Hunedoara, a city in Transylvannia, did not turn up for the hearing.
The judge has issued a warrant for the police to bring the Mayor to court.
The trial resumes on Sept 19. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Silviu Ionescu appearing in court in Romania. REUTERS
06-06-2012, 11:07 PM #6162
Chin Hui eyes another mark
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:46 AM Jun 07, 2012
SINGAPORE - Breaking the 47.40secs barrier will be on national 400m sprinter Ng Chin Hui's mind when he lines up this Saturday at the 15th Asian Junior Athletics Championships 2012 (June 9-12) in Sri Lanka.
The 18-year-old delivered Singapore's first gold medal in the boys' under-21 400m - one of only two golds - at the 7th SEA Youth Championships in April en route to setting a new national junior record of 47.92.
Now, the Raffles Institution student, who is also pencilled in for the 4x400m, is eyeing Haron Mundir's hand-timed national mark of 47.4 set in 1989. But he faces stiff competition from top Asian juniors like China's Zhang Huadong (46.59), Japan's Kenta Kimura (47.18) and Saudi Arabia's Bandar Atieh Kaabi (47.46), all of whom are expected to feature at the start line of the Sugathadasa National Stadium in Colombo.
"The Asian Juniors is totally different from the SEA Youth as competition level is very high and there are a lot of good runners," Ng told TODAY after a training session at Tampines Stadium on Tuesday with coach Loh Chan Pew.
"I'm expecting the Japanese to be fast as they are powerhouses at the regional level. Regardless of how fast my peers are, when we are on the track everyone will be on equal footing. I hope that they can push me to do a personal best and hopefully I can break the national record."
Singapore will be represented by a 22-strong contingent at the meet, where more than 500 athletes from 34 countries will compete in 44 events. At the previous edition in Hanoi in 2010, Singapore's only medal came from T Piriyah's bronze in the women's 400m hurdles.
Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
06-06-2012, 11:22 PM #6163
Pre-schoolers to learn about saving environment
By Wayne Chan | Posted: 06 June 2012 1846 hrs
Children attend kindergarten
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) plans to get children to start young on saving the environment.
It plans to take this message to the pre-schools, through a national environmental education programme next year.
In an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia, the SEC's executive director, Mr Jose Raymond, said the programme aims to teach young children to recycle, as well as save water and energy.
To do this, the SEC will have to train teachers and produce textbooks for pre-schoolers.
"We will reach out to Singaporean pre-schoolers through an approach that is engaging, yet easy-to-grasp. By cultivating eco-friendly habits from a young age, we hope that these habits will become ingrained in our pre-schoolers and see them through to adulthood. Ultimately, our aim is to provide a sustainable method of raising Singapore's level of eco-consciousness as a whole," said Mr Raymond.
Mr Raymond highlighted this strategy, as part of efforts to get more aggressive in environmental outreach programmes.
Another strategy is to be more targeted adults through its eco-office programme.
Earlier this year, the SEC announced that it wanted to get another 100 offices certified as "eco-office" this year.
Before SEC announced this new target, it had only managed to get 107 offices certified green since 2003.
Currently, it's almost halfway towards achieving its latest goal, with 41 offices already eco-certified this year.
Singapore's 15 town councils - which employ over 1,000 staff - are also on board.
They've pledged to earn the "eco-office" label by August this year.
Albert Teng, general manager of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council, said: "This is a way for us to tell the staff to be personally involved. And perhaps when they carry along these habits back home, they find that they actually realise something tangible such as saving electricity bills and water bills."
The SEC also plans to reach out to specific sectors, starting with banks, architectural firms and legal offices.
Mr Raymond said for such companies - which are paper intensive – saving the environment also means saving money.
"There are cost savings for every company and sometimes they can run into the thousands if they actually are able to cut back on usage of paper, water, electricity and just change the way they function inside the office. This is what I am going to be reaching out and try to get the point across a bit more aggressively - that there is cost savings," said Mr Raymond.
Since joining the SEC as executive director last September, Mr Raymond said he doubled his staff from about 11 to 25 to help with the more aggressive approach he is taking.
"What I've also done is to open up the areas where we can actually source for revenue. We must always function on a model where we rely as little as possible on government funds. We must always have a self-sustaining model. I'll continue to look for new avenues to bring revenue into the SEC so that savings can be ploughed back into better environmental programmes for the public."
One of these is a project worth S$640,000 that PUB awarded to the SEC in April to develop two new trails as part of the national water agency's ABC Waters Learning Trails programme, which aims to revamp the 100 waterways islandwide by 2030.
There are currently 20 revamped waterways.
Mr Raymond said that most of the tender amount will go to paying for the coordinators, web design, promotional materials, advertisements and research analysis.
Under the tender, SEC will have to reach out to 25,000 lower secondary school students in 12 months and conduct 20 training workshops for teachers and student leaders
It will also have to increase school presence at the upcoming Singapore International Week and at World Water day 2013.
SEC will also make use of the existing volunteer network to find 30 active coordinators, as well as to provide additional training to educate them about the different ABC waterway characteristics and history.
Since the educational tours started in March 2011, more than 9000 students have participated in the tour of the seven ABC waterways.
More than 100 schools have also adopted the waterways to clean the waters and conduct learning trails.
SEC will have to get another 80 secondary schools to become waterway adopters by next April.
06-06-2012, 11:51 PM #6164
New facility for elderly patients who need rehabilitation
Published on Jun 7, 2012
Elderly patients who need rehabilitation before going home can now tap on a new facility offered by a nursing home. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
By Poon Chian Hui
Elderly patients who need rehabilitation before going home can now tap on a new facility offered by a nursing home.
This first-of-its-kind model started by Peacehaven Nursing Home and Changi General Hospital, was announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Thursday.
He said this 32-bed facility aims to provide lower intensity rehab for frail elderly, recently discharged from hospital, for three to six months.
By doing so, they can regain maximum mobility before going home, and live independently.
06-07-2012, 08:59 PM #6165
By Patwant Singh | Posted: 08 June 2012 0006 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore could finally see a second karting track, in addition to the current existing facility at Jurong.
The plot of land behind the F1 Pit Building is where the new track is being planned.
Test events have been staged at the 850-metre long track. With some resurfacing works and spectator stands, the track could be up by the end of the year.
The new set-up, which is a semi-permanent track, would also likely host international races.
Arina Hogan Builders' general manager Richard Tan said Singapore needs to have more than one karting track as the karting community continues to grow.
"One (karting) track is not enough in Singapore. The community is growing and there are a lot of challenges and competitions. Having two tracks give karters the (feel) of different (track) layouts," said Mr Tan.
Pending final approval, the track could be operational for eight months a year.
The new track will also help to improve the karting competition scene in Singapore and benefit local karters who aspire to have a career in motorsports.
Drakar Racing team, one of the top karting teams in Singapore, plans to groom more champions as more youngsters pursue the sport.
Young talent like 13-year-old Jon Lee and his younger brother Josh Lee are already making a mark on the track.
"My proudest achievement is the Red White Sangari where I won third position overall," said Jon, whose goal is to become a Formula 1 driver.
The new track could also allow more organisations to introduce karting at the grassroot levels, such as the one organized by Bishan Motorsports Group earlier this year.
Singapore Motor Sports Association's President Tan Teng Lip, said: "(We are) using karting as a community engagement programme. With this, we are working very closely with various grassroots organisations like the Bishan Motorsports Group to introduce karting at the grassroots levels."
While the latest track will help to accelerate the growth of the sport, many still feel there is scope to have one more permanent and semi-permanent track in Singapore.
06-07-2012, 09:19 PM #6166
Discovery may improve brain tumour treatment
Insight into aggressive tumours allows docs to tailor approach
Published on Jun 8, 2012
By Melissa Pang
If a brain cancer patient is afflicted with the most aggressive form of a tumour, he may die within 15 months.
For reasons previously unknown, the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumour could also progress much faster in some patients, causing death in less than a year.
A group of scientists here have uncovered why some GBM tumours are more aggressive, which could help doctors tailor specific treatments and make more accurate prognoses.
Every year, up to 100 adults are diagnosed with brain cancers caused by the GBM tumour. They make up about 40 per cent of the total number of new brain cancer patients seen here.
06-07-2012, 09:27 PM #6167
Singapore handling more global commercial spats
Arbitration cases double; sums for first five months more than 2011's $1.3b total
Published on Jun 8, 2012
By K. C. Vijayan
Singapore is settling many more international commercial disputes and these cases also involve bigger sums of money.
In the first five months of this year, two times more new cross-border cases were filed at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) than in the same period last year, its chairman Michael Pryles said on Thursday.
The total sum involved for the five months also exceeded the $1.32 billion total for all the 188 cases filed last year, he add
Arbitration is not a fringe method but the primary method of international dispute resolution... This is probably not realised even by lawyers. - Professor Michael Pryles, chairman of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre
Professor Pryles also pointed out that arbitration, not the courts, is the preferred avenue nowadays for settling international business disputes.
06-07-2012, 09:35 PM #6168
They are all care facilities for the elderly who are living next door
Residents in several areas do not see big issue with having centres nearby
Published on Jun 8, 2012
Some senior citizens exercising at a St Luke's Eldercare centre. Many visit the centre every day to use the exercise equipment and stay active. -- ST PHOTO: TED CHEN
By Goh Shi Ting and Teo Wan Gek
For the past decade, odd-job labourer Anwar Omar has lived in a Housing Board block next to the Lions Home for the Elders in Bedok South Avenue 2.
He does not find the co-existence unusual or disruptive. That is why the 62-year-old is baffled that some residents elsewhere have voiced unhappiness over plans to set up eldercare facilities in their neighbourhoods.
In his case, he said he will benefit from the Lions Home's proximity 'when the time comes' for him to be taken care of.
The reality is that most adults have to work to support the family so the elderly need a place to go to, to be taken care of. With the nursing home near you, it takes away the shame and guilt of sending parents away as he or she is just next door. - Ms Doreen Lye, executive director of Lions Home
We have been able to get along cordially and well with our neighbours, hence helping to create a peaceful 'home away from home' environment for our residents. - A spokesman for Econ Medicare, whose eight centres and nursing homes are sited in residential areas
Other residents living near existing eldercare facilities also echo his views, noting that the benefits outweigh any cons.
06-08-2012, 12:13 AM #6169
Lee Kuan Yew On Getting the Best out of Life
“The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.”
MY CONCERN today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about aging and what aging societies can do.
You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of aging.
If I cast my mind back, I can see turning points in my physical and mental health.
You know, when you’re young, I didn’t bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.
When I was about 57 that was – I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking.
And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall – we had won the election, the City Council election – I couldn’t thank the voters because I had lost my voice. I’d been smoking furiously.
I’d take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but I’d run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.
In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and I felt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I can’t go on.
So I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreaming…the nightmare was I resumed smoking.
But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didn’t know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc.
But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects.
Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room.
You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.
Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly.
I felt no, no, this will not do.
So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee.
But this didn’t go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.
Another turning point came in 1976, after the general election –I was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.
My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: ‘What are you trying to do?’
I said: ‘I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen.’ She said: ‘Don’t play golf. Run. Aerobics..’
So she gave me a book, quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.
I looked at it sceptically. I wasn’t very keen on running. I was keen on golf.
So I said, ‘Let’s try’. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots.
Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: ‘Okay, after my golf, I run.’
And after a few years, I said: ‘Golf takes so long. The running takes 15 minutes. Let’s cut out the golf and let’s run.’
I think the most important thing in aging is you got to understand yourself.
And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasn’t there.
I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.
But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me was one day, when I said:
‘Look, I’m feeling slower and sluggish.’
So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to aging. I read it up and it was illuminating.
A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.
As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically.
Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I don’t know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output
is when they’re in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you haven’t lost many neurons. That’s what they tell me.
So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. It’s just common sense.
I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didn’t think about it.
I said: ‘Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.’
But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA.
But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy!
He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.
When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: ‘Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva.’ My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.
Thereafter, he couldn’t go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound.
Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way.
So my brother – who’s a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house – took him in.
And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.
So my calculations, I’m somewhere between 74 and 94. And I’ve reached the halfway point now.
But have I?
Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck.
Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle.
After five minutes it became worse.
So I said, no, no, this is something serious, it’s got to do with the blood vessels.
Rung up my doctor, who said, ‘Come tomorrow’. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: ‘Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.’
I said: ‘What’s that ?’
He said: ‘We’ll pump something in and we’ll see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked.’
I was going to go home.
But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: ‘What are you doing here?’
I said: ‘I’ve got this.’ He said: ‘Don’t go home.
You stay here tonight. I’ve sent patients home and they never came back.
Just stay here. They’ll put you on the monitor. They’ll watch your heart.
And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre.
You go home. You’ve got no such monitor. You may never come back.’
So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one.
So that’s lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt it’s coming back.
Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: ‘We’ll put in a stent.’
I’m one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation.
Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent.
He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation.
He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then that’s that.
That was before all this pr`oblem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesn’t occlude and create a disturbance.
So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: ‘Oh, this is now a danger point.’
So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital.
He said: ‘Take statins.’ I said: ‘What’s that?’ He said: ‘(They) help to reduce your cholesterol.’
My doctors were concerned. They said: ‘You don’t need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay.’
Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: ‘Take statins.’
Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother.
So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my father’s fall at 87. I’m very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if I’m going to get off balance.
So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, there’s this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.
The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down.
So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, I’m fit, I swim, I cycle.
But I can’t prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.
So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem.
When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that I’ve got something I can hang on to, just in case.
So it’s a constant process of adjustment.
But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, you’re done for.
The human being is a social animal – he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.
I don’t much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me,
who will help me in my work as Chairman of our GIC.
So I know, I’m on several boards of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and so on.
And I meet them and I get to understand what’s happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago.
I go to India, I go to China.
And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. I’m not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife.
She woke up late today. I said: ‘Never mind, you come along by 12 o’clock. I go first.’
If you sit back – because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing – as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and that’s your world.
So if you’ve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that you’ll know you’re not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.
I’m determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that.
It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what’s going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.
In other words, you must have an interest in life.
If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for.
So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.
So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives...
If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life,
I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life.
After one month, or after two months, even if you go traveling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.
The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere:
Keep yourself interested, have a challenge.
If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.
So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’
If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..’
Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.
06-08-2012, 01:55 AM #6170
Community Games Badminton: Bedok beat Kampong Chai Chee 4-0 to win East Coast Cluster
Posted by: Les Tan Posted date: June 07, 2012
Chew Swee Han (right) and Li Yu Jia in action for Bedok CSC in the Mixed Doubles match. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Singapore Badminton Hall, Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Bedok CSC beat Kampong Chai Chee CC Team 2 4-0 to win the East Coast Cluster final in the Community Games Badminton tournament.
Aaron Tan got Bedok off to a winning start with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-12) win over Lim Jian Ann of Kampong Chai Chee.
Next up was the mixed doubles match and Chew Swee Han and Li Yu Jia won the second point for Bedok with a 2-0 (21-6, 21-12) victory over the Kampong Chai Chee pairing of Han Aik Siew and Yong Siew Wai.
The men’s doubles master match was a much closer affair. Samsuddin B Mohammed and Thong Weng Yew of Bedok won the first set 21-15 but Oon Gook Eng and Halim Susanto of Kampong Chai Chee forced a rubber set when they won the second set 21-15. The Bedok pair eventually won the third set 21-11 to give Bedok another point.
Joy Lim of Bedok also beat Lee Si Hui 2-0 (21-9, 21-6) in a match played at the same time to win the final point of the night for Bedok.
Gendgshan beat Changi-Simei 3-2 to finish third in the Cluster. The top two teams will represent their Cluster in the Singapore National Games scheduled for September 1st to 9th, 2012.
“You can have all the youngsters but you need to have a well balanced team to win in the Community Games,” said Aaron Tan of Bedok. Teams competing in the Community Games need to have players from all ages.
“I’m pleasantly surprised about the atmosphere, with the residents coming down to support. It’s been quite competitive with players I’ve never seen before performing well,” noted Aaron.
“The Community Games is giving the younger generation a chance to play competitively,” added Aaron.
On hand to watch the final was Mr Lim Swee Say, the deputy chairman of the People’s Association.
“The highlight for me is to see so many residents come down to cheer for their team, and cheer not just for their team, but also for the whole GRC,” said Mr Lim Swee Say, who is also a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We compete as a constituency but we celebrate as a GRC,” Mr Lim also told the
Supporters of Bedok CSC lighting up the atmosphere with their very own 'Bedok wave'. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Bedok's Joy Lim returns a shot against Kampong Chai Chee's Lee Si Hui (not in picture). She won her match 2-0 to secure the title for Bedok. (Photo 7 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Thong Weng Yew serving in the Men's Doubles Masters match. (Photo 8 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Oon Gook Eng (left) and Halim Susanto of Kampong Chai Chee in action during the Men's Masters Doubles match. They forced the match into a rubber after putting up a good fight in the second set to win 21-15. (Photo 9 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Olympic-bound shuttler Derek Wong shares a laugh while participating in a mini-contest with the crowd. (Photo 13 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Mr Lee Yi Shyan has a go at the contest. Mr Lee is the minister of state for MTI and MND and is also the president of the SBA. (Photo 15 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Mr Lee getting congratulated by Mr Lim Swee Say (right), the deputy chairman of PA. (Photo 16 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Mr Lee and Mr Richard Tan (partially hidden), the president of the Singapore Badminton Hall, leap to their feet to cheer on Mr Lim Swee Say who was also called upon to participate in the badminton contest. (Photo 17 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Mr Lim trying his hand at knocking down the shuttlecock tubes. (Photo 18 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
The Kampong Chai Chee team which emerged runners-up in the East Coast cluster. (Photo 19 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
The Bedok CSC team which emerged champions of the East Coast cluster. (Photo 20 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
The Bedok team together with their supporters from all walks of life who had cheered for them during the competition. (Photo 21 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Supporters of Bedok CSC flashing a 'Bedok Boleh' LED sign. (Photo 6 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
06-08-2012, 02:38 AM #6171
Diving into the future
Regional meet useful gauge for 2013 SEA Games, say divers
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Jun 08, 2012
SINGAPORE - Not since the 1985 SEA Games, when Samantha Lee won a bronze in the women's springboard event, have Singapore's divers made a splash.
Neither have they competed in the regional meet since 2003.
Now, the national team of Timothy Lee, Mark Lee, Myra Lee, Fong Kay Yian and Jonathan Chan are looking to reverse the sport's fortunes at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
They will also test their mettle against regional counterparts at the inaugural SEA Swimming Championships (June 9-11).
Having missed out on last year's SEA Games in Indonesia, 2010 Youth Olympic Games diver Myra Lee wants to make amends.
"It was quite upsetting as I missed out on the first trial due to a bad ankle injury," Myra told TODAY after a training session at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex yesterday.
"It's been quite a bumpy two years for me since the YOG ... and I switched from platform diving to springboard in the beginning of last year."
The Anglo-Chinese Junior College student will compete in the 1m and 3m springboard, and will partner Kay Yian in the synchronised 3m springboard.
"It will be our first time competing against Indonesia and Malaysia. If we perform to our best, there is a fighting chance for a gold medal (synchronised 3m)," she added.
While the SEA Swimming Championships features only 20 divers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore Swimming Association sports manager (diving and synchronised swimming) Damien Ler said that the event will serve to allow the team to measure up against regional rivals as they prepare for next year's SEA Games in Myanmar.
Twins Timothy and Mark, 18, aim to qualify for Myanmar, and claim podium finishes at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
But beyond that, they hope to win Singaporeans over with their well-executed moves - somersaults and twists.
"It's quite exciting and a lot of friends are coming to see us. When others come down and see how cool the sport is, maybe they will want to learn it," said Timothy.
Saturday: Men's 3m springboard (6.30pm), Women's platform (7.30pm)
Sunday: Men's synchronised 3m springboard (9.30am), Women's synchronised 3m springboard (10.15am), Women's 3m springboard (6.30pm), Men's platform (7.30pm)
Monday: Men's 1m springboard (7pm), Women's 1m springboard (8pm)
Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
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