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Thread: Singapore Also Can
09-09-2013, 10:26 PM #7413
Why it’s still worth learning from Finland
The headquarters of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is pictured in Espoo Sept 3, 2013. Photo: Reuters
By Richard Hartung
5 hours 56 min ago
From its education to its social support system, Finland has been lauded as a model worthy of emulation by many in Singapore.
Finnish students score among the best in the world in the PISA tests and nearly 70 per cent go on to tertiary education. Its economy continued to grow even as other parts of the euro zone fell into crisis.
But while its education system remains excellent, Finland’s situation is nowhere near as rosy as a year ago. The country fell into a technical recession earlier this year, it faces challenges with integrating immigrants and, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his National Day Rally speech recently, 20 per cent of Finnish youth are unemployed despite comprehensive protection for workers.
With such tremendous changes under way, policymakers who once looked to the Finnish model might well be considering whether to look elsewhere for ideas instead.
INTO TURBULENT WATERS
Just when the euro zone started to emerge from its slump this year and industrial production registered modest growth, Finland went into a technical recession after GDP shrank 0.1 per cent in the first quarter and industrial output dipped 5.7 per cent.
The shift to the technology sector has slowed, and Federation of Finnish Technology Industries CEO Jorma Turunen said the drop in technology exports appears permanent because Finland is not competitive enough — a trend underscored by the headline-making sale of Nokia’s mobile phone business to Microsoft in a US$5.4-billion (S$6.9 billion) deal last week.
Nordea Bank said the period of weak economic growth has still not ended. And despite relatively low unemployment at 6.6 per cent in July, down from 7.8 per cent in June, the data masked a worsening labour market as more people dropped out of the workforce, according to Bloomberg.
Far worse, unemployment among immigrants is estimated to be three times higher than for Finns born in the country; and the latest EU Labour Force Survey also showed that youth unemployment is nearly 20 per cent.
Immigration is a hot-button issue, with concerns that immigrants will compete for scarce jobs and Minister for Education and Science Krista Kiuru noting, on her recent visit to Singapore, that resources of schools in the suburbs are being stretched by having so many immigrants.
Even though Finland will need more workers to cope with an ageing population, the University of Helsinki’s Arno Tanner wrote that “many regard Finland as a remote, cold, taciturn country displaying passive reluctance toward immigrants”.
The issue is so important the Cabinet in June released a White Paper outlining plans for controlled immigration that take into account the sustainability and security of Finnish society.
HAPPY AND COMPETITIVE
Yet amid the enveloping gloom, the quality of education through secondary schools in Finland remains high and life remains comfortable for most Finns, for now.
In contrast with the rising income inequality in Singapore and a Gini coefficient here that rose to 47.9 recently, Finland’s Gini coefficient of 25.8 indicates that it has far greater income equality. The Washington DC-based Fund for Peace ranked Finland as the best performer in its assessment of nations around the world for having the most even economic development out of 178 countries; its rule of law was ranked the third best in the world and social services sixth.
Finns were also rated as the second-happiest people in the world by the United Nations World Happiness Report in 2012, right after Denmark.
UN researchers concluded that political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption were more important than income in countries topping the happiness rankings. In contrast, Singapore was ranked 33rd.
And despite the weak economic outlook, the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report released this month ranked Finland as the third most competitive economy in the world, just behind Singapore.
THE FINNISH KAMPUNG SPIRIT
Dig a little deeper and the reasons for the challenges Finland faces may turn out to be similar to Singapore’s, even as the reasons for Finns’ greater happiness reflect some of what Singapore is striving for. It may be beneficial to learn from more than just its education successes.
Like Singapore, Finland’s economy is shifting to services as manufacturing faces cost pressures and moves overseas. Universities with more traditional education models that also churn out plenty of engineers have, as in Singapore, been slow in shifting to teach the skills students actually need for the new workplace reality.
What perhaps cushions Finland and keeps happiness high is a sense of equality and a strong social support network that takes care of the population during the transition, somewhat similar in essence to the kampung spirit Singapore enjoyed in decades past.
As the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation’s Director-General Pasi Sahlberg told educators in a talk at Harvard University, fairly equal wealth distribution within Finland impacts the education system and enables Finland to continue to do well in many areas beyond education, such as women’s empowerment, technological advances, children’s well-being and prosperity.
The focus on collaboration and personalisation in education, he said, results in a system where a student’s only competitor is himself or herself. As Finnish Teachers’ Union President Olli Luukkainen told the Smithsonian: “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education.”
While detractors argue that this undermines the competitive drive, or that extensive social welfare benefits reduce the incentive for young people to look for work, such support fuels a sense of community and helps those in transition.
Singapore, meanwhile, has acknowledged the untenability of the wide income disparity and is seeking to close that gap, although it is unlikely to go as far as Finland in equalising incomes or in providing outright social welfare safety nets.
The mantra is that Singapore must find its own way, to suit its own unique situation.
Even so, the National Day Rally speech signifies a momentous shift, with the State taking on a greater load in caring for the individual — and, just as importantly, calling on the community to do the same.
As Singapore looks at how to reclaim its kampung spirit, where neighbours took care of each other and there was greater communal sense of nationhood, it is worth considering how the Finns developed the societal values of equality and support for those in need.
And with both countries needing to shift their tertiary education systems to better prepare the young for new workplace needs, there may be opportunities for collaboration in higher education.
There is still plenty to learn from Finland — and to share as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Richard Hartung is a consultant who has lived in Singapore since 1992.
09-10-2013, 09:12 PM #7414
Bidadari to house Singapore's first underground service reservoir
Estate's unique feature: It will house Singapore's first underground service reservoir built on low, instead of high, ground
The Sraits Times
Published on Sep 11, 2013
-- GRAPHICS: MIKE M DIZON
By Charissa Yong
THE future Bidadari estate will lay claim to a unique feature - Singapore's first underground service reservoir built on low, instead of high, ground.
Holding enough water to fill three Olympic-size pools, the tank will be built beneath the town's planned park to save on surface space and keep the surroundings unmarred.
The land above it will be "integrated with the surrounding park amenities, hence optimising land", PUB said yesterday, adding that high ground available for service reservoirs is "limited".
The Bidadari reservoir could pave the way for more such underground tanks on low ground.
Instead of having reservoirs above ground, which is water you can't even swim in, you have land that you can walk on. Going underground is an obvious solution to preserve as much free space for people as possible.
- National Research Foundation water technology adviser Lui Pao Chuen, who believes that building below the surface is key, given the scarcity of land here
09-10-2013, 09:19 PM #7415
Singapore and Korea police forces sign memorandum of understanding
Published on Sep 10, 2013
By Joyce Lim
Singapore Police Force (SPF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) at KNPA's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday.
The MOU which was signed by SPF's Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee and KNPA's Commissioner General Lee Sung-han, aims to strengthen law enforcement cooperation between the two forces.
It is expected to further enhance information sharing, capacity building, professional development and training between the two forces.
The significant milestone development in the relationship between SPF and KNPA, would "enable both forces to learn and tap on each other's capabilities, so as to strengthen our fights against transnational criminals and syndicates", said Commissioner Ng, in a statement on Tuesday. He also emphasised the importance of international cooperation in the fight against crime.
09-10-2013, 09:29 PM #7416
17 overhead bridges to be fitted with lifts by 2016
They are part of S$700m plan to make transport nodes more accessible, elderly-friendly and conducive for commuters
5 hours 56 min ago
SINGAPORE — Work to make overhead bridges more accessible to pedestrians who are less mobile will begin next year, with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announcing yesterday that it has called tenders to retrofit 17 existing pedestrian overhead bridges and allow for the installation of lifts.
The areas with these bridges include Woodlands, Boon Lay, Serangoon, Potong Pasir, Tampines and North Bridge Road.
Selected bridges have to be located within 200m of MRT stations, bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs, within 100m of bus hubs and LRT stations, and within 100m of health institutions, welfare homes, homes for the aged and schools for special needs children.
In addition, they have to be in locations where it is technically not feasible to provide a new “at-grade” pedestrian crossing and there are no barrier-free alternatives nearby.
They also need to have high levels of usage and the retrofitting work has to be cost-effective and technically feasible.
The 17 bridges are the first of the 40 bridges to be retrofitted with lifts announced by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in January as part of a S$700-million plan to make transport nodes more accessible, elderly-friendly and conducive for commuters.
The bridges will be ready by 2016, with the rest to follow.
Late last month, the LTA called two tenders for the construction of sheltered walkways at 59 MRT stations, while two more will be called for the remaining MRT and LRT stations in the last three months of this year.
Also in the works are noise barriers along selected busy road viaducts and MRT lines to reduce noise pollution for residents nearby.
The LTA said it has conducted site surveys as part of preparatory work to ensure that it is technically feasible to install the lifts at the selected bridges.
It will announce the locations of the remaining overhead bridges by early next year.
Overhead bridges where lifts will be installed
1. Woodlands Avenue 3 near Marsiling MRT Station
2. Woodlands Avenue 7 near Admiralty MRT Station
3. Boon Lay Way near Lakeside MRT Station
4. Boon Lay Way near Boon Lay MRT Station
5. New Bridge Road / Eu Tong Sen Street
6. Serangoon Central / NEX Shopping Mall
7. Selegie Road / PoMo
8. Potong Pasir near Potong Pasir MRT Station
9. Paya Lebar Road near ITE MacPherson
10. PIE (Jalan Kolam Ayer) / Kallang Basin Swimming Complex near Geylang Bahru DTL3 MRT Station
11. Holland Road near Holland Village MRT Station
12. Queensway / Stirling Road
13. Kampong Bahru Road / Blair Road
14. North Buona Vista Road
15. Blk 940, Tampines Avenue 5
16. North Bridge Road / Crawford Street
17. Geylang East Central / Geylang Polyclinic
09-10-2013, 09:33 PM #7417
PM Lee to visit Vietnam for launch of strategic partnership, new industrial park
Published on Sep 10, 2013
By Terrence Voon
Ties between Singapore and Vietnam will reach a new high when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Vietnam on Wednesday.
As the two Asean nations mark the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, Mr Lee will formally launch a strategic partnership agreement with his Vietnamese counterpart Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
The other highlight of Mr Lee's three-day visit is his trip to Quang Ngai province in central Vietnam to officiate the groundbreaking of the fifth Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP).
The first was set up in 1996, and all five are a joint venture between a Singapore consortium led by Sembcorp Development and Becamex, a Vietnamese state-owned enterprise.
09-10-2013, 09:36 PM #7418
New $30 million 3D printing research centre for NTU
The Straits Times
Published on Sep 10, 2013
By Hoe Pei Shan
Doctors in Singapore could soon be printing human skin, corneas and heart tissue, and saving lives as a result.
The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is building a new $30 million research centre for additive manufacturing which will house some of the latest 3D printing machines available. When the centre opens in May next year, it will also have what is likely to be Singapore's first bioprinter which is a machine capable of producing real human tissue, layer by layer.
The research centre called the NTU Additive Manufacturing Centre will be funded by the Economic Development Board.
In order to grow the pool of talent needed to feed the growing additive manufacturing industry, NTU is also introducing PhD and masters' degree programmes specialising in this area in August. Students under both programmes will contribute to the research conducted at the centre.
09-10-2013, 09:51 PM #7419
Fed’s QE tapering unlikely to hit Asia, says PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at a dialogue during International Enterprise Singapore's 30th Anniversary Dinner with moderator Robin Hu, CEO, South China Morning Post Group. Photo: Don Wong
Region’s economies stronger, with more safeguards instituted since 1997 crisis
By Wong Wei Han
6 hours 12 min ago
SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is confident that Asian economies will not face a financial crisis similar to the one that hit the region in the late ’90s, even though concerns over the tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the United States caused jitters in markets of emerging economies and led to fears that a capital outflow may occur.
Speaking at a dialogue during the 30th anniversary dinner of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore last night, Mr Lee felt that Asian economies are in a stronger position than they were in 1997. “We have more safeguards instituted now since then to deal with the likely consequences of big capital flows,” he said. “For example, we have currency swap arrangements like the Chiang Mai Initiative, where countries can support each other when there’s a destabilising flow of capital.”
Mr Lee made these comments when responding to a question by Mr Robin Hu, the dialogue’s moderator and Chief Executive of the South China Morning Post Group, who asked how regional economies are going to react to the QE tapering. He noted the US Federal Reserve’s initial hint of QE tapering in June led to a capital flight from Asia, one which resembled the late ’90s financial crisis.
Mr Lee’s comments came after Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said last week that members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can weather large amounts of capital outflow as growth in the region is supported by solid fundamentals.
The confidence is reinforced by strong economic data from China, where factory output last month hit a 17-month high, while Japan’s economy grew a stronger-than-expected 3.8 per cent on-year in the second quarter.
Against this backdrop, capital volatilities due to the QE tapering are manageable, Mr Lee said last night. “And also the Americans will be mindful as they don’t want the tapering to destabilise their economy. So we’re in a safe position … I don’t see this as a new global or regional crisis,” he added.
During the wide-ranging dialogue, which touched on topics such as the economic reform in China and economic integration in ASEAN, Mr Lee felt that Singapore companies looking to succeed in the future will have to move out of their comfort zone.
“We should look beyond the more familiar region into new areas … emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and some parts of Africa,” he said. “There will be risks, but that’s where the returns are, so you have to know what risks to take.”
The Government is supporting these companies overseas via IE Singapore, which continues to set up new offices in new markets, including recent ones in Myanmar, Ghana, Turkey and South Africa, noted Mr Lee. But wherever they are, local companies must be able to compete globally, if they are to grow beyond the small market in Singapore.
“Whether you’re overseas or in Singapore, you have to be globally competitive. Because there’s no way we can build a wall around Singapore … Your markets are out there, and if you’re not equal to the companies in China, India or Vietnam, then you’re not going anywhere — and Singapore is not big enough for you to operate. That is the reality,” said Mr Lee.
The Prime Minister also hopes to see more Singaporeans venturing overseas. “In terms of getting people to go where the business is … Singaporeans don’t always go as readily as the employers like them to. It is a limitation for us and will constrain our potential in the world. You want people who are prepared to go out and take adventure, to dive in and be deployed to difficult places as you make your way in the world,” he said.
“We should have that spark to go wherever the opportunities are.”
09-11-2013, 08:47 PM #7420
ST wins Asian Media Awards for New Delhi gang rape coverage
Published on Sep 11, 2013
The Straits Times Foreign Editor Ravi Velloor receiving one of the six awards on behalf of Singapore Press Holdings at the 12th Asian Media Awards in Bangalore, India, on Sept 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
The 23-year-old Delhi gang rape victim died on the morning of December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The Straits Times photographer Desmond Lim managed to break away from the media pack and took a shot of the victim's body before it was flown back to India. -- PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Two-year-old Jovan leaves his balance bike, which Mr Kelvin Aik uses to teach him to cycle, to push his father's wheelchair around the void deck. The moving portrait won Straits Times photojournalist Nuria Ling a silver award in the Best in Photo-journalism/Feature Photography catergory at the 12th Asian Media Awards. -- PHOTO: NURIA LING
By Himaya Quasem
THE brutal gang rape of a 23- year-old student in Delhi and her courageous battle for survival last December touched the hearts of people around the globe, especially in Singapore. Doctors at Mount Elizabeth Hospital fought to save her but she died from severe organ failure as a result of her injuries.
The Straits Times stayed with the story right from the start, providing minute-to-minute updates and cross-bureau coverage.
Last night, ST was awarded the Silver in the Best in Editorial Content/Breaking News category at the 12th Asian Media Awards. Its team comprised India Correspondent Nirmala Ganapathy, 40, photographer Desmond Lim, 31, journalist Jalelah Abu Baker, 26, and assistant foreign editor Nilanjana Sengupta, 38.
“When something significant like this happens in Asia, the ST will be there to bring the story home to our readers in Singapore and beyond,” said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez.
“Our ST team of correspondents in Singapore, India and around the region, stayed with it throughout, filing not only for our print edition, but also for our main website straitstimes.com, and our Asia-focused ST.Asia Report.”
Foreign editor Ravi Velloor, who wrote a front-page commentary on the rape tragedy, accepted six awards on behalf of Singapore Press Holdings in the southern Indian city of Bangalore last night. The other awards were:
* Silver for the Best in Photo- journalism/Feature Photography: ST photojournalist Nuria Ling, 26, won with her shot of a two-year-old boy abandoning his balance bike to push his paraplegic father’s wheelchair.
* Gold for the Best in Community Service: It went to a teachers’ handbook produced by the ST Schools team – “48 Values From The News: The Straits Times Guide To Building Character”.
* Silver for the Best in Editorial Content/Breaking News: The New Paper won for its coverage of Mr Michael Palmer’s shock resignation as Speaker of Parliament over an extra-marital affair.
* Gold for the Best in Newspaper Marketing for the 2012 revamp of billingual newspaper MyPaper.
* Bronze for the Best in Design/Magazine Overall Design for ICON Singapore, a monthly luxury lifestyle magazine.
The annual Asian Media Awards is organised by Wan-Ifra, an organisation representing more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 websites and 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.
09-11-2013, 08:57 PM #7421
Singapore and Vietnam launch strategic partnership
Published on Sep 11, 2013
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung at the Government Office in Hanoi on Wednesday, Sept 11, 2013. Lee is in Hanoi for a three-day visit to Vietnam from Sept 11 to 13. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seen here accompanied by Mrs Lee, arrive at the Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi for a three-day visit to Vietnam. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO/TERRENCE VOON
A Vietnamese protocol officer (left) shows the way to Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (centre) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, Sept 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) reviews the guard of honour with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on Wednesday, Sept 11, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO/TERRENCE VOON
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (fourth left) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung (fourth right) talk at the Government Office in Hanoi on Sept 11, 2013.-- PHOTO: REUTERS
By Terrence Voon
Singapore and Vietnam formally elevated their relationship to that as strategic partners on Wednesday, an agreement which deepens their ties on the political, economic, defence, security and international fronts.
Under the strategic partnership agreement, the two Asean members will promote high-level bilateral exchanges, with direct communications between their leaders. The strategic partnership was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is in Vietnam on a three-day official visit, and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung.
In trade, both countries have agreed to step up cooperation in sectors such as transport, infocomms technology, finance and banking. They have also agreed to look into other promising areas like cruise tourism, commodities trading, healthcare and agriculture. Vietnam and Singapore are also working to increase air traffic between the two countries and with the rest of the world.
For defence and security, Singapore and Vietnam will increase their cooperation in military and training exchanges, amongst other areas. The two countries will also explore tie-ups in areas such as tourism, healthcare, legal systems and education. In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to bring about an integrated Asean Community by 2015, and to enhance the region's role in the global community.
09-11-2013, 09:05 PM #7422
Scientists in Singapore create "super biomaterials" from marine organisms
Published on Sep 11, 2013
(From left) A*STAR's Dr Shawn Hoon, NTU Assistant Professor Ali Miserez and Dr Paul Guerette hold squid ring sucker teeth, mussels and a sea snail in a petri dish. New and hardy biomaterials, that are stronger than most plastics, are coming from an unusual source - seafood. -- PHOTO: NTU
Squid sucker ring teeth are seen in a petri dish held by Dr Paul Guerette. -- PHOTO: NTU
By Hoe Pei Shan
New and hardy biomaterials, that are stronger than most plastics, are coming from an unusual source - seafood. Scientists have created new materials from squid, mussels and sea snails.
The team from Nanyang Technological University and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) used a new interdisciplinary approach integrating RNA sequencing and proteomics with material science. This process allows scientists to speed up the discovery and development of new and better biomaterials within months instead of years.
The squid-inspired biomaterial, for instance can be transformed into biocompatible films for food and drug packaging, and as cost-effective encapsulants to protect expensive drugs against heat and impact during transportation and storage.
The new biomaterials may be used widely as they are versatile and easily processed into different shapes and forms. They are also made using eco-friendly processes instead of the harsh chemicals used when producing plastics. The group's work was published this week in Nature Biotechnology, the world's top international scientific journal in the field.
09-12-2013, 09:44 PM #7423
New applied research centre for sustainable lighting by 2015
Published on Sep 12, 2013
By Yeo Sam Jo
Singapore will have a new applied research centre for sustainable lighting by 2015. The Singapore Green Building Council and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California, Davis's California Lighting Technology Centre (CLTC) to develop Singapore's own Lighting Technology Centre.
The memorandum was signed as part of the new sustainable lighting initiative announced at the council's 4th anniversary dinner on Thursday, where Minister for Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan was the guest-of-honour.
Modelled after California's lighting centre which was set up in 2003, Singapore's new centre will focus on promoting more energy efficient solutions to the nation's lighting usage, from residential and industrial buildings to street lighting.
While previous Green Building Masterplans have focused on making space cooling, like air-conditioners more energy efficient, the council said that lighting is just as important, as it accounts for about 15 to 20 per cent of a building's energy use.
09-12-2013, 10:44 PM #7424
Asiad Youth gold for Joey Yeo
From left to right: Ilma Nur Jannah, Joey Yeo, Tracy See and Kimberly Ooi. Photo: Singapore Bowling Federation
Bowler wins Singapore’s first trophy at the Asian Youth Bowling Championship
13 hours 38 min ago
SINGAPORE – The Republic’s bowlers have struck gold at the 17th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships after Joey Yeo topped the field in the Girls’ All Event final in Hong Kong today (Sep 12).
Widely regarded as the most prestigious event for the region’s youth bowlers, the Asian Youth Bowling Championships saw 16-year-old Joey claiming the winner’s trophy (Girls’ All Event) with a total pinfall of 3,838. The teenager’s effort was 135 pins ahead of Korea’s Kim Jin Sun, who claimed the silver in 3,724 while Hong Kong’s Joan Cheng won the bronze after scoring a total of 3,673 pinfalls.
In the Girls’ Team final, the quartet of Joey, Kimberly Ooi, Tracy See, and Ilma Nur Jannah bagged the silver with 4,828 pinfalls – 104 pins behind Korea’s gold medal effort of 4,932. Indonesia was third with a total of 4,745.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Masters Finals will be held tomorrow at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Centre, with Joey and Ilma qualifying for the top 16 after finishing first and eighth respectively after three days of competition on the lanes. In the Boys’ Masters, Justin Lim also booked a spot in the finals after claiming the last spot in the top 16.
Said Singapore Bowling Federation’s technical director Mervyn Foo: “Our young bowlers did well to handle the pressure from other strong competitors like Japan and Korea. We are confident for the Masters Finals tomorrow.”
09-15-2013, 10:19 PM #7425
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first and longest serving Prime Minister, turns 90 on Sept 16.
This Big Story features a series of photographs that give readers a look into his life, many of which are previously unseen.
The photos are found in a newly launched bilingual picture book called Lee Kuan Yew: A Life In Pictures. The 268-page coffee-table book gives a snapshot of Mr Lee as statesman, father, husband and son.
Aside from the more familiar pictures of him giving speeches at political rallies and meeting foreign dignitaries, there are also intimate photos showing him as a father and a young man courting his wife-to-be.
09-15-2013, 10:31 PM #7426
Lee Kuan Yew: 'I am lucky to reach 90'
Published on Sep 16, 2013
By Elgin Toh
Ahead of marking a significant milestone in his life today, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew told The Straits Times: "I am lucky to reach 90."
Asked in an e-mailed interview what gave him the greatest satisfaction when he looked back on an illustrious life, he replied that it was "to see Singapore's progress".
He will be celebrating his birthday with his family at a private dinner.
Several world leaders sent birthday greetings to Mr Lee, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China's former vice-premier Li Lanqing.
Mr Lee at the Istana on Sept 8, 2011. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
Mr Lee was born on this day in 1923 in a house in Kampong Java Road. He was the eldest son of a Shell employee and a housewife.
In nine decades, he has lived through the Great Depression, the Japanese Occupation, the Malayan Emergency, merger and separation, and Singapore's journey from Third World to First World.
He played a key role in the major events of his day from 1959, when he became Singapore's first prime minister, and came to be well-respected around the world as a perceptive statesman. He stepped down as Prime Minister in 1990 and from Cabinet in 2011.
Speaking to The Straits Times ahead of Mr Lee's birthday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his father's greatest achievement was building a nation "nobody believed possible".
"Nation building is never complete, but Singapore would not be here today but for Mr Lee."
What did he think was the most important lesson to be learnt from his father's life?
"You must know what you want to do, and not just follow what other people suggest or what the crowd says," he said. "He was also very good at persuading others to follow him, so that in the end we achieved together more than we imagined that we could."
A series of public events have been held to mark Mr Lee's birthday. Earlier this month, the Chinese community paid tribute to him for his contributions to bilingualism and Singapore-China relations. A fund-raising drive saw $200 million donated to the National University of Singapore and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Today, a one-day conference is being organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at Shangri-La Hotel. The school's dean, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, said the conference would discuss Mr Lee's ideas - such as the rule of law and building a first-rate civil service - which had "touched the lives of Singaporeans in many dimensions".
Mr Lee himself, in his book published last month, One Man's View Of The World, summed things up this way: "As for me, I have done what I had wanted to do, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied."
BIRTHDAY WISHES FROM CITIZENS AND WORLD LEADERS
09-15-2013, 10:39 PM #7427
Lee Kuan Yew spending time with his elder son
Published on Sep 15, 2013
-- FILE PHOTO: LEE KUAN YEW COLLECTION
Mr Lee Kuan Yew with little Loong on a day out in the 1950s.
"I did not know how much like me he is until I watched him on television one day. SBC news showed Loong at a press conference. Then he did this (tugged his shirt sleeves at his shoulders), exactly the way I do. He has other mannerisms similar to mine," said Mr Lee Kuan Yew on his elder son, Hsien Loong, at a People's Action Party conference on Nov 26, 1990.
09-15-2013, 10:43 PM #7428
09-15-2013, 10:55 PM #7429
Changi Sports Medicine Centre gets makeover
Bigger premises, more doctors for Changi hospital's speciality facility
Published on Sep 16, 2013
Physiotherapists working with patients at Changi Sports Medicine Centre's gym and exercise area last Tuesday. After the expansion, the centre will offer more spacious gyms, a hydrotherapy pool and an indoor track, as well as additional exercise and testing equipment. -- ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN
Physiotherapist Philene Leow assisting a patient during an exercise session at the Changi Sports Medicine Centre last Tuesday. -- ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN
By Poon Chian Hu
Singapore's leading sports medicine centre is set for its biggest expansion yet - one that will double its floor area and add doctors.
By 2016, Changi Sports Medicine Centre (CSMC) will have more spacious gyms, an indoor pool and an indoor track, housed within two storeys at Changi General Hospital (CGH). It will cover an estimated 1,500 sq m - the size of 13 five-room HDB flats - making it the biggest such centre.
It now covers 752 sq m within one storey at the public hospital.
The move will cater to CSMC's fast-growing patient load, which hit an all-time high of 14,044 last year, up from 8,416 in 2008.
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