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  1. #7447
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 'Big dreams' for future of Singapore and Malaysia

    Both nations have greater stakes in each other's success: President Tan



    Published on Sep 19, 2013
    8:13 AM




    President Tan at the ceremonial welcome with (to his left) Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and (behind them) Mrs Mary Tan and (partially hidden) Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah Haji Hamidun, and PM Najib Razak with his wife Rosmah Mansor. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


    By Andrea Ong, In Kuala Lumpur

    With ties in an excellent state, Singapore and Malaysia are now "dreaming big together" to forge a better future for their peoples, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday as the Malaysians rolled out the red carpet for his first state visit to their country.

    It reflects the new era in their bilateral relations, which Dr Tan traced to the close partnership in recent years between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

    Both leaders meet yearly for a retreat that has led to major agreements like the historic land swop deal in 2010 involving Malaysian Railway land in Singapore, and a 2011 agreement on the joint development of projects in Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia.

    This bond has had a rippling effect, with cooperation extending across many fields, including transport, communications, arts, culture and education, the President said at a state banquet hosted by Malaysia's King and Queen at Istana Negara last night.

  2. #7448
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Resorts World Sentosa's Dolphin Island to open on Sept 30

    Published on Sep 19, 2013
    8:12 AM




    Marine mammal trainer Eliza Lee teaching kids from The Little Arts Academy how to interact with dolphins yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


    By David Ee

    Those much-awaited bottlenose dolphins at the Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) finally have a date to make a splash with the public.

    The huge marine park will open its new Dolphin Island attraction on Sept 30, but do not expect a mass audience show like those at Sea World on Australia's Gold Coast. Think up close and personal instead.

    In groups of five or fewer, up to 80 people a day will be allowed in the water to get acquainted with the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Each group will have half an hour to interact with a dolphin while accompanied by a trainer.

    The sessions, conducted in the shallow edges of the dolphins' 11 interconnecting lagoons, are open to non-swimmers, but visitors must be above 122cm tall to take part.

  3. #7449
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore's F-15 fighter jets are operationally ready: RSAF

    Published on Sep 18, 2013
    4:24 PM



    Singapore's most modern fighter jets are now combat ready, strengthening the Republic's air defence shield. The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) 24 F-15 SG fighter jets went operational on Wednesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK


    By Jermyn Chow

    Singapore's most modern fighter jets are now combat ready, strengthening the Republic's air defence shield. The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) 24 F-15 SG fighter jets went operational on Wednesday.

    Singapore received its first F-15 aircraft in 2009. The F-15 jet is considered one of the top fighter planes in the world. It has racked up a combat record of 104 victories and zero losses in 30 years of air battles worldwide.

    Men and machines were put through a series of tests and training exercises, among other things, to certify that the F-15s' weapons systems and flight performance fully meet the RSAF's requirements. Attaining "full operational capability" means they can be deployed in any combat missions.

    The F-15s are a critical part of the RSAF's arsenal to pre-empt air threats and gun down hostile targets. Other weapons include the G550 early warning surveillance jets, the SPYDER air defence system, all of which are already combat-ready. The ASTER-30 surface-to-air missile system will soon be added to the RSAF suite of sensors and shooters.

  4. #7450
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 31 more popular attractions in Singapore added to Google's Indoor Maps

    Published on Sep 18, 2013
    2:52 PM




    Google has extended its Indoor Google Maps to 31 popular destinations in Singapore. Iconic buildings like the National Library, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Asian Civilisations Museum (above), National Museum of Singapore and ArtScience Museum, now have their floor plans uploaded. -- PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS


    By Joyce Lim

    Google has extended its Indoor Google Maps to 31 popular destinations in Singapore.
    Iconic buildings like the National Library, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore and ArtScience Museum, now have their floor plans uploaded to Google Maps.

    Gone are the days when you have to look for a map directory to find your way inside a multi-storey building. Both android and iOS users can now navigate through museums, convention centres, library and shopping malls with Google Maps.

    The maps are automatically turned on when you zoom in on a location. Users can also switch between floor plans for different levels within the building. Google launched its Indoor Google Maps to Singapore earlier this year with maps to 22 shopping malls.

    Singapore is the second country in Asia to feature Indoor Google Maps, with Japan's Tokyo and Osaka being the first two cities to offer it.

  5. #7451
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New desalination plant brings S’pore closer to self-sufficiency



    Operated by Hyflux, Asia’s largest plant can deliver 70 million gallons of water daily


    • TODAY
      6 hours 19 min ago

      SINGAPORE — The Republic yesterday took a major stride towards becoming self-sufficient in water, with the opening of the second desalination plant here.
      Sitting on a 14-ha site, Tuaspring Desalination Plant is the largest seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant in Asia. With the capacity to remove dissolved salts from seawater amounting to 70 million gallons daily — equivalent to the amount that can fill 125 Olympic-sized pools — it will triple the amount of water the country gets from desalination.
      Desalinated water, or treated seawater, is one of Singapore’s four national taps. The three others are imported water from Malaysia, NEWater and water from the reservoirs.

      The new S$1.05-billion facility — developed and operated by Singapore’s biggest listed water treatment company, Hyflux — will deliver desalinated water to national water agency PUB over a 25-year period. Hyflux’s first desalination plant Singspring was opened in 2005 and is also located in Tuas.

      Currently, Singspring produces 10 per cent of Singapore’s daily water needs of 400 million gallons. NEWater meets another 30 per cent of the needs, with the remaining supply coming from imported water and local catchment.

      Together, the two desalination plants will now be able to meet 25 per cent of water needs.

      At the opening ceremony — which was attended by 800 guests, including foreign dignitaries, government officials and industry representatives — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that Singapore was “almost totally dependent” on water supply from Johor when it achieved independence in 1965. Singaporeans lined up at public taps for water, employed night-soil collectors because homes lacked sanitation, he recounted. But the Republic has since turned a “strategic weakness” into “a source of thought leadership and competitive advantage”, he added.

      This was achieved through political leadership, partnerships with various stakeholders and the work of the PUB, said Mr Lee.

      For example, political decisions were made to enlarge Singapore’s water catchments, upgrade infrastructure and build a deep sewerage system. The Government also engaged the industry in public-private partnerships to explore and pilot new technologies and develop water infrastructure.
      To secure the country’s water resources, the PUB expanded the reservoirs, built new ones, developed technologies to collect rainwater from urban catchments and promoted research and development to develop new sources of water such as NEWater, Mr Lee said.

      He said: “We must continue to work together to secure our future needs for water. This is not an inexhaustible gift of nature, but a precious resource which we must husband and use wisely.”

      Mr Lee also singled out the Government’s “difficult political decision” to price water “properly”, in a way that got Singaporeans to take water conservation seriously and minimise wastage and abuse.

      At the same time, the authorities defray low-income households’ utility bills “so that nobody is unable to not afford the water which they need”, he added.

      At Tuaspring, seawater is taken into the plant and goes through a two-stage reverse-osmosis treatment process — where impurities and salts are filtered out by ultra-fine semi-permeable membranes that can remove particles of up to 0.01 microns in size.

      Because of a combination of factors, such as an on-site power plant and better technology, treated water from Tuaspring will be priced at 45 cents per cubic metre for the first year — lower than the price of 78 cents per cubic metre during SingSpring’s first-year of operation.

      Under a tiered tariff structure that charges heavy users of water a higher rate, the PUB prices drinking water not only to recover the full cost of its production and supply but to reflect its scarcity value.
      With water demand set to double by 2060, the desalination capacity will be increased in tandem.

      By 2060, NEWater and desalinated water will meet up to 80 per cent of water demand.

      Singapore’s existing bilateral agreement to import water from Johor will expire in 2061.

      An earlier agreement had expired in August 2011, which saw PUB handing over the Gunong Pulai Waterworks to Johor State Government.

  6. #7452
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Making it easier for S’poreans to be healthy

    By Jeremy Lim
    Fatimah Z Alsagoff
    6 hours 32 min ago


    Singapore enjoys the world’s fourth-highest life expectancy and its rates of disease risk factors, like smoking and obesity, are lower than those of many other developed countries. In fact, it was crowned last year by Bloomberg Media the world’s healthiest country.

    However, dark clouds gather. With Singapore having one of the fastest-ageing populations globally and facing an explosion in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), more needs to be done.

    For many years, health promotion had centred on public education, especially among the young. The School Health Service, launched in 1964, initially focused on childhood immunisations but rapidly expanded into other aspects of health including dental hygiene and nutritional supplementation.

    Many Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s will remember the dental drills of yesteryear, standing in neat rows by school drains brushing their teeth; or when children were offered subsidised milk to enhance early nutrition. Later, programmes in breast, cervical and colorectal cancer were launched, highlighting the importance of early screening and detection.

    However, even as the Health Promotion Board (HPB) led public education campaigns and worked with partners to establish screening programmes, it also quietly went about transforming health promotion in Singapore. While many health agencies primarily concentrate on education, the HPB has made great strides in advancing health upstream — going to the source.

    ENGINEERING BETTER HEALTH


    Singaporeans are justifiably proud of their food, and we eat out and often. The National Nutrition Survey 2004 revealed that a third of adult Singaporeans eat in hawker centres two to five times a week, while 27.3 per cent do so more than eight times a week. The 2010 edition of the survey found even higher numbers: 60.1 per cent eat out regularly (compared to 48 per cent in 2004) due to easy access to cooked food.

    The HPB, recognising that it would be futile to swim against the tide, engaged with food manufacturers to create healthier yet still tasty options.

    One in five Singaporeans consumes insufficient amounts of dietary fibre, and so, a local manufacturer was roped in to co-develop wholegrain noodles, to substitute for the traditional white rice-based ones in hor fun. It is gaining popularity among hawkers and patrons. The HPB worked with another manufacturer to create a blend of vegetable oil with 20 per cent less saturated fat than palm oil, but at comparable prices.

    BEYOND LEGISLATION?

    While Singapore has advanced legislation in restricting tobacco and alcohol, HPB CEO Zee Yoong Kang believes more can be done in the field of creative regulations.

    He is especially interested in workplace health. “I see untapped potential to build on existing government initiatives,” he says. “For example, we could reach out to the workplace in collaboration with other agencies outside the healthcare system.

    “The Ministry of Manpower owns the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA). But if you look at the ‘H’, it is a narrow definition as it focuses on occupational health, like not falling from heights, wearing masks and particulate matter in the air.

    These are less relevant to office workers who form the bulk of the Singaporean workforce.

    “I believe that the HPB has a role in helping to widen the definition of ‘Health’ in WSHA by getting employers to look at chronic disease management in the workplace, ergonomics, mental well-being and so on.”

    STICKER PERMISSION TO DO RIGHT

    The behavioural sciences have enjoyed tremendous policy attention in recent years. At the heart of behavioural science? Making it easier to do the right thing.

    The HPB’s ‘Healthier Choice’ logo is a simple display to make it easy for consumers to elect, at the point of ordering, healthier choices. The sister ‘Ask For’ programme empowers consumers to request hawkers to cook their food with less oil, less sugar, less salt or more vegetables. The ‘Ask For’ sticker is essentially a visual ‘permission’.

    The latest initiative is a ‘Healthier Hawker’ programme launched in 2011, under which the entire hawker centre commits to offering healthier options. Yuhua Hawker Centre, a pioneer in this scheme, reported a tripling of sales of dishes made with brown rice and wholegrain noodles. Importantly, earnings went up by at least 10 per cent, thus encouraging hawkers to stick to the programme.

    This year, the health ministry announced another 40 food outlets would be included.

    AWARDS AND SMART SUBSIDIES

    At the corporate level, Mr Zee surfaces an idea that plays on Singaporeans’ penchant for pursuing awards. Referring to the Singapore Quality Class and Singapore Quality Award, he wonders: “Health should also be a component for assessing this. As part of the SQC/ SQA requirements, why not include health? The goal is not to create new awards. There is potential here.”

    He is also keen for the HPB to do more in terms of “smart subsidies”. Referring to the ‘Healthy Hawker’ initiative, Mr Zee questions: “Are we smart about how we go about this? Right now, we have to persuade each individual hawker, which is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort and resources. So we are starting to look into using smart subsidies.

    “In the past, we changed salt and put potassium iodide in the salt. If you try at the retail level it won’t work. You’ll need to do it at source. Can we work with the manufacturers?

    “At the retail level, think about how much oil costs for each individual bowl of noodles — hardly anything. You need to intervene at the appropriate juncture in the supply chain. So, there is no point taxing sugar, you won’t really modify consumer habits. But if you subsidise peanut/canola oil instead of palm oil, you can shift behaviour on the part of the hawkers.”

    MARKET AND POLITICAL WILL

    Going far beyond health education, the HPB is trying to embed health in society, in the ecosystem of the market. Using tools far more familiar to market research companies and vendors of fast-moving consumer goods, the HPB wants to make health easier, more natural and mainstream.

    Why has not this notion taken root around the world? Mr Zee describes the strong support that health promotion has from the highest echelons of government. In Singapore, the Prime Minister fronts the annual National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign and it is expected that political leaders lead by example — often not just flagging off runs but also taking part.

    Asked what lessons the board can offer to other countries, the CEO demurs, saying every country is different.

    His parting words, though, are: “Political will is the secret sauce”.

    ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


    Dr Jeremy Lim is a Founding Member of the ASEAN Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Network and Fatimah Z Alsagoff is with its Secretariat. The Network is an informal grouping of healthcare experts with a shared passion and commitment to improving care for NCDs in Southeast Asia.

    This interview is part of a series on healthcare innovations in ASEAN. To read the earlier piece, go to tdy.sg/comcancer19sept

  7. #7453
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A*STAR robotics programme to help drive manufacturing productivity



    A demonstration of how a robotics system is used to polish the surface of a marine propeller. Photo: A*STAR


    TODAY

    ByTiara Hamarian
    7 hours 2 min ago


    SINGAPORE — Employers who rely on manual labour to do dirty, dangerous and demanding work can now use robots to take on such tasks.

    Singapore’s public research agency, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), launched an Industrial Robotics Research Programme in July, aimed at developing and improving robotic systems to fill some gaps faced by certain industries in their work. It also seeks to raise productivity within some industries, such as the marine and aerospace sectors.

    Yesterday, the agency conducted a media briefing to showcase how robotics capabilities in Singapore are being developed to increase productivity for the manufacturing workforce of the future.

    In the marine and offshore sector, for example, welding of joints can done using robotics. Previously, it would take two days, two 12-hour shifts by two workers to weld one joint. With a robotics system, the time taken to weld can be cut by half.

    “There is significant opportunity for public R&D institutes in Singapore to collaborate with private companies in these sectors to raise manufacturing productivity and competence,” said A*STAR.

    Tru-Marine, a marine maintenance, repair and overhaul company, is one such small and medium enterprise (SME) which has jumped onto the robotics bandwagon.

    A new repair system developed by SIMTech, an A*Star research institute, has meant that manpower training takes only two weeks, compared to a minimum of half a year before an operator is qualified to do repairs. It has also resulted in greater consistency.

    The estimated cost of adopting a robot ranges from S$65,000 to S$150,000, depending on the technology involved.

    A*STAR was unable to say how many SMEs have switched to robotics since the programme was launched.

    The International Federation of Robots forecasts that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 million industrial robots in operation, a significant increase from the 159,000 units being sold last year.

    “Robots can be very much a part of our daily lives and that is what is happening right now,” said Dr Marcelo Ang Jr, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

    The programme sees a collaboration of researchers from different institutions like A*STAR research institutes (SIMTech and Institute for Infocomm Research), NUS, Nanyang Technology University and other local and overseas universities and research institutes.

  8. #7454
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    Default Challenge for urban planners: Better integrating groups into society

    TODAY

    By Sumita Sreedharan
    7 hours 6 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Rather than infrastructural or technological hurdles, the biggest challenge confronting urban planners over the next two decades could be on the social front.

    Banyan Tree Holdings Chairman Ho Kwon Ping said this yesterday, as he noted how policymakers would have to work at better integrating groups, such as the aged, the disabled and foreign workers, into Singapore society.

    Speaking at a panel session during a conference organised by the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Mr Ho said: “The transformational challenges for Singapore over the next decade or two are, in fact, not going to be physical at all, they are not going to be technological at all and, in fact, if you look at the world’s greatest cities, their greatest challenges are social in nature, it is the threat of social disintegration and the challenge of social cohesion.”

    Other panellists had suggestions to co-locate services, such as nursing homes or day care centres, within the community.

    Dr Aline Wong, Academic Adviser for SIM University, felt that community spaces, such as void decks, should be allocated based on needs, rather than be given to the highest bidder.

    “At a local level, there is tremendous competition for space. And the allocation system, if it depends on the market, may not be the most efficient, as it’s not where the local needs are,” said Dr Wong, who once helmed the Housing and Development Board and was Senior Minister of State (Health and Education) from 1995 to 2001.

    The conference also heard from Urban Redevelopment Authority Chairman Peter Ho that the URA is taking a serious look at ways people can work from home and in offices in suburban areas outside the city.

    The event was held in conjunction with former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s 90th birthday and aimed at understanding Mr Lee’s role in the transformation of Singapore, in the areas such as urban planning and housing policy.

  9. #7455
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default McLaren to open Asia-Pacific HQ in Singapore

    Motor Racing


    McLaren Applied Technologies’s regional headquarters here will be its first ever office registered outside of the UK


    TODAY

    1 hour 3 min ago

    SINGAPORE/WOKING (United Kingdom) — McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) has announced that it has established the headquarters of its Asia Pacific operations in Singapore today (Sept 18), ahead of this weekend’s 2013 Singapore Grand Prix.

    The new HQ will be the first registered MAT office outside of the UK.

    With a large number of multi-national high technology companies located in Singapore, MAT is expecting to significantly increase its client base in the country, and eventually, throughout the region.

    Singapore is an attractive location because it has a business-friendly environment and an extremely strong education system which produces a consistent supply of talented scientists and engineers, according to MAT.

    MAT Singapore will act as a hub, supporting the company’s entire Asia Pacific operations, enabling it to expand its business across the fast growing region.

    “McLaren Applied Technologies and Singapore have a lot in common. MAT is a young, dynamic, fast growing, high-technology company and we see many of the same attributes in Singapore. That is why we have chosen to locate our new Asia Pacific HQ here,” said MAT Managing Director Dr Geoff McGrath.

    “We have a number of well-established partnerships with blue chip companies that are based in Singapore or who have major operations here. There are also strong prospects for future growth in the country and the wider Asia Pacific region as we begin to develop new relationships with some of the exciting, cutting edge companies operating everywhere from Japan to Australia.

    “Today’s announcement will open up further opportunities for growth and marks an important milestone in the development of MAT as a global technology company.”

    In addition, MAT has also announced the appointment of its first Regional Director for its Asia Pacific operations. Based in MAT’s Singapore HQ, Mr Kok Leong Lim has been promoted from within MAT and will take responsibility for the company’s activities across the Asia Pacific region.

    “This is a hugely exciting time to be appointed as MAT’s first regional director for Asia Pacific. MAT is growing internationally, as our unique approach to technological and design challenges is increasingly being recognised and sought after,” said Mr Lim, Pacific Regional Director for MAT.

    “The Asia Pacific region is already extremely important to us and will become increasingly important as we grow. It is a highly dynamic part of the world and as a Singaporean it’s particularly pleasing to be able to locate our first regional HQ in the country. I believe MAT has a bright future in the region and around the world.”

    MAT is one of McLaren Group’s most diverse and fast-moving businesses and has a mission to achieve breakthroughs in performance using advanced technology, intelligence and design. With expertise in modelling, simulation, design engineering and human high performance, the company’s expertise covers markets including health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, energy and automotive.

    MAT is already working with a number of blue chip partners in the Asia Pacific region, including IO and GlaxoSmithKline.
    Last edited by Loh; 09-19-2013 at 02:42 AM.

  10. #7456
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SIA partners Tata group to set up new airline in India

    Published on Sep 19, 2013
    9:55 PM




    A Singapore Airlines (SIA) aircraft at the Changi Airport on April 18, 2013. Singapore Airlines has joined hands with India's Tata Sons to start a new full-service airline in New Delhi. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    By Karamjit Kaur

    Singapore Airlines has joined hands with India's Tata Sons to start a new full-service airline in New Delhi.

    In a major announcment on Thursday evening, SIA said the parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and applied for approval from authorities in India.

    Subject to approval, the airline will be 51 per cent owned by Tata Sons and 49 per cent by SIA.

    "We have always been a strong believer in the growth potential of India's aviation sector and are excited about the opportunity to partner Tata Sons in contributing to the future expansion of the market," said SIA's chief executive officer,

  11. #7457
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore’s enduring competitive advantage



    Project Jewel — the plan to transform a car park into an architecturally iconic global attraction — is an example of the continuous effort to build up Singapore’s soft assets. Photo: Changi Airport Group


    TODAY

    By Zaid Hamzah
    5 hours 45 min ago

    When Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam spoke recently of the vision of Singapore as the New York of an integrated ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations), that reminded me of past calls for Singapore to become the Geneva of the East or the Switzerland of Asia.

    In the recently released 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Global Competitiveness Report, Switzerland retained its ranking as the world’s most competitive economy; Singapore was No 2.

    Based on “hard metrics”, the WEF assessed that Singapore boasts one of the world’s best institutional frameworks, a world-class framework, and sound macroeconomic environment and fiscal management.

    But what these metrics do not measure are the “soft” metrics of what makes a nation competitive. Like all things qualitative, this is more difficult to pin down in hard numbers.

    THE ‘SOFT METRICS’ THAT MATTER

    More than two decades ago, the Singapore Government set its sights on becoming the Geneva of the East with a Swiss standard of living. Today, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization has its Asian office in Singapore. According to WEF data, Switzerland’s per capita income (at purchasing power parity) was US$81,161 (S$101,023) as of last year, while Singapore was at US$49,271. So, is Singapore on the way? Not really — it all depends on what you perceive as the “Swiss standard of living”.

    Still, when you look at how Singapore has evolved as an economy and as a society, you will see that the soft metrics that define the quality of national leadership, as well as the strategic ability to respond to a more fluid and complex world, are actually the more enduring source of our competitive advantage.

    Nassim Taleb, in his seminal book on antifragility, talks about the critical importance of agility and flexibility to survive unpredictable change. “Fragility is the quality of things that are vulnerable to volatility,” he says. “Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle,” he adds. For societies to become more antifragile, Taleb argues, we should embrace unpredictable change rather than chase after the illusion of stability.

    The WEF report states: “Singapore has world-class infrastructure, with excellent roads, ports, and air transport facilities.” If the drivers of competitiveness were merely the fact of having more runways and better capacity, or integrated services which are efficient with high productivity, all that can be replicated.

    The stronger driver, though, is our nimbleness and our ability to act on foresight and create new value. When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled Project Jewel in last month’s National Day Rally — the plan to transform a car park into an architecturally iconic global attraction — that was an example of the continuous effort to build up Singapore’s soft assets.

    NEVER STOP PEDALLING

    We have to constantly revitalise, rejuvenate and strengthen the Singapore country brand. We do not really have a choice. Managing the Singapore economy is like riding a bicycle: Stop pedalling, and you cannot move forward.

    The way we manage the challenges in the next phase of growth must be two-tracked: First, maintain the “hard” aspect of economic development and stay the course in the race of nations.

    Second, continue to invest in the “soft” side of the national asset balance sheet — which includes trust and integrity, strong financial institutions and a country brand. More importantly, we must sharpen and refresh our strategic ability to read weak signals; understand the bigger forces that shape economies and societies; and respond quickly to ensure strategic impact and secure returns on investment.

    If we are to take Taleb’s advice, we must love “the random chances of life and embrace small pieces of adversity as opportunities for improvement”. This “soft” but strategic skill is more difficult for others to replicate, and herein lies our enduring competitive advantage which we must nurture in future generations.

    GOING AHEAD, IT’S ABOUT BRANDING

    In the new growth order, where innovation and a productivity-led economic growth will increasingly become the base for a higher quality of life in our maturing economy, we will have to sharpen the soft side of our competitive abilities — such as our education ecosystem, which is strategic to a more knowledge-based economy of the future.

    We have attracted global elite schools to our shores to add intellectual depth and breadth; we have positioned ourselves as the leading educational hub in Asia. We now have world-class institutions such as the Yale-NUS College for liberal arts. Leading global business school INSEAD has long been here. Now, the Singapore University of Technology and Design is pressing ahead to become the MIT of the East.

    Coming up with “hard” infrastructure for education is not difficult; almost any country can do that. But securing the buy-in of an elite foreign school to establish its offshoot on one’s shores is a far more complex feat, for they will not come unless they trust your brand.

    At 48 years old, Singapore has managed the transformation of its economy quite well; it is now time to push its brand forward in the global contest, be it in the field of education, economic management or social innovation.

    For example, given the uniquely Singapore experience in dealing with the challenges of water security, we could become a global brand in water technology education. I am not just talking about the technical dimension, but also the strategic mindset and analytical framework needed to detect shifts in undercurrents and turn adversity into opportunity.

    The Swiss focus on a few things and they do these very well. So, just as Switzerland has built a strong country brand around a few high-value sectors, such as its watch, banking and pharmaceutical industries, Singapore can find its own niches.

    After all, historical circumstances had led Singapore to find its own unique pathways for growth in the past.

    To endure, Singapore must be antifragile. To be antifragile, we will have to maintain our edge, which is our capacity to embrace difficulties and constantly seek to turn adversity into opportunity. Let this be the brand identity that history will recognise Singapore for.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Zaid Hamzah is an author, intellectual capital practitioner and Director of Intellectual Futures Private Limited, a company that specialises in intellectual capital management.

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    Default Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Singapore on Friday for first visit

    Published on Sep 19, 2013
    6:00 PM



    Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's opposition leader, begins a four-day visit to Singapore on Friday, Sept 20, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP


    By Jeremy Au Yong

    The trip is her first visit to the country and also her first bilateral visit to an Asean country since she was released from house arrest three years ago.

    In Singapore, she is due to call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

    Ms Suu Kyi, who is the chair of the Lower House Committee for Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquility in the Myanmar parliament, will also visit ITE College East and receive briefings from several government agencies.

    Over the weekend, Ms Suu Kyi will deliver two speeches, one at the Singapore Summit and another at the Singapore Management University's Ho Rih Hwa Leadership in Asia Public Lecture Series.

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    Default Toa Payoh's 'god tree': Fallen, but not forgotten

    Landmark felled by storm, but site will remain a place of worship for devotees



    Published on Sep 20, 2013
    7:55 AM

    By David Ee And Melody Zaccheus

    As modern Singapore grew around it, the towering ficus tree stood firm.
    For four decades, it bore witness to the prayers and dreams of devotees who worshipped at a Buddhist shrine at its foot.

    That was until last week, when a storm brought the six-storey landmark in Toa Payoh Central crashing to the ground.

    For worshippers drawn to its Goddess of Mercy statue and four-faced Buddha, the collapse of the great tree seemed to signal the end of an era.



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...M_3845246e.jpg
    Workers clearing away the remains of the ficus tree in Toa Payoh Central that fell during a storm last week. Regarded by believers as a ''shen shu'' - or ''god tree'' in Mandarin - the tree was said to be more than a century old. For four decades, devotees had worshipped at a Buddhist shrine at its foot. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...0_3845176e.jpg
    DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: The shrine may have been damaged, but plans are under way for a new shrine to be built by early next year. -- PHOTO: RAZOR TV



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...5_3845206e.jpg
    COME ONE, COME ALL: The shrine, which housed a four-faced Buddha and the Goddess of Mercy, attracted many devotees and tourists. -- ST FILE PHOTO



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...1_3845190e.jpg
    LONG LEGACY: The shrine was set up in the late 1960s. -- ST FILE PHOTO


    But the area's residents are not ready to let go just yet.

    Toa Payoh Central Merchants' Association told The Straits Times that it plans to erect a new shrine by Chinese New Year, with the remaining parts of the ficus as its backdrop.


    Background story

    TIME TO MOVE ON

    I do feel an attachment to the place and the people in the neighbourhood, having lived here most of my life. But it's time to go.

    - Mr Chen Zhou Rong, caretaker of the shrine under the tree, and son of the monk who brought the statue of the Goddess of Mercy there

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    Default New lizard in town at Gardens by the Bay

    Caribbean native, the brown anole, spotted at Gardens by the Bay



    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    8:07 AM



    A brown anole sunning itself at Gardens by the Bay. The lizards could have arrived on shipments of plants for the garden. -- PHOTO: CHAN KWOK WAI


    By Grace Chua

    A new foreign talent has settled at Marina Bay: a small brown lizard called a brown anole from the Caribbean.

    The pencil-length reptiles are likely to have arrived on shipments of plants for Gardens by the Bay, said researchers who first observed these lizards sunning themselves and courting potential mates there last October.

    But will brown anoles cause trouble for native species? The National Parks Board (NParks) is monitoring them to see what their impact on other creatures and plants might be.

    Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research scientific officer Tammy Lim, 25, was at Gardens by the Bay last October waiting for colleagues for an outing when she saw a brown anole and snapped a photo of it, before seeing others nearby.

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    Default Formula One: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel wins Singapore Grand Prix for third time

    Published on Sep 22, 2013
    10:23 PM



    • http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...00pic2209e.jpg
      Winner Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (centre) stands with second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso (left) of Spain and third-placed Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland (right) on the podium during the awards ceremony after the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, Sept 22, 2013. Vettel became the first man to win the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix for the third time on Sunday night. -- PHOTO: AFP



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...01pic2209e.jpg
      Winner Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (centre) with second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso (left) of Spain and third-placed Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland (right) celebrate with champagne on the podium during the awards ceremony after the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, Sept 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...erPic2209e.jpg
      Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (second right) celebrates his victory with Team Principal Christian Horner (second left) Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain (left) and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland (right) during the awards ceremony following the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 22 2013. -- PHOTO: AP



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...ettel2209e.jpg
      Sebastian Vettel became the first man to win the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix for the third time on Sunday night. -- PHOTO: AP



      http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...ettel2209e.jpg
      Sebastian Vettel became the first man to win the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix for the third time on Sunday night. -- PHOTO: AP



      By Lee Yulin, Deputy Sports Editor


      SEBASTIAN Vettel became the first man to win the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix for the third time on Sunday night.

      The Red Bull ace, who had a perfect drive from pole to chequered flag, finished the 61 laps after 1hr 59min 13.132sec, 32.627sec ahead of second-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. The winning margin is the biggest in this F1 season.

      Vettel is now 60 points ahead of Alonso in the drivers' standings, with just six races left.

      The outstanding performance of the night has to be that of Kimi Raikkonen.

      The Lotus man, who is the 2007 world champion, had qualified a poor 13th after being bothered by a back problem which required pain-killing injections on Saturday. The Finn finished third to stand on the podium in Singapore for the first time.

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    Default Temasek Polytechnic to work with fish farm industry; $46k worth of help for students

    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    1:35 PM

    By Charissa Yong

    Temasek Polytechnic will be setting up a field laboratory in a fish farm here to research fish health management, as well as develop training courses for farm employees.

    The school signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday with Lubritrade Ocean, which acquired a fish farm worth about $1 million in June. The two organisations will set up an on-site field laboratory to research the health and nutrition of fish food.

    "The natural sea water conditions in cage fish farming would provide excellent test-bed conditions...This would enable us to develop a more realistic solution for addressing the needs and issues faced by local fish farmers," said Dr Lee Chee Wee, the director of Temasek Polytechnic's School of Applied Science.

    As part of the partnership, applied science students can get six full-term scholarships and three book prizes, amounting to $45,900 over a period of three years. Temasek Polytechnic will also be identifying suitable training courses for the farm employees to help them to manage farm operations more effectively.

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    Default Myanmar can 'learn from, not copy Singapore'

    Nation's success worth studying, up to a point, says Suu Kyi on first visit



    Published on Sep 24, 2013
    7:43 AM


    By Jeremy Au Yong

    Even as she seeks to learn from Singapore's institutions, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her country should not copy them wholesale.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday to wrap up her first visit here, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was, by turns, complimentary and critical of her hosts.

    Asked what she saw in Singapore that she might like to recreate in Myanmar, Ms Suu Kyi responded: "I don't think 'recreate' is the word, 'learn' yes."

    On education, for instance, she said Singapore's system was very "workforce-oriented", going by a presentation given to her by the Education Ministry and her tour of the Institute of Technical Education College East.




    Ms Suu Kyi meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday. They discussed Myanmar's development, and PM Lee reaffirmed Singapore's support for Myanmar's chairmanship of Asean next year. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

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