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Thread: Singapore Also Can
10-14-2013, 06:06 AM #7549
6,200 Singaporeans celebrate Singapore Day in Sydney
By Jeremy Koh and Melissa Chong
POSTED: 12 Oct 2013 19:20
Some 6,200 Singaporeans showed up at the Singapore Day in Sydney on Saturday to eat and make merry, as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean urged them and other overseas Singaporeans to stay connected to Singapore.
SYDNEY, Australia: Some 6,200 Singaporeans showed up at the Singapore Day in Sydney on Saturday to eat and make merry.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean urged them and other overseas Singaporeans to stay connected to Singapore.
Although those attending the event were away from home, the familiar sights, sounds and tastes of Singapore proved irresistible.
Queues had started forming outside the Singapore Day venue in Sydney before the event started at 10.30am.
Currently, there are over 50,000 Singaporeans residing in Australia.
Molli Ong said: "When we get together for a meal, we always talk about Singapore, and what Singapore is doing around the world so that Singaporeans can benefit."
Hawkers from Singapore were also flown in to provide a taste of home to those at the event.
Abdul Malik, owner of Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak, said: "We got the chilli, it's a little different so we put more onions to modify it, it’s 80 per cent the same.
“When they taste our food, they feel very at home, they will give us the feedback and they say it's very good."
And Australia-based Singaporeans, some of whom flew in specially for the event, formed long queues despite the hot weather.
One of them said: "I miss the food and the culture most as you can't really get it here or it's really expensive and it's really nice to be with people around here."
There was also a touch of glamour as famous faces turned up to entertain the crowd.
The event also provided updates on Singapore, including the latest public housing initiatives and career opportunities.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo said: "This is part of the globalised world, there are more Singaporeans who live and work overseas and it's also because more Singaporean companies are overseas.
“It's good for Singaporeans to have those kind of experiences, but we hope that all Singaporeans overseas will stay connected, will still feel a part of Singapore."
The Singapore Day event, organised by the Overseas Singaporean Unit, was previously held in cities like New York and Shanghai.
The next Singapore Day will be held in London in April next year.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (C, in blue) and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu (5th L, in red) join Singaporeans in the finale segment of Singapore Day 2013 in Sydney. (Photo: National Population and Talent Division)
10-15-2013, 10:15 PM #7550
Senior principals a boost for schools in heartland
They help raise profile of the schools and draw more interest from parents
Published on Oct 16, 2013
Cluster superintendent Tony Tan, 51, will head Northland Primary next year. He started out teaching mathematics at Hwa Chong Junior College in 1988, and headed Tao Nan School for eight years. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Mrs Regina Lee, former principal of CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), is now the principal of North Vista Secondary School in Sengkang. -- ST FILE PHOTO
By Amelia Teng
Most parents would be cautious about sending their children to a new primary school with no track record.
So Alexandra Primary, which opens only next year, surprised many by holding a ballot in this year's Primary 1 registration.
One of the school's draws, said parents and observers, is its principal Madam Chua Bee Lay, the current head of the popular Maha Bodhi School. Her deputy will be the vice-principal of CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Primary, Ms Chan Yan Hoon.
At West Spring Primary in Bukit Panjang, another new school which opens next year, all its 210 places have been filled.
10-15-2013, 10:23 PM #7551
Singapore Day draws criticism in Australia
Published on Oct 15, 2013
The organisers of a Singapore Day carnival in Australia have drawn flak for allegedly turning away non-Singaporeans. -- PHOTO: MINDEF
The organisers of a Singapore Day carnival in Australia have drawn flak for allegedly turning away non-Singaporeans.
Some Australians complained about being barred from the event, according to a report in the Australian newspaper The Telegraph on Tuesday.
The event at the Royal Botanic Gardens, held on October 12 in Sydney for the first time, was organised by the Overseas Singaporean Unit under the Prime Minister’s Office with the aim of keeping Singaporeans living abroad connected to their home country.
According to the event's website, Singapore Day is exclusively for Singaporeans and their families. To gain entry, people must also pre-register and bring along their electronic ticket.
But an Australian man called into a radio station 2GB to complain that he and his father had been turned away because “they were not Singaporean”, raising questions of discrimination
Royal Botanic Gardens acting executive director Brett Summerell was quoted by the Telegraph as saying that there was some “community concern” over the situation.
“My understanding was it was a private event and they paid a fee to hire out the area,” he said.
“We had initial concerns over people not being let in but they had told us people would only be turned away if it reached full capacity or they didn’t pre-register online.”
In its sixth edition since 2007, this year’s Singapore Day attracted more than 6,000 Singaporeans and featured local fare such as satay and chicken rice, and music and displays.
It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu.
Foreign guests can attend Singapore Day but admission is by ticket: Organiser
Published on Oct 15, 2013
Singapore Day is a pre-registered event for Singaporeans and their families, and admission is by ticket, the organiser said on Tuesday, after an Australian man claimed that he and his father were turned away from the event in Sydney because they were Caucasian.
"Admission is by ticket for purposes of crowd control and catering. These are indicated on our website." said a spokesman for the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) under the Prime Minister's Office.
"Singaporeans could bring along a guest who might be non-Singaporean, and also attend with family members who are non-Singaporeans as a family. Singapore Day 2013 was attended by Singaporeans, their family members and friends, of all races."
Singapore Day. which aims to keep Singaporeans living abroad connected to their home country, has been held in different cities like New York and Shanghai.
Last edited by Loh; 10-15-2013 at 10:28 PM.
10-15-2013, 10:54 PM #7552
More university places and courses to be available to Singaporeans next year
Published on Oct 16, 2013
More university places and courses will open up for Singaporeans next year with SIM University (in photo) and the Singapore Institute of Technology adding more degrees. -- PHOTO: MICA
By Sandra Davie
More university places and courses will open up for Singaporeans next year with SIM University and the Singapore Institute of Technology adding more degrees. UniSIM will add three full-time degrees to its part-time offerings. The courses in marketing, finance and accountancy will offer 200 places.
UniSIM has also been selected to host Singapore's third law school offering a law undergraduate course with a focus on family law and criminal law. The programme will be launched in the next few years.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat who announced this at the annual convocation ceremony for UniSIM graduates this morning also said that the Singapore Institute of Technology which currently offers niche degrees from overseas universities will run its own programmes from next year in infrastructure engineering, software development and accountancy. It will take in about 200 students into these three courses.
Mr Heng said the courses offered by UniSIM and SIT will integrate classroom learning with real life applications on the job.
10-16-2013, 12:53 AM #7553
Singapore shock Syria in Asian Cup qualifier
Kahirul Amri, Gabriel Quak score to give coach Stange his first competitive win as Singapore coach
14 hours 42 sec ago
SINGAPORE - Singapore ended a run of two defeats in a row in their Asian Cup qualifying campaign when they edged out Syria 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium tonight.
The Republic, who had lost 0-4 to Jordan and 0-2 to Oman in their previous Group A matches, weren't expected to get the better of their 143rd-ranked opponents who are 16 rungs above them in the FIFA standings.
National coach Bernd Stange had also indicated that he wanted to use this match and the next qualifier at home to Jordan to give the U-23 players in his squad more high-level competitive exposure in the run-up to this December's South-east Asian Games.
There was little to separate the two sides in a first-half filled with attempts at goal. Both Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny and his Syrian counterpart Mosab Balhous were kept busy and pulled off several good saves.
After a goal-less first half, it was Singapore who finally broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when striker Khairul Amri connected well with midfielder Hafiz Abu Sujad's cross to send the ball into the net.
Striker Gabriel Quak then made a dream entrance into the game as an 80th minute substitute for Amri when he scored within seconds of coming in.
Syria's Reja Rafe narrowed the deficit in the 88th minute with a strike from outside the box and the Syrians almost pulled off a 2-2 draw at the death when they forced Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny into making a great save.
Singapore's win means that they have climbed above Syria to third in their group. The Lions will now take on Jordan at home on Nov 19
10-16-2013, 01:01 AM #7554
Singapore stun Syria in Asian Cup qualifier
Gabriel Quak (left, with team-mate Hafiz Abu Sujad) scores what turns out to be the winning goal to give Singapore a 2-1 win over Syria. Photo: FAS
Win keeps Lions’ Asian Cup hopes alive, but Stange simply happy that team’s reinvention stays on track
By IAN DE COTTA
8 hours 43 min ago
SINGAPORE — It was a result that did not play to script and one that unexpectedly put the Lions in a position to fight and qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup finals in Australia.
But do not entertain that thought. It is just not going to happen.
After Singapore posted a shock 2-1 win over Syria in last night’s Group A qualifier at the Jalan Besar Stadium, national coach Bernd Stange said December’s SEA Games in Myanmar is still his priority.
Not this edition of the Asian Cup.
The road ahead in the qualifiers is tough, with key players missing for the return leg against Syria on Nov 15. Midfielder Hariss Harun and defender Baihakki Khaizan, who both put in lion-hearted performances, will be suspended after picking up a second yellow card each in the tournament, while wedding bells beckon for Safuwan Baharudin.
But what is acutely obvious, Stange added, is that beyond Syria, both Oman and Jordan are tough propositions. Although the Lions handed the German his biggest result to date since assuming the hottest seat in Singapore sports in May, the team is still under construction.
“The SEA Games is definitely my priority because we don’t have the strengths to qualify for Australia,” the 65-year-old said. “If we have injuries, if we have suspensions, we are not able to deliver a second team which can perform at this level. It’s obvious after tonight’s win.”
After a goalless first half, Singapore opened the scoring in the 62nd minute with a Khairul Amri stunner following good work by Hafiz Abu Sujad on the left. Gabriel Quak would double that 20 minutes later shortly after running on as a substitute.
Syria hit back through Reja Rafe with two minutes left on the clock and could have grabbed a late equaliser but for Hassan Sunny’s quick reflexes. Said Stange of the win:
“First of all, it is not (just) a good result to beat Syria 2-1, it is a very good result for Singapore.”
The Singapore coach pointed out that the Syrians are of a higher standard with high-calibre players who now earn their keep outside of their home country.
They arrived in Singapore after only training a few days together in Iran as their homeland is hit by civil war but were still a force to be reckoned with and were unlucky to leave the Jalan Besar Stadium without at least a point.
Syria missed several sitters and coach Anas Mahklouf said their game fell apart when Singapore scored the second goal in the closing stages. But Mahklouf dismissed suggestions the artificial field was a factor in their defeat, and paid tribute to the Lions.
“As a team they played well and they will have time to be better and better,” he added.
The hard-fought battle expended everything the Lions had in their arsenal and Stange said it will take time to build up a reliable back-up.
“With seven SEA Games-bound players starting, including Hariss and Safuwan, and with players like Hafiz showing promise, he said they can aim for a good showing in Myanmar.
Said Stange: “It was men against youngsters tonight, but it brought everything out of us and we cannot deliver more. That’s why we are absolutely proud today and are focused for the SEA Games. We don’t care about the next matches in this qualification because we have to be realistic. But today we are very proud we could achieve such a performance.”
After an embarrassing 6-1 loss to China last month, Stange said what stood out in the Syria match was the players’ attitude.
“We must avoid such defeats and be proud to play for your country, to do more, to fight, to give everything you have and today we saw a little bit of this attitude,” he said.
Singapore: Hassan Sunny; Madhu Mohana, Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin, Hafiz Abu Sujad; Khairul Amri (80 Gabriel Quak), Zulfahmi Arifin, Hariss Harun, Shahril Ishak (C); Adam Swandi (60 Shahdan Sulaiman), Shahfiq Ghani (55 Shaiful Esah
10-17-2013, 04:55 AM #7555
Does the ‘authentic’ Chinese/Malay/Indian S’porean exist?
TODAY File Photo
By Luke Lu
10 hours 52 min ago
What constitutes an “authentic” Singaporean representative of his or her ethnic community?
Singaporeans usually use three criteria to categorise and evaluate an individual according to race: Where were you born? What race are your parents? Do you speak your race’s language, and how well do you speak it?
Conceived in this way, our diverse cultural and linguistic practices become a dichotomy: That is either one is a good Chinese/Malay/Indian, or if one does not fulfil the criteria, one is “not Chinese/Malay/Indian enough”.
Let us take a look at the diversities in reality, with the Chinese as an example.
In 1979, a review of Singapore’s bilingual education (aka the Goh Keng Swee Report) was more concerned with the fact that too few Chinese students were making the shift to Mandarin from other Chinese languages that they spoke at home.
Less than 40 per cent of the pupil population managed to attain the minimum competency level in two languages.
The report proposed a series of changes that emphasised language learning in the early years of education, including academic streaming.
The first thing to acknowledge is that the Chinese population in Singapore never homogeneously used Mandarin as an exclusive home language. Our lament today over its “declining use” obfuscates the fact that we had similar problems in the 1970s trying to make individuals learn a language they did not speak at home.
This struggle to attain high proficiency in Mandarin will continue, because Mandarin has always competed against or co-existed with other languages in our social lives. These other languages used to be what we know as Chinese dialects.
Today it is English.
A CASE IN POINT
Born in 1981, I am very much a product of the changes implemented by the Goh report. My grandparents spoke Foochow and were hardly conversant in Mandarin. I cannot speak Foochow, because my parents never used it with me.
However, I am blessed with a father who went to an English-medium school and a mother who was Chinese-educated.
I picked up both languages naturally as both were in use in my family life. I took Higher Chinese till my O-Levels and scored a distinction for the subject, which meant that I was exempted from studying Chinese in junior college. It also meant that my schooling in Chinese stopped at the age of 16.
As much as I am still effectively bilingual in speech, other aspects of my Chinese literacy have suffered from lack of use.
I can read Chinese essays and newspapers fine, but have forgotten how to write particular characters unless I type with a computer.
I can write academic papers in English, but will have much difficulty doing so in Chinese due to a lack of technical vocabulary. And yet, I would like to think that my Mandarin and Chinese proficiency is as good as most Singaporeans can expect to achieve.
I count both English and Chinese languages, including bits of Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Foochow, etc, as intrinsic to my identity. I love red-date chicken (a traditional Foochow dish) as much as I do laksa and prata, though I do not see myself as territorially linked to China where my grandparents were from.
I consequently think of myself as more Singaporean than Chinese.
Am I still ethnically Foochow? Am I too rojak and anglicised to be Chinese?
It is difficult to say if any of us constitutes an “authentic” racial-Singaporean. But one thing is certain:
The diversities that we encounter in our daily lives are much more complex and heterogeneous than the dichotomy posited in mainstream notions of racial identity. It just so happens that the diversity in my own life is largely valued in our society.
Other linguistic practices considered “unauthentic” have become disadvantageous and may even invoke accusations of cultural duplicity: Peranakans who have never been exposed to Mandarin at home; my grandmother who only speaks Foochow; my Chinese friends who use Cantonese and English; individuals whose parents never spoke to them in their official mother tongues for a variety of reasons.
Language use in Singapore often transcends monolingual and monocultural frameworks. It follows that our language proficiencies, modes of learning and even identities should not be measured against the yardstick of an idealised educated monolingual.
Before we think about how to stop the decline of official mother tongues, we might be better off being comfortable with our own forms of bilingualism, pedagogy and standards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Luke Lu is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication, King’s College London
Last edited by Loh; 10-17-2013 at 05:02 AM.
10-17-2013, 10:44 PM #7556
Chingay 2014 to be biggest and most colourful yet
Some 70,000 people set to take part, double the figure of this year's event
Published on Oct 18, 2013
Chingay 2014 participants (above) showing part of the two hand-knitted tapestries, each 360m long, which will be featured in the parade. -- PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Volunteers (above) knitting part of the tapestries using cloth from recycled T-shirts. -- PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A dancer from yesterday's conference to announce Chingay highlights.
By Yeo Sam Jo
From giant puppets to galloping horses, next year's Chingay Parade is set to be the most colourful and grandest ever.
The annual Chinese New Year procession, set to take place on Feb 7 and Feb 8 at the F1 Pit Building, will be the biggest yet since it was first held in 1973.
Some 70,000 individuals, roughly double that of this year, will be involved in the parade to usher in The Year of the Horse.
Among the highlights is a contingent of some 30 giant puppets representing the local ethnic groups and professions such as hawkers and cabbies.
Spectators can also look forward to a parade of horses from the Singapore Turf Club as well as horse sculptures designed by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts students. Other participating groups include the Japanese Association, Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board.
10-17-2013, 11:43 PM #7557
Slow going at Marina South Pier as it lacks appeal of Clifford Pier
Published on Oct 18, 2013
By Walter Sim
It has been seven years since the iconic Clifford Pier ceased its ferry services.
But boat operators, who have since moved to Marina South, still reminisce about the good old days in the heart of the Central Business District, where business was better and life was more convenient.
Mr Chua Meng Chuan, the owner of CKL Motor Boat, believes the new pier lacks the appeal of Clifford Pier, which was renowned for its art deco facade.
''Marina South Pier is not a tourist attraction. We do not get many walk-in customers,'' said the 58-year-old, who has been in the family business for over 40 years.
He took over from his father, who was a pioneering entrepreneur when Clifford Pier, fondly referred to as Ang Teng Beh Tao (red lamp pier in Hokkien) due to the lights used to direct sea vessels, first opened in 1933.
In the early days, the bustling pier was a landing point for immigrants. It was also where goods made their way in and out of Singapore, and the departure point for tourists who wanted to visit the Southern Islands.
TODAY: The exterior (above) and interior of Marina South Pier, which opened on April 1, 2006. The three-storey building also houses the Singapore Maritime Gallery. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
1950: A bird's eye view of Kusu Island pilgrims (above) returning from their annual trip, which takes place in the ninth lunar month. The number of pilgrims has been falling, with 47,000 people making the journey last year, compared with 77,000 in 2007. -- ST FILE PHOTO
1980: A crowd of pilgrims at Clifford Pier awaiting their turn for a ferry ride to Kusu Island. The pier was closed on March 31, 2006. -- ST FILE PHOTO
Last edited by Loh; 10-17-2013 at 11:46 PM.
10-17-2013, 11:53 PM #7558
Work on three Thomson Line stations to start next year: LTA
Woodlands, Lentor, Mayflower stations and Mandai depot civil construction contracts worth S$1b awarded by LTA
26 min 44 sec ago
SINGAPORE — Four civil contracts worth S$1 billion have been awarded by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for three Thomson Line stations — namely Woodlands, Lentor and Mayflower stations — as well as Thomson Line’s Mandai depot, the agency announced today (Oct 18).
The Woodlands station contract has been awarded to GS Engineering & Construction.
The South Korean firm is also involved in the construction for other stations, such as River Valley and Tampines East stations. When completed, Woodlands station will serve as the interchange between Thomson Line and North-South Line.
The Lentor station contract has been awarded to China Railway No 5 Engineering (Singapore branch). Its parent company has contributed to constructing roads, railways and other public works across China.
The Mayflower station contract has been awarded to Gammon Construction Singapore Branch (GPL). GPL has contributed to other LTA projects, and is currently involved in Downtown Line’s Chinatown station.
These stations will serve to connect the Thomson Line to the North-South and Circle Lines through Woodlands and Caldecott stations respectively to improve connectivity for commuters working and residing in Woodlands, Lentor, Thomson and Ang Mo Kio, said the LTA. They will also serve as Civil Defence shelters.
In addition to the various Thomson Line stations, LTA also awarded the construction of Thomson Line’s Mandai Depot to Jurong Primewide. The company is currently involved in constructing the depot for Tuas West Extension.
Construction works are expected to start by the first quarter of next year. The Woodlands interchange station and Mandai depot are scheduled to be completed in the year 2019 while Lentor and Mayflower stations are scheduled to be completed in 2020.
Fully underground, Thomson Line comprises 22 stations, including six interchange stations: Woodlands, Caldecott, Stevens, Orchard, Outram Park and Marina Bay.
10-18-2013, 12:19 AM #7559
UTown a major hub for NUS students and faculty
By Amir Hussain
5 hours 39 min ago
Spread across 19ha, the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) University Town (UTown) serves as a major hub for NUS students and faculty. Opened in August 2011, the first residential college here boasts spaces and facilities designed to enable students to foster closer ties with their peers and teachers.
Besides classrooms and arts and sports facilities, a host of retail amenities can be found at UTown. These include a bookshop, cafes, restaurants, food courts, a pharmacy, a sports shop and a mini-mart. UTown also hosts Singapore’s largest Starbucks cafe, making it a great place to hang out, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong quipped at the college’s official opening yesterday.
UTown’s four undergraduate residential colleges and a graduate residence will together house more than 4,000 students from diverse backgrounds.
Beyond enhancing students’ learning environment, UTown will also facilitate community engagement and active citizenry.
For instance, through the Capstone Programme, students from the College of Alice (Arts?) and Peter Tan collaborated with ITE College Central and the Wellness Centre at Teck Ghee Community Club to develop a Healthy Eating programme for 100 seniors.
A total of 1,800 students currently reside at UTown’s residences, and NUS says it will expand the residential-college programme progressively over the next few years.
10-18-2013, 02:05 AM #7560
NUS to get facelift with sports centre, residential college
- By Tiara Hamarian
SINGAPORE — The grounds of the National University of Singapore (NUS) will be transformed into a more vibrant college campus in a few years, with “bustling hubs” that are aimed at changing the way students live and learn.
A newly built University Sports Centre with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, fitness labs, eateries and a revamped common area, as well as new funding schemes, were some of the initiatives laid out yesterday by Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of NUS, during the NUS State of the University Address 2013.
Another change set to happen is the transformation of the university’s Ridge View Residence into the Ridge View Residential College (RVRC).
This follows the success of the University Town (UTown) Residential Colleges, which offer the convenience of campus living and multidisciplinary academic programmes, bringing different groups of people together to enhance experiential learning.
UTown was designed to create settings that maximise peer-to-peer learning within the classroom and outside of it, and the RVRC is designed towards that end.
Prof Tan believes the initiatives will help more than two-thirds of its Year 1 undergraduates gain “strong intellectual and personal-development benefits” from its Residential College programmes. NUS admitted about 6,800 first-year students in the Academic Year 2012/13, with 800 currently staying at the four residential colleges in UTown.
The university will put in place a pilot programme next year that will allow the RVRC to house a total of 700 students by 2016, including 600 Year 1 undergraduates from different schools. These students will do small-group multidisciplinary modules over the course of a year, along with various co-curricular activities.
Also in the pipeline are plans to offer the Residential College programmes to other residences in the campus. Prof Tan believes this will put the university in a “good position to consider the eventual extension of these programmes to all Year 1 undergraduates in the longer term”.
Apart from the facilities, Prof Tan also spoke about the “rich opportunities” NUS will offer to pioneer research and develop new strengths through its programmes. Such pioneering work, he said, would be “highly relevant to Singapore’s longer-term competitiveness as a knowledge-based economy and society”.
Next year, NUS will start an internal competitive research funding scheme under Deputy President for Research and Technology, Barry Halliwell, to “stimulate the development of fresh thinking, original research approaches and collaborations” in the university.
Along with the scheme, NUS plans to create 50 new posts through donations to recruit or support “young and mid-career faculty” staff doing creative work. It will launch the scheme by advancing funding for up to 20 posts under the Provost
- By Tiara Hamarian
10-18-2013, 02:52 AM #7561
Singapore maintains 5th position in Global Power City Index
By Olivia Siong
POSTED: 17 Oct 2013 20:48
SINGAPORE: Singapore has maintained its fifth position in the latest Global Power City Index, a ranking of the world's cities by a Tokyo-based think tank.
The Index evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their ability to attract creative people and businesses from around the world.
This is the sixth time the Global Power City Index is being announced by the Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation.
Overall, London came in first for the second year in a row, followed by New York, Paris and Tokyo.
While Singapore retained its number five spot, a place it has held since 2009, it was ranked 11th in 2008 -- the first time the Index was announced.
In the survey, a total of 40 major cities were assessed on various components such as the economy, research and development, and liveability.
Other factors considered include cultural interaction, the environment and accessibility.
The survey was done from the viewpoints of various groups like managers, artists and residents. Researchers and visitors were also surveyed.
Singapore fared the best among managers, coming in second place, but it ranked the lowest among artists at 39th.
Singapore's highest ranking was in the cultural interaction component, where it came in fourth, while the city’s lowest ranking was in liveability at 34th place.
Heizo Takenaka, chairman of the Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation, said: "Singapore is consolidating their power at the base of education. Singapore is the education hub in the Asia Pacific, I think, that is one factor.
“Also, Singapore is very innovative in many fields. The government -- you have a very smart government actually, and they have a very positive mind towards reform."
At a conference on urban living in Singapore, experts were asked how urban living should be managed to ensure cities are liveable and sustainable.
Some 120 delegates from around the world attended the event.
One of the points raised during the conference was how urban living goes beyond just the infrastructure of a city; it also includes another element -- its people.
Eric Chu, the mayor of New Taipei City, said: "More importantly, is the people, especially to take care of newborn babies and ageing people. People is the key of the society, people is the key of the city."
And in Singapore, getting people engaged in public consultations also involves having to manage a variety of views.
Cheong Koon Hean, chief executive officer of Housing and Development Board, said: "We've always had public consultation for all our plans but I think now it's even more. You need to talk even more, and you need to give it time because they (the people) need to understand the plan and need to think about it."
Dr Cheong added time is also needed to consider the different trade-offs and to strike the right balance when it comes to implementing the development plans.
10-18-2013, 03:16 AM #7562
Improving tertiary education can't just be about increasing varsity places: PM Lee
Launching the National University of Singapore's (NUS) new University Town, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the challenge is for local universities to keep improving and serving Singaporeans better
By Sharon SeePOSTED: 17 Oct 2013 20:42
SINGAPORE: Improving Singapore's tertiary education cannot just be about increasing university places, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Launching the National University of Singapore's (NUS) new University Town, Mr Lee said the challenge is for local universities to keep improving and serving Singaporeans better.
The NUS University Town (UTown) cost S$600 million to build, and it is the first of its kind in Singapore.
It is an integrated living and learning environment, which features research centres, residential colleges and recreational facilities.
Launching UTown on Thursday evening, Mr Lee said it is an example of how NUS is enhancing its student experience.
"It shrinks NUS into a smaller community, so that students can foster closer ties with their schoolmates and teachers. Each college will have its distinct features, but all of them will emphasise multidisciplinary learning, with intensive small-group sessions to encourage interaction and discussions," he said.
Mr Lee said UTown is part of broader efforts to upgrade Singapore's tertiary education system. But he believes that improving tertiary education cannot just be about increasing university places.
Mr Lee said: "But improving tertiary education cannot just be about increasing university places. Other countries have found that having large proportions of students going to university does not necessarily guarantee happy outcomes.
"Take for example South Korea, where 70% of students attend university, but the Korean economy cannot generate jobs for all of them, especially jobs to match their training and their aspirations, so unemployment among university graduates is higher even than graduates of vocational high schools.
"Or take Denmark, a Scandinavian country, much admired and with much to learn from. 50% of each cohort attend university, but after they graduate, within a year more than a quarter of those who graduate are still unemployed."
He said Singapore's universities must equip students with skills that are relevant in the future, while maintaining their rigour and standards.
And this is a consideration even as the government expands the university sector, with Singapore's fifth and sixth universities offering full-time applied degree programmes from next year.
Their challenge, Mr Lee said, is to keep improving and serving Singaporeans better.
And this cannot be measured by international rankings alone.
He said: "Because our universities are unlike top universities in bigger countries - Harvard or Stanford in the US, Oxford or Cambridge, Beida or Qinghua in China, University of Tokyo in Japan.
"These admit a very small percentage of the university students in their countries. Whereas in Singapore, our universities admit the bulk of Singaporean students who are going to university, and therefore, besides maintaining good research rankings our universities have to work hard, to develop each student to his or her full potential."
At the same time, Mr Lee said Singapore's universities have important national and social roles - to develop students' character, imbue in them Singaporean values and ethos, and build lasting friendships.
PM Lee Hsien Loong at NUS' new University Town. (TODAY/Don Wong)
10-18-2013, 03:28 AM #7563
UniSIM to host Singapore's third law school
By Sharon SeePOSTED: 16 Oct 2013 10:37
UPDATED: 17 Oct 2013 14:30
SINGAPORE: SIM University (UniSIM) will host Singapore's third law school, announced Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at UniSIM's convocation ceremony on Wednesday morning.
This comes as the university, together with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is preparing to launch full-time degree courses from next year.
The idea for Singapore's third law school was mooted earlier this year to address the shortage of criminal and family lawyers.
Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat said: "In selecting UniSIM, we considered its strong track record in the provision of degree programmes for mature individuals, and its complementary offerings in the social sciences and humanities."
In the meantime, there is much the university has to do to in preparing to offer the new course.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, president of UniSIM, said: “ (We need to look at) the curriculum, how do we shape that bit of the programme that will enable the lawyers to come out to cater to that new needs, who do we get on board to teach, the kind of people who will be needed, who will be able to stress those areas.
“(We also need to look at) what broadening do we need to give to the lawyers, so that they have a broad view of the needs, of social needs, and so on.
“And then of course there are other things like how does the Ministry of Law, Ministry of Education come in to work with us to partner with us. How do we get the lawyers outside, the veterans, the people who know the systems to be able to help us with this.”
Mr Heng also said the new law school will have a strong applied curriculum.
Professor Cheong said: "We will still be training lawyers who will be able to be on par with the other lawyers trained by NUS and SMU, in terms of how they can qualify to the Bar.
“But I think apart from that, we want to give them a focus on the community, on social law, on criminal law, and various aspects that the Fourth Committee (on the Supply of Lawyers) had identified.”
Mr Heng said the Ministry of Law is now working with UniSIM to develop its programmes.
On his Facebook page, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said the new law school will provide Singaporeans interested in a career in law more opportunities and a new pathway to fulfil their career aspirations.
On Wednesday. Mr Heng also reiterated the government's commitment to ensure Singaporeans have such opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge.
And one such way is through the new full-time degree programmes at UniSIM and SIT, which will begin next year.
For a start, UniSIM and SIT will both offer up to about 200 places in their first intake next year.
And as Singapore's fifth and sixth universities, Mr Heng said they will both develop their own specialisation.
SIT will have a niche in subjects related to science and technology, and in 2014, it will offer programmes in engineering, information communications technology and accountancy.
UniSIM will specialise in business, human development and social services, and its full-time programmes will be in accountancy, finance and marketing.
The two universities will also offer a new applied learning programme with a strong focus on work attachment.
Mr Heng said: Some of you may be thinking, don't our universities now already have work attachment programmes? Yes, they do and those will continue.
“How these work attachments differ is this -- they will generally be longer and will offer a deeper immersion than current attachment programmes at our universities. This way, our students will be able to take on fuller, more meaningful projects at the organisations to which they are attached."
Meanwhile, Professor Cheong said: "What we want to do is to bring some of the nice features of our part-time programme into our full-time programme, so that the students who come to us -- they're fresh school-leavers -- they will get some of these things that have helped some of our part-timers.
“But at the same time, over time, I see that what we do with the full-time students, the preparation we give them to give into the workplace and so on, and the reflection we expect them to do once they've done their assignments for their attachments, will flow back into our part-timers because they also have things to learn.
“And when we put both into the classroom in some of the courses, we'll have magic because the part-timers will learn from the full-timers, both of them will learn from our professors and our adjunct staff will come from the industry."
The two universities are expected to release more details next week.
This week, some 2,000 students will receive their degrees over five sessions at the UniSIM's eighth convocation.
Among them is the first batch of students from the Master of Gerontology course.
Ms Eunice Tan, who was a social worker in the eldercare field for 17 years, decided to take up the course as she felt her knowledge was inadequate.
She has a chemical process technology diploma and a social work degree.
Ms Eunice Tan, 45, the top student in her Gerontology course, said: “I think the networking with my colleagues, with my classmates really helped (me) get to know different people from the same field and enable me to meet up with people who are like-minded in this area of caring for elderly.
10-21-2013, 04:07 AM #7564
NTU scientists discover a way to produce cheaper, more powerful solar cells
Published on Oct 21, 2013
By Melody Zaccheus
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered a way to produce cheaper and more powerful solar cells.
Made from organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite materials, these next generation solar cells, are about five times cheaper than the silicon-based solar cells available currently.
This is due to a simpler solution-based manufacturing process.
Perovskite is known as a useful solar cell material as it can convert up to 15 per cent of sunlight to electricity - close to the efficiency of the current solar cells, but scientists did not know why or how. The interdisciplinary research team from NTU was the first in the world to explain the discovery in a paper published in the academic journal, Science, last Friday.
"The excellent properties of these materials, allow us to make light weight, flexible solar cells on plastic using cheap processes without sacrificing the good sunlight conversion efficiency," said Dr Nripan Mathews, a senior scientist at the Energy Research Institute at NTU, who led a team of eight researchers alongside assistant professor Sum Tze Chien.
10-21-2013, 04:22 AM #7565
Flexibility for SIM University students to finish degree at own pace
Published on Oct 21, 2013
SIM University in Clementi Road. Some 200 students who enrol in the full-time SIM University degree courses next year can take as little as three years or up to six years to complete their studies. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MALCOLM MCLEOD
By Sandra Davie
Some 200 students who enrol in the full-time SIM University degree courses next year can take as little as three years or up to six years to complete their studies.
The pioneer batch selected for the full-time degrees - in finance, accountancy and marketing - will be allowed to complete their degrees in a shorter time by taking more courses each semester or by taking additional classes in the evenings with the part-time students. Students may even seek jobs mid-way through their studies. If they land one, they will then be able to switch from full-time to part-time studies.
UniSIM president Cheong Hee Kiat who gave out more details on Monday morning on the courses said "flexibility" will be one of the key features of his university's offerings. He explained how the fresh school leavers who enrol for the full-time courses can benefit interacting with the working adults who take part-time courses.
UniSIM's programmes, he said, will differ from the traditional degree programmes in that they are designed to produce graduates with three distinct qualities: professionals with strong skills in their chosen fields who are able to hit the ground running in the workplace; socially-minded individuals who are motivated to make a difference in society; and self-directed lifelong learners with strong work ethics and values.
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