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  1. #7617
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    Default S’porean ultra-runner wins Raleigh Challenge

    Sports





    Ong Kai Wei (right) and partner Law Chor Kin completed their run in 27 hours 57 minutes. Photo: Tai Fun Gin


    Ong Kai Wei is first from the Republic to clinch major Hong Kong trail race


    By Adelene Wong
    30 October


    SINGAPORE — Ultra-trail runner Ong Kai Wei created local sporting history last weekend when he became the first Singaporean to win the 156km Raleigh Challenge Wilson Trail (RCWT) in Hong Kong.

    The 38-year-old DSO National Laboratories researcher paired up with Hong Konger Law Chor Kin in the elite team event held in Nam Chung in the New Territories, which required a minimum of two runners to form a team and all team members to cross the finish line together.

    In all, 19 teams took part in the RCWT which had a cut-off time of 32 hours. Ong and Law eventually became the first team to cross the line in 27hrs 57min after one-and-a-half days of running.

    What made Ong’s feat even more impressive is the fact that the 36-year-old Law is the RCWT’s reigning champion and course record holder. He had clocked the event’s fastest time of 24 hours 50 minutes last year with another partner.

    Law, who is married, is also quite a celebrity in Hong Kong because of his ultramarathon feats. In July, he completed the 217km Badwater Ultramarathon 135 race in Death Valley, California — also known as the “Race Through Hell” — in 37hrs 50mins.

    Nonetheless, Ong was surprised, and later apprehensive, when Law first approached him in August to team up for the RCWT.

    “I am not as strong or as fast a runner as he is,” said the bachelor who first got to know Law at the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TC) last February when they ran 298km over three days during the Chinese New Year period.

    “On my own, I am probably able to complete 156km in just under 30 hours. So I told him that I was very concerned that I may not be able to keep up with his speed. But he reassured me that we can push through this together. In the end, I took up the challenge as it is such a rare opportunity to team up with an experienced runner like Law.”

    Law chose Ong after being impressed by his running during the HK4TC. He said: “I ran with him for some sections and was surprised by his speed and endurance in the mountains, given that Singapore has no mountains to train in.”


    To make sure that Ong could keep up, Law paced him throughout the race. That, in turn, meant he could not have a crack at setting a new course record this year. It was a gesture that Ong appreciated.

    “He was such a good motivator that the furthest that I lagged behind him was just about 80 to 100m,” said the Singaporean.


    Besides keeping up with Law, Ong felt the rocky terrain which constituted much of the trail and the elevation were the toughest parts of the race.

    “I observed and learnt from Law on how he tackled the terrains and took some pointers from him,” he said. “During our descents, it was especially difficult because one had to tread carefully and take care not to fall. We took quick, small steps akin to hopping to avoid falling over loose rocks we could potentially step on.”

    When they finally crossed the finish line, Ong not only felt a sense of relief but also of achievement. “It was such a rewarding experience,” he said. “There is not one point that giving up ever crossed my mind … I think that has always been my mantra which saw me through all my runs.”
    But he has yet to decide whether he would compete in the RCWT next year. “It’s still too far away to think about it,” he said.

  2. #7618
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    Default 101-year-old Fairfield Girls' building gets total makeover

    After 30 years of neglect, building is fully restored and has new occupants



    Published on Nov 01, 2013
    8:55 AM




    Standing in front of the restored building in Neil Road are (from left) Mr Patrick Tan, 45, who grew up on the grounds of the old school; his mother Ong Thian Wah, 72, a long-time staff attendant at the school; former Fairfield principal Tang Poh Kim, 72, and Fairfield alumni June Lim, 52, and Joni Ong, 53. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


    By Melody Zaccheus

    For a few minutes at noon, cheongsam-wearing teachers would get just as excited as their ponytailed students. From the louvred windows of the Victorian-style building that was then Fairfield Girls' School, they would reach out to the tau huay and ice- cream sellers outside.

    A cramped staffroom, where teachers shared small wooden desks; a school bell rung by hand; and a basement library where schoolgirls spent hours reading - these were some of the memories that came rushing back when former Fairfield student and, later, principal Tang Poh Kim, 72, stepped into the two-storey building at 178 Neil Road on Tuesday.

    It has now been finally restored, at a cost of $6 million, after nearly 30 years of being left in disrepair and disuse.

    "It's more than a building - it holds the memories and stories of the lives touched and the role the school had in building up the Christian community in the Chinatown area," said Mrs Tang, who started teaching in 1964 and left in 2000 after becoming principal in 1983, when Fairfield left Neil Road for Dover.


    Background story

    Funds sought for extra facility

    FAIRFIELD Methodist School (Primary) is still short of about half the $5 million it still needs to complete an upgrading project that began last December.

    It is now appealing to former students and the community to step forward to donate - just as American donor Mr Fairfield, whom the school is named after, did in 1912 for the construction of the girls' school at 178 Neil Road.

    The latest project, which was prompted by the Ministry of Education's Primary Education Review and Implementation programme, includes bigger classrooms, new learning laboratories and an indoor sports hall.

    While the Government is paying for 95 per cent of the upgrades which come under the programme, the school needs to pay for any extra facility.

    This includes a $4 million performing arts studio, to serve the school's award-winning school bands and drama, dance and choir groups.

    Expected to be ready by December 2014, the mission school has about a year to raise the remaining funds.

  3. #7619
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    Default NParks to hold 2 free public tours of Yishun and Tampines nature ways this weekend

    Published on Nov 01, 2013
    11:53 AM




    NParks will be holding two free public tours of Singapore's Nature Ways on Saturday and Sunday. -- FILE PHOTO: NPARKS


    By Charissa Yong

    NParks will be holding two free public tours of Singapore's Nature Ways on Saturday and Sunday.

    Nature Ways are routes planted with specific trees and shrubs to help animals such as birds and butterflies move from one green area to another. There are currently four such routes in Singapore, located in Yishun, Tampines, Admiralty and Kheam Hock.

    The first tour of Yishun Nature Way on Saturday will include a guided walk to spot butterflies and viewing heritage trees in the Seletar area. The second tour, of Tampines Nature Way on Sunday, includes visiting a butterfly garden as well as Changi's heritage trees. Both begin at 8.30am.


    The tours are organised in conjunction with the release of a children's book, titled Secrets of the Swamp, available in all bookstores from Friday.

  4. #7620
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    Default NEA taps polytechnic students to redesign, rethink food centres of the future

    NEA gets poly students to redesign, rethink ways to tackle current issues



    Published on Nov 01, 2013
    8:54 AM




    Poly students here seen holding up boards showcasing some of the design ideas they have proposed for the hawker centre of the future. The NEA approached students from Singapore Poly's School of Architecture and the Built Environment to help tackle long-standing problems such as overcrowding and patrons not returning food trays. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN


    By Janice Tai


    Those fond of "choping" hawker centre tables using tissue paper packets - a uniquely Singaporean habit - may in future flip up table tops and hook their umbrellas to reserve a spot instead.

    Wheelchair users
    may get more room at tables with chairs that can be stowed away when not in use.

    These are some of the ideas that Singapore Polytechnic students have come up with when tasked with designing the hawker centre of the future.

    The National Environment Agency (NEA) approached students from the polytechnic's School of Architecture and the Built Environment in April for the project to tackle long-standing problems - from overcrowding to patrons not returning food trays - plaguing the hawker centre scene.


    Background story

    FRESH PERSPECTIVE

    We need fresh ideas for some of the problems we have been struggling with for some time... and we can take some of these ideas, build prototypes and testbed them in our hawker centres.

    - Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

    SOME SUGGESTIONS

    • Chairs are retractable and can be stowed when not in use. This allows wheelchair users to access the table and frees up space for customers to walk or form queues.



    • Inspired by the standing sushi bars in Japan, a standing bar in the centre of hawker centres will allow more patrons to have a quick bite and closer interaction with others.
    • To recycle cans, students came up with a food trolley that is able to flatten drink cans on the spot.



    • Tables which have "flippable" top panels and hooks beneath them for users to hang their bags and indicate that the tables are taken. By doing so, patrons need not place their items on empty seats and deprive others of a place to sit.

  5. #7621
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    Default Singapore can be Poland’s partner of choice: PM Lee



    Mr Lee receiving an official welcome from Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the Guard of Honour in Warsaw. Photo: Tan Qiuyi


    The two nations ‘can be gateways for each other’ into their respective regions


    By TAN QIUYI
    11 hours 41 min ago

    WARSAW — Singapore and Poland can be gateways for each other into their respective regions, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to business leaders at a forum at the start of his first official visit to Poland.

    He said the country is one of the growing “bright lights of Europe” and Singapore can be its partner of choice.

    Mr Lee said: “You are 38 million, we are 5.5 million people of whom Singaporeans make up less than 3.5 million. Your land area is several hundred thousand square kilometres, our land area is 700 square kilometres.

    “So you’re much bigger than us — you have many more natural resources but, nevertheless, we hope we have something to offer and there’s advantage to both sides in working together.”

    Trade between Singapore and Poland increased 70 per cent over a decade, amounting to almost US$500 million (S$620 million) last year.

    This was far from the full potential of cooperation between the two countries, but it is a base from which to grow further, Mr Lee said.

    Bringing a business delegation along with him, Mr Lee sounded a positive note for Europe, which is still grappling with the euro-zone crisis.


    He said: “We believe that Europe has much to offer — Europe has a great deal of innovation, dynamism, new products, new ideas, and will be looking outward and not just within the European continent for markets, for opportunities, for partners.”

    Yesterday, Mr Lee met his Polish counterpart, Mr Donald Tusk. The two leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement between their countries’ research agencies, aimed at promoting joint research and increasing exchanges for their scientists.

    Mr Lee later told a press conference that the free trade deal between the European Union and Singapore will offer specific benefits for Poland. These include immediate duty-free access for goods, as well as the removal of non-tariff barriers.

    In Warsaw, Mr Lee also held an unexpected meeting with a small group of Singaporean students, who are in Poland on exchange programmes. They said it was a fortunate, last-minute arrangement that started with a Facebook message.

    Ms Chng Pei Ying, a Singapore Management University student who is on an exchange programme at Kozminski University, said she messaged Mr Lee on Tuesday afternoon and received a reply the next morning.

    “So we were very excited when we turned on our computer, and we invited all our friends this morning,” she added.

    On Wednesday evening, seven smartly dressed 20-somethings spent 45 minutes talking to Mr Lee in his hotel suite, hours after the Prime Minister had flown in from Paris.

    After the meeting, student Swenson Chen said: “I think it’s cool to share my experiences with him so far, two months in Poland.”

  6. #7622
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    Default New Bukit Panjang hawker centre breaks ground, to serve up affordable food in 2015

    Published on Nov 03, 2013
    12:43 PM









    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../29820851e.jpg
    (From left to right) National Environment Agency CEO Mr Ronnie Tay, Bukit Panjang Constituency MP Dr Teo Ho Pin, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (Zhenghua) Mr Liang Eng Hwa, and CEO of NTUC Foodfare Mr Perry Ong, pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hawker centre to be built in Bukit Panjang, on Nov 3, 2013. The Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre will be the first standalone centre to be completed in 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../29820853e.jpg
    Bukit Panjang residents look at an artist's impression of the Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre after the groundbreaking ceremony held on Nov 3, 2013. The hawker centre will be the first standalone centre to be completed in 2015. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../29820854e.jpg
    An elderly man passes by the area where the new Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre will be built on Nov 3, 2013. The hawker centre will be the first standalone centre to be completed in 2015. -- ST PHOTO : MARK CHEONG






    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../27007741e.jpg
    Artist's impression of the upcoming Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market, which will be located near Al-Iman Mosque and Block 259 in Bukit Panjang Road. -- ST PHOTO: HDB


    By Feng Zengkun

    The new Bukit Panjang hawker centre - the first of 10 planned centres - will have green features, parking and a variety of affordable dishes available all day.

    Its manager NTUC Foodfare will ask stall applicants to submit their proposed prices, concept and operating hours as part of its tender process
    , said its chief executive Perry Ong. "While we intend to have the best food here, we will ensure that the food centre has a good selection of basic and affordable food to help moderate the cost of living," he said.

    The hawker centre is expected to open in the second half of 2015 and will have 28 cooked food stalls, 14 market stalls and 15 lock-up stalls
    . Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan was the guest of honour at its ground-breaking ceremony on Sunday.

    Construction for the other nine new hawker centres will start in 2014 and 2015, and all are expected to be completed by 2017.

  7. #7623
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    Default Historian appeals for stories of Adam Park in WWII

    Published on Nov 04, 2013
    8:46 AM



    Military historian (from left) Jon Cooper with volunteers Kim Frost, 49, and Simon Pulford, 48, outside 11 Adam Park, where a planned excavation will take place early next year. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    By Melody Zaccheus

    The Adam Park Project wants to hear from Singaporeans who worked as cook boys and house servants or knew those who did when the site served as a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp in 1942 during the Japanese Occupation.

    Organisers hope these stories can help pinpoint which colonial bungalow out of the 19 there housed a chapel for prisoners, and give a better picture of what life was like there.

    "We are appealing to anyone who has heard stories of their fathers or grandfathers who worked in the area to also help provide a snapshot of how life was like then for civilians working with the POWs," said project initiator Jon Cooper, 48, a military historian and archaeologist.

    The site was the last battle line before Singapore fell to the Japanese on Feb 15, 1942. That battle was fought by a 1,000-strong Cambridgeshire Battalion for control of the southern shores of MacRitchie Reservoir.


    Background story

    INVALUABLE INSIGHTS

    We are appealing to anyone who has heard stories of their fathers or grandfathers who worked in the area to also help provide a snapshot of how life was like then for civilians.
    – Project initiator Jon Cooper, a military historian and archaeologist

  8. #7624
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    Default From S’pore, calling America: Hello? hello?

    Americas





    The American flag is at centre court of the Pepsi Center as the National Anthem is performed before the tip off for the opening home game of the regular season for the Denver Nuggets as they host the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Friday, Nov 1, 2013. Photo: AP


    By Thomas Friedman
    3 hours 31 min ago


    Having lived and worked abroad for many years, I am sensitive to the changing ways in which foreigners look at America. Over the years, I have seen an America that was respected, hated, feared and loved.

    But travelling around China and Singapore last week, I was confronted repeatedly with an attitude towards America that I have never heard before: “What’s up with you guys?”

    Whether we were feared or loved, America was always the outsized standard by which all others were compared. What we built and what we dreamt were, to many, the definition of the future.

    Well, today, to many people, we look like the definition of a drunken driverlike a lifelong mentor who has gone on a binge and is no longer predictable. And, as for defining the future, the country that showed the world how to pull together to put a man on the moon and defeat Nazism and Communism, today broadcasts a politics dominated by three phrases: “You can’t do that”, “It’s off the table” and “The President didn’t know”.

    A Singaporean official who has been going to America for decades expressed shock to me at being in Washington during the government shutdown and how old and emotionally depressed the city felt.

    “Few Americans are aware of how much America has lost in this recent episode of bringing the American economy to the edge of a cliff,” said Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy here and the author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World.

    “People always looked up to America as the best-run country, the most reasonable, the most sensible. And now people are asking: ‘Can America manage itself and what are the implications for us’” — if it can’t?”

    DEMOCRACY ON THE DEFENSIVE

    In talking to Asian college students, teachers, diplomats and businesspeople, here is how I would distil what was on their minds: “Are you really going to shut down your government again? Like, who does that? And, by the way, don’t think that doesn’t affect my business over here, because I’m holding a lot of dollars and I don’t know what their value is going to be. Also, how could the people who gave us Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, HP and Google not be able to build a workable healthcare website? I know it had five million users, but there are 48 million Indonesians on Facebook!”

    Worse, whenever you would visit China or Singapore, it was always people there who used to be on the defensive when discussing democracy. Now, as an American, you are the one who wants to steer away from that subject.

    After all, how much should we be bragging about a system where it takes US$20 million (S$24.8 million) to be elected to the Senate; or where a majority of our members of Congress choose their voters through gerrymandering rather than voters choosing them; or where voting rights laws are being weakened; or where lawmakers spend most of their free time raising money, not studying issues; or where our Congress has become a forum for legalised bribery; or where we just had a minority of a minority threaten to undermine America’s credit rating if we did not overturn an enacted law on healthcare; or where we cannot pass even the most common-sense gun law banning assault weapons after the mass murder of schoolchildren?

    I still do not believe there would be many takers for the commentary on the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, after the government shutdown, suggesting that it was “perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world”. But Xinhua got the befuddled part right.

    Many people would still line up in a blizzard to come to America, though for too many now, that is not because we are the “beacon on the hill” but rather “the cleanest dirty shirt”.

    NO NATURAL RESOURCES — BUT A NATURAL RESOURCEFULNESS

    Singapore
    is not a full-fledged democracy. What it does have is a government that wakes up each day asking: What world are we living in, and how do we best use the resources we have to enable more of our citizens to thrive in this world?

    Little things here catch my eye, like the ERP: The electronic road pricing system that greets you when you drive into the city centre and tells you every minute, via an electronic billboard, how much it will automatically charge you when you drive into the downtown. It constantly adjusts the price based on the number of cars that can comfortably fit the roads.

    The Bush team tried to fund a similar system to reduce congestion and pollution for Manhattan, but it was killed by other boroughs and lawmakers in Albany, New York. And that is what bothers me most today.

    It is not just that we can no longer pull together to put a man on the moon. It is that we cannot even implement proven common-sense solutions that others have long mastered — some form of national healthcare, gun control, road pricing, a petrol tax to escape our budget and carbon bind.

    As Mr Andy Karsner, the former Assistant Secretary of Energy who participated in last week’s New York Times forum here, remarked to me: “This is the first time I have visited Singapore where its modernity is not a novelty, but a depressing contrast.”

    Because, he added, you know that all the modernity and prosperity you see here “is not based on natural resources but on a natural resourcefulness — and on implementing with ease best practices, many of which ironically originated in the United States”.

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

  9. #7625
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    Default Food prices a criterion for stall bids at Bukit Panjang hawker centre



    Photo: Ernest Chua


    TODAY


    By Tan Weizhen
    6 hours 37 min ago


    SINGAPORE — In what is a first, how much a hawker wants to charge for, say, a plate of chicken rice, will affect whether he clinches a stall.

    Social enterprise NTUC Foodfare, which operates the new hawker centre in Bukit Panjang, is including selling price of food among its evaluation criteria of hawkers’ bids.

    The move is to keep prices affordable at the hawker centre, which will open in the middle of next year, said Foodfare Chief Executive Perry Ong. “Unlike the current tendering system, we will not be looking strictly at tender price. Affordability, the quality (of food), the concept of the stall will all be of weightage during the selection process,” he said at the hawker centre’s groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.

    “Stall tenants will have to submit to us what are the prices they want to sell (food at), so we are almost assured the residents in Bukit Panjang will have affordable meals.”

    High food prices, pushed up by higher rentals, came under the spotlight recently when a coffee shop on Hougang Avenue 4 reportedly traded hands at a record price of S$23.8 million. Following that sale, Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC Foo Mee Har asked in Parliament what safeguards the Government was putting in place to moderate potential rental increases for HDB coffee-shop tenants.

    In April, a survey of 541 hawker stalls also showed that several popular dishes had become pricier across the island.

    Mr Ong also said other concerns of Bukit Panjang residents — which it culled from a survey of 400 households — may be factored in during the tender, which is expected to be called in early 2015. For instance, residents had asked for longer opening hours.

    When asked if NTUC Foodfare will set a baseline rental, Mr Ong said more details will be out when the tender is called.

    Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, also hinted that more hawker centres — beyond the 10 that have been announced will come on board by 2017 — could be set up.

    The Government has committed to building at least 10 more hawker centres, and I must tell you a secret, Mr Liang Eng Hwa is already in the queue asking for more,” he said. “No promises yet!”

    Mr Liang, who is MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, had previously urged the Government to build 20 hawker centres in five years, instead of the 10 it has committed to. He told TODAY that he is in discussions with the NEA for a new hawker centre in the Senja area within his ward, but no timeline has been set.

    The Bukit Panjang hawker centre, which will sit on a vacant site next to Block 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, is within walking distance of Bangkit and Pending LRT Stations. It will have 28 cooked food stalls, 14 market stalls and 15 lock-up stalls.

    Construction of two other hawker centres is currently underway. Sited in Tampines and Hougang, they are integrated developments, co-located with the People Association’s new Community Clubs.

    Meanwhile, Dr Teo Ho Pin, who is MP for Bukit Panjang SMC, also announced that a Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for three precincts — including where the new hawker centre is sited — will start as early as the end of next year.

    Improvements such as covered walkways will be done, he said, and will take between two and three years.

    “What’s important is to make it seamless, barrier-free, and elderly-friendly. (And also) to provide variety in terms of choices, as well as to provide accessibility in terms of car parks,” he added.

  10. #7626
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    Default

    World champ Lee stops sailing to be fighter pilot





    Rachel Lee (right) and Cecilia Low, with their coach Zhang Yongqiang in 2012. Photo: Singapore Sailing Federation


    ByLow Lin Fhoong
    6 hours 38 min ago


    SINGAPORE — Rachel Lee, one of Singapore’s top female sailors who won last year’s 420 World Championships, has set her sights on becoming a fighter pilot with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), effectively shelving her dream of competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    A graduate of the Singapore Sports School, Ms Lee’s achievements in the sport include trophies at the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) Team Racing World Championship in 2006 and the 2007 South-east Asian (SEA) Games.

    The 20-year-old had enlisted in the SAF in February to commence training as a trainee pilot, and was awarded the SAF Merit Scholarship in September after finishing her service term at the Officer Cadet School.

    She is currently based in the United Kingdom, where she is studying for a degree in economics and industrial organisation at the University of Warwick.

    In 2010, Ms Lee began a successful partnership with team-mate Cecilia Low in the women’s 420 double-handed dinghy class, and the duo claimed the Republic’s first-ever gold medal — also a first for Asian sailors in the event — at the 2012 World Championships after beating 35 other boats at Lake Neusiedler, Austria.

    They were named Team of the Year (Team Event) at the annual Singapore Sports Awards in June this year, ahead of the national women’s table tennis team — bronze medallists at the 2012 London Olympic Games — and the national women’s bowling team.

    While the pair had initially planned to compete in the 2016 Olympics, Ms Lee now plans to pursue a different dream. “I had a very successful outing as a national sailor for the past eight years,” she said.

    “I love the outdoors very much; and the high level of competition motivates me to excel, both at sports and in my studies. I am contented with my achievements in my sailing career and am now looking forward to moulding my future in the SAF, hopefully as a fighter pilot.”

  11. #7627
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    Default First green MRT station unveiled









    National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan and SMRT chief executive and president Desmond Kuek at the new Eco-MRT station on Nov 4, 2013. Photo: Ernest Chua


    SMRT plans to turn more stations into environmentally friendly ones after official unveiling of revamped Woodlands station


    By Xue Jianyue

    1 hour 42 min ago

    SINGAPORE — The first environmentally friendly MRT station was officially unveiled at Woodlands today (Nov 4), with a promise of more to come from SMRT chief executive and president, Mr Desmond Kuek.

    Woodlands MRT Station underwent renovation to install natural skylights on station grounds, improved natural ventilation, smart air-conditioning and lighting systems and sensor-operated escalators and lifts which use energy efficiently.

    Works finished in March this year, and the station has became the first MRT station to be awarded the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark (Gold) since the scheme began in 2005.

    At the same time, tenants of Woodlands Xchange have become the first shop owners in the Republic to get the Project: Eco-Shop label.

    Jointly developed by SMRT and the Singapore Environment Council, Project Eco-Shop is a certification programme that encourages shop owners to adopt environmentally-responsible business practices.

    “These achievements encourage us to take greater strides in our quest to reduce our environmental footprint and we seek to adopt this model of ‘Green’ operations at our other MRT stations and Xchanges,” Mr Kuek said.

    In response to TODAY’s queries, SMRT said that it is conducting feasibility studies on two to three more MRT stations. One of them is a station at a regional centre.

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    Default Singapore no longer No 1 in expatriates’ eyes


    Source: www.expatexplorer.hsbc.com


    Republic falls to third place in annual global survey on most desirable countries for expats to work and live in

    TODAY


    By Kok Xing Hui
    5 hours 57 sec ago

    SINGAPORE — After holding the top spot for the past two years, Singapore has fallen to third place in an annual global survey on the most desirable countries for expatriates to work and live in.

    The Republic lost its crown in the HSBC survey this year — ranking behind China and Germany — amid concerns among respondents over job market security, integration with locals and the rising cost of living. The survey results were released last week.

    In particular, more than half the respondents in Singapore — compared to a global average of 39 per cent — cited job security as one of the top three threats to their financial well-being and confidence, said the report, which polled 228 expats here.

    While the Republic’s ranking has fallen, HSBC noted that year-on-year comparisons “are not statistically valid” due to changes to the methodology, questionnaire and sample set.

    The Expat Explorer report, now in its sixth year, questioned 7,004 expats across nearly 100 countries from April 29 to June 11 and factored four criteria — economics, experience, raising children abroad and expenses.

    Singapore has been tightening its foreign labour policies in recent years. Under the Fair Consideration Framework announced in September, employers are required, from August next year, to advertise job vacancies to Singaporeans for 14 days before they can turn to Employment Pass (EP) holders.

    Graphic designer Nandita Gupta, 30, who moved from India with her husband in 2010, said she faced difficulties looking for a job despite being on a Dependant’s Pass — where a spouse can obtain a letter of consent from the Manpower Ministry for them to be employed. “Most of the job advertisements say they want either Singaporeans or Permanent Residents. That works against us.”

    The Republic also fared poorly when it came to expats integrating into the local community — ranking 26th out of 37 countries.

    But some expats TODAY spoke to said they had settled in well.

    Client relationship director Loise Jacquette, 30, said it was not difficult for her to integrate when she relocated from France — thanks to local room-mates who introduced her to other Singaporeans and explained the cultural nuances. Making friends in Thailand was harder due to the language barrier, she said, although she does know of expats in Singapore who do not have local friends.

    The cost of living is a bigger problem for her
    . “Rent is awfully crazy ... At the moment I’m sharing an HDB flat in Commonwealth,” said Ms Jacquette, adding that the price of groceries had also increased.

    The survey showed that 65 per cent of expats here said they were spending more on groceries this year, while 63 per cent pointed to the higher costs of public transport.
    Education and childcare are also seen as expensive, but nearly eight in 10 appreciated Singapore’s quality of education.

    British media specialist Rob O’Brien, whose daughter was born last year in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, said: “Singapore is expensive, but there are ways to have children here and not blow the family budget. We couldn’t send our kids to a private school but I think the quality of teaching at our local school in Boon Keng is exceptional.”

  13. #7629
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Changi Airport's Kinetic Rain sculpture back in full swing

    Published on Nov 05, 2013
    9:04 AM


    The Kinetic Rain sculpture in Changi Airport Terminal 1 that was damaged by a woman on Saturday was back in action yesterday.

    The woman was arrested by police after she climbed onto the netting below.



    -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO



    Woman arrested for intrusion into Kinetic Rain sculpture at Changi Airport T1


    Published on Nov 03, 2013
    3:57 PM


    By Royston Sim

    A woman was arrested by the police after she climbed over the railing at Changi Airport Terminal 1 onto the netting below the Kinetic Rain sculpture on Saturday morning.

    A police spokesman said they received a call about the incident at 8.28am, and on arrival at the airport, officers arrested a woman in her 30s under the Mental Health Act.

    Investigations are ongoing, he said. A one-minute video circulating online shows the woman in a white dress perched precariously on the netting. Police officers later helped to pull her back onto safe ground.

    A Changi Airport Group spokesman said the Kinetic Rain display was damaged by the intrusion, with some strings on the art sculpture entangled. "We have referred the matter to the police and our engineers are arranging for the sculpture to be repaired."



    A woman was arrested by the police after she climbed over the railing at Changi Airport Terminal 1 onto the netting below the Kinetic Rain sculpture on Saturday morning. -- PHOTO: STOMP
    Last edited by Loh; 11-04-2013 at 07:43 PM.

  14. #7630
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    Default Singapore-China air links flying higher than ever

    Published on Nov 05, 2013
    8:25 AM



    Travellers flying to China from Singapore are benefiting from more destinations, flights and carriers as competition in the market continues to grow. -- PHOTO: SPH


    By Karamjit Kaur Aviation Correspondent

    Travellers flying to China from Singapore are benefiting from more destinations, flights and carriers as competition in the market continues to grow.

    In the past few days, airlines have launched new flights from Singapore to Jinan, Lijiang and Nanchang - cities known for their history, culture and beauty.

    When services to Guilin start in the coming weeks, Changi will be linked to 28 cities in China - more than for any other country from the airport.

    Singapore will also have more air links to China than any other South-east Asian nation.

  15. #7631
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    Default Swimming: Stars arrive ahead of Fina World Cup leg at Singapore Sports School

    Published on Nov 04, 2013
    3:46 PM





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...s04112013e.jpg
    Olympic champion Chad le Clos (above) has arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's Fina Swimming World Cup at the Singapore Sports School. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...u04112013e.jpg
    Three-time world champion Katinka Hosszu (above) from Hungary has arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's Fina Swimming World Cup at the Singapore Sports School. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...e04112013e.jpg
    Two-time European champion Mireia Belmonte (above) of Spain has arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's Fina Swimming World Cup at the Singapore Sports School. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP



    By Chan U-Gene

    THE stars have arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's Fina Swimming World Cup at the Singapore Sports School.

    Leading the men's field is Olympic champion Chad le Clos, who beat United States superstar Michael Phelps in spectacular fashion in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Games.

    Three-time world champion Katinka Hosszu from Hungary and two-time European champion Mireia Belmonte of Spain head the women's field for the Singapore leg of the World Cup, a short-course series competed over eight cities around the world.

    Singapore Swimming president Jeffrey Leow also announced that the nation will continue to host the two-day competition for the next four years after agreeing with Fina to a new deal.

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    Default S’pore to stage FINA World Cup until 2017

    TODAY


    By Adelene Wong
    6 hours 11 min ago

    Singapore will continue to be part of the annual FINA Swimming World Cup short course (25m) series until at least 2017. Yesterday, Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) President Jeffrey Leow revealed that the SSA, which has organised the Singapore leg of the series since 2007, has agreed a new four-year deal with the sport’s world body FINA to stage the meet.

    From next year, the meet, currently held at the Singapore Sports School, will move to the new S$1.33 billion Sports Hub’s 6,000-seater indoor aquatics arena in Kallang, which will also stage the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.

    This year’s FINA World Cup will have a three-fold increase in prize money, with the top six men and women in each cluster now sharing an additional prize purse of US$306,000 (S$380,428) for the Middle Eastern and Asian clusters (three legs each), and US$200,000 for the European cluster (two legs).

    ADELENE WONG

    Ticket prices are at S$20.00 per day or S$30.00 for both days (Nov 5-6), and are available at finaworldcup.com.sg, or call +65 6258 1011 for more information.

    Heats start at 9.00am and finals at 5.30pm at the Singapore Sports School.

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    Default Swim star Le Clos back for FINA World Cup, which S’pore will continue to stage at lea




    By Adelene Wong
    17 hours 12 min ago


    SINGAPORE – South African swimming star Chad Le Clos will arguably be the biggest name to headline the Singapore-leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup (SWC) short course (25m) series, which takes place tomorrow and on Wednesday at the Singapore Sports School.

    The 21-year-old was one of the standout performers at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 when he won five medals, including gold in the 200m medley, before going on to beat Michael Phelps to win the 200m butterfly gold at last year’s London Olympics.

    “Singapore holds great memories for me, and it is obviously great to be back,” said Le Clos. “I want to challenge myself against top swimmers here, and hopefully set a world record too.”

    He was speaking at the pre-event press conference at the Marina Mandarin Hotel earlier today (Nov 4), where Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) President Jeffrey Leow announced that the SSA had agreed a new four-year deal with the sport’s world body FINA to continue hosting a leg of the FINA SWC series from next year, where the event will move to the new S$1.33 billion Sports Hub which is to open in April 2014.

    “We have a good working relationship with FINA and our SWC events are highly-rated,” said Leow.

    “On top of the new four-year deal, what is even better news is that from next year onwards, the event will be held at the aquatic centre at the Sports Hub and we are all waiting in bated breath for that.”

    Singapore is the sixth stop of this year’s series, and the first of the three-stop Asian cluster that includes Tokyo (Nov 9-10) and Beijing (Nov 13-14).

    Le Clos currently leads the men’s overall ranking with 332 points, ahead of second-placed Vladimir Morozov of Russia (240) and Australian Kenneth To who is third (192).

    In the women’s rankings, Hosszu leads comfortably with 579 points, ahead of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte (187) and Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (174), and the Hungarian credited a change of coach for her fine run in this year’s FINA SWC series.

    “After the 2012 Olympics (when she came in fourth in the 400m individual medley), I graduated that same year and moved to Hungary and got a personal coach (Shane Tusup) which is the key difference in my progress over the past year,” she said.

    “I am focusing on little improvements that actually make a huge difference for me, and I am confident of defending my title this year.”

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