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  1. #8586
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    Default No degrees, but they succeeded in their careers

    Published on Aug 19, 2014 6:39 AM




    Ms Rachel Aw, 28, is now a franchise operations manager with the Les Amis Group, after completing a degree partly paid for by her employer. She joined as a trainee and rose to become a sommelier in five years. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE





    Mr Muhammad Munir Ahmad, 29, is currently taking night classes to complete a degree. He started out as a trainee technician at Rolls-Royce after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN


    By Sandra Davie, Amelia Teng And Priscilla Goy

    Ms Rachel Aw, 28, took the road less travelled when she went to work in the Les Amis Group of restaurants after completing her polytechnic studies. She went from trainee to sommelier in five years before she took a degree partly paid for by her employer.

    Mr Muhammad Munir Ahmad, 29, chose to work as a trainee technician at Rolls-Royce on graduating from Temasek Polytechnic. He did so well he is now finishing a degree through night classes.

    Both these young people said going out to work first helped them discover their passions and talents, and honed skills they can now take to a higher level.

    Employers and job recruiters responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's call to set up schemes to allow non-graduates to rise in their careers said that not every young person is willing to take the route chosen by these two. Many prefer the more conventional path of chasing a degree before joining the workforce.

  2. #8587
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    Default 5 things about HDB's Lease Buyback scheme

    Published on Aug 18, 2014 8:08 PM




    Owners of four-room Housing Board flats can now sell part of their lease back to the Government to supplement their retirement income. We look at 5 things about the scheme, previously open only to owners of three-room or smaller flats. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

    Owners of four-room Housing Board flats can now sell part of their lease back to the Government to supplement their retirement income. These apartments are now eligible for the Lease Buyback Scheme, which was previously restricted to three-room and smaller flats, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the National Day Rally on Sunday.

    More details will be announced at a later date.

    We look at 5 things about the scheme:

    1. What's the scheme about?

    Introduced in 2009, the scheme gives elderly low-income home owners the option of monetising their property while continue living in their home. Owners can sell part of their flat’s 99-year lease back to the Government, keeping only a 30-year lease.

    Proceeds will be used to top up their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Retirement Accounts, thus enabling them to receive larger monthly payouts under the CPF Life scheme. The rest of the sales proceeds will go to the home owners as a lump sum in cash.

    2. Who is eligible for the scheme?

    The scheme targets low-income elderly households. To qualify for the scheme, members of such a household must meet certain conditions, which include:

    - All owners of the flat must have reached the CPF draw-down age, which is 65 for those born after 1953

    - At least one owner must be a Singapore citizen, and the gross monthly household income must be no higher than $3,000

    - No concurrent ownership of second property

    - All owners must have lived in the flat for at least five years

    - The owner cannot sell the flat in the open market or sublet the whole flat

    3. How does it work?

    Take the example of an elderly couple who own a 3-room flat in Bedok, which has a remaining lease of 70 years and a market value of $323,000.

    Under the scheme, HDB will buy 40 years of the lease at $138,000. The couple will use the $138,000 to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts up to the specified limits. The top-ups, plus the initial RA balances (ie. full RA savings), will be used to buy a CPF Life plan to give the elderly couple a monthly stream of income for life.

    4. What if the flat owner outlives the 30-year lease?

    There may be cases where the flat owner outlives the 30-year lease. Such cases will be dealt with on an individual basis and appropriate housing arrangements will be provided to those flat owners who are not in a position to pay for the lease extension.

    No elderly flat owner will be left homeless if he/she outlives the 30-year lease of the flat, says the HDB website.

    5. What's the take-up rate like so far?

    The response has been lukewarm. Up until January last year, only 471 households took part.

    The rules were relaxed in February last year, allowing home owners who have enjoyed more than one housing subsidy and previous owners of private property to qualify. Since then, another 312 households have signed up, according to a parliamentary reply last month.

    MPs and experts say some seniors still worry about being chased out of their homes if they outlive the 30-year lease on their homes. Many Singaporeans also wish to keep their flat so they can leave it to their children.

  3. #8588
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    Default PM sings xinyao classic: What is xinyao and which are the memorable songs?

    Published on Aug 18, 2014 2:09 PM





    Music lovers who came of age in the 1980s clap, sway and sing along to Singapore-style campus songs on July 6, 2014, at the central atrium of Bras Basah Complex. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN


    He spoke, role-played and even broke into song. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong caught the audience by surprise when he crooned the first line of xinyao classic Xi Shui Chang Liu (Friendship Forever) - which literally means "Small Stream That Flows Forever" - at the National Day Rally on Sunday.

    The line of the song, which talked about youth and friendship, went: “Who does not dream, when they are young?”

    Mr Lee used xinyao, the music movement popular in Singapore in the 1980s, to drive home the point that there are many opportunities for Singaporeans to fulfill their dreams.

    Xinyao refers to young Singaporeans (xinjiaporen) creating their own songs (geyao). The local Chinese-language music movement grew organically out of campuses as passionate youth sought to make themselves heard. It blossomed in the 1980s as singer-songwriters such as Liang Wern Fook (who penned and sang Friendship Forever), Roy Loi and Eric Moo composed and sang songs about their generation.

    There has been a resurgence of interest in xinyao with the release of local movie, That Girl In Pinafore, in 2013, as well as musicals, concerts and an upcoming documentary, The Songs We Sang, about the music genre.

    We relive 10 memorable xinyao classics:

    1. Xi Shui Chang Liu (Friendship forever)

    Penned and sang by Cultural Medallion recipient and xinyao stalwart Liang Wern Fook, the quintessential xinyao anthem is about friendship and growing up. It talks about a group of friends, who shared their bold dreams and hopes when they were young, meeting again years later, mellowed with age.

    The song began with: “Who does not dream, when they are young?”, and went on to say “Many years later, we meet again/We all have tired smiles/I’ll ask my friend, when will you play for me again/Will it still be the same, will it still be the same?”

    It topped the list of the top 10 xinyao songs in a 2003 poll by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore.

    2. Yi Bu Yi Bu Lai (One step at a time)

    Another classic by Liang about the realities and pursuits of life, and how one should take things one step at a time. He weaved into this catchy song a traditional children’s ditty: “The sun goes down and comes up again the next day, can it climb up slower on Sunday/Flowers wilt and bloom again the next year, which company is going to drop the axe this year.”

    3. Li Shi Kao Shi Qian Xi (The eve of the history exam)

    Ancient Chinese history neatly packaged into a song. The song penned and sang by Liang, which talks about a student mugging for his history exam, traces the milestones and key characters in ancient Chinese history, from unified China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang to Empress Dowager.

    4. Xin Jia Po Pai (Singapore Pie)

    The title track of Liang’s 1990 album juxtaposed personal history with national history and made the point that the two were inextricably linked. He traverses three decades in the span of the song and then looks ahead to the future: “Others send us apple pies/We too can create our own Singapore pie/Nowadays people are immigrating here/Who doesn’t love the Singapore brand.”

    5. Xiao Ren Wu De Xin Sheng (Voice from the heart)

    The catchy theme song about the man in the street from the long-running 1980s TV series, Neighbours, was sung by Wu Jiaming. A must-sing song at National Day parades.
    6. Kopi-O

    Another song about the man in the street, written and performed by Eric Moo. It's the theme from the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation drama series The Coffee Shop (1986). Moo insisted on using the colloquial term “kopi-o” in the song despite the ban on dialects on television.

    7. Xie Hou (Encounter)

    This 1983 duet, composed by Moo with lyrics by Huang Huizhen and sung by them, was the first xinyao song to make it to the key Longhubang radio chart here and it stayed there for 26 weeks.

    8. Lian Zhi Qi (Love's refuge)

    The most memorable hit by local heart-throb Jiang Hu (Thomas Teo). Penned by Liang Wern Fook, the love ballad was on the local radio chart for 29 weeks.
    9. Wo Men Zhe Yi Ban (Our class)

    The song was sung by Dawn Gan, one of the best-known female xinyao singers. Gan’s bubbly energy and sweet voice were perfect for this song which talks about school life.

    10. Rang Ye Qing Qing Luo Xia (As the night falls gently)

    A moving love ballad by Pan Ying, another well-known xinyao female singer.


    Related Links
    1,000 fans brave rain at Bras Basah for Xinyao singersXinyao reunionXinyao uniquely Singapore

  4. #8589
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    Default Life and times of Yusof Ishak, Singapore's first president

    Published on Aug 18, 2014 3:45 PM



    President Yusof Ishak with his wife Noor Aishah at the Istana in the early 1960s. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SINGAPORE





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...dpr5-1808e.jpg

    Mr Yusof Ishak being sworn in as the Yang di-Pertuan Negara on Dec 3, 1959. To his right is Mr Lee Kuan Yew. -- ST FILE



    Mr Yusof Ishak at City Hall in 1959 at a ceremony where he was formally installed as Singapore's first Yang di-Pertuan Negara. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Mr Yusof Ishak taking aim at the shooting gallery after he officially opened the National Day Carnival on the grounds of Raffles Institution in 1960. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Mr Yusof Ishak in a photo taken in 1964. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    This picture of Mr Yusof Ishak with a camera was taken at the Jurong Industrial Estate in the 1960s. The president had a keen interest in photography. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SINGAPORE



    Mr Yusof Ishak's widow Noor Aishah Mohd Salim at the National Day Rally on Sunday. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    The new mosque in Woodlands which will be named Masjid Yusof Ishak. -- PHOTO: MUIS


    SINGAPORE - In his National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced three ways the country will pay tribute to Mr Yusof Ishak, who was appointed Singapore's Yang di-Pertuan Negara six months after it gained self-government in 1959 and named the first president of an independent Singapore in 1965.

    The new mosque in Woodlands will be named Masjid Yusof Ishak; the Institute of South East Asian Studies (Iseas) in the National University of Singapore will now be known as [B]Iseas - The Yusof Ishak and a Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences will be started at NUS.

    We look back at the milestones in the life of Mr Yusof, who died in 1970 at age 60.

    1. Yusof Ishak was born in Perak on Aug 12, 1910, the oldest of nine children of a civil servant, Ishak Ahmad. His father was transferred to Singapore in 1923 to be Assistant Inspector of Fisheries.

    2. He attended Victoria Bridge School (now Victoria School) for his primary education before entering Raffles Institution, where he was one of 13 students and the only Malay in the Queen’s Scholarship class. He missed out on the scholarship by a few points.

    3. Mr Yusof not only excelled in his studies but he was also a good athlete, representing RI in many games including hockey, cricket, swimming, water polo, basketball, boxing and weightlifting. As a boxer, he won the Aw Boon Par cup in 1932. In weightlifting, he became the national lightweight champion in 1933.

    4. He got a taste of politics from his father who was an active member of the Singapore Malay Union, where the future president of Singapore would later become a youth leader.

    5. In 1938, together with 20 Malay leaders in Singapore, he started Utusan Melayu, a newspaper dedicated to Malay issues, and which championed the need for the community to modernise and focus on education. Utusan Melayu, first published in 1939, was the first paper to be owned and financed by the Malays.

    6. In 1948, he wed Noor Aishah Mohd Salim in an arranged marriage when she was just 16 years old and he was 39. They had three children - two daughters and a son.

    7. After the war, Utusan Melayu, which had been closed during the Japanese occupation, reopened in 1945. In 1957, Mr Yusof moved from Singapore to live in Kuala Lumpur, and the Utusan Melayu headquarters also shifted there.

    8. In 1959, he resigned from the newspaper and moved back to Singapore to take up the position of chairman of the Public Service Commission of Singapore, at the invitation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister.

    9. After the PAP won the 1959 election and Singapore achieved self-government, Mr Yusof was appointed the Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore, or Head of State.

    10. When Singapore gained independence on Aug 9, 1965, he became the first President of the Republic of Singapore.

    11. As president of the newly independent Singapore, he reached out to the people to reassure citizens stunned by the country's ejection from Malaysia. He visited constituencies around the island, standing in an open Land Rover, walking for hours in the hot sun.

    12. On July 29, 1966, Mr Lee declared open Yusof Ishak Secondary School at Jubilee Road. It is the only school to be named after a Singapore president.

    13. In his 1968 New Year message, Mr Yusof said: “No man need feel that to belong to a particular religion puts him at a disadvantage or gives him an advantage... This is how things are in Singapore and this is how things must always be in our country. Only in this way can a multiracial society like Singapore live in peace and prosperity.”

    14. His health started to fail in 1968 and he was hospitalised for heart trouble and other illnesses. He died of heart failure in Nov 23, 1970, while still in office, and was buried at the Kranji State Cemetary.

    15. His portrait appears on the Singapore Portrait Series currency notes introduced in 1999.

  5. #8590
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    Default Congested roads, factory pollution obstacles to transforming Jurong



    Artist impression of existing, new and upcoming developments in Jurong Lake District. Photo: Urban Redevelopment Authority

    Area could potentially emulate East Coast, but will need a lot of redesign, says analyst



    By Xue Jianyue -
    xuejianyue@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:02 AM, August 19, 2014


    SINGAPORE — The makeover of Jurong, complete with a scenic new garden and waterfront residential housing, could potentially be a big draw, but urban planners will have their work cut out to fully transform the area and cast off its industrial image, analysts said.

    As the Government yesterday announced that the first phase of the Jurong Lake Gardens project — the Jurong Lake Park— will be completed by 2017, the analysts noted that with its water bodies, the area could emulate idyllic areas such as East Coast and Punggol.

    However, obstacles to achieving this include the congested public transport infrastructure as well as pollution from petrochemical plants on Jurong Island nearby, they said.


    August 19

    Writing on his blog, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan acknowledged that the “exciting” plans for Jurong, including major improvements to the transportation networks, would take years to realise.

    The Jurong Lake Park was originally planned in 2012 as one of three “Destination Parks
    ” to attract Singaporeans across the island with its unique features. Construction has started at one of the parks, East Coast Park, and will last until 2016.

    The third park, Admiralty Park, is currently “at the consultancy stage” and will be completed by 2016 as well, said the National Parks Board. The revamp of Jurong will include the integration of the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Jurong Lake Park into the Jurong Lake Gardens.

    New public housing developments around Pandan Reservoir is also on the cards
    . The Urban Redevelopment Authority said the conceptual idea will require detailed planning and technical studies. Currently, a mix of industrial offices, commercial buildings and Housing and Development Board flats line the area around the reservoir.

    Analysts told TODAY that while housing prices in the Pandan Reservoir area might not be able to match those of waterfront housing in other parts of Singapore, such as Punggol and East Coast, developers will still be drawn to opportunities in the land around the reservoir.

    Mr Nicholas Mak, head of consultancy and research at SLP International Property Consultants, said high-rise housing could be built there.

    Noting that the area has no coastal park, he said: “I think it can potentially be like East Coast, but it will also need a lot of redesign.”

    However, the analysts said Pandan Reservoir’s appeal could be affected by pollution from petrochemical plants on Jurong Island, as well as crowded roads and train networks.


    “When the wind is going in a certain direction, will it blow the smell from the chemical factories towards the residents? ... There is a possibility, depending on how near they are,” said Mr Mak.

    Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of Century 21 Singapore, noted that the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) is usually congested and that the East-West MRT Line has reached its maximum capacity.

    New residents will end up competing with heavy vehicles on the jammed streets, he added, suggesting that the AYE be widened or MRT lines be extended to the area.

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    Default Martina Veloso wins S'pore’s first Nanjing YOG medal



    Singaporean shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso. Photo: Singapore Sports School


    Martina came agonizingly close to taking the lead but finished with the silver in the end


    By Philip Goh -
    philipgoh@mediacorp.com.sg -
    Published: 12:11 PM, August 19, 2014


    SINGAPORE — Teenage shooter Martina Veloso delivered Singapore’s first medal of the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing with a silver medal in the women’s 10m air pistol event.

    In an exciting final featuring the top eight qualifiers, Martina came agonisingly close to overhauling Switzerland’s Sarah Hornung for the gold medal, losing out by a mere 0.6 points. Hornung scored 207.8 to Martina’s 207.2. Germany’s Julia Budde took bronze with 186.3.

    Earlier, 14-year-old Martina was the fourth best qualifier with a score of 415.7. The Singapore Sports School student has been regarded as Singapore’s best medal hope for the second edition of the Youth Olympics, after winning an ISSF World Cup event in Munich in June in the lead up to the Games.

  7. #8592
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    Default Youth Olympic Games: Martina bags silver and wins S'pore's first YOG medal in Nanjing

    Published on Aug 19, 2014 11:49 AM



    Martina Lindsay Veloso with her silver medal. -- ST PHOTO: MAY CHEN





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...dseyy1908e.jpg

    Air rifle shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso, a representative at the Nanjing YOG. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE



    Singapore's Martina Lindsay Veloso has won the country's first medal at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. -- ST PHOTO: MAY CHEN



    The Singapore flag being raised at the medal ceremony. -- ST PHOTO: MAY CHEN

    By May Chen

    Singapore's Martina Lindsay Veloso has won the country's first medal at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

    The 14-year-old Singapore Sports School student took the silver in the girls' 10m air rifle event at the Fangshan Shooting Hall on Tuesday morning. Her score of 207.2 was just behind Switzerland's Sarah Hornung's winning effort of 207.8. Germany's Julia Budde took the bronze with a score of 186.3.

    Martina had, in June, won gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Munich after beating an Olympic champion and European champion en route to becoming the competition's youngest winner. But against her in peers in Nanjing, she said she felt more nervous going into the YOG final than when she competed against the sport's bigger guns.

    "The final today felt different from others that I've competed in before, I don't know why," said Martina, who last month took on rivals more than twice her age in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, coming away with a creditable fifth place finish in the 10m air rifle.

  8. #8593
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    Default More than 1.3 million foreigners working in Singapore: Tan Chuan-Jin

    POSTED: 05 Aug 2014 17:15

    Construction, wholesale trade and food and beverage are among the top 10 sectors that employ foreigners as of December 2013, says Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.





    Foreign workers at a construction site in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

    SINGAPORE: There were 1,331,600 foreigners working in Singapore as of December 2013, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin told Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 5).

    In a written response, Mr Tan said that excluding about 224,500 foreign domestic workers, there were 1,107,100 foreigners employed across different sectors in Singapore. He added that the breakdown by nationality is not publicly available.

    In addition, the minister said the construction and food and beverage (F&B) industries are on the list of the top 10 sectors employing the most number of foreigners as of December 2013.

    The list is reproduced in full below:




    The Manpower Minister was responding to a question posed by Nominated Member of Parliament Mary Liew, who asked about the number of foreigners working in Singapore, the breakdown of their nationalities and the sectors that employed the most foreigners.


    - CNA/kk

  9. #8594
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    Default Present for Singapore's 50th birthday: A film by 7 local directors

    POSTED: 20 Aug 2014 12:17


    Cultural Medallion winners Jack Neo and Eric Khoo are among the directors participating in this project, led by 881 director Royston Tan.

    From left: Eric Khoo, Royston Tan and Jack Neo


    SINGAPORE: Seven local film-makers are collaborating on a movie dedicated to Singapore and its turning 50 next year, which will showcase the country's past, present and what it aspires to be.

    The directors - Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Kelvin Tong, Tan Pin Pin, Royston Tan, Boo Jun Feng and K Rajagopal - are all award-winning auteurs and familiar names in the local film industry. The film they are collaborating on will be an omnibus of seven short stories, each a "unique interpretation of Singapore and the lives of its people", according to the statement by Chuan Pictures, Royston Tan's production company, on Wednesday (Aug 20).

    Tan, who is leading the project, said: "All seven of us hope that this collaboration can inspire everyone to reflect on our nation's journey, revel in how far we have come, and look forward to a brighter future."

    The film is expected to be released in the middle of 2015, and he said the directors are "excited to work on this project". Time for a project of such scale is tight though, and a confirmation of "an iconic venue to premiere the film" is their foremost consideration, he added.

    More details on the film, stories and its case will announced in due course. The film is being made in support of the Media Development Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Film Commission, according to the statement.


    - CNA/kk

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    Default Experts worried about retirees squandering CPF monies

    By Xue Jianyue
    POSTED: 20 Aug 2014 07:10


    The Government has to find a “judicious balance” between ensuring sufficient funds for members’ retirement and allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labour, MPs say.


    The CPF building at Robinson Road. (Photo: TODAY)


    SINGAPORE: While they acknowledged the need to provide flexibility in Central Provident Fund (CPF) withdrawals, especially for those who need cash for necessities, experts cautioned that allowing lump-sum withdrawals – albeit with limits – could lead to members squandering their retirement savings.

    This concern was echoed by several Members of Parliament (MPs), although they said, given the desire for greater control over their CPF monies, the Government must trust CPF members to use their savings wisely.

    To mitigate the risk of squandered monies, they suggested that withdrawals be limited to specific groups, allowed only on a case-by-case basis, be subject to caps and permitted only after counselling.

    On Sunday (Aug 17), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the National Day Rally that CPF members would be allowed to withdraw part of their CPF savings in a lump sum when they need to, subject to limits and only during retirement.

    POSSIBLE GUIDELINES

    Mr Alfred Chia, chief executive officer of financial advisory firm SingCapital, said the withdrawals could be done on a case-by-case basis.

    “Before they do the withdrawal, the CPF Board can actually consider (doing) counselling, to understand what they need the funds for, and remind them of the importance of retirement funding,” he said, adding that applicants could be assessed based on their household income.

    Mr Christopher Tan, CEO of financial advisory firm Providend, was “not very comfortable” with allowing lump-sum withdrawals, arguing that it would result in smaller payouts thereafter. “I let you take out, for example, S$10,000, S$20,000, and you are left with only a bit, (then) the CPF LIFE annuity (scheme) doesn’t make sense any more,” he said.
    For those in dire need of money, he suggested there be guidelines to regulate such withdrawals, taking into account the minimum amount needed to provide for basic needs and the circumstances for withdrawal.

    “If you really have no choice, and you are going to die without withdrawing, then we have no choice but to give it to them,” said Mr Tan, adding that this group is likely to depend on government welfare once the lump sum runs out.

    BALANCE NEEDED

    MPs TODAY spoke to noted that CPF members have been asking to be given greater control over their CPF savings. The Government has to find a “judicious balance” between ensuring sufficient funds for members’ retirement and allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labour, said Mr Zainudin Nordin, an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh, who also chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower.

    The move is a major shift in CPF policy, but such a shift cannot be taken to the extreme, he added. In giving members greater control, he pointed out, more efforts need to be made to educate Singaporeans and help them become more financially-savvy – a view also held by other MPs and experts.

    Ms Foo Mee Har, an MP for West Coast, said the Government’s decision to respond to public calls reflects a maturing society.

    She felt the option should be given to all retiring CPF members, not only those in need. There could be members who want to fulfil personal goals or invest the sum withdrawn for potentially higher returns, she said.

    The Government, she added, could encourage saving by allowing members the option to top-up beyond the Minimum Sum, increasing their CPF Life payouts.


    -TODAY/cy

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    Default Singapore is 'fourth most liveable city' in Asia

    Published on Aug 21, 2014 7:32 AM



    Singapore is the fourth most liveable city in Asia, according to the latest such ranking by The Economist magazine. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    Singapore is the fourth most liveable city in Asia after Osaka, Tokyo and Hong Kong in the latest such ranking by The Economist magazine.

    The Republic came in 52nd out of 140 cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) latest Liveability Ranking. Hong Kong was ranked 31st.

    The index, designed to help international firms work out how much to pay employees to live and work in a given city, ranks cities based on measures such as stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

    The Australian city of Melbourne was tops for the fourth year in a row, with a score of 97.5 out of 100, while the war-torn Syrian city of Damascus was in last place with 30.5 points.




    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sin....ebA5DeJ2.dpuf

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    Default Using two languages in one sentence not necessarily bad: Study

    TODAY

    By Siau Ming En
    POSTED: 21 Aug 2014 07:18



    Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design say children speaking a mix of English and Mandarin may help them achieve a better grasp of the languages. They plan to expand their research to other mother tongue languages.



    File photo of preschool children. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)


    SINGAPORE: Parents and teachers tend to frown upon children speaking a mix of English and Mandarin, but a study done on pre-schoolers here has found that such a habit does not necessarily reflect a weaker command of either language.

    On the contrary, the study — which saw the participation of 51 pre-schoolers aged between five-and-a-half and six-and-a-half years old — found that children switch between these languages because they have the linguistic capacity to do so. In fact, those who switch between English and Mandarin more frequently were found to have a better command of the latter language.

    Assistant Professor Yow Wei Quin from the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), who conducted the study, said many parents and teachers discouraged children from switching between these languages, which she called “code-switching”.

    “Code-switching is a pretty common thing that Singaporeans do and there are people, parents and those whom I have worked with — teachers and pre-school principals — who say that code-switching, code-mixing seems pretty bad,” said Asst Prof Yow, who will present her findings at the Ministry of Education’s Mother Tongue Languages Symposium this Saturday.

    However, upon noting that there was a dearth of research to prove that code-switching is bad, she set out to discover more, within the context of Singapore. Over the course of nine months, Asst Prof Yow and her research team studied the way the children spoke during free play, language lessons, meals and group project time at two pre-schools.

    These children shared similar family profiles, with parents whose average highest education was a university degree and who spoke more English than Mandarin at home.

    To test their English receptive vocabulary, Asst Prof Yow and her team used the internationally-recognised Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, where children were required to identify the picture that depicts the word being read to them. To measure their competencies in both spontaneous English and Mandarin speech, they considered the number of unique word types used, the mean length and complexity, some aspects of grammar and complexity of their sentences.

    The team found that the children “code-switched” 14 per cent of the time, but this did not affect their English language skills. Those who switched between English and Mandarin more frequently displayed better Mandarin vocabulary and expressed themselves better in the language.

    The findings suggest that code-switching gives children the opportunity to speak Mandarin. “The children are not pressured to think that they must speak in a full Mandarin sentence. Whatever they know, they will just use (it),” she said.

    Asst Prof Yow hopes that with the findings, parents would not discourage their children from code-switching. However, she said it is important that parents continue to use full sentences in one language. Acknowledging the limitations of her study, she said she was considering an expansion of her research to include a study into the impact of switching between other mother tongue languages and measuring language competencies through the analysis of syntax, for example.

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    Default Explore the hidden depths of Singapore's waters

    Explore murky waters and one finds a 'marine parade' and bounty of corals



    Published on Aug 22, 2014 6:02 AM

    By Audrey Tan

    Dark and murky waters surround Pulau Hantu, an island off Singapore's southern coast.
    But go deeper - 6m to 16m under, as The Straits Times did on a scuba-diving trip last Saturday - and one discovers a "marine parade".

    Bathed in green and yellow, this underwater town is dotted with hard rocks and corals that are branched out like trees.

    Shiny fish dart in and out so fast that they appear as slivers of silver - they are the speedsters of the aquatic world.




    The jetty at Pulau Hantu Kechil. The seas of Singapore are teeming with aquatic life, contrary to the popular belief that there is a lack of biodiversity in the country’s waters. Corals are found not only around Pulau Hantu but also near other islands, such as Pulau Sudong. Lucky divers get glimpses of sea turtles, dolphins or even reef sharks. -- ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA

    - ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN



    A lion fish; a pair of clown fish (above); mushroom hard coral; a black-margined nudibranch; and a feather star – all photographed in the waters of Pulau Hantu. -- PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN



    A lion fish (above); a pair of clown fish; mushroom hard coral; a black-margined nudibranch; and a feather star – all photographed in the waters of Pulau Hantu. -- PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN



    A lion fish; a pair of clown fish; mushroom hard coral (above); a black-margined nudibranch; and a feather star – all photographed in the waters of Pulau Hantu. -- PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN



    A lion fish; a pair of clown fish; mushroom hard coral; a black-margined nudibranch (above); and a feather star – all photographed in the waters of Pulau Hantu. -- PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN



    A lion fish; a pair of clown fish; mushroom hard coral; a black-margined nudibranch; and a feather star (above) – all photographed in the waters of Pulau Hantu. -- PHOTOS: LOH KOK SHENG, CAROLINE CHIA, HENG PEI YAN


    Like a shy schoolgirl at her first dance, a copper-banded butterfly fish hangs around just long enough to be seen but zooms away when approached.

    Farther along the reef, soft corals sway in the underwater current, as though jiving to the music of revving motorboat engines and ship horns. Here, as on land, there is no avoiding heavy traffic.

    Despite a name that means Ghost Island, Pulau Hantu is surrounded by life, rich sea life. Likewise, Singapore, the last place people think of when they think nature and wildlife, has plenty of bounty under the sea.

    The waters around Singapore are home to more than 250 species of hard corals alone - about 40 per cent of the types of corals found in South-east Asia.

    Corals are found not only around Pulau Hantu but also near other islands such as Pulau Sudong, a restricted area used by the military for live firing. Lucky divers get glimpses of sea turtles, dolphins or even reef sharks.

    But it is not easy to see what lies beneath.

    The waters around Pulau Hantu, for instance, are heavily sedimented, with visibility going only as far as an outstretched arm.

    Yet, up until the mid-1960s, Singapore had waters as clear as those at Tioman, said marine conservationist and lawyer Francis Lee, 68.

    National University of Singapore (NUS) marine biologist Chou Loke Ming said back then, corals and other reef life at 10m underwater could be seen from a boat.

    But as Mr Lee said: "But by the late 1960s, the clarity of the waters went downhill."

    Most of the damage was caused by intensive land reclamation and development, he added.

    Many people cannot see the splendour of Singapore's underwater life. Professor Chou, who is also principal investigator of the Reef Ecology Lab at NUS, said: "Since visibility is restricted, most people don't see our reef life - it becomes a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'."

    Unlike projects today, reclamation works then did not take precautions, such as having barriers around the work site to contain the sediment spread, he added.

    When the seabed is stirred up by reclamation, particles become suspended in the water and are abrasive against the soft tissue of the corals.

    They also affect visibility, meaning less sunlight pass through the water and less algae grow on the corals. As corals depends largely on algae for food, many slowly died.

    Singapore has lost more than 60 per cent of its reef cover as a result.


    The good news is that more is being done nowadays. Last month, the authorities announced that Singapore will have its first marine park - a 40ha patch that includes the Sisters' Islands and reefs off nearby St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor.

    Coral colonies have also been moved for their protection. In April, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore started to relocate 1,600 coral colonies from the south-western Sultan Shoal to waters near St John's island to shield them from the "fallout" from the building of the new Tuas Terminal.

    Dive centres and conservation groups here see a growing interest in Singapore's waters.
    At local dive company GS-Diving, for instance, the number of participants on their weekly local dive trips have gone up from about eight divers per trip six years ago to about 15 now.

    Nature lovers have started groups, like Blue Water Volunteers or Hantu Bloggers, to spread the word about Singapore's marine diversity. The groups often organise diving trips and document the seahorses, sea slugs or other sea creatures they see.

    Coral reefs have helped soften the edges of Singapore, often seen as a hard-driving city with scant regard for nature.

    Said Ms Debby Ng, founder of the Hantu Bloggers: "(Many think) that there are no coral reefs because much of our coastline is reclaimed, and that living reefs cannot live alongside heavy industry.

    "But the fact that we have several living reefs that remain productive around our heavily developed southern coast shows that living reefs and development can find a way to co-exist."

    audreyt@sph.com.sg


    Background story

    NEGLECTED BEAUTY

    Since visibility is restricted, most people don't see our reef life - it becomes a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

    - National University of Singapore marine biologist Chou Loke Ming, who is also principal investigator of the Reef Ecology Lab at NUS


    A beautiful 'marine parade'

    • LION FISH

    How fitting that this fish with the red and white stripes and regal fins was spotted on National Day at the intertidal area of Pulau Hantu. Teacher Loh Kok Sheng, 30, saw it while surveying the reefs before sunrise. "As the trip was held on National Day, it was meaningful to spot the lion fish on the Lion City's birthday," he said.

    • FEATHER STAR

    It looks like a flower with petals like birds' feathers. But it is no plant but an animal, up to 20cm in diameter, which can be found on the reefs at the Southern Islands, and on the sea floor.

    • MUSHROOM HARD CORAL

    One of the roughly 250 species of hard corals in Singapore, it often plays host to small creatures such as shrimp, and is usually seen in the waters near the southern isles.

    • CLOWN FISH

    This fish, which resembles the Disney cartoon character Nemo, is often found among large sea anemones and in Singapore's southern waters. Usually taken in large numbers for the aquarium trade.

    • BLACK-MARGINED NUDIBRANCH

    This sea slug, between 3cm to 5cm long, can be found on rubble at the reefs in southern Singapore's waters.

    Facts credit: Professor Chou Loke Ming, www.wildsingapore.com

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    Default More than Mambo Jambo: 5 things to know about Zouk

    Published on Aug 21, 2014 5:58 PM


    Zouk, one of Singapore's most iconic and popular nightspots. -- ST FILE PHOTO


    By Daniel Wong

    SINGAPORE - Zouk clubbers will not have to move the party elsewhere for awhile yet.
    One of Singapore's most popular nightspots was given a one-year extension for the lease on its premises at Jiak Kim Street on Thursday, with a further extension to 2017 promised if it manages to secure a new location by June 30 next year.

    The area where the club is currently located is slated for residential use, under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) latest Master Plan. And while the land has not been set up for sale yet, it is surrounded by residential units, and there have been complaints about the club's patrons littering and causing noise pollution by residents living near the nightspot.

    The club has enjoyed great success in its 23 years at its current location in warehouses gazetted for conservation, becoming an icon here and a must-go venue for those looking to experience the clubbing scene.

    Here are five facts about the self-described "club like none other in Asia".

    1. It is considered one of the best clubs in the world



    Party-goers at Zouk welcoming in the new year at the end of 2012. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT


    Zouk has been named Singapore's Best Nightspot Experience by the Singapore Tourism Board a record nine times, but the rave reviews are not just from within Singapore.

    It placed 7th in the latest DJ Mag's Top 100 Cubs (considered an industry standard), beating out other world-famous clubs such as the Ministry Of Sound in Britain and Los Angeles' Avalon. It's highest ranking was 5th, in both 2012 and 2013, quite a feat considering the competition it faces from other cities known for their nightlife such as Ibiza and Las Vegas.

    The club has also been mentioned in global publications such as Time and Wired.

    2. It is housed within historical buildings



    Zouk is housed in three historical warehouses that have been gazetted for conservation. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF ZOUK

    The land on which the club is located had three dilapidated warehouses - built in 1919
    - on it when the club owners tendered for the location. Instead of tearing down the buildings, the owners cleaned it up, restoring its facades, and renovating the interiors to a more modern design while keeping its traditional architecture.

    There have been multiple revamps of the place since it opened its doors in 1991, with the last major one being a $7-million refurbishment in September 2005, when the whole club remained closed for a month.

    3. There are 5 different "clubs" within the complex



    The interior of Velvet Underground, one of the clubs at Zouk. -- ST FILE PHOTO

    While there is a main dance hall that bears its name, there are four other outlets on its premises, with different themes to suit differing needs or tastes.

    Zouk is the largest, with a capacity of 1,500, cutting-edge lighting and multi-level dance floors, and it regularly features international DJs and live performances, among other functions. There is the exclusive Velvet Underground, launched in 1994, which was split into a Dance and a Lounge experience in 2011. Phuture, which opened in 1996, is smaller and has (as its name implies) a futuristic setting and an LED wall that was unveiled in 2012. To round it off is the Wine Bar, which is meant to be a pre-party meeting place or post-event chillout spot.

    4. There is a branch of the club in Kuala Lumpur



    Exterior of Zouk in Kuala Lumpur. -- ST FILE PHOTO


    Located in Jalan Ampang, Zouk KL opened to much fanfare in March 2004 with a $45,000 launch party. The interior decor of some of its dance halls mirror those in Singapore, but it also has its own take on what its patrons want, with other units such as Aristo and Barsonic that are not found in Singapore.

    The owners are moving to a new $14.8-million facility in an entertainment hub called Trec in Jalan Tun Razak in January next year, as its lease on its current location runs out at the end of this year.

    5. It is behind Singapore's biggest dance party



    Fireworks being set off at Zoukout 2013. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT

    Every year since 2000, the club organises Zoukout, seen as one of Asia's largest music dance festivals. Usually held at the end of the year on Sentosa, the event attracts people from all over the world looking for an electronic music extravaganza.

    Besides boasting huge crowds - a record 41,000 people turned up at last year's affair - the organisers of the event regularly manage to get some of the dance genre's biggest names to come and grace the festival. Among the renowned DJs to turn their tables at Zoukout are Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Avicii, Tiesto, David Guetta and Paul Oakenfold.

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    Default 5 fun facts about Science Centre, which will get a new home in 2020

    Published on Aug 19, 2014 6:52 PM




    The Science Centre would soon be relocated to the north of Jurong Lake. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG







    The view of the proposed location for the new Science Centre just beside the Chinese Gardens MRT Station. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    It was down memory lane for Dr Toh Chin Chye, as he retrieved a technical education report and the University of Singapore development plans from the 1973 Times Science Capsule at the Science Centre. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    A visitor getting a close look at items in a time capsule at the Science Centre on Nov 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    A portion of the items found in a time capsule at the Science Centre in Jurong. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Children taking a glimpse at the popular chick hatchery at KidsSTOP™, Singapore’s first-of-its-kind science centre for children. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE



    Children having fun at KidsSTOP, a new children's science centre. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    The Giant J- a 7m slide at KidsSTOP where children get to experience the feeling of freefall before sliding in safety. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Children play doctors and physicians at the Sen-sation station where they get a chance to don scrubs and wear stretoscopes and examine various body parts at KidsSTOP, Singapore’s first-of-its-kind science centre for children. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Students looking at the iZ Hero exhibit at the Singapore Science Centre (SSC) on Feb 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE



    One of the exhibits at the Dinosaur-Live! exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SCIENCE CENTRE



    The Singapore Science Centre has installed ten sundial sculptures at 10 different locations around Singapore's National Park, including the Science Centre's Fibonacci Terrace and Eco-Garden. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    A rapt audience at the Artscape, a four-screen, large-scale multimedia projection which immerses viewers in richly detailed scenes from Pixar’s films. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Grossology - The (Impolite Science Of The Human Body) exhibition at the Science Centre. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SCIENCE CENTRE



    Dinosaurs and children at the Science Centre. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    Props used in the Lord of The Rings trilogy which are being showcased at the Singapore Science Centre. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SCIENCE CENTRE



    Nasa Space Shuttle in Singapore. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SCIENCE CENTRE


    The good old Science Centre - a must-go place for school excursion trips - will move from its current Jurong Town Hall site, come 2020.

    The new Science Centre will be built on the north shore of Jurong Lake, near the Chinese Garden MRT station. It will be the "jewel" of the expanded Jurong Lake Gardens, which will combine the existing Chinese and Japanese gardens and Jurong Lake Park, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally on Sunday.

    Education Minister Heng Swee Keat will be setting up a committee to “re-imagine and develop” the new centre.

    We look at 5 fun facts about the Science Centre:

    1. It turns 37 this year

    The centre opened on Dec 10, 1977. It was first conceived of way back in 1968 when the idea of museums as informal education centres was still untested. The idea was to have basic science topics and industrial wonders such as oil exploration explained to students in exhibits, in the hope of inspiring them to take up careers in the field.

    Believed to be the first centre of its kind in South-east Asia, it was estimated then to cost more than $9.5 million to build. Over the years, some 29.5 million students have visited the centre.

    2. It could have been located in city centre

    Unknown to many, Dempsey and Fort Canning were once identified as sites for the Science Centre. But it was eventually given a 6ha land in Jurong, which offered more room for expansion than the two city-centre locations.

    3. It looks like a spaceship? It's actually inspired by pyramids

    A competition was organised by the Science Centre Board in 1970 to design the centre. Young architect Raymond Woo, who won the competition, said he had thought of Egypt’s pyramids to come up with its spaceship-like look. The design was aimed at enticing young scientists and schoolchildren.

    4. It was supposed to move earlier

    In 2008, then National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced plans to build a new Science Centre in the Jurong Lake district. It was revealed that the centre would be sited next to the Chinese Garden MRT station.

    But plans were put on hold because of budget constraints. More recently, work on the new centre was deferred because of the foreign labour crunch which led to several public construction projects being postponed.

    The delay, however, did not stop the centre from refreshing its exhibits and facilities.

    In June this year, it launched a new children’s science centre. The 3,000 sq m wing has features to encourage learning through interactive play, such as a 7m slide for kids to learn about gravity, a sandpit where they can play palaeontologists by unearthing fake dinosaur bones and a flight simulator.

    It is also planning other new attractions such as a digital planetarium and a virtual aquarium.

    5. It has a time capsule that dates back to 1973

    Did you know there's a time capsule lying somewhere in a quiet corner of Science Centre?

    The Science Time Capsule is kept above ground in a quiet corner of the Kinetic Garden behind McDonald’s restaurant at the centre. It was sealed in 1973 to commemorate the laying of the centre’s foundation stone. Since then, it has been opened three times - in 1983, 2001 and 2012 - with new mementoes added each time.

    The 1.5m-tall cylinder is a metre in diameter and has 10mm-thick stainless steel walls. Before it is sealed, air is pumped out of the capsule and replaced with nitrogen to extend the lifespan of the contents.

    The items were selected based on their impact on Singaporeans’ lives.

    Some of the items entombed in 1973 include a Hewlett Packard calculator - a ground-breaking invention then - a cassette recorder, portable television, and a Rollei 35 miniature viewfinder film camera that was made in Singapore for the global market.

    In 1983, items added include Seiko's television wristwatch, which had live broadcasts on an LCD screen embedded in the watch face, Tiger Balm, six cans of curried beef and Sarsi bottles.

    In 2001, Creative Nomad Jukebox and a Digital IXUS camera were among the mementoes added.

    The capsule was opened again in November 2012, and sealed in 2013 with 70 items added. Among them a StarHub mobile broadband USB stick, models of a concept car from BMW Asia, and the packagings of two ice-cream flavours invented by Nanyang Polytechnic students.

    How many items are there in the time capsule now? More than 700!

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    Default Tanjong Pagar rail station may get food stalls again

    Published: 4:03 AM, August 22, 2014


    SINGAPORE — It was once a popular spot for late-night bites and come 2016, the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (TPRS) could see the return of hungry diners on its historic premises.

    The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is conducting a feasibility study on whether it could bring in food stalls to serve local fare at the station, which closed in 2011.

    It issued a call for interested parties to submit proposals on Aug 14 via the government procurement website GeBiz.

    “The SLA seeks to appoint a team of consultants with good performance record and has the relevant experience and expertise to provide a feasibility study, design and supervision to renovate the allocated area within the former TPRS, including opening up of the main hall to the public and to accommodate food shops for interim use,” it said.

    Responding to a query by Channel NewsAsia, an SLA spokesperson said there has been a growing interest in the use of vacant state properties for ad-hoc events. The station will be playing host to coming events, such as educational tours, a community event and wedding photo shoots.

    “We are now conducting a feasibility study to expand the range of interim use, possibly having some food stalls serving local fare that the public can enjoy. However, we must stress that we are at the preliminary stage and hence, not able to provide more details at this time,” she added.

    The SLA plans to have the feasibility study completed by April next year. If the idea passes muster, the authority will call a tender to carry out the work and aims to complete the renovation phase by April 2016.

    The scope of renovation work includes structural repairs and strengthening work, renovating the former eating space at the station to a “tenantable condition”, providing more toilets and renovating the existing ones. The work must “adhere to the principles of maximum retention, sensitive restoration and careful repair”, the SLA added.

    It has projected a preliminary budget of S$400,000 for the renovation work, excluding consultancy fees and any other cost associated with site investigation work and submissions to authorities.

    Since its closure, the station, which has been designated as a national monument, has continued to see a flurry of activities at its premises. These include community events organised by grassroots groups, a dinner theatre event and a vintage motor show, which was organised by the National Heritage Board together with heritage enthusiasts.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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    Default Science Centre 'ripe for a transformation'

    It could become the place of kids' dreams, say parents, experts



    Published on Aug 22, 2014 11:10 AM



    The Exploratorium, a museum of science, art and human perception at San Francisco's waterfront, aims "to change the way the world learns". -- PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES


    By David Ee

    Imagine a place where one could experience the zero gravity of outer space, or the biting cold of an Arctic winter, and where children as young as 18 months could excite all their five senses with games and activities.

    If the Science Centre - considered by some to be a dated attraction - was transformed into such a place, could it become the stuff of dreams?

    Educators, parents, adventurers and academics certainly hope so.

    "When I left the Science Centre, Unesco called it one of the top 10 in the world," said Professor Leo Tan, who was the centre's director from 1982 to 1991. "They need to update and refresh the exhibits... Singaporeans travel the world, so the centre must have something to ignite interest in the jaded visitor," said Prof Tan, who is now director of special projects at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science.


    Background story

    Where science is a fun, sensory experience
    EXPLORATORIUM, SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.

    The stated mission of this museum of science, art and human perception, founded in 1969, is "to change the way the world learns". The "mad scientist's lab" has been described as the most important science museum to open since the mid-1900s. At the museum, located by the water, visitors can learn how to dissect a cow's eye, puff up giant marshmallows and "taste" San Francisco Bay's water to learn its complex tides.

    HEUREKA FINNISH SCIENCE CENTRE, VANTAA, FINLAND

    Despite its beginning as a university project in 1989, this science centre is considered one of the world's best by the US-based Association of Science-Technology Centres. If going on a "moon walk" bores you, you can learn how to build an igloo, watch how coins are made, or marvel at rats playing basketball.

    MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, CHICAGO, U.S.

    The largest science centre in the Western Hemisphere, this American museum was established in 1933. Eye-popping attractions include a full-size replica of a coal mine and a "tornado" that visitors can control. The limber ones may also clamber through a giant human heart, while the environmentally conscious can learn how food reaches their table from modern-day farms.

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