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Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, May 4, 2009.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Exhibition on 700 years of Singapore's history to open at the National Museum

    Published on Oct 27, 2014 12:27 PM


    By Melody Zaccheus

    SINGAPORE - A new exhibition chronicling 700 years of Singapore's history will open at the National Museum of Singapore on Tuesday.

    The immersive exhibition will take visitors through the country's annals - from a humble fishing village to the independent nation-state it is today.


    It will feature six sections: Archaeology in Singapore; Ancient Singapore (1300 to 1818); Colonial Singapore (1819 to 1942), Syonan-To (1942 to 1945); Road to Merdeka (1946 to 1965) and Independent Singapore (1965 to 1975).

    The exhibition is targeted at students and families, and admission is free for citizens, permanent residents and visitors aged six and below.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore named Destination of the Year at global cruise awards

    Published on Oct 27, 2014 11:40 AM

    By Melissa Lin
    SINGAPORE - Singapore has been named Destination of the Year at a global cruise awards, beating out contenders from the Mediterranean.

    Singapore was selected for its work in promoting cruises not just within the country but in the region, said Ms Mary Bond, the editor of online cruise news site SeaTrade Insider, which gave out the awards.

    Through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Singapore rallied the region to develop port infrastructure so that bigger ships can be deployed in Southeast Asia, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Monday.

    STB's assistant chief executive Neeta Lachmandas said the award "underscores our collaborative efforts in promoting our region as an attractive cruising destination".
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    All the queen's horses and all the president's gifts

    [h=1]Published on Oct 27, 2014 9:37 AM[/h]

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    President of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam and Queen Elizabeth II share a toast during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in central London on day one of the President of Singapore's state visit to Britain on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

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    Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (left) and his wife Mary Tan hold momentos after a visit to film production company Aardman Animatons at their head office in Bristol on Oct 23, 2014, during an engagement as part of the Singaporean President's state visit. -- PHOTO: AFP

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    Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (left) and his wife Mary Tan pose for a photograph after being presented with a keepsake by Peter Lord (second left) and David Sproxton (right) co-founders of Aardman Animatons at their head office in Bristol on Oct 23, 2014, during an engagement as part of the Singaporean President's state visit. -- PHOTO: AFP

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    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron with Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam at No. 10 Downing Street in central London on Oct 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

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    Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary are shown the statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, by Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster in Westminster Abbey on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

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    Singapore's President of Tony Tan Keng Yam takes part in the procession through the main hall ahead of a banquet in his honour at the Guildhall in central London on Oct 22, 2014, on the second full day of the Singapore President's state visit to Britain. -- PHOTO: AFP

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    Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (right) with Mary Chee, wife of the President of Singapore Tony Tan , after the Duchess and her husband Prince William greeted the President and his wife at the Royal Garden Hotel in London on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
    By Charissa Yong

    LONDON - Britain pulled out all the stops in their arsenal of pomp and pageantry to receive Singapore president Tony Tan last week.His hosts held impressive banquets under great halls and staged grand displays of ceremony complete with horse guards and guards of honour.The Straits Times brings you the behind-the-scene details of the first state visit to Britain by a Singaporean president.

    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/20141027/tonyandqueen2e.jpg

    The President of Singapore Tony Tan leaves in a carriage with Britain's Queen Elizabeth after attending a ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade in London on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

    Three state coaches were used to bring Dr Tan and his wife, members of the royal family and members of the Singapore delegation from the Horse Guards Parade - where they were given a ceremonial welcome by Queen Elizabeth II - to Buckingham Palace where they were to stay for two nights until Thursday.

    The grandest of all, the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, held the Queen and Dr Tan. It was first in the carriage procession, drawn by six white horses. It was first used at the opening of the British Parliament in June 2014 and is the newest state coach in the royal fleet.

    The Australian State Coach, next in the procession, carried the Queen's husband Prince Philip, who is the Duke of Edinburgh, and Mrs Mary Tan, Dr Tan's wife.

    The Scottish State Coach followed after that, carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu, who is also Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Environment and Water Resources.Other than the three state coaches, four semi-state landaus were also used. These are carriages that are used in state processions.Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister of State for Defence and National Development, was in one. Members of Parliament Sitoh Yih Pin and Arthur Fong were in another with Singapore's High Commissioner Foo Chi Hsia. The British High Commissioner at Singapore Antony Phillipson was in a third.

    The entire carriage procession was accompanied by mounted royal horse guards. It proceeded down the road leading to Buckingham Palace, which was decorated with both Singapore and British flags for the state visit.[​IMG]

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Singapore's President Tony Tan view a display of Singaporean items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace in London on Oct 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

    The Queen went out of her way to make sure that her Singaporean house guests felt welcome.Singapore's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ms Foo Chi Hsia, told Singaporeans in London last Friday night:

    "I believe one thing that struck all of us, members of the delegation, was the very special warmth and affection with which all of us were received by the Queen, who personally oversaw all aspects of the visit.

    "We heard that she personally inspected every one of the guest rooms in Buckingham Palace, not just the presidential suite, but all the way (down) to the staff members'. She personally oversaw all the preparations for the state banquet and walked through the entire banquet before the event itself.

    "Every single member of the society that received us and helped us during the visit went beyond the normal niceties of state and official visits, and all these underscored the very special relationship that (Britain and Singapore) share,"

    she said during a reception for more than 200 Singaporeans who live in Britain.The 170 guests at the state banquet hosted by the Queen in honour of President Tan on Tuesday night feasted well. Filet of sole, stuffed breast of pheasant, salad, iced chocolate bombe - a dessert of ice cream frozen into the shape of a cannonball - and fruits were on le menu, which was written in French as is the custom.

    Some of the most eye-catching accessories at the state banquets were honours and medals.

    The Queen wore her Order of Temasek red-and-white sash and white star to the state banquet. She received Singapore's second highest national honour when she visited the Republic in 1972.

    President Tan wore his Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath to the state banquet. He had been awarded the honorary knighthood - the third highest British honour and among the highest ever awarded to a Singapore leader - during the state visit.

    The honour is given to distinguished foreign heads of state and was also accorded to Singapore's second president Benjamin Sheares in 1972.

    The President was also awarded a King Charles II medal on Wednesday by the Royal Society, Britain's premier science institution, which is over 300 years old. Measuring 70mm in diameter, the medal is given to foreign heads of state or government who have contributed to advancing science in their country.

    It has been awarded only four other times: to Emperor Akihito of Japan in 1998, President Abdul Kalam of India in 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in 2010, and Premier Wen Jiabao of China in 2011.

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    Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (right) receives a print of "A Lane in Singapore" as a gift from Lord de Mauley (left) in the Marianne North Gallery during a visit to Kew Gardens in West London on Oct 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

    The gifts Dr Tan received over the course of his busy meetings and visits ranged from the stately to the quirky.From the Queen, he received copies of Adam Smith's the Wealth of Nations and James Maitland's the Nature of Public Wealth. These were presented in a leather box. He was also given a pair of photographs in silver frames.

    Mrs Tan received a wooden box inlaid with the Queen's royal cypher "EIIR", which stands for Elizabeth II Regina.

    The President gave the Queen a collection of hand-painted china plates with designs depicting places she had visited during her three state visits to Singapore in 1972, 1989 and 2006. It was accompanied by a book with photographs of the places from the National Archives of Singapore.

    The Duke of Edinburgh was given a framed photograph of a family of black-naped terns, a white bird local to Singapore, taken at Loyang Rock by local Singaporean wildlife photographer C. S. Ling in 2009.

    In Bristol's Aardman Animations studio, Dr Tan and Mrs Tan were given figures of the animation studio's beloved sheep character Shaun, whose wool was painted with the British union jack.

    In the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in London, they received a copy of a painting done in 1876 of a Singaporean lane with trees by botanic artist Marianne North. She traveled the Singapore and Borneo region in the 1870s painting landscapes and plants.

    In September, The Straits Times photojournalist Joyce Fang goes behind the scenes to check out the preparations ahead of the visit. View her pictures here.
     
    #8763 Loh, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    What to expect in the Singapura: 700 Years exhibition

    Published on Oct 28, 2014 6:57 AM


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    One of the exhibits at the Colonial Singapore section where the British developed Singapore into a thriving port and premier city in the region during the years 1819 to 1942. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

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    At the Ancient Singapore section where the public can learn about the the legendary five Malay Kings that ruled a prosperous trading settlement until the Javanese invaded the island during the years 1300 to 1818. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

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    The Syonan-To section where the public can experience the lives of the people during the Japanese occupation during the years 1942 to 1945. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

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    Lim Chen Sian, 39, visiting fellow of the archaeology unit at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH


    By Olivia Ho

    SINGAPORE - The Singapura: 700 Years exhibition opens today at the National Museum of Singapore. Visitors can immerse themselves in the island's transformation from humble fishing village to independent nation-state. The exhibition comprises six sections:

    1. Archaeology in Singapore

    Begin your journey with an insight into Singapore's little-known archaeological scene. Besides learning more about the island's archaeological sites such as those at the Botanic Gardens and Mount Faber, visitors can also view artifacts unearthed here over the years, some dating back to as early as the 10th century AD. They will also learn how archaeological site surveys, evaulations and excavations take place.

    2. Ancient Singapore (1300-1818)

    Starting in the 14th century, this section sheds light on Singapore's time as Temasek or Singapura, a prosperous trading settlement under five legendary Malay kings. Learn about such mysterious figures as Parameswara and Iskandar Shah, as well as the Javanese invasion in which the island was laid to waste.

    3. Colonial Singapore (1819-1942)

    The arrival of the British in 1819 turned Singapore into a bustling international port, attracting migrants from across the world. Visitors can observe how the different communities lived and worked together under colonial rule.

    4. Syonan-To (1942-1945)

    Here, visitors may get a glimpse into what Singapore endured under the Japanese occupation during World War II, from the fear of mass screening exercises to the lack of food and supplies. You can even walk into a Changi prison cell to see how prisoners of war survived those years.

    5. Road to Merdeka (1946-1965)

    Follow Singapore's difficult path from its post-war ruins to the political awakenings that resulted in its merger with Malaya. Visitors can walk through a recreated student demonstration, and learn about the various political parties involved in Singapore's early elections.

    6. Independent Singapore (1965-1975)

    In this section, get a taste of life in the decade following Singapore's independence and see how the nation we know today was built. Visit a 1970s-inspired HDB living room and explore a void deck and playground from the old days.

    The exhibition will run in the museum's basement from today till Aug 10 next year, open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free for citizens, permanent residents, and visitors aged six years and below. Tickets for foreign visitors are $6 for adults, and $3 for students and seniors aged 60 and above.

    Source: National Museum of Singapore
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore and China to start direct currency trading

    By Wong Siew Ying
    POSTED: 27 Oct 2014 18:22

    Agreement to strengthen financial cooperation between China and Singapore was reached at the 11th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation in Suzhou, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

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    This photo illustration taken on March 17, 2014 shows Chinese yuan bank notes in China's financial capital of Shanghai AFP/Peter Parks


    BEIJING: China will allow direct trading between its currency and the Singapore dollar from Tuesday (Oct 28), making it easier for companies here to do business with their Chinese counterparts.

    The Sing dollar will be added to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) platform, which currently offers transactions between the yuan and 10 foreign currencies. The announcement came on Monday (Oct 27), after an agreement at the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) in Suzhou, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

    Previously, companies that wanted to convert a large amount of Sing dollars to renminbi (RMB) or vice versa had to do so via an intermediate currency such as the US dollar.

    "This will lower foreign exchange transaction costs and encourage greater use of the two currencies in cross-border trade and investments," the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a news release on Monday.

    DPM Teo called this is a "major and significant" development which will reduce the cost of doing business and make it more convenient.

    Last year, China was Singapore's biggest trading partner, while the city-state was China's top foreign investor. Mr Teo also noted that Singapore is a major RMB hub for the internationalisation of the Chinese currency.

    "I still remember my first visit to China 30 years ago, the currency was not even unified then. We had foreign exchange certificates, and you know, it was just not tradeable at all. And today we have direct trade between the renminbi and the Sing dollar, and that's quite a major and a significant development," DPM Teo said.

    DIRECT CURRENCY TRADING 'KEENLY ANTICIPATED'

    The move comes amid recent efforts by the private sector to forge closer collaboration between Singapore and London - two key offshore RMB centres. For instance, a private sector-led UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue will take place in Singapore in January next year.

    Said Mr Suan Teck Kin, Senior Economist at UOB: "If European businesses need to settle whatever that they need to during the Asian time zone, Singapore will be one of the places they can go to. So, the more connections that you have, the more liquidity you can generate, for example. It is kind of like a water pool. If you have more pipes to different pools, that means you can establish a larger volume of RMB liquidity."

    Industry players, such as Standard Chartered Bank, say the commencement of direct RMB-Sing dollar trading had been "keenly anticipated" and the move should boost the appeal of offshore RMB in the region, as well as strengthen Singapore's position as a leading offshore RMB hub.

    "This is one thing which the market has been keenly anticipating and waiting for, which is direct trading between the Chinese yuan and the Sing dollar," said Mr Motasim Iqbal, head of Transaction Banking Singapore at Standard Chartered Bank.

    "With the amount of foreign exchange involved and the amount of foreign exchange risk that is also involved with it, the ability to quote pricing - both in Sing dollars and RMB - will definitely bring in a lot more pricing transparency, so the market is clearly looking forward to it. With Singapore's position as the largest foreign exchange trading centre in Asia, I think this is something which will definitely benefit the entire corporate space."

    "Having the ability to directly convert the two currencies complements the city-state's existing capabilities, laying an even stronger foundation for Singapore to nurture a Sing-Yuan market," StanChart added in a statement. "This move will also bring about enormous potential for the development and innovation of financial products and instruments."

    United Overseas Bank (China) - which has been approved by China's central bank as a market maker for direct trading between the RMB and Sing dollar - said the direct trading will encourage more companies in Singapore to adopt the RMB for trade settlement.

    "Customers stand to benefit most from the direct trading facility as they can expect lower FX conversion costs as well as faster payments and receipts for their transactions," said Mr Eric Lian, President and CEO of UOB (China).

    Besides UOB, OCBC and DBS Group were also appointed market makers for direct trading between the Sing dollar and RMB.

    MORE TIE-UPS?

    MAS also announced that Singapore proposed to allow China-incorporated financial institutions to issue RMB-denominated debt instruments in Singapore directly. "This will help to diversify long-term funding for Chinese financial institutions by allowing them to tap into the international institutional investor base in Singapore," MAS said.

    Both countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the areas of capital markets and insurance. MAS and the China Securities Regulatory Commission will study measures to enhance collaboration between the derivatives markets of Singapore and China. MAS and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission will also explore collaborative initiatives in the area of catastrophe risk insurance.

    MAS Deputy Managing Director Jacqueline Loh said: "The successful implementation of the financial cooperation initiatives and the new areas of cooperation agreed at the 11th JCBC meeting bear testament to the excellent relations between MAS and its counterparts in China. As China proceeds with its structural transformation and financial reform, financial cooperation between the two countries will grow in importance and mutual benefit."
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Feasibility study for Singapore-China project to be concluded by 2015: DPM Teo

    By Kimberly Spykerman
    POSTED: 27 Oct 2014 20:25


    Singapore's Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing will co-chair a ministerial committee to study a possible third government-to-government project with China.

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    Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (L) and China's Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli (Photo: Kimberly Spykerman)


    SUZHOU: Singapore aims to conclude a feasibility study into a third government-to-government project with China by next year. This includes establishing a concept, location and programmes, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

    Mr Teo spoke to reporters in Suzhou after a meeting with Chinese officials on Monday (Oct 27). He said Singapore and China have agreed that the theme for the project - this time in China's western region - should be based on modern connectivity and services.


    Mr Teo said that Singapore is looking for a project that is ground-breaking, and that will fit into China's current priorities.

    He added: "China is undergoing a major transformation in its economy. Among other things, it wants to make sure economic development spreads from coastal areas to the western region, so this is one major priority of the Chinese. The Chinese are also looking for linkages beyond China with other countries... So we are looking to see how a project in the Western region can help the Chinese, work together with them, fit in with them, to catalyse, and to help them realise this vision."

    Singapore's Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing will co-chair a ministerial committee to study this project. He said both sides will conduct exploratory studies, including visits to the cities being considered - it was previously reported that the three shortlisted cities are Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi'an.

    He added that the project must fit in with China's development priorities for its Western region and break new ground for bilateral cooperation between the two countries. It must also be commercially viable.

    Currently, Singapore has two government-to-government projects with China - Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city.

    "It's not just about developing an industrial park, because if that's the case, the Chinese are very capable of doing that." said Mr Chan. "We are trying to see which areas we can develop enablers for economic activities, for financial activities, to take off in the western region."

    Mr Chan also noted that the previous two projects were geographically-specific, and that the third project being studied could be something different.

    "Because we are talking about the entire Western region, we may be thinking how to work with the Chinese to develop a network based on a hub and spoke methodology, so there's much more we need to discuss," he added.

    The proposed third project was among a number of issues discussed at a Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting, which also looked at ways to further enhance financial cooperation between the two countries.

    Both sides also signed new agreements, including one on intellectual property protection, and also renewed some existing agreements.

    Singapore will mark 25 years of diplomatic relations with China next year. It is a significant occasion and Mr Teo said he hopes to see some of the projects that both sides have been discussing reach a good point by then to mark this milestone. Mr Teo will wrap up his visit in Beijing on Tuesday.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Above and beyond: New surveillance system to guard against aerial, maritime threats

    By Leong Wai Kit
    POSTED: 28 Oct 2014 10:30


    The Aerostat System – a tethered balloon that uses low-level radar to detect threats as far as 200km away – will be deployed early next year.

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    The Aerostat System (Photo: Ng Eng Hen's Facebook Page)


    SINGAPORE: The Republic will soon have an extra pair of eyes in the sky to look out for aerial and maritime threats. The Aerostat System – a tethered balloon that uses low-level radar to detect threats as far as 200km away – will be deployed early next year.

    Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced this on Tuesday (Oct 28) at Nanyang Polytechnic, during the PRoductivity and Innovation in Daily Efforts (PRIDE) Day award ceremony. The event promotes innovation and productivity across the Ministry of Defence.
    Dr Ng said with the Aerostat System, the Singapore Armed Forces will save nearly S$30 million in operating costs a year.

    The system will complement the Republic of Singapore Air Force's current suite of airborne and ground-based radars. "Our ground-based radar systems can only operate above high-rise buildings," Dr Ng said, adding that the urban landscape in Singapore is changing, and more tall buildings are coming up.

    "For a small island-state like Singapore, surveillance and early warning to give us sufficient reaction time to respond will always be a challenge but the Aerostat will improve our surveillance capabilities significantly," he said.

    [​IMG]

    The system requires eight ground crew members to operate. The Aerostat can be tethered to a height of up to 600 metres – about twice the height of One Raffles Place building.

    Safety measures will also be in place to ensure Aerostat is far from flying aircraft, when deployed. The blimp will also be secured to the ground mooring station with a Kevlar tether, to withstand strong winds and lightning strikes.

    Aerostats have been used by different agencies across the world since the 1980s as early warning systems and for radio re-broadcast.

    In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Dr Ng said the "protector in the sky" will strengthen Singapore's defences against aerial and maritime threats.

    "The aerostat will complement our ground radars to detect such threats and provide early warning. It can stay airborne for 24/7, use less manpower and cost less," wrote Dr Ng.

    He also applauded Singapore's military planners and engineers who are "constantly coming up with new and better ideas for our nation's defence."

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    NUS Suzhou Research Institute establishes three new centres

    POSTED: 27 Oct 2014 20:10


    The three centres will conduct research on China business management, innovation in social management and industrial economic research with Chinese characteristics.

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    The NUS Suzhou Research Institute. Photo: NUSRI website


    SUZHOU: The National University of Singapore (NUS) will be establishing three new centres within the NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute (NUSRI) in China, it announced in a press release on Monday (Oct 27).

    The new centres are the NUS Business School China Business Centre, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Suzhou Centre and Institute of Real Estate Studies (IRES) Global Logistic Properties Research Centre. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean visited the new research centres on Monday, as he continues his official visit to China.

    The centres will conduct research on China business management, innovation in social management, industrial economic research with Chinese characteristics, as well as other topical issues relevant to China's social development.

    Studies conducted at these centres will aid Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) with managing issues related to public administration, commerce, finance, real estate economics and urbanisation, NUS stated.

    NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan and Mr Yang Zhiping, Director of Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee, signed a Framework Agreement on Monday afternoon to formalise the collaboration between the three new centres and the Suzhou Industrial Park.

    NUSRI was jointly set up by NUS and SIP. In three years, it has launched over 30 research projects and secured about RMB 27 million (S$5.6 million) in research funding.

    In addition to the three new research centres, NUSRI will also host the new Singapore-China (Suzhou) Innovation Centre. The centre aims to promote China-Singapore technology, innovation exchange and establish a platform for technology transfer, commercialisation and startup incubation, NUS added.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Tan Su Shan of DBS takes global private banking honour

    POSTED: 30 Oct 2014 13:14


    The Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management was named the Best Leader in Private Banking at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards, while the bank won the Best Private Bank in Use of Technology and Best Private Bank in Singapore awards.

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    File photo of DBS Bank group head of consumer banking and wealth management Tan Su Shan. (Photo: TODAY)


    SINGAPORE: DBS Bank's Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management Tan Su Shan was recognised as the world's Best Leader in Private Banking at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards - the first time a Singaporean has taken the accolade.

    The local bank also emerged as the Best Private Bank in Use of Technology, and was named the Best Private Bank in Singapore for the fifth year running at the awards ceremony in Geneva, according to the company's press release on Thursday (Oct 30).

    On Ms Tan's award, Mr Yuri Bender, Editor-in-Chief of PWM at Financial Times Group, said: “Although she has had a high profile in Singapore for many years, it was felt that her time has finally come, particularly regarding her leading role in the acquisition of the Asian private banking business of French bank Societe Generale."

    DBS recently completed the acquisition of the French bank, increasing its high net worth assets under management and assets under management for all wealth customers to S$88 billion and S$129 billion, respectively.

    As for its win in the use of technology category, Mr Bender said DBS received plaudits for its innovations because of the way it has observed and adapted ideas pioneered in other Asian banks and non-financial companies. One example of this is the use of IBM's Watson technology to bring artificial intelligence into the field of wealth management.

    "Research from the Aite group, which underpinned the decision-making process, shows that DBS has been one of the global leaders in both digital innovation to improve communication with private clients and broader implementation of larger-scale technology projects," he said.

    The Global Private Banking Awards 2014 is presented by PWM and The Banker. The judging panel consisted of 15 industry professionals from North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    New photonics institute at NTU promises to light up local research scene

    By Loke Kok Fai
    POSTED: 30 Oct 2014 12:20


    There will be five research centres in the institute, looking at areas such as creating specialty optical fibre and improving energy efficiency in areas such as LED lighting.

    [​IMG]

    Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck given a tour around the new photonics institute at Nanyang Technological University. (Photo: Loke Kok Fai)


    SINGAPORE: A new photonics institute was launched at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Thursday (Oct 30) - and with it, promises of breakthrough innovations that could impact the Internet, lighting and high-precision instruments.


    The 4,000-square-metre institute is touted to be one of the largest in the world, and comprises five different research centres related to the fields of photonics and optics. It received more than S$100 million in funding from industry partners and various national agencies such as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), DSO National Laboratories and the Economic Development Board (EDB).

    [​IMG]

    A researcher operating a Modified Chemical Vapour Deposition lathe, which is used to make preforms that will be turned into glass fibres for optic cables. (Photo: Loke Kok Fai)


    One of the five research centres is the Centre for Optical Fibre Technology (COFT), set up in partnership with the University of Southampton. It will develop technologies in specialty optical fibre, with possible applications in areas such as Internet communications, manufacturing, sensors, biomedical and the military.

    Another centre is the LUMINOUS! Centre for Excellence for Semiconductor Lighting and Displays, which will conduct research on ways to balance energy efficiency with sustained quality of light. The findings could then be applied in areas such as LED lighting and mobile and computer screens.

    The other three centres are the Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies (CDPT), the Centre for Optical and Lasers in Engineering (COLE) and the OPTIMUS! Photonic Centre of Excellence.
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S’pore remains world’s most business-friendly economy: World Bank

    [​IMG]

    But Republic’s score slipped marginally, an indication it still needs to improve: Analyst

    Published: 10:38 PM, October 29, 2014


    WASHINGTON — Singapore remains the most business-friendly economy in the world, topping a World Bank ranking for a ninth consecutive year.

    The Republic ranked No 1 in the ‘trading across borders’ and ‘enforcing contracts’ categories in the institution’s 2015 Doing Business report. It was second in the category of ‘dealing with construction permits’, third in ‘protecting minority investors’ and sixth in ‘starting a business’.

    In the ‘trading across borders’ category, countries were assessed based on the number of documents, time and cost per container required for trade facilitation. In the ‘enforcing contracts’ category, the World Bank noted that Singapore had made the process easier by introducing an electronic litigation system to streamline proceedings.

    But the Republic did not fare as well in the ‘getting credit’ (17th), ‘resolving insolvency’ (19th) and ‘registering property’ (24th) categories.

    New Zealand came in second while Hong Kong was third, followed by Denmark and South Korea in the top five.

    Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, noted that Singapore’s score slipped marginally from 88.30 for 2014 to 88.27 in 2015, while the other top five ranked economies saw improvements in their scoring. “Looking ahead, keeping (Singapore) ahead may require pulling up the socks for lagging categories like ‘resolving insolvency’,” she said.

    The World Bank said that, globally, it was easier to do business this year than it was last year.

    “We see that the economies that score the lowest are reforming more intensely, so they are converging towards the economies that do the best,” said Ms Rita Ramalho, manager of the report.

    Sub-Saharan African countries had the most number of regulatory reforms at 75, while emerging Europe and Central Asia had the highest percentage of improving countries.

    This year’s report uses new data in three categories: Resolving insolvency, protecting minority investors and getting credit. It measures the ease of doing business in 189 economies based on 11 categories.
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Channel NewsAsia wins award for environmental reporting

    [h=1]By Sharon See , Channel NewsAsia[/h]
    • POSTED: 30 Oct 2014 14:33

      The Asian Environmental Journalism Awards recognises the vital role of media on environmental issues, says Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu.

    [​IMG] Award winners with Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)


    SINGAPORE: Regional broadcaster Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Oct 30) won an award for environmental reporting from the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Lee Foundation.

    One of six winners at the third Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, Channel NewsAsia bagged the SEC-Lee Foundation Excellence in Environmental Reporting by a Media Organisation. It is the only Singapore-based recipient among the winners this year.

    Channel NewsAsia won for being part of parent company MediaCorp's Saving Gaia initiative, where a series of programmes was aired to highlight some of the green initiatives in Singapore. One such programme was Naturopolis, which explored how scientists, artists, architects and naturalists are creating synergy between city and nature and developing environments that are both ecological and sustainable, in New York, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Paris.

    SEC said the Saving Gaia initiative has grown from a corporate initiative in 2007 to a multi-faceted campaign that has become synonymous with environmental awareness and going green, with TV commercials, print ads, radio and outdoor posters. Channel NewsAsia's logo also went green during the initiative.

    Some of Channel NewsAsia's stories that helped it clinch the award include:

    • Monica Kotwani's Clearing The Air On Haze
    • Testing of Electric Cars Moves Into Second Phase
    • Draft Transboundary Haze Bill Won't Solve Issue In The Long Term Without Engagement
    • Haze Could Stay With El Nino
    • Businesses Prepare for Haze
    • Kimberly Spykerman’s Eco-Activism On the Rise in Singapore
    • Tan Qiuyi’s Singapore's Coral Reefs
    • Yan Zixin’s Get Rea! - China's 'Air'pocalypse
    Channel NewsAsia’s Luminary Awards, which celebrates the region’s brightest minds in business, also has a Green Luminary category that identifies Asian companies that lead in employing green practices. The channel’s Sustainability Ranking is another green initiative that identifies and celebrates leading firms in corporate sustainability across 10 key Asian economies.

    The other winners at the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards this year are:

    • SEC Young Environmental Journalist of the Year: Denise Hruby, Cambodia
    • SEC-Coca-Cola Environmental Story of the Year: Fernando G. Sepe Jr, Philippines
    • SEC-CDL Environmental Journalist of the Year: Tan Chengli, Malaysia
    • SEC-Sky Creation Design Environmental Blogger of the Year: Stella Paul, India
    • SEC-CITIC Telecom International Environmental Photograph of the Year: Eli Ritchie, Philippines

    Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu told journalists at the awards ceremony that the media plays a "critical role in providing timely and accurate information, rigorous analysis and strong understanding on environmental issues".

    "Journalists, bloggers and photographers like you have provided a reflection of the reality and drawn attention to issues that warrant our consideration," Ms Fu said.

    She added the media is vital in communicating the “complete story” on the environment – from issues that concern citizens to the impact of business practices, new scientific discoveries and policies and regulations by government agencies.

    Ms Fu said the award recognises the vital role of media in Asia while providing a platform for journalists to network with one another. SEC received about 150 nominations for the award this year, nearly double that of last year.
     
    #8772 Loh, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S’pore’s Youth Olympic Games medallists get scholarships worth S$145,000 in total

    [​IMG]

    Martina Veloso with Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin (left) and Sam Tan, Minister of State (Culture, Community and Youth) at the Nanjing YOG yesterday. Photo: SNOC


    By Adelene Wong
    - adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 3:20 PM, October 31, 201


    SINGAPORE — A total of S$145,000 worth in sports scholarships were given out by NTUC FairPrice Foundation to Team Singapore’s four medallists from this year’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

    National sailors Bernie Chin and Samantha Yom, who delivered Singapore’s first gold medals at the quadrennial Games when they won their respective Byte CII events, were awarded S$50,000 each.

    Shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso was awarded a S$25,000 scholarship for winning a silver medal in the women’s 10m air rifle event, while Teh Xiu Yi’s partnership with Egyptian Mohamed Ahmed for a second-place finishing in the 10m air pistol mixed international team event earned her S$20,000.

    The Youth Olympics were held in Nanjing, China in August.

    The NTUC FairPrice Foundation Sports Scholarship is modelled differently from the Multi-Million Award Programme (MAP) for the four major Games — the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and South-east Asian Games, where recipients of the NTUC FairPrice Foundation Sports Scholarship receive sports scholarships in cash values instead of cash.

    Awardees can claim expenses such as school or tuition fees, purchase of training and competition equipment, coaching fees, and travel costs to training camps and competitions.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Otter spotted taking dip in Swan Lake at Botanic Gardens

    Published on Oct 30, 2014 5:41 PM


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    An otter was spotted at Swan Lake in the Botanic Gardens on Oct 30, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES


    By Jalelah Abu Baker
    SINGAPORE - An otter was spotted taking a dip in Swan Lake at Botanic Gardens on Thursday.

    While the staff there were surprised by its appearance, it is not the first time otters have been spotted here.

    In February this year, two smooth-coated otters visited Gardens by the Bay. They eventually raised five pups, and the family was found roaming and eating fish along the banks of Marina Reservoir. They have also been seen inside the Gardens and in its lakes.

    Otters are threatened native marine mammals, and are often found at sea but need a source of fresh water nearby. They have also been spotted at East Coast Park and as far inland as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Marina Bay countdown to kick off SG50 celebrations

    [​IMG]

    Fireworks celebrations at the Marina Bay area. Photo: Darren Soh/Esplanade


    Published: 10:30 PM, October 30, 2014

    SINGAPORE — Ahead of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown to usher in Singapore’s 50th year of independence, members of the public can soon start penning their wishes for Singapore’s future on wishing spheres that will be set afloat during the event.

    There will be a record 25,000 wishing spheres, with 5,000 of them to be red spheres that will form a giant number ‘50’ in the Bay.

    From Saturday (Nov 1), members of the public can pen their wishes on the spheres at 31 wishing stations around the island. Virtual wishes can also be made at

    www.marinabaycountdown.sg from Nov 7.

    In the lead up to the event, there will be special 3D projections on the façades of the Fullerton Hotel and the Merlion depicting Singapore’s growth and development. The projections will run every night from Dec 26-31 between 8pm to midnight.

    On New Year’s Eve itself, the public can look forward to a final visual showcase starting from 11.55pm. This will culminate in a countdown sequence to the new year and will be followed immediately by an eight-minute firework display.

    The firework display will be specially choreographed to a score composed by two up-and-coming Singaporean music talents, Mr Julian Wong and Mr Riduan Zalani, under the guidance of renowned musician Iskandar Ismail.

    There will be celebrations and bazaars located in public areas surrounding Marina Bay as well as two ticketed events: Celebrate with the World 2015 held at The Promontory, Esplanade and the Celebrate SG50 concert organised by MediaCorp at The Float @ Marina Bay.

    The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2015 is being jointly organised by The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

    “This is the 10th year of a fruitful partnership with Esplanade to present the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown,” said URA’s chief executive Ng Lang. “The success of the countdown comes from the support and involvement of the community, and we look forward to your (the public) participation again this year to make this a joyous evening.”

    Mr Benson Puah, CEO of The Esplanade added: “We invite everyone to join us and together, watch the Bay area come alive as we usher in the New Year and the start of Singapore’s golden jubilee.

    “As we wish for an even brighter future, we hope that everyone appreciates the specialness of what we have as a young nation and what is precious in our lives.”
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    ‘I taught Sting to read music’: Pamela Tan Nicholson

    [h=2]Music[/h]
    [h=1]‘I taught Sting to read music’: Pamela Tan Nicholson[/h]


    [​IMG]

    Singapore concert pianist Pamela Tan Nicholson. Photo: Pamela Tan Nicholson.

    The S’pore concert pianist on working with pop stars and a famous daughter named Vanessa


    By Mayo Martin
    - mayo@mediacorp.com.sg

    Published: 4:03 AM, October 31, 2014


    SINGAPORE — Singaporean concert pianist Pamela Tan Nicholson is full of surprises. Not only did she bring up a prodigious daughter who became that certain pop violinist named Vanessa Mae, she has also deigned to rap in front of millions on Chinese television, and has even taught pop rock legend Sting how to read musical notes.

    And at her comeback concert on Thursday night, Nicholson treated the audience to yet another surprise of the heartwarming variety. All proceeds for the Singapore leg of the Toyota Classics Asia Tour, where she performs with partner and violinist Vasko Vassilev, were already set to be donated to The Singapore Association for the Deaf. But the 56-year-old musician-composer took it one step further — she brought on ExtraOrdinary Horizons, a Singapore band comprising deaf performers, to play two songs she had written especially for the occasion.

    Prior to the guest appearance, the group had been secretly rehearsing the pieces for months. Videos would be sent to the London-based Nicholson, who also had Skype sessions to get to know the performers. “It was quite exciting,” said Nicholson of the process. “We had to teach them through learning vibration and through partial visual observation.”

    And it’s not the first time she’s done these sorts of pleasant surprises. A decade ago, during a tour to South Africa, she also rewrote a section of her show to include a music group of youths from the impoverished township of Soweto. “Making music isn’t just for people who are professionally inclined. It’s universal—even if you can’t hear or see or are just unlucky to have grown up in a ghetto where you don’t have private music lessons.”

    UNIQUELY SINGAPORE

    And her willingness to open up the world of music to other people — not to mention her penchant for taking musical leaps of faith as when she came up with the whole “acoustic-techno fusion” sound her daughter came to be eventually known for — was all uniquely Singapore, she said.

    She’s been based in London since the early `80s and her last performance here was way back in 1992, but Nicholson said she manages to drop by for a day or two every year or so to catch up on her “Three Fs” when in Singapore: Friends, family and food.

    Reminiscing about her artistic roots, the self-professed “rebel” student pointed out how she was lucky to be able to express herself in school. “All throughout my school days, I was always allowed to express myself. My teachers used to allow me to write my own plays—my classmates were my first guinea pigs before I had a daughter named Vanessa Mae,” she good-naturedly quipped.

    The multicultural environment also allowed her to develop an open attitude towards fusing things, which has been evident in her music. “That was the other fortunate thing about growing up in Singapore. I learned classical music, yes, but the rest of my family only listened to Teochew opera or Chinese pop music,” said Nicholson, who shared how she was exposed to and was taught traditional Malay and Indian music and dance. “I was brought up learning classical Indian dance or the Malay ronggeng.”

    But the one thing she is most proud of in terms of her music has been the fact that she learned all her chops here. “As a pianist, I never bothered to have conservatory training. And no one can probably imagine that my entire music education was in Singapore, but that’s something I’m really proud of.”


    MICHAEL, STING, VANESSA

    Those solid foundations proved to be beneficial to a career that has seen her performing at various concert halls and venues around the world, working on movies such as Mulan and big events like the Beijing Olympics (in fact, for the latter, a series of performances, which included that aforementioned rapping segment).

    She’s also worked and shared the stage with some of the best pop music artists, such as the late Michael Jackson. They were both special guests in a couple of shows in Seoul and Munich and she recalled how hardworking the pop star was. “Not only did he rehearse his own act but also his dancers to absolute perfection. And more than that, he was in charge of his own sound and lighting setup,” she said.

    She also described Sting as a “very good friend”. At one point, Nicholson had decided to take a little break from music. Sting encouraged her to continue on but at a leisurely pace, even offering the use of his studio at his house. The friendship worked both ways: She helped the rockstar read music. “I knew that he always loved classical music. He made his debut on the classical double bass (instrument) accompanying me in a piano concerto.”

    And then, of course, there’s her daughter, Vanessa Mae.

    Nicholson had managed Mae until she was 21 and the ups and downs of their relationship has occasionally played out in public, as recently as the Sochi Winter Olympics, where the violinist represented Thailand as a skier (her estranged Thai father had worked at Raffles Hotel where he had met Nicholson).

    “There’s no smoke without fire in so far as there is truth that our paths do not overlap much (nowadays). Obviously, through family, we know what the other’s doing,” shared Nicholson, whose view of their professional split as a way for Mae to “find her own way”.

    “She’s definitely not a copy of me and in that sense, I’m very proud of her. We’re both very happy in our own ways,” she said.

    Will we be able to see a mother-daughter reunion concert anytime soon? “She has always been quite a private person. For the moment, I think she still feels I’ve a very strong personality. But probably, if she feels we can work together musically…” she trailed off.

    Then again, you never know. Like we said, Pamela Tan Nicholson is full of surprises.
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Space capsule to send first Singaporean into space unveiled

    Published on Nov 1, 2014 6:47 PM


    [​IMG]

    A pupil from Bedok Green Primary School takes a picture of the interior of the space capsule that is expected to hold the first Singaporean to go into space. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    [​IMG]

    Students from Tanjong Katong Girls' School, Haig Girls Primary School, Holy Innocents Primary School and Bedok Green Primary School take turns to get a feel of the space capsule that is expected to hold the first Singaporean to go into space. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    [​IMG]

    A boy peeks into the interior of the space capsule that is expected to hold the first Singaporean to go into space after its unveiling at Resorts World Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    [​IMG]

    The space capsule that is expected to hold the first Singaporean to go into space is unveiled at Resorts World Sentosa by IN.Genius founder and director Lim Seng (right), advisor for National Research Foundation at Prime Minister's Office Lui Pao Chuen (left), and executive vice-president of RWS Goh Chye Boon (second from right) on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    By Feng Zengkun

    SINGAPORE - A local company's project to send the first Singaporean into space on National Day next year (2015) reached another milestone on Saturday, with the space capsule unveiled at Resorts World Sentosa.

    But coming soon after a Virgin Galactic rocket ship's crash in the United States on Friday, the company, IN.Genius, stressed at the event the "over-designed" safety aspects of its own vessel, and the lower risk of the project.

    IN.Genius hopes to launch a pilot from Singapore in a helium stratospheric balloon craft into near-space, more than 20km above sea level.

    The company's founder and director Lim Seng said there were risks associated with any space project, but added that the use of a balloon instead of rockets to launch the Singapore craft lessened the danger.

    "We've also put in redundancy upon redundancy in the craft, and exceeded the safety requirements by nine times, to make sure the space capsule is as safe as it can be," he said.

    The capsule is 2m by 2m by 3m and weighs 400kg without a pilot. It consists of a pressurised aluminium vessel, a steel outer frame with a fibre-glass shell, and crush pads. The pads alone are made of a 10-inch thick cell-paper honeycomb and a base of Kevlar, and can withstand up to 40 g-forces to provide shock absorption during landing.

    Twelve pilot candidates have been chosen from more than 150 applicants, and will be further whittled down before the launch.

    A laboratory rat will be used in a test flight in India in January, and the first manned flight, to 4,000m above sea level, is set to take place in Australia in April next year.
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Get to know the new Springleaf Nature Park that opened on Nov 1

    Published on Nov 1, 2014 1:53 PM

    [​IMG]

    The Springleaf Nature Park, the first of four new nature parks around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, was officially opened on Saturday. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    [​IMG]

    The Pear Mangosteen is an evergreen mid-canopy rainforest tree that can grow up to 30m in height. When bruised, all parts of the plant will exude yellowish latex. Its flowers are pollinated by insects and the fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals. It is native to Singapore. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Singapore Kopsia is a small evergreen tree that grows up to 12m in height. This species is endemic to lowland and freshwater swamp forests of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Blue-tailed Bee-eater has a greenish plumage with a prominent orange-brown throat. This migratory bird usually arrives in August and stays until March. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Yellow-Vented Bulbul has a slight crest, white face and yellow under tail coverts. It sips nectar, nibbles on young shoots and snacks on insects. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Yellow-bellied Prinia stays within the long grass, hops from one grass stalk to another and frequently stands at the end of the tall stalks looking around or singing. It is also found at the back mangrove, roadside scrub and agricultural farmland. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Common Flameback woodpecker has a golden-brown back and wings, and an orange-red rump. It feeds on ants, termites and other insects on the bark of large trees. It is usually seen in pairs, often calling with loud, short rattles in flight. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    [​IMG]

    The Springleaf Nature Park, the first of four new nature parks around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, was officially opened on Saturday. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

    By Melissa Heng

    The Springleaf Nature Park, the first of four new nature parks around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve located at Nee Soon Road, Upper Thomson Road, was officially opened on Saturday.

    Formerly a kampung known as Chan Chu Kang, the park now includes trails, a rest shelter and an observation deck for bird-watchers.

    Here are some other interesting facts about the Springleaf Nature Park.

    [HR][/HR]It used to be a kampung

    [​IMG]

    An aerial view of the Springleaf Nature Park. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    Named after its headman, Mr Chan Ah Lak, Chan Chu Kang village was located in the ‘kangkar' (Teochew for 'the land around the riverbank') of Seletar River. Mr Chan bought 18 hectares in 1850 and used it to cultivate gambier and pepper.

    It also used to be a rubber plantation

    In 1912 the land was used to support the growth of the rubber industry in Singapore. The village was subsequently renamed Nee Soon village after Lim Nee Soon, who set up the rubber factory in the 'kangkar'.

    It is a bird watcher's dream

    [​IMG]

    The White-throated Kingfisher has a brown head and belly, with a distinct white throat and breast. It is the most common resident kingfisher in Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

    The six-hectare park is home to over 80 species of resident and migratory birds. The park even has an observation deck for bird-watchers to look out for species such as the White-throated Kingfisher, the Yellow-vented Bulbul and the Blue-tailed Bee-eater.

    How to get there

    [​IMG]

    Click on image for full map

    Located at Nee Soon Road, Upper Thomson Road visitors can take various busses to get to the park. Bus services include, SBS 138, SMRT 167, 169 or 980. Visitors should alight at the bus stop outside the former Nessea Club.
     
  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Keeping old charms alive

    [h=1]Keeping old charms alive[/h][h=2]

    Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism: With 50 years of knowledge in local history, culture and heritage, Geraldene Lowe-Ismail has toiled to preserve history
    [/h]


    Published on Nov 1, 2014 3:35 PM


    [​IMG]

    With 50 years of knowledge in local history, culture and heritage, going on one of Geraldene’s tours feels more like someone from the past has come alive to tell the tales. -- PHOTO: STB

    [​IMG]

    The interior of the Golden Bell Mansion (now used as the Danish Seamen’s Church) on Mount Faber is one of the stops on Geraldene’s Black & White Houses. -- PHOTO: YANNLING LIM

    [​IMG]

    The Golden Bell Mansion (now used as the Danish Seamen’s Church) on Mount Faber is one of the stops on Geraldene’s Black & White Houses. -- PHOTO: YANNLING LIM

    [​IMG]

    A figure on display in the Golden Bell Mansion (now used as the Danish Seamen’s Church). The house on Mount Faber is one of the stops on Geraldene’s Black & White Houses. -- PHOTO: YANNLING


    By Yannling Lim

    Veteran tourist guide, trainer and local insider Geraldene Lowe-Ismail rattles off the names of historical figures with an easy familiarity.

    “Most of these stories are in my head as I have lived through all this history,” says the 75-year-old. “My family lived in the Jewish flats Amber Mansions and Meyer Mansions as they were affordable for my working single mother.

    When I came back from boarding school at Christmas, I always seemed to be living in a different apartment and got to hear lots of gossip from our Jewish neighbours." Later, as a tour guide, she would “censor a bit” and weave them in to her commentaries.

    [​IMG]

    Quietly acknowledged and sometimes forgotten for her help in countless coffee table books and film and television productions about Malaya’s WWII history, botanical diversity and architectural heritage, Mrs Lowe- Ismail, known as “Geraldene” in the industry, received the Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism at this year’s Tourism50 Gala Dinner and the Singapore Experience Awards 2014 held last evening.

    But any attempt to steer the conversation the “official” way is quickly side tracked by juicier cultural tips for the weekend.

    Geraldene is, after all, best known for “getting together the TGA (Tourist Guide Association) 50 years ago at her home, typing out and photocopying a newsletter and conducting guided walks for pioneer tour guides here.

    In 1966, she was roped in to develop the first Tourist Guide Training Programme.
    Ms Diana Chua, in her 50s,who attended the tourist guide course in the 1980s, says: “We (tourguides) are all in one wayor another products of Geraldene.There is a piece of her in every one of us.”

    It all began on a Roman holiday

    She first stood as a 24-year-old in front of a busload of tourists while holidaying in Rome in 1962.

    A Eurasian Singaporean who spoke Malay, Cantonese and Italian, and frequented Chinatown as a child, she was selling Thomas Cook sightseeing packages as a holiday job when it fell short of English-speaking guides.

    So she was asked: “When the bus comes, could you do the tours?” It was a time when the aeroplane was surpassing the steamship as a mode of transport and after seven years at the Anglo French Travel air tickets agency, Geraldene had earned a reputation in sales.

    Given her early start at Air India, aged 18, she was winning free tours to Cairo, Switzerland and Thailand including the inaugural Japan Airlines flight in 1963, alongside ministers and then-journalist Wee Kim Wee.

    “I don’t consider myself as a super salesman,” she says. “But I had empathy for people. And having travelled myself since young, I could anticipate problems that travellers would encounter and advise the clients in advance.”

    The Rome experience got her hooked on tour guiding and she began “doing tours” in Jerusalem, Petra and Beirut for family friends who ran a travel agency.

    Returning to independent Singapore in 1965, she took tour groups to Cambodia. With her myriad guiding experiences, she was asked in 1966 by Professor George Thompson from the Civil Service Institute at the National University of Singapore to start a Tourist Guide Training Programme.

    With lectures on Saturday afternoons and site visits on Sunday mornings, the 50-week course concludes with an oral and written exam.

    Look beyond the dollar sign

    Her proudest moment, however, is helping to found the Heritage Society, “which consisted of volunteers then”, and was instrumental in the 1988 Draft Master Plan for The Civic & Cultural District.

    “She is more than a tour guide,” Ms Chua says.“Geraldene was most concerned that as we developed into a modern society, we weren’t forgetting the old things and the charms of the old trades.”

    Says Geraldene:“There are so much history and charm in the old colonial houses and architecture - including their gates and fencing - that are worth saving. If you only see the dollar sign, you’ll tear them down anytime.”

    Seeing beyond the dollar sign is a personal practice for Geraldene, who does several tours a year with proceeds for charity.

    "Most of these things I did were for the love and passion of it, and I hardly ever got paid,” she says.

    As our “time travel” comes to an end, she takes out a little packet of saga seeds and places one into my palm - just as she does at the end of every tour she gives.

    “You know the saga seed? One to grow the money in your purse,” she says with a smile, before chiming in the Malay rhyme: “So many sagas make a mayam,so many mayams make a tael, so many taels make a kati.”

    A kati is half kilo, she carefully explains. “Taels of silver and gold were even mentioned in the Bible - it is a very ancient measure of weight!” she adds.

    Surely, no amount of saga seeds can equal Geraldene’s magnanimity in preserving the real Singapore.
     
  20. Thom_bad

    Thom_bad Regular Member

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    First - You keep on posting content that is copyrighted. People make a living out of writing those articles and you basically steal their work.
    Second - You are obviously the only one interested here. This is flooding.
     

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