Singapore Also Can

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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Integration makes Singapore Chinese identity distinct: PM Lee

    [​IMG]
    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recounted how Chinese immigrants had developed their own unique rituals and traditions, which were passed down the generations.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

    Published
    Feb 4, 2019, 5:00 am SGT

    Chinese Singaporeans different from Chinese elsewhere as they're part of multiracial whole

    Royston Sim
    Deputy Political Editor
    roysim@sph.com.sg

    Chinese Singaporeans have integrated into a larger, multiracial whole, and become distinct from Chinese communities elsewhere, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

    In his annual Chinese New Year message, PM Lee highlighted how this integration differentiates Singapore Chinese from the Chinese societies of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese minorities in South-east Asia and the West.

    But identity, like tradition, is dynamic, he noted.

    The Singapore Chinese identity will continue to evolve as new immigrants join and new generations come of age, he said, adding that they will enrich Singapore's cultural heritage with their different life experiences and perspectives.

    At the same time, he expressed his hope that the new arrivals will adjust their social norms to the local context and embrace uniquely Singaporean cultural habits over time, just as earlier generations did.

    "This is the way for the Chinese community to stay vibrant, and for Singapore to be open, dynamic and resilient for many years to come," PM Lee said.

    The Prime Minister recounted in his message how Chinese immigrants who made Singapore their home had developed their own unique rituals and traditions, which were passed down the generations.

    "The way we celebrate Chinese New Year reflects how the Singapore Chinese identity has evolved and emerged over the years."

    1819 marked start of modern, multicultural Singapore: Lee Hsien Loong[/paste:font]
    Singapore bicentennial: Why 2019 is history in the making [/paste:font]
    Singapore a rare, precious example of harmonious multiracial, multi-religious society: PM Lee[/paste:font]

    Noting that Singapore is commemorating its bicentenary this year, PM Lee said the arrival of Stamford Raffles 200 years ago marked a crucial turning point in the country's history, including for the Chinese community.

    This was because large-scale immigration started only after Raffles established a free port here, with Chinese immigrants coming from as nearby as Malacca and as far away as Canton, Swatow and Amoy to seek their fortunes.

    Many immigrants were too poor to travel back home for Chinese New Year, and instead recreated whatever traditions they could when celebrating here, PM Lee said.

    This included eating auspicious food, performing lion dances for good fortune, and setting off firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.

    Today, Singapore Chinese do lo hei - tossing raw fish salad - to express their hopes and wishes for the coming year, he said.

    When visiting friends and relatives, they also enjoy pineapple tarts, kueh lapis spekkoek and kueh bangkit cookies - a reflection of the South-east Asian heritage of the Straits Chinese, he added.

    Singapore banned the use of firecrackers in 1972, because of the danger they posed. Chingay parades were held from 1973 to kindle the festive mood in their place.

    While the first few parades featured mainly Chinese cultural items such as lion and dragon dances, PM Lee said Chingay has since grown into a celebration for people of all races and ages.

    He cited Chinese lion dancers performing alongside Indian dance troupes and Malay children playing the kompang, a traditional drum-like instrument. Groups from countries such as Japan, Russia and China come to participate as well.

    The involvement of all races adds a special joy and richness to the festivities, PM Lee said, and reflects Singapore's unique multicultural society.

    "We see this happening also when the Chinese join in Hari Raya celebrations with our Muslim friends, and Deepavali festivities with our Hindu friends," he added.

    PM Lee wished all Singaporeans a Happy Chinese New Year.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    NUS, NTU shine in university rankings by subjects; SMU breaks into top 50 for business

    [​IMG]
    Of Singapore's 14 top-10 performances in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings by Subject, nine were achieved by the National University of Singapore, while five were achieved by Nanyang Technological University.PHOTOS: ST FILE

    Published
    Feb 27, 2019, 5:00 am SGT

    Sandra Davie
    Senior Education Correspondent

    SINGAPORE - The Republic's two leading universities - the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University - have done well in a league table comparing universities around the world by subjects.

    The latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject released on Wednesday (Feb 27) showed that in total, 14 Singaporean subject offerings ranked in the global top 10. This was more than the combined totals of China (four), Hong Kong (three), and Japan (three).

    Of Singapore's 14 top-10 performances, nine were achieved by NUS, while five were achieved by NTU.

    Singapore Management University broke into the top 50 for the study of business and management for the first time since 2015. In doing so, it reached its highest ever rank in this subject table - No. 41.

    QS, a London-based higher education analyst firm, stressed that Singapore's universities continue to improve, with 41 of 76 ranked university departments improving their positions year on year.

    It said these results come amid a widespread Asian malaise at the very top, with China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan all regressing.

    The data is used to evaluate more than 1,200 universities across 78 countries, providing students, policymakers, academic administrators, faculty and employers with unique insight into institutional performance. The methodology comprises four key indicators:

    * Academic reputation: how much esteem a particular university is held by the global academic community.

    * Employer reputation: how highly employers worldwide regard a particular institution's graduates.

    * Citations per paper: how impactful, on average, a faculty's research is.

    * H-Index: how productive, and impactful, the average scholar at a given faculty is.

    The highest rank of any Singaporean university was achieved by NUS. It rose from No. 6 to No. 2 in civil and structural engineering, having overtaken the University of Cambridge and the University of California at Berkeley.

    Nanyang Technological University remained the world's third best university for the study of materials science.

    Harvard University remained the world's leading university, ranking as the world's best institution for the study of 12 subjects. Its closest competitor was still the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was the world leader in 11 subjects.

    [​IMG]

    Related Story
    Stepping out of the university-ranking race: Are global rankings that relevant for Singapore?

    However, the United States higher education system continued to decline relative to competitors, with six fewer No. 1 ranks than last year.

    Mr Ben Sowter, director of research at QS, said: "Singapore has long been Asia's most successful higher education system in our rankings, but there is some evidence that its ascendancy may be beginning to increase further. With China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan all seeing their number of top-10 and top-20 places increase, Singapore is the only major Asian higher education system to record consistent improvements.

    "This is driven by the increasing desirability of Singaporean graduates, with the average score achieved by its universities for our employer reputation indicator rising this year."

    Mr Sowter added that though QS stresses the importance of a nation cultivating a successful system - because the best higher education sectors are those that serve an entire population - Singapore's trajectory could see it take a global No. 1 rank in its subject tables in future years. This could happen as the Republic's universities have come close to entering the global top-10 in the overall QS World University Rankings.

    "These would be significant milestones for a group of universities that remain as ambitious as they are competitive," he said.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    SGH beats Johns Hopkins and University of Tokyo hospitals in world ranking

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    Singapore General Hospital was cited in part for its clinical research and "outstanding nursing".PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

    Published
    Mar 21, 2019, 12:49 pm SGT

    Salma Khalik
    Senior Health Correspondent
    salma@sph.com.sg
    @ST.Salma

    SINGAPORE - Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has been ranked the third-best hospital in the world by Newsweek magazine, in part for its clinical research and "outstanding nursing".

    It comes behind two American hospitals, the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

    The magazine said SGH, as a tertiary referral hospital with ancillary on-campus specialist centres, "provides affordable care for patients, leads patient-driven clinical research and provides undergraduate to postgraduate educational training for both students and medical professionals".

    Of the 10 top hospitals, as chosen by the magazine's panel of doctors, medical professionals and administrators in four continents, four are from the United States.

    Prof Kenneth Kwek, SGH’s chief executive officer, said: “We are humbled to be recognised for our medical and nursing care.”

    SGH, he said, has a strong tradition of working to improve the outcomes of patients through integrated clinical practice, innovation, cutting edge research and new models of care. “Our staff are passionate about healthcare and we continually challenge ourselves to do better for our patients, their family members and our staff,” he added.

    The only other hospital in Asia to make the list is the University of Tokyo Hospital, in eighth place. This hospital opened the trail-blazing Department of Disaster Medical Management, said the magazine.

    The top 10 hospitals in Newsweek's list are:

    1. Mayo Clinic (US): "It's the non-profit's peerless education arm... along with superb patient support" that snagged it the top spot.

    2. Cleveland Clinic (US): "Site of the world's first total facial transplant... (it) is among the largest medical providers in the world, with over 7.6 million patient visits in 2017".

    3. Singapore General Hospital: "The island nation's largest health system, serving more than one million patients annually."

    SGH working to raise awareness of living donor transplants[/paste:font]
    SGH is first in South-east Asia to perform living donor liver transplant involving incompatible blood groups[/paste:font]

    4. Johns Hopkins Hospital (US): "A leader in neurosurgery and child psychiatry, the Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic was also the first in the United States to complete male-to-female reassignment surgery."

    5. Charite (Germany): "On the cutting-edge of biomedical innovation, with biotech start-up labs, advisory roles and business initiatives focused on the convergence of technology and medicine."

    6. Massachusetts General Hospital (US): "With an annual research budget of more than US$912 million (S$1.2 billion), it also has the largest hospital-based research programme; over 1,200 clinical trials are conducted at Mass General at any given time."

    7. Toronto General Hospital (Canada): "It leads transplantation research and innovation, accomplishing many 'firsts', including a triple organ transplant (double-lung, liver and pancreas)."

    8. University of Tokyo Hospital (Japan): "Japan's vital medical hub has advanced both medical research and practice, while educating the top doctors and researchers in the country."

    9. Lausanne University Hospital (Switzerland): "It was one of only two hospitals in Switzerland's 'Health Valley' chosen by the World Health Organisation to conduct the all-important Ebola vaccine trials in October 2014."

    10. Sheba Medical Centre (Israel): "More than 25 per cent of all Israeli medical clinical research takes place at its state-of-the-art facilities."
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    RSAF wins Outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Unit award at US air combat exercise
    https://www.badmintoncentral.com/fo...ingapore-also-can.69880/page-481#post-2715771

    [​IMG]
    The RSAF clinched the Outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Unit award at this year's Exercise Red Flag-Nellis in the US.PHOTO: MINDEF

    Published
    4 hours ago

    SINGAPORE - Drastic weather changes in the Nevada desert were among the challenges that Military Expert 1 Joanne Lee, a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer, had to battle in her first large-scale international air combat exercise.

    Over the last two weeks, about 100 RSAF personnel participated in realistic training scenarios in the United States, involving more than 80 aircraft from seven countries.

    As an Air Force engineer, ME1 Lee's role was to ensure that the RSAF's six F-15SG fighter aircraft were mission-ready, whatever the environment.

    "It can drop to below 10 degrees Celsius in the night and morning, and climb to above 20 degrees Celsius in the afternoon," she told The Straits Times. "There were days where the wind was strong and working on the aircraft became a challenge."

    The efforts of team helped the RSAF to clinch the Outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Unit award at this year's Exercise Red Flag-Nellis, which ended at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on Saturday (March 23).

    Singapore's representatives were from the Peace Carvin V detachment, which is based in the Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

    Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates were the other countries that participated in the exercise hosted by the United States Air Force (USAF).

    [​IMG]
    ME1 Joanne Lee is tasked with ensuring that the RSAF's six F-15SG fighter aircraft were mission-ready, whatever the environment. PHOTO: MINDEF

    The air forces flew missions against the USAF's 64th Aggressor Squadron - a dedicated "adversarial force" flying the F-16 fighter aircraft, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) revealed on Saturday.

    The exercise, which the RSAF has been taking part in since 1982, "underscores the excellent and long-standing defence relationship between Singapore and the US" and provides the RSAF with an opportunity to benchmark itself against other leading air forces, Mindef said.

    [​IMG]
    Related Story
    RSAF welcomes new chief, BG Kelvin Khong, with change of command parade

    Related Story
    Parliament: Singapore to buy 4 F-35 fighter jets for a start, with option to buy 8 more, says Ng Eng Hen

    It was an "exciting and an eye-opening experience" for ME1 Lee, 26. Despite some nerves, things went off without a hitch, thanks in part to a "strong operations-logistics relationship between the air crew and ground crew", she said.

    Lieutenant Colonel Oon Kok Choon, the RSAF's Peace Carvin V Detachment Commander, said the exercise allowed RSAF personnel to hone operational competencies.

    "Having a dedicated adversarial force, which employed advanced tactics and electronic warfare, made the training more realistic," he said.

    The Commanding Officer of the USAF's 64th Aggressor Squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Manning, was one of the pilots who flew against the RSAF's F-15SG during the training missions.

    He said: "The RSAF has performed fantastically during this year's exercise. They have executed tactics on par with the other leading air forces, and have hit all the targets that they have been assigned."
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Changi Airport bags Skytrax best airport title for 7th straight year

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    Changi Airport has bagged the best airport title 10 times in the 20-year history of the World Airport Awards.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

    Published
    11 hours ago

    Karamjit Kaur
    Senior Aviation Correspondent
    karam@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Changi Airport has been named the world's best airport for the seventh straight year.

    In the global survey by London-based research firm Skytrax involving more than 13 million travellers, the Singapore airport was also named the best in Asia and the best in the world for leisure amenities.

    Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) came in second, followed by South Korea's Incheon International Airport which took third spot.

    Changi Airport has bagged the best airport title 10 times in the 20-year history of the World Airport Awards.

    In the survey, travellers were asked to rate airports across different points including check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, and security and immigration through to departure at the gate.

    The awards were given out on Wednesday (March 27) at the Passenger Terminal Expo in London.

    In receiving the award, Changi Airport Group chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said: "This achievement was made possible by the strong support from our airport partners... We thank our passengers for their continued support.

    "Their vote of confidence motivates us in our pursuit of service excellence and pushes us to continue redefining what an airport can be."

    On April 17, Jewel Changi Airport will open its doors to the world, he said.

    Travellers and visitors will have access to about 280 shops and restaurants as well as leisure facilities in the mixed-use development.

    "We look forward to sharing with passengers and airport visitors the unique Changi Experience in a new way, with an expanded range of world-class facilities, offerings and experiences."

    Mr Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax said: "To be voted the World's Best Airport for the seventh consecutive year is a truly fabulous achievement for Changi Airport, and this award continues to underline the airport's popularity with international air travellers.

    Top 10 airports
    1. Singapore Changi Airport
    2. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
    3. Incheon International Airport
    4. Hamad International Airport (Doha)
    5. Hong Kong International Airport
    6. Central Japan International Airport
    7. Munich Airport
    8. London Heathrow Airport
    9. Narita International Airport
    10. Zurich Airport
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore submits nomination to inscribe hawker culture on Unesco list

    [​IMG]
    Key characteristics of Singapore's hawker culture include hawker centres serving as community dining spaces for everyone, and how it is a reflection of Singapore's multicultural society.PHOTO: ST FILE

    Published
    3 hours ago

    Melody Zaccheus
    Heritage and Community Correspondent
    melodyz@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - The Republic's nomination to inscribe hawker culture in Singapore on the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was submitted on Wednesday (March 27).

    The nomination includes letters, photographs and videos demonstrating community support for the bid.

    The photographs feature an Indian Muslim hawker preparing briyani, a Chinese hawker demonstrating a chicken rice recipe, and a father and his children enjoying the chendol dessert, among other snapshots.

    A 10-minute video was also produced to give a 12-member Unesco evaluation body - comprising six experts qualified in various fields of intangible cultural heritage - a better understanding of hawker culture in Singapore.

    The nomination documents, to be available for public viewing from July, were jointly submitted by the three organisations driving the bid - the National Heritage Board, the National Environment Agency, and The Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore.

    Using the evaluation body's assessment and recommendation as a guide, a 24-member intergovernmental committee will then decide on the suitability of inscribing Singapore's hawker culture.

    The results will be announced at the end of next year.

    UNESCO Nomination - Hawker Culture in Singapore

    If successful, hawker culture will join 429 other cultures of other countries which were inscribed since the list was established in 2008.

    These include Belgium's beer culture, Indonesia's bamboo musical instrument angklung, China's shadow puppetry, and kimjang, or the making and sharing of kimchi in South Korea.

    Singapore's first such submission in the category of intangible cultural heritage comes after the Botanic Gardens was made a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015.

    If inscribed, it could help to further lift the profile of the country's rich cultural heritage.

    The list is not intended to define the origins and ownership of cultural practices.

    Spirited debate on hawker culture shows investment in its survival: National Heritage Board[/paste:font]
    14-member committee set up to oversee Singapore's hawker culture nomination[/paste:font]
    Hawker culture to be nominated for Unesco heritage list: 8 famous stalls in Singapore[/paste:font]
    Experts hope Unesco bid will increase support for hawkers[/paste:font]

    Instead, the bid will be assessed based on the criteria of meeting Unesco's definition of intangible cultural heritage, how the potential inscription will increase awareness of Singapore's hawker culture, how the existing and future safeguarding measures promote the continued practice of the culture, whether the nomination involved the community, and whether it is part of the country's intangible cultural heritage inventory.

    The nation's inventory, comprising 70 elements so far, including pilgrimages to Kusu Island and Malay weddings, was established last April.

    In a joint statement, the organisations driving the bid said the attempt received "overwhelming support" from Singaporeans since it was announced last August.

    They noted that apart from hawker associations, more than 850,000 pledges of support and over 31,000 messages have been registered across various platforms.

    They added that their social media movement also generated 810,000 likes and comments in support of hawker culture.

    The statement said: "A successful nomination will demonstrate to the world how proud we are of hawker culture in Singapore, encourage greater appreciation for our hawkers, and show our commitment as a nation to safeguard hawker culture for generations to come."

    They added that the submission of the nomination documents is a milestone in Singapore's Unesco inscription journey to better recognise and protect the island's intangible cultural heritage.

    The nomination documents took into account input from a nomination committee, comprising representatives and stakeholders from various sectors, including hawker representatives, academics, community partners, non-governmental organisations and other government agencies.

    Singapore's bid has received some criticism from across the border. Some Malaysians have claimed that their country is a street-food paradise and that Singapore's hawker version is not that special.

    Key characteristics of Singapore's hawker culture include hawker centres serving as community dining spaces for everyone, and how it is a reflection of Singapore's multicultural society.

    There are more than 100 hawker centres in Singapore and more than 80 per cent of the population visit them at least once a week.

    Other features are Singapore hawkers' mastery of culinary skills and how hawker culture thrives in a highly urban environment.

    Messages written by Singaporeans in support of the bid note that hawker centres serve as spaces where "a variety of multicultural cuisines" can be found under one roof and where "people of all races gather to eat together".
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore regains top spot as world's most powerful passport, alongside Japan and South Korea

    [​IMG]
    The Singapore passport dropped to second place in May last year when the Japanese rose ahead. In July, it went back to No. 1, but slipped a notch in October and January.PHOTO: ST FILE

    Published
    28 min ago

    Ng Huiwen
    nghuiwen@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Singaporeans are holding the world's most powerful passport once again, this time alongside the Japanese and South Koreans.

    The three Asian countries enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations.

    The Singapore passport dropped to second place in May last year when the Japanese rose ahead. In July, it went back to No. 1, but slipped a notch in October and January.

    On Thursday (March 28), it regained the top spot in the latest Henley Passport Index update.

    Global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, which compiles the data for the index, said in a statement on Thursday that the results give a "resounding demonstration of Asia's growing power and influence on the world stage".

    Germany's score of 188 comes close behind to put it in second place, after it received visa-exemption from Uzbekistan. The country previously shared the third place with France.

    Five countries - Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and Sweden - are now jointly in third place with a score of 187.

    Luxembourg and Spain came in fourth.

    Meanwhile, Britain came in fifth, and the United States sixth. Both countries last held joint top spot in 2015.

    Henley & Partners noted that the Brexit process has not yet had a marked effect on Britain's standing on the index.

    Its fall from the third place it held in 2016 is a result of gains made by Asian countries, rather than as a direct consequence of Brexit.

    The index also revealed that the United Arab Emirates has continued on its upward trajectory, with the country now just one spot away from entering the index's top 20.

    Ranked bottom of the 104 countries are Afghanistan and Iraq with a score of 30 - a position one or both countries have occupied throughout the index's 14-year history.

    Henley & Partners Singapore managing partner Dominic Volek said: "A snapshot at the index's top 20 today compared to what it was 20 years ago, tells an interesting story. European countries dominated the index then and were immovable.

    "But today's top 20 has seen significant movements especially in the last several years. The European countries have been surely but steadily dropping down the ranks as Asian countries improve to take their place."

    Mr Volek, who is also the firm's head of South-east Asia, noted that Singapore improved by more than 30 points between 2009 and 2019 to rise from eighth place to joint first place.

    Studies have shown that visa restrictions can impact bilateral trade and foreign investment, he said, adding that countries with more liberal visa policies tend to benefit from increased economic, scientific, tourism, and cultural exchanges with others.

    The latest rankings also indicate a clear momentum of Asian countries taking centre stage in globalisation, said FutureMap founder and managing partner Parag Khanna.

    "The steady rise of China through its visa-waiver agreements shows how incremental and reciprocal measures can lead to significant progress in trust and recognition," Dr Khanna added.

    With China's Belt and Road Initiative, several Asian, European, Arab, and African countries are expected to continue to seek more seamless access to one another's countries.

    The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world's largest database of travel information.
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Fast-growing superfish being bred in Singapore to ramp up locally produced protein

    [​IMG]
    The "premium tilapia" are disease-resistant and rich in Omega-3, and are being bred in Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

    Published
    Mar 27, 2019, 6:00 pm SGT
    Updated
    8 hours ago

    Shabana Begum
    nshab@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Scientists here are breeding tough, fast-growing superfish that have extra amounts of healthy fat in efforts to produce more local, high-quality protein.

    The "premium tilapia" are also disease-resistant and rich in Omega-3, and are being bred in Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL).

    The tilapia will join the ranks of locally produced fish stock - TLL-bred sea bass and barramundi developed by Barramundi Asia.

    Scientists say a small country vulnerable to food disruption needs high-tech and high-intensity fish farming to help it be self-sufficient in producing its own food.

    Last year, only 9 per cent of all the fish eaten in Singapore were produced locally.

    To develop the superfish, the lab has been collaborating with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on improving the yield and quality of tilapia through selective breeding.

    Researchers from the lab identify and mate the best fish, also known as the brood stock, to produce schools of tilapia that inherit the superior traits.

    Future food: Growing meat in lab to help meet supply needs[/paste:font]
    Nanotube delivers enhanced genes to leaves more quickly to produce better crop[/paste:font]
    Singapore to invest $700m in food, medicine and digital tech research for long-term competitiveness[/paste:font]
    $540m boost for digital research and innovation[/paste:font]

    Since Asian consumers prefer red tilapia, selective breeding also transfers the desired appearance to the offspring. The lab has a mix of red and grey-coloured fish.

    Currently, the team is working on improving the resilience of the fish so that they can thrive in crowded fish farms and adapt to seawater.

    "Tilapia is a traditional brackish-water or freshwater fish. In Singapore, we don't have much freshwater sources. But we have a lot of coastal lines, so we are working on adapting our tilapia to grow in seawater," said Dr Liew Woei Chang, research investigator at TLL.

    TLL is also using a sex-reversal method to produce all-male tilapia as the male fishes grow twice as fast as the female ones. The lab said more male fishes will also prevent unwanted breeding.

    Some of the "premium tilapia" have been sent to local fish farms to assess their performance and ability to withstand stress.

    "In the wild, the fishes have a lot of space to swim so growing in a high-density environment can be stressful for them.

    "High-stress conditions will make them more susceptible to diseases," added Dr Liew.

    The tilapia breeding programme started in 2011 and TLL is hoping to commercialise the fish in the coming years.

    It took 15 years for sea bass developed at the Marine Aquaculture Centre on St John's Island to reach farms for mass production in 2018.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore to invest $700m in food, medicine and digital tech research for long-term competitiveness
    [​IMG]
    (From left) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the 11th Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council meeting on March 27, 2019.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    Published
    Mar 27, 2019, 6:05 pm SGT

    Linette Lai
    Political Correspondent
    linettel@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - The future of food, medicine and digital technology has been earmarked as research targets to keep Singapore competitive in the long term, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday evening (March 27).

    But these goals will not come at the expense of basic research, which takes longer to bear fruit, he added.

    Giving an update on the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan for Singapore's science and technology research, Mr Heng said more than $500 million will be set aside to build up artificial intelligence systems and meet national cyber security needs.

    The money will also boost the country's supercomputing capabilities and fund the deployment of robotics and automation.

    Another $80 million will be invested in ramping up cell manufacturing capabilities for cell therapy, which has been hailed as the future of medicine.

    And $144 million will go towards food research, including urban farming and lab-grown meat.

    The funds are part of the $19 billion that was budgeted in 2016 under the RIE2020 plan for the next five years.

    $540m boost for digital research and innovation[/paste:font]
    Fast-growing superfish being bred in Singapore to ramp up locally produced protein[/paste:font]
    Nanotube delivers enhanced genes to leaves more quickly to produce better crop[/paste:font]
    Future food: Growing meat in lab to help meet supply needs[/paste:font]

    The success of Singapore's research efforts will depend on three factors, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. These are to emphasise science and technology in society, develop a strong core of talented researchers and entrepreneurs, and build international partnerships with foreign countries and institutions.

    PM Lee stressed the importance of Singaporeans sharing a mindset that "embraces scientific, objective and evidence-based decision-making".

    "We cannot afford to have people fearful and distrustful of science and held captive by totally groundless anti-scientific beliefs," he said.

    PM Lee and Mr Heng, who chairs the National Research Foundation, were speaking to reporters after the RIE Council meeting, held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the St Regis hotel. The council was set up in 2006 to chart the direction for Singapore's research and development.

    Also present were Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who spoke on the changing face of manufacturing and urban solutions and sustainability.
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    What S$9 billion will get you: Minions, Nintendo attractions at RWS, new tower at MBS and more

    [​IMG]
    TODAY file photo

    Marina Bay Sands will construct a new fourth tower next to its existing three towers as part of its expansion plans.

    Published03 April, 2019
    Updated 04 April, 2019

    SINGAPORE — In a few years’ time, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will be adding new attractions such as a Minion Park, Super Nintendo World as well as a new oceanarium.

    The Universal Studios Singapore located within the resort will also be extended, and visitors will have two more choices of hotels, which will add up to 1,100 more rooms for RWS.

    The Universal Studios Singapore located within the resort will also be extended, and visitors will have two more choices of hotels, which will add up to 1,100 more rooms for RWS.

    Over at the other integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), a fourth tower will be built next to the three towers now and it will feature a 15,000-seater entertainment arena and a sky roof.

    The new tower will have about 1,000 rooms and there will be more space to host exhibitions and conventions.

    [​IMG]
    An aerial rendering of the fourth tower that will be constructed next to the existing three towers at Marina Bay Sands. Photo: Marina Bay Sands

    In a joint statement on Wednesday (April 3), four government ministries, including the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance, said that the integrated resorts will plough about S$9 billion into these new non-gaming facilities and attractions.

    MBS and RWS are each expected to spend S$4.5 billion on their new developments.

    The two resort operators will also be allowed to expand their casino operations, with their exclusive rights to run a casino here extended until the end of 2030. This means that no other casinos will be built or operated here during this period.

    However, their gambling revenue will be further taxed by the Government. In order to rein in problem gambling, casino levies on Singapore residents will be raised.

    FULLY READY BY 2025
    The new attractions of Super Nintendo World and Minion Park, spanning over 164,000 sqm, will be gradually rolled out at the Universal Studios Singapore every year from 2020 and completed around 2025.

    Minion Park, inspired by the Despicable Me movie franchise, will take over the Madagascar zone, now designated for rides and shows tied to the animated movie of the same name. Both Minion Park and Super Nintendo World, based on Nintendo’s popular games and characters, will feature new rides and attractions.

    The SEA Aquarium will also be expanded to take over the Maritime Experiential Museum, to create a new Singapore Oceanarium.

    Apart from these, RWS’ waterfront promenade will be redeveloped to include a free public attraction featuring a nightly show and multi-purpose event zone that can be adapted for different festivals and events, as well as new dining options.

    RWS will also introduce a driverless transport system across the Sentosa Boardwalk, which links to VivoCity mall in Harbourfront.

    GROWING REGIONAL COMPETITION
    The S$9 billion investments are aimed at enhancing the “vibrancy and tourism appeal of their offerings to remain competitive with other destinations in the region”, the Government said on Wednesday.

    Competition has been intensifying across the region, with South Korea opening an integrated resort just last March on its holiday island of Jeju.

    Taiwan is also expected to open its first casino this year and start vying with Singapore, the Philippines and even Macau for business in Asia.

    Dr Michael Chiam, a senior tourism lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said that while there was a “slow down” in casino activity in the last few years due to legislation in China discouraging Chinese nationals from gambling abroad, the new attractions will help to bring in gamers from other regions.

    “Singapore must continue to grow beyond the Chinese market, to attract tourists from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand,” he added.

    Dr Chiam also said that these new attractions were important for both integrated resorts in Singapore to raise their game and stay competitive.

    “Generally, after a few years, the attractions will become stagnant in terms of novelty. So if you want visitors, you have to work on your offerings so that people will have reason to come to Singapore,” he added.

    Other analysts said that the competition is unlikely to be a threat and Singapore is likely to retain its spot as the “leader in integrated resorts”.

    Mr Kevin Wee, a senior lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic's hospitality and tourism management programme, said: “While there will be competition, the good thing is that Singapore is still seen as the one who started it all in this region.

    “With such a significant investment by the two operators, it will ensure the Singapore (resorts) maintain their leadership position. Others will try to follow up, but we will still be leading the way.”

    Mr Wee added that with “so much money” invested in exchange for a modest increase in gaming area, it shows that the operators are looking at the growth of the integrated resorts in a “more holistic manner” and looking to gain revenue from other units instead of just the casinos.

    Mr Christopher Khoo, managing director of international tourism consultancy MasterConsult Services, said that Singapore can only welcome competition, “because it makes Asia more appealing as a whole”.

    “Tourism is such a fast growing industry and market that there is space for so much more competition,” he added.

    BOOST FOR TOURISM, JOBS, BUSINESSES
    Since opening in 2010, Marina Bay Sands has attracted more than 330 million visitors.

    The property has brought in 700 new events for the meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (Mice) industry since its opening. Last year, it hosted 3,680 events at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

    Mr Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands, which owns Marina Bay Sands, said that the new development would grow overall tourism to Singapore, “continue to create good jobs for Singaporeans” and “give a boost to local companies” which will benefit from the increased tourism and additional procurement spending.

    Tourism experts are also confident that the new attractions will be able to pull their weight and pull in tourists.

    Dr Chiam from Ngee Ann Polytechnic said that while Minion Park and Super Nintendo World are niche attractions, they “attract certain fans and there is a big following in the market who would go there just for the attractions”.

    Mr Khoo from MasterConsult Services said that the new attractions played to each of the integrated resort’s strengths.

    “For the new RWS attractions, it will strengthen their main selling point as being a family destination. Minion Park and Super Nintendo World are attractions that families are going to be looking out for.”

    He added: “Tourist numbers were already high from 2018, from all the attention that we got from (the movie) Crazy Rich Asians and the Trump-Kim summit. This is just going to add more to Singapore’s attractions scene.”
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore's millennials are practical, non-materialistic and care for community: OCBC survey

    By DARYL CHOO

    [​IMG]
    TODAY file photo

    An OCBC Bank survey of young Singaporeans found that the majority are driven by the motivation to care for their parents, the environment and social causes.

    Published03 April, 2019
    Updated 04 April, 2019

    SINGAPORE — Contrary to popular opinion that millennials are an entitled and self-centred lot obsessed with social media fame, an OCBC Bank survey of young Singaporeans found that the majority are driven by the motivation to care for their parents, the environment and social causes.

    Most of them want to be rich not to buy material goods, but to support their parents in old age and gain new experiences, findings from the local bank showed.

    The results of the survey were released on Wednesday (April 3) at the new Frank by OCBC Store at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

    The online survey was conducted in January and February this year and polled 866 young Singaporeans aged 16 to 29 who were young working adults, and polytechnic and university students.

    Called Frankly Asked Questions, it will be conducted annually to help the bank better engage youths and tailor products and services that will help them achieve their aspirations, said OCBC’s Head of Consumer Financial Services (Singapore) Dennis Tan.

    RICH, BUT NOT MATERIALISTIC
    Survey results show 86 per cent of Singapore’s millennials are motivated to understand their inner self while 32 per cent have ambitions for being well-known.

    “Certain experiences shape the way I think. When I’m struggling with something that affects me emotionally, I try to deal with it and I learn more about myself through these experiences,” said Ms Preetashini Nagarajah, 22, a third-year student at NUS.

    Some 72 per cent want to be rich but:
    • About the same number of survey respondents find it important to give back and help others
    • 73 per cent are concerned for their parents’ finances for retirement
    • 82 per cent feel that gaining life experiences such as travelling is of greater priority than gaining physical possessions (49 per cent) if they have the financial means
    Mr Joshua Chan, 24, who is on a student exchange programme in the United States, said that travelling to nearby cities and countries helped put his own life into perspective. He added that this was more important than what worldly possessions could ever provide.

    “Learning about different cultures has made me more empathetic and appreciative of the things I have,” said Mr Chan, a third-year psychology student at NUS.

    Young Singaporeans have generally responsible attitudes towards personal finances, said the survey.
    Two out of three of those surveyed said they have an expense budget and stick closely to it.

    About 70 per cent proactively set aside part of their salary as savings and want to start investing and buying insurance policies. However, only 38 and 44 per cent consider themselves knowledgeable about investments and insurance, respectively.

    PRAGMATIC, NOT IDEALISTIC
    Millennials here may also not be as idealistic and are perhaps more conservative than some may believe, according to survey results.

    Less than half (45 per cent) of survey respondents will consider being a freelancer in the gig economy, while 83 per cent want to secure a job with regular income.

    A majority also believe that employers should adapt more to the needs of young employees. The top three qualities of an ideal job for them are: Work-life balance, good working culture and passion for their work.

    Mr Sim Wei Nan, 23, said that younger employees like himself prefer flexibility and a more consultative relationship with their employers, rather than blindly following old ways of doing things.

    “Employers are usually not as knowledgeable as the employees who are in direct contact with their tasks, and younger employers understand that,” added the Nanyang Technological University undergraduate, who is currently interning at a chemical engineering firm.

    But beyond their own life goals, the results also show that youths are largely concerned with larger societal and environmental causes.

    In each of the following social causes, four in five young Singaporeans say these are issues that are important to them:
    • Human rights
    • Poverty
    • Environmental awareness
    • Helping the elderly
    • Mental health awareness
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore’s two integrated resorts set to grow with S$9 billion investment plan

    By Matthew Mohan
    03 Apr 2019 06:30PM(Updated: 04 Apr 2019 07:54AM)

    SINGAPORE: A S$9 billion expansion by Singapore’s two integrated resorts will see Marina Bay Sands (MBS) add a new entertainment arena and hotel tower, while Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will extend Universal Studios Singapore to include two new attractions - Minion Park and Super Nintendo World.

    This additional investment by the integrated resorts is almost two-thirds their initial investment in 2006, which was about S$15 billion.

    “Since the expiry of the exclusivity period for the two casino licences in 2017, we have been in intense negotiations with the two IRs to keep their non-gaming offerings fresh while limiting the potential downsides of the gaming components,” said Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (Apr 3).

    “In exchange for the exclusivity period to be extended to end-2030, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa will invest around S$9 billion to expand and refresh their non-gaming components.”
    During this exclusivity period, no other casinos will be introduced.

    The expansions will create up to 5,000 jobs, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a joint press release with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development.

    “The expansion of the IRs is part of our ongoing efforts to rejuvenate our tourism offerings,” said Mr Chan. “We have done reasonably well in the recent past with the development of the Mandai project and plans for the rejuvenation of Orchard Road and the Greater Southern Waterfront.”

    MBS EXPANSION
    As part of the expansion of its non-gaming facilities, MBS will build a 15,000-seat indoor entertainment arena which it said will play a key role in bringing new and repeat visitors to Singapore.

    "With leading design and cutting edge technology, the venue will attract top entertainers from Asia and around the world," said Las Vegas Sands, which owns MBS, in a media release on Wednesday.

    "Its state-of-the-art production capability will appeal to performers who might not have previously included Southeast Asia on their tours."

    [​IMG]
    A rendering of the Marina Bay Sands arena interior. (Image: Las Vegas Sands)

    In addition, MBS will build a fourth tower which will feature about 1,000 all-suite hotel rooms, a sky roof with a swimming pool as well as a "signature restaurant". There will also be new ballrooms, exhibition halls and food and beverage offerings.

    The tower will be located right next to MBS.

    Renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the original property, plans to be part of the design team, said Las Vegas Sands.

    A timeline for the completion of the resort's expansion is not yet available.

    "Marina Bay Sands is an iconic tourism destination that has exceeded all of our hopes in growing leisure and business tourism in Singapore and it is a privilege to receive the Singapore government’s continued support of its development,” said Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson.

    “The property has achieved amazing success for both Singapore and our company and we plan to create even more with this expansion.”

    RWS EXPANSION
    As for RWS, there will be two new attractions at Universal Studios Singapore - Minion Park and Super Nintendo World.

    Also in the pipeline is an attraction called Singapore Oceanarium - a rebranding of the S.E.A. aquarium after it is expanded by more than three times.

    [​IMG]
    A concept rendering of Minion Park at Universal Studios Singapore (Image: Universal Parks & Resorts)

    [​IMG]
    Artist’s impression of the Evolution & Extinction zone at Singapore Oceanarium. (Image: Resorts World Sentosa)

    RWS will also add a new waterfront lifestyle complex and two new destination hotels with up to 1,100 rooms.
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    The entire waterfront promenade will be completely renewed to feature a nightly show and a multi-purpose event zone, said RWS, adding that there will be a new Adventure Dining Playhouse to replace Resorts World Theatre.

    To better connect the mainland to Sentosa, there will be a driverless transport system across the Sentosa Boardwalk.
    [​IMG]
    An artist’s impression of the promenade along the Waterfront Lifestyle Complex. (Image: Resorts World Sentosa)

    [​IMG]
    Artist’s impression of the Adventure Dining Playhouse stage designed like a pirate ship. (Image: Resorts World Sentosa)

    RWS said its expansion will take place in phases, with new experiences opening every year from 2020. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.

    The company is one of Singapore’s largest private sector employers, with more than 13,000 employees. It said its expansion will create about 2,800 new jobs.

    “RWS has been a major game-changer and growth engine in the last 10 years in transforming Singapore’s tourism landscape,” said RWS chief executive officer Tan Hee Teck.

    “This major reinvestment and expansion here in Singapore underlines our belief in the business model and the future opportunities that lie ahead when we complete the development.”

    [​IMG]
    (Image: Universal Parks & Resorts)

    ADDITIONAL GAMING PROVISIONS GIVEN
    In order for the expanded integrated resorts to remain “commercially viable”, the Government has given both casinos additional gaming provisions.

    MBS and RWS are each currently allowed 15,000 sq m of approved gaming area, but they will be given the option to deploy an additional 2,000 sq m and 500 sq m respectively. This is subject to the payment of additional land costs.

    While MBS and RWS are currently allowed 2,500 gambling machines, they will be given the option to increase this by 1,000 and 850 respectively.

    The two integrated resorts have indicated that these additional provisions will be targeted at “higher-tier non-mass market players, who are mainly tourists”, said the press release.

    As non-gaming areas will expand by a much larger amount, the proportion of space taken up by approved gaming areas will drop from 3.1 per cent to 2.3 per cent, authorities added.

    READ: Casino entry fees for Singaporeans, PRs to rise by 50%

    Minister Chan said that the two integrated resorts have successfully delivered on the jobs, tourism and economic fronts.

    Together, they directly employ more than 20,000 workers, of which more than 65 per cent are Singaporeans.
    He added that of the 5,000 new jobs that will be created with the expansion of the integrated resorts, two-thirds are expected to be filled by locals in areas such as marketing, attractions, event operations and hospitality.

    “Our experience with the IRs over the last nine years has been a valuable one,” said Mr Chan.

    “We believe that the new offerings by MBS and RWS will not only bring about opportunities for our businesses and workers but also provide Singaporeans with more interesting options to live and play.”

    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...-expansion-resorts-world-sentosa-mbs-11409002
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    PUB to begin tunnelling
    as part of Phase 2 in building
    'used water superhighway'

    [​IMG]
    The tunnels in DTSS phase two will connect to the existing ones in the first phase, which is currently serving eastern Singapore. (Image: PUB)

    By Aaron Chong
    04 Apr 2019 10:00AM(Updated: 04 Apr 2019 11:06AM)

    SINGAPORE: National water agency, PUB, started tunnelling work on the second phase of building what it calls the “used water superhighway for the future” on Thursday (Apr 4).

    When it is ready, the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) will collect and transport water from the whole of Singapore to three water reclamation plants in Changi, Kranji and soon Tuas for treatment. It is part of PUB’s efforts to move Singapore towards becoming more self-reliant in its water needs.

    Speaking on the sidelines of a media briefing on Wednesday, DTSS Phase 2 director Yong Wei Hin said the DTSS, which is scheduled to complete in 2025, will support 55 per cent of Singapore’s water needs in the long-term via NEWater.

    The Changi and Kranji plants have been connected since 2008 as part of Phase 1. When the Tuas plant is fully operational in 2027, it will also be connected as part of Phase 2.

    The second phase, which will cost S$3.1 billion more than the first phase at S$6.5 billion, will connect Marina Bay to Tuas.

    This involves creating a network of 40km of deep tunnels and 60km of link sewers in the western part of Singapore.

    Nineteen tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be introduced to the effort – more than twice the number of units used in the first phase. There will also be two types of boring machines in this phase due to the different ground conditions in the area.

    "Singapore is different from a lot of other countries because it is characterised by highly variable ground conditions," said DTSS Phase 2’s chief engineer Woo Lai Lynn.

    "We had to do a lot of ground investigations (and) you never know what you are going to encounter between your investigation points. You can go through soil in one ring and the very next ring, you can go through hard rock."

    Using more TBMs ensures that Phase 2 is completed on time, said Ms Woo.

    The newly launched TBM, named TBM Bahar, will create a 3.5m-diameter tunnel 42m below ground.

    “(For) certain sections, you will have two TBMs tunnelling towards each other. If one gets stuck, the other can go into overdrive and still meet the other machine," she said.

    "We made sure we would not face a situation similar to what happened in DTSS Phase 1. There were months and months that went during which the TBM was hopelessly stuck and no progress (was made)."

    Existing water reclamation plants at Ulu Pandan and Jurong, as well as pumping stations, will be shut down. This will enable land the size of 214 football fields to be freed up for development, PUB said.

    NEW FEATURES TO COPE WITH TUNNELLING CHALLENGES
    Another issue addressed in Phase 2 was the challenge of tunnelling under industrial areas.

    “If you are out in the open and there is nothing above you, even if you have a big sinkhole nobody is going to care, nobody is going to notice. But a sinkhole on the Ayer-Rajah Expressway will be quite obvious,” said Ms Woo.

    She also said that compared to the first phase, this one requires PUB to deal with a lot more infrastructure that may potentially get in the way of tunnelling.

    “Our underground is a bit congested now. There are (more) Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) tunnels (and) cable tunnels that we have to de-conflict with," said Ms Woo.

    "There are depressed roads and piles going down, so it is quite difficult to find a corridor to do our tunnelling."

    Hence, PUB will leverage smart technologies in this phase, she added.

    This includes using a monitoring system that provides real-time updates of the TBM locations and identifies excavation and tunnelling risks.

    In addition, PUB will be the first agency in Asia to deploy what it calls a Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine (VSM), which can excavate the ground and construct the walls of underground work access sites at the same time.

    Another new feature for Phase 2 is the isolation gates, which will allow for water to be diverted in order to isolate a particular section of the tunnel for inspection and repairs.

    “With DTSS, we are changing the way we are collecting used water in our plants," said Mr Yong.

    "We are getting rid of intermediate pumping stations, which take up land. By doing so, we are centralising our water reclamation plants. We are also saving land for higher value developments."

    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...unnelling-as-part-of-phase-2-in-dtss-11411088
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore wins top prize for AI initiatives at UN-level awards

    IMDA gets top spot in the Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society category at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) forum.

    [​IMG]
    Primary 5 and Primary 6 students going through the AI for Kids bootcamp organised by AI Singapore. (Photo: AI Singapore/Facebook)

    09 Apr 2019 07:02PM (Updated: 09 Apr 2019 07:10PM)

    SINGAPORE: Singapore won a top award at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum on Tuesday (Apr 9) for its efforts in artificial intelligence (AI) ethics and governance.

    READ: Singapore to ‘double down’ on artificial intelligence efforts, says Vivian Balakrishnan

    The Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) won top spot in the Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society category, beating four other finalists including two from the United States, according to a press release by the agency.

    The initiatives that contributed to the win include: Asia’s first model AI governance framework that was released in January; an international and industry-led advisory council on the ethical use of AI and data formed last June; and a research programme on the governance of AI and data use established in partnership with the Singapore Management University last September.

    The WSIS prizes recognise outstanding digital projects globally, and the winners of the 18 categories were announced during an award ceremony at the annual WSIS Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland. IMDA’s assistant chief executive for data protection and innovation Yeong Zee Kin received the award on the agency’s behalf.

    “Singapore’s win of the WSIS Award is affirmation of our approach that AI practices must be transparent, explainable and fair,” said Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran in the press release.

    These are important principles that will guide businesses in implementing AI solutions that are human-centric, while spurring innovation in a digital economy.”

    There were 1,140 nominations sent in globally for the categories and, of these, 20 projects per category were selected to the second phase of online voting. The top five were then judged by an expert panel before the winner for each category was selected.

    The WSIS Forum is a platform co-organised by the International Telecommunications Union, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UN Development Programme and UN Conference on Trade and Development.

    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...or-ai-initiatives-at-un-level-awards-11426920
     

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  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    PM Lee Hsien Loong to receive 2019 World Statesman Award by US-based interfaith group

    [​IMG]
    The award will be presented to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 54th Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner in New York on Sept 23, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

    Published
    Apr 15, 2019, 10:01 pm SGT

    Rei Kurohi
    rei@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be awarded the 2019 World Statesman Award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, a United States-based interfaith organisation, at an awards dinner in New York on Sept 23.

    Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the foundation's president and founder, said in a press release on Monday (April 15) that PM Lee "will be recognised for fostering a society that embraces multiculturalism in which ethnic communities maintain their unique way of life while at the same time living harmoniously".

    PM Lee will also be recognised for "supporting a knowledge-based economy and an education system that provides its citizens with the necessary skills and knowledge to survive in a globally competitive environment and for implementing a renowned world-class health infrastructure," Rabbi Schneier added.

    The World Statesman Award honours leaders who support peace and freedom by promoting tolerance, human dignity and human rights, championing these causes in their homeland and working with other world leaders to build a better future for all, the foundation said.

    PM Lee said in the statement: "It is my honour to accept the World Statesman Award. Singapore has embraced diversity and multiculturalism as fundamental ideals of our society. We strive to build a multi-racial, multi-lingual, and multi-religious society where people live peacefully and harmoniously together.

    "Singapore shares the Appeal of Conscience Foundation's vision of a world underpinned by human dignity and respect."

    The Appeal of Conscience Foundation was founded by Rabbi Schneier in 1965 to work on behalf of religious freedom, human rights, peace and tolerance worldwide, and seeks to uphold the principle of "live and let live".
    The interfaith coalition of business, religious and foreign policy leaders seeks to promote mutual understanding, peace, interfaith cooperation and protection of minorities, and says it believes freedom, democracy and human rights are fundamental values that give countries around the world the best hope for peace, security and shared prosperity.

    Previous World Statesman Award recipients include British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

    The award will be presented to PM Lee by Rabbi Schneier at the 54th annual Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner.

    A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The award recognises Singapore's long-standing efforts to promote religious freedom and tolerance among our diverse ethnic and racial groups. PM Lee will accept the award in New York in September 2019."
     
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    Loh Regular Member

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    The story of Jurong Lake District: From the boondocks to boom town - and beyond

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Jurong East's newly expanded IMM mall is famous for its many retail factory outlets. Four other malls - JCube, Jem, Westgate and Big Box - have sprung up in the area in the last five years.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID


    [​IMG]
    Overlooking the bridge that links Big Box mall and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is Jem mall, which opened in 2013. It is a far cry from the early days when Jurong's remoteness and lack of amenities were turn-offs.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

    Published
    Dec 17, 2017, 5:00 am SGT

    Singapore has thrived by betting big on future trends that make or break economies, whether in air or sea transport, urban development or water sustainability. It is how the Republic rose to become the world's top transshipment hub, a leading air hub and a model liveable city. In the last of a three-part series on major infrastructure projects, Insight looks at plans to transform Jurong into Singapore's second Central Business District.

    Rachel Au-Yong
    Housing Correspondent
    rachelay@sph.com.sg

    A decade ago, the idea that the industrial - some might even say boring - town of Jurong would one day be transformed into a vibrant business district with pockets of tranquillity was often met with incredulity by developers and residents alike.

    Yet today, long-time Jurong East resident Aimee Saw, 62, can point to an accelerated momentum in the Government's efforts to not just revitalise the area, but also to turn it into Jurong Lake District (JLD), the nation's second Central Business District.

    The retired secretary says: "In the 60s and 70s, there wasn't much here besides factories and a few shops.

    "But suddenly, in the last 10 years, you have so many new shopping centres and a big hospital, and people say there will be more to come. It's good to know Jurong is not forgotten."

    In 2008, the Government unveiled a blueprint to turn JLD - a 360ha area comprising Jurong Lake and the area around Jurong East MRT station, where the Jurong Country Club was - into a lakeside destination for business and leisure over 10 to 15 years.

    Almost a decade later, the Urban Redevelopment Authority launched a draft masterplan in August this year, ambitious in its promises to elevate the district to a second CBD, as well as a sought-after living destination.

    [​IMG]

    The goal is to provide more than 100,000 new jobs in sectors such as maritime, infrastructure and technology, as well as a further 20,000 homes.

    Given the monumental effort that lies ahead to achieve this, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has cautioned that JLD will be realised only in 2040 and beyond.

    Insight takes a look at the plans.

    JURONG'S TURN IN THE SUN
    In many ways, JLD is the west's chance to shine.

    The south is where the river is, with the current CBD and all its glamour as a financial hub.

    GATEWAY TO REGION
    For now, the JLD becomes the gateway to Malaysia. But it will also be the gateway to Asean and the rest of Asia. So physically and symbolically, it's important for countries that have business in the region to have their headquarters at the end point of that network. It's going to be an important selling point.

    URA CHIEF EXECUTIVE LIM ENG HWEE
    In the east, Changi Airport is a major gateway and aviation hub.

    The north has long had the Causeway, and will also welcome the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System in 2024.

    But for several decades, the west, while home to over a million people, has been in the shadow of the other districts. This had to do in large part with its blue-collar image, being situated amid factories.

    Jurong became Singapore's first industrial town in 1961, around when the newly elected People's Action Party was trying to combat an unemployment rate of 14 per cent.

    Entrepot trade and related services like banking were not as stable as hoped. Then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee believed industrialisation and entrepreneurship were the way to go.

    He began with Jurong, clearing swampland to build factories.

    The high cost of the massive undertaking, as well as Singapore's lack of track record in manufacturing, led some to label the effort "Goh's Folly".

    Even in 1963, when the industrial estate was ready, investors were wary. Tax incentives and the promise of conducive labour relations were offered, however, and Jurong got its first major company, the National Iron and Steel Mills, in 1964.

    Still, Jurong's remoteness and lack of amenities were turn-offs.

    In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) Bill was passed, giving JTC full rein in developing infrastructure in Jurong New Town.

    This led to the introduction of social amenities in estates like Taman Jurong, improvements in bus services and medical facilities, as well as a 283ha public park named Chinese Garden, or Jurong Gardens.

    And so the people came, but it was hard to shake off Jurong's association with the boondocks.

    Three decades later, it was declared a regional centre as part of a move to encourage more jobs outside the city, with the International Business Park and JTC Summit among the first developments.

    But it was not until the 2008 masterplan that people began taking Jurong more seriously.

    In the last five years alone, four new malls have sprung up - JCube, Jem, Westgate and Big Box.
    Previously, there was just outlet mall IMM.

    As URA chief executive Lim Eng Hwee puts it: "Singapore is an island city and we cannot look inwards… All four regions have to be anchored on the idea of being an international gateway or global hub."
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    WHAT THE JLD HAS
    There is finally a confluence of factors that will propel the district into being a second CBD.

    For one, with more than a million people living in the west, there is a ready talent pool. Research shows that as many as 70 per cent of those who live in central areas such as Queenstown work in the current CBD.

    This means that businesses which establish themselves in Jurong can tap a workforce that is already there.

    It is also situated in the middle of a "tech corridor", starting with business park one-north in Buona Vista, the National University of Singapore, the JLD, the upcoming Jurong Innovation District - spearheaded by statutory board JTC Corporation - and Nanyang Technological University in Jurong West.

    Being close to think-tanks and major industry players means there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration with different talents, says Mr Lim.

    Helping to accelerate JLD's transition into a future top-tier destination are firmer plans about two vital components of infrastructure: the Tuas mega port and the High Speed Rail (HSR) terminus.

    First announced by then Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in 2012, the mega port will consolidate all of Singapore's port operations in Tuas. The first berths are expected to be operational in 2021.

    Meanwhile, the HSR, which connects Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, opens up Singapore to tap a market more than 10 million strong.

    The terminus, expected to be ready in 2026, will sit at the heart of the JLD.

    Mr Lim notes: "With that population size, the market allows you to do many things."

    And he points to a market beyond Malaysia too. "Eventually, the HSR will be plugged into the rail network in Asia. An analyst told me that the HSR terminus can be seen as the end point of the Belt and Road Initiative," he says, referring to China's game plan to connect Asian and European countries for economic growth.

    He adds: "For now, the JLD becomes the gateway to Malaysia. But it will also be the gateway to Asean and the rest of Asia.

    "So physically and symbolically, it's important for countries that have business in the region to have their headquarters at the end point of that network.

    "It's going to be an important selling point."

    PLANNING PARAMETERS
    While the JLD will take several decades to fully come to fruition, the planning authority is aware that things can change quickly - be it in technology or the industries that propel an economy.

    So it is ensuring there is flexibility to enable developers to adapt to unpredictable market conditions.

    For starters, it has zoned the district a "white" site, which will give developers the freedom to erect a range of building types, from residential to commercial.

    "This is going to be very different from the downtown CBD," says Mr Lim.

    "You won't see pure offices or pure residences. You might see an office with a hotel and shops and residences all in one complex. We don't want the area to be pitch dark after seven, but lively 24/7."

    The URA is also studying plans to sell large parcels of land to master developers, so that they are able to configure a site and adapt to various demands over time.

    "For the first phase, you'd want some critical mass and good connectivity - a master developer makes sense," says Mr Lim.

    "That's not to say the whole JLD will have one master developer, but we will do so one at a time and see whether it continues to make sense as we go forward."

    While he could not share a more definite timeline about when to expect key JLD milestones, citing the uncertainty of market conditions, Mr Lim reiterated that if there were any priorities, "we would want to get the developments around the HSR up first".

    "If we are serious (about the JLD), in the next couple of years, we have to start to do something," he says, acknowledging that tenders for land parcels could be out in the next two to three years.
    UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS

    Much has been said about the JLD's capacity to add about nine million sq ft of office space - more than five times the current stock in Jurong, and about one-eighth of the existing 80 million sq ft of office space available.

    But a major plus is the district's abundance of "green and blue spaces", in the form of parks and expanded lakes.

    About 16ha of new parks and open spaces will be added, bringing the total to over 100ha.

    Some of this will be in the form of a large central park above the HSR terminus, and a lot more greenery will be integrated into building surfaces, or what the URA has called a "green carpet".

    "The green will be very visible, and it will be the most intensive vertical greenery you will see. Visually, it will be a different feel when you come here," says Mr Lim.

    He adds that the Government is also studying how to introduce water elements into the green corridor.

    A new waterway will also be formed, creating a third island on Jurong Lake to add new waterfront spaces for recreational and community activities.

    "The 'third Botanic Gardens' that NParks is building in JLD will give the western region a much-needed open space - the east has East Coast Park and the downtown area has two Botanic Gardens (the other being Gardens by the Bay)," he says. "The west doesn't have anything that's significant yet, and residents will look forward to this."

    Another key feature is its car-lite strategy, where planners are targeting eight in 10 rides in the district to be made using public transport, and have set aside buses-only lanes and carpark hubs to reduce the availability of nearby carpark spots.

    This is higher than the current public transport mode share of 66 per cent across Singapore, as well as the 2020 target of 70 per cent.

    They have also proposed an off-site centre for trucks to consolidate their deliveries to minimise heavy traffic in the area, critical for an area plagued by heavy congestion.
    .
     
  19. Loh

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    CHALLENGES AHEAD
    However, some observers are concerned that Singapore may be biting off more than it can chew.

    The research head of consultancy Savills Singapore, Mr Alan Cheong, argues that JLD is "dependent on so many moving parts" that it risks never taking off.

    For example, the completion of the HSR may be delayed, and it is unclear whether foreign developers or companies can be persuaded to take a risk in Jurong instead of the current CBD.

    This may have a knock-on effect on the economic sustainability of a district predicated on such a long runway, he says.

    "By the time you get to 2040, you'll have an aged population, which brings about its own problems that you don't know if you can keep under control," he adds.

    But many more are optimistic.

    MP Foo Mee Har - who oversees Ayer Rajah division in West Coast GRC, with the JLD separated by the AYE - says her residents are in the "sweet spot" of enjoying all the amenities the JLD currently offers, and yet are not affected by road congestion in the area.

    But she notes that if planned road works to alleviate congestion go through, then her ward will be even more integrated.

    "The sooner the road problem is solved, the sooner we will feel more connected to JLD, even if the distance hasn't changed," she says.

    Keeping the bustle moving
    The Tan family faces a quandary every morning: How best to get their 17-year-old daughter to school?

    Software businessman Aaron Tan, 51, can spend up to 40 minutes being stuck in traffic while ferrying his daughter to Victoria Junior College in the east from his Jurong East home.

    She can ride on the East-West MRT line, but it is packed during peak hours.

    "She isn't guaranteed a seat," he tells Insight. "I just want her to have some extra space and time to sleep or study," he says.

    Aware of the crowded roads and MRT trains, the authorities have plans to lighten congestion and improve access in the future Jurong Lake District (JLD).

    In the short term, they will introduce a new road to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) to divert traffic from roads such as Jurong Town Hall Road.

    SMOOTHER TRAFFIC
    We want a road that will connect all the traffic, let that bypass the JLD and discharge everything to the AYE. Once we do that, we can even size down Jurong Town Hall Road, which means that traffic will be even lighter than today.

    URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CHIEF EXECUTIVE LIM ENG HWEE
    Urban Redevelopment Authority chief executive Lim Eng Hwee points out that most of the traffic in Jurong Town Hall Road comes from residents in Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang and Jurong West who use the road to connect to the AYE.

    "We want a road that will connect all the traffic, let that bypass the JLD and discharge everything to the AYE. Once we do that, we can even size down Jurong Town Hall Road, which means that traffic will be even lighter than today," he says.

    "We won't see this happen overnight," he adds.

    "But if you want to see 30 per cent of the district developed, then the road has to be in place."
    The larger, ambitious plan is to shift people's reliance on cars towards public transport.

    Mr Lim notes the heavy commuter traffic originating in Jurong East, but adds that the authorities are working hard to create extra capacity. The Downtown Line, for example, has absorbed about 10 per cent of commuters using the North-South and East-West lines.

    Accessibility within Jurong and across the island will also be improved with the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line, which will be ready by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

    "In terms of public transport, when it's fully built up, this infrastructure will make a huge difference," he says.

    To further encourage people to go car-lite, on-demand driverless buses are expected to ply dedicated public transport-only roads.

    The URA is also looking to cut down the number of delivery trucks in the district during peak hours by at least 65 per cent by consolidating deliveries off-site.

    Nanyang Technological University senior transport research consultant Gopinath Menon says the plans are in line with the goal to have zero growth in the vehicle population.

    The challenge is making sure that public transport alternatives are viable and reliable, he adds.
    "Right now, if you haven't bought a car yet, there are plenty of alternatives.

    "But can we get it to the stage where if you have a car, you can be convinced to give it up?" he says
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Foreigners leaving Singapore no longer need passports stamped from April 22

    [​IMG]
    The move is part of ongoing efforts to streamline procedures at the checkpoints and make clearing departure immigration more efficient.PHOTO: ST FILE

    Published
    45 min ago

    Tee Zhuo
    teezhuo@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - Foreigners leaving Singapore will no longer need to have their passports stamped from next Monday (April 22).

    The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Wednesday that it would "cease the issuance of departure immigration endorsements", meaning stamps of departure dates on travel documents, from April 22.

    This is part of ongoing efforts to streamline procedures at the checkpoints and make clearing departure immigration more efficient, it added.

    Since September 2016, foreign travellers whose fingerprints were enrolled via the BioScreen system upon their arrival into Singapore have been able to use automated lanes when they leave the country.

    Such travellers do not receive stamps on their passports.

    Before that, all foreigners departing Singapore had to get their passports stamped with the date of their departure by immigration officers at the manned counters.

    The ICA said it would also be informing foreign authorities on its move to cease departure immigration endorsement for foreigners.

    More information can be found at www.ica.gov.sg.
     

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