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  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    New large-scale tourism development to be built in Jurong Lake District

    [​IMG]
    A vacant 7ha plot of land in the Jurong Lake District that will be developed into an integrated tourism development. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    Published
    Apr 16, 2019, 9:35 am SGT
    Updated
    Apr 16, 2019, 7:08 pm

    Tiffany Fumiko Tay
    tiffanyt@sph.com.sg

    SINGAPORE - The up-and-coming Jurong Lake District will welcome a new 7ha integrated tourism development from 2026.

    The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will be calling for an expression of interest exercise for the development, which will feature a hotel, attractions, eateries and shops, it was announced on Tuesday (April 16).

    The now-vacant plot of land sits adjacent to Chinese Garden MRT station and the site where a new Science Centre will be built in Jurong Lake Gardens East.

    Making the announcement at STB's annual tourism industry conference, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said that with its "unique waterfront environment and location... we envision this area to be transformed into a key attraction from 2026".

    The new development is in line with STB's strategy to spread out its tourism offerings across different parts of Singapore, he said, adding that the exercise will close in early November.

    The 360ha Jurong Lake District is positioned as Singapore's second Central Business District, and previously announced plans for the area include a commercial precinct, housing and expanded gardens.
    It will also host the Singapore terminus of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail, and has been earmarked as a car-lite district.

    [​IMG]
    To complement upcoming parks in the Mandai nature precinct, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) will be refreshing the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, said Mr Chee.

    This will entail the use of technology to present animal encounters in new ways, he told tourism industry members at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    WRS said in a statement it has developed a five-year masterplan that “seeks to enhance the distinctiveness of its operating parks... by addressing opportunities for creating immersive exhibits and scaling the delivery of memorable encounters”.

    The masterplan was formulated last year after a series of workshops and discussions that involved WRS’ management, board, staff and consultants, as well as interviews with members of the public on what they would like to see and experience, it said, adding that more details will be announced in due time.

    Mr Chee noted that tourism contributes to about 4 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product and provides opportunities for local companies, with more than 60,000 jobs across its core industries.

    A new enterprise scheme by Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) will encourage businesses to develop and test innovative concepts and lifestyle experiences using Sentosa as a sandbox, he added.

    SDC said in a statement that the scheme, which was launched on Tuesday, will provide businesses with "co-sharing or waiver of venue rental, as well as support in terms of infrastructure and other facilitation resources".

    Focus areas for application evaluation include novel offerings, enhancing navigation around the island and sustainability initiatives, it said.

    Proposals can be submitted on its website until June 30, and successful applicants will be notified by the end of August.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    STB chief executive Keith Tan said in a speech at the conference that the agency will focus on five areas over the next few years: growing the community of advocates and ambassadors for Singapore; building resilience in its source markets; developing competitive tourism enterprises; harnessing data and technology; and enhancing destination attractiveness.

    A new mid-sized attraction at the Singapore Flyer called the Time Capsule will open in the last quarter of this year and feature “experiential media”, while a Nerf Family Entertainment Centre will open at Marina Square in October.

    The expression of interest exercise, launched on Tuesday, has already garnered keen interest, he noted.

    Apart from the physical tourism landscape, transformation must also take place within the industry, given challenges such as changing traveller behaviour and preferences, more intense competition from other destinations and “more challenges and constraints” domestically, said Mr Tan.

    In the tourism industry’s bid to become more productive, innovative and digitally savvy, building a steady pipeline of local talent and manpower must be a first priority, he said, adding that Singapore can do better when it comes to employing persons with disabilities.

    STB will be rolling out several new initiatives to aid industry members in their evolution, including the launch of a Tech College to better prepare tourism businesses for the future, a series of Smart Hotel Transformation workshops to help hotels plan their own technology road maps, and a tourism incubator that will foster new ideas and test solutions.

    Singapore, which has seen three consecutive years of record highs in tourism arrivals and spending, must not take its success for granted, said Mr Tan. There were 18.5 million international visitor arrivals to Singapore last year.

    “If what we do does not engage or appeal to Singaporeans, we cannot possibly be a great destination for visitors,” he added.

    As part of its strategy to draw travellers from China and targeted South-east Asian countries to visit and spend more here, the STB on Tuesday partnered with Alibaba Group and travel booking site Traveloka.

    Over the next three years, STB and Alibaba will work together on marketing and data sharing efforts, with businesses in the Alibaba ecosystem such as Alipay, Fliggy and Youku helping to provide insights into the travel behaviour of Chinese visitors.

    Alibaba’s entertainment-related offerings will be leveraged to target young families and professionals, while digital solutions may also be implemented with shops, hotels and attractions here, the two parties said in a statement.

    Mr Tan said the partnership is a “game changer for Singapore”.

    “We will for the first time be able to engage with visitors at every step of the consumer journey, from pre-arrival to post-visit, through Alibaba’s platforms and technologies,” he said.

    STB’s partnership with Traveloka will promote Singapore as a preferred destination to visitors from five major South-east Asian markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, which made up a third of visitor arrivals to the Republic last year.

    More local activities and experiences will be made available for online booking on Traveloka’s regional platforms, while discussions are ongoing to promote Jewel Changi Airport and events such as the Great Singapore Sale in Indonesia, where the travel firm is based.

    Speaking to reporters about the Jurong Lake tourism development on the sidelines of the conference, Mr Tan said that while it will be integrated with the larger precinct, including the neighbouring Science Centre and gardens, its concept will ultimately depend on the ideas that arise from the express of interest exercise.

    “So that makes it quite distinctive from some of the other standalone attractions in Singapore,” he said, adding that families with young children would be a natural group to target.

    Facilities for business events may also be part of plans, as more travellers that mix work with leisure can be expected in line with the surrounding Western Business District.

    Addressing questions about the location of Singapore's new tourism development, Mr Tan said that the tourism appeal of the Jurong Lake area lies in the space it offers and the promise of the larger precinct.

    Tourists already make the trek out to further flung attractions such as the Singapore Zoo in Mandai, he noted, adding: “If it is compelling and attractive enough, people will go”.

    Many Singaporeans may have preconceived notions about the Jurong area, with words like “far away, industrial estate (and) inaccessible” coming to mind, he said. But the Jurong Lake District project aims to change this, with efforts by the Government to bring in more businesses and enhance connectivity with the rest of the island, said Mr Tan.

    He likened the area to the shopping and entertainment district of Odaiba in Tokyo, which houses several museums and other attractions.

    “It used to be fort islands, built off Tokyo Bay to protect Tokyo from invasion. So they were just islands built with nothing on them. But today if you go, you can't imagine its origins,” he said, adding that while Jurong already houses attractions, the aim is to reinvent and enhance them.

    Addressing the two-year deferment of the High=Speed Rail (HSR) project which would bring more visitors to the area, he said: “If it doesn't happen, we think there's still viability in the area. Our tourism projects are not dependent on whether the HSR comes about or not.”

    Spreading out Singapore's attractions can also help to increase visitors' average length of stay from 3.4 days currently, said Mr Tan.

    “I think with the Jurong Lake District in particular, they will see not just a tourist precinct, not just where tourists go, but where locals go.”
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore ranks as the world's third least miserable economy: Bloomberg
    https://www.msn.com/en-sg/money/top...-economy-bloomberg/ar-BBW5xf8?ocid=spartandhp

    Staff Reporter
    34 mins ago

    [​IMG]
    The index hailed the city's central bank and stable economic policies.

    Despite falling by one spot, Singapore still ranks as one of the world's least miserable countries, trailing only behind Thailand and Switzerland, according to an annual index from Bloomberg.

    Singapore's index reading, which measures a country's inflation and unemployment, stands at 3.3 and puts the city alongside Japan at third place. Bloomberg hailed the Singapore's stellar economic performance and 'central bankers [which] gained best-in-world status.'

    In a strong show of Asian dominance, Taiwan and Malaysia round out the top five with an index reading of 4.7 and 5.0 respectively. Hong Kong and South Korea hold seventh and eighth place respectively.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the world's most miserable country is Venezuela where inflation is expected to hit a whopping 8 million % in 2019. The embattled South American country is followed by Argentina, South Africa, Turkey and Greece who are also grappling with steep price growth and jobless rates.

    The Bloomberg Misery Index relies on the age-old concept that low inflation and high employment generally illustrate how good an economy's residents ought to feel.
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore ranked the 20th most powerful country in the world
    https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/sing...untry-in-the-world/ar-BBWithh?ocid=spartanntp


    Jewel Stolarchuk
    5 hrs ago


    [​IMG]
    This year’s US News and World Report rankings show that Singapore has clinched the 20th spot among the 80 most powerful countries in the world.

    The annual US News and World Report, which was completed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania this year, surveyed 20,000 participants on their opinions of 80 nations around the world. The rankings are based on the nation’s political and financial influence, international alliances, the strength of its military and how it acts as an international leader.

    Singapore has climbed up four spots in the list over the last year. In 2018, it was ranked the 24th most powerful country in the world and this year, the city-state is in the 20th position.

    The United States of America (USA) continues occupying the top spot in the report. The top ten most powerful nations in this year’s list are: 1) USA; 2) Russia; 3) China; 4) Germany; 5) The United Kingdom; 6) France; 7) Japan; 8) Israel; 9) Saudi Arabia; 10) South Korea.

    Besides South Korea, which was ranked 11 out of 80 in 2018, there is no change in the rankings of the top 9 most powerful countries.

    The countries that clinched the spots 11-20 this year are: 11) United Arab Emirates (UAE); 12) Canada; 13) Iran; 14) Switzerland; 15) Australia; 16) Turkey; 17) India; 18) Italy; 19) Iraq; 20) Singapore.

    The UAE slipped out of the top ten this year and was replaced by South Korea. There is no change in the rankings of Canada and Iran from 2018 while Switzerland climbed up from the 17th spot in 2018. Australia rose up to the 15th spot this year, after being ranked 16 out of 80 last year.

    Both Turkey and India slipped by two spots, after being ranked 14 out of 80 and 15 out of 80 respectively in 2018. There is no change in the ranking of Italy from 2018 while Iraq climbed to the 19th spot this year, just ahead of Singapore, after not even placing on the list of the 80 most powerful nations last year.

    View the rankings in full HERE.
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore
    Mediacorp bags 14 awards at World Media Festivals

    [​IMG]

    16 May 2019 05:20PM (Updated: 16 May 2019 05:20PM)

    SINGAPORE: Mediacorp won 14 awards at the 2019 World Media Festivals Television & Corporate Media Awards, its largest haul of awards to date at the global competition.

    The six Gold and seven Silver awards were for news and documentary programmes produced in-house, as well as in collaboration with external production companies.

    One of the six Gold awards handed out at the ceremony in Hamburg, Germany was in the News: Breaking News Coverage category, for CNA's reporting of the historic DPRK-USA Singapore Summit in June 2018.

    CNA also picked up Gold awards for its analyses of India’s caste conflict on Insight, a CNA documentary, and Myanmar’s Rohingya refugee crisis in the Documentary: Society & Social Issues and News: Current Events categories, respectively. Insight – India Caste Conflict was also named a Grand Award winner, one of the highest accolades in the competition.

    Singapore After Dark, produced in partnership with Peddling Pictures, clinched Gold for CNA in the Documentaries: Lifestyle category.

    “It is an immense honour to see CNA’s productions continue to receive plaudits on the international stage. Particularly when the world’s eyes were trained on the Trump-Kim Summit last year, our entire CNA newsroom did Singapore proud by sparing no effort to ensure that we delivered the news quickly, accurately and objectively,” said Ms Tham Loke Kheng, CEO of MediaCorp.

    "In all, these awards garnered at the World Media Festivals 2019 recognise several firsts for CNA and demonstrate its rich creative talent and production capabilities."

    Since 2000, the World Media Festivals has been honouring the best in television, corporate film, print and online content from around the world.


    Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...s-14-awards-at-world-media-festivals-11539598
     

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  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Global Childhood Report 2019
    https://www.savethechildren.net/sites/default/files/CH1338551.pdf

    2019 END OF CHILDHOOD INDEX RESULTS

    RANK COUNTRY

    TOP 10 (1-10)
    Where childhood is most protected

    BOTTOM 10 (167-176)
    Where childhood is most threatened

    1 Singapore....167 Burkina Faso
    2 Sweden.........168 DR Congo
    3 Finland..........169 Guinea
    3 Norway..........170 Nigeria
    3 Slovenia.........171 Somalia
    6 Germany........172 South Sudan
    6 Ireland............173 Mali
    8 Italy..................174 Chad
    8 South Korea...175 Niger
    10 Belgium.........176 Central African Republic
     
    #9626 Loh, May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    https://www.imd.org/news/updates/singapore-topples-united-states-as-worlds-most-competitive-economy/

    [​IMG]
    News Stories May 2019

    Singapore topples United States as world’s most competitive economy

    Singapore rises from 3rd to top spot, switching places with USA
    • Hong Kong remains 2nd, UAE enters top five for the first time
    • Global factors: political and economic uncertainty
    • Regional watch: Europe softens, Southern Asia/Pacific outperforms
    Lausanne, Switzerland May 28, 2019 - Singapore has ranked as the world’s most competitive economy for the first time since 2010, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, as the United States slipped from the top spot, while economic uncertainty took its toll on conditions in Europe.

    Singapore’s rise to the top was driven by its advanced technological infrastructure, the availability of skilled labor, favorable immigration laws, and efficient ways to set up new businesses. Hong Kong SAR held on to second place, helped by a benign tax and business policy environment and access to business finance.

    The initial boost to confidence from President Donald Trump’s first wave of tax policies appears to have faded in the United States, according to the ranking. While still setting the pace globally for levels of infrastructure and economic performance, the competitiveness of the world’s biggest economy was hit by higher fuel prices, weaker hi-tech exports and fluctuations in the value of the dollar.

    In a year of high uncertainty in global markets due to rapid changes in the international political landscape as well as trade relations, the quality of institutions seem to be the unifying element for increasing prosperity. A strong institutional framework provides the stability for business to invest and innovate, ensuring a higher quality of life for citizens,” said Arturo Bris, IMD Professor and Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center, the research center which compiles the ranking.

    Economists regard competitiveness as vital for the long-term health of a country’s economy as it empowers businesses to achieve sustainable growth, generate jobs and, ultimately, enhance the welfare of citizens.

    The IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, established in 1989, incorporate 235 indicators from each of the 63 ranked economies. The ranking takes into account a wide range of “hard” statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as “soft” data from an Executive Opinion Survey covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption.

    This information feeds into four categories – economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency – to give a final score for each country. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for competitiveness, but the best performing countries tend to score well across all four categories.

    Switzerland climbed to fourth place from fifth, helped by economic growth, the stability of the Swiss franc and high-quality infrastructure. The Alpine economy ranked top for university and management education, health services and quality of life.

    The effects of rising fuel prices influenced the ranking, with inflation reducing competitiveness in some countries. Stronger trade revenues helped oil and gas producers such as this year’s biggest climber Saudi Arabia, which jumped 13 places to 26th, and Qatar, which entered the top 10 for the first time since 2013.

    The United Arab Emirates – ranked 15th as recently as 2016 – entered the top five for the first time. The UAE now ranks first globally for business efficiency, outshining other economies in areas such as productivity, digital transformation and entrepreneurship.

    Venezuela remains anchored to the bottom of the ranking, hit by inflation, poor access to credit and a weak economy. The South American economy ranks the lowest for three out of four of the main criteria groups – economic performance, government efficiency and infrastructure.

    [​IMG]
    REGIONS

    Asia
    The Asia-Pacific region emerged as a beacon for competitiveness, with 11 out of 14 economies either improving or holding their ground, led by Singapore and Hong Kong SAR at top of the global chart.

    Indonesia leapt eleven places to 32nd, enjoying the region’s biggest improvement, thanks to increased efficiency in the government sector as well as improvement in infrastructure and business conditions. The southern Asian country is characterized by the lowest cost for labor across the 63 economies studied.

    Thailand, driven by an increase in foreign direct investments and productivity, advanced five places to 25th position in 2019.

    Japan fell five places to 30th hampered by a sluggish economy, government debt and a weakening business environment.

    Europe
    Competitiveness across Europe has struggled to gain ground with most economies on the decline or standing still. The Nordics, traditionally a powerhouse region for competitiveness, have failed to make significant progress this year, while ongoing uncertainty over Brexit has seen the United Kingdom fall from 20th to 23rd.

    The biggest climber for the region, Ireland, rose five places to 7th as business conditions improved alongside a strengthening economy. According to the data, Ireland leads the way globally for investment incentives, the handling of public sector contracts and areas such as image, branding and talent management. Portugal posted the biggest fall in the region, down six places to 39th – a reversal from gains made in the previous year.

    Middle East
    A story of two halves in the region, as fossil fuel producers such as UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia climbed the rankings, while inflation had a negative impact on Turkey (51st) and Jordan (57th). Israel (24th) declined mainly because of a negative performance across different government efficiency indicators, such as its budget deficit.

    Saudi Arabia achieved the biggest climb in the global rankings, up 13 places to 26th, despite a fall in its overall economic performance score. It registered the highest global ranking for investment in education and fared well in public and business finance.

    Latin America
    Latin American countries continue to fare poorly on the ranking. Venezuela was cemented at the bottom of the ranking for yet another year as the political and economic crisis continues to take its toll. The highest ranked country from this region, Chile, suffered the largest drop this year, down 7 places to 42, while Brazil and Argentina also ranked in the bottom five.

    Brazil ranked the lowest among the 63 countries studied for the cost of credit, making it the most expensive country for businesses to borrow, and for language skills.

    South Africa
    An inferior score for infrastructure – especially in health, education and energy – wiped out improvements in the business landscape as South Africa dipped to 56th from 53rd.

    CATEGORIES

    Economic performance
    This category measures the competitive strengths of the domestic economy and its macroeconomic performance.
    1. USA (1)
    2. China Mainland (2)
    3. Qatar (5)
    4. Luxembourg (4)
    5. Singapore (7)
    Government efficiency
    This category measures the effect of government policies on competitiveness.
    1. Hong Kong SAR (1)
    2. UAE (4)
    3. Singapore (3)
    4. Switzerland (2)
    5. Qatar (10)
    Business efficiency
    This category measures how innovative, profitable and responsible businesses are in each country.
    1. UAE (2)
    2. Hong Kong (1)
    3. Ireland (10)
    4. Netherlands (6)
    5. Singapore (11)
    Infrastructure
    This category measures how effective infrastructure is in delivering the basic, technological, scientific and human resources needs of business.
    1. USA (1)
    2. Switzerland (2)
    3. Denmark (3)
    4. Sweden (5)
    5. Finland (6)
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore is 8th most powerful country in Asia-Pacific; China closes in on US for top spot: think-tank

    TUE, MAY 28, 2019 - 9:59 PM
    FIONA LAMfiolam@sph.com.sg@FionaLamBT

    OF 25 countries globally, Singapore ranks eighth in terms of the power it wields in the Asia-Pacific region, while Malaysia takes ninth place, according to the latest Asia Power Index, a data-driven comparative assessment of power in the region by think-tank Lowy Institute.

    The other nations in the top 10 for overall power in 2019 are: the US, China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, Australia and Thailand
    , the Lowy Institute said in a media statement on Tuesday.

    The Asia Power Index measures eight types of power: military capability, defence networks, economic resources, economic relationships, diplomatic influence, cultural influence, resilience and future resources.

    The US remained the pre-eminent power in Asia-Pacific, claiming the top spot in four of the eight measures in the index, although it faces relative decline for China is rapidly catching up. The US had a 10-point lead over China in 2018, but that gap has narrowed to 8.6 points in 2019.

    Said the Lowy Institute: “Current US foreign policy may be accelerating this trend. The Trump administration’s focus on trade wars and balancing trade flows one country at a time has done little to improve the glaring weakness of US influence, its economic relationships.”

    SEE ALSO: China to project its military further and stronger

    The think-tank added that under most scenarios, short of war, the US is unlikely to halt the narrowing power differential between itself and China.

    The US is still the dominant military power as well as the most culturally influential one in 2019.

    Meanwhile, China netted the highest gains in overall power this year. The emerging superpower took first place in four of the eight index measures. Last year, China led on only three of the measures.

    However, despite steady advances, Beijing faces political and structural challenges that may make it difficult to establish undisputed primacy in the Asia-Pacific region, the Lowy Institute said.

    Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand were the most improved middle powers in 2019, after North Korea.

    Taiwan was the only index power which registered a significant drop in its overall score in 2019.

    The 2019 edition of the index was expanded to 126 indicators of power, and features more than 30,000 data points.

    The index also tracks shifts in the distribution of power, with annual trends for each country.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore tops 2 rankings: Most competitive economy, best place for children

    By Cynthia Choo and Daryl Choo

    [​IMG]
    TODAY file photo

    Singapore overtook Hong Kong and the United States to be the world’s most competitive economy, said a yearly report from Switzerland-based think-tank IMD World Competitiveness Centre.

    Published29 May, 2019
    Updated 30 May, 2019
    SINGAPORE — Singapore came out tops in two global rankings this week, emerging as No 1 in business competitiveness and the best place for children.

    This comes about two weeks after another report on quality of life showed that the country had improved its ranking.

    On Wednesday (May 29), a yearly report from Switzerland-based think-tank IMD World Competitiveness Centre said that Singapore overtook Hong Kong and the United States to be the world’s most competitive economy, reclaiming a title it last held in 2010.

    It attributed Singapore’s rise to its advanced technological infrastructure, availability of skilled labour, favourable immigration laws and efficient ways to set up new businesses.

    To rank the 63 countries in its report, the think-tank scores the economies on four categories: Economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency.

    The report noted that 11 of the 14 economies in Asia Pacific either improved or held their ground. Hong Kong came in second, China was 14th, while Malaysia was 22nd. Indonesia saw the region’s biggest improvement, jumping 11 places to 32nd, while Japan fell five places to 30th.

    “In a year of high uncertainty in global markets due to rapid changes in the international political landscape as well as trade relations, the quality of institutions seems to be the unifying element for increasing prosperity,” Professor Arturo Bris, the research centre’s director, said.

    WHAT MAKES SINGAPORE ATTRACTIVE FOR BUSINESSES?
    Based on responses from mid- and upper-level managers of businesses here, the report noted the following — in descending order of popularity — as key factors that made Singapore’s economy attractive:
    • Policy stability and predictability
    • Effective legal environment
    • Business-friendly environment
    • Competitive tax regime
    • Reliable infrastructure
    It also highlighted three challenges for Singapore’s economy in 2019, namely:
    • Equipping workers with skills to thrive in a technology-intensive environment
    • Creating deeper local and international partnerships to develop industry-wide capabilities
    • Deepening enterprise capabilities to enable firms to scale up, harness technology and capture opportunities
    'SINGAPORE MUST STAY TRUE TO FUNDAMENTALS'
    In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said he was encouraged by the news, but stressed that Singapore must “persevere with our efforts to create opportunities for our people and businesses”.

    Noting increased global competition and the uncertain economic outlook, Mr Chan said that “Singapore, as a small and open economy, must ensure that we continue to get our fundamentals right”.

    Instead of competing “on cost or our size”, Singapore must leverage its connectivity, quality and creativity to attract international partnerships, he added.

    Mr Chan also said that Singapore must continue to build on what it has achieved and “stay true to (its) fundamentals” to tide over tensions over trade and protectionist sentiments.

    “With this, I am confident we can continue to distinguish ourselves from the competition.”

    BEST COUNTRY FOR CHILDREN
    On Tuesday (May 28), non-governmental organisation Save The Children ranked Singapore as the best place in the world for children for the second consecutive year.

    Singapore scored 989 out of 1,000 in the End of Childhood Index, which measures the extent to which children in each country experience “childhood enders” such as death, severe malnutrition, being out of school and shouldering the burdens of adult roles in work, marriage and motherhood.

    The report said that Singapore has the lowest out-of-school rate in the world, at 0.1 per cent, while the child mortality rate is 2.8 for every 1,000 births in 2017.

    23RD IN QUALITY OF LIFE
    In a survey released by Deutsche Bank AG on May 16, Singapore was ranked 23rd out of 56 cities for its quality of life — up three places from last year.

    The city of Zurich in Switzerland ranked tops in terms of quality of life globally, but lost out to San Francisco in the US in terms of income.

    In its eighth year of study, the research took into consideration prices of goods and services, crime rates, incomes, housing and transport affordability, and purchasing power to evaluate quality of life in the cities.

    In terms of income, Singapore ranked 11th highest with an average monthly salary of US$2,900 (S$4,000) in 2019. By comparison, the average monthly wage is US$6,526 in San Francisco.

    In terms of housing affordability, Singapore also ranked 11th, dropping a spot from the year before.
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S’pore does not engage in currency manipulation, says MAS in response to US report

    By Asyraf Kamil

    [​IMG]
    TODAY file photo

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that Singapore’s monetary policy framework, which is centred on the exchange rate, has always been aimed at ensuring medium-term price stability, “and will continue to do so”.

    Published29 May, 2019

    SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it does not manipulate the Singapore dollar for export advantage, or to achieve a current account surplus.

    The central bank’s statement was made on Wednesday (May 29) in response to media queries on a United States Treasury report released earlier in the day.

    Singapore was among nine countries which had been highlighted for their currency practices in the twice-yearly report to the US Congress. Other countries in the watch list include China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysai, South Korea and Vietnam.

    In its statement, MAS said that Singapore’s monetary policy framework, which is centred on the exchange rate, has always been aimed at ensuring medium-term price stability, “and will continue to do so”.

    It added that a “deliberate weakening of the Singapore dollar would cause inflation to spike and compromise MAS’ price stability objective”.

    The authority added that it manages the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) within a policy band, just as other central banks conduct monetary policy by targeting interest rates.

    “Whether they target the exchange rate or the interest rate, central banks aim to keep consumer price inflation low and stable as their primary mandate,” MAS said.

    RISE AND FALL OF CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE
    MAS also said that Singapore’s current account balance “should be viewed in context”, adding that in its early years of development, the country ran “persistently large current account deficits averaging close to 10 per cent of gross domestic product between 1965 and 1984”.

    “As the economy matured, its investment needs tapered off, while national saving rose. Consequently, the current account turned into a surplus position,” MAS said.

    But it added that, together with rising affluence that will raise consumption, Singapore’s current account surplus will be reduced when public and private savings are drawn down for the needs of an ageing population
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Jewel Changi Airport’s Canopy Park to open on June 10, with extended opening hours for a month

    By Nicholas Khong

    [​IMG]
    Nuria Ling/TODAY

    A visitor jumps on a giant bouncing net, during the media preview of Canopy Park and Changi Experience Studio at Jewel Changi Airport on May 30, 2019.

    Published30 May, 2019
    Updated 31 May, 2019
    SINGAPORE — When visitors on the lower floors of Jewel Changi Airport look up, they will soon see children gleefully jumping on a 250m-long “sky net” above their heads or running along a 50m translucent canopy bridge.

    The airport’s eagerly anticipated 14,000sqm Canopy Park opens to the public on June 10 — the latest facet of the hugely popular Jewel Changi Airport.

    The park will have extended opening hours for the first month of its opening, from 9am to 3am daily until July 9. Canopy Park ticket prices start from S$4.50 for Singapore residents, covering four of the attractions.

    Prices increase as more attractions are included.

    From July 10 onwards, the Canopy Park and the Canopy Bridge will remain open from 9am to 3am. Other attractions in the park will be open from 10am to 10pm.

    [​IMG]
    Visitors walk through the Manulife Sky Nets Bouncing. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

    Ms Hung Jean, chief executive officer of Jewel Changi Airport Development, said: “When Canopy Park was conceptualised, we envisaged a green natural environment with play and leisure activities for people of all ages.

    “Importantly, we wanted to create a space where activities that are traditionally conducted outdoors are brought to an indoor environment, so that they can be enjoyed under all weather conditions.”

    CANOPY PARK
    The park features four different attractions as part of its basic admission ticket — including a petal garden and a topiary walk, with animal topiaries (ornamental shaping of plants and trees) such as orangutans and a peacock.

    Another attraction is an art sculpture-cum-playscape called the Discovery Slides, designed by Dutch design and engineering firm Carve and built by Playpoint Singapore. It features four different slides in one sculptural playscape set in a garden environment.

    [​IMG]
    A visitor takes a ride down the Discovery Slides, a playscape as well as art sculpture at the Canopy Park. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

    The most thrilling of the slides will require visitors to wear helmets, elbow and knee guards, before jumping into a gunny sack and sliding down a nearly vertical slide.

    At the Foggy Bowls, children will also have the chance to play among clouds as an artificial fog envelops them.

    CANOPY BRIDGE
    This 50m-long bridge, suspended 23m above ground level, serves as a vantage point for guests to take in breathtaking views of the HSBC Rain Vortex.

    The centre portion of the bridge is made of translucent glass panels, enabling visitors to look right through the bridge to the first floor of the airport.

    [​IMG]
    The 50m-long Canopy Bridge. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY
    MANULIFE SKY NETS

    The Manulife Sky Nets are divided into two types — walking and bouncing — with separate admission fees.
    Constructed mainly from holed nets, the Manulife Sky Nets – Walking straddles a five-storey-high void, and is curated to feel like a walk in the park but at 25m above the ground.

    More adventurous guests will be able to bounce their way through a 250m-long net at the Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing. It also features an 8m-high lookout at its highest point.

    [​IMG]
    The Manulife Sky Nets Walking allows visitors to look down 25m to the first level. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

    When asked about the maximum capacity for the Canopy Bridge and Manulife Sky Nets, a spokesperson for Jewel said that there are no specific numbers to give, adding that all of the attractions are different and can accommodate about 70 to 300 visitors at a time.

    "Overall, the Canopy Park, including the attractions, can accommodate 3,000 visitors at any given time."

    THE HEDGE AND MIRROR MAZES
    Visitors to the indoor Hedge Maze, touted as Singapore’s largest, will be able to take a leisurely walk through a landscaped environment and go up a circular lookout platform upon completion of the maze.

    For the Mirror Maze, it is the world’s first mirror maze within a garden setting. The creation, by British maze designer Adrian Fisher, features plants hanging overhead, providing dappled light into the maze.

    CHANGI EXPERIENCE STUDIO

    [​IMG]
    Visitors play a game simulating the job of a trolley handler at the Changi Experience Studio. Photo: Nuria Ling/

    On the fourth floor of the airport, there are interactive games, projection storytelling, immersive shows and gallery exhibits — providing a new state-of-the-art digital experience for visitors.

    The Changi Experience Studio includes highlights such as the Amazing Runway, a multiplayer “cycling” game which mimics the exciting runway race between a Porsche car and a Boeing 747 aircraft in 2009.

    Mr Jayson Goh, managing director for airport operations management at Changi Airport Group, said: “Beyond the entertainment, visitors can learn about the past and present of Singapore’s air hub, the inner workings of the airport, and experience what makes Changi tick.”

    HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
    [​IMG]
    Attractions are sold in packages or individually, and the full list of prices is available at www.jewelchangiairport.com.

    Guests are advised to buy their tickets online at the above website ahead of their visit for ease of passage and convenience. Ticket sales will begin from June 6, 10am.

    A spokesperson for Jewel told TODAY that in order to maintain the optimum crowd size, visitors will be required to book 30-minute time slots for the Canopy Bridge, and one-hour time slots for the Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing.

    While there is no minimum age for the attractions, children who are shorter than 1.1m will not be able to try the Discovery Slides and Manulife Sky Nets, the spokesperson said. Those between 1.1m and 1.4m tall will require parental supervision at the above attractions.
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Two Singaporean students picked as finalists for annual Google Science Fair in the United States

    By Navene Elangovan

    [​IMG]
    Screengrab/Youtube

    National Junior College students Jenevieve Ho and Emma Tan were selected from a regional shortlist of 100 to attend the annual Google Science Fair in California in July this year.

    Published31 May, 2019
    Updated 31 May, 2019
    SINGAPORE — Two Singaporean students have made it to the global finals of the Google Science Fair for their project which seeks to find a possible source of renewable energy from food waste — such as sugarcane pulp sourced at hawker centres here.

    Chosen from a shortlist of 100 regional entries, Emma Tan and Jenevieve Ho, both students at the National Junior College, will be among 20 teams of students to fly to Google’s international headquarters in Mountain View, California in the United States this July to present their project to a panel of judges.

    Running since 2011, the annual online competition allows students from around the world between the ages of 13 to 18 to submit proposals which offer innovative solutions to real world problems in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.

    Winners of the grand finals will receive a total of US$50,000 in scholarship funding to further their education.

    To tackle the issue of growing food waste, the girls proposed converting food waste into clean, renewable energy to meet rising demand for electricity globally.

    They sought to determine if food waste could be used in microbial fuel cells (MFC), which is a bio-electrochemical device that converts organic substrates into electrical energy. MFCs are seen as a potential source of renewable energy and an alternative to fossil fuels. Some commonly-used substrates, which are substances that are required in a chemical reaction, in MFCs are pure forms of carbohydrates such as glucose.

    Research has been done to find sustainable, low-cost material that can replace glucose as a substrate, but there is a dearth of research on the use of food waste.

    Given that food waste contains many carbohydrates and is available easily, the girls decided to use common types of food waste for their experiment — specifically banana peels and the inner and outer layers of sugarcane. The duo sourced for juiced sugarcane pulp from hawker stalls and bananas from supermarkets, and subsequently tested them in MFC set-ups.

    From their experiments, they found that food waste could indeed be used as a potential substrate in MFCs.
    They also found that among the three types of food waste tested, banana peels made the best substrate as it had the best voltage performance, comparable to glucose.

    This was followed by the outer layer of sugarcane and then the inner layer of sugarcane.

    In their submission to the competition, Miss Tan and Miss Ho said that their study was “a step closer” to making MFC a more viable alternative source of energy, and would contribute to the fight against climate change.
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore just released a special S$20 note for its bicentennial – here’s who the 8 people featured on it are

    Rachel Tay
    June 6, 2019

    [​IMG]
    The Singapore Mint is putting 5,000 limited edition numismatic sets up for sale. Each set of an uncut sheet of three commemorative notes costs S$280.
    Monetary Authority of Singapore

    To commemorate Singapore’s bicentennial, a special S$20 (US$27.30) currency note was launched on Wednesday (June 5) by President Halimah Yacob.

    Starting June 10, two million pieces of the commemorative note will be available for public exchange at face value at branches of nine major retail banks in Singapore, namely:
    • DBS Bank Limited / POSB
    • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
    • United Overseas Bank Limited
    • Bank of China Limited
    • Citibank Singapore Limited
    • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited
    • Malayan Banking Berhad
    • Standard Chartered Bank
    • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
    Additionally, each individual is only allowed to exchange up to 20 pieces of the note per transaction, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.

    For those who want to buy these notes, The Singapore Mint is putting 5,000 limited edition numismatic sets up for sale. Each set of an uncut sheet of three commemorative notes costs S$280.

    The pre-order will end on June 1 and the sets will be allocated by balloting if they are oversubscribed, MAS said. The ballot results will be released on June 18, and collection will start on June 20.

    Like all currency notes in Singapore, the front of the commemorative note features Singapore’s first president, Yusof Ishak. On this note, he is featured next to the former Supreme Court and City Hall.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    The denomination, the Singapore Coat of Arms and the Singapore Bicentennial logos are printed in gold next to it.

    [​IMG]
    Monetary Authority of Singapore

    At the back of the note, eight individuals are pictured against the background of the Singapore River flowing from olden day into present day Singapore.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a media release that the note “depicts Singapore’s journey to nationhood and pays tribute to our forebears who laid the foundations for modern Singapore”.

    According to MAS, the pioneering individuals chosen for the note “made significant contributions to nation building in diverse areas ranging from education, culture and community service to sports and defending Singapore”.


    [​IMG]
    Monetary Authority of Singapore

    Here’s who they are:

    Munshi Abdullah (1797-1854)
    [​IMG]
    National Library Board

    According to his profile on the National Library Board (NLB), Munshi Abdullah was Stamford Raffles’ secretary and interpreter. He taught Raffles, merchants, and European arrivals the Malay language and educated them on Malay society and culture.

    He later published an autobiography, which contained one of the most detailed records of the arrival of Raffles in Singapore and other significant pioneering figures, NLB wrote.

    Henry Nicholas Ridley (1855-1956)

    [​IMG]
    NParks

    Henry Nicholas Ridley was the first Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens. He explored remote areas of the Malay Peninsula and expanded the Herbarium and living collections of the Gardens by about 50,000 specimens, NParks said.
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Tan Kah Kee (1874-1961)

    [​IMG]
    Tan Kah Kee Foundation

    According to NLB, Tan Kah Kee was known as a businessman, philanthropist, social reformer, community leader and educationist. He helped to set up schools and advocated social reforms such as removing social barriers based on dialect and clanship, improving housing and eradicating opium addiction.

    Govindasamy Pillai (1887-1980)

    [​IMG]
    P. Govindasamy Pillai and wife Packkiriammal at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.
    National Archives of

    Govindasamy Pillai was known as a philanthropist who contributed to temple-building and community welfare, an article by Roots wrote. He once donated a large sum to redevelop Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple and contributed to the construction of a new home for the Ramakrishna Mission.

    Teresa Hsu Chih (1898-2011)

    [​IMG]
    YouTube / TedxSingapore

    Teresa Hsu Chih was a social worker who helped the poor and destitute and founded one of Singapore’s first homes for sick elderly, NLB said. She also established a non-profit programme where she provided single elderly and needy families with cash allowances and food.

    Alice Pennefather (1903-1983)

    [​IMG]
    Lancelot Pennefather (left) with his wife Alice Pennefather (right).
    Singapore Press Holdings

    According to the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, Alice Pennefather was a Singaporean badminton and tennis champion and was also active in the Girls’ Sports Club (GSC) which was formed to encourage participation of young women in sports.

    She was also the captain of the hockey team in the GSC and led her team to become one of the top teams in Singapore.

    Adnan Saidi (1915-1942)

    [​IMG]
    Singapore Press Holdings

    According to NLB, Adnan Saidi was a lieutenant of the Malay Regiment’s 1st Battalion and a war hero entrusted to defend Pasir Panjang Ridge in 1942. Despite being outnumbered and oversupplied, Adnan motivated his troops to fend off the Japanese and refused to surrender.

    Ruth Wong Hie King (1918-1982)

    [​IMG]
    Singapore Press Holdings

    According to the Singapore Women’s Hall of fame, Ruth Wong was known as a pioneering educator who introduced a multi-disciplinary approach to teacher training in Singapore. She was also an advocate for collaborative learning, the use of objectives, and research-based assignments to replace examinations.
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    9 new gardens have been opened at Fort Canning Park, including one inspired by Stamford Raffles: Here’s a look inside

    Rachel Tay
    May 27, 2019

    [​IMG]
    The National Parks Board announced on Monday (May 27) that it has completed its first phase of historical restoration of Fort Canning Park.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Singaporeans (myself included) often lament that there aren’t many things to keep us occupied during the weekends.

    But instead of lazing in bed till noon, it’s time for us to put on our hiking shoes and venture out beyond the shopping districts – and back to mother nature.

    The National Parks Board announced on Monday (May 27) it has completed its first phase of historical restoration of Fort Canning Park since an initial announcement in February last year.

    Spanning about eight hectares, the restored landscape is now home to nine new gardens inspired by Singapore’s heritage.

    From a Sang Nila Utama-inspired garden to a garden that features 14th century forbidden baths, there are the nine new gardens you will be able to see at Fort Canning Park:

    1. Raffles Garden

    This garden was named after and inspired by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Some of the plants featured here include species that Raffles encountered in South-east Asia.

    [​IMG]
    A pitcher plant at the Raffles Garden.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The Raffles House is located at the top of the hill of Raffles Garden.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    From the Raffles house, you can spot the famous Marina Bay Sands skyline in the background.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Throughout the park, there will be signs you can scan with the BALIKSG app and launch an augmented reality trail on your smartphone.

    [​IMG]
    Following the Singapore River Trail that was launched in January, the Fort Cannning Trail was launched on Monday (May 27).
    BALIKSG

    I could also tap on the name of the animal to read more about it, which made the experience more immersive.

    [​IMG]
    There are a total of eight trail stops along the Fort Canning Park trail.
    BALIKSG
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    2. Sang Nila Utama

    The Sang Nila Utama Garden was named after the first ancient king of Singapore. Sang Nila Utama was a Palembang prince from the Srivijaya ruling house, according to the Sejarah Melayu, or Malay Annals, who first landed here in 1299.

    [​IMG]
    Traditional Javanese split gates mark the entrance of new “zones” or “realms”.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The garden, including the seats, were inspired by old palaces such as the one that stood on Fort Canning hill during the 14th century.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Water lilies and lily pads can be seen in the garden’s reflective pond

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Perfume plants such as gardenias and vallaris are planted for their significance in ancient Javanese culture.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Ancient stone murals are also displayed in the Sang Nila Utama Garden.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    3. Artisan’s Garden

    This garden used to be the workshop and living quarters of the craftsmen in the 14th century.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Currently, this space is one of the last archaeological dig sites that has been retained in Singapore.

    [​IMG]
    Glassware and stoneware are just some of the materials that archaeologists have discovered.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    There are interactive panels to help visitors understand the work of archaeologists better.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Tools of the trade, such as a trowel, are also put up on display for visitors to get a first-hand experience.

    [​IMG]
    The trowel was used by archaeologists to scrape away layers of fine soil around the artefact without damaging it.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    4. Spice Garden

    The Spice Garden represents the spice plantation that Raffles had experimented with.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The spices are planted in a series of cascading terraces.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Some of the spices planted here include basil and chili pepper.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The road leading to the Spice Garden at Canning Rise has also been pedestrianised.

    According to NParks, the Spice Garden will be further enhanced in Phase 2, scheduled to be completed by 2021, to include a gallery trail to provide visitors more information about spices in Singapore’s history.

    [​IMG]
    The shelter outside the Spice Garden used to be a taxi stand.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay
     
  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    5. Farquhar Garden

    The Farquhar garden was named after the first British resident and commandant of Singapore, William Farquhar.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The giant frames that are set up in the garden make the plants look like paintings in a museum.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    It makes for a great photo spot as well.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    To make the gardens more accessible, sheltered escalators have been built to connect visitors from the streets to the gardens.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    6. Armenian Street Park

    Earlier last year, part of Armenian Street was pedestrianised and plants significant to the Peranakan culture were planted along the street.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Some examples are flowers which were used in hair adornments or plants used in Peranakan cuisine such as curries or nonya desserts.

    [​IMG]
    Ixora flowers planted at Armenian Street.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    7. Pancur Larangan

    According to NParks, the Pancur Larangan, which is also known as the “Forbidden Spring”, was used as a bathing place by the noble ladies of the royal court of Singapura.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    The baths have since been re-created, 14th century-Javanese style.

    [​IMG]
    The stone murals on the wall were handcrafted in natural volcanic rock.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    8. Jubilee Park

    Many Singaporeans might remember the aquarium, swimming pool and theatre that used to be located in the early 2000s, at the Jubilee Park area (now next to Fort Canning MRT).

    Now, that same space has been restored as a family-friendly area where children can play with log structures…

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Swings…
    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    Slides…
    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    And other types of play structures. According to NParks, once Phase 2 is completed, Jubilee Park will also include gallery spaces and F&B facilities.

    [​IMG]
    There is also a space for outdoor performances and events.
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay

    9. First Botanic Garden

    Singapore’s first botanic garden has been restored at the foot of Fort Canning Hill and stretches into the streetscapes between the hill and Bras Basah Road.

    There are a total of five zones of streetscapes including: latex and resin, timber, ornamental and fragrant trees, forest fruits and coastal riverine.

    [​IMG]
    Business Insider / Rachel Tay
     

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