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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Live-streaming bargains: Online marketplace is the new wet market for seafood, poultry

    By Nabilah Awang


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    Nuria Ling/TODAY
    Ms Joyce Leong, (left) who conducts live-streaming seafood auctions from the Ang Mo Kio store she works at, Freshcatch Seafoodbidding, owned by Madam Serene Leang (right).

    Published08 September, 2019
    Updated 08 September, 2019


    SINGAPORE — Ms Joyce Leong, 41 — or Sotong Joyce as she is better known — has become a minor celebrity in the increasingly popular world of online auctions for produce such as seafood and poultry.

    Ms Leong holds court on Facebook’s live-streaming service six mornings a week by setting up her smartphone over an ice bed stocked with the latest seafood catch at the Ang Mo Kio store, Freshcatch Seafoodbidding, where she works.
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    With hundreds of potential buyers online, one minute Ms Leong is cracking jokes about squid, the next she’s overseeing a fierce bidding battle for a lobster.

    With fewer people making the morning trip to wet markets, poultry and seafood sellers have taken to the online marketplace to sell their produce to a wider pool of potential customers.
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    The live auction trend is booming on Facebook, with sellers hawking items from fish to handbags — all from behind their phone or computer screens.

    Facebook users participate in the auctions by joining the live stream and bidding for items up auction by posting in the video’s comment section.

    It’s in this space that auctioneers will interact with viewers by greeting new “joiners”, answer questions about the product and so forth.

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    Ms Joyce Leong live-streams a seafood auction six mornings a week, with hundreds of potential buyers online. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

    Madam Serene Leang, the owner of Freshcatch Seafoodbidding and Ms Leong’s employer, came up with the idea after she was introduced to Facebook live auctions through a friend who is active on the social platform.

    “I thought to myself: Since my family has been running this business for over 30 years, it’ll be a waste for people not to know about our offerings,” Mdm Leang said.

    So she set up her store’s page and suggested that Ms Leong conduct live auctions.

    Mdm Leang acknowledges that conducting live auctions in the morning might not be optimal as most people are at work but she has nevertheless built a customer base of young mothers.

    Meanwhile, Lian Huat Seafood employee of 10 years Kee Zhe Chong, also known as Max, starts his live auctions as late as 10pm — about the time fresh catch of the day reaches the fishery where he is stationed, at Jurong fishery port.

    The cheeky 36-year-old said he has an average of 300 viewers on a daily basis even though his live streaming auction starts late at night and usually ends around 1am.

    “I try to entertain them as much as I can … sometimes I tell them jokes about fishes and try to make them laugh,” said Mr Kee.

    NOT AN EASY JOB

    Ms Leong said that being an auctioneer on Facebook is not as easy as people may imagine — there is more to it than meets the eye.

    She started off slowly with barely five viewers at her first live auction, as she was not sure how to engage people.

    But in the past year, Ms Leong has learnt the lingo auctioneers use, such as “LNS”, which is short for “like and share” and “+1” means customers want to add one portion of the item to their order.

    Mr Ryan Goh, who works at Seafood Boy, conducts Facebook live auctions every Friday from the stall he helms in Sengkang. He said he usually goes live for about three hours.

    “Talking for three hours is really no joke. People don’t realise how exhausting it is to conduct these auctions,” said the 34-year-old.

    Auctioneers use many tactics to build rapport with viewers, he said.

    Mr Goh shares his knowledge about the wild-caught fish he sells and gives out cooking tips to encourage buyers to make a bid.

    He also arranges payment and delivery which his company offers free of charge to those who make purchases above S$50.

    Ms Leong, who also offers free delivery for purchases above S$59, added that she reviews the video of the live auctions afterwards to make sure she noted every customer’s orders correctly.

    Mr Kee offers lucky draws to returning customers, especially those who like and share his live sessions.

    “I will put their names in the basket then pick one. The lucky guy will get whatever freebie we give out that day — maybe a set of prawns, scallops, a bottle of soy sauce or even coffee packets,” he chuckled.

    THE THRILL OF SNARING A BARGAIN

    Asked why Facebook live has become such a phenomenon, the auctioneers said it combines two things Singaporeans love — online shopping and snaring a good bargain.

    They added that auctions can either make the item more expensive than the usual retail price or cheaper, if interest is not that high, a dynamic that makes the process all the more appealing to customers.

    Homemakers Ms Siti Afiqah Gunawan, 25, and Madam Chan Yen Ling, 51, said that the best part about live auctions is the thrill of striking a good bargain in front of hundreds of viewers.

    Mdm Chan started watching seafood live auctions after she was introduced by a friend. “I get interested when sellers post a ‘teaser’ of their catch of that day … after that I follow them and watch what they have that day,” said the mother of four.

    “They are usually very funny. They can talk and talk for hours and people will still watch them,” said Mdm Chan.

    Ms Afiqah, a mother of one who is a self-confessed live auction addict, said that even when she is not bidding, just watching people fighting over a product and outbidding each other is entertaining enough.

    She has bought items at less than half their regular price on Facebook live auctions. Recently, she scored baby clothing for less than S$10 when the retail price was S$60.

    “It’s all about having the fastest fingers,” she gushed before adding: “You get to shop and you get to laugh, this is probably why everyone is watching it.”

    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/live-st...ne-marketplace-new-wet-market-poultry-seafood
     
    #9661 Loh, Sep 8, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    https://www.straitstimes.com/busine...:+World+Economic+Forum&utm_content=09/10/2019

    Singapore is world's most competitive economy: World Economic Forum

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    Singapore scored 84.8 out of a possible 100, beating the United States to the top spot in the rankings of 141 economies.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Published
    8 hours ago
    Updated
    39 min ago

    Aw Cheng Wei

    SINGAPORE - Singapore is the world's most competitive economy, according to an updated global league table.

    It scored 84.8 out of a possible 100, beating the United States to the top spot in the rankings of 141 economies.

    The US, which topped the charts last year, scored 83.7.

    "Singapore improves from an already high base," the World Economic Forum said on Wednesday (Oct 9), adding that the country ranked first for infrastructure - one of the index's 12 assessment pillars.

    Singapore also was number one for two of the index's other pillars - citizens' healthy life expectancy years and labour markets.

    Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Facebook that the ranking was encouraging as it reflected how strong economic fundamentals here continue to distinguish Singapore from its competitors.

    “Nevertheless, as a small and open economy, we cannot afford to take things for granted,” he added.

    Singapore must persevere collectively to stay ahead given the current economic uncertainties, he said.

    “We must continue to build on our strong fundamentals, improve the capabilities of our enterprises, transform our industries and ensure that our workers are well-equipped with the right skills to stay competitive.”

    The report noted that Singapore also scored well because of its financial system, market efficiency and macroeconomic stability.

    "Singapore ranks second for the quality of public institutions, behind Finland, but its performance is undermined by limited checks and balances," the report said.

    "Singapore notably ranks 124th on the Freedom of the Press Index - and lack of commitment to sustainability."

    The report added that Singapore will need to promote entrepreneurship and further improve its skills base to become a global innovation hub.

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    It also noted that the US performed better in domestic competition and trade openness last year.

    "Despite an overall weaker performance this year, the US remains one of the most competitive economies in the world. It is still an innovation powerhouse, ranking second on the innovation capability pillar and first in terms of business dynamism... and home to one of the most dynamic financial systems in the world."

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    Hong Kong rose four spots to third place.

    The report said the territory ranks first on four pillars - macroeconomic stability, health, financial system and product market - the most of any economy.

    "Hong Kong's biggest weakness is undoubtedly its limited capability to innovate," the report said, adding that the region also lags behind Singapore in worker protection.

    The Netherlands and Switzerland round up the top five most competitive economies. The Netherlands jumped two spots to fourth place while Switzerland fell one to fifth.

    The Global Competitiveness Report series was launched in 1979 to provide an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Bus, train fares to rise by 7%: Needy commuters to get more support

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    With revisions to the eligibility criteria, one in five households will qualify for public transport vouchers, up from one in 10 previously. The measures aim to help buffer the impact of increased fares on needy commuters. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Published
    9 hours ago

    More households will qualify for vouchers, which will be worth $50 each, up from $30

    Toh Ting Wei

    Lower-income households will get more support for their public transport needs after the Government announced a $6 million top-up to the Public Transport Fund to support this year's Public Transport Voucher Exercise.

    A record total of 450,000 vouchers, worth $50 each, will be available to these households. This is up from the 300,000 vouchers, worth $30 each, set aside last year.

    In addition, one in five households will be able to qualify for public transport vouchers, up from one in 10 previously, following revisions to the eligibility criteria.

    The measures aim to help buffer the impact of increased public transport fares on needy commuters.

    "The Government will ensure that sufficient assistance is available for commuters in need," the Ministry of Transport said in a statement yesterday.

    It said that the public transport vouchers will also benefit eligible lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities.

    Under new guidelines, which the Transport Ministry said makes more residents eligible, households with monthly income - from all sources - of not more than $1,200 per person can qualify for the vouchers.

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    Sources of income could refer to regular employment income, or income from rentals and pensions.

    In contrast, under the 2018 Public Transport Voucher Exercise, only households with an income of $1,900 or below, or per capita income of not more than $650, are eligible for the vouchers.

    The 2018 exercise, which commenced on Nov 12 last year, will remain open for applications until the end of this month.

    The next cycle with the $50 vouchers will start from Nov 11 this year and end on Oct 31 next year.

    THE BIG STORY: Public transport fare review | The Straits Times
    Those who qualify for the vouchers can apply for them at their local community centre or club.

    Mr Ang Hin Kee, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC and deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, told The Straits Times: "My primary concern is with workers who may have to deal with higher costs.

    "This has been mitigated by higher transport voucher quantum and eligibility."

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    The Transport Ministry said this will help keep average fares for them below 2015 levels.

    Transport economist Walter Theseira said the way the fare increase was buffered for needy commuters suggested a move towards differentiated fares.

    Associate Professor Theseira said: "The idea behind differentiated fares is that people who have the ability to pay will pay a bit more. And for those more vulnerable groups, the fare increase will be held down more.

    "This is a good idea because we only have so much money to subsidise the system, and it makes sense to spend more of the subsidies on more vulnerable commuters."
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  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore tops list of 105 cities most ready for AI disruption, new index shows

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    Singapore is one of the few governments in the world to have developed an AI governance framework to address ethical dilemmas.PHOTO: ST FILE

    Published
    Sep 26, 2019, 12:00 pm SGT
    Updated
    Oct 9, 2019, 8:31 pm

    Irene Tham
    Tech Editor

    SINGAPORE - Singapore is the most prepared for the next wave of technology disruption that will be brought about by artificial intelligence (AI), according to a new index on AI readiness that ranks 105 global cities.

    The technique that allows machines to learn from enormous sets of data is expected to bring new conveniences in modern living and economic benefits. But jobs risk being displaced, people’s privacy risks being exposed and inequality may be perpetuated by AI being fed biased data, with cities at various stages of readiness for the new future.

    In determining how prepared global cities are for this disrupted future, New York-based research outfit Oliver Wyman Forum’s inaugural Global Cities AI Disruption Index, released on Thursday (Sept 26), scored cities on 31 metrics across four broad categories: vision, activation ability, asset base and growth trajectory.

    Singapore received the best overall score of 75.8, bolstered by its strong performance in the vision category, which measures the presence of plans to respond to technology changes and plans to upgrade labour skills and infrastructure such as mobile networks.

    “Singapore stands out for its vision; it has a whole-of-government view on how AI is to be deployed across the society and has a high-level steering committee for this,” said Mr Jacob Hook, managing partner of management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, which owns the research outfit.

    It is one of the few governments in the world to have developed an AI governance framework to address ethical dilemmas, he added.

    Singapore’s framework to promote the ethical use of AI was released at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January this year.

    The Singapore Government will also set up an inter-agency task force to study how the country can grow its AI capabilities and become a trusted global hub for testing and deploying AI solutions.

    Singapore also did well in the asset base category, which assesses the amount of intellectual property, labour productivity, tech talent, venture capital investments and the education level of the population, among other things.

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    Specifically, a total of $900 million has been allocated to research and development in AI, robotics and supercomputers under the National Research Foundation’s five-year fund which will last until 2021. Ongoing AI projects here include systems to identify patients predisposed to chronic diseases like diabetes, robots to perform menial tasks and wearable sensors to provide early intervention for heart failure.

    Other recent developments that worked in Singapore’s favour include its data protection laws and cyber-security strategies to maximise the impact of digital technologies on the economy.

    The other cities in the top 10 on the index are London (75.6), New York (72.7), San Francisco (71.9), Paris (71.0), Stockholm (70.4), Amsterdam (68.6), Boston (68.5), Berlin (67.3), and Sydney (67.3).

    Cities in China, known for the widespread roll-out of AI technologies, did not appear in the overall top 10, pulled down by relatively lower scores in most of the categories.

    But Chinese cities Shenzhen, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou scored the highest in the growth trajectory category, which measures how fast technology infrastructures evolve, city administration effectiveness and the size of venture capital investment.

    For one thing, gait and facial recognition technologies are already in use by law enforcement in Beijing and Shanghai to help identify individuals even when their faces are obscured.

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    Meanwhile, Shenzhen is home to telecommunications equipment giant Huawei, which is leading the world in 5G technology developments, and Hangzhou is home to global e-commerce titan Alibaba.

    Alibaba’s AI-powered technology is also automating traffic management in Hangzhou such as changing traffic lights in favour of ambulances.

    Mr Hook said China’s high tolerance for privacy invasive technologies has led to the introduction of citizen surveillance systems which employ facial and gait recognition technology. This, he argued, encourages innovation and “creates a strong runway for Chinese cities to deploy AI, giving them a stronger growth trajectory”.

    Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) communication and technology professor Lim Sun Sun said that the AI race will likely be “won” by cities with robust research ecosystems, comprising universities and private sector firms. “(Then), they become natural magnets for talent which is indispensable for the AI race,” she said.
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore is world's smartest city: IMD Smart City Index

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    The index ranked cities in terms of how "smart" they are, which in this case was defined as an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanisation.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

    Published
    Oct 3, 2019, 4:00 pm SGT
    Updated
    Oct 9, 2019, 8:31 pm

    Yip Wai Yee

    SINGAPORE - The smartest city in the world is Singapore, the inaugural IMD Smart City Index showed.

    Published by Swiss business school IMD and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the index ranked cities in terms of how "smart" they are, which in this case was defined as an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanisation.

    The survey's findings were derived from the perceptions of the city's citizens, with 120 residents from each city polled on their ideas of two pillars: structures, which refers to the city's existing infrastructure; and technology, which refers to the technological provisions and services available to the residents.

    Under each pillar, the survey also looked at the categories of health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities, and governance - each of which were in turn broken down into smaller indicators.

    Singapore performed well across the board, including for the indicators of public safety, lifelong learning opportunities provided by local institutions, having green spaces, as well as having online access to job listings.

    Mr Christos Cabolis, chief economist at IMD Business School's Competitiveness Centre, told The Straits Times: "Singapore topped the ranking because, according to its citizens, it is performing superbly in providing high quality infrastructure in the areas we study, while at the same time adopting technologies in an efficient way to make the lives of the Singaporeans better."

    Singapore is only one of two Asian cities to be in the Top 10 of 102 cities. Taipei is the other at No. 7.

    The rest of the Top 10 smartest cities are Zurich (second), Oslo (third), Geneva (fourth), Copenhagen (fifth), Auckland (sixth), Helsinki (eighth), Bilbao (ninth), and Dusseldorf (10th).

    The index also surveyed residents on the areas that they perceive to be of priority and as the most urgent for the city.

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    For Singapore, the issues of affordable housing, fulfilling employment, unemployment and public transport came out as the highest priority areas.

    Mr Ng Chee Khern, Permanent Secretary (Smart Nation & Digital Government), said that the index is useful for policymakers to direct their work to what would most benefit citizens and businesses.

    He said: "Other indices focused mainly on experts' opinions of how well technology is used, rather than on how citizens feel or do not feel that technology is benefiting them.

    "For Singapore, our approach to building a Smart Nation has always been extremely citizen and business-focused to help make Singapore a better place to work, live, and play."
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Sakura in the city: Trumpet trees bursting into full bloom across Singapore
    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/sakura-in-the-city

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    Canopies of mass flowering of trumpet trees, at Sun Plaza Park in Tampines, on Sept 17, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

    Dubbed the local version of Japan's cherry blossoms, trumpet trees are bursting into full bloom across S'pore

    Published:
    Sep 18, 2019, 5:00 am SGT

    Lim Yaohui
    Photojournalist

    Trumpet trees are striking a major chord across the island as they burst into full bloom. Enjoy the splendour while you can - it does not last long.

    This is the second of two flowering seasons for the tree - the first typically takes place in March and April - which tend to be triggered when heavy showers occur after a long, hot dry spell.

    There are about 15,000 of the trees here, which are known as Tabebuia rosea in botanical circles.

    "In general, plants have evolved to respond physiologically to changes in the environment and flowering patterns will change in line with increased climate variability," said Mr Oh Cheow Sheng, group director of streetscape at the National Parks Board (NParks).

    "Other environmental factors include temperature, light and moisture levels. There are also plants that flower all year round, such as the bougainvillea."

    Mr Oh added that the public can go to www.trees.sg, an online platform launched earlier this year that allows users to share photos of flowering trees.

    The locations of trumpet trees can be found by searching for "trumpet tree" or "Tabebuia rosea" on the site.

    Trumpet trees, dubbed the local version of Japan's famed cherry blossoms, can grow to 30m high. They have a broadly conical shape, shady crown and trumpet-shaped flowers that give the tree its name.

    The flowers are large and showy, bearing five petals, and create an impressive display when the whole tree is covered in blossoms.

    The blooms last only a matter of days, but they retain their colour for a few days after they fall, forming a picturesque pink or white carpet around the trunk.

    The bark has anti-cancer properties and the timber is used for construction and furniture.

    But some lament the short-lived flowering of the trumpet tree. Said retiree Simon Chua, 65: "The flowering trees along the expressway are beautiful but cannot be compared to East Coast Parkway, which has flowering bougainvilleas all year round."
     

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