Singapore Also Can

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.
    Story Continues Below Advertisement

    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."

    Related Story
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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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    [​IMG]
     
  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.

    Related Story
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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.

    Related Story
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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."
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    NUS, NTU named in top 100 in Reuters' list of world's most innovative universities

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/nus-ntu-named-in-top-100-in-reuters-list-of-worlds-most-innovative-universities?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ST_Newsletter_AM&utm_term=NUS,+NTU+named+in+top+100+in+Reuters'+list+of+world's+most+innovative+universities&utm_content=25/10/2019


    Top 100:
    https://www.reuters.com/innovative-universities-2019


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    The National University of Singapore climbed five spots to rank 58th, while Nanyang Technological University made its first appearance in the list to occupy the 67th position.PHOTOS: ST FILE

    Published
    Oct 24, 2019, 7:09 pm SGT
    Updated
    8 hours ago

    Jolene Ang

    SINGAPORE - The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) both climbed up the list of the most innovative universities in the world, according to a ranking compiled by news agency Reuters.

    NUS climbed five spots to rank 58th, while NTU made its first appearance in the top 100 of the global list to occupy the 67th position.

    The World's Most Innovative Universities list, which identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries, was released on Wednesday (Oct 23). It is based on proprietary data and analysis including patent filings and research paper citations.

    Stanford University in the US held its position as No. 1.

    In a separate index that tracks contributions to research articles, NTU came in second while the Singapore University of Technology and Design was ranked 70th.

    The inaugural Nature Index Young Universities ranking, which lists the world's top universities aged 50 years or younger by their research output, was released on Thursday (Oct 24).

    In yet another ranking - the US News & World Report's Best Global Universities Rankings - released on Tuesday, NUS and NTU were ranked 34th and 43rd respectively.

    Last year, NUS came in 38th while NTU was 49th.

    Harvard University took the top spot again.

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    An NUS spokesman said: “The latest rankings reflect our impact globally in both education and research.

    “It is important that universities continue to stay relevant to the needs of our communities and deepen our research capabilities to develop ground-breaking, innovative solutions to address pressing needs.”

    Published annually, this year's Best Global Universities rankings assessed over 1,000 universities across 81 countries. The rankings are based on 13 indicators that measure the universities' academic research performance and their global and regional reputations.

    NTU president Subra Suresh said the university has "consistently delivered in terms of research output, innovation and teaching excellence".

    Said Professor Suresh: "We have been very successful in attracting top talent from Singapore and from all over the world. Our commitment to excellence in both education and research has also been strong.

    "Furthermore, in order to have impact, we need to make sure that research and education not just lead to academic excellence, but that they also contribute significantly to society."
     
    #9667 Loh, Oct 25, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore rises three places to No. 10 in IMD World Talent Ranking
    https://www.tnp.sg/news/business/singapore-rises-three-places-no-10-imd-world-talent-ranking

    Nov 19, 2019 06:00 am
    Singapore came in 10th in this year's most competitive places for talent ranking- the first time it has reached the elite level in a league table compiled by Swiss business school IMD. It is also the only Asian country to make the list, which is dominated by European states.

    Switzerland topped the IMD World Talent Ranking report released yesterday, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Luxembourg.

    Singapore rose three notches to edge out Germany for 10th spot.

    The rankings, which appraise how 63 economies develop, attract and retain talent, are based on historical data as well as surveys of thousands of executives.

    Economies are then scored based on three categories - investment and development, appeal and readiness.

    Investment and development takes into account indicators such as public spending on education, pupil-teacher ratio and health infrastructure, while appeal factors in components such as cost of living, worker motivation and quality of life.

    Readiness assesses an economy's ability to nurture skills among its populace that match those needed by its economy.

    Mr Jose Caballero, a senior economist with the business school, noted that Singapore's ranking rose primarily because of its high scores for talent readiness.

    For example, it has a large percentage of graduates in the sciences and its students score well in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The Pisa is an international benchmarking test that measures how well students use their knowledge to solve real-world problems.

    But Singapore's appeal also dipped compared with the previous year. The report highlighted the cost-of-living index, effective personal income tax rates and exposure to particle pollution as areas where improvements can be made.- THE STRAITS TIMES
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...v 21, 2019 (ACTIVE)_newsletter_21112019_today

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    Reuters file photo
    The survey, conducted by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), looked at how millennials, aged 19 to 35, and those now aged 60 to 69, view various aspects of life as a young person — today versus the 1970s and 1980s when the Merdeka Generation were in that age bracket.

    Published20 November, 2019
    Updated 21 November, 2019


    Millennials feel less financially secure than Merdeka Generation did in their youth: Survey
    By Janice Lim

    SINGAPORE — Singaporeans born in the 1950s, dubbed the Merdeka Generation, as well as millennials agree that life is better for young people today than it was when the older group was in their youth, a new survey showed.

    On the downside, young people today feel less financially secure and that they have less work-life balance than the Merdeka Generation did in their youth.

    The findings of the inaugural survey, done by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), were released on Wednesday (Nov 20).

    The survey looked at how millennials, aged 19 to 35, and those now aged 60 to 69 view various aspects of life as a young person — today versus the 1970s and 1980s when people of the Merdeka Generation were in that age bracket.

    Besides financial worries, a majority of the millennials feel that they do not have enough time for family and friends compared with the older group.

    KEY FINDINGS

    1. Quality of life

    • Millennials and the Merdeka Generation agreed that young people today have better lives.
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    2. Financial security

    • Fewer millennials feel that they can afford Singapore’s present cost of living than the Merdeka Generation felt about the cost of living when they were young.

    • The majority of millennials have financial worries even though they are more confident of achieving financial stability and financial independence.
    [​IMG]

    3. Work-life balance

    • Fewer millennials feel that they are able to have a good work-life balance compared with the Merdeka Generation who felt that way when they were young.
    [​IMG]

    4. Career aspirations

    • Despite their worries over work-life balance, millennials are more secure over having a job and more confident of finding one that they like than the Merdeka Generation in their youth. Young people today, more than those of the older generation, have greater freedom to pursue any career they want.
    [​IMG]

    5. Healthcare

    • Among millennials, the perception that they can get "good healthcare" is three times better than when the Merdeka Generation were young.
    [​IMG]

    6. Making an impact

    • More millennials want to make a difference in society compared with the Merdeka Generation in the 1970s and 1980s
    [​IMG]

    7. Family, friendship and dating

    • An overwhelming majority of millennials want to spend more time with their family, markedly more than those in the Merdeka Generation who felt that way in their younger days.

    • While millennials feel that they are better able to stay in touch with their friends compared with the Merdeka Generation, a somewhat smaller proportion get to meet their friends regularly.
    [​IMG]

    WHAT DO THE SURVEY FINDINGS INDICATE?

    • Ms Dolly Goh, chief executive officer of SNCF, said that contrary to misconceptions that young people are self-entitled, millennials are willing to make a positive impact in society. This is because they have more opportunities, having lived better lives.

    • Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser from the National University of Singapore’s sociology department, said that there is a shift in values as society becomes more difficult and complex. People want to actively take part in the decision-making process that affects Singapore’s future.
    SURVEY METHODOLOGY

    When was it conducted: May and June this year

    Who were polled:

    • 311 millennials aged between 19 and 35

    • 200 individuals from the Merdeka Generation, that is, those born between 1950 and 1959, who were asked about their experiences when they were in their youth
     
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    Loh Regular Member

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    China pips Singapore to top spots in Pisa test
    https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/china-pips-singapore-top-spots-pisa-test


    By Navene Elangovan

    Singapore students maintained their scores across maths and science, and showed a marked improvement in reading.

    Published03 December, 2019
    Updated 03 December, 2019


    SINGAPORE — Singapore lost its pole positions for reading, mathematics and science in an international test for 15-year-olds, despite its students maintaining a high performance across the three categories.

    Results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), an international scorecard for education systems around the world, were released on Tuesday (Dec 3) with Singapore students coming in second in the three areas, behind China.

    Held every three years, the test is conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to evaluate the “quality, equity and efficiency of school systems”. The latest test was done last year.

    In the previous test carried out in 2015, Singapore came out tops in all three categories.

    The Pisa test evaluates 15-year-old students across 79 education systems, 37 from OECD member countries and 42 from non-member economies, on their ability to apply their knowledge and skills in reading, mathematics and science.

    In Singapore, 6,676 students aged 15 participated in the study. The students came from all 153 public secondary schools and 13 randomly sampled private schools.

    Each cycle of the test focuses on one particular category, with this year’s focus on reading. In 2015, science was the focus of the test.

    OVERTAKEN BY CHINA

    Singapore was edged out by China which was represented by students from Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

    Singapore registered a mean score of 549 for reading, 569 for mathematics and 551 for science, similar to its scores in 2015 of 535 for reading, 564 for mathematics and 556 for science.

    In comparison, China outperformed the Republic, getting a mean score of 555 for reading, 591 for mathematics and 590 for science.

    [​IMG]
    Infographic: Samuel Woo/TODAY

    In the 2015 test, China — then represented by Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong — came in 27th in reading, 6th in mathematics and 10th in science.

    In the 2012 test, however, China was represented by students from Shanghai and topped all three categories, while Singapore came in third for reading and science, and second for mathematics.

    China had also topped the three categories for the 2009 cycle, with Singapore coming in fifth for reading, second for mathematics and fourth for science, the first time the Republic participated.

    TODAY has asked OECD on why China again decided to change its participating cities for the test.

    On China overtaking Singapore in the rankings, Mr Sng Chern Wei, deputy director-general of education (curriculum) in the Ministry of Education (MOE), said the ministry was “happy” that China is doing well.

    “We didn’t take part in Pisa to try and beat every country. We try to take part in Pisa to learn important areas for improvement for ourselves and when other countries do well, we will continue to learn from them and try to make the educational experience and learning journey a more positive one and more effective one for our students,” he said.

    Education Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post echoed this view.

    "Doing well in international rankings is not our end goal. But such benchmarking is useful to gauge where we stand internationally, and to reflect on where we can improve, such as making education more holistic, inculcating greater joy for learning, and creating an environment where failure is more accepted," he wrote.

    Education experts told TODAY there was no cause for concern over Singapore losing the top spots.

    Dr Jason Tan, an associate professor for policy and leadership studies at the National Institute of Education, said that based on the Pisa results, Singapore students were still performing well.

    He also noted that the four Chinese provinces which participated in the test were wealthy cities or coastal provinces and they were not representative of the whole of China.

    Dr Timothy Chan, director of the academic division at SIM Global Education, said that Singapore should compare its latest results with its previous ones instead. “I’m not concerned that (Singapore) has slipped by one position… We are still improving and this shows we are in the right direction,” he said.
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    HIGHER THAN THE OECD AVERAGE

    Despite the drop in rankings, Singapore continued to either maintain or improve its performance in each of the three categories.

    The Republic’s score of 549 for reading, 569 for mathematics and 551 for science was significantly higher than the OECD average of 487 for reading, 489 for mathematics and 489 for science.

    For mathematics, 93 per cent of students here scored at least level 2 in the test, significantly higher than the OECD average of 76 per cent. Students who achieve a proficiency of level 2 in mathematics can interpret and recognise how a simple situation can be represented mathematically, such as converting prices into a different currency.

    Close to 40 per cent of students here also scored level 5 or higher for mathematics, higher than the OECD average of 11 per cent. Such students can model complex situations mathematically and evaluate the appropriate problem-solving strategies to deal with these situations.

    When it came to science, 91 per cent of students in Singapore achieved level 2 or higher in science, higher than the OECD average of 78 per cent. At this level, students can recognise the correct explanation for scientific phenomena and in simple cases, identify if a conclusion is valid based on the data provided.

    Twenty-one per cent of Singapore students achieved level 5 or 6 for science, three times more than the OECD average. At this level, students can “creatively and autonomously” apply their knowledge of science to a wide variety of situations.

    Students from Singapore formed the largest proportion of top performers (26 per cent) — defined as those who achieve a proficiency level of 5 or 6 in the Pisa test — in the reading category.

    In the mathematics category, 37 per cent of top performers came from Singapore — the second highest proportion in that category.

    Singapore also had the second highest proportion of top performers (21 per cent) for the science category.

    BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT IN READING

    Of the three categories, Singapore saw the highest improvement in reading, jumping 14 points from the test in 2015.

    Eighty-nine per cent of students here attained at least a level 2 proficiency in reading compared to the OECD country average of 77 per cent.

    At level 2 proficiency, students can identify the main idea in a text of moderate length, find information based on explicit criteria. They can also reflect on the purpose and form of texts when explicitly directed to do so.

    The Education Ministry attributed the improved scores in reading in part to the increase in proportion of 15-year-old students coming from English-speaking homes.

    Close to 60 per cent of students in 2018 were from English-speaking homes, an increase from about 50 per cent in 2015.

    The ministry also said that the education system here provides a strong literacy foundation in primary schools.

    For instance, the Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading (Stellar) programme strengthens the language and reading skills of primary school students by incorporating storytelling and role-playing into lessons.

    Meanwhile, secondary schools run programmes to improve the reading skills of students. For example, Edgefield Secondary School has an intensive reading programme conducted weekly or fortnightly.

    However, the Pisa test also found that while Singapore students enjoyed reading more than their OECD peers, they enjoyed it less compared to Singapore students surveyed in 2009.

    For instance, 49 per cent of Singapore students said reading was a hobby in the latest test, down from 54 per cent in 2009. Forty-six per cent of Singapore students also said they read only if they had to, up from 35 per cent in 2009.

    There was also a similar decline in enjoyment of reading observed across other OECD countries.

    The MOE attributed the decline possibly to students spending more time on social media and added that it will continue to encourage students to read more widely and for leisure.

    Dr Chan felt that the decline in enjoyment was due to a growing “digital lifestyle” among young students where they are connected to the Internet through various devices such as their mobile phones or tablets.


    He noted that on these devices, information is presented in various forms including video and animation. As such, students may prefer to consume information through such formats.

    To create joy in reading, Dr Chan suggested more engaging ways for students to use text. For example, they could be asked to look for news articles published online and present these in class using a variety of formats. “It will give the student a sense of ownership, having found the article or information himself,” said Dr Chan.

    STUDENTS FROM DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS DO BETTER THAN OECD PEERS

    Singapore students from the bottom quarter socio-economic status (SES) also continued to perform well in the Pisa tests, scoring better than their low-SES peers from other countries.

    Students from the 25th percentile SES here scored 495 for reading, 520 for mathematics and 501 for science. In comparison, the OECD average for students from similar economic backgrounds was 445 (reading), 448 (mathematics) and 447 (science).

    In fact, the test found that students from the bottom quarter here scored better than the overall OECD average for all three categories.

    The survey also found that low-performing students here were less clustered in specific schools compared to other OECD countries.

    Mr Ong said: "Latest results showed that Singapore maintained high standards in reading, maths and science… We are particularly happy that our students, including those from less well-off homes, continue to do well."


    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/china-pips-singapore-top-spots-pisa-test
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore IB students make up half of world's perfect scorers
    https://www.straitstimes.com/singap...udents-make-up-half-of-worlds-perfect-scorers

    [​IMG]
    School of the Arts student Farrah Adystyaning Dewanti scored 41 points in the International Baccalaureate diploma exams.ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

    Published
    Jan 4, 2020, 5:00 am SGT

    Republic accounts for 35 of 69 such scorers globally; local cohort achieves 97% pass rate
    Jolene Ang

    Students who sat the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams in Singapore last November have continued to outperform their global counterparts.

    The Switzerland-based IB Organisation, which conducts the exams, said Singapore accounted for 35 of the 69 perfect scorers globally.

    Of the 2,250 students in Singapore who took the exams, 96.66 per cent passed. The global pass rate was 70.03 per cent, while the rate for the Asia-Pacific region was 87.76 per cent.

    The average scores of Singapore students were also higher than those of their global and regional counterparts: 37.99 points against 28.52 and 33.89, respectively.

    Students from seven schools - including Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Hwa Chong International School, School of the Arts (Sota) and St Joseph's Institution (SJI) - received their results yesterday.

    All 456 students in ACS (I) - the first Singapore school to offer the IB diploma since it was accredited in 2005 - passed the IB exam. Their average score was 41 points, with 349 of them obtaining 40 points and above.

    The ACS (I) cohort was its largest in five years. The school did not release the number of those who achieved the perfect score of 45.

    All 143 Sota students who sat the examinations last year passed.

    They included 15 students who did the IB career-related programme, which requires students to take four core subjects, two diploma ones, and a career-related study. For the 128 who did the diploma programme, the average score was 38.5. About half scored 39 points and above.

    Among them was 18-year-old Farrah Adystyaning Dewanti, who scored 41 points. Music has been her main passion since she began playing the violin at the age of six.

    But she said she developed an interest in chemistry at Sota after conducting experiments as part of the IB internal assessments.

    Related Story
    Twins who just made it to Express score high in IB
    "One of the experiments was on how temperature affects the salinity of sea water, and it made me realise that science is actually very interesting," she said.

    "I started thinking about how I could combine music and science, and since then, I've been looking into music therapy."

    Farrah, who is Indonesian, intends to live and work in Singapore. She plans to read medicine through the Yale-NUS and Duke-NUS liberal arts and medicine pathway.

    At SJI, 99.64 per cent of its 280 students passed the exams, with 59 per cent of the cohort achieving at least 40 points.

    At Hwa Chong International School, 99 per cent of its 152-strong cohort passed, with a quarter attaining 40 points and above. Two students achieved the perfect score, while five others scored 44.

    Globally, over 18,700 students took the exams last November and more than 86,000 exam papers were processed in 14 languages.

    Dr Siva Kumari, IB director-general based in the Netherlands, said in a congratulatory note to graduates: "Research suggests that an IB education provides skills that both universities and employers value, with independent, critical thinking and the ability to work flexibly and cooperatively.

    "I am confident that you've been exceptionally well prepared... I wish you all the best in whichever direction you choose to follow."

    Dr Kumari sets the strategic direction of the IB. She assumed the post in 2014.

    The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year programme conducted at 27 institutions in total in Singapore.

    IB qualifications are recognised by universities across the globe.

    Students from most of the other 20 schools sat the first round of exams in May last year, and received their results last July.
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Oxford undergraduate becomes first Singaporean to win ‘triple crown’ at prestigious debate tournament
    By Navene Elangovan

    [​IMG].
    Assumption University
    Singaporean Mr Lee Chin Wee (left) and his teammate, Mr Jason Xiao of Canada, holding the King’s Cup which is awarded to the Champions of the 2020 World Universities Debating Championships.

    Published07 January, 2020
    Updated 08 January, 2020

    SINGAPORE — An Oxford University undergraduate, who turned to debating when a school drama club rejected him, has become the first Singaporean to clinch the coveted “triple crown” at the World Universities Debating Championship.

    Mr Lee Chin Wee, 24, a final-year Oxford undergraduate, swept the titles of overall champion, best speaker in the finals, and overall best speaker at the debate tournament, which is considered to be the most prestigious in the world. He received his awards last Friday (Jan 3).

    The annual tournament, known the “Worlds” for short, is into its 40th year and was hosted by Thailand’s Assumption University from Dec 26 to Jan 4.

    Mr Joel Law, president of the Debate Association (Singapore), told TODAY on Tuesday that while the association does not keep track of the nationalities of the tournament’s champions, it is sure that Mr Lee is the first Singaporean to have won all three titles in the competition.

    Speaking to TODAY from Thailand, Mr Lee said that he had initially wanted to pursue drama in secondary school.

    “I didn’t plan to debate when I started secondary school. I wanted to do drama, but the drama club rejected me — so I thought I’d do some debating instead, and fell in love with the activity.”

    It helped that Mr Lee was able to use elements of drama, which he had picked up from classes in primary school, in debate as well.

    For instance, he was able to use his drama skills to improve his body language during debates. He was also able to modulate and project his voice to convey emotion.

    Mr Lee, who is pursuing philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, said that winning the Worlds was a “surreal” experience.

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


    “It’s what every young debater dreams of achieving, and it was something that I thought I’d never be able to accomplish. I’m very honoured to be the first Singaporean to have won.”

    The former debater from Raffles Institution said that although he was the chairperson of his school’s debate club and had even won the Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championships in 2011 and 2012, he was not a “star debater” back then.

    Even after making the cut to the Oxford debate team in 2017 during his first year as an undergraduate, Mr Lee doubted his abilities.

    “You worry that you’re not good enough, and that you might end up embarrassing the university,” he said.

    However, he was comforted that Singaporeans have fared well on the international debate circuit, with other Singaporeans having previously made the Oxford “A team”, which is the university’s best-performing team.

    For instance, Mr Li Shengwu, who is now an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University, was part of the Oxford “A team” that made it to the finals of the Worlds in 2010.


    Four Singaporeans have also won the overall best speaker award at the tournament, including Asst Prof Li in 2010, and Dr Tan Wu Meng, who is Member of Parliament for Jurong Group Representation Constituency, in 2003.

    The other winners are Ms Chitra Jenardhanan in 1995 and Mr Ashish Xiangyi Kumar in 2015.

    This year’s competition, which saw more than 240 universities from 50 countries take part, pits four two-person teams against each other in each debate round. A panel of judges then ranks the four teams in order of their performance.

    Students debated issues of politics and current affairs. For instance, one motion was whether the Mexican government should work with one cartel to monopolise the drug trade rather than have different cartels fighting over the black market.

    Mr Lee and his teammate Jason Xiao, a Canadian, went through a total of 14 debate rounds before beating the University of Belgrade, Yale University, and the University of Macquarie in the finals.

    For them both, it was not a guaranteed win when they headed into the championships, because they had missed out on representing Oxford University at the Worlds in 2019 after performing poorly during their university’s trials.

    “Both Jason and I were very upset because we gave it our all in the trial, but came up short.

    “What made it worse, I think, was that we were semi-finalists in the competition in 2018, and knew that we were good enough to make the team if we performed to our best,” Mr Lee said.

    The two took a break from debating after failing to make the cut in 2019, with Mr Lee channelling his energies into other activities such as participating in the university’s Strategy Group which gives students business consulting experiences.

    The break allowed Mr Lee and Mr Xiao to clear their minds and refocus, and eventually saw them returning stronger to end Oxford University’s decade-long drought in this year’s competition.

    Now, Mr Lee is enjoying his win with a holiday in Thailand.

    “To be frank, there’s very little else you can achieve once you’ve become the top speaker and also world champion!" he said.

    “I’m very satisfied with our achievement and I’m definitely going to take a step back from debating for the time being. Now it’s time to focus on final examinations for Oxford, after which I’ll be returning to Singapore to work in finance.”

    Already, Mr Lee’s aptitude for debating has had ripple effects within his own family.

    The oldest of four siblings, Mr Lee said that his success has piqued his 13-year-old sister's interest in debating.

    "I don’t come from a debating family, but my sister has started debating in her secondary school so I’m very excited for her."

    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...ngaporean-win-triple-crown-prestigious-debate
     

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