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  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    5 countries that are ageing the best (and 5 that are ageing the worst)
    https://www.rdasia.com/culture/5-countries-that-are-ageing-the-best-and-5-that-are-ageing-the-worst

    A new study found that there's a huge gap in how well people age. Here's what's going right – and wrong – in the top five and bottom five nations.

    By Sunny Sea Gold

    How old do you feel?
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    SHUTTERSTOCK

    That’s one way to interpret the findings one a major new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The research was designed to find out which citizens are staying healthiest as they age. It’s an important economic and cultural question, “Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller workforce and higher health spending,” explains lead study author Angela Y. Chang. “Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of ageing.”

    To rank the 195 countries they surveyed, the scientists used Global burden of Disease data which estimates how much each population suffers from 92 different age-related diseases and disabilities, such as memory loss and chronic pain. Each country was given a score – known as disability-adjusted life years, or DALY – a measurement of the loss of healthy life as people age. For further comparison, the researchers also determined the kinds of diseases that, on average, strike at the age of 65; then they checked how old each country’s population was when they began to experience those diseases.

    Ageing best #1: Switzerland
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    GETTY IMAGES

    Senior citizens in Switzerland had the best DALY score, making them the healthiest in the world, according to the new study. They also could put off the diseases expected to hit at 65 by more than 11 years – in other words, they were 76 by the time they began to experience the illnesses associated with turning 65 for most countries.

    Reasons: the country has world-class healthcare, and an almost-perfect Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index score of 95.6 out of 100. The HAQ measures citizen access to life-saving, quality healthcare. What’s more, the country is one of the happiest in the world, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report by the World Economic Forum. Thanks to social support, a high life expectancy, freedom to make life choices and low government corruption levels, Switzerland ranks fifth in global happiness, after the Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. Decades of research have linked optimism and happiness to lower risks for many diseases

    Check out these things you didn’t know could slow down ageing.

    Ageing best #2: Singapore
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    SHUTTERSTOCK

    Like the Swiss, Singaporeans are ageing so much better than average that they don’t start dealing with the aches, pains and diseases of an average 65-year-old until they reach 76. Americans are just barely above average in this department – they manage to delay 65-year-old health woes for about three years when they turn 68.

    Reasons: excellent health care again comes to the rescue: In Singapore, there’s a unique public/private system that the World Health Organization ranks 6th. (By way of comparison, Australia ranked 32nd.) Singapore’s government also takes a very ‘hands-on’ approach to the health habits of its population. Its Healthier Dining Program makes it cheaper to order healthier options at many places while eating out, and a National Steps Challenge gives free step counters to citizens and offers cash and prizes to those who succeed at increasing their physical activity, according to the BBC.

    Don’t miss the signs that your face is ageing faster than you are.

    Ageing best #3 and #4: South Korea and Japan
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    GETTY IMAGES
    According to the IHME study, seniors in South Korea and Japan are able to delay the aches and complaints of ageing by about ten years compared to countries near the mean – like the United States.

    Reasons: Japan and Korea have the lowest levels of obesity in the world – just 3 and 5 per cent of the population respectively, compared to the global average of almost 20 per cent, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The countries also have lower-than-average rates of cardiovascular disease, perhaps due in part to traditional cuisines that feature heart-healthy fish and gut-protecting fermented foods such as kimchi and miso. Okinawa, Japan has long been known as one of the globe’s five ‘Blue Zones,’ regions of the world where people commonly live active lives up to age 100 or beyond. “I would say that the success of Blue Zones regions is nearly 60 per cent about their diet,” says award-winning journalist, Dan Beuttner, who first described the Blue Zone phenomenon.

    Read on to discover how to protect your good gut bacteria.

    Ageing best #5: Italy
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    Despite a fondness for smoking, Italians still age more slowly and healthfully than most other nations around the globe. Like citizens of the other countries in this healthy-ageing top five, Italian seniors put off age-associated illnesses for almost a decade longer than the global average.

    Reasons: like Switzerland, Italy has a near-perfect Health Access Quality score, meaning its citizens are generally able to get excellent, life-saving care when they need it. The famously healthy Mediterranean Diet – traditional to Greece, Southern France and parts of Italy – is another key to the good health of Italy’s citizens. The country is also the original home of the ‘slow food’ movement that fought back against encroachment by fast-food restaurants by emphasising home cooking and food quality over convenience. “Eating fast is not at all part of our culture,” Italian food expert Marco Bolasco told journalist Amy S. Choi. “Our meals are relaxed, even during lunch break.”

    Here are the age-defying foods everyone over 50 should probably be eating.

    Ageing worst: #1 Papua New Guinea
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    SHUTTERSTOCK
    The IHME study revealed an enormous gap in healthy aging of populations around the world. The citizens of Papua New Guinea, a nation of seven million in the South Pacific, are burdened with 475 per cent more illness and disability compared to US citizens. Health conditions are so poor in fact, that life expectancy is only 61 years in women and 56 in men, compared to 84 and 80 in the Australia.

    Reasons: despite the tiny nation being rich in natural resources like copper, gold and oil, malnutrition is the number one factor driving high rates of death and disability there, according to the IHME. What’s more, the medical system is in collapse: medical facilities there lack basic equipment and medicine, reports the New York Times. Rates of preventable and treatable diseases such as polio and tuberculosis are soaring. “It’s like someone lit a paper castle where everything is on fire,” Dr Anup Gurung, a public health specialist with the World Health Organization, told the Times.

    Ageing worst #2–5: Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands
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    GETTY IMAGES
    Sadly, older people in these nations typically develop age-related health problems 11 to 14 years earlier than the global average. In other words, they ‘feel’ 65 by the time they’re in their early 50s, according to the IHME study. The Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands are island nations in the Oceania region of the world that also includes Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

    Reasons: poor healthcare quality, poverty and lack of education conspire to make the citizens of these four countries age faster than any others except for those in Papua New Guinea. In the Middle Eastern country of Afghanistan, citizens get the least education of any of the bottom-five countries: an average of just 2.7 years. Sadly, ‘conflict and terror’ are the leading causes of disability in Afghanistan, followed by drug use, according to the IHME.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    ANALYSIS | ECONOMIC THEORY | ECONOMY

    How Singapore achieved a higher per capita GDP than the US
    https://www.learningfromchina.net/h... short, every study,almost non-existent, role

    The economic development of Singapore under is famous as one of the greatest success stories in history. Singapore has become the only Asian country to achieve a higher per capita gross domestic product than the United States by every measure. To have achieved this from the starting point of a third world country, and during a single lifetime, is a true Asian “economic miracle” meriting close study by every country, and above all by every developing country. This naturally includes China. What, therefore, were the fundamental mechanisms explaining Singapore’s stunning economic success?


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    To start with the facts, by 2013 Singapore’s per capita GDP was 104 percent of that of the U.S. calculated at current exchange rates. Calculated at Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs), Singapore’s GDP was 148 percent of that of the U.S. This after Singapore’s per capita GDP was less than one quarter that of the U.S. in terms of PPPs – and less than one sixth measured at current exchange rates – when it achieved independence in 1965.

    Figure 1

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    In obituaries of Lee Kuan Yew and during his lifetime, emphasis was placed on his “authoritarian” politics or his espousal of “Confucian values,” but what in strictly economic terms was the basis of Singapore’s sensational success? Obviously, this is the topic of greatest interest to every developing country. If China could achieve Singapore’s level of per capita GDP, higher even than that of the U.S., the “Chinese Dream” of economic development would be more than achieved. What lesson, therefore, can China and every country draw from Singapore’s “economic miracle?”

    Singapore was a classic example of the success of an “open economy:” Singapore’s total trade is indeed considerably higher than its GDP. This is, of course, in line with the ideas behind China’s “opening up” policy. But every study shows that Singapore’s domestic development was based overwhelmingly on the huge accumulation of capital and labor, with only a tiny contribution coming from productivity growth (technically known as Total Factor Productivity, or TFP).

    This reality was first noted in the 1990s by the United Kingdom-based economist Alwyn Young. His finding was used by U.S. economist Paul Krugman in a famous 1994 paper entitled “The Myth of Asia’s Miracle” to predict Asia’s coming economic failure. Krugman argued that successful economic growth should be based on productivity development, not on accumulation of capital and labor. But, of course, it was Krugman who was proved wrong as Singapore’s per capita GDP overtook even that of the U.S.

    Young’s finding has since been replicated by every major study of Singapore since. The latest, by Vu Minh Khuong of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, is summarized in Figure 2 below. This study found that 59 percent of Singapore’s economic growth came from capital investment, 34 percent from growth of labor inputs, and only 8 percent from productivity (TFP) increases

    Figure 2

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    In short, every study has found that Singapore’s achievement of the highest level of economic development in Asia – a higher level of per capita GDP than the U.S. – was based on massive accumulation first of capital and then of labor, with productivity growth playing a tiny, almost non-existent, role.

    Vu, in the most exhaustive study of the subject so far, also found that Singapore’s model corresponded to successful economic development in Asia in general. Successful Asian developing countries showed a pattern of economic growth fundamentally driven by capital accumulation. As Vu summarized, “The secret of the Asian growth model lies not in achieving high TFP growth but in sustaining reasonable TFP growth despite the intensive mobilization of factor inputs over extended periods.”

    As Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University, whose work has led to the most modern official methods of calculating the sources of economic growth by the OECD and other international agencies, put it, “The emergence of Asia from the underdevelopment that persisted until the middle of the last century is the great economic achievement of our time. This has created a new model for economic growth built on globalization and the patient accumulation of human and non-human capital. Economic commentators, especially those outside Asia, have been reluctant to recognize the new paradigm for economic growth that originated in Asia, since this would acknowledge the failure of Western ideas that still greatly predominate in the literature on economic growth and development.”

    Indeed, a key reason for Singapore’s economic success was that its pattern of economic development corresponded – even more than most Asian economies – to that of a developed economy, with its overwhelming dominance by capital accumulation and labor inputs and the small role played by TFP growth. This can be seen clearly from comparing the data for Singapore with that for advanced economies shown in Figure 3.

    In advanced economies as a whole, 57 percent of growth is due to capital investment, while in Singapore that figure is 59 percent. In advanced economies, 32 percent of growth was due to labor inputs, whereas 34 percent of growth in Singapore was due to labor inputs. Furthermore, 11 percent of growth in advanced economies was due to TFP increases, and in Singapore it was only 8 percent.
    In short, Singapore’s pattern of growth was essentially the same as that of an advanced economy, which is largely the reason why Singapore has achieved the per capita GDP of an extremely advanced developed economy.

    Figure 3

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    To put it in blunt but accurate terms, Singapore’s economic development showed that quantity was far more important than quality in achieving a higher level of per capita GDP than the U.S.

    This is indeed a lesson for China and for every developing country to study as they seek to replicate Singapore’s success and approach the level of advanced economies.

    References
    Young, A. (1995, August). The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the statistical reality of the East Asian growth experience. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110, 641-680.

    Krugman, P. (1994). The Myth of Asia’s Miracle. Foreign Affairs, 62-78.

    Vu, K. M. (2013). The Dynamics of Economic Growth: Policy insights from comparative analyses in Asia. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, M.A., U.S.: Edward Elgar.

    * * *
    The original version of this article appeared atChina.org.cn34 March 2015.


    China.org.cn34 March 2015.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore's 15-year-olds top OECD's Pisa global competence test
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    About 46 per cent of the Singapore students who took the test achieved the highest global competency proficiency levels.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singap...global+competence+test&utm_content=22/10/2020
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    Sandra Davie
    Senior Education Correspondent
    • UPDATED
      OCT 22, 2020, 10:46 PM
    FACEBOOKTWITTER


    SINGAPORE - The ability to understand and act on intercultural and global issues saw Singapore's 15-year-olds claim the top spot in an international test.

    The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which conducted the test in 2018, announced the findings on Thursday (Oct 22).

    In the Global Competence test, conducted as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), Singapore students scored an average of 576 marks, followed by their peers from Canada who on average scored 554, Hong Kong (542), Scotland (534) and Taiwan (527).

    About 46 per cent of the Singapore students who took the test achieved the highest global competency proficiency levels - four and five.

    This is the highest proportion compared to the average 14 per cent across the 27 education systems which participated in the assessment.

    In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said to achieve proficiency levels four and five, Singapore students had to demonstrate a strong ability to identify and analyse different perspectives, evaluate information to differentiate between biased and unbiased sources, assess situations and make connections across multiple activities within a problem.

    Pisa is conducted by the OECD every three years to assess students on their reading, maths and science skills, but in recent years, the OECD has added more assessments on other competencies and skills.

    In 2015, students were tested on collaborative problem-solving skills. Students from 52 economies, including Singapore, were involved in the assessment. For 2018, the OECD decided to test students on their global competency.

    It said learning to participate in interconnected, complex and diverse societies is no longer a luxury, but a pressing necessity. The OECD added that schools are "central" to the teaching of these skills.

    Education shifting to discerning world issues - S'pore tops global competency test | THE BIG STORY
    The results on the maths, science and reading tests were released in December last year by OECD, with Singapore coming in second place after China.

    Skills development
    In its statement, MOE said that in 2010, it had developed the "21st Century Competency (21CC) framework" where it identified the knowledge, skills and values that are important for all students to thrive in the new economy and interconnected world.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    How the OECD tested students on global competence[/paste:font]
    Singapore students familiar with global issues, but know less about world conflicts and economy: 2018 Pisa study[/paste:font]
    Schools since then have provided both curricular and co-curricular learning experiences to develop competencies in these areas.

    In the global competence study, Singapore students on average reported being exposed to eight out of 10 learning activities surveyed by Pisa, while the OECD average was five.

    The MOE said Singapore's language policies and programmes also contributed to the nurturing of global competency knowledge, skills and attitudes.

    For example, the bilingual policy and programmes allow students to learn the language of another community at a conversational level.

    This has resulted in more than nine in 10 Singapore students having the ability to speak at least two languages, said the MOE.

    The OECD noted from the findings of the Pisa 2018 test that speaking multiple languages facilitates dialogue with people from other cultures, and promotes social cohesion.

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    In fact, the study found that students who can speak two or more languages have generally higher global competence knowledge and skills and more positive attitudes.

    MOE deputy director-general of education (curriculum) Sng Chern Wei, said schools and the ministry were heartened by the results of the global competency test.

    "Recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, with its worldwide ramifications, have underscored the continued relevance of global competence," he said.

    Mr Sng added that the MOE will continue to focus on these areas outside of the academics.

    The MOE noted that students from the bottom quarter socio-economic status (SES) also did well in the assessment, with about 26 per cent performing at the highest two proficiency levels compared to the OECD average of 6 per cent.

    It also noted that while Singapore students were most knowledgeable on topics such as climate change and global warming, they were less confident in explaining issues related to the global economy. For instance, only about half of them could establish a connection between prices of textiles and working conditions in the countries of production.

    The ministry said schools will continue to provide all Singapore students with varied curricular and co-curricular learning experiences, to help them further develop their global competence knowledge and skills.

    These include discussions of contemporary issues, learning journeys to local cultural and heritage sites, research projects on various cultures, and immersion programmes with schools in the region.

    The Pisa assessment is used to construct a global league table of students' skills around the world.

    Maths, science and reading have been the key measures in the past. But in recent years, the OECD had also included assessments to measure skills that are becoming increasingly crucial to thrive in the new economy.

    In 2022, Pisa is looking at assessing creative thinking.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Pisa 2018: Singapore slips to second place behind China but still chalks up high scores[/paste:font]
    Pisa: It's OK to be No. 2 in academics, Singapore should focus on student well-being[/paste:font]
    OECD director of education and skills Andreas Schleicher told The Straits Times that Singapore's performance in the global competence test is not surprising.

    He said: "Whether it is the open and outward-looking curriculum, the active promotion of student exchanges or celebrating festivities of multiple cultures, few countries do more to help students see the world through different lenses, navigate different ways of thinking and appreciate different cultures and traditions.

    "And the Pisa results show that those activities shape students' attitudes towards others and the world which, in turn, are reliable predictors for global competence."
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    This map of the world's most religiously diverse countries may surprise you
    https://www.vox.com/2014/4/15/56170...the-worlds-most-and-least-religiously-diverse

    By Max Fishermax@vox.com Updated Jan 21, 2015, 12:11pm ESTShare this on Facebook (opens in new window)

    The world's most and least religiously diverse countries may not be quite what you think, judging by an extensive report by Pew, from April 2014, that scores and ranks countries on religious diversity by indexing survey data with a mathematical model. The results, to be honest, really surprised me.

    Here's the data mapped out, with the most religiously diverse countries in blue and the least diverse in yellow:

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    Religious diversity by country, as measured by Pew's Religious Diversity Index. Click to enlarge.

    The three most religiously diverse countries all turn out to be in East Asia: Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In fact, almost all of the world's most religiously diverse countries are clustered in two regions: East Asia and West Africa — more on why this might be below.

    The least religiously diverse countries are easier to spot, and are typically dominated by a large Muslim majority: that band of yellow from Morocco, across North Africa and Middle East, all the way to Pakistan. The very least-religiously diverse country in the world is — wait for it — Vatican City.

    But those are just a couple of the many, many interesting trends and datapoints in this data, all of which you can see on the map above and many of which shed a fascinating light on religion in the world today. What follows is a quick look a those trends.

    A quick note on methodology: while every religion has internal sects and divisions, and while those can be very important, for the sake of workably comparing across countries and religions, Pew's data simply divides people into one of eight groups: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, folk religion, other religion, and unaffiliated. That last category means that non-religious people count toward a country's religious diversity score.

    The US is not as religiously diverse as you might think
    It's a common refrain of conservative Christian Americans that "the US is a Christian country." And while they're legally and constitutionally wrong, the data shows that, demographically speaking, they're a little bit less wrong. That comes through in the US's metrics on religious diversity, which by Pew's measurement is lower than most Western European countries and 68th in the world overall. Here's a chart Pew put together comparing the US to France, which is more diverse, as well as to Singapore, the world's most religiously diverse country, and to Iran, one of the least diverse:

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    Maybe the most surprising thing here is that most of the US's religious diversity comes not from religious minorities, who in total are only 5.3 percent of the population, but from the 16 percent of Americans who are unaffiliated.

    Part of that has to do with the fact that, for all of the US's racial diversity, many of those racial minority groups tend to be Christian: most African-Americans, certainly most Latinos, and a significant share of Asian-Americans.

    Now compare the US to France and you'll see two things: that France has almost twice as many unaffiliateds as a share of population overall population, and eight times as many Muslims. This comparison also gets to a shortcoming in Pew's metric, though. Something this data does not show is intra-Christian diversity: the US has lots of different Christian groups, whereas French Christians are overwhelmingly Catholic. Diversity between Catholics and Protestants alone has been hugely important for US religious history.

    East Asia is the world's most religiously diverse region
    The diversity of faiths across much of East Asia is just astounding. You can see it in Singapore, for example, in the above chart. But Singapore is unusual: it's the size of a small city and has lots of first, second, third generation immigrants from China (many of them Buddhist or unaffiliated), Malaysia (many of them Muslim), India (Hindu), and Christians from the around southeast Asia and from Europe.
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    What's really interesting to look at is China, which Pew ranks at the ninth most religiously diverse country in the world. Though it's widely perceived as an atheistic country, given the avowed areligiosity of the Communist Party, it turns out to have hundreds of millions of faithful. Here's a chart of China's religious breakdown, alongside Taiwan, which is ranked second and was a part of China until 1949, and Hong Kong, which is ranked tenth and is a Chinese special autonomous region that spent 150 years under British rule.

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    Yes, the largest group in China (and in Hong Kong) is of the unaffiliated, who are presumably mostly faithless as designed by Communist Party rule. China also turns out to have just massive populations of Buddhists and folk religionists. Christianity is far from freely practiced — it's tightly controlled by the government, which fears it as a possible threat — but it is still popular, with about five percent of Chinese professing to be Christian. Another 1.8 percent are Muslim, which may not sound like much, but that comes out to 23 million people — more Muslims that live in some Middle Eastern countries.

    You see somewhat similar trends in Taiwan and Hong Kong: lots of unaffiliated, lots of Buddhists, lots of folk religionists. Taiwan also has a huge Daoist population, which shows up here as "other religions." And Hong Kong, owing to British rule and immigration, has lots of Christians. Keep this chart in mind the next time you hear someone describe China as "an atheist country." It's far from it.

    Africa has lots of diversity along the Christian-Muslim divide
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    There's a wonderful book by the journalist Eliza Griswold called "The Tenth Parallel," which investigates the latitude line that just happens to run along a part of Africa that is roughly divided between Muslims to the north and Christians to the south. Of course it's more complicated than that — much of Africa's eastern coast is also Muslim — but the point is that a lot African countries overlap with Christian-Muslim divides and this creates heavy religious diversity. You can see that in the map at right.

    So, unlike East Asian countries that score as diverse because people are spread out across several religions, in Africa that high diversity score often reflects a proximate and sometimes even divide between Christians and Muslims.

    These divides have been a source of some conflict, particularly in West Africa. In Ivory Coast, for example, the heavily Christian south and the heavily Muslim north are also divided between political parties. That sense of division contributed to a civil war that began in 2002, ended in 2007, restarted in 2010 and "ended" the next year with an international intervention.

    The Middle East is extremely homogenous — with key exceptions
    A large number of the world's least religiously diverse countries are in the Middle East and North Africa. (Also near the bottom of the religious diversity list are a few heavily Catholic countries, such as Poland and Mexico.) These countries tend to be, no surprise, overwhelmingly Muslim. As in 99 percent Muslim or above.

    But there are three interesting and very important exceptions, all of them bunched up together in a part of the Middle East geographically described as the Levant: Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Here's the breakdown:

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    For the Middle East, this is really diverse. (And there's a second, extremely important layer of diversity not shown here: the Sunni-Shia divide within Islam.) In all three cases, that religious diversity has played a major role in some of the Middle East's worst conflicts.

    The religious diversity within Syria, as un-diverse as it may look, is a significant part of the Syrian civil war. Roughly speaking, the war that began as about internal politics has become in some ways a religious proxy war between Sunni and Shia — with Christian groups forced alongside the Shia minority that currently holds power. In Lebanon, which has a large Christian population and no majority group, the country's politics fractured along religious lines in the 1970s, which led to a 15-year civil war that devastated the country; its politics remain divided by religion today. Israel, of course, is highly complicated in its own way: founded as a Jewish state on top of land that had belonged to mostly Muslims and some Christians, it's been mired for decades in an Israel-Palestine conflict that is in some ways about reconciling Jews and Muslims.

    There's another surprising piece of data in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia is surprisingly diverse. That's only by the low bar of the Middle East — it's about as diverse as Ireland or Thailand — but it's interesting given the country's theocratic Islamic government and its well-earned image as an ultra-conservative Islamic state. Only 7 percent of Saudis are non-Muslim, but that's not nothing. They're divided between Christians, who have ancient roots here, and the Hindus and Buddhists who are mostly migrant workers.
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    China ranks third on Gallup’s law & order index, much higher than U
    https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1204960.shtml

    By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times
    Published: 2020/10/28 19:58:41


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    Infographic:GT


    China ranks third in the Law and Order Index issued by Gallup in its latest report, and 90 percent of the Chinese participants "feel safe walking alone at night in their area," with analysts saying that the report shows that Chinese people are confident in public security and order in their country.

    According to Gallup on Tuesday, the Law and Order Index is a composite score based on people's reported confidence in their local police, their feelings of personal safety, and the incidence of theft and assault or mugging in the past year.

    The higher the score, the higher the proportion of the population that reports feeling secure. The index score for the world in 2019 was 82 out of 100 - unchanged from the previous year. Ninety countries posted scores lower than this average. China received 94 and ranks third on the list, following Singapore and Turkmenistan, which both received 97. The US scored 85.

    The results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in each country, aged 15 and older, conducted throughout 2019 in 144 countries and areas, Gallup's report said.

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    Tourists visit Xinye ancient village in Jiande City, east China's Zhejiang Province, Oct. 15, 2020. Decorated with colorful crops, the ancient village attracts lots of visitors to come.Photo:Xinhua


    In 2019, 69 percent of the participants worldwide "felt safe walking alone at night in their area," and China ranked fifth on this index, with 90 percent of Chinese participants feeling safe to walk alone at night in China. The top four were Singapore, Turkmenistan, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.

    Chinese observers said public order and a safe environment in China is very normal, and many people feel "walking alone at night" is no big deal. But in recent decades, more and more Chinese have traveled aboard, and saw that public security in China was better than in many countries, including some Western countries.

    Henry Wang, a Chinese student in New York, said "My friends and I can go out for midnight snacks and drinks or have fun after midnight in many cities in China. But in the US, not just in New York, but also many other major cities, not so many people dare walk alone at night."

    Due to rising racism against Asians after the COVID-19 epidemic hit the US, many Asians including Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese are easy targets of bullying or attacks, and the worsening public security makes the US less and less attractive to many foreigners, said another Chinese national Eric Wu, who graduated from a university in California this year, and plans to go back to China.

    The US ranks 36th with an 85, slightly higher than the world average of 82.

    In the US, where the future of policing is being re-examined in many communities after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of police, 79 percent of Americans in 2019 said they are confident in their local police. When asked again shortly before Floyd's death in 2020, 82 percent of Americans expressed confidence. Gallup's annual US Confidence in Institutions survey, conducted after Floyd's death, showed a decline in Americans' confidence in the police.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    MOE releases indicative secondary school entry points under new PSLE scoring system in 2021
    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/parenting-education/moe-releases-indicative-secondary-school-entry-points-under-new-psle?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ST_Newsletter_PM&utm_term=MOE+releases+indicative+secondary+school+entry+points+under+new+PSLE+scoring+system+in+2021&utm_content=06/11/2020

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    Pupils will be given Achievement Levels 1 to 8 for each subject, instead of grades like A* to E.PHOTO: ST FILE
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    Amelia Teng
    Education Correspondent
    • PUBLISHED
      3 HOURS AGO
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    SINGAPORE - The Education Ministry has released a range of secondary school entry scores for pupils taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) under the new scoring system in 2021.

    The indicative cut-off scores, based on last year's Primary 6 data, will help guide pupils in their school choices and indicate which schools are possibly within their reach.

    Schools fall broadly into three categories: government and government-aided, autonomous, and independent.

    This year's Primary 5 cohort will be graded next year using the new PSLE scoring system - first announced in 2016 - that assesses them on the basis of their individual performance in subjects, regardless of how their peers have done.

    Pupils will be given Achievement Levels (AL) 1 to 8 for each subject, instead of grades like A* to E.

    A pupil's total PSLE score will be the sum of the AL of each of the four subjects. The best score one can get is four, if the grade is AL1 for all four subjects.

    At a virtual briefing on Friday, MOE said it generated the indicative AL cut-off point ranges for different school types based on the PSLE results of pupils last year, and school choice patterns.

    To help students and parents choose and shortlist schools, the indicative AL cut-offs for individual secondary schools will be released in the first half of next year, based on the results and school choices of this year's PSLE cohort.

    For now, the MOE said the score ranges by school types are meant to provide a broad sense of secondary schools' cut-off points, and help contextualise the end-of-school examination results for this year's Primary 5 pupils, who will soon receive their grades in the new AL format this year.

    There are 135 government and government-aided schools, 28 of which are autonomous schools, like Anderson Secondary, Crescent Girls’ School and Victoria School.

    There are eight independent schools, and these include Raffles Institution and Nanyang Girls’ High School.

    For autonomous schools, the cut-off point range for the Express (Integrated Programme) course is 7 to 9, while for independent schools the range is 6 to 8.

    For government and government-aided schools, the cut-off point ranges from 8 to 22 for the Express (O level) track, 22 to 25 for Normal (Academic), and 26 to 30 for Normal (Technical).

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    The cut-off score range for Express (O level) at autonomous schools - a subset of government and government-aided schools - is 8 to 16.

    For Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses in autonomous schools, the cut-off points range from 22 to 25 and 26 to 29 respectively.

    The cut-off for independent schools for the Express (O Level) track is 8 to 10.

    Similar to the current T-score system, these cut-off points are likely to vary from year to year.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Changes to the PSLE scoring system: 7 things to note from 2021[/paste:font]
    PSLE scoring system changes: 8 burning questions answered[/paste:font]

    MOE on Friday also gave an update on the criteria needed for Secondary 1 Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) students to take subjects like English language or mathematics at a higher level, which is now also possible under subject-based banding.

    Under the new PSLE scoring system, this will be decided by the students' AL score for that particular subject.

    If they attain AL 5 or better in a Standard-level subject at PSLE, they will be eligible to take the subject at the Express level in Secondary 1.

    If they score AL 6 or better in a Standard-level subject or AL A in a Foundation-level subject, they have the option to pursue the subject at the Normal (Academic) level in Secondary 1.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    ST Smart Parenting: Read more stories[/paste:font]

    Foundation subjects, which cater to academically weaker pupils, will be evaluated using three scoring bands - AL A (75-100 marks), AL B (30-74 marks), and AL C (below 30 marks).

    Mr Wong Siew Hoong, director-general of education at MOE, encouraged parents and students to select schools based on overall learning needs. “Don’t just go for the school they perceive to be better-ranked, to be most popular, to be academically more demanding than what their child can manage. It’s about their overall talent and interest, distance from home, the fit for the child,” he said.

    He added that the indicative cut-off points have also shown that one may not need to get a perfect AL score of four to get into some of the popular schools. “I know some parents were thinking even way back in 2016, then everybody must try to get four points,” he said.

    The simulation of scores has shown that this may not be true, he said. “You don’t need to be getting perfect scores all the way. So (there is) no need to try for 100 marks all the time, (you) don’t even need to strive for 90 marks for all subjects all the time.”

    Making sense of indicative secondary school entry points in new PSLE scoring system | THE BIG STORY

    Mr Wong also stressed that students taking the PSLE next year and their parents do not need to rush to shortlist schools. “Don’t over extrapolate... from Primary 5 to Primary 6 there is still one year of potential growth possible and students will grow.”

    He added: “The PSLE is an important milestone... we recognise that it will invariably cause some anxiety because we’re human. “But we hope that our Primary 5 students and their parents will continue to enjoy learning – that’s the most important.”
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore team's Covid-19 neutralising antibody test kit is first to get US FDA approval

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singap...to+get+US+FDA+approval&utm_content=09/11/2020

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    cPass does not require highly specialised equipment or training to use, and returns results in just an hour.PHOTO: DUKE-NUS MEDICAL SCHOOL
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    Timothy Goh

    • PUBLISHED
      8 HOURS AGO
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    SINGAPORE - A kit that detects whether someone has antibodies which neutralise the coronavirus, invented by local researchers, has become the first of its kind to receive authorisation from the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    On Friday (Nov 6), the FDA said on its website that it had given emergency use authorisation for the kit, known as cPass.

    cPass was invented by a team led by Professor Wang Linfa, director of Duke-NUS' emerging infectious diseases programme, and co-developed with biotech company GenScript Biotech Corporation and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Diagnostics Development Hub (DxD Hub).

    It can be used to see if vaccines work, check what proportion of the population has already been infected, and assist in contact tracing by enabling the health authorities to retrace the steps of the virus.

    cPass also does not require highly specialised equipment or training to use, and returns results in just an hour.

    On Sunday, Prof Wang told The Straits Times that the FDA's approval was extremely significant not just for his team, but for Singapore as well.

    He said: "To have the FDA approval as the first and only commercial kit to determine neutralising antibodies for Sars-CoV-2 in the world is a very high bar to reach. This is an incredible recognition for our team and the Singapore research and biotech landscape.

    "The total critical mass of Singaporean biomedical R&D is less than 1 per cent of the (world's), and yet we are the international leader in this area for Covid-19."

    FDA said it had previously issued emergency use authorisation to some 50 serology tests, which also detect antibodies.

    8 new Covid-19 cases confirmed on Nov 9; all imported | THE BIG STORY

    But it added that these kits only detect the presence of binding antibodies, which bind to a virus but do not necessarily decrease its ability to infect and destroy cells.

    On the other hand, neutralising antibodies, which cPass detects, are thought to prevent the coronavirus from infecting a patient's cells.

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    (From left) Resarch assistant Ong Xin Mei, Professor Wang Linfa, and research assistant Lim Beng Lee with the cPass test kits. PHOTO: DUKE-NUS MEDICAL SCHOOL

    Prof Wang acknowledged - as he had on previous occasions - that just because someone has such antibodies does not mean they are immune to Covid-19.

    But "it is agreed that neutralising antibodies definitely play an important role in granting immunity... They are the only biomarker for immunity that we can practically measure on a large scale", he said.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    Five antibodies that fight Covid-19 discovered by Singapore's defence R&D organisation[/paste:font]

    Dr Timothy Stenzel, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said that the ability to detect such antibodies can help researchers gain insights into their impact on patients.

    He said: "There are still many unknowns about what the presence of Sars-CoV-2 antibodies may tell us about potential immunity, but today's authorisation gives us another tool to evaluate those antibodies as we continue to research and study this virus."

    Prof Wang said that following the FDA authorisation, Duke-NUS, DxD and GenScript will work to expand the application and geographic reach of the kits.

    He added that cPass will also play an important role in the search for the origin of the coronavirus as it can detect neutralising antibodies in not just humans, but any species of animals as well.

    He said his team has already obtained two grants from the World Health Organisation to work on this.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    New Covid-19 test kit by DSO and A*Star cuts testing time by half[/paste:font]
    Covid-19 test lab at Changi Airport slated to open in the first quarter of 2021: Ong Ye Kung[/paste:font]

    DxD's chief executive, Dr Sidney Yee, said that DxD is currently working with labs here to deploy the kits locally.

    The Straits Times has approached the Health Ministry for information on this deployment.

    Prof Wang said: "Considering we are expecting many vaccines will go into mass deployment in the next three to six months, the mass testing by cPass will form an integral part of the 'exit strategy' for Singapore and all nations globally."
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S'pore may have a Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021, commits close to $300m to make and buy

    vaccinehttps://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/singapore-could-have-a-covid-19-vaccine-by-early-2021-close-to-300m-commitment-from?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Editors_Pick&utm_term=Covid-19+vaccine+by+S%27pore+scientists+may+be+available+by+early+2021&utm_content=13%2F11%2F2020


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    Preliminary findings indicate positive responses in both safety and human immune response.PHOTO: ST FILE

    [​IMG]
    Audrey Tan
    Science and Environment Correspondent
    • PUBLISHED
      NOV 10, 2020, 11:02 AM SGT
    FACEBOOKTWITTER


    SINGAPORE - Singapore could have a Covid-19 vaccine by early next year.

    The first shipments of the vaccine co-developed by Singapore researchers are expected in the first quarter.

    Arcturus Therapeutics, the American pharmaceutical company working with Duke-NUS scientists on the vaccine, said this on Monday (Nov 9), as it announced positive preliminary results from the early-stage clinical trials ongoing in Singapore.

    Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) is pumping in some US$45 million (S$60.5 million) into the manufacture of the vaccine, said Arcturus.

    EDB will also have the right to purchase up to US$175 million of the vaccine at pre-negotiated prices, with shipments expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021, said Arcturus.

    Duke-NUS Medical School's Professor Ooi Eng Eong, who had co-developed the vaccine with Arcturus, said the results so far show that the vaccine could be effective as a single dose.

    "This differentiates this investigational vaccine from many other Covid-19 vaccines in development," said Prof Ooi, who is also a member of Arcturus' Vaccine Platform Scientific Advisory Board.

    "The vaccine has the potential to provide important public health benefits by greatly facilitating broad administration across multiple populations worldwide."

    Arcturus chief financial officer Andy Sassine said the funds from Singapore will provide the firm with additional resources to sustain rapid scale up of (the vaccine) to meet the requirements of its existing Israeli and Singapore agreements as well as other potential supply deals in 2021.

    Pfizer's Covid-19 good news, but situation remains murky: Expert | THE BIG STORY

    The encouraging preliminary findings from the Singapore co-developed Covid-19 vaccine comes as the race to the vaccine heats up.

    Earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their experimental vaccine is 90 per cent effective at preventing Covid-19. They are still awaiting data on safety, which could come later this month.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Who are the candidates in the Covid-19 vaccine race?[/paste:font]
    Late-stage Covid-19 vaccine trial could start in Singapore before end-2020[/paste:font]

    Some 106 volunteers are enrolled in Arcturus' early-stage trials in Singapore, of whom 28 received placebos. Seventy-eight subjects received one dose of the vaccine, while the rest received two injections.

    During these early-stage trials, researchers look out for dangerous side effects and analyse patient samples to see how the human immune system is responding to the vaccine.

    They also seek to determine how many doses are needed to incite the desired immune response.

    Preliminary findings indicate positive responses in both safety and human immune response.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Singapore ready for cold-chain transport of Covid-19 vaccines[/paste:font]
    Why Pfizer's ultra-cold Covid-19 vaccine will not be at the local pharmacy any time soon[/paste:font]

    Arcturus said no subjects have withdrawn from the study, and that there have been no serious adverse events deemed to be treatment-related. As for the immune response, both antibody and T-cell response have been observed in volunteers.

    The Straits Times had earlier reported that these later-stage clinical trials could start before the end of this year.

    Such trials are much larger in scope than the earlier ones, usually involving thousands to tens of thousands of people. These are often held across multiple jurisdictions or countries. The aim of these trials is to see if the vaccine can confer protection from infection.

    [​IMG]
     
    #9689 Loh, Nov 13, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    CNA named Channel of the Year by London-based Association for International Broadcasting


    https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...-based-association-international-broadcasting

    By ASYRAF KAMIL
    Published NOVEMBER 17, 2020
    Updated NOVEMBER 17, 2020

    [​IMG]
    Mediacorp

    CNA beat out other nominees such as BBC News Persian, CNN International and Iran International TV for the prize.

    SINGAPORE — Mediacorp’s CNA was named Channel of the Year by the London-based Association for International Broadcasting (AIB), the national broadcaster said on Tuesday (Nov 17).

    The AIB is a global trade association for television, radio and digital broadcasting which hands out the AIB International Media Excellence Awards. It recognises the achievements of international journalism and factual television, radio, audio and digital productions.

    In its citation for CNA’s win, the AIB highlighted CNA’s “clear and coherent news editorial values”, its varied content and the brand’s “meaningful engagement with multiple social media platforms”.

    AIB also praised CNA’s “compelling on-air talent” and polished production skills as compelling factors contributing to their decision, which made CNA “a deserving winner”.

    The channel beat out other nominees such as BBC News Persian, CNN International and Iran International TV for the prize.

    In its citation, AIB said that 2020 started as a “busy year” for the news organisation covering the Hong Kong riots and the global implications of the relationship with China.

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    AIB added that CNA’s workload became even heavier as a “once in a lifetime event hit the entire planet”

    “Not only was the pandemic a major story, it also brought immense challenges to the way broadcasters themselves could work. CNA rose to these challenges and covering Covid-19 has become another defining moment in their history,” the association said.

    It added: “They are well positioned to ‘Understand Asia’ and have reported on global developments, with Asian perspectives, for over two decades. CNA made good use of its transmedia, multiplatform channel to allow viewers to watch and interact with their content on television and radio, as well as on digital and social channels.”

    Mr Walter Fernandez, Mediacorp’s editor-in-chief, said that “we are honoured to receive this prestigious accolade on the global stage from the AIB”.

    “The factors cited by the international panel of judges for CNA’s win are a validation of the aggressive transformation that CNA has undertaken in recent years as well as the editorial values and desire for excellence that the newsroom has embraced,” said Mr Fernandez.

    He added: “This award is the product of an amazing collective effort despite the most challenging of circumstances and will motivate all of us at CNA to continue serving our audiences as a trusted source of news.”

    Commenting on the win, Mediacorp chief executive officer Tham Loke Kheng said that she is “very proud” of the CNA’s team commitment to journalistic excellence “in a fragmented media landscape”.

    “During these times, it is important to have a trusted voice with an Asian perspective. Mediacorp will respond to this strong validation by striving to do even better every day,” said Ms Tham.

    CNA was established in March 1999 by Mediacorp, which also owns TODAY.CNA is an English language Asian news network. Positioned to “Understand Asia”, it reports on global developments with Asian perspectives.

    Based in Singapore, it has correspondents in major Asian cities and key Western centres, including New York, Washington, London and Brussels.
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore hawker culture a step closer to being on Unesco intangible cultural heritage list
    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...eing-unesco-intangible-cultural-heritage-list

    [​IMG]
    People, wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19, queue to buy food at a hawker centre in Singapore on May 14, 2020.

    SINGAPORE — Hawker culture in Singapore stands a good chance of being inscribed on The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)'s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, after an evaluation body from the agency announced its recommendation on Monday (Nov 16).

    Singapore's Unesco submission fulfilled all the criteria required for inscription, the evaluation found. The 12-member evaluation body was appointed by an intergovernmental committee, which will announce the final decision in mid-December.

    In the recommendation, it was noted that hawker culture is "an integral way of life in Singapore" and provides a "sense of identity and continuity for people across the generations".

    Hawker culture in Singapore is also an example of how intangible cultural heritage can thrive in a highly urbanised environment, the evaluation body said.National Heritage Board (NHB) chief executive officer (CEO) Chang Hwee Nee said that the agency has seen overwhelming support from Singaporeans since Singapore’s nomination was made in August 2018.

    "We hope the successful inscription of hawker culture would further raise awareness and appreciation among Singaporeans of the importance of intangible cultural heritage in our daily lives, and continue to promote dialogues among our communities," she said.

    Mr Tan Meng Dui, CEO of the National Environment Agency (NEA), said that hawkers are central to Singapore's hawker culture and NEA "remains steadfast" in its efforts to attract new entrants to the trade. It will also partner hawkers and stakeholders to sustain and strengthen hawker culture.

    "A successful inscription in December will be the finest form of recognition to all our hawkers, past and present," he said.

    Unesco received 42 proposals, of which 25 have been recommended for inscription. Besides hawker culture, the Yeondeunghoe lantern lighting festival in South Korea, watchmaking craftsmanship nominated by Switzerland and France, and beekeeping culture in Poland were also recommended.

    The decision will be announced at the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) held online from Dec 14 to Dec 19.

    WHAT IS INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE?


    Unesco defines tangible cultural heritage as traditions and practices that are “living heritage”.

    It emphasises the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through such traditions from one generation to the next.

    The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was started in 2008 and recognises these cultural practices as part of the diverse cultures of the world. The list currently comprises 463 items, among them Chinese shadow puppetry, French cuisine, the Indonesian angklung, traditional Japanese cuisine, the making and sharing of kimchi and yoga from India. Malaysia has three items on the list — the ancient theatre art form of Mak Yong, silat and dondang sayang.

    WHAT AN INSCRIPTION WILL MEAN FOR HAWKER CULTURE

    Hawker culture is one of the most recognisable and acknowledged representations of Singapore’s multicultural culture and identity, said Singapore’s National Heritage Board (NHB).

    Hawker culture is shared by everyone living in Singapore, regardless of age, ethnicity and nationality. It is not a “dying” culture, said Dr Wong King Yin, a marketing and tourism expert from Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Business School.

    “It’s still actively practised by everyone living in Singapore and will be passed on to the future generations. The inclusivity and continuity of the hawker culture makes it a heritage item,” she said.

    “The hawker culture is an important part of our heritage, because it gives everyone living in Singapore a sense of belonging and identity. It also helps to build social cohesion.

    ”Being inscribed on the list does not mean that it is an authentic or correct form of the cultural practice, according to Unesco. It also does not indicate that hawker culture is unique to Singapore or that the way it is practised here is superior to others.

    Associate Professor Kelvin Low from the National University of Singapore's department of sociology said that if hawker culture is inscribed in the intangible cultural heritage list, more attention and effort can be devoted to safeguarding it.

    "Further traction, visibility, and awareness may be garnered towards adding on to extent efforts in ensuring that such a pertinent component of the country’s culinary history and heritage is paid further attention and resources being devoted towards its sustenance and posterity," he said.

    Unesco recognition of practices, forms and tradition is "one of the key elements that drive forward further and future efforts in collective endeavours to both comprehend and acknowledge the role of heritage for generations past, present and future", he added.

    Whether or not the inscription is successful, the nomination of hawker culture for Unesco's list already reflects Singapore’s commitment to ensuring that it is sustainable for future generations, as a living heritage, the NHB spokesperson said.

    Over the years, the Government has implemented programmes to help sustain the hawker trade by attracting new entrants and supporting existing stallholders. These programmes have seen encouraging take-ups, said the spokesperson. CNA
     

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