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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Phase 2 of underground 'highway' for used water to be financed through borrowing: MOF
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    The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System will be one of the nationally significant infrastructures that the Government intends to pay for through borrowing.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
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    Audrey Tan
    Science and Environment Correspondent
    • UPDATED
      32 MIN AGO
    SINGAPORE - A major project that aims to free up space on land by moving facilities for treating used water underground is under way, with about a quarter of a 100km-long conveyance system for central and western Singapore completed so far.

    The $10 billion Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), which is scheduled for completion by 2025, will be one of the nationally significant infrastructures that the Government intends to pay for through borrowing - something that has not been done since the 1990s.

    The Bill for the proposed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (Singa), which was introduced earlier this month, will allow the Government to borrow up to $90 billion to pay for infrastructure that will last for at least 50 years.

    This means the cost will be spread out over many years, with each generation that benefits bearing part of it.

    "The DTSS is an example of how Singapore builds long term. This can actually last us for the next 100 years, so effectively we're building in this generation for the next generation, and the generation after that," said Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Finance, during a site visit to DTSS Phase 2 (DTSS 2) on Monday (April 19).

    She was joined at the event by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment.

    DTSS is essentially a network of deep tunnel sewers that makes use of gravity to channel used water to three centralised treatment plants, where the water is purified to produce Newater.

    The project was conceived more than two decades ago to improve Singapore's water resilience, as the system will allow the Republic to better capture every drop of water for reuse.

    When the DTSS is ready by 2025, intermediate pumping stations and conventional water reclamation plants will be phased out, freeing up about 214 football fields' worth of land.

    Addressing water and land scarcity
    Construction of the DTSS is being done in two phases.

    The first phase, which involved more than 100km of tunnels and link sewers serving the northern and eastern parts of Singapore, was completed in 2008 and cost $3.4 billion.

    Three conventional water reclamation plants in Kim Chuan, Bedok and Seletar were phased out following the completion of the first phase and the land they sat on was made available for other developments.

    Used water was instead channelled to Changi Water Reclamation Plant in the east and the Kranji plant in the north.

    Construction for phase two, which will channel used water from the downtown and western parts of Singapore to the new Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, began in 2017.

    As at April this year, about 24km of the 100km-long conveyance system for phase two has been completed.

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    The DTSS is a network of deep tunnel sewers that makes use of gravity to channel used water to three centralised treatment plants, where the water is purified to produce Newater. ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

    Once in place, land for conventional water reclamation plants in Ulu Pandan and Jurong will be freed up, as will the plots now being used for immediate pumping stations.

    The second phase is estimated to cost about $6.5 billion.

    Financing projects for the future
    Singapore last borrowed for infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s to pay for the large upfront costs of building Changi Airport as well as the Republic's first MRT lines.

    By the 1990s, with the economy growing rapidly, the Government paid for infrastructure in full from its revenue.

    The country now faces another hump in its development spending needs, with plans for new rail lines and coastal protection measures against rising sea levels.

    This comes amid a tighter fiscal situation, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Singapore is expected to record a Budget deficit of $64.9 billion in the 2020 financial year, and is expecting to record another deficit of $11 billion in the 2021 financial year.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    CNB seizes over 40kg of drugs, including record amounts of cannabis and heroin
    CNB seizes over 40kg of drugs, including record amounts of cannabis and heroin, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
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    CNB said it seized about 23.6kg of cannabis, 16.5kg of heroin, 2kg of Ice and some 110 Ecstasy tablets during the drug bust on April 16, 2021.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
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    David Sun
    • UPDATED
      APR 19, 2021, 2:36 PM

    SINGAPORE - The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has seized more than 40kg of drugs including record amounts of cannabis and heroin, enough to feed the addiction of more than 12,400 drug abusers for a week.

    The drugs are estimated to be worth more than $2.3 million.

    Most of the haul was found in the home of a 22-year-old Malaysian man in the vicinity of Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 last Friday.

    The quantities of cannabis and heroin seized were the largest since 1996 and 2001 respectively.

    During a press conference on Monday (April 19), CNB said it seized about 23.6kg of cannabis, 16.5kg of heroin, 2kg of Ice and some 110 Ecstasy tablets.

    There were previous seizures of 33.4kg of cannabis in 1996 and 34.8kg of heroin in 2001.

    In the most recent operation, the suspect was arrested at the ground floor of the housing block by CNB officers and found with four bundles of cannabis.

    The officers seized another eight bundles of heroin, two bundles of Ice and the Ecstasy tablets in his bedroom.

    They also found 27 bundles of heroin and 20 bundles of cannabis in a duffle bag and backpack in the storeroom of the unit.

    The drugs were shown to the media during the press conference. These included pink Ecstasy pills that were shaped like the popular Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty.

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    Among the drugs seized were pink Ecstasy pills shaped like the cartoon character Hello Kitty. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
    Superintendent Aaron Tang, director of CNB's intelligence division, said the total amount of drugs seized was enough to feed 7,880 heroin abusers, 1,160 Ice abusers and 3,380 cannabis abusers for a week.

    "Singapore is not a drug-producing country," he said. "We are surrounded by large drug supply regions around us, and there is a threat of drugs coming into Singapore and flooding our streets."

    He added that this was why Singapore needed to be vigilant.

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    Superintendent Aaron Tang said the total amount of drugs seized was enough to feed more than 12,400 drug abusers for a week. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
    "Drug syndicates will continue to take their chances to smuggle drugs into Singapore in order to profit from the addiction and misery of drug abusers," he said.

    "CNB will continue to monitor the drug activities closely, and take prompt enforcement actions to neutralise the drug syndicates."

    Investigations are ongoing.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore, Thailand launch real-time cross-border payments system
    Singapore, Thailand launch real-time cross-border payments system (msn.com)
    Staff Reporter
    10 hrs ago
    upload_2021-4-30_10-32-47.png [​IMG]© Provided by Singapore Business Review Singapore, Thailand launch real-time cross-border payments system

    In a world first, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has launched the linkage of Singapore's PayNow and Thailand's PromptPay real-time payment systems, enabling customers from both countries to perform cross-border fund transfers using only their mobile numbers.

    Customers of participating banks in the two countries will be able to transfer funds of up to S$1,000 or THB25,000 daily across the two countries, using only their phone or mobile. There is no need to fill-up forms or information fields at all.

    Transfers will be completed in a matter of minutes, an improvement from the average of 1-2 working days for most cross-border remittances.

    ThePayNow-PromptPay linkage shows that existing payments infrastructure and the banking system have the potential to provide seamless cross-border payment options to retail customers, says Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS.

    "ThePayNow-PromptPay linkage is only the beginning. MAS' shared objective with BOT is to work with our ASEAN counterparts to expand this bilateral linkage into a network of linked retail payment systems across ASEAN. With the rise of the digital economy, we want to empower individuals and businesses in the region with simple, swift and secure cross-border payments through just a few clicks on their mobile phones," Menon said regarding the launch of the linkage.

    This is the first of its kind globally, the two regulators said in the press release, adding that the linkage is a culmination of several years of collaborations between the two countries' payment system operators, bankers, partner associations and participating banks.
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Tengeh Reservoir floating solar farm officially opens, 'big step' towards environmental sustainability, says PM Lee
    Tengeh Reservoir floating solar farm officially opens, 'big step' towards environmental sustainability, says PM Lee - CNA (channelnewsasia.com)
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    Spanning 45 hectares - the equivalent of about 45 football fields - the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm contains 122,000 solar panels, which are durable enough to last 25 years. (Photo: Matthew Mohan) View attachment 198946
    By Matthew Mohan@MatthewMohanCNA

    14 Jul 2021 01:00PM(Updated: 14 Jul 2021 02:56PM

    SINGAPORE: A 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Tengeh Reservoir was officially opened on Wednesday (Jul 14), with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hailing the project as “one big step forward towards environmental sustainability”.

    Spanning 45 hectares - the equivalent of about 45 football fields - the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm contains 122,000 solar panels, which are durable enough to last 25 years.

    It is also one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems, said national water agency PUB and Sembcorp Industries in a joint press release.

    “The commencement of the solar farm’s operations marks a significant step towards enduring energy sustainability in water treatment, making Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have a 100 per cent green waterworks system while contributing to the national goal of quadrupling solar energy deployment by 2025,” they said in the release.

    The launch ceremony was officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu was also in attendance.

    In his speech, Mr Lee noted that it was "important" for Singapore to keep finding ways to shift away from fossil fuels in meeting its energy needs.

    READ: Construction begins on Tengeh Reservoir floating solar farm, touted as one of world’s largest[/paste:font]

    A testbed was launched by PUB and EDB at the reservoir in 2016, before construction of the floating solar PV system - which occupies about one-third of the reservoir’s total area - began in August 2020.

    "We came up with the idea of building a floating solar farm a decade ago. We were looking for ways to harness solar energy at scale because we do have year-round bright sunlight for solar power ... Unlike wind or hydro power, which are not reliable nor even available here," said Mr Lee.

    "As the cost of solar cells came down, solar power became increasingly viable and attractive to us, so we made use of whatever available space we could find to install solar panels. We put them on building rooftops, we put them on vacant state properties. But we still lacked large-scale plots of land to scale up our solar power deployment.

    Hence the idea of a floating solar farm was attractive, because it allowed us to make full use of the large surface area of reservoirs, while giving them a dual use."

    And the success of the testbed - which performed up to 15 per cent better than a conventional rooftop solar power system, due to the cooler reservoir environment - provided the "confidence" to develop the farm.

    "That makes Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have a fully green waterworks system producing clean water with 100 per cent clean energy, which is another remarkable achievement in our 'water story'," added Mr Lee.

    READ: As the buying and selling of solar energy becomes reality, Singapore could gain further ground on solar target

    An environmental impact study, which included biodiversity surveys, water quality monitoring and modelling, along with consultations with nature groups was carried out on the site between 2015 to 2018.

    Results from PUB’s testbed deployed at Tengeh Reservoir in 2016 showed no observable change in water quality nor significant impact on surrounding wildlife, said PUB and Sembcorp.

    “Referencing the study, the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm was carefully designed to minimise impact on the reservoir’s water quality, flora and fauna,” said both parties.

    “Sufficient gaps between solar panels were incorporated to improve the airflow and allow sufficient sunlight to reach aquatic life. Additional aerators were also put in place to maintain oxygen levels in the reservoir.”

    Floats deployed are made using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a certified food-grade material that is recyclable, UV-resistant and corrosion resistant.

    “In addition to having a comprehensive environmental management and mitigation plan, PUB and Sembcorp will continue to monitor the reservoir closely, and take necessary measures to maintain biodiversity and water quality,” said the press release.

    Other floating solar PV projects in the pipeline include ones at Lower Seletar Reservoir and Bedok Reservoir. They are scheduled to be completed this year.

    Environmental studies are also ongoing for a 100MWp project at Kranji Reservoir as well as a 6.7MWp project at Upper Peirce Reservoir.
     

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  5. Jasmine Roy

    Jasmine Roy New Member

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    exactly.
    The Singapore government is trying to foster innovation in the construction sector by providing financial incentives to companies that can demonstrate the implementation of innovations leading to gains in productivity. However this process is rather bureaucratic, accessible mainly to large companies, less so to SMEs.

    On the other hand there is not much incentive for innovation in construction companies due to the quasi exclusive use of cheap foreign labour. The cost of research and investment in innovation is difficult to offset by savings in labour costs for this reason.

    In addition, the Singapore government has never considered the construction industry as a strategic activity, resulting in a lack of promotion and training schemes for local tradesmen.

    As long as the government continues to rely on cheap foreign resources to feed the construction sector, little homegrown innovation can be expected.
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    GIC must continue to prepare for challenges ahead even as it celebrates its achievements: PM Lee Hsien Loong
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    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at GIC's 40th anniversary dinner on Nov 16, 2021.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
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    Choo Yun Ting
    • UPDATED
      9 HOURS AGO
    FACEBOOKTWITTER

    SINGAPORE - Sovereign wealth fund GIC must continue to anticipate and prepare for challenges ahead, such as economic uncertainties and climate change, as it celebrates its achievements to date, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Nov 16).

    In the 40 years since its formation, GIC has become one of the best regarded sovereign wealth funds in the world while staying within the risk limits set by the Ministry of Finance, PM Lee added.

    "Since inception, it has generated steady returns on our reserves, with annual returns averaging more than 5 per cent above global inflation and this has significantly grown the international purchasing power of our reserves," he said.

    PM Lee, who is also chairman of GIC, was speaking at the fund's 40th anniversary dinner at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.

    He said GIC has protected and enhanced the value of Singapore’s reserves, enabling it to build up a valuable nest egg to make up for the country’s lack of natural resources.

    These reserves have become a strategic resource that has not only seen Singapore safely through critical moments, but has also played an important role and provided a steady stream of income to the government of the day, he added.

    Also at the dinner were GIC chief executive Lim Chow Kiat, Senior Minister and GIC deputy chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and former Singapore president and GIC special adviser Tony Tan Keng Yam.

    In his speech, Mr Lee outlined future challenges that GIC must navigate - economic uncertainties including the impact of prolonged low interest rates and record fiscal deficits, inflation, as well as climate change.

    Geopolitics, too, will play a big role moving forward, he pointed out.

    “Already heightened US-China tensions are affecting global supply chains. Countries are rethinking the unfettered free flow of trade and investments, and putting new emphasis on supply chain security and resilience,” PM Lee said.

    “This is sensible, but downsides have to be seen too and considered, and if carried to excess, it can easily lead to deep bifurcation of global trade and technology. Beyond that, the tensions and rivalry between the powers could cripple markets and investments, even short of full-scale conflict.”

    The virtual summit between United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday was therefore an encouraging first step towards stabilising US-China relations, PM Lee noted.

    He also acknowledged the evolving domestic conditions in Singapore - social and healthcare spending will continue to grow, alongside the pressure on the Government to draw more from its reserves instead of raising taxes to finance higher spending.

    He expressed his hope that new generations of Singaporeans will retain the same formula that has worked well for the country and GIC thus far - to treat the reserves as a rainy-day fund and continue to grow the nest egg whenever they can, and thus perpetuate its prosperity and resilience for many years to come.

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    (From left) GIC's group chief investment officer Jeffrey Jaensubhakij, GIC deputy chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, GIC chief executive Lim Chow Kiat and GIC deputy group chief investment officer and chief operating officer Tay Lim Hock at GIC's 40th anniversary dinner. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

    PM Lee highlighted several factors that have been key to GIC's success, including its adaptation to the changing financial landscape and how it has remained anchored to its core values of prudence, respect, integrity, merit and excellence.

    “But just as important to GIC’s success are the political and fiscal conditions within which GIC operates, the context which enables the organisation to function properly,” he said.

    PM Lee noted how GIC was shielded from political interference from day one - the best people were chosen and proper governance structures were put in place, and the management team was entrusted to make investment decisions objectively and professionally.

    “On its part, the political leadership stands by GIC and defends GIC’s ability to make investment decisions independently, so long as it has acted properly and competently, and it stands by GIC even when the ex-post outcomes turn out unfavourably, which will happen from time to time for any serious investor,” he said.

    At the same time, the Government's prudent fiscal stance - its commitment to saving for the future and drawing down on reserves only under exceptional circumstances - enables GIC to take a long-term view of investments, PM Lee added.

    "This has enabled GIC to build long-term partnerships, and take on calculated risks that only long-term investors can accept, and both of these are key strategic advantages."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    GIC launches book on how Singapore's reserves have been managed[/paste:font]
    GIC increasing focus on sustainable investments[/paste:font]
    GIC must remain bold and build upon this success thus far, constantly innovating and refreshing itself, develop new approaches to managing investments in a more challenging global environment, while staying true to its purpose and core values, PM Lee said.

    "I have every confidence that GIC will rise to the challenge, and continue to deliver on its mission, just as it has done for the last 40 years. This is how it will become the leading global long-term investor that it aspires to be."

    Sovereign wealth fund GIC is one of the three investment entities in Singapore that manage the Government's reserves, along with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Temasek.

    The Straits Times looks at some of GIC's key milestones over its 40 years.

    1981
    GIC was set up in May 1981 to manage Singapore's foreign reserves, against the backdrop of the rapid growth of the Republic's foreign reserves in the 1970s.

    Originally known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, it was the brainchild of Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of MAS, to invest the country's surplus reserves for better long-term returns.

    Its inaugural board was chaired by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and included other Cabinet ministers.

    1987
    Black Monday - Oct 19, 1987, when global stock markets crashed - was GIC's baptism of fire. But its diversified portfolio was able to weather the turbulence in the financial market.

    1990s
    Over the decade, GIC ventured into new markets and advanced its real estate and private equity capabilities, which reflected its willingness to explore new sources of returns for diversification and to adapt to unfamiliar investment situations.

    In particular, it pivoted to move into emerging Asia, a strategic response to the transformations in the region, especially in China. This gave it a head start in the fast-growing region.

    The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 did not discourage the company from investing in the region - rather, it stepped up efforts to co-invest with regional partners.

    Its real estate and private equity investment groups also grew rapidly during this period.

    Early 2000s
    Reviews on GIC's investment policy and strategy found that the reserves managed by the company should be viewed as not just a contingency fund, but also a financial endowment for Singapore.

    This meant that GIC's portfolio could be less liquid and not so tied to cash and bonds, which gave it more room to invest in other asset classes, paving the way for it to pivot to more public and private equity and real estate.

    2008
    The Net Investment Returns framework was introduced in 2008, under which the Government can spend up to 50 per cent of the long-term expected real returns on the relevant assets. It applied initially to MAS and GIC, with Temasek included later in 2016.

    The framework expressed a spending rule aimed at providing for present and future generations of Singaporeans, underlining the endowment principle of the reserves managed.

    2010s to 2020s
    In 2011, Mr Lee Kuan Yew retired as GIC chairman, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking over.

    The decade also saw GIC enter a new phase under the leadership of Mr Lim Siong Guan, a former head of the civil service, who was group president of GIC from 2007 until he retired in 2016.

    Amid a changing investment environment with an influx of large institutional investors, GIC transformed from a largely passive to an active investor aiding its portfolio companies in growing their businesses.

    It has assets in over 40 countries and offices in 10 cities today, with more than 1,800 employees globally.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    NUS students win top international James Dyson award with glaucoma screening device
    NUS students win top international James Dyson award with glaucoma screening device, Parenting & Education News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

    Sandra Davie
    Senior Education Correspondent
    • PUBLISHED
      4 HOURS AGO
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    (From left) PhD students Si Li and Kelu Yu and research assistant and graduate David Lee. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN


    SINGAPORE -Three National University of Singapore students who invented a glaucoma screening device have beaten more than 2,000 entries from around the world to win the international James Dyson Award this year.

    The invention, aptly named Hopes (Home Eye Pressure E-skin Sensor), is a glove that uses sensor technology and artificial intelligence to enable patients to check their eye pressure at home.

    The award, given out yearly by famous British engineer and inventor James Dyson since 2005, comes with £30,000 (S$54,700) prize money and worldwide recognition. This is the first time a Singapore team has bagged the top global prize.

    The three postgraduate students - Ms Yu Kelu, 26, and Mr Li Si, 28, both doctoral students from NUS materials science and engineering department, and Mr David Lee, 26, a research assistant from the NUS electrical and computer engineering department - said they were "stunned" to hear about the win from Mr Dyson in a video call.

    Ms Yu, who came to Singapore from China at age 15 to study at Tanjong Katong Girls' School and Temasek Junior College, said: "We were told that the judging process was still ongoing and that the panel had more questions.

    "So we were shocked when Mr Dyson himself appeared on the video call. And when he told us we had won the top prize, it didn't quite sink in at first. It was only after the call that we realised what a big thing this was. We started cheering and I even cried."

    Ms Yu said she was prompted to come up with a solution after seeing the discomfort and inconvenience her 55-year-old father in China went through during frequent eye check-ups after he started losing his vision in December 2019.

    "My father suffered from constant eye pain and headache. And the process of checking for glaucoma required overnight stays in a hospital and was painful. So I was motivated to delve deeper into the disease and treatment for glaucoma," she said.

    Mr Lee, a Singaporean, said the invention, which arrived after almost a hundred iterations, consists of a glove with sensors in the fingertip.

    The user places this at the centre of the eyelid to measure the eye fluid pressure. The captured signals are processed by machine learning algorithms to map the user's eye pressure with a high degree of accuracy.

    The team said about 3 percent of people over the age of 50 in Singapore have glaucoma, a condition where high fluid pressure in the eyeball damages the optic nerve.

    The danger with glaucoma is its insidious nature as it is largely symptom-free, they added. More than 80 percent of people with the condition were unaware of it at the time of diagnosis. There is no cure, but blindness can be prevented if it is diagnosed and treated early.

    The students said the award, besides the generous prize money, has boosted their confidence and encouraged them to press on with further testing and development of the device.

    They are planning for clinical trials at the National University Hospital where they will collect and analyse patients' eye pressure data to further train the device's machine-learning mode. They are also working on improving the design so the device can be connected to a smartwatch.

    [​IMG]
    (From left) PhD students Si Li and Kelu Yu and research assistant and graduate David Lee. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

    Said Mr Li: "We hope in the future, our device will enable people to measure their eye pressure at home accurately and without any pain. We also hope that one day our research group's sensor technology can be adapted for use in other health monitoring devices."

    In an interview with The Straits Times, Mr Dyson commented on the Singapore win: "I've experienced first-hand how invasive and unpleasant the tests for glaucoma can be, but it is a vital test.

    "Their work has the potential to make glaucoma testing much more widely available and I wish them every success as they navigate the challenging process of further development and medical approvals.

    Mr Dyson, who picks the top winners every year from a shortlist of 20 best entries from around the world, said the entries this year were so promising he decided to award a third prize, focused on medical invention.


    [​IMG]
    The invention, named Hopes, is a glove that uses sensor technology and artificial intelligence to check patients' eye pressure. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    S'pore develops new implant to release eye pressure in glaucoma patients; now used in 17 countries[/paste:font]
    Keep an eye out for glaucoma, which is on the rise in S'pore[/paste:font]
    The new medical award was won by Mr Joseph Bentley, a 22-year-old from Loughborough University in Britain. He invented a device that reduces catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound.

    The sustainability award went to industrial and product design graduate Jerry De Vos, 28, from the Netherlands, who invented the Plastic Scanner, a handheld device that, when held against any plastic product, will tell the user what materials it is made from by using infrared light to detect the plastic components.

    Mr Dyson, who takes the trouble to inform the top winners of their win personally, said: "I enjoy seeing the enthusiasm with which young people tackle the world's problems using good design, engineering and science.

    "Often, they are concerned with problems that affect other people, such as the sick and elderly, and those with disabilities... which is admirable."
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S'pore develops new implant to release eye pressure in glaucoma patients; now used in 17 countries
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    A 2018 photo showing Prof Paul Chew (left) and his team from NUH's ophthalmology department that was involved in the Paul Glaucoma Implant development.PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL (NUH)
    Yeo Shu Hui
    • PUBLISHED
      NOV 13, 2021, 12:22 PM SGT
    FACEBOOKTWITTER


    SINGAPORE - Whenever Professor Lee Tian Tee travelled, he needed to check with the airline or hotel whether he had access to a fridge because he needed one to store eye drops for his glaucoma, a condition where eye pressure increases due to a build-up of fluid inside the eye.

    The eye condition can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to blindness.

    The Singaporean music professor, 61, was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2016 and had to live with the inconvenience of using medicated eye drops several times a day to reduce the pressure in his eyes.

    In 2018, his eye doctor, Prof Paul Chew, a senior consultant at the National University Hospital's (NUH) department of ophthalmology, invited him to be part of a clinical trial for a new implant being developed at the time.

    The Paul Glaucoma Implant (PGI) was developed by Prof Chew, who is also from the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and a team of clinician-scientists from the National University Health System.

    Clinical trials in Singapore were successfully carried out between December 2017 and December 2018 and the implants are now used by leading hospitals and established eye centres in 17 countries, including NUH here.

    The implant comprises a tiny tube made of medical grade silicone that is implanted through the front of the eyeball, where it is secured with an endplate. The tube allows some fluid in the eye to flow out when pressure builds up, thus preventing optic nerve damage.

    Prof Lee had the PGI inserted in his right eye in 2018 and then his left in 2019. The frequent traveller, who works at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, China, now no longer needs eye drops to control his eye pressure.

    Glaucoma implants have been around for 30 years, said Prof Chew, who has been researching the condition for 25 years.

    PGI improves on existing implants by using a finer tube and an endplate with a larger surface area.

    "We designed this implant to give higher successful eye pressure control and consistent safety and efficacy. It is a more reliable device than current standard devices in use today. The ability to predictably manage severe glaucoma is the result of this new implant," Prof Chew said.

    Depending on the type of glaucoma, treatment can take the form of medicated eye drops and laser treatment to reduce the eye pressure - but these may not be suitable for more severe forms of the disease.

    Compared with eye drops and laser surgery, PGI reduces patients' eye pressure for a longer period of time.

    Associate Professor Victor Koh, head of the ophthalmology department at NUS Medicine and NUH, led the clinical trial of PGI.

    Among the 82 patients in the trial, including Prof Lee, the implant successfully reduced the eye pressure in 93 per cent of them after one year.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    Keep an eye out for glaucoma, which is on the rise in S'pore[/paste:font]
    Patients were also less dependent on eye drops after surgery as compared with other types of implants.

    Prof Lee said that the implant has helped greatly in improving his quality of life.

    "I have not used any eye drops since 2019. Every morning, I wake up without having to worry whether I will need to use eye drops or not. For a busy person like myself, it is really helpful."
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    This young man lost his arm and could be exempted from NS. He chose to serve anyway
    [​IMG]
    Corporal (NS) Tan Kok Yew lost his arm to an infection when he was three years old. (Photo: MINDEF)

    [​IMG]
    Aqil Haziq Mahmud
    @AqilHaziqCNA
    25 Dec 2021 06:00AM(Updated: 25 Dec 2021 06:00AM)
    SINGAPORE: Corporal (NS) Tan Kok Yew remembers that moment in 2017, when the medical examiner at his pre-enlistment screening exercise told him he did not need to serve two years of National Service (NS).

    CPL (NS) Tan, now 21, lost his right arm to an infection as a kid. So at the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) on Depot Road, the medical examiner gave him two options: Serve NS tailored to his medical condition or be declared medically unfit for any form of service.

    "When I found out I could be exempted, I was like (some of) those pre-enlistees; I thought that NS would waste two years of my time," he told CNA. "I was happy that I could use those extra two years to further my studies."

    Despite that, CPL (NS) Tan was still not fully convinced about his thoughts, so he told the medical examiner he needed some time to think it over.

    After a discussion with his family, he pondered and made a decision. When he returned to CMPB, he said he wanted to enlist. It turned out to be something he did not regret.

    "I feel proud that I chose to serve," he said.

    LOSING AN ARM
    But there is more to this story than why CPL (NS) Tan decided to serve. There are parts about living with one arm, about making good friends and some not so good ones, and about persevering and emerging better for it.

    CPL (NS) Tan does not remember much about how his condition came to be. He was three years old when he injured his arm. And the next thing he knew, it needed to be amputated to save his life.

    "I had a deep wound and I got infected by a type of bacteria, which is – I can't pronounce that word, but I only know the first part, which is staph," he said.

    It was a staph infection, caused by bacteria called staphylococcus. Most of the time, the bacteria either cause no problems or relatively minor skin infections.

    Related:
    [​IMG]
    On an island with no photo-taking, a soldier sketches his daily life in basic military training
    [​IMG]
    All NSFs, NSmen to get higher monthly NS allowance in recognition of contributions

    But staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into the body, entering the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart, according to the Mayo Clinic. A growing number of otherwise healthy people are developing life-threatening staph infections, it said on its website.

    "It was quite severe that my parents had to make this decision to amputate my arm," CPL (NS) Tan said.

    Does he remember how he injured his arm?

    "That, I'm not so sure," he replied. "This was almost 20 years ago. When I asked my parents, they just told me that I injured myself, but they don't really want to tell (more), because I lived my childhood like this. And even if I knew about this, I don't really have any hard feelings about this."

    GROWING UP
    Nevertheless, CPL (NS) Tan acknowledged that he had a "tough" time growing up.

    "Because of my kind and cheerful personality, I was always taken advantage of and was a victim of bullying. It was difficult finding friends that were trustworthy for me to vent my feelings," he said.

    In secondary school, he said his classmates ignored him, especially during "team events" like sports or group work. He recalls being called names, but he took it on the chin.

    "It was not really a good experience for me," he added. "Because of that, I had a tough time growing up and developed an introverted personality."

    He told his family a bit about his problems, but stopped short of revealing everything so they would not be worried, or worse still, angry.

    "I was the youngest and they doted over me a lot," said CPL (NS) Tan, who has a brother and sister. "They just told me to ignore my classmates for four years and find better friends after I graduated from that school."

    Outside of school, he did not let his disability consume him. He adapted to doing everyday things – like eating or wearing clothes – with one arm, simply by copying what his parents did.

    He also did sports like basketball, and while he admitted it was better to have two hands while playing, he insisted it was "not that hard".

    "I will just show them that even if I have one arm, I can do whatever you all do normally," he said, adding that some on the court were shocked by his ability. "That is part of my mindset."

    FINDING COMFORT
    When CPL (NS) Tan moved on to study business at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), he said he still came across people who were mean to him, although the situation was "not so severe".

    His classmates were a good bunch, and he looked back fondly at how his was the "rowdiest" class. They had a lot of fun and created a ruckus during lessons, he recalled with a smile.

    "I'm sure everyone went through that," he said. "I found great friends in ITE, and they just treated me normally. Even when I had some bad times, I would always tell them and they were always there for me."

    For example, when he revealed to them his bad experiences growing up, they said those people did not deserve his friendship. These little chats helped him regain some of his self-confidence.

    When he needed help with physical tasks like carrying heavy items, they would jump in without hesitation.

    "They didn't want me to do it," he said. "I'm definitely grateful for me to be friends with them."

    BIG DECISION
    When CPL (NS) Tan was 17 and still in ITE, he received a letter instructing him to go for the pre-enlistment medical screening.

    His sister said it would be better for him to go through NS, worried that he would feel left out when future peers spoke about this rite of passage. His dad had served NS too, so he thought about following in his father's footsteps.

    When asked if it was an easy decision to turn down the exemption, CPL (NS) Tan said his family members had a "very good mouth". "They just kept talking until they persuaded me," he added, laughing.

    After graduating from ITE, he decided to get a job but harboured ambitions of continuing his education.

    He went on to work at the KOI bubble tea chain, as a cashier and in the kitchen helping to prepare drink toppings. His condition was not really a concern for his employer, he said, adding that he just could not cook the pearls or brew the tea.
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    ENLISTMENT BECKONS
    After working at the chain for more than a year, he received his enlistment letter in September 2019 telling him to report to the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong two months later.

    He worried about whether he would be able to handle the physicality of training, despite being assigned the lowest physical employment standard of E9, which meant he was suitable only for combat service support and service vocations.

    "But it turned out to be just normal," he said of his basic military training, adding that many in his company had medical conditions, including heart issues, that prevented them from engaging in strenuous activities. "We had training, but it was mostly theory."

    While he wished his time there was more fulfilling physically, he bonded with his section mates. His buddy, who joined the National Cadet Corps in school, taught him the proper way of folding his uniform sleeves, a process typically done with both hands.

    "He helped me fold it. I saw how he did it and I just followed it," CPL (NS) Tan said, adding that he just took longer to do it.

    [​IMG]
    CPL (NS) Tan Kok Yew with his family at his Basic Military Training graduation parade on Jan 16, 2020. (Photo: MINDEF)
    When he told his section mates that he could have been exempted from NS, they expressed disbelief, saying they would have done so if given the option.

    "I just told them that I would just serve, it's nothing wrong," he said. "In two years, you could learn more skills and everything. They were surprised, but at the same time they were inspired."

    CPL (NS) Tan said his commanders were "very happy" with his decision. His officer commanding and company sergeant major personally told him they were proud he still chose to serve the nation despite his condition.
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    BIGGER RESPONSIBILITIES

    After completing two months of basic military training, CPL (NS) Tan was posted to the Army Logistics Training Institute (ALTI) as an admin support assistant responsible for managing building safety and infrastructure.

    He conducted checks and ensured facilities were in working condition. If they were not, he informed his superiors and initiated the process of engaging contractors for repairs.

    This job exposed him to a number of challenges, including his command of English and the speed at which he replies to emails.

    "I type slowly and I have to think about what to say, what to do and everything," he said.

    [​IMG]
    CPL (NS) Tan Kok Yew's job at the Army Logistics Training Institute involved managing building safety and infrastructure. (Photo: MINDEF)
    Still, CPL (NS) Tan said his unit colleagues treated him normally and asked him for help if needed. In a Pioneer magazine article about him published on Nov 5, one of his commanders said he was efficient with his work and was always the first to volunteer if something had to be done.

    His unit commanders, however, were extremely careful not to overexert him physically.

    "They did not want me to carry even one plastic bag," he joked. "One of my superiors was very concerned about my safety. I had no choice but to comply with her instructions."

    GAINING RECOGNITION
    Nevertheless, his hard work did not go unrecognised. In June, he was awarded the ALTI Commander's Coin, given to servicemen who have performed well in their duties.

    While CPL (NS) Tan said he was pleased about this, he felt shy talking about it as he believes his role was "not really that big".

    To further add to the embarrassment, he woke up late on the day of the award ceremony, and had to sprint to the venue where "a lot of people" from various units were watching. Being presented the award by ALTI's commander flustered him too.

    "During practice, it was fine," he said. "But on the actual day, it was like, 'I hope I don't mess up, I hope my hair is okay, I hope everything is okay.'"

    [​IMG]
    CPL (NS) Tan Kok Yew (left) also received the outstanding soldier of the month award from Army Logistics Training Institute commander Senior Lieutenant Colonel Quek Yew Sing. (Photo: MINDEF)
    CPL (NS) Tan was also awarded another Commander's Coin, this time by the larger Combat Service and Support Command, and his unit's outstanding soldier of the month for July.

    "I think they recognise my hard work, so I feel proud winning those awards," he said. "But most of the time, I feel embarrassed."

    DEALING WITH PUBLICITY
    But the spotlight was not about to go away.

    When the Pioneer article was published and shared on its Facebook page, it received more than 100 comments and 1,300 reactions, with many praising his determination to serve despite his condition.

    Family friends complimented him, and when his story got more media attention, his friends started tagging him on social media. While he is proud that his story has touched the public, he is still getting used to the attention.

    When he was at the market with his parents, a stranger gave him a thumbs up. "I was like, thanks, but I was very embarrassed," he said. "If people saw me again and did that, I would probably be laughing awkwardly because I don't know how to react to them."

    CPL (NS) Tan completed his full-time NS on Nov 12 and was declared operationally ready.

    He has applied for a job with a logistics company, where he will also deal with contractors. His time in ALTI has taught him how to build relationships with colleagues and communicate professionally, he said.

    He also agreed that the time he spent serving NS helped him better relate to the experiences of his peers. "Not saying that being exempted is a negative, but at the same time, it's different for them," he said.

    "LOVE YOURSELF"
    Ultimately, CPL (NS) Tan has not given up his aim of getting a diploma and eventually a degree, hopefully to land a "dream job" in the hospitality industry. This will help him earn a stable income and support his family, he said.

    There will be challenges ahead, but he said he would take these in stride, like in the story of how he got through school and then NS.

    As for people who might have a similar physical condition and are going through some struggles, he advised them not to sweat over mistakes and accept compliments, something he is still working on as well.

    "Just learn to be proud of who you are, just be positive, and the most important thing is to love yourself," he said.

    "Because if you don't love yourself, it's difficult to be proud of who you are. It's better to speak for yourself than to bottle up your feelings."

    Source: CNA/hz(cy)
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    What makes a ‘real’ Singaporean and who came here first? Podcast hopes to broaden conversations on race
    [​IMG]Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY
    The team behind Looking Different/ly: (from left) Said Effendy Said Iziddin, Yeo Tze Yang, Genevieve Chia Xin Ying and Sharifah Afra Syed Farid Alatas.
    • A team of Asian Studies graduates have a launched a podcast series, Looking Different/ly, aiming to broaden discussions about race
    • Podcast team member Yeo Tze Yang hopes to promote more constructive debates about race that are rooted in Singapore’s context
    • The team will hold guided heritage walks to accompany some episodes
    [​IMG]
    BY
    DARYL CHOO
    Published December 26, 2021
    Updated December 26, 2021

    SINGAPORE — Fired up after a series of race-related events in Singapore, a team of university graduates have banded together to launch a series of conversations that will be combined with guided tours to highlight the diversity and difference among people living here.

    After over a year of planning, the team engaged several speakers from various backgrounds, including outside of academia or activism, who shared new ways of viewing and discussing race issues that are rooted in Singapore's cultural context.

    In mid-December, they launched a podcast series called Looking Different/ly on streaming service Spotify and Apple Podcasts that touches on issues such as the evolution of religious practices in Singapore and what it means to be Singaporean.

    Through deep dives into Singapore’s pre-colonial history and conversations with residents of mixed ethnicities, the team is hoping that listeners will gain a more nuanced view of race issues here.

    Artist Yeo Tze Yang, 27, said he came up with the idea for the project in 2019 when he noticed that commentary on social media about recent race-related events tended to lack “alternative viewpoints”.

    He said that people here often borrow concepts and labels from rights movements in the United States — Black Lives Matter, white privilege — often without adapting it to Singapore’s cultural context.

    READ ALSO
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    “I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Singapore lacks this vocabulary and experience,” he said. “As a result we borrow vocabulary and the theoretical frameworks of approaching these race issues from America.”

    He added: “Our stance with this initiative isn’t like we reject all these arguments. It's more like, ‘Yes, let’s consider that, but let’s share, say, seven other ways of talking about this same thing’.”

    Mr Yeo, a Southeast Asian studies graduate from the National University of Singapore, approached several former coursemates who agreed to join the project.

    Among his teammates, who are all in their 20s, is a Southeast Asia researcher and a graduate student in Southeast Asian studies.

    The team received funding from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Our Singapore Fund, which supports projects that "promote our Singapore Spirit and shared values, such as opportunity, resilience, care, cohesion and trust, and build more socially inclusive communities".

    Mr Yeo said they are using the funding to pay for studio rental fees and recording costs. He added that the team has also applied for the ministry’s Harmony Fund, which reimburses the costs of projects that promote racial and religious harmony.

    READ ALSO
    Understanding how Singapore’s youth feel about race and religion


    SPEAKERS OF DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS

    For its first episode, heritage enthusiast turned independent researcher Sarafian Salleh shares the lesser known history of the Telok Blangah neighbourhood, such as historical records pointing to the existence of Chinese communities engaged in piracy living with the local Orang Laut.

    Speaking to TODAY, Mr Sarafian, 51, said he believes it is important for people to know that different races have existed in Singapore for years before the influx of Chinese immigrants when Sir Stamford Raffles set up the island as a port.

    Historical records of other parts of the island also suggest that Indian communities have lived here for hundreds of years before Singapore was colonised in 1819.

    “It’s a way of telling the public that Singapore’s history does not start from 1819,” said Mr Sarafian. “What I put forth is that this concept of gotong royong, or living together, has existed a long time back until the British came about and segregated us.”

    He added: “Racial harmony has existed in Singapore thousands of years ago.”

    READ ALSO
    Woman 'of Malay ethnicity' under police probe for allegedly promoting enmity between different races, after posting offensive tweets against Malays


    Mr Sarafian, an engineer by day, has spent his spare time over the past 20 years studying and discovering the history of Singapore. He often hosts heritage tours over the weekends.

    He will be leading the Looking Different/ly team’s guided walks, although details on these tours are still being worked out.

    Mr Yeo said that the tours will take people around the neighbourhoods and landmarks discussed in the podcasts.

    The next three episodes are of conversations with three residents in Singapore whose ethnicity or nationality are often questioned by people despite having lived here for a long time.

    Against a backdrop of rising anxiety towards immigrants and xenophobic acts in Singapore in recent years, the team hopes the discussions will prompt listeners to reflect on their inherent biases about nationality and race differences.

    In a future episode, the podcast team will be inviting another speaker to talk about the “hybrid” shrines in Singapore where effigies of gods and deities from different religions can be found next to each other.

    READ ALSO
    'It's a duty': Fuelled by passion, fans create websites, podcasts, Instagram content about Singapore football


    At the project’s core is the desire to add a spectrum of diverse voices to the discussions on race, beyond the frequent commentators on social media, Mr Yeo said.

    These speakers “may not have a PhD, they may not have 50,000 followers”, Mr Yeo said. “But they may have something very important or insightful to say.”
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Travel publication ranks Singapore as the world's 'most Instagrammable place' in 2022
    [​IMG]Nuria Ling/TODAY
    The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay.
    [​IMG]
    BY
    BRYAN NG
    Published January 18, 2022
    Updated January 18, 2022
    WhatsAppTelegramFacebookTwitterEmailLinkedIn
    SINGAPORE — A Britain-based travel publication called Big 7 Travel has ranked Singapore as the "most Instagrammable place" in the world in 2022.

    In its annual list of 50 Most Instagrammable Places in the World, Singapore outranked the likes of Paris, London and Tokyo to clinch top spot based on a scoring system that analysed the number of hashtags for each destination, survey results from its social audience and input from its editorial team.

    Information from Big 7 Travel's LinkedIn page showed that the publication is based in Leeds, England. It was set up in 2019 and has more than 300,000 followers on both Instagram and Twitter.

    In the article on its annual list, it said that Singapore is full of photo opportunities “from the iconic Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay to the vibrant kaleidoscope of street art through Haji Lane”.

    “Be sure to stroll the streets of Koon Seng Road known for their colourful houses and don’t forget to procure the Tan Teng Niah’s house for a truly breathtaking photo,” it added.

    In the publication's 2021 list, Singapore came in 11th, with Tokyo in top spot. In 2020, Singapore came in fifth, with Sydney in number one position.

    READ ALSO
    Singapore rises 2 spots to 11th in ranking of world’s best cities, boosted by mass transit system, port


    In the latest list for 2022, the beach resort of Boracay in the Philippines and Hawaii's third largest island, Oahu, came in second and third respectively.

    The Japanese capital Tokyo, New York City in the United States, the mountain town of Banff in Canada, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, the American city of Chicago, Portugal's capital Lisbon and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam made up the rest of the top 10 list.

    London came in 12th and Paris was ranked 15th.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Nasa buys Singapore undergrad's artwork
    Nasa buys Singapore undergrad's artwork | The Straits Times

    [​IMG]
    In return, Nasa paid Jarrod Chua $1,000 to modify one of his illustrations into a postcard format, to use in its public outreach efforts. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
    [​IMG]

    Amelia Teng
    Education Correspondent

    PUBLISHED
    4 HOURS AGO

    SINGAPORE - Mr Jarrod Chua happily indulged his hobby of drawing planet-themed comics after being issued a stay-home restriction order when he was doing his national service in June 2020.

    He then put the drawings on an Instagram page called @spaceytales.

    A life-long space enthusiast, his hobby also helped to ward off boredom.

    To Mr Chua's surprise, his Instagram account attracted about 1,000 followers in just one month and now has rocketed to more than 9,000.

    He said: "Because I like space a lot and I can do a bit of graphic design, I thought why not combine my interests and my skills...

    "So, I decided to create an account with comics for fun."

    Now, Mr Chua, 22, is over the moon that his artwork has caught the eye of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or Nasa.

    The United States space agency contacted him in July 2020 for permission to repost one of his drawings linked to Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope - a US$9 billion (S$12 billion) instrument designed to look farther into the cosmos.

    A few months later, Nasa got in touch with him again.

    This time, it asked to work with him to modify one of his illustrations into a postcard format, to use in its public outreach efforts.

    In return, Nasa paid him $1,000.

    Mr Chua said: "At first, I was quite happy and shocked, and didn't think much of it. I thought they were just going to repost my drawing and that was it.

    "Then it started to get more serious, and I was surprised that they wanted to pay me because I would have been happy if they didn't pay me as well."

    He added: "I was very happy that they saw potential in my comics."

    [​IMG]
    The agency contacted him in July 2020 for permission to repost one of his drawings linked to Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JARROD CHUA

    The first-year undergraduate in the digital communications and integrated media programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology spent about a year working on the project with Nasa's public outreach department.

    The postcard with his illustration was launched last month on Nasa's website.

    It depicts the planet Earth using a Hubble Space Telescope to peer into the universe, and getting an upgrade with the James Webb Space Telescope, which is 100 times more powerful than its predecessor.

    The latest telescope, which was sent into space last month, is meant to revolutionise astronomers' understanding of all parts of the cosmos.

    Said Mr Chua: "It's like a huge time machine for Nasa. They want to look back further in time, and find out how galaxies started in the very beginning. They want to look at the first stars that lit up the universe."

    His fascination with space began as a boy. His parents took him to the library, where he would flip through picture books about space. He moved on to astronomy-related books when he was older, and still keeps up with the latest space-related developments through online articles and podcasts.

    "I just find it fascinating how it's like the final frontier for humans. I like the mystery of it and how we haven't explored so much of space," he said.

    Mr Chua's father is a private-hire car driver and his mother works at the Defence Science and Technology Agency as an assistant executive.

    Mr Chua has been doodling planets, stars and the solar system in sketchbooks since he was a young boy.

    [​IMG]

    His flair for drawing led him to enrol in a business innovation and design diploma course at the Singapore Polytechnic, where he picked up graphic design.

    His idea of space illustrations came about when he was browsing other space-related Instagram accounts, which were quite text-heavy.

    "I thought that I could translate (content) into comics for people to be more interested in," he said. He has come up with about 100 such drawings, depicting planets having simple conversations and conveying a certain fact or theory. He takes three to four hours to complete one illustration using Adobe Illustrator.

    The feedback he got was unexpected, he said. "I received direct messages from people around the world supporting what I did, asking if I sold merchandise and if they could buy a book of my drawings.

    "Some pre-school teachers from overseas e-mailed me to say they liked my work and used it to teach their kids."

    He added: "I think it's because no other (comics creator) does this space-related stuff, and I was helped out a lot by other comic creators who gave me shout-outs on Instagram."

    He hopes to compile his drawings into a children's book and explore turning his drawings of the planets into plushies, among other merchandise such as posters and keychains.

    He is also considering getting patrons, or subscribers who would pay a small monthly sum for his content.

    Mr Chua's dream is to work for Nasa in its Washington headquarters, as part of its public outreach team.

    "For now, I just hope to create awareness and spark some interest in space content for kids," he said.
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Why do S'pore students ace IB exams all the time?
    [​IMG]
    (From left) Mr Jarett Kan and Lauren Tse from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) on Jan 7, 2021. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
    [​IMG]

    Amelia Teng
    Education Correspondent

    PUBLISHED
    JAN 10, 2021, 5:01 AM SGT

    SINGAPORE - Singapore students once again came out tops in the latest International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma results released last Monday, outshining their global peers.

    Of the 99 students worldwide who attained the perfect score of 45 points in the exam last November, more than half - 55 - were from schools in Singapore.

    Ever since it joined the two-year pre-university programme in 2005, the Republic has surpassed global standards, consistently producing more than half of the top scorers worldwide at the IB's November sitting.

    Singapore accounted for 35 of 69 perfect scorers globally in 2019's November session. The year before, the figure was 38 out of 68.

    Only a handful of local schools - Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), St Joseph's Institution (SJI), School of the Arts Singapore (Sota), Singapore Sports School - offer the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).

    Students in the international school arms of ACS, SJI and Hwa Chong also take the IB.

    The latest addition is Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah which saw its first batch of 25 students start the IBDP in 2019.

    In total, 28 institutions in Singapore including international schools like Overseas Family School offer the IB diploma.

    Why Singapore aces the IB
    One reason why local students tend to fare well in the IB is that some of the schools which offer the programme take in better students to begin with, observers said.

    National Institute of Education don Jason Tan said: "There's an entrenched culture of wanting to do well in exams in Singapore. We're talking about the more prestigious schools where, early, all of the students are already highly motivated academically.

    "That carries over whether you're in the A Levels or IB track, because you know that at the end of the programme you are gunning for university access, and students would be very focused on that."

    SJI principal Adrian Danker said students come into the IB programme with strong academic foundations, whether from the Integrated Programme or the O-level track. "It gives them a headstart and allows them to go deep into the different subjects."

    A growing enrichment industry could also be a factor in students' success in the IB.

    Tuition centre IB Super has had a 30 per cent increase in local IB students in the past four years, while another centre Mindlab International has seen a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in enrolment from local IB students in the past five years.

    Mr Matthew Lee, Mindlab's programme director, said: "Most of the students come to get coaching in exam preparation and brushing up on important topics."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    IB diploma and A levels: How the two routes differ
    Madrasah student scores high in IB despite juggling it with Islamic studies

    Another centre, Quintessential Education, said it has recorded a nearly three-fold increase in the number of local IB students in the past five years.

    Mr Sean Lim, one of its tutors, said: "We notice that local students often ask for help in the coursework component - for instance, in research methodology, application of academic theories or framing and generating arguments."

    Despite the uptick in IB tuition, IB Super's founder Bel Hwang said local schools also provide strong foundations for their students.

    She cited ACS(I)'s Integrated Programme that prepares students in the first four years for the IBDP, and a similar integrated arts and academic curriculum at Sota.

    "Our local students are generally industrious and focused on meeting the numerous deadlines in IB schoolwork. They are also grade-conscious, and always do their work with an eye on their expected grades," she added.

    Dr Yuen Wei Hao, director of studies for another tuition centre EIB Education, reiterated the point that local schools which offer IB "typically have stronger cohorts of students as compared to the national average, as well as good support from the schools both in terms of the subject teaching and how to approach subject selection".

    About 20 per cent of signups each year at his centre come from IB students at local schools.

    However, teachers said the IB curriculum does not allow for drilling, and doing well requires deep and critical thinking.

    Mr Tang Woh Un, SJI's IBDP coordinator, said: "There is no 10-year series for IB. Exam questions aren't repeated and do not encourage memory work.

    "Knowing facts without real understanding won't get you anywhere. It's more about application of concepts to get solutions."
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Mr Jarett Kan, ACS(I)'s director of affective curriculum, which covers student development and wellbeing, said: "We expose students to different types of exam questions, and they do practise. But there are so many permutations of questions, and no model answers.


    [​IMG]
    Mr Abdul Hakam Bin Nor Razak was part of the first batch of students at Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah to take up the IB route. PHOTO: MUIS

    "There's also greater emphasis on applying conceptual understanding to a variety of questions."

    Research, along with forms of assessment like oral recordings, is a key aspect of the IB coursework over two years, making up about 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the overall subject score. The final exam makes up the rest of the score.

    Teachers said the IB also gives students space to discover and pursue their interests, through research topics of their choice.

    Mr Tang said the 4,000-word extended essay component - akin to a mini thesis - gives students freedom to explore topics across boundaries and disciplines.

    Mr Kan said: "Because students get to choose their own research questions, the motivation to find the answers is strong.

    "For example, in history last year, I had students researching on the reasons for low birth rates in Singapore during the 1970s, and the reasons why the United States went to war with Iraq in 2003."

    Going beyond grades
    Singapore students may be stellar performers, but in recent years, local schools have withheld the number of their top IB scorers.

    This follows the Education Ministry's practice of not releasing such information for other national examinations, in an effort to quell the fixation on academic results.

    Father (Dr) Adrian said SJI chose the IB for its post-secondary track as its programme is in line with its Lasallian philosophy of developing character in students.

    "This Singapore obsession about perfect scores worries me, because it puts extreme pressure on students and parents," he added.

    "With all the extra components, the IB aims to nurture qualities like becoming a better person, and that's what education is about."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    Learning skills for life
    While some students said they struggled initially with the independent style of learning in the IB programme, they adapted quickly.

    SJI graduate Portia Lim, 18, said: "I felt like I was thrown into the deep end at first. I found the curriculum very challenging, and it requires you to be consistent, meeting back-to-back deadlines.

    "But I chose the IB after speaking to seniors who said it would prepare me well for university, and I didn't want to do something similar to the O levels again."

    Students and teachers said the IB's emphasis on self-directed learning and research skills is useful for university.

    Mr Kan said every subject has a research component, which mirrors the nature and work of academics.

    Students are exposed to thinking approaches across disciplines, beyond knowing subject matter, he said. "The world is so complex now, you need to have such thinking processes to solve problems."

    ACS(I) graduate Lauren Tse, 18, said: "It pushed a lot of us out of our comfort zones, when we have to come up with questions ourselves, consider different perspectives."

    For instance, in studying literature texts, students would also need to think about historical contexts and economic conditions.

    Apart from academic skills, the IB programme also allows students to learn time management.

    Singapore Sports School graduate Nicholas Rachmadi, 19, said he could spread out his coursework and exam schedule according to his sports commitments, as he took up an extended IBDP pathway.

    The triathlete spent three years instead of the usual two years on the IB route.

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    Singapore Sports School graduate Nicholas Rachmadi took up an extended IBDP pathway. PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
    Singapore Sports School assistant vice-principal (Academics) and IBDP coordinator Lim Han Yong said the longer runway allows student-athletes to take more ownership of their time and do well in both sports and studies.

    "It also instils in them independence and self-discipline."

    The IB also encourages students to think deeply beyond their studies, said educators.

    Father Adrian said: "In the two years, students grow up and find their voice in the IB... They are all passionate about something, and it's not just about knowledge and skills. Some might take a gap year to do service learning projects overseas instead of going to university straight."

    As part of IB, students need to take up creativity, activity and service projects, which are meant to be avenues for personal growth.

    To fulfil those requirements, Lauren chose to give piano lessons, picked up frisbee skills, planned and went on a trip to China to teach children.

    She intends to study liberal arts and go into policymaking in future, with the concerns of underprivileged families in mind.

    "The IB pushed us to think of communities outside school, instead of getting so caught up with our identities as students," she said.

    Additional reporting by Jolene Ang

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Singapore IB students outdo global peers
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Unable to walk a decade ago, this 77-year-old is now a medal-winning taekwondo black belter
    Struck with knee pain, she decided to take charge of her life, picking up the sport and inspiring other seniors to do the same
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    For Ms Soh, taekwondo has given her the confidence to handle any tasks that come her way. PHOTO: Wee TY

    PUBLISHED
    FEB 27, 2022, 4:00 AM SGT

    A taekwondo black belt achieved in under three years. A gold medal at a national taekwondo competition. Three double promotions, rewarded for the exceptional mastery of techniques as well as outstanding attitude, application, and attendance in the martial art.

    The most impressive part? Ms Lynn Soh was 77 years old when she achieved all of these.

    Obviously not one to be easily contented, she is currently awaiting grading for her second-degree black belt (there are a total of nine dans, or ranks in black belt). When she is not in her dobok, Ms Soh stays active by taking brisk walks, swimming, and cycling on a stationary bike.

    It’s hard to imagine Ms Soh being anything but an active person with an athletic lifestyle.

    However, she shares that when she was in her 30s, a hectic job as a senior travel executive spared her little time to spend with her family, much less exercise. Other than a bout of running she picked up in a bid to lose weight in her 40s, exercise was never a priority.

    It was not until later in her 60s, when she woke up one morning unable to stand or walk, that she realised she had to take charge of her life.

    “My world fell apart that day,” she recalls. “I thought to myself – ‘do I need a wheelchair and a caretaker?’. I was determined not to burden my daughter’s family.”

    Ms Soh was diagnosed with sciatica, or nerve pain that radiates from the lower back to either leg. In her case, it was her left knee that had given way. After two years of physiotherapy, her condition improved, but it wasn’t enough: “I was better, yet I couldn’t squat. It seemed as though my muscles were still weak.”

    A turning point
    One fateful evening while shopping at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre in 2018 would prove to be the turning point she needed. There, she chanced upon ILDO Taekwondo Academy, and while observing the students warm up for their class through the studio’s glass windows, realised that the techniques and movements employed were similar to what she had learned at her physiotherapy sessions.

    Intrigued, she did her research online, and found out that in addition to the sport, taekwondo masters were also trained in physiotherapy and chiropractice. The knowledge that she would be in safe hands gave her the confidence to register with the studio.

    “The studio wanted my orthopaedic surgeon to certify that I was ready before they agreed to let me attend a trial class, but eventually they accepted me,” she says. “The masters took special care of me, and only allowed me to attend class once a week for an hour each time.”

    Even with a controlled start, Ms Soh saw results quickly: in just four months, she realised she was able to squat. The pain she often felt in her body and legs in the mornings was gone as well, and she had no trouble climbing stairs.

    Encouraged, she took her first grading test and achieved her first double promotion. Over the next couple of years, she rose through the ranks rapidly, her progress culminating in a black belt and gold medal at the 13th National Poomsae Championships in 2019.

    “Taekwondo has taught me to be more respectful and humbler,” she says. “I feel more alert and confident that I can handle any tasks that come my way!”

    Making waves in the community
    Ms Soh’s achievements and love for the sport have not gone unnoticed.

    Much like how she was once inspired to sign up for taekwondo after spectating at ILDO Taekwondo, her presence at the studio has also spurred other seniors to do the same – so much so that the studio had to start a new class specially for seniors.

    “When the studio put up an advertisement for the Silver class, it was immediately full,” she shares. “Now, even my orthopaedic surgeon wants his son to take up taekwondo!”

    Ms Soh has come a long way since that morning she found herself unable to walk. With her experience, she hopes to inspire other seniors to view ageing as “the beginning of a new chapter”.

    “Though we age, we are still nowhere close to the end of our lives! Being old does not have to mean aches and pains – with a proper diet, exercise and good sleep, we can turn things around.”

    And it’s a good thing she has turned things around for herself too. After all, she still has a long laundry list of things she hopes to achieve soon.

    “Besides getting my third dan in taekwondo, I also want to cycle for a good cause, continue kick-boxing, learn more about jiu-jitsu and pick up rock climbing.”

    She exclaims: “I feel like I’m in my 40s again!”

    The Action Plan for Successful Ageing
    • Launched in 2015 by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) to chart the way forward for Singaporeans to age more confidently and gracefully.
    • In 2017, the MCA also launched the “I Feel Young SG” campaign to promote the Action Plan and encourage active ageing. Visit http://www.ifeelyoung.sg for more information.
    • To respond to a greater diversity of the needs of seniors of today and tomorrow, and considering the new operating environment and lessons from Covid-19, MCA is refreshing the Action Plan with the following emphases:
      • Care: We will empower seniors to take charge of their physical and mental well-being through preventive health, active ageing programmes and care services to stay healthy and pursue their aspirations.
      • Contribution: We will enable seniors to continue to contribute their knowledge and expertise and remain resilient, through an enhanced learning, volunteerism and employment landscap
      • Connectedness: We will support seniors to age-in-place within an inclusive built environment, while staying connected to their loved ones and society through digital platforms and support networks that embody the "kampung spirit".
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Largest plant-protein factory in Singapore to open within the next two years
    Remote video URL
    Gena Soh

    PUBLISHED

    MAR 17, 2022, 7:15 PM SGT

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    SINGAPORE - The humble mung bean - used in the old school dessert tau suan - will be the key ingredient in the largest plant-protein factory to come to Singapore within the next two years.

    Eat Just, the Californian start-up responsible for the alternative protein factory, said that the bean can be transformed into a protein isolate, which is a main ingredient of alternative protein products manufactured here.

    The products include bottled yolk that can be scrambled and cell-grown meat products currently being manufactured in Singapore.


    To be built on a 2.7ha plot in Pioneer, the factory will contribute thousands of tonnes of plant-based protein every year, strengthening Singapore's food security.

    The chief executive of Eat Just, Mr Josh Tetrick, said that the decision to set up the factory in Singapore came because of the Republic's reputation as a leading nation in alternative protein.

    Mr Tetrick said: "Whether because of food security, climate change, or personal health, innovative approaches to making animal protein to feed our families are necessary in the decades ahead. And Singapore has firmly established itself as the leader in attracting and accelerating these new approaches."

    The new factory will be the result of a total of US$120 million (S$162 million) investment by Eat Just and Proterra Investment Partners Asia, an investment firm focused on the food and agri-business sectors.

    At the ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday (March 17), members of the media, government officials and investors were invited to try out the Eat Just's Just Egg products, made primarily with mung bean protein and turmeric.

    The Straits Times tasted the egg fold made with mung protein and found it almost indistinguishable from real egg and similar in consistency to tamago in Japanese sushi.

    [​IMG]
    A chef demonstrating how to prepare bottled liquid plant-based egg during the ground-breaking ceremony on March 17, 2022. ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH
    Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, who was at the event as the guest of honour, said that the eggs tasted like the eggs she eats on a daily basis.

    She also added that this factory would contribute to Singapore's goal of developing supply chain resilience of essential goods.

    Ms Low said: "This will be a big boost to our local production thrust, which will complement our stockpiling and also our diversified import strategy."

    Singapore has set the target of producing 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030 and has invested substantially into multiple agri-food fronts to achieve it.

    [​IMG]
    Eat Just Asia CEO Saurabh Bajaj (left) and Minister of State Low Yen Ling at the ceremony in Pioneer View, on March 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
    In 2021, the Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund worth $60 million was introduced to boost local agricultural production through technology.

    Singapore's investment company Temasek also introduced the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform, a firm to drive the adoption of sustainable food and build an ecosystem for food tech across Asia through investment, last year.

    Singapore is also at the forefront of alternative protein legalisation, being the first country in the world to authorise the manufacture and sale of cell-grown protein products.

    [​IMG]
    Preparation of bottled liquid plant-based egg. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
    Such efforts have allowed Singapore to garner $11.8 billion of investment last year, with projects expected to generate $16.8 billion in value-added a year when fully implemented.

    The high-tech agriculture sector in Singapore is also expected to create about 4,700 jobs by 2030.

    Such jobs have already been created for Eat Just's yet-to-be-built factory, with locally hired engineers being involved in its construction, said Mr Saurabh Bajaj, the chief executive of Eat Just, Asia.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Lawrence Wong clear choice to helm PAP's 4G leadership, with 15 of 19 stakeholders backing him

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Warren Fernandez
    Editor-in-Chief

    PUBLISHED
    5 HOURS AGO

    SINGAPORE - The choice of Mr Lawrence Wong to helm the People's Action Party's fourth-generation (4G) leadership was made by an "overwhelming majority" of those involved, and this was subsequently endorsed by its top leaders and all its MPs.

    This process of forging a consensus on who should lead the party, and Singapore, should the PAP win the next general election, was undertaken in a systematic and thorough way, to allow for candour, introspection and objectivity, and to help forge unity and support for the outcome.

    Mr Wong, 49, emerged as the top choice of 15 out of the 19 stakeholders involved.

    The 19 were all the Cabinet ministers, excluding Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the two senior ministers, and included Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, both former 4G ministers.

    Each of the 19 was interviewed separately by former PAP chairman Khaw Boon Wan over the past month after the Budget debate in March. They were asked for their preferred choice - other than themselves - and had to rank potential candidates in order of their preference.

    None of the other names garnered more than two votes, said Mr Khaw, indicating a clear majority of 79 per cent for Mr Wong.

    This was more than a super-majority, he added.

    Details of the vote were disclosed at a media conference held at the Istana on Saturday morning (April 16). It was chaired by PM Lee and attended by Mr Wong and Mr Khaw, to elaborate on Thursday's announcement of the party's choice of its next leader.

    PM Lee said this was a major step forward in the political succession process, which he felt could not be delayed much further, as the uncertainty was not good for the country, given the many challenges ahead.

    Now that the 4G choice was made, he would discuss with Mr Wong the timeline and next steps, with a view to handing over when Mr Wong and the 4G team are ready. This process would be done "carefully and deliberately", he said.

    He would discuss with Mr Wong and decide later what was the best strategy for the PAP to contest the next election, which is due by November 2025.

    This might include handing over to Mr Wong and his team ahead of the polls to allow them to contest and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate. Alternatively, PM Lee could lead the PAP team to fight the election, and if the PAP wins, Mr Wong would step up as PM some time thereafter.

    "It will depend on how things evolve, it's something which we'll decide later on. But either way, our plan is for Lawrence to be the next PM, if the PAP wins the next GE. That has been settled.

    "And the reaction from the public over the last two days shows that many people are happy we have taken this decision, and are happy with the decision."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    This process of forging a consensus around the next leader was important, he added, since as first among equals in the Cabinet, the PM must have the support of his ministers, who bear collective responsibility for their decisions.

    "Otherwise, the Government cannot function," said PM Lee, adding that the process was to pick the 4G leader, not his deputy or a 5G leader. It would be up to Mr Wong to pick his choice of deputy and his team later.

    "To be effective as a PM, he must be able to trust and rely on his ministers, and his ministers must also be team players, supporting the PM, their PM, and supporting the team. And they all have to help the team to score goals collectively for Singapore."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    What we know - and still don't know - about S'pore's political succession
    Whether Lawrence Wong will lead PAP in next GE to be decided later: PM Lee

    For his part, in his first public outing since Thursday's announcement, Mr Wong said that he would work hard, together with his colleagues, to continue to win and earn the trust of Singaporeans.

    He noted 4G leaders had already taken a “first step” in a multi-year plan to renew and strengthen society’s social compact in this year’s Budget, and would comprehensively review policies to see what more could be adjusted and improved.

    “So, this would be a major agenda for the 4G team,” he said. “But beyond that, we will as a team continue to work hard to win the trust and support of every Singaporean, to create bonds and connect with them, and to develop new ideas that will resonate with Singaporeans, and especially with a new generation of Singaporeans."

    He added: "I fully recognise the growing diversity of experiences and perspectives amongst Singaporeans, and I would like every Singaporean to know and feel that they will always have a stake in our society, even as we chart our new way forward together.

    "And as leader of the team, that will be the approach, the attitude and the spirit I will adopt."

    Acknowledging that he had his work cut out for him as he embarked on "possibly the biggest responsibility of my life", he added that he was "under no illusions about the demands of the job".

    "It will get more challenging with greater political contestation and the growing desire for diversity in Parliament.

    "And as PM said in Parliament recently, we do not assume that the PAP will win the next general election. Every GE from now on will be about which party will form the Government, not just how many seats the opposition wins or what percentage of the votes the ruling party gets.

    "Knowing full well that we will have to earn the right of leadership, I will continue with the same principles that have guided me all these years, which is to give of my best, to engage and listen, and to learn and improve continually."

    Read the full transcript here and watch the full video below:

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    'Leadership is never about one person': Lawrence Wong on challenges ahead
    3 weeks, 19 interviewed: How PAP's 4G leader was picked
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Lawrence Wong to lead PAP's 4G team: 8 things to know about him

    [​IMG]
    Finance Minister Lawrence Wong with his parents, in a photo posted on his Facebook page in 2015. PHOTO: LAWRENCE WONG/FACEBOOK
    [​IMG]

    Justin Ong
    Political Correspondent

    PUBLISHED
    APR 14, 2022, 10:43 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was on Thursday (April 14) endorsed as the leader of the ruling People's Action Party's fourth-generation (4G) team, concluding months of speculation over the identity of Singapore's next prime minister.

    Here are eight things to know about the 49-year-old, who is now heir apparent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

    1. Marine Parade boy…
    Mr Wong grew up in what he has described as an "ordinary family" in the Marine Parade Housing Board estate.

    His father, who died in August last year at age 86, was born in China's Hainan Island and left for Ipoh in Malaysia as a young boy. After completing his secondary education, the elder Mr Wong moved to Singapore to work in sales for Sime Darby.

    It was also here where he married Mr Wong's mother, now 82 years old.

    She started work at the age of nine - helping to wash neighbours' clothes and look after their babies - while pestering her initially reluctant parents to let her go to school, against the gender bias of the time. She eventually became a teacher and taught for 40 years.

    Mr Wong also has a brother, older by two years, who is an aerospace engineer at DSO Laboratories.


    2. … and neighbourhood schoolboy
    Mr Wong attended a PAP Community Foundation (PCF) kindergarten in Marine Parade before going to Haig Boys' Primary, where his mother taught.

    He remembers her as being a disciplinarian both in school and at home, and how that gave him "a strong sense of responsibility". It also ingrained in him the ethos of making sure he does something well once he commits to it.

    In school, Mr Wong was more bookish than sporty. He would hang out at the old Marine Parade library to borrow science fiction books and guitar tomes.

    After Haig Boys', he went to Tanjong Katong Secondary Technical School. Mr Wong has spoken of people asking him why he did not go to an "elite" school such as Raffles Institution instead.

    He said it was only natural to continue his education in a school near home, where all his friends were and where he ultimately enjoyed himself.

    Mr Wong went on to Victoria Junior College, where he got a government scholarship to study in the United States. He obtained bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and also has a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    3. Becoming PPS to PM Lee
    After he returned to Singapore, Mr Wong was posted to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and did economic modelling.

    He then rose through the ranks in the finance and health ministries. As director of healthcare finance at the Ministry of Health, he implemented reforms to MediShield to provide Singaporeans with better protection against large hospital bills.

    Mr Wong then became principal private secretary (PPS) to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2005.

    Three years later, he was appointed chief executive of the Energy Market Authority. After a 14-year career in the public service, he left to contest the 2011 General Election and was elected as an MP for West Coast GRC. He is currently an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

    [​IMG]

    4. Reputation as policy wonk

    Early in Mr Wong's career, he rebuffed offers from the private sector, and stayed on in the Government, which he felt allowed him to do different projects and shape schemes that could help Singaporeans.

    He said he found it meaningful going down to the ground to explain policies - which could be why he has garnered a reputation for being a policy wonk, or someone with a particularly keen interest in the finer details of policy.

    When pressed on the label in an interview with The Sunday Times in 2020, he said: "It's partly what I was brought up with… That when you do anything, you have to put everything into it, you have to really want to excel."

    He added: "Whatever you do on a day-to-day basis, if you do it well, if you take responsibility, that in itself is a testimony of how you as a person are an example, you know, a light for the world."
     

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