Singapore Also Can

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

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Yes indeed, the UM I knew then was very much on par with SU (University of Singapore). UM of old had its medical campus in Singapore and many of the top students came from all over then Malaya and Singapore. Some of these old student ties are still maintained through annual dinners and the occasional get-togethers. English was the medium of instruction.

    During my undergraduate days our top badminton players came from Penang and SU became champion in badminton during our Biennual Inter-Varsity Games, beating teams from Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong.

    Although Singapore parted company with UM, about 25 years ago this special relationship was renewed through what is now known as the annual PAUM-NUSS (National University of Singapore Society) Games. I have reported on these games here. This year's event will be special since we are celebrating our 25 years' anniversary. Unlike before when the games were held alternately in KL and Spore, this year we'll meet halfway in Malacca. :D
     
  2. koo_fan

    koo_fan Regular Member

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    Trying not to be that katak. trying hard. :p

    If you were asking me, i am not worried for their english. They, actually do not want to speak Bahasa anymore! Level of english? Some are doing good, some are not. Still, they say yes to english.
    We don't do shakespeare here. i am not worried if i said "mooter" with or without the "t" ( british accent, i mean).

    My view is - they were rejected from the market not priorly due to poor english, but lack of self-esteem, and other human resource skills. Which i have to say in this particular Singapore thread, is our education system's biggest failure.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Steady steps towards the dream prize

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Feb 17, 2010

    Yin's on track for an Olympic breakthrough, but she wants to avoid the fuss right now

    by Tan Yo-Hinn

    SINGAPORE - It was the greatest achievement of her young sailing career, when she won the girls' Laser Radial class at the Volvo ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships last July, yet Elizabeth Yin (picture) wore a pained look when she stood on the winners' rostrum.

    It was not because she was in the Brazilian coastal town of Armacao de Buzios, thousands of kilometres away from home.

    The 18-year-old simply hates the idea of being in the spotlight.

    "I am quite comfortable with it (the pressure), but the worst part is doing interviews," she said last Friday, minutes after receiving her accolade as the Today Sportsperson of the Year 2009 at Caldecott Broadcast Centre.

    "I remember in Brazil I was also trying not to trip or fall (during the prize ceremony), or drop the prize on stage!"

    Mum Ang Poh Li quipped: "She hates prize-giving ceremonies. She looks the saddest.

    "Sometimes, she doesn't know where to face. She prefers the competition and process of winning, not so much this which, is the nerve-wracking part for her!"

    Yin's win last year was her third world title in as many sailing classes, having also bagged the 2006 Byte and 2008 Laser 4.7 world crowns.

    She also secured Singapore a spot in the Laser Radial event for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, although the slot eventually went to team-mate, Lo Man Yi.

    Winning last year's Volvo championship - the most important youth sailing event - confirmed the teenager's potential.

    Since 1971, 27 sailors who medalled at the meet have gone on to clinch 45 Olympic medals.

    Yin, who left on Sunday for Sydney, is one of SingaporeSailing's hottest rising stars, and her goal is to win an Olympic medal.

    A far cry from her initial foray in the sport. "The first time I sailed (in an Optimist boat), the waves looked really big," she laughed.

    Off the water, she swims and plays badminton with her 15-year-old brother Joel, also a sailor. She loves Marvel Comics, in particular the X-Men series, where Gambit is her favourite character.

    She cannot get enough of her grandmother's chicken stew, and prefers fuss-free jeans and trainers.

    While champion athletes are known for their discipline, Yin admits she isn't the most organised person.

    She is awaiting her "A" level results, but has already decided to pursue further studies at the University of Sydney.

    At the time of this interview, her father Max was already there sorting out her accommodation.

    The former St Hilda's Primary (she was in the gifted programme from Primary 4-6), Nanyang Girls' School and Victoria Junior College student said: "I'm leaving in two days, but still haven't packed anything yet."

    Mdm Ang added: "She's like me, a last-minute person."

    Her daughter does not pay much attention to the fuss around her and struggles for an answer when asked what makes her tick.

    But mother knows best, as they say.

    Proudly describing her eldest child, Mdm Ang said: "She's a quick decision-maker. She is spontaneous, not wishy-washy. She expects certain things, but isn't fussy about how she gets there."

    In Sydney, Yin will pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, and she hopes to major in Geology.

    While there, she will enjoy greater flexibility juggling her academic and sporting pursuits. She will train on a regular basis with SingaporeSailing's Australia-based national laser coach Brett Beyer.

    Yin is convinced she can become an Olympic medallist. "I didn't feel I was ready for the (2008) Olympics," she said.

    "I'd just started sailing the Laser, and had my 'O' levels before that. I felt I didn't have enough training or experience. I was very erratic.

    " ... (But since then), I've done quite well without a lot of training," she insisted. "I still have a lot to improve on, especially my boat speed and tactics.

    "If I improve in these areas, I can do a lot better."

    London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 are potentially two big dates for her.

    An Olympic triumph in Brazil will cement her love affair with the country, but she knows there are so many pitfalls that could derail her dream.

    But Yin has the talent, and all she can do is ensure she gives it her all.

    One thing's for sure, there will be no pained expression if she realises her dream, either at the London Games or Rio Olympics. "For an Olympic medal, I'll gladly do all the interviews," she vowed, laughing.
     

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  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    SEA Games swimming team the biggest winner at Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme

    Channel NewsAsia
    17 February 2010 2005 hrs

    By Mustafa Shafawi, 938LIVE

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's SEA Games swimming team emerged the biggest winners for their strong performance at the regional competition in Vientiane last December.

    The 14 gold medallists from the team received a total of S$200,000 under Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme or MAP on Wednesday evening.

    Apart from the gold medals, the swimmers who set 12 new SEA Games records were also rewarded for their efforts.

    This is the first time that athletes are being rewarded for breaking the SEA Games records.

    Swimmers, Quah Ting Wen and Tao Li walked away with the biggest red packets.

    They each received S$40,000 for their record-breaking performances in the individual and team events.

    The shooting and table tennis teams also walked away with handsome rewards.

    The table tennis team received S$80,000 and the shooters walked away with S$75,000.

    Altogether, S$455,000 was given out under MAP.

    The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who's also President of the Singapore National Olympic Council.

    He later handed out appreciation plaques to sponsors and supporters of Team Singapore.

    The SEA Games contingent returned with an impressive medal haul of 98 medals despite being the smallest contingent sent by Singapore for the games.

    Quah Ting Wen
     

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  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Limited land area means more underground and underwater cities: experts

    Channel NewsAsia
    17 February 2010 2159 hrs

    By Claire Huang, 938LIVE

    SINGAPORE: Experts said they won't be surprised if the government introduces changes to land zoning policies as well as measures in the upcoming Budget that will enable the use of subterranean space.

    Earlier this month, the Economic Strategies Committee recommended that Singapore explore the option of building underground cities.

    With a rapidly growing population, Singapore's 700 square kilometre land area isn't enough.

    So experts said digging down, like the underground networks in Japan and Canada is the way to go.

    Associate Professor Chu Jian, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, said: "At the moment, we're only using the top shallow depths. In fact we can go deeper. How much deeper? Well, it'll depends on the geological formation. Sometimes it can be just a few metres, sometimes it can be up to 100 metres."

    In fact, Singaporeans can even look forward to underwater cities if Dr Chu's research pans out.

    Associate Professor Chu Jian added: "Approach number one is we use concrete structures to build underwater infrastructures like underwater shopping centres, underwater factories or underwater storage space and at the same time, we create land on top, without using much materials. This method is recommended for reclamation in deep water.

    "Using concrete structures to build very strong seawalls, to block the water and then to create space behind. In fact, this idea is not new. An underwater city in Bulgaria has been created."

    And underground cities are not expensive, if done on a large scale.

    Associate Professor Chu Jian explained: "If we go to a larger extent to develop underground space, then the overall cost will be cheaper. Same goes for land reclamation in the past. So if you have a larger scale constructions and more international construction firms are willing to bring in more advanced machines and technologies because it's more cost effective, then it will further reduce construction costs."

    Currently, Singapore has three such underground networks at Raffles Place, CityLink Mall and linkways at Orchard Road.

    The government is also in the process of implementing the Jurong Rock Cavern for oil and gas storage at Jurong Island.

    But such measures can get tricky.

    Associate Professor Chu Jian added: "For shallow construction, it's actually controlled by the buildings above the ground. For example, you already have Raffles City above the ground.

    “If you want to do deep excavation below, it may not be feasible. For deep excavations, in terms of creation of caverns, it is controlled by geological formation. So you will need good quality rocks for you to do that."

    The Economic Strategies Committee also released recommendations to transform the existing Keppel and Pulau Brani area into the Tanjong Pagar Waterfront city, once its lease expires in 2027.

    And experts said because of years of container work there, the foundation is strong for such a change to take place.

    Motorists travel over the bridge against the view of Singapore skyline.
     

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  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    M'sians top foreign buyers of private property

    The Straits Times
    Feb 18, 2010

    They accounted for 27% of deals by non-S'poreans

    By Harsha Jethnani

    MALAYSIANS are snapping up more private homes in Singapore than any other nationality, according to a new report.

    DTZ Debenham Tie Leung found that last year, they accounted for 27 per cent of total transactions by non-Singaporeans, who include foreigners and Singapore permanent residents (PRs).

    This is the second year in a row that Malaysians have emerged as the most active non-Singaporean purchasers in this type of study, which is based on Urban Redevelopment Authority data and uses caveats lodged as a proxy for sales transactions.

    Indonesians were behind 19 per cent of transactions last year, the lowest proportion since 1995, when caveat data became available.

    In all four quarters of last year, Malaysian buyers came out tops - a turnaround from the period between 2004 and 2007 when this position was held by Indonesians. And in the final three months of last year, Malaysians were responsible for 25 per cent of transactions by non-Singaporeans, significantly higher than the 17 per cent that went to Indonesians. The two groups of buyers were on an equal footing during the same quarter in 2008.

    Mr Joseph Tan, executive director for residential at CB Richard Ellis, said geographical proximity and cultural similarities were key reasons for the interest shown in Singapore by its nearest neighbours.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Midnight shopping trend

    The Straits Times
    Feb 18, 2010

    24-hour stores sprouting up in the last few years to meet demand

    By Jessica Lim

    SINGAPOREANS are staying out later and later, for work and play, and are getting their grocery shopping done in the wee hours as a result.

    Now, supermarkets are rushing to cater to this trend. Once a curiosity here, 24-hour grocery stores are now opening at a steady clip.

    Singapore's largest supermarket chain, FairPrice, now has 19 24-hour outlets. In 2008, it had just one, in Jurong.

    Shop N Save, which first dipped its toes into the round-the-clock pond in mid-2005, now has 25 such outlets. Cold Storage has three.

    Shoppers at a 24-hour Shop N Save supermarket in Toa Payoh Central around midnight recently. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
     

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  8. Pemuda

    Pemuda Regular Member

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    If you say we should not be worried about the level of our English in general, I am sorry then we are indeed that katak under the coconut shell. If you have Astro, switch to the Chinese channels and watch their English news. You should be able to tell the difference and progress made by others.

    We can be ignorant. We can continue to ignore facts and live in our own little fantasy world, while others surge ahead. But while we go round consoling ourselves by saying 'we dont do Shakespeare in Malaysia' or speak with some foreign accent, we cannot deny the facts that our local graduates (especially malays) are unwanted in the job market and our level of English is poor.

    Yes, we can blame it on the lack of self esteem and skills but the onus is on us. We have been told and trained to survive on a handicap system. We need the subsidies, handouts, free-rides etc etc. Its like we are incapable to stand on our own. While Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam etc are surging ahead, we (yes, us) think that everything in this land has a proprietary right attached to it. We have also been taught to differentiate fellow humans based on the colours of the skin. And the faith that we bear. And the language that we speak. And we now believe that only us and us alone are right. Everybody else is wrong. And we also now believe that only us and us alone matter. Everything else does not.

    Today, we are lucky, we can have maids from Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam. Dont be surprise one day (it may come soon) that we will have to send our Malaysian maids to these countries instead. Dont be surprise if one day we wake up and find our bosses are Singaporeans.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    English does help us to communicate more effectively with many business people and friends around the world since it is the most widely used language. It is a valuable asset.

    However, there are many Asian countries whose mother tongue is not English yet they are also doing well. Japan is the most prominent example, so are South Korea and Taiwan.

    Singapore is used to working under foreign bosses as we have long been a country for multinational companies. The latest addition is none other than Malaysia's Genting's Resorts World Sentosa. We learn from them and are thankful that they can provide jobs for our people and other nationals.

    Of course you're right that if our womenfolk has to find jobs as maids in a foreign country in order to survive, then something is not quite right. Not that working as maids for an honest pay is wrong, but to see some of them with good qualifications being forced to do unsuitable work which pays little is painful. I hope our womenfolk will be able to continue to work at home and our government and business leaders can continue to provide jobs and other opportunities for them.

    Yet, Singapore has to expand overseas and create its own MNCs if we want to have greater progress and prosperity. And in so doing, our young men and women will have to venture overseas and work under foreign bosses too.

    However, having foreign bosses is quite different from being ruled and dominated by another country. If one is resourceful, one can change jobs and work for a more amenable organisation.;)
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    S'pore ups 2010 growth

    The Straits Times
    Feb 19, 2010

    SINGAPORE'S economy, which contracted 2 per cent last year, is expected to grow at 4.5 to 6.5 per cent this year, adding to evidence of a sustained regional recovery.

    The Ministry of Trade and Industry gave the revised GDP growth forecast in a statement on Friday morning. The earlier prediction was for the economy to grow 3 to 5 per cent in 2010.

    The economy expanded by 4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009, from a year ago, after growing by 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter. On a seasonally adjusted quarterly annualised basis, Singapore's GDP contracted by 2.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, said MTI.

    The services sector grew by 6.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared to 8.2 per cent growth in the third quarter. The trade- and tourism-related sectors posted the strongest gains compared to the previous quarter. The financial sector, however, contracted from the previous quarter, in part due to declines in the fund management and stockbroking segments.

    The manufacturing sector contracted by 29 per cent in Q4, reversing from the 25.6 per cent expansion in the third quarter. This decline was mainly due to a contraction in the output of the biomedical manufacturing and transport engineering clusters. Growth in the electronics and chemicals clusters strengthened on the back of continued recovery in global trade.

    On the outlook for 2010, MTI said Asia is expected to experience a strong recovery this year. But the recovery in the G3 economies, is expected to be weaker, largely supported by fiscal stimulus measures and inventory accumulation in the first half of the year.

    'The outlook for the second half of the year remains uncertain. Private final demand in the G3 may remain weak, as there are still few indications that non-policy induced private demand is gaining strength,' it noted.

    'The Ministry of Trade and Industry expects the Singapore economy to grow by 4.5 to 6.5 per cent in 2010. This upgrade from the earlier 3 to 5 per cent forecast largely reflects increased strength in the near term growth momentum.'


    The economy expanded by 4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009, from a year ago, after growing by 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter. -- ST PHOTO: MALCOLM MCLEOD
     

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  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Sports sponsorship doubles

    The Straits Times
    Feb 19, 2010

    More firms find sports a strong platform to market their brand here

    By Terrence Voon

    AT THE height of the economic gloom in 2008, sports was a big winner.

    According to latest figures from the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), the number of companies which sponsored local sports events doubled that year, compared to 2006.

    Using 10 top local sports events as a benchmark, the SSC said 53 sponsors came forward in the 2008 financial year. There were 45 companies which backed these events in 2007, compared to just 26 in 2006.

    Cash figures were not available, as some of the sponsorship was contributed in kind or disbursed over several years.

    But the latest data - derived from marquee events like the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament and the Osim Singapore Triathlon - indicate the growing commercial appeal of sports here.

    'We've seen an increase in both cash and kind sponsorship over the last few years,' said David Voth, a senior director with the SSC's Sports Marketing Group.
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Most happy with HDB flats

    The Straits Times
    Feb 19, 2010

    By Jessica Cheam

    DESPITE the occasional grouse, the overwhelming majority of public housing residents are happy with their flats and think they are good value for money, according to the Housing Board (HDB).

    Its 2008 survey of 8,000 households shows that 96.4 per cent were satisfied with their flats, and 95.1 per cent, with their neighbourhoods.

    High satisfaction levels were seen across flat types, age groups, ethnicities, educational qualifications and household income, said the HDB, which did its five-yearly survey via face-to-face interviews and online polls.

    What residents most liked about their homes were their location, transport facilities and estate amenities. Cleanliness, maintenance and noise topped their list of grouses.

    Just over 80 per cent were proud of their flats, thanks largely to their ability to own a home.

    Close to nine in 10, or 86 per cent, said their flats were worth the money, thanks to capital appreciation, location, nearby facilities and affordability.


    Despite the occasional grouse, the overwhelming majority of public housing residents are happy with their flats and think they are good value for money, according to the Housing Board (HDB). -- ST PHOTO: FRANCIS ONG PG
     

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  13. Pemuda

    Pemuda Regular Member

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    Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and even EC nations such as Belgium, Germany, France etc all have done well despite English not their 1st language. It is the education system actually. If you have the right foundation, the rest will take care of itself.

    Malaysia on the other hand, lets just say we are still in the dark. Our standards have dropped ... drastically. For example, my uncle was a top student and he was offered a place in UM to do engineering decades ago. Back in those days, if you are offered a place in UM, it means you are a pretty smart cookie. Today, I had a friend who went to UM 5 years ago based on just 'above average' results. He too did his engineering degree there. And today, he is working for some government agency. If you put my friend and uncle in the same room today, within a minute you can tell the difference.

    Its not only our universities, we have big problems in our primary and secondary schools too. Look at the quality of teachers there, it is very poor and substandard. It is no wonder why chinese schools are filled to the brim today than say a few decades ago. I have many chinese friends who studied at government schools and today as parents, they opt to send their children to chinese schools instead, despite they themselves not being able to read and write in chinese. Many have lost faith in our government school system. The teachers are poor, the facilities are substandard.

    Malaysia has to be careful. Unlike Singapore, we are blessed with natural resources. Other than natural resources, we also have people as our primary assets. But sadly, we have been wasting both away shamelessly. Many of our bright minds are now working in Singapore, UK, Australia, NZ, England, US, Canada etc.

    With a wishy washy education system, thousands of bright minds migrated abroad ... imagine what can happen when our natural resources runs out? As we stay under the comfort of our coconut shell, beat the minorities into submission and talk about our race supremacy while others have gone to the moon and back. Believe me the day will come when we really find ourselves being servants in our own land.

    Its 2010, we are still taking about subsidies, freebies etc. We still need our crutches to compete. I wont be surprise if say in 20 years or so, Malaysian maids will be a common thing. And we may have to kow tow to Singapore or even Vietnam.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Talking about education, Singapore has come a long way.

    Our teachers used to be paid relatively poorly like other government servants, particularly nurses and the police. But now, teachers are relatively well paid and so is the remuneration for the civil servants in general.

    As a result, this has attracted more qualified people into education. Not only this, the government has made education one of the most important priorities since brainpower is the only natural resource available to Singapore. So improvements in education, both the hardware and software, have been a work-in-process since a long time ago.

    Many changes in both content and methodology have taken place with the primary aim of improving standards and taking tertiary education to a higher plane. I have posted quite a bit of the changes taking place in our schools, ITEs, junior colleges, polytechnics and universities. Of particular importance to Singapore are the researches and innovations that undergraduates and graduates can produce to attract international interest. So the necessity to tie up with world-renowned institutions to help us attain their standards.

    In this regard, I agree with you that quality education is so very important to ensure success in all spheres. And this is where the government has to play a very important part. D
     
  15. Pemuda

    Pemuda Regular Member

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    Yes, we must pay our teachers competitively because if we pay our teachers peanuts, we will have a bunch of chimpanzees teaching our kids.

    Anyway, in Malaysia's case, maybe it is the intention of the powers that be to keep education standards low because if the people are ignorant it is easier for these elites to continue to stay in power and milk the gravy train. If I am in power today, I would be happy to see the bright minds pack up and leave the country. Makes my job easier to plunder.
     
  16. koo_fan

    koo_fan Regular Member

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    ..but, I think there should be limitation in that. or else, what the education system teaches is

    1) What's there in the textbook ( implied from them )
    2) What the teachers think ( must be in accordance with what government is thinking, too)
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    What I meant is that the government, presumably having the most resources, should take the lead in upgrading the hardware and software to bring them up to international standards if possible.

    It means the school buildings must be upgraded, computers be available for teaching and learning purposes, the administration must be able to keep up with the pace, etc, so as to provide a more productive and conducive environment for the students, teachers and support staff.

    It means the government needs to attract capable, as well as experienced, people into the education service and allow these teachers and educationists to improve current syllabuses, content, methods of teaching, etc. Textbooks, or parts of them, may have to be changed and unless the teacher's ideas seriously clash with government policies, they should be accepted if it is generally considered that improvement can be made.

    Apart from learning from textbooks, other avenues like excursions, project work, overseas trips, etc, can be introduced to make the learning experience more enjoyable.

    It means teachers must be sent for upgrading courses and educationists to foreign countries noted to take education seriously and which provide quality education to their kids as well as their adults. And foreign education specialists be invited to give their views and assessments and how things can be improved further in keeping with global developments.

    This will take time, but a start has to be made and changes for the better may have to be made along the way to fine-tune things. But the investment in our children's and citizens' future through education and training will bring about improvement in our country's future.
     
    #1237 Loh, Feb 19, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  18. overmars

    overmars Regular Member

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    Pemuda, I agree with you! The level of education in Msia is, urgh. You know what I mean. I did my SPM in a SMK also. Luckily my parents made sure that I spoke English at home or else I think my English would be crap. I remember my parents buying English and Maths textbooks from Singapore for me to do in Msia. HUGE difference in the standards.

    Now that I am married and living in Singapore (have been living here for 11 years), when I have kids, I think I'm gonna send them to a Singapore school. Not that I am not patriotic, but, I think between SRK and a Singapore primary school, gotta go with the Republic. For the kid's future...
     
  19. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    hmm..

    i'm just thinking and wondering here:
    with all the great ideas on how govt. should be the "backbone" of a country's education system, how or what is the level of corruption (legal or illegal) in both S'pore and M'sian governments? their priorities in using the tax payers' money? perhaps that's the underlying factor/difference in the education system between both countries?
    Maybe that's what Pemuda is trying to "softly" point to, all along?:confused:
     
  20. kish-mah-ash

    kish-mah-ash Regular Member

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    i read somewhere da word singa means lion, isn' it?
    so when i prounounce singapore, it sounded like singa poor (or if reverse, a poor lion).
     

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