21 Sep

Readabee – Singapore

1. Is the Death Penalty for Drug Trafficking Justified?

Death Penalty – Singapore | Kent Ridge Common | February 14th, 2011
The mandatory death sentence it imposes upon anyone found with a specified amount of drugs is considered overly harsh and unjust by many. Yong Vui Kong, a 22-year old Malaysian, is just the latest (impending) recipient of this punishment. In light of all the recent furore that his sentence has generated at least in the Singaporean blogosphere, many may wonder what the basis of the government’s stance on the death penalty for drug trafficking is. Let me therefore chart out the potential argument that the government may make in defence of its stance, and the problems I think it faces at each stage of it. (1900 words)

2. On Death Row in Singapore

Death Penalty – Singapore | Slate | November 4th, 2015
For more foreign correspondence mixed with food, war, travel, and photography, visit their online magazine or follow @roadskingdoms on Twitter. Update, Nov. 5, 2015: Kho Jabing’s execution, scheduled for Friday, has been stayed pending a hearing of a last-minute criminal motion. We will update with further developments. It was from Kho Jumai, a short but heart-breaking note, sent over WhatsApp: “My brother this Friday die.”Jumai’s brother is a 31-year-old Malaysian man named Kho Jabing. For the past week I and other anti–death penalty activists have been in constant contact with Jumai, booking her and her mother flights to Singapore, picking them up at the airport, meeting in the evenings for updates, and thinking of ways to get her brother off death row. (1800 words)

3. Singapore completes review of mandatory death penalty

Death Penalty – Singapore | Channel News Asia | July 9th, 2012
On Monday, Parliament was given an update of the review in relation to laws related to drug offences and certain types of homicides. In a ministerial statement in the House, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said that all executions that have come due since the review started in July 2011, have been deferred. And he explained that the review reaffirmed the relevance of the death penalty for all the offences to which it currently applied. Mr Teo said: “The death penalty has been an important part of our criminal justice system for a very long time, similar to the position in a number of other countries. (1400 words)

4. Singapore is still out of step on death penalty policy

Death Penalty – Singapore | The Guardian | May 18th, 2010
The case was brought by a young messenger named Yong Vui Kong who was arrested for carrying 47 grams of heroin into Singapore when he was just 19 years old. Though he claims to have been ignorant of the contents of the package that he was hired to deliver from Malaysia, the decision makes it probable that he will die for his “crime”. On its own, this case is cause for despair. The state-sanctioned killing of a poor, vulnerable young man should attract outrage from all quarters. However, the decision is also disheartening to abolitionists of capital punishment who had started to believe there was a progressive moderation occurring in Singapore’s application of the death penalty. (600 words)

5. Singapore retreats from mandatory death penalty by an inch

Death Penalty – Singapore | Yawning Bread | July 16th, 2012
He then made a special point to assure people that “we will maintain the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers, in most circumstances.”In other words, he was declaring that Singapore was merely tweaking the system at its edges; there’s no big change. Perhaps he was eager to avoid giving the impression that this strong-willed government was (gasp!) going soft and becoming susceptible to public opinion and international pressure. Maybe he’s right. Maybe the whole thing is intended more as a public relations exercise, and the conveyor belt to the trapdoor will resume shortly. (1400 words)

6. The death penalty in Singapore: What discretionary regime?

Death Penalty – Singapore | Spuddings | October 19th, 2016
I have not heard back from The Straits Times, nor seen my letter published, so I am self-publishing it here.NOTE: I am a member of We Believe in Second Chances, a group founded in 2010 to advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty in Singapore.Following Minister Vivian Balakrishnan’s speech on the death penalty at the United Nations, Dr Eugene K.B. Tan outlined the evolution in Singapore from a mandatory death penalty regime to a discretionary one (“Maintaining the legitimacy of capital punishment in Singapore” by Eugene K.B. (500 words)

7. TODAY Online – Significant support for death penalty: Reach poll

Death Penalty – Singapore | Singapore Government | October 7th, 2016
And 80 per cent of the respondents felt that the death penalty should be retained, while 82 per cent agreed that it was an important deterrent that helped keep Singapore safe from serious crimes. The survey was conducted in June, a month after a last-ditch attempt by lawyers to save convicted murderer Kho Jabing from the gallows. A sample of 1,160 randomly-selected Singapore residents aged 15 and above were surveyed over the phone. The poll found that 80 per cent of the respondents felt that the death penalty should be retained, while 10 per cent said it should be abolished. (600 words)

8. Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

GP – Singapore | The Economist | July 6th, 2017
The young Singaporean is showing visitors around his new apartment, a three-bedroom flat in one of the city-state’s many high-rise blocks. Eugene says he and his new wife can’t wait to start filling the space with babies. He even sounds excited that his in-laws are coming to stay.If Eugene sounds too good to be true, that’s because he’s a hologram, trapped behind glass at a self-aggrandising museum in the bowels of Singapore’s Housing & Development Board (HDB). Lots of countries show off their public-housing projects, but few are quite as devoted to them as Singapore, where four-fifths of the permanent population live in subsidised units built by the government, most of them as owner-occupiers. (1500 words)

9. Cash vending machine stunt at Raffles Place cut short after hundreds turn up

Singapore | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018
But the excitement of the afternoon ended after an hour, as hundreds of people had gathered in hopes of getting free money, resulting in the organiser calling a halt to proceedings. The crowd, that was jostling and shoving around the box, was asked to disperse at 12.45pm by the organiser, who was previously seen talking to two uniformed police officers for about 10 minutes. The organiser claimed that she was told to stop by the police. “I’m very sorry but because the police is already here, we have to stop the activation. (700 words)

10. Circles.Life behind #3DollarBaller cash vending machine stunt

Singapore | Channel News Asia | March 1st, 2018
Hundreds turned up in the hopes of getting free money, with successful members of the public paying S$3 into a box at Raffles Place to get S$50 in return. The event was cut short after an hour and the crowd was told to disperse, with the organiser claiming that she was told to stop by the police. Organisers later clarified that they had decided to stop the event after advice from the police, but said that police had not ordered them to stop. The stunt was a promotion for the mobile virtual network operator’s new S$3 a day unlimited data plan, with the plan being promoted with the #3DollarBaller hashtag previously used to promote the vending machine stunt. (400 words)

11. Concerns in Parliament over ‘defensive medicine’ after doctor’s suspension

Singapore | TODAY | August 2nd, 2017
His comments in Parliament came after Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sembawang GRC, asked if there were guidelines for doctors to “send all (patients) for detailed diagnostic tests to avoid misdiagnosing rare medical conditions”. Defensive medicine typically refers to the practice of conducting tests and procedures not to advance a medical diagnosis, but to protect the doctor from a potential lawsuit due to medical malpractice. Other MPs also posed similar questions as Dr Lim on the recent three-month suspension of Dr Chia Foong Lin, a senior paediatrician who had failed to diagnose a rare children’s disease. (400 words)

12. Faced with huge demand, Amazon books taxis to fulfil orders

Singapore | TODAY | August 1st, 2017
Transport operator ComfortDelGro, which has the largest fleet here of almost 16,000 taxis, confirmed bookings through its call centre by Amazon Prime. Trans-Cab, the second-largest operator here with more than 4,400 taxis as of May, said it has not heard about its drivers taking such bookings, but was open to the arrangement “as long as drivers are able to make an income out of it”. Around 7.30pm last Friday, seven ComfortDelGro taxis were spotted in the loading area of Amazon’s warehouse at Toh Guan Road East. (600 words)

13. Google should turn its attention to battling Islamophobia

Singapore | TODAY | August 2nd, 2017
This step should be applied to prevent Islamophobia too. Governmental inability to effectively halt and counter the massive online propaganda efforts of terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State (IS) has resulted in an increased reliance on private sector companies to curb their dominance online. To this end, Google’s think-tank Jigsaw launched its Redirect program last year, a feature subsequently adopted by YouTube this year. The program, which operates much like a targeted advertising campaign, regulated more than 1,700 key words frequently searched by Islamist extremists to divert them to pre-existing, anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) playlists. (900 words)

14. High costs, labour crunch will test Amazon Singapore: Analysts

Singapore | TODAY | August 3rd, 2017
The United States-based e-commerce giant has gained market share in its home base rapidly, thanks in part to a well-oiled delivery infrastructure, and its ability to keep its business costs low by operating at scale. While it has adapted its business model to suit different markets — it depends on third-party delivery providers in Japan, for instance — Amazon has stuck to its key strategy of what experts describe as “gaining market share at all costs”. Similar to other heavyweights in e-commerce and disruptive services, its deep pockets allow it to incur huge costs in the short term in order to grab a bigger slice of the market. (1200 words)

15. Laws can’t combat sensationalism, but critical thinking can

Singapore | TODAY | July 28th, 2017
While this is an issue, another issue that we should think about is media sensationalism, aiming to evoke emotions, which could leave readers not understanding the full picture before they take a stand or make decisions. The thing about sensationalism is that laws cannot protect us from it. We cannot sue for defamation or misinformation when the facts reported are technically not false — unlike fake news — albeit taken out of context and misused to generate interest. To combat sensationalism, we should think critically about the news we read. (200 words)

16. LTA impounds 278 indiscriminately parked shared bikes; 70 cases in July alone

Singapore | TODAY | August 3rd, 2017
The bulk of the impounded bicycles — 212 — came from Obike, while there were 65 cases involving Mobike, said the LTA on Facebook on Thursday (Aug 3). Meanwhile, only one bicycle from China-based firm Ofo has been impounded so far this year. The bicycle-sharing firms have to pay a fee to collect the bicycles after they are impounded. There are about 29,000 to 30,000 shared bikes currently available in the market, and the LTA is working with the three operators to moderate their growth so as to “prevent indiscriminate parking and disamenities to the public”, Senior Minister of State (Transport) Lam Pin Min said in Parliament in July. (200 words)

17. National Day Rally ignores root problems and alternative solutions

Singapore | The Online Citizen | August 21st, 2017
I disagree with the notion that these are unimportant matters. These three issues profoundly affect socioeconomic equality and they hand over ever greater control of our society to the state. It is just a pity that we seem to be obsessed with doing more rather than figuring out what’s wrong in the first place. Pre-schoolsProviding greater access to pre-schools is one way to level the playing field. Another way is to stop tailoring the curriculum at the Primary 1 level by assuming that all children would have gone through pre-school. (1000 words)

18. PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech: All you need to know in 3 minutes

Singapore | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
They are: building up pre-schools, fighting diabetes and making Singapore a Smart Nation. “These are things we can work on now… so that Singaporeans can start right, stay healthy, live smart,” he said. Here are nine key takeaways from his speech. 1. More pre-school placesAbout 40,000 pre-school places will be added in the next five years, bringing the total to 200,000. This is to meet growing demand as more parents see the importance of pre-school education and more mothers return to work. PM Lee noted that the shortage of pre-school places is mainly for children up to four years of age – a critical juncture of a child’s development. (1100 words)

19. Why Uber is losing to local rivals in Asia

Singapore | TODAY | July 28th, 2017
The brief but spectacular battle between the two ride-hailing behemoths had cost Uber at least US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) and earned it little more than the enmity of the Chinese government. The only silver lining seemed to be that Uber, free of an expensive price war, could focus its resources on other markets, including rapidly growing South-east Asia. That is now going to be a lot harder. Earlier this week, GrabTaxi Holdings, South-east Asia’s dominant ride-hailing company, announced it had raised US$2 billion (with another US$500 million on the way) to help it lock up the region. (800 words)

20. National Council of Churches says it does not support repeal of gay sex law

Singapore – 377A | Channel News Asia | September 13th, 2018
Although not enforced, Section 377A of the Penal Code criminalises sex between men, with offenders facing up to two years’ jail. The law does not apply to sex between women. NCCS, which represents about 200 churches, said in a statement that its position on 377A remains unchanged. It said it agrees with the Singapore apex court’s decision in 2014 to dismiss a constitutional challenge by a gay couple against the law. “The repeal of Section 377A would result in the normalisation and promotion of this lifestyle, which in turn would lead to undesirable moral and social consequences, a slippery slope as seen in some countries taking this step.”The council’s statement comes after disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming filed a court challenge against the law, arguing that it runs counter to the Constitution’s guarantee of personal liberty. (400 words)

21. PERGAS says it does not support repeal of gay sex law

Singapore – 377A | Channel News Asia | September 19th, 2018
“The repeal of this Act can cause several worrying implications. “It may also cause confusion among the younger generation regarding morality and moral values. The council said in a statement last week that it does not support the repeal of the law as it believes the “homosexual lifestyle is not only harmful for individuals, but also for families and society as a whole”. On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Singapore, Most Reverend William Goh, said in a letter to the Catholic community that the law should not be repealed under present circumstances. (500 words)

22. Section 377A should not be repealed under present circumstances: Archbishop William Goh

Singapore – 377A | Channel News Asia | September 18th, 2018
Most Reverend William Goh said accepting homosexual acts as a social norm would have dreadful consequences for the stability of families, the well-being of children and bring long-term and irreversible risks to the common good. In the letter published on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore website, he wrote that he would not object to a repeal of the law if “it were merely aimed at removing all potential criminal penalties against homosexuals.” “However, until and unless Parliament puts in place a formulation that more perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the law, guaranteeing the protection of the rights of the majority who favour the traditional family, and that no further demands be made to legalise same-sex unions, adoption of babies by same sex couples, surrogacy, or to criminalise those who do not support the homosexual lifestyle, I am of the view that S377A should not be repealed under the present circumstances,” the Archbishop said. (600 words)

23. Section 377A: Public Prosecutor retains ‘full prosecutorial discretion’, says Attorney-General

Singapore – 377A | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
Referring to recent comments made on the law by former attorneys-general Professor Walter Woon and Mr V K Rajah, Mr Wong said their comments could give an “inaccurate impression” of the exercise of the Public Prosecutor’s discretion. “Former attorneys-general, Professor Walter Woon and Mr V K Rajah, have recently suggested that it is not desirable for the Government and Parliament to direct the Public Prosecutor not to prosecute offences under Section 377A of the Penal Code, or to create the perception that they are doing so,” said Mr Wong. (700 words)

24. The Big Read: With a house still divided over 377A, time to seek common ground

Singapore – 377A | Channel News Asia | September 18th, 2018
That the reverberations of a judicial ruling thousands of miles away could be keenly felt here could be attributed to the fact that the criminal laws of Singapore and India — both former British colonies — share the same historical roots, or to India’s reputation as a conservative society. Either way, the lid on a simmering issue, which has occasionally gone off the boil, has now been taken off: In the space of a few days, prominent Singaporean figures waded into the debate, and petitions from opposing sides garnered tens of thousands of signatures. (4200 words)

25. AI eyed to help bring lift maintenance to a higher level

Singapore – AI | Channel News Asia | September 2nd, 2018
That is the problem Surbana Jurong is hoping to solve as it monitors 25,000 lifts under its charge. “Whenever these lifts have faults, then the system is triggered. It is more of an alert system.”Mr Cliff Chuah, head of Innovation Program Office at Surbana Jurong, added in the same interview that the industry traditionally went with preventive maintenance, which is based on fixed servicing schedules. “If a lift is making a loud noise already, then sending someone down to fix it is a matter of course,” Mr Chuah said. (700 words)

26. Singapore’s first on-demand driverless shuttle buses to ferry passengers around Sentosa from Aug 26

Singapore – AI | Channel News Asia | August 20th, 2019
The autonomous vehicles – comprising two minibuses and two smaller shuttles – will ply popular destinations along a 5.7km route, including Siloso Point, Beach Station, Palawan Beach, Tanjong Beach and Sentosa Golf Club. Passengers will be able to hail an autonomous shuttle via the “Ride Now Sentosa” mobile app or kiosks along the 5.7km route, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and ST Engineering in a joint release on Tuesday. The service will operate for four hours on weekdays, from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm. (400 words)

27. The Big Read: As ASEAN economies take off, young Singaporeans need to shed misperceptions about the region

Singapore – ASEAN | Channel News Asia | September 24th, 2018
Poor infrastructure. Backwards. These were some of the first things that came to mind when we asked young Singaporeans what they thought of Southeast Asia. But contrary to their perceptions, the region is flourishing economically and socially, charting exponential growth over the past one to two decades. In fact, a report by worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey released on Sep 14 found that eight out of 18 of the world’s best-performing emerging economies — including Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Vietnam — are in Southeast Asia. (2800 words)

28. The Big Read: Some men just don’t get it — more awareness but abuse of women in S’pore still a problem

Singapore – Abuse | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
Even then, Wendy (not her real name) had to get permission from her then-boyfriend to buy it. And no, it wasn’t because Wendy was financially dependent on him — she graduated from Nanyang Technological University and was a former top banker before starting a business with her ex. It was punishment for not being capable enough to generate more sales for the company. Or so, she was told. What Wendy didn’t realise then was that she was being psychologically abused by her boyfriend, until her friend pointed it out to her. (3900 words)

29. Commentary: An intense urge to hurt someone, when anger gets out of hand for some

Singapore – Anger | Channel News Asia | August 1th, 2019
Sessions with his psychologist soon uncovered that he felt upset with himself because he couldn’t regulate his emotions. He was not able to control his anger. Small things would trigger intense anger, and provoke him to throw objects he was holding, break items close to him, or yell loudly. His anger also made it impossible to maintain a romantic relationship for a long time. In fact, Jonathan shared there were many times when he came very close to getting into trouble with the law, as he had intense urges to hurt people because he felt that they had wronged him. (1500 words)

30. Commentary: If everyone detests puppy mills, why do they still exist?

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | June 16th, 2018
Yet few know that almost every puppy for sale in Singapore comes from a puppy mill, whether local or overseas. They are products of a multi-million dollar industry that has been exploiting animals for commercial gain for many decades. Breeding animals suffer a worse fate than their sold-off offspring as mass breeding machines, where they are engineered to push out litter after litter of puppies, with little attention paid to their health, food and care. In Singapore, most puppy farms are located in farmway areas such as Pasir Ris. (1200 words)

31. Man jailed for killing toy poodle by flinging it against the wall

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | February 8th, 2018
Gerald Kok Zhin Oi is also banned from owning an animal for one year from the date he is released from jail. Kok was convicted of four of seven charges of abusing Treasure the toy poodle on multiple occasions between July and December 2016. He admitted to hitting the three-year-old dog with a sofa cushion and plastic clothes hanger, and repeatedly flinging Treasure against the wall. “It all started in July when Treasure bit (Kok) for no reason,” Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan said. (400 words)

32. Man sentenced to 12 months’ mandatory treatment order for stabbing pet dog

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | February 8th, 2018
On Thursday (Feb 8) he was sentenced to a 12-month mandatory treatment order (MTO) and barred from owning any animals for a year. The MTO, a community sentencing option for offenders suffering from mental conditions, compels Chong to undergo treatment in lieu of jail time. The Institute of Mental Health had diagnosed him with what is known as an “adjustment disorder with depressed mood”. According to court documents, Chong and his ex-girlfriend Jaslyn Wong had an argument at his home on Oct 30, 2016. (200 words)

33. Woman sentenced to four weeks’ jail after beating stepdaughter’s pet parrot to death

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | August 1st, 2018
AVA said it was alerted to the case at Block 101 Rivervale Walk on Nov 6, 2017. Investigations revealed that about a week earlier, on Oct 28, Tran had used a laundry pole to hit the parrot several times after it bit her right cheek the day before. The impact of the hits resulted in the bird’s death, said AVA. “AVA investigates all feedback on alleged animal cruelty. We will take enforcement action against anyone who has committed an act of animal cruelty and will press for deterrent sentences, if warranted,” it said. (100 words)

34. Dog owner fined for causing pet ‘unnecessary pain’, throws spotlight on treatment of sick pets

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | January 20th, 2019
According to a press release by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Wednesday (Jan 16), 51-year-old Ng Yeow Chian did not send his dog back for follow-up treatment by the vet despite it being diagnosed with “serious medical conditions”. The agency had received feedback about this on November 2017, months after the first vet visit in September that year. Its investigations showed that the clinic had made several calls to the accused to return for the scheduled review, which went unheeded, it added. (700 words)

35. ‘It’s bunkum’: Shanmugam on pharma claims about cannabis for medical use

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | February 13th, 2019
In December, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia – which has some of the world’s harshest penalties for drug-law violations – to legalise the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Malaysia and the Philippines have considered following suit. Mr Shanmugam’s remarks came prior to a joint statement today by the Home Affairs and Health ministries, which set out the Singapore Government’s position on the use of pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids – chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. (900 words)

36. I was not speaking out against animals and activists: Lee Bee Wah responds to criticism of speech

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | February 15th, 2019
“I have been given feedback that some animal lovers and activists may have misunderstood my speech on the animal management in HDB estates,” said Ms Lee in a Facebook post. “Some thought I was speaking up against animals and activists. This is not the case.” “Nowhere in my speech was I criticising anyone – except for those behind irresponsible cat feeding and illegal fishing which harmed otters.” In her speech in support of the National Parks Board (Amendment Bill) on Tuesday, Ms Lee highlighted the problem that “some cat feeders cause to our community”, saying that residents in some areas have complained about rats. (500 words)

37. 3 kittens found sedated, hidden under carpet in car at Woodlands Checkpoint

Singapore – Animal Rights | Channel News Asia | August 23th, 2019
During a vehicle check on Tuesday, ICA officers noticed that the vehicle’s passenger appeared “nervous and avoided eye contact”. The animals were observed to be have been sedated, ICA said. Two men – the 21-year-old Singaporean driver and his 20-year-old Singaporean passenger – were referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for investigation. “The kittens are now under the care and quarantine of NParks, and will be rehomed,” ICA said in a Facebook post. “The poor conditions and manner under which animals are smuggled would cause them unnecessary suffering and even death,” ICA said. (200 words)

38. Growing pains for Singapore art market

Singapore – Art | The Straits Times | May 10th, 2016
The Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris, plagued by poor attendance and financial challenges, bowed out last month, less than a year after it opened. The Gillman Barracks art gallery cluster saw the departure of two tenants earlier this year, following an exodus in April last year – when nearly a third of the 17 galleries then chose not to renew their leases, citing poor sales and visitor numbers. Two art fairs, Singapore Art Fair and Milan Image Art & Design Fair Singapore, have also been missing from the scene after high-profile debuts in 2014. (1600 words)

39. Why import art fairs for Singapore? Look to local landscape instead

Singapore – Art | The Straits Times | January 31th, 2019
A new annual international art fair, ART SG – helmed by the founders of well-established Hong Kong art fairs Art Central and Art HK (now Art Basel Hong Kong) and backed by government agencies – is set to open in Singapore in November. This, even as Singapore’s main art fair, founded by Swiss national Lorenzo Rudolf of prestigious Art Basel pedigree, made an ignominious exit this month. Art Stage Singapore was cancelled on Jan 16, only eight days before its preview evening at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). (1800 words)

40. The art of govt funding still a work in progress

Singapore – Arts | TODAY | August 3rd, 2017
It explained that the content in the book deviated from the original proposal that had been mutually agreed upon, hence breaching funding guidelines. This news comes after graphic novelist Sonny Liew became the first Singaporean to win three awards for his book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye at the prestigious 29th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. Two years ago, NAC withdrew a previously approved publishing grant for the novel, citing concerns over “sensitive content” that could potentially undermine the authority or legitimacy of the Government. (1300 words)

41. Automated services at Changi Airport’s T4 improve efficiency, but not all airlines on board

Singapore – Automation | Channel News Asia | October 31st, 2018
For most of these passengers, the check-in and boarding process was more convenient and seamless – especially if the airlines they were travelling on had adopted the automated services offered by the airport. Terminal 4 was developed as Changi Airport’s first passenger terminal to have a fully automated departure process – from check-in and bag drop at the departure hall, to immigration clearance and boarding. The goal is to allow fast and seamless travel for passengers – and it is seeing results. (900 words)

42. Commentary: Be concerned about unhealthy mindsets about dating and marriage, not fewer babies

Singapore – Babies | Channel News Asia | July 27th, 2019
The decline in birth numbers has been tied to the rise in the median age of first-time mothers, from 29.7 in 2009 to 30.6 last year, suggesting that more women are putting off childbearing. By contrast, a number of European countries witnessed a baby bump earlier this decade after the age at childbearing stopped climbing, as more women get around to having the children they had earlier postponed. Why hasn’t the age at childbearing stopped climbing in Singapore? Three factors are driving fertility delay: Inconsistent messaging, constraints and overconfidence. (1400 words)

43. The Future of Work: The minds and data powering your shopping, ride-hailing activities

Singapore – Big Data | TODAY
At the same time, however, a vast amount of jobs will be created, with new technologies spawning many more jobs than they destroyed, the study pointed out. The introduction of the personal computer, for example, has enabled the creation of 15.8 million net new jobs in the United States in the last few decades, even after accounting for jobs displaced. In the fifth instalment, we feature the growing pool of data scientists who are mining multiple streams of data to shape consumer behaviour. While one may or may not pay attention to the information, a great deal of science is involved in sizing up the target audience for these campaigns and promotions — to try and increase the effectiveness of these messages. (1500 words)

44. QR code parking system for shared bicycles to start next year; offenders face fines, bans

Singapore – Bike Sharing | Channel News Asia | September 25th, 2018
Those who fail to park properly and scan the QR code will be charged S$5 by licensed operators, LTA added in the news release. Users who park indiscriminately three times in one year will be banned from using all bicycle-sharing services for up to a year. A public education campaign will also be launched in early October to educate users of shared bicycles on how to end their trips with QR codes. The Ministry of Transport had announced in March that LTA will “right-size” the shared bicycle fleet to manage indiscriminate bicycle parking and ensure the efficient use of shared bicycles and limited parking spaces. (400 words)

45. Charged S$5 for parking in a proper zone: Bike-share users report issues with new QR-code system

Singapore – Bike Sharing | Channel News Asia | January 21st, 2019
I had just cycled more than 2km from my home and wanted nothing more than to get off the bike and proceed with the rest of my journey to work by bus. But I couldn’t. Instead, I spent the next 15 minutes standing over the QR code in the stipulated parking zone with my mobile phone, scanning it from various angles in the hope that I’d see the message that meant I’d officially ended my bicycle trip. It didn’t work – the app would not recognise the code, and my mobile phone displayed a “verification failed” notice each time I tried. (1000 words)

46. Commentary: With Mobike’s impending exit, is it time to give public bike-sharing a shot?

Singapore – Bike Sharing | Channel News Asia | March 12th, 2019
On Tuesday (Mar 12), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) confirmed Mobike had submitted an application to surrender its bike-sharing license. The company has also withdrawn applications for a personal mobility device (PMD)-sharing license and said it would pull out of some Asian countries to re-evaluate its position, amid contractions in the market. While we have passed the days where errantly parked bikes dot the urban landscape, the exit of so many bike-sharing companies has been traumatic and disconcerting to say the least. (1000 words)

47. Bioethics committee reviewing stand on genetic modification for mitochondrial disorders

Singapore – Bioethics | Channel News Asia | April 18th, 2018
The committee, set up by the Government to deal with issues arising from biomedical sciences research in Singapore, said on Thursday (Apr 19) that it is seeking public feedback and views on whether emerging technology should be allowed to be used to prevent mitochondrial disorders. Mitochondria are responsible for energy production in cells, and faulty mitochondria can have “serious debilitating effects”, including brain, heart and ear disorders, the committee said. A public consultation paper put up by the committee – which includes retired chief district judge Richard Magnus, chief executive of Science Centre Singapore Lim Tit Meng and senior consultant at the National Cancer Centre Singapore Professor Kon Oi Lian – looks at the ethical, legal and social issues arising from Mitochondrial Genome Replacement Technology (MGRT). (900 words)

48. Commentary: Are complaints against doctors destroying the doctor-patient relationship?

Singapore – Bioethics | Channel News Asia | February 27th, 2019
While there is no reliable data on whether the number of claims and complaints against doctors is rising, there is a palpable atmosphere of fear and defensiveness within the medical profession. The Court of Appeal has handed down landmark decisions on medical negligence emphasising patient autonomy, and the Singapore Medical Council’s Disciplinary Tribunal has imposed heavy fines and suspensions on doctors, following malpractice complaints. In the most egregious case, a doctor who caused the death of his patient following a liposuction procedure, was referred by the court to the Public Prosecutor to investigate potential criminal prosecution for causing death by a rash or negligent act. (1200 words)

49. Commentary: Dealing with the difficult issue of organ donation when a loved one passes on

Singapore – Bioethics | Channel News Asia | May 27th, 2019
Similarly, the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), which aims to make organ donation more efficient to save lives, presumes that silence – not registering an objection – means tacit consent to organ donation at death. A recent CNA story revealed that families often harbour doubt that their deceased loved ones would have wanted their organs donated. Reeling from the shock of the death of a loved one, families may be uncertain of their loved one’s wish, “feel that their loved one would not have wanted to”, or that she or he had not been informed of the HOTA. (1200 words)

50. 7 things you need to know about Budget 2019

Singapore – Budget | Channel News Asia | February 18th, 2019
He also set out details for the much-anticipated Merdeka Generation Package, which will cost the Government S$8 billion in all. What do the measures announced on Monday (Feb 18) mean for Singaporeans and Singapore businesses? Here’s a quick overview:1. The five key benefits announced were:2. This is excluding government top-ups to funds and Net Investment Returns Contribution from past reserves. On the whole, a deficit of S$3.5 billion or 0.7 per cent of GDP is predicted, with increased spending expected for defence, education and health. (600 words)

51. Is Budget 2019 an election budget? ‘I don’t plan on that basis,’ says Heng Swee Keat

Singapore – Budget | Channel News Asia | February 19th, 2019
He was responding to a question from the show’s presenter about the Government’s balance sheet, and if the healthy surplus accumulated since the start of the Government’s term would “drive election strategy” with the next General Election due by early 2021. Forecasts by some economists have tipped the accumulated surplus over the past three years to be more than S$15 billion, even after taking into account the estimated deficit of S$3.5 billion for this financial year. “It is not about ‘we are near the election so let’s spend this, let’s spend that’ … (and) it doesn’t mean that next year, we are going to spend that S$15 billion.”Asked about what he would say to those who describe the latest Budget as an election budget, the finance minister replied: “If they mean that they are very happy with the Budget then I’ll say that is good, but I don’t plan on that basis.”Elaborating, he said he usually starts with a “very long list of requests” as he holds pre-Budget meetings with the heads of various ministries, before cutting it down to a few priorities following more discussions with ministers and the Prime Minister. (1000 words)

52. ‘A decision not taken lightly’: Heng Swee Keat explains reasons for GST hike

Singapore – Budget | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2019
Mr Heng was responding to MP Foo Mee Har who urged the Government to postpone the GST hike for as long as possible, suggesting that the funds that Singapore has set aside this term for various future expenditures like the Merdeka Generation Package and the use of borrowing for future infrastructure expenditures could provide sufficient fiscal space to postpone the GST increase. However, Mr Heng emphasised that the healthcare spending needed “is of a completely different scale and nature” from the cohort-based package set aside for the Merdeka Generation. (1000 words)

53. Good design is good business

Singapore – Business | The Straits Times | June 5th, 2018
Since 2016, however, more among them have avoided this tragic outcome as a result of a portable, easy-to-use ultrasound scanner that is under 2kg and looks like a 900ml tub of ice cream. The Vscan Access was thought up by GE Healthcare, the healthcare business of American multi-national conglomerate General Electric (GE), after GE and GE Healthcare pledged in 2010 to help the United Nations improve maternity care globally. GE Healthcare appointed the Singapore experience design consultancy Chemistry to do in-depth field research in the region with midwives, doctors, paramedics and others in the maternity care ecosystem. (1100 words)

54. 5 things to know about the chicken price fixing case

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | September 12th, 2018
The 13 distributors had been involved in unethical price fixing and market sharing practices for seven years. Then, the distributors sell the fresh chicken to supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, wet market stalls and hawker stalls. In 2016 alone, approximately 49 million chickens were slaughtered in Singapore. 2. According to data from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, that’s as much as the average intake of fish and pork combined. Mutton ranks a distant fourth at 3kg consumed annually, with beef rounding out the top five at just 1kg. (300 words)

55. Commentary: Are Singapore businesses just not creative enough?

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | July 31st, 2018
Many associate creativity solely with the arts, and in doing so underestimate its crucial importance for businesses in general – and, by extension, the country’s economy. I get it. Creativity is one of those ambiguous terms that means different things to different people. But at its heart it implies the consideration of, and experimentation with, new ideas and perspectives. For businesses that are creative, small and large, this often means operating in a significantly different manner from the norm – be it because of needed changes to their internal structure, business model or processes. (1100 words)

56. Commentary: Helping start-ups and entrepreneurs, the ‘new heroes’ of Singapore, succeed

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | October 1st, 2017
Usually some brave student would venture an answer: “An entrepreneur?”“Why?” “Because entrepreneurs are supposed to have a tough life filled with many challenges.”True, but it wasn’t quite the answer I had in mind. My point was more that entrepreneurs actively seek out pain points in society because these gaps in the market signal potentially huge opportunities. The bigger the pain, the more customers will appreciate you solving their problem, and the more lucrative the business may be. With the acumen to identify market needs, and the daring to act on it, entrepreneurs “give our society the confidence that anything is possible,” as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted in his National Day Rally speech last year. (1600 words)

57. Commentary: One man’s tale of resisting the seducing spa sirens of Singapore

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | July 30th, 2018
It sat silently in my inbox, but its call was deafening and irresistible. It was a Groupon voucher for S$38 for a one-time body analysis, consultation and fat reduction session at a spa located in the heart of the city. Guaranteed visible results without the prohibitive cost and hassle of liposuction, I thought. I’ll be honest about why I was attracted to this. For one, it’s cheap. And the cheapness in me I cannot deny. For another, a decade of being a stress-fuelled binge eating, beer guzzling twenty-something was long over but the consequences persisted and visibly at that. (1400 words)

58. Commentary: The private sector must be new champions of sustainable development

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | July 15th, 2018
For example, the 17 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals chart the road ahead on major global challenges and focus areas for the next years until 2030. They represent a significant step forward in understanding the joint efforts that politics, business and society must make towards ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. In November 2015, major cities, regions, companies and investors from around the world signed the Paris Pledge for Action – a collective statement by non-state actors to ensure that the level of ambition set by the Paris Agreement on climate change is met or exceeded. (900 words)

59. Main obstacle to public sector innovation ‘is ourselves’: Ong Ye Kung

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2017
Speaking to more than two thousand senior officials at the Public Service Conference 2017, Mr Ong said public sector officials need to take stock of how often they say no, and instead find a way to say yes, when it comes to the pursuit of innovation. He noted the “usual reasons” public officials cite as barriers to innovation include not having enough time, lack of budget and resources, and lack of support from bosses. “Make a start, no matter how small. Innovation is not about grand plans, KPIs, technology, a big budget and ample time and resources. (400 words)

60. Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang makes Forbes billionaire list

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | March 8th, 2018
In the magazine’s 32nd annual ranking published on Tuesday (Mar 6), Tan was ranked 1,999th overall, and 22nd on the Singapore list. Last November, Razer was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and priced its shares at HK$3.88 each, raising HK$4.12 billion (US$528 million) as a result. In an interview with Channel NewsAsia last year following Razer’s initial public offering (IPO) listing, Tan said he had “just gotten started”. The 40-year-old highlighted that he was looking to expand the company’s international footprint into China and Southeast Asia. (200 words)

61. Student bosses: Getting an early start in business

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2017
Most tertiary institutes in Singapore have their own Innovation and Enterprise Offices (IEOs) to support students who want to get started early. These IEOs provide training and immersion programmes such as hackathons to foster entrepreneurial intent. The Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) is one such IEO. Set up at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), it matches mentors to students and promotes the business spirit through school bazaars and “retail boxes”, which are booths where students can sell their products. (1000 words)

62. The Big Read: The not-so-Great Singapore Sale — after 25 years, once-premier shopping event is now left in the dust

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | June 25th, 2018
There is barely a buzz since the annual two-month campaign started on Jun 8, and some shopping centres are half-empty even during weekends. With the Singapore retail scene under siege from the rise of e-commerce, the GSS has remained stuck in time, in the words of shoppers, retailers and experts, and has failed to evolve with latest consumer trends. In 2016, after three consecutive years of decline in retail sales during the GSS period, Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) president R Dhinakaran publicly broached the need to re-examine the GSS’ direction, as he revealed plans in a media interview to hold discussions with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to see “if there is a point in continuing (the GSS), or whether there is a need to reformat it”. (2800 words)

63. The Singaporean serial entrepreneur who kept failing, until he got a lucky break

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | September 12th, 2018
He had lost a chunk of money in the business and ended up in debt, to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars. “We owed the suppliers money, projects were half done and debt collectors turned up at my door. It was quite upsetting; my mother and everyone was quite stressed,” he recalled. “I couldn’t see a way out of it. I even had to ask for an allowance from my mum. It was sad and embarrassing.”The then 27-year-old went fishing to de-stress, but that turned out to be more depressing. “I went to the Kallang River on a daily basis, and I just sat there,” he recounted. (1700 words)

64. CES 2019: Creative Technology’s award streak continues as CEO previews new Super X-Fi plans

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | January 10th, 2019
Mr Sim on Wednesday (Jan 9) told Channel NewsAsia that its SXFI products clinched Best of CES awards from top industry media such as AVS Forum, TechRadar, Overclock and SoundGuys – and some for products that are not yet in the market. “I thought I already wowed them last year, so this year, there was nothing to wow them with,” he said. However, the folks at AVS Forum were impressed with Creative’s vision of bringing its Super X-Fi audio tech to a home theatre setting, and allowing up to four users to personalise their viewing experience independent of the others in the room, he said. (600 words)

65. CASE warns Ofo Singapore as users complain of fewer bikes

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | January 3rd, 2019
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the consumer watchdog’s executive director, Mr Loy York Jiun, said on Wednesday (Jan 2): “There have been reports that Ofo China is encountering cash flow problems. “Hence, CASE has reached out to Ofo Singapore to request for more information on the situation in Singapore. “Notwithstanding the above, Ofo Singapore still has an obligation to their existing customers to deliver a minimum level of service – there should be sufficient bikes available to meet the needs of their existing pass holders until their passes expire,” Mr Low added. (1200 words)

66. Commentary: In 2019, online marketplaces will change the way you and the government shop

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | January 5th, 2019
Just recently, we saw record breaking global sales numbers with US$7.9 billion transacted across Cyber Monday in the US and US$30.8 billion on Alibaba alone on Singles Day. Analysts are predicting e-commerce to be the fastest growing global retail channel in the next few years, and Southeast Asia looks set to see tremendous industry growth in the next few years. The region’s e-commerce market looks set to hit US$102 billion by 2025 from US$23 billion in 2018, fuelled by the 350 million internet users in the region and with growth led by Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. (1500 words)

67. From finance undergrad to food waste warrior, with a made-in-Singapore invention

Singapore – Business | Channel News Asia | May 25th, 2019
But that changed with one fateful conversation about three years ago. The then 22-year-old was working on a service learning project that involved befriending at-risk youth. He had taken a boy out for dinner and, while dropping him off at his doorstep, mentioned to the mother that there was no need to prepare dinner for her son. “She just broke down and started thanking me profusely,” Loi recounted. “I was like, Auntie, it’s one dinner. I can afford it. “But then she said that on most days, she can’t afford to put dinner on the table for herself and her son.”It was this, said Loi, that broke his heart — and moved him to invent a solution to food waste. (1700 words)

68. The resurgence of ethics in corporations

Singapore – CSR | The Straits Times | December 1th, 2018
In its Surveys on Business Ethics 2017, the Institute of Business Ethics, which annually reviews research into business ethics, concluded that “ethics and compliance continues to be recognised as an area of greater importance by the public and private sector alike”. In Singapore, the issuance of the revised Code of Corporate Governance and Singapore Exchange (SGX) listing rules in August this year highlighted the greater scrutiny of business ethics and corporate code of conduct. Indeed, “Corporate Ethics” was the theme of the latest issue of the Directors Bulletin published by the Singapore Institute of Directors. (1500 words)

69. 10 complaints made over Huawei’s S$54 phone promotion, says advertising body

Singapore – CSR | Channel News Asia | July 30th, 2019
Many left angry and frustrated when stocks for the S$54 Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 ran out. It normally sells for S$198. According to those in the queue, each store had fewer than 30 sets of the phone on offer. In response to CNA’s queries, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) said on Tuesday (Jul 30) that it received 10 feedback on the promotion, adding that it is engaging Huawei on the matter. “We would like to remind advertisers to ensure that their advertisements comply with the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, which states that they must be legal, decent, honest and truthful,” said the chairman of ASAS, Professor Ang Peng Hwa. (300 words)

70. Singapore rolls out unified payment QR code SGQR in latest cashless push

Singapore – Cashless | Channel News Asia | September 16th, 2018
Dubbed the first of its kind globally, the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) is an “infrastructure-light technology” that will help to simplify QR e-payments in Singapore for both consumers and merchants, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in a joint media release. The SGQR will be used in 27 payment schemes, including PayNow, NETS, GrabPay, DBS PayLah and Singtel DASH. Currently, multiple QR code stickers may be displayed at one store to support various e-payment schemes, which can be confusing for consumers. (400 words)

71. Integrated resorts ‘cannot be the centrepiece’ of Singapore’s economy: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore – Casinos | Channel News Asia | April 5th, 2019
In a media interview on Friday, Mr Chan highlighted two important issues Singapore considered during its negotiations with Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS): How Singapore can grow its economy and create good jobs for Singaporeans, and how it can strengthen its position as a regional business hub. “One of the lessons we have learnt in our overall economic strategy is to make sure that we are never held ransom by one particular sector, or to be overly dependent on one particular sector,” he said. (1000 words)

72. Building on Deng Xiaoping and Lee Kuan Yew legacy: Today marks 40th anniversary of Deng’s historic visit to Singapore

Singapore – China | The Straits Times | November 12th, 2018
In 1920, Deng was 16 years old. He was one of the 84 students from Sichuan province going to France to participate in a work-cum-study programme. His ship, Lebon, stopped over in Singapore for two days. Deng was shocked by the way the British rulers had treated the local people. The second time he visited Singapore was 58 years later. He was the paramount leader of China but wore the modest titles of vice-chairman of the Communist Party, vice-premier and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. (1500 words)

73. Changes to Films Act extending IMDA’s powers passed in Parliament

Singapore – Civil Liberty | Channel News Asia | March 21st, 2018
This is an extension of powers that IMDA already has. “IMDA enforcement officers currently already have powers under the Films Act to enter premises and seize evidence without a warrant for offences relating to obscene, party political and unclassified films,” a spokesman for the authority said. The changes also mean IMDA officers can now request information and documents that are necessary to ensure compliance with the amended Films Act, gain access to places where films are publicly exhibited or distributed for inspection purposes, and require the attendance of persons for the purpose of investigating breaches and offences under the amended Films Act. (1400 words)

74. How ‘serious’ must an incident be for Singapore to invoke new special powers act? MPs debate

Singapore – Civil Liberty | Channel News Asia | March 21st, 2018
The new law gives the police special powers to deal with serious incidents like terror attacks. For instance, they can order people in the vicinity of the incident to stop taking or sharing pictures or videos of the area. The Bill provides five examples of “serious incidents” that can invoke the use of these special powers. These include situations where explosives and firearms were used, or where perpetrators have forcibly taken over public transport. Ms Sylvia Lim of the opposition Workers’ Party took issue with two of the examples, calling them “more controversial”. (1000 words)

75. Parliament passes law banning photos, videos, messages of terror attack

Singapore – Civil Liberty | Channel News Asia | March 21st, 2018
This Communications Stop Order (CSO) aims to minimise terrorists’ access to information, which could compromise law enforcement operations. “In several overseas incidents, police forces had appealed to the public not to transmit or broadcast videos of ongoing operations, to protect the safety of their officers and the public,” said Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo in Parliament. “But this is usually not effective. Cases of individuals and media knowingly transmitting and broadcasting are common, even when they are told the information may lead to the loss of lives. (1100 words)

76. Commentary: Climate change in Singapore and what the future brings

Singapore – Climate | Channel News Asia | August 31th, 2019
Many Singaporeans who have paid only cursory attention to environmental issues may be surprised by the gravity of this message. Sure, there are the occasional flash floods and yes, we do remember the days when the island was shrouded in haze. But have we come to the point where the climate has turned into such a monstrosity that our city-state has to “go to war” against this gargantuan enemy for generations ahead? First, the observation and scientific understanding of climate change, especially how headline global trends compare in relation to Singapore. (1100 words)

77. Commentary: How effectively can Singapore adapt to sea level rise?

Singapore – Climate | Channel News Asia | August 25th, 2019
Several other coastal cities and small islands also face this hazard, and lessons can be drawn from how they plan for and adapt to it. Recent research shows three general approaches can be considered when dealing with the threat of sea level rise. First, accommodate the threat, which includes flood-proofing existing buildings and infrastructure, or designating areas that would be allowed to flood during high tide. Second, retreat from the threat, which includes the removal and reallocation of key infrastructure and assets to areas that the sea cannot inundate. (1300 words)

78. Engineering solutions to tackle rising sea levels important but more research vital: Experts

Singapore – Climate | Channel News Asia | August 19th, 2019
This follows Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 18), during which he highlighted that Singapore is susceptible to the effects of climate change and vulnerable to rising sea levels. As part of strengthening the Republic’s coastal defences, Mr Lee explained that one solution could be a reclamation method known as empoldering. Polders are created by first building a seawall in the water, before pumping out the water behind the seawall to create dry land. This land can be lower than the sea level, but water has to be continually pumped out. (900 words)

79. Woman pleads guilty to running Carousell cheating scam

Singapore – Commerce | Channel News Asia | June 21st, 2018
Over an 11-day period, she managed to dupe four victims of S$2,470. On Thursday (Jun 21), she pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating, an offence for which she faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine. Another four similar charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing. The court heard that Siti Norhaliza Kamis, who called herself “reselleritems” on Carousell, would post advertisements on the online marketplace using random images of electronic goods. In one instance, one victim had placed an order for an ASUS laptop worth S$900, and made payment of S$450 via a funds transfer to Norhaliza. (300 words)

80. More holistic protection for consumers with new CCCS

Singapore – Competition | The Straits Times | April 16th, 2018
Its new role includes preventing suppliers from engaging in unfair practices, promoting fair trading practices, and enforcing the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act. The new agency has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS). The consolidation of the functions of protecting fair trading and competition into one agency follows from similar practices in jurisdictions like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in Australia, and the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. (900 words)

81. Taking an ecological perspective to competition policy

Singapore – Competition | The Straits Times | August 11th, 2018
Many, if not most, consumers would view competition as a universally and unambiguously good thing that ensures low prices and broadens consumer choice. Associate Professor Burton Ong of the National University of Singapore law faculty points out, correctly, (“Why dominant and small players are treated differently”; ST, Aug 7) that competition law is a craft rather than an exact science. He argues that the CCCS’ proposed measures are fair, even if they treat big players (such as Grab) differently from smaller ones. (1400 words)

82. Commentary: Singapore’s ivory trade ban tackles elephant in room but work ahead a mammoth task

Singapore – Conservation | Channel News Asia | August 16th, 2019
Over the last six months, Singapore authorities seized an unprecedented amount of 38 tonnes of pangolin scales and almost 10 tonnes of elephant ivory worth more than S$170 million – with some close to the largest seizures the world has seen. Led by the National Parks Board (NParks), these acts of enforcement were a true testament of the country’s zero-tolerance to illegal wildlife trade. Just two days after the most recent seizure of 15 baskets containing 815 birds over the National Day weekend, Singapore announced the latest highlight of our fight against illegal wildlife trade: An ivory ban. (900 words)

83. Bursting at the seams: Singapore’s cast-off clothing

Singapore – Consumerism | Channel News Asia | November 18th, 2016
A mannequin sporting a black, curly wig wears a black-and-white printed dress, while another models a red dress with a black skinny belt. The racks are jammed tightly with clothes of varying patterns, sizes and brands, with some evidently brand new with tags still attached. Singaporeans looking to clear their bursting wardrobes often turn to the charity as their first port of call. It accepts donations of clothing, furniture and other items like household goods. But what is displayed in this store – and in fact across their five thrift stores islandwide – is only a small fraction of what it gets on a daily basis. (1900 words)

84. The Rise Of Responsible Consumerism

Singapore – Consumerism | Business Times
Singapore’s then-prime minister, Goh Chok Tong, quipped at his 1996 National Day Rally Speech, two years after the launch of the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) event. The allure of the GSS may have waned two decades on, but not Singapore’s love for shopping – Singaporeans were ranked top online shoppers in South-east Asia in a 2014 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study. While the favourite national pastime may have benefited the economy, there is no escaping the environmental ills of consumerism. Rising affluence has steadily fed consumption, which has ballooned into excess: ordering too much food, buying in bulk, splurging at sales. (2900 words)

85. The good and bad sides of consumerism

Singapore – Consumerism | The Straits Times | July 11th, 2016
Everything must go!” Online, these advertisements don’t let up, with local and foreign sites promising discounts on first purchases, and the best look of the season on a bargain. Product launches or giveaways are also a marketer’s dream here, as people form queues overnight for everything from mobile phones to plush toys to doughnuts. These events happen so often that they appear to have become part of Singapore’s culture. In fact, they are all part of a bigger phenomenon called consumerism. Consumerism, according to its textbook definition, is the human desire to own and obtain products and goods in excess of one’s basic needs. (1300 words)

86. Anger, frustration as long queues form across Singapore for S$54 Huawei phone

Singapore – Consumerism | Channel News Asia | July 25th, 2019
The Chinese telecommunications firm had advertised the promotion for the Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 – which normally sells for S$198 – to mark Singapore’s 54th National Day. The promotion is applicable only to Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 50 and above as of Dec 31 this year. Each customer was allowed to buy up to two phones and according to those in the queue, each store had less than 30 sets of the phone on offer. Queues outside Huawei outlets started forming as early as 4am, and stocks of the phone ran out even before the stores opened. (600 words)

87. Prosecution calls for more than 4 years’ jail for ex-AMKTC general manager and director who bribed him

Singapore – Corruption | Channel News Asia | June 26th, 2019
Saying that the corruption eroded “confidence in the essential constitution of town councils”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue asked for at least four years and eight months’ jail for Victor Wong Chee Meng and at least four years and two months’ jail for Omar Chia Sin Lan. On top of this, the prosecution sought a penalty order of about S$50,000 for Wong and a maximum S$100,000 fine for each of Chia’s two companies involved in the case – 19-ANC and 19-NS2 – which provided construction services to town councils around Singapore. (800 words)

88. 25-year jail term for coach convicted of abusing teen student

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 20th, 2018
Describing the 60-year-old’s crimes as heinous, Justice Aedit Abdullah said that “while the court should not impose a crushing sentence nor one that operates as an effective life sentence”, he did not regard this as an absolute rule. He also said that the sentence must be measured against the criminal conduct of the case in question. “Where the offences committed are heinous, as they are here, it may be that a long sentence would need to be imposed even on a relatively older accused, and that in his circumstances, it may indeed operate to leave him in prison for the remainder of his expected life,” he said. (400 words)

89. Challenge is to stay sane amid the uncertainty, say ex-offenders

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | April 1th, 2018
The duo weighed in on the current case of Z, who was their neighbour in prison since 2004 when they were housed in different cells on the same floors. In 2001, Z, as he was named in court papers, was just 14 when he knifed Ms Annie Leong. He killed her under the direction of her estranged husband Anthony Ler, 34, who was convicted and executed in 2002. Z was convicted and detained under a form of TPP, where anyone below 18 convicted of a capital charge, such as murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking, is spared the gallows because of his age and is jailed indefinitely. (500 words)

90. Concerns addressed over video recording of interviews

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 1th, 2018
Should editing of video-recorded interviews be allowed? These were some of the concerns raised to the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) during a public consultation held from July to August last year to discuss some 50 proposed changes spanning the criminal justice process, from investigation to court processes and sentencing. The changes were tabled yesterday in Parliament under the Criminal Justice Reform Bill and the Evidence (Amendment) Bill. In response to the concerns raised over the video recording of police interviews, the ministry said individuals can indicate their preference to opt out, as some may be willing to give a statement to the police only off-camera. (400 words)

91. Consecutive jail terms should generally be ordered for separate offences: Chief Justice

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 8th, 2018
If jail terms for separate offences are ordered to run concurrently, this would give rise to a “perverse” situation in which the offender effectively gets a free pass for the second offence. The Chief Justice said this as he ordered two jail terms imposed on a 24-year-old man for unrelated offences – one for slashing a victim and the other, for beating up another victim – to run consecutively. He will issue detailed written grounds at a later date. As a result, Raveen Balakrishnan will now have to serve 4½ years in jail instead of his original sentence of 3½ years. (500 words)

92. Criminal detention: Fine-tuning the scales of justice

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | April 6th, 2018
Many MPs, including opposition Workers’ Party (WP) MPs and two Nominated MPs who voted against the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Bill, saw the need for the particular law to swiftly deal with those who threaten Singapore’s safety, peace and good order. However, key questions raised during the debate centred on whether changes to the law – which requires Parliament’s approval for extension every five years – have expanded or curtailed the minister’s powers and introduced enough safeguards to maintain a balance between an accused’s rights and preserving public order and safety. (1900 words)

93. Driver who stayed up for 20 hours before getting behind the wheel jailed 3 months for killing pedestrian

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | May 21th, 2018
Galistan Aidan Glyn was driving to his parents’ house on Aug 25 last year despite not having slept for 20 hours. While travelling along Jurong West Street 42 that morning, he lost control of his car. The vehicle swerved, mounted the kerb and hit 41-year-old Serene Ng. Ms Ng, who was flung into the air, died from her injuries. Aidan later admitted that he had felt sleepy and tired before the accident. On Monday, footage of the fatal crash was played in court. Ms Ng was seen crossing the road safely, and was already on the grass patch beside the kerb when the crash occurred. (300 words)

94. Drug convict hanged after final bid to reopen case fails

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 19th, 2018
Hishamrudin, 56, had been convicted of trafficking in 34.94g of diamorphine and sentenced to death by the High Court on Feb 2, 2016. A Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) spokesman said last Saturday that Hishamrudin was arrested in an operation on Oct 7, 2010, during which 59 packets containing 604.05g of powdery and granular substances were recovered from his car. The substances were analysed and found to contain 3.56g of diamorphine, or pure heroin. He was taken to his residence, where 193 packets containing 4,061.68g of powdery and granular substances found to contain 34.94g of pure heroin were recovered. (500 words)

95. Ex-union leader Phey Yew Kok serving last lap of jail term in home detention

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | May 8th, 2018
A Singapore Prison Service (SPS) spokesman said Phey – who is now completely blind in his right eye and suffers from severe hearing impairment – has been placed on the year-long Home Detention Scheme (HDS), under which he is due to complete serving his sentence in October. The HDS is a community-based programme that allows suitable inmates to serve the tail end of their sentences in the community, under supervision. Phey, 83, was sentenced in January 2016 to 60 months in jail for criminal breach of trust, abetting the fabrication of false evidence and intentionally omitting to appear before a court. (500 words)

96. Farming out new lives for ex-inmates

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 3th, 2018
Yet, that is the fate which befalls many former prison inmates who serve out their sentences only to find themselves shunned economically by society upon their release. And when they do not win re-entry to society, there will be those among the group tempted to return to their old ways. There are several schemes to break that vicious circle by rehabilitating former offenders socially. The Yellow Ribbon Project, for example, seeks to engage the community at large in giving them another chance at life so that they are not consigned to the second prison of social rejection. (300 words)

97. Fugitive returns to crime scene after 38 years

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 29th, 2018
Police officers had noticed him and another man behaving suspiciously near Sin Po Po bar in Tanjong Katong Road. As the officers drew near to check on them, the other man, 30-year-old Lee Ah Fatt, drew his pistol and aimed it at them. Seow was also allegedly carrying a pistol in his back pocket . An officer drew his own service revolver in defence and shot Lee. As Lee continued to struggle with the police, Seow escaped during the commotion. Lee was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. But Seow managed to evade capture until last Thursday, when he was arrested in Penang. (300 words)

98. Grab driver gets reformative training for role in robbery

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | May 31th, 2018
Student Valerie Emmanuelle Ramanee agreed to help four robbers rent a car and steal $300,000 in cash from four men. They had collected it from fellow Bangladeshis to send back to their native country. The 21-year-old, who was working for the ride-hailing service at the time of the robbery last December, was yesterday sentenced to reformative training on one count each of obstructing the course of justice and misuse of drugs. She will spend between 18 months and three years at a reformative training centre and follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling. (400 words)

99. Hugs and tears as children visit their mothers during special prison visit

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 1th, 2018
Her mother-in-law took care of her six young children, with ages ranging from four to 11 years old, after she was sentenced in 2015 to five years in jail for drug-related offences. Aisyah was first arrested at the age of 16 in 2003, and then again in 2014 and 2015. On Friday (June 1), tears flowed freely as Aisyah and 11 other prisoners met their children during a special open visit at Institution A4 within the Changi Prison Complex, which houses Singapore’s only women’s prison. During the open visit, mothers could hug and hold their children without physical barriers between them. (500 words)

100. Inmates to learn farming as part of rehabilitation

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | May 27th, 2018
For the first time, the Singapore Prison Service will be teaching inmates how to farm to instil in them values associated with farming, like hard work and perseverance. It also hopes to give them skills to find jobs in the agricultural sector after their release. The Sunday Times understands that it will set up an indoor vegetable farm at Changi Prison Complex’s B5 institution, where the drug rehabilitation centre (DRC) is located. This pilot urban farming programme is expected to start in the second half of the year for between 20 and 30 DRC inmates in each run. (700 words)

101. Jail for security officer caught on video declaring he is secret society member

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 13th, 2018
But during an expletive-filled tirade at his workplace on Aug 20 last year, Rajagopal told his manager that he was a secret society headman and also threatened him. Rajagopal said he would get his gang members to attack the 52-year-old security manager. This exchange was caught on a video that went viral. On Tuesday (March 13), Rajagopal, 46, was jailed for a year and four months after pleading guilty to one count each of criminal intimidation, being a member of an unlawful society and dishonest misappropriation of property. (400 words)

102. Judge calls for safer driving after jailing retired school principal over fatal accident

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 2th, 2018
Law Moh Koi , 79, had been walking across a pedestrian crossing when she was struck by Kwok Kah Kuoy’s Honda Odyssey at about 6.20am on Feb 8 last year. She died 10 days later of a serious head injury. Although the traffic lights were in his favour, Kwok was 55m away when he spotted the woman but instead of slowing down and giving way to her he flashed his lights on high beam at her on Marine Parade Road. On Friday (March 2), Kwok, 71, was sentenced to six weeks’ jail and banned from driving for six years by District Judge John Ng who convicted him on Jan 29 of causing death through a rash act. (500 words)

103. Judge considering short detention order for e-scooter rider who injured pedestrian

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 14th, 2018
However, District Judge Eddy Tham deferred 18-year-old Nicholas Ting Nai Jie’s sentencing to July 17 after he called for a report to assess the teenager’s suitability for a community service order. If given a short detention order, the polytechnic student may have to serve a brief stint of up to two weeks behind bars but will not have a criminal record after he is released. Offenders given a community service order have to perform supervised community service for a given period of time. The teenager pleaded guilty on Wednesday to causing grievous hurt to housewife Ang Liu Kiow while riding his e-scooter in a negligent manner on a footpath in Pasir Ris Drive 1 on Sept 17, 2016. (400 words)

104. Law silent on adoption of boys by gay singles

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 17th, 2018
In flagging the issue, District Judge Shobha G. Nair said: “Would we not need to be concerned about male children in the care of single male applicants with a different sexual orientation? “Should the same position not be taken with respect to single female applicants? Are these very suggestions ignorant or has history shown us that these are legitimate concerns to be looked into?” Judge Nair said it may be time to address the issue of parenting by an individual with a different sexual orientation or parenting by a same gender couple, but the case and the courts are not the forum for this. (700 words)

105. Man who snatched police officer’s revolver and fired three shots gets life term in jail, caning

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 20th, 2018
Muhammad Iskandar Sa’at, 26, had snatched the officer’s revolver and fired three rounds during a scuffle at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun on June 20, 2015, at around 7pm as he tried to escape from custody. Two rounds penetrated the officer’s left thumb and right foot. Iskandar was in remand for vehicle theft after being charged in the State Courts on the same day. He had sought medical treatment and was escorted to the hospital by two officers. The delivery man pleaded guilty yesterday to a single charge of having a firearm under the Arms Offences Act in causing hurt to a public servant. (600 words)

106. Nearly two-thirds of new drug abusers under 30

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | February 6th, 2018
While the number of drug abusers arrested fell from 3,265 in 2016 to 3,089 last year, about 40 per cent of them were new abusers. Of the 1,249 new abusers arrested, about 64 per cent were below the age of 30. These worrying trends were highlighted by the CNB in an overview of the local drug situation. While there was an overall improvement in the drug situation here, the 20 to 29 age range continued to form the largest group of abusers last year. About 40 per cent of all drug abusers arrested last year were under 30. (500 words)

107. New rule prevents abuse of clemency process

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | March 4th, 2018
The changed rules dictate that such inmates are assigned only one lawyer, who will not be replaced if he or she is discharged without cause. “There have been instances where prisoners awaiting capital punishment repeatedly discharged successive Lasco counsel, who had been assigned to file their clemency petitions, without cause,” said a Supreme Court spokesman in response to queries from The Sunday Times. Under Lasco (Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences), people charged with offences where the penalty may be death are assigned free legal counsel. (600 words)

108. 31 arrested, S$1.2 million seized in police operation against illegal World Cup betting

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | July 3rd, 2018
Thirty-one men, aged between 22 and 74, were arrested, said the police in a news release on Tuesday (Jul 3). Authorities raided multiple locations simultaneously on Monday. They included Tampines, Ang Mo Kio, Chinatown, Balestier, Sengkang, Hougang, Bukit Batok, Boon Lay, Jalan Sultan, Sembawang and Orchard Road. An array of computers, mobile phones and other documents such as betting records were seized as well. Illegal bets worth more than S$4 million were believed to have been placed and received by the suspects in the past two weeks, said police. (200 words)

109. Ex-HSBC executive jailed 10.5 years for cheating mostly elderly victims of S$5.2m

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | June 28th, 2018
In 2003, Tang had financial issues and found out that a distant relative of hers had come into some money after selling property. She devised a plan to cheat the 79-year-old. Tang told her relative that there was a promotional plan for fixed deposits with HSBC which offer a higher interest rate than other banks and said she could help open such an account for her. Tang knew that there was no such plan. Her relative, who was interested in the non-existent plan, agreed to open an account and was persuaded to issue a cash cheque instead of cheques payable to HSBC. (600 words)

110. Father who attacked 11-year-old daughter over phone charger sentenced to jail

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | July 4th, 2018
The 34-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, had asked his daughter to pack his phone charger into his bag for work on Jul 24 last year. The girl, then 11, did not do so. She did not hear her father’s instructions as she had an ear infection. The man became angry and scolded her. He first threw an empty plastic bottle at the girl’s leg, before using both hands to push her onto the floor in a sitting position. While the girl was on the floor, her father kicked and punched her back and thigh multiple times, court documents revealed. (400 words)

111. MRT station staff not trained to chase, apprehend people: Janil Puthucheary

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
Dr Puthucheary’s comments were made in response to a parliamentary question from NCMP Daniel Goh, who had enquired about the molest case at Serangoon MRT station last month, and if incidences of molestation on MRT premises are treated as high priority for staff intervention. A 23-year-old man was arrested last month for allegedly molesting a woman at Serangoon MRT station twice – once while on the train and the other after she had alighted at the station. In a widely-shared Facebook post, the woman who alleged she had been molested said she had alerted the control station “hoping someone would stop him … but people just stared and did nothing”. (400 words)

112. Police issue new smartphones, robots to aid officers in duties

Singapore – Crime | TODAY
Eight thousand officers across the operations, investigation and intelligence units will be issued these police smartphones – different models under Samsung – by March next year. Some 700 officers from the Central Police Division are already using them. This was one of the initiatives shared at the annual Police Workplan Seminar held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design on Thursday (May 3). The police said the use of smartphones will allow officers to respond faster and more effectively to incidents, even when they are off-duty. (1000 words)

113. Preventive detention for recalcitrant offender

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 8th, 2018
Andrew Tan Siew Kwong also attempted a rob a second woman of her handbag. The 60-year-old man was sentenced to nine years’ preventive detention yesterday after pleading guilty last month to one count each of robbery and attempted robbery. Preventive detention, which can last seven to 20 years, is for recalcitrant offenders. They must serve the full sentence with no reduction for good behaviour. Deputy Public Prosecutor Hui Jia Lun told District Judge Edgar Foo that Tan was first jailed for robbery in 1979. (400 words)

114. Same-sex couple drop case against ROM for voiding their marriage

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | May 17th, 2018
The couple had different genders when they married but the husband underwent surgery and became a woman. ROM then voided the marriage. The Singaporean couple approached the High Court for permission to challenge ROM’s decision. They also sought a court order asking for their entry on the State Marriage Registry to be restored. They have now dropped the case and the High Court approved their U-turn last week. The case file has been sealed. The seal order is rare and means that documents pertaining to the case cannot be inspected by an interested party. (600 words)

115. Shoplifting still the top offence among juveniles

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | April 20th, 2018
Some 1,088 juveniles under 16 were arrested last year, down from 1,134 in 2016 and 30 per cent fewer than the 1,561 caught in 2012. About one in three caught last year had stolen from a shop, the provisional police data shows. The Straits Times understands that other common offences committed by juveniles include cheating, such as cases in which an item was sold online but not delivered after the money was transferred. Earlier this year, Mr Desmond Lee, the Minister for Social and Family Development, announced that an inter-ministerial committee will be set up to find ways to give youngsters greater support to help them stay on the straight and narrow. (700 words)

116. Singaporeans feel safest in the world as country tops law and order index

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 7th, 2018
Research firm Gallup says 94 per cent of adults here feel safe walking alone at night, compared with the global average of 68 per cent. Singapore tops the list in the Law and Order Index, ahead of Norway, Iceland and Finland. Hong Kong and Uzbekistan are joint fifth. The result is consistent with other studies. The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2017-2018 ranked Singapore first for order and security. Singapore was ranked the world’s safest city in the 2017 Global Smart City Performance Index published this year. (300 words)

117. Support for kids of imprisoned parents

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | June 12th, 2018
They are no longer in contact with each other but, growing up, this was also limited to a prison visit every two weeks. When she was just three days old, her father was nabbed for drug offences. Two months later, her mother left home and never returned. Now 15, the Secondary 2 student has been looked after by her paternal step-grandmother all these years. She calls the 58-year-old woman “mak” (mother in Malay). “Sometimes I feel left out. I also feel like it’s my mistake,” she said about her family’s situation. (700 words)

118. Value in guides for sentencing

Singapore – Crime | The Straits Times | February 5th, 2018
These include offences such as drink driving, national service evasion and match-fixing. In the case that prompted the new framework, motorist Tang Ling Lee, 45, had been sentenced to one week in jail and banned from driving for two years after she admitted to failing to keep a proper lookout while making a right turn at a junction. A motorcyclist hit by her car suffered substantial injuries, and she had appealed for a fine instead. Justice See Kee Oon, in dismissing her appeal, noted that previous cases showed the same offence had resulted in a fine in some cases, but jail in others. (300 words)

119. 73-year-old man jailed after trying to bribe, pushing Traffic Police officer

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | February 13th, 2019
Tang Joo Yong @ Peter Tang pleaded guilty to corruptly offering gratification to a police officer, as well as to using criminal force against a public servant, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and the police said in a joint press release. He also admitted to driving while under disqualification, using a vehicle without insurance coverage, speeding and permitting driving without a licence. On Apr 10 last year, Tang was stopped by Traffic Police Sergeant David Yap for speeding. When the officer told Tang he would have to issue him with a summons for speeding, Tang tried to bribe him with two S$50 notes. (400 words)

120. Court dismisses appeal for intellectually-disabled teen who raped schoolmate to be jailed, caned

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | March 11th, 2019
The teenager, who was 18 at the time of the prosecution’s appeal, will undergo reformative training (RT) of up to three years, as originally sentenced. In its grounds of decision, the court said incarceration at a RT centre was the “less imperfect and principled” option and that it was the “appropriate course”. The prosecution had appealed for the teen to be sentenced to between 15 and 18 years in jail, as well as 15 strokes of the cane. It said the crimes had been serious, the harm caused was severe and that the offender was “hardened and recalcitrant”. (800 words)

121. It was in the ‘public interest’ to reveal criminal history of driver who took PM Lee’s son for a ride: Shanmugam

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
This was so that the police could give “a fuller explanation and background” as to why officers were investigating the matter. Mr Shanmugam said that the public might “misunderstand the police’s actions” if the police did not set out their security concerns. A police report was lodged last month after videos emerged on social media of Mr Lee’s son, who was offered a ride in a private car on Mar 15. In the video, the driver can be heard repeatedly asking Mr Li about his identity, residential address and security arrangements. (800 words)

122. Last man in ‘astonishing’ slashing case over free roti prata gets jail

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | April 4th, 2019
As 59-year-old Balachandran Kothandapani is over the age of 50 and cannot be caned, three of the 12 months’ jail he received were in lieu of six strokes of the cane. Balachandran and his two friends had gone to a stall called Habib’s Express at a Clementi coffee shop to ask for free roti prata on Jul 29 last year. They often went to the stall to ask for free food, but the court did not elaborate on the circumstances behind this. Balachandran, along with fellow jobless man Murugan Joseph, went to the stall at Block 710, Clementi West Street 2, and asked for the free dish. (600 words)

123. ‘No free passes’ for university students when it comes to sexual misconduct: Shanmugam

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | May 6th, 2019
Mr Shanmugam was responding to queries from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera and Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah on sexual offences at Singapore’s universities, as well as the general approach taken by the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) regarding such cases. Of the 56 cases, 37 were forwarded to the police, Mr Shanmugam said. The minister added that there was insufficient evidence to make out offences in two cases, and investigations in another four are ongoing. (800 words)

124. Man jailed for pushing son’s 10-year-old ‘bully’ in school, causing fracture

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | April 29th, 2019
According to the man’s defence lawyer, the boy had been bullying his son for more than two years. Tan Chin Tai pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to the boy, who was then in Primary 4, at a school that cannot be identified in order to protect the victim’s identity. They were heading towards the school gate when Tan grabbed the handle of the boy’s bag, moving him backwards. Tan then grabbed the boy’s chest and pushed him to a nearby rubbish shed, pushing him onto the wall and scolding him. (700 words)

125. 3 arrested for loan shark activities after tomato sauce, paint splashed on gate and vehicle

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | June 13th, 2019
Police officers were called to a flat along Bedok North Avenue 4 after reports that tomato sauce was splashed across the gate of a home. Graffiti was also scrawled on the wall of the staircase landing beside the unit. A 31-year-old man and 23-year-old woman were arrested by officers from Bedok Police Division, the Singapore Police Force said in a news release. Officers seized a bottle of tomato sauce, a black marker and a mobile phone as part of their investigations. The other incident took place along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4. (300 words)

126. Man gets jail, caning for scrawling racist graffiti in Geylang

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | June 17th, 2019
Chen Jianbang, 31, was also sentenced to an additional 60 days’ jail for breaching a remission order. He had been in remission from a 21-month jail term meted out in 2017 for housebreaking. Across the span of one week in January this year, Chen scrawled more than 10 messages in permanent marker in public places such as void deck walls and sheltered walkways in Geylang and Aljunied, court documents said. The messages were written “with the deliberate intention of wounding the racial feelings of the Malay population”, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin. (600 words)

127. Prosecution calls for woman who scammed love scammer to get jail instead of treatment order

Singapore – Crime | Channel News Asia | July 16th, 2019
She then ignored the man who was trying to scam her, and transferred parts of the cash to help another scammer she was in love with, as well as a third scammer. For her actions, the prosecution on Tuesday (Jul 16) called for her to be sentenced to three months’ jail, despite a mandatory treatment order report recommending that she undergo treatment for 18 months. The defence urged the court to sentence 63-year-old Christina Cheong Yoke Lin to the recommended mandatory treatment order instead, saying that she did not go looking to commit fraud. (800 words)

128. Crowdfunding an opportunity, not threat to charities

Singapore – Crowdfunding | The Straits Times | July 30th, 2018
Take for example, the plea to help commercial diver Jake Seet’s family. The 33-year-old father of two children died in May while conducting underwater operations for a vessel. Another baby was on the way when he died. His friends rallied around his family, started a crowdfunding campaign and raised more than $270,000 on Give.asia for his widow and children. Of course, there are requests of a less tragic bent. These might be appeals from charities or requests that are downright whimsical, like that of a young Singaporean who wanted to meet his foreign girlfriend in the United States before enlisting in the army. (1400 words)

129. Commentary: Is a minimalist home the route to personal success?

Singapore – Culture | Channel News Asia | March 10th, 2018
Home magazines and websites are filled with advice on “tasteful” holiday décor and tips on how changes to our homes can make them more liveable, desirable and conducive to improving our overall well-being. As living spaces become smaller, a growing theme of these articles is a focus on minimalism, especially in the form of Japanese- or Scandinavian-inspired décor. A clean, simple and uncluttered home leads to a clean, simple and successful life – or so the general message apparently implies. Japanese author and organisation consultant Marie Kondo’s books have sold in the millions, promoting what she promises is the “life-changing magic” of decluttering. (800 words)

130. Commentary: What’s wrong with ‘Made in Singapore’?

Singapore – Culture | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2017
It took a second-place finish in last year’s Sing! China competition to propel him to the fore of the Singaporean consciousness. Many others in the local creative industry have, on and off, bemoaned a lack of recognition at home. Often, local recognition is predicated on external validation or absent altogether. While there have been some positive stories recently about local musical talent such as Gentle Bones and The Sam Willows being recognised and suitably lauded locally, the narrative surrounding local talent still seems to contain a preponderance of scepticism, if not negativity. (1300 words)

131. Singapore police’s new anti-scam centre wants to hit scammers where it hurts

Singapore – Cybercrime | Channel News Asia | August 29th, 2019
That’s the message the Singapore Police Force (SPF) wants to convey as it introduced new tools such as a new dedicated “nerve centre” for scam-related crimes, as well as partnering industry players to more effectively stop stolen money from falling into the perpetrators’ hands. On Friday (Aug 30), the police revealed that the new Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) was set up within the Commercial Affairs Department on Jun 18 this year and its focus is to disrupt scammers’ operations and help mitigate victims’ losses. (1600 words)

132. Cyber attacks: A battle against a nameless, ever-changing foe

Singapore – Cybersecurity | The Straits Times | July 26th, 2018
It is a never-ending battle as the tactics change and assume new forms with every patch and parry to keep them at bay. That the primary target of the attack on SingHealth was the healthcare group’s bank of patient data was in a way unsurprising. Medical systems, hospitals and clinics are the natural targets of many cyber attackers because they can obtain so much information in one place at one time – not only a person’s address and phone number, but also financial and extremely personal medical information. (1100 words)

133. CEOs should be held accountable when cybersecurity breaches happen: CSA chief

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | September 18th, 2018
He observed that they “have not been held accountable” partly because such incidents are seen as a technical issue. The boards of these affected companies have also not held CEOs responsible, Mr Koh added in comments made at a panel session held in conjunction with this year’s Singapore International Cyber Week conference. His observations were shared by Mr Md Shah Nuri, chief executive of Malaysia’s National Cybersecurity Agency. In Malaysia, cybersecurity breaches are also regarded as a technical, rather than management, issue, the executive said, adding that companies tend to call his agency for assistance only after becoming victims of online attacks. (300 words)

134. Commentary: Implement Internet separation? Let’s learn from industry best practices

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | July 26th, 2018
The alleged intention of the breach was to get the Prime Minister’s medication information. According to Cyber Security Agency of Singapore chief executive David Koh, this was a “deliberate, targeted, and well-planned” attack, suggesting that Singapore’s infrastructure was being targeted by malevolent actors. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has shown astute leadership, urging the country to press on with its plans of going digital, to build a secure and smart nation. The challenge, however, is that personally identifiable information does not change over time; once compromised, it cannot be reclaimed from bad actors. (900 words)

135. Commentary: The way companies look to fend off cyberattacks needs a rethink

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | September 24th, 2018
The number of breached records is skyrocketing and regulators around the world are tightening laws and penalising negligence, with minimal tolerance for laxity. The most recent SingHealth hacking incident and last year’s attacks on NUS and NTU show that Singapore is just as vulnerable as other developed countries. Cyberattacks and cybercrime are very real, and they happen every day. We have observed that companies and organisations in Singapore whose operations rely heavily on digital forms of communications or payments are readily invested in cybersecurity capabilities with monitoring services and attack-detection capabilities. (1200 words)

136. Government to launch bug bounty programme by this year: DPM Teo

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | September 17th, 2018
Speaking at the opening of the third Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW), Mr Teo said the Government Bug Bounty Programme will help build an innovative cyber ecosystem, draw in a wide range of expertise to help identify blind spots in its systems and benchmark its defences against skilled hackers from around the world. He added that through this process, the Government can “bring together a community of cyber defenders, who share the common goal of making cyberspace safer and more resilient” by securing its systems against malicious attacks. (500 words)

137. Internet separation ‘could and should have’ been implemented in public healthcare system: DPM Teo

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | July 24th, 2018
If those steps had been taken, the “cyber kill-chain” for the hacker would have been disrupted and the surface area exposed to the attack would have been reduced, Mr Teo added. Mr Teo made the remarks in a speech to engineers and leaders from public agencies -including the Land Transport Authority and the Ministry of Defence – as well as representatives from several polytechnics, at thePublic Service Engineering Conference held at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre on Tuesday (Jul 24). Mr Teo also revealed how the cyberattackers entered the SingHealth Group’s database servers. (600 words)

138. Online NRIC generators a ’cause for concern’, cybersecurity experts say

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | September 8th, 2018
From September 2019, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) said organisations can only collect, use or disclose NRIC numbers or NRIC copies “under certain specific circumstances”. But a quick online search by Channel NewsAsia turned up at least two random NRIC generators that can produce “valid” NRIC numbers that are “verified against published checking logic”. Both only required a user to input the desired NRIC number’s first letter and corresponding range of birth years before churning out the digits. (1000 words)

139. Russian cyberattacks targeting Singapore spike during Trump-Kim summit: Study

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | June 18th, 2018
Russia accounted for 88 per cent of the attacks against Singapore on Jun 12 – the day both leaders met, F5 Labs and its data partner Loryka said in a Jun 14 blog post. In addition, of all the attacks originating from Russia, 97 per cent of these targeted Singapore, the blog post said. It added that 92 per cent of the attacks collected were reconnaissance scans looking for vulnerable devices while the remaining 8 per cent were “exploits”, which take advantage of vulnerabilities. The top attack destination port was the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) port 5060, which is an Internet Protocol phone protocol. (300 words)

140. SingHealth cyberattack: Did authorities respond fast enough to Singapore’s worst personal data breach?

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | July 23rd, 2018
Database administrators from the Integrated Health Information System (IHIS) detected unusual activity on SingHealth’s IT systems on Jul 4 and put a stop to the data breach activities. It was later that they found out data had been illegally copied and stolen beginning from Jun 27 – eight days before the cyberattack was detected. From Jul 4 to Jul 9, they continued to monitor the network traffic closely before ascertaining it was a cyberattack and alerted superiors. On Jul 10, MOH, SingHealth and the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore (CSA) were informed and forensic investigations carried out. (1000 words)

141. Why cybercriminals are stalking your social media accounts

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | January 8th, 2019
This came as a surprise to the 987FM radio personality, who had thought “it was harmless information I was sharing about myself”. He declared: “I might just think twice before I post something at home.”Like many Singaporeans, Mr Gomez is active on social media. He posts live updates on what he’s doing, tweets almost every day and shares pieces of his life with nearly 60,000 people who follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. But he was revealing more than he realised. Many people are similarly unaware of the extent to which someone with nefarious intent can extract all sorts of information about them from their social media posts, the free Wi-Fi they connect to or something as innocuous as their name card, as the programme Why It Matters discovers. (1200 words)

142. ‘The attacker could have been stopped’: SingHealth COI report

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | January 9th, 2019
This was one of the five key findings of the COI in its assessment of what happened. “While our cyber defences will never be impregnable and it may be difficult to prevent an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) from breaching the perimeter of the network, the success of the attacker in obtaining and exfiltrating the data was not inevitable,” the report said. Doing so would have made it more difficult for the attacker to achieve its objectives. But while the attacker was stealthy, signs of the attack were observed by IHiS staff. (1100 words)

143. Hackers cause most data breaches, but human errors aren’t far behind

Singapore – Cybersecurity | The Straits Times | August 11th, 2018
Maybe it was something you purchased online from a website, only to find out that the company was hacked months later? If the answer is “yes”, you probably want to know whether the breach was reported and dealt with. Australian organisations reported 242 data breaches between April 1 and June 30. There was a dramatic increase in notifications from February, when eight notifications were made, to June, when 90 notifications were made. There are obvious reasons for this increase. Since the government’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme was introduced on Feb 22, organisations are becoming more aware of cyber security, and the rules and regulations around handling data. (800 words)

144. Commentary: Here’s how to win the cybersecurity arms race

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | February 26th, 2019
On one side are the keepers of data and information, and on the other are the cyber criminals who want to steal and profit from that information. WHAT’S THE COST? In one of the largest data heists in history, it came to light in November that the data of 500 million customers of the Marriott hotel group had been stolen. Earlier last year, cyber criminals took the records of some 145 million customers of credit-reporting agency Equifax. In Singapore, the information of 1.5 million healthcare patients, including those of the Prime Minister, were stolen. (1400 words)

145. MINDEF to recruit 300 cybersecurity experts, opens cyber training school

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | February 20th, 2019
Part of their training will also be carried out at a new cyber defence school, which opened on Wednesday afternoon. The school will also train full time national servicemen in cyber defence skills. She performs specialised operational roles in areas such as cyber incident response and network monitoring. “Currently there is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals around the world,” Ms Ong said. “So this DCX scheme can help to widen the pool of candidates by including people from various different backgrounds even if they do not have background in computer science or computer engineering.” (400 words)

146. The Big Read: As more cyberattacks loom, Singapore has a weak ‘first line of defence’

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | February 25th, 2019
This, despite the fact that fires are a very real threat and could have disastrous consequences in high-rise office buildings. The same could be said for cybersecurity and all the training and policies that companies try to put in place, said Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), who used the analogy to explain the challenges that firms face in getting their staff to take cybersecurity seriously. “People will think: ‘Why do we have fire drills when we never encounter fires? (3000 words)

147. Data leaks are serious business and other lessons to learn from SingHealth breach

Singapore – Cybersecurity | The Straits Times | January 15th, 2019
But the lessons learnt will continue to be felt across all sectors in Singapore. The Republic’s privacy watchdog, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), imposed its largest-ever fine of $750,000 on Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), SingHealth’s IT vendor. SingHealth, the target of the attack, did not get off scot-free either. Its fine of $250,000 was the second-largest ever. Lapses by the two organisations led to the country’s worst data breach in June last year, involving the NRIC numbers, names, addresses, gender, race and birth dates of 1.5 million SingHealth patients. (600 words)

148. Spize fined S$20,000 after more than 100 customers’ personal data leaked

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | July 5th, 2019
In the grounds of decision dated Thursday (Jul 4), which was published on the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) website, the PDPC received a complaint on Aug 12, 2017 from a member of the public. “A link on the site named Call Center had allowed members of the public to view three tabs: Customer Ordering, Restaurants and Order Dashboard. Under the Order Dashboard tab, 148 customers’ personal data, specifically their names, contact numbers, email addresses and residential addresses, was disclosed,” it was stated. (600 words)

149. Sephora data breach: 3.7m customer records up for sale on Dark Web, says cybersecurity firm

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | August 1th, 2019
Russian company Group-IB said in a news release on Thursday (Aug 1) its threat intelligence team found two databases with customer data on underground forums, with the leak dating back to as early as February this year. According to the seller, the database consists of 500,000 records including the user names and hashed passwords from Sephora’s Indonesia and Thailand websites. The listing said the data was from February this year, he added. The second database surfaced on an underground forum on Jul 28 this year, a day before news of the breach broke. (600 words)

150. Commentary: Careful with photos you post online. You may be putting your digital identity at risk

Singapore – Cybersecurity | Channel News Asia | August 22th, 2019
The photo filtering app which has been around since 2017, had only recently become the latest social media craze as photos with its filter that transform one’s look younger or older had gone viral. It was all good fun until users and experts began to notice the red flags. One point he alluded to is the potential criminal use of users’ personal data. In this incident, that data refers to images of users’ faces. But as more solutions leverage biometric data – which includes our facial features – for authorisation and authentication, careless sharing can put people at risk of identity-based attacks. (900 words)

151. The Big Read: Fast love — dating apps help busy S’poreans find almost instant romance

Singapore – Dating | Channel News Asia | April 22nd, 2019
Then 24, she knew she “did not want to waste time” and wanted to settle down if the right person comes along. Following recommendations from friends who had found their partners online, Ms Peh decided to give dating apps a shot several months after her break-up. Over two weeks, she went on five separate dates with men whom she got to know via the Paktor dating app. Among them was Mr Andrew Chia, a bank analyst and part-time swim coach who was about a decade older than her. Less than two years later, the pair got married in 2016 and they just had their first child earlier this month. (3300 words)

152. Are Singaporeans being crushed by credit card debt?

Singapore – Debt | Business Insider | August 7th, 2018
Butbeneath this exuberance lurks the risk of escalating debt, which can have direconsequences for individuals and families. What should borrowers be taking note of when it comes to managing their creditcard debt? Still, a small but growing group of borrowers continue to struggle withmounting credit card debt. Thiscapture ending credit card balances that remain unpaid at the end of the month. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced new rules to curb unsecured borrowing in 2013, as part of efforts to put a lid on rising householddebt. (1500 words)

153. How France fought off influence ops in the last election

Singapore – Defence | The Straits Times | July 2th, 2018
But as Mr Macron marks a year in the Elysee presidential palace, information is now emerging that his election was a trailblazer in another crucial respect: The success of the French authorities in defeating a massive and concerted cyberspace campaign aimed at discrediting Mr Macron’s candidacy. The way the French did it continues to be a topic for urgent studies by governments around the world. For protecting the integrity of electoral processes against disinformation campaigns launched online from outside the borders of a state, and propagated by spoof Internet platforms inside a state, is one of the key challenges facing most countries at the moment. (1500 words)

154. Law granting police special powers in serious incidents takes effect on Wednesday

Singapore – Defence | TODAY
The law empowers the police to protect the secrecy of tactical operations during serious incidents such as terrorist attacks, by issuing a “communications stop order” to prevent the public and media from taking videos, pictures, audio recordings, or text messages that could compromise ongoing security operations. Those who breach the order can be jailed for up to two years or fined S$20,000, or both. It also grants the police powers to direct building owners to take certain actions, such as closing their premises, to facilitate security operations. (500 words)

155. ‘Some indicators’ Singapore was target of information warfare recently, says academic

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | March 17th, 2018
The committee held two private sessions on Friday to hear oral evidence. These were held in private as they “concerned matters of national security and international relations”, it said in its summary of evidence for the third day of proceedings. In one of these sessions, Dr Gulizar Haciyakupoglu – a research fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security at S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University – noted how a state tried to influence certain segments of society through news articles and social media, in order to “legitimise” its “actions on an international sphere”. (500 words)

156. Bomb hoax on Scoot flight: RSAF aircrew recount details of mission

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | April 6th, 2018
Police said preliminary investigations indicated that a passenger on the flight bound for Hatyai, Thailand had told a cabin crew member he had a bomb in his hand-carry baggage. A 41-year-old man was later arrested. Recounting the incident, the F-15SG crew involved in the mission said they suited up and took off within minutes, only receiving details and further orders of the mission when they were in the air. “Once we had successfully joined up with the Scoot plane, we established communications with the pilots through the assigned radio frequency, informing them that they were being escorted by RSAF fighters and (asking them) to comply with all our instructions,” said the crew. (300 words)

157. Defence spending will be kept steady despite new threats, neighbours spending more: Ng Eng Hen

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | March 2nd, 2018
“Obviously, this will not apply if there are exigencies or unexpected scenarios. If there are terrorist attacks or if the security environment deteriorates, our agencies will have to spend more to protect Singaporeans. “After the next decade, we will have to reassess then the security threats and the military spending and capabilities of other countries and plan ahead.”Chart showing defence spending as a proportion of Government spending over the years. Singapore’s defence spending has grown from less than S$5 billion in 1988 to about S$14 billion last year, making up 19 per cent of the Government’s expenditure. (1000 words)

158. Hacker awarded US$5,000 after finding 9 vulnerabilities in MINDEF systems

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | February 21st, 2018
He was awarded US$5,000 (S$6,606) for his efforts. “They actually warded off very intrusive attempts from me. I was able to find only client-side vulnerabilities. I couldn’t really find anything major or server-side related.”Darrel was one of 264 white hat hackers from around the world who participated in the programme, including people from the United States, Singapore, India, Romania, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Ireland, Egypt and Pakistan. Of those who participated, 17 spotted vulnerabilities that were valid. (300 words)

159. Meet the Navy’s new ‘mothership’ that fights with unmanned drones and vessels

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | July 5th, 2018
Then, as weapons evolved, how far its missiles could go. Now, with wars increasingly being fought hundreds of kilometres apart, it has become a case of spotting the enemy before it spots you. “We are reaching a stage where who sees first, who sees fastest, actually wins,” Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) head of naval operations Cheong Kwok Chien told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview on Saturday (Jun 30). And so the RSN saw an opportunity for change. The Victory-class missile corvettes, for over two decades the “backbone” of the RSN’s strike capabilities, are entering their twilight years. (1200 words)

160. MHA legally, constitutionally in charge of homefront, internal security: Shanmugam

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | March 2nd, 2018
“MHA must and will do all it can to protect our people. It is our responsibility and accountability to deal with terrorist threats within Singapore,” the Home Affairs and Law Minister said. “When a terrorist attack happens, MHA is therefore overall responsible, will be in charge and lead the national response. Police will manage the incident on the ground and will be the first and main responders.”“If the scale of the attack is very large, MHA may also ask SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) to provide support to the police as an auxiliary force. (300 words)

161. MINDEF, Singapore Institute of Technology partner to train NS cyber defenders

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | February 12th, 2018
The Cyber Specialist Award is a short-term contract offered to NSFs in cyber vocations who demonstrate the requisite aptitude and skill and meet the “stringent selection requirements”, Mr Ong added. This award is made possible through the signing of a work-learn memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) on Monday. It is the first work-learn programme between the ministry and an educational institute where NSFs are sent for academic upgrading while employed in an operational role, the press release said. (700 words)

162. Singapore risks losing independence without strong military defence: Ng Eng Hen

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | February 15th, 2018
“The fall of Singapore which we commemorate on Total Defence Day every year reminds us all that without a strong military defence, Singapore can lose its independence, as we did in 1942,” he said. Dr Ng referred to the “dark chapter” from World War II at the Battle of Pasir Panjang, when soldiers from the Malay Regiment fought “valiantly” against the Japanese but were outnumbered almost ten to one. “But on that day, there were no celebrations. Instead people feared for their lives when Singapore fell to Japanese invaders. (400 words)

163. SingHealth cyberattack likely by nation state, medical data ‘can fetch a high price’: Experts

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | July 20th, 2018
On Friday, the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health announced that 1.5 million SingHealth patients’ demographic data were stolen, while 160,000 of them had their outpatient dispensed medicine records taken too. Mr Lee was “specifically and repeatedly” targeted during the attack that took place last month, and hackers managed to steal his personal particulars and medication information. Investigations by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Integrated Health Information System (IHIS) subsequently found the breach to be a “deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyberattack” and not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs. (1000 words)

164. ‘The terrorists have imposed a cost’: Shanmugam on the rise in home affairs spending

Singapore – Defence | Channel News Asia | February 22nd, 2018
It was announced in the Finance Minister’s Budget 2018 speech on Monday that expenditure for home affairs is projected to rise from S$5.8 billion to S$6.5 billion. “We’ve been talking about the security requirements,” said Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister. “The nature of the terrorist threat, the terrorists, have imposed a cost on not just Singapore, but on all societies which take this seriously.”“And it’s not just on the Government or taxpayers. For example, last year with the requirements of infrastructure, it also imposed a cost on building owners for example, to harden their buildings.”He noted that there is added cost for event organisers as well. (300 words)

165. When it comes to defence, short-term thinking could be fatal

Singapore – Defence | TODAY
Aside from Singapore’s high defence expenditure, its National Service (NS) policy tends to draw attention. Some wonder why NS is presently needed. Others argue that it remains relevant. Both arguments are often based on different understandings of how NS and “security” are seen in different time frames. It has contributed to keeping Singapore safe over the past half century, thereby allowing it to thrive and prosper. President Halimah Yacob recently described NS as the backbone of Singapore’s national defence. (1100 words)

166. Strategic role of submarines in Singapore’s defence policy

Singapore – Defence | The Straits Times | March 28th, 2019
He had suggested there was a need to keep pace with the growth of other militaries and navies in the Asia-Pacific region. “In Asia, defence spending has increased significantly… It has exceeded that of Europe combined,” he said in a speech at the launch ceremony of the ship, named Invincible, in the German port city of Kiellast month. Dr Ng said the maritime environment also faces security challenges such as terrorism, shipping of illegal arms, weapons of mass destruction and persons, as well as piracy. (1400 words)

167. Stopping comms during a terror attack could be a game-changer

Singapore – Defence
The new legislation is essentially an update of the Public Order (Preservation) Act. Much interest and debate has been generated over the Communications Stop Order (CSO) provision, which essentially allows the police to prohibit the public in the incident area from “making or communicating films or pictures…and…text or audio messages about…ongoing security operations”. The CSO aims to deny terrorists access to information, as this could compromise ongoing security operations, and otherwise affect future ones. (1100 words)

168. Inoculating Singapore against foreign influences

Singapore – Defense | The Straits Times | July 26th, 2018
Veteran diplomat Bilahari Kausikan reportedly warned that China “wants you to think in such a way that you will, of your own volition, do what it wants without being told.” China’s Ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong rejected such assertions, and assured all that China has “no intention” of influencing the “national identity” of Singaporeans. This recent exchange might bring to mind the rough patch in Sino-Singapore relations from 2016 to last year, sparked by the South China Sea dispute. It is wrong to bash China and right to be concerned about potential turbulence in bilateral relations. (1100 words)

169. Commentary: High stress levels a silent culprit behind diabetes

Singapore – Diabetes | Channel News Asia | April 9th, 2019
Though those dopamine hits might distract you from the day’s woes, those online games may be actually be inducing more stress hormones in your body. We often think of consuming too much sugar as the key cause for diabetes, but research has shown that lifestyle habits too can induce stress hormones and lead to diabetes. Start counting calories, a commentaryClassic stress hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines, if secreted often enough when our body reacts to stress, can create insulin resistance. (1000 words)

170. China does not manipulate other countries, says envoy

Singapore – Diplomacy | The Straits Times | July 12th, 2018
Mr Kausikan, a former senior diplomat, has not infrequently aired his opinions in the media. His latest speech, however, is a far cry from reality and leaves an unfavourable impression of China on others. It raises the question: How should the world view and understand China? As China’s global influence grows, this assumes greater importance, both for China and the rest of the world. Is China manipulating other countries’ citizens, as Mr Kausikan suggests? In response, I would say firstly that every country hopes to gain recognition and support for its development philosophy and foreign policies. (700 words)

171. Commentary: Rescuing stranded tourists on Tioman shouldn’t be a navy’s responsibility

Singapore – Diplomacy | Channel News Asia | January 15th, 2018
The idea of men in navy uniform usually leads one to conjure up images of naval battle ships and uniformed soldiers engaged in brave, heroic acts – whether keeping sea lanes in the Gulf of Aden free from the scourge of Somali pirates or fighting against time to recover downed aircraft like in the case of AirAsia QZ8501. Where naval modernisation has transformed many navies in the Asia Pacific into world-class fighting forces, many stand as symbols of hope, progress and strength for their countries. (1000 words)

172. Mahathir intended to rouse public opinion with ‘strong, emotive words’ on water: Vivian Balakrishnan

Singapore – Diplomacy | Channel News Asia | March 1st, 2019
Speaking in Parliament during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Dr Balakrishnan said that this was a “red herring”. “I’m supposed to be diplomatic but I think members of this house also know that I call a spade a spade,” he said. “The 1962 Water Agreement is not about who is richer or poorer,” Dr Balakrishnan added. “It is about the fundamental principle of respecting the sanctity of agreements.” On Thursday, Dr Mahathir had urged the Johor government and its people to speak out on what he described as the “morally wrong” water deal with Singapore. (900 words)

173. ‘I was blacking out, asking for help, people ignored me’: The blind Singaporean fighting ‘prejudice’ against the disabled

Singapore – Disability | Channel News Asia | December 28th, 2017
He moves towards the reserved seat for the elderly, disabled, pregnant and injured, but a woman beats him to it. The train is packed. The man suddenly turns pale and starts swaying unsteadily. He calls out: “I’m going to faint, I need to sit down, does anyone have sugar?”What would you do? For most people in the train carriage where the scenario above unfolded for visually-impaired Jim Bek, the answer was to do nothing. “I’m diabetic and I was going into hypoglycemia – lacking glucose – and blacking out; I was asking for help, and people nearby just ignored me,” said the 53-year-old. (1300 words)

174. Worries about delivery time, safety for food delivery riders with disabilities

Singapore – Disability | Channel News Asia | May 4th, 2019
She recalled an incident more than 10 months ago, when she was working with Deliveroo, where a customer had refused to pick up his food as she had taken longer than his lunch hour to deliver it. “My delivery was from Suntec City to Clarke Quay. So I must take MRT. By the time I reached the office, (I was late for) almost half an hour. So they said their lunch time has finished,” she said. She shared that if she gets orders that are too far, she will not take the job. Due to the finite battery life in her wheelchair, she cannot travel for too long. (1000 words)

175. Pathlight School to open new campus for 500 primary level students in 2023

Singapore – Disability | Channel News Asia | July 26th, 2019
The new campus at Tampines Street 91 will be able to take in 500 primary level students, helping the Ministry of Education (MOE) meet demand for places in special education schools. Pathlight, which started operations in 2004 with just 41 students, now has about 1,400 primary, secondary and vocational-track students. The school currently has one permanent campus at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 that caters to Primary 1 and 2 students, and an interim campus at Ang Mo Kio Stree 44 that caters to Primary 3 to 6 students. (700 words)

176. HIV Registry data leak: Time for change to reduce stigma

Singapore – Discrimination | The Straits Times | February 1th, 2019
It is also an opportune time to reflect on the bigger picture of HIV in Singapore, specifically the high level of HIV-related stigma and discrimination in this country. On Monday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that more than 14,200 people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) had their confidential information, including contact details and medical information, stolen and leaked online by the American male partner of a Singaporean male doctor who used to work in MOH. The leaked records include those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed up to December 2011. (900 words)

177. Mandatory registration for drones by year-end as police investigate recent incursions

Singapore – Drones | Channel News Asia | July 8th, 2019
“This will ensure that drone operators are made aware of their responsibilities and undertake to conduct their activities in a responsible manner,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament on Monday (Jul 8). The Government is also looking into increasing penalties for errant drone users, he said. Currently, offenders can be jailed for up to 12 months and fined up to S$20,000. Responding to questions filed by several Members of Parliament (MP) on the recent drone incursions near Changi Airport, Dr Lam said the police investigation is ongoing. (800 words)

178. Shanmugam on drug problem: Singapore must ‘be firm resisting those who try to force their ideologies’

Singapore – Drugs | Channel News Asia | March 2nd, 2018
“The activists light candles for traffickers outside Changi Prison, they write emotive stories,” he said. “But who cares for … real victims? How many young lives have we saved with our policies? Would you hear a squeak from the activists, about these people?”He cited a raft of cases from as recent as earlier this week, where a toddler was rescued in a drug bust. “How old is the child? One year old. In that one year, he had already been abandoned by his mother who is on the run for drug offences, and being passed around between these drug traffickers,” said Mr Shanmugam. (900 words)

179. Changes to drugs law based on evidence, not softening of stance: Shanmugam

Singapore – Drugs | Channel News Asia | January 15th, 2019
One of the changes to the Act would allow recalcitrant drug abusers – who have been caught three times or more, but do not face other criminal charges – to be sent for rehabilitation instead of being put in jail. Under the previous long-term imprisonment regime, these offenders faced at least five years in jail and three strokes of the cane. “There is a risk of these changes being characterised as we are going soft … we will point that the approach we are taking is based on evidence. It’s not about going hard or going soft,” Mr Shanmugam said during his closing speech in Parliament. (800 words)

180. ‘Not tenable’ for Singapore to go easy on Malaysian drug offenders: Shanmugam

Singapore – Drugs | Channel News Asia | May 23rd, 2019
Speaking at the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) Workplan seminar, Mr Shanmugam mentioned the case of Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, the Malaysian who was granted a stay of execution on Thursday by the Court of Appeal, saying he was accorded full legal assistance. “There’s no two ways about it,” Mr Shanmugam said, but did not comment further as the case is before the courts. Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said on Friday in a Malay Mail report that he was “pleased to know of the stay of execution” for Pannir Selvam and had liaised with counterparts in Singapore with the blessings of Malaysia’s Foreign Office. (500 words)

181. Malaysian minister denies interfering with Singapore court case on death row inmate

Singapore – Drugs | Channel News Asia | May 26th, 2019
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said that such allegations were “totally unfounded and baseless” and were “purely a figment of an imagination on someone’s part”. Mr Shanmugam had mentioned the case of Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, who was granted a stay of execution just a day before he was due to be executed. The 31-year-old was found guilty of carrying 51.84g of heroin at Woodlands Checkpoint in 2014. Mr Liew, who is also in charge of law and parliamentary affairs, said on Sunday that he had spoken to Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Law on Wednesday regarding the case, as he was unable to speak to Mr Shanmugam, who was not available at that time. (600 words)

182. Singapore minister spreading disinformation about drug policy

Singapore – Drugs | Asia Times | July 17th, 2019
In a country that pushes a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and still maintains the mandatory death penalty for some drug offenses, it’s high time this dangerous rejection of evidence be called out. The costs of drug law reformsShanmugam claims the social costs of decriminalization have been underplayed. For example, he asserts that drug mortality rates in Portugal increased 150% between 2001 and 2008, after drugs were decriminalized. It was impossible to find a source for this claim. In reality drug-related deaths in Portugal have actually drastically decreased from 80 per million in 2001 to 4 per million in 2017. (600 words)

183. Asia Times article on Shanmugam ‘spreading disinformation’ about drug policy is ‘quite inaccurate’: MHA

Singapore – Drugs | Channel News Asia | August 2th, 2019
In the article published on Jul 17, Ms Gen Sander wrote that Mr Shanmugam “continues to make poorly informed and inflammatory claims on drug policy”, despite Malaysia announcing plans to decriminalise drug addiction and drug possession for personal use. She also wrote that Singapore has failed to provide transparent data on the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent. “Although officials have repeatedly affirmed that Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world, the government has consistently failed to provide transparent data,” she said. (600 words)

184. Read the fine print, says CASE, after online shoppers auto-enrolled and billed for VIP membership scheme

Singapore – Ecommerce | Channel News Asia | January 15th, 2019
The association had started receiving complaints about the company back in November 2015. Consumers who bought items from myglamorous.sg, which is run by Fashion Interactive and sells footwear, reported being automatically enrolled in a VIP membership programme after making a purchase, without their knowledge. They were also charged recurring monthly membership fees. It turned out that the customers had overlooked the membership enrolment as details of the programme were on the website in fine print, said CASE. (500 words)

185. Budget 2018 debate: MPs question if alternatives explored ahead of proposed GST hike

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | February 27th, 2018
However, there were calls to review if all avenues have been explored before imposing the tax hike. In the wide-ranging debate on Tuesday (Feb 27), the MPs who spoke on the issue of the GST hike covered topics like expanding the scope of GST for e-commerce, reviewing gambling and liquor taxes and imposing a cap on future GST hikes. MP for West Coast GRC Foo Mee Har called this year’s Budget a “bitter-sweet” one. Amid news that the country’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace and last year’s Budget had a healthy S$9.6 billion surplus, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had also prescribed the “bitter pill of a GST hike” to cater for an expected rise in spending due to an ageing population and infrastructure developments, she explained in her speech. (800 words)

186. Commentary: Core to growth, yet productivity has lost its shine

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | July 3rd, 2018
Productivity is at the core of the story of growth. It is productivity improvements driven by innovation, technology and skills which explain the global growth story since the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. With this growth, has come the uplifting general welfare of wide swathes of the global population. However today, despite all the hype and excitement on the promise of a digital future, productivity has been in secular decline since the 1990s for all advanced economies. For Singapore, lifting productivity has been a central tenet of economic strategies dating back to the early 2000s and received intensified emphasis in both the Economic Strategies Committee or ESC plans in 2010 and the more recent Committee on the Future Economy’s 23 Industry Transformation Maps or ITMs. (900 words)

187. Commentary: Forget the politics, let’s look at the economics of the GST hike

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | February 21st, 2018
Or so the saying goes. Following the Budget 2018 speech by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 19), there are now three more certainties – when it comes to the highly anticipated increase in the goods and services tax (GST) in Singapore. First, there is certainty that we will not see any for at least the next three years. Yet the fact that GST will not be raised in this term of Government is no surprise. Although the announcement of a hike years in advance of its implementation is unprecedented, it is consistent with the clarification made by Tharman Shanmugaratnam at Budget 2015 when he was Finance Minister that the revenue measures the Government has undertaken will provide sufficiently for the increased spending needs planned for the rest of this decade. (1300 words)

188. Commentary: GST on imported digital services a mouthful but I see what you did there

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | February 23rd, 2018
In addition to the GST hike slated to take effect in three to seven years’ time, Finance Minister Heng Swee keat confirmed the broadening of the GST to include tax digital services rendered by overseas vendors to Singapore consumers. Both pieces of news have Singaporeans worried and concerned about the possibility of higher prices and a hit on their pockets. One also wonders which of his or her current purchases made online would be affected. Prior to the announcement at Budget 2018, the rules in Singapore did not require the GST to be paid when online services are purchased by a Singapore consumer from an overseas supplier.Yet GST, being a consumption tax, should rightly apply where the goods or services are consumed. (900 words)

189. Commentary: Singapore, Hong Kong budgets show hongbao mentality must be quelled

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | March 4th, 2018
The taxi driver uncle is not alone in this. In Hong Kong, permanent residents aged 18 and above similarly received a hongbao of HK$6,000 (S$1,000) in 2011 after the Hong Kong government announced its budget measures. It might have created expectations of more handouts when the Hong Kong government rolled out its 2018 budget on Wednesday (Feb 28) – it’s first since Chief Executive Carrie Lam took over last July. Where it was lauded for its tax breaks, allowances and a subsidy for poor students – it seems many had nonetheless expected a repeat of the HK$6,000 scheme and were sorely disappointed. (1200 words)

190. Commentary: Singapore’s rising natural gas ambitions face big challenges

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | January 24th, 2018
Before the completion of Singapore’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in 2013, the city’s only option was to import natural gas via pipelines from Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore’s LNG industry has boomed since then, powering gas cookers and water heaters in most households and fueling industries including refineries and petrochemicals. Its LNG ambitions are massive, involving markets further afield. Singapore’s strategic location and reputation as a global trading hub for other commodities place it at the forefront of becoming Asia’s LNG trading hub. (1000 words)

191. Reliance on major infrastructure projects for economic growth unsustainable: Chee Soon Juan

Singapore – Econs | The Online Citizen | August 17th, 2017
Likening Mr Wong’s plans to “pouring more concrete on the island to grow the economy”, Dr Chee warned against continued reliance on capital input and foreign labour to drive economic growth. Such measures are unsustainable, he said, arguing that even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee recognise this. Wong had said in a speech on August 15: “Singapore may be a little red dot, very small. Some of you may have the impression that we are already very built up. (500 words)

192. The economy as a means to an end, not an end in itself

Singapore – Econs | The Straits Times | February 22nd, 2018
I have seen others – social workers, teachers, academics, activists, artists, parents – similarly concerned. Over the past few decades, Singapore has become a very wealthy country. Compared with other wealthy countries, it ranks highly as one of the most unequal. Beyond indices and rankings, inequalities are increasingly palpable in Singaporeans’ daily lives – in contact or lack thereof with others living in the city, because of class similarities or divides; in the visible spaces that keep people in or out by virtue of costs; in the categories many of us too easily attach to distinguish certain types of kindergartens and schools from others. (1200 words)

193. Workers’ Party ‘unable to support’ GST hike without extra details: Pritam Singh

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | February 27th, 2018
Mr Singh, who was the first opposition MP to speak in the debate, said that the party’s stand on the Government’s plan to raise GST from 7 per cent to 9 per cent some time between 2021 and 2015 was due to an “absence” of details in certain areas. In addition, Mr Singh said there was a “lack of clarity surrounding projected expenditure when the Government raises GST in future” and a “relative lack of information on whether there is scope for the reserves to better support Singaporeans”. The opposition MP said that there was “an inconsistency in the treatment of some additional taxes that will no doubt add to the Government’s coffers” before the planned rise in GST. (1000 words)

194. Singapore does not engage in currency manipulation: MAS on US currency watchlist

Singapore – Econs | Channel News Asia | May 29th, 2019
Singapore, along with eight other trading partners of the US, were added to a “monitoring list” for exchange rate and macroeconomic policies. The US Treasury cited Singapore’s large current account surplus and foreign exchange intervention operations. It said Singapore’s monetary policy framework, which is centred on the exchange rate, “has always been aimed at ensuring medium-term price stability” and will continue to do so. MAS manages the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) within a policy band, just as other central banks conduct monetary policy by targeting interest rates, said the authority. (400 words)

195. Justification for imposing parking fees at schools ‘an insult’ to teachers: MP Seah Kian Peng

Singapore – Education | TODAY
“For too long, we have made decisions based more on an economic compass, as if the use of one dollar has the moral equivalence of the loss of another,” he said during the final day of the debate on the President’s Address on Friday (May 18). While there is a need to regulate the responsible use of funds, fiscal prudence and good procurement, “equally, we ought to be having a conversation about reciprocity, trust and relationships”, he argued. In March, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that teachers at all national schools and junior colleges will have to pay for parking at school premises from August 1. (600 words)

196. Lessons for Singapore from Germany’s education system

Singapore – Education | TODAY
Since then, Germany has stunned many nations with its economic vibrancy. This question often asked is – why has Germany, which boasts no Silicon Valley, nor an army of cheap industrial workers like those in China, become the economic powerhouse in Europe? The answer lies in Germany’s educational and vocational training sector, which is the silent ‘engine’ powering Germany’s economic rise over the years. And there are lessons here for Singapore. Propelled by the conviction that a nimble and skills-based educational system prepares youths for jobs, the German government made a hard-nosed decision to revamp the educational sector after 1990. (1000 words)

197. Commentary: A liberal arts education in Singapore and the usefulness of ‘useless’ knowledge

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | April 21st, 2018
To many in Singapore and Asia, the purpose of tertiary education is to equip students with technical or other specialised skills that qualify them for a specific job and stable employment. Universities do more than this, of course, but they typically require early specialisation. The idea of a liberal arts education challenges this view of the importance of vocational preparation. Broad-based and multidisciplinary in approach, it is less closely linked with a defined job path after graduation. Liberal arts colleges, which are based on this approach, are common in the United States. (1600 words)

198. Commentary: A second education arms race may be on the horizon

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | April 15th, 2018
Recruiters would have asked about your degree programme, your grades and the nature of your extra-curricular activities. Today, the ante has been raised. New, additional demands are increasingly common. What overseas experience do you have? How did you value-add to the organisation you interned at? Do you have experience working with data? Are you agile enough to cope with change? Recruiters are now looking for demonstrations of aptitude that go beyond good grades. The Ministry of Education has recognised this and introduced policies to prepare future graduates for this new reality. (1100 words)

199. Commentary: Go beyond financial aid to help our children succeed

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 24th, 2018
My charge is a Primary 1 boy who has been identified by his teacher as a struggling reader. The very first day I met him, he declared:I don’t know how to read! Subsequently in the same session, he went on to read out loud about 15 words on a list of high-frequency sight words. Not bad for a start, considering how he had made such a negative pronouncement of himself just minutes earlier. The encounter made me realise the profound challenges struggling students who may come from lower-income families have to deal with. (1400 words)

200. Commentary: Humanities at the heart of a holistic education in a tech-driven world

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 14th, 2018
The first was the Agrarian Revolution which happened about 10,000 years ago. Humans stopped foraging for food for survival. They learned to grow food and domesticated animals. Food production improved and human settlements grew in size, leading to the emergence of villages, towns and cities. The second revolution, called the Industrial Revolution, began in the 18th century and accelerated in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was powered by the invention of the steam engine, electricity and mass production. (1400 words)

201. Commentary: Inclusiveness can help us redefine the purpose of education

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 11th, 2018
Mr Aw has Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterised by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalisations, including eye blinking, head jerking and awkward mouth movements. He declined to be filmed for our interview. When I asked him if he was ashamed of his condition, he denied it. He was concerned about what a visual display of his condition on social media would do to his family and friends. It’s just that when I watch myself with the condition, I feel pain for my friends who have to watch it. (1300 words)

202. Commentary: Private education grads should blame themselves if they can’t get a good job? Nonsense

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 17th, 2018
It has also been reported that these students receive a lower starting pay, take a longer duration to be gainfully employed, and so forth. It is facetious to assume that the fault lies with the students. Calls to upgrade themselves and create a better resume without looking at the wider context in which these reports originated will only serve to fuel the frustrations of our students. In the future, a graduate’s employability will increasingly rely on their ability to pivot, be flexible, and pick up new skills quickly. (1100 words)

203. Commentary: Singapore and Singaporeans lose when universities chase after world rankings

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2018
It was ranked 23rd and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was placed at 51st. While much has been said about the impressive rise of NUS and NTU on these global university rankings, there is also a need to take a step back and ask: What does this mean for teaching and learning in these universities? According to the Ministry of Education, the core focus of Singapore’s university education is to “prepare students not only for today’s world but also for a world where there will be jobs that have yet to be invented and challenges not yet foreseen”. (1200 words)

204. Commentary: The education system is changing, but does true change remain elusive?

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 10th, 2018
Unfortunately, there remains an underlying disquiet in some quarters that exam pressure and competition to get into prestigious schools will remain unabated in spite of the changes. Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng announced in Parliament on Monday (Mar 5) that by 2023, all primary schools in Singapore will have an Applied Learning Programme (ALP). Mr Ng described it as “an investment worth making to nurture innovation and creativity”. The initiative is not entirely new. Schools have been encouraged to develop ALPs since 2013, and currently, all secondary schools have such a programme. (1300 words)

205. Commentary: The hidden value of learning how to code

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 18th, 2018
Any school-going child in Singapore would probably be well-exposed to the pressures of learning to be effectively bilingual. Chances are, they’ll be encouraged profusely by well-meaning parents to live and breathe English as well as Chinese, Malay or Tamil. And for good reason. A language opens the door to another world, offers a lens into another culture, and allows one to express oneself so as to be understood by more people. This pressure doesn’t let up in adulthood – where there are significant economic and professional benefits to being conversant in several languages. (1000 words)

206. Commentary: This mid-year exam season, let children take charge of their learning

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | May 5th, 2018
The mid- and final-year assessments never fail to work parents into a flurry, often more so than the children taking the papers themselves. As parents, it’s easy to take over the steering wheel, especially if we get the sense that our kids are not coping well. We gear up into manic planning mode, from getting tuition teachers to extend lessons during the pre-exam period, to daily nagging. But what happens to the child in this scenario is not only are they on the receiving end of stress or parental wrath, they also learn a certain passivity. (1400 words)

207. Commentary: Two ideas to level the education playing field

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 27th, 2018
It stems particularly from social phenomena like inequality, which have given rise to concerns whether the playing field will be tilted further in the future economic landscape and if the education system can fix it. Singapore’s approach to creating a more level playing field is to uplift the bottom percentiles rather than introduce greater equity by dealing with the advantages that the top ones enjoy. If uplifting the performance of the struggling ones is to remain the philosophy in attaining more equitable outcomes in education, then its approach needs to be discussed more critically. (1100 words)

208. Commentary: We now live in a ‘science fiction world’. We need to boost STEM education

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 23rd, 2018
Humanised robots. Self-driving cars, supercomputing and singularity. The fourth industrial revolution characterised by technology, and the fusing of physical, digital and biological worlds, is truly upon us. The question is how prepared are we to live in a world that is constantly reinventing itself? To survive, adapt and be relevant in this brave new world, skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will be imperative. The objective behind A*STAR’s establishment was not just to advance Singapore’s economy but to also grow the biomedical sciences, energy and chemicals, and engineering industries. (1100 words)

209. Commentary: What hope do monolingual parents have in raising bilingual children?

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | January 9th, 2018
These videos are intended to promote the use of mother tongues, stressing its importance in bridging connections with others and retaining a strong national identity. The need for these videos may speak to some of the ambivalence and challenges families often face in raising bilingual children. Particularly in families where parents do not speak the mother tongue, they may feel overwhelmed and uncertain when it comes to figuring out how to raise a bilingual child. Can parents who don’t speak their mother tongue raise children who do? (1300 words)

210. Commentary: Why investing in early childhood education cannot be the primary solution to inequality

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | May 9th, 2018
Readers seem especially interested in my discussion of education and meritocracy. Many are disturbed that the education system is not the great equaliser we wish it to be. Our national leaders too have mentioned the importance of education as a social leveler and a way out of poverty. Much has been said about increased investment in early childhood education and ensuring that kids from low-income households are adequately prepared for primary school. I think parents would welcome greater support for them. (1300 words)

211. Commentary: Why take up a postgrad education when I can Google almost anything?

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 30th, 2018
Institutions of higher learning also present an attractive platter of degree programmes and micro-credentials for continual learning. But in a world where one can Google for almost anything, some may argue knowledge is almost ubiquitous. At the heart of it is this question – do we still need to accumulate knowledge if we can call up information so easily? For many of us who have completed our formal education, do such trends suggest that the value of pursuing additional formal education qualifications to move up the career ladder has vastly diminished? (1300 words)

212. Commentary: Workers everywhere face the same challenge – rapidly depreciating skills

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | September 17th, 2018
The phrase translates to “Although it is small, it is a treasure” in New Zealand’s indigenous Maori language and perfectly captures the essence of both New Zealand and Singapore. With populations of approximately five million people each, both countries are well-known for punching above their weight. While New Zealand and Singapore are recognised global leaders in their respective fields, both nations face similar challenges. Singapore and New Zealand need to build fearless and future-ready human resources, highly skilled and ready to cope with the rapid change brought on by technology as well as competition from larger economies. (1000 words)

213. Developing the Singapore story of the future

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | June 9th, 2018
Would you give it to Alan, who consistently scores top marks despite often being caught sleeping in class, whose parents have spared no expense to give him the best tutors and enrichment classes, and who also happens to be a national swimmer? Would you give it to Mei Ling, a girl who does reasonably well in her studies, is passionate about dance, takes lessons at her local community club and helps train students in her school’s dance CCA? Or would you give it to Swee Wee, who works hard and consults her teachers at school frequently, but does not do well academically due to her struggles with the English language and her parents’ inability to afford private tutors? (1500 words)

214. Fewer exams, assessments in schools to reduce emphasis on academic results: MOE

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | September 28th, 2018
The move, announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (Sep 28), will provide students with more time to adjust during “key transition stages”. Older students will also get more time to adjust to new subjects and higher content rigour, the ministry said. The changes will be implemented in stages, beginning with the removal of all weighted assessments and exams for Primary 1 and 2 students from next year. Weighted assessments, said MOE, can take various modes such as class tests, presentations or group projects. (800 words)

215. From exam hall to Cambridge examiner: The journey your exam papers make

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018
These entries include subjects assessed at the GCE N, O and A-Levels, with the exception of Mother Tongue and Social Studies, which are marked locally. But the number of entries made from Singapore students is just a fraction of the total number of entries Cambridge Assessment receives yearly: Nearly a million students from approximately 10,000 schools in 160 countries. Overall, the number of scripts and components for each syllabus will be more than the total number of entries, Cambridge Assessment explained, as each syllabus a candidate enters for will have more than one component. (600 words)

216. Government to tackle ‘serious issue’ of inequality from pre-school years: Shanmugam

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | April 20th, 2018
Speaking at the launch of a Singapore Red Cross project for pre-schoolers, Mr Shanmugam said that inequality has to be tackled by the Government and via community-driven efforts. Pointing out that former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee had, in 1961, warned about the risk of having groups of elites creating a favourable environment for themselves at the expense of others, Mr Shanmugam stated that “society will fracture and trust will be completely broken” should that be allowed to happen. Mr Shanmugam quoted Dr Goh as saying then: “In advanced societies, it is not so much open nepotism that is to be feared, but the insidious ‘old boy’ type whereby no illegalities are committed, but in which the pinnacles of power, influence and wealth are the reserve of those born into the right families. (800 words)

217. It has the world’s best schools, but Singapore wants better

Singapore – Education | The Economist | August 30th, 2018
After regular lessons end at around 2pm, pupils sign up for sessions like 3D design, stop-motion film-making and coding for robots. Instructors leave the children to it once they have explained how things work. The overall message is that it’s OK to fail, says a teacher. On a Thursday afternoon just after the summer break, one young boy stops to explain that these sessions make a nice change: if he wasn’t here, he would only be studying at home.Singapore’s schools have long held a reputation for didactic teaching, rote learning and academic brilliance. (800 words)

218. Levelling the playing field key in drive for better education system: MPs, NMPs

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 11th, 2018
A total of 13 MPs and NMPs discussed the motion: “Education for Our Future” in Parliament, which calls on the Government to partner with the people to ensure accessible, inclusive and lifelong education for all learners. Five NMPs – Mahdev Mohan, Kuik Shiao-Yin, Ganesh Rajaram, Kok Heng Leun and Azmoon Ahmad – had proposed the motion. Those who spoke on the motionstressed the need to consider different education systems, rather than sticking to the tried and tested approach which might not benefit every student. (1100 words)

219. Lift the bottom, not cap the top: Minister Ong Ye Kung outlines key principles on education system

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 11th, 2018
Speaking in response to a parliamentary motion filed by five Nominated MPs on “Education for our Future”, Mr Ong explained that the easiest way to close this gap is to cap the top, and some suggestions raised in public are pointing in that direction. This includes banning tuition and enrichment classes, or redistributing resources from popular to less popular schools. But he stressed that it is better to lift the bottom, and his ministry’s resourcing of schools reflects this approach. In a wide-ranging speech outlining the key principles of the education system, Mr Ong revealed that the highest level of resourcing – about S$24,000 per student – goes to specialised schools like Crest, Spectra, NorthLight School and Assumption Pathway School. (1200 words)

220. Make sure you fail: On the Record with NTU Provost Ling San

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | April 14th, 2018
He does. But he also spends a large part of our conversation urging a redefinition of success and an appreciation of multiple educational pathways. Currently also Vice President (Academic) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Professor of Mathematical Sciences spent 13 years at the National University of Singapore. At first glance, he appears to be a typical staid math professor, but as we talk it becomes apparent that he is an advocate of risk-taking and experimentation. “Take a course that’s totally outside your comfort zone. (3000 words)

221. MOE will get ‘balance right’ with Applied Learning Programmes at primary schools: Puthucheary

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
Dr Puthucheary was responding to a listener on 938NOW’s Talkback programme on Wednesday morning (Mar 7). The listener had asked if introducing the ALP to students would be an “add-on” to their existing workload. All primary schools will have an ALP by 2023, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng announced in Parliament during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate on Monday. ALPs are programmes designed by schools to help students apply their learning to the real world. Since 2017, more than 80 of the 191 primary schools in Singapore have an ALP. (700 words)

222. My 8-year-old, the computer prodigy – and why we moved him to Melbourne

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 6th, 2018
“The feedback from the teachers was that he already understood what they were teaching and he was just distracting the other kids,” recounted his father Mr Ray Yee. “Having to sit down and to listen to the teacher was like a prison to him.”Unknown to his parents at the time, Seth was a gifted child. And he was typical of many such highly-talented kids who struggle with behavioural issues that can affect their social and emotional development, as the programme On The Red Dot explores in a series on Wonder Kids. (1300 words)

223. NJC’s new agriculture research facility to expose students to thriving sector

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | September 23rd, 2018
The facility – the only one to be located in a junior college – is set to break ground in National Junior College (NJC) this month. This comes after the school inked a partnership with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and local biotechnology company Life3 to set up an R&D facility for agri-tech solutions in food production. NJC, which already has an innovation and research programme, hopes to expose its students to opportunities in agri-tech, which it said is imperative in land-scarce Singapore. (600 words)

224. Nurture joy of learning

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | August 23rd, 2017
The 2015 study polled 540,000 students from 72 countries and economies to look at the connection between well-being and academic achievement. The results were released recently. The 5,825 Singapore students polled were asked to respond to statements such as “I often worry that it will be difficult for me to take a test” and “I worry I will get poor grades at school”. It emerged that their anxiety levels were significantly higher than the OECD average for all five questions. For example, 66 per cent of students across all OECD countries said they were worried about poor grades at school, but among Singapore students, it was 86 per cent. (300 words)

225. Parents fined for lying about home address to get child into popular primary school

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | January 29th, 2018
The child’s mother, 36, was fined S$5,000 for lying about the family’s address to the vice-principal of the school. Her husband, 38, was fined S$4,000 for duping an officer at Serangoon Gardens Neighbourhood Police Post into changing the couple’s official addresses on their identity cards. The parents cannot be named to protect the child’s identity. In 2014, the parents of the child, who was then five, paid a visit to their neighbourhood police post to change their registered address to one in the Bishan area. (200 words)

226. Remove ‘exam pressure’ mentality: On the Record with Gaurav Kripalani, Singapore International Festival of Arts Director

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 4th, 2018
Gaurav Kripalani, director of this year’s Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), speaks in placid tones about how censorship is a process of negotiation. His predecessor, theatre doyen, Ong Keng Sen, in a 2015 interview, spoke emphatically about censorship impeding the country’s growth as a nation and said that he is “embarrassed in front of international artists, when we talk about Singapore, because it sounds very draconian.”The differences are not entirely surprising. As artistic director of Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT), Mr Kripalani has been known for putting on shows considered popular and mainstream with big names to draw the crowds – Ian McKellen in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Lear, Kevin Spacey in Richard III and Kit Chan in the Singapore-made musical, Forbidden City. (3000 words)

227. Report books will not indicate students’ level and class positions from next year

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | September 28th, 2018
This is one of the changes MOE is making to move away from an overemphasis on academic results. It also announced that primary and secondary schools will reduce the number of examinations and assessments from next year. The changes to the report book – also known as the Holistic Development Profile – aim to help students to focus on their learning progress and discourage excessive peer comparisons, the ministry said in a media release. Marks for subjects failed will no longer be underlined or reflected with a different colour in the report book. (400 words)

228. S’pore should teach all children how to be an entrepreneur

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | February 23rd, 2018
Why not entrepreneurs? This reflection led me to attend Endevvr, an entrepreneurial incubator for high school students in the United States, the summer after my sophomore year in high school in 2014. Through Endevvr, I co-founded at the age of 16 a tech start-up, which streamlines relationships using a unique algorithm. At present, I am serving my full-time national service. I am a Singaporean who studied overseas in international schools, being with my dad who worked as a multinational chief executive. (900 words)

229. SAP schools: Time for rethink?

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | February 12th, 2018
In fact, I might even take a moment or two to do a silent cheer. Before the accusations start flying, let me first clarify – I am, in fact, a proud alumna of two SAP schools: CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ and Hwa Chong Institution. The six years that I spent in these institutions have been nothing short of memorable. My secondary school was filled with caring teachers who made the place feel like a second home. Whenever I return to Hwa Chong for alumni events like the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, the xinyao tunes that we sing never fail to stir up a sense of yearning for carefree days gone by. (1800 words)

230. Schools cannot be used as platforms for partisan politics: MOE

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 19th, 2018
That was the response given by Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary in his reply to a parliamentary question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera on Monday (Feb 19). “Schools cannot be used as platforms for partisan politics. Schools do not invite or accede to requests by any Member of Parliament or political party to speak at school events,” Dr Puthucheary said. The Workers Party member had asked if there are any rules by the MOE that prohibit primary or secondary schools from inviting MPs or nominated MPs from any party as speakers at events. (300 words)

231. SEAB studying option of scanning, marking answer scripts electronically: Janil Puthucheary

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 20th, 2018
Speaking in Parliament, he said this would potentially reduce the risks associated with transporting hard copy examination scripts such as theft and misplacement. But he noted that the implementation of this would have to be “carefully considered”, given the large volume of answer scripts and number of subject papers offered each year. He added that each year, about 900,000 answer scripts are sent to Cambridge Assessment in the United Kingdom for marking. Dr Puthucheary was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) Murali Pillai, who had asked about the feasibility of scanning exam scripts before sending them to Cambridge Assessment to better deal with incidents of scripts being misplaced or stolen. (200 words)

232. Singapore students suffer from high levels of anxiety: Study

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | August 19th, 2017
An international study suggests that Singapore students, known worldwide for academic excellence, also experience high levels of anxiety and have been exposed to bullying. The findings emerged in a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which conducts the triennial tests called the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The study polled 540,000 students from 72 countries and economies to look at the connection between well-being and achievement in the Pisa tests. (700 words)

233. Teachers to pay for parking in schools from August

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 26th, 2018
During the school term, the monthly season parking rates for cars is S$75 for an uncovered lot and S$100 for a sheltered lot. This is lowered to S$15 and S$20 for an uncovered lot and sheltered lot respectively during the school holidays. The annual rate for parking in an uncovered lot is S$720 while that for a sheltered lot is S$960. For motorcycles, the monthly season parking rates during the school term is S$13 for an uncovered lot and S$14 for a sheltered lot. During the school holidays, the rates for uncovered and sheltered lots are S$2 and S$3 respectively. (700 words)

234. Thriving rather than surviving: Teaching students how to spot fake news

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 25th, 2018
“Go to the website listed on your worksheets, and answer the questions on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus,” he instructed, as students filed to the back of the classroom to retrieve laptops. Most students did as he was told, quietly and without comment, but several others exchanged knowing looks with each other. “I’ve seen this before,” piped up a boy sitting in the second row. “It’s fake, right?”And indeed, the website the students were told to go to was a hoax – the endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, described at great length on the website as an octopus that lives on trees – does not, in fact, actually exist. (1100 words)

235. Two O-Level subjects revamped to have a more local focus

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | February 11th, 2018
The curricula for drama, and exercise and sports science, will now have a sharper local focus with opportunities for critical thinking and hands-on learning. At CHIJ Katong Convent, drama students will take on a new syllabus this year, more than a decade after their school first began offering the O-Level subject. “In the earlier years, it was a curriculum that was not quite made for the Singapore students in the Singapore classroom, and this revised drama curriculum has the input of local theatre practitioners and our teachers. (500 words)

236. Universal welfare and saying ‘no’ to tuition: Teo You Yenn goes On the Record about inequality

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | May 19th, 2018
But for the past four months, sociologist, Teo You Yenn’s This Is What Inequality Looks Like has flown off the shelves of local bookstores, and was even brought up in Parliament by Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin in her speech about income inequality in Singapore. In recent weeks, as Parliament convened to debate the President’s Address, the income gap took centre stage again, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and others raising the issue of inequality. Mr Lee emphasised the need for society to maintain an “informal and egalitarian tone”. (3800 words)

237. Yishun library set to reopen with digital learning zone, private reading nooks

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | January 29th, 2018
Located on level four of Northpoint City shopping mall, it spans 2,530sqm – about 10 per cent bigger – and the highlight is a dedicated digital learning zone. “We noticed that there is a slightly higher proportion of young adults visiting Yishun public library, due to how the demographic profile has evolved in the estate, and we want to cater to the evolving needs of this user group. With this library, you get an increased digital presence to encourage patrons to learn and read digitally,” said National Library Board (NLB) associate librarian Joti Upadhya. (500 words)

238. Social Studies guidebook causes controversy online; MOE says book not on approved textbook list

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2018
The guidebook, Complete Guide to GCE O-Level Social Studies Volume 1 by Rowan Luc, features a section with broad generalisations about people of different socio-economic statuses (SES) that members of the public have found offensive. The book is targeted at Secondary Three students. One such generalisation that garnered the most criticism suggested that Singaporeans of a lower SES would use “Singlish or different dialects”, while those of a higher status would use “formal English”. Another one said that people of a higher economic status play sports like golf or tennis at an exclusive country club while those at the other end of the spectrum play football or basketball in HDB estates. (400 words)

239. Stepping out of the university-ranking race: Are global rankings that relevant for Singapore?

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | July 19th, 2018
There are many global rankings or regional league tables. There are also rankings by subjects, graduate employability and reputation. Such lists that pit universities against each other have proliferated over the years. But how useful and relevant are these rankings? Not terribly. At least that appears to be the conclusion of an international panel of academics and industry representatives who were in Singapore last month. Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, in summarising their discussion, said: “There is strong consensus around the table and among all the education leaders of the world, that the current ranking system is actually rather crude and one-size-fits-all, and actually not that relevant compared with what we want to achieve.” (1700 words)

240. Student diversity: Time to rethink admission policies?

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | June 14th, 2018
In 2013, Mr Lee had raised the same concerns, saying then that popular schools such as Raffles Institution (RI) were becoming less diverse, catering to a disproportionate number of students from affluent families. Five years on, this issue of social stratification and mobility continues to weigh on people’s minds. The topic took centre stage last month in President Halimah Yacob’s address at the start of Parliament. Several MPs spoke about how family affluence now plays a bigger role in giving students from privileged backgrounds a head start in life. (1600 words)

241. The Big Read: Nerds and geeks no more, computing graduates now rule the roost

Singapore – Education | TODAY
The latest graduate employment survey released a fortnight ago by three local universities showed that fresh graduates from Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) business and computing science double degree programme commanded a median starting salary of S$5,000 last year, up from S$4,600 in 2016 — matching that of their peers from the law and medicine faculties. Fresh computer science graduates were also among the highest paid last year. Those who graduated from the course in NTU got a median starting pay of S$3,850 last year, up from S$3,500 in 2016. (2600 words)

242. The morality of parking fees and a clean wage

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | May 3th, 2018
And the answer is not to continue providing parking subsidies. In late March, the Ministry of Education (MOE) decided that teachers will now have to pay monthly parking fees for their cars and motorcycles if they choose to park within the school compound. This was the culmination of a three-year consultation process which began when the Audit-General’s Office’s (AGO) 2014/2015 financial year report noted that the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic did not impose charges or had charges that were below the market rate, as noted by the Ministry of Education. (1000 words)

243. Time to get serious about play

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | July 18th, 2018
Reactions to this oft-cited quotation span a wide range. At one extreme, there is the view that a sense of playful wonder and joy is inseparable from the process of discovery and learning. Historically, though, Singapore has taken the opposite perspective. Ever so pragmatic, our research initiatives are driven largely by a practical problem-solving mindset. Our education enterprise is defined by a functionalist logic: to produce young adults ready to contribute to society in material and economic terms. (900 words)

244. Want to know if new education initiatives work? Run rigorous trials

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | June 12th, 2018
Intuitively, it seemed obvious that I could better tailor my teaching and provide higher-quality feedback if I had fewer students. In turn, I hoped they would learn more and do better in their exams. Then, for one year, my junior college halved the size of some of my GP classes. I taught more periods but smaller classes. My students wrote better essays and made more cogent arguments. I thought smaller class sizes worked. After four years of teaching, I moved to the University of Michigan to complete my postgraduate studies in education. (1200 words)

245. Whither higher education?

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | March 24th, 2018
The origins of that model lie in mediaeval Europe, though it became widely available to women only less than 100 years ago. Over the course of that past century, two factors have called into question whether the degree-based system of tertiary education remains fit for purpose. The first is that our lives are now much longer. Since 1900, average human life expectancy has more than doubled. Yet our education, work and retirement patterns remain essentially the same. Most of that additional time has gone into our retirement years; as that age is pushed back and our working lives are extended, philosopher John Ralston Saul, among others, has argued that we should spend a larger proportion of our life getting better educated. (1700 words)

246. Why banning tuition will only make things worse

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | May 10th, 2018
A Some people feel that private tuition should be banned because it induces over-competition between children and leads to greater inequality in society. By allowing tuition, the argument goes, parents would have an incentive to enrol their children for it, even if their children were doing really well in school. Each parent reasons that if other parents are sending their children for extra coaching, it would be best to do the same so that the child will not lose out. If other parents do not send their children for extra coaching, it would still be best to have the child enrolled so that he can emerge ahead of the others. (900 words)

247. Why Singapore needs a multi-path education system

Singapore – Education | TODAY
The end goal is a multi-path system with different types of qualifications, delivered through different modes, and which can be attained at different times and stages of a student’s life, he said in a speech at an international education congress in Switzerland. Below is a transcript of Mr Ong’s speech. The world we are preparing our young for is very different from the times when we designed our education systems. Today, we share a common challenge – that the education systems in our countries are all in danger of becoming obsolete as technology is disrupting every industry, including education. (2400 words)

248. 32 O-Level Additional Mathematics exam scripts from Singapore lost in UK

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | January 14th, 2019
The affected students were from two secondary schools – 20 from Nan Hua High School and 12 from Hong Kah Secondary School which is now known as Jurongville Secondary. A Cambridge examiner’s bag containing the answer scripts was mistakenly taken by another passenger on a train from London to the north of England, said the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) on Monday (Jan 14). The incident happened on Nov 21, about three weeks after students sat for Paper 2 of the Additional Mathematics exam. (1000 words)

249. Commentary: Time for Singapore universities to switch gears

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | October 5th, 2018
We mostly agree with Minister Ong and Dr Woo, but would like to add some other important considerations. Research universities in any country are “peak institutions” with complex multifaceted missions: “Pure” or “basic” research to advance human knowledge; “applied” research with practical policy and business implications; education to help individuals realise their human potential; professional training for job placement; and public service. These missions are intertwined, not opposed to each other. (1500 words)

250. The Big Read: No exams? No problem! Some tuition centres rush in to fill gap, soothe anxious parents

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | October 15th, 2018
Over 130 parents responded: While they appreciated the ministry’s move to reduce stress on students, an overwhelming majority (90 per cent) said they were concerned this would make it harder for them to assess how their child was doing in school. The reduction of mid-year examinations would not provide them with “a true gauge” of the child’s academic performance in the earlier part of the school year, and they feared that it would lead to a “nasty surprise” at the year-end examinations, said the tuition centre’s director Gavin Ng. (2500 words)

251. Commentary: Effective partnerships with parents require teachers to step back too

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 2nd, 2019
These guidelines are supposed to provide greater clarity on how schools and parents can work together as part of a common quest to develop all students holistically. They also include tips on creating a conducive home environment for children to do homework and how to guide children to develop independent study habits. Parents are also reminded that teachers are not required to share their mobile numbers and may not be able to respond to queries immediately. In addition, parents are urged to contact teachers only during school operating hours. (1200 words)

252. Ensuring poorer kids don’t feel marginalised in top schools

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | November 29th, 2018
This has intensified calls from the public as well as policymakers to have a better mix of students in schools to better encourage social diversity and prevent class divides. Indeed, earlier this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for social networks to remain open and permeable. He noted the perception that popular schools such as Raffles Institution had become less diverse and were attracting students from more privileged backgrounds. He warned that popular schools need to ensure that they do not become “self-perpetuating, closed circles”. (1000 words)

253. Four-day lesson weeks and CCAs in the morning: More schools adopt flexi-timetables

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | March 3th, 2019
The reason is simple: There are no academic lessons that day. Students come to school in T-shirts bearing the names of their co-curricular activities (CCAs). Textbooks are ditched for basketball practice, band rehearsals and other CCA sessions. Everyone is dismissed by 12.40pm. Since 2010, the school has had in place a four-day lesson week. Academic subjects are taught from Monday to Thursday. Friday is a designated day for CCAs, and character and citizenship education. It is among several schools here that have become more flexible in structuring curriculum time, with at least two – Clementi Primary School and St Andrew’s Junior School – interspersing academic lessons with CCAs. (500 words)

254. Commentary: What we gain and lose in moving away from streaming

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 16th, 2019
Opposing views have been expressed on the pros and cons of this move, with some welcoming the doing away with a decades-old system, while others lament the loss of a familiar way of organising students’ learning. It is timely to address the fundamental issues at stake in the discussion over streaming. Subject-based banding in. How are parents reacting? They also have to wrestle with the axiomatic reality that each student is unique, with a spread of different interests, talents and abilities, while considering how best to organise schools and programmes for efficiency. (1500 words)

255. Current approach to streaming in secondary schools to be phased out by 2024

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 5th, 2019
Subject-based banding, or SBB, will replace the existing system of streaming students into Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) based on their PSLE results, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Tuesday (Mar 5). Under the new system, students will take subjects at different levels according to their abilities. Upon entering Secondary 1, they will take a combination of subjects at three different levels based on their PSLE scores: General 1, General 2 and General 3. These three levels are mapped from the current Normal (Technical), Normal (Academic) and Express standards respectively. (900 words)

256. From reducing drop-out rates to slaying a ‘sacred cow’: How streaming has evolved over the years

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 5th, 2019
Instead, all secondary schools will observe Subject-Based Banding (SBB), in which students are able to take different subjects at different levels according to their potential. The new system means that students will no longer be filtered into the Express or Normal streams based on how well they do in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Instead of taking the N- or O-Levels at the end of their time in secondary school, all students will sit for one common national examination. The report, which was also known as the Goh Report, was submitted by a study team led by then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee. (1100 words)

257. The Big Read: Streaming — the good, the bad and the ugly side of an outdated policy

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | March 11th, 2019
But that did not exactly take place. Verbal grenades were lobbed at the Normal stream students instead. “The Express students would make snarky remarks that Normal stream students are not as smart as them or we’re slow learners,” recalled Mr Fathul, who was in the Normal (Academic) stream at the school from 2008 to 2012. Teachers, too, looked down on students like him. As his teachers at the time taught both Express and Normal stream students, they would make comparisons. “There were times when my classmates and I didn’t do well, they would say, ‘Don’t you want to go to Express? (2700 words)

258. The Big Read: With mid-year exams scrapped, students rediscover joy of learning — yet old habits die hard

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | May 20th, 2019
And it is the time of the year again, when the majority of students across the Primary and Secondary levels are busy mugging or sitting for the mid-year exams. However, this time round, many others will instead be staging a fashion show, trying their hand at sand-art animation and wushu, learning to write haiku while taking in the sights at the Singapore River, or learning about algebra through manga or anime characters, for example. Starting this year, as announced by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung last September, schools have done away with mid-year exams for Secondary 1, as well as all graded assessments and examinations for Primary 1 and 2 pupils. (2900 words)

259. Commentary: Teachers love their jobs and feel valued but face immense challenges

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | June 2th, 2019
They are also responsible for guiding students through various education pathways and preparing them for adulthood. Teachers passionate about their work derive intrinsic joy from intangible rewards, such as when learners suddenly understand a concept, or when former students thank them for their guidance. These rewards do not detract from the reality that teaching is often tough work and involves its own particular set of stressors. About 83 per cent of respondents revealed a desire to leave the profession due to teacher-targeted student and parental bullying. (1700 words)

260. Teachers hope language elective programmes will spur students’ interest in literature

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | May 28th, 2019
The LEP will be expanded next year to 15 secondary schools – nine schools will offer Chinese LEP, three will offer Malay LEP and another three will offer it in Tamil, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Tuesday (May 28). Nan Chiau High School is one of the SAP schools to introduce Chinese LEP in 2020. Mr Tang Jun Piow, Nan Chiau High School’s head of department for mother tongue language, is “very optimistic” that more students will be enticed to read Chinese literature in secondary school. (700 words)

261. Singapore teachers work longer hours than OECD average: International survey

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | June 19th, 2019
This is higher than the OECD average of 39 hours. The hours include those spent working out of school. This makes Singapore teachers the seventh-hardest working educators in the survey of 48 education systems. Japan’s lower secondary teachers worked the longest hours, followed by Kazakhstan and those in Alberta, Canada. A total of about 3,300 teachers and their principals from 157 public schools and 12 randomly selected private schools participated in the online survey. The Ministry of Education (MOE) said the time spent at work has dropped largely due to a reduction in administrative duties. (900 words)

262. No bell curve grading in national exams, most universities

Singapore – Education | The Straits Times | June 17th, 2019
A spokesman for the ministry told The Straits Times: “School-based assessments and national examinations are standards-referenced, where the grades awarded reflect a candidate’s own level of mastery in the subject based on an absolute set of standards.” This means a student’s grades are not dependent on how well he performs in comparison with his peers. In a grading system based on a bell curve, fixed proportions of students attain the various grades. Of the six autonomous universities, only the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) still moderate results using a bell curve for certain modules. (1400 words)

263. Commentary: These PSLE changes won’t fix our national obsession with academic achievement

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 29th, 2019
He was speaking in response to parental concerns that this new scoring model did not appear to bring significant changes as students would still be sorted and differentiated according to their examination results. Is the education system evolving fast enough in order to better equip our students for the future? The idea was that these students would then be better able to develop other non-academic attributes such as creativity and leadership. That same year, the Direct School Admission scheme was introduced to accord priority to non-academic talents during admission exercises for secondary schools and junior colleges, and subsequently, polytechnics too. (1300 words)

264. Next year’s Primary 5 students to get exam results based on new PSLE scoring system

Singapore – Education | Channel News Asia | July 25th, 2019
They will be graded based on an Achievement Level (AL) score ranging from 1 to 8, with 1 being the best score and 8 the lowest. In the following years, all P5 and P6 students will receive their results in that format, moving away from the T-score system which will be scrapped in 2021. This change will not affect students from Primary 1 to 4 who will continue to receive progress reports. The AL system will result in 29 possible scores, as opposed to the current T-score system, which has about 200 variations, according to MOE. (1200 words)

265. Old and frail, and taking care of an elderly loved one

Singapore – Eldercare | The Straits Times | September 12th, 2017
According to a new study, nearly half of all caregivers are aged 55 and older. About two in three of these older caregivers have at least one chronic disease – like arthritis, diabetes or heart problems – and about one in three described his or her health as poor or fair. Some 20.3 per cent of the older caregivers show clinically significant symptoms of depression, compared with 15.8 per cent of caregivers aged between 21 and 54. One of the study’s authors, Assistant Professor Rahul Malhotra, head of research at the Centre for Ageing Research and Education (Care), said: “Caregivers are not Supermen. (800 words)

266. The Big Read: Strides made in eldercare, but concerns arise over affordability and lack of information

Singapore – Eldercare | TODAY
She eventually hired a foreign domestic helper who was trained to look after the elderly. But her mother had a fall earlier this year and fractured her hip. Soon after, the helper felt overwhelmed by the demands of the job, and cut short her stay — returning to Indonesia, after less than two years with the family. Over the last month, the family had struggled to take care of the now wheelchair-bound senior — who also has Parkinson’s disease — before their new helper arrived earlier this week. For the upper-middle income family, they would have to pay at least a few hundred dollars more for professional home care, compared to the cost of hiring a foreign domestic worker. (2500 words)

267. Bill allowing state to intervene and protect vulnerable adults passed in Parliament

Singapore – Elderly | Channel News Asia | May 18th, 2018
The Vulnerable Adults Bill defines such individuals as those aged 18 years or older who – because of mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity – are not able to protect themselves. During the Second Reading of the Bill, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said that the bill seeks to protect individuals from, among other things, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and neglect such as deprivation of necessities. It also seeks to protect against self-neglect, which could see vulnerable adults end up living in “grossly” unsanitary or hazardous conditions. (800 words)

268. MPs ‘chip in’ when senior citizens cannot afford public transport fares: Khaw Boon Wan

Singapore – Elderly | Channel News Asia | February 5th, 2018
Mr Khaw was responding to a question by MP for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah, who had asked if there are plans to provide additional help for those affected by the discontinuation of the pass. “When we know a particular resident has been inconvenienced because of this, and despite the various 25 per discounts and so on, could not still afford their transport fares, as a local MP we do chip in if I discover such cases,” Mr Khaw said. Mr Khaw noted that senior citizens and persons with disabilities currently receive a 25 per cent discount on adult fares. (500 words)

269. Sign up as a ‘dementia friend’, and help keep a look out for them with this app

Singapore – Elderly | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
The app, which is being developed by the Agency of Integrated Care, will include information such as the signs and symptoms of dementia. It will also list training and outreach events, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 7). The app is expected to be launched later this year. In addition, more support will be given to those with dementia and their caregivers with nine more dementia-friendly communities to be set up over the next three years. This will bring the total number of dementia-friendly communities up to 15. (200 words)

270. Singapore libraries have a new remit: Equip seniors with digital skills

Singapore – Elderly | Channel News Asia | March 6th, 2018
A range of digital readiness and inclusion initiatives, with a specific focus on the seniors, were unveiled by the Ministry of Communications and Information during its Committee of Supply debate on Tuesday (Mar 6). This segment of the citizenry was highlighted as despite a significant increase in Internet usage by seniors aged 50 and above from 2012 to 2016, about 60 per cent of those aged 60 and above are not tapping on the World Wide Web yet, it said. To address this, the Seniors Tech and Read service, piloted at Bedok Public Library last October, was one such scheme highlighted. (800 words)

271. Raising retirement age: How much does it really matter?

Singapore – Elderly | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2019
It last went up in 1999, 20 years ago, from 60. Representatives from the Government, unions and employers are discussing what age to raise it to and when. The Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers will make its recommendations later this year. But how much does a higher retirement age matter for Singapore workers? And in discussing this, what are some issues the tripartite partners should consider? To be sure, as Singapore’s population ages and people live longer, it makes sense to encourage them to work longer. (1700 words)

272. Who guards the bodyguard? The ethics of care for older adults

Singapore – Elderly | The Straits Times | April 7th, 2019
Will the photographs survive the move to his new, but much smaller, residence? Once a bodyguard to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 90-year-old Tong’s contributions to nation-building have not gone unnoticed. Together with more than 450,000 of his contemporaries born before 1950, he forms the Pioneer Generation currently entitled to additional healthcare subsidies. Tong, however, is struggling. His health is deteriorating, his mobility is limited. He has to borrow money just to buy food, which eats at his self-worth and dignity. (2400 words)

273. Commentary: Singapore’s bold bet on seniors and valuable years of life experience

Singapore – Elderly | Channel News Asia | August 22th, 2019
While the retirement age will be raised from age 62 to 63 in 2022, and 65 by 2030, the re-employment age will be raised from 67 to 68 in 2022, and 70 by 2030. Manpower Minister Josephine Teo moved quickly to announce details of the changes to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) rates for older workers the following day, to help them build up their retirement nest egg. But the current CPF withdrawal ages remain unchanged. This has been warmly welcomed by most workers who want to continue to have the option of enjoying the fruits of their labour early. (1200 words)

274. Commentary: Oil prices have gone up and it may affect your electricity bill

Singapore – Energy | Channel News Asia | June 28th, 2018
There are other worries regarding upwards inflationary pressures on petrol prices harboured by car owners. A lesser known impact, however, is its effect on electricity tariffs, which is expected to increase in the third quarter of the year and should be announced before the end of June. The consumption of petroleum products in both the industry and transport sector recorded a total of 9.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent, making up more than 63 per cent of total energy use in 2015, according to the 2017 Singapore Energy Statistics. (1000 words)

275. Assessing the value of Singapore’s mangrove swamps

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | February 21th, 2015
But hidden among the cranes and refineries is a different coastal Singapore, a coast teeming with life. This is a coastline fringed by intertidal mangrove forests and subtidal seagrass meadows, a coast that is home to crocodiles, dolphins, otters, and some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. However, Singapore’s coastal ecosystems have declined rapidly with urbanisation. While data varies, the country may have lost almost 90 per cent of its mangroves since the 1950s due to land reclamation in the north and south-west. (900 words)

276. Making real change harder than it looks for ethical consumers

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | June 17th, 2018
Most of us are past worries of meeting basic needs. With the click of a mouse or a swipe of our fingers, we can score the best bargain on an e-commerce site, book tickets to travel and be connected to ideas and people across the globe, among a host of other daily conveniences. In recent years, however, ethical consumerism has become popular, as the same technological networks that bound us together opened our eyes to the problems our global consumption habits have created. Ethical consumerism preaches the idea that every purchase you make is an opportunity to vote with your wallet for the change you want to see. (900 words)

277. 5 new species of fauna recorded at Pulau Ubin

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | June 24th, 2018
NParks discovered the species together with the research community during field surveys at Pulau Ubin last year. They include two types of bats, an insect, a bird and a spider. Speaking at the opening address of the seventh Ubin Day, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said the discoveries are significant as they add to the diverse biodiversity at Pulau Ubin and “remind us of our role as stewards and guardians of our natural heritage”. The discovery of a migratory bird species called Little Stints is of particular significance, said NParks. (300 words)

278. 7 in 10 people in Singapore do not know what plastics to recycle: SEC report

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | August 29th, 2018
The report, which includes a survey of more than 1,000 people in Singapore on their plastic usage habits and attitudes towards recycling, is the culmination of an eight-month study, SEC said in a media release. It was commissioned jointly with Deloitte & Touche Enterprise Risk Services. According to the report, 45 per cent of respondents said they needed more information on the different types of plastics, and what can and cannot be recycled. As for why they do not recycle, 42 per cent of respondents cited inconvenience as a reason. (600 words)

279. Commentary: Singapore’s case for space

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2017
However, much of the space industry is focused on commercial activities that are already integrated into and even indispensable in our everyday lives on Earth. The local space industry knows there is an opportunity to capture Singapore’s fair share of value from this sizable market. The Space Foundation reports that 75 per cent of global space activities, valued at S$450 billion in 2015, is in commercial space products and services, such as telecommunications, broadcasting, earth observation, commercial infrastructure and support industries. (1100 words)

280. IKEA to stop selling single-use plastic products by 2020

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | June 8th, 2018
This would apply across all its stores globally, as part of its new commitments to promote sustainable living, IKEA said in a news release on Friday (Jun 8). “IKEA recognises that single-use plastic can harm wildlife and pollute oceans and waterways when it is not disposed of reasonably. We are determined to play our part and take responsibility in the areas where we can make a difference,” said the company. The announcement came as part of the annual Democratic Design Days held in Almhult, Sweden, where IKEA designers displayed home furnishings made from recycled materials as well as solutions to help people live more sustainable lives. (300 words)

281. Large emitters, observers welcome initial carbon tax rate of S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | February 20th, 2018
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his budget speech that large emitters in Singapore will be charged S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions under the carbon tax that will be implemented next year. The tax rate will be reviewed by 2023, with the intention of increasing it to between S$10 and S$15 per tonne by 2030. The review will consider global climate change developments, the progress of Singapore’s emissions mitigation efforts and its economic competitiveness, Mr Heng said. Mr Yu Tat Ming, chief executive of PacificLight, a power generation company, welcomed the Government’s proposal to review the carbon tax over time. (900 words)

282. NTUC FairPrice scraps 10-cent BYOB rebate, launches new scheme to reduce plastic bag use

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | July 23rd, 2018
The programme, which was developed following a review conducted earlier this year, will replace the existing FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme on Aug 1. First introduced in 2007, the scheme offered customers a rebate of S$0.10 for bringing their own bags to shop at FairPrice stores. “While there has been an increase in the number of plastic bags saved since the FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme was introduced in 2007, progress has plateaued out – averaging at about 10.8 million bags saved per year in the last three years,” FairPrice said in a media release. (600 words)

283. Singapore’s largest electric vehicle charging network to have 500 charging points islandwide by 2020

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | June 18th, 2018
The network, which SP Power said will be a boost for electric vehicle adoption in Singapore, will be first rolled out with 30 charging points that will be in operation by end-2018. “Singapore is regarded as an ideal environment for EVs as it is highly urbanised and compact,” SP Group said. “This pervasive charging network will plug a critical gap in scaling up EV adoption in Singapore by reducing range anxiety in EV drivers,” it added. In tandem with the charging points, SP also announced the launch of two tenders for the network. (300 words)

284. Skipping plastic straws might not do much to stop marine pollution, experts say

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | July 25th, 2018
One industry observer told Channel NewsAsia that the real problem lies with poor waste management systems in countries that leak huge amounts of garbage into the ocean. “The best that can be said about the collective actions to eliminate straws is that it’s good at raising awareness, but that’s not the solution,” said Mr Steven Russell, plastics division vice president at the American Chemistry Council, which represents multi-national chemical and plastic manufacturers. Mr Russell was in Singapore earlier in July to meet with waste companies, plastic companies and consumer brands on working together to solve global waste management problems. (1300 words)

285. Strong gas smell traced to Pasir Gudang industrial facility: NEA

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | September 29th, 2017
The agency said on Friday it had contacted the Department of Environment (DOE) in Malaysia to seek its assistance in the investigation. The DOE traced the source to an industrial facility in Pasir Gudang, Johor Baru and is taking action against the industrial facility operator, said NEA in a Facebook post. Both NEA and the Singapore Civil Defence Force did not find any abnormal factory operations or incidents in Singapore after carrying out investigations and air quality measurements at the locations reported. (200 words)

286. The monstrous scale of plastic bag wastage in Singapore

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | April 5th, 2018
That is not a hypothetical situation. It takes 37 million kg of crude oil and 12 million kg of natural gas to produce three billion plastic bags – the amount the Republic was already consuming in a year by 2011. And the 1.6 bags that comes to per person per day is twice as many as the average Malaysian uses and thrice the figure in Australia. “A lot of Singaporeans see plastic bag usage as a right, not a privilege,” said Ms Jessica Cheam, the founder of online publication Eco-Business. “The problem is that people take far more bags than they need.” This issue of wastage came up in Parliament last month when the Government said that imposing a charge or ban on disposable plastic bags and substituting them with other types of disposable bags is unlikely to improve environmental outcomes. (700 words)

287. Wildlife seen in Cross Island Line site investigations

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | June 8th, 2018
Findings from the investigations suggest that wildlife are present in the area, with camera traps picking up the presence of animals such as the Sunda Pangolin and the Lesser Mouse-deer, said the authority. The alignment of the CRL, which is targeted to be completed around 2030, has created some controversy among environmentalists and nature groups as the direct alignment option cuts through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. A second skirting alignment option goes around the reserve. “Monitoring results from cameras and transect surveys from the (site investigation) works for the direct alignment suggested that fauna are present in the area,” said LTA. (300 words)

288. ‘Cannot sell … so they burn’: What’s next in the uncertain future for plastic waste in Singapore?

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | June 2nd, 2018
China’s announcement last July that it no longer wanted to import “foreign garbage” has created problems within the global recycling industry, which could mean that the plastic bottle you just “recycled” is actually destined for the incinerator. Like many Western countries, Singapore too has been sending a huge proportion of its recyclable plastic overseas. Until recently, most of this also made its way to China, as industry players pointed out that running a recycling operation here is not financially viable. (2100 words)

289. Recycling can be too much of a good thing

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | March 17th, 2018
Global Recycling Day is an initiative of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), an industry association representing over 700 companies from the private sector and 40 national trade federations from 70 different countries. The specially designated day is part of its efforts to encourage world leaders to adopt seven commitments related to recycling. These are: • Implement and strengthen international agreements that promote recycling. • Support and promote trading of recyclable materials to ecologically sound companies across the globe. (1400 words)

290. Singapore wants to go ‘car-lite’, says LTA in response to Elon Musk tweet

Singapore – Environment | TODAY
However, while this is part of its approach to “address emissions from the land transport sector and improve air quality”, the aim is to achieve Singapore’s car-lite vision. Of the 348 fully-electric cars registered here, seven are registered to private individuals, and there are three Tesla Model S’s on Singapore’s roads, added LTA. On May 26, American entrepreneur Musk – who is the chief executive officer of electric car maker Tesla – tweeted in response to a netizen asking if he could “allow us in Singapore to get a Tesla”. (600 words)

291. The final straw: How Singapore can curb plastic pollution

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | June 7th, 2018
Yet, an estimated 8 million metric tonnes of plastic leaks out into our oceans annually, causing major environmental, economic and social costs. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation warns that on current trajectories, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Asia is at the heart of the challenge, given that more than half of the plastic leakage into the ocean occurs here. The focus for this year’s World Environment Day on Tuesday is on how to tackle plastic pollution. While Singapore may be a minor contributor to the world’s plastic waste problem, we could nonetheless help to set an example of how to tackle this major challenge and help inspire action in other countries in Asia. (600 words)

292. Time for Asean to prioritise climate action

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | April 27th, 2018
After all, among the world’s 10 countries most affected by climate change, four – Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – are Asean members. And for Singapore to advance the regional agenda on climate action would be fitting in view of the twin themes of Asean 2018: resilience and innovation. The World Economic Forum ranks climate change as the top global threat to prosperity. But most businesses worldwide are not operating as if global warming is a major economic and financial threat, even in highly exposed South-east Asia. (800 words)

293. Wasteful habits need to be trashed

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | June 8th, 2018
That is the bad news. The good news is that over-consumption does lose its allure over time and generates, instead, a countervailing social consciousness about the environment, and a growing concern about the future of the planet. People then begin to look beyond the here and now, to the issue of how to ensure a more sustainable world and better ecological future. Society is waking up to that future, as seen when World Environment Day was commemorated here on Tuesday. Electronic waste recycling, the elimination of single-use plastics, and plans to reduce the use of plastic bags are some initiatives under way that show Singapore’s determination to become a more environmentally conscious country. (500 words)

294. What does economics have to do with the environment?

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | March 13th, 2018
And if so, how can economic instruments be used to tackle these problems? To answer this, one must understand the nature of an economic problem. An economic problem is one that has the characteristic of scarcity, and because of it, one has to make choices. Such choices involve trade-offs. These, in turn, depend on what the opportunity costs or, conversely, the foregone gains in making, or not making, a choice are. One commonly encountered trade-off is when society needs to make a choice between developing a piece of land for commercial use – such as a new shopping mall, housing development project or office space – keeping it in its pristine condition and converting it for recreational and leisure use. (1300 words)

295. What Singapore can learn from Sweden’s e-waste recycling push

Singapore – Environment | The Straits Times | April 25th, 2018
As electronic appliances and gadgets grow to be an increasingly large part of our lives, e-waste is also expected to increase – to reach a staggering 52.2 million tonnes globally by 2021. On average, each person in Singapore generated 19.5kg of e-waste in 2014, second only to Hong Kongers in Asia. By this year, the figure will have grown to 21kg as estimated by the Global E-waste Monitor 2017. Of this amount, just 6 per cent is known to be recycled, with the remaining 94 per cent untracked (though at least a quarter is known to end up in the trash bin). (1400 words)

296. Why Singapore is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | January 13th, 2019
The island is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world – at 0.25 degrees Celsius per decade – according to the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS). It is almost 1 deg C hotter today than in the 1950s. What is even grimmer news – Singapore’s maximum daily temperatures could reach 35 to 37 deg C by year 2100, if carbon emissions continue to rise at the same rate, warned Dr Muhammad Eeqmal Hassim, senior research scientist with the MSS Centre for Climate Research Singapore. Other countries already experience hotter temperatures than this – but the reason this spells trouble for Singapore, is that humidity is high here all year round,This could lead to potentially deadly situations, as the programme Why It Matters found out. (900 words)

297. Removal of straws part of efforts toward environmental protection, sustainability: Yakult Singapore

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | January 1st, 2019
The company said the decision to eliminate straws is part of its “corporate social responsibility … as well as an effort in contributing to environmental protection and sustainability”. “While this initiative may come (abruptly) for some people, we have received mostly positive comments,” said Yakult Singapore. “We are studying alternative materials that can replace plastic. We start with what we can do now – that is to eliminate the straws.”Before the removal of straws, Yakult Ace Light’s bottle cap was redesigned to include a lid. (300 words)

298. Commentary: Recycling makes you feel less guilty but doesn’t change how huge our plastic problem is

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | April 19th, 2019
A study by the Singapore Environment Council last year found that Singaporeans use at least 1.76 billion plastic bottles, bags and other disposable items yearly, of which only less than 20 per cent are recycled. The rest becomes discarded trash, left to burn or be put in landfills. Worldwide, humans have created over 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic since the 1950s, scientists revealed in 2017, and only 25 per cent were recycled. The popularity of plastic stems from its wide-ranging functions that satisfy consumer needs. (1400 words)

299. What will it take to kick Singapore’s growing multimillion-dollar addiction to bottled water?

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | May 19th, 2019
Data from research firm Euromonitor International show that sales of bottled water have been increasing steadily over the years – from S$161.3 million in 2013 to S$179.4 million in 2018. The figure includes sales of all types of bottled water, including still, carbonated, flavoured and what is known as “functional” water, which is enhanced with ingredients such as vitamins. And this has an impact on the environment, given that most bottled water is sold in single-used plastic containers, very little of which is recycled, according to the Singapore Environment Council. (1600 words)

300. Could more be done to reduce plastic packaging waste in Singapore’s supermarkets?

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | July 27th, 2019
Fruit and vegetables are often wrapped in plastic while meat and fish usually comes in a tray encased in clingwrap. There are also usually plenty of plastic bags on hand for those loose items that shoppers select before they’re weighed and priced. Such scenes are repeated at supermarkets around the world. But questions are starting to be raised about whether more should be done to reduce the reliance of supermarkets on plastic packaging, as the debate extends beyond cutting down on plastic shopping bags. (1400 words)

301. The Big Read: Taking the climate fight beyond straws and tote bags — individual actions that matter

Singapore – Environment | Channel News Asia | September 8th, 2019
The 31-year-old civil servant practises what he calls a “minimalist lifestyle”. He rarely shops, and has only bought four items for himself this year – a water bottle, socks, lenses for his sunglasses and a motorcycle plate number. What sparked the decision? Mr Leow said it happened early last year when he was packing his belongings for his return to Singapore from Australia, where he had been living with his wife for two years because of work. I got a bit fed-up as I was packing … There were many boxes. (4200 words)

302. Death of SCDF NSF Kok Yuen Chin: Timeline of events

Singapore – Events | Channel News Asia | September 12th, 2018
This was a key finding by a Board of Inquiry (BOI) convened to investigate the death of NSF Kok Yuen Chin after a night of celebration turned tragic. On May 13, Corporal (CPL) Kok was found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m-deep fire station pump well which was filled with water. The BOI interviewed and obtained statements from more than 50 people including including SCDF servicemen from Tuas View Fire Station where CPL Kok was stationed. It also reviewed evidence relevant to the incident and released its recommendations on Thursday (Sep 13). (400 words)

303. SCDF NSF death: Board of Inquiry recommends decommissioning pump wells, review of anti-ragging measures

Singapore – Events | Channel News Asia | September 13th, 2018
On May 13, Corporal Kok was found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m-deep fire station pump well which was filled with water. The BOI’s key findings and recommendations on CPL Kok’s death were released on Thursday (Sep 13) by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The inquiry found that May 13, the night CPL Kok died, started off as a celebratory activity for his impending operationally ready date (ORD) but subsequently “went tragically wrong”. The celebration, to mark the end of CPL Kok’s two-year training, was an initiative by members of his rota and paid for by the servicemen themselves. (900 words)

304. Religious teacher and student issued restriction orders under Internal Security Act: MHA

Singapore – Extremism | Channel News Asia | January 16th, 2019
Freelance religious teacher Murad Mohd Said, 46, was placed on the order on Dec 5 last year for “propagating beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to the cohesion of Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society”, said MHA. This is the first time a restriction order has been issued to a teacher accredited under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), which recognises teachers and scholars who meet the minimum standards of qualification to teach Islamic religious knowledge. “He (Murad) taught that it was compulsory to kill apostates, defined broadly to include non-believers, Sufis, Shi’ites and Muslims who have renounced Islam or disregarded texts and rulings from the Quran and Sunnah,” MHA said in a media release. (500 words)

305. Almost a quarter of Singaporeans would allow religious extremists to post views online: IPS Survey

Singapore – Extremism | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2019
The paper, Religion in Singapore: The Private and Public Sphere, analyses Singapore data from a multi-country survey conducted in late 2018 for the International Social Survey Program Study of Religion. The Singapore component of the survey examined the views of a random sample of 1,800 Singaporean residents on issues relating to religious beliefs, religiosity and the role of religion in the private and public spheres. According to the paper, more than 97 per cent of respondents said religious leaders should not incite violence or hatred against other religions. (1100 words)

306. Maid advertisements on Carousell: SRC Recruitment, employee face 243 charges

Singapore – FDWs | Channel News Asia | October 3rd, 2018
SRC and Mdm Erleena face a combined 243 charges for an array of wrongdoing, which includes placing the advertisements and failing to ensure that the agency’s name and licence number were reflected in the advertisements. In a press release, MOM said the advertisements that were placed between Sep 1 and Sep 17 this year on online marketplace Carousell had “cast the FDWs in an undignified light”. MOM first alerted the public to the postings on Sep 14, saying that it had been made aware of cases of maids being “marketed inappropriately” on Carousell. (300 words)

307. Does boss’ son have the right to scold the maid?

Singapore – FDWs | The Straits Times | January 20th, 2019
Does she have the right to scold him, she wonders. An employer whose four-room flat does not have a spare room for her new helper asks where maids prefer sleeping: the study, the storeroom or the living room. Such interpersonal matters loom large in Singapore, where one in five households employs and lives with a foreign domestic worker. Yet, there is no Ministry of Manpower (MOM) handbook or legislation that can authoritatively say what is right or wrong in many of these situations, which fall into grey areas and depend on context. (1100 words)

308. Disinformation and fake news: Old wine in new bottles

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 28th, 2018
These terms have deeper conceptual, historical roots in the much older term “propaganda”. Some scholars suggest that the word “propaganda” evolved as a result of Pope Gregory XV creating the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome in 1622. Hence, the origins of the term “propaganda” were honourable and related to the dissemination of religious ideals. Only in the 20th century, particularly following the excesses of Nazi propaganda during World War II, did the current opprobrium associated with the word emerge. (1000 words)

309. False news could be first line of attack on nation: Shanmugam

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 15th, 2018
This would apply especially to foreign actors who want to attack Singapore but cannot do so using military means, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday, the first day of hearings by a parliamentary Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods. He was deliberating with Dr Michael Raska of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies on how information warfare and cyber conflicts have been in play throughout the world, and their implications for Singapore. While Singapore might have the edge in conventional warfare, said Dr Raska, the use of disinformation campaigns aimed at political, racial and religious fracture points that may exist in society can offset an attacker’s military inferiority. (500 words)

310. Fighting fake news, dangerous ideals

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | June 3th, 2018
Advertisers placing such ads are now required to declare their identity and location. Once verified, the ads will now inform users which agency is promoting the message and what other ads the entity is running. A “Paid For By” disclosure will appear at the top of the message, and applies to both Facebook and Instagram. The new transparency tools will also give all users access to a searchable archive that will house the sponsored messages for seven years from the day they run. Users will also be able to see the age, location and gender of the audiences of the ads, as well as how much was spent on the campaign. (900 words)

311. Government to review laws to tackle fake news: Some instances of fake news

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | April 3th, 2017
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in Parliament on April 3 said the Government is reviewing how to combat fake news, as current laws are limited in tackling the problem. The legislation will likely be passed next year, said Mr Shanmugam on June 19. Here is a look at 11 instances of fake news both in Singapore and overseas, and what the truth was in each case. 1. Fake message claiming CPF savings will be transferred to Medisave accountA message circulating online saying that Central Provident Fund savings will be transferred to the Medisave account of one’s nominee by default upon death is fake Singapore Government website gov.sg said in a post on June 17. (1300 words)

312. No proof fake news can alter a person’s political views: Expert

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 17th, 2018
“And there is even evidence against it,” Mr Morteza Shahrezaye of the Bavarian School of Public Policy, Technical University of Munich, told the parliamentary Select Committee on fake news yesterday. It is not that hard to identify fake automated online accounts and a person can spot one easily if he comes across, say, a Twitter account with 10,000 tweets in one day, he said. In a joint submission with his colleague, Associate Professor Simon Hegelich, they argued that fears of orchestrated attempts to transform political opinion on social networks are exaggerated. (400 words)

313. Of personal choice and govt’s role

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 17th, 2018
Or should people make their own choices – damn the consequences? This age-old question bubbled under the surface of discussions at the Select Committee’s hearings yesterday as speakers discussed how Singapore should move to counter the problem of online falsehoods. But at its heart, the question is really about autonomy. Commentators here and abroad have chafed at Singapore for being too paternalistic, often citing the chewing gum ban and sin taxes to deter smoking and drinking. They will no doubt also debate whether or not the Government has a duty or role to venture into the area of tackling deliberate online falsehoods. (700 words)

314. ‘It does us no justice’ to be pro-Government, say Singapore’s mainstream media

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
They were addressing a parliamentary Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods (DOFs), set up to explore the likes of fake news and its countermeasures – including legislation. Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong, who sits on the panel, suggested that notwithstanding the perpetuation of DOFs, trust in mainstream media “is still high but not as high as it used to be”. “On the ground, there would have been some erosion of trust,” she said. “There is a perception in certain quarters that the mainstream press is pro-ruling party, or pro-Government, and in some quarters they say mainstream media has now swung the other way.”In response, Mediacorp’s editor-in-chief Walter Fernandez said: “Before the social media advent, there were far fewer brands of news sources. (700 words)

315. ‘Overly broad use’ of fake news term ‘problematic’, say IPS researchers

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 14th, 2018
The written representation, published on the Parliament website on Wednesday (Mar 14), noted that the “overly broad use” of the term fake news is “problematic on many fronts”. Without a clear definition, it would be “near futile” to prescribe the most appropriate counter-measures, they said in their personal capacities. Dr Soon and Mr Goh said academics and industry players characterise “fake news” as one that is “deliberately fabricated with the intent to deceive, motivated by economic gains or political influence and assumes the disguise or trappings of an authoritative news source”. (800 words)

316. Commentary: To tackle deliberate online falsehoods, look also to non-legislative efforts

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 24th, 2018
Several experts agree that legislation can play a role in the fight against deliberate online falsehoods, but there are gaps in existing legislation due to rapid advancements in technology which need to be plugged. However, experts also agree that legislation cannot be the only solution. First, legislation will always lag behind the increasingly sophisticated technological tools that perpetrators use to produce and disseminate online falsehoods. Second, relying solely on legislation may cultivate over-reliance among citizens on authorities to help them discern truth from fiction. (1000 words)

317. Deliberate online falsehoods: Social media giants say they are not in a position to be ‘arbiters of truth’

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
But it does not have a policy that requires all content posted to be “true, verified and accurate”, so as not to be placed in a position where it has to be the arbiter of the truth. In a marathon three-hour exchange during the public hearings of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, Facebook’s vice-president of public policy for Asia Pacific Simon Milner made that point, after being questioned repeatedly by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam. In the course of the exchange, Mr Milner also admitted that Facebook had made a “wrong call” and should have informed its users earlier about the breach in its policies involving political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. (1600 words)

318. Election media monitoring body needed to fight fake news by foreign entities: GIllian Koh

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
Materials created by Singaporeans located outside of the country should also be construed as material generated by foreign sources. This was suggested by Dr Gillian Koh, Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) deputy director for research, in her written submission to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods (DOFs). Dr Koh also appeared before the committee at the public hearing on Friday (Mar 23). In her written representation, which she stressed that she was submitting in a personal capacity, Dr Koh mentioned how attempts at exerting foreign influence over Singapore “are not new”. (1500 words)

319. Fake news is a ‘solvable problem’ but tackling it with legislation could be difficult: Janil Puthucheary

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | June 25th, 2018
Mr Puthucheary, speaking during a panel session on fake news, said from an engineering perspective, fake news is a “solvable problem” but acknowledged the difficulty in tackling it with legislation. He cited an example of a Facebook post showing a young man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and doing a Nazi salute at Hong Lim Park. It had upset a UK woman so much, due to its association with the Holocaust, she fought to have the picture removed from the social media platform. It was later discovered the man made the salute to protest against what he perceived as the fascist People’s Action Party (PAP) Government, Mr Janil added. (700 words)

320. Historian Thum Ping Tjin, Shanmugam cross swords on Singapore’s communism-related past

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 29th, 2018
During the session on Thursday (Mar 29), Mr Shanmugam spent almost six hours questioning Dr Thum’s perspective on a wide variety of texts, including books from Lenin and Malayan Communist leader Chin Peng as well as Dr Thum’s own thesis and papers. Mr Shanmugam fired many salvos to refute Dr Thum’s written submission suggesting that there are no examples of fake news which have had a major impact on Singapore offline, with one exception. “There is clear source of ‘fake news’ which has spread falsehoods, with major impact, and hitherto escaped sanction. (800 words)

321. Human Rights Watch responds to criticism at Select Committee hearing

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | December 13th, 2018
Last Friday (Mar 23), the PPF slammed a 2017 HRW report which described Singapore as a “repressive place” that imposed criminal penalties for peaceful speech. The group, an arm of the People’s Action Party that engages Government leaders on policy issues, called the report a “type of deliberate falsehood” in a written submission to the Select Committee. At the hearings the same day, Select Committee chairman Charles Chong stated that the committee had invited HRW to give oral evidence at the hearings on any of the eight hearing dates, but that HRW maintained that it was unable to participate and did not take up an offer of video-conferencing. (600 words)

322. Human Rights Watch says Select Committee’s invitation not in ‘good faith’

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 29th, 2018
The committee’s actions “have made it clear that this is not a serious and good faith effort” to discuss a HRW report from December last year, the non-profit organisation said in a press statement on Friday (Mar 30). The report had described Singapore as a “repressive place” that imposed criminal penalties for peaceful speech and was slammed by the People’s Action Party Policy Forum at a hearing last Friday. “Instead, it is clearly an effort to discredit critics of Singapore’s repressive policies and practices related to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” HRW said. (300 words)

323. Intention is key in distinguishing fake news from honest opinion, says TOC co-founder Andrew Loh

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2018
This is a point made by Mr Andrew Loh, co-founder of socio-political website The Online Citizen (TOC), in his written representation to the parliamentary committee looking at the issue of deliberate online falsehoods. Mr Loh, who stressed that he was speaking in his personal capacity, called for a “patient and tolerant approach” to allow for robust debates. He also suggested an independent body be set up to oversee alleged fake news cases – points that he reiterated at the Select Committee hearing on Wednesday (Mar 28). (1600 words)

324. Law regulating deliberate online falsehoods can be justified under ‘public order’: Professor

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
Dr Thio, who appeared before the committee on Friday (Mar 23), said in her written representation that such a law could also be justified on the ground of “national security” given that DOFs are a “hybrid” threat to both. She also said that a law regulating such falsehoods cannot be seen as a means to curtail free speech as “not all forms of speech are equally worthy of protection”. Public order is a “less decentralised” idea than a ‘law and order’ issue, she wrote. “It is usually defined as relating to a disturbance to communal tranquility under which every person feels safe under the protection of the law, where danger to human life and safety falls within its purview and can involve matters relating to public health or drug trafficking which has obvious deleterious social impact.” With the courts appearing oriented towards an expansive or capacious understanding of ‘public order’ that transcends the threat of physical violence, public order thus appears able to accommodate both physical threats and threats to fundamental values and processes. (1200 words)

325. Laws against racial and religious insult tend to backfire: Cherian George

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 27th, 2018
Prof George, who was appearing in his personal capacity, suggested in his written submission that legal sanctions against hate propaganda can do more harm than good, and are not the only possible response to hate propaganda. He researches media freedom, censorship and hate propaganda. Hate propaganda, which he referred to as “group libel”, is a political strategy that should be distinguished from outbursts of hateful speech by an individual or day-to-day expressions of intolerance, he wrote. He noted that in Singapore, the term “hate speech” is sometimes used to refer to the causing of racial or religious offence, or insults that hurt feelings but without necessarily instigating harm. (1600 words)

326. Local rights groups oppose new laws against fake news, argue that current legislation is sufficient

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 27th, 2018
The group added that laws like the Parliamentary Elections Act, Telecommunications Act and the Penal Code also apply to DOFs, as they contain provisions against the transmission of false messages or those that might incite crimes against the State or any community. “By failing to raise those examples, the government is suggesting that existing laws such as the ISA (Internal Security Act) are sufficient to defend against this kind of threat,” it added. Civil rights group Community Action Network (CAN), which comprises social workers, journalists and artists, also cited the TRS example, stating that as “no similar problems have since arisen, it is logical to conclude that existing laws are sufficient in dealing with fake news”. (800 words)

327. New, ‘prescriptive’ laws not the ideal solution against online falsehoods: Social media, Internet giants in written submissions

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 22nd, 2018
Instead, a “stringent self-regulatory approach”, executed in coordination and cooperation with the authorities, will have a better outcome. The association made this point in their written representation to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. It was also due to give oral evidence to the committee on Thursday (Mar 22), together with representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter. Explaining their rationale, AIC’s managing director Jeff Paine said in his written representation that prescriptive legislation will not adequately address the issue effectively, due to the highly subjective, nuanced and difficult task of discerning whether information is true or false. (1600 words)

328. Non-mainstream media journalists call for Freedom of Information Act to fight fake news

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 27th, 2018
Kirsten Han, a former editor of activist blog The Online Citizen (TOC), wrote that such an Act would allow Singaporeans to put in requests for data from the Government to “do their own fact-checking; conduct their own analysis and come to their own conclusions”. She also called for processes to be developed to regularly declassify archival material for Singaporeans to access. “Greater transparency … also comes with the benefit of building and strengthening public trust by demonstrating the Government’s willingness to be held to account and communicate openly with its citizens,” said Ms Han. (1300 words)

329. One small misstep for being right for right’s sake, and one big missed opportunity for truth

Singapore – Fake News | The Online Citizen | April 11th, 2018
I do not know Han Fook Kwang (“HFK”) personally. I have read about him, but not met him. The only thing we share in common is our surname; while the only difference is that I have more hair than him, much more actually (if you want to split hairs about it). But when MPs Desmond Lee (“DL”) and Janil Puthucheary (“JP”) came forward to write a rebuttal this morning (entitled “History is not the preserve of historians”) of HFK’s article (entitled “4G leaders need to find their own way to forge ties with people”) written on Sunday, 8 April, I felt something’s amiss. (1400 words)

330. PAP Policy Forum slams Human Rights Watch report on Singapore, calls it a ‘deliberate falsehood’

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
The group, an arm of the People’s Action Party that engages Government leaders on policy issues, called the report as a “type of deliberate falsehood” in a written submission to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods on Friday (Mar 23). It said the report is “an example of how false and misleading impressions can be created by a selective presentation of facts, designed to promote an underlying agenda”, which is to change the society in Singapore. The report, released last December, presented examples of what it said were restrictions on peaceful assembly and online media. (900 words)

331. Public education necessary to fight against deliberate online falsehoods: Select Committee

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | September 20th, 2018
In its report released on Thursday (Sep 20), the committee noted that public education on media and digital literacy, as well as critical thinking, have an essential role to play in strengthening “individual defences against deliberate online falsehoods”. “This is a necessary endeavour, and is one long-term solution against deliberate online falsehoods,” it said. “We must make sure that our efforts in public education are informed by these developing trends,” Mdm Rahayu said. The committee explained that a broad-based education must aim to equip people with the skills to assess the veracity and credibility of information and sources. (700 words)

332. Refresh current legislation rather than introduce new laws to deal with fake news, says legal expert

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2018
This is regardless of whether the falsehoods are propagated online or offline, the law don from the Singapore Management University said. He joined others before him, like activists and rights groups, in expressing concern about the introduction of new laws to deal with fake news in representations to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. Such dedicated legislation could stifle the bottom-up energy and mobilisation that is needed to fight deliberate falsehoods at a time when more robust speech is needed to counter deliberate falsehoods, he pointed out. (900 words)

333. Select Committee makes 22 recommendations to deal with fake news threat to Singapore

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | September 20th, 2018
In the voluminous report, numbering hundreds of pages, the committee detailed the process through which it sought the views of industry players and the public, which include 170 written representations. Oral representations from 65 individuals and organisations were also heard during the eight-day public hearings in March this year. Senior Minister of State for Transport and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary, who is part of the committee, reiterated this during a media briefing on Thursday. (1400 words)

334. Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, press club call for ‘risk-based approach’ against fake news

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 23rd, 2018
“The need to prevent and curb the spread of deliberate online falsehoods (DOFs) may be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a means to assert more control over the press and journalism in Singapore,” the groups wrote in a joint-written representation to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. The SCCA is a group that represents the interest of in-house lawyers, while the Singapore Press Club is a networking organisation for those working in the media. The measures to counter DOFs should not curtail “serious-minded journalism” in Singapore, the groups said. (600 words)

335. Singapore fake news panel debates Benjamin Lim case, Human Rights Watch report with journalists

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2018
Panel member Edwin Tong and witnesses Terry Xu and Kirsten Han engaged in a lively, at times tense but overall civil discussion interspersed with frequent utterances of “let me finish”. The former, who is chief editor of socio-political website The Online Citizen, was grilled over an article on teenager Benjamin Lim, who in 2016 committed suicide after being questioned by police over an allegation of molest. “As a content provider, as someone who publishes and circulates … you have a responsibility to make sure you get the facts right, correct?” Mr Tong, a lawyer, asked. (1000 words)

336. Strong trust in public institutions essential to combat fake news: Select Committee

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | September 20th, 2018
In its report released on Thursday (Sep 20), the committee added that where appropriate, public institutions should also seek to pre-empt vulnerabilities and put out information in advance, in order to inoculate the public, and ensure that they communicate with the public in clear and comprehensible terms. In total, 22 recommendations were made by the 10-member committee, which was set up in January to deal with the issue of deliberate online falsehoods. It received 170 written representations and heard oral evidence from 65 individuals and organisations over the course of eight days in March. (800 words)

337. What Trump Is Learning From Singapore — and Vice Versa

Singapore – Fake News | New York Times | March 28th, 2018
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338. Why fake news is getting harder to spot (and the impact it could have)

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | March 9th, 2018
Reports that Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had collapsed during a United Nations summit, and that a Filipino family had caused a scuffle during a Thaipusam procession, had the same effect. But which ones were real and which were not? In the case of the roof collapse, the police, the Singapore Civil Defence Force as well as HDB and town council officers rushed to the scene, only to learn that it was fake news – wasting resources and causing alarm. The other two reports were also false. (1100 words)

339. Workers’ Party takes down ‘misleading’ video which implied PUB had S$5.3b surplus

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | July 10th, 2018
On Jun 4, WP had put up a video on the rising cost of living in Singapore. The video had text which stated that PUB’s capital reserve “increased from $3b in 2007 to more than $5b in 2016”, WP secretary-general Pritam Singh said in a Facebook post on Monday. “The video and the text create the impression that the PUB hosts a $5.3b surplus. Minister Lawrence Wong has clarified this is not the case. I have instructed that the video be taken down in view of Minister Wong’s clarification,” wrote Mr Singh. (300 words)

340. The Big Read: In the war against fake news, public needs to get in the trenches

Singapore – Fake News | TODAY
His mother was talking about a fake news article online about Ai Takagi, editor of the now-defunct The Real Singapore, suffering a miscarriage while in jail. Having followed the case closely — Takagi had a miscarriage before she was sent to jail for 10 months in 2016 for publishing seditious articles — he was struck by how easily Singaporeans unwittingly believe what they read on the Internet. The 32-year-old, who only wished to be known as Joseph, runs Facebook page Fact Check Singapore. “Fighting fake news is something every Singaporean should take responsibility for, as there is only so much the government can do,” he said. (3000 words)

341. To mitigate online falsehoods, tweak how information is distributed

Singapore – Fake News | TODAY
Hearing the myriad viewpoints from traditional print media companies, social media platforms and social science researchers has shown us that the modern information ecosystem has transformed an otherwise unremarkable proposition – that sometimes, people lie – into a complex problem without a clear solution. Misinformation is not new, but what is new is the channels through which it can easily reach people and, at times, shape public opinion. At the same time, although these channels are prone to misuse, it is worth remembering today’s diverse ecosystem of information (from mainstream media outlets to online publications such as Mothership) also empowers robust debate, which fosters civic resilience. (1100 words)

342. Trust between government, people key in fighting fake news problem

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 16th, 2018
Associate Professor Kevin Limonier of the French Institute of Geopolitics at the University of Paris 8 said Russian propaganda in France and Europe was just a symptom of a wider problem: “There is an audience for this kind of content… So, it is basically most of all an internal problem. Russians are just exploiting the weaknesses of our democracies.” Sharing his view, Dr Janis Berzins of the Centre for Security and Strategic Studies of the National Defence Academy of Latvia said that information wars would work only “if there is ground for them”. (800 words)

343. UK expert says legislation is tricky as it is hard to define fake news, but Shanmugam disagrees

Singapore – Fake News | The Straits Times | March 15th, 2018
Mr Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at American think-tank Atlantic Council, argued that there are so many shades of grey that a law to tackle the problem of deliberate online falsehoods would likely have a preamble as big as the Oxford English Dictionary. “How do you define the problem? What if it’s 5 per cent true? Is it still a false story? Is it deliberate?” asked Mr Nimmo, who analyses disinformation and fake news at the think tank’s Information Defense Digital Forensic Research Lab. “There are here are so many grey areas here in terms of the spectrum from a story that’s 100 per cent made up to 50 per cent made up to not made up at all,” he added. (600 words)

344. Proposed law on falsehoods has ‘clear oversight mechanism’ to prevent abuse by Government, says Shanmugam

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | April 12th, 2019
For instance, if there was a declaration that something is false and needed clarification, the courts would have oversight. In response to questions on whether the legislation provided the Singapore Government with too much power, Mr Shanmugam said that such accusations had also been made on previous pieces of legislation. “We’ve always said: ‘OK what works for us, we’ve put it in place and we exercise those powers honestly.’ And we allow ourselves to be judged and, periodically, the people judge us at the elections and they look at the results of what we have done. (3600 words)

345. Media Literacy Council apologises for ‘confusion’ after labelling satire as an example of fake news

Singapore – Fake News | Channel News Asia | September 9th, 2019
“We acknowledge that the post and infographic gave the wrong impression that satire was fake news, which was not the intent. We are sorry for the confusion and will review our material,” MLC said. The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act Bill, which was passed earlier this year, does not cover opinion, criticism, satire or parody. In its initial Facebook post on Sep 5, MLC said that fake news could take many forms and includes: False context, imposter content, manipulated content, misleading content, clickbait and satire. (400 words)

346. Commentary: On falsehoods, clumsy corrections might backfire

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 4th, 2019
It seeks to compel, among others, publishers, internet service providers, social media platforms and individuals who have shared the false statement to put up a correction, rather than remove the post, though that option is also available. The bill also provides for the possibility of requiring the publication of a correction not only online but also “in a specified newspaper or other printed publication of Singapore”. This is a clear recognition of the importance of debunking disinformation and assumes that corrections are the most effective in combating falsehoods. (1500 words)

347. Commentary: What next in Singapore’s bid to protect against falsehoods and manipulation?

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 4th, 2019
With the Bill already tabled in Parliament for its first reading on Apr 1, it will get a second reading at the next sitting of Parliament, and thereafter, be passed into law. It is therefore important that eyes be already set on the future, on how the Government will eventually implement and enforce the new laws in the first weeks and months after it comes into force. With the expectedly deep political undertones in early criticisms and international scrutiny, each step that the Government takes will have fundamental impacts on its credibility – both domestically and internationally. (1300 words)

348. FAQ: How will the new law stop deliberate online falsehoods from spreading?

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
The Law Ministry said in its press release that corrections will be the primary response to a harmful online falsehood that is actively spreading – meaning this will require facts to be put up alongside the falsehood “so that the facts can travel together with the falsehood”. But what exactly are the levers that authorities can call upon with the proposed law, and how will these affect online news sites and social media platforms? There are two types of corrections: Targeted corrections or general corrections. (1000 words)

349. New law tackling online falsehoods not meant to create ‘chilling effect’ in public discussions: Edwin Tong

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 3rd, 2019
He reiterated that the new proposed law only deals with statements of fact and will not affect those who are offering personal comments or viewpoints. The issue of possible curbing of free speech was something Law Minister K Shanmugam had addressed on Monday when he said that people putting falsehoods into the marketplace to confuse others and to change the terms of debate undermines free speech and democracy. As such, the approach for a correction-based response to these falsehoods encourages free speech. (600 words)

350. Regulating online falsehoods is ‘new area’ for Singapore Government, says S Iswaran

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
“And therefore, I’m sure this will be a new set of circumstances that they’ll have to deal with.”He made the comments in a doorstop interview on Monday, when the Bill was first tabled in Parliament. He added it would be a process going forward, but stressed that the Government has sought to engage with the tech companies throughout this process of looking at deliberate online falsehoods and coming up with the legislation. “We regard them as partners, not adversaries,” he explained. “We want to work with them, because we have a common interest in ensuring these platforms are trustworthy and reliable.”With regard to the actual mechanics of when a direction is issued to tech companies, Mr Iswaran said after a falsehood is identified and a direction issued, tech companies will have to respond in terms of how they can meet that direction – and this is when a discussion can take place. (500 words)

351. Singapore proposes multi-pronged law to combat online falsehoods

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | April 2nd, 2019
It also intends to protect against malicious actors who knowingly spread harmful falsehoods, or offer disinformation tools and services, using criminal sanctions. One example of what the law is going after is the false States Times Review article from last November alleging Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with Singapore in exchange for the assistance of banks here to launder the funds of Malaysian state fund 1MDB. The false article on its own garnered 1,716 shares, 754 reactions and 157 comments on States Times Review’s Facebook page. (1200 words)

352. Deliberate online falsehoods Bill: More details revealed on process to challenge decisions

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 7th, 2019
The minister, speaking in Parliament during the second reading of the Bill on Tuesday (May 7), said that the detailed procedure for challenging a minister’s decision will be spelled out in subsidiary legislation. This is expected to be filed later, after the primary legislation is passed. Mr Shanmugam reiterated that the process would be fast and simplified, and sketched out an overview in his speech. For instance, a person contesting the decision must apply to the relevant minister to do so. A standard online form will be provided and the person should send it to the email address set out in the minister’s direction, he added. (500 words)

353. Exemption of Government from being sued under POHA amendments a ‘glaring omission’: Pritam Singh

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 7th, 2019
Mr Singh was speaking at the second reading of the Protection from Harassment (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to enhance protection for victims of harassment and falsehoods, and to make it easier for victims to obtain remedies. The amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) include criminalising the act of doxxing, which is the publishing of someone’s personal information such as their photos, contact numbers or employment details with the intention to harass. The amendments will also include the setting up of a Protection from Harassment court. (1200 words)

354. Law Minister K Shanmugam addresses concerns over proposed online falsehoods and manipulation law

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 7th, 2019
He was speaking during the second reading of the Bill, where he addressed the concerns in turn:1. He noted that while the Bill gives ministers the power to declare that an article contains falsehoods and subsequently ask for a correction order to be carried or the article be taken down, he also said that the decision is open to be challenged in court. Should the minister be found to have made a wrong judgment, he will be overruled, elaborated Mr Shanmugam. He also refuted claims that spreading of falsehoods is a new crime. (1200 words)

355. May not be possible for courts to decide on a falsehood ‘in a matter of hours’: Shanmugam

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 8th, 2019
The minister was responding to Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh during a debate over a recommendation by the Select Committee for Deliberate Online Falsehoods. The committee had recommended that “the Government should have the powers to swiftly disrupt the spread and influence of online falsehoods”. Mr Singh called for the courts to be the arbiters of such cases, instead of ministers. Mr Singh, who is a member of the Select Committee along with Mr Shanmugam and eight others, said: “I stand by it (the Select Committee’s recommendation). (800 words)

356. Online Falsehoods Bill narrows, not widens, Government’s powers: Law ministry

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 1st, 2019
It includes powers for ministers to order sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter to put warnings next to posts authorities deem false, and in extreme cases, to take them down. In opinions published in The Straits Times on Wednesday, Senior Counsels Harpreet Singh and Siraj Omar expressed their concerns and suggested several changes to the Bill. Mr Singh, a partner with Clifford Chance Asia, said that “legitimate concerns remain” despite the Government’s assurances to allay fears that the Bill would curtail free speech. (1200 words)

357. Workers’ Party opposes online falsehoods Bill, says Pritam Singh

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 7th, 2019
Speaking in Parliament during the debate on the Bill, Mr Singh said the proposed law gives “remarkable leeway” to the Executive to define what a falsehood is. He cited a clause in the Bill which legislates that a statement can be deemed by the Government to be false if it is misleading – wholly, in part, on its own or in the context which it appears. “In public understanding, this clause gives broad latitude to the Executive to clamp down on what it deems to be even misleading statements which may not be false per se,” Mr Singh said. (700 words)

358. ‘Very onerous’ process to challenge order on content deemed as online falsehood: Sylvia Lim

Singapore – Falsehoods | Channel News Asia | May 8th, 2019
A person who does not agree will first have to comply, and then appeal against the order. He will have to first apply to the minister who issued the order, and if unsuccessful, file an appeal in court. A minister has to make a decision within two working days of receiving an application against his direction. In all, a person disputing the decision will have the opportunity to have the case heard in High Court as early as nine working days after initiating the challenge. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had said on Tuesday that the appeals process would be made fast and simple, with costs “kept very low”. (1300 words)

359. When three kids are still not enough

Singapore – Family | The Straits Times | July 26th, 2018
“I have only a younger brother and I felt a bit lonely growing up in a small family,” she said. “So I told myself I want to have at least four children. I like even numbers and each child will have a playmate.” Last year, the former pre-school teacher gave birth to Eliana, who is now nine months old. She has three older children – Yael, a 11-year-old boy, Elisha, an eight-year-old girl, and five-year-old Ezra, a boy. The Queks survive on her husband’s income as a training and development manager. (1100 words)

360. The Big Read: Through thick and thin (waistlines) — Singaporeans’ enduring love affair with fast food

Singapore – Fast Food | Channel News Asia | June 10th, 2019
The part-time service staff eats fast food about four times a week. He said that back in 2013, when Filipino fast food chain Jollibee first arrived here, he queued 3.5 hours just for a taste of it. “(It) was worth it,” said the food enthusiast, whose affinity with fast food started when he was 10 and his aunt bought him McDonald’s Happy Meal, which came with a toy. These days, long queues could still be spotted whenever new fast food players came to town, as seen recently with the opening of Shake Shack and A&W at Jewel Changi Airport. (3100 words)

361. Getting Singaporeans to take pride in homegrown films

Singapore – Film | TODAY
It would appear that SFC, now a division under the Info-communications Media Development Authority, has many notable achievements to celebrate. This perhaps is a time to take a step back and look at the relationship between Singaporeans and Singapore films. With the international success of Ilo Ilo, winning the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the best feature film at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, followed by more global accolades for Apprentice, Yellow Bird and Pop Aye, we can safely say Singapore independent filmmaking has come of age. (1300 words)

362. For a different take on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, cross the Pacific

Singapore – Film | The Economist | September 1st, 2018
Its author would not like his readers—not to mention The Economist’s bosses—to think this his usual perch. It is true that the “Skypark”, a 340-metre-long curved platform set on three, 55-storey towers, is perhaps the most spectacular man-made vantage point in Asia. It is a bold monument to 21st-century Asian consumerism, all the more fitting for its tacky faux-Angkor columns and an infinity pool more crowded than a London lido in a heatwave.It is also a fitting setting for the final, extravagant party scene—admittedly one of many—in “Crazy Rich Asians”, an American film taking the world’s cinemas by storm. (1000 words)

363. Fintech in Singapore: The future of our money

Singapore – Finance | The Straits Times | July 23th, 2018
Soon, the Singapore-headquartered company may do much more than helping commuters travel from point to point. Grab chief executive officer Anthony Tan announced on July 10 a new service – GrabPlatform – that allows other businesses, from grocery sellers to insurance agencies, to incorporate its payment system, GrabPay, into their apps and websites for electronic payments. In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Mr Tan said he wants Grab to become an “everyday super-app” that helps millions of users carry out daily activities. (1800 words)

364. The brave new world of digital currencies

Singapore – Finance | The Straits Times | November 21th, 2018
High-denomination currency notes (S$50 notes and above) are abolished. You are invited to open a bank account at the MAS. You are offered a rate of interest slightly higher than those available at commercial banks because the MAS saves a lot of money by no longer having to print, store and transport so much cash – it decides to share these savings with its depositors. Having opened your digital currency account at MAS, you can make payments in real time to any party directly, via phone or computer for free, without having to go through commercial banks, which deduct a charge. (1700 words)

365. Commentary: Bike-sharing e-wallets, peer-to-peer lending and the astronomical rise of shadow banking

Singapore – Finance | Channel News Asia | February 16th, 2019
That was more than six months ago yet users who have tried to get a refund on their mandatory deposits are still waiting. A shocking S$8.9 million from oBike owed to users is still outstanding. oBike liquidators are supposed to have met creditors last month but had earlier warned that “the company’s winding up is still ongoing and no payments or distributions will be made. This battle is familiar, not just to consumers and those in the financial industry but also regulators. “There will be another financial crisis … but it’s going to look very different from the last one,” said Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon. (2100 words)

366. Commentary: What Singapore can do to prepare for the next flood

Singapore – Flooding | Channel News Asia | January 7th, 2019
Although such incidents evince snarls and flare up tempers, in other cities, people have developed creative responses to floods. In Thailand, we have witnessed how the recent tropical storm Pabuk resulted in heavy floods and left more than 30,000 people in evacuation shelters. This is an example of the severe impact of a single, very unusual weather event for which resilience is much needed. So it is fortuitous that the United National Climate Change Conference organised in Poland in early December 2018 united once again most countries on what should be a coordinated and effective response on adaptation, mitigation and preparedness for coping with climate change. (1200 words)

367. Flying taxis? Bell Helicopter sees such a service taking off in Singapore

Singapore – Flying Taxis | Channel News Asia | September 18th, 2018
That is the vision that manufacturer Bell Helicopter has for its electric flying taxis, a concept it unveiled earlier this year at CES, formerly called the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. With its latest and most lightweight chopper, the highly manoeuvrable Bell 505, said to have been well-received in Asia since the aircraft’s entry into the region this year, the company sees the potential for urban air taxis, especially in Southeast Asia. “Obviously, traffic here (in Singapore) isn’t as bad as in Jakarta or Bangkok, or Delhi for that matter, but I think there’s still a demand,” said Bell Helicopter Asia general manager Chris Schaefer. (800 words)

368. Aloha Poke apologises for dead spider found in customer’s salad bowl; closes Katong kitchen for 2 days

Singapore – Food | The Straits Times | May 14th, 2018
Mr John Chen, one of the co-founders of the home-grown eatery, told The Straits Times on Monday that the Katong kitchen where the Deliveroo order was prepared will also be closed for two days for thorough investigation and cleaning. On Friday, Facebook user Siew Ping wrote about her “amazing spiderman” experience in a post, which has since been shared widely online. She said that she ordered a Standard Nalu salmon bowl, comprising two scoops of marinated or seasoned raw fish, via food delivery service Deliveroo at about 9.30pm on Thursday with a friend. (700 words)

369. ‘I hope people ask why we’re giving good food away’: Giveaway highlights food waste problem

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | September 16th, 2018
If you want to pick and choose, go to a supermarket,” said a food rescue volunteer in jest as she handed out free vegetables to the public on Friday (Sep 14). It was SG Food Rescue’s third food wastage awareness drive – an event where they distribute “rescued” food items that are edible but were thrown out by suppliers. About 800kg of food was given away to more than 200 members of the public in two hours from a room at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) office on Maxwell Road. These were collected a day earlier from Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre by SG Food Rescue’s co-founder Daniel Tay and his volunteers. (700 words)

370. 90% of Singapore university students not aware of hidden sugars in food and drinks: NTU study

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | February 6th, 2018
The survey on 382 participants aged 18 to 24 from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University and NTU found that most of the respondents do not check the nutritional labels and ingredient list of packaged products. The students said they did not have time, it took too much effort, or they had a tendency to forget. But young adults’ tendency to detach themselves from the likelihood of developing sugar-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease may put them at higher risk, noted experts. (400 words)

371. Commentary: Typhoon Mangkhut destroys rice, corn and fish – but what has this got to do with Singapore?

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | September 19th, 2018
The strongest storm so far this year to hit Asia, Typhoon Mangkhut has left a devastating trail of destruction along its path. Buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed. Lesser known but just as severe are the disastrous impact the storm may have on the livelihoods of farmers and the resulting huge losses in food production. It made landfall in northern Luzon island, Philippines early Saturday morning but effects of its strong winds and heavy rain were felt over a wide swath of land which included the Philippines “ricebowl” area in Central Luzon, and major corn growing provinces such as Isabella and Cagayan (among top five corn growing provinces). (1200 words)

372. Extra fees of S$650 levied on some Ci Yuan hawkers a ‘miscommunication’: Fei Siong management

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | September 7th, 2018
The social enterprise which operates the hawker centre was responding to unhappiness voiced by some stall holders that the S$650 monthly fee – which is on top of rental costs – was compulsory. “We believe it’s some miscommunication from our team to hawkers,” said Fei Siong Food Management’s group general manager Joe Sng. He explained that the S$600 fee, in particular, was introduced in July to address concerns by the management on food portions sold by hawkers. Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, which is one of the seven social enterprise hawker centres running on an alternative management model, gets hawkers to provide at least one S$2.80 meal at their stall. (1000 words)

373. Returning trays at hawker centres does not deprive cleaners of jobs: Amy Khor

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | March 6th, 2018
“Cleaners are not going to lose their jobs, just because we become more considerate and return our trays,” she said during her ministry’s Committee of Supply session. “Cleaning is not an easy job that attracts many, especially locals.” The Government has funded initiatives like automated tray return systems (ATRS) and centralised dishwashing services in existing hawker centres undergoing renovation. These systems will be rolled out in phases to up to 25 existing hawker centres over the next few years. (600 words)

374. Should you pay for cancelling your dinner reservation at the last minute?

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | April 4th, 2018
In a post on his personal Facebook page on the evening of Mar 24, a Saturday, Shen wrote that one-third of Artichoke’s revenue for the night had been lost thanks to reservations that had not been honoured. Also in the post, which was shared more than 400 times, Shen lamented the “wasted food”, “wasted effort and money” and “over-rostered staff” that the restaurant saw “every week”. He then announced that from this month, the restaurant would begin taking credit card details for group bookings of 10 or more people. (1300 words)

375. Some social enterprise hawkers unconvinced by business model of packaged charges

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | September 1st, 2018
On Tuesday (Aug 28), Mr Seetoh published a post on the Makansutra website highlighting the extra costs on top of the rental that social enterprise hawker centres can be made to pay as part of monthly expenses. The expenses can include charges for crockery washing and coin exchange services, as well as a S$600 fee for monthly cleanliness inspections, he noted. He said that some charges, which some stall holders said were compulsory, are “shocking”. Hawker centre operator Fei Siong Food Management said that the S$600 it charged a stall recently was for an optional inspection service. (1300 words)

376. Questions remain over Michelin Guide selection process

Singapore – Food | The Straits Times | July 27th, 2018
The two hawker stalls awarded their one-star in 2016-Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle – still stick out like sore thumbs among the restaurants also given a star. How do they get grouped in the same category as restaurants such as Corner House or Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine? How do they meet Michelin’s criterion of quality ingredients when the vinegar used for the pork noodles comes from a commercial bottle used widely by hawkers? And does the pork come from a special breed of pigs? (500 words)

377. What’s being done to keep your catered food safe

Singapore – Food | Channel News Asia | January 22nd, 2019
But before the kitchen operations employees can eat, there is a daily pledge to take. It is a work safety pledge, and it includes food safety. “I will ensure the safety of the food and uphold the quality of Neo Group. I will handle every task with integrity,” they recite, among other things. With the company’s two central kitchens able to feed some 60,000 people in a day, there is no understating the need to be conscious about the dangers that can lurk in food preparation. For all caterers, big or small, the rules are stringent; for instance, caterers must not use the same utensils to handle raw and cooked food, nor should they handle food with their bare hands. (1600 words)

378. Commentary: Don’t hold our treatment of foreign domestic workers to countries with lower standards

Singapore – Foreigners | Channel News Asia | April 12th, 2018
When it comes to governance, healthcare, transportation and quality of life, we often compare ourselves to the best and ask what it will take to get there if we’re not already there. Yet when it comes to the rights of foreign domestic workers, many apparently choose to compare our standards to those of less developed countries which may have fewer protections for their local workforce. A recent Channel NewsAsia commentary underscored the importance of rest days and overtime wages for foreign domestic workers in Singapore. (1100 words)

379. Foreign workers can now give feedback on issues in dormitories via new mobile app

Singapore – Foreigners | Channel News Asia | September 12th, 2018
Called DormWatch, the app allows foreign workers to upload photos or videos along with a short description of the issues they face. Dormitory operators will also be able to communicate directly with the worker through the app and provide details on how the issues have been resolved. “The platform promotes co-responsibility at the dormitories, where operators are encouraged to engage their residents frequently, and to work with them to improve living conditions and environment,” said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, who launched the app at an awards event recognising operators for exemplary foreign worker housing management. (500 words)

380. MOM investigating cases of maids being ‘sold’ on Carousell

Singapore – Foreigners | Channel News Asia | September 14th, 2018
“MOM is aware of cases where foreign domestic workers (FDWs) are being marketed inappropriately on the online buying and selling site, Carousell,” MOM said in a Facebook post on Friday (Sep 14). The ministry added that it has arranged for such listings to be taken down. Carousell user “maid.recruitment” posted listings showing several domestic workers from Indonesia, along with their names and ages. The account has since removed such listings. “Advertising FDWs like commodities is unacceptable and an offence under Section 11(1)(c) of the Employment Agencies Act, which states that an employment agency should not act in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients,” said MOM. (200 words)

381. Becoming less reliant on foreign manpower: Why is it so hard for Singapore’s F&B industry?

Singapore – Foreigners | Channel News Asia | April 20th, 2019
“When there’s a shortage of manpower, you just got to work the shift,” said the 32-year-old, who opened Lola’s Café in 2013 and more recently, a dumpling eatery in Tanjong Pagar. “Hiring doesn’t happen so quickly, especially when it’s a new place, so my co-founder and I typically spend at least 6 months managing things on our own.”Being starved of workers is a constant bugbear for F&B business owners like Mr Foo. With tighter foreign manpower curbs looming, many fear even bigger hiring woes ahead. (1200 words)

382. A plea not to take free speech for granted

Singapore – Free Speech | The Straits Times | May 3th, 2018
One of the more alarming sentiments they did share near the end of Mr Comey’s chaotic tenure last year was an exchange in which Mr Trump suggested that journalists might talk about their sources “if they spent a couple of days in jail”, according to a Comey memo released as part of his book tour. Mr Comey said he laughed at the suggestion. Mr Trump’s antipathy towards the media is well known, but to see the depth of his hatred for journalists come out in a private exchange like this with a federal law official threatens more sinister days to come. (800 words)

383. AGC goes after civil activist and opposition politician for contempt of court

Singapore – Free Speech | TODAY
Civil activist Jolovan Wham Kwok Han alleged in a Facebook post last month that Malaysia’s judges were more independent than Singapore’s, for cases with political implications. On Sunday (May 6), opposition politician John Tan Liang Joo posted on Facebook that the AGC’s prosecution of Mr Wham confirmed the truth of what Mr Wham had said. Their posts have “impugned the impartiality and integrity of Singapore’s judicial system and posed a risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined”, the AGC asserted in two statements on Friday (May 11). (300 words)

384. Delayed approval for public lecture by media professor Cherian George was due to oversight: NUS

Singapore – Free Speech | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2018
“We regret that our internal administrative process took longer than expected due to an oversight, leading to this unfortunate incident,” an NUS spokesman said in response to queries from The Straits Times. The spokesman added that Dr George has accepted an invitation to give a talk at the university on March 28; it will be open to NUS staff and students. In a blog post last Friday, Dr George, a Singaporean who formerly lectured at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said that he accepted an invitation last December from Professor Mohan Dutta, head of NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media, to deliver a public lecture. (800 words)

385. Informed debate a necessary part of Singapore’s evolution

Singapore – Free Speech | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
We have lived in successive eras described as the post-World War II, post-colonial, post-Cold War, post-9/11 and post-industrial worlds. In Singapore, we are now living in a post-Lee Kuan Yew world. And it is becoming clear that the defining characteristic of a post-Lee Kuan Yew Singapore is contestation. Indeed, in recent months, we have already seen establishment figures openly quarrelling among themselves, to say nothing of the very public debacle over 38 Oxley Road. As we move from an era of consensus to one of greater contestation, we are also having to learn, on the fly, the new rules of the game. (800 words)

386. Public Order Bill: Civil society groups call to narrow definition of ‘serious incident’

Singapore – Free Speech | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2018
Peaceful protests should not come under the ambit of the Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Bill, they said on Tuesday (March 13). Introduced in Parliament last month ( February), the Bill is part of the Home Affairs Ministry’s plans to combat terrorism. The six groups are: gender equality group Aware, Function 8, Project X which focuses on sex workers, human rights group Think Centre, plus Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), both of which focus on migrant workers. (500 words)

387. Jolovan Wham found guilty of organising public assembly without permit, refusing to sign police statement

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | January 3rd, 2019
The event featured a live speech by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong Chi-Fung via video call, as well as speeches by fellow activists Kirsten Han and Seelan Palay. Wham went ahead with the event even though he had been told by a police officer that he needed a permit as Mr Wong was a foreigner, the court heard. When an investigating officer took Wham’s statement on Dec 20 that year, he confirmed it to be true and correct but refused to sign the statement, saying he would sign it only if he was given a copy. (500 words)

388. Jolovan Wham fined for organising public assembly without permit, chooses to go to jail instead

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | February 21st, 2019
Wham, 39, indicated he would not pay the fine and will instead serve jail time of 16 days in default. The activist had been found guilty last month of organising the event featuring a live speech by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong Chi-Fung in November 2016. He also refused to sign a statement he gave to the police in relation to the event, forming the basis for the second charge he claimed trial to. The prosecution had argued that the event – titled Civil Disobedience and Social Movements – was a public one, with thousands invited and 366 people indicating they were interested in attending. (400 words)

389. Shanmugam says he ‘laughed off’ egg throwing comment, but understands police’s concerns

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | March 27th, 2019
A police report was lodged on Mar 19 against 20-year-old netizen Edmund Zhong who had left a comment on a Facebook post “suggesting that he wanted to throw an egg” at the minister, police had said. A 47-year-old netizen who responded to the comment to provide information on the Minister’s upcoming meet-the-people session was also asked to assist the police with investigations for the offence of communicating an electronic record to incite violence under Section 267C of the Penal Code. “When I was told about it, I laughed it off – the somewhat exaggerated words of a young man. (400 words)

390. 2 in 3 Singaporeans in REACH poll supported Government’s decision to disallow Watain concert

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
The computer-assisted telephone interviews were carried out from Mar 11 to Mar 15 involving a sample of randomly selected Singapore citizens weighted by gender and age. Of these, 64 per cent or about two in three supported the decision. Similarly, younger respondents were more likely to feel that performances that may impact religious sensitivities should be allowed with specific rules attached. “In light of recent events in New Zealand and other parts of the world, I hope younger Singaporeans understand the delicate balance needed to maintain this place we call home and cherish the peace and harmony that has been built up over the decades,” he added. (300 words)

391. Restrictions needed on offensive speech as it creates conditions for discrimination: Shanmugam

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
“If we normalise offensive speech, after a while, the tone, texture of public discourse will change. Giving offence to others will become normalised,” he said in a ministerial statement in Parliament on restricting hate speech to maintain racial and religious harmony in Singapore. Offensive speech, which imply that its target lacks morals, intelligence, and dignity, can be “even more insidious”, Mr Shanmugam said. Citing ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, the minister said: “He peddles in offensive views on racism and sexism. (700 words)

392. Egg on your face: Calculated act rightly treated as a crime in many societies

Singapore – Free Speech | The Straits Times | March 30th, 2019
A moment of dumbness can go viral and turn into a nightmare of mob justice out of control. This explains why comments on social media have to be taken seriously. Take the recent case of a young man, Mr Edmund Zhong, who posted on the Channel NewsAsia Facebook page that he wanted to throw an egg at Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam. This was after an egg-throwing incident in Australia when a teenager egged a senator for insensitive remarks in response to the Christchurch massacre. Very quickly, another person responded to Mr Zhong with information on the minister’s upcoming Meet-the-People Session. (1000 words)

393. Allowing racist rap video could normalise offensive speech: Shanmugam

Singapore – Free Speech | Channel News Asia | August 22th, 2019
Speaking at the CNM Leaders Summit organised by the National University of Singapore on Thursday (Aug 22), Mr Shanmugam expanded on why the Government acted to remove the rap video by YouTuber Preetipls and her brother Subhas Nair, which came in response to a controversial “brownface” advertisement. In the advertisement, Chinese actor Dennis Chew appeared in “brownface” to portray an Indian man. He also cross-dressed as a Malay woman and a Chinese woman. The rap video by the Nair siblings was laced with vulgar language targeting the Chinese community. (600 words)

394. Casino levies for Singaporeans, PRs to jump 50%

Singapore – Gambling | Channel News Asia | April 3rd, 2019
This was announced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Wednesday (Apr 3). The annual levy for Singaporeans and PRs will be increased to S$3,000 from S$2,000. The announcement comes as the gaming industry is seeking to expand their operations with the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa committing around S$9 billion in non-gaming investments. Factors such as the potential dangers posed by gambling, household income levels and prices of alternatives gambling locations in the region were considered during the price review. (600 words)

395. Win, lose or draw: Analysing the extension of the two casinos’ duopoly

Singapore – Gambling | The Straits Times | April 20th, 2019
Several analysts, including Morgan Stanley’s, quickly declared the Government as the big winner; and JP Morgan decried the “unnecessary large investments” in the decision to extend the duopoly concession to 2030 in return for an additional investment of $9 billion by the two operators. Both casino operators – Las Vegas Sands and Genting – have cheered in reciprocal official statements about not having to worry about a third entrant into the Singapore casino market for the next 11 years, and about the increased allotment of hotel rooms, gaming machines and casino floor space. (1600 words)

396. Commentary: Address our bias in the pursuit of gender equality

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
While it’s a nice thought and a busy month for companies embracing diversity and inclusion, I honestly find it disappointing that society needs a day to remember gender equality and the fair treatment of women. Gender equality is not only a significant concern from a human rights standpoint, but will allow for the economic and political growth that developing nations need to make them competitive in world markets. It makes sense – if women and girls can gain access to improved education, they will eventually get better jobs and be able to better contribute to the economy. (1100 words)

397. Commentary: For women of different cultures, classes, backgrounds and age – it’s still a man’s world

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
We are a group of nine women aged 19 to 91. Some of us have children and grandchildren and some are childless. Some have pursued careers and made a mark in our fields, others have chosen to focus our efforts on our families. Some are at the beginning, and others at the end, of our work careers. We are from different cultures, social economic classes and backgrounds. What is common among us is our experience of an environment that is still, despite all the progress women have made in Singapore, largely a man’s world. (1400 words)

398. Commentary: Gender equality is not just a ‘women’s issue’

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | August 19th, 2018
The most common forms of such pressure are being told to “man-up” and to “take it like a man”. Many of us accept that this pressure which boys and men so regularly face is one way gender inequality manifests. Yet when we actually talk about gender equality, many mention visions of greater female representation on boards and in government, or something basic, like women’s rights to education and work. In thinkpieces and social discourse, gender equality is often framed as a responsibility that is largely in the hands of women and girls – that women ought to be more “outspoken” or “assertive” to get that promotion at work or muscle their way up the career ladder. (1300 words)

399. Commentary: Overlooked and underpaid, women must speak up and put themselves out there

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | July 20th, 2018
Women across the world are failing to speak out, negotiate for themselves or make demands of their companies, out of fear of causing career chaos. Coupled with other structural factors that disadvantage women, this entrenches a labour market characterised by lower participation, higher unemployment and persistent wage gaps for women. What this also means is that there are less women at the decision-making table in corporations – with adverse impact for companies, sectors and entire economies where women are less represented. (1100 words)

400. More firms with at least one woman in senior role but gender diversity still low: Survey

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
Released to mark the International Women’s Day, the annual report showed 78 per cent of local businesses having at least one woman in C-suite jobs, such as chief executive officers, managing directors or partners. This is an improvement from last year’s 64 per cent. However, the proportion of the senior management team that is female was stagnant at 30 per cent, the survey showed. This is largely in line with global trends, which saw three quarters of firms around the world having at least one female in top leadership, an increase from last year’s 66 per cent. (700 words)

401. Singapore’s 1st female CID chief: ‘There is no glass ceiling in the police’

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | September 10th, 2018
“It was a rape of a five-year-old girl by two perpetrators whom the mother had handed the girl over to, to help look after,” Ms Chua, now 52, recalled. “Before we could complete the prosecution, the mother – who was not local – decided to bring the girl back home and in the end, the two chaps weren’t convicted. “I still think, could I have done it better?”Today, as Singapore’s first-ever female chief of the premier Criminal Investigation Department (CID), it is episodes like these which continue to remind her why she does what she does. (1100 words)

402. We need more women in Singapore politics

Singapore – Gender | TODAY
Each time the baton was passed in Singapore’s short history, the new Prime Minister and his team have sought to adjust the government’s approach to politics itself. Mr Goh Chok Tong made the government more consultative and compassionate while Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong built on this and made the government more inclusive and focused on tackling inequality. The next Prime Minister, I believe, should make the government more representative by increasing the number of women in politics. International Women’s Day is celebrated today (March 8) to recognise the progress made and reflect on the challenges faced by women around the world. (1000 words)

403. Commentary: The unequal, unnoticed life of a female worker

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | November 4th, 2018
The recent spate of conversations on Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index omitted one of its most significant findings – how gender inequality contributes to economic inequality. How does gender inequality manifest itself in a country where men and women have equal opportunities to education and jobs? It takes three insidious forms: Unequal pay for equal work, unpaid care work, and the fact that the labour market sorts men into higher-paying jobs and women into low-wage work. In 2016, women earned less than men in all occupational categories except clerical support. (1400 words)

404. Milestone for women in police force: She gets no concession as a female in elite police unit

Singapore – Gender | The Straits Times | March 4th, 2019
Beyond the uniform, the member of the Police Coast Guard’s elite Special Task Squadron (STS) boasts a supreme fitness level that puts her on a par with her fellow officers. The 30-year-old, who is not allowed to reveal her real name, is a trailblazer in her own right, being one of the first three female officers to join the STS in 2015. As an officer of the highly classified STS unit, Sgt Fiona is required to intercept high-speed threats and intruders, such as smugglers, illegal immigrants and terrorists, in Singapore’s waters. (500 words)

405. Commentary: What’s the problem with a cheer about ‘kukubirds’?

Singapore – Gender | Channel News Asia | August 28th, 2019
Tale number 1. About a week ago, a video of a group of students riotously chanting “kukubird” (a reference to the penis) while making thrusting hip gyrations was shared on Instagram. Believed to have been filmed during a freshman orientation camp at Nanyang Technological University, this sparked a significant amount of online censure, with blogger mrbrown aka Lee Kin Mun calling out this behaviour and netizens quickly joining in to express outrage. Ostensibly, such a crude cheer is offensive and unbecoming of university students. (1100 words)

406. China’s maritime militia threat

Singapore – Geopolitics | The Straits Times | June 16th, 2018
While many vessels transiting these waters are warships, coast guard cutters and cargo ships, most are fishing boats whose crews are earning a living. Over the past decade, however, several questionable incidents have involved fishing boats from one of those nations: China. These include five Chinese vessels surrounding the USNS Impeccable in 2009, a stand-off between the Philippines and China at Scarborough Shoal in 2012, a Vietnam-China stand-off involving an oil rig in 2014, and the mass convergence in 2016 of 230 Chinese fishing boats around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. (900 words)

407. How not to think about geopolitics in East Asia

Singapore – Geopolitics | The Straits Times | June 2th, 2018
This is a mode of thought in which something must necessarily be one thing or another. United States-China relations are the major axis of the East Asian geopolitical equation. There is a tendency to think that anything adversely affecting the US must necessarily rebound to China’s advantage. A particularly egregious example was a Foreign Policy article the day after the 2016 US presidential election with the absurd headline “China just won the US election”. More than a year later, too much of that attitude still persists. (2800 words)

408. Hosting Trump-Kim summit cost S$16.3 million; security the biggest component: MFA

Singapore – Geopolitics | Channel News Asia | June 24th, 2018
Of the amount, the biggest component spent was on security, the ministry spokesperson said. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had previously estimated that the summit would cost around $20 million to host, with security costing half the figure. Mr Lee had described the amount spent as Singapore’s “contribution to an international endeavour which is in our profound interest”. Hosting the meeting was largely seen as a public relations coup for Singapore, with more than 2,500 journalists on the island reporting on the landmark event. (300 words)

409. It’s in Singapore’s interest to help with peace process, says K Shanmugam on Trump-Kim summit

Singapore – Geopolitics | Channel News Asia | June 8th, 2018
Hence, it is “absolutely” in Singapore’s interest to contribute to the peace process by hosting the Trump-Kim summit, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam told the media on Friday (Jun 8). “You have a nuclear capable North Korea. You have American troops in South Korea. And, saying the obvious, the US is a nuclear state. You have a stand-off with the United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and you have a nervous South Korea and Japan,” he said. “It’s a period of tension and you have China which has, obviously, an interest. (400 words)

410. Kim Jong Un lookalike questioned in Singapore before summit

Singapore – Geopolitics | Channel News Asia | June 8th, 2018
The Hong Kong-based impersonator, who goes by the name Howard X, has gained worldwide attention for his impressions of the North Korean leader in recent months. He appeared at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics alongside a Donald Trump lookalike, and the duo are set to take part in an alternative summit ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between the US president and Kim. But the Kim impersonator said that when he arrived at the city-state’s Changi Airport he was stopped by an immigration officer and questioned for two hours. (300 words)

411. The Big Read: Forget dollars and cents. Trump-Kim summit’s real value is in affirming Singapore’s place in the world

Singapore – Geopolitics | Channel News Asia | June 18th, 2018
History was made, and Singapore, as the host, would be noted for its small contribution to world peace and security. In the days leading up to and after the summit, many headlines were focused on the quid pro quo for the host nation of staging an event that the world’s spotlight would be trained on. That, said analysts, is just scratching the surface, and the key benefit for Singapore is something less tangible, but much more important: Another example of the country’s oft-cited ability to punch above its weight, the value of even-handed, straight-talking diplomacy, and a buttressing of its soft power. (2700 words)

412. The Big Read: US-China trade war not hurting Singapore much yet, but beware the long sting in the tail

Singapore – Geopolitics | Channel News Asia | July 2nd, 2018
Made in Singapore, these modules can harness more sunlight than the standard module by using half-cut polysilicon cells, for example. Their split sections also allow continuous generation of electricity in shaded areas. The modules have been a popular choice among customers in the United States, said the Norwegian firm which bases its operational headquarters here. However, the modules are now among thousands of products targeted in a wide swathe of tariffs imposed by the US. More than seven months since it launched an appeal with the US Trade Representative, REC Group — which is the only manufacturer of solar panels in Singapore — has still not been granted an exemption from the tariffs. (2800 words)

413. Commentary: Helping Grab drivers find jobs and have enough money an uphill battle

Singapore – Gig Economy | Channel News Asia | September 9th, 2018
New technology, big data and artificial intelligence have transformed the world of goods and services into an on-demand economy where new products come online non-stop, rapidly shortening the product cycle. Now you can buy anything, anytime, anywhere – so long as you have an account with an online retailer like Alibaba or Zalora. You can also get food delivered with Deliveroo or Foodpanda and call up a ride with a Grab app. In this new economic reality, the most successful enterprises are highly agile and responsive. (1100 words)

414. Globalisation and the draw of people’s deeper identities

Singapore – Globalisation | The Straits Times | November 14th, 2016
They run deep and are important to us. These identities could be religious, national, ethnic, tribal or personal, but they are not to be trifled with. Among close friends, it is all right to make fun of a person’s identity but, even so, one has to be careful. This is a big subject now commonly subsumed under the phrase “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”. In the past, institutions were maintained by ritual, by fear, by mystification, by hypocrisy, sometimes by outright lies. With cameras and microphones now ubiquitous, this is no longer possible. (3400 words)

415. Multiculturalism and the state

Singapore – Globalisation | The Straits Times | October 22th, 2016
Identity politics is upon us all; a reality that cannot be wished away. Globalisation is a cultural as well as an economic phenomenon. The inequalities and sense of cultural threat that globalisation has wrought has also caused identities of various kinds to be more insistently asserted, sometimes violently. Although globalisation’s downsides as well as its benefits have now become more evident, it cannot be reversed and there is no alternative. We will just have to somehow deal with it. My most fundamental assumption is that there is not one “Good” but many “goods”, all desirable, but which are not capable of simultaneous realisation. (2300 words)

416. Commentary: The golden age of the small state is almost over

Singapore – Globalisation | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2018
The island state won it from the sea as part of its restless bid for space. The Grand Prix circuit embodies a technical miracle — and a small nation’s quest to be less small. For all the grandiloquence about a Washington Consensus and a Pax Americana, the US was never the principal profiteer from globalisation. It was a rich and diverse place to begin with. Its gross domestic product was (and is) not all that dependent on external trade. The real stories were the rapid enrichment of Ireland, the ethnic diversification of Sweden, the technological fecundity of Israel and the rise of Dubai from the sands as a shimmering entrepot. (700 words)

417. Commentary: Grab, the new ruler in town, and the paradox of scaling a business

Singapore – Grab | Channel News Asia | September 16th, 2018
From retail stores to mobile apps, from products to services, what we see is largely the result of intense competition and the market expansion of businesses. One dominant player can be quickly replaced by another – and one single big player can become one of many in an industry just as quickly. Most businesses, small and big, are at some point or another ought to think about market expansion – whether driven by the intention of the founders, or because of pressure from stakeholders looking for higher returns on their investments. (1200 words)

418. Commentary: Grab-Uber saga shows even with disruption, comes great responsibility

Singapore – Grab | Channel News Asia | September 27th, 2018
It is understandable for businesses to want to achieve growth and dominance, but the latest development has shown that they also need to consider their responsibility to consumers and in ensuring fair play. As part of its investigation findings, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) found that Grab trip fares, net of rider promotions, increased by between 10 and 15 per cent after the acquisition deal. It highlighted changes Grab made to its loyalty programme as well as a decrease in the number and frequency of driver promotions and incentives. (1100 words)

419. New measures protect Grab users against ‘excessive’ surge prices, but no restoring of discounts expected

Singapore – Grab | Channel News Asia | September 24th, 2018
According to the CCCS, this is to protect the interests of passengers by ensuring that base fares remain at the same level as before Grab’s acquisition deal with Uber and that surge multipliers, which causes fares to rise when demand is high, are capped. At a media conference on Monday (Sep 24), CCCS Director (Business and Economics) Herbert Fung explained how the prices are capped but stressed that the measures do not affect Grab’s flexibility to apply dynamic pricing under normal demand and supply conditions. (700 words)

420. S$13m fines for Grab, Uber, and a market share debate

Singapore – Grab | Singapore Law Watch | September 25th, 2018
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) on Monday slapped fines of S$13 million on Grab and Uber for their merger, and immediately sparked a debate on whether it set a fair condition for lifting all curbs on Grab. The competition panel said it will suspend all restrictions on Grab if a new player can capture at least 30 per cent of the Singapore ride-hailing market. The 30 per cent threshold is based on Uber’s share before it sold its South-east Asian operations to Grab in March. (1200 words)

421. A gracious society begins at home

Singapore – Gracious Society | The Straits Times | April 24th, 2017
There are countries that have achieved this. Japan, for instance, has been lauded for its people’s politeness and graciousness. How can a nation as a whole achieve this standard? It all starts at home, right from a young age. At home, we know what to do – throw wrappers and unwanted tissue into the rubbish bins, keep bathrooms dry and unclogged, and keep our house neat and in order. But yet, on the pavement or near bus stops, litter is everywhere. We see used tissues in half-filled bowls of soups and on the floors of food centres. (200 words)

422. Building a gracious society in Singapore

Singapore – Gracious Society | TODAY
This could take a generation, and Singapore has to start now and move in a more deliberate, urgent, and holistic manner than before, added Mr Lim, who was delivering his second IPS-Nathan lecture. Below is an excerpt of the lecture by Mr Lim, who was previously head of the civil service and Group President of GIC. Thank you for coming to this lecture, my second in the series on the theme, “Can Singapore Fall?”I am gratified by the many reactions to my first lecture. Contrary to what some took away from my reference to John Glubb’s Age of Intellect, I am not against debate and discussion at all. (3500 words)

423. People in Singapore a little more gracious now: Survey

Singapore – Gracious Society | Asia One | July 12th, 2014
But the score is still the second-lowest since the index, which tracks the perception and experience of kindness and graciousness in Singapore, was started in 2009. In 2010 and 2012, the index hit a high of 61 out of 100. The higher the index, the better. “This year’s results show that we are a little more sensitive to gracious acts that go on around us than last year,” said Dr William Wan, SKM’s general secretary. “But I think we’re so hard on ourselves that we don’t give credit for some of the good things. (500 words)

424. S’pore has come a long way in being gracious: PM

Singapore – Gracious Society | The Straits Times | May 20th, 2017
He said he was relieved the deplorable behaviour outraged Singaporeans. “It could have been worse: Singaporeans might have regarded such behaviour as normal,” he noted. “After all, in many countries, if you don’t jostle to get to the front of the queue, you will simply be elbowed aside. And if you put your tissue paper to ‘chope’ a table, it’ll just be swept away.” He cited these actions and practices when speaking on how Singapore wants to be a gracious society, not just a First World economy. He made the point at the opening of the $110 million Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC). (500 words)

425. Singapore should now aim to be First World society: Lim Siong Guan

Singapore – Gracious Society | The Straits Times | October 11th, 2017
Graciousness is about looking beyond one’s needs to the needs of others, he said. It is not just about helping the poor and the displaced, but also about “the countless little interactions” between neighbours, colleagues and others one meets throughout the day. “It is the little things that define culture and the reality of society,” he added. To illustrate his point, Mr Lim gave a few Japanese examples. A friend of his visited Japan. After lunch, he was asked if he wanted coffee. He said yes, but noticed his Japanese friends declined. (600 words)

426. Wrong to blame mass shootings on mental health: K Shanmugam

Singapore – Guns | Channel News Asia | February 19th, 2018
The US is “a great country that cannot protect its most innocent – young children in school”, he wrote. “It’s wrong to blame mental health. There are people with mental health issues in every country, including Singapore. America is not alone in having such people.” Mr Shanmugam was commenting days after 17 people at a Florida high school were killed in the deadliest shooting at a US high school. Alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, was armed with an assault rifle, reports said. There have been eight school shootings and at least 30 mass shootings in the US within the seven weeks since the year started, he added. (300 words)

427. Why Singapore won’t take chances in safeguarding social peace: Shanmugam

Singapore – Hate Speech | The Straits Times | April 3th, 2019
It can fall into different categories and be on different platforms. For example, religious hate speech can be very powerful. Political hate speech can be very powerful, especially if the politician is charismatic. It can be in general discourse, in the mass media. It can be as part of entertainment, like in music and theatre. This list is illustrative; it is not intended to be exhaustive. What impact can hate speech have? Hate speech leads to social divides. Repeated hate speech increases people’s prejudices, feelings of being threatened, and propensity to violence. (5600 words)

428. Put hawkers first in the #OurHawkerCulture debate

Singapore – Hawkers | The Straits Times | February 3th, 2019
I used to satisfy it at the famous Song Kee fishball noodle shop at Upper Serangoon, but stopped going there when a new management took over. I’ve tried the so-called original stall at Toa Payoh and a franchisee outlet at Upper Thomson. They are fine to dull the ache. But when fish dumpling craving flares into a raging itch, I head to the Block 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh market, stall #02-01 (right beside the famous mini-pau stall). The Chinese signboard says Lao Shen Shredded Chicken Noodle, but actually, Mr Sim’s forte is his handmade fishballs and fish dumplings, or her kiao in Teochew. (2100 words)

429. Changes to health insurance schemes: How they affect you

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | May 7th, 2018
The first concerned disability insurance scheme ElderShield. A review committee set up in 2016 had proposed changes to ensure compulsory, universal coverage, and to make the administration process easier. But some people did not want the scheme to be made compulsory. The second was about the Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), which are private insurance plans that cover hospital bills. The Ministry of Health (MOH) stopped the full rider option to tackle rising healthcare costs, a move that was unpopular with some. (1500 words)

430. Empowering our nurses

Singapore – Health | TODAY
These ward duties took up most of my time, resulting in less time spent on talking to patients and learning from seniors. I could still remember administering intravenous medications throughout the night during night duties, without sleep of course. But things have changed over the last 24 years, with nurses gradually taking over some routine ward duties from doctors. This change benefits all parties, especially since Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly and demand for healthcare is growing. (900 words)

431. 5 years of noise, dust, disruption: The price of living next to Downtown Line 3 construction

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2017
Work would continue through the night, said Mr Tan, who lives in Block 72, Geylang Bahru, with his wife and elderly parents. There were nights when he went without a wink of sleep, and others where he would be jolted awake by sudden, jarring noises. At his wits’ end, he said he contacted whoever he could to try to get things to quieten down – the National Environment Agency, which oversees noise pollution, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) which is in charge of the Downtown Line 3 project, and even the police. (900 words)

432. Coca-Cola to help tackle diabetes scourge, but sugar tax won’t help: CEO

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | July 12th, 2018
That is nine teaspoons of sugar in a 330-millilitre can, and Coca-Cola president and chief executive officer James Quincey told Channel NewsAsia’s Conversation With that “there’s nothing wrong with it if it’s part of a balanced diet”. Singapore’s guideline on the daily intake of added sugar is that it should not exceed 10 teaspoons. For a 330ml canned drink, this is equivalent to the 12-per-cent sugar cap that the seven biggest soft drink firms here, including Coca-Cola, agreed to meet by 2020 in a pact with the Government. (800 words)

433. Commentary: Reclaiming control over diabetes, one device at a time

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | August 25th, 2017
“If you look at the top causes of death in Singapore, diabetes does not appear there but actually, many common causes of death can be traced back to diabetes,” said Mr Lee. Today, diabetes affects one in nine Singaporeans and among those over 60, three in 10 have diabetes. The onset of diabetes is also getting younger with each generation – overweight teenagers can now succumb to what was previously termed “adult-onset” or Type 2 diabetes, the most common form. Managing diabetes is difficult, with a third or more not controlling their condition well enough. (1100 words)

434. Commentary: The buffet metaphor for integrated shield plan riders only goes so far

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | March 9th, 2018
Or empties the dishes with the most expensive or delicious items? What about when he or she picks up that last piece of lobster on the table, depriving others behind in the queue? In this metaphor, the restaurant copes by pricing the buffet to make a profit even if there are people who consume much more than usual. Some people are happy, some get angry and stressed, and others simply give up and skip the buffet. This is what is behind the Government’s plan to mandate a minimum 5 per cent co-payment for new Integrated Shield Plan riders. (1000 words)

435. Consumed by the fear of eating

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | February 24th, 2018
Ms Hornbacher soon became anorexic and spent the next several years cycling in and out of hospitals. Upon each admission, she would contrive to smuggle in laxative tablets (a favourite means of anorexics to lose weight through purging) by secreting them in her shoes. All these were chronicled in her book Wasted: A Memoir Of Anorexia And Bulimia. And there was more. She lost so much weight that she had to layer her shoes with toilet paper to cushion the bones of her feet; she wrote of her astonishment when upon looking at the reflection of her back in the mirror, at seeing a ‘tail’ – with her flesh melting away, the tip of her spine had emerged like a reptilian tail beneath her stretched skin. (1600 words)

436. SCDF taps on technology to race against time

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | February 18th, 2018
They are quickly dispatched to attend to an incident, usually within 11 minutes. If needed, fire and rescue specialists are also deployed on fire bikes, as they can weave around traffic and reach an incident site earlier. But how fast is it from the time a 995 call is made to when paramedics are called into action? Operations centre specialists deal with distressed callers frequently, which can mean taking some time to pin down details like location and symptoms. SCDF says it takes 80 seconds to dispatch its vehicles, but in more challenging situations, it could take longer. (800 words)

437. Smoking ban expanded to include outdoor areas of universities, private-hire cars

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | September 26th, 2017
Smokers will also have to stub out before boarding excursion buses and trishaws, NEA added. In addition, smoking is not allowed within a five-metre radius of educational institutions like childcare centres, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, madrasahs, junior colleges, polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education campuses. This is an extension of the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act, which aims to reduce the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke, and to support the national effort to promote a smoke-free lifestyle in Singapore, said NEA. (400 words)

438. The cost of keeping Singapore squeaky clean

Singapore – Health | BBC | October 29th, 2018
There were families with young children and volunteers from a local hospital. And a few, mostly senior, volunteers in matching shirts from the “North West Brisk Walking Club” were there too.Some edged into the bushes to pick up a couple of cigarette butts. Others found the odd tissue abandoned on a tabletop. To be honest, this clean-up day seemed like something of a misnomer. It was clean already. None of the volunteers returned with bulging sacks of refuse. The aim wasn’t just to make the city more pleasant. (2100 words)

439. Time to stop stereotyping diabetics as fat and lazy

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | June 12th, 2017
When she was 11 years old, Elizabeth developed diabetes and her parents sought the help of one of the day’s preeminent experts on diabetes. The mainstay of treatment then was a diet purged of sugar and starch and with just that amount of calories to keep the patient alive. Elizabeth was placed on one such gruelling regime and for the next few years, she subsisted on lean meat, eggs, milk, a few fruits, bran rusks and vegetables boiled repeatedly to leach them of any carbohydrate. Instead of a real birthday cake, she had a hat box covered in pink and white paper with candles on it. (1300 words)

440. When little red dot met little blue pill: Viagra’s ‘immense impact’ on Singapore

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | March 10th, 2018
And the Singaporean businessman still remembers being blown away by his virgin Viagra experience. “It worked very well,” said the 57-year-old, who had been struggling to keep an erection. “I was shocked by the result initially, and then the lasting strength of it. “It helped me maintain a sexual relationship with my wife. It took away the stress I felt from being unable to perform … It might have helped my marriage in one way or another,” he reflected. “And I haven’t stopped taking it since.” Twenty years ago in March 1998, the drug got regulatory clearance by health authorities in the US, a significant first step into the global mainstream. (1600 words)

441. Wholegrain options? Plenty of work ahead for HPB to get hawkers on board

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | July 23rd, 2018
The breakfast crowd is thinning, and the hordes of office workers that usually throng the hawker centre for lunch have yet to stream in. It is the best time for Health Promotion Board (HPB) staff Tan Meiying to make her approach. As she wends her way through the food centre, she waves at the hawkers. Some return the greeting with a friendly smile and wave. “Some of them are like my friends now,” she says. “They even know my child.”She is a familiar face to the hawkers, having walked the ground there in the past few months, speaking to them to encourage them to use wholegrain staples in their dishes. (1100 words)

442. Second-hand smoke is lethal too

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | April 8th, 2018
The data shows that one non-smoker here dies each day from tobacco-related diseases, no thanks to second-hand cigarette smoke in the air. Such needless and highly preventable deaths are bad enough, but what makes it worse is that the toll of second-hand smoke is proportionately higher here than elsewhere. Collateral victims make up one in six of all deaths from tobacco-related diseases in Singapore, whereas the world average is one in eight. Tobacco kills 2,500 smokers in the city-state yearly, as tallied by the Health Promotion Board. (300 words)

443. How do we reduce salt consumption in fight against diabetes?

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | November 22th, 2018
The salt increases the strength of the gluten, giving the noodle its characteristic “springy” texture that is not found in rice-based noodles. Also, without it, the noodle would break when cooked. So why does it matter what noodle you want oodles of? Well, while the latest National Nutrition Survey 2018 shows some improvement in the nutritional quality of food Singaporeans are opting for – more are turning to healthier carbohydrates like brown rice – overconsumption of sugar and salt remains a persistent problem. (1400 words)

444. Major source of harmful artificial transfat found in snacks, baked goods to be banned

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | March 6th, 2019
Speaking during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, he said that artificial transfat is harmful to health. “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), artificial transfat increases risk of heart disease and has no known health benefits. WHO has called for countries to remove artificial transfat from the food supply,” he said. MOH said that there are four categories of food products that are likely to contain PHOs – snacks, baked goods, prepared meals and fat spreads. Across these four categories, it is estimated that less than 10 per cent of products in the market currently contain PHOs. (500 words)

445. More primary schools keep out sugary drinks

Singapore – Health | The Straits Times | February 18th, 2019
At least three primary schools have done away with drink stalls – previously a regular feature in canteens – altogether, a check by The Straits Times has found. More than a dozen others have banned certain drinks from the stalls on their premises. This comes against the backdrop of the tightening of sugar guidelines for beverages sold in schools in recent years. Jurong West Primary School, for instance, has not had a drink stall since May 2017, when the last stall owner discontinued her lease. Instead, pupils take along their own drinks from home, usually water or juices, said Mr Lim Chin Guan, the vice-principal. (700 words)

446. The Big Read: As temperatures and urbanisation increase, fight against dengue will only get tougher

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | June 24th, 2019
About a week later, she was down with a 40 degree fever and experienced bouts of nausea. Even then, she thought it was food poisoning. But the fever refused to go away. Upon advice from a general practitioner, she went for a blood test at Changi General Hospital and the results confirmed she had dengue fever. “Dengue always felt like a ‘it will happen to someone else but not me’ kind of thing, so it was a huge shock to find out that I had this virus,” said Ms Poh, a communications executive. Recuperating at home, it took about a week for her fever to break, and rash to subside to a “twinge” though it is still visible on her arms and legs. (3800 words)

447. HIV-positive man who avoided taking test, possibly infecting others, gets jail

Singapore – Health | Channel News Asia | September 5th, 2019
The 35-year-old Malaysian started engaging in sexual activity with other men in Singapore in 2003, the court heard. Although he suspected that he could have been exposed to HIV or infected with it, he decided not to get tested after 2008, as he was afraid of losing his permanent residency status in Singapore if he tested positive for HIV. According to the person who reported him to the Ministry of Health (MOH), at least six other men who had sex with him were later diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus, which could lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). (900 words)

448. Three niggling questions about CareShield Life

Singapore – Healthcare | The Straits Times | July 19th, 2018
Its broad thrust – to provide an inclusive national insurance scheme for the long-term care of our ageing population – is very welcome. But the devil is in the details. There are three points that cry out for clarification, further discussion and reconsideration – gender-differentiated premiums, the projection that one in two Singaporeans could be severely disabled in old age, and the definition of “severely disabled”. The most problematical point is gender-differentiated premiums, a matter that has seen very vigorous debate with many people opposed to the proposal that women pay higher premiums. (1100 words)

449. What can the US health system learn from Singapore?

Singapore – Healthcare | The Straits Times | April 24th, 2019
When we published the results of an Upshot tournament on which country had the world’s best health system, Singapore was eliminated in the first round, largely because most of the experts had a hard time believing much of what the nation seems to achieve. It does achieve a lot. Americans have spent the last decade arguing loudly about whether and how to provide insurance to a relatively small percentage of people who don’t have it. Singapore is way past that. It is perfecting how to deliver care to people, focusing on quality, efficiency and cost. (1800 words)

450. Government should ‘stay out’ of it: KF Seetoh goes On the Record about preserving hawker food culture

Singapore – Heritage | Channel News Asia | June 2nd, 2018
“Hawker food was something from the streets and in the 80s, in an industrialising, developing potential First World Singapore, a lot of people loved hawker food but they didn’t want to be associated with hawkers. It was seen as a profession of folks who could not get on in life, ex-cons or people who are jobless, drug addicts and all that. “There were gangster stories about how hawkers were fighting with the authorities as they were cleaning up the streets.”However, he saw them quite differently as he was growing up. (3200 words)

451. Singapore’s Brutalist past could soon be gone

Singapore – Heritage | The Economist | May 31st, 2018
Inside the sprawling 1970s building rows upon rows of travel agencies sit mostly empty, their employees staring into space. Stalls selling shoes, handbags, toothpaste and half-price stereo systems are illuminated in the gloom, while the smell of soap mixed with cheap perfume fills the air. From the second floor, the strains of a solo karaoke singer can be heard, defiantly off-key, from one of several dimly lit Thai bars which are full of punters even in the middle of a weekday afternoon. The place does not just feel like it is from the past, but from another South-East Asian country entirely.The building, which was once called a “vertical slum” by a Singaporean legislator, is a densely packed mix of residential and commercial units. (800 words)

452. The Big Read: Run-down but not out — old iconic shopping centres find a way into Singaporeans’ hearts

Singapore – Heritage | Channel News Asia | May 13th, 2019
It was Queensway Shopping Centre. Just a short five-minute bus ride away from her old River Valley High School campus at Malan Road, the octagonal mall was the ultimate hangout spot for the lower secondary school student and her friends. More than a decade later, the 24-year-old freelance creative said she still reminisces about the icon of Queenstown, where she spent her formative years. “I even got my first floorball stick there,” she recalled wistfully. Days that were not spent hunting for good deals were instead spent huddled over fries with her friends at McDonald’s, laughing and sharing the latest gossip, among other things. (3400 words)

453. Allegations of conspiring with historian Thum to subvert parliamentary processes ‘preposterous’: Oxford academic

Singapore – History | TODAY
“Members of an organisation keep each other informed of events and exchange views. Historians, like other professionals, do likewise. The conspiracy that Mr Chong claims to have discovered in our private correspondence exists only in his own imagination,” wrote Dr Kreager on the university’s Project South-east Asia website on Tuesday (May 1). Dr Kreager and Dr Thum, a Singaporean academic, are among the trustees of Project South-east Asia, an initiative which brings together scholars studying the region. (600 words)

454. History a dialogue between present and past

Singapore – History | The Straits Times | May 6th, 2018
I was sitting for the GCE Special level paper in History. The “S” level as it was called, was a tad higher than the A level. As no Singapore student had ever done this paper before, even the history teachers at my junior college hesitated to coach us. Into the breach stepped the Raffles JC principal, the late Rudy Mosbergen, a former historian. For several months, he coached me and a classmate personally, via “Oxbridge style” tutorials, as he put it. We would sit in his office face to face, and discuss the week’s readings he had assigned. (1300 words)

455. History is not the preserve of historians

Singapore – History | The Straits Times | April 10th, 2018
This is so because the views of politicians are bound to be coloured by political interests, he says. Whereas all historians can be relied on to pronounce authoritatively on the historical “truth” because they view history objectively. This position cannot be right. Mr Han ignores the fact that some historians – including Dr Thum Ping Tjin – do indeed have political agendas. Dr Thum is an activist, as much as he may be a scholar, as is evident from his online writings. He could have applied himself solely to peer-reviewed historical research, and measured his success on the basis of what academics might have said of his work. (900 words)

456. In full: Charles Chong says historian Thum had ‘engineered’ support for himself, points to ‘coordinated attempt’ with ‘foreign actors’ to subvert parliamentary process

Singapore – History | TODAY
In his statement, Mr Chong said the support appeared to have been “primarily engineered” by Dr Thum himself, working in connection with Dr Philip Kreager, an academic who is a director of a company linked to George Soros. Mr Chong added: “We must protect our independence and the institution of Parliament. The information now available suggests that there has been a coordinated attempt, with foreign actors involved, to try to influence and subvert our parliamentary processes. This is a serious matter.” (1200 words)

457. Operation Coldstore and the perils of academic misinformation

Singapore – History | The Straits Times | April 4th, 2018
To continue reading, get access now or log in if you are a subscriber.What is Premium? (100 words)

458. Going beyond 1819: How well do Singaporeans know the history of Singapore?

Singapore – History | Channel News Asia | February 17th, 2018
Or at least, that’s what Channel NewsAsia gleaned from a recent pop quiz of Singaporeans of various ages and backgrounds. As the Singapore Bicentennial Office prepares its plans next year to commemorate 200 years since the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, we wanted to find out how well Singaporeans know their history. With advice from historians and advisors from the Singapore Bicentennial Office, we asked Singaporeans eight questions – from the old names of Singapore, who William Farquhar was, and what the Maria Hertogh riots were. (1000 words)

459. In Conquering the Sea, Singapore Erases Its History — Failed Architecture

Singapore – History | Failed Architecture | March 12th, 2018
Space is not merely flexible, but hypothetical. Sites of reclamation are symbolic of and symbiotic with the State’s agenda of modernity which, as it shifts its focus from one productive phase of accumulation to another, construct temporal and economic inequalities through these new landscapes of power. The reasons given for land reclamation are usually pragmatic; housing, ports, landfills, petrochemical plants – all kinds of infrastructure. The term even extends to the over-engineered starchitecture of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. (2200 words)

460. Lessons for Singapore on the rise and fall of empires

Singapore – History | TODAY | September 13th, 2017
The question now is what kind of nation Singapore wants to be in the coming years and whether its people have what it takes to carve out a new age, added Mr Lim in an IPS-Nathan lecture on Tuesday (Sept 12). In the first of a three-part lecture series, he discusses the social challenges Singapore’s economic prosperity has brought. This is an excerpt from the speech by Mr Lim, who was previously head of the civil service and Group President of GIC. The Chinese have a saying: “Wealth does not last beyond three generations”. (2300 words)

461. Singapore’s Shangri-La: Where top brass, dealers and spies rub shoulders

Singapore – History | TODAY
Here, beneath pillared ceilings and chandeliers, they gather for an annual informal bash – called the Shangri-La Dialogue – organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. Above: People’s Liberation Army’s Lieutenant-General He Lei (C) arrives at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore June 1, 2018. In the ballroom, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his vision for a “rules based order” for the region before US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis championed the “Indo-Pacific region” – both evolving constructs that Chinese officials eye as containment. (600 words)

462. Was Lim Bo Seng truly a Singaporean war hero?

Singapore – History | The Straits Times | February 11th, 2019
For centuries, Vietnamese nationalism drew strength from its past of armed resistance against imperial authority. In the absence of a war of armed resistance to colonial authority, it is perhaps understandable that Singapore’s military history draws upon its involvement in British colonial rule as a convenient starting point. There are, however, limits to appropriating Singapore’s colonial military history as Singaporean. Singapore’s pre-independence military past – particularly events, sites, monuments and personages from World War II – are appropriated as part of Singapore’s nation-building narrative. (1200 words)

463. Will China allow a different system in Hong Kong? Wishful thinking, says Singapore’s Shanmugam

Singapore – Hong Kong | Channel News Asia | August 11th, 2019
That is “wishful thinking replacing reality” by some protesters, said Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam. In an interview with South China Morning Post and Lianhe Zaobao – the transcript of which was released on the Ministry of Law’s website on Sunday (Aug 11) – Mr Shanmugam addressed questions about his views on the situation in Hong Kong. Solutions have to be found, both for the socio-economic and ideological issues that Hong Kong is facing, he said. To solve the problems, Hong Kong needs a supportive China, and the solutions need to work for both Hong Kong and China, he added. (700 words)

464. Grappling with issue of ageing HDB flat leases

Singapore – Housing | The Straits Times | June 5th, 2018
He was not the only one. Buoyed by speculative demand for Housing Board flats with selective en bloc redevelopment potential, transactions for a number of old units reached or exceeded the million-dollar mark. Nearly two years on, buyers have become more wary. A similar five-room unit in the same block in Bukit Timah sold last December for nearly $100,000 less. Across the board, the prices of older HDB flats have generally declined even as private home prices gained 3.9 per cent in the first quarter from the previous quarter, the steepest hike since 2010. (2800 words)

465. Commentary: 99-year HDB flats a chance to review homeownership and retirement policies

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | October 1st, 2017
Therefore, flat buyers should not fork out large sums for old resale flats on the chance that they may profit from the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme, he emphasised. There has been no test case for this policy position so far, as major construction of HDB flats began only in the 1960s, which means that the earliest leases will only expire after 2060. But in June, the owners of private residences along Lorong 3 Geylang were given notice that when their land leases expire in 2020, their properties must be surrendered to the Singapore Land Authority with no compensation. (1500 words)

466. Commentary: A nightmare scenario, Ang Mo Kio emptying out in 20 years

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | September 23rd, 2018
PM Lee explained: “If we do not plan ahead, 99 years later, all the leases in such towns will expire around the same time, and all the flats will be returned to the state within a few years. “We will have to find new homes for a lot of people at once. HDB will have to tear down and rebuild the old flats in a hurry … I do not think that is a good idea. The towns will become construction sites all over again, with cranes all over the place.”The large-scale planned redevelopment of older HDB estates, whether through the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) or otherwise, is important to prevent a sudden shock to public housing prices, when the removal of a large number of old housing flats from the public housing market creates a huge supply shortage. (1600 words)

467. Commentary: An over-emphasis on home ownership can come at a cost to society. Time for a review of public housing policy

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | June 16th, 2018
Its home ownership rate of more than 90 per cent of the population is one of the highest in the world and is much higher than the home ownership rates in developed countries. Among developed urban centres like Seoul, Tokyo or Hong Kong, Singaporeans occupy a large per square foot per person of living space. Our public housing programme is well known for its quality of construction and design, including complementary amenities such as community centres, playgrounds, shops, sport facilities and so on. (1300 words)

468. Commentary: Did the Government intervene too early in Singapore’s private housing market?

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | July 21st, 2018
Authorities might have been right in principle to impose these harsh cooling measures, amidst a private property market heating up. The private housing market experienced an inflexion in prices last year after 15 consecutive quarters of decline since fourth quarter of 2013. In contrast to the gradual recovery in 2017, 2018 has seen a strong price growth momentum. Private property prices increased by 9.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. Compared to the cumulative run-up of 62.2 per cent in private property prices from the second quarter of 2009 to the peak in 2013, this increase does not seem alarming. (1200 words)

469. Commentary: Direct interventions, not just social mixing, needed to narrow housing inequality

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | June 22nd, 2018
This can be done, for instance, by integrating HDB rental and sold flats within individual blocks. Housing inequality mirrors wider economic inequality. Particular housing policies furthers the gap between the housing standards accessible to people with different economic capacities. While social diversity in geographical communities is important for many reasons, it is not sufficient for reducing these real inequalities in housing experience. More direct interventions are also needed. Comparisons are drawn with places like the US where poverty concentration in large subsidised housing projects has been associated with neighbourhood deterioration and poor social outcomes. (1400 words)

470. Commentary: Singapore’s public housing policy has done its job splendidly. Maybe it is time for a makeover?

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | April 14th, 2018
News last year that land at Lorong 3 Geylang where 191 private terrace houses sit would be returned to the state when the lease expires in 2020, has also provoked further discussion about HDB’s 99-year leases and what it means for the public, who have been encouraged to view property as an appreciating asset. In 2016, the average CPF balance of persons aged 50 to 55 was S$137,000, enough for about slightly over S$1,000 in monthly income in CPF LIFE if one were to invest in the annuity now. In a reply to questions in Parliament in 2014, then Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said that only half of CPF members met their minimum sum pledge at age 55, inclusive of their property pledge. (1200 words)

471. Commentary: What happens when the en bloc musical chairs stop?

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | January 21st, 2018
A surge in transaction volume in the private housing market after the third quarter may have seemed like the first sign of optimism. But the pick-up came much earlier as prescient developers snapped up lands put up for en bloc sale starting in the second quarter. With 37 tenders worth more than S$8.7 billion being awarded last year and even more properties put up for collective sale since, the en bloc frenzy seems unstoppable – not least because of property owners who have been waiting all this while and are more than happy to cash in on the hype. (1000 words)

472. Home ownership helps Singaporeans build up assets: PM Lee

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | August 24th, 2018
“The Government has long pursued home ownership as a key national policy, for many good reasons,” he said as he launched a book – Critical Issues in Asset Building in Singapore’s Development. Owning their own homes gives Singaporeans “a stake in the country” and something to fight for when the “chips are down”, said Mr Lee. “It enables every Singaporean to share in our economic growth, because as the economy grows, so will the value of your home,” he said. “And nearly every household has a substantial asset to its name, even low-income households.” (600 words)

473. The Big Read: No easy answers to HDB lease decay issue, but public mindset has to change first

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | June 4th, 2018
“Either another shelter over our heads, or a lower lump sum amount (compared to the value of the property) for us to get another flat to stay in,” said Mr Low, who inherited the unit from his mother who died in 1995. But another homeowner, who gave her name only as Ms Kwok, has a different view. There is “a misunderstanding (among the public) of what homeownership is”, she said. “People think ‘ownership’ means a freehold ownership but if you buy a leasehold then obviously the limited lease is reflected,” added the 30-year-old lawyer. (3900 words)

474. The Big Read: Property cooling measures — examining the case for a ‘sledgehammer’

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | July 16th, 2018
However, the warning signs were there: High land prices, a jump in the number of new housing loans, and a wage growth lagging behind economic expansion were some of the red flags which prompted the authorities to take pre-emptive action, several experts said. Add to these the increasing external risks which dampened the economic outlook, and there was an urgency to curb “euphoria” in the property market, as Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chief Ravi Menon put it. “Economic growth is healthy in 2017, and also in the first quarter of 2018, but there are potential macroeconomic and external risks that are not to be ignored. (3100 words)

475. URA proposes 90-day rental cap, 80% consent rule for Airbnb-type accommodation

Singapore – Housing | Channel News Asia | April 16th, 2018
These are some of the suggestions the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) proposed on Monday (Apr 16) in a regulatory framework for using private homes as short-term accommodation (STA). “After studying the issue for some time, we think it is possible to allow such STAs in private residential properties, but subject to appropriate regulation and safeguards,” said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Facebook, adding that the government has been very “cautious” about allowing STAs. “In our compact, high-rise living environment, we always have to be careful about creating any potential disamenities or impacting the residential nature of our neighbourhoods,” he said. (700 words)

476. The Big Read: No easy answers to HDB lease decay issue, but public mindset has to change first

Singapore – Housing | TODAY
“Either another shelter over our heads, or a lower lump sum amount (compared to the value of the property) for us to get another flat to stay in,” said Mr Low, who inherited the unit from his mother who died in 1995. But another homeowner, who gave her name only as Ms Kwok, has a different view. There is “a misunderstanding (among the public) of what homeownership is”, she said. “People think ‘ownership’ means a freehold ownership but if you buy a leasehold then obviously the limited lease is reflected,” added the 30-year-old lawyer. (3900 words)

477. More HDB flats in the CBD?

Singapore – Housing | The Straits Times | April 11th, 2019
This question of whether new public housing flats will be built in the Central Business District (CBD) has emerged after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) launched its Draft Master Plan last month. A key part of the plan were incentive schemes to nudge developers to turn ageing offices into homes and hotels. The URA revealed plans to add 20,000 homes in the Central Area, which the CBD is a part of. This is almost 40 per cent more than the current 51,706 homes there, which also includes the Outram, River Valley and Orchard areas. (1500 words)

478. National Day Special 2016: Wanted — A national identity for Singapore

Singapore – Identity | TODAY
Shortly after they moved in, residents were told that they were not, in fact, chickens but Red Junglefowl, the wild ancestor of domestic chickens, and a protected species here. It was a pleasant situation of a community hosting an endangered member of the local eco-system. Later, I found out that while the Red Junglefowl is native to the region, it had been locally extinct for some years. The birds we see now are likely to have descended from a few plucky creatures that somehow made it from Johor to Pulau Ubin, before moving onto mainland Singapore. (1100 words)

479. 3 ways in which the Chinese Singaporean identity is evolving

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | February 19th, 2018
English-educated who are outgoing and racially integrated; Chinese-educated who are introverted and hardworking; working-class heartlanders; or bilingual cosmopolitans, and so on. But after more than 50 years of development, and against the backdrop of a rising China, what defines a Chinese Singaporean has become complex and fluid. Today, while the Chinese Singaporean continues to indulge in local hawker fare like chicken rice, and mark Chinese New Year by tossing yusheng (raw fish salad), he finds himself at the crossroads of a global power shift from the West to the East; of a revival of interest in dialects and the mother tongue in a society where English is entrenched; and increased awareness of the need for candid conversations about race relations. (1000 words)

480. An evolving Singapore Chinese identity: Journey to the West – and now, the East

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | February 19th, 2018
This was in contrast with the experience of his father, an alumnus of Nanyang University, or Nantah, which, in his time, was prized by the Chinese-speaking community as the only Chinese-language tertiary institution outside China. But in 1980, Nantah became history after it was merged with the University of Singapore, amid an era emphasising English proficiency. While his father watched old-fashioned films from China, Mr Chia was drawn to cowboy westerns and movies from Hong Kong and Taiwan, which were considered “trendy”. (3700 words)

481. Being Chinese in multiracial Singapore: A framework to check one’s ignorance

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | February 14th, 2018
These two millennials face-off on their first impressions of each other, and how the English and Chinese languages condition one’s worldview. A framework to check one’s ignoranceIt was only when a group of drunken men began shouting “chink” after me in the middle of a wintry English night that the idea of “Chinese privilege” acutely hit home. It hit home because in England, I no longer had it. Growing up in Singapore, I navigated everyday life unmarked by my race. I never had to explain away how I looked, or ever felt alienated by a group because of my ethnicity. (1800 words)

482. Emerging sense of S’porean identity independent of ethnic heritage

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | November 14th, 2017
As the 2017 presidential election was reserved for Malay candidates, some scrutinised the presidential hopefuls’ heritage, their fluency in Malay, and their participation in cultural activities. But without an established consensus on what the most important distinguishing features a Singapore Malay should possess or practise were, the debate among the citizenry could not be easily settled. This is to be expected. While self-identification is an important part of determining ethnic identity, notions surrounding identity will invariably be contested – groups within each community and the broader public have different opinions as to who legitimately qualifies to use a particular ethnic label. (1200 words)

483. Is Singapore’s identity less clear today?

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | June 12th, 2017
Problems with Malaysia? Economic survival? Racial harmony? All of the above? Yes, but there was an underlying theme, a common thread binding them together. You might not know it and it wasn’t obvious at the time. But looking back now, it is clear they were obsessed with the Singapore identity. The founding leaders, especially Mr Lee Kuan Yew, talked non-stop about it – what sort of country it was and what it should become. It dominated their speeches and shaped almost every aspect of Singapore’s development, including the economy, defence, foreign relations and politics. (1000 words)

484. Singapore’s approach to diversity has created a distinctive identity across ethnic groups: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | May 20th, 2017
No race or culture is coerced into conforming with other identities, let alone that of the majority, he added. In fostering such an approach for a multiracial, multireligious society rooted in its Asian cultures, Singaporeans also need the arts and culture “to nourish our souls”, Mr Lee said. “We certainly don’t wish Singapore to be a first-world economy but a third-rate society, with a people who are well off but uncouth,” he said. “We want to be a society rich in spirit, a gracious society where people are considerate and kind to one another, and as Mencius said, where we treat all elders as we treat our own parents, and other children as our own.” (1000 words)

485. Singaporeans have evolved a distinctive identity: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | May 15th, 2017
No race or culture is coerced into conforming with other identities, let alone that of the majority, he added yesterday at the opening of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) in Shenton Way. In fostering such an approach for a multiracial, multi-religious society rooted in its Asian cultures, Singaporeans need the arts and culture “to nourish our souls”, Mr Lee said. “We don’t wish Singapore to be a First World economy but a third- rate society, with a people who are well off but uncouth. (600 words)

486. The Chinese Singaporean identity: A complex, ever changing relationship

Singapore – Identity | The Straits Times | February 13th, 2018
It was the year 2010, and Shanghai was holding the World Expo. I can still vividly remember being stuck in those much-documented vast queues of that expo, and consider that to be my first encounter with contemporary China. That summer trip also broke the stereotypes that I had of the country. For example, I remember reading reports about how Chinese nationals visiting the expo were behaving in an “uncivilised” way. Some netizens criticised the unseemly rush by some into the pavilions to get stamps on their passports. (2000 words)

487. Redefining the Singaporean that we know

Singapore – Identity | TODAY
She noted that Singaporeans are known to be pragmatic, logical and rational but this also prompts the question: “Are we all head and no heart?”I wonder too, and while Ms Indranee did add that values such as meritocracy, kindness, honesty, integrity and aspiration towards equality are the core of the Singaporean identity, I am not as optimistic about the current state of our national identity. I recall during my conversations with foreigners overseas, many of them would sing praises about Singapore upon finding out my nationality. (900 words)

488. The Big Read: As a nation celebrates, we ask: What makes us Singaporean?

Singapore – Identity | TODAY
For many Singaporeans, the words that come to mind are “kiasu”, “hardworking” and “stressed”. The adjectives complement one another to showcase, in a way, a nation on steroids — a competitive citizenry that is obsessed with being No 1 in all that it does. While there were differing opinions, the most commonly cited attitude among the Singaporean respondents was “kiasu” — a Hokkien word that captures the uniquely Singaporean trait of being afraid to lose out. It was mentioned by more than a third of respondents, who also used another colloquial term, “kiasi” — afraid to die or cowardly — to describe their countrymen. (2400 words)

489. Immigration, opportunity and the S’porean core

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
While the discussion has focused largely on the intensity and extensity of immigration into Singapore — that is, how many and how soon — the debates have also revealed an existential malaise surrounding both what it means to be Singaporean as well as the ambiguity of our national values. As expressed by Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim: “(T)his debate … is not just about population. It is about nationhood, the meaning of being Singaporean”. In effect, the debate has significantly been about, following Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s words, “what does it mean to be Singaporean, and how do we retain our Singapore identity” in the face of continued immigration? (1000 words)

490. Managing immigration: What S’pore can learn from others

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
This balance is key. The Government’s marriage and parenthood package may set the brakes on the falling total fertility rate and help build the core of citizens, but there is a limit to how much impact it will have in the long run. This is because of changing social trends and norms which have had a negative impact on global fertility rates. A “closed-door” approach to immigrants in the long run will therefore not work. Immigrants are needed to complement the resident workforce by taking on lower-skilled jobs, as well as to provide access to highly-skilled workers who facilitate economic upgrading and productivity increases. (1000 words)

491. Beware the Brexit, Singapore

Singapore – Immigration | Population SG | November 6th, 2017
The popular humourist acknowledges that immigration is a contentious issue, but explains why integration must be a two-way street to avoid a Brexit-like climate of fear and mistrust…On a genial, summery morning in late June, I found myself sitting in a caravan in the English countryside, in front of a laptop, with my head rather melodramatically in my hands. The United Kingdom had just voted to leave the European Union. Brexit had become a reality. And then, I heard the raucous singing coming from a nearby caravan, the kind of warbling usually associated with mating bullfrogs…Rule, Britannia! (1800 words)

492. China-born businessman Mick Davies to be stripped of Singapore citizenship: MHA

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | March 5th, 2018
Mick Davies, formerly known as Lan Shili, had obtained his Singapore citizenship through fraudulent means, said MHA, noting that the 58-year-old businessman had flouted immigration laws locally and abroad. “After due consideration that Davies’ Singapore Citizenship had been obtained by fraudulent means, false representation and concealment of material facts, and that he had flouted immigration laws locally and abroad, the Minister for Home Affairs intends to deprive him of his Singapore Citizenship, as it is not conducive to the public good for him to remain a Singapore citizen,” said MHA. (400 words)

493. CO08109 | Foreign Workers in Singapore: Integrating or Segregating them?

Singapore – Immigration | RSIS | October 28th, 2014
In this respect, as beneficiaries of the fruits of their labour and sacrifice, Singaporeans have an ethical obligation to share their common spaces with foreign workers. Moreover, many others also point to the irony that Singapore’s meteoric rise from a sleepy fishing village to a thriving port city was built on the blood, sweat and tears of our immigrant forefathers, a significant number of whom came as penniless labourers with hopes of a better life for their dependents and themselves. They eventually sank their roots in Singapore soil and their descendents now form the core of the Singapore heartbeat. (500 words)

494. Commentary: Behind the brain drain in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, stymied aspirations and growing rootlessness

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | June 10th, 2018
The phenomenon, which refers to the large-scale emigration of educated and high-skilled individuals from their birth country, also exists in OECD countries such as Spain, Ireland and Italy. Neither are Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore – prosperous economies with a GDP per capita of US$46,228, US$24,337 and US$57,722 respectively in 2017 – immune from brain drain. In particular, a high percentage of youths in these economies plan to seek greener pastures overseas, albeit for varying reasons. A 2016 survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) found that 57 per cent of young Hong Kong people aged 18 to 30 had the intention to emigrate, while another survey in Taiwan revealed that 62 per cent of Taiwanese between the age of 20 to 35 planned to seek employment abroad. (1100 words)

495. Commentary: Expats have an edge over locals. Here’s why

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | July 26th, 2018
That dream job went to an Australian expatriate from the bank’s headquarters. Leong, a young local manager at a global resort and hotel chain, couldn’t break into the inner circles of his Western expatriate bosses. He felt that without good personal relationships with these bosses, it would be hard for him to make much headway at the company. Local professionals and managers working for foreign multinational companies complain about this sort of thing all the time. Each hiring and promotion decision is of course unique and involves idiosyncratic considerations. (900 words)

496. Commentary: Expats, foreign talent and immigration make Singapore economically better off

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | September 30th, 2018
Many Singaporeans for instance, expressed concern over the number of new citizens accepted into Singapore in 2017 announced on Thursday (Sep 27) – of slightly more than 22,000, the second highest in the last 11 years. Yet, most are not against the inflow of foreign workers who hold lower-paid jobs that local people do not want. Foreign talent is commonly perceived to be the key culprit taking away good jobs that could be filled by local Singaporeans, and hence deemed undesirable. Immigration creates concerns that Singapore will be more crowded and less livable. (1400 words)

497. Commentary: Why do companies still hire expat staff even though they seem to cost more?

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | July 10th, 2018
The average cost of employing an expat in Singapore has shrunk by over S$16,070 in 2017 compared to the year before, yet the value of a typical annual compensation and benefits package for a middle-manager stands at S$223,095. The impression one goes away with is that a Singaporean middle manager comes at a “bargain price” to most firms. If so, why do many companies still hire expats? Is he worth the money? How much can he value add? The firm would want to know how much that executive can bring to the table. (1000 words)

498. Immigrants outdo native students in studies

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | June 13th, 2017
A Ask different people this question, and you are likely to get different responses. Some may reason that native students should have an edge because language barriers may pose problems for immigrant students’ understanding of the subject matter and expression of their thoughts. Others, however, may reason that immigrant students should do better since they tend to come from more privileged socio-economic backgrounds, owing to Singapore’s selective immigration policy. Consequently, their parents are able to provide them with more educational resources, aiding performance. (1100 words)

499. In Singapore, Vitriol Against Chinese Newcomers

Singapore – Immigration | New York Times | August 23rd, 2014
It didn’t help, either, that he was at the wheel of a $1.4 million Ferrari that early morning in May, or that the woman in the passenger seat was not his wife.But what really set off a wave of outrage across this normally decorous island-state is the fact that Mr. Ma, a 31-year-old financial investor, carried a Chinese passport, having arrived in Singapore four years earlier.The accident, captured by the dashboard camera of another taxi, has uncorked long-stewing fury against the surge of new arrivals from China, part of a government-engineered immigration push that has almost doubled Singapore’s population to 5.2 million since 1990. (1400 words)

500. Migrant workers aren’t poor, you need money to come work in Singapore: Editor

Singapore – Immigration | Asia One | November 14th, 2017
This is far from the truth, says Mr AKM Mohsin, chief editor of monthly Bengali publication Banglar Kanthar that is distributed in Singapore and Malaysia. “There are a lot of educated people who are unemployed in Bangladesh. Due to political instability and bad economic conditions, there’s only development in the public sector and none in the government sector. The government is unable to provide a lot of educated people with jobs. “Those who migrate are not very educated, they’re middle-class educated. (1400 words)

501. More than 50% of young Singaporeans believe foreigners use the country as a stepping stone: Survey

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | September 28th, 2018
Conducted by local think-tank Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), the survey aimed to study the emigration attitudes of young Singaporeans, polling over 2,000 respondents aged between 19 and 30 during face-to-face interviews between Jun and Nov 2016. This was the second survey of its kind, following one conducted in 2010. According to the survey findings released on Friday (Sep 28), 55.9 per cent of respondents thought foreign talent used Singapore as a stepping stone to other countries, up 10.4 percentage points from 2010. (700 words)

502. Myths and Facts: Migrant Workers in Singapore

Singapore – Immigration | New Naratif | September 9th, 2017
[1] These workers are concentrated in industrial sectors such as construction, shipbuilding and repair, and conservancy and household work where they make up almost the entire labour force. In addition, they make up almost half the workforce in the manufacturing and services sectors. Coming from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia, these migrant workers build our homes, offices and roads. They work to ensure that these places remain clean and functional. (6900 words)

503. Singapore needs foreigners – here’s why

Singapore – Immigration | Population SG
“For jobs like cashiers, service crew, or even dish cleaners, it’s hard to hire local people. The turnover rate is very high, because local people don’t like to do this kind of long hours job where you need to serve customers,” says Mr Wong, who also runs a Japanese food business in Bukit Merah. But foreign workers are also difficult to hire because of the manpower quotas mandated by the Ministry of Manpower that he had to stick to. “To be able to hire two Malaysian workers, I had to first hire three Singaporean workers. (1100 words)

504. Singaporeans’ culinary anti-immigration protest: curry

Singapore – Immigration | Reuters | August 22nd, 2011
Tens of thousands of people in the Southeast Asian city-state said they would cook or eat curry on Sunday in a protest highlighting growing anger over increased immigration. The campaign began after an immigrant family from China complained about the smell of curry from a Singaporean Indian neighbour’s home and local officials brought about a compromise. A Facebook page devoted to the row after reports were published in a local newspaper has drawn over 57,600 members, many of who said they were cooking curry on Sunday in a show of solidarity with the Indian family. (400 words)

505. Some flexibility in hiring foreign manpower possible: Lim Swee Say

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | March 9th, 2018
Some leeway may be granted to companies looking to hire foreign workers whose salaries fall below the minimum required for an Employment Pass, he said at a post-Budget dialogue session organised by the Singapore National Employers Federation. “I want to assure you that notwithstanding all this refinement to our foreign manpower policy, our door remains open to foreign professionals,” said Mr Lim. This flexibility, however, will apply only to companies that are compliant with the Fair Consideration Framework, he said. (300 words)

506. Unvaccinated foreign travellers may be denied entry to Singapore under proposed changes to law

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | June 26th, 2018
The proposal is to “better manage the risk of importation of serious infectious diseases into Singapore”, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Jun 26). Currently, people entering Singapore are required to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever if they travelled from at-risk countries. Those who did not have the jab may be subjected to vaccination, isolation or surveillance in Singapore, and travellers who refuse to comply may be returned to their place of embarkation. Under the proposed changes, authorities will be given “discretionary powers” to turn back unvaccinated foreign travellers, without first offering vaccination, isolation or surveillance. (500 words)

507. Quality immigration will remain Singapore’s lifeblood

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
This is reflected in the changing demographics of a country, which can affect the agility with which the country responds to the constantly evolving external environment. Singapore’s population growth over the past year was its slowest in more than a decade. As of June this year, Singapore’s total population stood at 5.61 million, up just 0.1 per cent from last year. The annual population brief released by the National Population and Talent Division on Wednesday also highlighted two consistent themes: Fewer citizen births, and an ageing citizen population. (1200 words)

508. Singapore and the cosmopolitan ideal

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
This reference to cosmopolitanism in Singapore is not new. Then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong himself made a distinction between heartlanders and cosmopolitans in a National Day rally speech in 1999. The speech invoked the common image of those who might be seen as cosmopolitan Singaporeans: They have an international outlook; they speak English but are bilingual; they are professionals or managers in well-paying industries such as banking or science and technology; they can work and be comfortable anywhere in the world. (900 words)

509. S’pore will continue to need foreign workers in complementary role: Iswaran

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
Despite the recalibration in foreign manpower policies over the years, the Republic has remained open and the size of the imported workforce has continued to grow, note Mr Iswaran, who was speaking at the press conference at the launch of the Committee on the Future Economy report. Responding to a reporter who noted little mention of foreign manpower policy in the report and asked if Singapore’s stance is unchanged, Mr Iswaran stressed that whether a worker is Singaporean or foreigner, the emphasis is on productivity and value-add. (500 words)

510. The Big Read: Are S’poreans anti-foreigner? Not in the real world

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
More often than not, the incidents can be traced to insensitive or offensive comments made on the Internet by one side or the other. Anti-foreigner sentiments dominate Internet chatter, so much so that “foreign trash Singapore” has become a Google auto-fill option. Overall, they spoke positively about their daily interactions with Singaporeans at work or other social settings. Tellingly, however, while they were happy to share their views on the topic, several did not want to give their full names out of concern that they would get flamed online. (1600 words)

511. The Big Read: The foreigner issue – are we ready for a rethink?

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
Last December, economists said it may be time to re-look the Government’s stringent immigration policies following a UOB report on Singapore’s “demographic time bomb” which will start ticking next year, when the share of the population who are 65 and over will match that of those under 15 for the first time. In January, Monetary Authority of Singapore chief Ravi Menon devoted much of his speech at a high-profile conference on the topic, making an impassioned plea for Singapore to “reframe our question on foreign workers”, given the limited scope in raising birth rates and labour force participation rate (LFPR). (2700 words)

512. The paradox of strong family ties in the integration of immigrants

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
Take, for example, the vitriolic comments against groups from specific countries on social media, protests at Hong Lim Park against the influx of foreigners into Singapore, and anti-foreigner speeches at election rallies. Observers and experts have suggested that these attitudes may be due to anxiety — Singaporeans feel suspicious of foreigners because they compete with us for space, resources and jobs. Then there is the question of whether foreigners are a threat to our still-evolving cultural identity. (800 words)

513. Time for Singapore universities to admit more international students

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
The reason? Declining birth rates leading to reduced enrolment. Before long, the ebbing cohorts will hit our universities. In the short run, the operational costs of universities are fixed. Probably the largest cost is the salaries and wages of academic and professional staff, most of whom have contracts, and many of whom have security of tenure. So, our universities will have to grapple with fewer students with little room to reduce costs. What to do? Merge our universities? A much more attractive solution is to allow the universities to admit more full-fee paying international students. (1000 words)

514. Understanding the need to curb foreign labour

Singapore – Immigration | TODAY
This tightening of the job market is due in large part to the Government’s recalibration of Singapore’s foreign worker policy. Although severe, these measures have nonetheless been instrumental in slowing the growth in foreign manpower which is well worth the pain as it has led to more manageable increases in population figures and also, more sustainable business practices. To appreciate the magnitude of the foreign worker policy challenges, it is useful to look to the past when there were fewer restrictions on foreign manpower, beginning around 2005. (1000 words)

515. When a 13-year-old works in your home as a maid

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | July 5th, 2018
She exacts revenge by carrying his disabled, 12-year-old daughter out of the flat and pushing her over the parapet wall from the 16th floor. The girl dies. The maid, who has been in Singapore for just a month, is 16 years old. March 19, 2014: An elderly employer scolds her maid and hits her on the head with a tray. The maid, Dewi Sukhowati, snaps, slams the employer’s head against a wall and dumps her in a swimming pool, where the woman drowns. The maid has been working in Singapore for just six days and is 18 years old. (1500 words)

516. Transnational marriages are ‘as resilient’ as local marriages: MSF

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | January 14th, 2019
The divorce rates for transnational marriages before the fifth and tenth year anniversaries are comparable to those for Singaporean marriages from the same cohorts. Mr Tan was responding to questions filed by Nominated Members of Parliament (MPs) Anthea Ong and Mohamed Irshad on transnational marriages and support given to these families. “We recognise that marriages between Singapore citizens and non-residents may face unique challenges, such as cross-cultural differences,” Mr Tan said. He mentioned three initiatives set up by MSF to help such couples – the Marriage Preparation Programme (MPP), Marriage Support Programme (MSP), and Friendship Programme (FP). (400 words)

517. A ripped flag image, Internet outrage and a family life destroyed: Avijit Das Patnaik’s story

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | January 25th, 2019
“If you Google my name, there are more hits and searches against my name than against leading terrorists and scamsters,” the 45-year-old tells Channel NewsAsia. The consequences of sharing the image on a Facebook post in August last year have been devastating for the Singapore Permanent Resident, who is originally from India: He’s now jobless and he, along with his wife and two young children, will now likely have to leave the country that’s been their home for the last ten years. Their HDB flat is now on the market, and all that is left is for it to be sold. (1600 words)

518. Myanmar citizens deported from Singapore over alleged insurgent ties remanded in custody

Singapore – Immigration | Channel News Asia | July 26th, 2019
“We issued another remand this morning for them,” Min Thant, an information officer at the Western District Court in the commercial capital of Yangon, told Reuters by telephone, without giving further details. They are being held in an undisclosed location along with two other people including a driver, according to relatives and a lawyer. Authorities in Myanmar have declined to provide details about the case or give the whereabouts of the detainees. Singapore’s home ministry said the group, members of the Rakhine Buddhist minority, had “organised and mobilised” some members of the Myanmar community in Singapore to support the Arakan Army (AA), an insurgent group fighting for greater autonomy in Rakhine and Chin states, and its political wing, the United League of Arakan. (600 words)

519. $500 a month on cable TV and cigarettes and this family still wants aid?

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 23th, 2018
She argued, among other things, that insufficient space can lead to children being open to negative influence and that the process of getting help can cause families living in rental flats to lose their dignity because they are often asked demeaning questions. As a practising social worker of 32 years, I started my career working with disadvantaged families. In the last five years, my team of social workers and I have worked at the Housing Board’s Bedok Interim Rental Housing (IRH) project, also called P4650 after the two blocks the families lived in. (1400 words)

520. Class divide: Singapore in danger of becoming academic aristocracy

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 3th, 2018
My parents were first-generation migrants from China who sold food for a living. They eked out a living first as itinerant hawkers, and then as hawkers resettled into government-run hawker centres. My parents spoke the Teochew dialect to me, and I learnt English and Mandarin only when I went to primary school…My consciousness about class arose in my days at Cambridge University (where I studied on a government scholarship). The Singaporean students were divided into two large groups: the “government scholars” or those studying there on government scholarships; and the “Pa Ma scholars” who were funded by their parents. (3000 words)

521. Focus on right measures of income inequality

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | August 8th, 2018
While I agree with several of her points, especially that too much inequality can have adverse consequences, I disagree with her on many others. While Prof Lim alludes to the Gini coefficient, a fair bit of the data she cited – including from the World Inequality Report 2018 by a group of researchers, including French economist Thomas Piketty – is about the income garnered by the top 10 per cent of the population. The income garnered by this group is a flawed measure of income inequality and has very little bearing on how the average person is faring. (1400 words)

522. How inequality and low wages can stall growth

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 21th, 2018
One such useful piece of research is the World Inequality Report 2018 produced by a group of researchers, including French economist Thomas Piketty. The report shows income inequality has been rising almost everywhere since 1980. Among high-income countries, the share of national income accruing to the top 10 per cent of income earners rose from 31-32 per cent in 1980 to 40 per cent in Britain and Germany, and 50 per cent in the United States in 2013-15. Over the same period, it rose from 22.8 to 30.6 per cent in Sweden, 24.2 to 32.1 per cent in Australia, 25.3 to 28.3 per cent in Norway, and 29.9 to 34.6 per cent in Switzerland. (1400 words)

523. Including those with special needs in our Singapore story

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY
It is in this VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous) setting, that more intentional and visible strategies must surface so that the vulnerable amongst us can find a place. There is more that we, as a society, can do. Let me elaborate. Thanks to the intervention of Government and many helping hands, the lives of many young people with special needs have transformed for the better. Since 2007, the Government has made public three Enabling Masterplans. These are the roadmaps for Singapore to build a more inclusive society where persons with disabilities or special needs are empowered and enabled to realise their true potential. (1100 words)

524. Inequality is not just unfair, it’s also bad economics

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 21th, 2018
This label is a convenient, and rather dismissive, short-hand to refer to the academics and others challenging the assumptions behind Singapore’s social policy. They want policymakers and citizens to look beyond ways to help the poor, to understand how institutions, structures and mindsets behind policies have sometimes disadvantaged the poor and kept them marginalised. These academics and social workers say the poor are not poor because they made poor decisions, but are constrained by Singapore’s system into having a poor range of choices to choose from in the first place. (1600 words)

525. Inequality looks like this? Help!

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | March 18th, 2018
It is easy to make speeches on it or to write a commentary like this. There are numerous statistics one can cite, on income, what the rich earn compared to the poor, the type of work they do, their savings and so on, to make the case that Singapore has (and many other countries have) an unequal society. Lots of people know this, including the top leadership. In numerous speeches, including during the Budget debate in Parliament the last two weeks, we hear that income inequality is a pressing issue that needs to be resolved or it will divide Singapore society. (1400 words)

526. Kindness in an age of elitism

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 15th, 2018
I am not ignorant of the plight of the underprivileged, nor do I mean that I do not believe in the concept of meritocracy and equality. But the reality is that wealth and social status are never equally distributed across all strata of society, no matter how hard one works. No matter how perfect government policies are, there will always be the haves and the have-nots, and very often the haves will have an easier path in life simply because of the family they were born into. I do not advocate tearing this system apart in pursuit of an idealistic notion of equality and meritocracy. (900 words)

527. Lack of social mixing is a symptom of inequality, not a cause

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 7th, 2018
Certain neighbourhoods are over-represented by those with high income, and some schools have acquired a narrow student body composition of a disproportionate number of children from wealthier families. We hear that people are friends primarily with others of similar class backgrounds, and that they are rarely drawn to those in different levels of society. Some surmise that this is bad as the privileged ones will not develop empathy for those not equal in status. It is implied that a key solution to inequality lies in greater mixing. (1000 words)

528. Let’s talk about meeting needs, not just equality of opportunity

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | May 30th, 2018
I see creased foreheads when I say yes. This is clearly something that deeply bothers people. It violates Singaporeans’ sensibilities of fairness, built primarily around the ideal of equal opportunities. Meritocracy, opportunity and social mobility are regularly invoked as the answer to inequality. We talk a lot about protecting our meritocracy and ensuring opportunity for (upward) social mobility. Next to this, the issue of equality of outcomes has been sidestepped. Yet, if we take seriously the realities of inequality and the experiences of people living with less than adequate income, we must talk about outcomes, which is about how people’s lives actually are. (1300 words)

529. Looking at inequality: An analyst’s view

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2018
Whether one looks at the recently released Institute of Policy Studies survey on social capital, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s candid comments in Parliament or to frequent chatter in the blogosphere, inequality is increasingly on the minds of Singaporeans. Still, it is doubtful that we shall see any responses in Singapore similar to the now virtually forgotten Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. No IRP – Infiltrate Raffles Place – movement, mercifully. Rather, what we can expect is systematic analysis of inequality and serious policy measures by the Government to address the socioeconomic consequences. (900 words)

530. Commentary: Behind the public shaming of one wealthy elite, a disturbing but growing divide

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | September 2nd, 2018
Yet, many comments were not about her wrongdoing, but focused on her inherited wealth and how her privilege may cushion her from the consequences of her misdemeanours, with some labelling her a “Crazy Rich Asian”. To many, Audrey Tay embodied a certain type of wealthy elite, for whom Singapore seems to be a playground that allows them to live out profligate and reckless lifestyles, with little personal consequences because of their wealth and social capital. Yet it seems that social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs have become platforms through which everyday opinions and sentiments are unleashed with little consideration and put on public display. (800 words)

531. Commentary: Can education fix inequality in Singapore? If not, what can?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 1st, 2018
This makes sense, given the pernicious effects that persistently high inequality can have on economic growth, political stability, social cohesion, quality of life, and even national security. The 2016 Brexit and Trump votes occurred in the two major developed countries with the greatest income inequality — the UK and US respectively. Studies suggest that socio-cultural as well as economic divides resulting from inequality contributed to these electoral results, which have since led to populist and protectionist policy proposals that will slow growth in the long run. (1900 words)

532. Commentary: Can the rich be caring?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | July 29th, 2018
A successful businessman, he was honoured by the Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States for his philanthropy. He believed strongly in the dignity of all. Despite his wealth, he lived in a modest three-bedroom house for most of his life and would chat with the homeless on the streets. People may forget his consumer electronics and dinnerware businesses, but they will remember his generosity which shaped the city of Los Angeles, and in particular, the Japanese-American community. Later on, I attended an elite school which offered scholarships to students from developing countries as part of its vision to promote international understanding. (1400 words)

533. Commentary: For greater social mobility, should the role of privilege in our education system be reassessed?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 16th, 2018
Parents who are concerned about getting their children into popular schools next year are, no doubt, bracing themselves for the exercise. Those who are alumni of popular schools often feel they can rest easy. However, the process often invites the opprobrium of those who don’t have connections to such schools. But since 2014, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has been setting aside at least 40 places in every primary school for children without a prior connection. From 2019, all affiliated secondary schools will have to reserve 20 per cent of their Secondary One places for incoming students who do not have any affiliation priority. (1000 words)

534. Commentary: Singapore must do more to end slavery of the poor

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 14th, 2018
In one of my parliamentary speeches, I called upon us to guard against the “slavery of the poor”. It is a plight that happens when vulnerable, low-wage workers are taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers, who exploit this group’s ignorance of their employment rights. Trapped by the need to make a living for themselves and their families, these workers are prone to be shackled in servitude to the masters who control them, all because of the very limited jobs they can undertake given their age and skills. (1300 words)

535. Commentary: Tackle inequality by moving from emotion to action

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | April 6th, 2018
His story is gut-wrenching. He works long hours, but needs the income to support his wife and mentally disabled son. Netizens have called for the Government and unions to intervene, seeing that he earns well under S$2,000 a month including Workfare benefits. Others have drawn lessons about being nicer to those in service jobs that may not pay well, particularly the working elderly. A few suggested tipping him. In recent months, with the issue of inequality having already been in focus during Budget 2018 debates, it is reassuring that stories like his find traction among Singaporeans. (800 words)

536. Commentary: The Government needs to do more to bridge the class divide, but so do we

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | January 13th, 2018
If you come from an elite school, it’s likely most of your friends, even in adulthood, come from one of those schools too. If you live in a private estate, you’re not likely to have friends who live in the heartlands, according to a recent Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) survey. The findings of the Study On Social Capital In Singapore have come as no surprise to many Singaporeans. After all, isn’t it instinctive to make friends with the people you are most exposed to or have the most similarities with, even if those similarities are largely based on what some might say are superficial factors such as education and lifestyle? (1300 words)

537. Commentary: This is what the face of poverty looks like

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | September 8th, 2018
They married six years ago and have a young child, who is 5. While Alan is gainfully employed and earns a decent salary of S$2,500 a month, the family of three struggles financially. They have no savings but sustained debt, amounting to approximately S$5,000. It appears that the couple lacks the wisdom to budget, and had not been prudent in their expenses. Mani is a 21-year-old with a Primary 5 education who struggles to secure employment. She has a child, aged 5, with her first boyfriend whom she no longer keeps in touch with. (1200 words)

538. Commentary: Three stories on why tackling poverty requires active listening

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 30th, 2018
It is said that social workers play an important role in this process. However, tackling poverty requires that we go further than that. As a social worker, I lead a team of 20 who work with around 350 families at any one time. The low-income families we work with face many difficult choices. He wanted to discuss the situation of Mr Tan*, a man in his sixties who was going to be evicted from his current place of stay. He was unable to get along with his sister, who co-owns the flat with her husband. (1300 words)

539. Economist’s liveability report meaningless for non-expats

Singapore – Inequality | The Online Citizen | August 17th, 2017
In March, the EIU ranked Singapore the most expensive city in the world. “Singapore ranked world’s most expensive city for expats” went the headlines for both newspapers. And the headline for The Straits Times reads: “Singapore beats Hong Kong in liveability rankings for first time”. Neither of them explains how these liveability rankings are calculated. And neither of them consider the possibility that both their headlines and their reports may be misleading for those reasons. Whether this is the result of patriotism, propaganda or lax editorial standards, it is bad journalism. (700 words)

540. Heartache and duty: At 77, the petrol pump attendant who must keep working

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | March 30th, 2018
“I wouldn’t be able to sleep,” said the petrol pump attendant. “I’d think, ‘Why did I make that mistake?’”Take the one time years ago when he put in the wrong fuel grade, after a couple differed on the grade they wanted. The woman refused to pay the S$87. So he told her: “Though my pay is little, I made a mistake and I’ll pay.” His manager later made up for his loss by giving him vouchers. You could say that for Mr Yasin, his job for the past 15 years at an Esso station in Yishun has been both a source of comfort and of anxiety. (1400 words)

541. Inequality a threat to Singapore’s solidarity; needs to be looked into: Sylvia Lim

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018
The first of her fellow opposition members to speak on Wednesday (Feb 28), Ms Lim questioned, after all the initiatives by the Government throughout the years to mitigate inequality, how much it really knows about its successes in reducing inequality and how much more needs to be done. She said Singapore’s Gini coefficient, which highlight’s a country’s income distribution, stood at 0.459 before Government transfers in 2017, and 0.402 after transfers. Quoting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words in January, Ms Lim said while this is an improvement from 2013, it is still higher than many developed countries. (1100 words)

542. Inequality is a threat – name it, and face it

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 17th, 2018
It was both an easy and difficult feature to do. I was then studying at Cambridge University on a government scholarship. All I did was talk to my friends and friends of friends. They included offspring of a diplomat, university professor, senior lawyer, doctors, and others in establishment circles. My university mates were, well, just mates. We talked. They were not at all snobbish or arrogant. But it was also a difficult assignment because I was writing about class, and although I went to college with them, I stood on the other side of the divide, as a child of working-class parents. (1600 words)

543. MSF to strengthen social service delivery on the ground

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
To begin with, it wants to make it easier for needy individuals and families alike to apply for social assistance schemes from different agencies. Said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee: “As far as possible, they should not need to submit the same documents, repeat their circumstances, or fill in multiple application forms asking for similar information. This will help reduce the burden often faced by low-income individuals and households seeking help, who may already be in distress or urgent need. (900 words)

544. Singapore’s approach to addressing socio-economic inequality has ‘served it well’: Indranee

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2017
Speaking in Parliament, she said Singapore’s Gini coefficient has moderated over the last five years. “Our people have also seen good income growth, with the lower-income seeing their real per capita household income grow by close to 20 per cent over the last five years.”The Gini coefficient is a measure of income inequality. She was responding to a question from Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who had asked if the Finance Ministry would regularly review the Government’s commitment to socio-economic inequality, and publish the results of such reviews. (500 words)

545. Singapore’s household income grew in 2017, income inequality unchanged: Singstat

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 8th, 2018
Among households headed by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident which had at least one working person, the median monthly income grew 2 per cent in nominal terms to S$9,023 last year, from S$8,846 in 2016. Factoring in inflation, the increase was 1.5 per cent in real terms, data from the Department of Statistics showed. After accounting for household size, the median monthly income per household member rose 4.5 per cent in nominal terms, or 3.9 per cent in real terms, to S$2,699 in 2017. Resident employed households across all income groups in Singapore also enjoyed real growth in average work earnings per member last year, the report said. (300 words)

546. When kids say ‘I lazy what’

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 4th, 2018
A great deal of attention and resources are channelled into public education. Teachers receive rigorous and continual training, and teaching is a well-compensated and well-respected job. We see high regard for academic rigour – pegged to global standards of abilities, and in specific foundational subject areas (Mathematics and Science). There is bilingual education which takes into account, to a degree, the needs of different ethnic groups, including minorities. We see attention to children with different learning styles and abilities, and we see the existence of programmes and human resources that target these differences. (2100 words)

547. Tackling inequality vigorously: Academics give their views

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | May 11th, 2018
In President Halimah Yacob’s address, she spoke of the importance of tackling inequality vigorously, emphasising in particular giving every child a good start in life. To tackle inequality, we must take seriously its holistic nature and resist the urge to quarantine it into neat containment areas. Inequality is not a problem only of children and education, nor one tackled only by targeting the low-income. Public policy in many areas of life must prioritise redistribution and universal access to ensure everyone can meet their needs. (2800 words)

548. The Big Read: Social stratification — a poison seeping into S’pore’s housing estates and schools

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY
Social inequality has become a buzz phrase among national discussions, and the issue remains a work in progress. Of late, however, a new phrase has entered the government’s lexicon: Social stratification. It refers to an institutionalised system of social inequality — a dire situation that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned about in February, but one which is starting to take root and risks becoming entrenched, as several Cabinet Ministers and other Members of Parliament (MPs) highlighted during the five-day debate on the President’s Address earlier this month. (3600 words)

549. The ethics of reducing inequality

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY
Economic insecurity is a driving force behind violent conflicts in the Middle East and the rise of fascist elements in some European countries. Even in older democracies such as the United States, economic marginalisation has led to a strengthening of chauvinist and supremacist identities and other social problems such as the opioid epidemic. These trends have been ongoing for some time. But, according to Branko Milanovic of the City University of New York, a big shift occurred between 1988 and 2008. (1000 words)

550. What Spore’s fertility debate teaches us about inequality: More schemes won’t work unless we look at big picture

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 17th, 2018
Are there lessons to draw from the experience of those discussions? Between 2003 and 2013, much of my research was on Singapore’s family policies. I published academic articles and newspaper commentaries about fertility patterns and public policy. I posed this puzzle: Singaporeans have fewer children than they would like to; why? Once we see this as the appropriate starting point, we know we must look beyond individual desires and “mindsets” to focus on larger structural conditions. Two points are key: first, wage work and care responsibilities are stressful and challenging, and existing conditions do not allow people to easily balance the two and live the lives they hope for. (1300 words)

551. Why jokes about ‘low SES’ are not funny

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | April 15th, 2018
It started last month, when a social studies guidebook – in a section on how one’s class and socioeconomic status can shape an individual’s identity – attempted to come up with examples of “higher SES” or “lower SES” traits. The writer, Rowan Luc, used a table with two columns. The one labelled higher SES had actions such as “use of formal English in daily conversation” and “regular fine dining at expensive restaurants”. In the lower-SES column were “use of Singlish or… dialects in daily conversation” and “eating at hawker centres”. (1000 words)

552. Why Singapore gives top priority to fighting income inequality

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 6th, 2018
Maintaining social harmony is very much at the top of the Government’s priorities. There are three aspects of this issue: income inequality, social mobility and social integration. They are inter-related. Over the last half century, income inequality has increased in almost all developed economies, including Singapore. The problem is most acute in large cities, for they tend to be where a country’s wealth is created and concentrated. Singapore is both a city and a country. Our Gini coefficient is higher than that of many other advanced countries. (1100 words)

553. A tale of two rankings

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | November 1th, 2018
But just two days later, another report, this time by the World Bank, put Singapore in first place worldwide for human capital development. The contrast between how Singapore fared in the two studies may have struck many as puzzling. Certainly it gave food for thought to experts who study the country’s development. There are lessons to be gleaned from both, they say, and Singapore could benefit from taking a more critical view of such international rankings – regardless of whether it comes in at No. (1600 words)

554. Beware ‘class warfare’ approach to taxes

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | April 11th, 2019
Decades of strong growth produced economic convergence with rich nations in North America and Western Europe. Given how few nations have made that jump, this is a remarkable achievement. What’s even more noteworthy is that Singapore’s economy then continued to expand at a healthy pace. Based on measures such as per-capita economic output, residents of Singapore are now significantly better off than their counterparts in almost every nation in the so-called rich man’s club of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (1000 words)

555. Asean’s disharmony with intellectual property

Singapore – Intellectual Property | The Straits Times | June 28th, 2018
The issue is not a lack of entrepreneurship, innovation or original products in these countries. Rather, it is the availability of a sufficient support infrastructure for protecting intellectual property (IP). Firstly, intellectual property concerns have to compete with myriad disparate needs of developing countries for resources, be it expertise, time or funds, and tend to be given less attention than more foundational needs like security and education. This contributes to a second issue – that the production and consumption of copycat products may become a way of life precisely because of the insufficiency of the IP protection infrastructure. (1100 words)

556. New scheme to address social issues behind crime laudable, but devil is in the details

Singapore – Justice | TODAY
To be piloted later this year, this initiative envisions trained personnel from the social services sector working with police officers — at the investigations stage — to spot and address underlying social issues that may have led to crime, like medical conditions, financial challenges or other family problems. Philosophically, this is a laudable vision that furthers ongoing efforts in enhancing the Republic’s criminal rehabilitation framework. Practitioners in the legal and social services have also called this a “promising” move that could curb recidivism, where ex-offenders are predisposed to re-offending because of socio-economic pressures and challenging home environments. (1000 words)

557. Only right to confront wrongdoers, says S’porean who caught suspect filming ‘upskirt’ video

Singapore – Justice | TODAY
Last Thursday (May 3), the 27-year-old process engineer stopped a man who was seen using a mobile phone to film up a woman’s skirt at Bishan MRT Station. The man was arrested later. For his vigilance, collection of evidence and act of justice, Mr Fitri was given the Public Spiritedness Award by the police at the police’s Public Transport Security Command on Monday. When asked whether he was worried at first that the suspect may retaliate when confronted, Mr Fitri replied that doing the right thing was more important, and he would likely have “fellow Singaporeans” backing him up. (700 words)

558. Caltex petrol station incident a ‘miscommunication’, say police; BMW driver files police report

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | April 16th, 2018
They added that the driver had been due to trade in his car on Saturday, and had not required more fuel than necessary. “We have looked into the matter and established that no offence was disclosed,” said the police in response to Channel NewsAsia’s queries. “It was a case of miscommunication between the pump attendant and the vehicle owner on the amount of petrol to be pumped. We have verified that the vehicle owner was due to trade in his vehicle on the same day and would not require more than necessary fuel. (400 words)

559. Commentary: Is online vigilantism the best way to exact social justice?

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | April 18th, 2018
It’s become par for the course if your actions are caught on camera and posted online. The recent incident at a Caltex petrol station involving a BMW driver and an elderly pump attendant made it clear that this has become the standard trope. The incident went viral over the weekend after a Facebook user posted an account of what happened at the Tampines Avenue 8 petrol station. According to her, the driver of a BMW Series 5 vehicle had refused to pay S$135 for his petrol because he said he had only asked for S$10 worth. (1100 words)

560. Extension of detention without trial ‘necessary’ – but so are safeguards, say PAP MPs

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | February 6th, 2018
In a nod to how the Act has “clearly helped” maintain public safety, peace and good order, Mr Ang Wei Neng and several other MPs also pointed to the declining number of Criminal Law Detainees (CLD) over the years: From 1,260 in 1988 to 463 in 1998, 290 in 2008 and 103 in 2017. The likes of Mr Louis Ng and Nominated Member of Parliament Professor Mahdev Mohan also noted how the use of the word “temporary” in the Act’s title belies its 14 extensions since enacted in 1955. Mr Ng asked Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam to provide information on the number of cases in which Advisory Committees (ACs) recommended not to detain but were rejected by the Minister, stating his concern that its objective would be undermined. (800 words)

561. Former SMRT engineer jailed 4 weeks for negligence in fatal Pasir Ris track accident

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | March 12th, 2018
Lim Say Heng, 48, could have been jailed for up to two years and fined. He was in charge of a 15-man team tasked with investigating a possible signaling fault between Tampines and Pasir Ris MRT stations on Mar 22, 2016. Instead of boarding a train to the work site as required under safety guidelines, Lim led the team onto a walkway parallel to the track to make their way to the work site on foot – without warning incoming trains. The only safety measure attempted was a handwritten note put up at Tampines MRT station, but it did not indicate to train drivers that there were workmen on the track ahead. (400 words)

562. Government ‘has gone too far’ with Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) act: WP

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | February 6th, 2018
All eight of the opposition party’s Members of Parliament refused to support a bill passed in Parliament to extend the Act for another five years, along with other changes such as a listing of the offences it covers. Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Dennis Tan expressed concern over what they saw as the bill’s curtailment of judicial oversight, with the former noting how “detainees cannot challenge evidence against them in an open court”. “The prospect of locking people up for an undetermined duration is incongruous with the rule of law,” said Mr Pritam. (1100 words)

563. Latest Singapore news and headlines

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018
Readers tend to scrutinise the details of the crime, express their views on court judgements, whether the punishment is commensurate to the seriousness of the offence and may even point out perceived gaps in law enforcement. We saw this in the case of Annie Ee, the intellectually disabled waitress who was tortured to death by a couple. The criminal breach of trust case involving former leaders of the City Harvest Church and the subsequent escape bid by one of them similarly captured public attention. (1200 words)

564. Li Shengwu’s application to set aside court order dismissed with costs

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | March 26th, 2018
Mr Li’s lawyers told Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Mar 26) that the application was dismissed with costs. “Earlier today, we attended the hearing of our application before Justice Kannan Ramesh. After considering written and oral submissions, Justice Ramesh dismissed the application with costs,” they said in a statement. “While Shengwu respects the court’s decision, he is understandably disappointed with the outcome. Given that novel and important legal issues arose for determination, he is currently considering whether to appeal against the decision.”Mr Li was represented by lawyers Abraham Vergis and Asiyah Arif from Providence Law Asia. (300 words)

565. The prodigal son escapes; the press secretary restates

Singapore – Justice | The Online Citizen | August 18th, 2017
My friends had warned me that they were concerned for my safety if I remained in Singapore.” PM Lee’s press secretary: “This is a well-established legal process. Clear laws and procedures apply to all cases of contempt, including this case involving Mr Li.” Yes, the legal process well-established and the laws are clear. But this is a facile interpretation of our legal system. Saying this is not the same as saying that the legal process is fair or that the law is just. In fact, as the facts show, this merely suggests that an unfair legal process is deeply entrenched here and that the laws we have are clearly unjust. (1000 words)

566. ‘Which is better – let him go scot-free, or get him back to face trial?’: Shanmugam on StanChart suspect

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | February 22nd, 2018
In July 2016 the Canadian, 28, allegedly entered a Standard Chartered branch, handed a teller a piece of paper with a threat scrawled on, and made off with around S$30,000 cash. He flew to Bangkok where he was caught and sentenced to 14 months in prison in June last year for failing to declare the S$30,450 he brought into Thailand in July 2016. Upon completion of his jail term last month, Thailand deported Roach to Canada but he was held en route by authorities in London. Singapore has sought his extradition – which Roach is contesting – on one count of robbery and one count of money laundering. (900 words)

567. The lure of the shame game: Are online vigilantes going too far?

Singapore – Justice | The Straits Times | April 22th, 2018
The Sunday Times has found that victims – whether mistakenly targeted or not – often suffer depression or anxiety. This comes even as experts warn of real-world ramifications for victims of such online witch-hunts. Some have lost their jobs, received death threats and left the country with their families to escape the relentless persecution. One victim said he has been “punished enough” from having his photos plastered in online posts to being harassed at home. In the latest episode of online vigilantism gone wrong, keyboard warriors took matters into their own hands, but ended up jumping to wrong conclusions. (1400 words)

568. Policewoman who forged alleged molestation victim’s statement gets jail

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | January 7th, 2019
Senior Staff Sergeant Kalaivani Kalimuthu, 38, was an investigation officer in the Violence Against Persons Squad at Ang Mo Kio Division when she committed the offence. As part of her work, she handled a case by a woman who was not named in court documents. The woman lodged a police report in March 2016, alleging in a statement that she had been molested by a person who had also tried to rape her. Kalaivani was assigned to conduct investigations into this case, and had to interview her and record a further statement. (500 words)

569. Fine-tuning Singapore’s scales of justice

Singapore – Justice | The Straits Times | November 27th, 2018
In 2015, the Chief Justice established the CJC to review Singapore’s civil justice system, with the goal of modernising the litigation process. The CJC’s report, issued last month, contained wide-ranging recommendations including overhauling the court process. One proposal was the implementation of scale costs for litigation, with professional fees pegged rigidly and solely to the monetary amount in dispute. However, that quickly became a point of contention as stakeholders were concerned that this would affect the quality of legal services as the scale did not take into account the nature or complexity of each case. (1200 words)

570. Commentary: Even criminals deserve justice – and other reasons why lawyers defend them

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2019
She was later sentenced to 22 months in jail and fined S$1,000 for three drug charges and one charge of driving without due care or attention, and was also disqualified from driving for 18 months upon her release. She appealed against that sentence, and her case lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, argued for leniency. The high court however, dismissed that appeal on Mar 15. How could one defend a person like that? But Mr Thuraisingam is no stranger to controversy. The criminal lawyer have taken plenty of high profile cases – he also defended British drug trafficker Yuen Ye Ming among others. (900 words)

571. ‘Doxxing’ to be criminalised under amendments to Protection from Harassment Act

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
The amendments, which were tabled in Parliament by Minister for Law K Shanmugam on Monday (1 Apr), are meant to enhance protection for victims of harassment and falsehoods, and to make it easier for victims to obtain remedies. The act was enacted in 2014 to provide a range of criminal and civil remedies against harassment, and civil remedies for false statements of facts. Since it came into force in November 2014, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) says many people have benefitted from the civil and criminal measures it provides, with more than 1,700 prosecutions and over 3,000 Magistrate’s Complaints filed. (1200 words)

572. Police warnings issued based on discretion of authorities, lawyers say

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | April 22nd, 2019
Such warnings have come under the spotlight following the case involving National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Monica Baey, who revealed in a series of Instagram Stories last week that she had caught a fellow student filming her in the hostel shower with a mobile phone. Ms Baey, who said she filed a police report after the incident last November, called on NUS to take tougher action against such offenders. She also revealed that the perpetrator was given a 12-month conditional warning. (700 words)

573. Prosecution calls for higher sentence in landmark maid abuse case, reversal of acquitted charge

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | August 2th, 2019
Former IT manager Tay Wee Kiat, 41, had received two years’ jail for his part in the abuse of 31-year-old maid Moe Moe Than in 2012. His wife Chia Yun Ling, 43, was sentenced to three years and 11 months’ jail and fined S$4,000 for 15 charges. The maid from Myanmar had been force-fed a mixture of rice and sugar with a funnel after complaining of not having enough to eat. When she ran to the toilet choking, she was instructed to throw up inside a plastic bag and eat her vomit. The prosecution turned to the High Court to appeal for three years and two months’ jail for Tay, an increase of 14 months, and for his wife to be convicted of a charge that the district judge had acquitted her of. (1200 words)

574. Commentary: How should maid abusers be punished?

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | September 1th, 2019
A firm response to their acts – and similar acts by others – is entirely warranted. But in determining what our response is, we must not forget that “the only justice that can be attained by mortals, who are fallible and are not omniscient, is justice according to law; the justice which flows from the application of sure and settled principles to proved or admitted facts”, as English judge William Bagnall put it. Paradoxically, even as criminal law embodies society’s revulsion at certain crimes, it must do so in a dispassionate, principled manner. (1200 words)

575. Man fined for repositioning toy grenade near Istana to see public reaction

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | July 23th, 2019
For his threatening behaviour, 59-year-old Elankovan Marimuthu was fined S$4,500 on Wednesday (Jul 24). The court heard that Elankovan’s work involved cleaning Istana Park and the surrounding areas. He was doing so at about 7am on Nov 3, 2017, when he came across a toy grenade lying on its side near a fire hydrant along Penang Lane. He decided to position the grenade in an upright manner, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran, and used a pair of tongs to do so before leaving the scene. (700 words)

576. Preetipls video: Shanmugam acknowledges racism exists in Singapore, but says situation is improving

Singapore – Justice | Channel News Asia | August 4th, 2019
“You look at the regular discussions on race, issues – this is a basic fact. But the situation now is much better than before, improving over the years,” he said on the sidelines of a temple event in Woodlands. “We want to build a cohesive society, but racism corrodes and deepens the fault lines in society,” he said, adding that Singapore does “a lot” to counter it. In Singapore, racism is discussed “openly”, studied and reported in the media, he said, pointing to surveys done by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) as examples. (700 words)

577. Parents address flak over ‘irresponsible’ use of baby strollers on escalators

Singapore – Kindness | Channel News Asia | June 21th, 2019
“Those idiotic lunch crowds at Seletar Mall from nearby offices,” said the 33-year-old. “Every time the lift door opens, you see these idiots inside with no kids or strollers, and not on wheelchairs.” “And they’re just nonchalant.” Ms Chow’s comments came after CNA released statistics on escalator-related injuries caused by “user behaviour” such as prams on escalators, were released on Wednesday (Jun 19). There were more than 350 incidents reported last year, with the number of escalator-related injuries among children more than doubled between 2012 and 2016 at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. (900 words)

578. A new way to hire staff, no university degree required

Singapore – Labour | The Straits Times | February 3rd, 2018
He was a first-class honours graduate but nothing he had studied in his four years at university seemed relevant or helpful to the job. He knew zilch about trading and had to learn everything on the job: doing it, learning from others and reading stuff. Sounds familiar? As he recounted this to me, I cast my mind back to my early years as a journalist for this newspaper. I had studied mechanical engineering, which was as useful to the job as astronomy, and had felt as lost in the newsroom. How many people would have had the same experience, except perhaps doctors, lawyers and professionals in occupations that require formal qualification. (1200 words)

579. Commentary: Improve welfare of foreign domestic workers to prevent ‘care drain’

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | May 6th, 2018
At roughly the same time, Singapore was named the top “expat destination” for the third straight year, based on the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. But how would Singapore rate if there were a similar ranking system for how different countries treat foreign domestic workers (FDWs), who are arguably just as important as highly skilled expatriates to the smooth running of the Singapore economy? It would most likely only receive a middling score. Their average wage rates in Singapore are higher. They enjoy significant freedom of movement and freedom of religion if they are able to secure a regular day-off The Singapore penal code recognises the vulnerable position in which domestic workers are placed and therefore increases the level of punishment meted out to employers for offences such as abuse, wrongful confinement and sexual assault. (1300 words)

580. Commentary: Of course commuting shouldn’t count as work hours

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | September 23rd, 2018
In response, there has been pressure on employers to consider commuting as work time, potentially reducing commuter pressure during peak hours, and allowing for more comfort and flexibility around office hours. Should your employers treat your commute as just another part of your workday? According to the latest Moovit Public Transport Index, the average Singaporean spends 84 minutes on public transport, with over 85 per cent reporting that they spend more than two hours on public transportation every day. (800 words)

581. Commentary: The (not so) secret hack to becoming a successful entrepreneur

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | February 18th, 2018
Invaluable. Life-changing. These are the words used by a growing NOC alumni in describing their overseas stints interning in start-ups in entrepreneurial hotspots around the world such as Silicon Valley, Beijing and Israel. The NOC, short for NUS Overseas College, is the highly acclaimed internship programme started by NUS over a decade ago to immerse its undergrads into the intense high-energy start-up environment of top start-up regions. The intent is for them to experience for themselves the thrills and spills of being part of a small team seeking to change the world with new innovations. (1100 words)

582. Commentary: Tip of the iceberg, when ‘disguised PMEs’ don’t get overtime pay and fair treatment

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | June 21st, 2018
She now works as a restaurant manager, earns about S$2,300 a month and has been in this job for almost eight years now. She shared with me that she has often been recalled back during public holidays, and have had to stay back after work to look into receiving supplies to the restaurant and when repairs to the air-conditioning had to be carried out. I casually asked if she was paid overtime and she answered in the negative. She shared that as recent as 2014, her boss amended her employment contract when they promoted her to a restaurant manager and included terms (such as the power to hire and fire, supervisory and managerial responsibilities) which suggested that she was a PME (Professional, Manager and Executive). (1300 words)

583. Dormitory operator faces 50 charges for housing foreign workers in poor living conditions

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | October 19th, 2017
The operator, Yeo’s Brother Management, was slapped with 50 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act on Sep 28. If convicted, the company can be fined up to S$10,000 for each charge, the ministry said in a press release. Investigations showed that there were 50 foreign workers living in the quarters at 25 Ama Keng Road. It had unsanitary toilet conditions, as well as signs of cockroach infestation and breeding of mosquitoes and flies, MOM said. It added that there were also fire hazards in the workers’ quarters. (200 words)

584. NTUC U Care Centre handled cases involving S$1.66m in unpaid salaries: Zainal Sapari

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | September 18th, 2018
This works out to about 20 cases per month – and the total salary owed to these workers was S$1.66 million, he added. The centre supports low-wage workers in Singapore by providing them with guidance on work-related issues. It is also the final option workers can turn to when seeking help to recover their salaries. Mr Zainal, who is also the director of the centre, noted in his post that some workers simply do not know what to do if they do not receive their salaries and will just wait it out. There are also workers who continue to work despite not being paid as they may be hesitant to lodge a salary claim with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). (500 words)

585. The value of unpaid housework

Singapore – Labour | The Straits Times | May 29th, 2018
Making use of detailed time-use surveys for homemaking activities for 26 OECD countries and three emerging economies, the estimates suggest that between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of all economic activity is not accounted for in traditional measures of well-being. A study I did in 1986 was the first formal study on the value of household production in Singapore. Housework was valued at some 5.4 per cent of Singapore’s GDP at the time. In 2005, a study by my former PhD student Ong Qiyan showed that household production value had risen to 8.4 per cent of GDP. (1600 words)

586. Changes that will extend labour law to PMETs introduced in Parliament

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo tabled the first reading of the Employment (Amendment) Act in Parliament on Monday (Oct 2). The amendment was first mooted by ex-Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say during the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate in March. It includes three main updates to the Act, which stipulates core benefits for workers covered under it, such as the minimum days of leave for workers. Under the proposed amendments, the salary cap will be removed to cover all professionals, managers, executives and technicians, who make up 56 per cent of the local workforce. (700 words)

587. 7 in 10 Singapore workers will take pay cut for one extra day of holiday: Survey

Singapore – Labour | Channel News Asia | July 25th, 2019
According to travel company Expedia’s latest Vacation Deprivation Survey, about six in 10 Singaporeans said they were deprived of vacations in 2018, up from 57 per cent in 2017 and 41 per cent in 2016. The survey placed Singapore as the sixth most vacation-deprived market in the world. Conducted with 11,000 full-time working adults across 19 countries, including 300 people in Singapore, the survey uncovered workers’ sentiments on whether the number of vacation days they received in 2018 was adequate. (400 words)

588. How has Singapore’s Chinese Language syllabus evolved? We went back to school to find out

Singapore – Language | Channel News Asia | September 7th, 2018
“Lao shi zao an”, the students chanted, bidding their teacher good morning in a greeting that sounded the same to me as it did when I was at school. Awkwardly, I followed suit, feeling more like a fish out of water with every moment. It was the first day of my attachment at Tanjong Katong Secondary, where I would be spending three days as a student to brush up on my abysmal Mandarin. And hearing the familiar greeting brought back several unfortunate memories of my time as a student – memories that I imagined had long been expunged. (2300 words)

589. In Singapore, Chinese Dialects Revive After Decades of Restrictions

Singapore – Language | New York Times | August 28th, 2017
That leaves grandmother and granddaughter looking together at a doll house on the floor, unable to exchange more than a few words.“She can’t speak our Hokkien,” Mrs. Law said with a sigh, “and doesn’t really want to speak Mandarin, either.”This struggle to communicate within families is one of the painful effects of the Singapore government’s large-scale, decades-long effort at linguistic engineering. Starting with a series of measures in the late 1970s, the leaders of this city-state effectively banned Chinese dialects, the mother tongues of about three-quarters of its citizens, in favor of Mandarin, China’s official language.A few years later, even Mandarin usage was cut back in favor of the global language of commerce, English.“Singapore used to be like a linguistic tropical rain forest — overgrown, and a bit chaotic but very vibrant and thriving,” said Tan Dan Feng, a language historian in Singapore. (1600 words)

590. There is no place for racism in language

Singapore – Language | TODAY
The restaurant says that enjoying the supposedly hilarious names is “part of the experience”, but this does not sit well with many diners. Some people have called the gimmick “shameful” and “super juvenile racist trash.” When does apeing the way a non-native English speaker manages the language become not funny but denigrating, insensitive and offensive? The line is crossed when the mimicry assumes a holier-than-thou undertone that aims to ridicule, and becomes judgmental, mocking and taunting. As the world becomes more openly diverse and sophisticated, the old “flied lice on Fliday” jibe is no longer funny. (900 words)

591. Commentary: Singlish is not English. That’s not a bad thing

Singapore – Language | Channel News Asia | May 18th, 2019
Singlish has had her share of supporters and detractors. Supporters of Singlish believe that Singlish is a language that binds Singaporeans together as it is built on a shared common Singaporean identity. Detractors of Singlish hold the belief that Singlish is “bad English”, and that this corrupted form of English will make Singaporeans come across as less intelligent or competent. Of course, some people are better than others at learning languages, but that is an issue of one’s language learning abilities, and has nothing to do with the languages themselves. (1100 words)

592. Parliament: Small Claims Tribunals to hear cases with higher claim quantum, longer time limit

Singapore – Law | Channel News Asia | July 9th, 2018
Among the changes are raising the default limit of claims from S$10,000 to S$20,000. In situations where both parties have agreed, the claim limit can be raised from S$20,000 to S$30,000. The same limit is applied to group claims or class action cases to prevent high-stake cases for respondents. The higher limits are similar to those in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, and reflects inflation and the rising costs of living over the years, said the Ministry of Law (MinLaw). Senior Minister of Law Edwin Tong said that currently, about 9,000 cases filed at State Courts are claims of between the current limit of S$10,000 and the new limit of S$30,000. (900 words)

593. Why criminalising suicide is the right way to go: Forum

Singapore – Law | Singapore Law Watch | October 1st, 2018
I agree with the Penal Code review committee that “treatment, rather than prosecution”, is the appropriate response to people who attempt suicide (Penal Code review committee: Punishment not the answer for people attempting suicide; Sept 9). But hasn’t this been the intent of the said law – Section 309 of the Penal Code? In the same report, it says: “While attempted suicide is an arrestable offence, actual prosecutions are rare.” It further explains: Prosecutions are sought for those who “repeatedly attempt suicide” because “only the courts have the power to compel persons to seek treatment, via a mandatory treatment order”. (500 words)

594. District judge ‘substantially copied’ prosecutor’s arguments, ‘did not exercise mind’: High Court judge

Singapore – Law | Channel News Asia | May 28th, 2019
This finding was delivered by High Court judge Aedit Abdullah in his written judgment on Friday (May 24). He had heard an appeal by the Chinese medium, Lim Chee Huat, against his conviction and sentence of 11 months’ jail, imposed by District Judge Mathew Joseph. “In the present case, the district judge must have either extensively typed out the prosecution’s closing submissions or had someone else do so, which would have been an utter waste of time and effort; or he must have cut and pasted the submissions into his judgment,” said the High Court judge. (600 words)

595. MHA explains why Nigerian spared death sentence for importing about 2kg of ‘Ice’

Singapore – Law | Channel News Asia | July 8th, 2019
He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher De Souza. Mr De Souza asked whether there was a need to review the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act in light of the Court of Appeal’s judgement in the case. He also asked how the presumptions in the Act will continue to function as “key legal tools to battle trafficking within, into or through Singapore”. Adili Chibuike Ejike, who was arrested at Changi Airport in November 2011 with methamphetamine – commonly known as Ice – concealed in the inner lining of his suitcase was acquitted in May after the Court of Appeal heard his case in the High Court. (700 words)

596. Bluffing my way through life… just like most other people

Singapore – Life | The Straits Times | April 8th, 2018
After graduating in 2008, I have hit most of the major milestones of adulthood: I got a job, got married, had a child and moved into my own place. Yet on some level, I have always felt like I have been pretending at adulthood. In my mind, at least, I have never actually had the skills, experience or drive needed to be employable, and basically it has been luck that has allowed me to land and keep the jobs I have had over the years. It did not get any better when I became a journalist. In the newsroom of The Straits Times, I am surrounded by colleagues – both older and younger than I am – who, without question, write far better than I do and get much better scoops. (800 words)

597. Commentary: Is social media to blame for young people feeling lonelier?

Singapore – Loneliness | Channel News Asia | October 14th, 2018
In a survey of more than 55,000 people, 40 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds reported feeling lonely often or very often. This trend for high youth loneliness has also been captured in other national surveys by the Office for National Statistics in 2017 and the Eden Project in 2015. Loneliness is typically associated with older generations, who may live alone or be less capable of getting out and about. But young people can experience loneliness despite having friends, being surrounded by people at school or having supportive parents. (800 words)

598. Malaysian politics should not cross the Causeway

Singapore – Malaysia | The Straits Times | July 12th, 2018
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has reverted to form in the two months since he took over from Najib Razak. The combative times that Singapore witnessed in its dealings with Malaysia during his previous premiership are back after a happy 15-year break. A high-speed railway project connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore has been cancelled (or postponed, to take an optimistic view). In its place has appeared a plan to build an island near Singapore’s territorial waters, the military implications of which, if any, will not be apparent until the objective of the exercise becomes clear. (900 words)

599. Exclusive: Price of water sold to Singapore ‘ridiculous’; Malaysia to renegotiate deal, says Mahathir

Singapore – Malaysia | Channel News Asia | June 24th, 2018
“I think it is manifestly ridiculous that we should sell water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. That was okay way back in the 1990s or 1930s. But now what can you buy with 3 sen? Nothing,” the 92-year-old told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview. Earlier, Bloomberg had reported that Dr Mahathir intended to go back to the drawing board on the water accord, which is set to expire in 2061. “We are studying the case properly and we’ll make a presentation,” he told Channel NewsAsia. The Malaysian leader said the country had yet to inform Singapore about its intent to pull out from a Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project agreed upon by the previous Najib Razak administration as well. (600 words)

600. Legally binding positions key to keeping things ‘professional and impartial’: Tan Chuan-Jin on water issue

Singapore – Malaysia | Channel News Asia | June 25th, 2018
He posted the comment on Facebook on Tuesday (Jun 26) after Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that his government needs to renegotiate the water supply agreement with Singapore describing it as “too costly”. The 1962 Water Agreement is an agreement guaranteed by both governments in the 1965 Separation Agreement which was registered with the United Nations. The terms of the agreement give Singapore full and exclusive rights to draw up to a maximum of 250 million gallons (mgd) of water per day from the Johore River. (500 words)

601. Najib urges new Malaysia government to be transparent about KL-Singapore high-speed rail project

Singapore – Malaysia | Channel News Asia | May 30th, 2018
Writing in Malay, Najib said that while he understood that it was the new Pakatan Harapan government’s prerogative to cancel the project, he was disappointed with the decision. “I’m disappointed with this hasty decision and urge the government to be more transparent and to first conduct negotiations because their decision has an impact on the future economy, as well as on the Malaysian jobs market,” he said. Najib said the project involved years of detailed research that proved it would bring social and economic benefits for both Malaysia and Singapore. (500 words)

602. Singapore still incurring costs for HSR, will exercise rights to compensation should project be canned: Khaw

Singapore – Malaysia | TODAY
In a press statement, Mr Khaw also said Singapore has requested the Malaysian Government to clarify its position on the project. “We have informed the Malaysian Government that Singapore is continuing to incur costs on this project as it awaits Malaysia’s clarification,” he added. Noting that it was Malaysia which proposed the HSR in 2013, Mr Khaw said Singapore agreed to the proposal because the Government was convinced of the benefits it would bring to the country. “We still believe that a high speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur would be in our mutual interest, economically as well as in terms of the friendship and mutual understanding of our two peoples,” he reiterated. (600 words)

603. Time for Singapore and Malaysia to discard old stereotypes

Singapore – Malaysia | The Straits Times | June 17th, 2018
If the victory of the opposition coalition in the May 9 elections wasn’t stunning enough, what happens next could top it. That is, if the changes promised by the new government led by 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad actually take place. He has made all the right moves so far, appointing the first Chinese Finance Minister in 44 years and the first non-Malay Attorney-General in decades, as well as replacing the heads of the anti-corruption agency and the central bank. They have raised hopes that Malaysia will become a more just society based on the rule of law. (1100 words)

604. ACRA’s allegations of foreign influence ‘unfounded’: New Naratif website

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | April 12th, 2018
The statement from the website, published on Thursday (Apr 12), came after the application to register the company OSEA Pte Ltd in Singapore was rejected by ACRA on the grounds that it was contrary to Singapore’s national interest. Dr Thum and Ms Han were named in the Feb 8 application for the company that has been deemed “political” and would have been linked to a British firm that received funding from a Swiss organisation. In a statement, New Naratif said: “Any notion that we are, as ACRA alleges, ‘being used by foreigners to pursue a political activity in Singapore’ is unfounded.” (400 words)

605. Commentary: As information warfare enters a new age, time for a Total Defence upgrade

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | January 14th, 2018
Outlined in the Green Paper accompanying the Government’s recommendation were a slew of examples of how such online falsehoods have been spread, and the damage that they have done internationally. Addressing deliberate attempts at destabilising societies and democracies is at its core defensive. Enemies are often invisible, and the threat of retaliation as a deterrent often pointless. As societies fight what is best described as a disease (more popularly if not bluntly called “fake news”), attacking root causes is useful, but what is most needed is inoculation. (1300 words)

606. COMMENT: Today goes fully digital – what’s next for Singapore media?

Singapore – Media | Yahoo | August 27th, 2017
And two weeks ago, Mediacorp appointed a surprise choice as its chief executive: former CEO Tham Loke Kheng. Tham is not your normal, safe choice to run a sensitive business like Mediacorp. She is a battle-hardened media executive, having spent considerable time in the dog-eat-dog world of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Wong, who was CEO from 2000 to 2005, seems to have come with specific plans for the media giant as it flounders in a market facing declining advertising revenues and stiff competition from disruptive digital streaming businesses. (800 words)

607. International issues will ‘increasingly be dragged’ into domestic discourse: Vivian Balakrishnan

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | March 1st, 2018
Speaking at his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Dr Balakrishnan told Parliament that international issues will increasingly be dragged into the domestic discourse, and Singaporeans need to be well-informed of what’s happening around the world. “Singaporeans must be well-informed about not only the multitude of viewpoints, but also the corresponding trade-offs we have to weigh up,” he said. “Singaporeans also have to be discerning towards ‘fake news’ and not allow ourselves to be distracted and divided.” (1200 words)

608. New Naratif’s political activities appear to be funded by foreign entities and foreigners: ACRA

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | April 12th, 2018
It was responding to an earlier statement by New Naratif which said that ACRA’s allegations of foreign influence in the website are “unfounded”. The website is linked to OSEA, a company that historian Thum Ping Tjin and freelance journalist Kirsten Han had sought to register in Singapore. ACRA’s media release on Thursday is reproduced below:We refer to the Statement issued by the New Naratif website on 12 Apr 2018 in response to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) rejection of “OSEA Pte Ltd’s” application to be registered as a private company limited by shares. (400 words)

609. Transition to Digital TV as Analogue TV signals turn off on Jan 1 midnight

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | December 31st, 2018
Singapore is among the latest countries to go digital, joining the likes of the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea, as part of a global trend. The Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) said that over 90 per cent of Singapore’s households were DTV ready. It added that assistance will be rendered to the 10 per cent who have yet to make the switch. Ms Aileen Chia, Deputy Chief Executive for Policy, Regulation and Competition Development for the IMDA said, “IMDA has set up DTV counters at all 106 community centres islandwide to better help residents. (400 words)

610. An AI-driven online news site? Observer+ taps automation to serve up fast food news

Singapore – Media | Channel News Asia | April 27th, 2019
The algorithm works so well that the researchers behind the project felt it necessary to withhold the full model and the dataset of eight million Web pages they used to train it with. One Vox writer even started the article detailing OpenAI’s achievements with: “One of the coolest AI systems I’ve ever seen may also be the one that will kick me out of my job.” These innovations are not happening in just the US. Observer+’s Sarah Tang told CNA in an email interview that it has about eight AI bots tasked with “scraping” news from multiple sources. (1400 words)

611. Telemedicine: A reality check

Singapore – Medicine | The Straits Times | May 4th, 2018
Some went so far as to suggest that education in medical schools needs to be modified for a future steeped in telemedicine. But is telemedicine really so disruptive a technology? My own view is that both the prospects and potential problems of telemedicine have been overblown. One speaker at the seminar waxed lyrical that “in the New Health Economy, ‘patients’ will be ‘consumers’ first, with both the freedom and responsibility that come with making more decisions and spending their own money”. However, I believe such a consumerist paradigm is unlikely to come about. (1400 words)

612. Commentary: Schizophrenia, a life increasingly detached from reality

Singapore – Mental Health | Channel News Asia | June 8th, 2018
A sudden clap of thunder woke me up from a fitful slumber and disoriented me. Somehow seized with the notion I was under surveillance, I thought to myself: “The world is ending”. Something moved near me. I bolted upright. “Are you awake?” my sister whispered. “What’s happening to me?” I responded, confused. She crept up to my bed and put her arms around me; I hugged her close. I was diagnosed with a brief psychotic disorder when I was 25. A few episodes later, doctors revised their diagnosis to schizophrenia, a form of psychosis where an individual’s thoughts and perceptions become increasingly detached from reality. (1100 words)

613. MOE, MSF ‘very concerned’ about spike in youth suicides; experts say more support and awareness necessary

Singapore – Mental Health | Channel News Asia | August 4th, 2019
“It is not yet a trend, but we must monitor this closely and take various measures to address it,” said spokespersons for the ministries in response to email queries from CNA. The number of suicides in Singapore rose 10 per cent last year, with suicides among boys aged 10 to 19 at a record high, the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) said last week. A total of 94 people aged between 10 and 29 killed themselves last year, SOS said. Among boys aged between 10 and 19 years old, there were 19 suicides last year – the highest since it began keeping records in 1991 and almost triple the seven cases recorded in 2017. (1600 words)

614. Singapore identifies F-35 fighter jet to replace F-16s, expects to buy ‘small number’ for full testing

Singapore – Military | Channel News Asia | January 18th, 2019
This follows a five-year technical evaluation by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Defence Science and Technology Agency. Details that will be discussed include price, quantity and which variant of the jet to buy, as well as issues like logistical requirements and the training of pilots. The F-35A – the conventional take-off and landing variant – costs US$89.2 million (S$121 million), according to maker Lockheed Martin. It’s believed Singapore is interested in the B variant, which costs more and can take off from shorter runways and land vertically. (700 words)

615. Commentary: The ubiquity of cameras and social media fuels unhealthy mob behaviours

Singapore – Mob Justice | Channel News Asia | February 22nd, 2019
Youth of today must think of all this as belonging to the technological stone age. But as kids, those were care-free days, too. We weren’t preoccupied with bugging our parents for tablets or mobile phones. We would cycle for hours on end, without luminous vests, lights or helmets, or our parents being worried about traffic. That social norm to bear witness seems today to have been replaced by the ubiquitous camera. How that wretched little device has changed lives. I can count the instances I have captured the moments in my children’s lives instead of living it with them. (1600 words)

616. From temples to mosques: Celebrating multicultural Singapore

Singapore – Multiculturalism | The Straits Times | December 4th, 2018
There were white pigeons in one group and blue-grey birds in the other. Never did I see a white pigeon join the blue-grey group, and vice versa. The clustering was so marked, a photograph of the birds in the park would have made an apt illustration for tribalism. Partisan instincts are inherently divisive and that is why we hear about toxic tribalism, sectarian hostility and zealots, whereas benign tribalism is an oxymoron. We know that the mildest of groups can be pushed to avenge attacks on their members. (1400 words)

617. A journey of tears through the National Museum

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | July 16th, 2017
Would it be a grey retelling of the country’s history with the most colourful parts reserved for blood-red battles and insurrections? Would it simply mimic national museums from other global hubs of the world, describing the rise of the city-country in a way that was no different from the advancement of any other country that figured out how to proverbially procure gold from a swamp? Or would it take on a degree of authenticity it could truly call its own? The questions drizzled around me in a flurry, one by one, causing a small puddle to form. (1600 words)

618. Armenian community in Singapore tells its story with new museum

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | May 24th, 2018
They were also pioneers in plastic surgery and colour television. In Singapore, members of this diaspora include Catchick Moses who started The Straits Times in 1845, the Sarkies who founded Raffles Hotel in 1887, and Agnes Joaquim who in the late 1800s hybridised Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. Now, the small but prolific community here is spending $1.2 million in its first concerted effort to raise awareness about its presence and role in the Republic as one of its oldest communities. (500 words)

619. How art and museums help us know the world

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | March 1th, 2017
This direct way of knowing has been an important mode of being and learning for me, allowing me to know something by being physically present in the moment versus knowledge derived from reports and books. In fact, all of us have been familiar with this since we were babies and toddlers, through our earliest experience as learners. Direct knowing is related to unconscious learning; both approaches entail the opening of the self through the senses. And these ways of knowing for me are fundamental to the cultivation of open minds. (1100 words)

620. Museums shouldn’t let this chance slip by

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | March 25th, 2013
In the cultural capitals of the world, free entry to museums such as the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington has long been a given. Their struggle is against opponents who question the economics of the policy in the light of tightening government budgets. Here, it has been the reverse. The six museums and two heritage institutions run by the National Heritage Board have always charged entry fees. In recent years, however, the Government has gradually revised its admission policy. (1000 words)

621. National Museum calls for public ideas to make arts more high-tech

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | January 29th, 2018
Announcing the move on Monday (Jan 29), it said proposals should merge culture and immersive technology and focus on themes such as museology, heritage, research and the gallery experience. It has set up two categories for ideas. The first, “museum experience”, is aimed at the technology industry. Proposals should suggest how to transform the museum experience through technology, while addressing current or anticipated gaps in how visitors enjoy exhibitions. Furthermore, they should increase access to the museum’s collectionsFor example, trackers could collect data on how visitors interact with exhibits, allowing the museum to better curate its exhibits. (200 words)

622. National Museum to launch Quiet Room dedicated to special needs children

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | July 5th, 2018
Designed to provide a calm and relaxing setting for these children, who may experience over-stimulation from the outside environment, the 25 sq m room will be able to accommodate three to four families at any one time. This was announced during a gala event on Thursday (July 5) at the museum hosted by French banking group BNP Paribas, the main sponsor of the room. The event also featured guest of honour, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies. (400 words)

623. Primary pupils get museum visits as part of art lessons

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | April 23th, 2018
All primary school pupils will get to visit a museum from this year as part of a refreshed art education syllabus aimed at making learning more authentic. There is also a greater focus on visual inquiry skills – observation and interpretation – and reflecting on artwork through activities and discussions. This is part of a broader push in the past decade by schools to make what students learn more relevant and applicable to their everyday lives, be it art and languages, or mathematics and science. (600 words)

624. Record number of almost 4 million people visited national museums and heritage institutions in 2015

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | November 15th, 2016
This was almost one million more than the 2,970,981 visitors in 2014, spurred in part by the opening of the National Gallery Singapore and the Indian Heritage Centre. There was also a rise in visitorship at most institutions – the number of visitors to the Malay Heritage Centre more than doubled, from 166,506 in 2014 to 445,186 in 2015, while the number of visitors to the Singapore Art Museum also shot up from 743,718 to 903,357. Heritage culture got a tremendous boost during the SG50 year. Non-ticketed attendance at heritage events rose from 5.2 million in 2014 to 6.2 million in 2015. (300 words)

625. Singapore museums go high-tech

Singapore – Museums | The Straits Times | June 9th, 2015
Down a pristine, marbled corridor, schoolchildren eagerly tap and swipe away on an 8m-long interactive wall that calls up audio clips, pictures and factoids about the artists on display. Claude Monet, father of Impressionist painting, for example, lived in abject poverty almost all his life. “The aim is to present facts in bite-sized chunks. The wall is the first touchpoint for our visitors, so we don’t want to overload them. It’s an invitation to them to continue the journey through the museum,” says Pinacotheque’s chief executive Suguna Madhavan, who worked with a team of designers for 18 months to develop its Museum Of The Future concept. (1300 words)

626. Take a tumble through 100 years of S’pore playgrounds at National Museum’s latest exhibition

Singapore – Museums | TODAY
Tracing the roots of some 100 years of Singapore’s playgrounds from the early 20th century to the future, the exhibition will take visitors on a “retrospective and prospective journey through four vignettes that encapsulate the important development” of local playgrounds here, said the National Museum and Housing and Development Board (HDB) in a joint press release on Friday (April 20). Mr Lawrence Wong, who is Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, officiated the opening of the exhibition on Friday (April 20). (700 words)

627. Why we need more community museums

Singapore – Museums | TODAY
The residents want to showcase artefacts, old photographs and maps to chronicle the estate’s 100-year history and house an activity space for residents. Currently, the civic group, My Community, which is leading the push for the museum, is trying to get the HDB to allocate 178.5 sq m (just under three three-room flats), or the entire first floor of the market, to the museum. Community museums, which display art, document a neighbourhood’s social history and offer public spaces where people can interact, are not commonplace in Singapore. (1000 words)

628. 14 per cent of NSFs convicted for AWOL say main reason is financial hardship

Singapore – NS | Channel News Asia | September 10th, 2018
This figure is equivalent to about 28 AWOL offenders convicted in the General Court Martial each year, Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman told Parliament on Monday (Sep 10). Dr Maliki was responding to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera regarding Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) NSFs who need financial assistance. “AWOL is a serious offence, so SAF will continue to take stern disciplinary action against servicemen who commit AWOL offences,” he said. However, Dr Maliki said SAF tries to understand the circumstances these NSFs face, pointing out that the number of NSFs who receive financial assistance but still commit AWOL offences is “very small”. (500 words)

629. Improving NS experience: New NS Hub brings together pre-enlistment medical, IPPT, e-Mart

Singapore – NS | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2019
The NS Hub, located opposite Cashew MRT in Bukit Gombak, will host medical centres for medical reviews, a fitness conditioning centre for IPPT and an e-Mart for buying NS equipment. The hub will also use technology like facial recognition, automation and analytics to improve visitor experience. The Central Manpower Base at the Depot Road camp, where the pre-enlistment process is conducted, will move to the hub. The vacated building will be repurposed. “A new NS Hub will bring together different services which are now scattered across Singapore,” Dr Ng said, noting that for instance, pre-enlistees currently take their IPPT at Toa Payoh Stadium, pre-enlist at Depot Road Central Manpower Base, then attend medical reviews at the Military Medicine Institute in Kent Ridge. (900 words)

630. MINDEF’s aim to make zero-training deaths the norm is ‘unrealistic’ and ‘wishful’: Pritam Singh

Singapore – NS | Channel News Asia | February 11th, 2019
This damages not just the SAF, but the institution of National Service too,” said Mr Singh. “Our own experience shows, some years we may be able to achieve it. Can anyone guarantee that it will be zero fatalities for the rest of our future? Surely not,” said Dr Ng. “But that zero fatality sears into the consciousness of every commander and every soldier that to get there, you better be careful about what you are doing. That safety lapses will not be tolerated, that it will be safety first because at the end of the day, I want to train you, and I want you to be alive, to be able to fight when Singapore needs you,” he added. (1000 words)

631. Police to probe death of NSF Dave Lee; youth’s mother reserves comment pending investigations

Singapore – National Service | TODAY
In a statement, Mindef also disclosed that a separate investigation by a Committee of Inquiry (COI) will be chaired by a senior official from the Ministry of Education. The COI, which had been announced earlier, will have a “medical specialist from the public healthcare sector” among its members. The ministry gave no further details on the composition of the committee, or the names of its members. Mindef’s latest comments came as parents of Corporal Lee spoke to the media for the first time since their son died after sustaining heat injury at Bedok camp. (600 words)

632. Soldier’s death: Questions need answering

Singapore – National Service | The Straits Times | May 10th, 2018
The 19-year-old enlisted for national service (NS) in January and died during military training barely four months later. My wife, Priscilla, 47, and I are among those many Singapore parents. That is because we, too, have a son – Daniel – who is the same age, 19. Like Dave, he enlisted for NS this year. I should refer to Dave as Corporal First Class (CFC) Lee, but his death felt so personal to us that I think of him as Dave, even though we did not know him. Indeed, my wife broke down in tears when she read the news of his death. (1500 words)

633. Man charged with burning Singapore flag in Woodlands

Singapore – Nationalism | Channel News Asia | August 8th, 2019
Elson Ong Yong Liang is accused of using a lighter to burn a Singapore flag along the common corridor on the 13th floor of Block 774 Woodlands Crescent. The incident happened on Sunday at around 6am to 6.15am, according to court documents. This also resulted in seven other flags, which were tied vertically across seven floors, to be damaged. Ong, who is Singaporean, appeared in court via video link. His case will be mentioned again next Thursday. In a statement on Wednesday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said they were alerted to the incident at around 12.40pm on Sunday. (200 words)

634. Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill: A more calibrated approach

Singapore – Online Faslehoods | The Straits Times | May 1th, 2019
The Bill’s express objective is, among other things, to “prevent the electronic communication in Singapore of false statements of fact” and to “suppress support for and counteract the effects of such communication”. The Bill has sparked some debate and discussion among segments of Singapore society. While there is broad consensus on the urgent need for legislative measures to combat so-called “fake news”, there appears to be some unease about specific provisions in the Bill. I would like to contribute to this debate by highlighting a few points. (1200 words)

635. Lee Hsien Yang says wife was never Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer, questions timing of AGC’s move

Singapore – Oxley Road | Channel News Asia | January 7th, 2019
The AGC had alleged “possible professional misconduct” by Mrs Lee in the preparation of the last will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew – Singapore’s founding prime minister and the late father of Mr Lee and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In a Facebook post, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said his wife was never Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer. “Our father’s private will was executed some five years ago. Our father informed his entire family and his lawyers at Lee & Lee when he completed his will and kept his will at Lee & Lee,” Mr Lee wrote. (900 words)

636. Commentary: Don’t complain about rules for bikes and PMDs until we’ve proven we can be responsible

Singapore – PMDs | Channel News Asia | September 21st, 2018
When it was announced earlier this month that all motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) must meet fire safety standards by 2021 to ensure public safety, a number of PMD users and retailers were clearly displeased. It’s completely understandable. If you had just purchased one of these devices and planned to use it for several years, finding out that it does not meet new standards and will be deemed illegal soon, is disappointing to say the least. But this rule was introduced for a reason. There have been 80 fire incidents involving motorised PMDs since 2016 and data released by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) earlier this year showed that e-scooters were involved in 40 fires last year, an increase of nearly 350 per cent from nine such cases in 2016. (1000 words)

637. Panel proposes cutting speed limit for PMDs, making helmets compulsory for cyclists on roads

Singapore – PMDs | Channel News Asia | August 24th, 2018
Under six new recommendations submitted by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel on Friday (Aug 24), the speed limit for personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths will be lowered from 15kmh to 10kmh. This will give riders more reaction time to prevent accidents and reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an accident, the panel said. In its report, the panel wrote that it has heard “strong concerns” from the public that 15kmh is too fast for footpaths, due to heavy pedestrian traffic on some paths and vulnerable path users like the elderly and children. (600 words)

638. Speed limit for PMDs, bicycles to be cut to 10kmh on footpaths

Singapore – PMDs | Channel News Asia | September 4th, 2018
Starting early 2019, the current 15kmh speed limit on footpaths for PMDs and bicycles will be brought down to 10kmh. The lower speed will give PMD users, cyclists and pedestrians enough time to react to each other in unforeseen circumstances, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Tuesday (Sep 4). “All riders must continue to give way to pedestrians and slow down when approaching crowded areas or blind spots. Riders should also exercise caution when overtaking other path users,” the ministry said in a press release. (500 words)

639. The Big Read: Calls to ban PMDs mount as accidents persist — but is it the best option?

Singapore – PMDs | Channel News Asia | May 27th, 2019
Others have had close shaves with impetuous riders. In recent months, many Singaporeans — including Members of Parliament (MPs) — have joined a growing chorus of condemnation against these motorised vehicles, which have left riders and pedestrians with all manner of injuries from deep cuts to fractures and concussions. There have also been deaths. Popular with riders for daily commutes and deliverymen whose livelihoods depend on them, these vehicles — known as personal mobility devices (PMDs) in Singapore — include electric scooters, hoverboards and electric unicycles. (3400 words)

640. PMDs: Give pedestrians right of way on paths

Singapore – PMDs | The Straits Times | July 18th, 2019
“The childcare centre is five minutes’ walk from our flat. The PMD came from nowhere. I didn’t see it coming. The next thing I knew, there was a loud piak (snapping sound) from my left knee and I was on the ground,” she said. When I visited her at her home last week, she called out to me to wait as she hobbled slowly to the door. She recounted how her family took her to the emergency department at Changi General Hospital the morning after the accident on May 3, when the pain from her fall set in and she could not get out of bed. (2100 words)

641. Up to S$5,000 fine for those who flout PMD ban at void decks: PAP town councils

Singapore – PMDs | Channel News Asia | September 1th, 2019
The ban, which took effect on Sunday, prohibits PMDs like e-scooters and skateboards, as well as bicycles and e-bikes from void decks and all common areas of housing estates run by the 15 PAP town councils. Public paths where PMDs are allowed under the Active Mobility Act are exempted from the ban. Also exempted are personal mobility aids such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters. During the two months, offenders will be issued a warning letter for the first offence. Thereafter, the town councils will take “strict enforcement action”, he said. (400 words)

642. Commentary: Make full use of the last holiday week to prepare your child for the new school term

Singapore – Parenting | Channel News Asia | June 15th, 2018
Kids are not looking forward to the daily grind of early mornings and homework. Adults feel it too, dreading the pre-dawn wakings and endless ferrying from school to tuition and enrichment centres. For this last week of the holidays, most parents will be busy making logistical arrangements and purchases, from getting new uniforms or shoes to replace old ones, to ensuring the new textbooks are dug out and wrapped. But it may be wise to use this time to meet some of your children’s less apparent, but no less essential needs. (1200 words)

643. The Big Read: Online petitions — just ‘noise’ and attention-seeking, or a way for citizens to make themselves heard?

Singapore – Petitions | Channel News Asia | March 25th, 2019
A day was all it took for the then student and budding musician to gain more than 1,000 signatories from like-minded musicians and music lovers, before three news sites noticed his petition. Change.org got the rest “covered”, automatically triggering emails to his chosen recipients — which included President Halimah Yacob, who was then chairman of the Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee — once his virtual signature collective drive reached “milestones”, such as the next 100 or 1,000 supporters. (3700 words)

644. Balancing social spending with financial prudence

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | April 30th, 2018
For instance, Finland, a welfare state, started a two-year trial in January last year to provide 2,000 randomly chosen unemployed citizens with a basic monthly income of €560 (S$900) in an experiment to remove the disincentive to work. For these recipients can still receive the payment even if they find work, unlike the usual case with unemployment benefits. While Finland has not announced the results of the €20 million programme, it was reported last week that it will not extend it. In Singapore, the issue of how to help the needy was also a focus during this year’s Budget debate. (1800 words)

645. How relevant are term limits?

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | April 14th, 2018
A constitutional amendment that removes the presidential term limit, thus allowing China’s President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely, has generated much worldwide media coverage. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin was recently re-elected, after side-stepping term limits by adroitly switching positions between president and prime minister over the last two decades. Closer to home, the Pakatan Harapan opposition alliance in Malaysia is clamouring to limit the tenure of the prime minister and other positions to two terms in the face of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s staying power. (1300 words)

646. Make citizenship count for more than the perks it gives

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | April 25th, 2018
The church is the official polling station for my corner of Oxford city, south of High Street, and I’m here to cast my ballot in the European Union referendum. It isn’t my first time voting in the United Kingdom: I’ve previously done so in the General Election and Labour Party leadership election of 2015, and in less than a year, I would be back again, voting in the UK General Election of 2017. By virtue of our membership in the Commonwealth, Singapore citizens who live in the UK can vote in all parliamentary, local and European elections. (900 words)

647. Ministers, please speak plainly to the people

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | June 3th, 2018
Almost everyone rose to the occasion and spoke on important issues facing the country – what Singapore has to do next, how to tackle the inequality problem, and why some things need to be done differently. They were earnest and thoughtful. I liked the numerous calls for people here to value different kinds of talent, not just academic, for those who have done well to help the less well-off, for government to listen more to the people. But I am not sure they connected well to the man in the street. (1000 words)

648. No foreign activism please, we’re Singaporean

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | April 21th, 2018
The application to set up OSEA Pte Ltd was lodged by two Singaporeans, historian Thum Ping Tjin and journalist Kirsten Han.The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) rejected it, citing OSEA’s proposed activities such as democracy classroom sessions – which it described as “clearly political” – and its links with American billionaire investor George Soros. OSEA’s British parent accepted a US$75,000 (S$98,500) grant from a Swiss foundation linked to Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF is founded and led by Mr Soros, and has been known for trying to influence domestic agendas in some countries. (1500 words)

649. A very Singaporean dilemma in picking a president

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
Or maybe not. For just how to go about selecting a successor to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, who completed his six-year term on Thursday, now hangs in the balance. Whether there will be an electoral contest, or a walkover on Nomination Day on Sept 13, turns on the decisions of a six-man Presidential Elections Committee, helmed by Public Service Commission chairman Eddie Teo. The committee’s role is to ensure that potential candidates for the job meet a set of qualification criteria set out by Parliament. (1400 words)

650. Activists send letter of complaint to PM Lee about Seah Kian Peng, Shanmugam

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 5th, 2018
The letter, signed by historian Thum Ping Tjin, journalist Kirsten Han and civil rights activist Jolovan Wham, was sent on Wednesday (Sep 5), according to a Facebook post by Ms Han. A similar copy of the letter was also sent to Mr Charles Chong, chairman of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. The letter comes after Mr Seah and Mr Shanmugam criticised the meeting between the group – which included political dissident Tan Wah Piow and graphic novelist Sonny Liew – and Dr Mahathir, where they invited the Malaysian prime minister to speak at a democracy conference. (500 words)

651. All of the S$7.7B additional surplus being given back to Singaporeans, says Lawrence Wong

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | March 6th, 2018
As announced in the Budget statement, Singapore is expected to see an overall budget surplus of S$9.61 billion for the year ending Mar 31. This is more than five times above the S$1.91 billion official estimate, thanks largely to exceptional statutory board contributions and higher stamp duty collections. The entire additional S$7.7 billion above the official estimate is being given back to Singaporeans in various ways, instead of just the S$700 million SG bonus, Mr Wong stressed as he addressed Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Azmoon Ahmad’s suggestion for the Government to share more the unexpected budget surplus with Singaporeans. (500 words)

652. Amos Yee granted asylum in the US after Department of Homeland Security appeal dismissed

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 27th, 2017
Sandra Grossman, a pro bono counsel to Yee from legal firm Grossman Law, said in a statement that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) had dismissed DHS’ appeal opposing a decision by a lower court to grant Yee asylum. The court wrote in its ruling last Thursday that Yee, 18, had a “well founded fear of future persecution” if returned to Singapore and agreed with the lower court judge that Singapore’s prosecution of Yee was “a pretext” to silence his political opinions, according to Ms Grossman. (300 words)

653. Auditor-General finds lapses in management of contracts, gaps in IT and financial controls

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | July 17th, 2018
These gaps were laid out in a report by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) released on Tuesday (Jul 17), after its audit of government accounts for the financial year 2017/2018. The audit covered the financial statements of all 16 ministries and eight organs of state, five government funds, nine statutory boards, four government-owned companies and three other accounts. For instance, AGO’s checks found that the PA had allowed an officer to make overseas purchases for costumes and accessories worth S$142,200 for Chingay Parade 2017, using cash or through a remittance agent. (1200 words)

654. Auditor-General report: Lapses in People’s Association’s procurement, welfare assistance management

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | July 17th, 2018
These included lapses in procurement for festive street light-ups and the management of welfare assistance schemes. The AGO report also said there were “serious weaknesses in controls over overseas purchases and payments which could be exploited.” The tenders, worth S$500,000, were for the manufacture of decorative items for street light-ups for Mid-Autumn Festival 2016 and Chinese New Year 2017. The two tenders for both street light-ups were awarded to the same overseas manufacturer, who had been awarded the contracts every year since 2014. (1400 words)

655. Auditor-General report: Overpayment of grass-cutting fees; lax procurement controls uncovered at MINDEF

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | July 17th, 2018
In its annual audit report released on Tuesday (Jul 17), the AGO flagged lapses at several ministries and government agencies. The overpayments were mainly due to overstatements of grass-cutting areas, and were not detected by the ministry’s facilities management agent (FMA) and contract manager Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), AGO said. “The repeated failures to detect the errors made by the contractor cast doubts on whether the FMA and DSTA had carried out their duties diligently,” the report said. (600 words)

656. Chee’s retreat

Singapore – Politics | The Online Citizen | August 23rd, 2017
On this, I’m certain, we can all agree. But Chee Soon Juan’s latest claim against the PAP in TOC (“Reliance on major infrastructure projects for economic growth unsustainable”) avoids truths at the expense of his own credibility. Chee takes fire at Lawrence Wong’s support for “major infrastructure projects” as a legitimate means for restructuring Singapore’s national economy. He claims, rather pompously, that the PAP is “bankrupt of ideas”, while failing to propose any original ideas of his own, other than to spout his favourite platitudes about how the nation needs to generate growth through “innovation and productivity.” His statement that the PAP has “caused the dangerous malformation of our economy and society” is this side of absurd. (1000 words)

657. Commentary: Amid concerns over dollars and cents, is there no room for social responsibility?

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | May 19th, 2018
It is clearly something that Singaporeans feel passionately about, judging by comments on social media platforms. This is partly because even for those of us who belong to the broad middle-class, the high cost of living coupled with our expectations of what a good life is, is a strain. Amid these concerns, one group that remains relatively quiet is workers at and below the 20th percentile. Labour Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari who has been raising the plight of these workers for many years now, has referred to them as the “voiceless”. (1600 words)

658. Commentary: The public looks to size up the next Prime Minister, whoever he is

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | February 9th, 2018
In attempting to give due respect to ESM Goh’s prodding, a group of 16 younger political office holders banded together to issue a joint statement on Jan 4 declaring: “We are conscious of our responsibility, are working closely together as a team, and will settle on a leader from amongst us in good time.” This statement makes complete sense because in a Westminster political system, the Prime Minister is the leader chosen by the party that has been democratically elected by the people. He or she is, as is often described, first amongst equals. (1500 words)

659. Disclosing exact amount earned by ministers can reduce misinformation: Opposition chief Pritam Singh

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | October 1st, 2018
Mr Singh, who is WP chief, pointed out that DPM Teo’s response to a question by Member of Parliament Alex Yam provided a range and asked instead for details of the “absolute dollar amount”. These “falsehoods” prompted a post on a Government website aiming to debunk them, six days after Mr Perera’s question. Mr Perera added that his original question had asked for total and not only performance bonus. “Would that not have been an opportunity to … also disclose and publish the national bonus level in addition to performance bonus level?” He then asked if the Government would publish quantums of bonuses on an annual basis, going forward. (900 words)

660. Elected MPs pay S$365 annually for parking at HDB car parks and Parliament House: Report

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | June 25th, 2018
The amount is less than the current HDB season parking rate. For residents’ first parking lot, the monthly parking charge is S$80 for surface car parks and S$110 for sheltered car parks. In a Straits Times report on Monday (Jun 25), the Ministry of National Development (MND) said that MPs are not charged the full fee as they “do not park overnight or full day at their constituencies”. “We will continue to review and update the parking rate regularly to keep pace with prevailing HDB parking rates,” MND was quoted as saying. (400 words)

661. Government will ‘progress carefully’ in collecting information while respecting privacy: PM Lee

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | April 5th, 2018
Responding to a question from a student at the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s first Ministerial Forum on Thursday (Apr 5), Mr Lee highlighted the example of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying that there is a “trade-off” between collecting information and respecting people’s privacy. Last month, Facebook had acknowledged that personal information about millions of users had wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The student had asked Mr Lee what Singapore’s vision is of the balance between collecting data and respecting a person’s privacy. (800 words)

662. Higher taxes on the rich and being more open to using our national reserves: MP Seah Kian Peng goes On the Record

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | June 23rd, 2018
He joined politics in 2006 as a People’s Action Party candidate and his placid, good-natured demeanour could lead one to think that he routinely toes the party line. However, upon closer scrutiny, one would realise that he has no qualms about speaking up against policies and urging the Government to effect more meaningful change. More recently, Mr Seah’s speech in Parliament last month asking the Government to consider factors beyond economics when designing policy certainly caught the attention of many Singaporeans. (3800 words)

663. Historian Thum Ping Tjin ‘does not wish Singapore well’: MP Seah Kian Peng

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 1st, 2018
In his Facebook post, Mr Seah added that he was “amazed that Dr Thum and his supporters should proclaim that Singapore is part of Malaysia (or Malaya)”. Mr Seah was referring to a Facebook post Dr Thum made on Friday, which appeared to suggest that Singaporeans should celebrate Malaysia’s independence day. “Selamat Hari Merdeka to the people of the former Federation of Malaya! (and happy unofficial independence day to the people of Singapore! ),” Dr Thum wrote in the post. Mr Seah also noted that former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Teo Soh Lung made a comment that “Singapore is part of Malaya” on a post by The Online Citizen. (700 words)

664. How Singapore elected a president without a vote

Singapore – Politics | CNN | August 9th, 2017
Singapore (CNN)Singaporeans were meant to go to the polls at the end of next week to vote for a new president, but they’ll no longer have the chance, with only one candidate qualifying for the race. Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob has emerged victorious by default, after other presidential hopefuls fell foul of new rules. “I can only say that I promise to do the best that I can to serve the people of Singapore and that doesn’t change whether there is an election or no election,” she told reporters Monday. (1000 words)

665. Jokes about politics: The good, the bad and the ugly

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
First, let me assure you that writing or reading about humour does not kill the fun, although you may not laugh out loud. By humour, I mean a joke or a funny communication with a social purpose clear to the audience – to provoke laughter and provide amusement. Humour can be communicated in written, oral or visual formats. Sociopolitical humour often combines the various formats, as is the case in a cartoon, a video clip or an Internet meme. A popular Internet meme is a photograph with the original image deliberately altered to inject humour. (1500 words)

666. Let’s talk experience, economics and productivity: Chee’s response

Singapore – Politics | The Online Citizen | August 24th, 2017
Allow me first to predicate my response on the, by now, obvious observation that the broad direction of a country’s economy is made by leaders who seldom come readily equipped with vast, if any, experience of having, to quote the author, “led a major state economy”, “balanced an annual national budget” or “ever done business as a local coffee shop owner”. Bill Clinton (a lawyer), Mahathir Mohamad (medical professional), Tony Blair (a lawyer and at one time rock-musician wannabe), Angela Merkel (chemistry professor) and, of course, our very own Lee Kuan Yew (lawyer and once opposition leader) had presided over periods of robust economic growths in their respective countries but who had limited experience in governance, corporate or otherwise. (2000 words)

667. on Singapore’s presidential election

Singapore – Politics | Sudhir | September 10th, 2017
The way the government has gone about the entire exercise is problematic. First, amending the constitution with the main intention of—most people believe—blocking a candidate it doesn’t like. Then, dressing up the political manoeuvre as affirmative action for Malays. Then organising endless surveys, forums, newspaper articles, speeches, etc. to sell it to Singaporeans, in the process draining taxpayer’s time and money. Finally—and this is the real worrying thing—showing basic incompetence in its execution, in the definition of “Malay”, in the definition of “elected presidency”, apparently unaware of the numerous pitfalls of this manoeuvre, of the horrid racial interrogations that would follow. (2400 words)

668. Only one Singaporean is fit to be president

Singapore – Politics | The Economist | September 16th, 2017
To that end, his government tinkered with the eligibility criteria for candidates. Yet Singaporeans primed for a festival of inclusiveness at this year’s election must be confused. On September 11th a committee of senior officials declared that only one candidate was eligible to stand, and that the woman in question, Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament, was thus deemed to have been elected unopposed. She was sworn in on September 14th.Singapore’s democracy can sometimes seem a little regimented: the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has been in power since before independence in 1965. (500 words)

669. PE2017: Salleh Marican’s three bugbears about the PE

Singapore – Politics | The Middle Ground | September 13th, 2017
They booked their tickets yesterday, in a bid to “get over this’’. He’s stressed out, he told TMG yesterday. For three months, he had been boning up on the Constitution and presidential duties and taking advice from people who told him, among other things, not to wear tee-shirts or walk around in flip flops in public after he announced that he would try to contest for the presidency. In a well-ironed red-striped shirt yesterday, Mr Salleh, 67, was both cheery and weary that his bid for the presidency had come to nought. (2000 words)

670. Reserved elections ‘critical as president serves unifying role’

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
Without amendments to reserve elections for minorities, this symbolic role may be called into question – especially if “the president, term after term, comes from a single race”, he added. He acknowledged that some Singaporeans do not agree with the idea of reserved elections – but he noticed many would come around after being given the full facts. Still, this is an issue on which “reasonable people can differ” he said, adding: “The fact that we were able to talk about it, debate it… in a way it helps strengthen the overall multiracial fabric.” (600 words)

671. Reserved Presidential Election part of framework to build national identity: K Shanmugam

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 8th, 2017
Whether it be ethnic quotas in public housing estates, or the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system during general elections, the Government has taken an active approach to promoting racial harmony, Mr Shanmugam said at a forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on Friday (Sep 8). Mr Shanmugam compared Singapore’s efforts to strengthen racial relations to that of countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom. “This is my position, and I accept that people can disagree … (500 words)

672. Reserved Presidential Election would cost votes but ‘right thing to do’: PM Lee

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 29th, 2017
“Did I know that this subject would be a difficult one? That it would be unpopular and cost us votes? Yes, I knew,” he said at a People’s Association Kopi Talk held at Ci Yuan Community Club. “If I do not know that these are sensitive matters, I cannot be in politics. But I did it, because I strongly believe, and still do, that this is the right thing to do. “Mr Lee acknowledged that there was “some unhappiness” following the reserved election. “I can feel that; you do not have to tell me,” he said. (400 words)

673. Seedy face of Singapore pirates

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | September 12th, 2017
Such thievery puts them in the company of rampant cheats in economically backward countries like Belarus, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine and Latvia. Being better off (as indicated by a high ranking in the gross national income per capita tables), Singapore is out of place among the worst Internet bandits, rated by illegal visits per Internet user. Consumers here have several legitimate online content options like Netflix, Hooq, CatchPlay, Spotify and Apple Music. Yet about 40 per cent of Singaporeans actively turn to illegal Web-streaming, video- and audio-ripping, and illicit peer-to-peer sharing of content. (300 words)

674. Shanmugam stands by comments made about Thum: Press secretary

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 5th, 2018
Mr Lee’s statement comes after Dr Thum, along with freelance journalist Kirsten Han and civil rights activist Jolovan Wham, sent a letter of complaint to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier on Wednesday regarding comments made by Member of Parliament Seah Kian Peng and Mr Shanmugam. Mr Seah wrote in a Facebook post following a meeting between the activists and Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Dr Thum “does not wish Singapore well” and had invited Dr Mahathir to “bring democracy to Singapore”. (500 words)

675. Singapore Has a New President, No Election Needed

Singapore – Politics | New York Times | September 13th, 2017
“What would have otherwise been a democratic milestone is now besmirched with the ugly stain of an uncontested election — such is the cost of a government that thinks in terms of politics of power, as opposed to dignity,” wrote Rio Hoe, a law student, in a column on the website Consensus SG. The office of the president is largely ceremonial, but its duties include the power to authorize investigations into corruption.The government is headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the son of Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who died in 2015. (800 words)

676. The Big Read: Opposition parties banding together — a grand plan or a last throw of the dice?

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | August 6th, 2018
Buoyed by the stunning political developments across the Causeway, which saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) government toppled after an uninterrupted 61-year rule, some members of the proposed alliance are setting their sights high. “Our alliance must strive to form the next Government in the upcoming General Election (GE),” said former National Solidarity Party (NSP) chief Lim Tean, who is seeking to form a new party. Singapore’s next GE must be held by 2021. Writing on Facebook, Mr Lim added: The winds of change are here and they have buffeted the world for the past two years… Those who try to suggest that what happened in the West and now Malaysia cannot possibly happen in Singapore are myopic and in denial. (3200 words)

677. The nephew of Singapore’s prime minister faces court

Singapore – Politics | The Economist | August 10th, 2017
He was responding to claims by his siblings that he was secretly manoeuvring to prevent the demolition of the house of his father, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding prime minister, in violation of the terms of the older Mr Lee’s will. In the end, the younger Mr Lee said in a public statement, he concluded that such action would “further besmirch my parents’ names”.Singapore’s attorney-general, however, takes a different view. On July 21st his office wrote to Li Shengwu, the son of one of the critical siblings and thus the prime minister’s nephew, to denounce a private post on his Facebook page as “an egregious and baseless attack on the Singapore judiciary” and one which “constitutes an offence of contempt of court”. (300 words)

678. To avoid group-think, PAP must accept fair democratic contestation

Singapore – Politics | The Online Citizen | August 20th, 2017
What ESM Goh failed to say is why. The ultimate goal of every political party that genuinely believes in itself is to remain in power. We may safely assume that the PAP shares this goal. Like any other political party in the world, the PAP believes that it is the only party that is capable of leading Singapore into the future. It considers itself Singaporeans’ best hope against a populist and profligate government. The question, then, is why would the PAP bring in people from outside the SAF and the public sector? (500 words)

679. Will reserved election promote multiracialism?

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | September 2nd, 2017
Is it a step forward to better race relations having a Malay at the Istana after 47 years? Or will it be a move backwards because it isn’t an open election contested by the best from the other races? You may not find a consensus among Singaporeans on this question, even within the Malay community. But the ambivalence is to be expected because race isn’t an easy issue to come to terms with even after 52 years of Singapore’s experiment trying to forge a nation among the different communities here. (1300 words)

680. Workers’ Party agrees with Government on amount and principle of ministerial salaries

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | October 1st, 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean made this point during a tussle with the WP about ministerial salaries, and WP chief Pritam Singh said the party agreed with this observation. During the exchange, Mr Teo highlighted that the Government and the WP were “very close” on the issue in terms of principles and actual amounts. “Indeed … if there were a WP government in power today, by their own formula, a WP minister would be paid essentially the same as what a minister today is paid,” said Mr Teo. (400 words)

681. WP’s Sylvia Lim refuses to apologise to House, but admits ‘test balloons’ allegation ‘may not have been correct’

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | March 8th, 2018
Ms Lim refused to apologise, but admitted that her “suspicion” that the Government may have backtracked on the timing of GST hike may not have been correct – a point conceded by WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang as well. Those prompted calls by Ms Fu and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat for her to apologise. Speaking at the start of the Parliament sitting on Thursday, Ms Lim cited media reports and comments by economists that led her to suspect that the Government had planned to raise the GST sooner, before the timeline of between 2021 and 2025 that was announced in the Budget. (1400 words)

682. ‘A little sad, a bit regretful’: Shanmugam on activists’ move to engage Mahathir

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 2nd, 2018
The duo – along with freelance journalist Kirsten Han, civil rights activist Jolovan Wham and graphic novelist Sonny Liew – met Dr Mahathir last Thursday (Aug 30), where they invited him to speak at a democracy conference next year. On the sidelines of a grassroots event on Sunday (Sep 2), Mr Shanmugam said: “I think the whole conduct is a little sad, a bit regretful. We can have political differences within Singapore, small ones – it is the people’s right. “We should never go out and invite someone foreign, a foreign politician to intervene in our domestic politics. (400 words)

683. ‘Ridiculous and unfounded’: Thum Ping Tjin on notion that he is a traitor

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | September 3rd, 2018
In a Facebook post, Dr Thum said: “Any notion that I am a traitor to my country is ridiculous and unfounded. I love my country and my people. I believe democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of information will make Singapore and our world better.”His response comes on the back of comments by Member of Parliament (MP) Seah Kian Peng and Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam that took aim at the meeting on Thursday between a group of Singapore activists – led by Dr Thum and political dissident Tan Wah Piow – and the Malaysian leader. (500 words)

684. Pritam Singh elected unopposed as Workers’ Party leader, replacing Low Thia Khiang; Sylvia Lim re-elected chairman

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | April 8th, 2018
Party sources told The Straits Times that his was the only name nominated – to unanimous and rousing applause – during the WP party conference on Sunday (April 8) when cadres elected their party chief. Given that Mr Chen Show Mao, 57, had challenged outgoing party leader Low Thia Khiang for the post unsuccessfully in 2016, there was speculation about whether he would do so again this time around. But a contest did not materialise. Party chairman Sylvia Lim, 53, was also re-elected to her post unopposed, also to an enthusiastic reception. (600 words)

685. Singapore’s future lies in the past

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | March 28th, 2018
Western retreat has been implied from a series of significant developments: the 2016 Brexit vote and Trump election; the rise of populist-nativist political parties in Europe; increasing trade protectionism and restrictions on foreign investment and immigration; more stringent regulation of tax-and-subsidy arbitrage and competition policy; hints of a revival of national industrial policies; and some high-profile examples of “reshoring” of global business to the United States. But while populists have gained some electoral ground in Europe, they have mostly not formed governments, and Mr Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 victory in France suggests that an unabashed “globalist” can still get elected. (1500 words)

686. Singapore: The next chapter

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | May 8th, 2018
Dr Tan reviewed how far we had come as a nation. He renewed our commitment to keep Singapore an exceptional nation, with a thriving economy and a caring and inclusive society. We are now midway through the current term of government. It has been an eventful 32 months: The United States elected a new president; the Chinese Communist Party held its 19th National Congress; the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union; and ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) became a significant menace, though it has since been dealt a severe blow. (3100 words)

687. Stop calling those who speak up a ‘vocal minority’

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | May 19th, 2018
Not surprisingly, there are different opinions on how appropriate leaders’ reactions are and how effective their responses may be. For several years now, there have been calls for government leaders to see things from the people’s perspectives. Commentators and activists have often asked the Government to be able and willing to listen to alternative viewpoints and consider them seriously. Thus, it was not a new message this week when Members of Parliament from all sides spoke on the need for leaders to effectively engage the people and earn public trust. (1700 words)

688. Thinking Aloud: What qualities should a PM have?

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | May 6th, 2018
But precisely because it was such a bare-bone announcement, everyone zeroed in on the actual appointments, speculating who among the front runners appeared to be the favoured one. So, new Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing is said to be leading the pack because he not only landed an economics-linked ministry, but also is in charge of the Public Service Division, overseeing the entire civil service machinery. He also retains his position as deputy chairman of the People’s Association which is a politically significant appointment. (1200 words)

689. What are the policy implications of the Cabinet reshuffle?

Singapore – Politics | TODAY
While such discourse is no doubt important for ascertaining Singapore’s future leadership, there are more important policy implications of the cabinet reshuffle that need to be discussed. At the heart of the recent cabinet reshuffle is a strong emphasis on Singapore’s ongoing economic transformation and in particular, tackling the implications of technological disruption. This is evident in the roles that have been taken on by the three Prime Ministerial frontrunners, namely Mr Chan Chun Sing, Mr Heng Swee Keat, and Mr Ong Ye Kung. (1000 words)

690. YouTube terminates Amos Yee’s account for violating community guidelines

Singapore – Politics | TODAY
The removal of his account for violation of the social media platform’s community guidelines came about two weeks after YouTube drew flak for placing an advertisement promoting child development on his channel Brain and Butter. On Sunday (May 6), Amos — whose Facebook account was temporarily suspended for 30 days last November — said on his Facebook page that his YouTube channel “has been taken down”. His YouTube channel had been running for about three years, and had more than 40,000 subscribers. (400 words)

691. Activism is not a dirty word

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | August 12th, 2018
“Any form of activism is socially divisive,” Mr Tan had said, adding that “it divides society, it divides a community… it goes against the very grain of what we stand for. We are community builders. We don’t divide community”. I found his words troubling but as I trawled through the responses on social media, I realised many Singaporeans agreed with him. First, let’s look at the context. Mr Tan was explaining why SJI had rescinded its invitation to Ms Rachel Yeo, 23, research and advocacy director at the Inter-University LGBT Network, a day before she had been scheduled to speak at a TedX event hosted by SJI on July 20. (1000 words)

692. Leong Sze Hian using defamation suit to wage public campaign to gain sympathy and support, says PM Lee

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | February 26th, 2019
This was a claim made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his affidavit filed against Mr Leong’s counterclaim that PM Lee is “abusing court process” by bringing the original suit against him. PM Lee wrote in his affidavit dated Feb 11 that Mr Leong’s “public campaign” has “cynically drawn attention to the article to keep it fresh in the minds of people in Singapore”. The article, which he had shared without any accompanying caption, was titled Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong Becomes 1MDB’s Key Investigation Target – Najib Signed Several Unfair Agreements With Hsien Loong In Exchange for Money Laundering. (800 words)

693. Court dismisses Li Shengwu’s appeal over serving papers in contempt of court case

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
Appeal Judge Steven Chong dismissed Mr Li’s bid to appeal the High Court’s decision to allow the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) permission to serve papers on him in the United States, where Mr Li now lives. The 34-year-old Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University had allegedly said in a Facebook post in July 2017, viewable only by his Facebook friends, that Singapore has a “pliant court system” and that the Singapore Government was “very litigious”. The AGC then served papers on him in relation to contempt of court in the US, and Mr Li applied to the High Court to set aside the court order granting this service of papers on him. (800 words)

694. No requirement for by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC after Halimah Yacob resigned: Court of Appeal

Singapore – Politics | Channel News Asia | April 10th, 2019
In its written judgment, the five-judge court dismissed the appeal by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Dr Wong Souk Yee calling for a by-election in the GRC, ruling that there is “no duty to call a by-election when a single vacancy arises in a GRC”. Under article 49 of the Constitution, whenever an MP’s seat is vacant for any reason other than Parliament being dissolved, it shall be filled by an election. However, an MP’s seat, according to what the Apex Court ruled was a proper interpretation of this article, refers only to the seat of a Single-Member Constituency (SMC) and not a GRC. (700 words)

695. Looking up to leaders to tell the hard truth

Singapore – Politics | The Straits Times | February 17th, 2019
He was responding to an editorial in the Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao which listed a distressing number of failures that had occurred in recent months which it said had eroded confidence in the public service. The F list: The cyber hacking of 1.5 million medical records at SingHealth; the four NS training deaths over 17 months; the shocking unauthorised release of the identities of 14,200 HIV patients; SingPost’s deteriorating level of mail service; and frequent MRT breakdowns in the past. (1200 words)

696. Boost fertility? Nudge educated women to marry, and marry young

Singapore – Population | The Straits Times | November 30th, 2018
A In a previous article in this column, on Sept 26, my colleague Chia Ngee Choon and her co-author Chia Han Mae wrote about why some pro-natalist policies such as the Baby Bonus have not worked. Their recommendation was to focus on policy measures that lower the long-term cost of rearing children. Affordability is a valid consideration. If raising a child with high human capital content is going to consume a large proportion of parental lifetime income that constrains other lifestyle expenses, including retirement, parents are unlikely to aim for a larger family. (900 words)

697. SingPost delivers apology for recent ‘service failures’

Singapore – Post | Channel News Asia | January 14th, 2019
“It would be fair to state that we have failed to live up to expectations in recent times,” said the postal delivery service on its website and in a Facebook post. In explaining the background to the service deterioration, SingPost said it delivered an average of 3 million mail items a day, but an increase in package volumes for last year’s November-December period put additional pressure on its services. “The November-December peak season was a tremendously busy period for our staff members,” said SingPost. (800 words)

698. Despite Tuesday’s blackout, Singapore’s power backup procedures are in place: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore – Power | Channel News Asia | September 21st, 2018
This is illustrated by how it took just 15 minutes for the system to be restarted when two power-generating units – one at Sembcorp Cogen and the other owned by Senoko Energy – tripped early on Tuesday, causing multiple parts of Singapore to be hit by blackouts. However, he stressed that the Government is taking the opportunity to review these procedures and that he would like to assure Singaporeans there is sufficient capacity in the system to handle such incidents. “They have been able to quickly zoom in on the source of the problem, but we are conducting further tests because some of these components are used by plants in Singapore and other parts of the world,” he said. (500 words)

699. Little tweaks, with a big difference: The value proposition of inclusive preschools

Singapore – Preschools | Channel News Asia | September 29th, 2018
Dressed in their identical khaki uniforms, it was almost impossible to tell the children apart. But there are little differences when you look closely at the playground and how the preschool is laid out. A life-size model of a toy car is specially designed to allow a child in a wheelchair to enter and pretend to be a driver. Tactile lines laid out on the floor of the open-concept schoolhouse give a child with visual impairment extra help to find the classroom or bathroom. And the treehouse in the playground provides the space and accessibility for a child in a wheelchair to move around freely. (1800 words)

700. Last Day At Work: The pre-school teacher who’s a child at heart

Singapore – Preschools | Channel News Asia | February 2nd, 2019
“I am by nature quite impatient,” she says with a grin. “I also talk very fast, and very loudly … But I’ve calmed down already.”With her stylish haircut, ready smile and infectious laughter, Ms Doris Choy – or Teacher Doris, as her charges know her – looks decades younger than her 70 years. Her youthfulness goes beyond appearance: Besides teaching and caring for infants in her day job as a senior infant educarer at a PCF Sparkletots pre-school in Telok Blangah, she also finds the energy to pursue dancing as a hobby, and even volunteers as a storyteller at the library. (1700 words)

701. Living in the gaze of the Smart Nation and its sensor-enabled lamp posts

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | April 24th, 2018
We use it to surf the Internet, stream movies and music, text, e-mail, do business, take pictures and so forth. And only rarely, it seems, do we talk on it. In the same way, to refer to the latest Smart Nation offering as “smart lamp post” makes it sound as though it is merely a street lamp with a camera tacked on to it. Given its powerful and far-reaching surveillance capabilities, it does rather a lot more than that. Technology is central to Singapore’s Smart Nation project. It is true there are other crucial aspects of realising the Smart Nation vision, such as transforming society’s prevailing mindset, culture, processes, structures and so forth. (800 words)

702. Passenger-facing cameras: Encrypt recordings and restrict access

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | April 19th, 2018
That bit of information was contained in its new guidelines on in-vehicle recording by transport service providers. The National Taxi Association has lobbied for at least three years to have such in-facing cameras in taxis to protect cabbies.With privacy issues being raised in more recent months, the PDPC came up with guidelines to require transport service providers to display a prominent notice about the use of passenger-facing video cameras. It also wants transport service providers to have adequate security measures to protect consumers’ personal data or risk fines of up to $1 million under the Personal Data Protection Act. (1400 words)

703. Cybersecurity Bill passed in Parliament; MPs raise questions on privacy, cost

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | February 5th, 2018
Under the Cybersecurity Bill, owners of computer systems directly involved in the provision of essential services for national security, defence, foreign relations, economy, public health, public safety or public order will have to report cybersecurity incidents related to these systems, and comply with other statutory obligations . The owners of these systems – called Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) – have to comply with codes of practice and standards of performance, conduct cybersecurity audits and risk assessments, and participate in cybersecurity exercises under the Bill. (800 words)

704. Data privacy watchdog issues guidelines on use of in-vehicle cameras by transport services

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | April 9th, 2018
The PDPC said in the release that it is common practice for such service providers, which include taxis, private hire cars and private charter buses, to use in-vehicle cameras. The PDPC highlighted that images, audio recordings and video recordings may contain personal data that could identify an individual. As such, organisations that use such devices are required to comply with provisions under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and must put in place the necessary policies and practices to meet these obligations, it said. (300 words)

705. oBike has to expunge customer data unless there are legal, business reasons: Iswaran

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | July 10th, 2018
In a written reply to a Parliamentary question from MP Cheng Li Hui, Mr Iswaran stressed that oBike, like any other business in Singapore, is required to comply with the data protection obligations under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), even though the company is undergoing liquidation. “The PDPA continues to apply to a company undergoing liquidation. Where a liquidator is appointed, the liquidator will also have to ensure that the company undergoing liquidation continues to comply with the PDPA,” said Mr Iswaran. (300 words)

706. Organisations have to stop unnecessary collection of NRIC details from September 2019

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | August 30th, 2018
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on Friday (Aug 31) issued its enhanced advisory guidelines following the close of the public consultation last December. It said that under the updated guidelines, organisations can collect, use or disclose NRIC numbers or copies of the NRIC only under certain specific circumstances. First, if they are required by the law or deemed necessary to accurately verify one’s identity to a “high degree of fidelity”, the PDPC said in its press release. The second exception is when failing to provide NRIC details could pose a significant safety or security risk, or may pose a risk of significant impact or harm to an individual and the organisation, it added. (800 words)

707. Police cameras helped solve more than 2,300 cases: MHA

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | February 6th, 2018
The first wave of cameras, known as PolCam 1.0, saw 65,000 cameras installed in neighbourhoods from 2012. PolCam 2.0 was introduced in mid-2016 and as of last year, 5,000 cameras have been installed in town centres, neighbourhood centres, hawker centres and linkways leading to transportation nodes such as MRT stations and bus interchanges. The plan for is to install 11,000 cameras at 2,500 locations islandwide over the next few years, said Mr Amrin. “Our approach has broad support from the public, and has resulted in people feeling safe,” he added. (400 words)

708. Shed light on smart street lamps

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | April 16th, 2018
Given their ubiquitous presence, it is no surprise that they too feature in the Smart Nation Sensor Platform being developed here – a common technical architecture for gathering and making sense of a wide range of data. The lamp post itself would be smart if it is responsive to changes in natural lighting, nearby hazards and levels of public activity. By scaling brightness up or down selectively, it could alert road users and conserve energy. Or one could keep lamp posts as they are and fit them with sensors and cameras for other purposes. (500 words)

709. Smart lamp posts that recognise faces, catch speeding PMD users to go on trial

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | April 8th, 2018
With the information, government agencies can increase their situational awareness, detect potential problems and respond quickly to incidents, such as unruly crowds, train breakdowns or traffic congestion. Details of these plans were released last week at a private meeting between GovTech, the agency behind this project, and interested contractors. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had briefly mentioned the plans in his National Day Rally speech last August. According to tender documents, street lamps in one-north business park in Buona Vista and Geylang will be the first to be “smartened up” with state-of-the-art fittings. (400 words)

710. Smart rules needed to govern smart lamp posts

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | April 19th, 2018
Leveraging the technology behind the Internet of Things, trials will begin in Buona Vista and Geylang of lamp posts that can track temperature and rainfall trends, engage in facial recognition of passers-by, position autonomous vehicles down to within a few centimetres, and even capture transgressions. These lamp posts will communicate their data wirelessly or through fibre broadband, thus constituting the largest and newest cyber-physical system of its kind as part of the Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP). (1000 words)

711. NRIC: The Not Replaceable Identity Card?

Singapore – Privacy | The Straits Times | November 1th, 2018
This future is nearing as the building blocks are being laid to create a national digital identity (NDI) for all residents. The NDI is similar to the physical NRIC (National Registration Identify Card) in that it is used to verify identity. However, its primary purpose is to verify identities in cyberspace. At the same time, public agencies are looking at how it can bring about new levels of convenience in the physical world. The NDI’s foundation was set with last month’s launch of the SingPass Mobile app. (1200 words)

712. An American hid his HIV status to survive in Singapore. Exposed, he allegedly punished thousands living with the virus.

Singapore – Privacy | Washington Post | February 1st, 2019
The health ministry said it first learned that the American was in possession of the confidential information in May 2016, at which point police searched the couple’s apartment, seizing “all relevant material.” But two years later, and after Farrera-Brochez had been deported, the ministry became aware that he still had part of the records. It filed a police report in May 2018 and notified individuals who appeared to be vulnerable to a possible leak. The agency learned last week that the data had been published online. (600 words)

713. GrabCar fined for unauthorised disclosure of customer data in 120,000 marketing emails

Singapore – Privacy | Channel News Asia | June 11th, 2019
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) found that GrabCar, which is part of the Grab Group, had “failed to make reasonable security arrangements” to detect the errors in their database when sending out the emails. In the grounds of decision on Tuesday (Jun 11), the commissioner pointed out that GrabCar had made a “grave error” in not conducting “proper user acceptance testing” before the emails were sent out. PDPC was notified of GrabCar’s error by GrabTaxi Holdings on Jan 5, 2018. On Dec 17, 2017, the company sent out 399,751 marketing emails to customers as part of a campaign. (500 words)

714. Apathy of ‘culturally closed off’ Singaporeans could affect social cohesion: IPS researcher

Singapore – Race | TODAY
Their apathy will hinder cohesion in Singapore’s multiracial society in the long run, IPS senior research fellow Mathew Mathews said on Thursday (July 19), when he released his findings at a forum organised by IPS and OnePeople.sg, the national body that promotes racial harmony. This group of Singaporeans mentioned by Dr Mathews was among several he studied, derived from a Channel NewsAsia-IPS survey published last year involving 2,000 survey respondents. He had categorised the respondents based on five main variables: Consumption of non-Singaporean culture, ethnic pride and performance, inter-ethnic literacy (how familiar they are with other races’ important ethnic and religious beliefs and customs), participation in festivals and activities of other races, and their acceptance of inter-ethnic dating. (700 words)

715. Arabisation and the threat to Singapore culture

Singapore – Race | TODAY
The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, is championing the discourse. Recently, the West Sumatra chapter of the Ulama Council of Indonesia openly voiced its displeasure with Islam Nusantara, declaring that Islam is already perfect. Promoters of Islam Nusantara are clear of its objective: to prevent the excessive borrowing of foreign ideas into the Indonesian Islamic discourse. Their top concern is rising radicalism and the importation of Middle Eastern culture at the expense of local norms, a phenomenon referred to as Arabisation. (1000 words)

716. 52 years of multiracialism — where does S’pore go from here?

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
The very birth of the Republic in 1965 was precipitated by two series of deadly racial riots the previous year, involving clashes between Malays and Chinese on the island when it was part of the Federation of Malaysia. Dozens were killed, with scores of others injured in these fights. Barely four years after Singapore was separated from Malaysia, communal riots broke out again in 1969 and lasted for a week, killing four people and injuring 80 others. Within a span of 19 years, Singapore had witnessed no less than four serious communal clashes, including the 1950 Maria Hertogh riots which erupted following a court ruling that gave the custody of a girl to her biological Dutch Catholic parents after she had been raised as a Muslim for eight years. (1000 words)

717. Building inclusiveness next task in S’pore’s journey

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
Citing examples of how local youths — such as his own four children — are making friends from all over the world and not “sticking to their own kind”, he believes the next generation recognise that they are actors in a multiracial world. The most evident sign of progress is that, increasingly, a Chinese living in a one-room flat is more likely to identify with a Malay or Indian living in the same housing type than with someone of his own race, said the 55-year-old. In his 17 years as a community mediator with the Ministry of Law, he has seen the nature of complaints morph from those between Singaporeans of different races into those involving new immigrants. (700 words)

718. Chinese-Malay couple enjoy the best of both worlds

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
Throw in Malay-Muslim post-natal practices, and things get decidedly more challenging. New mother Li Jinghan found herself navigating such a delicate balancing act in May after giving birth to a baby girl. In the end, the 27-year-old had a Chinese confinement nanny brewing red date tea and whipping up special dishes for her, and a Malay masseur doing traditional Malay herbal post-natal wraps and massages. Trying to satisfy both families’ desire to keep up with traditions was probably one of her most stressful experiences to date of being in a mixed-race marriage, said the part-time tutor who converted to Islam. (500 words)

719. Crazy Rich Identities

Singapore – Race | The Atlantic | August 25th, 2018
But in Singapore, some people are complaining that the film doesn’t capture their country’s actual diversity. That’s even granting the film’s focus on people who are crazy rich (not—to avoid confusion—crazy and rich, though some are both). “The focus is specifically on characters and faces of East Asian descent, which plays into issues of racism and colorism that still exist, not only in the US but in Asia,” the Singapore journalist Kirsten Han writes in Vox. The film’s “all-Asian boast,” in her view, is “nothing more than a perpetuation of the existing Chinese dominance in mainstream media and pop culture.” Sangeetha Thanapal, an Indian Singaporean writer and activist, takes issue with the way the movie is being sold as “this big win for diversity, as this representative juggernaut,” telling a New York Times reporter, “I think that’s really problematic because if you’re going to sell yourself as that, then you bloody better actually have actual representation.”To be fair, Kwan’s novel—which was satirizing his Chinese players more than celebrating them—wasn’t meant to cover the Singaporean waterfront. (2600 words)

720. Debate over CMIO model as diversity grows

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
A subset of the country’s long-standing Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others (CMIO) framework, this group made up 3.2 per cent of the resident population in June last year, nearly one percentage point higher than a decade ago. Over the same period, the proportion of Indians edged up by half a percentage point, while the share of Malays and Chinese fell marginally. As of last June, there were about 127,620 people classified as “Others” among a resident population of 
3.93 million, based on the latest figures from the Department of Statistics. (1100 words)

721. In full: PM Lee on race, multiracialism and Singapore’s place in the world

Singapore – Race | TODAY | September 29th, 2017
Singaporeans must therefore “know our blind spots” and ensure that the minority communities feel they belong here in Singapore, added Mr Lee in a speech at PA Kopitalk last Saturday (Sep 23). Below is PM Lee’s speech, in which he also spoke about the reserved election for the Elected Presidency and why Singapore’s founding fathers made multiracialism a fundamental principle on which the country was founded. Good morning everybody. Why MultiracialismRace has been a fundamental issue for Singapore from the very beginning of our nationhood. (3300 words)

722. More appeals made for waiver of HDB’s ethnic integration policy

Singapore – Race | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
Mr Wong was responding to a question from Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh, who asked if there were statistics on how much feedback the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has received from minority races on the inability to sell their flats because of the policy. The 1,600 figure is higher than the roughly 1,200 appeals received between 2013 and 2015, according to statistics previously revealed by the ministry. Four in five appeals were not successful. “For most of these unsuccessful cases, the applicants did not cite any reasons for their appeals, hence there was no basis to consider their requests,” the ministry had said in a written parliamentary reply in 2016. (400 words)

723. More Malay students from low-income families to benefit from revision of Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy scheme

Singapore – Race | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
The TTFS scheme, introduced in 1991, covers their tuition fees at tertiary institutions. Students from households with a per capita income (PCI) of S$1,400 and below will receive 100 per cent subsidy, while those with PCI between S$1,400 and S$1,700, and between S$1,700 and S$2,000, will receive 75 per cent and 50 per cent subsidy respectively. The income bands were S$1000 and below, S$1001 to S$1200, and S$1201 to S$1500 for the respective subsidies previously. Announcing the revision in Parliament on Thursday (Mar 8), Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said: “We recognise that the per capita income of families has risen over the last few years.” (300 words)

724. The policies that shaped a multiracial nation

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
It was to be expected since the issue was partly why Singapore had split from Malaysia. Disagreeing with Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Republic’s founding leaders believed staunchly that multiracialism was non-negotiable; it was the anchor needed to forge a nation. Since then, multiracialism has shaped many major national policies, spanning education, housing and politics, among others. Most recently, legislative changes were passed to ensure that the highest office of the land reflects Singapore’s ethnic diversity via a provision for elections reserved for a minority community that had not had a representative elected as President for five consecutive terms. (1400 words)

725. Two women warned for making ‘inflammatory’ race-related comments on Facebook: Police

Singapore – Race | Channel News Asia | July 6th, 2018
The women, both 28 years old, were investigated for posting comments that were “prejudicial to the maintenance of racial and religious harmony in Singapore”, said the police in a news release. The Facebook comments were sparked by an incident in October 2017, when the two women were spotted praying at a fire escape stairwell of a shopping mall. According to the police, the security personnel who found the women had waited for them to finish their prayers before explaining that the fire escape stairwell needed to be kept unobstructed for safety reasons. (300 words)

726. ‘I’m Eurasian Singaporean, not ang moh’

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
Even decked out in his army fatigues, the Eurasian — who describes his looks as “quite ang moh” (Hokkien for Westerner) — was once asked by a taxi driver: “What kind of benefits do you get for serving in our army?”Shocked by the cabbie’s question, the 42-year-old, who has Dutch, Portuguese, English, Indian and Chinese blood, said: “Wearing a uniform should already telegraph to someone that this person’s local.”Dr Ong-Webb, an honorary aide-de-camp to the President and commanding officer of an operationally ready National Service battalion, said historical consciousness of the Eurasian community has dwindled over the years, only to be rekindled by swimmer Joseph Schooling’s historic Olympic showing last August. (500 words)

727. ‘To be race-blind, we have to be race-conscious’

Singapore – Race | TODAY | August 8th, 2017
While some saluted him for raising the issue of racism, there were also those who slammed him for using the race card. In another incident last year, Facebook user Sarah Carmariah wrote about her interview experience at a bakery where the head of its baking department made racist remarks to her. The bakery turned out to be PrimaDeli, which sacked the staff member in question and apologised to Ms Carmariah and the “wider 
community”. As incidents like these show, Singapore is by no means immune from ugly racism, and racial issues remain a tinderbox here, even though the Republic has made significant progress in fostering harmonious relations among its diverse population over the last 52 years. (1300 words)

728. Progress on race and religion occur when issues surface: Pritam Singh on ‘offensive’ rap video by Preetipls

Singapore – Race | Channel News Asia | July 31th, 2019
Mr Singh was commenting on the video by YouTube performer Preeti Nair, also known as Preetipls, featuring her and her brother Subhas Nair rapping a stream of vulgarities in response to a controversial advertisement. The ad by NETS to promote the E-Pay platform featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew, who is Chinese, portraying characters of different races. This sparked criticism over the use of “brownface”, the act of darkening one’s fair skin to mimic that of another race. “The announcement of an investigation against Preeti Nair and Subhas Nair for offensive speech against the Chinese community is a case in point.”Mr Singh noted that the status quo on race and religion in Singapore is the result of tolerance, compromise and give-and-take among different communities. (600 words)

729. Singapore’s religious harmony law to be updated: Shanmugam

Singapore – Race | Channel News Asia | July 24th, 2019
Mr Shanmugam, who was speaking at a forum on religion, extremism and identity politics, said that the MRHA, which was passed in Parliament in 1990 and came into force in 1992, needs to be refreshed. “The world has become a very different place, we now have Facebook, Twitter, Google. Hate can go viral in seconds,” he said at the forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies and the Ministry of Home Affairs. “We are going to need to relook the MRHA, (and) need a more robust set of tools to make sure we can stop the spreading of hate and discord.” (800 words)

730. Rail reliability: Who pays and when?

Singapore – Rail | The Straits Times | February 18th, 2019
The revelation raises questions about the long-term sustainability of the rail system, and what Singapore can do to ensure both commuters and taxpayers share the burden of ensuring that sustainability equitably. The first financial model – where the state pays for the infrastructure and the first set of operating assets, and the operator bears costs associated with running the lines and replacement assets – worked well enough initially. In fact, so well that SMRT, the dominant rail player, was able to pay generous dividends to shareholders. (1200 words)

731. Singapore the world’s best country for children to grow up in: NGO report

Singapore – Rankings | TODAY
The report on 175 countries saw Singapore faring well across the eight indicators: Under-five mortality rate, child stunting, out-of-school children and youth, child labour, child marriage, adolescent birth rate, population displaced by conflict, and child homicide rate. Singapore scored 987 points out of a possible 1,000 in the report’s End of Childhood Index, and performed particularly well in areas such as adolescent birth rate, with only 3.8 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19, as compared the world’s average at 50.4. (700 words)

732. 60% of Singapore households recycle regularly, but many not doing it right: Surveys

Singapore – Recycling | Channel News Asia | April 28th, 2019
If you say yes, you’re not alone, but these items do not belong in a recycling bin, according to authorities. Around 60 per cent of Singapore households recycle regularly, but many still find it difficult to identify contaminants and non-recyclables, surveys conducted by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) have found. The two surveys, which were conducted between June 2018 and February 2019, covered different aspects of household recycling, said the agencies in a joint media release on Monday (Apr 29). (700 words)

733. Commentary: Why doesn’t recycling rope in the karang guni?

Singapore – Recycling | Channel News Asia | May 4th, 2019
The community also announced a range of efforts to curb waste as part of its newly launched zero-waste masterplan, including innovative ways for residents to communicate with each other when they have excess food to give away through the use of Telegram. Such local efforts to reduce waste ought to be commended. Unfortunately, recycling woes continue to plague Singapore in its designated year of climate change action. Despite efforts to improve awareness, our overall recycling rate dipped slightly from 61 per cent in 2017 to 60 per cent in 2018, according to statistics from the National Environment Agency (NEA). (1400 words)

734. Let’s move from being multi-religious to being inter-religious

Singapore – Religion | The Straits Times | June 6th, 2018
In his response, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cautioned against “external forces that could exploit fault-lines like race, language and religion and pull Singaporeans in different directions” and that these had grown stronger. Both observations touch the core of the unique character of Singapore as a global and cosmopolitan city-state at the confluence of diverse cultures from early historical days to the present, and which will be so in future. Living in a multicultural society is therefore not a new experience for Singaporeans. (1000 words)

735. Screening of foreign preachers in Singapore: Why and what’s next?

Singapore – Religion | Channel News Asia | March 13th, 2018
American Islamic speaker and author Yasmin Mogahed, for instance, offers insights on spiritual enlightenment and personal development – “a combination that speaks to many young Muslims”, as Sarah explains. And Serene recalls a worship and songwriting conference she attended last year, which featured California-based pastor Dan McCollam. “It’s encouraging to hear from fellow believers who practice their faith and serve God in a different culture, but with the same love for Jesus Christ,” she said. (900 words)

736. Singapore churches must ‘exercise due diligence’ when inviting foreign preachers, says national council

Singapore – Religion | Channel News Asia | April 5th, 2018
The preacher, Mr Lou Engle, was alleged to have made anti-Islamic comments at a Singapore event last month, leading to an investigation by the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as Singapore police requesting him to return to the country for an interview. Mr Engle was speaking at a conference organised by Singapore’s Cornerstone Community Church. Its pastor and founder Yang Tuck Yoong apologised to Muslim leaders yesterday and promised that Mr Engle would not be invited to Singapore again. In a letter signed by its president Rennis Ponniah and general secretary Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, the NCCS said it “notes with deep concern the controversy” caused by Mr Engle. (400 words)

737. Watain concert cancelled based on Christian community’s reaction after initial approval: Shanmugam

Singapore – Religion | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
The Swedish metal band had been scheduled to perform at the EBX Live Space along Pereira Road on Mar 7, but the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced just hours before that it was scrapping the gig following security concerns raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Breaking down the sequence of events that led to the cancellation, Mr Shanmugam said that IMDA first received the application from the show’s organiser in December 2018. IMDA then requested a reconsideration of MHA’s position, proposing its detailed licensing conditions and requirements for the concert, including that it would be classified R18, potentially sensitive songs would be removed, there would be no use of religious symbols as well as references to religion in the band’s on-stage dialogue, and that the content would not denigrate any faith or promote violence in any way. (1200 words)

738. Keeping employees safe and sound: On patrol with workplace safety inspectors

Singapore – Safety | Channel News Asia | August 24th, 2018
“Where is the front gate? Why are there no directional signs?” asked 24-year-old Siti Hajar Salim in a perplexed tone. She was taking the lead in the operation and was acting as navigator to her buddy-mentor Aidil Mohamed Riduan, 39. The group is from the Ministry of Manpower’s Occupational Safety and Health Division, and they were inspecting a supply company. The division has already carried out more than 2,600 inspections this year. The inspection, carried out earlier this month, was part of Operation Junco which targets workplaces where there are greater risks from accidents involving vehicles, such as warehouses, shipyards, construction worksites and delivery businesses. (1300 words)

739. Shell fined S$400,000 for Pulau Bukom fire that injured 6 workers

Singapore – Safety | Channel News Asia | January 8th, 2019
The fire left six workers injured, including two with critical injuries after they suffered 50 per cent and 70 per cent burns. On Aug 21, 2015, two groups of workers were simultaneously conducting maintenance and project works on a crude distillation unit at the refinery, said the ministry. The first group was carrying out hot works on a scaffold. This included the use of a blow-cutting torch from an oxy-acetylene cylinder to cut and dismantle existing pipes. The other group was carrying out cold works along a hydrocarbon solvent line on the ground. (500 words)

740. Company fined, supervisor jailed after accident paralyses worker

Singapore – Safety | Channel News Asia | May 22nd, 2019
AVA Global was fined S$210,000 for failing to take steps to ensure the safety its employees, while construction foreman Sarkar Mithun was sentenced to nine weeks’ jail for negligence. Sarkar was tasked to supervise the installation of tubular ceiling panels at a building belonging to National University of Singapore. According to MOM, AVA Global did not give Sarkar any installation instructions. “Sarkar decided on the method of installation himself, based on his observations on how the panels were installed previously by a different company,” said the ministry. (400 words)

741. S$99 million lost to scams in 2017: Police

Singapore – Scams | Channel News Asia | February 9th, 2018
But Ms Tan (not her real name) was then asked to pay S$3,000 to cover a “Singapore tax charge” for the delivery of these gifts. The 40-year-old agreed, but then came further requests for an additional S$12,500 to be paid. That was when she knew that she had become a victim of an Internet love scam. “I am used to receiving requests from different friends from different countries,” said Ms Tan in a phone interview on Friday (Feb 9). “So I told myself, this was normal.”Her new “friend” said he was a 35-year-old Singaporean Chinese man, living in the United States. (600 words)

742. No need for aircon, as NUS researchers invent gel that lowers humidity, produces electricity

Singapore – Science | TODAY
Now, a group of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) may have found a way to get around the physical discomfort without the use of air-conditioners. They have invented a special hydrogel, a gel-like material that harnesses the moisture in the air to reduce ambient temperature, or the temperature of a person’s immediate surroundings. Upon absorbing the moisture, the hydrogel can be used for a wide range of practical applications as well — most interestingly, to generate electricity. (500 words)

743. Man fined for saying there was a bomb in his luggage on Scoot flight

Singapore – Security | Channel News Asia | October 3rd, 2018
Hsu Chun Meng, a 41-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to one charge of using threatening words by stating there was a bomb in his luggage. The court heard that he was travelling from Singapore to Hat Yai in Thailand with two friends on Apr 5 this year. At about 12.55pm, the three of them boarded the plane for Scoot flight TR634 at Changi Airport Terminal 2. However, the bag was too big and the compartment could not be closed. Scoot stewardess Boo Joe We, 23, who saw what was happening, then told him that the luggage was oversized and had to be checked in. (500 words)

744. MRT checks: How far should security screenings go?

Singapore – Security | The Straits Times | November 16th, 2018
Against a backdrop of bomb attacks in cities such as Moscow, Madrid, London and Kunming, the impetus to act becomes stronger. This could explain why the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched a trial this week to enhance security screening at MRT stations. It rolled out the measures at six stations, starting with Little India and Bedok. Commuters walk through metal detectors and put their bags through X-ray scanners. The trial will take six months and cover selected MRT stations across the entire rail network. (1500 words)

745. Commentary: Terms like ‘Lucky boy’ and ‘men will be men’ are problematic double standards

Singapore – Sexual Abuse | Channel News Asia | June 14th, 2019
Thursday (Jun 13) was one of those days for me. After the Ministry of Education (MOE) came out to underscore the severity of a case involving a female secondary school teacher convicted this week of sexually exploiting her 15-year-old male student, a similar set of disturbing comments that prompted MOE’s response in the first place started to mushroom on social media. “What abuse? It’s enjoyment,” said a reader. “The boy will be looked upon as a superstar,” said another. And the verdict on these lewd reactions? (1000 words)

746. Female teacher who sexually exploited 15-year-old student during ‘staycation’ gets jail

Singapore – Sexual Abuse | Channel News Asia | June 10th, 2019
The woman’s relationship with the teen had not started out well as the boy did not do well in Mathematics, the subject she taught him, the court heard. During a National Cadet Corps (NCC) mountain-climbing event, she asked him why he hated her and he answered that he did not. The woman started dating the boy and their relationship lasted nine months. The court was told that the pair went for a “staycation” where she made him perform sex acts on her and vice versa between Nov 28, 2016 and Dec 2, 2016. (800 words)

747. Trust placed on teachers shouldn’t be ‘trivialised’: MOE on comments that sexually exploited boy was ‘lucky’

Singapore – Sexual Abuse | Channel News Asia | June 12th, 2019
It said this in an emailed response to CNA when asked about comments made online about the case of a female secondary school teacher who was convicted on Monday (Jun 10) of sexually exploiting her 15-year-old male student. The woman, now 29, was sentenced to jail for two years and nine months. She had made the teenage boy perform sex acts on her and vice versa during a “staycation” in Geylang between Nov 28, 2016 and Dec 2, 2016. “I will be a proud dad if it happened to my son,” said one person commenting on CNA’s Facebook page. (600 words)

748. Commentary: Getting more sleep might land you that promotion

Singapore – Sleep | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
We had heard about the endless options of films, documentaries and TV shows that we could choose from. For her, the decisive factor was the ability to access a repository of Korean dramas. I was more concerned with whether we would end up glued to our devices and forget the existence of our three children. However, a more valid concern was whether this newfound subscription would eat into our already precious sleeping hours. Thus, it is not surprising that we would also spend less time sleeping. (1100 words)

749. Commentary: Sleeping more is essential to performing well at work and school

Singapore – Sleep | Channel News Asia | February 19th, 2019
Undergraduate Ng Chia Wee expressed frustration dealing with the tension between obtaining adequate sleep and the drive to excel in our work and studies in a recent commentary for Channel NewsAsia. He painted a vivid picture: A community of like-minded students burning the midnight oil with dogged determination, holding resolutely to the belief that “this will all be worth it”. These expressions of hard work and sacrifice in pursuit of excellence are admirable. However, lest we romanticise the notion of sleep as a worthy sacrifice, the consequences of doing so need to be given due consideration. (1300 words)

750. E-cigarettes: Neither ban nor permit, but reduce harm

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | June 19th, 2018
It started with a commentary by Professor Tikki Pang and Ms Gayle Amu (“Why a ban on e-cigarettes may not be the best policy”; ST, June 9) in which they suggested that Singapore might consider permitting the use of e-cigarettes as an option to reduce the disease burden of smoking by encouraging smokers to substitute cigarettes with less harmful products. Their views are aligned to that of Public Health England, the English government’s public health agency, which has urged smokers to switch from smoking to vaping, as e-cigarette use is known. (1300 words)

751. NEA will use cameras to detect illegal smoking – here’s how it could work

Singapore – Smoking | Channel News Asia | September 19th, 2018
These pan-tilt-zoom cameras can also track offenders on the move and operate both day and night, said Mr Kenneth Tan, sales director at Transmex Systems International (TSI), a security solutions provider that deals in surveillance systems for law enforcement. In her closing speech following a parliamentary debate on the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) (Amendment) Bill on Sep 10, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said the National Environment Agency (NEA) is exploring “the use of thermal cameras to deter indiscriminate smoking”. (900 words)

752. Why a ban on e-cigarettes may not be the best policy

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | June 9th, 2018
1 cause of avoidable death. The 2018 edition of Tobacco Atlas, a publication of the American Cancer Society and Vital Strategies, reports that tobacco use kills about seven million people each year and that this figure is expected to increase with a population that is growing and ageing. In Singapore, more than 2,200 people die from tobacco-related diseases every year, making tobacco use one of the top risk factors for death and disability. Singapore is known for tough tobacco-control measures, including comprehensive bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; high taxation; designation of smoke-free areas; measures to reduce illicit trade; and support for smoking cessation. (1000 words)

753. Why a health policy banning e-cigarettes is an act of prudence

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | June 16th, 2018
Professor Tikki Pang and Ms Gayle Amul recently weighed in on the range of policy responses to e-cigarettes globally, and concluded that Singapore ought to keep an open mind on e-cigarettes and shape policies only on the back of evidence and evaluations about costs and benefits (“Why a ban on e-cigarettes may not be the best policy”; June 9). The authors have raised several excellent points. To summarise their observations and other existing public health evidence, we do currently know the following about e-cigarettes:•Short-term data shows that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes to current smokers – that is, if these smokers switch partially or completely to e-cigarettes. (1000 words)

754. ‘Not intended to be a magic bullet’: Health professionals weigh in on proposed changes to tobacco packaging

Singapore – Smoking | Channel News Asia | October 31st, 2018
This comes after the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it would introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products sold in Singapore, as part of ongoing efforts for a tobacco-free society. Under the proposed measures, products will have to be sold in plain packaging with graphic health warnings covering at least 75 per cent of the packet. Health professionals in Singapore welcomed the proposed changes, but pointed out that these should operate in tandem with other initiatives to reduce smoking. (700 words)

755. Commentary: The year Singapore attempts to snuff out tobacco

Singapore – Smoking | Channel News Asia | December 31st, 2018
With a slew of measures making it harder for one to light up or start smoking, Singapore appears to be systematically de-normalising tobacco use as a habit, and painting it as a socially unacceptable and undesirable activity. Apart from hiking up excise taxes on all tobacco products in February 2018 to make smoking more financially costly, the Smoking Act was amended to make it more difficult to smoke in public spaces. The passed amendments additionally bans smoking in reservoirs and parks, compounds of autonomous universities and private education institutions, and more recently, public areas within the Orchard Road precinct, with the latter to be implemented come Jan 1, 2019. (1500 words)

756. Plain packaging of tobacco products never intended as ‘silver bullet’

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | November 16th, 2018
Many have lauded the move, including Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), who tweeted a congratulatory message to Singapore. However, some have derided the move as superficial and naive, and one which is unlikely to change the behaviour of smokers. How is it that the same announcement that is endorsed by Dr Ghebreyesus as “showing public health leadership” has drawn scathing comments on social media as a superficial or a “wayang” act? Smoking is clearly an extremely emotive issue. (1000 words)

757. Commentary: Youth smoking is a problem, so is youth vaping

Singapore – Smoking | Channel News Asia | March 3rd, 2019
But when it comes to vaping there is no consensus. Vapes, also known as e-cigarettes, are electronic devices that heat up a vapour solution (“e-liquid”) and send it into the lungs much like a regular cigarette. Some look like regular cigarettes while others look more like fancy pens, flash drives or high-end tech gadgets. Sales of imitation tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, have been banned in Singapore since 1993. In February 2018, Singapore also made it illegal to buy, use or possess these. (1100 words)

758. Where there’s smoke, there’s ire

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | January 6th, 2019
The first request is fine, the second has me in a panic. My curtains will stink and my couch will require Febreze but maybe it’s too late for my lungs. They greedily sucked in smoke for over 30 years. My friend has spent a career reporting on thugs and terrorists and is not easily intimidated by threats. I wouldn’t ban her anyway but have nevertheless herded her gently to a window where she puffs pensively. In my house, where no helper lives, no child and no dog, it’s my rules. People can smoke there, but in Orchard Road and in public, well, that’s another matter. (800 words)

759. Why tobacco companies are so nervous about plain packaging

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | February 18th, 2019
That means that, as of next year, all tobacco packs sold in Singapore will be a drab brown colour with all logos, fancy colours and branding elements removed and yucky warning labels covering 70 per cent of the pack surface. Plain packaging has created quite a stir for tobacco companies. In response to plain packaging, the tobacco companies have spent considerable time and money lobbying governments, suing governments, running anti-plain packaging campaigns and trying to sway public opinion. All the arguments the companies have used to resist plain packaging, such as the argument that it results in crime and terrorism, have been proven wrong. (900 words)

760. Smoking ban threatens to call last orders on Orchard Road bars

Singapore – Smoking | The Straits Times | April 26th, 2019
But since the Orchard Road smoking ban kicked in on Jan 1, the strip of bars where Cable Car sits has been worryingly empty. “There’s almost a 40 per cent drop in business, it’s crazy,” the bar’s manager Mr Nick Phehtold The Straits Times. His is not the only outlet feeling the squeeze. Acid Bar, Muddy Murphy’s, Brewerkz and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf have also reported similar dips in custom. Anyone caught lighting up outside designated smoking areas (DSAs) risks a composition fine of $200, or the maximum court fine of up to $1,000. (400 words)

761. Beware destructive power of social media

Singapore – Social Media | The Straits Times | May 13th, 2018
The latest upset in Malaysia is a case study in how misinformation can create unnecessary panic. While it is too early to map out the repercussions accurately, it is safe to say that there were many photos and videos posted by users with a specific agenda. A three-minute video of a riot breaking out in Malaysia was circulating on platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp on May 2. Blows were exchanged and people were seen being rounded up to be physically and verbally abused. In another dramatic clip, demonstrators took to the streets, threw objects at police officers and overturned a car. (800 words)

762. Can’t remember what you did 10 years ago? Facebook has a better memory than you do

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | March 25th, 2018
Whether it’s reading a news story shared on my News Feed, or finding out about an old schoolfriend’s wedding, it seems that Facebook provides me with an almost never-ending source of entertainment and information with just a few taps and swipes on my phone. Just a few days ago, I learnt that every single thing I’d ever done on Facebook – every message I sent, every ad I clicked on, and every emoji I sent or received in the past 10-odd years of my Facebook existence – was niftily captured in this file called Facebook Archive. (1000 words)

763. Commentary: Unhealthy culture of consumerism on social media fueling anxiety and low self-esteem

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | August 6th, 2018
But this consumption-oriented sharing may be undermining both our bank balance and our mental well-being. Research has found that this sort of social media engagement is linked in some people to greater anxiety, lower self-esteem and an increased likelihood of excessive spending. Around 40 per cent of the world’s population uses social media, with young people spending the greatest amount of time online. So understanding the influence of social media on health and well-being is critical to reducing potential harm. (600 words)

764. Commentary: What you get if you drink the Kool-Aid of social media marketing

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | January 8th, 2018
This may have been the message received by the Ministry of Finance this week when a move to tap on social media influencers to promote Budget 2018 drew the attention of the Singapore online community. Netizens reading the news of the Finance Ministry’s effort to partner Instagrammers to “provide bite-sized educational information on the Budget” responded with mild amusement, even though the ministry clarified that it had done this too for Budget 2017. Many wondered whether the campaign got maximum bang for the authorities’ buck; one influencer who did not want to be named said he received S$100 for putting up his Instagram post. (1100 words)

765. Commentary: When Facebook changed its algorithm, did users really benefit?

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | January 11th, 2018
On , Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that one of the social media giant’s “big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent”. Facebook’s goal will no longer be helping users “find relevant content”, but helping them “have more meaningful social interaction”. Posts from businesses, brands and media are “crowding out the personal moments” for users, he said. “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” he wrote. (1400 words)

766. ‘We made a wrong call’: Facebook says it should have informed users earlier on Cambridge Analytica breach

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | March 22nd, 2018
This is according to its vice-president of public policy for Asia-Pacific, Simon Milner, who appeared before the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. He was questioned by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam for about three hours. Mr Shanmugam had quizzed Mr Milner about allegations that Facebook data was misused by Cambridge Analytica and whether it was “odd” that users were not informed earlier from the perspective of a “reasonable person”. To that, Mr Milner said “it definitely looks like a decision where we made the wrong call”. (600 words)

767. The truth does not lie online always

Singapore – Social Media | The Straits Times | April 29th, 2018
Here, apparently, was the driver of a luxury car who had allegedly asked for a full tank at a petrol station but then refused to pay the $135 bill because he claimed to have asked for only $10 worth of petrol. The elderly pump attendant, clearly not among the most well-off in Singapore, offered to pay the remaining $125 in order to avoid a dispute. An online post about the incident went viral and infuriated netizens, many of whom immediately jumped to ideological conclusions. The incident could have served as the basis of an excellent morality play on the ugliness of a boorish society – except that it was not all that it was portrayed to be. (300 words)

768. Embarrassing and risky: When parents share too much of their children online

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | June 5th, 2019
But this act of ‘sharenting’ — using social media to share images and news of one’s child — has become a matter of concern for this 14-year-old. “My dad sent a picture to a friend, and that picture had my hand in it … I’m quite sensitive because people say that it looks fat,” she recounted. “It didn’t really look good in that picture … so I felt rather uncomfortable. But my dad refused to take it down.”Her parents have published countless posts about her. But she feels increasingly that “they’re bragging” online, even when she thinks a picture is “unglamorous”. (1100 words)

769. The Big Read: Dangers lurk in youth’s chase for social media ‘likes’

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | July 28th, 2019
This is a snapshot of a day in the life of 21-year-old full-time model Lukas Koshy, who has been losing sleep since he got sucked into the latest social media craze, TikTok, a video-sharing app filled with 15-second lip-syncing videos, memes, and all things amusing to a Generation Z’er like him. Five hours of sleep is all that he is mostly getting these days. “It’s unhealthy,” the Singaporean admits, but he doesn’t see a need to change his ways. He has over 13,600 followers and a “like” count of more than 95,000. (3200 words)

770. Ambulance driver who shared photo of hanged maid fined

Singapore – Social Media | Channel News Asia | September 10th, 2018
Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, 30, who has since lost his job, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Official Secrets Act. He was an emergency ambulance vehicle driver with Unistrong, a company contracted to respond to medical emergencies. On Feb 1 last year, Haziq was on duty at the Marine Parade Fire Post when he and his team were dispatched to a room where a maid was found hanging from a fan. His team members carried out the necessary procedures to search for signs of life. The co-accused, Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain, a 27-year-old Unistrong emergency ambulance paramedic, pronounced the woman dead. (500 words)

771. Disrupted football match in Yishun Stadium: Being a good sport when it’s hard to find that sweet spot

Singapore – Sports | The Straits Times | April 26th, 2018
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Centre of Excellence match between its Football Academy Under-19s and Singapore Premier League side Warriors had overrun its time and was into the 69th minute at Yishun Stadium on April 10 when two of the four floodlights were turned off at 9pm. The lights were not enough for a full game. Local sports governing body Sport Singapore (SportSG) has taken responsibility for the incident, blaming the lack of flexibility of its staff at the facility. SportSG did not explain what prompted staff to take the action. (1500 words)

772. ‘Passionate about football, until the last breath’: The Singaporean referee who made World Cup history

Singapore – Sports | Channel News Asia | June 22nd, 2018
While some of the names, faces and countries may be a bit of a blur, there is one figure she always keeps an eye on – the referee. “I like to watch all the referees and what they do. Sometimes I know the mistakes they make as well,” Mdm Suppiah told Channel NewsAsia. “I feel very sad when the game starts and I see the referees there. But, I have to change my thinking and then I cheer when I watch the game.” The reason for Mdm Suppiah’s focus on the man in the middle – and her sadness? Her late husband was the first Singaporean to officiate at the World Cup. (1100 words)

773. Commentary: Singapore, don’t let this World Cup lesson go to waste

Singapore – Sports | Channel News Asia | July 16th, 2018
In a tournament ruled by underdogs, a pup of a country – not yet 27 years old – hoofed, hared and hustled to the very last, only to fall short against a supremely gifted French outfit. Even then Croatia refused to stay down, as has been their story for the last five weeks in Russia, and what a narrative it was. Back home their small and declining population continue to suffer the effects of economic and political uncertainty, with a football federation awash in corruption scandals that have directly impacted players – including one now recognised as the best at the World Cup, Luka Modric. (900 words)

774. Crutch mentality and lack of drive in Singapore sports: On the Record with Ben Tan, Singapore Sailing Federation President

Singapore – Sports | Channel News Asia | February 25th, 2018
The president of the Singapore Sailing Federation believes firmly in the power of hardship. “I might be in a very cushy environment, but I create hardship for myself. Hardship provides drive. If I’ve got money to spend on lunch, doesn’t mean I’ve got to spend it. I pretend that I’m poor. I pretend that I can’t afford a better boat. I make do with old sails. I push myself. So I create that hardship because that ultimately makes me stronger.”This is one of the keys to his success as an Asian Games and four-time consecutive Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Gold medalist. (3400 words)

775. Further enhancements needed to improve water safety teaching: Dr Teo Ho Pin

Singapore – Sports | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2018
The former chair of the now disbanded National Water Safety Council Dr Teo Ho Pin said this, even after recent changes to the SwimSafer programme, which Sport Singapore (SportSG) said would provide participants with “a more rigorous water survival and swimming competency programme”. Dr Teo, who is also Mayor of NorthWest Community Development Council, also called for a national body to spearhead the programme. In February, SportSG announced SwimSafer 2.0, following a review it undertook with the Education Ministry. (1900 words)

776. Schooling’s fame now comes at a price – for advertisers

Singapore – Sports | The Straits Times | April 8th, 2018
We see famous faces everywhere – on billboards, on television, on public transport, on social media, in the newspapers and magazines. But do we ever wonder why a particular individual whose achievements in film, music or sports that have no relevance to the endorsed product would be attractive to consumers? Why would Jura appoint Roger Federer to be its global brand ambassador for coffee machines? Why would Novita engage singer Kit Chan to endorse air sterilisers? Would fans of Cristiano Ronaldo and Beyonce eat KFC or drink Pepsi because their idols are the spokesmen for these brands? (1300 words)

777. The Big Read: Forget the Trump-Kim summit, here’s what Singapore is really gearing up for

Singapore – Sports | TODAY
All local businesses and retailers are waiting for is for World Cup fever to grip the nation. With the 2018 Fifa World Cup set to kick off in Russia on Thursday (June 14), businesses and retailers here are pulling out all stops to capitalise on the quadrennial football extravaganza. From extending their operating hours, installing more television screens at their premises, stocking up on products, to building their marketing and promotions plans around the month-long event, businesses are hoping to get that extra boost to their bottom lines through the tournament. (2000 words)

778. Singapore marathon runner gets provisional suspension for flouting doping rules

Singapore – Sports | Channel News Asia | May 1st, 2019
Modafinil, a prohibited substance, was found to be present in the urine sample of Lim Baoying, who had clocked 3hr 16min 35sec to become the marathon’s top local woman. In an email reply to CNA, Lim said that she had consumed medication to battle sleepiness before the race, without considering the list of prohibited in-competition substances. Upon finding out that she had flouted doping rules after the race, she then flagged her use of the medication to the Athletics Integrity Unit and organisers, “well before” the results of the urine test. (400 words)

779. Monthly household income in Singapore rising faster than expenditure, survey shows

Singapore – Statistics | Channel News Asia | July 31th, 2019
Conducted by the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat), the Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18 also found improvements in the standard of living here. Resident households’ average monthly household income from all sources – defined as regular income from employment, business, investment and others, as well as regular government transfers such as the Workfare Income Supplement – was S$11,780, up from S$10,470 in 2012/13 when the survey was last conducted. This was an increase of 2.4 per cent per annum in nominal terms, or 2.2 per cent a year in real terms after factoring in inflation. (1000 words)

780. From O-level failure to millionaire at 29, on a policy of honesty first

Singapore – Stories | Channel News Asia | June 21th, 2019
But few know that Singaporean toilet activist Jack Sim is a shrewd businessman, retired property developer and self-made millionaire who came from a poor family, failed his O levels and went on to own 15 properties. He was even a construction site supervisor once, but not a particularly good one. “I supervised construction workers, but I didn’t know how to do this job, so my work was really shabby,” recalled the 62-year-old. “The foreman of the construction site told my boss to take me out of the site because I was totally unprofessional, and that was true.”He eventually quit that job, and went on to sell building materials and develop properties — and the programme Money Mind finds out how he succeeded in business before switching roles to become a campaigner for cleaner toilets. (1300 words)

781. More than just plastic: Excerpts from plastic surgeon Woffles Wu’s memoir

Singapore – Story | The Straits Times | August 12th, 2018
This has been because of lack of talent, lack of hard work, lack of time, lack of patience or sheer lack of attention to detail. I can tell you how not to run a restaurant because I have been a huge failure at this. It all started 10 years ago. My family owns a little shophouse in Chinatown which once housed a famous old Cantonese noodle shop called Yick Sang. We didn’t own it at the time. It had become a French bistro when we bought it and when that closed down, I started to use the space as my little “clubhouse”. (2200 words)

782. Singapore’s supercomputer ambitions get a timely, much-needed boost

Singapore – Supercomputer | Channel News Asia | March 25th, 2019
The department director of Materials Science and Chemistry at the Agency for Science Technology and Research’s IHPC said that these problems can range from everyday applications like developing hand lotions for Asian skin to designing biodegradable plastic bottles. Singapore’s only supercomputer – Aspire 1 – can, for example, be used to digitally simulate how a component of hand lotion would interact with different skin samples, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming experiments using physical test subjects, he explained during a recent interview with Channel NewsAsia. (1000 words)

783. Singapore today: An egalitarian approach to tax

Singapore – Tax | The Straits Times | February 28th, 2019
Prof Kelman suggested that Singapore was now being run like a corporation (“the nation appears to have moved from being a cause to being more of a corporation”) and had moved away from its socialist roots. He argued that the taxation policy had become less egalitarian and cited the maximum rates for personal and corporate income taxes and the regressive goods and services tax as evidence. For example, the top individual income tax rate fell from 55 per cent in 1980, to 20 per cent in the early 2000s before going up to 22 per cent in 2015. (1000 words)

784. Are we ready for the ‘moral’ car?

Singapore – Tech | The Straits Times | March 11th, 2018
As the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs) lurches ahead, the automotive industry will soon be churning out millions of cars capable of doing away with the human driver (perhaps even the steering wheel) and achieving a safety record that surpasses any human’s. A number of videos on YouTube show autonomous carmaker Tesla’s Autopilot feature predicting collisions and preventing them, saving occupants from bodily harm. Since a fully autonomous vehicle can prevent the wrong thing – a collision that causes hurt – is an AV a moral agent? (1200 words)

785. How to navigate ethical issues of AI and Data

Singapore – Tech | TODAY
This council will be chaired by former Attorney-General V K Rajah and will work with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to address the ethical and legal issues arising from the usage of such technologies. The council could not have come at a more timely moment, given the rapid developments in AI and Big Data in recent years. AI is a set of technologies that can emulate human traits and processes including problem solving and even self-learning. Combined with data, such technologies can have wide applications. (1000 words)

786. Keep pressure on tech firms to compete on trust, ethics

Singapore – Tech | The Straits Times | June 10th, 2018
So it is a surprise that several of the world’s largest tech firms are increasingly speaking up about their moral qualities – their trustworthiness when it comes to protecting clients’ data, for instance, or their inclusive approach towards spreading the gains from the digital economy. This global trend was on display at Singapore’s Smart Nation Innovations event, held last week at Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Delivering the keynote address last Tuesday, Mr Caesar Sengupta, Google vice-president for The Next Billion Users, emphasised technology’s goodness. (1200 words)

787. Army of fake reviewers being built to dupe buyers, drive online sales

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | June 20th, 2018
And she gets paid a few hundred dollars for each positive review she posts, never mind that she does not try out some of the items but makes up her evaluations instead – with companies in on the flat-out fakery. She is part of an army of fake reviewers secretly hired by recruiting companies that manage the online reputations of businesses. “They send me the link to the product, then they’d ask me to give a good review,” she disclosed. Lynn (not her real name), who is in her 30s, writes about three to four reviews a month, and knows some full-time fake reviewers who earn about S$1,600 a month. (800 words)

788. Artificial Intelligence platform launched to help doctors crunch patient data, make better diagnoses

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | July 6th, 2018
It is a facial recognition device which is able to match a patient to his or her medical and personal data. There is no manual registration or paperwork to be done. A text message will tell the patient which consultation room to head to, and the medical bill could even be sent directly to the patient’s home or email address. This could soon become a reality at hospitals under the National University Health System (NUHS), with an artificial intelligence healthcare system called Discovery AI which incorporates different AI tools to make sense of the huge amount of hospital data. (600 words)

789. Commentary: A while more before robots and artificial intelligence run our lives for us

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | June 12th, 2018
In April, NTU engineers succeeded in building a robot that could assemble an IKEA chair. And over the last few months we’ve heard much about “Nadine” – an AI with a human face, designed to respond to human speech and emotions. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently flagged AI as an area Singapore is making good progress developing frontier technologies in, noting especially Alibaba’s establishment of a joint research institute at NTU. But beyond these headline-making, attention-grabbing events, how likely is it that AI will be transforming our lives in the near future? (800 words)

790. Commentary: Amid rampant online deceit, consumers need to grow up and beware

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | June 20th, 2018
But what you get is horrifyingly abysmal – damp sheets, a musty stench in the air and none of the custom amenities you were promised. Although everyone who has been through such an experience tells me vehemently that they have ceased to take reviews into account when making buying decisions, this is still not yet an uncommon story. A recent episode of Talking Point pointed out that the prevalence of fake reviewers has risen in tandem with the online shopping boom. A 2016 survey by business consultancy PwC showed some 57 per cent of respondents in Singapore used social media to read reviews, compared with 45 per cent globally. (1100 words)

791. Commentary: Despite flexible work arrangements, work stress has worsened

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | July 17th, 2018
Yet in a recent study by risk advisory company Willis Towers Watson, 60 per cent of employees surveyed in Singapore admitted to having above average or high levels of stress. Another recent study by recruitment agency Robert Half showed that 25 per cent of Singaporean professionals surveyed revealed they would leave their current job for a better work–life balance. When managed appropriately, work stress has a positive impact on our work performance – think about the burst of adrenalin that carries you through a major project. (900 words)

792. Commentary: How do we know when we’ve become a Smart Nation?

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | January 30th, 2018
Discussion has also centred on the disruption digitalisation is creating in the marketplace. Digitalisation however, does not equate digital transformation. We often use the terms interchangeably, but true digital transformation requires a much broader outlook, a complete end-to-end overhaul. You must consider the surrounding ecosystem – from designers and manufacturers to suppliers, partners and customers. This transformation goes beyond technology and processes. It is also a state-of-mind: The willingness to adapt and be open to change. (900 words)

793. Commentary: Many may be forgotten if data drives public policy

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | July 22nd, 2018
Data is widely seen as a kind of resource – the oil of the 21st century – that can be mined to “unlock value and innovation” as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has put it. Data is now touted as a powerful resource that will solve problems in healthcare, transport, crime, education, and bring new economic opportunities. But such metaphors can be misleading. Data, unlike oil, is not something that is just sitting in the ground waiting to be collected. It is mostly generated by people – when we use our smartphones, ride the MRT, visit the doctor, surf the Internet or drive our cars. (1100 words)

794. Edelman and EDB want to unlock companies’ ability to use data for good

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | June 26th, 2018
That was the problem statement oil company Shell put forward to communications company Edelman in 2017, as it tried to tackle road rage in Malaysia where statistics showed that an average of 18 people die every day in road accidents, said Mr Yeelim Lee, general manager of Edelman Predictive Intelligence Centre, during a recent interview with Channel NewsAsia. In order to understand some of the causes for road rage among drivers, wearable tracking devices were handed to 300 volunteer drivers during a two-week period last April. (800 words)

795. Gateless gantries, suspended trams among public transport innovations on show at World Cities Summit

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | July 9th, 2018
Jointly organised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the International Association of Public Transport, some 100 exhibitors from more than 25 countries and regions are presenting their technologies and services to improve the public transport industry. One of the technologies on display is ST Engineering’s gateless, hands-free fare deduction system. It can use either long-range RFID or facial recognition to detect and identify a passenger walking through the gantry. And passengers won’t have to tap a card or do much else – simply walk through the fare gantry. (400 words)

796. How to drag Big Tech away from the dark side

Singapore – Tech | The Straits Times | February 17th, 2018
We were lured by their convenience and ease of use; by the idea of free access to everything and everyone. We did not see the dark side – until it was too late. By then we were already addicted, with horrific consequences for public health, democracy and the economy. Smartphones are valuable, but the apps delivered on them are the technological equivalent of sugar: easy to consume to excess. Internet platforms apply the techniques of propaganda or gambling to trigger emotional responses over which users have little or no control. (800 words)

797. Unmanned passenger drones: From sci-fi fantasy to mainstream reality?

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | March 9th, 2018
While such a scenario currently only exists in science-fiction, the technology to ferry humans in unmanned drone aircrafts could be perfected in the not-too-distant future. The development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) was mentioned in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 8) by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng. “There is huge potential for UAS to spur new and innovative applications across industries,” he said. “In time to come, UAS can potentially even ferry people through the air, adding a new dimension to urban mobility.” (1100 words)

798. What does a Smart Society look like?

Singapore – Tech | The Straits Times | July 24th, 2018
The Government has moved quickly across a wide spectrum of areas, but has rightly begun to emphasise that a nation can only be as smart as its citizens. That is why Enterprise Singapore and other agencies have been experimenting in recent years with incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises to introduce productivity enhancements such as using new technologies and encouraging workers to take up upskilling courses. With a healthy but ageing population and high life expectancy, Singapore is arguably ground zero for putting the notion of lifelong learning into practice. (1100 words)

799. What happens to Asia’s workers when robots make the clothes?

Singapore – Tech | The Straits Times | June 16th, 2018
But today, there is a more relevant question: How were your clothes made, and by what? What you wear is going high-tech. After decades of labour-intensive production by workers in the global south, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are replacing humans on the factory floor. But while these shifts will bring new benefits to consumers – such as faster delivery and custom clothing – they will come with costs. Changes to the garment industry’s business model are threatening the livelihoods of millions of people in low-and middle-income countries, and how these economies adapt will have far-reaching implications. (700 words)

800. Why tech titans should disrupt sleep next

Singapore – Tech | Financial Times
It didn’t seem to be when I was younger, and it still feels like something that might be important, but when you consider all the exciting alternatives technologists have invented for us, you have to ask if it is not time we got more woke about sleep. In particular, I am beginning to question when all the tech titans who are slowly training us in new patterns of behaviour are going to disrupt the, frankly, analogue time patterns. Think about it. They have done all the hard work, teaching us to stay online long after a sensible being would have switched everything off, but they have yet to deliver on the sleep efficiency that would allow greater connectedness.All those productivity gains that technology has brought us, and yet you still can’t get seven hours’ sleep in less than seven hours. (800 words)

801. Powerbank sharing and ‘smart’ helmets: Singapore start-ups aim for CES 2019 splash

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | January 6th, 2019
Amid the buzz, a contingent of Singapore companies, including several first-time participants, will be showcasing their offerings at the tech event which starts on Jan 9. More than a dozen firms will be flying the country’s flag this time round, including the likes of Razer, Creative Technologies and Xmi, which will showcase their next innovations in gaming and audio tech. There are also those making their debut, with Zimplistic, the company behind the automated flatbread-making machine Rotimatic that was mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally in 2016, one of them. (1300 words)

802. New jobs can be created through technology, but workers need help retraining for these positions: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | July 9th, 2019
In an interview with Arnold Gay and Yasmin Jonkers on CNA938’s Asia First, Mr Chan said that the way to get these workers ready is to “retrain them as fast as possible”. He gave the example of how staff who previously worked as bank tellers have now been retrained to be customer relations officers, involved in selling insurance and wealth management products. “Their previous jobs have been displaced by technology, but they have been retrained by the banks, together with the Government, to take on new jobs, and it is very exciting to hear how people in their 40s, 50s are able to take on new roles,” he said. (800 words)

803. Technology can displace lawyers, warns Chief Justice as he urges profession to adapt to new reality

Singapore – Tech | Channel News Asia | August 27th, 2019
“The future of the legal profession, like that of our nation, hangs on the ability and willingness of its members to reskill and relearn,” he said. “Technology is already beginning to displace lawyers from areas of practice, especially those involving the more routine areas which are more susceptible to automation.” Speaking at the annual Mass Call at the Supreme Court auditorium, Chief Justice Menon gave the example of a free online service recently launched by OCBC that can generate a will in less than 10 minutes. (600 words)

804. As Smart Nation drive speeds up, anxieties arise

Singapore – Technology | TODAY | August 15th, 2017
There is a sense of irony in this, given that a hallmark of Smart Nation is speed: Speed in the delivery of public services, of business transactions, and even social interactions. According to its website, Smart Nation empowers “through harnessing the power of networks, data and info-comm technologies” to improve lives, create business opportunities, and to build a close community. The Land Transport Authority’s announcement last week that the public transport system will go cashless by 2020, in keeping with Singapore’s Smart Nation push, should give us cause to pause. (900 words)

805. Can Singapore catch up in race to go cashless?

Singapore – Technology | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
Last year, six out of 10 consumer transactions were made in cash here – a huge spanner in the works for Singapore’s Smart Nation drive. In his National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong contrasted Singaporeans’ highly connected lifestyle and digital literacy with their unwillingness to go digital when it comes to payment. As such, Singapore lags behind other cities on this front. Recognising that Singapore has too many different payment schemes and systems that act as impediments, confusing people, he made a call to the industry to “simplify and integrate”. (1400 words)

806. Cracked your phone? Don’t fix it

Singapore – Technology | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
Those with delicate sensitivities or an over-developed sense of moral superiority, please stop reading now and go back to posting long ranty diatribes on social media on how people should have better things to talk about. It was not a question of if, but when. About three weeks ago, I was getting out of the car in the morning when I heard something clatter to the ground. At first, I thought I had dropped my car key. But as I looked down, it was the warm glow of my smartphone screen in the pre-dawn darkness that greeted me. (1100 words)

807. Creative Destruction in Singapore

Singapore – Technology | Bloomberg | August 30th, 2017
When you can pay taxes with it. Or that’s the argument of chartalists, the folks who see the state’s hand behind the origins of all manner of money.So don’t be surprised if in a couple of years, the tax authorities in Singapore send a QR code with their annual bill. Scan this modern-day cowrie shell, and you’ll get a thank-you SMS for contributing to nation-building.The city-state’s enthusiasm for the mobile-readable quick response code can be gauged from a task force set up this week by the central bank’s payments council. (600 words)

808. Going cashless? Penalising non-adopters is not the solution

Singapore – Technology | The Online Citizen | August 15th, 2017
But this is a vacuous label. What is a Smart Nation? Adopting the latest technology? Harnessing big data? Being at the forefront of the Internet of Things? Surely not. Technologies are means to an end and it would be foolish to judge the value of new technologies based solely on their novelty or popularity. The PlanOn the 11th of August, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and TransitLink jointly announced their decision to “move towards a cashless public transport system”. This entails the removal of cash top-up services from Passenger Service Centres (PSCs), and more importantly, the removal of the option to pay cash on buses. (1000 words)

809. Man arrested for cheating e-scooter buyers on Carousell

Singapore – Technology | Channel News Asia | September 26th, 2017
Several victims lodged police reports between Sep 5 and Sep 24 saying they had ordered e-scooters at attractive prices on Carousell, but the goods were not delivered. They were also unable to contact the seller whom they transferred the payment to. Police identified the suspect and arrested him on Monday along Yishun Avenue 6. He will be charged in court on Wednesday with the offence of cheating, and if found guilty, he could face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. In its statement, police advised the public to take precautions when shopping online and be wary of people selling items for prices that sound too good to be true. (200 words)

810. How 15 Singaporeans were radicalised by ISIS ideology

Singapore – Terrorism | The Straits Times | July 16th, 2017
In Indonesia, scores of them marched through the centre of Jakarta on March 16 that year, holding up the terror group’s black flag. They handed out glossy leaflets extolling its quest to form an Islamic state, boot out foreign armies from the Middle East, and unite Muslims worldwide under a single leader. In Singapore that year, a handful of individuals began viewing such material on Facebook and YouTube, among other sites. Such posts and videos of ISIS’ exploits played a significant role in the radicalisation of 15 of the Singaporeans who have been dealt with under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since 2014, Insight found. (1900 words)

811. JI arrests: 15 years later

Singapore – Terrorism | The Straits Times | December 9th, 2016
The arrests were made possible through crucial information from a friendly security partner and, more crucially, a tip-off by a concerned member of the Singapore Muslim community. JI arrests carried on in Singapore – as they did in Malaysia and Indonesia – through the following years, with approximately 40 Singaporean JI or JI-linked individuals arrested or detained at various points. It is worth reflecting, 15 years on from the commencement of the ISD operation, on how far we have come as a state and society in the journey against terrorism, and what the future might hold. (1600 words)

812. Self-radicalised parking warden detained under ISA

Singapore – Terrorism | The Straits Times | May 12th, 2018
Investigations found that Singaporean Mohamed Faishal Mohd Razali wanted to undertake armed violence overseas in various conflict zones, including Syria. In a statement, MHA said Faishal, who was not known to be a religious person, turned to the Internet some time in mid-2016 in an attempt to improve his religious knowledge. He began to take in the re-ligious teachings of foreign preachers, including Ismail Menk and Yusuf Estes, who are known to preach segregationist and divisive teachings. The authorities had barred both preachers from entering Singapore last October and November, respectively, after learning that they were set to preach on a religious-themed cruise that departed from and returned here. (600 words)

813. The rising costs of counter-terrorism

Singapore – Terrorism | The Straits Times | March 15th, 2018
If terrorists were able to break through the thick and thorny skin, they would gain permanent access to the fleshy fruit and that would be the end of the durian. But of course, Singapore’s security system and its defence, like those of its South-east Asian neighbours, are far more complex than meets the eye. They do share one thing in common: the high cost of fighting terrorists. Wars against terrorists are very expensive. For example, the war in Afghanistan cost US$4.8 trillion (S$6.3 trillion) so far, according to researchers at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. (1000 words)

814. Why religious fundamentalism must be checked

Singapore – Terrorism | The Straits Times | July 20th, 2018
They have done reasonably well in life, yet they chose pathways towards radicalisation and violence to destroy the society that they had benefited from. Why do they then go down the route of violence? Terrorist groups conventionally recruit fighters from the lower strata of populations primarily in failed or failing states. These individuals have nothing much to lose in this worldly life. They are “afraid to live” and hence choose an accelerated path to die by fighting for the likes of ISIS. There is, however, a different kind of motivation that leads successful individuals to take the leap into religious-based radicalism. (900 words)

815. 2 Singaporeans detained under ISA for intending to join Islamic State in Syria

Singapore – Terrorism | Channel News Asia | July 25th, 2019
The ministry’s full press release is reproduced below: In two separate cases, Singaporeans Kuthubdeen Haja Najumudeen (Haja) and Suderman bin Samikin (Suderman) were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in May and July 2019 respectively. Investigations established that they were radicalised and had harboured the intention to make their way to Syria to join the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Kuthubdeen Haja NajumudeenHaja, a 36-year-old licensed money-changer, was a follower of Sri Lankan radical preacher Zahran Hashim (Zahran). (600 words)

816. Standing firm against hate speech

Singapore – Tolerance | The Straits Times | September 12th, 2017
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party didn’t exist five years ago. Yet in the short time since it was formed to oppose the European Union, it has won seats in all but three of 16 state Parliaments. It is now tipped to surpass the 5 per cent vote threshold needed to win seats in the national Parliament. Its surge in support can be pinned down to two words: hate speech. The AfD has seized upon prejudices against immigrants and minorities to win votes, called for a “Germany for Germans”, and its manifesto has a section headlined “Islam does not belong to Germany”. (1700 words)

817. ‘I can’t see how we could have agreed to it’: Shanmugam on Watain performing in Singapore

Singapore – Tolerance | Channel News Asia | March 9th, 2019
“I saw the lyrics – it’s four-letter words on Jesus Christ, on Christianity, on religion, abusing the cross – everything that is so far out that I can’t see how we could have agreed to it,” said Mr Shanmugam. The Swedish black metal band was scheduled to perform in Singapore on Thursday evening, but the concert was cancelled that same afternoon by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), following “security concerns” raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). He cited examples of a Danish cartoon and the Satanic Verses book by Salman Rushdie that were banned in Singapore. (600 words)

818. ‘Yeah, Singapore is boring’: STB hits back at Time Out city ranking

Singapore – Tourism | Channel News Asia | February 1st, 2018
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) begs to differ – and released a tongue-in-cheek video on Thursday (Feb 1) to respond to the charge. On Tuesday, Singapore came in 31st out of 32 cities in an anonymous survey by Time Out, which took into account criteria such as culture, food, drink, friendliness, liveability, affordability and happiness. About 15,000 people across the 32 cities took part in the survey. Singapore was named “the worst rated city” for culture, and the worst for drinking apart from Dubai. (300 words)

819. Despite the ban on meat imports, some Singaporeans still buying bak kwa in Johor

Singapore – Trade | Channel News Asia | February 14th, 2018
The issue hit the headlines last week, when Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers intercepted two illegal attempts to bring in large quantities of bak kwa from Malaysia through the Woodlands Checkpoint. The meat was concealed in pastry or cookie packaging. However, that incident does not seem to have been a deterrent to some Singaporean shoppers, who were seen earlier this week stocking up on bak kwa ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations. On Tuesday (Feb 13) afternoon in the dimly-lit KSL City Mall car park, a man who asked to be identified as Mr Ang was seen loading several plastic bags of cookies and titbits into the boot of his Singaporean-registered car. (800 words)

820. A recipe for driving the ride-sharing blues away

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
It makes economic sense to use UberPool and GrabShare when I am not in a hurry, as they can cost up to 30 per cent less than other rides on Uber and Grab. Unlike some of my friends, who cannot fathom how one can share a ride with a complete stranger, I am perfectly fine with doing so. It helps that I generally like to observe other people’s social behaviour, and also think that it is more environmentally friendly to share rides. However, this week’s passage of amendments to the Parking Places Act, which, among other things, will penalise those who park bicycles provided by bike-sharing operators indiscriminately, highlights how some things just do not change. (1100 words)

821. Active Mobility Act takes effect: 8 non-compliant devices confiscated in first enforcement blitz

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
After accessories like battery packs and lights were added, the mobility device weighed 37.5kg – nearly double the maximum weight allowed under new laws that kicked in this month. On Wednesday (May 2), deliveryman Mr Wong, 37, was among eight people who had their e-scooters and e-bicycle impounded by Land Transport Authority (LTA) officers in a two-hour enforcement blitz. The officers stopped him at a park connector along Yishun Ave 7, while he was on his way home, and asked to weigh the device. (600 words)

822. Bicycle-sharing: End of the road?

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | July 4th, 2018
In the 18 months since, oBike has placed more than 70,000 of its silver-frame and orange-rim bicycles around the island. And then on June 25, it made an abrupt exit from the market, announcing the move to users via its mobile app, as well as a notice on its Facebook page. oBike is the biggest of three bike-share companies here to have wound up operations in a month. GBikes, with a fleet of 3,000, announced last month that it will cease operations on July 7. ShareBikeSG, with 300 mountain bikes, stopped business last month. (1800 words)

823. Bike sharing in China: Ofo, Mobike and the lure of two wheels

Singapore – Transport | Financial Times | March 14th, 2018
I often had the run of this notoriously congested city’s wide, separated bike lanes.Last spring, however, I noticed I was suddenly sharing the bike lane with hordes of wobbly beginners. These newcomers had been tempted on to the roads by a clutch of start-ups whose shared bikes can be unlocked using a smartphone — and parked anywhere.Over the past two years, Ofo and Mobike, the industry leaders, have created 19 million new bicycles, becoming one of China’s most visible tech exports. Their bikes can be seen on the streets of London, Paris and more than 200 other cities around the world. (700 words)

824. Bike-sharing operators must apply for licence by Jul 7 or shut down: LTA

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia
LTA said on Friday that it will begin accepting licence applications from May 8. The licence allows bike-sharing companies such as ofo, oBike and Mobike to operate in public spaces for up to two years.Existing operators that fail to submit an application by the deadline on Jul 7 will have to cease operations immediately. Unlicensed operators may be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to six months. They may also face a fine of S$500 for each day that the offence continues.“In assessing the applications, LTA will consider, amongst other factors, the ability of the operator to manage indiscriminate parking by its users, its fleet utilisation rate, and other relevant factors such as the demand for the service and availability of parking spaces,” the regulator said in the release.“Existing operators’ track record of managing indiscriminate parking will also be taken into account during LTA’s evaluation of their applications,” LTA said. (400 words)

825. Challenges of the SMRT hot seat

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 21th, 2018
“, I highlighted the conflicting interests that the chief executive of a listed public transport company faces. And how much say he or she really has in the role. Three months later, SMRT picked retailer Saw Phaik Hwa to helm the transport operator. Despite widespread public scepticism, Ms Saw proved to be capable of charting her own course. She steered SMRT towards record profitability, largely by convincing the authorities to let her use MRT station space for retail purposes. She quickly became a darling of the investment community, declaring generous dividends to shareholders year after year. (1500 words)

826. ComfortDelGro enjoys jump in bookings following Uber’s exit

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
It attributed the trend partly to the slew of promotional codes and discounts which it has been doling out – at a time when its rival Grab is scaling back such marketing efforts after American ride-hailing firm Uber exited the Singapore market. In April and May, users of ComfortDelGro’s app redeemed about 57,000 promo codes in all. They were offered S$3 off their flat fares during off peak hours and S$8 off fares if they hailed a ride from the city between 1am and 5am. This would have cost the taxi company at least S$85,000 per month. (900 words)

827. ComfortDelGro starts to grow taxi fleet again

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 6th, 2018
From reducing the number of cabs by up to 20 per cent since ride-hailing apps arrived five years ago, at least two taxi operators are now growing their fleets again. Industry leader ComfortDelGro said it has just placed an order for 200 new hybrid Hyundai Ioniq cabs – its first order in nearly 18 months. “The first batch is due to arrive next month, and will immediately be leased out to the growing line of would-be hirers,” said ComfortDelGro spokesman Tammy Tan, adding that the operator last placed an order for new taxis back in December 2016. (500 words)

828. Determining the optimal subsidy for public transport

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | July 20th, 2018
And to what degree? A Public transport subsidies, though commonplace around the world, vary in magnitude. Subsidies are low in some cities and very high in other cities. In Sao Paolo, Brazil, subsidies cover only about 5 per cent of operation costs, while in Washington DC and Los Angeles, they run as high as 80 per cent of operation costs. Singapore, too, subsidises public transport. Historically, instead of subsidising commuters directly through fares, the Government covered particular costs. For example, it provided funds through the bus service enhancement programme to increase the number of buses in operation. (1500 words)

829. E-bike rider jailed 5 weeks for beating up elderly pedestrian

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
Yue Kim Ming was convicted of one count of endangering the personal safety of Mr Chang Yong Peo, 69, and his wife Kei Kwee Siang by committing a rash act, as well as another count of voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Chang. The court heard that on May 18 last year, at about 9.26pm, Mr Chang and Madam Kei were on their way home. They were crossing the pedestrian crossing at the junction along Hougang Avenue 7, when Yue approached them on his e-bike at a speed of about 30 to 40 km/h. Even though the traffic lights were not in Yue’s favour, he sounded his horn repeatedly at the elderly couple to let him pass, before speeding past them. (500 words)

830. Flying high as Changi takes a turn for future

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | March 25th, 2018
The 2018 results were announced last Wednesday, following a poll of more than 13 million travellers of over 100 nationalities. Even sceptics of such rankings have to admit it is quite an achievement. Given recent developments, though, one has to wonder if the winning streak is sustainable. Over the last few weeks, Changi seems to be rubbing airlines and travellers the wrong way. Higher airport fees and charges will soon be levied and airlines, in particular, have been unsettled by new rules to punish those who habitually arrive early or late. (1100 words)

831. Four leadership lessons I learnt from the incoming SMRT CEO

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
Criticisms have been levelled at the choice of another ex-CDF as the new boss of the transport operator even before he starts his job in place of the outgoing Desmond Kuek. The emotions of Singaporeans and commuters are understandable – they have faced multiple serious disruptions since 2011. Falsified maintenance records, bribery, fatal accidents have compounded the negative perception of SMRT. SMRT’s woes have regularly been debated in Parliament, and the debate in November on the tunnel flooding incident at Bishan MRT station even saw SMRT top executives in attendance in the House. (900 words)

832. Grab muscles into school transport sector with new shuttle service for students, staff

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
The service targets students across the board, from primary schools to those in tertiary institutions. Prices start from S$130 monthly for one-way trips, and users must commit to at least two months of rides. They can opt to take cars and electric taxis, on top of regular 13- and 23-seater GrabShuttle buses, Grab said in a statement on Friday (April 20). Traditional school bus operators currently charge between S$100 and S$200 a month for two-way rides per child, depending on factors such as the distance involved and the vehicle’s capacity. (1000 words)

833. Grab to remove ComfortDelGro cabbies from JustGrab service

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | March 21th, 2018
Grab opened the service – which offers flat fares to commuters for a ride in either a taxi or private-hire car – to ComfortDelGro cabbies in February, despite not having a partnership with the taxi operator. It, however, partnered with the five other taxi operators here a year ago to offer JustGrab. A Grab spokesman confirmed that ComfortDelGro cabbies will continue to be able to take bookings through the GrabTaxi service, which dispatches metered taxis to commuters. ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here with more than 13,000 taxis, had in January launched UberFlash in partnership with Grab’s competitor, Uber. (400 words)

834. Grab-Uber deal: Merger or market-sharing agreement?

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 13th, 2018
This may well depend on how the competition authority chooses to characterise the conduct of the parties, raising interesting legal and policy questions about the intersection between Sections 34 and 54 of the Competition Act. While many may have described the Grab-Uber deal as a “merger” between these market players, closer scrutiny of the factual details that have emerged may suggest that this may not the most accurate way of understanding the nature of this transaction and that it might be better understood as a market-sharing agreement. (1100 words)

835. Green arrow for road safety

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 6th, 2018
In particular, they are determined to give teeth to the Active Mobility Act, which regulates the use of bicycles, personal mobility devices (PMDs) and power-assisted bicycles on paths, with penalties such as fines and even jail time that can be meted out to offenders. Indeed, in an operation last week, PMD users – mostly e-scooter riders – were pulled over and had their devices weighed and measured. These road users have been put on notice that they must behave considerately towards others. In recent incidents, two children were hurt when riders on e-scooters collided with them. (300 words)

836. How to level playing field for potential rivals to Grab

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 3th, 2018
We believe that the merger will have an adverse impact on competition in the industry, hurting both consumer riders and drivers. Over the years, riders have been accustomed to frequent discount codes on top of already low fares – reaping the benefits of fierce price competition between Uber and Grab. As both platforms had very similar product offerings, and because most riders were not particularly loyal to either platform, neck-and-neck price competition was the only logical market outcome. With its competitor becoming part of itself, a post-merger Grab has every incentive to raise its prices. (1200 words)

837. Implications of Grab-Uber merger

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | March 30th, 2018
What is currently a duopoly in Singapore – assuming that Grab and Uber do not operate in the same market as taxi companies and other public transportation providers – will be transformed into a monopoly if the merger is allowed to proceed by the Competition Commission of Singapore. It will take some time before the competition authority completes its evaluation of the economic effects that are likely to result from the merger, when Grab no longer has to face any competitive pressures from Uber. The central legal question to be answered is whether the merger will result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in Singapore. (1000 words)

838. Making sense of SMRT Trains’ losses

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | July 6th, 2018
This just goes to show how uncommon such an occurrence is. The fact is Singapore’s public transport industry has remained largely profitable for the past decades. This speaks volumes of the sustainability of our financial and operating model for buses and trains. Not many other countries can match that record. In fact, for many Western cities, a public transport operation making money is news. SMRT Trains, which has traditionally been profitable, posted an after-tax loss of $86 million for its 2018 financial year, generating headlines last week. (1000 words)

839. No absorption of parking charge for Hwa Chong teachers

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 21th, 2018
“There is no absorption or subsidisation of parking charges by HCI on behalf of its staff,” an MOE spokesman said yesterday. The ministry’s statement comes after HCI’s parent company, Singapore Chinese High School, told The Straits Times it had worked out a way to implement the school parking policy for its teachers after a meeting with the MOE to clarify how the measure would apply to it. Unlike government and government-aided schools, which will deduct parking charges directly from teachers’ salaries, independent schools like HCI can decide how such fees are collected. (500 words)

840. ‘Tip-up seats’ on new MRT trains to increase standing space during peak hours

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018
The seats will be folded during morning and evening peak periods, and unfolded during off-peak hours to increase seating capacity. This can only be done by the train driver. Only train drivers will be able to fold and unfold these tip-up seats. The 12 new trains will also come with an improved Current Collector Device (CCD) shear-off detection feature to provide timely alerts if any of the CCD shoes unexpectedly lose contact with the third rail, which provides electrical power to the train. The 12 new trains are being built by the Kawasaki Sifang Consortium in China. (400 words)

841. 62 bicycles from bike-sharing firms impounded for blocking foot paths: LTA

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | January 23rd, 2018
The enforcement operation took place between Jan 15 and Jan 21, in areas such as Yuan Ching Road, Alexandra, Woodlands Centre Road and Dunearn Road. Bicycles from oBike, Mobike and ofo were found to be indiscriminately parked, said LTA. It added that out of the 292 removal notices issued, 62 bicycles ended up being impounded because they were not removed within half a day of the notice. Twenty-four of the impounded bicycles were from oBike, 22 from ofo and 16 from Mobike, said LTA. The bike-sharing operators face a fine of up to S$500 for each bicycle that was indiscriminately parked. (200 words)

842. 90 accidents involving e-bikes, personal mobility devices in first 6 months of 2017: MOT

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2017
In a written reply to parliamentary questions posed by MP Sitoh Yih Pin, Mr Khaw said the majority of these accidents took place on the roads. The minister added that with the Active Mobility Bill coming into force by the end of the year, there will be stiff penalties for offences such as reckless riding. In the meantime, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is stepping up its enforcement efforts and has issued more than 1,400 advisories for unsafe riding, he said. The agency has also started registering power-assisted bicycles, Mr Khaw said. (300 words)

843. Allow us to ‘freely compete’, Grab urges Government

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 30th, 2018
“Improving services for commuters and drivers will always be our priority, and we urge the Government to allow us to freely compete and complement the dominant taxi business,” said Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, in a statement. To address consumer concerns, Grab has “voluntarily committed” to maintaining its fare structure and will not increase base fares, he said. Earlier in the week, CCS had said it had not received formal notifications from both parties about the deal. On Friday, Mr Lim said that the company had “engaged with the CCS prior to signing and continue to do so”. (300 words)

844. Another ministry engages social media influencers in S$1,500 campaign

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | January 29th, 2018
The estimated cost of the campaign is S$1,500, the ministry said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. MEWR’s move comes after the Ministry of Finance last month engaged influencers to promote the upcoming Budget 2018 and related public feedback sessions on Instagram. Instagram posts by influencers with the hashtags #ClimateActionSG and #SustainableSG have sprung up promoting the contest as early as Jan 18. They include posts on what actions they have taken to fight climate change, and also ask others how they have done their part. (400 words)

845. Commentary: A Changi Airport East for all, yet who should fund its bill?

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | January 19th, 2018
With over 100 airlines and 60 million passengers in 2017, the airport has won the Skytrax Best Airport award for the last five consecutive years. But it is coming under pressure to break new ground and strengthen its value proposition to win over critical masses of consumers and airlines as competition intensifies. Asian and Middle Eastern airports are fast developing their capabilities to be high-potential hub airports, meaning more hub airports competing to capture the region’s growing traffic. (1100 words)

846. Commentary: A Changi Airport East for all, yet who should fund its bill?

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | January 19th, 2018
With over 100 airlines and 60 million passengers in 2017, the airport has won the Skytrax Best Airport award for the last five consecutive years. But it is coming under pressure to break new ground and strengthen its value proposition to win over critical masses of consumers and airlines as competition intensifies. Asian and Middle Eastern airports are fast developing their capabilities to be high-potential hub airports, meaning more hub airports competing to capture the region’s growing traffic. (1100 words)

847. Commentary: A Singapore free from errant bike parking? Yes, with incentives

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | February 2nd, 2018
While Singaporeans have taken a shine to using bikes for last mile transport, the errant parking of bikes has become a major issue. Just last week, the Land Transport Authority said 62 bicycles from three bike-sharing companies were impounded for obstructing footpaths in a week-long operation. The trouble is – errant parking is not a phase and will likely continue for many reasons. First, given the flexibility and comfort (of not having to walk long distances), users of bikes will always have an immediate incentive to drop the bikes at odd places (before supermarkets, bus stops, along the seaside, along a busy road for instance). (800 words)

848. Commentary: Grab-Uber merger will lead to monopolistic prices? Flawed thinking

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 29th, 2018
At the outset, it should be noted that comment on this makes the critical assumption that the merger will be approved by the Competition Commission. Should regulators reject the merger, the following arguments will be moot. There has been much talk about how the merger will affect innovation. Let’s be clear though – the most impactful innovation in this space was the use of smartphones to offer ride- sharing services. It dramatically increased the transport options available to consumers and, in some instances, offered better prices, both of which led to higher consumer welfare. (900 words)

849. Commentary: How oBike, Grab-Uber merger were managed shows we haven’t gotten disruption right

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 6th, 2018
For the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to respond to the abrupt cessation of business of one of the biggest bike-sharing companies oBike and its unwillingness to refund deposits of its customers as being “deeply disappointed” is a stance suggestive of that of a spurned suitor’s than a firm regulator’s. Government authorities, while rightly pursuing innovation, should not do so at all costs and in all instances. Such an unchecked embrace of change can be easily manipulated by industry players eager to be first movers, and not all have the best intentions. (1000 words)

850. Commentary: oBike’s closure, a cautionary tale about poorly conceived business ideas

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | June 29th, 2018
I must say I did not think that oBike’s end would come so swiftly, otherwise I would have withdrawn my deposit with the firm in time. So, what does the oBike closure in Singapore mean? 1. Lately, there have been a number of money-losing ideas that have been jazzed up under the buzzwords of “sharing economy” and “new business models”. Sceptics of these companies are branded as people who do not understand new technologies and are on the backfoot to embracing the future. Not wanting to miss out on potential wins, venture capitalists have been seemingly over-eager in funding many business ideas that do not have sustainable business plans past five years. (800 words)

851. Commentary: Regulators need a fresh approach to the Grab-Uber merger

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 6th, 2018
The first event being Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations that panicked millions of commuters and drivers across the region into a frenzy about whether Grab would abuse its now dominant market position. The second event was Grab’s app outage in Singapore on Tuesday (Apr 3) that felt almost as disruptive as an MRT breakdown, with commuters shocked by Uber fares spiking as much as four times in some areas, and countless Grab drivers frustrated with lost earnings. Grab experienced another outage for the second time in the same week on Friday (Apr 6). (1100 words)

852. Commentary: What can a Chief Commuter Engagement Officer do to restore public confidence in SMRT?

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | February 6th, 2018
SMRT had to deal with a train collision at Joo Koon, disruptions across its three major MRT lines at various points in the year, and the Bishan MRT station tunnel flooding. Following these events, a number of senior leadership appointments and announcements were made over the past month to right the situation and restore public faith. Chairman of SMRT Mr Seah Moon Ming announced in December that he planned to step down from his role as CEO of Pavilion Energy to focus on SMRT, signalling to the public the high-level commitment and focus SMRT will be dedicating to restoring service excellence and public trust. (1300 words)

853. Commuter satisfaction falls for trains, rises for buses and taxis in Q2: SMU study

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | September 27th, 2017
The Customer Satisfaction Index for the MRT system was 64.8 out of 100 points, a decline of 1.6 points from a year ago, the institute said in a news release on Wednesday (Sep 27). In particular, commuter satisfaction was significantly lower in July – a decline correlated to the start of weekday signalling tests at the end of May and various train disruptions in the adjacent months, ISE said. Train frequency, handling of disruptions and reliability of trains were the top factors that affected perceived quality, said Mr Chen Yongchang, ISE’s head of research and consulting. (300 words)

854. Competition watchdog provisionally finds that Grab-Uber merger has lessened competition

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 5th, 2018
As a result, the competition watchdog has also proposed remedies to restore market contestability and to impose financial penalties on the parties. CCCS started an investigation into the merger on Mar 27, a day after it was announced. On Apr 13, it issued interim measures, including preventing Grab from taking over Uber’s operational data, such as historical trip data, to enhance its market position. In a news release on Thursday, CCCS said it had concluded its investigation after obtaining evidence from the parties and third parties. (1000 words)

855. Could Grab and Uber be forced to unwind their merger? Unlikely, experts say

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 5th, 2018
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the deal led to a “substantial lessening of competition” in ride-hailing platforms, made it harder for new competitors to enter the market, and resulted in higher prices. It will also be seeking public feedback on proposed remedies to address competition concerns, and has recommended imposing financial penalties on the parties. It also floated the possibility that the merger could be undone unless the proposed measures do enough to address competition concerns. (600 words)

856. E-scooter community disagrees on effectiveness of new measures to curb errant riding

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018
The measures were announced on Wednesday (Mar 7), as Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament that the Government has decided to accept the recommendations made by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel. The registration regime will be implemented by the end of the year, and the process will be kept as simple and low-cost as possible, Dr Lam added. While most users Channel NewsAsia spoke to agreed that regulations are important to ensure that errant riding is kept in check, not many agreed that having all e-scooter owners register with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is the right move. (900 words)

857. Flood prevention measures to be rolled out at 4 more locations by April: SMRT

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | January 24th, 2018
These measures, which include the relocation of a control panel that gives staff quicker access to activate pumps manually, will be put in place at Lavender, Redhill, Kembangan and Expo MRT stations. Giving the media a behind-the-scenes look at the changes at Bishan MRT station early on Wednesday (Jan 24) morning, rail operator SMRT showed how the panel had been moved from an area that required access to the track to a restricted area at an end of the train platform. SMRT’s director of buildings and services Siu Yow Wee said that this would mean quicker action in the event that the automated pumping system does not work. (500 words)

858. Grab app faces technical issues for third time in a week

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 7th, 2018
The disruption started at around 7pm, as users of the app posted on social media screenshots of the error message: “Looks like weren’t able to connect to our server. Please try again in a few minutes”. It came back online about 10 minutes later when Channel NewsAsia opened the app, but with another error message saying that due to a “technical issue”, users may not be able to use the app as per normal. “We are working hard to fix the issue and will be back to serve you as soon as we can.” However, several users on Twitter complained that they were still unable to use the app. (200 words)

859. Grab calls competition watchdog’s decision on Uber merger ‘overreaching’, plans to appeal

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 5th, 2018
“We note the provisional decision is not final nor effective yet, and we will submit our written representations to the CCCS before the deadline,” a Grab spokesperson said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. The competition watchdog announced on Thursday afternoon that its investigations found that the merger between Grab and Uber’s Southeast Asian business infringed the Competition Act as it led to a “substantial lessening of competition” and recommended imposing financial penalties on the parties. (300 words)

860. Grab defends position in Uber deal to Singapore’s anti-monopoly watchdog

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 26th, 2018
Earlier this year, Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singapore-based firm. But the deal has prompted regulatory scrutiny. In early July, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) provisionally found that the merger had substantially reduced competition and suggested various remedies, such as the sale of their car-leasing businesses and removing exclusivity obligations on drivers who use Grab’s ride-hailing platform. (300 words)

861. Grab launches bike, e-scooter sharing app GrabCycle

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 8th, 2018
To be piloted at Sentosa in the first half of this year before being rolled out at other venues, GrabCycle users can use shared bikes and e-scooters from Grab’s mobility partners – oBike, GBikes, Anywheel and PopScoot. Users can pay using their GrabPay credit accounts which are linked to the main Grab app. Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia that Grab is launching the app in and there are plans for it to be available regionally as well, according to Mr Reuben Lai, head of GrabVentures. (200 words)

862. Grab out to snatch ComfortDelGro cabbies with huge discount

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 11th, 2017
In a text message targeted at ComfortDelGro cabbies on Sunday night (Sept 3), Grab dangled a rental discount of more than 40 per cent to those who are willing to defect to any of the other taxi companies – all of whom use the Grab hailing platform. “Dear Comfort Cabbie, HUGE Rental Discount deals from 4-15 Sept,” the message read. “$50 rental discount PER DAY, if you switch your taxi rental over to any of our taxi-fleet partners (TransCab, Prime, SMRT, Premier). No targets. No questions asked.” The discount – of around $1,500 per month – amounts to more than 40 per cent for Comfort cabbies who drive the Hyundai i40. (300 words)

863. Grab rejects claims Uber staff given 2 hours to pack up and leave

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 26th, 2018
Instead, Grab will absorb all of Uber’s 500-plus employees across Southeast Asia, although they have been placed on paid leave for now, the Singapore-based company told Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Mar 26). “We are committed to find a permanent home for them,” Grab’s head of people Ong Chin Yin said. A video purportedly of Uber staff in Singapore packing up their belongings and leaving their office in Anson Road was posted on Twitter. The Twitter user who posted the video told Channel NewsAsia that he, along with other Uber employees, were given two hours’ notice to pack up and leave. (300 words)

864. Grab-Uber merger may have infringed Competition Act: CCS

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 30th, 2018
It has also proposed interim measures to maintain market competition and invited the companies to present their positions before it decides whether to impose the measures. CCS started looking into Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations on Tuesday (Mar 27), a day after the deal was announced. The companies did not inform CCS about the transaction, it had said. It said on Friday that the deal may lead to “substantial lessening of competition” for the private-hire car industry in Singapore. (200 words)

865. How Taipei Metro turned itself around – and the lessons for Singapore’s MRT system

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 17th, 2018
Its job retention rate is twice as high as SMRT’s. And it notifies commuters of delays twice as fast as required in Singapore. These are some of the Taipei Metro’s achievements. And Singapore has sought its help to review operations here in improving the MRT system. But the Taipei Metro, which opened in 1996, was not always a success story. In 2003, six delays of over an hour had a major impact on commuters and affected its image. “The public was very angry,” said Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation president B C Yen. (1400 words)

866. How will the Grab-Uber deal affect ComfortDelGro?

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 26th, 2018
ComfortDelGro rose to as high as S$2.09 before closing up 2.5 per cent at S$2.04. The Grab-Uber merger could either erode ComfortDelGro’s advantage in the ride-booking industry, or help the taxi company benefit from rationalisation of competition, said industry watchers. The first outcome of the deal would be that Grab becomes the only third-party ride-hailing service provider in Singapore, which would allow it to control all ride bookings, OCBC said in a note on Monday. This would further erode ComfortDelGro’s competitive advantage of having scale in the ride-booking industry, said Mr Eugene Chua, investment analyst at OCBC Investment Research. (300 words)

867. LTA ‘deeply disappointed’ in oBike, says will impose fees if bicycles not cleared

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 3rd, 2018
oBike’s founding investor and chairman Shi Yi told Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday afternoon that the company hopes LTA will not impose levy towage and storage fees if it fails to clear the bicycles by the Wednesday deadline. “Any extra cost (we incur) might affect our available funds to refund customers,” said Mr Shi. LTA said in its statement that it is “oBike’s responsibility to have a concrete plan to refund customers’ deposits”, and that it is the company’s responsibility to source for funds to cover the costs it needs to properly wind down operations. (300 words)

868. LTA completes 200km worth of sheltered walkways under S$300m initiative

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | September 15th, 2018
Others turned up at school soaking wet, having run the distance that’s not covered by sheltered walkways. But since sheltered walkways leading to the school gate were built this year, the school in Bukit Panjang has seen more students turning up on time on rainy days, said its vice principal. The walkways are part of 200km worth of sheltered walkways that have been built in the past five years under the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Walk2Ride programme. LTA announced on Saturday (Sep 15) that the programme has been completed, at a cost of S$300 million. (400 words)

869. Mobike, ofo users mull options after recent price hike

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 21st, 2018
The 180-day Mobike pass she purchased last November for S$5 would be ending soon, and she was shocked to learn that it would cost her more than S$50 to extend her pass for the same period. “Instead of using Mobike for another six months, I’d rather use the money to buy a secondhand bicycle,” said the 26-year-old, who has been using the service for at least twice a day. “The whole selling point of bike-sharing companies is their low prices. If they charge such (high) prices, why should we bother to use them?” she added. (900 words)

870. No exam candidates affected by train delays: SEAB

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | September 28th, 2017
MRT stations between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris on the East-West Line faced delays of up to 30 minutes in the morning. The delays came on the first day of the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) for Primary 6 students, who were due to take their English Language and Foundation English papers at 8.15am. SMRT said that a track point fault on the line caused delays, which began before 6am. Train services resumed at about 8.30am. SEAB said earlier that candidates would given the full duration to take the exam paper if they were affected by the disruption and would not need to produce any excuse sheet as proof. (200 words)

871. No loopholes to close, but more can be done to prevent another oBike refund fiasco: Lawyers

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 18th, 2018
Such a business arrangement was brought into the spotlight over the weekend when FTI Consulting, the provisional liquidators for bike-sharing company oBike, shared that the latter’s mobile app is not under the control of oBike Singapore – the entity currently going through the liquidation process. Drew & Napier director Lim Chong Kin said in his email that there is no general prohibition against providing on-demand services that collect deposits as well as user and payment data via an app that is not owned or controlled by a Singapore-registered entity. (600 words)

872. oBike blames new rules for Singapore exit, but writing already on the wall

Singapore – Transport | Business Times | June 26th, 2018
oBike said it is shuttering its Singapore operations and will not be applying for a bike-sharing licence from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), citing difficulties in complying with proposed regulations here. This follows just two weeks after the homegrown bike-sharing operator pulled out of Australia, reportedly ahead of a similar regulatory crackdown there. The Business Times understands, however, that regulations notwithstanding, financial pressures could have played just as big a part in the pullout. (800 words)

873. oBike stops operations in Singapore, cites difficulties meeting new LTA regulations

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | June 25th, 2018
“oBike is announcing its decision to cease operation in Singapore as a result of difficulties foreseen to be experienced to fulfil the new requirements and guidelines released by LTA towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore,” the company said. oBike added that it strongly believes and is committed to provide dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, but regrets that “the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours”. (500 words)

874. oBike’s usage of customer deposits to fund operations ‘unethical’: CASE

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 4th, 2018
As of 5pm on Wednesday, CASE had received 1,044 complaints from consumers asking for a refund of their deposit with oBike after the operator’s shock announcement last week that it was ceasing its operations in Singapore. The majority of the complaints were lodged within the last week, CASE said. “Since the announcement that oBike would be ceasing operations, CASE has engaged oBike together with the Land Transport Authority (LTA). We were informed by oBike that consumers’ deposits have been used to purchase the bicycles and fund their operations,” CASE said in a statement. (400 words)

875. Over 2,000 ComfortDelGro cabbies express interest in joining Grab

Singapore – Transport | TODAY | September 15th, 2017
This was the number of drivers from Singapore’s largest taxi operator who have signed up for a Grab driver account as part of the recruitment drive — the first step to making the crossover, this newspaper understands. Grab’s offer, originally slated to end today, will be extended by another fortnight to Sept 29 owing to “popular demand”, the ride-hailing company said yesterday. In an attempt to counter Grab’s move, ComfortDelGro yesterday ran an advertisement in Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, trotting out rental rebates totalling S$3,600 over six months — which is less attractive than what Grab is offering. (800 words)

876. Private-hire cars may be adding to congestion

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
According to a list of cars put up for sale by Uber-owned Lion City Rentals, they average 2,145km per month – 54 per cent more than the national average here for passenger cars at 1,392km. The data is culled from 32 cars that Lion City Rentals is auctioning off. They range from six to eight years old, with the majority having clocked some 2,000km per month. The lowest mileage was that of a Honda Airwave, which clocked around 1,312km per month. The highest was by a Honda Civic which covered 3,074km per month. (600 words)

877. Repeat offenders who park shared bikes indiscriminately will face suspension: MOT

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 20th, 2018
The rule is part of the licensing regime for dockless operators for shared bikes, personal mobility devices and power-assisted bicycles under the Parking Places (Amendment) Act, which was passed in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 20). Bicycle sharing operators will have their fleet sizes regulated and will also be required to manage indiscriminate parking via “industry-wide” standards of geo-fencing, as well as remove indiscriminately parked bikes “in a timely manner”, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min in Parliament. (400 words)

878. Ryde lodges police report over fake accounts, ‘phantom’ bookings

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | June 28th, 2018
In a statement, the local firm said it received a large amount of feedback from drivers through email and social media regarding fake rider accounts and “phantom” trip bookings on its private-hire car service RydeX app. The resulting loss of income to drivers amounted to more than S$50,000, said Ryde. Following its own investigations, the company said it found “compelling digital evidence” that pointed to certain IP addresses. The company said it does not condone such acts of misrepresentation that can threaten the livelihood of drivers, and added that it would take the necessary steps to ensure that drivers who depend on the platform for their income were not affected. (300 words)

879. Self-driving vehicles on trial must have safety drivers, black boxes: MOT

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 11th, 2018
He was responding to a question by MP Melvin Yong on the measures in place to ensure the safety of road users. Dr Puthucheary revealed that there are 14 AVs currently authorised to conduct trials on roads at one-north, as well as areas around the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park 1 and 2. He stressed that these trials must “fulfil stringent requirements” to ensure the safety of road users. Among the measures he highlighted were that the AVs must be accompanied by a safety driver who is trained to immediately take full control of the vehicle when required. (300 words)

880. Shared bikes used 30 minutes a day, higher usage in evenings: Study

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 10th, 2018
The study showed that although more commuters are hopping on a dockless shared bike to get to the nearest MRT station or bus stop, usage was higher in the evenings after 5pm than in the morning peak hours. This raises the issue of rebalancing where operators need to redistribute the bikes according to when and where they are most in use, said the report, which was published last month in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. The study, titled “Understanding the usage of dockless bike-sharing in Singapore”, also revealed that shared bikes are heavily used as part of the last-mile of journeys. (400 words)

881. Singapore’s competition watchdog not notified about Grab-Uber deal

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 28th, 2018
The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) is writing to both companies to “clarify the details” of the deal, it said on Monday (Mar 26) in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. It noted that under Singapore’s competition law, mergers that may result in significantly lesser competition are prohibited. “In the event CCS finds that a merger situation is expected to result in an SLC (substantial lessening of competition), CCS has powers to give directions to remedy the SLC,” it said. For instance, it can require the merger to be unwound or modified. (300 words)

882. Singapore’s competition watchdog sets interim measures for Grab-Uber merger

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 25th, 2018
The measures include preventing Grab from taking over Uber’s operational data, such as historical trip data, to enhance its market position. Grab will also need to ensure that new drivers entering into an agreement to drive on its platform are not subject to exclusivity obligations. Another measure required the ride-hailing firms to maintain their pre-merger pricing and commission levels. CCCS also said that an independent monitoring trustee will be appointed to make sure the measures are complied with. (400 words)

883. SMRT Trains posts S$86m loss as ridership declines and maintenance costs rise

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 1st, 2018
The loss follows an after-tax profit of S$26 million for the previous financial year, according to an annual operations review report posted on its website on Sunday (Jul 1). Revenue declined from S$791 million to S$743 million due to a fall in ridership and lower average fares, the company said. Ridership fell from 768 million to 753 million, with average weekday ridership at 2,258, down from 2,353 the previous year. Operating expenses jumped from S$785 million to S$838 million. SMRT Trains said this was due to higher maintenance costs for the ageing rail network and higher loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment. (400 words)

884. Taxman calls on Grab, Uber drivers

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | September 12th, 2017
And the taxman has his sights next on Uber and Grab drivers. The Sunday Times understands that the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) has approached the two ride-hailing firms, which have amassed over 40,000 drivers since arriving here in 2013, to work out an arrangement for the drivers to file their tax returns automatically. Doing so also limits their ability to underdeclare earnings. Unlike cabbies’ earnings, the takings of ride-hailing drivers are captured by their respective phone apps. (500 words)

885. The Big Read: No more errantly parked bikes? New regime promising, but requires some pain

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | July 10th, 2018
The licensing scheme, which started on Saturday (Jul 7), comes with strict conditions on fleet size and responsible parking by users. Applications have closed and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is studying the operators’ submissions. Two-year licences are expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of the year. Operators and analysts say the scheme will likely shrink the pool of users and hit the firms’ profitability, given the greater compliance costs among other things. While the financial hit will be painful, operators acknowledge that the regulations will improve the state of affairs. (2900 words)

886. The Big Read: The big stick approach is no panacea to errant bike parking

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 2nd, 2018
These two-wheelers can be seen on pavements, beside expressways and under flyovers, for example, with some places resembling mini bicycle graveyards. The problem has persisted, despite the authorities’ warnings and measures by bike-sharing operators, as well as the public attention given to the situation – with the issue making headlines and being aired in Parliament on several occasions. In the most drastic move yet, a new law was passed to place operators offering dockless shared bikes, personal mobility devices (PMDs), and power-assisted bicycles under a licensing regime which is set to kick in in the fourth quarter of this year. (2400 words)

887. The Big Read: Why the Grab-Uber deal is making some uneasy

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 9th, 2018
Fares on the Didi Hitch service rose by 20 per cent in Beijing, and customers in other major cities such as Chengdu and Xi’an reported forking out more for the same distance, according to media reports. Around the same time, Didi also reduced its subsidies for drivers in Beijing, with weekend subsidies totally cut. They had previously received a 100 yuan (S$20.90) bonus for completing 38 rides on Saturdays and Sundays. A year after Didi’s US$35 billion (S$46.1 billion) acquisition — which made it the largest player in the Chinese domestic market, with an almost 90 per cent market share — China’s official Xinhua News Agency slammed the firm for “capricious” price rises. (3100 words)

888. The Grab discount: How worried should ComfortDelGro be?

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | September 5th, 2017
And it is likely to keep escalating until one or more players throw in the towel. The market is simply not big enough to support a taxi/private-hire fleet size of more than 70,000 – up from 28,000 cabs before Uber and Grab entered the fray in 2013. What accounts for the demand? It is unlikely that commuters have moved from trains and buses, both of which have been posting ridership growths year on year. Neither is it likely to be from new trips – people do not commute for the sake of commuting. The only possibility is private cars. (600 words)

889. Three to be charged for causing hurt in e-scooter accidents

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | March 8th, 2018
The incidents happened between July and November last year. On Jul 5, an 11-year-old boy was hit by an e-scooter that a 32-year-old man was riding at the void deck of a residential block along Clementi West Street 1. On Oct 19, a 61-year-old woman was taken to hospital after a 26-year-old man on an e-scooter ran into her at a hawker centre at Yishun Ave 11. In another accident along a pathway at Woodlands Avenue 4 on Nov 14, an eight-year-old boy was hit by an e-scooter operated by a 23-year-old man. (200 words)

890. What a Comfort-Uber alliance might look like

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | August 15th, 2017
It was the most visible attack the taxi giant had launched against the likes of Uber and Grab – a move preceded by persistent behind-the-scenes lobbying for the Government to step in and do something about the newcomers. But in a surprise announcement on Tuesday after the market closed, listed ComfortDelGro said it was in talks with Uber to form an alliance. Why is ComfortDelGro considering sleeping with the enemy? Asked this, a senior executive said: “In business, there are no enemies.” Indeed, there have been stranger bedfellows in the corporate world. (1500 words)

891. Public transport fares should not be pegged directly to cost

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | March 22th, 2018
The amount is clearly no small change. It represents a 50 per cent jump from the previous year’s expenditure, and puts transport just a mite below the $14.8 billion earmarked for defence – traditionally the cost leader in any Budget. In the same breath, the Government hinted strongly that public transport fares would have to go up – not just because of the huge increase in expenditure, but also because service standards had risen. It was Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui who asserted that fare adjustments had lagged behind the rise in operating costs. (800 words)

892. Shared bikes taking up space along park connector stretch at Changi

Singapore – Transport | TODAY
It is not known if it is an act of mischief or that they could have fallen due to a thunderstorm. My question is, how can these bike-sharing firms afford to leave so many bikes abandoned for so many months without inspection and care, at a place where there is no assigned docking space? Is this not a huge loss of income to them? Or is it a case of oversupply? If feels like a “graveyard” for bicycles, not just here but in other areas over Singapore. (100 words)

893. The limits of competition policy

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 20th, 2018
Recently, some commentators have commended the interim measures taken by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) to ensure that the market remains open and contestable while CCCS completes its investigations, while others question their effectiveness. Less attention has been paid to the difficulties the CCCS faces in assessing the competitive effects of the proposed merger between Uber and Grab. Putting aside the difficulties associated with defining the relevant market, this is no easy task. (1100 words)

894. The rights and wrongs of discretionary right turns

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 3th, 2018
Take it from private driving instructor Gordon Thia, 62, who has been in the business for almost 40 years. Mr Thia says learners need to estimate the speed and distance of the oncoming vehicles, and have the skill to move off confidently when there is a safe gap in the flow of traffic. And even licensed drivers don’t always get it right. “Even qualified drivers make the mistake of ensuring that the (oncoming) traffic is clear but fail to check for pedestrians,” he said. The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) decision to remove discretionary right turns from the bulk of road junctions in Singapore, wherever feasible, is hence one that Mr Thia agrees with. (1100 words)

895. Why aiming high is a must for the MRT

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 3th, 2018
The international measure for this is MKBF (mean kilometres before failure), which averages the number of five-minute-or-more delays over the total distance clocked by trains in a system. The higher the number, the more reliable a system is supposed to be. Mr Khaw’s target is a lofty one, given that the system ended 2017 with an MKBF of 390,000km, excluding failures attributable to the ongoing resignalling project. Which means it has two years to treble its reliability. Can Singapore do it? Mr Khaw seems to think so, citing the performance of top-tier systems such as Taipei Metro and Hong Kong’s MTR. (1100 words)

896. Why dominant and small players are treated differently

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | August 7th, 2018
In March, news broke that ride-hailing company Grab acquired its US-based competitor’s Singapore and South-east Asian operations for an undisclosed sum. Uber exited the market in return for a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab. The CCCS found that the merger had substantially lessened competition, made it harder for new competitors to enter the market and resulted in higher prices. It proposed a series of remedies for Grab to comply with. One of these is a restriction on Grab’s ability to engage drivers on an exclusive basis, a measure that facilitates the contestability of the private vehicle ride-hailing market, by keeping the market open to new market entrants that require access to as many drivers as possible to service their customers. (1200 words)

897. You’re in my way: Is this how riders see pedestrians?

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | May 13th, 2018
Express their self-righteous anger by raging at children they’ve knocked over. Express their disdain for drivers – who jam on the brakes to avoid hitting them – by raising the middle finger. Perhaps I’m being unhelpfully angry. Perhaps it would be a useful exercise to try to see things from the riders’ point of view. Bruised heads. Bleeding faces. Dislocated jaws. To add insult to injury, some riders assaulted people. Four motorised scooter riders were sentenced to be jailed recently for beating up a pedestrian. (900 words)

898. No claims to be made on security deposit, licence fees paid by bike-sharing operators: Lam Pin Min

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | February 18th, 2019
Dr Lam was responding to Nominated Member of Parliament Walter Theseira’s question on the financial standing of bicycle sharing operators, and whether their security deposits and licence fees can be used to repay their debts. This includes money owed to vendors, employees, companies and consumers by the operators. When granting licences to bike-sharing operators, LTA requires them to submit audited financial statements for review and considers their financial standing when granting licences. In addition, operators have to pay a S$30 annual licence fee and S$30 refundable security deposit per bike. (300 words)

899. Commentary: Ride-sharing should reduce congestion, not increase it

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | April 20th, 2019
Inexpensive and high-quality train and bus services, minimal road congestion, and widely available taxi and ride-sharing services make it one of the easiest cities to move around in the world. Effective investments, electronic road pricing, and the certificate of entitlement (COE) are major reasons for Singapore’s transport success. Implemented in Singapore and elsewhere, ride-sharing has been very successful with US$61 billion in global revenues for 2018. On the other hand, this growth has been driven by huge subsidies leading to big losses for start-ups in this space, not only in Singapore, but in the US, China, and India. (1600 words)

900. Bumpy road to cleaner transport

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | February 28th, 2019
Wasteful – and pollutive – habits on the road have gone on for too long. These include prolonged engine idling, which is against the law but hard to enforce. It is also not uncommon to find empty locked taxis with the engine running. Cabbies wanting to keep their vehicles cool while they take a meal break have two keys for this. Drivers napping in their vans or trucks – with the engine on so they can snooze in cool comfort – are a common sight as well. The same goes for fleet operators which keep bus and trailer engines running while they wait for passengers and cargo, sometimes for well over an hour. (1400 words)

901. Commentary: How the new Point-to-Point Transport Industry Bill levels the playing field for ride-hailing operators

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | August 23th, 2019
Gone are the days of waiting for a taxi to come by and hoping no one in front of you flags the cab down first. More private-hire cars have spilled onto the scene as apps like Grab, Go-Jek and at one point, Uber, ignited demand. Although their arrival has been welcomed by commuters and drivers, the future of ride-hailing has sparked fresh concerns about competition, fairness and the protection of the public interest. In this context, Parliament’s recent passing of the Point-to-Point Passenger Transport Industry Bill will change how taxis and ride-hailing services are regulated in Singapore to the benefit of commuters and drivers. (1300 words)

902. Commentary: Road safety and the case for regulating private-hire car operators

Singapore – Transport | Channel News Asia | August 13th, 2019
Consumers generally want some level of protection, but businesses are wary of too much regulation stifling innovation and growth. However, the recently passed Point-to-Point (P2P) Passenger Transport Industry Bill that will take affect from June 2020 is long overdue. What started out as just a ride-sharing app, private-hire car companies have pretty much taken up many aspects of our daily lives from commuting, eating, shopping, and even banking. Should you do it? I remembered when Uber exited the Singapore market, the prices of Grab rides went up almost immediately. (1200 words)

903. How commuting times affect HDB flat prices

Singapore – Transport | The Straits Times | April 9th, 2019
A Commuting to work is often time-consuming, expensive and stressful, even on the good days. No wonder most people dread it. Economists dislike commuting as much as anyone and have studied how commuting patterns affect many economic outcomes, such as productivity, where businesses choose to locate and pollution. One particular area of interest has been the trade-off between choosing where to live and the price of housing. Many empirical studies have found that one of the reasons why housing farther away from employment centres such as the Central Business District (CBD) sells for a lower price is the long commutes that residents must endure. (700 words)

904. Commentary: Singapore Airlines to launch world’s longest commercial flight – again

Singapore – Travel | Channel News Asia | June 20th, 2018
The route’s demise was chalked up to a couple of key factors. When the service was introduced in 2004, crude oil prices were at US$50 (S$67) to US$60 per barrel. By June 2008, they had reached an all-time high of more than US$140 per barrel. While prices dropped to around US$50 per barrel at the end of 2008, they returned to the US$80 to US$110 per barrel range by mid-2009, where they remained till late 2014. This caused airlines’ fuel bills – often the largest component of their operating costs – to skyrocket. (700 words)

905. Bold moves in infrastructure: Thinking big pays off for Singapore planners

Singapore – Urban Planning | The Straits Times | February 4th, 2018
A natural reaction to that would be, “What Long Island Project?” Over time, it has become largely forgotten. But decades ago, urban planners envisioned building an island using reclaimed land off East Coast Park for recreation and with beautiful waterfront housing. But this plan – known as the Long Island Project – has since been put aside as there was little demand for it, reveals the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) chief planner, Ms Hwang Yu-Ning, in an interview with Insight. “People love East Coast Park, so do we really want to commit to the plan if we don’t need it? (2300 words)

906. Subsidies helpful, but public education also needed to improve adult vaccination rates: Experts

Singapore – Vaccination | Channel News Asia | July 31th, 2019
Yet according to figures from the Ministry of Health (MOH) only 12 per cent of adults aged 65 to 74 in Singapore have been vaccinated against it. With the take-up rate for the influenza vaccine equally low at 14 per cent, experts find the numbers worrying given that it can be more difficult for seniors to fight off infections as their immune systems weaken. To improve the take-up rates, a multi-agency task force proposed on Sunday (Jul 28) that vaccination subsidies be given to Singaporean adults and Permanent Residents to protect themselves against vaccine-preventable diseases. (900 words)

907. Commentary: The power of Singapore’s social entrepreneurs in a profit-driven world

Singapore – Volunteerism | Channel News Asia | August 9th, 2017
A mixture of foresight and bold decisions have contributed to a stable, prosperous and resilient society. Everywhere we look, we see signs of economic development and wealth creation. Yet, we face growing social challenges such as a rapidly ageing population and rising costs of living. Policymakers and social workers have stepped up to meet these challenges through many of their social initiatives, but these are often too large in scale for them alone to handle. Many also require assistance that enable aid recipients to help themselves, to be sustainable. (1000 words)

908. What constitutes a valid vote? MPs debate as changes to Parliamentary Elections Act passed

Singapore – Voting | Channel News Asia | October 1st, 2018
In moving the Bill for a second reading, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing detailed the changes, pointing out that they will improve the administration of parliamentary elections while ensuring the integrity of the election process. “The changes will ensure that our electorate continues to have high trust and confidence in our electoral system,” he said. The changes, which were first tabled in Parliament on Sep 10, include the simplification of the computation of election deposits for candidates who wish to contest in a General Election. (1700 words)

909. The Big Read: Singapore’s voyeurism problem – what’s wrong with men, or the world?

Singapore – Voyeurism | Channel News Asia | April 29th, 2019
For 27-year-old Fiona, who did not want to give her full name, she will always double-check that the curtains in her bedroom or hotel are fully drawn such that there is not even a teeny-weeny gap for anyone to peek through, and steer clear of unattended baskets in supermarkets. Freelance content creator Hilary See, 27, would refrain from standing near the edge of the escalator where people can look up her skirt, and try to use either a bag or a file to cover the back of her skirt while climbing the stairs. (4000 words)

910. Changes to waste management system, bonus for cleaners passed in Parliament

Singapore – Waste | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2018
Moving the Bill for a second reading, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said that the new amendments would ensure that Singapore remains a “clean, green and livable city for generations to come”. Explaining that waste generation in Singapore grew by 40 per cent in the last decade, Dr Khor said: “If we do not adopt technology but continue to manage waste the way we do today, we will need a proportionate increase in manpower which we cannot meet without turning to foreign labour.” (1100 words)

911. Singapore must ensure adequate water supply to meet growing needs by 2050s: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore – Water | Channel News Asia | February 24th, 2018
“This is why we are building the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System Phase 2 to recycle as much water as we can, and we will continue to explore collecting every drop of water that falls on Singapore soil,” he added. The deep tunnel sewerage system is the nation’s way of collecting and transporting used water from across Singapore to three water reclamation plants – Changi, Kranji and Tuas – for treatment. The water is then purified to become NEWater, or discharged into the sea. Under national water agency PUB’s masterplan, NEWater and desalination will meet 85 per cent of Singapore’s water demand by 2060. (500 words)

912. The Big Read: How S’pore’s water conservation message got diluted by recent successes

Singapore – Water | TODAY
“Cut, cut, cut,” chanted the crowd, urging their government to cut off Johor’s water supply to Singapore. The relocation of the checkpoint was one of several sticky points that were part of quid pro quo negotiations during the Asian Financial Crisis, when Singapore sought future water supplies in return for financial aid to Malaysia. This was not the first time Singapore’s northern neighbour had threatened to stop supplying water. That very same year, a team from the national water agency PUB was sent to the United States to study their water-reclamation projects, hoping to revive an earlier failed experiment with water membrane technology. (2800 words)

913. What’s the price for a safe, secure source of water?

Singapore – Water | The Straits Times | March 22th, 2018
Every year, it offers an occasion for all of us to pause and consider our use of this most vital of resources. On a global level, it helps focus attention on what lies behind the problem of scarcity in various cities around the world, and what can be done to avert or manage it. First, some hard facts. About 2.5 billion to three billion people in the developing world currently do not have access to safe drinking water. What we are facing here is not so much a physical scarcity of water but of water that is fit for human consumption. (1400 words)

914. The Big Read: To build a strong water-saving culture, S’pore needs more than recycled messages

Singapore – Water | Channel News Asia | March 19th, 2019
They were participating in a water-rationing camp run by outdoor recreations company Better Trails. The camp, which was supported by PUB, was one of several initiatives for the agency’s latest water-saving campaign, “Make Every Drop Count”. Launched on Mar 2 as part of Singapore World Water Day, it will run for an entire year, making it one of its biggest and longest to date. Previous editions in recent years had lasted a month at most. The last time PUB embarked on a campaign of such a scale as this year’s was likely in the 1990s, which involved household water-rationing exercises across Singapore. (3200 words)

915. Government cannot use taxpayers’ money to bail out Hyflux investors: Masagos

Singapore – Water | Channel News Asia | April 1st, 2019
He was responding to a supplementary question from MP Seah Kian Peng, who had asked if the Government would bail out the investors in the firm. “Investors in search of returns must understand that returns come with some risk,” he said, adding that he can understand the concerns and anxiety of retail investors, and is “saddened by their plight”. He added that even if there were any proceeds from the takeover of the Tuaspring desalination plant, there is an order as to “who would get what first”. In this case, he said, Maybank, which is Tuaspring’s sole secured lender, will receive payments from TPL before all other general creditors – including national water agency PUB. (900 words)

916. Money or morals? How to get people to save water

Singapore – Water | The Straits Times | March 29th, 2019
In the light of the soaring temperatures and reduced rainfall, managing water demand is a societal challenge in Singapore. It also looms large across the world – from Manila to Cape Town, there are problems of rising demand and falling supply. One problem arises because price, a reliable policy instrument when regulating most behaviour, fails in large measure for water. Water is relatively price inelastic. That is to say, you have to raise prices by a lot to get a little reduction in consumption. (1000 words)

917. Commentary: Let’s review our assumptions about work-life balance

Singapore – Work | Channel News Asia | March 5th, 2018
For one, we’re always complaining about how “awful” our work–life balance is, according to a 2016 survey by salary benchmarking site Emolument. Never mind that significant progress has been made through schemes that promote flexible working arrangements in local companies. In the early 1990s, “work–life balance” became a popular topic thanks to Juliet Schor’s book The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure. She explored how employment had created such high demands on Americans that there had been a sharp decline in the quality of their life due to a lack of leisure time. (1000 words)

918. Commentary: What’s behind burnout? Confusing long hours and face time for work performance

Singapore – Work | Channel News Asia | May 31th, 2019
Numerous research and clinical studies have shown that burnout has serious physical, psychological and work–life consequences, from reduced work performance, productivity and work–life balance, to increased chronic depression, prolonged fatigue and cardiovascular disease. For some, burnout is also a precursor to premature death such as a sudden stroke or suicide. In his book Dying for a Paycheck, Stanford University Professor of Organisational Behaviour Jeffrey Pfeffer found that long working hours have led to chronic stress and burnout, subsequently pushing workers to commit suicide in some cases. (1200 words)

919. Analysing the benefits of migration

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | October 1st, 2015
My parents came to the United Kingdom to escape Hitler. Their arrival saved their lives. More passionate patriots cannot be imagined. It is not surprising that I believe Europe has a moral obligation to protect refugees. But what should one think about immigration more broadly? Globalisation is not just for goods, services and capital. It is also for people. High-income countries are not only richer, but also less corrupt and more stable than others. Nothing is less surprising than the desire to emigrate to the West. (800 words)

920. Immigration in Singapore: Changing Reactions and Rhetoric

Singapore – Immigration | IPS Commons | January 8th, 2015
From 2000 to 2014, Singapore’s foreign-born population swelled from 1 to 2 million. Public unhappiness at the government’s liberal immigration policies has led to foreigners being blamed for overcrowded public transport and high property prices, among other things. This discontent surfaced in the discourse surrounding the 2011 General Election, and has continued in the form of xenophobic sentiments expressed towards foreigners in the online space. Public reaction to Singapore’s immigration policy and the response by politicians and policymakers to these concerns have been reported extensively by the media. (1100 words)

921. Let’s not condemn Singaporeans to extinction

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | November 16th, 2017
As a young mother and a new assistant professor, I found it daunting to have to manage job expectations as well as be a good mother to my sons. My husband was facing similar challenges at his workplace, and we felt entrapped in a circumstance we seemed to have little control over. The power of sociological methodologies framed me with lenses that revealed the inter-connectedness of social agencies. Thus began my journey to distil the complexities of our population woes. That was in 1991. Along the way, I matured as a sociologist and learnt more about the intricacies of the world we live in. (1400 words)

922. Reframing the debate on ageing and immigration

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | January 30th, 2018
Speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies’ Singapore Perspectives conference, he noted that Singapore’s working age population – residents aged 15-64 – will start to decline from 2020. Since economic growth is the sum of the growth of the labour force and productivity, if Singapore freezes immigration and is not able to increase fertility beyond the replacement rate, productivity will be the only source of growth. So if productivity grows at 1.5 per cent – the average of the last seven years -the economy will also grow at 1.5 per cent. (1500 words)

923. Sustaining economic dynamism not just a numbers game

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | January 23rd, 2018
This means, holding productivity growth constant, a decline in labour force growth will have a direct impact on economic growth. If labour force growth falls to near zero, then the only source of GDP growth is productivity growth. If productivity growth stays at about 1.5 per cent, which is what we have likely averaged over the last seven years (based on mid-year employment), then GDP growth will approach that level. So, what are the trade-offs? If we want labour force to grow and have zero net immigration, then we have to allow the share of foreign workers in the workforce to rise. (2100 words)

924. The Population White Paper – Time to revisit an unpopular policy?

Singapore – Immigration | The Straits Times | January 8th, 2017
To say the reaction was negative would be an understatement: not only did the White Paper elicit the normal grumblings that Singaporeans are well known for, but it also sparked online protests and real-world ones at Hong Lim Park where one rallying cry was “Singapore for Singaporeans”. Since then, populist anti-immigrant anger has swept through several developed countries in the West. The political tidal wave produced Brexit in Britain and helped propel Mr Donald Trump to victory in last November’s United States presidential election. (1400 words)
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