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MM Lee: Values of Yesterday for a Successful Tomorrow

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By: Yap Yun Ying Sarah

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MM Lee: Do or Die! More Videos are available at RazorTv

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew gave his views on how Singapore could deal with increasingly pertinent issues that have great impacts on Singapore’s future during the annual Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum held at the National University of Singapore.

The forum, which was held on Monday, attracted a total of 1200 undergraduates and members of academia.

When asked about the values young Singaporeans should adopt for Singapore to thrive in the next 50 years, Lee emphasized the importance of values such as perseverance and diligence, which were the foundations of the nation’s forefathers.

He attributed Singapore’s success to the hard work and sacrifices of the nation’s forefathers and expressed his belief that it will require the same in order to keep Singapore successful in the years to come

“Today’s children do not understand what it means to be poor,” Lee said as he highlighted the pressing need for the younger generation to learn from Singapore’s past instead of staying contented with what the country has achieved today.

Lee answered nine prepared and pre-selected questions at the hour-long forum which covered issues that included the country’s widening income gap and Singapore’s response to climate change.

While he resented the inevitability of such problems in Singapore’s progressing economy and maturing society, Lee also presented Singapore’s unique responses.

Instead of worrying relentlessly about the widening income gap, Singapore’s approach would be to create as many jobs as possible, so that most Singaporeans hold a job. “Never mind your Gini coefficient. If you don’t have a job you get zero against those with jobs. So our first priority is jobs for everyone,” Lee said.

On tackling climate change, Lee took a practical approach in reasoning that it would be too costly for Singapore to adopt what countries such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have done in terms of their efforts for recycling. He believes that a rubbish chute in Housing Development Board flat is a major contributing factor for Singaporean’s not actively recycling and in order to correct this would be very expensive.

With regards to clamping down on harmful gas emissions in Singapore by international bodies, MM Lee feels that an international agreement would impede some of Singapore’s key industries such as our port facilities as well as the aviation sector.

The Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum is organized annually by the National University of Singapore Political Association.

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Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Students cried over “unbelievably hard” PSLE math paper

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53The recent Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) math paper, which most described as “unbelievably hard”, caused uproar among students and parents alike.

A number of students even cried after the paper. “Some of my friends cried shortly after the math paper ended,” Jamie Tan, a student who sat for PSLE this year, said.

Apparently, this year’s math paper was slightly difficult. “There are some new and unfamiliar questions in this year’s PSLE math paper,” James Ang, a local tutor, said. “Therefore, many students find these questions difficult to solve.”

Nevertheless, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that the number of questions, question types and syllabus were similar to that of the papers in earlier years.

Despite the similarities mentioned by MOE, Ang said that there were many contributing factors to this year’s difficult PSLE math paper.

“I think one important reason is due to the use of calculators for PSLE math from 2009 onwards,” Ang said.

According to Channel NewsAsia, MOE said that the use of calculators is to better enhance the learning experience of students. “The introduction of the use of calculators does not have any bearing on the difficulty of paper,” a spokesperson said.

Jonathan Tan, father of Jamie Tan, however, has another idea of why the PSLE math paper is getting harder.

“PSLE need to have some killer questions so as to spread out the scores of the student,” Tan said. “But kiasu parents keep giving tuition to kids to make sure they can score these killers.”

“Then MOE will churn out more and more killers,” Tan said. “So the questions are getting more and more difficult.”

Rosalind Lim, who posted in the Straits Times forum, concurred.

“Primary 6 pupils are expected to tackle a much more difficult mathematics paper than 10 years ago,” Lim posted. “However, they are still given the same time to complete the paper.”

“As a former teacher and tutor, I have come across many capable pupils who are good at mathematics but cannot perform well because of over-challenging questions and an unrealistic time frame,” Lim posted.

Another possible reason is the not-so-straightforward phrasing used in these math questions. “It is important for students to understand the questions well before they can solve them,” Ang said.

On the hindsight, Ang said that many students will find the questions are now possible to solve quickly. “But it was not really the case while under the exam conditions faced by the primary six cohort of students this year,” Ang said.

More importantly, students should be given a more realistic and appropriate time frame. “The questions should be set within their ability to solve them,” Lim posted.

“Tremendous pressure will be on this year’s primary five students who will take PSLE next year,” Ang said. “I will have to prepare my primary five students early for that eventuality.”

“I expect the trend for future PSLE math exam questions to be of similar level of difficulty or higher, from now onwards,” Ang said.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Education, Online News

Acer issues laptop recall

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By Cassandra Ho
October 13, 2009

50SINGAPORE – Acer has voluntarily issued a global safety recall for two of the notebooks from its Acer Aspire series, due to the possible overheating of these laptop units.

The microphone cable in affected notebooks may overheat if repeated pressure is applied to the left palm rest, which may result in the melting of the cable, deformation of the unit and malfunctioning of the system.

However, Florence Koh, Singapore’s spokesperson for Acer said that the problem “was not major”.

The affected models are AS3410, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ and AS3810TZG, and were manufactured before September 15, 2009.

Three out of these five models have been on sale in Singapore since May 2008, according to a Straits Times report.

Acer said that it would collect the laptops and replace the affected parts for free to “eliminate the risk of overheating”. Alternatively, users can drop their units off at the service centres.

The computer manufacturer also said that the safety recall program was voluntarily instituted after reports of overheating and not ordered by safety authorities.

51Owners of the listed models can check if their units are affected and eligible for the recall on the Acer Product Advisory page through the serial number or SNID on their machines.

Despite the recall, some consumers have voiced their reluctance to send in their laptops on online forums.

A forum user by the nick of “Jaybee83” posted on Notebook Review, “I cant afford to send my laptop in, i really need it for my studies at university. ive decided no to pursue this thing. since this is a voluntary callback by acer, it wouldnt affect the warranty if the laptop actually broke down from this malfunction! and since ive worked on it for around one and a half months now without any heat problems, ill just take my chances i guess”.

The recall has also caused a dip in local consumer confidence of the Acer brand and its products.

Forum user, “ArcticCheetah”, wrote on HardwareZone that he “won’t be sending it in because of past Acer tech screw ups” as he felt that he was unable to trust them anymore.

This is not the first time Acer is carrying out a recall. In March earlier this year, it recalled its Predator line of Desktops due to short-circuiting and overheating problems

Computer mechanic, Gary Ng, is not surprised at this drop in confidence.

“Consumers tend to tell their friends when they are affected by such problems and this causes everyone, not just Acer users, to have a lower view of the brand. The whole incident will just reflect badly on Acer,” he said.

The Taiwanese PC maker also saw confidence in its shares drop after the recall was issued.

Acer shares fell 1.71% to NT$80.6 in the Taipei trading market, but analysts expect the price to recover soon.

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Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Online News, Technology

Singapore Slingers clinch second ABL win

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By Kristine Paula Aquino
21 October 2009

The Singapore Slingers beat the Philippine Patriots 74-69 and won the second ASEAN Basketball League this Sunday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Helmed by top scorers Kyle Jeffers and Michael LeBlanc, the Slingers charged through the tension-filled match and led over the Patriots by as much as 15 points in the third quarter.

LeBlanc believes the Slingers’ biggest strength during the match was its ability to stick together as a team. “There was a lot of adversity tonight, but the main thing is we got our offense, we got the lose balls,” he said.

The Patriots, however, did not go down without a fight. After a sloppy third quarter, they stepped up to score 27 points in the game’s last ten minutes. Led by Brandon Powell and Jason Dixon, the Patriots sank a succession of two and three-pointers in the fourth quarter to whittle down the Slingers’ massive lead.

According to Slingers coach Frank Arsego, his team’s less-than-stellar response to the Patriots’ late game rally signaled a need to go back to basics.

“For us we made some simple fundamental mistakes, so early in the week we go back and work on the fundamentals: passing, being strong with the ball. Those things do make a difference when you’re under pressure,” Arsego said.

The 2,200-strong crowd certainly adds pressure to the players as they cheered and booed vigorously throughout the entire match. Ten-year-old Daniel Osbourne, who has been a fan of the Slingers since they coached his school’s basketball team, said, “I’ll be cheering for Michael LeBlanc.”

Alfred Paras, who has lived and worked in Singapore for six years, welcomed some good old Philippine basketball by the Patriots. “I had only recently heard about the Patriots, but I decided to come down here and give them my support,” he said.

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As the excited fans egged on their respective teams, tensions ran high in the game’s second half.

The Patriots lost point guard Warren Ybañez to a bloody nose in the last minute and a half of the third quarter after he attempted to block a layup by the Slingers’ LeBlanc. Slinger Wong Wei Long got testy in the fourth quarter, after being called for successive fouls against Patriots Dixon and Powell respectively.

In the midst of the heated arguments and fumbled balls, however, Slingers co-captain Kyle Jeffers offered some sound advice. “When things aren’t going our way, we have to continue to stick together as a team, play our hardest and be strong with the ball and our offense,” he said.

The Slingers will face off against the Brunei Barracudas for their first road game on October 24, after beating them by 18 points in the season-opening home game last week. The Patriots, on the other hand, will fly back to the Philippines to face the Thailand Tigers on October 25.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Lifestyle, Online News

Singapore celebrates the passing of tax cheats standard

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By: Pham Huynh Thao Quyen

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The skyline in Singapore where the city-state has passed a law aimed at closing loopholes for tax cheats

SINGAPORE-Singapore has passed a bill by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) to be confirmed as a country with high transparency in tax system.

‘This enhanced scope of cooperation will not only allow Singapore to provide greater assistance to its prescribed treaty partners, but also help Singapore obtain information for the enforcement of our domestic tax laws,’ Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Parliament.

Singapore government has seen the most reliable sign in the economic recovery and they know more needs to be done to sustain its economy. Under pressure from the G20, Singapore passed a bill in Parliament on Monday to comply with OECD standards to fight cross border tax evasion.

The Republic is ready for the “booming” again of their economy after recession.

“I do believe that passing the bill will boost Singapore economy to a higher level of trust. We are in the “white list” now and we should be proud of this.”-said Atlee Young, a businessman from NTUC.

Passing the bill not only benefits the economy alone, it also creates more chances for other segments such as education, tourism to culture industry due to its thriving economy.

“I hope to see an increased number of tourists coming here after this event because I really think that Singapore now has created a more positive impression for foreigners. They come here as a traveller first but many of them are really potential investors”-said Tracy, a staff of Singapore Tourism Board.

Banking transparency is a key element for sustainable development. The OECD has three lists: black, grey and white, with countries ranked on their willingness to stick to its standards. Singapore used to be put under “grey list” last year by this organization.

Countries that are put under “black list” are those do not commit to implement the internationally agreed tax standards. “Grey list” countries, such as Singapore, are those who committed to the standards but have yet to fully implement them while the ”whites list” countries have fully implemented organization standards.

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday that passing the bill is a positive sign for the sustainable growth of Singapore economy. Transparency in information exchange between business partners will boost the economy to a higher level of trust. This in turn will give investors confidence for Singapore in the long term.

Watch the Video of S’pore committed to Standard for exchange of tax (Channelnewsasia.com)

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Singlish to English By The British Council

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By: Goy Soon Ting Elisa
21 October 2009

46Singapore — Got many luggages? Or not?

According to Matt Winchester, Deputy Branch Manager of British Council in Marsiling, the proper standard English should be “Do you have much luggage, or don’t you?”

This was one of the examples in the Singlish vs Standard English workshop, which highlighted common Singlish phrases used by Singaporeans.

The workshop, held last Sunday, examined the differences between Singlish and English. It was the limelight of the events conducted at the Woodlands Regional Library with the aim of improving Singaporeans’ English.

In the workshop, Winchester taught participants how to spot standard English. He also reviewed the common grammatical mistakes made by students such as ‘yet’ and ‘already’ and uncountable and countable nouns.

Besides these, he also raised awareness among the participants on intonation and stressed syllables.

Most of the participants came with the purpose of learning how to improve their standard English. Hemalatha aged 31, a housewife with two children, said, “I want to learn more about the correct English to teach my kids.”

During the workshop, participant Ellen Tan, a 60-year-old retiree, said, “Singlish is a mixture of local dialects and other official languages. For example, the usage of Malay words like ‘makan’ is poor English.”

Tan also said that she is against children speaking Singlish because Singlish conversations articulated by children affect their command of standard English, which is especially evident when children are told to write an essay.

The interactive workshop attracted a group of approximately 30 people from all walks of life. Short exercises and references, which were prepared by the British Council, were distributed to all participants.

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This two-hour long workshop was organised jointly by the British Council and the Speak Good English Movement. Participants were required to register for this workshop in advance via e-mail. The places were allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

After the workshop, participant Jenny Wong, a 48-year-old homemaker with two children, said, “This workshop is useful and it has helped us to correct our grammatical mistakes such as the usage of ‘already’ and ‘yet’ and we have learnt that the word ‘equipment’ is an uncountable noun.”

Winchester said that The British Council is a source where people can learn British English and hopefully, Singaporeans will use Singapore standard English in the right context.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Education, Online News

Yahoo! re-connects users with new marketing campaign

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By: Tsang Chi Yin
13 October 2009

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Click on Yahoo!’s latest marketing campaign logo. Alternatively, log on to http://www.youreka.com.sg or http://www.youreka.com.my to participate in the journey of discovery.

Singapore – Youreka!, the latest marketing campaign launched in Singapore and Malaysia by Yahoo! yesterday has taken the old idea of a treasure hunt with a new twist to engage its users.

The treasure hunters are taken on a journey around the Internet to find tickets seeded online in the Yahoo! sites via an integrated platform that combines online, offline and mobile channels at higher speeds.

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Outdoor advertisement posters promoting Youreka! like this above can be seen all across Singapore.

Winners of the hunt will also stand a chance to win two grand prizes in a lucky draw – a Honda Jazz car with Yahoo! designed bodywork and a full set of the home entertainment system.

Non-treasure hunters can also win shopping vouchers in the gaming contest at the Youreka! website.

Other various coloured tickets can also be downloaded to redeem giveaways such as sports accessories and movie screening tickets.

Hazel Ng, 25, an avid user of Yahoo! services said: “The campaign is simple yet refreshing. I look forward to participating in Youreka! and will ask my friends to join in as well.”

However, not all are excited about the latest marketing campaign by Yahoo!.

33 year-old Clarence Song, an IT executive who spends more than six hours on the Internet a day, said: “The prizes are not very attractive to start off with and there are too many procedures before I get to enjoy the perks. These were the two main reasons I didn’t sign up for the hunt.”

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This campaign was formulated by Yahoo! Southeast Asia to tap on the strength of the 14 million users in Singapore and Malaysia to expand its business explained Stephanie Chua, brand manager of Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

Ken Mandel, managing director of Yahoo!, said: “Through Youreka!, we can show rather than tell how closely Yahoo! connects to the lives of people and societies – and have a great time doing it.”

The draws will be held on 25 November at Capsquare in Kuala Lumpur and on 28 November at the Singapore Flyer in Singapore.

The Youreka! campaign is seen by industry players as part of  Yahoo!’s effort to re-establish its brand leadership position in the region.

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Click on the video to view the latest television commercial of Youreka! campaign.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Online News, Technology