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MM Lee: Values of Yesterday for a Successful Tomorrow

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By: Yap Yun Ying Sarah


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.


Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Singapore celebrates the passing of tax cheats standard

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By: Pham Huynh Thao Quyen


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

Bad economy does not stop charity efforts

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By: Christine Chua


The long queue of people waiting to make their purchases

Charity efforts were on the high as people crowded to make purchases to help needy families in the warehouse food donation drive last Sunday.

Despite the economic downturn, the warehouse was full of activity with live music performances and celebrity appearances. Even in the hot weather, there were long queues of people waiting to purchase their items and signing the pledge to stand up against poverty.

The long queue of people waiting to make their purchases

“Yes, there is an economic downturn but it doesn’t mean I don’t have to do grocery shopping, so why not do it here and also teach my son something about helping others?” Wong Wen Hao, 43, a member of the public at the food sale, said.

The charity drive aimed to benefit at least 900 low-income families, and was organised by a local food distributer, Food Xervices. This was in colla


The wide variety of products for customers to choose from

boration with ONE Singapore, a non-profit organisation committed to alleviating poverty, for the ‘Every ONE Can Campaign”.

“In Singapore, there are those who still need a helping hand to cope during these difficult times. FoodXervices Inc

is doing our part to help where we can and make their lives a little better,” Nichol Ng, Managing Director of FoodServices Inc, said.

The public could choose to buy items ranging from one packet of salt to one carton of oyster sauce, so everyone could donate regardless of their financial capabilities. These items were packed into a van immediately after purchase, and distributed directly to the needy.

“I didn’t bring much cash with me, but I’m glad I can still render some help by buying this little bottle of Hershey sauce. I hope the family who gets it will like it!” Stephanie Phua, a third year undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University, said. “I think they can collect a larger amount of donations if they accept NETS payment though,” she added.

Shoppers could also do their own grocery shopping while still contributing to charity. A wide variety of 3500 products were available at wholesale pricing, and monetary proceeds similarly went to the needy.


ONE Singapore’s “8 ways to change the world” poster

Some shoppers interested in doing more for this cause even signed up for the Stand Up Take Action Against Poverty, a mass global campaign from 16 to 18 October, at the ONE Singapore booth.
“We believe in changing the world with eight ways and eliminating poverty is one of it,” Chris Basil, client relations manager of Yolk Digital Company and volunteer in ONE Singapore, said. “We are very optimistic about the upcoming Stand Up campaign and hope to break another record,” he added.

Everyone can make poverty history. Each and every one of us can make a difference,” Vernetta Lopez, President of ONE Singapore, said. “Deepavali is the festival of lights. On this Deepavali day, let’s add to the light and joy,” she added.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Single, desperate and ugly no more

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By: Cassandra Lee Shu Xian

32All singles looking for love can call the Government’s matchmaker Social Development Network, or SDN, from now on.

The new dating network will replace the former SDU-SDS moniker, which merged the Social Development Unit for graduates-only and the Social Development Service for non-graduates.

Unlike the past, the new matchmaker will not only be exclusive to members.  All single residents aged 20 and above will now be eligible for the services without being a member of the network or paying a registration fee.

The network’s mission is getting singles to meet, and, eventually, marry. It will serve as a one-stop centre for information on dating services, courses and events for all singles.

Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, said it is necessary to help singles in the search of love and overcome the perceived stigma of seeking external help.

“Singles should regard SDN as a facilitator and a friend, and not a membership organisation, accompanying them on their journey to find their potential partners, and pointing them to relevant resources at various stages of this journey,” she said in a Straits Time report on Saturday.

(Watch Channel News Asia’s video “Single to mingle” here: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-sg&vid=c7173c38-2401-44bd-aac6-8e18666df4e1)

However, not everyone is receptive towards the change.

For instance, Alex Soong, 23, an undergraduate in National University of Singapore, does not welcome the change in name and does not think that it will make any difference in his decision in joining such a network.

“SDU was for the Single, Desperate and Ugly and now, SDN is just short for Single, Desperate and Needy,” Soong said. “No difference. Moreover, what would people think of me? It’s so embarrassing.”

Soong is not alone is his opinions; some young adults are equally sceptical about the new network.

See what people are saying on Twitter:


Despite the network’s unpopular image, Clara Tan, a 23 year old fresh graduate, welcomes the dating prospects that the agency will provide.

“I didn’t meet anyone when I was in University and I’m having difficulty meeting new people. I’m not expecting to find someone, but I’m taking it as a chance to meet more people,” she said.

The network will also be partnering nine accredited private dating agencies, such as Exclusive Match and Lunch Actually, to provide affordable dating packages for singles.

A sampler dating package worth over S$500 is now being offered by the network and the accredited dating agencies at S$50.

Singles can sign up for any of the packages, ranging from personalised introductions to online dating activities.

Over 200,000 members SDU and SDS have tied the knot in the last 25 years, according to the Strait Times last week.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Supermarket trolley fished out

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28 By: Siti Nurasyikin

Over 100 students from Nanyang Polytechnic and grassroots volunteers paddled down Sungei Api Api at Pasir Ris with the aim to clean up the mangrove on Sunday morning.

The kayaking expedition was led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the Member of Parliament for the area. The expedition was the third of such clean-up exercise since Teo came up with the idea five years ago.

Teo himself netted a surprising catch. He found a supermarket trolley in the mud and joked about collecting the $1 deposit inserted into such trolleys. Volunteers also collected another supermarket trolley at the river.

Sixty bags of garbage were collected in total including two supermarket trolleys and parts of a park bench. Plastic bags were the most common litter, accounting for nearly half of all rubbish found in the river.

Soon Qiao Ying, a student volunteer said, “I was not environmentally-conscious until this event. Seeing what people threw into the river really shocked me. I will definitely be more active in preserving our environment after seeing this.”

Teo said he found the river to be cleaner than it had been three years ago but there is still some way to go. He added, “There are still some very irresponsible people. I hope that those who make use of the river will keep it clean as well. Let’s make our waterways something we are proud of.”

Sungei Api Api, which is named after the species of mangrove tree lining the river, is known for good fishing and its wildlife. The mangroves lining Sungei Api Api were part of a conscious decision by National Parks Singapore to re- establish the original mangrove habitat there after reclamation at Pasir Ris.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

Business picks up ahead of Deepavali at the Bazaar

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By: Ong Chiew Ling
14 October 2009

25Business is picking up its momentum at this year’s Deepavali Bazaar as crowds started to throng Little India for their last-minute shopping a week before the festival celebration comes to an end.

Despite the economic downturn, stall vendors said more people were turning up to spend on festival goods this week at the annual Bazaar, which is held at the Deepavali Festival Village and Campbell Lane from Sept. 18 to Oct.16.

With greater bargains and just a few more days before the festival of lights, more people are expected to flock to the Deepavali Bazaar at Little India where streets were beautifully decorated and live music being played during the evening.

“More crowds are coming in since last Saturday and although people are a bit more careful, they are still spending,” Chandran Raju,­­­­ the owner of a sweet stall at the bazaar, said.

Shoppers can get to buy traditional and modern delicacies and decorative items for their home at the Campbell Lane, which might be congested in the evenings with the after-office crowd and other bargain hunters.

As the festival of lights draws near and with the heated stiff competition, some stall vendors at the Deepavali Bazaar have resorted to slashing their products at a discount.

“To attract customers, some of our goodies are sold at ‘three for $10’ whereas other stalls are selling at a much higher price for the same thing. Yes, we are doing better and seeing more customers these few days before Deepavali,” Saugeetha Yog, a 37 year-old snacks and goodies stall owner, said.

When asked how much was spent at the Deepavali Bazaar, 45 year-old Tina Ramdas replied splurging over $400 on new clothes, accessories and decorations for her home. Yet, she intends to shell out more over this weekend.

“I have no plans to cut down on my spending especially when prices are getting affordable as Diwali draws near. You just have to shop and spend on new things when it comes to celebrating Deepavali,” Ramdas said.

Another shopper, who was at the Deepavali Bazaar for her last minute shopping, felt that people were finally getting into the festive mood as the Diwali celebration approaches.

“There are still plenty of people shopping in Singapore for Deepavali. They may be cautious but they are still optimistic,” Haveer Kaur, a 23 year-old NTU undergraduate said.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Home, Online News

New network for singles

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By: Lim Xiu Yan Jacqueline

The Social Development Unit-Social Development Service has been renamed the Social Development Network and will now extend its reach to all singles and link them to a wider network of dating agencies, allowing them to meet more likeminded people.

Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, announced the new name at the annual Partner Connection Trade Seminar last Friday.

“The new name reflects the expanded role of the organization, being in the centre of the entire local dating network, creating an environment that is conducive for all singles to meet and forge meaningful relationships,” Yu-Foo said.

She added that this new approach was introduced as they wanted to remove the stigma that singles have when joining matchmaking agencies.

SDN also introduced the SDNTrust Dating Treats, which consist of subsidies, to encourage singles to try out the services of accredited private agencies. A sampler dating package will also be provided to singles.

Packages that cost up to $500 are now being offered at $50 and interested singles can register for these packages at half the price if they do so at SDN’s website. Current members can participate in these activities for free as a show of appreciation for their support.

In addition, SDN has extended its basic services, which were previously offered only to members, to all at no charge, and anyone can now view information provided online by SDN regardless of membership status.

SDN has also fostered partnerships with private agencies to provide a wider variety of dating services with hope that the local dating industry will be able to play a bigger part in fulfilling the demands of singles.

Ivy Lim, 34 year-old Assistant Buyer, said that this move is beneficial as business networking can be done in addition to social networking. However, she is still sceptical as to “how many people are there to genuinely make friends and are not with different agendas.”

Some also feel that this move will not make much difference to the mindsets of many people.

27 year-old Cai Zhixiong said: “Change in name will only fix the stigma temporarily. In the past, SDU was often poked fun at – single desperate unwanted. Sooner or later, SDN will have new names too.”

Even so, service providers still feel positive that these new initiatives can encourage more to take part in dating activities as full commitment is not required. Singles can also try out services of different agencies to find one that best suits them.

“I would like to encourage singles to make full use of this Dating Treats and start the search for their February Valentine’s Day date today,” Claire Chiang, co-chairperson of The Partner Connection Fund Evaluation Panel, said after the announcement.

Written by mtrayu

November 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Home, Online News