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Arts sector can boost Singapore's competitive edge: Yaacob - Channel News Asia

Arts sector can boost Singapore's competitive edge: Yaacob - Channel News Asia | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Channel News Asia
Arts sector can boost Singapore's competitive edge: Yaacob
Channel News Asia
SINGAPORE: The Singapore arts sector can play a significant role in helping other elements of the country's economy gain an edge over the competition.
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Homeless in Singapore's Island Paradise

Homeless in Singapore's Island Paradise | singapore issues | Scoop.it
You may recall that I wrote about the sad case of Rebecca Loh and the tragic consequences of our government’s callous policy of self- reliance at all costs. 


Just as in the case of Rebecca Loh, it seems incomprehensible that a country where the government has accumulated surpluses amounting to several hundred billion dollars over the last few years should place so many obstacles in the path of its citizens in genuine need. After all the reserves belong ultimately to the people not to the government and the people produced that money that is the reserves. They are the financial equivalent of Hotel California. You can put them in any time you like but you can never take them out! If you want to know more about our reserves read here and here. For my views on the losses accumulated by MAS read this.

I also wrote that Rebecca and Gabriel were known in her neighbourhood, that they were not recluses behind hidden doors. Madam L is also known to the organisations that should be assisting her. Although I have found again and again that even the limited amount of assistance available is frequently not taken up because those who need it do not know it is there or have trouble accessing the information. When people do apply then mean-minded bureaucrats often reject their applications on dubious grounds. Even in the case of something that should be automatic like Workfare, many of the poorly educated are not even aware of the scheme’s existence or how to apply.

Meanwhile we are contacting various voluntary organisations to find Madam L a place in a hostel where she can have access to a bed and washing and laundry facilities. That can only be a temporary situation and really I don’t see why our genuinely deserving are reduced to begging for charity in the midst of so much government affluence?

I feel the same way about the Straits Times pocket money fund. Every year they raise a few million dollars and this amount is celebrated. But why should families be reduced to asking for charity to provide meals, clothing, basic stationary and books so that our children can attend school because in fact education is not yet free? After all the Straits Times’ profits are inflated because it enjoys a government monopoly through the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act.


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Singapore to Give Citizens Priority for Job Openings - New York Times

Singapore to Give Citizens Priority for Job Openings - New York Times | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Wall Street Journal Singapore to Give Citizens Priority for Job Openings New York Times HONG KONG — The government of Singapore announced measures on Monday that will compel companies to give priority to local residents in the job recruitment...
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[Updated 1] Triple confirm. "Tightening on foreign labour" was a lie.

[Updated 1] Triple confirm.  "Tightening on foreign labour" was a lie. | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Updated: The editors at TRE pointed out quite rightly that the increase in the number of foreign workers coming to Singapore is on target this year to be less than in previous years. Whether this "...


The above graph shows the size of the foreign workforce in Singapore from December 2009 to June 2013. Despite government claims that the flow of foreign workers was being reduced, it is clear that no such reduction has occurred – business as usual appears to be the best description. We should note that this graph shows the trend back some time prior to the 2011 general election. It was widely held that dissatisfaction with an excessive influx of foreign labour was one cause for the ruling party’s poor results at the polls, so it is particularly puzzling that no meaningful policy changes have appeared to rectify the situation. That the government has made plenty of noise about solving this problem implies that they have heard Singaporeans’ concerns, however the fact that noise rather than meaningful policy changes have been the result is extremely concerning. It would appear that the government, despite being aware of the problem, is either unwilling or unable to provide an effective solution.


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"Working poor" in Singapore can't make ends meet: NUS - Channel News Asia

"Working poor" in Singapore can't make ends meet: NUS - Channel News Asia | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Channel News Asia
"Working poor" in Singapore can't make ends meet: NUS
Channel News Asia
"In Singapore, we don't have a recession, we also don't have a budget deficit.
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Singapore issues guidelines on personal data protection - FutureGov Magazine

Singapore issues guidelines on personal data protection - FutureGov Magazine | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Singapore issues guidelines on personal data protection
FutureGov Magazine
The advisory guidelines elaborate on how the PDPA applies to specific issues and domains.
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The unhappy young and their broken Singapore Dream

The unhappy young and their broken Singapore Dream | singapore issues | Scoop.it

Every year about 50,000 young Singaporeans will come of age and start to hang a millstone over their neck, to start their new lives as adults. The new citizens coming in too will have to hang the same millstone over their necks unless they are really super talents and can afford the expensive housing and lifestyle here. The group of highly in debt young and new people cannot afford a major economic crisis or a personal crisis in their lives. They will be heavily in debt and their lives will be in ruins should it happen. Without an income is simply unacceptable with the kind of debt in their hands. They are the new debtors of a Singapore economic miracle formula based on high inflation, and high cost of living and increasing debt of the young people.


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The Difference Ten Years Makes

The Difference Ten Years Makes | singapore issues | Scoop.it

Today, Singaporeans are the unhappiest people in the world. But according to the World Values Survey (sample size 1,500+), Singaporeans were a very happy lot in 2002. When asked about their feeling of happiness, 28.8% reported that they were “very happy” and 66.2% said they were “quite happy.” In total, 95% of the population were generally happy.

In 2001, Singapore was ranked 97th in the EIU Worldwide Cost of Living. Our population was a manageable 4.18 million in 2002, including 3.38 million residents.

In a decade, however, Singapore has been drastically transformed. Our population hit the 5 million mark by 2010. The income ratio of the top decile to the bottom decile almost doubled over the last 15 years.

In 2012, our economy grew by a spectacular 14.8%. But that did not bring us happiness.


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“Our Singapore Conversation” insults Singaporeans’ intellect

By Philip Ang

I refer to CNA’s “PM Lee to address healthcare, education and housing issues at National Day Rally”.

The headline indicates the government has prioritised health care and education over housing. This is wrong. Where CNA had wrongly prioritised Singaporeans’ concerns, fortunately, Yahoo Singapore got them right. (link)

Housing has always been the main issue because high property prices have enslaved Singaporeans to banks for 30 years for public housing. It has also resulted in all goods and services being more expensive i.e. drinks and food at coffee shops, tuition fees, doctor fees, salaries, etc. because businesses pass on their costs to consumers and it continues in a vicious circle.

As the biggest landlord in Singapore, the PAP government will never be in favour of lowering land prices.

Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) is another numbers game which the PAP has embarked upon to impress – 660 dialogues, 47,000 participants, 40 organisations involved etc. This begs the question – what have our 1800 grassroots organisations and $15,000 per month PAP MPs been doing all these years?

The OSC is again confirmation of PAP’s systemic failure and a huge waste of public resources.

The PAP has shown its preference to continue listening to itself by shutting out true blue Singaporeans who are opposition voices. Being partisan, it would be more appropriate to name it OPC – Our PAP CONversation.

The OSC will eventually turn out to be a big joke on those Singaporeans who continue to believe our problems will be resolved because the PAP appears to be listening.

It is not so much of the PAP not wanting to resolve them but are unable to because PAP’s key to growing the economy hinges on only one thing – growing the population. This is a fact which is evident since the last decade of the last century. Every problem (housing, transport, jobs, education) is related to this mindless increase in population and we should realise it is impossible for the PAP to throw away the key.

The PAP has invested tens of billions from our reserves into building infrastructures not for our benefit but to cater to future increase in immigration. Every investment, to the PAP, must yield monetary returns.

One example would be public transportation. After adding 200 or so public buses with taxpayers’ money, overcrowding has not eased. This is due to a simultaneous increase in the population which should currently be about 5.42 million. (extrapolate from past increases) Future additional buses are meant to cater to an average yearly increase in population of about 100,000. The $1,000,000,000 plus ‘investment’ generates monetary returns for PTOs and the reduction of overcrowding for commuters is merely incidental. This is the PAP mindset.

Another example would be the increase in the number of HDB flats for similar reason stated above. Higher immigration numbers translate into high property prices which benefit the government directly or indirectly through GST, personal and corporate taxes, etc.

All issues are related to a mindless immigration/population policy and when the OSC ignores the elephant in the room, it really makes a mockery of Singaporeans.
The OSC is merely about tweaks and treatment of symptoms of a system which in already in the ICU.


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Censorship, sex and scandal in Singapore

Censorship, sex and scandal in Singapore | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Almost three years ago, Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) approached Tey Tsun Hang, a Malaysian-born law associate professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), about bec (Censorship, sex and scandal in #singapore
T Yi Ling TunaSoup's insight:

it's up to us to decipher what is true and what is not

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Feed Me To The Fish: Understanding the Anger of Good Citizens like Reuben Wang and Jolovan Wham

If leaders of a country and educational institution can behave in such deplorable manner, where in Singapore can we find examples of grace and civility?

This sick culture and bad example of the rich, powerful and elite belittling, bullying and taking advantage the smaller, weaker and poorer Singaporeans must stop! The greater worry: Is the PAP government's generous welcoming of more millionaires [Link] to Singapore with open legs to ultimately raise GDP, hence increase ministers' salaries, a tsunami spring waiting to implode!

For those who insist that Reuben Wang did wrong in writing"Fuck You, Sir" in his blog, I invite you to read the frustration and anger of Mr Jolovan Wham for what ST did to him. [LINK]. After reading what Jolovan wrote, may I invite you to listen to what Teo Chee Hean said about the media at the same forum which got Reuben so angry that he had to speak his mind.


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Singapore's monetary policy may stay tight as inflation picks up for fourth month - Reuters India

Singapore's monetary policy may stay tight as inflation picks up for fourth month - Reuters India | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Singapore's monetary policy may stay tight as inflation picks up for fourth month Reuters India The affordability of housing and the overall cost of living are major concerns among Singaporeans, who are unhappy about the number of foreign workers...
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Retirement homes are no longer a taboo in Asia - Moneycontrol.com

Retirement homes are no longer a taboo in Asia - Moneycontrol.com | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Moneycontrol.com
Retirement homes are no longer a taboo in Asia
Moneycontrol.com
Asia`s population is graying; the proportion of people over the age of 65 is currently around 14 percent, according to data from the CIA Factbook, double that of 2010.
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What is really missing from MOM's "Singaporean" first employment initiative?

What is really missing from MOM's "Singaporean" first employment initiative? | singapore issues | Scoop.it


Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth. Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly. ‘Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.”

No one in Singapore disagrees with that fellow. But how reasonable is it to expect conditions to improve to create a level playing field for the native looking to land a decent job in Singapore when there seems to be absolutely no solid commitment on the part of government to back up words with black letter law.

Since these latest MOM initiatives lack that ONE vital element to make possible the issuance of punitive measures in a legal form on errant firms who practice empire building hiring policies - it’s fair to say this gives the aggrieved party hardly all scope for legal recourse or for that matter judicial review – so what do you really have at the end of the day? Maybe you should all go and ask that fellow?


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Niche programmes in schools to be expanded - Channel News Asia

Niche programmes in schools to be expanded - Channel News Asia | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Channel News Asia Niche programmes in schools to be expanded Channel News Asia SINGAPORE: All secondary schools will develop two distinctive programmes by 2017 with the aim to help students connect academic knowledge to the real world and to...
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Free speech is only as strong as your weakest link

Free speech is only as strong as your weakest link | singapore issues | Scoop.it
By Kumaran Pillai Managing Editor Firstly, my sincere thanks to MDA and folks for announcing our arrival.  And I thought that it would be apt to start the inaugural issue about the threats to free speech on the Internet in Singapore.
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Foreign wealth widens inequality in Singapore - Report....

Foreign wealth widens inequality in Singapore - Report.... | singapore issues | Scoop.it

"Indians overtook Chinese as the ethnic group earning the highest income. Last year Indian household earned a median income of $5370. This compares with $5100 for Chinese families and $3844 for Malay families"

Singapore opened its doors to wealthy Indians from India causing the average income of this ethnic group to go up. The "long time Indian Singaporean" did not make much progress in recent years and like all other Singaporeans suffered from the rising cost of living as Singapore became more crowded.

If we bring in rich people to the country, the rest of the population can benefit if the rich is properly taxed to provide a source of money for social spending or if they invest in businesses that create better paying jobs for Singaporeans. In Singapore our tax rate is very low and we do not tax wealth but income. A person shifting his wealth to Singapore pays very little in taxes and we attract wealthy people with the wrong motivation -many are because they want to avoid high taxes back home. If they don't want to contribute to the society that made them rich, they are not here to benefit our society as a whole except a few private wealth managers and our already wealthy banks.


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Singapore's cadre system

Singapore's cadre system | singapore issues | Scoop.it
How to keep top-down control of a modern political party.


Under the present structure of the PAP, it will be impossible for the party to reform itself from the grassroots and allow new ideas to reach the top. The ability of people to rise through the ranks of the party with new ideas is heavily restricted. The Lim Chin Siong legacy saw to that. The very way the PAP has sought both meritocracy and stability has become its 'Achilles heel', paralyzing the ability to adapt to changing Singapore, where ironically the country has been so successful in adapting to outside factors of change while being so internally rigid. The cadre system itself prevents change, as the selection process is a closed system selecting only same minded people to the leadership, subjecting government to the risks of groupthink. The challenge of change brings uncertainty and with this comes insecurity about the continuation of a successful paradigm of government that has served Singapore so well in the past.

Lee Kuan Yew had dominated Singaporean politics, economy, and society since the 1950s. The family has influenced affairs in Singapore for over 50 years, much longer than any other political family in the region. His eldest son, Lee Hsien Loong became Prime Minister in 2004. Lee Hsien Loong's wife Ho Ching was CEO of Temasek Holdings. Lee Kuan Yew's youngest son Lee Hsien Yang is the head of Singapore Telecom. The Lees have achieved their positions on merit and are genuinely an exceptionally talented family. Officially, the reason given for this is by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is the small talent pool in Singapore. Both the political and business sectors appear incestuous in Singapore, but due to the 'city-state' nature of the country, there appears to be little in the way of any solution to this. When the opportunities rose under Goh Chok Tong's Premiership in the mid 1990s, no moves were made to check the power of the Lee family.


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Singapore Puts Online on a Leash - Variety

Singapore Puts Online on a Leash - Variety | singapore issues | Scoop.it
Singapore Puts Online on a Leash
Variety
Yet that's what happened last month following the hurried introduction of regulations that require popular websites to put up coin as a surety and adhere to government censorship rules.
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