Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Watz Online - 28 Aug 2012

PM Lee raises concern over S'poreans' changing behaviour

(Photo / Screen grab from parliament.gov.sg) 

The noise from the online community in Singapore and Singaporeans’ often times aggressive sentiments towards foreigners cannot be ignored.

Tonight at the National Day Rally, in one of its more impassioned moments, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave his take on the matter, saying Singapore cannot be a “one-eyed dragon”, where its people “slam the shortcomings of others and ignore our own transgressions".

He said it was fair for people to express concern or to disagree with immigration trends and policies, but some of the nasty views that he has come across are worrying, especially when they are expressed anonymously online. 

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Singapore May Raise Taxes for Social Spending as Nation Ages

Singapore will need to raise taxes in the next two decades as the government boosts social spending to support an aging population, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he proposed measures to boost the country’s birth rate.

The prime minister pledged to ensure sufficient affordable housing for citizens, invest in pre-school education and add nursing homes for the elderly. He urged Singaporeans to build a more compassionate society, reject anti-foreigner sentiment and have more babies, saying the nation needs to re-invent itself as the economy faces slower growth after years of rapid expansion.

“As our social spending increases significantly, sooner or later, our taxes must go up,” Lee said late yesterday in his annual televised National Day Rally address, which ran for more than two hours. “Not immediately, but if we are talking about 20 years, certainly within that 20 years, whoever is the government will at some point have to raise taxes because the spending will have to be done.” 

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National Day Rally: What’s next for Singapore?

Lee Hsien Loong

Every August, after the hype and excitement of the Singapore National Day Parade has died down, our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong makes the National Day Rally speech.

Of course, there were the easily predictable buzzwords. Even before a single word was uttered on live television we all knew that there would be mention of increased engagement between the government and the people, and of course, almost excessive use of the word “inclusive”.

This year, three ministers – Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Halimah Yacob and Senior Minister of State for Education and  for Information, Communications and the Arts Lawrence Wong – gave speeches before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took centre stage.

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Singapore PM says anti-foreigner sentiments hurting nation's reputation globally

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged citizens to be more tolerant of foreigners.

He said so after expressing concern over rising anti-foreigner sentiment that is hurting the city-state's reputation globally.

"I think it's fair enough to express concern, or to disagree with our immigration trends, or to oppose our immigration policies," Lee said in his annual National Day Rally speech, acknowledging that the influx of foreigners in recent years has aggravated socio-economic problems in the tiny Southeast Asian island.

We must continue to strengthen our Singaporean core: DPM Tharman

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Photo: Ministry of Finance)

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said efforts to strengthen the nation's Singaporean core must be kept up.

Mr Tharman said this can be done by providing the best opportunities for Singaporeans to develop their potential when young and have good jobs, and by ensuring that the country's social policies place Singaporeans at the centre.

The deputy prime minister, who is also the Minister for Finance, made the comments in a Facebook post following Sunday night's National Day Rally.

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Govt will hear all views, but not all will be taken into account: Amy Khor

Dr Amy Khor said the government will hear all views and suggestions, but not all can be taken into account. 

The chairman of the government's feedback unit, REACH, was speaking to MediaCorp 93.8 Live about the national conversation on the future of the country.

She said: "I think that the key really is to close the loop. Not all suggestions can be taken into account, of course. We will hear all views and all suggestions, but as in all things, there will always be trade-offs.

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A timely look at those 'other' issues

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered Singaporeans a refreshing change at this year's National Day Rally: He shared the occasion with not one but three other government leaders. Stylistically, the change in format took away the element of jaded predictability.

There was also an important signalling effect - a subtle manifestation of a more inclusive leadership style, and how different perspectives have a place under the Singapore sun.

While recent rally speeches were gradually less heavily economic-accented, this time round the economy clearly took a back seat. Post-material concerns and aspirational issues took centre stage and, hopefully, mark definitively the first steps towards "right-sizing" our attitudes towards material and post-material aspirations. 

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Woman attacks man after she finds her girlfriend with him

She went to her girlfriend’s home and found a man coming out of the bedroom.

Enraged that her lover spent the night with the man, the woman later lunged at him and stabbed him a few times with a knife.

Yesterday, Teo Ming Min, 29, a graphic designer, was sentenced to two years’ probation by a district judge for voluntarily causing hurt to the man, Channel NewsAsia reported.

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Fortune teller gets 12 years' jail and caning for rape

A fortune teller was sentenced to 12 years' jail and six strokes of the cane for raping a teenage girl.

Siah Kwang Yung raped the teen in her own bedroom on the pretext of conducting demon exorcism rites.

According to Sin Ming Daily, the victim's mother was at Waterloo Street in September 2011 when she was approached by someone who told her that she was down in luck and recommended she see a fortune teller.

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Ex-police officer gets 12 weeks' jail in online vice ring case

A policeman's long career came crashing down after he was jailed 12 weeks on Monday for having paid sex with an underage girl in the high-profile online vice case.

39-year-old Tan Wee Kiat, who has been in the police force for 14 years, was one of several men charged for having paid sex with the same girl.

In his sentencing, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said that Tan, who did not verify the girl's age, "should have known better." However, he noted that Tan, a senior police officer, did not commit the offence while on duty.

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Australian charged with molest on SIA flight

An Australian citizen was charged on Monday with using criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty. 

30-year-old Rajput Sandeep Singh allegedly molested the woman onboard a Singapore Airlines flight on August 25.

He allegedly touched her groin and thighs at about 5.30am during the Delhi-Singapore flight.

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Briton acquitted of molest but fined for swearing at police officer 

A Briton who molested a woman in Clarke Quay, was acquitted of the charge after he apologised to her in open court and was ordered by the court to pay her S$5,000 in compensation.

39-year-old Patrick Cormak Cusack, an engineer with a multinational corporation, apologised to the 29-year-old woman for causing her hurt or distress for the incident on May 1. Cusack, who is married with four children, added that it was "completely out of character" for him.

However, Cusack was still slapped with a S$2,000 fine for a second charge of hurling obscenities at a police officer who tried to arrest him for the offence. Cusack swore at Staff Sergeant Nazri Ahmad when he was being questioned.

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Neighbours fight over alleged illegal leasing of homes

He had seen two of his neighbours bringing people with luggages to their home at People's Park Centre.

However while trying to photograph evidence that the Indonesian sisters were illegally hosting tourists at three residential units, he got into a fight with them when they tried to stop him.

The 60-year-old man injured his right arm and back, and his shirt was also torn during the fight, which happened on Aug 17, reported The Straits Times (ST).

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Cheating on partners, SG women ranked 5th globally

It was Oscar Wilde who once said, “Those who are faithless know the pleasures of love; it is the faithful who know love's tragedies”.

And it looks like some Singaporean women may be prescribing to Wilde’s philosophy.

A recent global survey by condom maker Durex ranked Singaporean women fifth out of 36 countries when it comes to cheating on their partners, The Star newspaper reported.

Woman finds urine, faeces on front door

She has had what may be urine and faeces thrown at her door eight times in the last two weeks.

The fifth-storey resident of Block 966, Hougang Avenue 9, Madam Tina Lo, said she initially thought it was an accident.

"I thought it might have been a stray cat which made the mess," the sales executive officer told The New Paper in Mandarin last night.

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How China may be the next to land on the moon

Chinese astronauts Liu Wang (centre), Jing Haipeng (left) and Liu Yang in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft during a manned space mission which includes China's first female astronaut.

BEIJING - Neil Armstrong's 1969 lunar landing marked a pinnacle of US technological achievement, defining what many saw as the American century, but the next person to set foot on the moon will likely be Chinese.

As the United States has scaled back its manned space programme to cut costs - a move strongly criticised by Armstrong, who died on Saturday - Asian nations have aggressively expanded into space exploration.

China, Japan and India all have their own space programmes. New Delhi, which envisages its first manned mission in 2016, recently unveiled ambitious plans to launch a space probe that would orbit Mars.

Law Society plans meeting on its clash with M Ravi

The Law Society of Singapore has informed its members of a requisition to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to explain its clash with lawyer M Ravi.

In an email sent out yesterday evening, the society said the requisition, which carried 51 signatures, wanted members to discuss the society's role in Mr Wong Siew Hong, one of its officials, appearing before Justice Philip Pillai in open court on July 16 purportedly with the authority of the society to present a confidential letter from Mr Ravi's psychiatrist. 

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Singapore to have two more universities

Singapore is aiming to raise the proportion of local youths admitted to universities to 40 percent by 2020 by increasing the number of national universities to six from the current four, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday.

Lee said in his National Day Rally speech that the Singapore Institute of Technology, which was established by the government in 2009, will offer more places. The SIM University, a private institution which currently runs part-time courses, will offer full-time courses, too. The part-time students at these two institutions will also get more funding support.

The government will build on the strength and branding of the Singapore Institute of Technology and the SIM University, with an emphasis on degrees in applied sciences, he said. 

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With Opening Near, Yale Defends Singapore Venture

Students have started to be admitted, faculty members have been hired, and construction has begun on the site that will become the home of Yale University ’s first joint college in its 300-year history.

The first 150 students of the Yale-National University of Singapore College will begin a liberal arts curriculum, incorporating the study of East and West, on the existing N.U.S. campus in roughly one year. The new Yale-N.U.S. campus is expected to open in 2015.

The college could make a valuable contribution to higher education in Asia, some education experts say, but Yale has also received withering criticism for lending its name to an institution in Singapore, where freedom of assembly and association is restricted. 

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As Singapore Globalizes Its Schools, Locals Worry

“This is how our society treats us and our parents who pay taxes,” read a post this year on The Thinking Fish Tank, a Singapore-based blog. “They’d rather give scholarships to others than their own.” 

The writer, who identifies herself as G.T. and an engineering student at the National University of Singapore , is not the only one complaining online that international students, some of whom receive scholarships, are squeezing Singaporeans out of public universities.

Universities around the world have made attracting international students a fundamental goal. And Singapore has been successful in its pursuit, with foreigners representing 18 percent of the undergraduate student population. 

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