Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Watz Buzzing - 2 Oct 2013

'Is Singapore my home, daddy?'

Universal Studios Singapore is one of Singapore's favourite playground for tourists.
A seemingly innocent question asked by my 4-year-old son

Early Saturday morning, I brought him to Universal Studios Singapore at Sentosa. There was a performance by street dancers at the Sesame Street area.

It was a performance my son enjoyed. During a part of the performance, the dancers asked the audience which part of the world they came from. The dancer would announce the country followed by the audience response. Of the countries announced, there was a big response from the mainland Chinese, Philippines and Indians around.

Singapore was the last call. There were quite a few Singaporeans in the audience of course, but when Singapore was called out, most of them (me included), did not acknowledge the call, we just kept quiet.

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81-year-old lady dies at AMK blk 222 void deck after spending 3 nights queuing for free food given by nearby temple

The 81-year-old lady succumbing to stress and exhaustion, died suddenly at the void deck leaving behind his distaught 85-year-old husband.

Omy. sg, 1 Oct 2013
两老相依为命,夫左眼瞎妻手脚萎缩;救护车载走妻,老汉不知所措。 Link

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foreign worker good singapore

TRS reader Sylvia was touched to see a foreign worker on the train letting a stranger rest on his shoulder.

Sylvia said the foreign worker did not wake the tired stranger up, even though he must have felt awkward.

Said the TRS reader: "A foreign worker kindly allowed a stranger to rest on his shoulders while on a train ride. "As awkward as he felt, he did not wake the stranger up the entire train ride.

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The following is an extract of the transcripts of an interview held by Dr Toh Han Chong (THC) of the Singapore Medical Association News (SMA News) newsletter, with former head of the Civil Service, Mr Ngiam Tong Dow (NTD).

THC: Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee, Hon Sui Sen, Lim Kim San, etc, are all different in strengths and personality, what were the key qualities they possessed that helped to build this country in those early years?

NTD: Lee Kuan Yew has the ability to attract the best people in the country – Goh Keng Swee, S Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye, Hon Sui Sen and Lim Kim San. Goh Keng Swee is a real thinker and very innovative. Hon Sui Sen is the perfect Permanent Secretary; he once told me, “When I look at you, I never think of your weak points. I always think of your strong points, and I use your strong points to do my work for me rather than spend day and night on your weak points.” Of course, we need to be aware of the weak points of a person but we should always identify the strong points and develop them. Lee Kuan Yew is the political messiah, Goh Keng Swee is the architect, Hon Sui Sen is the builder,and Lim Kim San provides business insights. In a way, Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew were lucky to have such a team then. Sorry to say, but I don’t see such a team today.

THC: You have been very outspoken after your retirement. Is the perception that you are more outspoken now in retirement than before while in the civil service accurate?

Read the full interview here

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Net archive reveals Mah did say he accepted responsibility

Shin Min Daily News published an article yesterday (29 Sep) based on an interview with former National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan. During the interview, Mr Mah denied that he stepped down from the Cabinet in 2011 to take the blame for high HDB prices:

Mah said that he stepped down as he was retiring and wanted someone more capable to take over from him. He was interviewed for the launch of a new book about eminent Hainanese in Singapore.
He said:
“There have been numerous rumours about why I resigned from the Cabinet, including bearing the responsibility for high HDB prices. I disagree, I feel I have given the most valuable part of my life to the government and the people.”
He felt it was time for him to step down and let someone more capable than him improve Singapore’s housing. He said that to build a First World Singapore, he had given the most precious 10 years of his life, including his wisdom, passion and determination.

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Suu Kyi urges Myanmar diaspora in Singapore to return home

Speaking at another event at the Singapore Management University on Sunday afternoon, Suu Kyi said she did not wish to impose on affluent and educated Myanmar nationals overseas to return home.

"It is a matter of choice...I don't blame you because it is quite human and natural to make the most of your own life," she said.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, spent more than two decades studying and working in India, Britain and the United States before returning home in 1988 to form the National League for Democracy

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Myanmar's Suu Kyi looks to Singapore as model - minus the materialism

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cemented Singapore's role as a major economic partner and model for her country on a five-day trip to the island, taking home what she said were valuable lessons on education policy and anti-graft measures.

But her endorsement of the wealthy city-state came with a caveat - Myanmar could do without the materialistic and high-pressure society that has accompanied Singapore's decades-long transformation from tropical backwater to economic powerhouse.

"I want to learn a lot from the standards that Singapore has been able to achieve, but I wonder whether we don't want something more for our country," the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters on Monday evening as she prepared to return home

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There was a handsome Pinoy family in the paper a couple of days back. The husband was an IT talent but his application to renew his EP was rejected. The MOM has started to close the door a bit and not approving every application for EP here.

From the interviews of the foreigners Singapore is still a choice destination for employment. They praised not only the safe and stable living environment here. The working environment is excellent, good jobs, good pay and good prospect. But this funny part is not what Sinkies, especially the PMEs are experiencing. Why is Singapore so good for foreigners and so bad to some Sinkies is a big irony and a big mystery.

Say whatever you like, the govt must know our strength, how good Singapore is as a place for business and work. It is not just cheap labour. It is the whole package which is very attractive and very competitive among the first world countries. There is no comparison among the third world countries. Only fools will compare the two and tell you the third world countries are better

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Filipino Graduate Scholar Wins Several International Competitions With Stolen Photos, Sought To Keep Prize Money, 22 Sep 2013 

Mark Joseph Solis, a student attending the University of Philippines, won a $1000 prize and round trip tickets to Chile and Brazil for his winning photo in the “Smiles for the World” competition. However, the photo is not his, he stole it right off Flickr. Further investigation has revealed that Solis has won numerous competitions over the last 3 years using other photos he never took, but rather stole from others online

The competition took place on September 18th and the owner of the photo, Gregory John Smith, discovered the stolen photo after being tipped off by “emails from all over the world.” He called it out in the comments of the news story covering the contest

After being caught Solis has been quick to apologize coming out publicly and even sending a letter today to Smith. But this is not his first time doing it. In fact, he used the same photo to win another contest, United Nations International Year of Water Photo Contest as you can see here on their website announcement (note the owner of the photo at the bottom). Here’s another example of a photo he submitted to a contest in 2008, yet again stolen straight from Flickr. And again. Full story

  1. University of the Philippines student wins contest using 'stolen' photo - Yahoo! News Philippines
  2. UP student plagiarizes prize-winning photos -
  3. Photo thief wants to keep cash prize -
  4. UP student in plagiarism scam hopes for second chance - ABS-CBN News
  5. UP president saddened over student’s ‘committed fraud’ - Inquirer Technology 
  6. CCP deplores Mark Joseph Solis plagiarism act - Inquirer Lifestyle
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Filipino jobseekers warned vs fake papers in Singapore

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has warned Filipinos applying for work in Singapore against submitting fake employment credentials even as the Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has intensified the prosecution of foreigners who forge their qualifications in order to obtain work passes.

Baldoz said the Philippine Embassy in Singapore has already issued an advisory to overseas Filipino workers to ensure that they submit proper academic credentials prior to employment.

Submission of fake credentials carries a heavy penalty in Singapore, Baldoz said

related: DOLE warns Singapore-bound OFWs vs. faking credentials

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In Singapore, Construction Sites are the ‘New Sweatshops

SJX Construction

Jolovan Wham recently posted on Facebook the case of Shan Jian Xin Construction Pte Ltd. (SJX), in which their construction workers were made to sign a contract with clauses that violated local labour laws (for e.g. ‘The worker works fully for the whole year without rest’, ‘The employee is not entitled to wages while on MC’, etc.). When some SJX workers resigned due to a pay dispute and filed complaints with the Ministry of Manpower, the employer responded with a list of contestable deductions, effectively reducing their net pay to $76

According to Wham:
Instead of prohibiting these deductions, the MOM officer told the workers the employer is penalizing them in this way for fear of their colleagues lodging similar complaints. The officer said if they are not satisfied with the employer’s decision, they should take their case to labour court, which in my experience may take a few months to resolve. Without any income such an option is not realistic.
What Wham described brought me back to events some seven years ago (see Yawning Bread’s account, here). [Meanwhile, latest update on the SJX case here]

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