Singapore moves to develop satellite and space technology industry

Spurred on by China’s recent launch of an astronaut, Singapore is planning to put its own men into orbit.
This is necessary to maintain Singapore’s technological reputation in Asia, said Colonel Tai Kong Ren, the newly-appointed chief of the Relaunching Singapore Committee of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).


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Bertha Harian

What’s there not to like about Budget 2013? That depends on what’s your instinctive reaction after hearing/reading DPM Tharman speech yesterday?

Aspiring first-time car owner: “What? Forty per cent cash down for a car? How can? Can those China-made cars please come back? Wait, the COE will be higher than the price of the car..’’

Rich guy: “How dare they tax my second home at the Sail, my third at Sentosa Cove and my fourth in Bukit Timah! Time to buy a building at Iskandar.’’

Befuddled economist/pseudo economist: “The government is paying employers to pay workers who get a pay rise? Why not just implement a minimum wage scheme?’’

Sandwiched class: “Damn! More income support for the lower-income. From MY taxpayer money. Why don’t just cut GST and everyone will be happy since it’s most regressive tax around and G made so much surplus already?’’

Big -flat homeowners: “Again five-roomers…

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Big drop in number of students taking literature

The decline in the number of students taking literature as a subject in school has to do with new subjects that have been introduced over the years, said Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law.
She was responding to questions from Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh who asked for the main reasons for the decline.
There are currently only about 3,000 students taking literature, compared to 16,970 in 1992.
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Social planning via education not a bad thing

In the UK, the state education system underwent a series of changes in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the teaching  of English and Maths. These changes took away the learning of language, spelling and arithmetic by rote, in  the name of experimentation. Allied to this was the removal of teachers’ ability to discipline recalcitrant students. Kids who are told  that they do not need to do anything and they will not be punished for it, are going to take advantage. We all know that.  This idiocy was replicated in  other countries, including the US, then the world’s largest  economy. It did not seem to matter if a child could not spell or do simple multiplication, so long as that child was encouraged to find the answer by himself.


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Busting the “Ageing Population” myth

On Tuesday, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) published their Population White Paper, that projects a population increase to 6.9 million by 2030. The premise of this White Paper was “to address this demographic challenge” associated with low birthrates and an ageing population.
This premise (that an ageing population is BAD) of the report is however flawed. It is increasingly accepted that an ageing population does not have any significant detrimental socioeconomic impacts.
It is deeply worrying that the Government still continues to believe that an ageing population is definitely bad, and would not even question this belief before proposing ideas to “solve” this “problem”. The Government’s solution of an ever-increasing population is also that of a vicious cycle.
“Problem”: ageing population
Solution: increase population
Result: more old people in the future (i.e. ageing population delayed)
Time to bust the myth…


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The Perils of the Siege Mentality in Singapore

Someone once told me that the only constant in Singapore is change, and I was going to agree: each time I return from abroad, new glitzy buildings decorate our skyline (the Avatar-land that is gardens by the bay being the latest addition), some of my favourite hawker stalls would have disappeared or moved, and prices of things would have changed, mostly upwards.
But two things, I realized, have never changed. They seem to be the few constants in Singapore’s history: one is the ruling PAP; the other is the siege mentality it has inspired from day one. Singapore, we are told, is unique. Our circumstances are unique (as if the same cannot be said of just about every other country on earth), and what they have tried to drill into our minds from a very young age, is that we are also uniquely vulnerable.
What the PAP has done, in essence, is to have played up global and regional uncertainties and the narrow margin for error in policy formulation, impressing upon the citizens that the current political system and its attendant peculiarities is a function of necessity rather than choice.


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Of Singaporean Heartlanders

“Reflexively, I was reminded that for a period of time my identity was moulded by a construct [of the Singapore heartlander] that I readily subscribed to with little questions asked and this continues to be the case for many of us. In fact, our identity and ontology represent the few things that we possess autonomy over in modern society. I especially love the metaphor of identity as a bricolage (Weber & Mitchell, 2008) – using whatever material we have at hand and constantly adding and building to it as we grow.”


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