Monday, October 14, 2019

S’pore has done much to forge a cohesive, multiracial society, but two challenges remain

By Han Fook Kwang

01 May, 2019

It was, fittingly, President Halimah Yacob who announced that Singapore would be holding its first international conference on social cohesion and inter-faith harmony in June this year.

It shows the high level of support from the country’s leadership on issues related to religious harmony.

Indeed, soon after making the announcement, she spoke at a remembrance ceremony organised by the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) to honour those killed during the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch in March.

The IRO, formed in 1949, with 10 major religions represented, has had a long history in Singapore of promoting understanding and goodwill.

Why is inter-faith harmony taken so seriously in Singapore, including at the highest level of government? There are several reasons.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Dyson abruptly scraps electric car project; ‘minimal’ disruption to S’pore workforce, operations

11 October, 2019

SINGAPORE — Barely a year after Dyson announced that it would build its electric car in Singapore, the British technology company announced on Thursday (Oct 10) that it plans to shut down its automotive project.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) said the disruption to its operations and workforce in Singapore will be minimal, as Dyson’s decision not to pursue the electric vehicle business was taken at an early stage.

Dyson said it decided to close the project because although its automotive team has developed a “fantastic electric car”, it is not commercially viable.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

S’pore Police Force will not grant permits for rallies that ‘advocate political causes’ of other countries

28 September, 2019

SINGAPORE — Permit for assemblies that “advocate political causes of other countries” will not be granted, the Singapore Police Force said on Saturday (Sept 28).

In response to queries about police’s approach to calls for an anti-totalitarian rally in Singapore, the police warned that foreigners visiting or living in Singapore will have to abide by the country’s laws.

“Action will be taken against those who break the law. This may include termination of visa or work passes,” police said.

“At the Speakers’ Corner, only Singapore citizens and permanent residents are allowed to participate in assemblies without a permit, subject to the conditions in the Speakers’ Corner rules.”

Saturday, September 28, 2019

In Malaysia, the battle against racial politics is in the rural areas

By Chang Lih Kang

27 September, 2019

After being the talk of the town for more than a year, Malaysian opposition parties United Malays National Organistion (Umno) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) have finally “tied the knot”.

This does not surprise anyone, as they were “flirting” with each other since the last general election. They were working together to ensure Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) defeat in the election.

Although they did not succeed in their last attempt, the Umno-PAS political marriage has rippled the political landscape. People are concerned about the existence of this mono-ethnic, mono-religion political pact.

Many see it as a perilous development for a plural society. Some pundits anticipate a more polarised nation with more racial or religious tension, because politicians from the Umno-PAS pact are prone to only address audiences from a single race and religion.

We should not discount the possibility of some PH politicians, who wish to outdo their rivals, might resort to a hardline racial narrative too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Govts must lead fight against foreign interference, cannot rely on tech firms: Shanmugam

By Kenneth Cheng

Singapore wants to work with technology companies to fight foreign influence in national affairs, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Wednesday (Sept 25).

25 September, 2019

SINGAPORE — Governments must lead the fight against foreign interference in national affairs and cannot look to technology companies to solve the problem, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Wednesday (Sept 25).

“Governments have to lead from the front and we need to ensure we have the right tools to fight this,” Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said at a conference on foreign-interference tactics and countermeasures.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Explainer: How Singapore is affected when Saudi oilfields burn


17 September, 2019

SINGAPORE — Singapore motorists at petrol pumps over the weekend might not have noticed any price difference, but a significant shift could be on the cards. This is after drone attacks crippled Saudi Arabia oil facilities on Saturday (Sept 14), causing the price of crude oil to surge overnight.

In what was the largest intraday spike in 20 years, Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose nearly 19.5 per cent at one point and US futures leaped by 15 per cent on Monday (Sept 16).

On the other hand, petrol prices hardly moved over the weekend, as it typically takes months before global shocks are reflected in refined products such as petroleum.

However, this looks to be the biggest supply shock in history, what with more than 5.7 million barrels a day, or 5 per cent of global supply, temporarily affected by the attacks — exceeding past oil embargoes as well as the Iranian Revolution, which lasted from 1978 to 1979.

[And countries have announced that they are releasing their strategic oil reserves to adjust for the shortfall - and take advantage of the price increase? It will smoothen out.]

For Singapore, which imports around S$15 billion more oil than it exports, the impact will likely be felt both positively and negatively by businesses, consumers and the overall economy, with much depending on the increasingly volatile outlook of the Middle East, experts tell TODAY.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Personality tests are the astrology of the office

Psychometric tests like Color Code, Myers-Briggs and DiSC have become a goofy part of corporate life, but what happens when we take them seriously?

New York Times

22 September, 2019

NEW YORK — On his first day working at the University of Phoenix, Eric Shapiro found out the good news: He had tested red-yellow.

To the layperson this doesn’t mean much. But to those well-versed in the psychology of Taylor Hartman’s “Color Code,” as all employees of the University of Phoenix’s enrollment office were required to be, it was a career-maker.

Red meant you were a person motivated by power and yellow by fun. This was an ideal combination for someone looking to climb the ranks in an admissions team that demanded the ability to schmooze and then hit recruitment targets: equal parts charisma and competitiveness.

“The dominant people in the office, most of the leadership staff including myself when I got promoted, we were heavy red and yellows,” said Mr Shapiro, 36. “Yellows tend to be really good at working the room. Reds tend to be more type A, like bulls in a china shop. You’re passionate, you’re not sensitive, you get over things quicker.”