Friday, November 6, 2020

The Big Read in short: Can SIA fly high again?


SIA recorded its first full-year loss of S$212 million for the 12 months ending March 31, after staying profitable throughout its 48-year history. Earlier in September, it announced plans to cut around 4,300 positions, affecting around 2,400 staff.

26 September, 2020

Each week, TODAY’s long-running Big Read series delves into the trends and issues that matter. This week, we look at the challenges faced by Singapore Airlines amid the Covid-19 crisis and how it can recover post-pandemic. This is a shortened version of the full feature,​ which can be found here.

  • Covid-19 had hit SIA like a bolt from the blue, at a time when it was facing mounting competitive pressures
  • The pandemic hit SIA squarely on its core business model of premium, long-haul international flights — the first to be cancelled and likely the last to be restored
  • Changi Airport air hub status is not guaranteed post-pandemic, as technological trends and alternative hubs pose a threat
  • When the restart comes, SIA will need ready and trained personnel to jump on the wagon
  • Global debate ongoing over the role of flag carriers, as the aviation industry is expected to consolidate in the months and years ahead.

Commentary: Biden risks being a lame duck president if he wins

Should he win, Joe Biden could be caught between two irreconcilable forces – a stubbornly entrenched Trumpian right and an embittered Democratic left, says the Financial Times’ Edward Luce.

 Edward Luce

WASHINGTON: Damaged liberal hearts may briefly be lifted by the fact that Joe Biden received more votes than anyone in US presidential history – until they find out Donald Trump came in a historic second.

He even exceeded Barack Obama’s peak 2008 tally.

The real lesson from Tuesday’s record turnout is that America is bitterly, energetically and almost evenly divided. That is the salient background to Mr Biden’s equivocal mandate.

The question is what a President Biden could do with it. The answer is much less than even he – the most moderate of Democratic contenders – would have hoped.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Future of warfare: high-tech militias fight smouldering proxy wars

Helen Warrell 

January 21 2020

“Future wars will not begin and end; instead, they will hibernate and smoulder,” wrote defence strategist Sean McFate in an article outlining his prediction for the future of conflict. His portrayal of a grey zone between war and peace — now widely accepted among experts — will be the result of evolving international relations and changes to who appears on the front line. 

Insecurity over natural resources, the pressures of climate change and population growth, as well as long-running sectarian and religious tensions, are all likely to lead to conflicts that bubble continuously, analysts say; occasionally they will spill over into the public arena. 

Meanwhile, by 2050, the power of the state is expected to give way to autonomous regions, megacities and private interests, thus multiplying the range of protagonists in hostilities. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Commentary: Those who can afford it must spend more to save the economy

Consumers can do our part to increase consumer spending because it is a lever that could have a big impact and one that we have some control over, says The Smart Investor’s David Kuo.

By David Kuo

05 Oct 2020 

SINGAPORE: As countries around the world gradually lift their restrictions in place to tackle COVID-19 and normalise economic activity, global economic chiefs have warned that we are not out of the woods yet.

On Sep 9, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), cautioned that a full recovery of the economy is unlikely without a vaccine and urged governments to continue their measures to support businesses and workers.

"This crisis, however, is far from over," she wrote in a column for Foreign Policy magazine, co-authored with IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath. "The recovery remains very fragile and uneven across regions and sectors. To ensure that the recovery continues, it is essential that support not be prematurely withdrawn."

Friday, August 28, 2020

Understanding the four critiques of Singapore’s meritocracy

By Brandon Yip Zhen Yuan

29 April, 2019

Though Singapore’s meritocratic educational system has come under criticism of late, I believe we are often unclear on why Singaporeans are unhappy.

Meritocracy is bascially a system that rewards citizens in proportion to what society perceives as their merit.

Here, I shall distill four distinct criticisms of meritocracy and categorise them into two groups: those that criticise meritocracy from within the meritocratic framework and those from without.

Knowing the differences between these criticisms can hopefully help Singapore society to better discuss how our understanding of the meaning of meritocracy can evolve.

The more you have, the more you fear: High inequality makes cities unsafe, say experts

By Janice Lim

30 August, 2019

SINGAPORE — The wider the inequality gap in a society, the more unsafe a country is. That is what some experts said at the Safe Cities Summit held at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore on Thursday (Aug 29).

During the summit, which is organised by the Economist Intelligence Unit, many panellists focused on discussing the available tools and technologies to solve crime, such as the installation of police cameras and extensive surveillance systems dubbed the “eye in the sky”.

However, Ms Kalpana Viswanath, the co-founder of mobile application Safetipin, which supports women’s safety, advocated for an “eyes on the street” concept, where the community can work with the government to build safer spaces to help prevent crimes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Singapore Army trials titanium exoskeleton designed to reduce load on soldiers

By Aqil Haziq Mahmud

24 Jul 2020

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Army is trialling a titanium-made exoskeleton designed to reduce the stress on soldiers carrying heavy loads.

A section of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day video released on Jul 1, captioned "Exoskeleton Trial", showed a soldier wearing a green exoskeleton on top of his army fatigues.

In response to queries from CNA, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the army is studying the use of an exoskeleton to improve soldier performance.

"The Singapore Army is constantly looking for ways to enhance the performance of our soldiers, and the exoskeleton is one such example that the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) is studying," it said.

The CESP, set up in 2017, helps to develop the full potential of soldiers in areas like fitness and nutrition, pre-habilitation and rehabilitation, resilience and soldier systems.

Based on the SAF Day video, the exoskeleton's appearance and logo indicates that it is the Canadian science and technology company Mawashi's Ultralight Passive Ruggedized Integrated Soldier Exoskeleton (UPRISE) system.