Friday, November 27, 2015

Dan Tan case: 'Groundbreaking' judgment raises question about Act

Nov 27, 2015.

Ng Huiwen

Groundbreaking - that is how legal experts and lawyers here have described the decision by Singapore's highest court to declare that alleged match-fixer Dan Tan Seet Eng's detention without trial was unlawful.

They agreed that it showed how the courts were ready to scrutinise the reasons behind the Home Affairs Minister's decision to detain a person under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA), and ensure that the state does not overstep the powers granted by the Act.

But the case has also led to another debate - on whether the CLTPA, first introduced in 1955 to fight secret societies, should be tweaked to take into account the global nature of organised crime today.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, delivering the judgment on behalf of a three-judge panel, said the key purpose of the Act was to prevent violence or cases in which witness intimidation made prosecution impossible.

But Tan's alleged match-fixing activities "all took place beyond our shores" in countries such as Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria, said CJ Menon. That meant there was little risk to "public safety, peace and good order" here. He added that no evidence was presented to show that potential witnesses were being intimidated.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Feeling useless at your job is key to success


NOVEMBER 25, 2015

If you want to be successful, the first step is not to know yourself very well. For years the emotional intelligence movement has been telling us the reverse — that self-knowledge is vital to get anywhere at all.

There has never been much evidence to back this up, but it sounds good, and so everyone takes it on trust. However, even the most casual acquaintance with the world of business suggests otherwise. Over the past three decades, I have met large numbers of senior business people, and cannot help noticing that the only thing most of them have in common is that they do not seem to know themselves at all.

Last week, I came across some research that backs up my hunch that self-knowledge is not all it is cracked up to be. Zenger Folkman, a leadership consultancy, has conducted a large piece of research in which it compared what 69,000 leaders think of themselves to what their teams — 750,000 people altogether — think of them. It found little correlation between how managers rate their own abilities and how others rate them, which is precisely what I would have expected.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pinning down the elusive S'pore identity

Denise Chong

Nov 22, 2015

Try to clutch it and it slips right out of our hands like imported fine beach sand

The year-long self-hug that is the SG50 celebrations is drawing to a close with Tuesday's opening of the National Gallery art museum, and next month's The Future of Us exhibition.

Looking back, in trying to squeeze Singapore's short history for all the jubilee juice we can get, have we created commodified pieces of our identity that feel comforting but are somehow too comfortable to be true?

Some of us haven't got the foggiest idea what the Singapore identity officially is, despite decades of National Day parades-songs-videos. But this year, surely, we got the message, as it was delivered home fiftyfold. Vignettes of Singapore life - from a moment of anguish to hours of waiting around the Padang, from dragon playgrounds to being a playground for the rich - were flashing before our eyes on all sorts of media and in exhibitions. National Day funpacks given to families were filled with nostalgic games, snacks and figurines.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why the same diet doesn't work for all: What's healthy for one may lead another to gain weight

Nov 20, 2015,

MIAMI (AFP) - A healthy food for one person may lead another to gain weight, according to a study out on Thursday (Nov 19) that suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is fundamentally wrong.

For instance, one woman in the study repeatedly experienced a spike in blood sugar after eating tomatoes, which would generally be considered a low-fat, nutritious food.

The findings are based a study of 800 people in Israel, and are published in the journal Cell Press.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Western govts’ failure to deliver a reason for gridlock: PM Lee


SINGAPORE — The gridlock common in Western governments is “partly a weakness of the leadership” and also a recognition that the system is not delivering, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a recent interview with a foreign newspaper.

Also, people in these countries do not feel that they have an interest in what the system is doing for them, he said. “You promised, but in the end, you cannot deliver. That is a challenge,” said Mr Lee, adding that political deadlock is particularly a problem in the United States “because of the way their system of government works”.

ST Global Outlook Forum 2015: Malaysia PM Najib's position secure, says Ong Keng Yong

Nov 20, 2015.

Bhagyashree Garekar
Deputy Foreign Editor

SINGAPORE - When it comes to developments in Malaysia, it pays to look beyond the headlines.

"What you see is not what you get," said Mr Ong Keng Yong, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large and deputy chairman at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.

He was referring to reports that have highlighted Prime Minister Razak Najib's supposedly precarious position in the face of financial scandals that have dominated headlines from Malaysia.

"In spite of all the scandals, the situation is not so dire to make us all worry about the economy and  business situation," said Mr Ong, Singapore's former high commissioner to Malaysia.

China's Unwilling Consumers

China’s Unwilling Consumers

Project Syndicate

LONDON – For several years, Chinese leaders have been pursuing economic “rebalancing.” The country’s longstanding growth model, based on investment and exports, is to be replaced by one based on services and domestic consumption. It’s a necessary transition for China. Unfortunately, consumption-led growth remains a distant prospect.

Yes, the contribution of domestic consumption to GDP has risen slightly over the last few years. But that mainly reflects weak investment demand, not strong consumption growth. In fact, wealth accumulation remains the primary objective of Chinese households. And, given China’s economic structure, under-developed financial market, and weak welfare state, high levels of precautionary saving will persist for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, one key factor impeding consumption is the imperative faced by China’s older workers to save for retirement. In the past, the Confucian tradition of filial piety meant that children supported their parents in their dotage. But, after more than three decades of the one-child policy, retirees cannot reasonably expect nearly as much support, and China lacks a strong pension system to pick up the slack.