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.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Extra stimulus for aerospace, aviation and tourism sectors; Singaporeans to get S$320m worth of local tourism credits

By Rachel Phua

17 Aug 2020

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Government will pump in additional funding to help the aerospace, aviation and tourism industries - three of the hardest-hit sectors - amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a ministerial statement on Monday (Aug 17).

In his statement, Mr Heng explained these sectors need to be supported as they are key drivers of the economy and multipliers for other sectors in Singapore.

“Our strategy is to provide further support for these sectors, to retain core capabilities and position them for an eventual recovery,” he said. “These sectors are important parts of our economy, and they are multipliers for other sectors.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

GE2020: Middle-aged voters, not youths, accounted for national vote swing against PAP, says Lawrence Wong


19 July, 2020

  • Ruling party lost votes from middle-aged voters in the sandwich class
  • PAP did not do well in its digital campaign despite putting out a lot of content
  • Party will review its style, conduct of campaign including how it goes about highlighting falsehoods 

SINGAPORE — Suggestions that younger voters across the board had abandoned the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the recent General Election (GE) are untrue, PAP’s Lawrence Wong said on Saturday (July 18).

A preliminary review on the party’s performance has shown that the more likely swing came from “sandwiched” middle-class voters who have been affected by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

Swing votes also came from those who were swayed by the opposition’s messaging that there was a real threat of an opposition wipeout in the election.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Commentary: Malay political unity in Malaysia is but a myth

What’s behind Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s call for Malay unity and for Members of Parliament from other parties to join Bersatu? James Chin dives into the issues.
By James Chin

08 Jul 2019

LONDON: Last week, out of the blue, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad invited all Malay parties including UMNO to join Bersatu in an effort to unite the Malays.

“If we are split, we become weak. United we stand, divided we fall,” he said. "(But) we find that there are people forming new parties ... how to win (the election)?”

The invitation was immediately dismissed by most senior leaders in UMNO. Even PAS, the Islamic Party, said they were not interested.

UMNO even gave a cutting reply - that UMNO and PAS were the “real” Malay parties in Malaysia as Bersatu got less than 30 per cent of the Malay vote in last May’s general elections.

Commentary: The great pity that was Malaysia’s short-lived Pakatan Harapan coalition

The ideological schisms between parties, coupled with perceptions that Malay rights had been chipped at and pressing economic concerns left unaddressed, ultimately led to the PH’s downfall, says Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

By Wan Saiful Wan Jan

03 Aug 2020

SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) government lasted less than two years.

After winning the 14th general election (GE14) on that historic May 9, 2018 to great fanfare, it crashed on Feb 24 this year following the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the departure of Bersatu from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Many were surprised by this collapse, but a closer look at the nature of PH and how they behaved in government will show that the PH administration were riddled with problems.