Sunday, March 1, 2015

Siting flats further from city ‘may widen S’pore’s social divide’

Ng Jing Yng -

February 28


SINGAPORE — With less public housing being built in Singapore’s city centre than in the past, a paper published recently by the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) raised the question of whether this may lead to “enclaves” of wealth and social stratification.

In the paper, titled How Should Singapore Improve Spatial Diversity and Equity In The City Centre, author Wu Wei Neng asked whether there is a need to build more public homes in central districts to foster social cohesion and promote social mobility in the population.

“There is a risk that relegating new HDB estates to the outlying areas of Singapore, while planning a glittering array of architectural gems, luxurious residences and material offerings for the well-heeled in the city centre, could alienate a large part of the population,” wrote Mr Wu, who added that the paper is not intended to “suggest correct or incorrect handling of the situation depicted”.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

National service for women: Time to change mindset

Feb 28, 2015
 
Ho Kwon Ping

The writer suggests starting with short stints of a few months for all women to learn the skills needed by a rapidly ageing society
 
For The Straits Times


In a recent dialogue session, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was asked about female conscription, and he answered that it should not be for reasons of equity. In other words, it should be only for demographic reasons - if there are not enough young men to defend the country. To start young women thinking about this possibility, a volunteer corps has been started.

I wholly agree that female conscription should not be undertaken simply for equity reasons.
It has been argued that the moral equivalence of national service for women is bearing children, and while this is not directly comparable - not all women bear children, and some bear more than one, for example - the debate quickly degenerates into a male-female divide with emotionally competitive overtones.

The reasons for female conscription must instead be underpinned by national need.
However, as I argued in my recent Third S R Nathan Lecture at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on the topic of Security and Sustainability, national need can be more broadly defined than as simply military defence.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ease stamp duties on high-end properties: REDAS

By Eileen Poh, Reporter, Channel NewsAsia

27 Feb 2015

The Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS) says the Additional Buyers' Stamp Duties in the high-end retail market "runs counter to the Government's efforts to encourage foreign investment flows into the country".

SINGAPORE: In its latest call for the Government to scale back on property cooling measures, the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS) took aim at the imposition of the Additional Buyers' Stamp Duties (ABSD) on the high-end real estate market.

Speaking at its Lunar New Year celebration lunch held at Shangri-La Hotel on Friday (Feb 27), REDAS President Augustine Tan said the high-end market is "not a segment the Government needs to safeguard".

Perception

[I dunno why they say it's blue and black. It's obviously white and gold.]

Why the colour of a dress has divided the Internet


 FEB 27, 2015 
Is a dress blue and black or white and gold? That is the question that has people around the world scratching their heads and rubbing their eyes in disbelief. -- PHOTO: SWIKED/ TUMBLR

Is a dress blue and black or white and gold? That is the question that has people around the world scratching their heads and rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Seeing is believing, but in this case, the vote was almost evenly split on what many people take to be uncontentious - the colour of a piece of clothing.

Court strikes out application to review prisons’ grooming policy

27 Feb 2015

TODAY reports: Mr Madan Mohan Singh, a former volunteer Sikh religious counsellor with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS), had taken issue with the prison’s hair grooming policy for Sikh inmates and said his right to propagate his faith had been violated, after the SPS did not renew his pass.

SINGAPORE: The High Court has struck out an application by a former volunteer Sikh religious counsellor with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) who had taken issue with the prison’s hair grooming policy for Sikh inmates and said his right to propagate his faith had been violated, after the SPS did not renew his volunteer pass.

Justice Quentin Loh said the applicant, Mr Madan Mohan Singh, did not have reasonable cause and that his application to start judicial review proceedings on these issues was “frivolous, and vexatious and/or otherwise an abuse of the processes of Court”.

Mr Singh, who was represented by lawyer M Ravi, had filed an application in 2013 to quash the labelling of Sikh prisoners as “practising” or “non-practising”. He had also sought a declaration that the SPS had violated his right to propagate his religion - which is contingent on him obtaining leave for the quashing order.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

China dangerously close to slipping into deflation, says central bank newspaper

Feb 25, 2015


SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China is dangerously close to slipping into deflation, the central bank's newspaper warned on Wednesday, highlighting increasing nervousness in policymaking circles as a sputtering economy struggles to pick up speed despite a raft of stimulus steps.

The article, published in Finance News, quoted the secretary general of the China Urban Finance Society Chan Xiangyang as saying that risk of deflation is greater than many appreciate.

The Society is a national academic group not directly affiliated with the People's Bank of China (PBOC), but in many cases the publication of such pieces in the central bank's newspaper indicates tacit approval of the message.

As a slowdown in China's economy over the past year was accompanied by a chill in global demand, Beijing has stepped up measures to prevent the Asian economic powerhouse from stumbling.

In November last year, the PBOC startled markets with an unexpected interest rate cut - the first since 2012 - and then followed up with a cut to banks' required reserve ratio in early February.

Analysts have speculated that the central bank will be forced to take more aggressive easing measures in the coming months if price and credit data continues to drift lower.

US ruling on Net neutrality will have impact worldwide

 Feb 25, 2015


By Ang Peng Hwa And Kyu Ho Youm For The Straits Times



THE recent announcement by Mr Tom Wheeler, chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), that the US government will ensure Net neutrality signals a significant shift in how the Internet will be treated in the future.

The signal was clearly timed for the start of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) meeting in Singapore that began on Feb 9 after Mr Wheeler's announcement.

"These bright-line rules," he declared, "will ban paid prioritisation and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services."

Net neutrality is based on the core principle that Internet providers should treat online content equally. There should be no such thing as "fast lane" or "slow lane" in the Internet traffic for those who can or cannot afford to pay.