Sunday, April 11, 2021

Commentary: An unpopular opinion but the truth is foreign workers help, not hurt Singaporean livelihoods


APRIL 09, 2021

A study by the Institute of Policy Studies found that 43.6 per cent of Singaporeans believe that immigration will “increase unemployment".

One of Singapore’s biggest open secrets is its slow-festering anti-foreigner sentiment among some of its citizens in the social media sphere, even though most people here are not opposed to immigration per se but to the unfettered inflow of foreigners. Protected by the anonymity of private Facebook groups, these rants oftentimes verge on plain ugly racism and xenophobia.

The reasons for opposing immigration in Singapore are varied, but the biggest grievance among locals lies in the proverbial “bread and butter” issues. This is affirmed by a just-released study by the Institute of Policy Studies, which finds that 43.6 per cent of Singaporeans believe that immigration will “increase unemployment".

The problem is that the evidence contradicts this popular belief.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Commentary: Using the lessons of Covid-19 to tackle 4 types of inequality in Singapore


APRIL 06, 2021

The writer discusses four types of inequalities in Singapore that have been spotlighted by the pandemic: Wage, digital, residency and gender.

Economists use letters to describe the shape of recovery from recessions, and the current recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is given a new letter: K.

This depicts a shape where some industries and individuals ascend, but the rest decline. In the midst of wage cuts, job losses and business closings, stock market prices have been rising and the Big Techs have been thriving.

The K-shaped trend is said to reflect existing inequalities.

In this essay, I will discuss four types of inequality in Singapore that have been spotlighted by the pandemic: Wage, digital, residency and gender.

I would like to suggest going beyond a business-as-usual response to these areas of inequality, failing which we would be wasting the lessons learned from the pandemic and the inequalities that were already there will further divide our society.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Commentary: Why the Suez Canal accident is a worst-case scenario for global trade

The narrow strip is a critical artery where goods make way across the globe and an incident like this exposes weaknesses in the global system, say maritime researchers from Plymouth University.

By Rory Hopcraft
By Kevin Jones
By Kimberly Tam

26 Mar 2021 

PLYMOUTH, England: It is estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s trade is transported by sea. As consumers, we rarely give much thought to how the things we buy make their way across the planet and into our homes.

That is, until an incident like the recent grounding of a huge container ship, the Ever Given, in the Suez Canal exposes the weaknesses in this global system.

High winds have been blamed for the container ship blocking the narrow strait, which serves as a trade artery that connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

But with shipping so heavily reliant on such narrow channels, the potential for these incidents is ever-present.

As researchers of maritime security, we often simulate incidents like the Ever Given grounding to understand the probable long and short-term consequences.

Cargo Ship Ever Given got stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial waterway for global shipping. (Photo: Instagram/fallenhearts17)

Suez Canal Ever Given cargo ship

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Commentary: Reducing household water consumption starts with the toilet bowl

Toilet bowl
Toilet bowl
Toilet bowlBy Ho Xiang Tian

22 Mar 2021 

SINGAPORE: Ask strangers on the street how much water they think a person uses per day at home, and the answers will range from 2 litres to 50 litres.

The answer that most people never got to: More than 140 litres per person, per day. This was something I used to do at outreach booths as part of my volunteer work with LepakInSG, a local environmental group.

We think we consume much less water because we only think about the water we drink, and severely underestimate the water used in other activities like showering, washing the dishes, and flushing.

According to PUB, households account for about 45 per cent of Singapore’s water use, which is significant compared to other metrics like waste generated (25 per cent) and carbon emissions (6 per cent).

Monday, March 22, 2021

Residents living near former Kallang Gasworks grow weary over odours, noise from soil treatment works


MARCH 21, 2021

  • Remediation works at the old Kallang Gasworks started last year and is expected to end in 2022
  • Some residents reported falling ill more often due to the fumes from the site
  • The authorities said the air released is treated and does not pose adverse health risks
  • They have also put in place mitigation measures in response to feedback from the public

Source: SLA

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Commentary: Keeping public housing in prime locations like Greater Southern Waterfront affordable and fair

To help low-income families afford those flats, while avoiding the lottery effect, consider awarding a housing grant tiered by income level, with levies to recovery subsidies depreciating over time.

By Sing Tien Foo

21 Mar 2021 

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s public housing model is changing.

During the early years of the country’s independence, the national goal was largely an operational one in ramping up construction to provide living spaces for growing numbers of families and resolve overcrowding.

Over the decades, a conscious belief that building a nation of homeowners would be the best strategy to give Singaporeans a stake in the nation and strengthen retirement adequacy took root.

And in the last 20 years, the national conversation has shifted towards how public housing goals can fulfil new aspirations while keeping homes affordable. New models like the Design Build and Sell Scheme and Executive Condominiums were rolled out.

More recently, public discussions have swirled around the subject of inclusiveness, with the announcement that spaces will be set aside for future public housing in the Greater Southern Waterfront, and how to keep such an exercise fair.

While many Singaporeans welcomed the redistributive aspects of this move so more Singapore families can afford housing in good locations, most have also cautioned against the lottery effect seen in past HDB projects.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

This mouse embryo grew in an artificial uterus

It was previously believed a fetus couldn't survive without a living womb.

March 17th, 2021

Hanna Embryo