Monday, June 21, 2021

IPS lecture: Govt review needed to promote positive masculine norms in S’pore, says Aware executive director

By TESSA OH

MAY 25, 2021

  • Ms Corinna Lim called for a study on masculinity to be done as part of the Government’s review on gender equality
  • She said this can help promote more positive masculine norms among men
  • She pointed out that few studies on men have been done here
  • She also renewed calls to expand National Service to include non-combat roles


SINGAPORE — To better promote positive masculinity norms among men and boys here, the Government could commission a study on masculinity in Singapore as part of its review on gender equality.

The suggestion came from Ms Corinna Lim, executive director of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), a gender advocacy group.

She was speaking on Monday (May 24) at a lecture series organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank under the National University of Singapore.

JTC, Shell tie up to explore building 60ha solar farm at Semakau Landfill

By WONG PEI TING

JUNE 17, 2021


SINGAPORE — A solar farm will be built at the Semakau Landfill, covering about one-sixth of its 350ha space, if plans by government agency JTC Corporation and oil giant Shell come to pass.

On Thursday (June 17), JTC and Shell signed a memorandum of understanding to explore developing this solar farm at the landfill on Semakau Island, which is south of mainland Singapore.

It is expected to have a capacity of at least 72 megawatt-peak, which is enough to cut Singapore’s carbon emissions by 37,000 tonnes a year.

The energy generated can power up to 17,500 households for a year.

[How sweet! 17,500 households? There are about 1 million households in Singapore. 17,500 is less than 2% of households. And the major consumer of power is industry and commerce, not households. But hey, every little bit helps, eh?]

Solar panels have been deployed on the island before, but on a far smaller scale, spanning some 0.95ha.

The solar farm, which is expected to take up 60ha, is thus set to be the first large-scale solar project in Singapore where a landfill is used for clean-energy generation.



It is supported by the National Environment Agency (NEA) — which oversees the landfill — and the Energy Market Authority (EMA), and is in step with Singapore’s target to increase solar deployment to at least 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030.

This is equivalent to powering about 350,000 households for a year.

[Note that this (2 gigawatt-peak) is a target for 2030. Not going to achieve that with this exploratory solar farm on Semakau. What would it take? Here is the working from 2019:]

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

IN FOCUS: How Johor’s residential property market has been hit hard by COVID-19

The Johor skyline is now dotted with empty condominium units, due to an oversupply in the market and lack of foreign buyers.

By Amir Yusof

12 Jun 2021 


JOHOR BAHRU: When Singapore business owner Jonathan Gan purchased a 4-room condominium at Lovell Country Garden in 2018, he thought he had clinched his dream retirement home.

The freehold apartment located near Johor Bahru’s city centre was twice the size of his 3-room HDB flat in Singapore, but the cost was only half of the latter when he bought it directly from the developers.

“The best thing about the unit is the amazing view. You never get anything close to it at such value in Singapore,” added the 42-year-old, who lives with his wife and two daughters.

The apartment, like most units in the Lovell development, overlooks the Straits of Johor. The balcony opens up to a picturesque sea view and there is a sandy beach below.

“It was the ideal weekend home,” said Gan. “But now it’s becoming a bugbear.”

Commentary: The trickiness of dealing with stray aircraft when territorial lines are grey

Malaysia’s encounter with Chinese military aircraft in early June illustrates how tackling foreign aircraft coming close can be a grey area in a region of overlapping claims and different interpretations of airspaces, says Mike Yeo.

By Mike Yeo

16 Jun 2021 



MELBOURNE: The news that China sent 16 military aircraft to the vicinity of disputed shoals in the South China Sea on the last day of May and prompted the latter to scramble fighter jets in response raised eyebrows among regional defence watchers.

This new development has also understandably set off discussions in Malaysia about its response to what was seen as a show of strength by the regional power.

Malaysia has framed the issue as one of an intrusion into Malaysian airspace by multiple Chinese government aircraft.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) said in a news release on Tuesday (Jun 2) that 16 Xian Y-20 and Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) approached to within 60 nautical miles (112 km) of Malaysia’s coast, flying at speeds of 290 knots (537 kmh) at between 23,000 and 27,000 ft in a tactical line astern formation.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also said his ministry will issue a diplomatic note of protest and request an explanation from the Chinese Ambassador from Malaysia to explain the “breach of Malaysian airspace and sovereignty”.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Commentary: How COVID-19 lab-leak theory went from conspiracy theory to politically accepted possibility

By Jemima Kelly

11 Jun 2021 


LONDON: The conversation around COVID-19’s origins has shifted markedly in recent weeks.

Suddenly, the idea that the virus could have come from an accidental lab leak, once dismissed as a “conspiracy theory”, is considered a possibility – even a likelihood, by some.

Fact-checking site PolitiFact recently decided to “archive” a fact-check it published last year on whether the virus was “man-made”, which it gave its most censorious “pants-on-fire!” rating, but which it now says is “more widely disputed”.

Likewise, The Washington Post issued a correction on a story it published in February 2020 on Republican senator Tom Cotton’s efforts to press China for evidence to back up its claims that the virus had emerged naturally.

The Post said he was repeating a “conspiracy theory that was already debunked”; it now acknowledges there is “no determination about the origins of the virus”.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Opinion: Xi’s China can’t seem to stop scoring own goals




Opinion by Fareed Zakaria

May 28, 2021 


In a country that is divided on almost everything, one area of bipartisanship in the United States is alive and growing — fear of China. “The Chinese are eating our lunch,” says President Biden. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri says they “are well on their way” to achieving their goal of world “domination.” Experts warn that China’s Belt and Road Initiative and vaccine diplomacy are bolstering its soft power.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

'Aghast and disappointed’: Koh Poh Koon slams doctors for spreading myths, untruths in open letter on Covid-19 vaccine

By JUSTIN ONG

MAY 22, 2021


SINGAPORE — Referring to an open letter by 12 doctors to parents questioning the long-term safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use on children, Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon said he was “aghast and disappointed” by the doctors’ conduct.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (May 22), he wrote that the “unscientific and unprofessional” way in which these doctors had interpreted scientific evidence and conducted themselves had also “created confusion and fear” in the public. 

“It created confusion and fear in the public and propagated myths and untruths,” wrote Dr Koh, who is a colorectal surgeon.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of the two Covid-19 vaccines approved for use here, was earlier this week approved by the Health Sciences Authority to be safe for use for those between the ages of 12 and 15.