Friday, May 17, 2019

IM Pei, world-renowned architect, is dead at 102

IM Pei, the Chinese-born American architect,
was probably best known for designing the East Building
of the National Gallery of Art in Washington
and the glass pyramid that serves as an entry for the Louvre in Paris.


17 May, 2019

NEW YORK — IM Pei, the Chinese-born American architect who began his long career working for a New York real-estate developer and ended it as one of the most revered architects in the world, has died. He was 102.

His son Chien Chung Pei said on Thursday (May 16) that his father had died overnight.

Pei was probably best known for designing the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the glass pyramid that serves as an entry for the Louvre in Paris.

Why Hong Kong cannot copy Singapore’s approach to public housing

Hong Kong’s struggles to house its population don’t just stem from its shortage of land, and looking to the Lion City as a model is unrealistic
Public housing in Singapore by its Housing and Development Board. Photo: Roy Issa

Hongkongers have long looked at Singapore as a model for how to provide good quality public housing. The latest example was laid out by University of Hong Kong adjunct professor Tony Kwok in his piece for this newspaper, “How would Lee Kuan Yew have solved Hong Kong’s housing and health care problems?” published on April 17.

He argued Singapore’s solution had simply been land reclamation, but this is an oversimplification of the city state’s approach to its acute home shortage of the 1960s. The reasons behind Singapore’s successes have little to do with reclaimed land, and the conditions in Singapore when Lee was prime minister are vastly different from those in Hong Kong today.

Reclamation was never a key feature of Singapore’s public housing policies. Most of the country’s reclaimed land has been put to non-residential uses such as the airport, industrial parks, ports, the new financial district at Marina Bay, and recreation. Only a thin sliver in the southeast has been set aside for public housing. Most future residential land parcels are also not on reclaimed land.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Looking beyond the vague terms in Singapore's fake news laws

By Benjamin Joshua Ong

Benjamin Joshua Ong is an Assistant Professor of Law at Singapore Management University.
"Often, an Act that is at first glance vague, overly broad, or open to abuse by the Government, turns out not to be when read against the backdrop of the case law."

14 May, 2019

In recent debates about the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), some criticised it for being too vague. Yes, at first glance, Pofma contains words and phrases whose meaning is not explicitly clear.

But such criticisms only consider Pofma on the surface in isolation from its legal context. Much of the Act makes sense when one understands how it will operate in the light of other relevant legal principles.

First, Acts passed by Parliament (such as Pofma) are not the only source of law in Singapore. Another important source of law is case law. This is the law developed and nuanced by the courts over time.

Many areas of our law, such as the laws of contracts, defamation, and negligence, consist mainly of rules from case law. These rules are the product of decades or centuries of development, first by the English courts, and now by independent Singapore's courts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A year on, PH government finds that change is hard to come by in Malaysia

By Adrian Tan

13 May, 2019

When Pakatan Harapan (PH) won its historic and surprising victory in the May 2018 Malaysian general election (GE14), many were quick to say that this will bring in an era of change. It has been a year since the new government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad took over power. Has Malaysia changed?

Has the government been able to execute its electoral manifesto, which was one of reforms? Looking at domestic developments since GE14, it has not been easy for the PH government, and many a time, this is not for want of trying.

Four key areas reveal the immense challenges facing this government.

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to prepare students for the rise of AI in the workforce

By Greg Naterer

09 May, 2019

The future impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the labour force have been studied and reported extensively.

In a recent book, AI Superpowers, Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, wrote that 40 to 50 per cent of current jobs will be technically and economically viable with AI and automation over the next 15 years.

Artificial intelligence refers to computer systems that collect, interpret and learn from external data to achieve specific goals and tasks.

Unlike natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals, it is an artificial form of intelligence demonstrated by machines. This has raised questions about the ethics of AI decision-making and impacts of AI in the workplace.

With computing power increasing rapidly in recent decades, the capabilities of AI have also risen dramatically. Vincent Müller, a philosopher at Eindhoven University of Technology, and Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, conducted a survey in 2016 about AI’s future potential.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Biggest threat to Johor River’s sustainability is lack of environmental protection: Vivian Balakrishnan

By Aqil Haziq Mahmud

08 May 2019

SINGAPORE: Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday (May 8) warned that the "biggest threat" to the sustainability of the Johor River was a lack of environmental protection, as he urged Malaysia to safeguard water quality for the benefit of both sides.

"The biggest threat to Johor's own water supply is actually the lack of environmental protection," Dr Balakrishnan told Parliament. "And the seven episodes since 2017 ... are a clear and present amber warning light."

MAS to disclose more information on monetary policy operations

TODAY file photo

08 May, 2019

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will start releasing more information on its exchange rate-based monetary policy operations this year, as it announced a transfer of S$45 billion from official foreign reserves to the Government.

In a media release on Wednesday (May 8), the central bank said it had decided to release data on its foreign exchange intervention operations on a six-month basis, beginning with data for the second half of 2019.

The data will comprise MAS’s net purchases of foreign exchange on a six-month aggregated basis, and with a six-month lag from the end of the period.

"This further disclosure initiative will provide market participants a better indication of the actions that MAS has undertaken to implement its monetary policy stance, while preserving MAS’s operational effectiveness," said MAS.