Friday, May 3, 2024

Singapore must not let other countries dictate what it does, says Shanmugam

No matter how big or friendly other countries are, Singapore’s policies are for Singaporeans to decide, says the Law and Home Affairs Minister in a speech.

A view of Singapore's central business district and the Merlion on Nov 16, 2022. (File photo: CNA/Hanidah Amin)

Lee Chong Ming

05 Feb 2023 

SINGAPORE: Amid a global situation more uncertain and challenging than any period since its independence, Singapore continues to believe in the need for many major countries to participate in the region, to achieve a balance of power, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Sunday (Feb 5).

But as a small nation, Singapore must also put its interests first and not let other countries - big or small, no matter how friendly - dictate what it does, he added.

ASEAN, China and the trust deficit


The gap between rhetoric and action is Beijing’s biggest
problem – and the region showed it isn’t afraid to call this out.

China’s Premier Li Qiang waves amid the assembled ASEAN leaders following the ASEAN-China Summit,
6 September 2023 (Willy Kurniawan, Mast Irham via AFP/Getty Images)

12 Sep 2023

Trust (or the lack of it) seems to be the central theme in describing relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China. Several ASEAN leaders emphasised this point during the leaders’ summit last week in Jakarta.

Will the Indian economy ever surpass that of China?

Alicia García-Herrero

Apr 30, 2024 

India’s growth rate is clearly higher than that of China, especially since 2022, and there is no expectation this trend will
change any time soon. Photo: Bloomberg

Had I asked this question ten years ago, the answer would have been clear cut: Impossible. But things are changing. The Chinese economy is five to six times bigger than that of India, but India’s growth rate is clearly higher than that of China, especially since 2022, and there is no expectation this trend will change any time soon. This means that, unless a major shock hits the Indian economy, it will continue to converge in size with that of China for at least 30 years until India completes its urbanization process. Whether this will make the Indian economy bigger than that of China is hard to tell since it will depend on how fast China will decelerate but also how long India will continue to benefit from its current long-hanging fruits to create growth, from urbanization, a growing population and a very favourable external environment as the most obvious hedge for the West against the rise of China.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

In his own words: English for trade; mother tongue to preserve identity

This speech in its entirety, made in support of a revised, more flexible Chinese-language curriculum while he was Minister Mentor, is one of the most complete statements of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's views on bilingualism and language policy.

MAR 30, 2016 (Updated)

NOV 24, 2004

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Singapore's response to Economist's "sneering" article about Singapore's leadership transition

First, Shanmugam response:

So the Economist noted that Lawrence Wong would only be the 4th PM in 59 years. Whereas, anybody knows a true and thriving democracy like, for example, the UK should burn through PMs like they were past their "best before" date.

Monday, April 15, 2024

PM Lee to step down: Key milestones of his political career

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a Merdeka Generation Appreciation ceremony at the ITE Central, on June 2, 2019. 
Raj Nadarajan/TODAY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that he will hand over the premiership to his deputy Lawrence Wong
Mr Wong will be sworn in on May 15, 2024 at 8pm at the Istana
TODAY looks at the key milestones and events of Mr Lee's illustrious political career

Singapore's 4th PM handover.


Lawrence Wong to take over as Singapore Prime Minister from Lee Hsien Loong on May 15

Mr Lee has been Prime Minister since 2004.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How Deng and his heirs misunderstood Singapore


01 FEB, 2019

As official China celebrates the four decades of “reform and opening” that began in late 1978 to early 1979, it is instructive to recall the role Singapore played in this process. The fulsome eulogies for Lee Kuan Yew offered by Chinese officials in 2015, beginning with Xi Jinping himself (who has been noticeably less enthusiastic in his praise for Deng Xiaoping given China’s top leader’s “family feud” over who deserves the most credit for the reforms), are just the most obvious indication that Lee and the “Singapore model” more generally have played (quite literally) an oversized role in China’s rapid transition from Maoism to “Market-Leninism”. Appropriately, Lee was honoured late last year as one of the foreigners who helped China most in its reform process.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Singapore ranked 6th most resilient city in latest global inde

By Anna Maria Romero

MARCH 26, 2024

SINGAPORE: In Singapore news today, here’s one more thing that Singaporeans can be proud of: the Little Red Dot has climbed six spots to rank sixth on the Savills Resilient Cities Index. In 2021, Singapore was ranked twelfth the last time the index was published.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The future of ‘communist capitalism’ in China

The question of whether Xi-ism is killing Deng-ism is growing 


MARCH 13 2024 

What is the economic future of China? This question raises many specific issues, notably China’s persistent macroeconomic imbalances, the threat of population decline and worsening relations with important parts of the outside world, above all, an increasingly hostile US. But underneath all of these lies a deeper one: is “communist capitalism”, that seemingly self-contradicting invention of Deng Xiaoping, inexorably fading away under Xi Jinping? Will China’s regime ossify and, in the end, collapse, as the Soviet Union did? 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Iswaran - Corruption charges - Jan 2024 and Mar 2024

Iswaran gets 8 new charges of obtaining S$19,000 in valuables such as whisky, Brompton bike from construction firm boss

Iswaran pleaded not guilty to the new charges. He now faces 35 charges in all.

Govt tells Israeli embassy to remove Facebook post that was an 'astonishing attempt to rewrite history', says Shanmugam

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam speaking to reporters on Monday (March 25) about a Facebook post by
the Israeli embassy in Singapore, which local authorities asked to be taken down. 
Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY

March 25, 2024

SINGAPORE — Singapore authorities told the Israeli embassy to remove a post made on its Facebook page on Sunday (March 24) that Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam called an "astonishing attempt to rewrite history".

The post was “insensitive”, “inappropriate” and “completely unacceptable” as it carried the risk of undermining safety, security and harmony in Singapore, he said.

Singapore takes the title of being the world’s 6th Blue Zone

Photograph: Kirill Petropavlov/Unsplash

We are supposedly going to live longer

Written by Mingli Seet

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Singapore has just been named the 6th Blue Zone in the world. This means that Singapore is regarded as one of the cities with the highest life expectancy across the globe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

China-US Relations, Taiwan, and ASEAN

China seen as most influential power in Southeast Asia: ASEAN Studies Centre

But survey respondents from the 10 ASEAN states also expressed concern about the country's expanding influence.

Lowy Institute's Asia Power Index 2023: (from first to tenth place) United States, China, Japan, India, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand.

Chew Hui Min

13 Feb 2023 

SINGAPORE: China is seen as the most influential economic and political power in Southeast Asia, but its expanding influence is not viewed favourably by a majority of respondents in a survey of Southeast Asians.

Commentary: Higher CPF monthly salary ceiling is good news for your retirement plan - provided you make the most of it

Amid the debate over the higher CPF monthly salary ceiling, Endowus’ chief investment officer looks at what the changes mean for your retirement income in dollars and cents.

File photo. The long-term impact of a raised CPF salary ceiling has far-reaching benefits that are important to remember.
(Photo: iStock/joyt)

Samuel Rhee

25 Feb 2023

SINGAPORE: Since the announcement of a staggered increase in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) monthly salary ceiling, I’ve had many conversations about what it means for Singapore residents and businesses. Those who fall within the S$6,000 to S$8,000 income bracket are worried about the impact on their take-home pay, while business owners are, of course, fretting over the increase in manpower costs.

In the short term, it’s understandable that seeing a drop in one’s monthly take-home pay (assuming the wages stay the same) can feel unsettling - even if that money is going to one’s own CPF. This is especially so if the individual is the sole income earner in the household.

Swift connection

From “Taylor Swift ‘exhausted’ in Singapore because of her family’s attachment to the lion island nation

The decision to bring The Eras Tour to Singapore means a lot to Taylor Swift

During the “Evermore” era, Taylor sang Marjorie – a song dedicated to her grandmother Marjorie Finlay and shared her family’s connection to Singapore.

“My mom actually spent most of her childhood with her parents and sister growing up in Singapore,” Swift revealed as she played gentle chords on the piano.

Taylor Swift 'cháy hết mình' ở Singapore, hóa ra gia đình cô đã rất gắn bó với đảo quốc sư tử - Ảnh 2.

Comment: Public Housing in Singapore - One big disguised Ponzi scheme?

[From a FB post in Sept 2009]

There has been a raft of letters to the press about how the surging prices of public housing is making it impossible for young couples and families to afford housing in Singapore.
In particular, house-hunters have pointed fingers at the Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) that sellers are demanding. HDB has replied to say that they strive to provide affordable housing, and COV are an instrument of the market over which HDB has no control.

So a flurry of letter followed about how HDB might tweak the system (to the benefit of the young house hunters of course). Such as banning COV, and increasing the supply of new flats.


China’s Lessons from Russia’s War

Jun 17, 2022


For Chinese President Xi Jinping, a Marxist-Leninist dialectician, the events in Ukraine won’t fundamentally alter China's grand historical ascent. As a cautionary tale, Russia's military failures will simply impel China's leadership to make even more substantial preparations before seizing Taiwan.

Turning point? Putin, Xi, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine | Lowy  Institute

MELBOURNE – Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, two views quickly emerged in the West about what lesson China would take from the war. The first suggested that NATO’s failure to deter Russia – or to defend Ukraine directly – would inspire China to advance the timetable for a planned invasion of Taiwan, or even to capitalize on the chaos brought about by the war to attack the island immediately. But after Russia’s military ran into significant and unexpected challenges early on, an alternate line of analysis emerged suggesting that China has now been significantly deterred from ever attempting to take Taiwan.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

10 MRT Rules Most Singaporeans Don’t Know Exist & Are Probably Breaking

19 Mar 2024

Raiz Redwan

MRT rules in Singapore

Bringing in durians or smoking on the train are some of the rules most of us are probably aware of and are hopefully not breaking. But Singapore, being the fine city that we are, actually has numerous other rules that some of us may not even have heard of. Here are 10 lesser-known MRT rules to know so you aren’t found guilty of breaking them.

1. Bringing super-big luggages on board – $500 fine

Saving on delivery fees for your new 50” TV or refusing to cab to the airport is a good idea, but make sure your items are within the specified dimensions when you board the MRT. If kena reported, there’s a chance you might face a fine of $500.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Slowing growth in China and what it could mean for the World.

 WSJ video on persistent deflation in China and how it would affect the Global Economy

Friday, March 15, 2024

The REAL Reason (well, one major reason) why Taylor Swift Chose Singapore


Ruben Pinatacan responded to a query (on Quora) about whether the Philippines could have hosted the Eras Tour:

"Regardless of the Singapore’s incentive to the promoter or organiser of the Eras Tour, the Philippines cannot afford to host the Taylor Swift concert because of the costs involved as well as lack of adequate infrastructure to hold the concert. Both Araneta Coliseum or the MOA Mall can only accommodate 9,600 spectators; while Melbourne is 96,000; Sydney is 86,000; Thailand is 51,000 and Singapore is 55,000. Where else the Philippines will hold the tour. The Eras Tour is not cheap after all. The economy is not good and in tatter; and poverty is prevalent all over the country. Just for a note, the Swifty tour in SEA started in Thailand in 2014, but for the coup it was cancelled. The Philippine organisers should have have woken up but for the money issues, they cannot afford. Salceda should wake up to reality that the government or the private organisers cannot afford the tour."

Commentary: Instant noodles have become an economic red flag

Cheap and fast but delicious, everyone’s favourite rapid meal tells us about the state of the world, says the Financial Times’ Leo Lewis.

Instant noodle consumption has continued to grow strongly in a post-COVID world.
(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Leo Lewis

15 Mar 2024 

TOKYO: If the entire (cooked) length of instant noodles sold around the world in a single year were laid out in a line, the resulting 6.2 billion km giga-noodle would stretch well beyond Pluto and into the depths of space. It is a fact as miserable as it is marvellous.

Instant noodles sit among the most potent weapons ever devised in the unending struggle against starvation: A product that towers, among processed foods, at the extreme value end of the cost-per-calorie scale and which its makers now proudly classify as a piece of “social infrastructure”. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Foreign Swifties praise S'pore's transport system & crowd management at Eras Tour shows

Screenshot via TikTok/eloicht

An unforgettable experience.

Hannah Martens 

March 12, 2024,

As the dust settles after Taylor Swift's last Eras Tour show in Singapore, some concertgoers who flew in from overseas have gone online to share their thoughts about Singapore.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

PUB partnering UCLA and American startup to build world’s largest ocean-based carbon dioxide removal plant in Tuas

A rendering of an ocean-based carbon dioxide removal plant.

PUB, Singapore's national water agency PUB, is teaming up with an American university and startup to build the world's largest plant that will remove carbon dioxide from seawater and the atmosphere
When fully completed, the plant in Tuas — named Equatic-1 — will be equipped to remove 10 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per day from seawater and the atmosphere
This is more than 100 times the amount a trial plant has been able to remove


February 27, 2024

SINGAPORE — Singapore's national water agency PUB is teaming up with the University of California (UCLA) and a UCLA-linked startup to build the world's largest plant that removes carbon dioxide from seawater and the atmosphere.

How S'pore got Taylor Swift to perform here


Belmont Lay

February 25, 2024

So, just how did Singapore get American pop queen Taylor Swift to perform six concerts at one shot here from March 2 to 9, 2024, making this country the only Southeast Asian stop of her tour?

In the wake of public interest, The Straits Times and CNA have shed some light on the process.

Here's the timeline. 

Saturday, March 2, 2024

'Sour grapes': Bilahari Kausikan applauds STB's 'Swift' deal, says S'pore can't hold back if neighbours 'slow'

He did not use any Taylor Swift puns.

Fiona Tan

March 01, 2024

"Sour grapes," Bilahari Kausikan said in a Facebook post on Mar. 1, 2024.

The former Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary and current Middle East Institute chairman was seemingly responding to other Southeast Asian countries and their public outcries to Singapore's deal with American pop star Taylor Swift. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

Israel's response to Hamas attack has 'gone too far', but severing ties would not help Palestinians, says Singapore

SINGAPORE: Israel's military response to the Oct 7 Hamas attack has "gone too far", but severing diplomatic ties with the country would not resolve the situation nor reduce the suffering of Palestinians, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in parliament on Thursday (Feb 29).

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Singapore to acquire 8 F-35A fighter jets


SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will buy eight F-35A jets, continuing its build-up of a “next-generation” force to serve the country’s security needs.

The aircraft are expected to be delivered around 2030, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said during the Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF) budget debate in parliament on Wednesday (Feb 28).

This is on top of RSAF’s existing order of 12 F-35 jets of the “B” variant, expanding its full fleet of the fifth-generation US-made fighter aircraft to 20.

Once operational, the F-35 jets will put Singapore’s air force in the “premier league”, he said.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

STB gave grant for Taylor Swift concerts, event likely to generate major benefits for S’pore economy: Govt

Taylor Swift will hold six shows at the National Stadium from March 2 to March 9. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Sarah Koh and Elaine Lee

FEB 23, 2024

SINGAPORE – The upcoming Taylor Swift concerts in Singapore, which are likely to generate significant benefits for the economy, got the support of the authorities in the form of a grant.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said in a joint statement that tourism sectors such as hospitality, retail, travel and dining are likely to benefit from the event, just like they have in other cities the pop star has performed in.

More than 300,000 tickets have been sold for the concerts in Singapore, with a large number of fans travelling in from other countries, they added.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Tourism in 2023, 13.76 million tourists to Singapore

That's about 70% of pre-pandemic arrivals. 

For 2024, tourists arrivals is expected to be as between 15 - 16 million. (Which probably means that we could expect maybe 17 million or more because Singapore tends to be conservative in our estimates.)

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Street survey reveals S'porean men more likely to pick Wi-Fi over their wiv

By Team HardwareZone

10 Jan 2024


In a Kiss92 street survey conducted by The Big Show radio duo Glenn Ong and The Flying Dutchman (FD), it appears that the majority of Singaporean men would indeed give up their wives for Wi-Fi access.

“Wi-Fi”, says the first male participant they interviewed, without missing a beat, while holding hands with his wife of three months. “I hope you make it to six,” quips FD to the couple.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A warmer Singapore could spell trouble for its tourism industry, say experts

To mitigate the effects of the heat, various tourist attractions have put in place initiatives to keep people and places cool.

FILE: Tourists shield themselves with umbrellas on a hot day at the Merlion Park in Singapore on Jun 21, 2017.
(Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

Nadirah Zaidi
Darrelle Ng

16 Jan 2024

SINGAPORE: A warmer and wetter Singapore could dampen the appeal of the nation as a tourist destination, experts warned. 

Saturday, January 13, 2024

US intel shows China's army had missiles filled with water instead of fuel in a corruption scandal that led to Xi's military purge: Bloomberg

Matthew Loh

Jan 8, 2024

Chinese soldiers atop mobile rocket launchers in a parade in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 2019 to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
  • US intelligence said China's military purge stemmed from serious equipment issues, Bloomberg reported.
  • Examples of these included missiles that had been filled with water instead of fuel, the report said.
  • The problems are a blow to Xi Jinping's focus on the Rocket Force, China's main nuclear arm.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

What makes Singaporeans happy

Jan 7, 2010 

Tambyah Siok Kuan & Tan Soo Jiuan 

The Straits Times

THE media gives some insight into what makes Singaporeans happy or upset.

[An article from 14 years ago. Is it still relevant?]

Botero's "Happy Singaporeans"?