Monday, October 9, 2017

Regional defence investments in large amphibious vessels driven by geography and ships’ versatility

Ben Ho

October 8, 2017

SINGAPORE — Talk of naval modernisation in South-east Asia usually revolves around the acquisition of traditional naval platforms such as submarines and frigates. What has slipped under the radar in recent years is the increased interest in large amphibious warfare vessels, such as that of Singapore’s Endurance-class landing ships tank, that enable the deployment of forces in the air and sea as well as on land.

Over the past year, the Philippines has acquired two 11,000-ton Tarlac-class landing ships, the first of such size and capability to be acquired by Manila. Malaysia is also mulling a large amphibious warfare vessel in the Multi-Role Support Ship, while Myanmar has reportedly expressed interest in a landing ship based on Indonesia’s 11,000-ton Makassar-class platform.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

On the Record: Liu Thai Ker, architect and former master planner of Singapore


ChannelNewsAsia


SINGAPORE: Award-winning architect, Liu Thai Ker, created controversy a few years ago when he said that Singapore’s urban planners need to design the city for a population of 10 million. At a time when some were voicing concerns about the pressures being put on infrastructure from a growing population - largely from overseas - many scoffed when he made that statement.

Today, he stands by it, saying it’s not too late to start planning infrastructure to accommodate a possibly larger population in the future. His motto is: if the economy grows and population grows, we need to be prepared for it.

Liu is the eldest son of artist Liu Kang and planned to follow in his father’s footsteps but circumstances railroaded his plans and he ended up studying architecture instead.

He doesn’t regret it one bit.

His career has seen him influence Singapore’s urban landscape as CEO of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) between 1979 and 1989 and as CEO and Chief Planner of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) between 1989 and 1992. He’s also noted for being a proponent of heritage and nature conservation.

Today, he is the founding chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities and Senior Director of RSP Architects, leading master-planning and urban design efforts in more than 30 cities.

He went “On the Record” with Bharati Jagdish about why his own efforts to plan for a larger population failed, why having more people in Singapore won’t compromise liveability and why Singapore needs more intellectual thinkers.

They first talked about the factors that have influenced him the most over the years.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Singaporean mother’s letter to her daughter on her 21st birthday



Mariam Aljunied

October 3, 2017

This is a letter from chartered psychologist Mariam Aljunied to her daughter Sara when she turned 21 this year, in which Dr Mariam Aljunied spoke about their family history dating back to the year Singapore was founded in 1819 and what it means to be a Singaporean growing up today.

Dr Mariam Aljunied’s great-great-great-grandfather, Syed Omar Ali Aljunied, built Singapore’s first mosque - Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka - in 1820 and also donated the land on which St Andrew’s Cathedral now stands to Sir Stamford Raffles.


Dear Sara,

You’ve been a blessing and a gift to both me and your dad. Your late Habib (granddad) once reminded me that the two things we must bequeath to our children are “roots to stay anchored, and wings to fly”. I’ve never forgotten this message. So in this significant year, your 21st, I want to share with you some things that I hope you too will never forget. These are messages that I’ve learnt in my lifetime: messages from the past, present and future; and messages that are forever.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Commentary: 99-year HDB flats a chance to review homeownership and retirement policies


With the impending lease expiry of private residences along Lorong 3 Geylang, Ng Kok Hoe explores the challenges of framing homeownership as an appreciating asset that provides a source of retirement income.


By Ng Kok Hoe

01 Oct 2017


SINGAPORE: In March, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong reminded the public that Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats must be returned to the state when their 99-year leases expire.

Therefore, flat buyers should not fork out large sums for old resale flats on the chance that they may profit from the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme, he emphasised.

There has been no test case for this policy position so far, as major construction of HDB flats began only in the 1960s, which means that the earliest leases will only expire after 2060.

But in June, the owners of private residences along Lorong 3 Geylang were given notice that when their land leases expire in 2020, their properties must be surrendered to the Singapore Land Authority with no compensation.

Although these were private residences on 60-year leases, and most have been rented out to foreign workers and temple operators instead of being owner-occupied, the episode served as a reality check for many HDB flat owners.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin retires, receives rare valedictory reference


27 Sept 2017

SINGAPORE: Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin was given a rare honour on Wednesday (Sep 27) to mark his retirement after more than 50 years of public service.

A valedictory reference was conducted to pay tribute to his contributions to Singapore. It’s a formal sitting of a full bench of Supreme Court judges to mark events of special significance.

Justice Chao, 75, is the only judge who served under all four Chief Justices in post-independent Singapore.

Opening the valedictory reference, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon hailed Justice Chao as a role model for lawyers, saying he “personified the very essence of what it means to be an excellent judge, and to do so with the right temperament”.

The Chief Justice recalled a conversation he had with Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah in which the latter said: “The entirety of my self-education as a judge was to ask myself every time I had a difficult situation, ‘What would Hick Tin do?’”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tuas Power-ST Marine consortium to build 5th desalination plant

 ChannelNewsAsia

27 Sept 2017


SINGAPORE: Singapore's fifth desalination plant will be built on Jurong Island by Tuas Power-Singapore Technologies Marine (TP-STM) consortium, national water agency PUB said on Wednesday (Sep 27).

The consortium will form a concession company to enter into a Water Purchase Agreement with PUB by October, the agency said.

The new desalination plant, expected to be operational by 2020, will add 30 million gallons or about 137,000 cubic metres of water a day to Singapore's water supply."The seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant will be co-located with Tuas Power’s existing Tembusu Multi-Utilities Complex to derive synergies in resources such as seawater intake and outfall structures, and energy from the in-plant generation facilities," PUB said.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Commentary on Cherian George's "Monumental Miscalculation" opinion piece.


Mothership published Cherian George's opinion piece on The Singapore presidential (s)election: A monumental miscalculation.

In it, George asserts,  
Shutting out potential candidates from the Chinese majority and engaging in crude tokenism tainted Halimah’s entry into the Istana. Worse, it unleashed a social media flurry of racist remarks in the guise of political comment, injuring the very harmony that the government claimed it was trying to promote. I can think of few political events that reveal so starkly the tendencies that prevent Singapore from maturing as a polity: the government’s distrust of the people, its insistence on getting its way, and its lack of finesse in dealing with contentious issues.
I agree that that was an unintended effect of this reserved election. One might even suggest that if unintended, it was not unanticipated. But that would be explained by the "lack of finesse" that is the hallmark of the PAP.