Archive | August, 2012

Jazreel Low’s Back In “Taxi Taxi!”

5 Aug

SINGAPORE: When people talk about Jazreel Low, they usually talk about how she was a model before she went into acting, after she became the second runner-up in the very first Star Search in 1988.

What they

Channel News Asia

Build A Sustainable Population To Keep Singapore Vibrant: DPM Teo

5 Aug

SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that Singapore must ensure that it has a sustainable population to face future challenges.

Mr Teo said as a small country, Singapore faces many uncertainties and emphasised the need for residents to remain united to overcome such challenges.

“This is the way that we have been able to make progress, in our four to five decades of history as an independent country,” he said.

“We continue to face big challenges for the future, and one of the big challenges we have for the future is how to build a sustainable population for ourselves. Our population is slowly ageing and eventually, over the next 15 years or so, will even start to shrink.”

“Having a sustainable population is one of the most important things for the future because it will help to keep our country and our people vibrant, alive, lively and one of the most exciting cities in the world,” he added.

Mr Teo also highlighted the importance of building a sustainable population.

“(We have to) help to make sure that our population continues to remain sustainable so that we can continue to have a stable Singapore for the future,” he said.

“(We have to have) people to look after our elderly, a country and economy that’s growing, and also very importantly, a place where young people, your children and your grand children, will want to make their home because there are exciting things going on, interesting jobs, cutting-edge opportunities and also many interesting things to do in their free time, in their leisure. And also, a very good place to bring up children.

“So there are many things we need to do for the future. And having a sustainable population is one of the most important things for the future because it will help to keep our country and our people vibrant, alive, lively and one of the most exciting cities in the world.”

Mr Teo was speaking to some at a National Day Observance Ceremony held at Elias Park Primary School on Saturday morning.

About 1,000 members of the Pasir Ris West Grassroots Organisation, teachers and students from schools and kindergartens in the area attended the event.

Around 300 took part in a community parade, comprising contingents ranging from uniformed groups to senior citizens.

Deputy Prime Minister and Advisor to Pasir Ris-Punggol Grassroots Organisation Mr Teo Chee Hean inspected the parade as the Guest of Honour.

Guests were also treated to cultural performances, including a Silat or Malay martial arts performance and Chinese orchestra pieces, to celebrate Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious society.

– CNA/wm

Channel News Asia

Olympics: Pistorius Makes History, Bolt Wins On Comeback

5 Aug

LONDON: South African Oscar Pistorius made Olympic history on Saturday while Jamaica’s Usain Bolt reached the 100m second round as he bids to seal his own place in Olympic legend.

Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in an Olympic athletics event and had double joy as he qualified for the 400m semi-finals in front of his 89-year-old grandmother.

Bolt, who broke both the 100m and 200m world records in winning the Olympic titles four years ago, had not run since last month because of a back problem and there had been question marks over his fitness coming into the Games.

Pistorius, who had competed in the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics, finished second in his heat running on his carbon fibre blades and said he had realised a dream.

“It’s just an experience to be here. It’s a dream come true,” said Pistorius, who ran a season’s best of 45.44 seconds.

“I was so nervous this morning. I didn’t know whether to cry. I had a mixture of emotions.”

Pistorius said it was mainly thanks to his mother Sheila, who died when he was 15, that he had persisted with fulfilling his dream.

“She always said the loser isn’t the person that gets involved and comes last but it’s the person that doesn’t get involved in the first place.”

Bolt’s habit of making a bad start – something that cost him dearly at the world championships last year when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100m final – reared its head again in the heats.

He stumbled out of the blocks but then sauntered across the line in 10.09sec, nowhere near the 9.88sec of American Ryan Bailey, whose time was the fastest ever in an Olympic 100m heat.

“I’m feeling good, my legs are feeling good so I’m happy with that,” said 25-year-old Bolt.

“My training is good. I’m feeling back, so I’m happy.”

Elsewhere, defending Olympic champions suffered differing fortunes as Russian pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva qualified with ease for the final.

However, 400m champion LaShawn Merritt bowed out after pulling up in his heat with a suspected hamstring injury.

“This was my life’s race,” said the dejected 26-year-old.

Ukraine’s heptathlon queen Natallia Dobrynska, who did well to even compete here after her husband and coach Dmitry Polyakov died of cancer in March, was already out of contention when she retired after a disastrous long jump.

Her crown looks all but set to be taken by British pin-up Jessica Ennis as she leads by a commanding margin going into Saturday evening’s final event, the 800 metres.

The home crowd may have even more cause to cheer as 10,000 metres world champion Mo Farah goes for gold, bidding to deprive Ethiopia’s increasingly injury-prone two-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of a third successive gold.

– AFP/de

Channel News Asia

S’poreans Have To Be Prudent & Realistic About Their Financial Means: Khaw

5 Aug

SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said given the existing financial climate, Singaporeans need to be prudent.

In buying houses, for an example, he said Singaporeans should buy within their means.

He made these points at the National Day Observance Ceremony in Sembawang GRC.

Singaporeans, especially second-time flat buyers, can count on the government to address their concerns.

Mr Khaw said he’s quite happy with progress made over the past one year.

He said first-time home buyers are now able to apply for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in a non-mature estate with relative ease.

“So now this year, I’ll be focusing on second-time (home buyers) and improve their chances. So the recent BTO, I’m looking at the subscription rates day by day and it’s quite healthy, but we will press on to build more to satisfy Singaporeans’ demand to catch up on the deficit in the last few years,” he explained.

He also stressed that Singaporeans should be realistic about their financial means.

“There’re now some gimmicks coming along, some banks offering 50 years’ (loan) so please don’t fall for that. It doesn’t make sense.

“If you want to immediately come out from school and want to get a five-room flat and think that a 50-year loan will help you achieve that, I don’t think that is very wise.”

And Mr Khaw said it’s a “good sign” that only very few people have opted for the 50-year loan.

“So I’ve been checking how many people take up this 50-year loan; as far as I gather, the number is very few, which I think is a good sign.”

Mr Khaw points out that Singaporeans should be realistic about their financial means.

“If your salary allows you to buy a three-room flat, buy a three-room flat. In 10 years’ time, if you continue to work hard, I’m sure your salary will grow, and then you can upgrade.

“Then by that time if Singapore economy is doing well, your three-room flat will fetch a better price, so with the improvement in the price of your three-room (flat) you can then upgrade.”

In conjunction with the National Day Observance Ceremony, Mr Khaw also launched a new resident patrol week in the constituency.

The programme will have more than 230 volunteers spreading fire safety messages for a week, starting 1 to 9 August, every year.

Sembawang GRC has one of the highest rates of public residential fires.

But with efforts targeting the problem, the numbers have slipped to 74 – from 80 in the previous quarter.

On a national scale, more than 800 public residential fires were reported from January to March this year.

This is about 60 cases more than last quarter.

– CNA/ck

Channel News Asia

Every Child Deserves Best Possible Help In Pre-School: Shanmugam

5 Aug

SINGAPORE – It’s common knowledge that middle-income parents are able to give their children a headstart. But how does Singapore make sure that other children, with fewer advamtages, also get “as best an education as possible even before they get into primary school”?

This was the question that Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam posed on Saturday night, at a National Day celebration dinner in Chong Pang.

“Our primary school system is very good, our secondary school system is very good, our universities are world class.

“I believe that the first six years are also extremely important, and we do a lot on the preschool system – but I personally believe that as a society, we can emphasise (the latter) even more,” he said.

In his speech at the dinner, the minister dwelt on two key fundamentals to Singapore’s success: Meritocracy and equality of opportunity. While these fundamentals do not change, the Government has to constantly re-examine whether its policies are consistent with the fundamentals, he said.

Singling out pre-school education, he said all children deserved it and should get the best possible help in their pre-school years. Every child from every background needs to be helped to achieve their full potential, Mr Shanmugam emphasised.

In an interview with TODAY earlier this week, Mr Shanmugam had also spoken of his “close interest” in pre-school education. In 2005, the Chong Pang PAP Community Foundation kindergarten piloted a programme – based on the Reggiano concept – to promote innovative thinking, curiosity and problem solving skills. He has raised over S$1 million to help subsidise the programme in his constituency.

The National Day celebration dinner on Saturday was attended by some 1,800 residents. Mr Shanmugam gave out bursary awards to 189 primary and secondary school students, in amounts ranging from S$50 to S$350. – CHANNEL NEWSASIA AND TAN WEIZHEN

Today Online

Olympics: Bolt Bids For Legend Status In Olympic 100m

5 Aug

LONDON: The men’s 100m at this Olympic Games has deservedly attracted more interest than all other track and field events and will be beamed live to hundreds of millions of viewers.

The attraction in large part comes down to the role played in the resurgence of athletics on a global level by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who won treble gold at the Beijing Games, notably the 100m and 200m, in then-world record times.

Athletics officials, fans and sponsors alike immediately took to Bolt’s ebullient, fun-loving character and obvious ability on the track, catapulting him to stardom as one of the most marketable personalities on the planet and lending the sport a massive boost in terms of public awareness.

The 100m here not only sees Bolt bidding to replicate his achievements in Beijing, but also the rise of tyro Yohan Blake alongside a strong US team seeking to reclaim the sprinting mantle long held by Americans.

“I’m always ready,” said Bolt. “It’s all about championships. I’ve had slight problems, but I’m ready to go.”

Fitness concerns, an early morning car crash and losing both the 100m and 200m to training partner and compatriot Blake at the Jamaican Olympic trials raised serious doubts about Bolt’s ability to defend his titles.

But Bolt said: “I’m going to focus on going out there to win.

“My back was a little stiff and it affected my hamstring but I’m over that. I’ve been training for the past two-and-a-half weeks and everything is all right.”

Blake has been tipped as a natural successor to Bolt since his victories in the trials, but the 22-year-old insisted he was focused not on Bolt or other runners, but solely on running his own race.

“My philosophy is that the sky’s the limit,” said Blake, crowned world champion in Daegu last year after Bolt’s sensational false start in the final.

“I’ve always wanted to be at the Olympics. It’s everyone’s dream.

“I’m not focusing on Usain. It’s all about going out there, focusing and executing the race.”

For the first time since the advent of electronic timing, the field for the blue riband event of the Games will comprise the four fastest men in history — Bolt, Blake, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell and American Tyson Gay.

Gay headlines a United States team seeking to re-assert their authority on sprint events.

Despite only having made his competitive comeback after 50 weeks on the sidelines in June, Gay expressed the wish his legs would hold up sufficiently to get him a place on the podium.

“My only hope is that my body’s ready to go,” said Gay, who needed surgery on his hip after pulling up injured at the Beijing Games.

“It’s a lot of pressure, I’m not going to lie. The missing piece in my heart is an Olympic medal.”

Gay’s teammate Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion, missed Beijing while serving a four-year doping ban.

However, he ran his fastest ever 100m in winning the US trials and warned his rivals: “There’s a lot left in the tank.

“I have been through some dark past. What has kept me going is the faith of my fans knowing I am a legitimate athlete. I’ve been tested multiple times since I have been back. I’m a clean athlete. I’m focused on that.”

– AFP/cc

Channel News Asia

NUS Prof In Sex-For-Grades Scandal To Remain In S’pore

5 Aug

SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore (NUS) law professor embroiled in sex-for-grades allegations appeared in court yesterday afternoon to withdraw his application to leave the country.

Tey Tsun Hang’s lawyer Peter Low told the court that, two nights ago, Tey was informed by the university that, as he had been suspended from active duty, NUS “will not approve his sabbatical leave or leave for academic or other purposes”.

“NUS is (also) not able to support his application to leave jurisdiction to teach at Hong Kong University”, said Mr Low.

Tey was supposed to teach at the Hong Kong University from September to May next year. He had made plans and arrangements for the sabbatical since last May, added Mr Low. In March, the law faculty confirmed that approval had been given for Tey.

Yesterday, Tey read out a statement in Mandarin to reporters before he entered court, saying he would do his utmost to defend against the charges which he strongly believes have no legal basis. He also requested for fair reporting by the media.

Tey, 41, a former district judge, is alleged to have given his former student Darinne Ko Wen Hui better grades between May and July 2010, in return for sex on two occasions.

Besides allegedly receiving a S$740 Mont Blanc pen and tailor-made shirts, Ko also allegedly paid for one of Tey’s bills amounting to almost S$1,300.

Tey’s next court hearing is scheduled for Aug 23. If convicted, he faces up to five years in jail and a fine of up to S$100,000.

Today Online