No chequered flag for now

Singapore F1: The race goes on

It should be welcome news that F1 is here to stay in Singapore until 2017 at least after negotiations with the racing body were finally wrapped up. Our authorities seemed to have left it really late, perhaps as a bargaining play, because it is important for Singapore not to be held to ransom and pay over the odds to host the event. As many will agree, right now F1 needs the country more than the other way round with global audience shrinking over the last few years. While the agreed hosting fees were not revealed (“A gentleman should never speak…

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Misguided Fans

Lack of rugrats - a crying shame

Declining birth rate is a concern or is that a myth itself?

There appears to be a consensus in Singapore that a persistently low birth rate is nothing short of calamitous, because in years to come there won’t be enough working people to support the elderly. Society and the economy will suffer as the support system crumbles. But is the scenario really as bad as it sounds? Will Singapore really “fold up” if the birth rate continues to stay low without a massive infusion of immigrants? I draw your attention to the paper Ageing populations and hidden unemployment [published 2003, updated 2010] by the UK charity and think tank Population Matters that seeks to…

Stop griping about the national conversation

Stop griping about the national conversation

It is disheartening to read the reaction on blogs and social media to the national conversation so far. Many online observers are already dismissing this as a meaningless exercise, while others are more keen to nitpick and criticise what the PAP has done in its attempt to engage Singaporeans. Call me naive but I believe the PAP is genuinely interested in seeking our views as the country reaches a turning point with some hard decisions to make. I can’t see much incentive on them putting on a show just to placate the people; with elections some four years away, there…

No car but can travel: Checking our desires to own cars

No car but can travel: Checking our desires to own cars

Guest post by Lorong Cat When friends from Singapore visit me in London, I invariably get asked the question, “Why didn’t you get a car?” Fair point. A cheap second car in the UK costs about as much as the top end Apple Macbook, very affordable by Singapore’s standards. I get this question so often, I have readily on hand the standard response stocked in my bag of Frequently Asked Questions. Being an organised person and all, it comes in a bullet form: I live within the tube (London subway) network and I can get to most places in central…

Opposition Roundtable

Opposition Roundtable

Story 1, Story 2

Public Transport Subsidies

Public Transport Subsidies

Story

Tweaking our Primary School System

Tweaking our Primary School System

The Ministry of Education has announced that it is scrapping the banding of secondary schools. It sounds like a positive move and I’m sure we will hear more from parents and educators on what they think. So now, what about our primary school system? In line with our national conversation, I’ve decided to write on a number of topics relevant to our country. In some of these topics, I may be nothing but a keyboard warrior with no personal experience or insider knowledge. My views could be mistaken or downright wrong. Regardless, I figure it’s better to suggest than to…

Tolerance for errant road users

Errant Drivers – It wasn’t me!

Politicians and social media don’t normally mix well together. Online vilification befalls the intrepid politician who dares make critical observations of undesirable social behaviour. You can expect members of the public to hurl a fair share of blame or sarcasm the other way. Thus, when Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam recounted on Facebook some unpleasant road encounters he had recently, he must not have expected such an overwhelming level of accord with Singaporeans. Over 300 comments were posted, largely in commiseration and many bringing along their own stories from the road. It was like a coming together of…

Void Decker (bottom left) with friends staying over

Shoebox Living – Are you a size 7?

Here in central London, particularly within zones 1 to 3 on the tube map, flats are either too small or too expensive, or, in most cases, both. Just like in Tokyo, Hong Kong and many other high density cities. The wife and I have been living in an approximately 45sqm flat for the past year or so. Before that, we stayed over two years in a 35sqm flat. It was primarily the failing condition of the previous flat that prompted us to move, rather than the lack of space. Thus, I read with bemusement the mini-debate in the local media…

Hello Singapore!

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