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Rise of shadow industries in Singapore

One of the main worries over a slowing Chinese economy is the proliferation of its shadow banking industry, where non-bank lenders such as hedge funds and special investment vehicles grant loans to companies without regulatory oversight. It is feared that hidden debt levels and unrestrained risk taking may trigger a far-reaching crisis in a severe slowdown. In Singapore, two forms of unregulated shadow industries are thriving as well, one also related to alternative lending and the other of a very different kind. And we saw these past two weeks how both government action and inaction could fuel their growth further….

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Students driven away literally

From Straits Times Forum: TUESDAY’S article (“More subjects to choose from, so fewer take pure literature”) revealed the startling statistic that 3,000 students took pure literature last year, compared with 16,970 in 1992. Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah said this decline “needs to be understood in the context of an education system responsive to a changing social context, and which has offered increasingly more curricular choices for students over time”. This is misleading. The initial drastic drop in the candidature for literature occurred in 1992, when the practice of ranking schools based on academic results started. The…

Erratic productivity levels (click to see full size)

It’s not just babies we have to produce more of

This is a follow up post to Beware the ageing population false dilemma. Here I elaborate on the two main areas the government should focus on to counter low birth rates and an ageing population. Raising productivity Sometimes, it seems like productivity is the ugly step-sister in the family of economic figures that our government is keen to keep locked up in the spare bedroom. At other times, it is an afterthought, or a nice to have. While we boast of years of strong GDP growth, it is important to remind ourselves once again what went into such stellar performance….

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…