SINGAPORENEWSBLOG.COM   
RSAF Open House  

Like any other country, Singapore has strict measures in place for safeguarding the airspace. These measures were tested years ago in 2008, when an unknown aircraft was detected flying above the country. In response to a possible threat, all commercial flights and traffic were shut down for close to an hour. Two F16D fighters were also sent out in order to bring down the threat if needed.
From this, it is easy to see that the Republic of Singapore Airforce (RSAF) is always prepared for all possible scenarios. For the general public, the RSAF Open House (ROH) provides an opportunity to watch these procedures taking place at the Paya Lebar Air Base. Last year it was held on the 21st and 22nd of May, the ROH showcased a variety of air based tactics. We have yet to see if there will be any show in 2017.
ROH 2016 took place for the first time after five years, with great pomp and splendor. The theme chosen for the year was “Defending Our Skies”, and promises a wondrous display of Singapore's military might. This included a display of aircraft, safety systems and weapons.
The Deputy Chairman, Colonel Randy Ong has assured visitors that the ROH was filled with brand new experiences last year. He talked about how the simulator rides were buffed up and aimed to accommodate as many people as possible. It was done by creating a ticket system, so that visitors could explore other areas while waiting for their chance to ride.
There were other improvements as well, namely the installation of measures to direct vehicles in order to prevent traffic and make the visit more entertaining.
Col. Ong maintains that when the general public fully understands and appreciates the work of RSAF, it is a moment of pride for them. This is reliant on constant teamwork, whether it is during air operations or creating the base for ROH to be successful.
The ROH 2016 was a great weekend out for the family. There were five things in particular.
1) Air Force Sky Display
Visitors were able to watch F-16C and F-15G aircraft being deployed along with Apache helicopters to intercept an unknown aircraft. This took place with a sound and fireworks display, as the SAF red lions showed their parachute skills.
Along with aircraft, there were GBAD systems, a Chinook helicopter and a Mark II Light Strike Vehicle in mix. This display took place over half an hour and twice a day over the weekend.
2) The History of RSAF
The RSAF is known to decrease air operations over the Singapore airspace when yearly examinations roll around, so that the young students are not disturbed by the sound. Visitors learned plenty of trivia similar to this when they attended the ROH 2016.
History buffs got a chance of exploring the history of RSAF along with details of the evolution over the years. The exhibitions also explained how the operations side work and the major personnel in the RSAF. Visitors also attempted to fly the F-16 jet and the UAVs.
3) Get A Closer Look At The Weaponry
The ROH 2016 had close to twenty different types of advanced military aircraft on display, along with a number of weapon systems. Visitors were welcome to take a selfie in the cockpit of these aircraft, surrounded by technology worth millions of dollars.
They were be able to see helicopters and UAVS, along with GBAD weaponry. The jets included F-15Sg, the F-16C and a F-16D+.
There was also demonstrations about the process in which ammunition is loaded on to a jet.
4) Entertainment for Children
There was be plenty of console games available for the young children and a chance to win model aircraft as prizes. They could also head over to the K9 area, where handlers will demonstrate their SAF Military Dog operations.
5) Fly into the Sky
Participants from the RSAF e-ballot were chosen at random along with contest winners to take a ride in four different types of aircraft. They got a chance to sit in the C-130, the Ch-47 Chinook, The DA-40 or the Fokker-50 aircraft.
The ROH 2016 was free for all visitors and open from 9 AM to 6 PM. Visitors used various shuttle buses or the SBS bus service no. 90. Now we're looking forward to the next Republic of Singapore Air Force open day, see their facebook page for updates.
Art Stage Singapore 2017  

Art Stage Singapore (12 - 15 January 2017), the flagship art fair of Southeast Asia, kicks off the international art season every January with the very best of Asian contemporary art. Here's an event you should consider:

Art + Money – A Dangerous Liaison?

With Franz Schultheis and Alain Servais
Hosted by Lorenzo Rudolf
Date: Friday, 13 January 2017 Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm Venue: Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level 3, Angsana Room (3E and 3F), 10 Bayfront Avenue
Andy Warhol famously predicted that “making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Today, the global art economy largely operates on the same principle as the luxury market and the financial industry: commodities are validated by money and brand pedigrees — artists, galleries, international exhibitions, fairs, institutions, art degrees — are sought after by the “super tax” bracket for social currency and speculation. The unbridled excess of art produced on demand to keep up with the worldwide proliferation of commercial platforms and dealers, comes at the expense of possibly losing generations of art as a form of socio-political agency.
This conversation with Alain Servais, a collector who advocates engaging with art for its power to challenge, and Franz Schultheis, (co-)author of books including What People Do for Art? and When Art Meets Money: Encounters at Art Basel, probes the art market's often opaque modus operandi and asks some inconvenient questions: why should one buy art? What kind of art is worth collecting? Are fairs and galleries ruining art? Should the art market be regulated? Who should regulate it?
About the Speakers
Franz Schultheis is Professor of Sociology and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He did his PhD at the University of Konstanz, Germany and habilitated with Pierre Bourdieu at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He was Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Geneva and the University of Neuchâtel and has taught at several Universities including Paris-Sorbonne, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris, the University of Strasbourg at Louvain, Belgium, and the University of Konstanz, Germany. His main research areas are: sociology of art, transformations of work worlds, poverty, popular culture and sociology of creative class.
Alain Servais trained in investment banking and worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert on Wall Street, and Société Générale Strauss Turnbull and James Capel in London. He was Head of International Bond Trading at Banque Dewaay in Brussels. Currently, he consults independently for banks in the management of asset-backed securities. Alain is a passionate and committed contemporary art collector and member of numerous art juries and collectors' committees among which include Art Basel's Council of Global Patrons. In 2014 and 2015, he was selected for Artnet's list of “Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide”. Blouin Artinfo named him one of “The 50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50”. He founded and designed Registr'art, a service for private collectors, and the smartphone app, European Art Tour (E.Art.T). He is an investor in ArtRunners which was created to streamline fine art logistics. Alain is an avid “information sharer” via Twitter (@aservais1) and email blog.
Lorenzo Rudolf is Founder and President of Art Stage Singapore and Jakarta, international art fairs in Southeast Asia. From 1991 to 2000, he was Director of Art Basel. During his tenure he created a new art fair concept and transformed Art Basel from a classical trade show to the flagship of the art world. He subsequently created and launched Art Basel Miami Beach. In 2000 Lorenzo was appointed Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. After three years in the publishing industry, he returned to the art world. In 2007, he co-founded and helmed SH Contemporary, Shanghai, the first international contemporary art fair in Asia. In 2010 he founded Art Stage Singapore with the objective of establishing the Southeast Asia region as a strong player on the global stage of art and culture. In 2016, he launched Art Stage Jakarta.
Location: Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo & Convention CentreLevel 3, Angsana Room (3E and 3F)10 Bayfront Avenue Singapore, 018956 Tickets

 

Circle of Care  

Encircle Your Child In ‘Circle of Care' For Better Care
Today's children are tomorrow's citizens. Shaping a child is shaping the nation. So join your hands to strengthen our nation.
How the Baby will be protected in the mother's lap, same as protected in the Circle Care program. The program, which is designed in the Care Corner, is to simplify the children who are in impoverished conditions and trained accordingly. The main intention to start this program is to benefit more children and include more families in this program. This program was organized by the Lien Founation. Three years ago Circle Care started its journey with two pre - schools. Now it has expanded its circle and the organizers involved in this program are school teachers , child psychiatrists and social workers. This program aims mainly the disadvantaged children and it received very good response and enrollments in this program also increased very quickly in the two centres. At present the Circle Care program expanded to fifteen schools. Along with the kindergarten, this program touched, even the primary schools also. Among the organizers, social workers, whose duty is to collaborate with the teachers, educators and also with the school counselors to take the data about the children and continue its treatment to rectify the child's aberration. This treatment will continue up to the third primary standard children . The latest and excited news is, that the expansion in this program has increased more than 25% of the enrollments and nearly 1700 pre – schools requested for further help with this program.
The integrated program designed by the program experts encircles a ‘Circle of Care' on the child, there into identify the root element of the Child's problem and provide necessary help in their own method with different fronts. According to the survey conducted by the team, the children who are at risk factor, are from poor families and who are below the poverty line. So, the care team supported these children and increased their attendance from thirty percent to more than 75 %. Wow! Great work of the care centres. The organizers in the team include educational therapists, whose duty is to improve the child's numeracy and educational proficiency. With the encouragement received by the program, the officials visited Australia and stated that their program is going under certain changes and said that their experts are looking to improve the program themes to promote the standards of the children. The officials also stated their high quality and extensive programs to concentrate the disadvantaged children made them to start in a few cities in Australia.
One more important step taken up by this care center is providing care for the mothers in the ante inherent care and health care, for babies the care program includes how to talk, read and write. The chief executive of the Lien Foundation main intention is along with the children, even he wants to focus on the families also , for better improvement in their children. This works wonders because if parents are well educated, then automatically children will be in the right path. He also noted that the program designed to help the children to develop the overall behavior. All programs were designed in the Circle care centre to increase and improve the standards and concentration and self consciousness in children. The expert team in the circle care centre expressed that they focus on tenacity and grit along with the literacy and other skills because impulse control is most dangerous which should be controlled in the childhood. To train the disadvantaged children the Lien Foundation also introduced a “Principal Matters” program where all the principals undergo certain training to help the children and to strengthen their leadership qualities. The officials expressed that if the higher authorities like Educational Minister and Social Welfare Minister also supports them, the outcome of the centre will be more and we can pick up the disadvantaged children in the society.

 

Central Provident Fund  
The Central Provident Fund board was set up in late 2014 with a single goal in mind: to make the CPF system as strong, fair and efficient as possible. The Fund itself is hugely important to Singaporean society, as it provides for retirement, housing, healthcare and employment benefits in the state. If poorly managed, the CPF could slow down or even halt the state's increasingly powerful economy.
Well, the first batch of recommendations from the Panel has now been handed in to the government and, certainly, there are some interesting issues raised and ideas offered. In particular, this list of recommendations focuses upon future adjustments to the Minimum Sum and the issue of lump sum withdrawals.
What the CPF Advisory Panel is hoping to respond to with this review is to strike a balance between providing a life-long, reliable safety net for the country's citizens, while also allowing them the economic freedom and flexibility upon which the state's economic boom has been founded.
For example, on the issue of retirement, the Panel proposes adjusting the Minimum Sum in order to allow people a more flexible monthly pay out during their retirement. A key suggestion is that those CPF members who turn 55 in the year 2016 put a large enough proportion of their CPF savings in order to make up a basic pay out of about $700 per month when they retire in 2026.
If that is you, then you'll need to put a Basic Retirement Sum of $80,500 as premiums in 2016, as worked out by external actuaries hired by the CPF. If, however, you turn 55 in 2020, then you have a 70% chance of having enough saved up in your fund to meet this Basic Retirement Sum.
To offer a more flexible service, the Panel recommends that CPF members can withdraw cash from their savings above the Basic Retirement Sum. However, these withdrawals will only be available subject to a charge or a pledge on the value of property held by the member. So, should you make a withdrawal and sell your property, then the pledged amount will be returned to your CPF, thus garnishing your basic pay out. If you do not own your own home, then it is highly recommended that your Full Retirement Sum is twice the Basic Retirement Sum, which would be something like $161,000 if you are retiring in 2016.
The Panel also wants to make topping up pay outs to ensure larger monthly amount in future easier for members. An Enhanced Retirement Sum would be established that will allow members to add savings or cash to their premiums. It is likely that this ERS would be three time the BRS. If, for example, you wished to top up in 2016, this would be capped at $241,500.
Another key recommendation involves the concept of deferral, which would allow members to put off their retirement provisions until the age of 70. As well as allowing them more time to save more money for retirement, this will also help those who wish to work past retirement age, a phenomenon that is becoming more and more popular in Singapore.
Law and order in Singapore  
Recently, a Singaporean insurance agent was sentenced to a 14 day detention order for an assault on a taxi driver. The assault took place when a 23 year old punched a driver, after drinking in Clarke Quay with friends. He had argued with the driver over the $18 fare in the run up to the incident.
Though his eventual punishment was far smaller than the potential five years in prison that Lai could have served, it is interesting to note that the story was quite big news in Singapore. In this bustling, multicultural melting pot of a state, with a population of over 5 million people crammed onto a 716 km² island, incidents are extremely rare. In a similarly densely packed, business-heavy urban area, like, say, Paris, New York or London, such a story would barely be a story or, at least, certainly not a story that would grab many headlines.
The reason for this is that Singapore is one of the most peaceful, safe and non-violent states in the world. This fact, as much as the low tax rates, superb education, gorgeous weather and pro-business legal system, contributes massively to why so many people are now coming here to work, study and live.
So how do the Singaporean authorities manage to keep the peace so effectively?
Singaporean law and order
Singapore's laws are there to ensure that the population are free to roam the streets in peace and quiet, without needing to worry about the lewd or violent behaviour. In some cases, these laws become very strict indeed, though it is this strictness, and the respect for authority that they inspire, that ensures the state remains a law-abiding one.
For example, littering, chewing gum and smoking can all get you in big trouble in Singapore. Expect a fine of up to $1,000 the first time you are caught dropping your rubbish on the street and $2,000 the second time, plus a spot of Corrective Work Order. Corrective Work Order, or CWO, forces you to donate a few hours of your spare time cleaning up a public place wearing an unmissably bright orange jacket watched and recorded by the local media.
As most people know, chewing gum is strictly contraband in Singapore, as a preventative measure against the littering that the authorities so despise. Possessing, selling or gifting chewing gum will all land you in trouble. Though this might sound draconian, the ban was brought in as chewing gum stuck on the Mass Rapid Transit train doors was actually preventing trains from being able to run, causing a serious safety hazard.
One of the major no-nos of Singapore is drugs. Possessing any of the following quantities of following controlled substances will land you the death penalty: 15 grammes heroin, 30 grammes morphine, 30 grammes cocaine, 500 grammes cannabis and 1.2 kg of opium. Again, if this sounds strict, it is worth remembering Singapore's geographical position. Just an hour away from the notorious Golden Triangle, Asia's chief opium producing area located on the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, the authorities must do all they can to ensure that the drug trade, and the violence and corruption that come with it, do not invade their shores.
All of these laws contribute greatly to ensuring Singapore remains the healthy, thriving, happy society it is today and help keep incidents like the one we mentioned earlier thankfully rare occurrences.
EU-Singapore FTA may have to wait   
As the Singaporean economy grows and grows, more and more foreign money pours into Singapore. Thanks to the state's low corporate tax rates, tremendously free market and highly advantageous business laws, firms and organisations from around the world are lining up to pump their cash through Singapore.
Though the state is benefiting greatly from this investment and interest, it is only understandable that Singaporean companies would become interesting in sending investment the other way – i.e. investing money in western countries, particularly those in the EU. Yet, due to the stricter and more regimented economies there, this is not always straight forward.
In order to make things simpler for both sides, a potential Free Trade Agreement between the more powerful EU economies and Singapore has long been mooted. After all, a mutually beneficial FTA would allow both consumers and businesses on all sides to make the most from Singapore's strengthening economic power. However, though Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both backed such a move, it now seems unlikely it will come into place until at least late 2016. The main issue, according to Mr Lee, is that countries in the EU require more time to get their own economic issues in order before opening up the gates for such trading. Currently we understand that Singapore has an extensive network of 20 implemented FTAs with 31 trading partners.
After meeting with Ms Merkel, Lee said, “The ratification process is on the European side. The text is still undergoing some legal scrubbing. Some parts are completed, some parts are not. Then you have to go through a long process, including voting at the European Parliament and including ratification by majority of the European member states.”
One of the central issues holding the potential FTA back is such an agreement's need for a provision for investor-state dispute settlement. This provision would allow a company to take action against a country's government outside of its borders and, though very helpful for companies in Singapore investing in the EU, it has been less popular with those on the other side.
Chancellor Merkel, however, is very much keen on pushing through the FTA as quickly as she can. Given Germany's status as one of the world's most active and consistent exporters of products, it is clear why Merkel wants to open up as many potential trade routes as possible for her economy. Mr. Lee highlighted the similarities between Germany and Singapore at the press conference, with the states sharing many of the same advantages and disadvantages. As well as both housing booming economies and powerful workforces, both nations may soon have to deal with issues brought about by ageing population and lowering birth rates. Many of the same political issues are on both state's radar too, such as multicultural integration and the threat of radical political ideologies.
In particular, Mr. Lee cited the Islamic State group as a menace to both Germany and Singapore, pointing out that both German and Singaporean Muslims have left their native countries to join the brutal jihadist outfit. Therefore, anything that strengthens the existing bonds between the two states, and makes communication between them more straightforward, should be welcomed.
Singaporean society as described  
“Recently I read about somebody who made a post on her blog poking fun at an older man who had a hole in his shirt. I think that is wrong because an old or torn shirt does not mean he deserves less respect…. These are not essential to who you are, what you stand for, what people should think of you. It has to manifest in the way we interact with one another. “
Lee Hsien Loong is the Prime Minister of Singapore. Here he discusses how important it is for Singaporeans not to look down on those who have less, materially, even though the economy is booming and business is good.
“When society's brightest and most able think that they made good because they are inherently superior and entitled to their success; when they do not credit their good fortune also to birth and circumstance; when economic inequality gives rise to social immobility and a growing social distance between the winners of meritocracy and the masses; and when the winners seek to cement their membership of a social class that is distinct from, exclusive, and not representative of Singapore society – that is elitism.”
Goh Chok Tong was the Prime Minister of Singapore between 1990 and 2004.
“Never forget we're servants of the people, not their masters. Always maintain a sense of humility and service. Never lord it over the people we're looking after and serving. Be as strict with ourselves as we are with others.”
Lee Hsien Loong again, this time describing how Singaporean's see the role of politicians.
“In the early pioneering days, we do first and talk later. Today some of us talk first and don't do.”
Ngiam Tong Dow was once one of Singapore's most important and influential civil servants. Now he is one of the country's most outspoken opinion formers, often voicing strong dissenting ideas.
“While Singaporeans are fully aware of potential trade-offs in policy, we should also be on guard against viewing trade-offs only from the Government's perspective….. It seems to me that more often than not, the policy trade-off was biased against the people, especially those who are adversely affected.”
Low Thia Khiang was the opposition leader in 2011 when he made this criticism of certain policies.
“The most important thing is that you have to respect an individual, whether he's got six Cs or six As and whether he's a brain surgeon or a dustman. I think we should give him the same respect. If you don't give respect to your own citizens, I think you condemn them forever.”
Chiam See Tong was another opposition leader, here he re-iterates Lee Hsien Loong's earlier point about the importance of respecting all the state's citizens regardless of their wealth or status.
Singapore Tourist Survival Guide  

With a varied cultural mixture of entertainment, cuisine and shopping, Singapore stands out as one of the most travel-friendly Asian countries. Whether you travel in August or January, the city-island has warm weather all year round. Besides, tourists also love Singapore because it is easy to get around the island, as it has an extensive and easy-to-use public transport system.
Another reason why Singapore is so attractive for tourists is that one of the spoken languages is English, but they also speak Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Malay and Tamil. Therefore, the language barrier in Singapore is almost anecdotic.
If you are travelling there, it might be useful to know that in terms of electricity, in Singapore they 230 Volts and 50 Hertz. Also, the phone code is +65.
Also, the official currency of the country is Singapore dollar. In comparison with American currency, US$1 equals SGD1.25. You can find many money exchanges throughout the city, particularly in the CBD and other tourist hotspots. You can always exchange money at major hotels and local banks, although the exchange rate will not be favourable for you. You can also withdraw money from the ATM machines scattered throughout the state.
Make sure you carry cash if you are thinking of making small purchases or buying goods from the markets and street vendors. However, you only need your credit card in major shopping centres.
Although Singapore is highly tolerant of Western behaviour, there are certain local customs and laws that differ from those in the West. For instance, it might strike you that chewing gum is strictly prohibited for sale, import and personal use. But what might surprise you even more is that spitting is against the law. Besides, littering is not tolerated and offenders can get a tough fine for doing it.
From luxury hotels like the Raffles Hotel to the five-star Shangri-La Hotel Singapore to budget accommodations like the Fragance Hotels and Value Hotels, there is a large array of accommodations to choose from in Singapore.
As Singapore experiences a tropical climate that is hot and humid all year round, make sure you carry sunblock and drink enough water, especially from March to June when the weather is particularly hot.
As to transportation, whether visitors choose to travel by standard trains or by light rail services, they can get anywhere on the island within a short timeframe. Also, buses connect most destinations on the island and a plethora of metered taxis can be found at any time.
Located approximately 20 minutes' drive from the CBD of Singapore, Changi International Airport (SIN) is well connected with the city by rail service as well as by express bus shuttles and metered taxis.
Some of the most important events that take place in Singapore include the World Gourmet Summig (three-week fine food festival), Singapore International Film Festival (featuring a mix of up to 300 international documentaries, animation, shots and retrospectives), Singapore Airlines International Cup, Vesak Day (devotees flock to Buddhist temples where they make offerings, eat vegetarian food and even release captive animals), Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore Dragon Boat Festival, and the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts with celebration dinners, loud auctions and outdoor street performances of Chinese opera, puppetry, singing and comedy.

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Class   
Customers are now able to book premium economy tickets from Singapore Airlines for the first time. The new class of ticket will first be available on August 9th flights to Sydney, which went on sale recently. Though prices will vary depending on flight times and travel dates, generally a premium economy ticket will cost you about 15% - 20% more than its economy equivalent.
So, what will that extra 15% get you? Well, there's more legroom for start, wider seats and generally superior amenities and facilities. Also, you will have a longer menu to choose your refreshments from, with more meal options.
A premium economy seat on an SIA airplane will pack a calf rest and a footbar, with a width between 18.5 inches and 19.5 inches, while the chair itself will recline a full eight inches. This means a more comfortable seating arrangement a more flexibility in terms of how each individual customer decides to spend their flight. Champagne is available for those looking to travel in style, as are an extensive list of wines.
Flight entertainment is similarly more varied and more luxurious. You can expect a 13.3 inch full high definition in-flight monitor, equipped with headphones that prevent outside noise seeping in to break your concentration, and two USB ports powered by your very own in-seat power supply. A Premium Economy Class Ticket also entitles you to greater storage space, including dedicated spaces for your phone, water, laptop and tablet.
Yet SIA's commitment to giving Premium Economy customers a higher class of trip extends beyond the flight itself. In fact, from the moment you arrive at your departure airport to the moment you leave your destination airport, the entire experience is maximise for simplicity, convenience and comfort.
Yet SIA's commitment to giving Premium Economy customers a higher class of trip extends beyond the flight itself. In fact, from the moment you arrive at your departure airport to the moment you leave your destination airport, the entire experience is maximise for simplicity, convenience and comfort.
Existing members of SIA's KrisFlyer scheme, who can already take advantage of special promotions and air miles from the company and its partners, have even more reasons to go Premium Economy. They receive 10% extra in miles every time they buy this type of ticket.
SIA plans to roll out the availability of Premium Economy tickets soon, with flights to Beijing, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, London, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Zurich all slated to be equipped for this class of customer by next year.
According to SIA Chief Executive Office Goh Choon Phong, the new class was created to match the demands of the airline's huge customer base. He says, “Many of our customers' suggestions have been incorporated into the new product, and we are confident it will be well received by travellers who are looking for more features - in the seat design, in-flight offerings and exclusive privileges - all underpinned by the exceptional service that SIA is well known for, both on the ground and in the air."
Singapore's most influential people  

Any list of people claiming to be this or that is bound to be fairly subjective. This is particularly the case when considering those people who have been most influential on the development of Singapore. After all, this tally is potentially very long and open to a great deal of personal bias. However, it is safe to say there are certain names that would be fairly universal.
One name that should feature is Dr Kanwaljit Soin, who became a much-needed female member of parliament when she was nominated in 1992. After holding her political position for four years, she has since continued to work tirelessly to raise awareness of female issues. While serving as president of the Association of Women for Action and Research in the 1990s she became one of Singapore's most widely-respected commentators on women's issues.
Two individuals who have certainly left a permanent mark on Singapore's landscape are Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell. These Singapore-based architects are known for a variety of eye-catching designs, ranging from tall, ultra-contemporary condominium buildings, to a grandiose churches. Equally at home when designing properties for railway stations or for holiday resorts, this dynamic duo's work features in Singapore, Bali, Bangkok and China.
The arts have flourished in this particular corner of South East Asia for a considerable time. Foremost amongst the influential Singaporeans who have focused on local tastes is Philip Cheah. In the 1980s, Singapore was regarded as something of a cultural backwater, with little to inspire the creatively-minded. Together with his brother Michael, Philip embarked on creating the ‘BigO', a magazine that championed local talent amongst musicians and artists of all shades. While he was director of the Singapore International film Festival in the 1990s, Cheah placed the spotlight on dynamic young Singaporean filmmakers, single-handedly rejuvenating the local movie industry.
Prior to his death in 2008 at the grand old age of 82, J B Jeyaretnam (or JBJ as he was affectionately nicknamed) was a tireless campaigner for Singapore democracy. His son Kenneth said: “My father demonstrated that democracy means the right to change government if you are not satisfied with it”. His dignified approach to the city state's politics won him the respect of colleagues and political opponents in equal measures.

  
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