Let rental fees paid by couples go towards BTO deposit

dgma6e47 | 12 March, 2019 09:16

I was perturbed to learn from couples in their late 20s to 30s that they are postponing marriage until their Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are available, in three to four years. 바카라 

When asked why they don't just rent a place and get married now, the immediate response was that it costs too much and is money flushed down the drain.

I propose therefore that BTO applicants be allowed to rent suitable flats from the Housing Board so that marriage and children need not be delayed.

Crucially, the rent that they pay to HDB, minus a reasonable percentage for wear and tear, should be counted towards the deposit on their BTO flat.

Since HDB is the recipient of all these proceeds, this rent can be treated as a kind of "rent credit".

In the United Kingdom, tenants in social housing are eligible for a huge discount in "right-to-buy" schemes: Rent paid over three or more years of tenancy is considered a payment towards final purchase. 바카라사이트

Given our pro-family approach, I urge the Government to adopt a "right-to-rent" policy for BTO couple applicants who are ready to wed and start a family.

Take it from me, having a first baby when you are nearly 40 is not ideal. 

Medals award a move to recognise achievement

dgma6e47 | 12 March, 2019 08:59

We refer to recent articles and letters on the changes to the National School Games Junior Division competition. 카지노사이트

It is important to remember that these changes only affect nine-to 11-year-old pupils, not the entire student population.

All students learn sports as part of their school's physical education programme, and many participate in inter-class competitions.

Those who are interested and talented in sport also join co-curricular activities (CCAs) and even compete in the National School Games.

Beyond CCAs and competitions, students may also participate in ActiveSG sports academies and competitions.

For our Primary 3 to 5 pupils, the Junior Division represents their first formal inter-school competition.

Hence, we believe that there is room to provide these younger student-athletes with more developmentally-appropriate competition experiences, increase their playing opportunities and playing time, and encourage the joy of playing sports for life. 바카라 

One change is the increase in position-based recognition for individual events from the current top four to the top eight positions - but only for events where there are at least 15 participants.

For competitions with fewer than this, the number of medals awarded will be reduced correspondingly.

The rationale for awarding up to eight medals is to create more opportunities for our young student-athletes to be recognised for their achievements.

However, these are not "participation medals".

Pupils must still train hard, compete with a winning mindset and do their best during the competition to win medals.

By implementing these changes in partnership with coaches, parents and sports agencies, our aim is to strike a good balance between the different objectives. 바카라사이트

Ultimately, we want our young student-athletes to learn and love sports for life. 

Can S'pore schools deliver feedback more effectively?

dgma6e47 | 12 March, 2019 06:48

In Singapore schools, feedback on students comes through graded assessment papers, twice-a-year report cards and annual parent-teacher sessions. These provide a snapshot of how students are doing academically and socially, but say little about how they can improve. 바카라 

Does this have a positive impact on student achievement, and is there a better way? Based on research evidence, successful feedback should be timely, specific and process-focused. I would like to break down the example of how a school in the United States provides feedback using these three measures.

•Timeliness: In the US school that my children are attending, there are multiple low-stake assessments throughout the year. These are marked and uploaded immediately, with short explanations of why marks were deducted.

The combination of ongoing testing for learning gaps and access to real-time reports provides students and parents with a robust and objective system of knowing what actions are needed for improvement. A student may, for example, need help with content or submitting work on time. 바카라사이트

•Specificity: An interim report is given to every student in the middle of the school trimester, containing a detailed analysis of the student's performance in each subject. It shares what the student has done well in and where he has fallen short.

Unlike in Singapore, where the report cards are for parents, the interim report is explained and given to students. Parents have access to it, but it is clear that the student owns it.

•Focus on process: British emeritus professor Dylan Wiliam explained that feedback should have a "process focus". When schools provide feedback on what students need to do to improve, it focuses on the task and how to go about it. 카지노사이트

Giving students clear strategies they can adopt to reach achievable goals ensures they have the opportunity to act on feedback as soon as they get it. This motivates and strengthens their belief in themselves.

Can feedback be delivered more effectively in Singapore schools? 

S'pore can be dominant force in established industries

dgma6e47 | 12 March, 2019 06:37

I cannot agree more with Mr Liu Fook Thim that Singapore must restructure traditional industries rather than venture into new areas which we have no expertise in. 바카라

As high costs make us a less inviting option for many overseas firms, it is time to reposition our economy. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must quickly step up to fill the shoes of multinational corporations (MNCs) that are offshoring their businesses out of Singapore.

As SMEs have to take a giant step up to fill the void, tax incentives and grants will help businesses strengthen their capabilities, restructure, develop their workers and provide them with the finances to expand overseas.

SMEs lack the financial muscle and economies of scale that MNCs possess. Hence, they face far more stringent credit guidelines from banks to fuel their expansion.

The Economic Development Board and Enterprise Singapore can assist by developing local private-sector businesses to contribute to supply chains.

This can involve introducing schemes that help local businesses tap opportunities for expansion to give them a competitive advantage in the global market. 바카라사이트

In order for local enterprises to create genuine value, they must generate new products and services in established industries.

This will pave the way for such businesses to grow through collaboration with MNCs to meet global demands, and not just the needs of the domestic market.

The authorities must also ensure a level playing field of support for small businesses by offering them the same incentives as MNCs to get up to speed.

While it may sound like a good idea for SMEs to cooperate by leveraging one another's core competencies, the reality is that business rivals will never risk sharing any knowledge that gives their competitors a leg-up.

Establishing more protocols in order to facilitate collaboration may have the unintended effect of restricting the way SMEs operate when collaborating.

While huge foreign companies move out of Singapore, we can make Singapore the preferred destination for foreign firms to shift their higher-value R&D here to develop their ideas, revolutionise growth areas and adopt new technologies. 카지노사이트

Local R&D firms will also benefit from partnering with these foreign counterparts. The transfer of knowledge may help us become a dominant force in some of the established industries we once excelled in. 

Develop effective strategy to retain pre-school teachers

dgma6e47 | 12 March, 2019 06:16

The increase in mid-career entrants in the pre-school sector is good news (Feb 19). 바카라사이트

We need to understand the entry motivations of these mid-career entrants in order to ensure retention of employees and the long-term sustainability of the pre-school sector.

Enrolling in a diploma programme is just the beginning of a journey.

Mid-career entrants bring with them prior work knowledge and experience that may add value to a child's classroom experience.

Of course, they should also demonstrate professionalism, show the right attitude as well as skill when caring for children and always have children's best interests at heart.

Educating and caring for children require more than just possessing the necessary qualifications. One must commit "heart, mind and hand" too.

Children need teachers with heart to engage them. 카지노사이트

Teachers need the mind to observe, reflect and document children's development with the intention to plan, extend and challenge their learning and development.

And creative and resourceful hands will serve to create purposeful activities and tasks for children as part of a regular stimulating learning environment.

I also believe that the misconception that a pre-school teacher is merely "a nanny or a caregiver" is not the only point of contention keeping people from entering the pre-school sector.

Other potential issues include salary, staff to child ratio, work environment, workload and the appropriate recognition and classification of pre-school teachers as professionals equivalent to primary school teachers, instead of classifying them under a skills-based category.

And while men are in the minority when it comes to primary school teachers or nurses, how is it that the disparity is so huge in the pre-school sector, where less than 1 per cent of teachers are male? 바카라 

Could it be the effects of stigma and scrutiny, as well as the lack of professional satisfaction in managing young children?

We should carry out a survey to find out more.

Ultimately, attracting new entrants is only the beginning of a journey to develop working strategies for the effective long-term retention of pre-school teachers. 

Case for medical marijuana is weak at best

dgma6e47 | 07 March, 2019 09:46

There may exist certain conditions which could justify the use of medical marijuana, but with the exception of some rare forms of epilepsy, there are other effective bona fide medicines with a far safer profile which can be and are used, fulfilling the first basic principle of drug prescription. 바카라사이트

Medical marijuana, prescribed even under the most stringent guidelines, carries with it a whole host of side effects and complications, including addiction, psychosis and even drug-induced heart attacks. When smoked, marijuana contains the same carcinogens contained in cigarettes that cause lung cancer and respiratory problems.

The legalisation of medical marijuana in the United States has not brought about better treatment outcomes for the majority of ailments that marijuana is theorised to be efficacious for, even as prescribed dosages jump higher and higher.

Meanwhile marijuana's questionable use has exploded to the point where in certain US cities, medical marijuana clinics outnumber Starbucks outlets.

This is not a situation that Singapore wants to be in, even as Malaysia and Thailand consider the use of medical marijuana.

The pharmaceutical industry has the resources to influence doctors' prescriptive habits through research done more for its own vested self-interest than patients' good, and our Law Minister is sensibly perceptive of this. 카지노사이트

While the Government and the medical fraternity must always keep an open mind on research, looking for competitive ways to alleviate patient suffering, even to the extent of making narcotics or psychotropics legal where necessary, the case for medical marijuana is weak at best and detrimental to the whole of society at worst.

Case for medical marijuana is weak at best

dgma6e47 | 07 March, 2019 09:46

There may exist certain conditions which could justify the use of medical marijuana, but with the exception of some rare forms of epilepsy, there are other effective bona fide medicines with a far safer profile which can be and are used, fulfilling the first basic principle of drug prescription. 바카라사이트

Medical marijuana, prescribed even under the most stringent guidelines, carries with it a whole host of side effects and complications, including addiction, psychosis and even drug-induced heart attacks. When smoked, marijuana contains the same carcinogens contained in cigarettes that cause lung cancer and respiratory problems.

The legalisation of medical marijuana in the United States has not brought about better treatment outcomes for the majority of ailments that marijuana is theorised to be efficacious for, even as prescribed dosages jump higher and higher.

Meanwhile marijuana's questionable use has exploded to the point where in certain US cities, medical marijuana clinics outnumber Starbucks outlets.

This is not a situation that Singapore wants to be in, even as Malaysia and Thailand consider the use of medical marijuana.

The pharmaceutical industry has the resources to influence doctors' prescriptive habits through research done more for its own vested self-interest than patients' good, and our Law Minister is sensibly perceptive of this. 카지노사이트

While the Government and the medical fraternity must always keep an open mind on research, looking for competitive ways to alleviate patient suffering, even to the extent of making narcotics or psychotropics legal where necessary, the case for medical marijuana is weak at best and detrimental to the whole of society at worst.

What determines whether a drug is subsidised?

dgma6e47 | 07 March, 2019 06:03

Mr Tham Zhi Qian's experience of not being told about the Medication Assistance Fund (MAF) available for members of the Pioneer Generation is unfortunately not a one-off case (Feb 20). 카지노사이트

The patient service staff at the hospital where my father is currently being treated for cancer did not mention the scheme, even after I asked why there was no subsidy available for the chemotherapy drug Methotrexate used to treat him.

I was told only that a non-standard drug had been dispensed, and that I should ask the relevant authorities why it was not subsidised.

 According to the Ministry of Health's website, Methotrexate is actually subsidised as a standard drug in various forms such as tablet and injection, but not in the form of concentrate for solution for infusion which was prescribed by my father's team of doctors.

The basic lexicon on chemotherapy that I have checked in recent weeks all cite Methotrexate, as well as adjunctive drugs such as Rituximab often used in combination with it to mitigate its side effects, as a pretty standard item for treatment. 바카라

So why is Methotrexate subsidised only in certain forms, and Rituximab subsidised only in concentrate for infusion form under MAF and subject to means-testing even for Pioneer Generation members like my father?

Surely there should be a focus on inclusion over exclusion when determining drug subsidies, especially for drugs regarded as mainstream for chemotherapy.

I hope the relevant authorities, including the Drug Advisory Committee, can shed some light on this.

Too much focus has been placed on the supply side of rising healthcare costs, and too little on the demand side.

A recalibration is long overdue for the future of sustainable and high-quality healthcare.  바카라사이트

Week's Top Letter #1: Consumers should switch retailers when price plan goes sour

dgma6e47 | 04 March, 2019 08:49

The Open Electricity Market (OEM) is currently being rolled out across Singapore to increase market competition in the industry and, thus, lower the electricity price. 카지노사이트

While the motivation and mechanism of such a market are sound in theory, the outcome may be different.

The OEM may, in fact, drive the wholesale market price - the price to generate power - down while inflating the retail market - the kWh price consumers pay monthly.

This is the inconvenient truth seen in mature markets in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and United States.

For businesses, it is not just legal to maximise profits, but also a requirement that shareholders enforce. The long-term outcome for consumers is obvious - a more expensive electricity bill.

Of course, short-term cheap plans will be offered to secure customers before the harvest. 바카라 

For example, the profit margin for electricity retailers in the Australian state of Victoria increased to around 13 per cent in 2017 - more than double what it was when regulators set prices.

To control the inflation of prices, the Energy Market Authority needs to impose a cap on profit margins.

This is a tricky business, and the optimal equilibrium can only be found in a trial-and-error manner.

Consumers should also not just blame retailers for price increases, as they are equally responsible.

For example, UK retailers found that their customers are generally inactive in switching retailers. 

This is as consumers are put off by the fine for contract termination and switching costs, despite them knowing that the long-term loss outweighs the short-term expense. 바카라사이트

This led to price discrimination in the UK. For example, companies offered cheaper prices in new untapped locations while ramping the price in established areas.

Consumers should enjoy the short-term cheap electricity bills, but need to be proactive in switching retailers. They should treat the OEM retailers as stocks and not as bonds, and switch when the price plan goes sour. 

Botanic Gardens losing what made it special

dgma6e47 | 28 February, 2019 06:09

During Chinese New Year, my family was one of many jostling for space to have a picnic on the lawns surrounding the stage at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. 카지노사이트

I realised then that the space had changed, becoming much smaller due to the planting of new shrubs and plants as well as the roping-off of what used to be open sitting areas.

The grand view of the sloping lawn that greeted visitors as they walked towards the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage is gone, as is the feeling of openness in the middle of a crowded city.

 The two lakes - Swan Lake and Eco-Lake - were a refreshing respite to visitors in the middle of land-locked Singapore. Now one of the lakes has all but disappeared, with wetland habitats created around it, and the swans, if they emerge, are usually found walking on the grass. 바카라

The Botanic Gardens is now a Unesco World Heritage Site that is adding new features. Along with new zones for children and new walks, there are many practical aspects of the Gardens that are being improved such as parking, and some of the new areas are certainly beautiful.

But parts of the Botanic Gardens were so good to begin with that adding things to them is like adding extra spices to an already well-cooked dish.

There was a natural beauty balanced by the constructed pathways, and I hope the National Parks Board (NParks) will keep that in mind when creating new areas to avoid the feeling of being overly man-made.

NParks could also consider allocating part of its budget to helping Singaporeans who face difficulties visiting the Gardens on their own to enjoy these spaces. 바카라사이트

This would include the elderly and the sick, and could comprise outreach programmes .

This, I believe, would be a much better use of resources than continuing to build and potentially ruining what was a perfectly good thing. 

Revamp cleaning, security industries to help elderly workers

dgma6e47 | 27 February, 2019 13:20

Many elderly workers are no longer able to do their existing jobs as efficiently as they used to, so despite a willingness to accept lower pay, many cannot be taken on (Jan 10). 바카라 

They therefore have to move to other industries, like the cleaning industry which often only the elderly are willing to join.

Yet, no one has really tried to make the job easier for the elderly without sacrificing efficiency and productivity.

Henry Ford was able to break car assembly down into small specialised tasks so that even housewives could produce cars, but this has not happened yet in the cleaning industry.

Private security is another industry that the elderly could work in. But internal squabbling and the bullying of older workers by younger employees has apparently scared many away. The situation is also not helped by the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department's stringent industry rules. 바카라사이트

So until there is a revamp of the cleaning and private security industries, we will still see fewer elderly workers and a heavier reliance on foreign workers. 

Don't force consumers to buy plan that doesn't cater to them

dgma6e47 | 27 February, 2019 13:17

CareShield Life, a new compulsory government-run scheme which will be implemented from 2020 for everyone between the ages of 30 and 40, is intended to replace the optional ElderShield scheme. 바카라

While the objectives of the plans are noble, it is important that the public is given actuarial studies showing the claims experience and the probability of claims in Singapore for those between the ages of 30 and 40 for such long-term care needs so as to justify starting the plan from that age and warrant it being mandatory.

With the Government taking over these long-term care plans, consumers are tied to a one-size-fits-all plan.

In the event of a dispute of claim, there is no impartial body for the consumers to seek resolution from, unlike in the insurance industry.

Also, the personnel, training and system resources of the current participating insurance companies will be wasted and made redundant after the takeover. 바카라사이트

Restructuring would be unavoidable, potentially causing loss of employment to many.

CareShield Life should be open to the insurance industry, which has the expertise, resources and systems to administer the plan.

A schedule of benefits to provide a minimum set of requirements could be mandated and the private insurers could be given the flexibility to include additional benefits according to the needs of the various groups of consumers as well as how much they are able to afford.

Consumers will then have a selection of choices and the competition will drive insurance companies to continuously improve the quality of their customer service. 카지노사이트

Consumers who are financially protected through insurance or other financial means should not be forced to purchase a plan that does not cater to their needs at that age. 

Firms should implement smoke-free policies

dgma6e47 | 27 February, 2019 11:39

Everyone should make a concerted effort to get involved in the campaign against smoking (Jan 8). 바카라사이트

Often, I have observed elderly patients puffing away at a cigarette just after their medical appointments at the neighbourhood polyclinics. As they are more prone to age-related conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes, doctors should remind these patients of the ills of smoking.

Most of these seniors are under the notion that it is all right for them to smoke as long as they are on medication, but they do not realise that their condition will worsen if they indulge in this harmful habit.

Employers can also take a more positive stance towards the anti-smoking issue by way of adopting certain human resource criteria.

Take, for example, the case of two employees, one of whom smokes and the other does not, as they are being considered in a promotion exercise. Pragmatically, all things being equal, the promotion should preferably be given to the non-smoker as, simply put, an employee with smoking-related conditions may cause unnecessary disruption to the work schedule as he is more likely to fall sick. 카지노사이트

Of course there will be anti-discrimination laws to deal with before this happens.

It is, thus, pivotal for companies to implement smoke-free policies and help employees to quit smoking for the simple reason that it is not just a health issue, but also a business issue. 

Congratulations!

dgma6e47 | 27 February, 2019 11:37

If you can read this post, it means that the registration process was successful and that you can start blogging