The Singaporean neighbourhoods: Where the action is
THE HEADLINES this morning come from the Singaporean neighbourhoods:
– SkillsFuture in the neighbourhoods: Through two initiatives – SkillsFuture Engage and the SkillsFuture Network – the G wants to reach out to Singaporeans in all neighbourhoods, especially those who need advice on how to plan their learning or to find jobs near their homes. Under the new SkillsFuture Engage, for instance, a team of advisors will be sent around Singapore to guide people to pick relevant courses and training, so as to prepare for future careers. Adding that everyone needs to “keep refreshing and improving our skills,” Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam appealed to more Singaporeans to adopt lifelong learning too.
– Voting for preferred colour schemes of HDB blocks: Voter turnout rates to decide the colour scheme for blocks of flats have increased over the years. These rates hover between 30 and 40 per cent today – an increase from about 20 per cent from a decade or two ago – and town councils have also noted that residents want to have a bigger say not only in colour schemes, but also in the types of amenities, estate development, and the construction of covered walkways.
– Community gardens in private estates: There are nearly 1,000 community gardens in Singapore, and the largest of its kind in a private estate – the Eng Kong and Cheng Soon Community Garden, in Bukit Batok – was officially opened yesterday. Applicants ballot for the 90 $50-a-year-plots available, all of which have been taken up. At the opening, Senior Minister of State Sim Ann said: “The intention is to make use of a temporarily unused piece of land on which the residents can practise their love for community farming and enjoy a little bit of recreational activity.”
– Vulnerability to burglaries: If you are a flat-dweller who shares a common corridor from which homes can be easily accessed through windows, or a new BTO-flat owner who leaves your doors unlocked for contractors, or a landlord who sublets your home, then you are most vulnerable to burglaries. Cases of housebreaking might have fallen, but the Singapore Police Force has launched an islandwide initiative to raise awareness on the need to secure homes against burglary and theft.
In other news, in his first Leaders’ Retreat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to review the progress in bilateral relations, and to further economic and tourism cooperation. The inauguration of the Kendal Industrial Park – a joint venture between Singaporean company Sembcorp Development and Indonesian developer Jababeka – is a highlight of the retreat, in addition to the signing of four memorandums of understanding.
Affairs around the world are less cordial. Anti-Donald Trump protests have continued to spread across the United States, as thousands of demonstrators – who, in particular – take umbrage with the inflammatory rhetoric of the new President-elect – took to the streets in different cities. In South Korea, close to a million demonstrators marched in Seoul to protest against allegations that President Park Geun-hye had allowed a personal friend with no government position to interfere with state affairs. This was the third weekend protest rally since the president acknowledgement and apologised for seeking advice from her friend, yet even after dismissing her most senior and closest advisors, Ms Park’s approval rating has fallen to just five per cent.
Featured image from TMG file.
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