Labour Market Statistical Information. Video Guide for the Layman – Tan Chuan Jin

    Go press until shiok 🙂  http://pledge.sg/

 — at Our Marina Bay area…go search the phrases out!

Tan Chuan-Jin
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There has been a range of discussions on our statistics and data on manpower matters.

Do take a look at these videos and the range of reading material that has been available on our website. Please circulate and share this.

I hope this helps clarify the approach we take. It is not dissimilar to how most countries address their data collation and presentation.

Link  from MOM – Labour Market Statistical Information –

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Singapore has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest cupcake mosaic..- Foo Mee Har

   Foo Mee Har 

It is official – Singapore has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest cupcake mosaic, thanks to the efforts of the Ayer Rajah Youth leaders, who mobilized many volunteers to build a fantastic tribute to Singapore, in celebration of her 47th birthday!

The numbers tell the story:

  • 40 key sponsors & donors rallied with funding, expertise, materials and equipment.
  • More than 1000 youth volunteers across Singapore stepped in to lovingly bake, frost and assemble 20,000 cupcakes to create the World’s largest cupcake mosaic.
  • 50 drivers sent these cupcakes to 62 welfare homes throughout Singapore.
  • More than $100,000 has been raised to benefit less-privileged youth and children.

This truly embodies the spirit of this year’s National Day theme: “Loving Singapore, Our Home”. On behalf of all the grateful recipients, thank you!

Over the past 5 months, the team has worked tirelessly to overcome many challenges.

  • They had to coordinate complex workstreams by different teams across Singapore,
  • learn new skills for themselves and teach new skills to others, and
  • persuade many donors, sponsors and volunteers to come onboard.

I hope their efforts inspire many more to give of their time, money and resources to help the community.

I hope many more youths are inspired to dare to “think big”, and direct their youthful energies and passions to achieve breakthroughs for the community, and help build a better tomorrow for Singapore.

Happy birthday, Singapore!

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Singapore to Meet Water Target Before Deadline

Singapore will be able to meet its water requirements independently ahead of the 2061 expiration of a century-long supply agreement with Malaysia “if need be,” the head of the city-state’s water utility said.

Desalination and recycling plants produce 40 percent of the 380 million British gallons (456 million U.S. gallons) of water companies in Singapore and its 5.2 million population use daily, Chew Men Leong, chief executive of PUB, said in an interview on July 27. A downtown dam adds a further 10 percent, with the remaining coming from its reservoirs and imports from Malaysia.

We have made progress to the point that we are now much more confident in terms of water security and sustainability,” said Chew, 44, a former naval chief who joined the utility about a year ago. “If you’re asking me this question about when will we ever get self-sufficiency, I will put it this way that we can be self-sufficient if need be.”

Singapore, which relied on Malaysia for its water needs, spent S$600 million ($481 million) to S$800 million a year since 2006 on new technologies to boost its supply. The push to develop the industry has drawn businesses including General Electric Co. and Siemens AG (SIE) to invest, and created local water companies such as Hyflux Ltd. (HYF) that have expanded overseas.

“What they are looking to do is create a virtual market for the water business which is much larger than Singapore,” said Glen Daigger, chief technology officer of CH2M Hill Cos., an Englewood, Colorado-based industry consulting firm. “By becoming a thought leader for water in Asia, then they really create a market which is orders of magnitude bigger than Singapore itself.”

Rising Demand

The island that’s almost half the size of the city of Los Angeles is developing its water industry to meet the country’s requirement, which Chew expects will exceed 700 million gallons a day in 50 years. That’s equivalent to more than 1,000 Olympic- sized swimming pools, based on data from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency.

Singapore has relied on Malaysia for its water supply, with the first of four contracts signed in 1927, according to data compiled by the city’s National Library. An agreement in 1961 expired last year while the remaining 1962 accord, which ends in 49 years, gives Singapore 250 million gallons of raw water daily.

Arguments over the water contracts had overshadowed relations between the two countries, which were briefly united in a federation from 1963 to 1965.

The water strategygoes back to Lee Kuan Yew with respect to making sure that Singapore, which initially was reliant upon imported water from Malaysia, that it not be put in a position where it was not able to depend on that source as a reliable supply,” said Paul Brown, executive vice president of CDM Smith Inc., referring to city-state’s first prime minister.

Downtown Dam

CDM Smith, a Cambridge, Massachusetts infrastructure consulting company, designed the Marina Barrage, the dam in the island-state’s business district that was completed in 2010 and holds water from the Singapore River and the Marina Bay.

Water from rainfall and drawn through a 7,000-kilometer (4,350-mile) drainage network into more than a dozen reservoirs across Singapore will be supplemented by desalination, which treats seawater, and recycling systems, Chew said.

“Water is a priority area for Singapore, and this has set the tone and direction for water management in the country,” Olivia Lum, chief executive officer of Hyflux, the city’s biggest water company, said in an e-mailed response to queries.

Hyflux, whose sales quadrupled to S$534.1 million in the past year from 2006, developed the city’s first desalination plant and is building similar projects in China and Algeria.

Sustainable Costs

Desalination plants produce 10 percent of water in Singapore, Chew said, which will increase to 30 percent in 50 years. The use of recycled water, known as NEWater, is mainly for industrial purposes such as cooling machines and factory processes, and will make up 50 percent of supply by 2061.

“We have essentially moved from a position of vulnerability to better security,” Chew said, adding that the goal is to make the supply “sustainable in terms of costs.”

Singapore has achieved more than half of its target of adding 11,000 jobs to the water industry by 2015 as the number of companies in the city doubled to 100 since 2006, PUB said.

“Over the next five to six years, we are committed to increasing our technology and engineering presence leveraging the greater opportunities we have here in Singapore,” said Michael Roeder, regional commercial leader of engineered systems at General Electric (GE) (GE)’s water unit in the city-state.

Flushers, Faucets

Chew said his main worry is climate change and how that lowers water levels at reservoirs. Changing weather patterns also led to heavy rainfalls and flash floods that added stress to its drainage systems, where parts of the Orchard Road shopping belt were affected over the past two years.

PUB is also working on reducing water consumption, he said, with measures ranging from mandatory dual-flushing systems for toilets and automatic faucets in all public restrooms.

The average usage per person is now 153.4 liters (40 U.S. gallons) a day, down from 165 liters nine years ago, he said. That’s expected to fall to 147 liters by the end of the decade and 140 liters in the following 10 years, he said.

“Here, water is an issue of life and death,” Chew said. “That’s always been the message.”

By Ee Chien Chua on July 29, 2012
To contact the reporter on this story: Ee Chien Chua in Singapore at echua27@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Linus Chua at lchua@bloomberg.net
Source : Bloomberg News – Singapore to Meet Water Target Before Deadline

Singapore gets more things right than other countries, even if its citizens disagree

By DAVID FEDO, FOR THE STRAITS TIMES Published on Jul 28, 2012
The writer was executive director and visiting scholar of the Wheelock College (Boston, United States) Centre for International Education, Leadership and Innovation (Singapore) since June 2007.

ON THE eve of National Day, after a little more than five years of living and working in Singapore, my wife Susan and I take leave of this amazing country. We will return to our home just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, to take up our old lives among our American family and friends.

But the truth is, after Singapore, our lives will never be the same.


Singapore’s impact on most expatriates and other visitors, no matter how long they reside on this island, is often forever. It’s the palpable feeling that somehow Singapore gets more things right than most other countries, and that day-to-day life here is on the whole better than in many other places. Not perfect, of course, but better.

Think of the excellent schools, polytechnics and universities, for example, and the fact that there seems to be less unemployment, homelessness and crime here than elsewhere – bugaboos that plague so many other nations in today’s volatile economy.

The diverse races and religious groups respect one another. The food is wonderful, with a variety unmatched anywhere, even in Paris, New York or Beijing. Medical care is exemplary. The green spaces, now crowned by Gardens by the Bay, are spectacular. Younger and now even some older Singaporeans may take these virtues for granted; those of us who are foreigners do not.

Our story is not an unfamiliar one for expatriates. Susan and I arrived here on a contract for two years, and have stayed for three more. Our work for Wheelock College (its home campus is in Boston) and our imported bachelor’s degree in early childhood education has been a pleasure. We loved our Singapore students, all young women committed to the nation’s children, and our faculty – a collaborative group from Wheelock-Boston, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Seed Institute – have been extraordinary.

Wheelock has just signed a long-term agreement with the Singapore Institute of Technology and will be in this country for many years to come. Susan and I will watch from afar as the Wheelock-Singapore partnership grows and flourishes.

Beyond all of its other virtues and attractions, including its economic and commercial successes, the arts in Singapore over recent years have truly ‘blossomed’, to use the word Professor Tommy Koh does in an article in the National University of Singapore’s Alumnus magazine. ‘We were once described by our critics as a ‘cultural desert’,’ he explains, but says those days are gone for good – ‘no one would say the same thing today’.

Prof Koh is right. Yet I wonder if many Singaporeans fully appreciate the remarkable blossoming of the arts – call it an explosion – through the seasonal festivals and year-round array of productions, performances, publications and exhibits, as much as those of us who come from outside Singapore.

Too often I have heard Singaporeans downplay their country’s artistic achievements, saying ‘It (the play or gallery opening) was okay, I guess, but it’s not New York or London.’

But Singapore doesn’t have to be New York or London. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra can stand on its own merits, and so can the experimental theatre productions by any number of talented groups here. The museums mount exhibits of interest to Asians and Westerners, as do Singapore’s diverse galleries. The Arts House is a jewel in the cultural life of this country.

Poetry is a special interest of mine, and Singapore’s best young poets – Toh Hsien Min, Cyril Wong, Yong Shu Hoong, Alvin Pang and Felix Cheong, among others – have all created a lively forum for verse that challenges old assumptions about Singapore’s allegedly scant impact on readers here and abroad. Speaking of poets, what small press in South-east Asia has done more to advance their works than Singapore’s own Ethos Books, headed by Fong Hoe Fang and Chan Wai Han?

Yes, there is no perfect place, as the English statesman Thomas More wrote in his book Utopia, whose title may be translated as ‘nowhere’. Singapore has its own deficiencies too, and its citizens are only too quick to point them out.

But in leaving this small island republic, I urge Singaporeans to see, as so many expatriates see, the superiority of Singapore over so many other countries – and not only countries in South-east Asia, but around the globe. I do love America, and it will be fun going home, but I will miss Singapore, its special pleasures and my many friends here forever.

90% of Singaporeans own a home – which is the American dream.

PART FIVE

Conclusion

The CPF scheme has progressed over and beyond an old-age savings plan to a comprehensive savings scheme that caters to members’ needs for retirement, healthcare, home ownership, family protection and assets enhancement. With the passage of time, the scheme has been gradually liberalized to accommodate the investment needs of an increasingly sophisticated population. Finding a balance between a social security system with unrealistically generous benefits and one that adopts too obtrusive an approach is a difficult one. On balance, the CPF scheme, although not perfect, is worthy of consideration for other countries.

If you look outside our normal par dine, there are differences between the United States and Singapore. There are many positive aspects of the CPF:

90% of Singaporeans own a home – which is the American dream.

  • Through an ingenious programme of deductions from wages into a CPF, Singapore has been able to build attractive apartments, and to continue to expand their size as the desire for larger units have intensified.
  • In the brief period since independence in 1965, enough new units have been established that some 80 percent of the population is now housed in attractive, new, publicly financed units.
  • By adjusting the costs and rates, the government makes it attractive for families to use withdrawals from the CPF to buy their homes rather than rent them.
  • Thus a vast majority of Singapore families now have a commitment to their home and their community.

It is social engineering at Singapore’s best.

The major feature of the largely successful Singaporean housing system is its economic basis. What was required was a careful connection of the housing system to the saving-investment process in the general economy. This connection should not be viewed in isolation.

In Singapore, the state has performed a variety of roles.

It has taken positive steps to attract overseas investment in industry; it has influenced the course of industrial relations; and it has made purposeful social investments in such spheres as health, education, and science and technology. These involvements have had various effects upon economic development, production, and of course of social change.

In the social policy, investments in health education and housing have been “productive: in the sense that they have maintained the capacity. The qualities, the skills, and the contributions of labour in the economy. The role of the state and its instrument, the CPF, acting as financing and resourcing intermediaries, and thereby tilting economic resources in favor of the total housing system.

In effect, the CPF is a means of obtaining forced savings, and although originally designed and constructed to secure economic provisions for old age, as a social fund it has been used for housing and other social and economic investment purposes.

Our statistics show that in the 1975 – 84 periods, housing absorbed some 4.8 to 15.9 per cent of gross domestic product and some 11.6 to 34.1 per cent of gross capital formation. Public housing now amounts to some 92 percent of total residential construction. These statistics make Singapore’s efforts in social housing quite remarkable and along with Norwegian housing, the most impressive in the world.

By using the CPF and the state’s income-transfer system in its annual budget, Singaporean policy makers have been able to avoid major conflicts between housing and non-housing capital.

Also, the CPF funds have been used to develop social infrastructure, leaving private (unforced) savings-investment abundant opportunities in the private sector of a growing economy.

CPF gets better rates of returns than the U.S. Social Security System.

CPF-approved unit trusts have been offering returns higher than the CPF interest rate, with one fund making about 155 percent in three years. Seventeen out of 22, (77%) of the unit trusts with a three-year track record made more money for their clients between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 1999. According to CPF investment consultant, only one of the 22 funds lost money. The best performer, the Dresdner International Provident Fund, gave a return of 154.7 percent after three years. Most of the other unit trusts gave returns of 20 percent and 40 percent.

Proprietary interest in the country. Being a member of the CPF has its privileges when the Government shares the rewards of the nation’s success with Singaporean CPF members in recognition of their contribution. . It was necessary to create a sense of belonging and to allow the people to sink their roots into the Singaporean soil. To increase the people’s stake in the country, the system of compulsory savings through provident funds, already in existence at independence, was developed further with the passing of the Central Provident Act.

Government invests in the infrastructure of the country. Cash contributions to, and other income of, the CPF, net of out-payments, are invested in government securities. The CPF system therefore has been a very important source of funds for government expenditures that are not covered by current revenues. There is relative constant gap between the size of CPF liabilities and government debt throughout the period. Statistics show that the Singapore Government during the period under review has succeeded in keeping within manageable range the need to borrow funds from the domestic capital market. It has done so by the avoidance of large expenditures on social welfare and income-redistribution schemes, and by being able to draw on the very large forced savings from the CPF. As a result, monetary policy in Singapore has been left free to pursue the main goal of price stability.

CPF is used as monetary policy – as time gets bad, the employer portion of the contribution is decreased. Singapore’s basic approach to economics has been essentially a pre-Keynesian balancing of budgets. Deductions from pay checks built up capital, the CPF, that people could draw upon to buy homes; and in the meantime the government could draw on this capital for housing and other infrastructure developments. The CPF proved so successful that it was expanded to cover payments for hospitalization. It led to perhaps the highest savings rate in the world, to a sound financial basis for developing Singapore’s infrastructure, and to substantial accumulated savings.

The aging of the population is a major consequence of the fertility decline that Singapore will continue to face until stability is reached. As in the United States and Europe, this will be aggravated by the increasing longevity of the population.

Similarly, old age security is a potentially explosive issue in Singapore, as it is in the West. Opposition politician have capitalized on this issue by raising the spectre of the insolvency of the CPF, the government’s mandatory savings scheme by which the gainfully employed population can provide their own old-age security. The critics have exploited a similar Western fear by omitting to note its basis, namely, the European and American systems depend on intergenerational transfers (from present generation of workers to retirees from all previous generations), so that their viability is affected by both the diminution of the labour force (as a result of fertility declines since the 1960s and the utilization of more efficient production techniques) and the increasing longevity of the elderly. Under the CPF scheme, which is essentially a savings scheme, solvency is not in question unless there is gross mismanagement of the Fund.

There are differences with the United States:

U.S. citizens do not believe that Government should be in the business of business. For example, people would not want to see healthcare be taken over by government.

The Social Security system is founded on the principle of a social contract that aims to promote intergenerational solidarity (reciprocity) and social cohesion, i.e. the welfare state. Part of the New Deal reform was the creation of Social Security. Although even today retired people need more than their Social Security benefits to get by, there is no question that this program has provided tens of millions of retired people with a substantial income and has largely removed workers’ fear of being destitute and dependent in their old age.

There is the question of whether government should investment in private companies. It places morale value on business. Government would dictate morality by the companies it invested in, i.e. should the government have stock in Philip Morris, or would that condone smoking – it is believed that morality should be left to individuals.

The Social Security system is almost bankrupt. It cannot pay promised benefits to tomorrow’s retirees. But proposals to “save” Social Security by reducing benefits, including raising the retirement age or by raising payroll taxes will further reduce Social Security’s already low rate of return. In his 1999 State of the Union address, President Clinton provided more detail regarding his proposal to “save Social Security first.” He called for using 62% of any surplus over the next 15 years to save Social Security; saving 15% of the surplus to shore up Medicare; and devoting 12% of the surplus to the creation of new Universal Savings Accounts which would provide additional retirement savings in addition to the base Social Security protection. We are in the period of reexamination of the achievements and the promise of Social Security and are engaged in a public policy debate about the future of Social Security-a debate that will determine the future history of the program.

REFERENCE

Source : http://www.vandine.com/cpfpaper5.htm

Labour shortage, wage costs cause some Japanese investors to move out

Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The Nation July 28, 2012 1:00 am

Some Japanese investors, who form the largest foreign business community in Thailand, plan to relocate to neighbouring countries because of high concern over the serious shortage of labour, rising wages, and the aftermath of last year’s flood disaster.

Although confidence in the Kingdom has improved this year, a rising number of Japanese firms plan to relocate part of their manufacturing to other Asean countries, particular Myanmar and other neighbouring nations, according to a joint study released yesterday by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) Bangkok.

The survey of 374 Japanese firms in Thailand from June 1-29 showed that 65 per cent were facing negative impacts from the rise in the minimum wage and inadequate labour force. Only 22 per cent said they suffered no impact from these problems, and 7 per cent said they had been affected positively.

Jetro chairman Setsuo Iuchi said Japanese investors in Thailand were most concerned about labour-related issues.

“Some Japanese enterprises have already moved part of their manufacturing to other countries, such as car-part [suppliers] to Cambodia, mainly because of the lack of labourers. Labour-intensive industries will continue to move out of Thailand for the same reason,” Iuchi said.

With another round of adjustments to the minimum wage nationwide coming early next year, Japanese firms said they would face higher labour costs, and profit would be decreased. As a result, selling prices needed to be increased.

Iuchi said businesses had been struggling to cope with higher labour costs. Some enterprises need to review their management structure including payment systems, restriction of new employment, expected outflow of employment, and employment conditions.

The survey also found that most Japanese enterprises had a positive outlook on growth of the Thai economy in the second half of this year after sentiment shrank because of the flood last year.

In particular, businesses related to automobiles and retail have shown the highest confidence. However, the level of their recovery varied from 0-100 per cent depending on the efficiency of the enterprises.

Japanese investors also indicated that they were investing more capital in Thailand this year at Bt107 billion, an increase by 64.6 per cent from Bt65.47 billion in 2011.

Because of the shortage of labour in Thailand and the progress towards the Asean Economic Community, more Japanese firms said they would set up new production bases in other Asean countries.

Myanmar is the most popular site for new production bases among Japanese investors, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Indonesia is the most interesting market for future trading, followed by Vietnam, India, Japan and Myanmar.

To increase Japanese investor confidence, enterprises have called on the Thai government to implement a flood-prevention plan, provision of quick and precise information in English, enhancement of the reinsurance system, and prompt refunds of import duty for flood-affected enterprises.

Link:  Labour shortage, wage costs cause some Japanese investors to move out

The Influence That Never Should Have Been

It is welcoming that our Government has taken steps to engage the population through the use of social media like Facebook, social websites and forum discussions to better close the link in modern times where the internet has become a reasonable force.

However, the population must also understand the very nature of social websites and its environment whether they are from mainstream media or otherwise. While netizens could play an important role as arm chair critics as more popularly known, discussion forums and social media platforms are relatively new to our national scene.

One concern which brought to my horrific attention lately was some circulation about how a small handful of “clones” or “multiples” forum users at a mainstream media discussion forum manipulating “public opinions” when this alleged family members (father, son and cousin) has been falsely and deliberately creating a “fake discussion forum community” to attempt to mislead the general public into thinking that the forum opinions of the posters are huge in numbers coming from the general public, but in actual fact was merely the many fake created accounts by the same person or two, in this case the family as alleged. To realise it happens with one of our mainstream media is even more appalling to say the least.

As one wonder back, such cyber activities could well be an abuse from such perpetrators who are out to seek out for their own agenda or otherwise. On the other hand, it will be unwise to fall into such manipulated hands for the consequences can be harsh and the social stability implications to any given society can prove fatal. Imagine if any cyber syndicates were to falsely create such cyber acts like the alleged perpetrators, given the understanding that even the common man in the street could achieve that stunt? Was it a lapse of cyber security or negligence in managing and monitoring?

When false information are presented, our policy holders whom innocently gather and harvest the “netizens'” views and opinions, are bound to build inaccurate policies base on partial contributions from netizens. The country cannot move forward when wrong decisions are made from the wrong info from a handful of fake community.

The relevant authorities should not only investigate, penalise heavily such perpetrators and its host for allowing misleading or unfounded truths to be laid out to innocent public who seeks information for decision making, the internet community should also be wary and be vigilant to read and decide for themselves after harvesting various opinions from various sources while we move forward as a nation in the coming decades.

 by Guest, 9 Jul 2012, on Reach website
Source : The Influence That Never Should Have Been