Monday, February 26, 2018

SMRT to raise starting salaries as it embarks on hiring spree

By Victor Loh

24 February, 2018

SINGAPORE — In a bid to retain and attract more manpower, transport operator SMRT announced on Saturday (Feb 24) it will be raising starting salaries and improving staff benefits, as it seeks to recruit 2,500 more employees over the next three to five years.

The starting monthly pay for fresh engineering graduates will increase by 10 per cent to S$3,800, under new terms and conditions that were discussed with the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU), in line with the land transport industry transformation map (ITM) unveiled earlier.

Selected staff who reach the retirement age of 62 will also be offered five-year term contracts until age 67, SMRT said in a statement.

Previously, retired workers with good performance and physically fit and healthy for their roles were re-employed on yearly contracts up to age 67.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one.

I never thought I could feel empathy for the boy who tormented me in childhood.
By Geraldine DeRuiter 

February 22, 2018

Geraldine DeRuiter is the voice behind and the author of the memoir “All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft.”

As a child, I was an easy mark for playground torments: smart, insufferably rule-abiding, decidedly unpretty. The tormenter I remember most distinctly was not my first bully, nor my last, but his attacks would turn the others into footnotes.

He was in my class for years; his mom was my softball coach, driving me to and from practice when my single mother could not. In class photos his face is round and almost cherubic, but I remember it contorted in anger as he spat insults at me, telling me to shut the hell up, flailing his hands against his chest and moaning — an approximation of what he said I sounded like. We were seated next to each other in class, year after year, and when I finally complained about this arrangement, one of my teachers said that maybe I’d be “a good influence on him.”

My proximity to his mother did nothing to protect me. Sitting in the back of her van after my team lost a softball game, he snapped: “It smells in here. Close your legs.” Reflexively, I did as he instructed. When his mother climbed into the driver’s seat a few moments later, oblivious to what had happened, he was still doubled over with laughter. I was 10.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The struggle to conceive with frozen eggs

[So the plan is, extract your eggs while you are younger, freeze them, and when you are older, and your career is more established, and you are on firmer financial footing, you thaw the eggs, fertilise them, implant them, and bear them to full term pregnancy and give birth to your own child. This frees women from being chained to their biology and can have babies when they choose.]

Brigitte Adams became the poster child for freezing your eggs. But things didn’t quite work out how she imagined.

Story by Ariana Eunjung Cha

JANUARY 27, 2018


Brigitte Adams caused a sensation four years ago when she appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek under the headline, “Freeze your eggs, Free your career.” She was single and blond, a Vassar graduate who spoke fluent Italian, and was working in tech marketing for a number of prestigious companies. Her story was one of empowerment, how a new fertility procedure was giving women more choices, as the magazine noted provocatively, “in the quest to have it all.”

Adams remembers feeling a wonderful sense of freedom after she froze her eggs in her late 30s, despite the $19,000 cost. Her plan was to work a few more years, find a great guy to marry and still have a house full of her own children.

Things didn’t turn out the way she hoped.

China’s irresistible rise

[For every article or three about how China's growth is unsustainable, and how an implosion/ correction/ recession/ retribution is imminent, there will be defenders explaining why all those fears and predictions of doom are wrong.

Of course, official defenders' (i.e. China's government) credibility are suspect simply because they are not independent. 

Non-official or opinions from those with no vested interest (at least none overtly detectable), are a little more credible.

Here is one, non-official defender.]

By Jim O’Neill

11 February, 2018

China’s recently released GDP data for 2017 confirm it: the country’s dramatic rise, with the concomitant increase in its global economic relevance, is not slowing down.

To be sure, there has been fresh media chatter about the reliability of Chinese data, owing to reports that some provinces have been overestimating their economic performance in recent years. But for all we know, other provinces may have been doing the opposite.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Residential projects in Johor - too ambitious?

The Iskandar region of Southern Johor has ben the subject of many ambitious plans. Maybe even grandiose plans. The plans include
"...a snow world theme park, an opera house, a hospital specializing in Chinese traditional medicine and a school."
One view is that there may be too many homes planned.

Leading to this question:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

China's Economy. Slowing?

[Three Two stories on China. Which seems to suggests a slowing. But maybe not.

The first story is not new. Predictions that China's economic growth is due for a "crash" (if you wanna be dramatic), or a "correction" (if you prefer to be less alarmist) has been circulating. As early as 2009, according to the first article.

And here we are, 10 years down the road. And China is still humming along. 

Sure, maybe the tune is a little less jaunty, and the beat is a little slower, but China is not crashing. 

The point is pointing out the structural weakness and faults cracking China's economy is all well and good. But if you want to make money, you need your prediction to be more precise. Or it is still just luck.]

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ageing population to drag down S’pore’s annual GDP per capita growth for decades: IPS study

By Kelly Ng

18 January, 2018


SINGAPORE — If fertility rates in Singapore remain at current levels, the ageing population will cause a drag of 1.5 percentage points on per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth every year until 2060.

Delivering the finding in a study on Thursday (Jan 18), researchers from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) estimated there will be 91 elderly citizens for every 100 working-age Singaporeans by 2080 — up 10-fold from 1980.

This was based on the assumption that total fertility rate stagnates at 1.3, with 20,000 immigrants adding to the population each year, said IPS senior research fellow Christopher Gee in a 20-page paper titled Harnessing Singapore’s longevity dividends: The Generational Economy, Society and Polity.