Gold returns glitter to Singapore.

Gold returns glitter to Singapore. Leading Swiss-based precious metals refiner Metalor Technologies officially opened its new refinery in Singapore on 26 June 2014. Metalor’s refinery is key to the development of Singapore’s gold sector, which is expected to create US$0.5 billion in value-add and add about 1,000 good professional, managerial, executive and technical (PMET) jobs by 2020.

It was for the same reason Metalor itself had decided to make the $19 million investment in Singapore, its CEO Hubert Angleys said, besides the large supply deficit of gold in the region. The removal of the 7 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on investment-grade precious metals bullion in Oct 2012 was also a key push factor for the firm, he added.

The new refinery is the group’s fifth worldwide and third in Asia; Metalor also has a refinery each in Hong Kong and China.

The one in Singapore will have a production capacity of between 50 and 150 tonnes a year, which can be changed depending on market demand. The plant, which occupies 2,600 square metres in the Jurong industrial area, will hire 60 staff. It will also start producing silver products by the end of the year.

Metalor Singapore is currently in the process of being accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) to be added onto the latter’s good delivery list – an international standard for the quality of gold and silver bars – for gold.

With the closer proximity, Asian bullion traders will benefit from lower freight costs and faster delivery, said Metalor Singapore country manager Gilles Robert.

In the gold market where prices can move very rapidly based on sentiment, “a day cost can be significant”, he said. “This is the type of speed the market is moving at.”

The refined gold bars will be able to support the physical delivery of the newly launched Singapore Exchange gold kilobar contract announced on Wednesday. Metalor expects the development to benefit the group at least indirectly.

“Obviously it contributes to the sector by bringing interest to Singapore,” said Mr Robert. “If the gold is in Singapore, it needs to be treated one way or another, and we are here.”

The refinery marks “a new beginning” for the Singapore gold market, Metalor Group chairman Scott Morrison told the LBMA Market Forum here on Wednesday, noting that the Republic had a strong history of gold distribution to South-east Asia and also had another refinery previously.

In 1983, German multinational company Degussa invested $3 million in a project to help companies recover gold from electronic scrap, eventually turning this into a gold refining operation that cast its own kilobars for sale to local banks. The refinery was added to the LBMA list in 1988.

However, with the introduction of GST in 1994 and a general loss of interest in gold as an investment asset class, the active Singapore gold market seen in the 1970s and 1980s slowly declined.

The refinery ultimately wound up in 1998, as its synergies with Degussa’s other Asian businesses declined, the firm said then. The refinery had a production capacity of 50 tonnes of refined gold and over 30 tonnes of silver annually in 1990. Degussa’s precious metals unit has since been sold to Umicore Group, a Belgian technology-focused precious metals group.


Lau Pa Sat Reopened today

Office workers at Shenton Way can finally have their meals at Lau Pa Sat again, when the iconic food centre re-opens today after a long drawn-out $4 million renovation.

The revamped centre offers better ventilation and a greater mix of dining options, and can seat 2,500 diners – 460 more than before.

There will be 54 food stalls, down from the previous 90. These include returning tenants such as Lakeview Char Kway Teow, Thunder Tea and Ah Chwee Kway Chap, said food court operator Kopitiam, which runs Lau Pa Sat, in a statement at the weekend.

Prices for local hawker fare such as a bowl of fishball noodles or a plate of char kway teow start at $3.50, while a cup of coffee with milk costs $1.10.

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The new software-defined IT wave and Genmobile

The new technology wave is getting into new trends. Software defined and a more tech-savvy workforce. The following articles give some insights to the new tech wave.

INFORMATION technology (IT) is undergoing a paradigm shift and the new wave of companies that will emerge as winners across the entire industry spectrum would comprise those that have reinvented themselves into software-defined enterprises, says Eric Goh, EMC Singapore’s managing director. Speaking to BizIT, Mr Goh noted that four powerful trends are at play: mobile, cloud computing, Big Data and social networking. “Collectively, these four trends comprise what research firm IDC calls the ‘third platform’ of IT (the first being mainframe, and the second being PC client/server) and critical to its success will be an underlying foundation of security, privacy and trust.

“The future promises to be both extremely disruptive and rich in opportunity for companies, IT professionals and IT vendors alike, creating new sets of winners across a rapidly evolving industry,” Mr Goh said.

Software-defined enterprises will leverage software and build new applications that harness new sources of data to redefine their strategy and drive structural changes to their advantage, he added.

“IT has never been as important to businesses as it is today, and that trend will only continue to intensify,” he said. “Unless IT organisations transform themselves, they face the threat of becoming completely irrelevant.”

WITH a new generation of tech-savvy workers entering the workforce, enterprises need their IT departments to design a mobile network that allows instant access from anywhere, at any time.

Albert Tay, Aruba Networks’ Asean GM, feels that in order to be a leader in today’s competitive business world, enterprises need their IT departments to help attract and retain young tech-savvy employees, whom he labels as #GenMobile.

“Enterprises can accomplish this by creating a truly all-wireless workplace where WiFi is pervasive, guest and BYOD (bring your own device) security are automated, office appliances are mobile-device friendly, and communications applications on mobile devices simply work better,” Mr Tay told BizIT.

Aruba Networks recently did an Asia-Pacific survey to find out how important mobility has become in the work space. “We asked over 5,500 members of the public across Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand,” Mr Tay said.

Eurasian Association in Katong


The Eurasian Association at Ceylon Road is home to the Eurasian Heritage Centre, which showcases the history, lifestyle and culture of Eurasians in Singapore. Special galleries also trace the genealogy of different Eurasian groups and recount the community’s experiences during World War Two.

The Eurasian Association Open House Cultural Day

Eurasian Community House, 139 Ceylon Road

19 Jul 2014 – 27 Jul 2014

19, 20, 26 and 27 Jul : 3pm – 4.30pm, 5pm – 6.30pm

In Partnership with: URA

The Eurasian Experience Tour includes:

1) Guided tour of the 3 galleries of the Eurasian Heritage Centre (max: 20pax)

2) Hands-on learning of a traditional Portuguese Eurasian folk dance (2 dancers)

3) Food tasting of a traditional Eurasian delicacy

Games Station (for children 12 years and below):

– While parents are attending the Eurasian Experience Tour, their children can learn about Eurasian culture in a fun way at our Games Station showcasing traditional games played by Eurasians (including pick-up-sticks, five stones, hopscotch, zero point and card games such as Happy Family and Snap), with a short interactive video and quiz about who are Eurasians.

Singapore Lighthouse Trail

Starting next month, visitors will get the opportunity to explore and learn about some of Singapore’s historic lighthouses in the Lighthouse Trail, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB) as part of this year’s Singapore HeritageFest.

Lighthouses have been faithfully serving as beacons of light since the 1900s, guiding ships and mariners eager to anchor at Singapore’s harbours.

For the first time, the lighthouses will be open to the public for viewing.

The three lighthouses featured in the upcoming trail includes:

1) Raffles Lighthouse

Raffles Lighthouse.jpg

The Raffles Lighthouse was named after, and dedicated to the memory of, Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore in 1819. It is located on Pulau Satumu, formerly known as Coney Island, and is the southernmost islet of SIngapore. Standing 23km southwest of Singapore, it is on the South Channel Sea passage and marks the western entrance to the Singapore Strait.

On May 24, 1854, the Raffles Lighthouse Foundation Stone and the Raffles Lighthouse Memorial Tablet were laid by William J. Butterworth, governor of the Straits Settlements. After a masonic ceremony and a celebration with much military fanfare, building started with the help of Indian convicts and other labourers, who served as stone-cutters, blasters and labourers. The lighthouse began operations on Dec 1, 1855 and is still in operation today.

Designed by John Bennet, a civil and mechanical engineer, the structure is a round granite tower with a lantern and gallery attached to a two-storey keeper’s house. The entire structure is painted in white and stands a mere 9.1m above sea level. Mr. Syed Hassan, who currently resides in the tower and helps to maintain it, is the oldest lighthouse keeper in Singapore.

The lighthouse is accessible only by boat, and visitors are only allowed to view it from a distance due to an exclusion zone that surrounds the tower. It will, however, soon be open to the public as part of NHB’s Lighthouse Trail.


2) Sultan Shoal Lighthouse

The Sultan Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1895, and is located on the island of Selat Jurong, in the Western Anchorage of Singapore. The tower is painted white and the roof of the keeper’s house is painted red. It has a mix of Oriental and Victorian design, oddly resembling a two-storey bungalow growing out of the sea.

The lighthouse was one of the key beacons that guided ships approaching Singapore from the West at a time when pirate attacks were rife. There were two loaded rifles with fixed bayonets as well as three swords in the keeper’s office for resisting pirate attacks in its early days. The tower was rebuilt in 1931 to accommodate the installation of more modern lighting equipment.

The lighthouse was automated in 1984 and is currently unmanned.

3) Fullerton Lighthouse

The now-decommissioned Fullerton Lighthouse is situated atop a small white concrete structure on the roof of the Fullerton building. Standing 47.9m above sea level, it is visible to ships 48.3km away.

In 1958, the S$33,000 structure took over the defunct 103-year-old Fort Canning Lighthouse in guiding ships and mariners into the harbour. But its function was hampered in 1980 by the construction of towering buildings at Marina Centre on reclaimed land and the strong lighting background at the waterfront. Its function was taken over by the Bedok Lighthouse, located on top of a block of flats in Marine Parade (now atop Lagoon View condominium in Bedok) and which started operations in 1978.

The Fullerton Lighthouse was acquired by the then Sentosa Martime Museum as a working exhibit. It has since moved to a new location as an artifact near Harbourfront Towers opposite Sentosa.

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More options for expats in new international schools

When Britain’s Dulwich College opens its doors here in a few months, it will already have waiting lists for some classes.

Gems World Academy Singapore, also opening this year, has launched more classes for certain grade levels.

The new entrants to the international school scene here will join at least three others which started operations or opened additional campuses here in the past five years: Stamford American International School, the Canadian International School and the United World College of Southeast Asia.

Others, such as the Lycee Francais de Singapour (LFS), the German European School Singapore and the Overseas Family School have plans to add campuses or move to larger premises within the next three years.

At French School LFS, demand has grown so much that the current campus at Serangoon had to be extended three times since 1999.

Stamford American has grown from 76 to 2000 over students. EDB estimated that there are more than 30 international schools here. These schools have about 40,000 students as of last year.

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Slowdown in big-ticket property deals

Investment sales of real estate are often seen as a gauge of developers and property investors’ confidence in the medium to long-term prospects of the property market. Investment sales of Singapore property – big-ticket deals of at least $10 million –  continued to languish at around $3.5-3.6 billion this quarter so far . The year-to-date tally of around $8 billion is down from around $12-plus billion in the first-half of last year.

Industry player CBRE predicts that this year will end with around $12-15 billion of transactions, while Savills’ forecast is $16-18 billion — significant declines from last year’s $30 billion.

Industry players attribute the lacklustre showing in the first half to the overall cautious sentiment in the Singapore property market following the introduction of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework. As well, both foreign and local investors are being drawn to overseas markets. The cut-back in Government Land Sales (GLS) also contributed to the pullback in investment sales here.


Prime Waterfront Homes and Living in Singapore

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