Tag Archives: Singapore

Marine Park in Singapore’s South

Singapore’s first marine park: Besides letting more people enjoy the natural richness of the Sisters’ Island Marine Park, research and conservation activities will be ramped up there.

http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207

Sisters’ Islands Marine Park

The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, which will span about 40 hectares around Sisters’ Islands and along the western reefs of both St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor, will be a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to our native marine biodiversity. The location was chosen due to its variety of habitats including coral reefs, sandy shores and seagrass areas.

This new initiative aims to give Singaporeans a first-hand experience of our rich biodiversity which are submerged most of the time. The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park will protect Singapore’s coral reefs, which support an ecosystem inhabited by rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams, sponges and other marine life. More than 250 species of hard corals can be found in Singapore’s waters out of over 500 species within the region. Being located in close proximity to one of the world’s busiest ports, the Marine Park will provide a safe refuge for the teeming biodiversity around the Southern Islands and its surrounding waters, as well as safeguard our natural heritage.

Research activities at the Marine Park will expand our knowledge and understanding of Singapore’s existing marine habitats and biodiversity. Marine scientists and researchers can look forward to more opportunities to conduct a wide range of in-depth studies and regular monitoring on Singapore’s marine environment. Restoration activities including nurseries for iconic marine organisms are also part of the enhancement efforts to be carried out at the Marine Park. One of the species which will benefit is the Neptune’s Cup Sponge (Cliona patera), thought to be globally extinct for more than 100 years until it was rediscovered off Singapore’s coast in 2011.

Explore Singapore at Heritage Fest

Looking to explore Singapore’s island history? http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/go-island-hopping-years-heritagefest

Visitors to next month’s Singapore HeritageFest will get to sail back in time for a glimpse of the Republic’s island history, and explore a lighthouse that is usually out of bounds.

They will get to see the former Fullerton Lighthouse from the bus, sail past the one on Sultan Shoal, near Jurong Island, and explore Raffles Lighthouse which dates back to 1885 and is on Pulau Satumu, Singapore’s southern-most land possession.

Yesterday, the National Heritage Board, the body behind the event, gave details of the festival, which aims to intrigue visitors with “lesser- known tales of our trading past”.

Besides conducting a lighthouse trail for the first time, this 11th edition of the yearly festival is focusing on Singapore’s island heritage – another first.

A lesser-known fact about Singapore is that it was actually made up of not just one island, but more than 70 of them.

Some have been lost due to land reclamation, but visitors can still visit the tranquil St John’s, Lazarus and Seringat islands, the religious Kusu Island, or Tanjong Rimau – a lesser known part of Sentosa – on three island-hopping excursions during the festival.

Themed Our Islands, Our Home, the festival, to be held from July 18 to 27, also hopes to help Singaporeans get in touch with their roots by showcasing the cultures and traditions of the migrants who settled here.

For instance, visitors can enjoy traditional performances, which include the lion dance or nanyin (“music of the south” in Chinese).

Originally from China’s Fujian province, nanyin performances were popular with devotees visiting the temples on Kusu Island, south of Singapore, during the pilgrimage season in the 1970s.

The popularity of nanyin may have faded, but festival-goers will get to hear the music enjoyed by their forefathers.

“Usually, the nanyin performances are held only during the ninth lunar month at the Tua Pek Kong temple (on Kusu),” said Ms Celestina Wang, vice-chairman of Siong Leng Musical Association, which is putting up a nanyin performance on Kusu for the festival.

“But we feel that Singapore HeritageFest will be a good platform to showcase this traditional art form to the public,” she added.

There will be more than 60 different programmes on the mainland and on the surrounding islands during next month’s event.

Eleven festival hubs will also be set up at locations such as Century Square, Changi City Point and the National Museum of Singapore.

Visitors can learn more about Singapore’s myths and legends and Peranakan culture through activities such as exhibitions, storytelling sessions and face and body art painting.

Festival director Angelita Teo was heartened by the growing number of past festival contributors coming back this year. “Their contributions will allow more people to understand our heritage,” she said.

National University of Singapore business undergraduate Jason Ng, 24, said he was keen to attend this year’s festival.

He said it is good to explore the islands during HeritageFest since there will be activities then. “It’s a good opportunity for couples and families to bond,” he said

 

 

Sign up from July 1 to join in the fun

LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL

When: July 19 and 20

Time: 7.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30pm to 6.30pm

Where: Meet at National Museum of Singapore (NMS) bus bay, Level 2. Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

ISLAND-HOPPING TRAILS

A Night of Nanyin at Kusu

When: July 26

Time: 4pm to 9pm

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 100 participants.

 

Tanjong Rimau Walk, Sentosa

When: July 16

Time: 7am to 10.30am

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

Homes, Hills and Habitats: A Morning at St John’s, Lazarus and Seringat

When: July 19 and 27

Time: 7am to 1pm

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Pulau Ubin on Film: A Screening of Moving Gods

When: July 20

Time: 4pm to 6pm

Where: NMS Gallery Theatre, Basement; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. First come, first served for up to 245 people.

 

The City in Bukit Brown Walk

When: July 20 and 27

Time: 8.30am to noon

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. First come, first served for up to 25 people per session.

 

Admission is free for all events, but age and other restrictions might apply.

For more information, go to the www.heritagefest.sg website.

 

What a smart city should be

THREE-QUARTERS of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations. The question of what kind of cities the people of 2050 will find themselves living in was tackled at the recently concluded World Cities Summit (WCS) here.

The general consensus was that a smart city would be one that is green, sustainable and liveable.

The ultimate achievement for a city is to earn unconditional respect from people all over the world, for our people, our city and our country, said Liu Thai Ker, chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), during his closing remarks.

He told delegates that a city, which was in a way the largest piece of industrial design made by man, would be judged on its user-friendliness, functionality and aesthetics.

Over 130 mayors and city leaders, along with representatives of international organisations, researchers and urban planners, attended the four-day summit to discuss strategies on how to develop liveable, more resilient and attractive cities for urban residents worldwide.

They emphasised the need for governments to collaborate more closely with businesses, academia and citizen networks to create more holistic and cost-effective solutions that improve the quality of life.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan said during the closing plenary that cities which invest in IT infrastructure, educational and training capacity to raise IT literacy, the adoption of open data and deployment of various intelligent systems could harness public opinions, and promote co-ownership of problems, and co-creation of solutions.

In such instances, the government need not be the sole solution provider, and neither can it, because there is potential for greater creative capacity in the people and private sector in devising solutions to help city residents deal with day-to-day problems, he said.

Some partnerships announced at this year’s WCS have already put that goal into action. One of them was a memorandum of understanding between the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the Energy Market Authority and Panasonic to study the feasibility of establishing a smart-home energy pilot to provide households with more energy choices and solutions.

The year-long study will explore various energy solutions – such as time-of-use pricing where electricity is cheaper during off-peak hours, and home-energy management systems which provide energy usage data to encourage behavioural change – for HDB households in the future.

As electricity demand increases, energy management technologies and solutions are becoming more important than ever, said Junichiro Kitagawa, managing director of Panasonic Asia Pacific. We hope that such synchronised private-public efforts will create a better life and a better world for all.

Transport solutions also featured in the conversations at WCS, with a focus on driverless vehicles.

SMRT International signed an exclusive agreement with technology provider 2getthere on Monday for an introduction of the latter’s driverless transit systems in Singapore.

We are keen to introduce such driverless transportation technology in Singapore where there are manpower challenges, said Goh Eng Kiat, managing director at SMRT International, adding that the company expects to participate in trial rollouts.

He added that the system can complement existing bus services through last-mile connectivity for commuters, and also has the ability to address on-demand transport requirements, while providing an energy-saving and green transportation solution.

Besides motorised transport, CLC is also looking to encourage active mobility. A joint study released by CLC and the US-based Urban Land Institute on Monday identified strategies to promote walking and cycling in tropical cities.

Ten recommendations were provided for active travel, such as ensuring visibility at road junctions by painting cycling lanes and continuous sidewalks that require cars to stop and allow pedestrians and cyclists to continue.

CLC’s executive director Khoo Teng Chye said that besides a change in the urban environment, active mobility required a change in mindset as well. As CEO and chief planner of URA in the 1990s, I was sceptical of whether cycling can be a viable form of transport, because of our hot and humid weather, for example.

But he pointed to cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam that have 80 per cent of their people cycling both in winter and summer to get around.

Many cities are now planning and providing infrastructure for cycling. They have developed much expertise and we should learn from them, rather than reinvent the wheel, said Mr Khoo.

Other recent studies also indicate that the ability to innovate and adjust to changes across the board is the key to a successful city with high quality of life.

A joint CLC-Shell report titled New Lenses on Future Cities released last month cited flexible long-term planning, investing in the future and collaboration between sections of society as some of the crucial conditions cities should have in order to respond promptly to emerging crises.

In particular, the report emphasised the importance of an efficient transport system that goes hand in hand with a compact city design, and raised the Republic as a positive example of a city that took and continues to take decisive steps for its long-term physical development.

The results of another study – PwC’s Cities of Opportunity, which ranks 30 global cities across 10 indicators – also highlighted the need for cities to actively sweat the details on virtually every aspect of urban policy and organisation.

Of the cities ranked in the top 10 overall, nine were ranked in the top 10 as well for at least five indicators.

Singapore finished third overall behind London and New York and was also top for the transportation and infrastructure indicator.

The fourth edition of the WCS was held together with the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore. More than 20,000 participants from 118 countries attended the three co-located events.

http://www.timesdirectories.com/environmental/news/A%20%20smart%20city%20%20has%20to%20be%20green,%20sustainable%20and/945317

Singapore SMEs can learn from their German counterparts

One of the key takeaways from years of collaborating with German companies for the German-Singaporean Business Forum (GSBF) is that the differentiating factor between mittelstand and Singapore SMEs is focus, said Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan.

At a factory that specialises in the manufacture of glass lenses in Germany, Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan’s simple question – why don’t you outsource this to Singapore? – was met with a surprising answer.

The head of the family- run business or mittelstand – the German equivalent of a small and medium enterprise (SME) – had approached various companies in Singapore but found that the costs were too high.

“It’s quite surprising, right?” asked Mr Tan. “Then I realised that they have one operator looking after three very sophisticated machines. And because it’s highly automated, they are highly productive because the machines run almost 24 hours. In Singapore, we probably have three persons operating one machine.”

In Singapore, local SMEs try to do everything, but for the Germans, they are focused on deepening their competitive advantage to harness their full potential. This not only increases their productivity but also means they are the best at what they do.

The article can be found here:

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/singapore/importance-smes-being-focused-20140620

 

Asia’s millionaires will outpace the Americans in number and wealth

In a report by Capgemini Financial Services and RBC Wealth Management, the number of millionaires in Asia is expected to surpass that in North America by this year. By 2015, the wealth that these Asian millionaires hold will also overtake that of their North American counterparts as predicted in the same report.

In terms of investable wealth, Asians hold US$14.2 trillion, and North Americans US$14.9 trillion. Together, they make up just over half of the world’s US$52.6 trillion of HNWI wealth.

But Asia is growing at a faster pace. That is one of the key takeaways from the 2014 World Wealth Report, said Claire Sauvanaud, vice-president and senior account executive for Capgemini Asia Pacific.

The two regions are already about neck and neck in the number of such high net worth individuals (HNWIs): Asia-Pacific has 4.32 million of them and North America 4.33 million. Together, they account for almost two thirds of the 13.7 million HNWIs in the world.

In 2013, the numbers of the world’s wealthy grew the most in the US and Japan. The US remains the country with the most number of HNWIs (4M) in the world, while Japan is second (2.3M). SIngapore’s HNWI population grew 4.5% to reach 105K people.

Wealth is concentrated at the very top. Among the 13.7M HWNIs, a mear 0.9% have $30M or more. This group holds a third of the HNWI wealth. The wealthy seek to make an impact to their societies primarily via health, education and children’s causes.

Chart of rising private housing vacancy

It was reported of the recent Barclays analysis on Singapore private residential market in SBR. Large oversupply looms over private developers.

Analysts fear that the government’s efforts to scale down residential supply may not be enough to avert a looming oversupply in 2015 to 2017. A report by Barclays Research noted that the vacancy rate could hit 9.9% by 2016 assuming an annual demand of 15,500 units

According to Barclays Research, “We believe this is testament to the looming oversupply in 2015-2017 as the government reiterated the reduced future supply will be ‘added to the existing large pipeline supply of more than 90,000 private residential units (including ECs)’.”

Private housing (including ECs) on the Confirmed List for 2H14 is down 15% h/h and 34% y/y to 3,915 units. The bulk of the supply is now made up by the Reserve List, which has also been scaled down and which is unlikely to be triggered for sale should market conditions continue to deteriorate. We maintain our negative stance on the Singapore residential sector as we see an oversupply of private housing properties and expect prices to fall 20% by 2015E in view of an expected interest rate rise, coinciding with peak supply, and think the vacancy rate could reach a record 10% by 2016E. 

– See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/residential-property/news/chart-day-see-massive-spike-in-singapore%E2%80%99s-home-vacancy-rate#sthash.MhrCXG2Z.dpuf

Global FDI: SIngapore is no 9.

In today’s papers, Singapore has moved to no 9 spot in global FDI findings — the annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index rankings — based on polls of top business executives by global consulting firm AT Kearney. Only 3 ASEAN countries made it to the list: Singapore (#9), Malaysia (#15) and Indonesia (#50). With the birth of the Asean Economic Community just around the corner, foreign investors seem to be turning their attention back to ASEAN area especially Singapore.

See http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/singapore-climbs-9th-spot-global-fdi-rankings-20140617 or

http://www.btinvest.com.sg/dailyfree/singapore-climbs-9th-spot-global-fdi-rankings-20140617/

http://www.atkearney.com/research-studies/foreign-direct-investment-confidence-index

With the birth of the Asean Economic Community just around the corner, foreign investors seem to be turning their attention back to Singapore.

After it was nearly knocked out of the top 10 in an influential global comparison that predicts where foreign direct investments are headed, Singapore is back on its feet at 9th position this year.

Its climb-back in the annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index rankings, based on polls of top business executives by global consulting firm AT Kearney, came barely a year after total investments flowing into the Asean states exceeded those going into China.

 

CNA: Increased Condo sales in May

According to today’s CNA’s report, the primary condo sales market in Singapore rebound to life from increased sales. The improved sales volume came as developers launched 1,790 new units in May, nearly three times more than the 600 homes in the previous month. Is this trend sustainable?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-private-home-sales/1165100.html

SINGAPORE: The private residential property market sprang to life in May after months of remaining in the doldrums, with developers’ sales surging 96 per cent as buyers snapped up units at the slew of new launches last month.

Developers sold 1,470 new private homes last month, nearly doubling the 749 units that they moved in April, latest data by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Monday (June 16). Including executive condominiums (ECs), new developer sales rose to 1,528 units in May from 797 units in April.

The improved sales volume came as developers launched 1,790 new units into the market in May, nearly three times more than the 600 homes recorded in the previous month.

Two projects by City Developments topped the best-selling list for the month. Coco Palms at Pasir Ris Grove moved 590 of the 600 condominium units launched at a median price of S$1,018 per square foot (psf), while Commonwealth Towers at Commonwealth Avenue sold 275 of 400 homes at S$1,626 psf.

Besides the successes of new launches, May also saw another re-launch that did well: Wheelock Properties’ The Panorama at Ang Mo Kio sold 100 of the 126 units offered last month at a median of S$1,241 psf.

IMF starts a property index in cities including Singapore

As reported in Bloombeg, the International Monetary Fund has started publishing analysis of housing markets around the world to help ensure boom-to-bust cycles are identified and avoided before they start another financial crisis.

“While a recovery in the housing market is surely a welcome development, we need to guard against another unsustainable boom,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhu Min wrote in a blog post today. The fund’s Global Housing Watch will be updated quarterly.

Global housing prices have risen for seven straight quarters, according to the Washington-based fund’s new global index. Countries where housing remains “still too pricey” include Belgium, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and the U.K., according to the fund.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-11/imf-starts-global-housing-index-to-analyze-boom-bust-cycles.html

Similarly in local business Times a similar article is given. In a development seen as being of global importance for recording property price movements and preventing asset bubbles and financial crises, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday announced the launch of an index to monitor prices and how these are moving across countries and relative to incomes and other factors.

“The era of benign neglect of housing booms is over,” IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu said, acknowledging that property prices have not until now been the subject of enough official attention matching their ability to create asset inflation and financial crises.

The classic case of this linkage was during the 2008 global financial crisis, which was preceded by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, but house price inflation has also contributed to spectacular asset booms in Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and elsewhere. China’s property market is now the centre of attention in this regard.

“To share cross-country information, analysis on housing markets and discussions on the effectiveness of policy response, the IMF has launched a webpage – the Global House Price Watch – that will provide a one-stop shop for our data on housing indicators,” Mr Zhu said in an IMF release yesterday.

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/imf-launches-index-avert-property-bubbles-20140612

The actual link to the IMF index can be found here:

http://www.imf.org/external/research/housing/index.htm