• Through my work, I get to spend a lot of time with students.

    As you’d expect, the education system has a huge impact on students’ development. I’m intrigued at how the system shapes them, both positively and negatively.

    I’ve observed that there’s a deep disconnect between what students learn in school and what actually goes on in the “real world”.

    Reflecting on my own journey through the education system (I spent 12 years in the Singapore system and four years in the US one), I realize there are many things you’ll need to unlearn from your schooling experience if you want to both survive and thrive later on.

    How to prepare for long-term success

    Yes, we need education reform. More than that, we need an education revolution. But while we push to make this revolution happen, it isn’t the focus of this article.

    This article is about generating awareness and inspiring action—at an individual level—about what we need to unlearn from school.

    This will prepare us for long-lasting success in

    Read More »from 4 things to unlearn from school if you want to succeed
  • By Natasha Goh for Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd

    The name “Iskandar” is on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days, and it is impossible to perform one's duty as a property consultant in Singapore without at least rudimentary knowledge of neighbouring Malaysia’s rapidly developing special economic zone.

    Thrice the size of Singapore, Iskandar is set to be a modern metropolis buzzing with economic activity, a conglomeration of various exciting growth sectors, including nine key economic clusters: financial advisory and consulting, creative industries, logistics, leisure and tourism, education, health care, electrical and electronics, petrochemical and oleo-chemical, food and agro-processing. What really piqued my interest was the chief executive of Iskandar, Ismail Ibrahim’s clearly articulated intent to make Iskandar Malaysia “a place to invest, work, live and play.”

    The success of Iskandar will ultimately pivot on this – whether they are able to successfully integrate the four vital

    Read More »from Iskandar Malaysia: An Exciting Frontier, But Tread Carefully
  • COE prices get back to normal (Getty Images)COE prices get back to normal (Getty Images)

    Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums for small cars closed lower in the latest bidding exercise on Wednesday, while that of big cars shot up.

    This brings price levels back to normal in a way after the previous round two weeks ago saw the COE price for a Toyota became more expensive than that of a luxury car like a BMW 5.

    COE prices for cars 1,600cc and below fell in the latest exercise Wednesday by 14 per cent to $64,209 from $74,689.

    COE premiums for big cars corrected, going up by 27 per cent to $73,900 from $58,090. The increase was the biggest among the categories where prices rose.

    COE prices for goods vehicles and buses and motorcycles rose marginally.

    Premiums for goods vehicles and buses rose by $211 to $53,900 from $54,111.

    Premiums for motorcycles also went up slightly by $14 to $1,909, from $1,895.

    For the open category, prices were up by 13 per cent to $73,301 from $65,001 in the previous bidding exercise.

    This is the first bidding exercise since Transport Minister

    Read More »from COE prices for small cars end lower, premiums up for other categories
  • Workers install new sign display of National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) on its building in Singapore 17 January 2003. (AFP photo/Roslan Rahman)Workers install new sign display of National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) on its building in Singapore 17 January 2003. (AFP photo/Roslan Rahman)

    CORRECTION (5pm 27 March 2013. Restated headline and first paragraph to make it clear the court case is against SIEU, not NTUC Income)

    One year after NTUC Income “reclassified” its 660-strong army of consultants as “agents”, some of those affected are taking the company's union to court.

    Namely, they say they were not given the information they had sought from the company with regards to their tax and CPF matters; that they were not given any alternatives in the change of their employment status; and that the company had employed “strong-arm tactics” to get them to sign on to the new arrangements.

    Lim Paw Seng, Ng Kee Wah and Tan Huan, who had worked for NTUC Income for an average of 17 years each, are unhappy that their concerns have been dismissed, and remain unresolved despite their one-year effort to seek resolution. The three men are not the only ones affected by the changes who are unhappy.

    The three men are asking the court to direct the Singapore Insurance Employees Union

    Read More »from Former NTUC Income consultants take union to court over new contracts
  • Give praise when due. (Getty Images)Give praise when due. (Getty Images)

    In February, I wrote about the new 5 Cs that will actually make us happy Singaporeans:

    • Compare less
    • Cherish what you have
    • Choose your attitude
    • Complain less
    • Change your circumstances and yourself

    I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the article has received more than 400 comments and has been shared 8,200 times on Facebook!

    Clearly, the “5 Cs” is something that’s close to Singaporeans’ hearts.

    The 6th C that I missed out: Compliment others

    Soon after the article was published, I had a conversation with my cousin.

    He said, “Daniel, you missed out one ‘C’. We should compliment others more. That’s something we don’t do enough of in Singapore.”

    I spent the next few days reflecting on what my cousin had said.

    My cousin was right: It’s not part of Singaporean culture to compliment others.

    (In this article, I’m referring to genuine compliments, not false praise that you might give your boss or teacher if you’re trying to get into his or her good books.)

    When was the last time you heard

    Read More »from The 5 Cs aren’t enough; Singaporeans need the 6th C
  • This picture of a New Zealand newborn baby left alone in a locked car, with an accompanying note, went viral online over the past two days. (Screengrab from video)This picture of a New Zealand newborn baby left alone in a locked car, with an accompanying note, went viral online over the past two days. (Screengrab from video)

    Reposted from "Trending Now" on Yahoo! Canada

    There is no perfect way to be a parent, and everyone's rules are not the same for fostering a child. That being said, when a parent does something that seems wrong to the vast majority of people, that parent's possible error in judgment takes the spotlight -- and the primary concern is the safety and well-being of the child.

    A photograph taken in New Zealand is causing quite an uproar around the world. The photo at the center of the controversy is of an infant asleep in a car seat locked alone inside a car. A note, seemingly written from the baby's perspective, is attached to the chest and reads, "my mums in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything." There is a phone number written at the end.

    See a video about the incident here:

    A couple who saw the baby in the car talked to the New Zealand Herald. "We waited there for a little bit, wondering if the mum was just going to be two seconds and come back," the man said. "And my wife

    Read More »from Photo of infant left alone in locked car goes uber viral
  • Fishmonger finds bomb in squid’s belly

    A squid in China nearly became an explosive meal when a fishmonger found a live bomb inside its belly, according to the Telegraph.

    When a fishmonger named Mr. Huang in Guangdong province, China, cut open the squid for a customer, he discovered a three-pound, eight-inch bomb inside the dead animal.

    [ Related: Giant squid becomes feast for shark off Australian coast ]

    The rusty bomb looked like it might have been dropped by a fighter jet, according to the report, but it's unclear when it had been manufactured.

    Unlike recent stories about militarized dolphins, which appear to have been fake, according to Fox News, no one is suggesting this is another case of sea life weaponry.

    Instead, the fishmonger told a local Chinese newspaper the squid might have gobbled up the bomb, mistaking it for food.

    He said the creature had a big belly. No doubt the squid also had a stomach ache.

    Mr. Huang said he called the police, who exploded the bomb in a controlled environment.

    The case is reminiscent of

    Read More »from Fishmonger finds bomb in squid’s belly
  • Investing in overseas properties

    By Getty Goh

    I believe many will agree with me that residential properties in Singapore have become quite pricey.

    With residential property prices at an all-time high, many investors have started to look at non-residential properties (i.e. commercial and industrial) as investment alternatives. Apart from having fewer regulations, some investors are of the opinion that commercial and industrial properties allow them to diversify their property portfolio. In other words, if there was a price correction in the residential market, they believe that the commercial and industrial sector would not be as badly affected.

    My company Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd recently did a study to see how correlated the different property sectors were. Our findings are shown in the chart below (see Figure 1). From the table, we can tell that all the different sectors have high correlation with each other. In other words, if the residential sector dropped (or increased), the office, shop and industrial sectors

    Read More »from Investing in overseas properties
  • Sam Lo, 26, turns up in court on Tuesday. She faces 15 counts of mischief (Yahoo! photo)

    In "The FlipSide", local blogger Belmont Lay lets loose on local politics, culture and society. To be taken with a pinch of salt and parental permission is advised. In this post, he talks about how Sticker Lady's crime is more severe than Amy Cheong's social media faux pas.

    It's come as a great surprise that ex-NTUC assistant director Amy Cheong has been left off with a stern warning by the Singapore police.

    Apparently, her Facebook comments last October berating an ethnic minority group has been deemed not serious enough to warrant her arrest and no charges were filed against her.

    But what's more shocking to Singaporeans -- in particular, those residing on the Internet -- is that one day after this news broke, the Sticker Lady, a.k.a. Samantha Lo, was also charged in court for her role in creating cheeky art works using stickers and spray paint that the authorities deemed to be outright vandalism. She now faces a fine or jail term of up to two years if she is convicted of 15

    Read More »from ‘Sticker Lady’ vs Amy Cheong: Who got it worse?
  • Turning Twelve

    Faith Lee, mrbrown's oldest daughter

    A few days ago, my firstborn turned twelve.

    Twelve years old: One cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The number of years it takes to make a single malt whiskey. The year for Primary School Leaving Examination.

    Twelve years ago, my child was born. Sixteen years ago, my wife and I got married. And twenty-four years ago, my wife decided she would go steady with me.

    Little did we know where our journey as a couple would take us. Little did we know of the challenges, and the joys, ahead.

    But here we are. With three children. And the first one just turned twelve.

    It wasn't what we envisaged for our firstborn, to be honest.

    My wife looked forward to shopping for clothes with her. Maybe pick out some nice dresses together. Maybe argue over things like whether she is allowed to wear makeup or have her ears pierced.

    Or maybe fret over her exams. How she is doing well in English but just getting by with Maths. Or whether all those hours she spends on the phone with her best friend was affecting her

    Read More »from Turning Twelve

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