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Messages - MariaSharpie

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News, Current Affairs Discussions / Should I become a journalist?
« on: August 19, 2018, 12:34:30 pm »
Hi there, I know that my moniker might suggest that I am one of those 'carefree' youths easily found in the newest generation, but truth be told, I am indeed serious about certain matters that plague our society.

I hail from a small southeast Asian nation called Singapore. For those who are acquainted with my country, I am certain that you are familiar with the economic successes that my government has reaped through their extensive and through governing of her people and her resources. I must admit that it truly is a marvel that my country managed to dig out of her dilemma as a barren newborn country with a relatively uneducated populace to become one of the biggest players in the global market in just a mere 50 years.

However, there are some aspects of the government that I am not satisfied with. Strongly.

My government has earned a notorious reputation for her overwhelmingly restricted press freedom. The only newspapers produced in the country are state newspapers, their content are filled with nothing but articles that praise the effectiveness of our government. Absolutely no criticism or even commentaries on the governing of our country can be found in our local newspapers. If any, there are followed up by a overwhelmingly strong argument in the same article.

Ever since from a young, tender age, I always loved reading. I can recall fondly of the nostalgic days during my early secondary school life, a time of my youth where I spent my days reading Star wars and Warhammer 40k novels, immersing myself into a fantasy where I was part of their universe and lead the heroic adventures that I could only dream of. English was always my favorite subject to study; it gave me free space to express my thoughts and ideas in me.

But as I began to mature and developed a keener sense of my surroundings, I realized how blind I was to the faults of my government, that numerous people of Singapore still suffer through in spite of them not having to.

It's a common sight to see here in every neighborhood elderly people in their late 60s or 70s going around to passerby-s selling packets of tissues at severely low prices so that they can scrap by some change to feed themselves (begging is a criminal offence in Singapore). The native Malay community are subjected to prejudice in the form of being denied of certain military positions simply due to their religious beliefs as Muslims. It is also not unheard of for Malay and Indian Singaporeans to face discrete social discrimination (of course, this was never a recognized issue). LGBT members are often met with active persecution by the bulk of society, being shunned from them and ostracized simply due to their differing sexual orientation. Our own government even supports the actions of our fellow Singaporean citizens, stripping LGBT member Singaporeans of their basic rights such as being allowed to form relationships and adoption of children. And the list of flaws I can find in my government and our country goes on.

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Few would disagree that a good education means more than just exam results. The benefits of non-academic experiences – from sports competitions, charity events, or school plays – have been shown to lead to more than just happy memories.

Evidence shows that taking part in extracurricular activities can support academic attainment, even into adulthood, as well as bringing personal benefits such as social skills, improved well-being, and self-confidence.

Research in the US also found that attending extracurricular activities improves relationships with peers, parents, and teachers. Such experiences can also help to develop a host of skills which may interest employers and help university application forms bristle with interesting extras. But the amount of extracurricular activity available to post-16 students will depend on their course of study.

A-levels vs IB Diploma

A-level students tend to focus on three or four academic subjects studied in depth. Extracurricular activities are arranged at the discretion of individual school or colleges. The International Baccalaureate, on the other hand, takes a different approach. In the IB Diploma programme (IBDP) for 16 to 19-year-olds, six academic subjects are complemented by a core which includes a compulsory experience-based element. This is known as Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS).

Students are encouraged to examine global issues from local perspectives while undertaking enjoyable and significant experiences in each of the three CAS strands. They then combine two or more strands in a CAS project. Music, arts, or theatre, for example, can count towards fulfilling Creativity, while sports and exercise meet Activity requirements.

For Service, students engage in volunteering at school or for charities. As well as their studies, students may end up writing for the school newspaper, doing Zumba, and raising money for socially just causes. The important point is not what students do for their CAS activities, but that CAS is compulsory. This reflects the IB’s commitment to provide a holistic education that goes beyond learning “stuff”.

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SINGAPORE - Four businesses were raided on Tuesday (Aug 14) in a police operation against counterfeit products, with $1.03 million worth of such items seized, said the police on Friday evening.

A 53-year-old man was arrested for his suspected involvement in the sale of counterfeit computer parts and accessories. Two other men, aged 35 and 36, are also assisting with investigations.

Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had conducted simultaneous raids against four retail outlets in a shopping mall along Rochor Canal Road, resulting in the arrest.

The Straits Times understands that the four shops are located in Sim Lim Square.

About 6,000 pieces of trademark-infringing items, such as laptop power adaptors, batteries, LCD screens, power supply units, cables and earpieces were seized. Police said that these items had a total estimated street value of $1.03 million.

Anyone found guilty of selling or distributing goods with falsely applied trademarks can be fined up to $100,000, and jailed up to five years.

Criminal Investigation Department director and deputy commissioner of police (investigations and intelligence) Florence Chua said in a statement: "Police take a serious view of intellectual property right (IPR) infringements and will not hesitate to take action against perpetrators who show blatant disregard for our IPR laws and at the expense of legitimate businesses."

The death of NSF Dave Lee Han Xuan is shrouded in inconsistencies and a dearth of relevant details, said a letter to the Straits Times Forum page on Friday.

While the ministerial statement on 6 August had set out in detail the events leading up to the NSF’s death, it does not say much about what took place after the serviceman was discovered have been suffering from heat injury which subsequently led to his death.

CFC Lee, 19, died from heat injury on April 30, after having been hospitalised for 2 weeks. He had completed an 8km fast march in Bedok Camp on April 18.

“The Aug 6 ministerial statement said that the likely reasons for Corporal First Class (CFC) Lee succumbing to heatstroke were inadequate on-site casualty management and delayed evacuation to the medical centre,” Ms Rachel Tan wrote in her letter to the newspaper.

“Few details were given about the casualty management provided,” she said. “Nor was the exact length of the delay disclosed. Contrast this with the wealth of detail and precise timings given about the events of the preceding day.”

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"Recruit Lee, where's your bloody Pack 4?" my Sergeant Major screams in the middle of the parade square, drawing hundreds of eyes on me. He is a rough man, my Sergeant Major - the only soldier in the battalion who voluntarily completed the Ranger course twice. And now, for the first time since my enlistment, I am on the receiving end of his harsh dressing down - something we recruits actively try to avoid every day.

"It's... It's err..." I stammer, scanning around my open field pack, half hoping I could find my Pack 4, half certain I had forgotten to pack it. I clench my jaws, bracing myself for his rain of profanities. My Sergeant Major is exactly how you'd picture an elite soldier. Rugged built. Biceps the size of my thighs. A face so coarse, he could make sandpaper smooth. The only thing one may find comical is his voice - he has the pitch of an adolescent girl. You would think that hampered his masculinity but it only made him more terrifying. Every time his shrill vocal darts pierce through the air, my scrotum would tighten a little harder. Now that I'm the target board, my testicles have drawn straight into my body, seeking refuge from his verbal acid.

"Recruit Lee, you useless sack of swine poot. Do you think this is your father's army? Do you need your fuc-"

"Sergeant Major, it's here" my buddy, Lam, holds up a Pack 4 before tossing it to me. "It was just beside his field pack."

My Sergeant Major shoots me a look of suspicion before walking away, holding his tongue for now, scouting for a new target. Staring at the Pack 4 in my hands, I realise that it's not mine. I turn to Lam who gives me a thumbs up and continues aligning his field pack items.

This guy. How does he do it?

I met Recruit Lam 6 weeks ago, while we were shaving our heads for Basic Military Training (BMT) induction. I was impressed by the way he spoke about his military aspirations. I was impressed when he did 28 chin ups on the bar. And as he planned our fire movement during the 5-day field camp, I had no doubt that I was in the presence of an officer in the making - an officer worthy, even back then, of the sword of honour.

I couldn't be more different from Lam. From the linguine arms that fail me during obstacle courses to my defeated disposition every morning as the alarm clock rings, I am his complete opposite. I'm not cut out for the military. Unlike Lam, it wasn't passion that brought me through the gates of national service. It was duty.

As luck would have it, a random assignment of bunk beds led to Lam being my buddy. And the guy has been picking up my slack ever since.

I thank him for passing me a Pack 4 for our field pack inspection as we prepare to move out. The mission for the next two days is a navigation exercise (navex for short) and possibly one of the few times I may be of any assistance to my section. I can read maps fairly well and during my time with the boy scouts, I honed on my compass skills. A small smile breaks out on my usually despondent face as I realise I'm actually looking forward to contributing to the section.

We move out in a 5-tonner, stealing one last glance at the concrete building that has offered respite these last 6 weeks. As hard and uncomfortable as our beds were, we would miss them these next two days as we lie spread eagle on the barren ground, unwelcomed Gullivers to the native critters of the jungle.

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Hong Kong has reclaimed its lead over Singapore in liveability rankings, climbing 10 places in an annual global survey which attributed the score to lower levels of social unrest four years after the pro-democracy Occupy movement rocked the city....

The police are investigating a Facebook post showing a black T-shirt with a graphic of the Singapore flag being ripped apart by a pair of hands to reveal the Indian flag underneath.

The image, which is believed to have first surfaced on Aug 14, one day ahead of India's Independence Day, was widely shared online when it was posted onto the Singapore Indians and Expats page on Facebook by Singapore permanent resident Avijit Das Patnaik. The page has over 11,000 members.

Mr Patnaik, who has been living in Singapore for a decade, posted it alongside a caption in Hindi that said, "Phir bhi dil hai…", which roughly translates to "Still my heart is…" and alludes to a popular Hindi song that talks about always feeling love for the motherland, India.

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As Saudi Arabia raises the stakes in its dispute with Canada, the economic fallout could worsen an already serious issue for the kingdom: capital flight. Trade between the two countries is small, valued at roughly $4 billion, but the diplomatic dust-up has heightened the sense of risk in the Saudi investment climate, and is certain to scare even more capital away.

According to research by JPMorgan, capital outflows of residents in Saudi Arabia are projected at $65 billion in 2018, or 8.4 percent of GDP. This is less than the $80 billion lost in 2017, but a sign of a continued bleed. Significantly, the projection was made before the contretemps with Canada. According to research by Standard Chartered, the first quarter of 2018 saw $14.4 billion in outward portfolio investment into foreign equities, the largest surge since 2008. There are concerns that the government is leaning on banks and asset managers to discourage outflows, a kind of informal capital-control regime.

This flight signals the dimming of the optimism surrounding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic plan. Many of the institutional reforms outlined in the plan — designed to diversify the Saudi economy, attract foreign investment and create jobs — are needed to liberalize the state-led, resource-dependent economy. Investors had hoped Riyadh would follow through on economic reforms, but have been disheartened by such high-profile actions as the arrest of prominent businessmen last year, and a recent campaign to silence critics, especially women activists. These measures — add to them now the spat with Canada — indicate that the state favors regime stability and consolidation over the rule of law, and the creation of institutions and regulations that can check the state.

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News, Current Affairs Discussions / Fan Bingbing is under house arrest?
« on: August 17, 2018, 12:51:45 pm »
15 Aug – With no words from Fan Bingbing since she was reported MIA following her tax evasion scandal, new rumours have emerged that the actress may have actually been on house arrest.

As reported on TVBS, sources recently alleged that the actress, who was rumoured to have been arrested by the authorities, has actually been placed under surveillance by the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing.

They claimed that not only is she being watched, Fan was also "not allowed to turn off the lights".

On the other hand, another source described the place as a "high-class small mansion", but that the actress cannot leave the place without permission. She reportedly also has to pay a hefty amount of rent which will be settled once the whole case is over.

The Ministry of Public Security has declined to respond to the rumour

Wooden is one of the archetypal  Singaporean who does well academically but is basically stupid. LKY's  public dismissal of him as "wooden" - "kayu" in Malay, a label given to a  person who is stupid, a buffoon - was not just about his stiffness but  his stupidity. LKY, being a Peranakan who was well versed in Malay, made  it very clear how he felt about Wooden.
LKY knew that anyone competent or charismatic who succeeded him could  well thwart his plan for his effeminate son's accession to the PMship.  Or worse, like Ong Teng Cheong, would have the charisma, intelligence  and potential to set up alternative power centres in the country. And so  Wooden became LKY's useful idiot, an idiot he could make use of to warm  the seat for his son.
Wooden, being the dud that he was, deluded himself that his ascension to  the PMship was because of his intelligence, performance and competence.  He got carried way, particularly as the gullible electorate initially  welcomed and celebrated his ascension to the PMship as they thought that  he would usher in a "kinder and gentler" society.

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