IPS Update Issue Dec 2015

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat launched the first 10 titles of the 50-volume Singapore Chronicles series on 10 December. The series, initiated by IPS in 2014, serves to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence. The titles in the series are meant to be primers on a wide range of topics that make up life in Singapore. Jointly published by IPS and Straits Times Press, the 10 books — on topics such as Constitution, Presidency, Indians, Heritage and Education — are available in bookstores now. The remaining 40 books will be published next year.
FEATURES
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The two researchers coordinating the programme for IPS’ flagship conference, Singapore Perspectives, explain its theme, “We”, and why there will be a whole new format of engagement this time.
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What is place management and placemaking? How is place management conducted in Singapore? To what extent has it been successful in injecting “heart and soul” into the city? These were some of the issues discussed at the IPS-SAM Roundtable on place management and placemaking in Singapore.
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In the latest iteration of the bi-annual Singapore Economic Roundtable, emerging trends that would shape Singapore’s future development were keenly discussed in addition to the usual discussion on cyclical factors affecting the short-term economic outlook. In particular, as a small developed country located near the production-possibility frontier, Singapore’s future growth will have to come from continuous innovation supported by an environment of enabling competition.
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The IPS Digital Frontiers Seminar: “The Power of Self-Solving in the Singapore Digital Village: Sharing Economy as a Case Study” took place in September 2015. The second instalment of the IPS Digital Frontiers series, it discussed how the sharing economy would work in the context of Singapore as a village of five million people. Read the report here […] And in the latest IPS Exchange Series published this month, researchers provided a comprehensive examination of the key components of the ecosystem for social service research, and discussed how to build a conducive ecosystem in Singapore.[…]
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Ba’alwie Mosque recently hosted the staff of IPS to a tour of the mosque. An enriching experience, it provided us the opportunity to better understand Islam as a significant part of Singaporean culture and history, and learn more about the work of the Inter-Religious Organisation.
VIEWS
The results of GE2015 show that social media does not exist in a vacuum but is part of a larger media ecology, which also includes the mainstream media. Usage, trust and participation of social media, in addition to the buzz it creates, play a crucial role in exerting influence on people’s attitudes and opinions.
While many predictions based on social media saw the ruling party doing worse or not much better than 2011, a closer look at social media in the run-up to GE2015 shows that social media content in 2015 was in fact more pro-PAP than in the 2011 election. Paying attention to the more subtle signals of voter interest and support shown by views is important to infer electoral support trends.
Concerns have emerged recently about the Elected President (EP) system in Singapore. These concerns can be addressed by tweaking the electoral process, and educating the voters on the precise powers of the EP, the rationale and how they are exercised before the next presidential election.
With India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singapore is confident that the South Asian country’s third tryst with destiny will launch it on a trajectory of sustained high growth for the next decade. This confidence is reflected in the comprehensive and multi-faceted bilateral relations between the two states, alongside the fact that Singapore is the largest foreign investor in India.