IPS Update Issue May 2015

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

A stellar line-up of Singapore and foreign speakers are coming to the SG50+ conference on 2 and 3 July to discuss the prospects for Singapore’s future in a changing global context. The conference aims to raise awareness among Singaporeans of the near and long-term implications of different trends and developments, and up to 700 individuals — such as business and community leaders, policymakers, academics and students – are expected to attend. Dr Gillian Koh of IPS and Mr Donald Low of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy give their take on why the SG50+ Conference is a special event not to be missed.
FEATURES
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Singapore has long shed its “cultural desert” label with an increase in arts groups and events, and state funding for the arts. Yet, scholarly research into Singapore’s cultural landscape and policies remains relatively scant. To fill this gap, IPS is partnering the Singapore Art Museum to launch a series of roundtables and conferences to discuss the country’s cultural policy. The first discussion on May 29 is on literature education.
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At a CA lunch dialogue, Mr Eddie Teo, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, discussed the fundamental principles undergirding the country’s public service, and how these principles were shaped by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Teo also outlined several future scenarios that the public service might face.
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Nine IPS researchers contributed to 50 Years of Social Issues in Singapore, a book edited by Singapore Management University professor David Chan. Their essays examine the ideas underlying the debate and policy responses on issues such as racial and religious harmony, social mobility, and civil society. One chapter focuses on the role of social media in raising and discussing social issues.
VIEWS
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The recently unveiled Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum actually dates back to the 1870s. The museum’s collection will share with its visitors the message to love, and conserve, nature.
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For low-income families to alleviate their disadvantaged situation and improve their lives, it is vital that they are able to access information, build their social capital and harness opportunities to level up. Mendaki’s Family Excellence Circles programme is an example of how self-help can be the way forward.

INTRACO is not in the league of world-class Singapore brands, and the Government divested the company in 2003, as it had lost its relevance as a state enterprise. Nevertheless, INTRACO has played an important contribution to supporting Singapore’s export-oriented industrialisation strategy.
A thriving infocomm technology (ICT) sector and infrastructure network is a vital component of the knowledge-based economy. The government has invested heavily in ICT infrastructure and connectivity, but other issues such as knowledge dissemination and fostering collaboration among start-ups are important too.
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Foreign domestic workers play an important role in the de-institutionalisation of care in Singapore. They provide assistance to familial caregivers, and unlike formal care providers, are on call around the clock. It is important to recognise that they are susceptible to caregiver stress, and provide them with the necessary support and training to cope with the demands of their job.