Saturday, 18 April 2009

DBS publicly criticises AWARE's new Head

DBS is doing more damage to themselves by releasing press releases voicing their unhappiness over Ms Josie Lau's new position in AWARE.

Yes, Josie may have disregarded staff conduct but as one of the biggest employer in Singapore, DBS should not have publicly criticized her. In fact, they should have communicated with her through proper internal staff communication system not in the papers!

As commented by a report in 'TODAY', it is very rare for a private sector employer to express disagreement about its employee’s voluntary commitments. I have no right and is not going to touch on how wrong or right that staff policy is, however, I thought its very wrong of the company to publicly express their displeasure over a staff. This should have been kept a private issue.

I must say that my previous as well as current employer had never doubted my ability to complete my job and had never interfere or question me with regards to my appointment in WP. Credit goes to them for that...

Lastly, why is it that we are only thinking of the negative that this new leadership in AWARE is up to no good? Guilty before proven or rather they have to prove that they are innocent otherwise they are guilty! Sounds a bit like ISD isn't?

Its simply too early to judge.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

1st Press Release

Aware's new leadership 1st press release:

New team pledges to work for full equality of the sexes

'Aware, Singapore's leading women's advocacy organisation, is delighted to announce that its new president is Ms Josie Lau. She is joined by a dynamic, fresh and committed group of women forming the executive committee, who hail from diverse professional backgrounds drawn from the business, banking, finance, legal, education, management, human resource and social service sectors.

2009 marks the jubilee of our nation (50 years of self-government). In this period, the cause of women has made many great strides in many respects. The new team at Aware wishes to remember and honour the work of past Aware members for their vision and endeavours to advance the cause of women in all areas of society through advocacy and community work.

The new team intends to build on the solid foundations laid by the founders of Aware and will continue to promote the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of our society. The goal remains to bring about full equality of the sexes and to end all forms of discrimination against women.

Aware will build on existing advocacy, research (eg. attitude and policies towards singles) and education to empower women to deal with various forms of discrimination, raise their awareness of rights and responsibilities, and promote their welfare in tandem with the standards in the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw). In 1995, Singapore became a party to Cedaw which contains benchmarks against which to measure the elimination of discrimination against women on a national basis.

Singapore has made much progress in areas like education and health but can do better in other respects. In particular, the new team will seek to promote the role of women in politics and public life as Article 7 of Cedaw affirms. We endorse the Cedaw committee recommendation that women's participation in public life should reach a minimum of 30 per cent to 35 per cent, sharing the conviction that this will revitalise political and public life.

The new team will, as a paramount objective, seek to empower women to be leaders in our society, in politics, business, the professions and in all areas of endeavour which will benefit our nation.

President Josie Lau says: 'In these challenging times, the new team will actively seek to collaborate and align Aware with other women's organisations with outreach to girls and women who are affected by the current economic downturn.

'The new team aims to empower women who have been retrenched and equip them with new skills. In this context, we will work with training agencies and launch a series of programmes of practical assistance, such as grooming, budgeting, finance and debt management, career planning and management of change. We will continue to provide emotional, psychological or legal support for women.'

We call on all women of Singapore to rise to the challenge of taking on leadership roles in our nation. We invite volunteers to help make Aware a positive agent of change for the beneficial transformation of our society, where all people, regardless of race, religion or sex, are valued and have a place under the sun.'

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Could this had been a conspiracy or pure coincidence?

For those of you who are still not aware of what had recently happened to AWARE, allow me to explain briefly.

AWARE held its Annual General Meeting on 28th March. Unknown to a lot of veterans, a large crowd which was made up of mainly new members, turned up. In the end, 9 out of 12 executive committee spots went to the newcomers.

Implications such as the differences in objectives and beliefs due to an almost new leadership had been a major concern among people who had been following this issue.

Personally I feel that there should not be any change to its vision and mission since these new excos were people who had joined the organization because they believed in what AWARE was fighting for. The worst case scenario will be that this new group of leaders were actually in opposition to AWARE's existing beliefs and is now taking over the organisation. This would be disastrous.

Could this had been a conspiracy or pure coincidence?

Perhaps its too early to judge? Let's see what their press release will have to say.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Chia Hui Keng explains passport fee hike

This is the article published today on Straits Times Forum:

I REFER to the letter by Mrs Ng Beng Choo, 'Passport renewal cost' (March 30).

As with most other public services, the passport fee is determined based on a cost-recovery model. The cost of producing a passport cannot simply be linked to frequency or duration of use.

The Singapore biometric passport is a more secure travel document and is fully compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements for cross-border travel.

The cost, and hence the fee, for a biometric passport is higher than that of a non-biometric passport, as it comes with added features to ensure its integrity and sturdiness. The shorter validity period for the biometric passport allows for new technologies to be incorporated more rapidly, thus deterring passport forgery and abuse.

In this way, we can ensure that the passports held by Singaporeans are protected by up-to-date security features.

We hope that the above information clarifies any doubts that Mrs Ng and other passport applicants may have with regard to the cost of the biometric passport.

Chia Hui Keng (Ms)
Head, Public & Internal Communications Branch
Corporate Communications Division
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority


May I quote a personal experience. I was a Bus Leader for one of those Muar trip that Hougang Constituency organized. While we were on our way back, I had a chat with the bus driver who is a Singaporean, holds a Singapore passport and of course stays in Singapore. Because of his occupation he has to pass the custom almost every single day.

The new passport which cost $70 for 5 years also comes with lesser pages. The bus driver used up all his pages within 6 months. He went to ICA and tried to ask for page extension but was rejected.

As mentioned by Ms Chia, the cost of passport cannot simply be linked to frequency or duration of use. That is to say, the price of the passport is not entirely linked to these factors but am I right to deduce that it is still a factor?

Since I'm at the topic of passport, I would like to share another personal experience I had recently.

I went for a 4D3N Hong Kong trip with my parents and aunt last week. Due to the long queue, I decided to bring my folks through the biometric scan for clearance which was faster. I was explaining to them on how they should insert the passport, walk through the gantry, scan for thumb print and go through the clearance. Before I can finish, an officer, clad in her navy blue uniform came to me. I thought she was coming forward to show concern and ask if we had encountered any problem. I was wrong!

"Miss, you go in last ah so that you can help them if there is any problem."

I stared at her in disbelief as she turned around and walked away, asking her colleague if they would love to have coffee as she was going to the canteen to get one.

Since I'm on a holiday I don't wish to spoil my mood hence I grumbled a bit and let the matter rest. I cannot help but feel sorry for especially elderly people who do not know how to use the faster access and had to join in the long queue despite their health or physical disabilities. What's worse is, if they tried using the biometric scanning clearance, the officer who is there to help may get frustrated with them and starts to sound inpatient, making the old folks feel bad and embarrassed.

The objective of having biometric passport is to enhance security and at the same time shorten the time used for clearing the custom. However, it is not so for the elderly and illiterate Singaporeans. I'm not saying that we should not advance and keep up with technology but let's not forget this group of Singaporeans who had once and is still continuing to contribute to our country. Let's be more patient with this group of Singaporeans.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Rare video footage of Singapore in the 1930s

This is a very rare footage of Singapore in the 1930s. Looking at it, reminded me of the hardship that our fore-fathers went through in order for our country to thrive and strive.

Let's not forget their contributions and sacrifices. When you see one that requires help sometime in your life, do lend a helping hand.

Thank you for visiting