Monday, October 31, 2011

20111031 Singapore - The First and Last Social Experiment of Mankind

20111031 Singapore - The First and Last Social Experiment of Mankind
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.sg/2011/10/20111031-singapore-first-and-last.html

Concisely


This article is to point out the severity and encourage all not to point blame to any party, but unite to develop solutions - solutions is to find industries we can export.


This article consists of 7 section, read what is relevant.


  • Facts- American Indians face smaller, slower migrants. They did not put leadership, scholarships in migrants hand.
  • Divide NOT - Problem is very big. Unite, do not blame any one.
  • It is OUR duty - No one will do for us, also we know better our strength.
  • The Government - Identify one or two industries we can lead the world. We are export economy. Without own brand, own product, own leadership, we are held to ransom.
  • The Oppositions - Go beyond criticism, actively engage people for ideas, assist them in refining ideas into mature solutions.
  • The People - observe problems root causes, provide observations together with analysis and solutions.
  • Conclusion - we can overcome and be leader of one or two key export to the world.





Facts

No people, even the American Indians, has welcome size of own population migration, in less than a decade.


We know the outcome of American Indian.


But we are doing more and faster than them, with less land, with no food produce from our land, with no product produce from our own factories - foreigners already held us to ransom.


No schools, research institutions has accepted so high population of foreigners than ours, never mind about scholarships given to them, President scholarship to person who have not given up her nationality to join us. (MIT has only 10% foreigners)
No nations has place foreigners in charge of strategic interest like energy, policies,  think tanks, research institions.
We do.


This is the first such social experiment of in man-kind.
The outcome is obvious.
This experiment is unlikely to repeat by future generation.




It is OUR duty


A westerner whom i met many times, but still cannot be certain who is he.
His wisdom is beyond mine, every well polished sentence i wrote, he can point out the flaws and guide me through to make it so beautifully convey across.


He wrote this to discuss with me


"the ever flexible Singapore is over extending and over committing 
beyond its ability to respond to what lies ahead."


The heart is kind than wicked.
The tone is concern than jeering.
The purpose is helping than exploiting.


i will hear him,  but in the mean time i think this is our domestic affair, it is our joint responsibility and i have full confident we can overcome it, if we do it collectively, wisely, immediately.




Divide NOT

Writing this article is not to place blame on anyone, when the experiment went wrong, terribly wrong.


Our great founder has done great things for us.
There were many tough choices made, there are reasons we do not know, we will never know.
Blaming will only alienate, divide us.


A divided nation will not be able to recover such magnitude of mistake without tragedies, tragedies that may last over prolonged period.


The Government


The government should remember what the former President said about severe criticism leveled by the nation to him:

"They are ALL well intended!"

A diplomat, he chose his words so precisely.
A national security man, he knows the impact to our nation's security more than others.
A person forced by invaders to do things against his will, he knows what is right from wrong.

Looking at ourselves, we are so protected, so less experienced in handling the evils.

Looking at criticism, are they unfounded? 
or
Do they help us to clear up our vision, minds?

We really need to be humble, and therefore thankful for our citizen input.
We should not stop this one from talking, embargo that one from offering solutions.


But we should demand them not just pointing out problems, but provide analysis and solutions.
We should seek them out, help them organize problems analysis and developing solutions than block them out, worse embargo them.


There are four levels of governments:
1. Tax collector to pay for the enjoyment others, e.g. British colonizer
2. Tax collector for own needs and want.
3. Governor, make sure each cents is well invested, each expenditure needed, most efficient.
4. Leader, point out where we can compete and win and develop towards that direction.
5. World Leader, point out where we can serve the world better, provide solutions for the world, make Singapore the location where new game plan for better world is developed than gaming away everyone money.


We are an export oriented economy, facing all able, all cheaper competitors from China.
We have lost our manufacturing base, own brand name, while all the other three dragons has at least one world brand name that engaged high calibre own people, employ massive labors.


We can only survive by being World Leader, of even one small but important area.
What is this small area, i have already identified, but more are welcome.






The Oppositions

i believe our intent is good.
Do not take this to shoot at the leaders, but take it in solemn mood, take it as our joint responsibility, this is a moment that we can build a strong nation impossible to achieve in normal way. 
No formal colony gain this self pride, louder now than "Kallang Roar" without being brutalized by the colonizer, like the Koreans.


There is no first world parliament till now, we know the challenges Obama face.


We must step from criticizer to become conduits for gathering solutions, catalyst for cultivating stronger ability Singaporeans (in problem identification and solutions, not debate) . 
Even better be solutions providers.


Be a first world parliament, be one unprecedented in shouldering the nation's recovery equally, be a partner in developing next phase of our growth.






The People



Social media provided a good conduit for all.
May we step from presenting the fact, to presenting the cause of the facts, better, suggest solution to the problems.


When we took video about a flood, can we identify where and when the flood start, where is flow stagnated where is slow flowing, where is fast flowing - better how to accelerate the flow.


When we complain about heavy passenger loads, can we identify where and when they come from, where they go to, are there better alternative routing, better can we create jobs nearer - the creation of bazaar at Buangkok should be made before even Buangkok open.






Conclusion


We are the first and last social experiment man ever taken.


We either 


Change course now, and bring the pride, ability of Singaporeans to greater height, make each and every Singaporean stronger, with more valuable Singaporeans to the world, better Singapore is inevitable.


or 


Be remembered as one worst failure in man history.
Few of us will be remembered as the culprit, worse as one who crucify those who come to the rescue.






Saturday, October 29, 2011

20111029 Drop the Feeble Old Moral Education - Lively Effective way is here

20111029 Drop the Old Feeble Moral Education - Lively Effective way is here
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20111029-drop-feeble-old-moral.html

Background


Drop the boring Moral Education.
It has been tried by mothers and teachers, saints and emperors,  for thousands years, it did not succeed.


Often it devolves into teaching of courtesy 礼, which many knows most comprehensively prescribed by Confucius.


Courtesy 礼 is perceived by Lao Tze  (the originator of Tao, whom Confucius went to seek his teaching)  as the indication of thinning out of Loyalty and Trust, also courtesy is the heading into chaos.

 夫礼者, 忠信之薄,而乱之首。


Confucius' teachings therefore were severely criticized occasionally in Chinese history.


How can there be any valid reason moral education of old can succeed in today's very real, very materialistic world.
Material is about survival, about comfort, about enjoyment, they are more real than courtesy.


We cannot replace what is real by what is virtual, virtue, worse self-sacrifice.

We need practical solutions. 

Practical solutions must therefore face straight on something we shy from facing during the thousands years.


Practical solutions must therefore address human nature, must therefore address the insatiable nature of man, the nature that seek profits, self-profit, infinite profit.
Even painful, hurting profit, beyond needs and wants, some will sacrifice all to rush for it as long as the expected return is big enough, even most of the time they are met with nothing but disappointment, betrayals, hurts, devastations.


Yet, Moral education never cease to be part of our life, in good time, in broken time.


So Morality is very important if not critical, even people do not really know what morality is about!
Moral education is so very important, especially at this very moment.
Why?


Domestically 
Casinos already brought about many broken families, unnatural deaths, even leaking military secrets - we know Casinos is immoral.
Immoral acts cause great harm, to self, to family, to society.

Globally
Nations, even the most powerful nation facing corrupt and bankrupt, wide spread civil unrest and governments unsettling.....
The rising nations become rich nations, facing corruption, also sporadic civil unrest.
We know they sourced from immoral acts.


While for nations, natural disasters is hitting us harder and more frequently.


Biggest Manifestation of Morality

While for nations, natural disasters is hitting us harder and more frequently.



The manifestation of morality, kindness are shown to be critical to weather these destruction.
We also witness how quickly the victims organize and recover, clear and rebuild, stand up and prosper again.



























Thailand, Flood, developing nation, mostly Thai people


Japan, Severe Tsunami, Highly developed, Mostly Japanese


Koreans and Japanese are some of the most homogeneous society.
They still can progress at breaking neck speed, because they never cease to interact and learn, strengthen and compete with others.



While maintaining the community tightly knitting within, there is progress in peace, there is security in trials and winning beyond.


However, society that put economics highest in priority, excessively embrace migrants for profit. 


Without patiently integrate, educate, cultivate and provide for all - native and migrants.
Even the richest, most powerful becomes feeble, bankrupt.





Most Powerful Developed Nation
A Nation, many Illegal Migrants, Scholars, Leaders worshiped


After decimating the natives
Migrants are the leaders, soon also the victims of their own acts

Economic grow at all cost
 Infrastructure, Housing, Health care, Education come latter
Leader play piano, Victims harmed by Nature, then again violated by Man


After victims severe sufferings 
Some higher than holy said they deserved to be punished by God !



Morality is talking about care for each other, about helping each other to overcome.


It is therefore easier among kins, fellow country man.
The expectation of this from others most likely returned with disappointment, hurt, if not betrayals, exploitation, destruction, destruction irrecoverable.


The words from the leader of foreigner's chamber demanding Singapore government....

Nobody is packing up just yet, but they are waiting and running the numbers.
If this continues, you would probably see some companies shrinking their Singapore operations over the next few years,
and
this would mean fewer jobs for Singaporeans.'
SICC chief Phillip Overmyer (above)

The primary concern of this man is numbers, not the people, not the host who provided them with land and labors, security and efficiency. 
Suffering, pain suffer by the host, government despised by her citizen, never cross his mind.
(despised was the last word of sequence of intensifying words used by George Yeo described how the citizen feel about the government


If morality is about care for each other, it is a show of dire lack of morality, but it is human nature manifest in true color.

Only man need to use man kind, not that man is kind, but kind is isolated from man !
There is no other animal need to use kind next to it.
This also explain why there is no moral education in animal kingdom - they never ever need it.



Who you want to be leaders?
What you want school to teach?
Disasters now happen anywhere, anytime, more frequently, more intensely !








Effective way - provide Challenges

So the effective way is not to teach what is morally right.



The effective way is to assign tough challenges to all from toddlers to leaders.
This must continue especially to those richest and most powerful, especially when there is no natural disasters, yet with excessive wealth.

It is the great wisdom of Singapore government, to assign the regulator of Bankers to head Education Ministry.

With deepest understanding of Wall Street,  surely restarting moral education is his priority.



Characters of Ineffective Challenges

Challenges that individual on their own, has insufficient resources and strengths to accomplish. 

They have to work with others, cooperate with others is not merely a necessity, it is the absolute necessity. 

But they are inadequate, because they are ineffective.
Challenges must be not only about abstracts issues, ideology, policies.


Man has the crafts to break all institutions, no matter iron-fisted institutions, open democratic systems.
The bankers onslaught of world economy is not trivial, it is supported by almost all Nobel Prize winners' economic theories AND formulas.
The outcome is as Alan Greenspan (2009 0 3 11) and Bernanke (2009 11 26) put it.
They used the same word  "Virulent" to describe this crisis.
Virulent in plain word - deadly.
Bankers cooperatively give a deadly impact.

But we cannot forget Bankers positive contributions.

It is these group of people who were instrumental to fund high-tech boom, raised funds for factories, created the biggest middle class in human history, putting mobile phones into every hand, urban and rural, developed and trying to develop.


Yet, it is also this very group that caused tremendous hardship, even shame.


Man is man, depends on circumstances, they can be healing and constructing, harming and destructing.


When powerful people find no constructive path forward, they cause destruction, powerful destruction, powerful destruction rapidly.



Characters of Effective Challenges

Challenges must use sciences and technology - forces of nature.

Constructing real stuff, producing real stuff, consuming real stuff.


Even the most abstract work, poetry.
Challenges effective cannot be merely words that everyone can frivolously utter, but performing arts that involves team and audiences, timing and harmony, light and sound.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's "Our People, Our Music - 
全民共乐“ 2005 07 30 few remember, but we must now remember to re-enact it.
I will put up a proposal for this "Wings of Light" where we provide a platform for all to read, write, translate, compose, choreograph, dance......


Not only cooperating with team and audience one must, the result is very much depending on how we comprehend  the order of nature, listen to the beauty of harmony of different sounds.


Sound is determined by Nature.
Nature is the only one that is powerful enough to effectively check man insatiable nature, 


It is through such challenges, repeated challenges, setting challenges monotonically increase in intensity and precision that our understanding and appreciation of moral society really reach a useful level, only when it is useful it becomes profitable, only profitable can man's limited strength be contained to seek the insatiable desire.


The ultimate is concisely written by Khalil Gibran Khalil.


When we turn to one another for counsel 
we reduce the number of our enemies !

36 years before JFK famous inauguration speech, Gibran wrote 
Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you, 
or 
a zealous one asking what you can do for your country?”

One another, include not just man, but social orderheavenly forces.





If we overcome


If we overcome thousands years of no progress in moral education.
If we realize infinite profits come from working with more others together to conctruct better life for more.

This will  provide a solution that  "Happiness Index", "Progress", Prosperity" can coexist, they actual are complementing each other.



Then we finally abandon the dead carcasses of hypocrisy, self-sacrifices in the pretense of morality.

Is this not enlightenment,  as:

Mankind's final coming of age
the emancipation of the human consciousness 
from an immature state of ignorance and error




Thursday, October 27, 2011

20100908 Floods at Shenton Way 2010 09 08


Floods at Shenton Way today 2010 09 08


September 8, 2010 by 
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 
08 September 2010
There have been floods at Shenton Way this morning. This is the umpteenth time this year flooding has happened in the city area and the outskirts as a result of heavy rain.
Clearly the Marina Barrage has not been effective at all in preventing flooding. If anything, flooding has actually increased dramatically after it was put in operation.
Sgpolitics.net calls for immediate ACCOUNTABILITY on the part of the PAP Government. We need an explanation why flooding is happening so frequently and what the authorities are going to do about it.
Since the first floods struck the Orchard Road area a few months back, the government has had ample time to prepare and make adjustments to their monitoring of the drainage system. Clearly, all their excuses and lame explanations have fallen flat. The problem is not with blocked culverts or debris, but with the ENTIRE drainage system itself, which has failed Singaporeans.
Accountability, please. NOW.

20111027 Shenton Way Flood - Its Deeper Implications

20111027 Shenton Way Flood - Its Deeper Implications
Two Points and Three Wisdom from Founders' Drainage Design Codes




Point One


Photographer reported at the Asia Sq , one side of the rd the water was flooding fast but the opposite side across the road the water subsided very fast also


This shows that one of the drains is totally choked.
Our floods subside very fast, even before rain stop.
One logical explanation is the high water pressure, caused by flood, push away obsticles in the drains, silts, leaves, rubbish.



Our water way therefore has enough capacity.
Our water way is too complex, costly to monitor, cleanse.









Point 2


Massive floods comes only after ABC Projects swing into place.

A $2 Billion dollars over the last decades did not include recent investment in  massive ABC projects, Bishan, Dawson, etc.http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20101018-pub-2-billion-waterway.html


The claim, also in that report say that Orchard Road is too far away from Marina Barrage, therefore cannot be saved by Marina Barrage is flawed.

Shenton way is just stone throw away from the Marina bay.




These massive investment do not increase flow.


This veteran of  flood management standing in front of a river which the flow is stagnated.
This is no longer a river, this is a storage formed by barrages.
Therefore, the next project of widening, deepening of Singapore River, section Zion/Kim Seng will not solve upstream floods.


Federal Highway Administration has the following graph dictating what is the key of drainage design.


The flow stop at the storage.
The gradient is the key.
Size come secondary.






3 Wisdom from our Founders Generation:



One:

It is in PUB design code that water flow in non-raining season must be at least 1m/sec.
It is clear at Bukit Timah Canal, even in the rain, the speed is less than 1m/sec.
Veteran standing in front of a zero flow storage show how prevalent this is all over Singapore.


Two

It is in PUB design code if water flow is slower than 1m/sec, you must reduce the size of the drain.
This PUB approach of designing gigantic drains, more drains is against its principles.


Three

It is in PUB design code that drains cannot be too deep.
Weep holes in deep drains discharged rich nutrients that lead to algae.

The immense algae in the drains, rivers, reservoirs is not solely caused by global warming.





20111018 MEDIA STATEMENT BY PROF CHAN ENG SOON

20111018 MEDIA STATEMENT BY PROF CHAN ENG SOON
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20111018-media-statement-by-prof-chan.html

http://www.news.gov.sg/public/sgpc/en/media_releases/agencies/mewr/press_release/P-20111006-1.html?Au... 18/10/2011

MEDIA STATEMENT BY PROF CHAN ENG SOON, CHAIRMAN,
EXPERT PANEL ON DRAINAGE DESIGN AND FLOOD
PROTECTION MEASURES

The Expert Panel on Drainage Design and Flood Protection Measures convened its second meeting from 26 to 30September 2011.

2 The Panel was briefed on national water agency, PUB’s drainage planning and design process and the operations of Marina Barrage. The Panel was also briefed by the Meteorological Service Singapore on historical rainfall trends. A site visit was also made to the ABC Waters project at Kallang River-Bishan Park. At an earlier session, the expert panel also visit the Marina Barrage, the Stamford and Bukit Timah Catchments.

3 The Panel had a good discussion and arrived at some preliminary findings and recommendations on PUB’s drainage design and flood protection measures. The Panel will further deliberate on these recommendations before submitting a final report to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

4 In essence, the Expert Panel recognises that any drainage system, whatever the standards, has a finite capacity. From time to time, intense rainfall will overwhelm the system, and there will be residual risks that need to be managed. This applies to all cities in the world as it is part of a natural process.

5 The Expert Panel’s preliminary findings are:
a) Much good work has been done by PUB. In terms of storm drainage, Singapore compares well to other metropolitan cities.
b) There is evidence (from Meteorological Service Singapore’s analysis of a study of rainfall intensity) that the maximum rainfall intensities in Singapore have increased in the recent past 30 years (from 1980 to 2010).

c) Based on the evidence provided (from modelling simulations by PUB), Marina Barrage was not the cause of the flood incidents in 2010 and 2011.

d) Measures being undertaken to address the Bukit Timah floods appear to be sound and should alleviate the flooding problem in the area.
[These measures include the widening and deepening of Bukit Timah Canal at the stretch from Jalan Kampong Chantek to Maple Ave, and the upgrading of the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal from Maple Ave to Clementi Road]

e) Conventional design approach and standards are not sufficient to secure an adequate drainage system for the future. The Panel acknowledges that PUB has recognised this and has proposed an increase in design standards through the revised Code of Practice (COP) on Surface Water Drainage.

6 The Panel also proposes the following preliminary recommendations:

a) PUB should move to a process of new generation drainage systems models that can adequately replicate systems performance, evaluate potential interventions and provide flood-risk mapping.

b) There should be increased monitoring of systems performance (rainfall radar, flow meters, rain gauges and water level sensors) to provide better operational information, help validate models and facilitate early warning.

c) PUB to consider a wider range of measures that mitigates the effects of urbanisation (e.g. compensatory storage for new developments and redevelopments). A wider range of measures may be more appropriate for the management of flood risk in the future.

d) PUB to consider added benefits of drainage in the context of the wider future needs of Singapore (e.g. storm water reuse, improved water quality, biodiversity, amenities)

e) PUB to consider further revisions to the current Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage based on:-
Systems approach
Use of Risk-based approach, guided by trends in rainfall intensities and potential implications of climate change and standards

• Use of comprehensive modelling and scenario analysis
The Expert Panel will conclude its review and submit a final report in January 2012.

20111007 Expert Panel S'pore Drains cannt cope with more rainfall

20111007 Expert Panel S'pore Drains cannt cope with more rainfall
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20111007-expert-panel-spore-drains.html

Expert panel: S'pore drains can't cope with more rainfall
By Reico Wong
my paper
Friday, Oct 07, 2011

The current design and network system of canals and drains in Singapore are no longer adequate to
handle the higher rainfall levels here, said the Expert Panel on Enhancing Flood Protection yesterday.
So, more "robust" ways are needed to slow down the flow of storm water and increase its drainage,
said the panel's chairman, Professor Chan Eng Soon.

Possible ways include building porous roads to soak up storm water and adding greenery at the top of
buildings to help capture and retain rain.

Singapore's drainage infrastructure could also be enhanced, such that rainwater in a particular area is
drained out through a network of canals, instead of just one, Prof Chan said.

He revealed that those were some of the preli- minary suggestions raised at a meeting of the expert
panel at the end of last month. It is studying the feasibility of the suggestions.

The panel, comprising 12 Singapore and foreign experts, was set up in June by the Ministry of the
Environment and Water Resources, after repeated serious flooding incidents across the country in
the last two years.

The panel is expected to conclude its review of Singapore's flood-protection measures and submit a
final report in January.
At a press conference held at the National University of Singapore, Prof Chan noted that Singapore's
storm water-drainage system compares well to those of other metropolitan cities, adding that all
drainage systems have a finite capacity.

"Conventional design approach and standards are not sufficient to secure an adequate drainage
system for the future, especially given global climate changes," he said.

"PUB needs to consider a wider range of measures that mitigates the effects of urbanisation. I think it
could look at solutions in a more holistic way."



20101018 PUB $2 Billion Waterway

20101018 PUB $2 Billion Waterway
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20101018-pub-2-billion-waterway.html







PUB veteran helped design drainage system that has reduced such areas by 98%
Chang Ai-Lien, Straits Times 18 Oct 10;

PUB veteran Yap Kheng Guan knows Singapore's extensive network of drains like the back of his hand - after all, he built many of them.

Drains have been his passion in his 35-year career at the Environment Ministry and the national water agency PUB, which is responsible for drainage issues.

He has stood beside floodwaters as pig and water buffalo carcasses floated past in the 1970s. He has blasted through granite to build underground drainage tunnels.

But the seeds of his career in drainage were planted much earlier.

His secondary school, St Andrew's near Potong Pasir Village, was built on elevated ground, he said. It would be closed during bad floods that happened during the rainy season so that it could serve as a refugee centre for people in the area whose homes were sometimes flooded up to the roof.

As a boy scout, he helped to distribute blankets and food to these people.

Said the soft-spoken 58-year-old: 'This really brought home to me the impact of flooding, and shaped my decision later when I had the chance to improve the situation for Singapore.'

Starting off as an engineer handling drainage projects in 1975, he has witnessed some of the nation's most devastating floods, including the December 1978 deluge which holds the record for the highest amount of rainfall in a day in the last 60 years - 512 mm.

Seven people died, including five who drowned, and about 1,000 people had to be rescued and evacuated.

'The moment the waters subsided, we would be there to make sure that debris was cleared. We were on call 24/7 and we wouldn't have had it any other way,' he said.

'There was a sense of urgency for myself and my colleagues, especially because all the new towns were coming up and this industrialisation would only make the flooding situation worse unless we expanded and enlarged our drainage systems.'

Singapore, with its high-intensity rainfall and an average of 240cm of rain each year, as well as its low-lying land surrounded by the sea and its high tides, was already a flood zone waiting to happen. With more buildings coming up, the situation was only set to get worse.

Part of the challenge then was to convince other agencies in charge of public housing and transportation, for instance, that land had to be set aside for drains and also kept in reserve for future flood alleviation systems.

'When the country expands and urbanises, you have only one chance. All that we have in place now, including Marina Barrage, was mapped out 20 to 30 years ago,' he said.

By doing so, engineers and planners have managed to reduce flood-prone areas to 62ha this year, 98 per cent less than the 3,178ha in 1970. With ongoing efforts, the figure is set to go down to 40ha by 2013.

Over the last 30 years, the Government has spent $2 billion on upgrading drainage infrastructure. About $150 million is spent each year on such works.

Transforming the system from that of natural streams and smaller canals to the comprehensive network of drains and canals of today came with its own set of demands.

Marine clay in catchment areas such as the Geylang River and Marina Barrage posed one huge challenge. 'The soil was like toothpaste and the piles just sank right into it,' said Mr Yap.

'In Geylang, we had to devise a chemical treatment to strengthen the soil by pumping pressurised cement into it.'

At Marina Barrage, piles had to be driven 60m deep to reach firm soil.

Special care was spent on roads, tunnels, the MRT system and other crucial areas. Ground openings, ventilation ducts and access to underground facilities were built at least 1m higher than the highest recorded flood levels. At MRT stations, for example, stairs at the entrance were built to prevent water from entering.

'That's why the MRT system has been dry since it started,' said Mr Yap.

Now a senior director at PUB, he still has a mental map of the more than 7,000km of drainage fanning across the island. Stretched out end to end, the drains would extend from Singapore to Sydney, Australia, and beyond.

He was among the first at Stamford Canal in Orchard Road after freak floods hit on June 16 and July 17 this year.

'Doing this has become second nature, although I'm no longer in charge of drains,' he explained.

He said there can never be a zero-flood situation because it would be too expensive and land-intensive to create monster drains big enough to handle freak weather.

'The question is, do you design for the mother of all storms, or can you strike a practical balance?'

Generally, drains are designed to cater to the heaviest rainfall to hit an area every five years, based on factors such as run-off, rain intensity and the size of the catchment area.

For sensitive areas such as the airport, the calculation is based on the heaviest rainfall over 50 to 100 years.

'Of course an engineer's wish is to be super kiasu (Hokkien for 'afraid to lose') but the result would be huge, extremely expensive canals that come at the expense of other things such as the roads and trees. And most of the time, these drains would be empty.

'Yes there will still be floods, but I am proud to say we have a sound system in place which will see us through for many, many years.'

Did Marina Barrage make Orchard Road floods worse?Straits Times 18 Oct 10;

AFTER floods hit Orchard Road on June 16 and July 17 this year, various theories were floated by people wondering why the shopping district had been deluged. Chang Ai-Lien puts these questions to the PUB.

# Did Marina Barrage contribute to the flooding because water levels at the barrage were too high and not pumped out fast enough, causing a backlog?

The barrage keeps seawater out, acting as a tidal barrier to reduce flash floods in low-lying city areas. Its nine crest gates are lowered if there is excess water in the basin. If heavy rains coincide with high tide, seven drainage pumps are activated to remove excess storm water.

During the highest tides, some parts of Singapore can be flooded even in the absence of rain. Marina Barrage makes sure that this is not a problem in the surrounding 26ha of flood-prone areas because it keeps water at a constant mid-tide level, shaving 1.5m to 1.7m off high-tide levels.

Weather conditions and water levels are monitored constantly, and the moment set levels at the barrage are exceeded by around 10cm or so, water is discharged. This has been done many times and there has been no case where water has not been released fast enough.

In addition, the section of Orchard Road which was flooded is too far away to be affected by the barrage. During heavy rain, the influence of Marina Barrage at Stamford Canal does not go beyond Handy Road near The Cathay Cineplex. At such times (heavy rains), water levels in the canal beyond this point have remained the same with or without the barrage.

# Could new developments along Orchard Road, such as Ion Orchard, have contributed to the flooding because they have depleted green space which would previously have soaked up the water?

Of three major developments in the vicinity, one - Ion Orchard - used to be 1.86ha of green space. Orchard Central and 313@Somerset both used to be carparks.

PUB has a comprehensive drainage masterplan drawn up in the mid-1970s, which guides the provision of drainage systems and sets aside drainage reserves for future requirements, while planning flood alleviation projects to target known flood-prone areas.

Drainage capacity is planned for even before the bulldozers come in. Developments such as Ion Orchard and the effect of the potential increase in surface run-off were factored in when building and upgrading the Stamford Canal in Orchard Road.

All the new buildings in Orchard Road did not flood because they had prevention measures in place such as ramps at basements.

PUB is now helping older buildings such as Liat Towers and Lucky Plaza, which were hit by the recent floods, to do the same. Prior to this year, the last time Orchard Road was flooded was in 1984.


POSTED BY RIA AT 10/18/2010 08:00:00 AM  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

20111021 New foreigner hiring rules put off MNCs

20111021 New foreigner hiring rules put off MNCs
http://bettersingapore.blogspot.com/2011/10/20111021-new-foreigner-hiring-rules-put.html




WARNING SIGNS

'Nobody is packing up just yet, but they are waiting and running the numbers. 
If this continues, you would probably see some companies shrinking their Singapore operations over the next few years, 
and 
this would mean fewer jobs for Singaporeans.'
SICC chief Phillip Overmyer (above)


Multinationals are finding it so hard to find skilled staff in the light of the new rules on hiring foreign workers that some may scale back their operations here.
That was the stark warning from the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC), which has called on the Government to review the policies.
It suggests that the measures, which apply to all sectors in a standard form, be fine-tuned and tailored for specific industries.
The SICC's call echoes one earlier this week by the Singapore Business Federation, which raised concerns about the foreign worker levy.
The worker shortage appears to be showing up across the board, from a lack of chambermaids in the hotel sector to a need for engineers for manufacturers and drivers for logistics companies.
SICC chief executive Phillip Overmyer told The Straits Times multinationals and big local firms from many industries are finding it very difficult to fill vacancies.
Mr Overmyer cited the case of two hotels at the integrated resorts that held a recruitment drive last year to find up to 50 people in service and maintenance roles.
The hotels have to abide by a strict quota of foreign workers and so need to find Singaporeans instead.
About 400 Singaporeans applied for various positions but not all turned up for the first round of interviews and even fewer for subsequent interviews.
By the end of the process, only four people accepted jobs and, after just a week, two of them quit. The other two followed within a few weeks.
Mr Overmyer said the hotels remain understaffed.
'Because there are so many other jobs, most Singaporeans don't want to take up service jobs. Singaporeans don't want to wait on people or work shift hours,' he said.
The result has been feedback from guests slamming service standards as 'terrible', he added.
'This is the kind of thing we're hearing more and more at the integrated resort hotels - and this is an industry we just created only a few years ago.'
Mr Overmyer noted that companies in sectors such as manufacturing, oil and gas, education and construction engineering face similar challenges.
Even though Singapore is a logistics and distribution hub for many companies, it is tough for bosses to find locals willing to work as drivers or warehouse operators, he said.
He noted that the foreign worker policy could have consequences throughout the economy, beyond the immediate affected firms.
Mr Overmyer also pointed to international schools, such as the Singapore American School and the Overseas Family School, which will have to meet stricter criteria when selecting and hiring teachers from next year.
Principals are concerned that some of their staff might not make the cut and it would be tough to find replacements. That in turn could make Singapore a less attractive place for expatriates to work and raise their families.
Eventually, if it becomes increasingly difficult for multinationals to bring in foreign employees, they will likely move their Asian headquarters to Hong Kong or another neighbouring city, he said.
The recent moves made by the Government to tighten controls on the hiring of foreigners have made many of these firms nervous.
'Nobody is packing up just yet, but they are waiting and running the numbers. If this continues, you would probably see some companies shrinking their Singapore operations over the next few years, and this would mean fewer jobs for Singaporeans,' Mr Overmyer said.
The SICC is surveying member companies on foreign manpower issues.
Its preliminary findings show more than half of the 120 companies polled so far saying that access to foreign talent was an important factor in helping them decide to set up or expand their operations here. And while they prefer to hire Singaporeans, they often find it hard to recruit and retain locals.
Some companies are considering outsourcing certain business operations but they fear this will not be a viable solution as those third-party operators are also likely facing similar manpower issues, Mr Overmyer said.
The SICC hopes the Government will take a more targeted approach towards its foreign worker policies, he added. The policies should be industry-specific and not so broad that the same policy applies to all sectors.
'We might be able to find a way to shrink some industries but not others. If we don't take action to allow the big guys to play as they've been playing here for the past several decades, I'm very much afraid they will leave in a few years.'
Mr Gan Chin Yean, managing director of US precision engineering firm Interplex, said the problem of finding staff is real, even for a multinational like his.
'It's just difficult to get locals... So we may have to move our operations to Malaysia or elsewhere if the foreign worker policy continues to get worse.'