Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Vulnerable to rising seas, Singapore envisions a giant seawall

By Wayne Arnold
International Herald Tribune
29 Aug 07

SINGAPORE: Surrounded by sea and almost pancake flat, Singapore is without doubt vulnerable to the rising sea levels many scientists predict global warming will cause.

While topographical maps are considered a military secret here, anyone flying into Singapore can easily see that the island is elevation-challenged. Its highest point is a jungle-clad hill rising 165 meters, or 540 feet, above sea level. Most of the business-end of Singapore - its airport, its business district and, of course, its busy container ports, lie less than two meters above sea level.

Faced with the prospect of a long, slow submersion into the very waters that serve as the lifeblood of this maritime trading hub, Singapore has reached out to the world's greatest experts on the subject of battling back the sea - the Dutch.

"We are already in consultations with Delft in Holland to learn how we can build dikes," said Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister, in an interview last Friday.

Delft Hydraulics, a research institute and consulting firm specializing in water management issues in the canalled Dutch city of Delft, is already helping Singapore convert its biggest river and marina into a huge downtown reservoir. Now it is also helping the city-state look into just what it can do to defend its roughly 200-kilometer, or 125-mile, coastline.

"We feel we have strong reasons to be concerned, but no reasons for panic," said Vladan Babovic, director of the Singapore Delft Water Alliance, a $43 million research center opened in February between Delft, the National University of Singapore and the country's water management agency, PUB Singapore. "We will be able to resolve these challenges," he said.

Singapore got a preview of just what havoc rising sea levels could cause back in 1974 when a rare astronomical event caused the tides to rise 3.9 meters, more than double the usual level.

"It eroded the coast very badly," said Wong Poh Poh, an associate professor specializing in beach geography at the National University of Singapore, who studied the event. Areas along the Singapore River were inundated, as were parts of the airport and a coastal public park built on reclaimed land.

Wong later discovered that during such periods of elevated sea levels, the variations between high and low tide are accentuated, putting the country's reservoirs, many of which lie adjacent to the coast, at risk. Singapore officials later used one of Wong's reports to draw the attention of the United Nations to the problems associated with global warming.

Still, no one is certain just how much of Singapore is vulnerable to the problem. The Singapore Delft Water Alliance and researchers at the national university's Tropical Marine Science Institute began a study into the potential effects of climate change on Singapore in March. But the leader of that study, Liong Shie-Yui, said that the group had yet to produce any noteworthy findings.

Assessing the risk is complicated by the fact that no one knows for sure just how much the sea may rise or how fast. Estimates vary from as little as 60 centimeters, or about 24 inches, to as much as 6 meters. And sea levels are not consistent from place to place: atmospheric pressure, wind and currents can cause variations.

Ultimately, Singapore is unlikely to build dikes per se, but rather concrete seawalls, Babovic said. Dikes are technically made of earth. After digging up and quarrying much of its own interior to reclaim new land that has increased Singapore's area by between 15 percent and 20 percent, Singapore now relies on imported landfill and sand for its reclamation efforts and to produce cement for new buildings.

Many scientists believe that dikes are no longer the most environmentally sensitive solution. Wong recommended docks and seawalls back in the early 1990s but now said that more natural structures might work better.

Babovic said that scientists were studying ways to incorporate mangroves and sea grasses into the design of dikes and seawalls to improve their environmental impact and make them look better, too.

"You need more imaginative solutions," said Wong. "What we don't want is to put something there that will constrain future use."

Labels: , ,


100 trees planted in Kent Ridge Park to tackle global warming

By Lynda Hong, Channel NewsAsia
29 August 2007

SINGAPORE: A hundred trees were planted in Kent Ridge Park on Wednesday morning in a joint initiative by the South West Community Development Council, the National Parks Board (NParks), and corporate partner Bayer.

In a small but significant step to tackle the global warming problem, about 40 National University Singapore (NUS) students, Bayer employees and other volunteers planted 100 trees along a 50-metre cycling trail.

The day's activity was part of the 100,000 Native Plants @ South West Programme which the CDC and NParks initiated last year.

Some 40,000 plants and trees have since taken root.

Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, said: "This programme was actually (initiated) to bring back our green heritage by the planting of native plants, as well as to create a greener environment in the district in the next two years. If the programme continues to be very welcomed by the community, which I think it is, we will look to increasing the target."

"I think it's very special in the sense that it allows youths to actually have something hands-on to do, something tangible that they can do for the environment," said Teo Shu Li, a 17-year-old junior college student.

Pharmaceutical company Bayer also has good reasons for taking part.

Marcus Yim, Senior Bayer Representative, South ASEAN, said: "Environment protection is always a very big part of requirements for all the corporate organisations around the world. It's very important to protect our environment as the future generations will also benefit from it."

Its green cause was in support of the worldwide Billion Tree Campaign by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

- CNA/so

Labels: , , , , ,

Taking the green message to business

29 Aug 07 (Business Times)

IT'S been said so often as to seem almost a platitude: 'Go green
because it's good for your business'.

And certainly there are many high-profile examples of corporations
taking measures to make their businesses more environment- friendly.
But by and large, the impact of the green message on the corporate
world remains depressingly negligible.

We need to ask why, and what can be done about it.

Many are passionate young people who have moved beyond traditional
media to the interactive world of the Internet. For them, the Web's
social networking sites and strategies are the perfect way to
disseminate information, identify and encourage green initiatives, and
generally educate tens of millions of their young peers in an
intensively interactive environment.

The educating is more effective because the lessons are shared,
dissected, criticised and recreated by consensus.

It is education that is absorbed, not imposed. Some call it Web 2.0;
the name doesn't matter, the experience does.

And that is a lesson that their senior counterparts in business and
government could take to heart.

Not in the area of green products and activities; leave that to the

It takes scientists to create more effective and eco-friendly fuels
and efficient hybrid cars, engineers to reduce the power and emission
needs of a manufacturing process.

It needs an experienced business team to convert eco-friendly
innovations into commercially feasible products. And it takes
visionary government officials to project a country's needs decades
into the future, and create a public transportation system that is
effective, and people as well as environment- friendly.

But that's already happening.

So why do the mass of business folk, who stand to benefit from
eco-friendly innovations and infrastructure, continue to drag their heels?

Simply, the message hasn't got through.

And so long as this vast majority remains uncommitted, the industrial
fog will stay, both literally and figuratively.

Clearly, education is key. But education imposed in the traditional
way has proved to be ineffective.

Which is why it's worth paying attention to the new-media world of our
youth, where information is dynamically shared and absorbed. It could
be the strategy that turns the tide.

Labels: , , , ,

Cleaners dump rubbish into Bukit Panjang canal

By Lynda Hong, Channel NewsAsia
29 August 2007

SINGAPORE: A viewer alerted Channel NewsAsia that cleaners of the Bukit Panjang canal, opposite Block 402, have been throwing the rubbish collected from one side of the canal to the other side.

By 9am every morning, residents said one of the cleaners would take a photo of the clean drain and send it to PUB, which is in charge of the canal.

But what is not shown is how the rubbish, which has not been properly disposed, will flow into the nearby reservoir.

The PUB said it would study the video footage first before making any comments.

Labels: , , ,

Marina Barrage will house world's largest water pumps

By Foo Siew Shyan, Channel NewsAsia
29 August 2007

SINGAPORE : Singapore's flood control measures will go one step further after the Marina Barrage becomes operational by the end of this year.

Works are currently underway to install drainage pumps next to the reservoir.

These pumps are the world's largest and are specially brought in from the Netherlands. Their job is to drain out excess water during flooding.

Each pump weighs 28 tonnes, or about the weight of 400 men.

And when operational, it will be able to drain, in one minute, an amount of water that can fill up an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

When completed, water from the southern and central parts of Singapore such as Ang Mo Kio and Thomson will flow into the Marina Reservoir, which has a catchment area one-sixth the size of the island.

When there is heavy rain and high tide, the pumps will be set in motion, draining water from the reservoir into the sea.

But if the tide is low during heavy rain, flood gates will open to release the water into the sea.

This will help ensure that water levels in the Marina Reservoir, which is set to be a freshwater lake, is kept constant.

It also means that low-lying areas like Chinatown and Little India will be spared from flooding.

Yap Kheng Guan, Director, 3P Network, PUB, said: "So look at this system - the gates and the pumps - as (a) means in which you can manage this water level. The water level will not become so high that it will threaten some of the low-lying areas in Singapore".

Water agency PUB expects to activate two of the pumps for an average of 4 to 5 times a year during high tide or monsoon seasons. - CNA/ch

Labels: ,

Sands IR: The glitz, the glamour, the swelling cost

By Jasmine Yin, TODAY
29 August 2007

SINGAPORE: At US$3.6 billion (S$5.5 billion), it was touted as one of the costliest casino-resorts ever, out-glitzing even the newly-opened Venetian Macao.

Now, the development bill for the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (IR) could swell further - by as much as US$1.44 billion.

A spike in the cost of building materials, sparked by the Indonesian sand ban in January, as well as refinements to development's design, could push up the tab by "20 to 40 per cent", Las Vegas Sands president and CEO William Weidner told the Singapore media visiting Macau on 28 August.

Said Mr Weidner: "My cost people keep on discussing concrete and some of the sand issues that you all face in Singapore. We're struggling, quite frankly, to stay within our budget."

"It's a very, very complicated and sophisticated building... as wonderful as the idea is, now that we try to execute it in concrete and steel, it's a bit of a challenge. But we'll get there. We’re looking for means and methods to construct it more efficiently."

Back in February, when construction on the IR began, the casino operator was hopeful the sand supply issue would be a "temporary glitch" and that the Singapore Government would find a long-term solution.

The Las Vegas-based operator meets regularly with the Republic's authorities. Said Mr Weidner: "There are several issues that still need to be resolved."

Some S$700 million worth of contracts have been awarded. A whopping S$1-billion contract to build the IR's three 50-storey hotel towers - which will go to a multi-national corporation - will be announced soon, revealed Marina Bay Sands' vice-president George Tanasijevich.

The IR is due to open in 2009 and already, talks are ongoing with organisers to host about 20 major events up to 2013, he added.

Sands was the first foreign player to enter Macau's gaming scene in 2004.

The US$265-million Macao Sands got its money back - and more - by raking in US$400 million in revenue within a year.

So, is Las Vegas Sands expecting its latest property - the US$2.4-billion Venetian Macao, touted as the world's second-largest building - to break even within 12 months? More like five years, Sands' billionaire chairman Sheldon Adelson told AFP.

More than 3,000 guests and 1,200 media turned up for Tuesday's star-studded opening of the Venetian Macao, which is modelled - on a larger scale - on Sands' The Venetian in Las Vegas, complete with canals, gondolas and a fake sky.

In addition to more than 850 gaming tables, there are 3,000 luxury suites, a 15,000-seat stadium and 350 shops. The new resort reportedly employs 5 per cent of the territory's workforce of 450,000.

In the crowd was Singapore Tourism Board deputy chairman and chief executive Lim Neo Chian, who described the new resort as "very impressive". He said: "By the time the Marina Bay Sands IR opens in Singapore, Las Vegas Sands will have invaluable experience and insight into the Asian market - enabling them to make Marina Bay Sands, which is very different in design to their two Macau resorts, an even better proposition."

The Venetian Macao is the first casino built on the Cotai Strip, a complex of hotels that will have more than 1 million sq ft of gambling space, 3 million sq ft of retail and almost 20,000 hotel rooms.

With the target being the huge numbers of nouveau riche gamblers who pour daily across the border from mainland China, Mr Weidner announced plans for a Las Vegas Sands ferry service from Macau to Hong Kong and Shenzhen on 28 August. A new terminal is being built near the Macau airport, as are 10 new ferries that will cast off between October and March.

Last year, gaming revenues in Macau totaled US$7.2 billion - overtaking the Las Vegas Strip for the first time. - TODAY/ym

Labels: , ,



28 August 2007 (Lianhe Zaobao)











来自马国雪兰莪州蔬菜 证实安全

28 August 2007 (xin.sg)





20蔬菜样本通过农药测试 全部合格

by 吴俍祥 (Xin.sg)
28 August 2007








Labels: ,

SPH eco-friendly from production to print

By Arti Mulchand, Straits Times
28 Aug 07

WHEN it comes to going green, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) shows how
serious it is by walking the talk.

Up to 95 per cent of the company's newspapers are printed on recycled
newsprint. Everything from print outs to ink cartridges are recycled,
the company said in its green report card, released yesterday. That is
up from just 20 per cent in the 1990s.

By year-end, new energy-efficient air-conditioning chillers at Media
Centre in Genting Lane, plus a more efficient chiller unit at the Toa
Payoh North News Centre, will bring about $500,000 in energy savings
each year. Regularly changing the filters in News Centre's cooling
systems also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

SPH has also been a keen supporter of conservation in Singapore, and
to further spread the message, it will host close to 1,000 staff and
business partners at the local premiere of eco-documentary Arctic Tale

Before the screening, SPH Foundation will present a cheque for
$120,000 to Wildlife Conservation Singapore which will help support,
for example, the breeding of proboscis monkeys at the SPH Foundation
Conservation Centre.

Since 2004, SPH and SPH Foundation have contributed over $1 million to
conservation efforts in Singapore.

Labels: , ,

Shoppers 'face meat price rises'

28 August 2007 (BBC)

Meat prices are set to increase as farmers pass on the burden of surging costs, a report has suggested.

With wheat prices rising, animal feed costs have almost doubled for farmers, the study by Deloitte found.

The group warned price rises were vital for an industry at "breaking point" after the recent foot-and-mouth scare and floods had taken their toll.

The warning comes days after consumers were told to prepare for rising bread prices as wheat costs hit records.

Bad weather in key grain growing areas such as Canada and parts of Europe has limited supplies as demand has risen, sparking fears of a grain shortfall.

Some of the rising demand has come from the biofuel industry, which uses the grain to produce ethanol for cars.

Widening risks

Wheat prices surged to a fresh record of $7.44 a bushel last week on the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade market in the US, and currently stand at $7.35 a bushel.

"Consumers hold the key to a more resilient future. UK shoppers will have to pay more for their meat," said Richard Crane, food and agriculture partner at Deloitte.

"Increased prices will allow farmers to continue to meet the increasing demand for local, high quality meat."

"Without it, the opportunity to enjoy home-grown quality produce and British meat could become a rarity on supermarket shelves."

Livestock farmer and leading National Farmers Union (NFU) official Martin Howlett told BBC Radio Five Live that while feed prices have more than doubled, returns on cattle and sheep have fallen.

Ten years ago each head of cattle could bring a return of £850 to £700, he said, adding that this now stood at £600 to £700 per animal.

Fair price

But he also said that consumers cannot simply bear the brunt of rising costs and called on supermarkets to share out the profits made from the price of meat on supermarket shelves.

"From a business point of view they can't just put the prices up and hope that the consumer will take the knock," he said.

NFU president Peter Kendall also called on retailers to work with farmers to obtain a fair price for food producers.

"We certainly see some of the retailers in the UK having bigger margins than anywhere else in Europe," he said.

The NFU wanted a "partnership" between retailers and producers that meant "farmers get a fair price, and consumers don't have to pay too much for that quality product", he added.

Meanwhile, the Deloitte report also warned that the industry is not just at risk at home.

The business advisory group said the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth could prompt other countries to close their door to British exports - an industry worth £493m a year.

A drop in UK meat production, and subsequent falls in exports, would allow rival nations to ramp up their production and gain a "competitive edge" over the UK, the report said.


Flooding in some parts of Singapore due to heavy rain

By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia
28 August 2007

SINGAPORE: There was flooding in some parts of the island on Tuesday due to heavy rain, leading to traffic chaos.

The rain started early as Singaporeans were about to go to work or school, and it did not let up for much of the morning.

The rainfall recorded over a period of seven hours, from 7am to 2pm, hit 143mm – about 80 percent of what Singapore gets in a whole month.

According to records, the average total monthly rainfall for August is 175 mm.

The area near Commonwealth MRT station saw traffic slow down as some vehicles got caught in the flood waters.

Low-lying areas were the worst hit and water levels came up to the knees.

An SBS bus crashed into a taxi stand when its driver tried to drop off his passengers at the shelter off the main route amidst the heavy downpour.

An elderly woman was slightly injured when glass from the windshield fell on her and was later taken to the hospital.

Heavy rain also caused flash floods in central parts of Singapore.

Taxi-driver Ng Kim Wah said: "When I came here, the water-level was quite high but I could see the yellow markings. So I thought I could drive through. As I drove through, I didn't realise that my number plate dropped out. I think it was probably loose and the force of the water (caused it to drop)."

A few weeks ago, more than 80 percent of the island experienced less than average rainfall, but Singapore is starting to experience wet weather with the southwest monsoon prevailing in the region.

The weatherman expects showers in the mornings and rain with thunder in the afternoons.

Police received some ten calls on heavy flooding at Upper Bukit Timah Road, Cuscaden Road, Eng Neo Road, along the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), and the Commonwealth area.


Vegetables Contaminated

Samples in Selangor market tested positive, but S'pore imports safe

Tiffany Tan
Aug 28 2007 (TODAY)

Almost one-third of the vegetables from a Selangor wholesale market
contained pesticide residues exceeding the levels allowed by law.

This was the finding of a five-year study conducted by Malaysia's
Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
the New Straits Times reported.

The study found that all celery and curry leaf samples taken from the
wholesale market in Selayang tested positive for three groups of
cancer-causing pesticides, the Malaysian daily reported.

At the same time, at least 40 per cent of the spinach, kangkung, round
cabbage and Chinese mustard were contaminated. Of the vegetables that
tested positive for residues, almost one-third exceeded the maximum level
allowed under Malaysian law.

IMR researcher Dr Nurul Izzah Ahmad described the findings as "alarming".
Despite this, he said the potential health risk of consuming these
pesticide residues is "low".

"We did not wash the vegetables prior to testing them, so that we could
get the maximum level of pesticide residue," he said.

"But before eating them, most people would have washed, soaked and cooked
the vegetables, greatly reducing the amount of residues consumed."

When asked if any of the vegetables in Singapore comes from the Selayang
market, Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that it
did not matter which wholesale market the vegetables come from, as long as
the AVA could trace it to the source farms.

"All consignments of vegetables are tagged and the AVA can trace its
source," AVA assistant director for corporate communications Goh Shih
Yong told Today. The AVA has an inspection system to ensure that imported
vegetables are safe and wholesome for consumption, he said. "If food is
not safe, it cannot be sold."

Singapore imported from Malaysia, 178,970 tonnes of vegetables, or 48 per
cent of total imports, last year. That year, 41.8 tonnes of total imports
were destroyed due to excessive levels of pesticides.

Labels: , ,

Authorities confirm vegetables in Singapore safe to eat

By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia
27 August 2007 2325 hrs

SINGAPORE: Vegetables available in Singapore are not affected by the cancerous pesticide found on vegetables in Selangor.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority says imported vegetables are put through a comprehensive checking system to make sure they are safe to eat.

Singapore imports 48 per cent of its vegetables from Malaysia.

Through a five-year study, researchers in Malaysia have recently found that some popular greens are highly contaminated with cancer-causing pesticide residues.

All celery and curry leaf samples taken from a wholesale market in Selayang were tested positive for three groups of pesticides.

At least 40 per cent of spinach, kangkong, round cabbage and Chinese mustard samples were tainted.

Scientists think the crops were harvested too early, before the pesticides could disintegrate.

They say potential health risks are small, as consumers will wash and cook the vegetables before eating. - CNA/ac

Labels: , , ,

Ministry, farmers dispute findings on tainted greens

28 August 2007 (New Straits Times)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry, City Hall and Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers’ Association have disputed the findings by Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) on contaminated vegetables at the Selayang wholesale market.
They said it was unfair for the study to focus on certain vegetables at the market and conclude that they were tainted.

The Health Ministry’s food safety and quality division director, Dr Abdul Rahim Mohamad, said the ministry was in the dark in regard to the research findings.

The division conducted checks on vegetables at the Selayang wholesale market but did not find contamination levels to be as high as those claimed by IMR and UKM.

The ministry also had not formally received a copy of the report but Dr Abdul Rahim said he had one given to him by a contact.
The New Straits Times report yesterday had, among others, highlighted the high levels of pesticide residue found on vegetables sold at the Selayang wholesale market in Kuala Lumpur.

It was reported that two-thirds of the 93 samples of six popular vegetables were found to be contaminated with at least one kind of pesticide.

Some of the contaminated vegetables were spinach, kangkung, round cabbage and Chinese mustard.

The Selayang market supplies vegetables to about three-quarters of the hypermarkets, wet markets, night markets and grocery stores in Selangor.

City Hall Health Department director Dr Zainol Ariffin Pawanchee questioned the study, saying: "If this was their actual finding, why was the Health Ministry not alerted? It is surprising that the findings were presented in a seminar."

He also said City Hall officers routinely checked food in the market, but did not elaborate if findings were similar to the ones reported by IMR and UKM.

In Muar, Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers’ Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said the pesticide residues found on raw and untreated vegetables at the Selayang wholesale market were minimal and the amount would be greatly reduced when the greens were washed, soaked and cooked.

"It is improper to conclude that the whole basket of vegetables was contaminated when only a few raw and untreated vegetables had excessive pesticide residue.

"IMR should get more accurate information from the Department of Agriculture and the Health Ministry, as both parties were monitoring vegetable farming.

"To obtain accurate information, the research should be based on the actual situation.

"Our members have always adhered to good agriculture practice and abided by regulations to ensure all vegetables are safe for consumption," he said.

Its president Tan So Tiok said consumers should disregard the findings of the report as it would only affect the export of vegetables and the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, the Consumers’ Association of Penang has called on the Health Ministry to reveal the detailed sampling, testing plan and results of tests done on the vegetables.

In the meantime, it called on the public to avoid local vegetables until the Health Ministry had given an assurance that vegetables sold in the market were safe for consumption.




27 August 2007 (Lianhe Zaobao)
written by 林佩碧





  一份研究显示,全球有17%纸张原料来自砍伐山林、37%来自开发后重新种植的树木,只有29%来自有人管理的园林,例如再植树木或种植农作树(farmed trees),而后者更被视为目前最环保的造纸法。

  专门生产复印纸的Double A公司,过去20年来在泰国北部山区采取的正是农作树造纸法。

  公司高级执行副总裁迪拉威(Thirawit Leetavorn)日前接受本报电访时解释,所谓农作树造纸法,即在无需砍伐树木的情况下,把农作树的树苗交给农民,让他们在自家农地空出来的地方栽种,待三至五年后树木长成合适高度,公司便根据市场价格向农民回购。



Labels: , ,

Beware these greens: Tainted vegetables at Selayang wholesale market

By : Chai Mei Ling (New Straits Times)
27 August 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor's most frequently consumed vegetables have been found to be highly contaminated with carcinogenic pesticide residues.
This was the finding of a study done by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The study showed that all celery and curry leaf samples taken from the wholesale market in Selayang tested positive for three groups of cancer-causing pesticides.

At least 40 per cent of the spinach (bayam), kangkung, round cabbage and Chinese mustard were contaminated. The tests were done on unwashed vegetables.

Of these vegetables, almost one-third exceeded the maximum residue level (MRL) allowed by the Food Act (1983) and Regulation (1985).
The Selayang market supplies to about three-quarters of the hypermarkets, wet markets, night markets and grocery stores in the state.

The results of the study were announced at the 10th Asean Food Conference which ended on Thursday in Subang.

Researcher Dr Nurul Izzah Ahmad from IMR described the findings as "alarming".

"We found it hard at first to believe that the celery and curry leaves were 100 per cent contaminated.

"But when we tested the curry leaves taken from our own garden, and found no traces of pesticide residues, we knew there was nothing wrong with the figures."

The three-pronged research by IMR and the university took five years to complete.

It collected data on vegetable consumption among adults in Selangor, determined pesticide levels in vegetables, and calculated the estimated pesticide exposure among consumers.

A total of 93 samples of six popular vegetables from the wholesale market were tested for 20 pesticides from the organochlorines, organophos-phorus and synthetic pyre-throids groups.

Two-thirds were contaminated with at least one pesticide. Almost half had two to four types of pesticides.

The high level of contamination showed that farmers had not been adhering to the pre-harvest interval, said Nurul.

"They harvest the crops much earlier than they should," said Nurul, who is with IMR’s environmental health research centre.

"Pesticides, which have a certain shelf life, have not fully disintegrated when the vegetables are collected."

Nursiah Md Tajol Aros, director of the pesticide control division at the Department of Agriculture, said they were not aware of the study and would look into it when they receive a copy of the report.

She said it was hard to trace the source of the contaminated vegetables as the Selayang market got its supplies from all over the country.

The pesticide control division conducted monthly monitoring sessions at the farms, Nursiah added.

"If the farmers use too much pesticides, we advise them to carry out good agricultural practices. We adopt the soft approach.

"The enforcer is the Ministry of Health, which conducts checks at the retail level."

Despite the alarming findings, the research, completed last year, indicated the potential health risk of consuming these pesticide residues as "low".

"The samples from the market were raw and untreated. We did not wash the vegetables prior to testing them so that we can get the maximum level of pesticide residue," said Nurul.

"But before eating them, most people would have washed, soaked and cooked the vegetables, greatly reducing the amount of residues consumed."

The study showed that an adult in Selangor is estimated to eat about 5.88 microgram/kg body weight/day of pesticide, which is about four times lesser than the acceptable daily intake set by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation.

However, this only applied to people who took a moderate amount of vegetables (160g), said Nurul.

"We don’t know how much pesticide people who eat a lot of vegetables are exposed to. We plan to conduct a study soon."

Gurmit Singh, the executive director of the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia, said: "The fact that one-third of the vegetables studied exceeded the residue level is cause for concern."

As the study showed that 97 per cent of pesticide consumption comes from leafy vegetables, Nurul advised the public to clean them adequately before eating.

Vegetables must be soaked with salt to remove worms, larvae, eggs and pesticides.

"Choose vegetables with holes. The nice-looking vegetables are not always the best.

"Consumers must change their perception.

"When there’s no demand for nice-looking vegetables, farmers will reduce the use of pesticides.

"Eat more tubers and fruit vegetables like brinjal, cucumber and kacang, which contain less pesticide residues."



S'pore and M'sia discuss environmental issues

Aug 25 2007 (TODAY)

The next emergency response exercise for chemical spills at the
Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing will be held by Singapore, tentatively
in November.

The Republic will also organise the first table-top emergency response
exercise at the East Johor Straits, tentatively in the first quarter of
next year.

Cooperation will also extend to preventing oil spills in the straits.
These were some issues discussed at the Annual Exchange of Visits between
the environment ministries of Singapore and Malaysia.

Singapore's Minister Yaacob Ibrahim visited Malaysia on Aug 24 and 25 at
the invitation of his counterpart, Dr Azmi Khalid. Both were accompanied
by senior officials.

The progress of work carried out by the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee
on the Environment was reviewed, and issues discussed included the
regional transboundary haze and climate change. Both sides agreed to share
information - for instance, where it comes to mitigating climate change,
by focusing on energy efficiency and joint training programmes for

Labels: , , ,


25 August 2007 (Lianhe Zaobao)

新加坡将同马来西亚在能力建设(capacity building)方面的培训进行合作,以便更有效地使用能源。








Labels: , ,


Singapore's competitiveness among issues to be raised in Parliament

24 August 2007 (CNA)

SINGAPORE : Issues concerning Singapore's competitiveness in the light of rising prices and property rentals will kick off question time when Parliament sits on Monday.

Members of Parliament are also concerned about what is being done to reduce divorce rates and if the government will consider raising the S$150 child care subsidy, which was last revised in 1995.

Other issues include the state of the country's recycling efforts and updates on training front-line staff for medical emergencies.

Seven bills will be introduced.

One of them is the Land Titles (Strata) (Amendment) Bill, which will be closely watched in the light of the recent en-bloc sales fever.

Five bills have been tabled for Parliament approval, including the Accounting Standards Bill and the Central Provident Fund (Amendment) Bill. - CNA/ms

Labels: , ,

A Killer Called Noise

Aug 24 2007 (TODAY)

Din of modern life blamed for thousands of heart deaths

LONDON - Thousands of people around the world are dying prematurely from
heart disease triggered by long-term exposure to excessive noise,
according to research by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Coronary heart disease caused 101,000 deaths in the United Kingdom last
year and the study suggests that 3,030 of these were caused by noise
exposure, including daytime traffic.

Mr Deepak Prasher, professor of audiology at University College London,
told the New Scientist magazine: "The data provides the link showing there
are earlier deaths because of noise … and people haven't been aware that
it has an impact on their health."

The WHO working group on the Noise Environmental Burden on Disease began
work on the health effects of noise in Europe in 2003.

In addition to the heart dis- ease link, it found that 2 per cent of
Europeans suffer severely disturbed sleep because of noise pollution and
15 per cent can suffer severe annoyance. Chronic exposure to loud traffic
noise causes 3 per cent of tinnitus cases, in which people constantly hear
a ringing noise in their ears.

Recent published research has shown that noise can increase the levels of
stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenalin in the
body, even during sleep.

The longer these hormones stay in the bloodstream, the more likely they
are to cause life-threatening problems. High stress levels can lead to
heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and immune problems.

The WHO came to its figures by comparing households with abnormally high
exposure to noise with those in quieter homes.

According to the WHO guidelines, the noise threshold for cardiovascular
problems is chronic nighttime exposure of 50 decibels (dB) or above - the
noise of light traffic. For sleep disturbance, the threshold is 42dB, for
general annoyance it is 35dB, the sound of a whisper.

Ms Mary Stevens, policy officer at the National Society for Clean Air said
that there were many options for reducing noise. Traffic could be
quietened if more cars used low-noise tyres and councils installed
low-noise road surfaces, for example. And coordinating roadworks by
utility companies would also prevent the proliferation of potholes,
another source of noisy traffic. - The Guardian

Labels: ,

Pact Paves Way For Shared Trans-regional Power Grid

Aug 24 2007 (TODAY)

Energy ministers from the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean)
yesterday took a concrete step towards ensuring the 10-member group is
more plugged in.

Meeting in Singapore for a day to review Asean-wide developments in the
power sector, they agreed to conclude a memorandum of understanding that
will, in time, help to bolt together the region's different transmission

The agreement should pave the way for establishing what is known as the
Asean Power Grid, which could help countries share electricity across
borders, boosting growth and providing greater security for consumers.

"While the development of a fully integrated Asean energy market is a
still distant goal and will be a very long process, we have started to
move in the right direction," said Professor S Jayakumar, Singapore's
deputy prime minister. Yesterday's memorandum "provides the essential
framework for us to bring the project forward", he said.

To date, the bloc has only two cross-border power connections: between
Thailand and Malaysia, and between Malaysia and Singapore. Architects of
the ambitious project hope the trans-regional grid could see a web of
connections across Asean, switching power between nations that have
abundant energy, to those that are in need.

"The agreement is a critical first step…it shows that there is government
support for the initiative," said Mr S. Isawaran, Singapore's minister of
state for trade and industry.

When the project takes off, he added, the next stage would be to identify
areas where the private sector can come in.

The ministers also noted progress in the finalising of a new Asean
Petroleum Security Agreement, which is seen as an important mechanism to
deal with petroleum shortages. They hoped to sign the pact next year,
replacing the 1986 agreement. - Sharon Vasoo and Jason Lee

Labels: ,

Greenpeace: No Safety Sureties For 'ring Of Fire'

Aug 24 2007 (TODAY)

Environmental group Greenpeace urged South-east Asian energy ministers
yesterday to scrap plans to harness civilian nuclear power for the region,
citing safety concerns and weapons proliferation risks.

"It is a dangerous and costly choice to secure energy in the region
because nuclear power plants pose risks in the long term," said Ms Nur
Hidayati, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace South-east Asia.

"Our region is very dynamic - geographically we are located around the
Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and we are also the meeting point of several major
tectonic plates," she went on. "You cannot guarantee the safety of the
nuclear power plant in this volatile region."

Greenpeace activists also said the region does not have the expertise and
the trained personnel to operate nuclear power plants, and warned of the
dangers that plutonium - a key ingredient for making a nuclear bomb -
could get into the wrong hands.

Greenpeace said Asean states also lacked experience in storing and
disposing of radioactive wastes. - Agencies

Labels: , ,

National Library Wins Award

Jason Lee
Aug 24 2007 (TODAY)

Its efforts in conserving energy have won Singapore's National Library
Building a regional accolade awarded by the Asean Centre for Energy. The
National Library Building - ranked top in the "Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Best Practices Competition for Energy Efficient Buildings:
New and Existing" category - was on a list of more than 20 recipients at
the Asean Energy Awards last night. The event was held with the official
dinner of the 25th Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting.

Through various initiatives - including escalators and water taps with
motion-sensors, use of natural lighting, and gardens - the National
Library Board (NLB) has been taking environmental-friendliness seriously.
And such measures also paid off financially for the NLB, which saves about
10-per-cent on its monthly energy bill, chief executive Dr N Varaprasad
told Today.

Two other organisations here were also recognised for their efforts. The
Environment Building and Plaza Singapura were ranked first and second,
respectively, in the "Retrofitted" category.

The awards, held annually since 2000, seek to recognise the
environment-friendly practices of organisations.

Labels: , ,

Singapore Shipping Firm Fined $15m For Alaska Spill

Ansley Ng
Aug 24 2007 (TODAY)

AN American court has ordered a Singapore shipping firm to pay a
US$10-million ($15.2-million) penalty for an oil spill, after one of its
ships ran aground near an Alaskan wildlife haven, killing thousands of
migratory birds and sparking a US$100-million cleanup.

The Malaysian-flagged tanker Selendang Ayu, owned by IMC Shipping, ran
aground and sank near Unalaska Island, off the south-western coast of
Alaska on Dec 8, 2004.

IMC Shipping is the shipping arm of Singapore-based IMC Group, which also
has business in property and natural resources development.

IMC spokesman James Lawrence told Today that the company paid the US$100
million for the cleanup, which went on for "more than two summers". It was
completed in June last year with the help of several companies and
government agencies, as well as the community.

On Wednesday, the United States Justice Department said that the company,
one of the world's largest privately held shipping groups, would pay the
US$10 million criminal fine, of which US$3 million would be for community
service in the polluted area, while US$1 million would be used to help the
wildlife haven.

The company pleaded guilty to two charges under the Refuse Act and one
under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The fine was the result of a plea agreement with the Justice Department.
IMC still faces a civil lawsuit by the state of Alaska and the US federal

"IMC has worked closely and fully cooperated with the relevant
authorities, including the US National Trans-portation Safety Board,
during their investigations," Mr Lawrence said.

The Selendang Ayu was en route from Seattle, US, to the Chinese port city
of Xiamen, transiting the Bering Sea when its engine failed.

After drifting for three days, it ran aground under severe weather and
sank near Unalaska Island.

Thousands of metric tonnes of soybeans and 1.3 million litres of bunker
oil spilled into the sea. Also, six of the 26-member ship crew were killed
when a US Coast Guard helicopter crashed during a rescue attempt. More
than 1,600 birds and six sea otters were found dead after the spill.

Labels: , , ,

Singapore urges ASEAN partners to tackle energy, climate issues

By Dominique Loh, Channel NewsAsia
23 August 2007

SINGAPORE : Singapore is urging its ASEAN partners to tackle issues of energy security and climate change.

Speaking at the ASEAN Energy Meeting in Singapore on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar outlined four key areas for the region's energy priorities.

One area is to adopt and encourage energy efficiency so as to help cut energy needs.

Another critical area is the development of a competitive regional energy market.

This will hopefully mean better access to energy supplies and the transfer of new energy technologies.

Prof Jayakumar believes investing in R&D will also reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.

But he said ASEAN countries must also promote a clean environment and find ways to protect forests, rivers, lakes and air quality.

With Singapore taking over the ASEAN chair recently, he said energy and climate concerns will feature in themes for upcoming summits.

"ASEAN's continued growth and prosperity hinges upon managing the competition for resources through cooperative efforts such as joint exploration and development of energy resources, more integrated markets, and sharing of expertise and technology," said Prof Jayakumar, who is also Singapore's Law Minister and Coordinating National Security Minister.

"Although the challenges are immense, they are not insurmountable if we can strengthen our cooperation, so that the region as a whole can benefit," he added. - CNA /ls

Labels: , ,


农粮局加强监测 确保林厝港菜园品质

By 吴汉钧 (Lianhe Zaobao)
24 August 2007











  洪焰是淡马锡生命科学研究院植物生物技术研究室主任。他说,花岗石本身没有毒性,它所含的硅是一种惰性物质(inert material),不溶于水,所以不太可能污染水。



酸碱度:pH level

土壤质地:soil texture

钾:potassium 硅:silica

花岗石尘:granite dust

惰性物质:inert material

Labels: ,


Biofuels From Brazil Next?

Aug 4 2007 (TODAY)

Besides chicken and aircraft, the country is big on ethanol export, too


BITING into a chicken drumstick might just give you a taste of Brazil,
with up to 80 per cent of frozen chicken imports coming from that country.

But Brazilian Ambassador Paulo Alberto da Silveira Soares (picture) said
the country has much more to offer: "We are not here just to sell chicken.
It's much more than that. That's just to give a taste of things to come."

Birds of a more mechanical kind also have a presence here.

Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer has a regional base here serving the rest
of Asia.

"From chickens to aircraft, Brazil's exports are growing very
considerably. We are no longer only a food commodity supplier to the world
market. Our industrial products are also doing well," he said.

Brazil is the largest producer for sugarcane and a top exporter of soya
beans and beef. Oil-rich Brazil also exports up to US$500 million ($759
million) worth of crude to the Republic annually. But it is working on
ethanol as an alternative fuel, derived from its major agricultural
production of sugarcane.

"There's enormous potential in biofuels. We're the world's biggest
exporter of sugar, raw sugar, refined sugar - but we're also making
ethanol. Cars in Brazil are mostly fuelled by ethanol," he said.

"Everyone's talking about climate change and pollution - it's high time we
provide an alternative fuel. It's cheaper than oil, and sustainable
because you can keep planting sugarcane. We've been planting it for the
past 400 years."

Brazil exports ethanol to Japan and is looking to do the same here.

Trade between Singapore and the South American country were valued at
$3.16 billion in 2006, and $1.58 billion for the first half of this year.

Brazil was Singapore's 22nd largest trading partner for 2006, while the
Republic is the second largest Asian direct investor in the country, after

Sembcorp Marine's Jurong Shipyard and Keppel Offshore and Marine employ up
to 10,000 Brazilian workers and have "revamped the shipyard industry"

Mr Choo Chiau Beng, chairman and chief executive officer of Keppel
Offshore and Marine Limited and who also serves as non-resident ambassador
to Brazil, said: "Brazil is a resource-rich country with good people. To
succeed in doing business in the country, you have to be committed to
understand its national will, operating environment, diverse cultures and

The Brazilian Ambassador said Foreign Minister George Yeo will be in
Brazil later this month to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for closer
economic cooperation between the Republic and Mercusor - the regional
trade bloc consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

"There's great potential because it's not only Brazil that Singapore will
have access to. We can serve as the gateway to Latin America," he said.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to visit
Singapore early next year - the first Brazilian president to do so in the
history of the Republic.

Labels: , ,

Red Alert On Green Spaces

Aug 11 2007 (TODAY)

OFTEN cited as being the main culprits in mosquito-breeding, private homes
have borne the brunt of the blame for the dengue scourge. Between January
and June, 2,742 homes were fined for mosquito breeding offences.

However, while the spotlight on mosquito breeding may have been on homes,
public areas, too, have not been blame-free. Some Today readers have
written in to highlight other areas which are at risk, such as open
fields, swamp land, alleyways and other locations not attended to on a
daily basis.

The dengue scourge has taken four lives so far this year and caused about
5,200 people to fall ill.

But there is some good news: Since the end of last month, the number of
dengue cases has dropped past warning levels and has been on the decline,
with 311 cases reported as of last week. As of Friday, 200 cases were


Did You Know A Billion Live On Less Than $1.50 A Day?

Aug 23 2007 (TODAY)

NEW YORK - How many people in the world live on less than US$1 ($1.50) a
day? When United States workers in an online survey answered that
question, 23 per cent correctly said a billion people or more.

Millennium Promise, founded by economist Jeffrey D Sachs to help ease
extreme poverty in African villages, conducted the survey among nearly
7,000 employees in the US between Feb 15 and March 6.

Sixty per cent of respondents named Africa as the continent most in need
of corporate philanthropy, twice the number who picked North America.

Seventy-two per cent said they would want their employers to help those
who live in extreme poverty if the firm has "the resources to help". But
27 per cent said their companies should not devote resources to fighting
poverty around the globe.

The most common argument cited by 52 per cent of those dissenters was that
US firms should focus their philanthropy on alleviating problems in

Mr Sachs' group has a goal of ending extreme poverty worldwide by 2025,
while the United Nations Millennium Development project seeks to cut in
half the number of people living on less than a dollar a day, a common
measure of extreme poverty, by 2015.

Some progress is being made. On April 15, the World Bank estimated that
the ranks of those in extreme poverty fell to 985 million in 2004, the
last year for which information is available. - Bloomberg


Energy Boost

Johnson Choo
Aug 23 2007 (TODAY)

PowerSeraya aims to be a full-fledged integrated energy company

PowerSeraya is transforming itself from a pure electricity generator into
a full-fledged integrated energy company.

The company announced yesterday that as the Singapore energy market opens
up, it is moving from its core business in electricity, to include other
commodities such as steam, water, oil and gas.

As part of this move, the company which supplies about 28 per cent of
Singapore's energy needs, will be investing $800 million to build a new
800-megawatt natural-gas-fired power plant on Jurong Island. Scheduled to
be completed as early as 2009, the highly efficient twin-unit
Co-Generation Combined Cycle Plant (Co-Gen CCP) will replace three
oil-fired steam units that have a combined output of 250 megawatts, to
produce both electricity and steam simultaneously.

"More importantly, this new plant, designed for higher thermal efficiency,
is expected to reduce the PowerSeraya's carbon footprint by a further 10
per cent, on top of the 30 per cent reduction we were able to achieve over
the last 10 years," said PowerSeraya Chairman, Mr Tan Yam Pin, at a
signing ceremony.

"With this development, it is our intention to seek carbon credits for
this project and to enlarge in carbon trading in the future."

A second leg of the transformation plan involves an agreement to supply
ultra-high-pressure steam from the new plant to Petrochemical Corporation
of Singapore for 15 years starting third quarter of 2009.

In April, PowerSeraya has invested $20 million to set up PetroSeraya, a
new physical oil-trading company that will hedge and trade in petroleum
products, representing the third part of its diversification strategy.

"PetroSeraya will serve to strengthen PowerSeraya's fuel security while
addressing market volatility associated with oil price fluctuation," said
Mr Neil McGregor, Managing Director of PowerSeraya. "In addition,
PetroSeraya will achieve greater economies of scale for the company
through bulk purchase and resale of excess oil."

PowerSeraya typically uses about 2 million metric tons of fuel for its
existing 9 power generation units. The company buys between 60 and 80 per
cent of its needs on term contracts, and hedges "no more than 50 per cent"
of its purchases with derivative contracts. PowerSeraya can store up to 1
million tonnes of fuel at its facilities.

The price of 380-centistoke oil in Singapore - a fuel that PowerSeraya
uses - climbed 20 per cent to a record US$404.50 ($617) a metric tonne on
July 20 compared to a year ago.

Temasek Holdings - the sole owner of PowerSeraya - announced in June that
it plans to sell the energy company, together with Senoko Power and Tuas
Power by the end of next year.

Analysts said the expansion plans might boost the estimated $2.5 billion
value of the company.

Several international energy players, including Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo
Electric Power, Hong Kong's CLP Holdings, Malaysia's YTL Power
International, Australia's Babcock & Brown and General Electric are
believed to be interested in bidding for these three companies.


In A League Of Its Own ...

NUS plans university town at old Warren Golf Course

Lee U-Wen
Aug 23 2007

IT may be facing keener competition as Singapore plans for a fourth - and
perhaps fifth - tertiary institution, but the country's oldest university
is not standing idly by.

Come 2010, the way undergraduates live and play on the campus of the
National University of Singapore (NUS) will change when its new University
Town - to be built at the former Warren Golf Course in Clementi - opens
its doors.

Think less Kent Ridge living, and more Ivy League colleges.

Put simply, the concept of hostel living will never be the same again,
said NUS' vice-provost for education Lily Kong in an interview with Today.

There will be no more traditionally small dormitory rooms, as is the case
at the six existing hostels at NUS' Kent Ridge campus. Instead,
apartments - complete with living room and kitchen - will accommodate up
to eight students per unit.

The idea behind having a minimum of four students living together is to
"give them that communal living experience" and let them interact with
friends from all over the world, said Prof Kong.

The site - which will house eight new colleges-cum-hostels - will cater to
another 6,600 students and faculty within the NUS family. Currently, about
6,000 out of 32,000 students live on the Kent Ridge campus, which will be
untouched by the latest revamp.

To be built at a cost of $500 million to $600 million, the new University
Town will feature special themes for each college.

While plans are still being drawn up - the winning consortium to build the
19ha town will only be appointed in December - Prof Kong revealed that
four themes being considered are technology and innovation, environment,
health and sports and media.

The new Ivy League model throws up another new term: Master.

These masters - who need not be academic staff - will take on a meatier
role than traditional hall advisers do in running the colleges.

Going beyond a mentoring role, these eight masters - one for each
college - will be more hands-on, in planning college activities, holding
after-dinner discussion sessions with students and setting the overall
tone and ethos of the college. A local and global search is now on for
suitable candidates.

And if you think hostel living is unconnected with studies, think again.

Undergraduates of each college will need to take up modules that will
count towards their general elective requirements. These modules will take
up about 10 per cent of their total course hours.

On how the college courses will be taught, Prof Kong said: "We could have,
say, an English language student who has a passion for the environment, or
a business student who wants to do a module on technopreneurship to
complement his learning. There will be a whole new range of modules for
students to pick from."

There will also be informal learning activities planned too, such as
"language tables" where groups of interested students from all
nationalities try the borscht they have cooked in their kitchens, while
learning Russian customs and language over dinner.

But the college is not just for undergraduates - two separate halls meant
for graduates will be built too.

The whole idea at the end of the day, she said, is to "give students the
freedom to choose the sort of on-campus environment they desire".

"If a student just wants to stay in a hostel, but without the intellectual
or academic element included, it's fine. What we want in the Warren
colleges is for students to see that what they learn in the classroom is
not divorced from other aspects of life. If they have an interest in the
environment, they can take courses on that with other like-minded people.
It will be exciting," she said.

And to ensure ample local participation at the colleges, NUS plans to
impose a 40 per cent cap on foreign students staying at the University

But an Ivy League model of hostel living does not come cheap.

Early estimates suggest that rents will be about two to three times more
than what is charged at a Kent Ridge hostel, but Prof Kong (picture) said
the final price would depend on the eventual winning bid.

Currently, students pay $60 a week to stay in a single-occupancy room and
$40 for a twin-sharing unit.

Explaining the higher rates, Prof Kong said: "The facilities will be quite
fantastic. The courses are new, the academic learning will be conducted at
the college itself, and it will be done in small groups so the interaction
will be intense. We are actively looking to bring in donors for the
project too."

She said that no student would be denied the chance to stay at the
university town because of financial reasons, and that adequate loans or
student aid would be provided.

Secondary 4 student Melissa Chan, 16 - who is likely to be among the first
batch of freshmen eligible to apply for a place in the new colleges - was
excited when told of these plans.

She said: "It should be quite an experience, to actually be in an
apartment setting with new friends, and have professors living nearby too.
I might apply to stay at the media-themed college."



China's Bicycle Solution

Aug 22 2007 (TODAY)

Bid to reduce pollution prompts rental scheme

BEIJING - The Chinese authorities have launched a new bicycle rental
scheme in a bid to reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion in the
capital of Beijing.

According to China Daily, 50,000 bicycles will be available for rent
soon - at a cost of 100 yuan (20 cents) for a one-year contract or 20 yuan
per day.

Under the scheme, users have to pay a deposit of 400 yuan - which is
refundable, less annual rental fees, upon the return of the bicycle.

In recent months, the authorities in Beijing have conducted trials of the
service, whereby some 5,000 bicycles were available for rent at 31

"It has proved really popular, so it is worth rolling it out across the
city," Mr Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing municipal
environmental protection bureau, was quoted by the Beijing News as saying.

It is estimated that the expanded network will cover 200 outlets - that
are located near to subway stations, Olympic venues, as well as hotels and
office buildings - by the time the 2008 Olympics kick-off next August.

"Organisations and individuals are welcome to join our service network for
free, as long as they can provide an area about the size of one parking
space," Mr Wang Yong, general manager of Beijing Bicycle Rental Services,
was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Mr Wang said that his company would provide all the bicycles for rent, and
franchise outlets would receive 1 yuan a day for each bike they operate as
running costs.

The launch of the bicycle rental scheme came following the success of the
four-day car reduction test last week, in which more than 1 million cars
each day were barred from the roads.

While the most obvious benefit of the test was the reduction in traffic
congestion, the Beijing Environment Protection Monitoring Centre noted
that the air quality in the capital improved during the four-day period.

Labels: , ,

China hails car trial a 'success'

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
21 August 2007

A four-day scheme that took 1.3 million cars off Beijing's streets reduced air pollution by 15-20%, officials in the Chinese capital say.

Moving around the city was also easier during the test period, with the speed of vehicles up by more than 50%.

Beijing hopes to repeat the scheme next year to cut both pollution and traffic when the city hosts the Olympic Games.

But officials ducked questions over whether the air quality was good enough for athletes taking part in the games.

IOC warning

Speaking at a press conference to announce the results of the car ban, environmental official Du Shaozhong declared himself satisfied.

"I am sure we will be able to ensure good air quality during the Olympic Games," he said, although he admitted four days was not long enough to make a big difference to pollution levels.

Four types of pollutants, including carbon monoxide and small particles, were tested over the four-day period, which ended on Monday.

Mr Du, who bicycled to work during the car ban, could not say whether the improved air quality would have made the atmosphere good enough to run a marathon.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge recently said endurance events could be cancelled if the air quality is not up to scratch.

Mr Du would only say that if air quality met national standards it would be good enough for "all kinds of outdoor exercises".

Fewer private cars on the road meant more people used public transport. Passenger numbers were up by 15%, it was revealed.

This meant buses - there were 800 more of them on the roads - could travel at 20 km/h (12mph) instead of the usual 14 km/h (9mph).

Chinese officials also had a kind word for the 6,500 police officers on duty during the four days, many of whom had "overcome fatigue" to ensure the test went off smoothly.

During the test period, odd-numbered cars were banned on Saturday and Monday, while cars with even-numbered registrations had to stay off the roads on Friday and Sunday.

Labels: , ,


APEC meeting to address broad range of issues

By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia
20 August 2007

Trade liberalisation and trans-border threats including terrorism and pandemic diseases are some of the issues that will top the agenda at this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit.

Speaking ahead of the September meeting in Sydney, the APEC Secretariat says the 21 leaders from APEC economies are expected to call for continuing support for the next round of WTO Doha round of talks.

The Doha Round has come to a standstill due to differences between some countries on eliminating trade barriers to agricultural produce and manufactured goods.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy is also scheduled to attend the APEC meeting in Sydney.

The Secretariat says there will be discussions on how to accelerate the process of regional economic integration and structural reforms.

Climate change is expected to be another major topic at the summit.

Colin Heseltine, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat, says: "APEC for some years, especially through its energy working groups, has had climate change on its agenda, issues on clean development, sustainable development and energy security and all these issues have of course touched on the issue of climate change.

"I think what is happening this year, because of the global concern, the global interest in climate change, you are seeing APEC itself, APEC leaders in particular,...giving quite high priority to this issue."
- CNA/ch

Labels: ,

Hearing date set for S'pore, Msia

Aug 21 2007 (TODAY)

The overlapping claims by Singapore and Malaysia over Pedra Branca and two
nearby islands, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, will go before the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on Nov 6. A decision is
expected early next year.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar was quoted as saying that his
country was ready with the necessary evidence and documents for the
hearing, reported The Star newspaper yesterday.

Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands and the matter was
referred to the ICJ in 2003. Singapore's consistent position is for it to
be resolved before the court.

Mr Abdul Kadir Mohamed, adviser for foreign affairs to the Prime Minister,
will lead the 50-man Malaysian legal team. The hearing is expected to take
two to three weeks.

Since the 1840s, Singapore has occupied and exercised full sovereignty
over Pedra Branca, which is located at the entrance to the Singapore

Labels: ,

Are Indonesia's Plans To Prevent Haze Enough?

Tiffany Tan
Aug 21 2007 (TODAY)

IF THE Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) wishes, it can
muscle Indonesia into solving its notorious haze problem.

Asean needs to penalise member states that do not comply with regional
agreements such as its anti-haze pact, suggested Dr Rizal Sukma, deputy
executive director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies,
a Jakarta-based think tank.

"Unless we have this instrument that can actually force member states to
follow all these agreements, then it would be difficult to push for better
implementation," he said on the sidelines of the Second Regional Dialogue
on Haze yesterday in Singapore.

Members may be banned from certain meetings, for example, he said. "You
can't just expel Indonesia from Asean, because we can't expel Burma even
though they violate human rights," he added.

In a statement, the delegates welcomed the intention of Asean leaders to
focus on environmental issues at their summit in Singapore in November,
hoping "that this would provide political will" to address the problem.

Indonesia, which is the main source of South-east Asia's annual haze, is
one of two remaining member states that have yet to ratify Asean's 2002
Agreement on Transboundary Haze. The Philippines is the other.

Mr Heddy Mukna, Assistant Deputy at Indonesia's Ministry of Environment,
said his country is likely to ratify the treaty by next year.

Asked to comment on Dr Sukma's call to sanction countries that produce
haze, Mr Mukna would not speak on behalf of the government. But in his
personal capacity, he said of the plan: "I think it's good."

The anti-haze agreement binds Asean countries to minimise open burning,
volunteer information and allow firefighters from member nations into
their country.

During the dialogue, Mr Mukna highlighted what Indonesia has done since
last October's inaugural meeting.

In 10 fire-prone provinces, there are now 1,560 personnel in fire
brigades. The authorities have also identified three palm oil firms that
practise open burning, and they are now under investigation.

With help from the German government, Indonesia is developing a fire
control centre in East Kalimantan. It is also developing an early-warning
system with the help of a Japanese institution. This year, said Mr Mukna,
it aims to reduce its forest fire areas by half, compared to last year.

As last year's haze episodes were the worst since 1997 and 1998, some
non-government organisations at the dialogue said the goal seemed
unrealistic. But Mr Mukna told Today that "targets should be high, that
will make all the parties work hard".

Indonesia has shown it is trying to respond to calls made in last year's
dialogue, said Mrs Maricar Muzones, a policy researcher for Japan's
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. But "what is yet to be seen
is actually how far these policies are performing".

Dr David Glover of Canada's International Development Research Centre, who
has followed the haze issue since 1997, said Indonesia has taken "some
positive steps", but their implementation of laws on burning was


It's Time To Dream Again ...

Value of flats in Punggol will go up as area is developed

Nazry Bahrawi
Aug 21 2007 (TODAY)

FOR several years, their "Punggol Dream" of waterfront living was put on
hold, even as they had to contend with the lack of shopping facilities,
less-than-perfect public transport and no sports stadium.

But the upgraded Punggol 21+ vision unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien
Loong on Sunday has given residents not only bigger things to look forward
to, but also likely gains to the value of their homes.

ERA Singapore's assistant vice-president Eugene Lim predicts the resale
value of flats could see a "moderate" increase of 5 to 8 per cent over the
next three years. He said: "There is a lot of demand for flats there, but
we will not likely see massive price increases since the area's land
supply is abundant."

PropNex chief executive officer Mohd Ismail agrees that Punggol flats will
gain in value eventually. Describing the new Punggol 21+ plan as an
alternative to staying in a condominium, he told Today: "The pricing of
existing Punggol flats will be determined by the new pricing of the
Punggol 21+ flats."

About 18,000 HDB and private flats are expected to be built, some with
views of the water body that will be created by damming two rivers, Sungei
Punggol and Sungei Serangoon.

According to Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Charles Chong, some developments
will be underway in the next five years.

Work on the waterfront promenade, that wraps around the coastline, could
begin early next year, said MP Penny Low, who added that a golf driving
range should be ready by November.

In 1996, plans to build about 80,000 units were unveiled, but the Asian
financial crisis a year later slowed demand which in turn affected the
original Punggol 21 vision to turn the former pig farming area into a
model town for the next century.

Last year, a new five-room flat at Punggol fetched between $182,000 and
$268,000 - compared to an average of $264,500 when the first batch of
Punggol flats was sold in 1998.

Demand is modest compared to other areas. A five-room Punggol flat in the
second quarter of this year fetched an average of $5,000 above valuation,
$20,000 less than a flat of the same size in Ang Mo Kio.

But now, residents can look ahead with hope. Ms Low said her team is
working with the HDB to gather suggestions from residents, starting this

And some are brimming with ideas. Said teacher Radziah Abdul Rahman, 37, a
mother of two: "There is no fast-food restaurant here. My kids would love
to have a McDonald's at least."

Pastor James Satchy, 37, hopes Punggol's idyllic spirit will be retained:
"I do not want it to be another Ang Mo Kio or Toa Payoh, which are too
crowded and noisy for me."

But some have become sceptical after years of waiting. Said human resource
executive Mohd Suhaimi Ismail: "I hope the new Punggol 21+ will not be
delayed like previously."

And government officer Ms Elizabeth Lam, 33, is still bent on selling her
five-room flat - because she cannot wait too long for facilities such as a
shopping mall and a seaside village to materialise.

But Punggol-Oasis Residents' Committee chairman Ivan Chee is keeping his
head up: "The promise coming from Mr Lee at a National Day Rally is a big

Meanwhile, shopkeepers like stationery shop owner Quek Hang Chew, 47, are
worried that development will attract competition that will eat into his

But Mr Chong noted: "Development will also bring in more residents. I
believe the impact on businesses will be positive."

Time to keep the promise

There is no better time to deliver on "old promises", says MP Charles

Asked why the Government had decided to announce the revival of the
Punggol 21 vision now, MP Penny Low said: "This is an ambitious plan …
Before any announcement, we have to ensure there is a certain degree of
confidence in delivering this vision, be it technical expertise, financial
resources or consultation with stakeholders."

Mr Chong also cited economic factors such as the higher demand for flats
in Punggol and the need to ease pressure on the broader property market.

Asked if the move was in anticipation of the next General Election (GE)
due by 2011, he said: "It is not dependent on the GE. It will carry on

Labels: , , ,


Regional Haze Dialogue works on new strategies to fight climate change

20 August 2007 (CNA)

SINGAPORE : Representatives from five South East Asian countries along with Japan and Australia took part in a Regional Haze Dialogue in Singapore on Monday.

The Dialogue was co-organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies of Indonesia and the Institute of Strategic and International Studies of Malaysia.

They are coming up with fresh strategies they hope their governments can adopt to address the global climate change issue.

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the record haze that blanketed much of Southeast Asia.

And thanks partially to luck with wet weather, forecasts of another bad fog-out have failed to materialise so far this year.

But experts are warning against complacency.

Drawing links between forest fires and global climate change, the experts emphasised how the recurrence of carbon-rich haze caused by illegal fires in Indonesia's vast tropical peatlands may help fuel global warming if left unchecked.

The meeting comes ahead of November's ASEAN Leaders Summit in Singapore and the UN-sponsored Bali Climate Change conference in December.

In a statement following a one-day dialogue here, the delegates acknowledged some "positive steps" taken by Indonesia to deal with the problem, but said Jakarta and the region needed to do more.

Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, says: "All the participants at the dialogue really welcomed ASEAN's focus on the environment. They were quick to say that if we look at our region, there are many issues on the table.

"But the haze and the underlying causes of deforestation and unsustainable development of the economy like palm oil - these really are issues that must be first and foremost when the ASEAN summit talks about the environment. Because when the summit meets, this gives us the opportunity for leaders at the very top to really set a very strong political tone and help coordinate the different agencies of forestry, agriculture, economics with this environment issue."

Labels: ,


Green Denmark Award launched to encourage students to fight climate change

By Teresa Tang, Channel NewsAsia
18 August 2007

SINGAPORE: It is a competition about robots but it has an environmental twist.

A new award, called the Green Denmark Award, has been included in this year's National Junior Robotics Competition.

The new component was launched recently by the Danish Ambassador to Singapore, Klavs A Holm.

"The most important political question for many years to come will be how to fight global warming. Denmark has huge experience in fighting global warming and energy consumption. What we want to do with this competition is to alert the youth and make them find out how they can contribute to fighting global warming," said the ambassador.

Participants in the competition are required to write a paper on green solutions practised in Denmark that can be transplanted to Singapore.

Besides the essay, students need to come up with robots that must complete various tasks in an obstacle course.

Bill Lim Tao Xuan, a participant from Rulang Primary School, said: "It (the competition) is good. We can share all of our ideas so that we can (minimise) global warming or climate change."

"Because we are global citizens, we are also fighting climate change.....a process which everybody has to go through, the Earth has to go through, so we have to slow down the process," said participant Qi Xuan, from Yishun Town Secondary School.

37 teams from 13 schools are participating in the competition this year.

Winners will be announced early next month. They stand to win trophies and prizes from Lego and the Danish Embassy. - CNA/ir

Labels: ,

Singapore wins international award for water management

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
15 August 2007

SINGAPORE : Singapore has won an international award for its sustainable water management.

The PUB received the prestigious "Stockholm Industry Water Award" in Sweden on Wednesday.

It is being recognised for good policies and innovative engineering solutions.

The Environment & Water Resources Minister, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, said the latest international recognition for Singapore's water management policies will spur the country to push the boundaries.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia from Sweden, Dr Yaacob added that having won the award, Singapore hopes to attract the world's best players so that it can set itself as a global hydrohub.

PUB will also partner the World Health Organisation (WHO) to promote safe handling of drinking water around the world.

The Stockholm Industry Water Award is a prestigious prize which recognises innovative corporate development of water and wastewater process technologies.

It also recognises contributions to environmental improvement through advanced production methods.

This Stockholm Industry Water Award is PUB's second international award for good water management.

Last year, PUB was named the "Water Agency of the Year" by Global Water Intelligence in Dubai.

Singapore's success in turning used water into drinking water has garnered a lot of attention from around the globe.

The island-state has become a model city in managing its water challenges.

But it's not just the big picture. At the individual level, Singaporeans are also encouraged to save water, such as reusing it for other purposes.

In Stockholm, upon receiving the water award, Singapore used NEWater to acknowledge its win.

"With this award, we'll put ourselves on the map in terms of our push to develop into a global hydrohub. I think a lot of other companies and prestigious institutions will recognise PUB as a worthy partner in order to collaborate to find new solutions relating to water and water technologies," said Dr Yaacob.

Said Khoo Teng Chye, chief executive of PUB: "It's a recognition that in Singapore, we have found a sustainable way to solve our water problems, particularly the way in which we have invested in technology and sound policies to create NEWater.

"Our solutions have enabled us to grow an industry, turning a vulnerability into strength... and we're positioned on a world platform to share our solutions with the rest of the world."

To share Singapore's knowledge of water management globally, it has signed a partnership agreement with the WHO.

Under the agreement, which will run till 2015, Singapore and WHO will cooperate in areas such as research collaboration, including using Singapore's Marina Reservoir as a test-bedding site to manage urban water resources.

Singapore will also support the international body's response to regional chemical contamination to water supplies.

"The lessons learnt in PUB and in Singapore are very valuable to the world and I think it's good that Singapore is now planning to share its experience with others... by setting up the Singapore Water Week and planning for a technology hub," said Anders Berntell, executive director of Stockholm International Water Institute.

Other areas of collaboration under the agreement - WHO and Singapore will co-organise workshops or training for WHO member states in Asia.

Singapore will also host WHO-based conferences and meetings, sharing experience and knowledge in water reuse and integrated water management.

Singapore experts and government officers will be seconded to WHO, with local water specialists participating in WHO programmes and activities.

Today, Singaporeans have water flowing out of the taps and will continue to do so because of the nation's policy of ensuring its four water sources. These include importing water from Malaysia and also NEWater.

And with Singapore's advanced water process technologies, one can even drink it straight out from the tap.

But the country is not stopping there. It will invest about S$330 million over the next five years to develop the local water industry. - CNA /ls


Biofuel Industries set to be first to sell green power to grid

By Jeana Wong, Channel NewsAsia
16 August 2007

SINGAPORE: Environmental technology firm Biofuel Industries is set to build the first biomass cogeneration plant that will sell its power to the national grid.

The S$30-million plant, to be located in Tuas, will produce 9.9 megawatts of electricity.

Although its generation capacity is relatively small, the company says it is part of its plan to create an integrated recycling business in Singapore.

Biofuel Industries has hired Industrial Power Technologies to build and run the cogeneration plant under a memorandum of understanding signed on Thursday.

By turning wood waste into fuel chips, the plant is expected to halve electricity production costs.

The company says it earns revenue from collecting the waste, exporting the recycled fuel chips and eventually selling the power to the grid.

It is now drawing up plans for the Tuas plant and construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.

"We also have two other projects that are being planned and in process. They are progressing very well. That would further add to the whole integrated recycling business," said Er Kwong Wah, chairman of Biofuel Industries.

"We're producing 1,000 to 1,500 tonnes of waste wood every day, including horticultural waste. This waste must go somewhere... The end goal is to have a perpetual business that will get rid of all the waste and at the same time, doing it in such a way that it makes business sense," he continues. - CNA/ac

Labels: ,


Farmers hope to overturn govt's plans to stockpile granite at Lim Chu Kang

By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia
16 August 2007

SINGAPORE : Plans to stockpile granite at Lim Chu Kang are not going down well with some farmers there.

And they are trying to see how they could overturn government plans to use the area as a granite stockpile site.

Storing granite at Lim Chu Kang is part of the government's strategy to ensure that there is an adequate supply of essential building materials.

It also serves to tide the industry over in the short term, as shown by the recent disruption in supply after Indonesia banned granite exports to Singapore.

A high fence has been erected around the granite stockpile site between Lim Chu Kang Lane 1 and Neo Tiew Road.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said the fencing is one way to reduce dust from stockpiling work over the next 12 months.

While farmers agree such measures will help, they are worried about the possible impact on their crops, especially those located within 200 metres of the site.

Some of the 200 farms in the area sell their produce to local supermarkets.

"You can't control the elements, the wind can carry the dust for many kilometres. The dust settles on the vegetables, and will this have an impact on consumers? We don't know. And it could also harm the environment," said Alan Toh, MD of Yili Vegetation & Trading.

But according to the BCA, due care will be taken to mitigate any negative impact on the environment.

This includes having designated routes for trucks and adequate drainage to discharge rainwater into existing drainage channels.

The farmers are also concerned about the heavy vehicles that would be plying the roads once stockpiling begins.

They say it will not only cause pollution, but also pose a danger to road users, especially cyclists who ride around the area in the evening.

But BCA told Channel NewsAsia that it would restrict operating hours, and there would be no delivery of granite on weekends and public holidays.

Apart from environmental issues, the Kranji Countryside Association, led by Ivy Singh-Lim said this latest development undermines efforts to promote eco-tourism.

She added that the area, zoned as agricultural land, is also an educational tool.

"For the past three years, a group of us - farmers - created a jewel here, a little gem of a countryside place. And we've been seeing thousands of Singaporeans, especially kids, three-generation families coming out here to bond in the natural area. But this granite dumping is going to destroy the whole spirit of the place," said Ivy Singh-Lim, president of Kranji Countryside Association.

BCA said it has consulted the farmers. But the farmers are not quite satisfied.

BCA added that it has studied possible sites for stockpiling, and Lim Chu Kang was selected as it is away from densely built-up urban areas.

But the farmers hope that stockpiling can be done away from their doorstep. - CNA /ls

Labels: , ,

10,000 'bombs' Found Meant For Fishing, Not Terror

Aug 15 2007 (TODAY)

JAKARTA - Police investigating a deadly blast in a coastal Indonesian town
have discovered 10,000 semi-finished bombs intended for fishing, they said

The blast in Pasuruan, East Java, killed three people and triggered
speculation of a link to Islamic militants, before police said explosives
intended for fishing caused the tragedy.

"In total, the evidence we have gathered includes 45kg of TNT, 8,000
detonators and some 10,000 bombs for fishing," national police spokesman
Sisno Adiwinoto said.

The bombs were found in a house near one destroyed by Saturday's explosion
and were intended for fishing as "they are packaged differently than those
of terrorists", he said.

The spokesman declined to give details about the possible source of the
TNT found in the town, which is about 50km south-east of Surabaya.

Officers have previously made multiple arrests in East Java of Islamic
militants accused of carrying out attacks, which led to the speculation of
a link to extremists.

Police are intensifying their investigations into the origins of the
explosives found at the site.

TNT, usually used by the military, has been known to be used in Pasuruan
since at least 2005. Previously, the dominant explosive used by fishermen
was potassium chlorate, calcium chlorate and calcium nitrate mixed with
other ingredients. Those materials could easily explode when shaken or
exposed to fire, high temperatures or pressure. - AGENCIES

Labels: ,

Natural for citizens to criticise, as well as praise govt: George Yeo

By Nazry Bahrawi, TODAY
17 August 2007

SINGAPORE: They don't always see eye to eye with the Government.

But political commentators, including bloggers, do have their place in Singapore, according to Foreign Minister George Yeo.

"It is natural that citizens should criticise the Government. It is also natural that citizens should praise the Government for doing good. This is how a healthy relationship is established between the individual and the collective," said Mr Yeo to students from Raffles Institution at a live dialogue session organised by the school yesterday.

Many of the questions centred on political discourse, censorship and democracy. Asked what he thought of political commentators such as Mr Brown, Mr Yeo said he enjoyed some of the well-known blogger's work.

"They are not all fair, but then it won't be funny if there isn't a little (of the) unfair in order to exaggerate a point. It is part of the creative industry, which we are trying to promote in Singapore," he added, citing creativity in blogs, theatre and cartoons.

But what of some Members of Parliament who feel that mr brown was too harsh on government policies? "No, no. In fact, he had even invited me to appear on his blogsite. Maybe one day I will, but I have been quite busy," responded Mr Yeo, who also blogs.

But Mr Yeo did note that some commentators may take things too far. "Sometimes there could be malice in the humour. And if you, as an individual, feel that your reputation is harmed ... then you may have to take action.

"Most of the time, if it is just funny or satirical, I think we should just have a laugh at ourselves. It will build a healthy society and it will make it into a more vibrant city."

To a question on democracy, Mr Yeo said the model differs from country to country. "Whatever form of democracy that we evolve in Singapore, it must do two things: Make us secure and ensure that our economic chances are maximised."

But for a country to work, an active citizenry is crucial.

"We need a good government, and we need a government that does things, but we also need citizens that would do things for themselves and one another," he said.

Singling out the income divide between the haves and have-nots here, Mr Yeo said: "What we need in Singapore is for the people who are more successful to always keep an eye out for those who are less successful and to help them … Whatever the Government does, it is no substitute for the good that we do to each other."

'Be humble and willing to share'

Given the rough patches in Singapore's relations with some of its neighbours recently, some students wanted to know if the Republic's development was a sore point with them.

While Mr Yeo hoped this was not so, he noted: "It is always important to us not to be emotional, be humble and willing to share with others. Accepting that even when we do all these things, sometimes we get criticised for all kinds of things, but we take it in our stride."

Asked about the unhappiness over Singapore's stake in Indosat, Indonesia's second largest mobile phone operator, Mr Yeo said: "The general principles we adopt is be a good corporate citizen, add value where you are, do good to the community yet make a profit … Always observe the local law. That is very important.

"It may be that because we are a little red dot, there is resentment … That is what I meant, that in these countries where we are not very welcome, we should restrain ourselves. - TODAY/fa

Labels: , ,