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A year of maturation for S’pore

This year has been an eventful year of maturation for Singapore. The first half of the year began with the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) losing its second consecutive by-election in 12 months.

The introduction of the Population White Paper in February caused a national furore, and the ripple effects continue to make themselves felt.

A short but intense episode of extreme haze in the middle of the year came as a shock and served as a reminder of the country’s vulnerability to the actions of proximate neighbouring countries. We had further shocks in terms of knocks to the country’s reputation for integrity when several senior public officials were charged in court for corruption.

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Should leaders focus on results or people?

A lot of ink has been spilled on people’s opinions of what makes a great leader. As a scientist, I like to turn to the data.

In 2009, Mr James Zenger published a fascinating survey of 60,000 employees that sought to identify how different leadership characteristics combine to affect perceptions of whether a boss is a “great” leader. Two characteristics he examined were “results focus” and “social skills”.

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Taiwan government's efforts pay off in pre-schools

The Taiwan government started intervening in early childhood learning more than two decades ago. One of its first moves was to set up pre-schools within public primary schools. Other efforts include providing funding for inclusive education and tapping academics to act as mentors for pre-school teachers.

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Little India riot: The dog that did not bark

In the aftermath of the Little India riot, the focus and dominant narrative, unsurprisingly, have been on law and order issues.

The Government’s narrative is that the riot was a “one-off” spontaneous mayhem; the proximate cause being the inebriated state of some foreign workers reacting angrily and violently to a fatal accident involving one of their own.

Yet, the law and order narrative does not sit well with the long-standing issues in Little India, such as the easy availability of alcohol, jaywalking, littering and other public nuisances, as well as overcrowding.

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