Hacker’s request for return of ATM card rejected

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has denied a request by James Raj Arokiasamy, the alleged hacker who goes by the moniker “the Messiah”, to have his United Overseas Bank ATM card returned. In a letter to his lawyers, the AGC said: “Investigations are currently ongoing in respect of the bank account linked to the ATM card in question.”

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Kampong Lorong Buangkok – Singapore’s Last Village

Built in 1956, Kampong Lorong Buangkok is the last surviving kampong (village) in Singapore. It is also known as Selak Kain in Malay, meaning ‘hitching up one’s sarong’ as people used to lifted their sarongs to wade through floods whenever the village experienced flash floods. Despite being surrounded by concrete housing, Kampong Lorong Buangkok fiercely retains its traditional roots, evident in the rustic wooden huts with zinc roofs, and strong “kampong spirit” reflected by the residents.

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Welfare: Govt still missing the point

If the PAP wants to reconnect with the 40% of voters who voted against the PAP in the last GE, and please its base (including the 35% that “Die, die must vote PAP” , it should rethink its Hard Truth that welfare spending is consumption, not investment. However anti-PAP paper activists should be glad that the govt is unlikely to change its thinking. As ex-scholar Donald Low put it: “What all this points to is that we really need a more robust welfare system that gives Singaporeans much greater assurance of income when they are unemployed, old or sick. The low fertility rate and the desire of even well-to-do Singaporeans to retire somewhere else are signs that the state needs to craft a new social contract with Singaporeans, that it needs to develop more mechanisms to pool risks and give Singaporeans security.

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'Consider what compassionate meritocracy entails'

Former top civil servant Lim Siong Guan called for a deeper consideration of what being compassionate meant, after “compassionate meritocracy” became the latest buzzword following last month’s People’s Action Party convention. The ruling party had adopted a set of resolutions then, including upholding an open and compassionate meritocracy that gives equal opportunities to all. But Mr Lim argued on Wednesday: “Anyone leading an organisation has an obligation to think about the long-term well-being of their people, not just what’s today...then on that basis you decide what really is the most caring thing you can (do) for an individual."

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Two encouraging indicators of the potency of civil activism

In 2013, after years of vigorous and tireless campaigning by anti-mandatory death penalty activists, the law was amended to allow for drug mules who were not ringleaders and who had cooperated substantially with the authorities to be granted an exemption from the death penalty. The same year in September, Mr Yong received a Certificate of Cooperation from the Public Prosecutor, and his life was finally spared in November, when Justice Choo Han Teck returned a verdict that reversed Yong’s death sentence.

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COMMENT: Will free yoga lessons really help foreign workers?

But this one takes the cake, methinks -- free yoga classes, as reported by Channel News Asia! Organised by the Art of Living Centre, the men are taught “relaxation and breathing techniques”, as well as given “motivational talks”. Er, isn't this just an ill-disguised way of keeping them confined to remote dormitories?Well-intentioned it may be but it's misguided to the point of being a tad insulting.

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Mission school students forced to attend chapel sessions

In 1992, St Andrews JC made attending chapel sessions a condition for admission into the school for a group of ‘appeal’ students, prompting the Education Ministry to summon Article 16 (3) of the constitution that states that ‘no person shall be required to receive instruction in or take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion OTHER THAN HIS OWN. In other words, no one can compel you to attend chapel if you’re a non-believer, even if the school has been established to promote the Bible as moral nourishment like pushing milk for strong teeth and bones. One of those students forced to ‘sing hymns’ and hear the chaplain preaching was a SIKH, who also lamented about Muslims being excused from such tedious rites.

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Looking Like A War Zone

Speaking at the Singapore Anglican Community Services 100th Anniversary Charity Gala Dinner in Dec 2013, Lee Hsien Loong made the dubious claim that more social spending does not mean better results. As an example, he pointed out that the Americans spend more on healthcare than anybody else in the world, 18% of GDP. Singapore budgets only a minuscule 4% of our GDP for healthcare, and our life expectancy is longer and infant mortality rates are lower. The difference is that the cost of staying alive here is depleting our own savings intended for retirement needs. Unlike in America, there's no social security here.

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Hospital Overcrowding due to Holiday Season? What About the Diversion of Public Resources to Medical Tourism?

Today's report of a nation-wide bed crunch at public hospitals is a damning indictment of the Singapore healthcare system. A PAP MP has noted that spikes in admissions correlate with the holiday season (as opposed to a spike in illness), but this seasonal effect, given that a track record for it has existed for a long time, should have been corrected for ages ago. Why does overcrowding continue to occur with such severity?

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Patients’ blue Christmas

I can’t help but think about how favourably ST painted the hospitals facing a “severe bed crunch’’. Instead of castigating the health authorities for poor foresight and planning, the tone appears to be pretty congratulatory, applauding the hospitals for taking “unusual steps’’. And it’s not as though the bed crunch is a new thing. You would have thought the problem would have been licked a long time ago. How many beds were there in the past, say in 2008, and now?

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