The Straits Times

This category contains 256 posts

To Strengthen National Service, It Has To Be Questioned And Challenged

The perspective that it is necessarily deleterious if Singaporeans raise questions about or challenges to National Service (NS) policy – for instance, “if people start to question now whether NS is necessary, if operationally ready NSmen should shoulder certain responsibilities, and whether the tempo and intensity of military training should be reduced” (ST, Feb. 5) – not only seems short-sighted and further disregards the absence of substantive engagement with servicemen and the general public, but also underestimates the value of rigorous discourse over the need for NS and the principles of defence and deterrence which justify the need for conscription in Singapore. It appears somewhat paradoxical, yet instead of being anchored by unquestioned or unchallenged assumptions of its importance, the institution of NS is perhaps best strengthened when it is constantly questioned and challenged by Singaporeans. Continue reading

Like Grades, There Is No Perfect, Bias-Free Indicator For Hiring

The eagerness of employers to justifiably reduce the disproportionate reliance on grades for their hiring practices overlooks the important point that there is also no perfect, bias-free indicator for this purpose. Yet instead of adding more application requirements or subjecting job applicants to a battery of tests and assessments – which likewise have their own deficiencies and which are likely to overwhelm applicants in an increasingly competitive job market – improvements should focus on a more holistic evaluation, not in the antiquated sense of making the process more onerous or piling on factors in a never-ending list of employee expectations, but in terms of accounting for the backgrounds and trajectories of applicants, to consequently reduce bias. Continue reading

But What About The Views Of Private Security Officers?

The stiffer penalty regime for private security officers, who can now “be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months” (ST, Jan. 18) if caught slacking, sleeping on the job, or breaking the rules , is ostensibly important for security or defence reasons, but the first-hand views of the officers – especially in a collective, systematic manner – are rarely featured, and comparatively little attention is paid to their work conditions and benefits. Furthermore, the onus to improve productivity appears to be shouldered disproportionately by the officers expected to fulfil training requirements, yet little is also said about what their employers ought to do, in terms of technological advancements or improvements to the well-being of the officers. Continue reading

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