The Straits Times

This category contains 253 posts

Complement War On Diabetes With Better Education On Diabetes

Given the medical and economic costs associated with diabetes – and the alarming statistic the one in four Singaporeans already has diabetes or is at high risk of contracting it – few would disagree with the proposals by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to take tougher actions (ST, Dec 6): To ban high sugar drinks, to tax these drinks, to disallow their advertisement, or to stipulate prominent labels on them. Yet absent from the discourse is an evaluation and communication of how these proposals and their effects may vary (based either on MOH projections or case studies from abroad), the effectiveness of past and ongoing campaigns to increase awareness of excessive sugar consumption and of diabetes, as well as the persistence of these campaigns in the future. Continue reading

But What Are The “Right Skills” For Job Seekers?

That job seekers “need to identify and learn the right skills to capitalise on job openings as hiring picks up” (ST, Nov. 30) is incontrovertible, yet what is less clear is what these “right skills” are and the extent to which job seekers are cognisant of them in the first place, as well as whether Workforce Singapore (WSG) has effectively helped to address the challenge of a skills mismatch through its programmes and services. And furthermore given that these skills are likely to be tied to the characteristics of the industries and the background of the job seekers, it may be more productive for the government – perhaps through the WSG – to specify the industries or sectors, before detailing the corresponding skills and training needed. Continue reading

Ground Engagement Should Be The Norm For Politicians And Civil Servants

The recent focus on ground engagement among politicians and civil servants – to “go out and engage stakeholders and Singaporeans” (ST, Nov. 22) and to develop and nurture “a consultative relationship between the government and citizens” (ST, Nov. 22) – is odd not because of its importance in the context of increasingly complex governance demands, but because it might have been assumed that it should be or that it is already the norm. Central to policymaking is an understanding of the problems and how they are perceived by the individuals affected by them, and these interactions with constituents are especially important if the politicians and civil servants hail from different demographic or socio-economic backgrounds, and therefore have dissimilar perspectives and life experiences. Continue reading

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