Archive for the Current affairs Category

The Singapore government agencies, ministries and statutory boards became a laughing stock today after Straits Times reported a memo regarding the blocking of Internet access on work computer. According to the memo, all work computers of public officers will have no access to the Internet from May 2017.

This move is aimed at tightening security and preventing any potential leaks. In response to media queries, an IDA spokesperson said:

“We have started to separate Internet access from the work stations of a selected group of public service officers, and will do so for the rest of the public service officers progressively over a one-year period. There are alternatives for Internet access and the work that officers need to do, does not change,”

Well, at least they can still access internet via their personal devices. Public officers who needs internet access for their work will be given separate devices for official government work and Internet access.

This is going to be quite troublesome for those public officers who job scope requires internet access. Personally I feel that there should be a balance between security and efficiency. While there is a need for strict security policies, it should not affect efficiency or hinder performance. So much for a Smart Nation.

Open Letter against Gutter Politics

There is an online petition ongoing now calling the PAP to put a stop to gutter politics. The petition is penned by a group of 30 people including former NMP Siew Kum Hong, actor Lim Kay Siu, writer Alfian Sa’at etc.

We are a group of Singaporeans who have been following the progress of the current Bukit Batok by-elections.
We would like to categorically state that we do not condone the personal attacks and character assassination made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, against Dr Chee Soon Juan of the SDP.

We are deeply saddened at the manner in which the campaign is run, having deteriorated to a level that undermines our Singaporean values. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when people who have been entrusted with positions of power and leadership perpetuate such unbecoming behaviour. We want an election campaign that addresses the pertinent issues facing Singaporeans, rather than one that is marred primarily by the vilification of anyone’s person.

Sincerely,
Alfian Sa’at, Alfred Dowel, Andrew Loh, Ariffin Sha, Braema Mathi, Dana Lam, Fong Hoe Beng, Glen Goei, Goh Ming Siu, Howard Lee, Jasmine Teo, Jeanne Lim, Jolovan Wham, Kevin Ho, Lee Hui Min, Leona Yuen, Leslie Low, Lim Kay Siu, Lynn Lee, M. Ravi, Neo Swee Lin, Peter Low, Rachel Zeng, Ravi Philemon, Siew Kum Hong, T. Sasitharan, Tay Bee Pin, Terry Xu ,Vanessa Ho, Vivian Wang, Yeng Pway Ngon

The online petition can be found here.

Shell Singapore donates more than $400,000 to families in need

As part of celebrations for its 125th anniversary in Singapore, Shell joined hands with Mediacorp’s Radio Gives Back to provide families in need with financial assistance.

From 4th to 17th April 2016, Shell donated $1.25 for every purchase of Shell fuels, along with additional donations of $5.00 for every 125 Shell Escape Points contributed by customers in support of this cause. Through this initiative, Shell raised more than $400,000 in donations, successfully exceeding its target donation sum of $300,000.

ShellDonation

To celebrate the success of the initiative, Shell formally presented a cheque of $401,495 to Mediacorp’s Radio Gives Back today at Caldecott Hill, home of Mediacorp Studios. The total amount in donations will be used to provide financial support for families in need to help with their children’s education, utility and medical bills and daily necessities. This initiative is part of Shell’s long-standing commitment to serving the local community.

New Outward Bound Singapore campus to be built on Coney Island

Outward Bound Singapore is expanding its campus to Coney Island. Coney Island is just a small strait away from the Outward Bound Singapore campus in Pulau Ubin, making it the ideal place for OBS expansion.

OBS @ Coney 1

The new OBS campus at Coney Isand (OBS @ Coney) will enable OBS to expand its capacity and provide all young Singaporeans with the opportunity to attend OBS during their upper secondary years.

OBS @ Coney 2

About 14,000 students go through OBS each year. OBS @ Coney will expand the capacity to provide outdoor adventure training opportunities for up to 45,000 youths every year. With good connectivity to both Pulau Ubin and mainland, the expanded OBS will be able to efficiently and effectively conduct more quality programmes and expeditions around Singapore, utilising our blue and green spaces.

OBS Additional Visuals 1

The OBS @ Coney campus will be rustic and blend in as much as possible with the surroundings. It will occupy 12-ha or about 10% of Coney Island. The rest of Coney Island remains open for the public.

OBS @ Coney will cost about $250 million and be ready in 2020.

coney campus -final-01

IRAS going to start taxing bloggers and online influencers

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) recently send out letters to some bloggers and online influencers saying that all income from their social media activities need to be declared in the annual Income Tax Return. Yeap, IRAS is going to start taxing bloggers and online influencers.

OK, it is really no surprise that IRAS is doing this. After all, there are more and more full time influencers and some of them can be earning quite a lot of money from advertorial. But perhaps the thing that surprise me is that non-monetary benefits including sponsorship of products/services in return for reviews may be taxable too.

SERIOUSLY?!?!

Are you telling me that if someone gave me a thumbdrive for review, I’ll need to find out the exact value of that product and declare that in my Income Tax Return? Or if I attend a food tasting session, I’ll need to find out the cost of that meal and declare it? And if I attend a press conference and they give me a goodie bag, I’ll need to ask the PR agency to tell me the exact value of that goodie bag so that I can file my Income Tax Return?

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME IRAS!

Come on! Let’s be seriously. I think it is perfectly alright to tax bloggers and online influencers if they are paid to do advertorial for a company. But non-monetary benefits too? So are celebrities and mainstream media journalist required to declare all the non monetary benefits they received? Are athletes required to declare all the sports shoes and equipments sponsored by companies?

If IRAS goes about taxing non monetary benefits, then I think a lot of bloggers and online influencers will need to call it a day. Food bloggers won’t be able to write food reviews because every food tasting they do is taxable. Lifestyle bloggers might have problem too if they are offered staycation. And tech bloggers will not be able to cover any launch event oversea since the air tickets and hotel stay will be taxable.

Someone needs to review this. Taxing non monetary benefits for bloggers and online influencers will just kill the entire blogging scene.