Rabu, 2 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

‘Emotionless’ society makes dramatic reversal


JUST a year after being labelled the world's most emotionless society, Singapore seems to have experienced an astonishing turnaround in the feel-good stakes.

International polling firm Gallup has now singled out the republic as having the biggest surge in "positivity".

This means Singaporeans are likely no longer the least emotional nationality – a tag that caused disbelief and soul-searching following the poll results last year.

But it might be a little early to start jumping for joy – because the latest data forms only part of Gallup's overall emotions index, which has not yet been released.

And experts say the fluctuation in the results casts yet more doubts over its methodology.

Gallup tracks emotions in different countries using several rankings. As well as the overall index, there is a study of negativity and another tracking positivity – the one released yesterday.

It found 70% of Singapore respondents reported experiencing positive emotions, up from 46% in 2011.

This is the biggest jump among the 143 countries surveyed and catapults the republic from the bottom of the table to the top half of the "positivity" league.

Gallup said it could be due to the "unprecedented attention" given to the 2011 study, which may have influenced Singaporeans' response to the latest survey.

"The rise (in positive emotions) took place among all demographic groups, even as other societal measures remained steady," it added.

Latin American nations Paraguay and Venezuela continued to top the index, while Syria and Iraq were ranked the lowest.

Experts say the findings raise more doubts about the poll's credibility.

"Social conditions have not changed that much, but the results had a wide fluctuation," said National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Civil servants must declare visits to casino


CIVIL servants must now declare casino visits, months after a senior anti-graft official was charged with embezzling state money to fund his gambling habit.

Civil servants must declare within seven days if they have visited the city-state's two casinos more than four times a month, or if they purchase an annual pass that allows unlimited access, the Public Service Division (PSD) said yesterday.

Government officials in certain positions where "misconduct will have significant reputational risk to the public service" must declare every visit within seven days, it said in a statement.

Civil servants involved in gaming enforcement as well as others who represent the government in business dealings with the two casino operators will remain barred from visiting the casinos unless in an official capacity.

The agency said it was also bringing in compulsory job rotations and block leave for some officials holding positions that "are more susceptible to being suborned and exploited if the incumbent were to remain in the same job for too long".

"Officers are expected to maintain the highest standards of personal conduct and integrity, and their actions must not bring the public service into disrepute or call into question its impartiality," the PSD said.

The move follows a string of high-profile corruption cases in the city-state, including one involving Edwin Yeo Seow Hiang, an assistant director at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), the country's graft-busting agency.

Yeo, 39, was charged in June with misappropriating S$1.76mil (RM4.5mil) worth of government funds to finance his gambling habit.

Large-scale graft cases remain rare in Singapore, a thriving business hub and financial centre, and the government has jealously guarded its reputation as among the least corrupt in the world.

Singapore pays its civil servants some of the highest government salaries globally in what it says is a deterrent to corruption.

Singapore has two casinos, one owned by US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and the other by Malaysia's Genting group. — AFP

IT firm gives 400 laptops to charities


IT service provider NCS has donated 400 refurbished laptops to 10 charities to help support classroom lessons and their administrative needs.

The MINDS Lee Kong Chian Gardens School will receive 125 laptops and the remaining ones will be distributed to other charities.

"We are happy to receive the laptops from NCS, and have already identified uses for these laptops," said Sharon Ng, the school principal.

"We will be utilising them in computer classes to teach our students computer skills and passing some of these laptops to students who do not have a computer at home."

The donation from NCS, part of the SingTel Group, is an extension of the partnership between SingTel and the National Council of Social Service via the SingTel Touching Lives Fund.

The 10 charities come under the umbrella of the NCSS. The fund has raised over S$24mil (RM62.4mil) for charities under the council. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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