- 23-year-old sentenced to life imprisonment for fatal stabbing
- Workers cash in on weak currency
- 'Celebrate achievers, not envy them'
A full-time national serviceman who knifed four women in 2010, killing a mother of two, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Soh Wee Kian, 23, stood expressionless in the dock as he heard his sentence yesterday.
Prosecutors had asked for a life term for Soh, who loitered around housing estates with a knife in his pocket, trailing women with long hair and in short skirts.
As he followed them, he fantasised about stabbing them in the back, kissing them and touching their breasts.
Soh's defence lawyers did not oppose the prosecution's request for a life sentence. They asked the court not to impose caning.
On Tuesday, Soh pleaded guilty to culpable homicide for the fatal stabbing of 32-year-old Hoe Hong Lin in Woodlands.
He also pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt with a weapon for stabbing How Poh Ling, 28, in Sembawang.
Two charges for slashing two other women were taken into consideration. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Workers from India and Indonesia are scrambling to change money as their currencies languish at multi-year lows.
Others are rushing to send funds home after the rupee and rupiah declined sharply over the past week.
Remittance shops and money changers in areas such as Serangoon Road said that they had been serving up to double the usual number of customers from both countries since Monday.
One Singdollar now buys 8,520 rupiah, up from 8,111 last week, and 50.3 rupees, up from about 48 a week ago.
The workers are paid in Singapore dollars and can now exchange their money for more of their own currencies.
Those interviewed yesterday said they wanted to cash in on the favourable exchange rates by sending as much money home as possible.
They go to the remittance companies with Singapore dollars, convert them into rupees or rupiah, and send them to their families.
Other workers said that they are exchanging their Singapore dollars for their countries' currencies, to use when they go home.
Some are so anxious to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate that they have been asking for time off work so that they can send money home.
Indian construction worker P. Sundar, 41, remitted S$200 (RM515) yesterday at Western Union's Owen Road outlet. "The exchange rate may not be as good if I wait longer," he said.
Indonesian maid Purwati, who goes by one name, even asked her employer for two months' pay in advance. The 36-year-old then sent the S$1,000 (RM2,570) to her family in Java.
Her employer, 61-year-old housewife Serene Eng, said: "I do not mind giving my maid an advance salary. The exchange rate is so good, it will be a pity if she does not make use of it."
Sahakrin Dinika, a customer service officer at Western Union in Owen Road, said about 300 Indian workers had been coming in every day since Monday, double the usual 150.
Humayun Kabeer, who owns a currency exchange shop at Paya Lebar's City Plaza, expects another surge in customers on Sunday when domestic workers get a day off. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Singapore should continue to celebrate those who have done well and given back to society, not envy them, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
"We must maintain a social climate which encourages excellence and success, instead of envying them and wanting to pull them down," he said on Tuesday night as he presented awards from Malay daily newspaper Berita Harian to celebrate the achievements of two individuals in the community.
One was cardiologist Abdul Razakjr Omar, 43, who became the first Malay heart specialist in Singapore at 35. He received the annual Berita Harian Achiever of the Year Award.
The other was undergraduate Adil Hakeem Mohamad Rafee, 20, who made history last year as the first Malay in 44 years to be awarded the President's Scholarship. He was given the inaugural Berita Harian Inspiring Young Achiever Award for young Malays aged 30 and below.
And coming days after a National Day Rally speech where he announced that the government will do more to shield Singaporeans from harsh market forces, Lee stressed that the ethos of Singapore society must be preserved.
This means "to identify and develop talent, to celebrate those who have done well and contributed back to society", he said.
It also encourages others to emulate these people and "go forth and do great deeds", he added at the gala dinner at a hotel.
He said winners of the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year, now in its 15th year, were role models.
"They inspire others, especially the younger ones, to do their best, for themselves and for the community. And it is critical to do so, as our youth are our future," he said.
He stressed the societal responsibility to develop the potential of young people, especially through education and by keeping society open and mobile.
They should also be encouraged to give back to society and the country, he said, such as through the volunteer youth corps that he first spoke of in his National Day Rally address.
He returned to the theme of that speech, in which he said Singapore is at a turning point and needs to forge a new way forward in order to thrive. In this new way, individuals do their best, while the government and the community do more to support individuals, and together build a better Singapore for future generations.
"And indeed this is how the Malay/Muslim community has progressed over the years," Lee said to the 300 dinner guests. "You are a good example of the 'gotong-royong' spirit that we like to see in Singapore."
Lee also praised Berita Harian for being not just a newspaper, but an important platform to engage and strengthen the Malay/Muslim community.
It continues to hold its own by renewing itself, in the face of changing language and social habits, as well as competition from social media, he said.
These include more interesting and uplifting news content, many stories of the community and individuals doing well, and new platforms to boost readership, including a new digital edition of the newspaper in the works.
Berita Harian editor Saat Abdul Rahman said in a speech that it will revamp its news website cyBerita and launch new platforms on Twitter, Facebook and mobile apps.
Adil Hakeem, who left for the United States on Saturday to pursue a liberal arts course at Yale University, was represented by his parents Mohamad Rafee Salleh and Zulinah Mooksan, both 52.
Dr Abdul Razakjr, who grew up in a rental flat, now mentors secondary students for the health profession.
He attributes his success to the sacrifices and hard work modelled by his parents: "My mother believed that if you have hands and legs, you do not need to ask help from others." — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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